Title:
SEATING SUPPORT SYSTEM PROCESSES AND PRODUCTS THEREBY INCLUDING HIGH PERFORMANCE APPLICATIONS AND TOOLS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An anatomically corrected seating element set includes improved and enhanced seating tools in an improved type of seating apparatus. Processes for disposing a user and posture ameliorating tools and subcomponent products are likewise caught. Silicone extension elements add substantial benefits and are heretofore undisclosed, within the context of a system for enhancing ischial tuberosity support and venous blood flow.



Inventors:
Jackson, Donna K. (Fort Worth, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/850294
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
09/05/2007
Assignee:
NUBAX LIMITED
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARFIELD, ANTHONY DERRELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Peter J. Gluck (Irvine, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A material comprising an arrangement of resiliently deformable elements wherein the material comprises at least one outer element with a hollow interior and at least one insert element, wherein the insert element is arranged inside the hollow interior of the outer element.

2. A material according to claim 1, in which the elements are silicon elements.

3. A material according to claim 2, in which at least one of the elements is an elongate element.

4. A material according to claims 3, in which at least one of the following is predetermined according to the application in winch the material is intended to be used: the dimensions of at least one outer element and/or insert element the clearance between at least outer element and the associated insert element the durometer at least one the outer element and/or insert element the shape of at least one outer element and/or the insert element the tension of at least one outer element and/or the insert element.

5. A material according to claim 4, which comprises a plurality of outer and insert elements arranged to form a sheet of material.

6. A material according to claim 5, in which the outer elements and/or the insert elements may have different physical properties across the sheet of material.

7. A material according to claim 3, wherein a plurality of elements are insect elements effective to use without outer elements.

8. In a venous blood flow enhancing ischial tuberosity support system having at least two primary material densities, an A-configured structural geometry for alignment of the ischial tuberosities in a desired position under the lumbar spine, which increases cross-sectional areas of a user's veins proximal to the groin, the improvement which comprises, in combination: at least a supplemental silicon member having individuated and fully recoverable memory, disposed at, at least one location therein.

9. The venous blood flow enhancing ischial tuberosity support systems according to claim 8, said at least one location being at least one of disposed in a chevron-like pattern associated with said A-configured structural geometry; along a principal axis of a ray-like projection extending from the vertex of the chevron, and extending about the axis of said ray-like projection member.

10. The venous blood flow enhancing ischial tuberosity support systems according to claim 8, wherein respective densities of said at least two primary densities differs according to the application for which it is designed.

11. In a seating apparatus tot preventing muscle fatigue and cushioning the spine to increase lordosis in the lumbar spine, which comprises a wedge-shaped cushion have a top and a bottom, whereby the top's substantially planar parallel to a surface upon which the seating apparatus stands, and a bottom which houses two projecting members each in geometric configuration of a ray whose vertex is at a back portion of the seating apparatus, which abuts a user's back when seated for improving venous outflow from the lower extremities in the sitting position by decreasing venous obstruction at the femoral vein level and the relative position and placement of the two projecting members is determined by capturing a distance measurement for a user's ischial tuberosities to optimize receiving pelvis weight bearing on each of the ischial tuberosities of the involved users. The improvement further comprising disposing a plurality of silicon tubes and rods at critical locations within the seating apparatus to varying stiffness and load-bearing capacity.

12. In a seating apparatus for preventing muscle fatigue and cushioning the spine to increase lordosis, in the lumbar spine comprising a wedge-shaped cushion having a top and a bottom, whereby the top is substantially planar parallel to a surface upon which the seating apparatus stands, and a bottom which houses two projecting members each in a geometric configuration of a ray whose vertex is at a back portion of the seating apparatus, which abuts a users back when seated for improving venous outflow from the lower extremities in the sitting position by decreasing venous obstruction at the femoral vein level; and Using parameters including a distance measurement for a user's ischial tuberosities to optimize receiving pelvis weight bearing on each of the ischial tuberosities of the involved user by altering the relative orientation of the two projecting members each in the geometric configuration of a ray whose vertex is at the back portion of the seating apparatus, the improvement which comprises, in combination: at least arranging silicon rods and tubes, in geometric shapes selected from the group consisting of rods, tubes, triangles, diamonds, and combinations thereof at the searing applications.

13. A process for enhancing a seating construction, comprising, in combination: providing a plurality of silicon elements to be incorporated into the same; and bolstering desired aspects of the seating construction by attaching said plurality of elements to the seating configuration.

14. The process of claim 13, further comprising silicon rods and tubes which surround them.

15. The process of claim 13, further comprising an assembly of triangles and rods.

16. The process of claim 14, further comprising diamond-shaped elements.

17. The process of claim 13, wherein attaching further comprises emplacing the silicon elements within predetermined areas of the seating construction.

