Title:
BUOYANT ELONGATED LOTION APPLICATOR WITH AN EASY-TO-REPLACE, DISPOSABLE, INTERLOCKING PAD, A NON-SLIP ERGONOMIC HAND GRIP AND A SUPPORT STRAP
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An applicator assembly includes an elongated handle terminating with a mounting head at a distal end. A buoyant hand grip engages the handle at the opposite proximal end. A support strap is attached to the handgrip. An applicator pad assembly is releasably attached to the mounting head. The applicator pad assembly is configured to releasably engage the mounting head. The handle may be extendable and locked into defined positions using locking tabs that engage corresponding locking apertures.



Inventors:
Duncan, Mary Heather (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/769289
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
06/27/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
401/207, 132/320
International Classes:
A46B5/02; A45D40/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080044217Writing instrumentFebruary, 2008Russell
20070077112Single-use nail varnish applicatorApril, 2007Santamaria
20050084318Upwardly-joined fluids applicators and receptacles thereforApril, 2005Bland
20050105955Longitudinal "one-hand" stick product distributorMay, 2005Petit et al.
20060251463Adaptable foam rollerNovember, 2006Isaac
20020146272Universal quick docking-station for drymarker-pensOctober, 2002Conover
20050072442Self-contained hair-coloring system for touch-up, highlighting and less than full treatment applicationsApril, 2005Licari et al.
20050079000Applicator with pistonApril, 2005Isaur
20030152416Magic brushAugust, 2003Farooqui
20030118392Solenoid controller for color changerJune, 2003Vetters et al.
20090317173DOSING DEVICE COMPRISING A MONOLITHIC, RESILIENT ROLLDecember, 2009Ahrens et al.



Primary Examiner:
WALCZAK, DAVID J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark Young, P.A. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lotion applicator comprising an elongated handle, a mounting head, and a disposable interlocking pad assembly, said elongated handle having a free end and an end joined to the mounting head, said disposable interlocking pad including a mounting base, said mounting base adapted to releasably engage said mounting head.

2. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said mounting base including a mounting slot configured to securely receive the mounting head.

3. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said elongated handle being buoyant.

4. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said elongated handle being hollow and containing a buoyant material.

5. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said mounting base including a mounting slot configured to slidingly receive the mounting head and a resilient catch adapted to releasably lock the mounting head received in the mounting base.

6. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said mounting base including a mounting slot configured to slidingly receive the mounting head, and a resilient catch adapted to lock the mounting head when received in the mounting base and to release the mounting head when depressed.

7. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said mounting base including a mounting slot and a pair of opposed guides configured to slidingly receive the mounting head, and a resilient catch adapted to lock the mounting head when received in the mounting base and to release the mounting head when depressed.

8. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, further comprising a cushioning handgrip, said handgrip receiving the free end of the elongated handle and covering at least a portion of the elongated handle, said elongated handle comprising a first section and a second section, said second section including at least one locking aperture, and said first section being slidingly received within said second section and including at least one resilient locking tab adapted to releasably engage and catch said at least one locking aperture.

9. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, further comprising a cushioning handgrip, said handgrip receiving the free end of the elongated handle and covering at least a portion of the elongated handle, and a strap attached to the handgrip.

10. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, further comprising a strap attached to the elongated handle.

11. A lotion applicator according to claim 1, said disposable interlocking pad assembly being pre-treated with a desired cosmetic preparation and contained in a hermetically sealed package capable of being torn open by a user.

12. A buoyant lotion applicator comprising an elongated handle, a mounting head, and a disposable interlocking pad assembly, said elongated handle having a free end and an end joined to the mounting head, said disposable interlocking pad including a mounting base, said mounting base adapted to releasably engage said mounting head.

13. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, said mounting base including a mounting slot configured to securely receive the mounting head.

14. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, said mounting base including a mounting slot configured to slidingly receive the mounting head and a resilient catch adapted to releasably lock the mounting head received in the mounting base.

15. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, said mounting base including a mounting slot configured to slidingly receive the mounting head, and a resilient catch adapted to lock the mounting head when received in the mounting base and to release the mounting head when depressed.

16. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, said mounting base including a mounting slot and a pair of opposed guides configured to slidingly receive the mounting head, and a resilient catch adapted to lock the mounting head when received in the mounting base and to release the mounting head when depressed.

17. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, further comprising a cushioning handgrip said handgrip receiving the free end of the elongated handle and covering at least a portion of the elongated handle.

18. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, further comprising a cushioning handgrip said handgrip receiving the free end of the elongated handle and covering at least a portion of the elongated handle, and a strap attached to the handgrip, said elongated handle comprising a first section and a second section, said second section including at least one locking aperture, and said first section being slidingly received within said second section and including at least one resilient locking tab adapted to releasably engage and catch said at least one locking aperture.

19. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, further comprising a strap attached to the elongated handle.

20. A buoyant lotion applicator according to claim 12, including an effective amount of an additive from the group consisting of thermochromic, photochromic and phosphorescent polymer additives.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to lotion applicators, and more particularly, to a buoyant elongated lotion applicator with an easy-to-replace, removable, disposable, interlocking pad, a non-slip ergonomic handle and a support strap.

BACKGROUND

Various elongated applicators have been devised to apply lotions, oils and other cosmetic preparations to areas that are normally inaccessible or difficult to reach using one's own hands. For example, portions of the back of a person are normally difficult to reach. Thus, an elongated applicator may be used to apply a substance.

Conventional applicators include a sponge affixed to a handle using elaborate mechanisms, often in the form of glue or other adhesive, separable mechanical attachments, stretch fit or hook and loop fasteners. In each instance, the installation and removal process is quite complex and conducive to error. In many instances, the attachments lack sufficient integrity, making the pads susceptible to unintended release.

Conventional applicators are not well suited for beach and marine use. Boaters and beachgoers frequently apply tanning lotions, oils and sun block. The greasy or oily characteristic of such substances can make one's hands slippery and increase the risk of dropping the applicator into sand or water, thereby soiling, contaminating and/or losing the applicator.

Many conventional applicators include storage chambers which are difficult to clean and maintain. Such chambers are designed for storing lotions, oils, and other substances. A plunger or similar mechanism forces contents from the chamber through a conduit onto an applicator pad. The configuration of the chamber and conduit coupled with the greasy, oily and viscous characteristics of the contained substances make thorough cleaning nearly impossible. Lotion and oil residue remains in the chamber and/or conduit even after serious cleaning efforts. Eventually the residue spoils, attracts bacteria and contaminates fresh contents.

Due to the aforementioned problems, conventional extended applicators have not succeeded in the marketplace. What is needed is a reliable applicator that is easy-to-use, configure and maintain and well suited for beach and marine use as well as other dermatological, cosmetic, therapeutic and other uses. The invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems and solving one or more of the needs as set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve one or more of the problems set forth above, in an exemplary implementation of the invention, an applicator assembly is provided. The assembly includes an elongated handle terminating with a mounting head at a distal end. A buoyant hand grip engages the handle at the opposite proximal end. A support strap is attached to the handgrip. An applicator pad assembly is releasably attached to the mounting head. The applicator pad assembly is configured to releasably engage the mounting head. The applicator assembly provides a reliable applicator that is easy-to-use, configure and maintain and well suited for beach and marine use.

In another embodiment, the lotion applicator includes an elongated handle, a mounting head, and a disposable interlocking pad assembly. The elongated handle has a free end and an end joined to the mounting head. The disposable interlocking pad includes a mounting base. The mounting base is adapted to releasably engage the mounting head. The mounting base includes a mounting slot configured to slidingly receive the mounting head and a resilient catch adapted to releasably lock the mounting head received in the mounting base. When depressed, the resilient catch releases the mounting head. A cushioning handgrip receives the free end of the elongated handle and covers at least a portion of the elongated handle. A strap may be attached to the handgrip or the handle. The disposable interlocking pad assembly being may be pre-treated with a desired cosmetic preparation and contained in a hermetically sealed package capable of being torn open by a user. The lotion applicator (e.g., the elongated handle and/or the hand grip) may include an effective amount of an additive from the group consisting of thermochromic, photochromic and phosphorescent polymer additives.

In yet another embodiment, the elongated handle is buoyant. Alternatively, the elongated handle may be hollow and contain a buoyant material. As another alternative, the hand grip may be buoyant.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary applicator assembly according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an exemplary hand grip for an applicator assembly according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of an exemplary handle for an applicator assembly according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of an exemplary applicator pad for an applicator assembly according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 5 shows a cutaway view of an exemplary applicator assembly according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 6A shows a side view of an exemplary extendable applicator assembly in an unextended position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 6B shows a side view of an exemplary extendable applicator assembly in an extended position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 7A shows a side view of an exemplary extendable applicator assembly releasably locked in an extended position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 7B shows a perspective view of an exemplary handle and applicator pad for an extendable applicator assembly according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 7C shows a side view of an exemplary hand grip of an applicator assembly in an unextended position according to principles of the invention.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the figures are not intended to be drawn to any particular scale; nor are the figures intended to illustrate every embodiment of the invention. The invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments depicted in the figures or the specific components, shapes, relative sizes, ornamental aspects or proportions shown in the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the Figures, in which like parts are indicated with the same reference numerals, various views of an exemplary applicator assembly according to principles of the invention and components thereof are shown. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, an exemplary applicator assembly 100 according to principles of the invention comprises an elongated handle 120 terminating in an arched-shaped mounting head 125 at the distal (applicator pad) end engaged by a hand grip 105 at the opposite proximal (handheld) end 115. A support strap 110 is attached to the proximal end 115 of the handgrip 105. An applicator pad assembly 150 is releasably attached to the mounting head 125. The applicator pad assembly 150 releasably engages the mounting head 125.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a perspective view of the exemplary hand grip 105 for the applicator assembly 100 according to principles of the invention is shown. The hand grip 105 features a size, contour and ergonomic configuration to comfortably fit a hand. The hand grip 105 is preferably fabricated of a buoyant padding material such as Neoprene foam or other cushioning buoyant material. The buoyant padding material should have a thickness sufficient for providing general buoyancy to the applicator assembly 100. As used herein, buoyancy refers to an upward force on the applicator assembly 100 produced by surrounding fluid (i.e., water) in which it is fully or partially immersed. The net upward buoyancy force is equal to the magnitude of the weight of fluid displaced by the body. The greater the applicator assembly's 100 volume and surrounding density of the fluid, the more buoyant force it will experience. In an implementation where the buoyancy of the applicator assembly 100 exceeds its weight, it will tend to rise and float. Thus, for example, if the applicator assembly 100 falls into water at a pool, in a bathtub or in the ocean, it will float rather than sink, making it easier to locate and retrieve. The hand grip 105 includes an open end 200 for receiving and securely engaging the proximal end of the handle 120.

