Title:
MATTRESS SHAPING APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mattress shaping device that is placed below a mattress to allow a sleeper to customize the shape of substantially the entire mattress. The mattress shaper having a plurality of individually inflatable cells that may correspond with integral inlets that are accessible while the shaping device is placed underneath the mattress.



Inventors:
Jones, Michael F. (Tacoma, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/105178
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
04/17/2008
Assignee:
JONES UNLIMITED (Tacoma, WA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C21/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
R. REAMS GOODLOE, JR. (KENT, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mattress shaping device for placement under a mattress: a plurality of individually inflatable cells formed by bonding together a first and second impermeable membrane, the cells having a top and bottom surface and substantially the same shape; and a plurality of inlets respectively corresponding and integrally connected to the plurality of individually inflatable cells allowing the cells to be individually inflated for the shaping of the mattress, the inlets being accessible while the device is located under the mattress.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the inlets converge beyond the outer peripheries of the cells.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein channels are integrally disposed between the inlets and corresponding cells.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the channels have a brace for maintaining an open airway between the inlets and corresponding cells.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the first membrane material is thicker than the second membrane material.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the first membrane material is harder than the second membrane material.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein at least one filler is located between the mattress and the device, the filler is selected from a group consisting of a pad having a periphery substantially corresponding to the periphery of the mattress, an elongated strip positioned between adjacent cells, an individually inflatable tube positioned between adjacent cells, a third impermeable membrane bonded to the peripheries of the first and second impermeable membranes and creating an additional individually inflatable cell.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the device has a top surface and the top surface is substantially continuous.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein the outside surface of the device has enhanced frictional characteristics to prevent slippage.

10. The device of claim 17, wherein the bottom surface of the cells have enhanced frictional characteristics that increases the friction between the device and box spring.

11. A mattress shaping device for the shaping of substantially an entire mattress: a plurality of individually inflatable cells formed by bonding together a first and second impermeable membrane and the device having a periphery; the periphery of the device substantially corresponding to the periphery of the mattress; and a plurality of inlets respectively corresponding to the plurality of individually inflatable cells and allowing the cells to be individually inflated for shaping of the mattress.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein the inlets converge beyond the outer peripheries of the cells.

13. The device of claim 12, wherein channels are integrally disposed between the inlets and corresponding cells.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein the channels have a brace for maintaining an open airway between the inlets and corresponding cells.

15. The device of claim 11, wherein the first membrane material is thicker than the second membrane material.

16. The device of claim 11, wherein the first membrane material is harder than the second membrane material.

17. The device of claim 11, wherein at least one filler is located between the mattress and the device, the filler is selected from a group consisting of a pad having a periphery substantially corresponding to the periphery of the mattress, at least one elongated strip positioned between adjacent cells, at least one individually inflatable tube positioned between adjacent cells, a third impermeable membrane bonded to the peripheries of the first and second impermeable membranes and creating an additional individually inflatable cell.

18. The device of claim 11, wherein the device has a top surface and the top surface is substantially continuous.

19. The device of claim 11, wherein the outside surface of the device has enhanced frictional characteristics to prevent slippage.

20. A mattress shaping device for the shaping of substantially an entire mattress: a plurality of individually inflatable cells formed by bonding together a first and second impermeable membrane and the device having a periphery; the periphery of the device substantially corresponding to the periphery of the mattress; and the cells are permanently sealed after fluid is introduced within the cells.

21. The device of claim 20, wherein the volume of fluid introduced within the cells is pre-determined.

22. The device of claim 20, wherein the fluid is introduced within the cells via respectively corresponding inlets and the cells are sealed by the sealing of the inlets.

23. The device of claim 22, wherein the inlets converge beyond the outer peripheries of the cells.

24. The device of claim 22, wherein channels are integrally disposed between the inlets and corresponding cells.

25. The device of claim 24, wherein the channels have a brace for maintaining an open airway between the inlets and corresponding cells.

26. The device of claim 20, wherein the first membrane material is thicker than the second membrane material.

27. The device of claim 20, wherein the first membrane material is harder than the second membrane material.

28. The device of claim 20, wherein at least one filler is located between the mattress and the device, the filler is selected from a group consisting of a pad having a periphery substantially corresponding to the periphery of the mattress, at least one elongated strip positioned between adjacent cells, at least one individually inflatable tube positioned between adjacent cells, a third impermeable membrane bonded to the peripheries of the first and second impermeable membranes and creating an additional individually inflatable cell.