18. The process of claim 17, wherein attaching further comprises caulking.

19. The process of claim 13, said attaching step comprising at least one of bonding with glues, melting, and otherwise permanently affixing silicon-elements.

20. A product, by the process of claim 19.

Description:

The instant application claims full Paris Convention and all other priority rights from U.S. Ser. No. 60/842,229, filed Sep. 5, 2006, by the present inventor, and in the name of assignee NuBax Limited.

The present invention generally relates to a material comprising an arrangement of resiliently deformable elements intended to absorb and/or distribute impacts and/or applied pressure. The elements may, for example be arranged to form a material for use in applications where the absorption or distribution of pressure is required, for example as seating for humans. In particular, the present invention may use biomechanical enhancement to facilitate disposition of humans in optimized seating postures, relative to ischial tuberosities, combined with orthogonal support elements, which optionally function as a high performance vehicle seating enhancement, among other things. The present invention does all of this while addressing and ameliorating deep vein thrombosis (“DVT”).

There is a longstanding need for an anatomically corrected seating element set for those who spend critical time seated, as well as many others in all walks of life. Unmet needs range from seats for office workers to passengers in planes to race car drivers, among others. Lacking in the seating arts are dueling densities and variable stiffness materials, in addition to processes to make and use the same, winch make users comfortable while supporting them economically and consistently over time.

In-roads have been made by the present inventor into maintaining lordosis' and mitigating adverse impacts of DVT. Using a conceptually and mechanically derived improvement set further degrees of design freedom have been achieved and by way of the instant teachings, such that the art of seating once again, it is respectfully submitted, is advanced.

In addition, there is an on-going need tot materials with shock-absorbing and/or pressure disbursing capabilities in a variety of applications. Purely by way of example, such applications include, but are not limited to: protective clothing and headwear, padding for crash barriers or the like, tension straps (such, as back-pack shoulder straps, seat belts,) knee pads, gym shields, padding for sport or sportswear, matting,) and related uses.

In these and other applications, materials which exhibit high tensile strength, are light weight and which have effective energy dissipation are required. In some applications, elasticity and energy dissipation ate particularly of value, while, in other applications, shape memory with energy dissipation is more important.

SUMMARY

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a material comprising an arrangement of resiliently deformable elements wherein the material comprises at least one outer element with a hollow interior and at least one insert element, wherein the insert element is arranged inside the hollow interior of the outer element.

The use of an insert element within a outer element provides for impact absorption and distributed pressure support, as will be described more fully herein after.

In embodiments, the elements arc silicon elements. Silicon is a material with many advantages. For example, silicon has elasticity, shape memory properties, is relatively light and strong and is relatively chemically inert. In alternative embodiments, the elements may he rubber, or the like. As will be appreciated from the following description, at least one of the or each inner and/or outer elements (and in some embodiments all elements) could be described as ‘elastomeric’, i.e. they are resiliently deformable in the sense that they exhibit shape memory characteristics and may also stretch elastically.

In one embodiment, the elements are elongate elements. This allows for energy (in particular transverse impacts) to be readily dissipated along the length of the elements. Likewise, such elongate elements readily function as stand-alone energy disbursement tools in conjunction with known and later developed seating arrangements.

In preferred embodiments, a plurality of outer and insert elements are arranged to form a sheet of material. This is advantageous as it allows a resilient surface to be formed.

The insert element may itself be hollow or it may be solid. It will he appreciated that, assuming the material is the same, a hollow element will deform more readily than a solid element. Therefore, if high impact absorption is required, a hollow insert element may be preferred. If however a relatively hard material is required, a solid insert element may be preferred.

In a preferred embodiment, the clearance between outer element and the insert element may be predetermined according to the application in which the material is intended to be used. Providing different clearances will provide the material with different responses to impact and/or to pressure.

Alternatively and additionally, the durometer of the outer element and/or the insert element may be predetermined according to the application in which the material is intended to be used. It will be appreciated that the ‘durometer’ of an elastomeric substance is a measure of its hardness or resistance to deformation.

In one embodiment, the outer elements comprise a series of hollow tubes which are glued, encased or otherwise fixed together such that they are substantially parallel. However, its other embodiments, the material may be formed by weaving the elements such that they cross one another. In alternative embodiments, the outer elements comprise cells formed within an elastomeric material.

The shape of the outer element and/or the insert element may be predetermined according to the application, in which the material is intended to be used. The shape of the elements will effect the response of a material to impact and may also effect the surface provided by the material. For example, in some embodiments, a substantially fiat surface may be required.

In some embodiments, the outer elements and/or the insert elements may have different, physical properties across the material. This allows areas with differing responses to impact and/or pressure to be formed within same sheet of material. The different physical properties may comprise durometer, dimensions, shapes, tension, or the like.

