Title:
MOVABLE BED DIVIDING SCREEN
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A movable, curtain-style bed divider is disclosed. In one embodiment, the dividing screen is made from a sheer material allowing an individual on one side of the divider to observe a sleeping individual on the other side of the divider without having to move the divider. In another embodiment, the dividing screen has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and/or anti-viral properties.



Inventors:
Stowers, Helen (Indianapolis, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/746219
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/09/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, GILBERT Y
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DENTONS BINGHAM GREENEBAUM LLP (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bed divider comprising: a first vertical support member positioned proximate to the head end of a bed; a second vertical support member positioned proximate to the foot end of said bed; a cross-support member which is operably connected to said first support member and said second support member; and a screen which is movably connected to said cross-support member so as to bisect said bed; wherein said screen comprises a sheer material which allows light to pass therethrough.

2. The bed divider of claim 1, wherein said screen allows air to pass therethrough.

3. The bed divider of claim 1, wherein said screen has anti-microbial properties.

4. The bed divider of claim 1, wherein said screen is operably connected to said cross-support member by a plurality of rings.

5. An apparatus for dividing a bed into two sleeping areas, comprising: a first support member operably connected to the head end of a bed; a second support member operably connected to the foot end of said bed; a cross-support member operably connected to said first support member and said second support member; and a flexible screen which is movably connected to said cross-support member so as to bisect said bed into two sleeping areas; wherein said screen comprises a semi-transparent material which allows light to pass therethrough.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said screen allows air to pass therethrough.

7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said screen has anti-microbial properties.

8. The bed divider of claim 5, wherein said screen is operably connected to said cross-support member by a plurality of rings.

9. The bed divider of claim 5, wherein said first support member and said second support member are operably connected to said bed using screws.

10. The bed divider of claim 5, wherein said bed comprises a mattress portion and a box spring portion; wherein said first support member further comprises a base portion which is positioned between said mattress portion and said box spring portion so as to operably connect said first support member to said bed; and wherein said second support member further comprises a base portion which is positioned between said mattress portion and said box spring portion so as to operably connect said second support member to said bed.

11. A bed divider, comprising: a head end support member having a plurality of attachment points; a foot end support member having a plurality of attachment points; a cross-support member configured and adapted to be operably connected to said head support member and said foot support member at the plurality of attachment points so as to be disposed at a distance above a bed; and a screen which is movably connected to said cross-support member so as to bisect said bed into two sleeping areas; wherein said screen comprises a sheer material which allows light to pass therethrough; wherein the plurality of attachment points on said head end support and said foot end support are configured and arranged so as to allow the cross-support member to be positioned at different distances above said bed.

12. The bed divider of claim 11, wherein said screen allows air to pass therethrough.

13. The bed divider of claim 11, wherein said screen has anti-microbial properties.

14. The bed divider of claim 11, wherein said screen is operably connected to said cross-support member by a plurality of rings.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Often it is desirable or necessary for a healthy individual to sleep in the same bed as a sick individual. For example, many couples share a bed even when one individual is ill, or a parent may wish to sleep next to a sick child as a precautionary measure. If the ill sleeper has a contagious condition, pathogens may be spread to the healthy sleeper during the night. The likelihood of passing harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and the like, increases when the illness is characterized by coughing, sneezing, and/or other expulsion of sputum.

Typical bed dividers are made from solid or some other opaque material so as to prevent light from one side of the bed from reaching the other side of the bed. This type of bed divider is effective at allowing one individual to read or perform other tasks in bed which require light without disturbing the individual sleeping on the other side of the bed. However, opaque dividing screens do not allow a healthy individual to observe an ill individual without first moving the screen. Other bed dividers only effectively screen a portion of one side of a bed from the other side, e.g., the head end of the bed. A partial screen is effective at blocking potentially contagious sputum from passing from one side of the bed to the other so long as the ill individual is reclined. If an ill individual sits up during the night to cough, for example, contagious matter may pass over or around the screen. What is needed is a movable bed screen that divides the length of a bed while allowing an individual on one side of the bed to see an individual on the other side of the bed.