29. The device of claim 20, wherein the device has a top surface and the top surface is substantially continuous.

30. A method for shaping a mattress comprising the steps of: inserting a device underneath the mattress, the device comprising a first and second impermeable membrane bonded together to form a plurality of individually inflatable cells having substantially the same shape, wherein the periphery of the device substantially corresponds to the periphery of the mattress; individually inflating at least one individual cell for shaping of the mattress.

Description:

FIELD

This invention relates generally to bedding. More specifically, this invention relates to an apparatus for altering the shape of a mattress.

BACKGROUND

A mattress is a mat or pad, usually placed atop a bed, usually used for sleeping. Though a mattress may be placed directly on the floor, it is often placed atop a platform (such as a bed or a metal spring foundation). Modern mattresses usually contain either an innerspring core or materials such as latex, viscoelastic, other polyurethane-type foams and the like. The core of the mattress generally supports a sleeper's body. Modern spring mattress cores, often called “innersprings,” are made up of steel coil springs, or “coils.”

A quality mattress can often provide up to eight to ten years of good support and comfort, although many different factors determine the lifespan of a mattress. A broken or worn out mattress can exhibit deformities, which may make a worn out mattress uncomfortable to sleep on. According to the U.S. trade association of mattress manufacturers, the average price of a mattress in 2002 was $600. The market value of the wholesale mattress industry reached $6.4 billion in 2005, according to the trade group International Sleep Products Association. Clearly, many deformed mattresses are replaced each year, at great cost.

There are various devices that allow a sleeper to defer the purchase of a new mattress, devices that may flatten out a sagging mattress by adding additional support to the center, sagging region. Some such solutions make use of multi-chambered pneumatic devices. However, such solutions are limited in that they are designed only to correct centrally sagging mattresses, ignoring the desires of sleepers who might want to customize, rather than merely flatten, the shape of their sleeping surface.

A sleeper may want to customize the shape of his or her sleeping surface for many reasons. For example, a sleeper may simply find it more comfortable to sleep with his or her head and/or feet elevated to a certain degree. Alternatively, a sleeper with certain medical conditions may be advised to sleep with his or her head or legs elevated above the heart.

Further complicating matters, two persons who sleep on the same bed together may not share the same preferences or needs. For example, one sleeper may have been advised to sleep with his leg elevated, while his sleeping partner may prefer to sleep on a flat surface or with her head elevated.

Mattresses come in varying degrees of firmness and softness. They come in sizes from twin to California King. They are made from many different materials. Yet the sleeping surface of most mattresses comes in only one “shape,” namely, flat. Thus, most mattresses may not meet the needs of a sleeper who prefers or needs a differently shaped sleeping surface.

Sleepers who can afford to buy a top quality mattress may be able to purchase a mattress that allows them to adjust the shape of the sleeping surface to their preference. Sleepers who are willing to spend even more may be able to purchase a mattress that allows them to adjust either side of the bed independently, to accommodate differing preferences of two or more sleepers. However, the need or desire for customizing the shape of one's sleeping surface is not limited to those who can afford to spend a relatively large amount of money on a mattress. While sleepers who are willing and able to spend a relatively large amount of money on a mattress may have a number of sleeping surface shape options, those who are more thrifty, economical, frugal, or provident may have fewer options than they would prefer, being limited in their ability to adjust to their preference the shape of the mattress surface they sleep on.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates the mattress shaper located between a box spring and a mattress.

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of the mattress shaper.

FIG. 3 illustrates the mattress shaper elevating one end of a mattress.

FIG. 4 is side view of the mattress shaper elevating one end of a mattress.

FIG. 5 is side view of the mattress shaper being used to elevate both ends of a mattress.

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the shaper and filler.

FIGS. 7a-c illustrate cross-sectional views of embodiments of a channel brace.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference is now made in detail to the description of the embodiments as illustrated in the drawings. While embodiments are described in connection with the drawings and related descriptions, there is no intent to limit the scope to the embodiments disclosed herein. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents. In alternate embodiments, additional devices, or combinations of illustrated devices, may be added to, combined, or subtracted without limiting the scope to the embodiments disclosed herein.