In some embodiments, the material may be arranged to be inlaid into or laid on top of another structure. This allows that material to act as padding. Alternatively, the material may be arranged within a frame under tension, which may he variable. In a further embodiment, the material may be formed into a strap or the like which is under tension in use.

According to one embodiment, the material is arranged to provide a support means in a seating apparatus. The support means may be arranged in art A-shape (or chevron shape) intended to support the ischial tuberosities of a person seated on the seating apparatus.

According to embodiments, the material may comprise (and/or be incorporated within) at least one of the following: protective clothing, protective headwear, padding for crash barriers or the like, tension straps (such as a back-pack shoulder straps, seat belts, etc) knee pads, gym shields padding for sport or sportswear, matting or related articles.

According to embodiments, the material comprises a seating tool for use in a seating apparatus. Preferably, the material can be used to provide an anatomically correct seating element set including improved and enhanced searing tools in art improved type of seating apparatus. Processes for disposing a user there upon and posture ameliorating tools and subcomponent produces are likewise taught. Silicone extension elements add substantial benefits and are heretofore, undisclosed within the context of the instant field of art.

According to a feature of the present invention, there is provided in a venous blood flow enhancing ischial tuberosity support system having at least two primary material densities, an A-configured structure geometry for alignment of the ischial tuberosities in a desired position under the lumbar spine, which increases cross-sectional areas of a user's veins proximal to the groin, the improvement composing, in combination; at least a supplemental silicon member having individuated and recoverable memory disposed at, at least one location in the system.

According to embodiments of the present invention, there is provided in a seating apparatus for preventing muscle fatigue and cushioning the spine to increase lordosis in the lumbar spine comprising a wedge-shaped cushion having a top and a bottom, whereby the top is substantially planar parallel to a surface upon which the seating apparatus stands, and a bottom which houses two projecting members each in the geometric configuration of a ray whose vertex is at a back portion of the seating apparatus which abuts a user's back when seated for improving venous outflow from the lower extremities in the sitting position by decreasing venous obstruction at the femoral vein levels, whereby the relative position and placement of the two projecting members is determined by capturing a distance measurement for a user, the improvement further comprising disposing a plurality of silicon tubes and rods at critical locations within the seating apparatus.

According to embodiments of the present invention there is provided a process for enhancing a seating construction which comprises, in combination, providing a plurality of silicon elements to be incorporated into the same, and bolstering desired aspects of the seating construction by attaching said plurality of elements to said seating construction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more clearly understood by reference to this specification in view of the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic of a prior art seating construction in cross-section;

FIG. 2 is an embodiment of an enhanced searing product according to embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 is a detailed aspect of an exploded view according to teachings of embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 shows improved seating tool or an element filled with materials described, according to embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5 shows embodiments according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows embodiments according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows embodiments according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 shows embodiments according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 schematically depict a material comprising silicon elements according to various embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 10 schematically depict a material comprising silicon elements according to various embodiments of the present invention; and

FIG. 11 schematically depict a material comprising silicon elements according to various embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present inventor has developed improved load bearing mechanisms, and ways to enhance seating systems that already provide unprecedented support for users. Energy absorption and compatibility with enhanced seating approaches likewise supports unique approaches as detailed herein and claimed below. Similarly offered for consideration are related seating improvements in an effort to mitigate a leading global symptom or disability driving disease state back pain. This is a long-term set of issues that most developed and developing countries have been compelled to deal with as individuals are incented to move from upright posture to a work-based sitting routine, for as least part if not most of their working days. Similarly, driving, flying and advanced leisure activities requiring better support from seating systems.

Recently, attention was focused on venous thromboembolism, following prolonged air travel Several investigators confirmed a higher incidence of DVT in high-risk persons traveling for extended periods of time. DVT is also seen in practice in patients who undertake surface trips and remained seated for prolonged periods of time. Venous stasis and hypercoagulability ate thought to be some of the underlying causes for this problem. Recommendations for improving stasis have included the wearing of compression hose, however, no recommendations regarding postural changes while seated have been considered.

A seat cushion modification by NuBax Limited has recently been introduced, and has a number of benefits. This cushion modification improves the lumbar lordosis found in normal sitting thereby improving pelvic and lower back posture. It is postulated that this improvement in posture may also lead to a decreased pressure gradient from Vena Cava to lower extremity veins, and a subsequent improvement in venous outflow from the extremities. The purpose of this study was to investigate this seat modification and describe any improvement in venous outflow from the lower extremities associated with this improved posture.

Testing seas done at the Lotus manufacturing facility in the UK. For the initial testing, two Lotus Elise® were made available and were outfitted with one Lotus factory seat and one modified by NuBax. The NuBax seats were modified each using a slightly different proprietary method of cushion modification, including those described in U.S. Ser. Nos. 11/149,806, and 11/263,415, and issued U.S. Letters Pat. Nos. 6,447,058 and 7,720,376.