SUMMARY

The disclosed technology is set forth in the claims below, and the following is not in any way to limit, define or otherwise establish the scope of legal protection. In general terms, the disclosed technology relates to a dividing screen. In one embodiment, a movable screen made from a sheer or otherwise semi-transparent material is provided for dividing a bed into two portions.

Further objects, embodiments, forms, benefits, aspects, features and advantages of the claimed technology may be obtained from the description, drawings, and claims provided herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one example of the disclosed apparatus.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another example of the disclosed apparatus.

FIG. 3 is perspective view of still another example of the disclosed apparatus.

DESCRIPTION

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the disclosed technology and presenting its currently understood best mode of operation, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the disclosed technology is thereby intended, with such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device and such further applications of the principles of the disclosed technology as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the disclosed technology relates.

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of the disclosed apparatus 20 for dividing a bed or other sleeping area such as a futon, couch, sofa, cot, and the like. In this particular embodiment, a bed 22 having a head end 24 and a foot end 26 is shown. The bed is divided into two sleeping areas 31, 33 by a dividing screen apparatus 35 according to one embodiment. In this particular example, sleeping areas 31 and 33 are shown as being approximately equal in size, but this is for illustrative purposes only. In other embodiments, the sleeping areas are unequal in size, for example, when an adult is sleeping in the same bed as an ill child.

A dividing apparatus 35 comprises a head end support member 30 and a foot end support member 28 connected by a cross-support member 32. Foot support member 28 further includes a floor stand member 38 designed and configured so as to allow foot support member 28 to be disposed in a substantially vertical position and positioned proximate to the foot end of the bed. Head support member 34 also includes a similar floor stand member which allows the head support member 34 to be positioned proximate to the head end of the bed which is not shown in this drawing for the sake of clarity. The use of floor-standing support members 28,30 allows the dividing screen 35 to be used with a bed 22 without having to make modifications such as attaching mounting brackets to the bed. In this particular example, support members 28, 30, and 32 are shown as cylindrical-shaped bodies. In other examples, the support members may be some other desired shape such as rectangular. The support members may be made of wood, metal, plastic, or any other material having sufficient structural strength. Optionally, the support members are formed and/or colored so as to match or complement the style and design of the bed 22. For example, the support members may be made out of wood and carved and/or stained so as to match a decorative headboard.

Dividing apparatus 35 further includes a screen 34 movably attached to cross cross-support member 32 by a plurality of ring members 36. The exact number of ring members 36 required depends upon the weight of the material from which screen 34 is made. In this particular example, there are a sufficient number of ring members 36 so as to allow an individual on one side of the bed 33 to easily move the screen 34 so as to be able to reach through to the other side of the bed 31. The use of sliding members other than rings such as hospital-style curtain sides and tracks is also contemplated.

Screen 34 can be made from a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics so long as the material allows the passage of at least some light therethrough. Preferably, screen 34 is made of a flexible material that is sheer and/or semi-transparent so as to allow sufficient light to pass through the screen so an individual on one side of the bed 33 can see through to the other side of the bed 31. Optionally, screen 34 is made of a material that allows for the passage of some air therethrough, but not the passage of contaminated particulate matter such as droplets of saliva, expelled mucus, or other sputum. The use of a material that allows for the passage of some air prevents individuals from becoming entangled in the screen while sleeping, which could present a suffocation hazard, while still blocking the passage of infectious material from one side of the bed to the other. In other embodiments, the screen material is impregnated, covered, or otherwise includes substances having antibacterial, anti-microbial, and/or anti-viral properties so as to provide further protection against the spread of pathogenic materials between individuals in the bed. In still other embodiments, the screen includes micro-fiber materials designed to trap and/or kill bacterial or other pathogens.

In one particular example, head end support member 30 and foot end support member 28 are disposed relative to bed 22 so that cross-support member 32 bisects the bed into two parts at a distance above the bed's surface. The two parts of the bed are not necessarily equal in area, for example, where an adult is to sleep in the same bed as a child. Cross-support member 32 is disposed at a distance above the surface of bed 22 sufficient such that screen 34 just touches the surface of the bed. Optionally, cross-support member 32 is disposed such that screen 34 is at a sufficient distance from the surface of the bed so as to allow the screen to clear any bedding materials such as sheets, blankets, and the like.