The mattress shaping device 200 (“mattress shaper”) described herein consists of a series of inflatable cells 205 and gives sleepers the ability to customize the shape of virtually any type of mattress. As shown in FIG. 1, a mattress shaper 200 may typically be positioned between a box spring 330 and a mattress 310. As discussed in greater detail below, this positioning allows a sleeper to customize to his or her preference the shape of the mattress 310 by inflating or deflating the cells 205 of the mattress shaper 200.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of a mattress shaper 200 constructed of a top and bottom layers of impermeable membrane, sized to fit neatly under a particular size of mattress 310 (e.g. Twin, Queen, King, California King, etc.). The membrane may be latex, plastic (e.g. polyvinyl chloride and the like), vinyl, rubber, or any other durable material that would be suitable for making an inflatable air mattress. The material may or may not be textile-reinforced. The top membrane material may be more rigid and/or harder and/or thicker than the bottom layer to help prevent puncture from springs in the mattress and for other purposes such as, but not limited to preventing the mattress from sagging into the indentation of the internal seams. Conversely, in an embodiment, the bottom membrane may be more rigid and/or harder and/or thicker than the top layer to prevent puncture from springs in the box spring and for other purposes. The membrane material may have enhanced frictional characteristics that increase the friction between the mattress shaper 200 and the mattress and between the box spring and the mattress shaper. The layers of membrane may be bonded together so as to form edge seams 265 and internal seams 260. The seams 260, 265 delineate a number of cells 205, each of which is capable of being individually inflated. The edge seams 265 substantially correspond to the outer periphery of both the mattress 300 and box spring 330, which enables the sleeper to shape substantially the entire mattress.

In an embodiment, a cell 205 may be individually inflated by introducing air or other fluid through an inlet 255 that conveys the fluid to the cell 205 through an independent seamed channel 250. The inlets 255 may often be a conventional one-way valve, similar to those used to inflate a standard air mattress. In an embodiment, the inlets 255 may be integrally molded into the membrane. In an embodiment, the inlets 255 may be discrete pieces fitted into the membrane. The inlets 255 may be constructed and/or affixed in any suitable manner. Any appropriate manner of introducing fluid into the inlets 255 may be utilized. For example, in an embodiment, the inlets 255 may interface with a pump. In an embodiment, the inlets 255 may be mouth operated. In an embodiment, cells 205 may be permanently sealed after a pre-determined amount of fluid is introduced into the cells. In an embodiment, the cells 205 may not have an inlet. In an embodiment, the cells 205 may not have a channel. In an embodiment, the inlets 255 may be permanently sealed after a pre-determined amount of fluid is introduced into the cells. Whatever means of introduction is utilized, introducing a quantity of fluid into a cell 205 will cause that cell 205 to inflate in proportion to the quantity of fluid introduced.

FIGS. 7a-c illustrate embodiments of the channel 250 having a rigid or semi-rigid channel brace 750, 755 and 760 (respectively) that maintain an open channel. FIG. 7a illustrates an embodiment of a channel brace 750 in the form of an elongated structure with an upright piece and a transverse piece that form the shape of a cross that is inserted into the channel 250. Channel brace 750 may be used for maintaining an open channel when pressure applied in the direction of the top or bottom or either side of the channel.

FIG. 7b illustrates an embodiment of a channel brace 755 in the form of a tube that is inserted into the channel. Channel brace 755 may be used for maintaining an open channel when pressure applied to the channel in any direction.

FIG. 7c illustrates an embodiment of a channel brace 760 in the form of an elongated structure with an S-shaped cross section that is inserted into the channel 250. Channel brace 760 may be used for maintaining an open channel when pressure applied to the channel in any direction. Channel brace 760 has an advantage of maintaining an open channel while also allowing for flexibility of the channel.

The channel brace may be more rigid than the impermeable membrane material. The channel brace may be a reinforcement structure inserted into the channel or may be integrally formed within the channel. The channel brace may be a tube, a spiral insert or any rigid or semi-rigid structure and the like that maintains an open channel and allows air or fluid to pass through the channel while the mattress shaper 200 is positioned below a mattress 310.

When the mattress shaper 200 is positioned beneath a mattress 310, the portions of the mattress in the vicinity of an inflated cell will rise relative to other portions of the mattress, thereby altering the shape of the sleeping surface 305. By controlling the relative degrees to which different cells 205 are inflated, the shape of the sleeping surface 305 may be customized to a high degree. In many embodiments, an individual cell 205 may be capable of being inflated to a height of six-eight inches or more. However, lesser adjustments may be satisfactory to many sleepers.

By placing the mattress shaper 200 beneath a mattress 310 and inflating different cells 205 to varying degrees, the shape of the sleeping surface 305 may be altered. For example, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, by inflating the row of cells 210 beneath the head end of the mattress 310, the shape of the sleeping surface 305 may be altered so that the sleeper's head is elevated. Similarly, as shown in FIG. 5, by inflating both the row of cells 210 beneath the head end 315 of the bed and the row of cells 220 under the foot 320 end of the bed, the shape of the sleeping surface 305 may be altered so that the both the sleeper's head and the sleeper's feet are elevated.

