Title:
PILLOW TO PROVIDE DIRECT HEAD, NECK, JAW, AND CHIN SUPPORT, AND TO RELAX CERVICAL AND SHOULDER MUSCLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A neck-support pillow comprising a resilient pillow body having a column-shaped medial portion and two cantilever arms, each arm attached proximate to an end of the medial portion, is described herein. In various embodiments, the arms may encircle a vertical axis, the vertical axis being perpendicular to a plane comprising a line formed between attachment locations of the two arms to the medial portion. Also, the arms and medial portion may form a well that is a size of a user's neck. Further, an arm height may be equal to a distance between the user's shoulder and jaw, the arm height being measured in a direction parallel to the vertical axis. Additionally, a medial portion height may be equal to a distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder, the medial portion height being measured in a direction parallel to the vertical axis.



Inventors:
Yang, Xiaohong (Tacoma, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/171014
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/10/2008
Assignee:
BioMed DB Design (Tacoma, WA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/636, 5/644
International Classes:
A47G9/10
View Patent Images:
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20100017967HALOGEN FREE INSTITUTIONAL MATTRESSJanuary, 2010Murphy et al.
20070289062Matt Wrap SwagDecember, 2007Walters
20060174415Portable diaper changing cotAugust, 2006Moulton
20050150050Novelty neck pillowJuly, 2005Wolf et al.
20060037146Comfort cushion or bedFebruary, 2006Heng
20060253994Beds and mattressesNovember, 2006Spinks et al.
20090235451Interchangeable upholstered furniture frame systemSeptember, 2009Gorkin
20020088059Bag with detachable cushionJuly, 2002Reeves
20080189864Inflatable Surgical Positioning AidAugust, 2008Marguet et al.



Primary Examiner:
WILSON, BRITTANY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHWABE, WILLIAMSON & WYATT, P.C. (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A neck-support pillow comprising: a resilient pillow body having a column-shaped medial portion and two cantilever arms, each arm attached proximate to an end of the medial portion, wherein the arms encircle a vertical axis, the vertical axis being perpendicular to a plane comprising a line formed between attachment locations of the two arms to the medial portion, the arms and medial portion form a well, the well being approximately a size of a user's neck, a height of at least one of the arms is approximately equal to a distance between the user's shoulder and jaw, the height of the arms being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis, and a height of the medial portion is approximately equal to a distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder, the height of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis.

2. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein ends of the arms almost meet, forming a small opening to the well, and a height of those ends is taller than the height of non-end portions the arms, forming engorged arm ends to support the user's chin.

3. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein the medial portion is wider than a width of the user's neck to support the user's head when the head is reclined backward and to a side.

4. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein a middle of the medial portion is narrower than ends of the medial portion, forming a generally hour-glass-shaped medial portion to allow the user's head to recline further backward, and a height of the middle of the medial portion is approximately equal to a distance between a bottom portion of the user's occipital bone and a base of the user's neck, the height of the middle of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis.

5. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein the pillow body is comprised of one or more materials selected from the group consisting of polyfill material, foam, feather-down material, cotton, silicone, wool, polyester fiber, silk, polystyrene, nylon, plastic, buckwheat, beans, micro-beans, and composite material.

6. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, further comprising a cover surrounding the pillow body, the cover having been assembled from two horse-shoe-shaped pieces of material and either 1) two tennis-racket-shaped pieces of material or 2) a piece of material shaped as a pair of door-knobs, the horse-shoe-shaped pieces having enlarged medial portions.

7. The neck-support pillow of claim 6, wherein the pieces of material are mated by seems or by glue.

8. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein the neck-support pillow is washable.

9. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein the pillow body is inflatable and an exterior surface of the pillow body includes an air valve for facilitating inflating and deflating the pillow.

10. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein the heights of the arms, arm ends, and medial portion and the size of the well are customized based on measurements of a different user.

11. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, further comprising a handle attached to the pillow body to facilitate the user in carrying the neck-support pillow.

12. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, wherein the upper portion of the user's ear is a top of the user's ear.

13. A neck-support pillow comprising: a resilient pillow body having a column-shaped medial portion and two cantilever arms, each arm attached proximate to an end of the medial portion, wherein the arms encircle a vertical axis, the vertical axis being perpendicular to a plane comprising a line formed between attachment locations of the two arms to the medial portion, the arms and medial portion form a well, the well being approximately a size of a user's neck, a height of at least one of the arms is approximately equal to a distance between the user's shoulder and jaw, the height of the arms being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis, a height of the medial portion is approximately equal to a distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder, the height of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis, and the heights of the arms, arm ends, and medial portion and the size of the well are customized based on measurements of a different user.