Twenty-two volunteers were studied during this portion of tire testing. There were sixteen men and six women; none had pre-existing known venous disease. All signed consent for testing. Forty-four limbs were tested. Each subject was tested in the original Lotus seat, and in each NuBax modification (known as yellow and red, respectively). Venous testing was done with a Terrason portable ultrasound using a 7.5 Megahertz probe. The saphenofemoral junction was identified with the subject in each car seat, and the steerable Doppler placed as close to the center of the veins as possible. Velocity measurements were taken from this location, and are identified as outflow velocity.

A thigh cuff was placed and inflated to 60 mm Hg in order to occlude venous outflow. The system was allowed to stabilize for 2 minutes 30 seconds, and the cuff released rapidly. The resultant spike in velocity was measured using the ultrasound machine's internal measuring device, and the highest point was recorded as outflow velocity. Testing was repeated for both limbs in the three different seats. Calculations were done by measuring the difference in outflow velocity in omniseconds in the Lotus (control) seat and in both the red and yellow NuBax modified seat. In order to standardize the samples, a percent change in outflow velocity for each sample was calculated by formula I:


Nubax Outflow Velocity-Lotus Outflow Velocity×100=% Change in Outflow Velocity Lotus Outflow Velocity

Two 2006 Lotus Elise® brands of seats were used for sins set of testing. One automobile was fitted with a factory seat and one with a seat modified by NuBax. On this occasion, twenty-seven volunteers were available for testing. These included twenty-four men and three women, none of who had known pre-existing venous disease. All signed consent for testing. For this testy, fifty-three limbs were studied, (one volunteer refused testing on the second limb). Each subject was tested in the original Lotus seat and in the NuBax modification. Venous air plethysmography was performed by inflating the calf plethysmographic cuff to the volume prescribed by the equipment manufacturer, and the thigh cuff was inflated to 60 mm Hg in order to occlude venous outflow. The system was allowed to stabilize for 2 minutes 30 seconds, and the cuff deflated rapidly. A strip chart recorder captured the change in volume of the calf in response to the cuff release, and from this tracing maximum venous outflow could be determined. Outflow fractions were calculated from the strip chart tracings. The outflow fraction was considered to he the decrease in volume over the first 0.5 seconds after cuff release, divided by the total volume, and was calculated as per Nicolaides and Sumner with the only modification being it 0.5 see interval. To again standardize the values, percent change in outflow fraction for each sample was calculated by the formula 2:

OFNuBax-OFLotus_×100=%changeinOFOFLotus

Mean and median values for the total group of percent changes were then calculated, as well as the standard deviation of each group. Venous outflow improved in both tests. In the outflow velocity test, the mean Lotus seat velocity was 19.5 cm/sec. For the yellow seat, the mean was 23.23 cm/sec, for a change of 3.73 cm/sec. For the rod seat, the mean was 21.65 cm/sec, or a change of 2.15 cm/sec. Mean percent increases in outflow velocity for each limb tested were 70.89% and 66.31% repectively, as calculated by the above formulas. Median percent change was found to be 7.19 and 7.82 for yellow and red. Table 1 summarizes the results, and adds the standard deviations:

Mean Percent Change in
Mean Change in OutflowOutflow Velocity +/− SD
Seat vs. LotusVelocity +/− SD(Formula 1)
Yellow 3.7 +/− 1170.89 +/− 185
Red2.15 +/− 1266.31 +/− 202

Outflow fraction resting revealed an outflow fraction of 49.9 for the Lotus seat and 51.1 for the NuBax seat. The mean percent change in OF for each limb was 4.99, as calculated by the above formula. Median percent change was found to be 3.45. Table 2 summarizes the results, and adds the standards deviations:

Mean Percent Change in
Mean Change in OutflowOutflow Fraction +/− SD
Seat vs. LotusFraction +/− SD(Formula 2)
Nubax1.28 +/− 94.99 +/− 22

The design of the NuBax seat ostensively improved posture and comfort during prolonged seating. The design of the cushion places the ischial tuberosities in the correct position underneath the lumbar spine so that the pelvis arid spine are properly aligned. This alignment distributes the weight more evenly and allows for more comfortable sitting. The effect on venous blood flow appears to be an improvement in outflow from the legs. This improved outflow, combined with the other beneficial effects of the improved sitting position have been used to create an improved driving experience in the Lotus Elise®, a high performance sports car then requires alertness and quick motions of the extremities to maneuver. The Lotus seat has an almost supine tilt to it, making venous outflow almost horizontal. Because of this, any improvement in venous flow characteristics was considered significant, as more upright seating would create larger changes.

