Title:
RICE PETALS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Environmentally-friendly materials 1000 intended to be tossed into the air are constructed of water soluble materials which dissolve in the rain. These may also be made of materials which birds and squirrels may eat without doing them any harm. One preferred material, based upon its density and rigidity is rice papers. The materials are cut into pieces 1000 which are sized and shaped to resemble flower petals, confetti 1200 or a petal 1300 made to spiral down to the ground like a falling maple seed. The rice petals 1000, 1200, 1300 have a pale color to reduce the chances that they will stain the ground or other surfaces. These are designed to be used in areas which restrict throwing flower petals, which cause staining, rice, which harms wildlife, or confetti which must be cleaned up. The rice petals 1000, 1200, 1300 do not stain, may be eaten by wildlife and biodegrade in the environment. Since the material of the rice petals may be made of rice, they preserve the tradition of throwing rice at celebrations.



Inventors:
Baker, Jennifer (Freeland, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/049963
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/17/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LAM, CATHY FONG FONG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jennifer L. Baker (Freeland, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal comprising: a concave surface resembling a flower petal, wherein the surface has a size and weight resembling that of a single flower petal, and the surface has a wind resistance resembling that of a single flower petal.

2. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 1 wherein: the surface is made of a water soluble material which is adapted to dissolve in the environment.

3. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 1 wherein: the surface is made of a material which may be readily eaten by wildlife without causing them damage.

4. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 1 wherein: the surface is made of a material which has a rigidity similar to that of a flower petal.

5. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 1 wherein: the surface is made of a material which is dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

6. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 1 wherein: the surface is made of a rice starch material.

7. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 6 wherein: the rice starch material is pressed to adjust its density and rigidity.

8. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 6 wherein: the rice starch material is aerated to adjust its density and rigidity.

9. A biodegradable, environmentally-friendly confetti rice petal comprising: a flat surface resembling a piece of confetti, wherein the flat surface has a size on the order of ¾ inch to 2 inches and a weight to surface area ratio similar to that of a piece of confetti. are made of a water soluble material which: is adapted to dissolve in the environment, is a material which may be eaten by wildlife without causing them damage, has a rigidity similar to that of confetti, is dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

10. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly confetti rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the flat surface is made of a water soluble material which is adapted to dissolve in the environment.

11. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the flat surface is made of a material which may be readily eaten by wildlife without causing them damage.

12. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the flat surface is made of a material which has a rigidity similar to that of a flower petal.

13. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the flat surface is made of a material which is dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

14. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the flat surface is made of a rice starch material.

15. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the rice starch material is pressed to adjust its density and rigidity.

16. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal of claim 9 wherein: the rice starch material is aerated to adjust its density and rigidity.

17. A biodegradable, environmentally-friendly twirling rice petal, comprising: a) a heavy seed end, b) a wing end having: a rigid leading edge, and a more flexible trailing edge such that it may bend upward when an upward force is applied to it causing the wing end to approximate a propeller blade shape, causing it to twirl when dropped like a falling maple seed.

18. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly twirling rice petal of claim 17 wherein: the twirling rice petal is comprised of a water soluble material which: a) is adapted to dissolve in the environment, b) is a material which may be eaten by wildlife without causing them damage.

19. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly twirling rice petal of claim 17 wherein it is dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

20. The biodegradable, environmentally-friendly twirling rice petal of claim 17 wherein the twirling rice petal is constructed of a material being one of the group consisting of: a starch, a rice starch, a breading material, a seaweed material, a birdfeed material, and a material used to feed squirrels.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present invention claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Ser. No. 60/918,644 “Rice Petals” filed Mar. 17, 2008 by Jennifer Baker. This application is incorporated by reference as if set forth here in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an environmentally-friendly rice starch flower petal and confetti.

2. Discussion of Related Art

Traditionally at weddings guests celebrate by showering the bride and groom with rice, confetti or flower petals. These materials typically symbolize fertility and life.

The ritual typically occurs after the wedding ceremony, and sometimes outside of the wedding hall. The guests throw the rice, confetti or flower petals into the air over the bride and groom at the same time causing the material to shower the bride and groom.

The material collects on the ground creating litter which must not only be cleaned up, but is potentially dangerous to wildlife in the area.

After birds or squirrels eat uncooked rice, the rice hydrates in their stomachs. A small volume of dry rice expands to a much larger volume after hydration. This effectively results in death to the animal.

Clean up of rice, flower petals and confetti becomes time consuming and has been banned at some wedding locations.

Rose petals, for example, are a common choice at weddings. After these are thrown and fall to the floor, people step on them causing the rose petals to discolor the floors. These, therefore have also been banned at many wedding locations.