14. The neck-support pillow of claim 13, wherein ends of the arms almost meet, forming a small opening to the well, and a height of those ends is taller than the height of non-end portions the arms, forming engorged arm ends to support the user's chin.

15. The neck-support pillow of claim 13, wherein the medial portion is wider than a width of the user's neck to support the user's head when the head is reclined backward and to a side.

16. The neck-support pillow of claim 13, wherein a middle of the medial portion is narrower than ends of the medial portion, forming a generally hour-glass-shaped medial portion to allow the user's head to recline further backward, and a height of the middle of the medial portion is approximately equal to a distance between a bottom portion of the user's occipital bone and a base of the user's neck, the height of the middle of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis.

17. The neck-support pillow of claim 13, wherein the pillow body is comprised of one or more materials selected from the group consisting of polyfill material, foam, feather-down material, cotton, silicone, wool, polyester fiber, silk, polystyrene, nylon, plastic, buckwheat, beans, micro-beans, and composite material.

18. The neck-support pillow of claim 1, further comprising a cover surrounding the pillow body, the cover having been assembled from two horse-shoe-shaped pieces of material and either 1) two tennis-racket-shaped pieces of material or 2) a piece of material shaped as a pair of door-knobs, the horse-shoe-shaped pieces having enlarged medial portions.

19. A neck-support pillow comprising: a resilient pillow body having a column-shaped medial portion and two cantilever arms, each arm attached proximate to an end of the medial portion, wherein the arms encircle a vertical axis, the vertical axis being perpendicular to a plane comprising a line formed between attachment locations of the two arms to the medial portion, the arms and medial portion form a well, the well being approximately a size of a user's neck, a height of at least one of the arms is approximately equal to a distance between the user's shoulder and jaw, the height of the arms being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis, a height of the medial portion is approximately equal to a distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder, the height of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis, the heights of the arms, arm ends, and medial portion and the size of the well are customized based on measurements of a different user, ends of the arms almost meet, forming a small opening to the well, and a height of those ends is taller than the height of non-end portions the arms, forming engorged arm ends to support the user's chin, the medial portion is wider than a width of the user's neck to support the user's head when the head is reclined backward and to a side, and a middle of the medial portion is narrower than ends of the medial portion, forming a generally hour-glass-shaped medial portion to allow the user's head to recline further backward, and a height of the middle of the medial portion is approximately equal to a distance between a bottom portion of the user's occipital bone and a base of the user's neck, the height of the middle of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis.

20. The neck-support pillow of claim 19, wherein the pillow body is comprised of one or more materials selected from the group consisting of polyfill material, foam, feather-down material, cotton, silicone, wool, polyester fiber, silk, polystyrene, nylon, plastic, buckwheat, beans, micro-beans, and composite material.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present non-provisional application claims priority to provisional application No. 60/948,895, entitled “Pillow to Provide Direct Head, Neck, Jaw, and Chin Support, and to Relax Cervical and Shoulder Muscle”, filed Jul. 10, 2007, the specification and drawings of which are incorporated herein in full by reference. The present non-provisional application also claims priority to provisional application No. 61/066,564, entitled “Customized Neck Pillow”, filed Feb. 21, 2008, the specification and drawings of which are incorporated herein in full by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the present invention relate to the field of medical and ergonomic devices, in particular, to a neck-support pillow comprising a resilient pillow body having a column-shaped medial portion and two cantilever arms.

BACKGROUND

Conventional techniques to provide head and neck support rely on U-shaped pillows with uniform cross sections, or column-shaped pillows. This type of design puts heavy pressure to a user's jaw and neck. It often causes discomfort during napping. Improved designs focus on providing extra support to a person's cheek. However, such designs do not provide any direct support to a user's head. This lack of support results in tension to the neck and shoulder muscles which hold the head in an up-right position. Shoulder and neck pain often occur after use due to this compensation mechanism during napping. In addition, prolonged pressure to the cheek can cause discomfort, especially during long travel journeys. Currently, no pillows are known that provide direct head and chin support.