Chronic venous insufficiency has components of both venous reflux and obstruction. Despite a large amount of literature describing air plethysmography in testing for the venous outflow obstruction component of venous insufficiency, there are few states that cause isolated venous obstruction without insufficiency. Pregnancy and other causes of extrinsic venous compression can be considered examples of where isolated outflow obstruction, where outflow fraction can he quantified. However, outflow fraction using plethysmographic techniques has been measured in venous insufficiency, and appears inaccurate in the presence of reflux. Arm/foot venous pressure differential and reactive hyperemia induced foot venous pressure increase appear to correlate with the degree of venous obstruction even when reflux is present, but the test is invasive and requires the ability to maneuver the limb, making it impractical in this situation. The current study makes use of the specific strengths of the air plethysmography in addressing isolated venous obstruction, making it the ideal tool for study. This particular situation appeased to be unique in that the presence of obstruction must be qualified as well as quantified using a noninvasive technique.

There is little evidence in the literature that velocity of venous outflow as measured by duplex scan has previously been used to determine the presence or degree of outflow obstruction. The uniqueness of this situation, in which a change in position causes outflow improvement that can be tested without change in any other parameters, allowed the opportunity to employ duplex in an attempt to evaluate the degree of change in obstruction. Velocity data was used based on the Bernoulli equation. This equation states that if the cross sectional area of a fluid filled tube is increased than the velocity of the fluid moving through that area should decrease. The velocity of fluid entering that area should therefore increase, since all other factors remain essentially the same. Since the duplex scan testing measured an increase in velocity of blood flow in the area proximal to the pelvis with position change, the NuBax scat increased the cross sectional area of veins proximal to the groin.

Analysis of the data suggests that there is a large variation in venous velocities between limbs. There appeared to be no standard values for velocity of venous outflow from a limb, as measured by duplex scan. Outflow velocity appeared to be variable and dependant on variation in limb volume, body habits of the patient, position changes, and hyperemia. The more consistent values noted for outflow fraction suggested that using the initial outflow velocity was a more valid test of overall venous outflow. Analysis of the data still revealed a wide variation of values, and an attempt to standardize the measurements was made by calculating percent differences, rather than rising the variable absolute values. Despite this, there remained large differences between limbs. Nonetheless, the data did support the fact that there is improvement in venous blood flow with the Nubax seat versus the standard Lotus seat.

This study revealed an improvement in blood flow from the lower extremities in the seated position when position was modified by a NuBax seat. By reducing venous stasis in the lower extremities there should be a decrease in the rate of DVT following prolonged sitting. Modifications of seats in this way both for travel, and in the workplace where prolonged sitting is anticipated, would be beneficial in light of these results. The teachings of the present invention incorporate these improvements as described herein, in addition to offering for consideration improved tools to further impact and vary stiffness and support parameters in seats and other products which can be used for helmets, gloves, belts, shoes, prosthetics, pads for sports, motorcycles and racing cars.

Similarly unique among the present invention are heretofore undisclosed processes and products by the processes make extruded silicone, tubes, rods and tubes inside rods and vice-versa to cushion impact. CSF-1188 (A/B Formulation-GEL) from Nusil, Inc. (Carpenteria, Calif.) is extruded/caulked/painted onto seats, according to embodiments of the present invention, to increase the ability of the instant system to be modified for various applications. In this way, those challenged can use the instant system to remain functional and comfortable while seated.

For example, 80 percent of adults in the United Kingdom spend greater than 350 hours per year in cars and one-third diagnosed with back pain have attributed sitting in cars or at work as a cause of their malaise. By replacing standard foam with stiffer materials, this invention provides enhanced cushioning and may he sprayed, brushed or otherwise applied to seat. Likewise, seating tools and stiffness as discussed, permitting the instant systems to be used in everything from office chairs to Formula One®-type racing cars.

For the United Kingdom, this contributes to massive totals of compromised man-hours, in this case the example itself ostensively amounts to an excess of 5 billion of work lost, in pounds sterling. However, no combination of silicone hose and rod element was known, prior to the teachings of the present invention.

Fortunately, a mitigating process-set and various different types of apparatus are now available from NuBax Limited (Weybridge, Surry KTT13 OTT, United Kingdom) including the ProBax® brand of seating technology, which provides a combination of features tanging from significant improvements to comfort level, to increased blood flow through the body, resulting in improved alertness and performance. Likewise, according to the teachings of the present invention a user experiences an enhanced driving position allowing drivers to maintain a correct natural curvature of the spinal process, for longer which maintains a head position closet to the normal positioning of a conventional head restraint. The resulting improved spatial awareness allows user to perceive improved vehicle handling, among other things. Slippage of drivers is also eliminated by this invention, owing to ischial tuberosity positioning, inter alia.