One or more other components of the applicator assembly 100 may be buoyant in addition to or in lieu of the hand grip 105. By way of example and not limitation, the elongated handle 120 may be hollow and hermetically sealed, or hollow and filled with a buoyant filler such as buoyant polyethylene or polystyrene foam.

A strap 110 comprised of a lanyard is provided. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the strap is attached to the proximal end 115 of the handgrip 105. However, the strap is not limited to attachment at such end. Rather, the strap may be attached to other areas of the applicator assembly without departing from the scope of the invention. The strap 110 may be composed of natural and/or synthetic filaments or fibers comprising rope, cord, line, ribbon, string, twine or other suitable structure. The strap is preferably sized to slip over a user's hand and fit around a wrist. When worn around the wrist of a user, the strap 110 protects the applicator assembly from inadvertently falling to the ground or into water. The strap also provides means for hanging the applicator assembly for storage.

Referring now to FIG. 3, an exemplary handle 120 for an applicator assembly according to principles of the invention is shown. The handle 120 includes a proximal end 300, a distal end 305 and a mounting head 125 attached at the distal end 305. The exemplary handgrip 105 is sized and configured to slide or roll onto the proximal end 300 of the handle 120. The mounting head 125 is configured to releasably engage the applicator pad assembly 150.

The exemplary handle 120 is shaped to provide a vertical space A between the proximal end 300 of the handle and the mounting pad 125. The space A allows room for fingers of a grasping hand, between a body surface being treated and the handle 120 while the applicator pad 130 is in contact with the surface. While the exemplary handle 120 is shown extending at an acute angle ╬▒ relative to the mounting pad 125, other configurations that provide adequate room for grasping are feasible and come within the scope of the invention. By way of example and not limitation, in the exemplary embodiment, A may be between 0.5 and 4 inches and a may be between 5 and 45 degrees.

The handle 120 may be solid or hollow in construction. In a preferred embodiment, the handle 120 is comprised of a rigid plastic or polymeric material, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, acrylics, cellulosics, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) terpolymers, urethanes, thermo-plastic resins, thermo-plastic elastomers (TPE), acetal resins, polyamides, polycarbonates and polyesters. While many other materials may be used alone or in combination with the aforementioned materials and/or other materials, without departing from the scope of the present invention, preferably the material is relatively inexpensive, easy to use in manufacturing operations and results in an aesthetically acceptable, durable, weather resistant product. The material may further include additives to provide desired properties such as desired colors, structural characteristics, glow-in-the dark properties and thermal reactivity (e.g., color changes according to heat).

By way of example and not limitation, a plastic handle 120 may optionally be formulated to change color when it reaches a predetermined or higher temperature. This can be accomplished by mixing a thermochromic additive to the base material in an amount that is sufficient to achieve a desired color changing range (i.e., an effective amount). As an example, a mixture of approximately 5% to 30% (pbw) of Matsui International Co., Inc.'s Chromicolor® concentrate may be introduced to plastic base material, to provide a plastic structure that visibly changes color at a determined elevated temperature, such as approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Such a color change may indicate to boaters and beachgoers extreme conditions warranting generous amounts of lotion and fluids.

Alternatively, a photochromic additive may be added to a plastic base material in an amount that is effective to achieve a desired color change when the applicator assembly 100 is exposed to certain lighting conditions (i.e., an effective amount). As an example, a mixture of approximately 5% to 35% (pbw) of Matsui International Co., Inc.'s Photopia® additive may be introduced to plastic base material, to provide a plastic structure that visibly changes color in the presence of sunlight or ultraviolet light. Again, such a color change may indicate to boaters and beachgoers extreme conditions warranting generous amounts of lotion and fluids.