Continuing with the present example, there are a sufficient number of ring members 36 so as to allow an individual on one side of the bed 33 to easily move the screen 34 so as to be able to reach through to the other side of the bed 31. For example, if the ill individual begins coughing and needs assistance, the well individual can move the screen from the head of the bed toward the foot of the bed, reach over and assist the ill individual, then move the screen back to its original position. Also in this particular example, the screen is made from a sheer material which allows the well individual to make visual contact with the ill individual without having to first move the screen and thereby increase the opportunity for passing pathogens to the well individual.

Another embodiment of a dividing apparatus 40 is shown in FIG. 2. In this particular example, a dividing screen 43 is used to divide a bed 42 into two sleeping areas. Bed 42 comprises a box spring 46 and a mattress 44 (shown in ghost outline for the sake of clarity). Dividing screen 43 comprises a first vertical support 48, a second vertical support 50, and a substantially horizontal cross-support member 52 connecting the two vertical supports. First vertical support 48 further includes a base portion 58 which when disposed between mattress 44 and box spring 46 acts to hold first vertical support 48 in the desired position. Second vertical support 50 further includes a base portion 60 which when disposed between mattress 44 and box spring 46 acts to hold second vertical support 50 in the desired position. The base portions 58, 60 are sized and configured such that the weight of the mattress 44 is sufficient to prevent the vertical support members from moving from their desired position and configuration.

Dividing screen 43 further includes a screen 54 operably connected to horizontal cross-support member 52 by a connecting means 56. In this particular example, connecting means 56 is a movable slide track arrangement such as a hospital curtain track known in the industry. In other examples, connecting means 56 comprises some other style of slidable or movable track or rail apparatus. Screen 54 has similar properties to the screen previously described with respect to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

Still another embodiment of a dividing apparatus 62 is shown in FIG. 3. In this particular example, a dividing screen 65 is used to divide a bed 66 having a head end 64 and a foot end 63 into two sleeping areas. Bed 66 comprises a frame 67 and a mattress 69. Dividing screen 65 comprises a first support 68, a second support 70, and a cross-support member 72 connecting the supports 68, 70. First support 68 further includes a plurality of mounting points 82 wherein cross-support member 72 is removably mounted to support member 68. Second support 70 further includes a plurality of mounting points 80 wherein cross-support member 72 is removably mounted to support member 70. In this particular example, mounting points 80, 82 are holes passing through the first and second supports, respectively, through which pins are used to secure cross-support member 72 at the desired height. In other examples, the cross support member is adjustably mounted to the first and second supports using screws, bolts, or other suitable means. In still other examples, the height of the cross-support member relative to the bed is adjusted by adjusting the length of the first and second supports such as by using telescoping or otherwise adjustable supports.

Dividing screen 65 further includes a screen 74 operably connected to horizontal cross-support member 72 by a plurality of connecting means 76. In this particular example, connecting means 76 is a plurality of ring type connectors such as those typically used with flexible shower curtains. In other examples, connecting means 76 comprises some other style of slidable or movable track or rail apparatus. Screen 74 has similar properties to the screen previously described with respect to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 3, screen 74 is partially moved away from the head end 64 of bed 66 so as to allow an individual to reach from one side of the bed to the other.

Continuing with the present example, support member 70 is removably mounted to bed frame 67 at mounting point 78. In this particular example, mounting of support member 70 to frame 67 is accomplished using screws. In other examples, bolts, pins, screws, and/or brackets and the like may be used to mount support member 70 to frame 67. Support member 68 is similarly mounted to frame 67, but such mounting point is not shown in this particular drawing for the sake of clarity. In other examples, support members 68 and 70 are fixably mounted to frame 67 such as by welding, soldering, and the like.

While the disclosed technology has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character. It is understood that the embodiments have been shown and described in the foregoing specification in satisfaction of the best mode and enablement requirements. It is understood that one of ordinary skill in the art could readily make a nigh-infinite number of insubstantial changes and modifications to the above-described embodiments and that it would be impractical to attempt to describe all such embodiment variations in the present specification. Accordingly, it is understood that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the disclosed technology are desired to be protected.