The ProBax® brand of seating technology has been incorporated into leading lines of cars, including the 2006 Lotus MV Elise® and Exige® models. Marked postural position improvements in occupants of the ProBax® brand of seating technology have been noted. Medical professionals have validated both the spinal maintenance aspects and the increased blood full obtained with the teachings of the present disclosure. See, for example U.S. Letters patents application Ser. Nos. 11/149,806 and 11/203,415 expressly incorporated herein by reference, as are U.S. Letters Pat. Nos. 6,447,058 and 7,720,376.

Likewise, among those skilled in the aviation fields, the benefits of reduced muscle fatigue have ostensively resulted in a high degree of demand for the objects of the instant teachings. This is particularly interesting in that the instant system has been extensively tested with people of various shapes or sizes, and provided substantial relief to them.

Turning now to FIG. 1 an example of the prior art seating is shown. Those in the industry have pointed out a strong need for cockpit space and economic efficiencies with involved materials. Conventional seat 101 is shown in this view of the prior art. Unlike this seating, the present invention, according to embodiments optionally uses extruded rods, hoses and variable density silicone elements to provide a firmness that many seats benefit from, and, for example, high performance vehicles need. As detailed below, each rod and hose-like element absorbs differential energy valves to provide optimal seating for anyone using the seats, from air-line passengers to race car drivers, inter alia.

During the 1950's faced with analogous seating challenges, the Untied States Air Force concluded that correct searing posture, unlike that illustrated in FIG. 1 would have a strong likelihood of improving alertness, based upon the improved blood flow. The present invention makes this a mechanical reality.

A user seated in the prior art seat 101 of FIG. 1 slumps into an uncomfortable posture and the user's head has nothing to prevent, inhibit or otherwise defend against back and forth movements, in attempts to achieve a helpful seating position. The same is true of user's body, which is pushed into abutting contact with upper portion 103 of conventional seat 101, or even worse, uncomfortably shifted into a challenged posture wedged between lower portion of conventional seat 105 and upper portion 103. Using new variable density silicone elements overcomes this allowing for blood flow and those benefits associated with the same.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the ProBax® brand of seating technology is manifested in the schematic and exemplary seat 102, which illustrates the working of aspects of the processes and products of embodiments of the present invention. It is noted that any user disposed upon seat 102 has a different set of angles relative to both the back support/upper portion of seat 107 and lower portion of seat 104. This is due to the unique configuration of the instant disclosure and to the fact that inherent support elements and no pre-existing lumbar mechanism work to make the user misaligned as in FIG. 1.

Extensive work has been done relative to trials on the blood flow or drivers in the seat of FIG. 2 versus the conventional seating designs from the prior art. Conclusions by medical and cardiovascular thought leaders consistently pointed to a significant improvement in lower limb blood flow bar the occupants of seats embodying the teachings of the present invention, as discussed above.

It has been established that by creating a zone 109 for landing the ischial tuberosities increased blood flow results and response times are enhanced, alertness levels raised and marked reductions in levels of muscle fatigue noted. There is likewise a substantial reduction in DVT-like events, as detailed above, and enjoyed by those using the instant seats.

The blood testing regimen was conducted by application of Bernoulli's liquidation to specific measurements of blood pressure and velocity through the femoral vein in the leg, enabling a calculation of an individual's blood flow from one seat to another. Measurements using the seat of FIG. 2, as embodied for examples in those seats used with the 2006 Lotus brand of MV Elise® automobiles demonstrated improvements detailed above over the seats shown in FIG. 1, in terms of blood flow. Since patency of great vessels correlates to mitigation of DVT, the present invention uniquely avoids this tissue, as discussed, without comprising posture.

Referring also to FIG. 3 and to FIG. 4, embodiments of the present invention are shown as incorporated into seats for automobiles and airplanes. As a user is situated on lower portion of seat 104, the location of the extension members 115 and 117 will urge a user's ischial tuberosities to be aligned, when combined with upper extension member 113, such that a desired lordotic posture (see FIG. 2) is maintained. This allows a user's upper torso and neck to be positioned in a better alignment relative to the back support/upper portion of the seat 107, and once aligned on lower portion 104, by way of extension members 115 and 117, it feels more comfortable and maintains better posture while engaged in dynamic activity, such a driving a race car, or flying in a plane.

FIG. 4 shows a detailed view of a fundiform element 111, which is dimensionally varied relative to the weight of a user to achieve optimal landing of the ischial tuberosities of the user. Referring also to the illustrative schematic of FIG. 2, one can view a typical user sitting on fundiform element 111 having an overall length of at least about 950 millimeters (mm), with a width of at least about 75 mm and a widest point of approximately 295 mm. For an average user this means that at least about 370 mm is an extension length for upper extension portion 113. Extension member 115 and 117 maybe optionally reduced, or one eliminated, depending on user need. Likewise, using silicon rods are related supplemental seating tools changes these values, as will be known to those skilled in the art.