As a result of these problems the time-honored tradition of sending off the bride and groom is being lost.

Currently there is a need for a product which will allow guests of weddings to continue to celebrate traditional wedding rituals without harming the environment and local wildlife.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is an environmentally-friendly rice petal 1000 that is biodegradable, not dangerous to local wildlife such as birds and squirrels, and will not stain floors and other objects.

A biodegradable, environmentally-friendly rice petal comprising:

  • a concave shape resembling a flower petal,
  • having a size and weight similar to that of a flower petal,
  • is made of a water soluble material which:

is adapted to dissolve in the environment,

is a material which may be eaten by wildlife without causing them damage,

has a rigidity similar to that of a flower petal,

is dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

A biodegradable, environmentally-friendly confetti rice petal comprising:

  • a flat shape resembling pieces of confetti,
  • having a size on the order of ¾ inch to 2 inches and a weight to surface area ratio similar to that of a confetti,
  • are made of a water soluble material which:

is adapted to dissolve in the environment,

is a material which may be eaten by wildlife without causing them damage,

has a rigidity similar to that of confetti,

is dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

A biodegradable, environmentally-friendly twirling rice petal, comprising:

  • a heavy seed end,
  • a wing end having:

a rigid leading edge, and

a more flexible trailing edge such that it may bend upward when an upward force is applied to it causing the wing end to approximate a propeller blade shape, causing it to twirl when dropped like a falling maple seed.

The twirling rice petal is comprised of a water soluble material which:

  • is adapted to dissolve in the environment,
  • is a material which may be eaten by wildlife without causing them damage.

The twirling rice petal is also dyed with a pale color that does not cause staining.

The rice petals above, wherein the material is a starch, such as rice starch, a breading material, a seaweed material, a birdfeed material, or a material used to feed squirrels.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide an environmentally-friendly rice petal which resembles and floats like flower petals.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which is aesthetically pleasing.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which is environmentally-friendly.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which flutters to the ground causing the same effect as floating flower petals.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which flutters to the ground causing the same effect as floating paper.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which biodegrades and does not require clean up if outdoors.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which will not stain the floor or furnishings.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which does not harm wildlife when they eat the material.

It is an object of the present invention to provide material to be thrown at celebrations which is nutritious to wildlife.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The advantages of the instant disclosure will become more apparent when read with the specification and the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an environmentally-friendly rice starch flower petal according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of environmentally-friendly rice synthetic confetti according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of environmentally-friendly twirling rice petal design according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As stated above, traditionally, at weddings, guests celebrate by showering the bride and groom with rice, confetti or flower petals to symbolize fertility and life.

The ritual typically occurs as the wedding ends and as the couple leaves.

The present invention solves the problems discussed above by creating biodegradable rice petals which are color-fast which mimic flower petals, confetti or other materials tossed into the air at celebrations.

Float Characteristics

Surface shape, weight, surface area and rigidity affect the floating characteristics of a flower petal. One can imitate the flow of petals by controlling the thickness, weight, material density, size, shape, curvature and wind resistance.

Ability to be Thrown

Since the rice petals are intended to be thrown into the air and shower the bride and groom, one would like to have the ability to throw the rice petals high into the air. The characteristics described for floating ability above are contrary to the characteristics allowing the rice petals to be thrown a longer distance.

For example, high wind resistance and low weight allow the rice petals to have high float characteristics, but reduce the distance in which the rice petals can be thrown. Therefore, there is a tradeoff of these characteristics.

Material

The rice petals are made from a water-soluble material which dissolves when exposed to water in the environment. As stated above, this material may be eaten by wildlife, therefore must be safe to be eaten by birds, squirrels, dogs, cats and other common wildlife.

The materials may be a starch, bird feed material, material used to feed squirrels, pigeons, dogs, cats, etc. It may also be a seaweed derivative or pressed breading material.

Rice paper, corn starch based material are also acceptable. It is important that the material be processed to mimic the size, shape, thickness, rigidity, and density of a flower petal.

Rolling or pressing a material causes it to become denser and more rigid. The rolled material may be cut to size and shape and molded into the proper curvature.

Layers may be fused to create a thicker material. A thicker material of the same density tends to have greater rigidity.

The material may be dyed a light pale color which does not cause staining.

The material may also be eaten by the local wildlife. For this reason, an alternative embodiment may include flavoring for animals.

Since the goal of at least one embodiment of the present invention is to imitate flower petals, the present invention should have similar properties.

Shape

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an environmentally-friendly rice petal 1000 having a curved shape resembling a flower petal.