In an embodiment, each cell 205 may be inflated while the mattress shaper 200 is positioned beneath a mattress 310 because the fluid inlets 255 are placed at the edges of the mattress shaper 200 such that they protrude out from underneath the mattress 310. However, other methods of introducing a fluid into each cell may be used in other embodiments. For example, an embodiment may eliminate the channels 250 by placing an inlet directly on the face of each cell 205. In an embodiment, each cell 205 may be connected to a pump.

In an embodiment, twelve inlets 255, twelve channels 250, and twelve cells 205 are arranged in three rows 210-220 and four columns 230-245. This embodiment may be particularly suitable for a Queen or King size mattress shaper 200 because such mattresses 310 are often shared by two sleepers and allows each sleeper to individually adjust one side of the sleeping surface 305 to his or her preference. For example, a sleeper may adjust the shape of the right side of the sleeping surface by adjusting the inflation of the cells in the two rightmost columns 240, 245. At the same time, a second sleeper may adjust the left side of the sleeping surface into a different shape by adjusting the inflation of cells in the two leftmost columns 230, 235. Other embodiments may employ different inflation schemes and/or cell arrangements, including, but not limited to, both more and fewer cells 205 and corresponding fluid inlets 255. The top view of the cells may be the shape of a parallelogram, rectangle, oval, triangle, circle and the like. In an embodiment, the cells may be the same shape. In an embodiment, the cells may be the same size. In an embodiment, the cells may be different shapes. In an embodiment, the cells may be different sizes.

FIG. 6 shows internal seams 260 formed between adjacent cells when the layers of membrane are bonded together. The internal seams 260 may create an indentation between the cells when the cells are inflated. A seam filler 610 may be placed in an internal seam between two adjacent cells to increase the mattress shaping characteristics such as preventing the mattress from sagging into the indentation of the internal seams. The indentations between the cells may cause a discontinuous and abruptly curved top surface of the mattress shaper 200 which may consequently cause the sleeping surface 305 to be discontinuous and abruptly curved which may be unwanted by the sleeper. The seam filler 610 placed in the seams will cause the top surface of the sleeping shaper 200 to be substantially continuous and uniform, which in turn, will cause the sleeping surface 305 to be substantially continuous and uniform for the sleeper. In an embodiment, a plurality of seam fillers 610 may be placed in a plurality of internal seams 260. The length of the seam filler 610 may substantially extend the length of a cell or may be longer than the length of a cell or may substantially extend the entire length or width of the mattress shaper 200. The seam filler 610 may be made of latex, viscoelastic, other polyurethane-type foams and the like.

In an embodiment, the seam filler 610 may be inflatable and placed in an internal seams 260 of the mattress shaper 200. After the mattress shaper 200 is inflated to customize the shape of the mattress, the seam filler 610 may then be inflated to increase the mattress shaping characteristics such as preventing the mattress from sagging into the indentation of the internal seams. The seam filler 610 may be a plurality of individual inflatable cells or may be a single inflatable cell. The seam filler 610 may be inflated in the same manner as the cells of the device. The inflatable seam filler may be latex, plastic (e.g. polyvinyl chloride and the like), vinyl, rubber, or any other durable material that would be suitable for making inflatable tubes.

In additional embodiments, the top view of the filler may be the shape of a parallelogram, rectangle, oval, circle and the like. The cross-sectional shape of the seam filler may substantially corresponds to the cross-sectional shape of the indentation between adjacent cells. The seam filler may be releasably attached to the mattress shaper by a snap, button, quick-disconnect, hook and loop, hook, clip, adhesive and the like. The seam filler material may be thicker and/or more rigid than the membrane material. The outside surface of the seam filler may have enhanced frictional characteristics that increases the friction between the seam filler and the mattress 310 and increases the friction between the seam filler and the mattress shaper 200. The seam filler may be a foam pad that is located between the device and the mattress. The pad having a periphery substantially corresponding to the periphery of the mattress.

In an embodiment, a third impermeable membrane may be bonded to the outer seam of the mattress shaper 200 and consequently creating an additional individually inflatable top cell located between the top impermeable membrane and the third impermeable membrane. After the mattress shaper 200 is inflated to suit the sleeper's mattress shaping needs, the inflatable top cell may then be inflated to further increase the mattress shaping characteristics of the device 200 such as preventing the mattress from sagging into the internal seams.

The inflatable top cell may be inflated in the same manner as the cells of the device. The third impermeable membrane may be a thicker and/or more rigid material than the impermeable layer material of the device 200. The third impermeable membrane may have enhanced frictional characteristics that increases the friction between the membrane and the mattress.

Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a wide variety of alternate and/or equivalent implementations may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope of the present invention. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it is manifestly intended that this invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.