By way of further example, it has been discovered that according to embodiments, angle theta is at least about 20 degrees, or from at least about 20 to 27 degrees in an average seat, and may vary from approximately one to thirty degrees based upon variations in weight and size of the user. According to embodiments, web-like support works with the instant system.

Likewise, the extension members 115 and 117 for chevrons) are typically three to four inches in width (at least about 1 inches to 30 being possible) and the depth of these elements of between ¼ of an inch and 10 inches, with ½ of an inch to 1 inch being average. As noted, depending on the seat, 117 or 115 may be eliminated. Similarly, chevrons are further comprised of silicon rods and related seating tools according to the teachings of the present invention.

While the present invention has been illustrated and described by means of specific embodiments, it is to be understood that numerous changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the accompanying claims.

The tubular silicone components comprise tools for improving tensile strength and thickness, and firmness enhancements. In FIG. 5—FIG. 8 the improved design is seen with a silicone sheet 222 (e.g., FIG, 5) being re-placed by a solid siring insert as in FIG 6 at 308. Area 38 is effective to maintain a pelvis tilt angle, and spine channel 22 extends to at least about 4 inches, 4×1″ rubes can replace sheet 222, allowing muscle structures on either side of the spine to be in separate yet continuous movement with any known vehicle.

Referring now to FIG. 6, zone 38 (308 in seat) pushes, or maintains pelvic tilt at the angle around the superior crest of the pelvis instead of total weight bearing being on the ischial tuberosities. Such improvements allow for load bearing without compromise of desired postures which the NuBax brand of searing systems offer for consideration.

FIGS. 7A and 7B show alternate seats, by the process and products, each silicon tubular component separately recovers its full memory for pelvis and ischial tuberosities, those skilled understand that for such a new design, an area that bulges would actually push or keep pelvis tilted at angle around the superior crest of the pelvis instead of total weight bearing an the ischial tuberosities. Likewise, according to the new silicon tube design, the hollow tube can easily be made into the tensile strength enduring bundles deemed necessary for energy absorption. The tube solid piece can then be made specifically to address the thickness/firmness needed per specific seating need. See also, U.S. Letters Pat. No. 7,270,376, expressly incorporated herein by reference for details of customization of seats for uses and applications.

For each of these seating systems, variable stiffness is impacted by enhanced seating tools, for example in the spinal channel where the existing silicon “sheet” is placed would be replaced with the silicon hose tubes with a solid string insert depending upon the nature of absorption. A first production extends the width size of the spine channel to 4 inches, as shown at FIG. 7B.

By way of further example, four 1 inch tubes with inserts are used in place of the solid sheet. This allows the muscle structures on either side of the spine to be in separate yet continued movement with the car. In essence, each tube works separately and recovers its full memory as it is compressed the same effect works on the pelvis as well as tire ischial tuberosities.

Referring still to FIGS. 7A and B, effective are 3-5 tubes depending on desired/quantified need for absorption. This is recessed into the seat to give a “flat” effect. As you sit in the seat, the tubes compress just like the flat sheet so there would be no bulging cited into the body. This area, described before, is solid or rib-like tubes incorporated as well. This process does actually “decrease” weight on the seat according to prototypes made. In the above-mentioned areas, currently non specific foams have been used to absorb skeletal shock. Through specific silicon placements this helps eliminate specific shock, as known to artisans. Likewise, high performance parameters are delineated this way.

Referring to FIG. 8, recessing the edges of the spine allow either the solid silicon sheets or the silicon rubes to be caulked into the seat to eliminate the need for slip tape. This caulk/design process is used in all recessed areas of the seat. This eliminates tapes and help reduce slippage. Spraying or brushing a thin layer of same silicon could then be applied over all. This would make the seat fire proof, wafer proof, slip proof and could be treated for washings off of oil and other products, as known to those skilled in the art.

As discussed, tube and rod size varies, and depends on application being addressed. Likewise, these tools are readily incorporated with existing and later developed seats. (See FIG. 2-8). For example, silicon tubes 51 range from at least about 1 inch in outside diameter, with an inside diameter of ¾ of an inch and rod 55 can be ½ inch outside diameter with ¼ inch inside diameter. The choice of size may depend on the application in which the material is to be incorporated (for example, a child's seat may benefit from being constructed of a smaller dimensioned series of elements than an adults seat) or the properties required of the material.