SUMMARY

In various embodiments, a neck-support pillow may comprise a resilient pillow body having a column-shaped medial portion and two cantilever arms, each arm attached proximate to an end of the medial portion. Also, in some embodiments, the arms may encircle a vertical axis, the vertical axis being perpendicular to a plane comprising a line formed between attachment locations of the two arms to the medial portion. Further, the arms and medial portion may form a well, the well being approximately a size of a user's neck. Also, a height of at least one of the arms may be approximately equal to a distance between the user's shoulder and jaw, the height of the arms being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis. Additionally, in some embodiments, a height of the medial portion may be approximately equal to a distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder, the height of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis.

In some embodiments, the ends of the arms may almost meet, forming a small opening to the well, and a height of those ends is taller than the height of non-end portions of the arms, forming engorged arm ends to support the user's chin. Also, the medial portion may be wider than a width of the user's neck to support the user's head when the head is reclined backward and to a side. Further, a middle of the medial portion is narrower than ends of the medial portion, forming a generally hour-glass-shaped medial portion to allow the user's head to recline further backward, and a height of the middle of the medial portion may be approximately equal to a distance between a bottom portion of the user's occipital bone and a base of the user's neck, the height of the middle of the medial portion being measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis.

In various embodiments, the pillow body is comprised of one or more materials selected from the group consisting of polyfill material, foam, feather-down material, cotton, silicone, wool, polyester fiber, silk, polystyrene, nylon, plastic, buckwheat, beans, micro-beans, and composite material.

In some embodiments, the neck-support pillow may further comprise a cover surrounding the pillow body, the cover having been assembled from two horse-shoe-shaped pieces of material and either 1) two tennis-racket-shaped pieces of material or 2) a piece of material shaped as a pair of door-knobs, the horse-shoe-shaped pieces having enlarged medial portions. Also, the pieces of material may be mated by seems or by glue.

In various embodiments, the neck-support pillow may be washable. Also, the pillow body may be inflatable and an exterior surface of the pillow body may include an air valve for facilitating inflating and deflating the pillow.

In some embodiments, the heights of the arms, arm ends, and medial portion and the size of the well may be customized based on measurements of a different user.

In various embodiments, the neck-support pillow may further comprise a handle attached to the pillow body to facilitate the user in carrying the neck-support pillow.

In some embodiments, the upper portion of the user's ear may be a top of the user's ear.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be described by way of exemplary embodiments, but not limitations, illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like references denote similar elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a top right perspective view of a neck-support pillow, in accordance with various embodiments;

FIG. 2 is a top plane view of the pillow, in accordance with various embodiments;

FIG. 3 is a first left side elevation view, in accordance with various embodiments (with the right side being mirror image of, in some embodiments);

FIG. 4 is a second left side elevation view, customized for a different user than the user of the pillow shown in FIG. 3, in accordance with various embodiments (with the right side being mirror image of, in some embodiments);

FIG. 5 is a top plane view of the top horse-shoe shaped casing fabric member, in accordance with various embodiments (with the bottom fabric member being mirror image of, in some embodiments);

FIG. 6 is a top plane view of the left side racket-shaped casing fabric member, in accordance with various embodiments (with the right side fabric member being the mirror image of, in some embodiments);

FIG. 7 shows exemplary fabric for making a larger or smaller neck hole in the horse-shoe shaped fabric members, in accordance with various embodiments;

FIG. 8 is a top plane view of the top horse-shoe shaped casing fabric member embodiments, in accordance with various embodiments (with the bottom fabric member being mirror image of, in some embodiments);

FIG. 9 is a top plane view of the doorknob-shaped casing fabric member, in accordance with various embodiments;

FIG. 10 shows exemplary fabric for making a larger or smaller neck hole in the horse-shoe shaped fabric members, and making narrower neck band, in accordance with various embodiments;

FIG. 11 is a top left perspective view of a neck-support pillow, where the pillow is inflatable, in accordance with various embodiments;

FIG. 12 is a top right perspective view of a neck-support pillow including a handle, in accordance with various embodiments; and

FIG. 13 illustrates a flowchart view of various operations for customizing the pillow, in accordance with embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various aspects of the illustrative embodiments will be described using terms commonly employed by those skilled in the art to convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. However, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that alternate embodiments may be practiced with only some of the described aspects. For purposes of explanation, specific numbers, materials, and configurations are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the illustrative embodiments. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that alternate embodiments may be practiced without the specific details. In other instances, well-known features are omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the illustrative embodiments.

Further, various operations will be described as multiple discrete operations, in turn, in a manner that is most helpful in understanding the illustrative embodiments; however, the order of description should not be construed as to imply that these operations are necessarily order dependent. In particular, these operations need not be performed in the order of presentation.