It has a concave shape moving from a left side 1160 to a right side 1170. It is also concave moving from the top edge 1140 to the bottom edge 1150. It also has an inside surface 1120 and an outside surface 1130. Its outline may resemble the shape of a guitar pick, as well as flower petal shape or other shape having a curved surface.

It has a shape resembling flower petals allowing them to float in the air when thrown, simulating floating flower petals. This floating effect results in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance during celebrations. The floating rice petals 1000 hang in the air and add to the festive nature of pictures taken of the celebration.

These flower petals are made having a shape, weight, surface area and rigidity which approximate that of actual flower petals. Some of the best results were from those cut to about 1.5″ long and use a rice paper similar to that used in rolling spring or egg rolls. The material is just the right thickness, rigidity and density to approximate flower petals.

The rice starch material may be pressed, aerated or formed as a hollow item to create the proper surface area to weight ratio to allow the petals to be thrown and still float gradually to the ground.

The material is preferably the thickness of two sheets of construction paper. However, it may be as thick as a single sheet of paper or as thick as ½ inch.

Since they are made of rice, they retain the historical and traditional symbolism of fertility that rice signifies. They also resemble flower petals and retain the significance of the ritual of throwing flower petals, but do not bring up the concerns of hurting the wildlife or staining the floors.

Environmentally-Friendly Confetti

Since similar problems of harm to wildlife, staining, and clean up are also associated with the use of confetti, the same invention may be embodied as environmentally-friendly confetti.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of environmentally-friendly rice synthetic confetti according to another embodiment of the present invention.

In this embodiment, rice starch strips are cut into various flat shapes. These may be geometric shapes such as shapes 1201, 1203, 1205, 1207 and 1209. Shape 1211 resembles that of a guitar pick.

The shapes may also be other geometric shapes such as rectangular, heart shaped, bell shaped. They may also resemble other flower petals, leafs, such as a beech tree leaf. They may also be shaped depicting objects or animals, or random shapes. These shapes may preferably be as small as ¾ inch to a few inches. The main requirement is that they are flat.

These shapes tend to be thinner as they get smaller, with approximately the same proportions as the rice petals.

As stated above the rice starch material may be pressed, aerated or formed as a hollow item to create the proper surface area to weight ratio to allow the confetti to be thrown and still float gradually to the ground.

These shapes may be colored with pale colors which will not stain the floor, tables or other surfaces. These shapes may be coated to minimize any discoloration of the ground and other objects.

Twirling Rice Petals

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an environmentally-friendly rice petal design which twirls and spirals its way to the ground like falling maple seeds when they fall. The twirling rice petal 1300 is made of the same material discussed above.

The petal 1300 is designed to have a heavier seed end 1310 and a wing end 1350. The wing end 1350 is designed to move in the direction of the arrows marked “A”. The wing end 1350 has a more rigid leading edge 1351 which may have a curved shape to more easily cut through the air.

It also has a trailing edge 1355 which is thin and flexible. The flexible trailing edge 1355 slightly bends upward as shown by arrows marked “B”, causing the wing end 1350 to be angled with respect to its downward motion. The force of the wind on the angled wing end 1350 causes both an upward force slowing its decent and a forward force causing the wing to spin in the direction of the arrows marked “A”.

Chapter 18 “Stalls and Spins” from “See How it Flies”, NASA Research Article at www.av8n.com/how/htm/spins.html, Copyright © 1996-2005 jsd (“the NASA Article”) examines the aerodynamics of the maple seed which is a single-winged twirling seed called a “samara”. It states that a samara falls to the ground slower than a parachute. Much of the energy is stored in rotational momentum. Therefore, the faster it spins, the more stable the samara is. It is known and stated in the NASA Article that the closer the weight is to the center of rotation 1330, the faster the samara is allowed to spin.

It also states that a smaller flex in the trailing edge 1355 (the “angle of attack”) the faster the rotation and the slower the descent. The angle of attack is the twist of the wing end, which was either formed that way or flexed into that form as due to the pressure of the wind.

Therefore, the weight of the seed end should be heavier than the wing end. The wing end should be as stiff as possible within its weight limits. This can be done by pressing the rice starch, or making a hollow wing end. The weight should be centered at the center of rotation. And finally, if the wing end is formed with a twist, the twist should be minimal.

Adjusting these parameters will alter the rotational speed, the stability (resistance to wind effects) of rotation, and their ability to be thrown.

Portions of the rice starch material may be pressed, aerated or formed as a hollow item to create the proper rigidity and weight. Together, the surface area to weight ratio, angular momentum and wingtip flexibility should be selected to allow the twirling petal to be thrown and still spin in a stabile manner to the ground.

This design provides novelty appeal as it spins downward. It stays afloat significantly longer due to its inherent rotational inertia.

Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for the purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.