FIG, 9 shows a section of material incorporating hollow outer silicon tubular elements 51 containing solid silicon tubular insert elements 55. The outer elements 51 are glued or otherwise bonded together to form a substantially planar layer or sheet of material. As will be appreciated by the person skilled in the art, a body impacting with the material will first cause the outer silicon element 51 to deform, flexing inwards until the inside diameter of the outer tubular element 51 contacts the solid tubular insert element 55 inside. This solid element 55 will then flex (in embodiments where the ends of the elements 51, 55 are held taut, this will cause the solid element 55 to stretch slightly) until it contacts the outer element 51 on the other side. Depending on the force applied by the impacting body, the solid tubular insert element 55 could then deform classically and/or both the outer 51 and the insert element 55 could be caused to stretch.

It will therefore be appreciated that the resilience of the material acts to cushion the impact and/or support a body applying pressure thereto in a number of ways. First, the ‘shape memory’ properties of the outer element 51 will act to return the outer element 51 to its original shape. In addition, if the solid insert element 55 has been caused to deform (such that it assumes a substantially oval, rather than circular cross section), its ‘shape memory’ properties will set to return the solid insert element 55 to its original shape. In addition, the stretching of the members 51, 55 will provide an elastic restoring force. It will also be appreciated that some or all of those forces will come into play depending on force of the impact and/or the pressure applied by the body and that therefore the response of the material to a hard impact wall be different to that if a gentle pressure is applied thereto. In any event, the force applied by the body will be distributed along the elements 51, 55. It will also be appreciated that, depending on the size and shape of the body, some elements 50, 51 will be effected differently to other elements 51, 55 across the width of the material.

Referring to FIG. 10, likewise shown are details of solid tubular insert elements 61 within a silicon cell like structure, wherein the cells have a triangular cross section 50. Although in the embodiment shown, the solid elements are tubular, in other embodiments the insert elements could be triangular, could themselves be hollow, and could be of varying sizes, diameters and silicon elasticity depending on the need for energy absorption/deflection. The triangle design provides a substantial surface, which may be advantageous in some embodiments.

Referring to FIG. 11, details of tubular members and various tools incorporating the same effectively used with the instant system or in other applications, are shown. The material 63 incorporates diamond-shaped cells 65, in conjunction with insert rods 67 and with triangular cells 59 as shown in FIG. 10. This also allows a flat surface to be formed and the diamond shaped cells 65 will (all either variables being equal) provide a greater clamping force that the triangular cells 59.

All of the embodiments described in FIGS. 9 to 11 are flexible so could be formed or fitted to various shapes, can be readily incorporated or retrofitted into awkward spaces and the like.

It will he appreciated that the response of the material to an impact or to pressure can be determined according to the application in which the material is to be incorporated. The variables which could be altered include:

    • Durometer of meet insert element,
    • Absolute and relative sizes of elements (this affects the ‘clearance’ before the material becomes compacted)
    • Longitudinal elasticity of outer/insert elements
    • Shape of outer/insert elements
    • Providing insert elements which ate themselves hollow or which are solid
    • Varying the tension under which some or all of the outer and/or insert elements are held
    • Sealing the outer element to provide an airtight (or substantially airtight) chamber
    • Structure of material (e.g. woven elements rather than parallel elements).

While the seat illustrated herein comprises a cushion, the material need not be disposed within a cushion and could instead be stretched in a frame or the like to provide the seat. The seat (or other application) could comprise sections of material according to the invention and sections of another material, for example nylon webbing or the like. Alternatively, the illustrated seat could comprise one area of material according to the present invention of a first durometer defining the chevron pattern and/or back support and a second area of material according to the present invention of a second durometer, thus providing the two primary material densities described above. This use of two primary material densities could of course also be used in the applications.

While the method and apparatus have been described in terms of what are presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the disclosure need not be limited to the disclosed embodiments. It is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims, the scope of which should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass ail such modifications and similar structures. The present disclosure includes any and all embodiments of the following claims.

It should also be understood that a variety of changes may be made without departing from the essence of the invention. Such changes are also implicitly included in the description. They still fill within the scope of this invention. It should be understood that this disclosure is intended to yield a patent covering numerous aspects of the invention both independently and as an overall system and in both method and apparatus modes.

Further, each of the various elements of the invention and claims may also be achieved in a variety of manners. This disclosure should he understood to encompass each such variation, be it a variation of an embodiment of any apparatus embodiment, a method or process embodiment, or even merely a variation of any element of these.

Particularly, it should be understood that as the disclosure relates to elements of the invention, the words for each element stray be expressed by equivalent apparatus terms or method terms—even if only the function or result is the same.

Such equivalent, broader, or even more genetic terms should be considered to be encompassed in the description of each element or action. Such terms can be substituted where desired to make explicit the implicitly broad coverage to which this invention is entitled.

It should be understood that all actions may be expressed as a means for taking that action or as an element which causes that action.

While the apparatus and method have been described in terms of what are presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the disclosure need not be limited to the disclosed embodiments. It is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims, the scope of which should he accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar structures. The present disclosure includes any and all embodiments of the following claims.