The phrase “in one embodiment” is used repeatedly. The phrase generally does not refer to the same embodiment; however, it may. The terms “comprising,” “having,” and “including” are synonymous, unless the context dictates otherwise. The phrase “A/B” means “A or B”. The phrase “A and/or B” means “(A), (B), or (A and B)”. The phrase “at least one of A, B and C” means “(A), (B), (C), (A and B), (A and C), (B and C) or (A, B and C)”. The phrase “(A) B” means “(B) or (A B)”, that is, A is optional.

FIG. 1 is a top right perspective view of a neck-support pillow, in accordance with various embodiments. As shown, a neck-support pillow may comprise a resilient pillow body 100 (hereinafter pillow body 100). The pillow body 100 may itself include a medial portion 105 and cantilever arms 130 and 135 (hereinafter arms 130), the arms 130 attached proximate to ends of the medial portion 105. Thus, arms 130 and medial portion 105 may be integrated in one piece. Also, the medial portion 105 may itself comprise a number of sub-portions, such as sub-portions 110 and 115 for providing temporal bone support and sub-portion 120 for providing occipital bone support. In some embodiments, the ends of arms 130 may be engorged ends 140 and 145 (hereinafter ends 140), the ends 140 being engorged to provide chin and jaw support during usage. Additionally, as illustrated, the arms 130 and medial portion 105 may form a well 150, the well 150 being approximately the size of a user's neck. In various embodiments, the size of the arms 130, ends 140, well 150, and medial portion 105 may be based on measurements of a user, such as measurements of the distance between a user's shoulder and jaw and/or measurements of the distance between an upper portion of a user's ear and a user's shoulder. By basing the sizing on such measurements, pillow body 100 may provide enhanced support for a user's head, neck, chin, jaw, cheek, and/or shoulder. Further, in some embodiments (not shown), the neck-support pillow may comprise a cover to surround pillow body 100. Portions of material for making exemplary covers are illustrated in FIGS. 5-10, and are described in greater detail further herein.

In various embodiments, pillow body 100 may be made of any one or more materials known in the art. For example, pillow body 100 may be comprised of one or more of polyfill material, foam, feather-down material, cotton, silicone, wool, polyester fiber, silk, polystyrene, nylon, plastic, buckwheat, beans, micro-beans, and composite material. Pillow body 100 may also or instead be comprised of woven fabrics, knitted fabrics, fleece-like materials, fluffy material, stretchy material, leather, or plastic. In some embodiments, such as those where pillow body 100 is comprised of feather-down material, pillow body 100 may comprise a casing to hold the filling material (not to be confused with the cover described below, which would surround pillow body 100). In one embodiment, the pillow body 100, including its casing and fill, and its cover are washable. In one embodiment, the fill material of pillow body 100 may provide differing levels of firmness when using the same type of filling, such as polyester fibers.

In other embodiments, pillow body 100 may comprise a hollow inflatable chamber, a casing surrounding the chamber, and a means of inflating and deflating the chamber. Such a pillow body 100 is illustrated in FIG. 11. As shown in FIG. 11, pillow body 100 may include an air valve 1110 and a stopper 1120 to plug the air valve 1110 after the pillow has been inflated. In one embodiment, the air valve 1110 may be added to a location where no body contact will occur during use, such as on the left side of arm 130, as shown in FIG. 11. The air valve 1110 may have a channel leading to the inflatable chamber of the pillow body 100, thereby allowing air flow in and out. In some embodiments, the stopper 1120 may be mated with air valve 1110 stop the air flow when the pillow is in use. In various embodiments, when the neck-support pillow is inflatable, the pillow body 100 may be made from man-made material such as plastic and sealed with man-made material to allow a user to blow air in before use and let air out after use.

In some embodiments, pillow body 100 may be manufactured via any means known in the art. In some embodiments, the manufacturing may take into account custom measurements of a user or users. A process for gathering such custom measurements is shown in FIG. 13 and described in greater detail herein. By manufacturing the pillow to customized metrics, the pillow body 100 may better support a user's head, neck, chin, jaw, cheek, and/or shoulder.

As illustrated and mentioned above, medial portion 105 may be a column-shaped pillow having sub-portions 110 and 115 to provide temporal bone support and sub-portion 120 to provide occipital bone support. In some embodiments, a middle of the medial portion 105, corresponding to sub-portion 120, may be narrower than ends of the medial portion 105, corresponding to sub-portions 110 and 115 forming a generally hour-glass-shaped medial portion 105 to allow the user's head to recline further backward. A height of sub-portion 120 may be based on the distance between a lower portion of the user's occipital bone and a base of the user's neck, in some embodiments, and the height of sub-portion 120 may be measured in a direction approximately parallel to a vertical axis 160 (see FIGS. 3 and 4). Also, in some embodiments, the medial portion 105 may be wider than a width of the user's neck to support the user's head when the head is reclined backward and to a side. In one embodiment, the width of medial portion 105 may be approximately equal to a distance greater than the width of the user's neck but less than or equal to the width of the user's shoulders.