As another alternative, phosphorescent polymer additives, such as aluminate based phosphors, may be added in an amount sufficient to adsorb light energy and continue to release that energy as visible light after the energy source is removed (i.e., an effective amount). Advantageously, such an embodiment provides a base that is easy to locate in darkened conditions, making the vehicle easy to spot even at nighttime. Such a handle may facilitate finding the applicator assembly 100 in darkened conditions.

The handle 120 is preferably sufficiently strong and weather resistant such that it does not structurally fail from the stresses and environmental conditions encountered during use. Within these parameters, the handle 120 may be either rigid or somewhat flexible. Illustratively, certain embodiments of the invention may utilize a handle 120 that is formulated to exhibit flexibility and resiliency such that the handle 120 can flex somewhat in response to applied forces and return to its original shape without appreciable permanent deformation during normal use. Alternatively, the handle 120 may feature a formulation that exhibits rigidity such that the handle 120 resists substantial deformation during normal use.

Referring now to FIG. 4 a perspective view of an exemplary applicator pad assembly 150 for an applicator assembly according to principles of the invention is shown. An absorbent pad 135, such as a porous sponge, is attached to a mounting base 140. Lotion, oils and other cosmetic preparations may be applied to the pad 135 for application to a user's body.

Optionally, the applicator pad assembly 150 may be pre-treated with a desired cosmetic preparation. By way of example and not limitation, the pad 135 may be pre-treated with sun block, and the pad assembly 150 may be packaged in a hermetically sealed packet or package. To use the pad assembly 150, the package is torn open, and then the pad assembly 150 is removed and attached to the mounting head 125 as described below. Because the pad assembly is pre-treated with sun block, there is no need for the user to apply sun block to the pad 135. After use, the pad assembly 150 may be removed and discarded. Advantageously, this approach is sanitary, as it avoids use of potentially contaminated pads 135. Pad assemblies pretreated as part of the manufacturing process with various cosmetic preparations may be sold at retail.

The pad assembly 150 also includes means for attaching to the mounting head 125. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5, guides 400 and a mounting slot 130 are provided on the base 140 and configured to receive and securely but releasably engage the mounting head 125 of the handle 120. A resilient catch 145 may be depressed to allow the mounting head 125 to slide between the guides and into the mounting slot 130. When the mounting head 125 is fully received by the pad assembly 150, the resilient catch 145 springs back to its original position, thereby locking the mounting head 125 into place on the pad assembly 150. To subsequently remove the pad assembly 150, the catch 145 is manually depressed, thereby unlocking the mounting head 125 from the pad assembly 150 and allowing the pad assembly 150 to be separated from the mounting head 125, unimpeded by the catch 145.

Referring now to FIG. 6A, a side view of an exemplary extendable applicator assembly in an unextended position according to principles of the invention is shown. Optionally, the hand grip 105 may be adapted for translational movement along the handle 120. Now referring to FIG. 6B, a side view of the exemplary extendable applicator assembly in an extended position according to principles of the invention is shown. The handgrip may be extended by sliding or threaded rotational movement.

Another configuration within the scope of the invention is shown in FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C, wherein the handle includes a plurality of telescopically extendable sections that can be locked into defined positions using resilient locking tabs on one section (i.e., the smaller diameter section) that releasably engage and catch corresponding locking apertures on the other section. With reference to FIG. 7A, a side view of an exemplary extendable applicator assembly locked in an extended position according to principles of the invention is shown. The handle 120 includes a plurality of resilient locking tabs 700, 705, which define locking positions. The locking tabs 700, 705 are adapted to releasably engage and catch correspondingly shaped, sized and positioned locking apertures 705 on the handgrip assembly 105. A furrow 715 in the handle 120 is adapted to slidingly receive a guide protuberance 720 in the handgrip assembly 105, to ensure proper alignment during translational adjustment of the hand grip assembly 105 relative to the handle 120.

Components of the applicator assembly 100 may be produced using any suitable manufacturing techniques known in the art for the chosen material, such as (for example) milling, casting, stamping and machining in the case of a metal base, and injection, compression, structural foam, blow, or transfer molding; polyurethane foam processing techniques; vacuum forming; and casting. Preferably, the manufacturing technique is suitable for mass production at relatively low cost per unit, and results in an aesthetically acceptable product with a consistent acceptable quality.

While an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described, it should be apparent that modifications and variations thereto are possible, all of which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum relationships for the components and steps of the invention, including variations in order, form, content, function and manner of operation, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. The above description and drawings are illustrative of modifications that can be made without departing from the present invention, the scope of which is to be limited only by the following claims. Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents are intended to fall within the scope of the invention as claimed.