In various embodiments, as illustrated in FIG. 2 (which is a top plane view of the pillow of embodiments of the present invention (with the bottom being the mirror image of)), areas 210 and 215, which may roughly correspond to sub-portions 110 and 115 may rise during use relative to the area 120 that may receive a user's occipital bone and upper neck during use of the pillow body 100.

In some embodiments, as illustrate in FIGS. 3 and 4, a height 180 of the medial portion 105 may be measured in a direction approximately parallel to a vertical axis 160. The vertical axis 160 may itself be perpendicular to a plane (not shown) comprising a line formed between attachment locations of the two arms 130 to the medial portion 105. Further, the height 180 of medial portion 105 may be approximately equal to a distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder. In one embodiment, the upper portion of the user's ear may be the top of the user's ear. In some embodiments, height 180 may be either the height of sub-portions 110/115 or of sub-portion 120, with the height of the other sub-portion(s) being either larger or smaller. In other embodiments, height 180 may be the height of all or sub-portions 110, 115, and 120.

As further illustrated, and mentioned above, arms 130 may be attached proximate to an end of the medial portion 105. Also, as shown in FIGS. 1-4, arms 130 may encircle vertical axis 160, forming a well 150 that may be proximately the size of the user's neck. In some embodiments, the ends 140 of arms 130 may almost meet, creating a small opening that is the size of the user's neck or smaller. If smaller, arms 130 may be at least partially flexible to all the opening to be temporarily made wider for the user to fit the user's neck through the opening. Also, as mentioned above, ends 140 of arms 130 may be engorged to support a user's jaw and chin.

In various embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a height 170 of at least one of the arms 130 may be measured in a direction approximately parallel to the vertical axis 160. Further, the height of the arms 130 may be approximately equal to a distance between a user's shoulder and jaw. Also, in some embodiments, a height of the engorged ends 140 may be larger than the height 170 of non-end portions the arms 130, thereby providing additional support for the user's jaw and chin. In other embodiments, arms 130 and their ends 140 may have the same height 170. Also, because height 170 is approximated to the distance between a user's jaw and shoulder, and height 180 is approximated to the distance between an upper portion of the user's ear and the user's shoulder, height 180 may always be larger than height 170. In other words, the medial portion 105 may always have a greater height than arms 130.

In some embodiments, portions of arms 130 that are closer to medial portion 105 may have a smaller size (in comparison to ends 140) to minimize the pressure to a user's cheek when a user is sitting in a reclined position.

Also, as shown in FIG. 2, areas 230 and 235 of arms 130 may move closer to a user's jaw and cheek during use. Further, the ends 140 may rise to closer to a user's chin and jaw during use to prevent head nodding, and the ends 140 may touch user's front shoulder or upper chest.

As illustrated and mentioned above, the arms 130 and medial portion 105 may form a well, the well being approximately a size of a user's neck. In some embodiments, pillow body 100 may be configured to receive the neck of a user sufficiently closely to hold the pillow body 100 in position.

Above, numerous references are made to measurements of a user, such as a distance between the user's jaw and shoulders, a distance between an upper portion of a user's ear and a user's shoulders, a distance between a lower portion of a user's occipital bone and a base of a user's neck, and a size of the user's neck. In some embodiments, the measurements and sizes may be “one-size-fits all” measurements of a “standard”/average user, the measurements of the standard/average user determined based on known anatomical averages for parts of a human body. In other embodiments, the measurements and sizes may be grouped into a number of discrete user sizes, such as “small”, “medium”, “large”, etc. These various sizes may also be determined with reference to known anatomical metrics for parts of a human body.

In yet other embodiments, the pillow body 100 may be configured for a given user or group of users based on obtained metrics of those user(s). Thus, in such embodiments, the measurements and sizes spoken of above may by the obtained metrics of the given user(s). For example, FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of pillow body 100, where heights 180 and 170 have been customized for a first user, and FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of pillow body 100, where heights 180 and 170 have been customized for a second user. In various embodiments, user metrics for customized those heights and other pillow body 100 dimensions, including heights of ends 140, may be obtained by a computer-implemented method, such as the method illustrated in FIG. 13. In other embodiments, other methods of obtaining user metrics may be used.

In various embodiments, pillow body 100 may be sized proportionally in dimensions so that the pillow fits a user's body according to the user's neck size, head size, jaw size, and chest size, providing best fit, comfort, and support. Also, such a customized pillow can have reduced occipital bone support by means of cutting away part of medial portion 105, making medial portion 105 smaller.

In some embodiments, a customized neck-support pillow may provide support to a user's temporal bone, occipital bone, jaw, and chin, with reduced cheek pressure while sitting in a reclined position when napping. Also, the neck-support pillow may relax a user's cervical and shoulder muscles while the user is sitting upright or in a reclined position.

FIGS. 5-10 illustrate exemplary fabric members for assembling a cover for pillow body 100. In a first embodiment, illustrated by FIGS. 5-7, the cover may be made by joining two pairs of fabric members. The two pairs of members may include two horse-shoe-shaped pieces of material (shown in FIGS. 5 and 7) two tennis-racket-shaped pieces of material (shown in FIG. 6). In a second embodiment, illustrated by FIGS. 8-10, the cover may be made by joining two horse-shoe-shaped pieces of material (shown in FIGS. 8 and 10) and a piece of material shaped as a pair of door-knobs (shown in FIG. 9). In both the first and second embodiments, the horse-shoe-shaped pieces may have enlarged medial portions.

As mentioned, in the first embodiment, the pillow cover may be made by joining two pairs of fabric members:

a) one pair may be shaped as a horse-shoe with an enlarged and relative square shape at the closed end, and of substantial similarity in shape and size with each member having a perimeter edge (labeled 5000 in FIG. 5, FIG. 5 showing only one of the pair); and
b) the other pair of fabric members (labeled 5001 in FIG. 6, FIG. 6 showing only one of the pair) may be shaped as a tennis racket with an enlarged handle piece, and of substantial similarity in shape and size with each member having a perimeter edge, along with said horse-shoe fabric members thereby shaped to provide means to provide direct head support, to reduce cheek pressure, and to add chin support to prevent head nodding during sleep. Each racket-shaped fabric member 5001 may be connected to both horse-shoe-shaped fabric members 5000 by means of a seam around one side of their perimeter edges, or glue if man-made materials such as plastic are selected. The two horse-shoe-shaped fabric members 5000 may be connected to each other at the square-end 5010 and at the inside center of crotch end around marking 5040, when not connected to the racket-shaped fabric members 5001, by means of a seam around their perimeter edges, or glue if man-made material such as plastic is selected.

FIG. 5 is a top plane view of a horse-shoe shaped casing top fabric member (with the bottom fabric member being mirror image of), in accordance with various embodiments. Perimeter edge lines are shown with numbers with starting and ending points. The following is a list of the line numbers, starting and ending points, also marked with numbers, and a brief note explaining each. They are:

Line numberstartendNOTE
501050165015seaming two horse-shaped fabric
502050165040seaming with line 5095
503050155040seaming with right side racket-shaped
fabric
5011stitch line ¼″ from edge 5010
5021stitch line ¼″ from edge 5020
5031stitch line ¼″ from edge 5030

The following list shows the marking points with their numbers and a brief note explaining each:

Marking numberNOTE
5015cross point between line 5030 and 5010
5016cross point between line 5020 and 5010
5040middle point in the crotch
5055overlap 5051 on FIG. 6
5075overlap 5076 on FIG. 6
5085overlap 5086 on FIG. 6

In FIG. 6, three marking points may be overlapped with marking points on the horse-shoe shaped bottom fabric member 5000 when seamed together. They are:

    • 5081
    • 5071
    • 5051

In FIG. 5, three marking points may be overlapped with marking points on the racket-shaped right-side fabric member (not shown in FIG. 6). They are:

    • 5050
    • 5070
    • 5080

Marking points 5115 and 5110 may show the need to make wrinkles between marking points 5055, 5075, and 5085, and also between marking points 5050, 5070, and 5080. The fabric line 5020 between marking points 5085 and 5055 may be lengthier than line 5095 between marking points 5086 and 5051 before wrinkling. As a result, the arm end may be bigger because more fill material can fit. The matching marking points may ensure uniformity.

FIG. 6 is a left side plane view of the racket-shaped casing left side fabric member (with the right side fabric member being the mirror image of), in accordance with various embodiments.

Perimeter edge lines are illustrated and numbered in FIG. 6. The following is a list of the line numbers, starting marking points, end marking points, and a brief note to explain each. They are:

Line numberstartendNOTE
509051005051seaming with bottom horse-shoe fabric
piece
509551005051seaming with line 5020
5091stitch line ¼″ from edge 5090

Marking Points in FIG. 6 are shown in the list below. Each number is accompanied by brief note to show its function. They are:

NumberNOTE
5051end point
5076overlap 5075
5086overlap 5085
5071, 5081overlap bottom piece of horse-shoe
fabric

The size of fabric members may change while the ratio of vertical and horizontal edges and shape of the fabric members may remain the same. The required size changes may be specified by a requesting user.

FIG. 7 shows exemplary fabric member 700 for making different-sized neck receiving areas so that the pillows differ in neck size, even when all other pieces remain the same size and shape. This alteration may allow the accommodation of different head to neck ratios, such as in children (high ratio) and in well-built muscular adults (low ratio). Line 710 illustrates an exemplary cutting for making a larger neck hole. Line 730 illustrates an exemplary cutting for making a smaller neck hole. The locations of line 710 or 730 are drawn depending on the desired neck size. In order to maintain the pillow shape, the cutting may not exceed ¾ of the original leg area fabric width 720, in some embodiments.

To make pillows of different sizes, a manufacturer may simply photo copy the sample fabric members and apply a desired reduction or enlargement ratio, using the same ratio for fabric members 5000 and 5001.

Also as mentioned, in the second embodiment, the cover may be made by joining 3 fabric members:

a) one pair may be shaped as horse-shoes with enlarged and relatively square shapes at the closed ends, and of substantial similarity in shape and size with each member having a perimeter edge (labeled 800 in FIG. 8, FIG. 8 showing only one of the pair).
b) the other fabric member (labeled 900 in FIG. 9) may be shaped as a pair of doorknobs (has both knobs on both sides of a door) with two enlarged end pieces, two enlarged middle pieces, narrower middle piece, with each member having a perimeter edge. The doorknob-shaped fabric member 900 may be connected to both horse-shoe-shaped fabric members 800 by means of a seam around one side of their perimeter edges, or glue if man-made materials such as plastic are selected. The two horse-shoe-shaped fabric members 800 may be connected to each other at the square-end 810, by means of a seam around their perimeter edges, or glue if man-made material such as plastic is selected.

FIG. 8 is a top plane view of a horse-shoe shaped casing top fabric member, in accordance with various embodiments (with the bottom fabric member being mirror image of). Perimeter edge lines are shown with numbers with starting and ending points. The following is a list of the line numbers, starting and ending points, also marked with numbers, and a brief note explaining each. They are:

Line numberstartendNOTE
810816815seaming two horse-shaped fabric
820816840seaming with line 920
830815840seaming with line 920

The following list shows the marking Points with their numbers and a brief note explaining each.

Marking numberNOTE
815cross point between line 830 and 810
816cross point between line 820 and 810
840middle point in the crotch
815overlap 908 in FIG. 9
880overlap 930 in FIG. 9
870overlap 940 in FIG. 9
850overlap 950 in FIG. 9
855overlap 960 in FIG. 9
875overlap 970 in FIG. 9
885overlap 980 in FIG. 9
816overlap 909 in FIG. 9

In FIG. 9, line 922 is to seam with the bottom horse-shoe-shaped fabric member 800 (not shown). Marking points in FIG. 9 may overlap with marking points on the bottom horse-shoe-shaped fabric member 800 when seamed together (not shown in FIG. 8). They are: 911, 982, 972, 962, 952, 942, 932, 910.

The fabric line 830 between marking points 850 and 880 may be lengthier than line 920 between marking points 930 and 950. The lengthier line 830 may need to be wrinkled, or the shorter line 920 may be stretched when seaming together, in some embodiments. As a result, the arm ends may be bigger because more fill material can fit. The matching marking points may ensure uniformity.

FIG. 9 is a top plane view of the doorknob-shaped casing fabric member, in accordance with various embodiments.

Perimeter edge lines are illustrated and numbered in FIG. 9. The following list shows the line numbers, starting marking points, end marking points, and a brief note to explain each. They are:

Line numberstartendNOTE
920908909seaming with line 830 and line
820 in FIG. 8
922910911seaming with bottom horse-shoe
fabric member
914952950virtual line for distance marking
916962960virtual line for distance marking
912dasheddashed line 916length between line 914
line 914and line 916
994910911virtual line for distance marking
990909908virtual line for distance marking
992dasheddashed line 990length between dashed line 994
line 994and dashed line 990
995908930alternative cutting for line 920
996909980alternative cutting for line 920
998line 920dashed line 995distance between line 920 and
dashed line 995

Marking Points in FIG. 9 are shown in the following list. Each number is accompanied by brief note to show its function. They are:

NumberNOTE
908, 909, 910, 911end point
930overlap 880
940overlap 870
950overlap 850
960overlap 855
970overlap 875
980overlap 885

The size of fabric members may change while the ratio of vertical and horizontal edges and shape of the fabric members may remain the same. The required size changes may be specified by a requesting user.

The distance 912 between line 914 and line 916 may change according to a user's neck size, and the size of fabric member 800. The length between marking point 855 and 850 may be equal to line 912, in some embodiments.

The distance 992 between dashed line 994 and dashed line 990 may change according to a user's vertical neck length. For normal neck length (3 inches), the distance 992 may be from 0 inch to 2 inches (including the seaming allowance). The pillow shown in FIGS. 1-4 may be made with distance 992 equal 0 inches. For a person with longer neck, such as 5 inches or longer, the distance 992 may be from 3 inches to 4 inches. Dashed lines 994 and 990 may parallel to each other, in some embodiments.

A user's specification may determine the distance 998 between dashed line 995 and line 920. Line 922 may or may not use alternative cutting similar to dashed line 995 and dashed line 996, in some embodiments. Therefore, the resulting pillow may be asymmetrical vertically.

FIG. 10 shows exemplary fabric member 1000 for making different-sized neck receiving areas so that the pillows differ in neck size, even when all other pieces remain the same size and shape, except matching fabric member 900 at length 912. This alteration may accommodate different head to neck ratios, such as in children (high ratio) and in well-built muscular adults (low ratio). Line 1080 represents the normal cutting from marking 1070 through marking 1050 to marking 1060. Dashed line 1030 illustrates an exemplary cutting for making a larger neck hole by moving line 1080 outward. Dashed line 1040 illustrates an exemplary cutting for making a smaller neck hole by moving line 1080 inward. The locations of line 1030 or 1040 are drawn depending on the desired neck size, in some embodiments.

FIG. 10 also shows exemplary fabric member 1000 for making modified occipital bone support areas so that the pillows have weaker occipital bone support, even when all other pieces remain the same size and shape. Line 810 represents the normal cutting. Curved and dashed line 1020 represents alternative cutting when weaker neck support is desirable. The distance 1010 between line 810 and 1020 may vary according to a user's specification.

FIG. 10 also shows exemplary fabric member 1000 for making a modified head support area so that the pillows have adequate head support for users with sloping shoulders. Dashed lines 1090 and 1092 show optional cutting. The distance 1094 may be determined by a user's specification, as well as the distance 998 in FIG. 9.

In one embodiment, the pillow shown in FIGS. 1-4 may be made with distance 1010 equal to 2 inches, distance 1094 equal to 0 inches, line 1080 with no alteration, and therefore distance 912 equal to line 1080 from marking point 1060 to marking point 1070.

To make pillows of different sizes, a manufacturer may simply photo copy the sample fabric members and apply a desired reduction or enlargement ratio, using the same ratio for fabric members 800 and 900.

FIG. 12 is a top right perspective view of a neck-support pillow including a handle, in accordance with various embodiments. As shown, pillow-body 100 may have a handle 1202 attached to a location on the pillow body 100, such as a location on medial portion 105. In some embodiments, the location on medial portion 105 may be a place that is unlikely to physically contact the user, such as a location opposite the user's neck. In various embodiments, handle 1202 may have any shape and size and may be made of any material known in the art. In one embodiment, the handle 1202 may be made of the same material as pillow body 100.

FIG. 13 illustrates a flowchart view of various operations in accordance with embodiments of the invention. As illustrated, to manufacture a neck-support pillow, such as the pillows described above, user data describing the pillow user may be collected, block 1302. Such collecting may be performed by a computing device or a person. The user data may then be stored by a computing device in a data structure, block 1304. Then, a computing device may analyze the user data, block 1306, and compute a pillow design, dimensions, and filling material, block 1308, based on the stored user data. In one embodiment, the computed/suggest product/pillow may then be displayed by the computing device, block 1310.

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 embodiments of the present invention. For example, the length, ratio of the fabric members, horizontal and vertical edges, and marking overlapping points may be modified in other implementations consistent with embodiments 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 the embodiments of the present invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.





 
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