Title:
PILLOW
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pillow has a plurality of grooves and ribs extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis of the pillow such that in use, the ribs extend generally transverse to the spine of a user. The ribs are provided under the neck and head of a user and the pillow has an uncut core that is thinker under the neck.



Inventors:
Tuffin, Brian (US)
Klein, Guido (US)
Application Number:
11/829344
Publication Date:
01/29/2009
Filing Date:
07/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C20/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040163173Extension device for patient liftAugust, 2004Downing
20090070941INFLATABLE BED ASSEMBLYMarch, 2009Lau
20100031442Bed with Interconnectable Barrier ElementsFebruary, 2010Guguin et al.
20060288481Bed skirt enhancing deviceDecember, 2006Hampton
20100050341DUVET COVERMarch, 2010Tepper
20080196167Air Mat and Method For Manufacturing and Device of Molding the SameAugust, 2008Im et al.
20070192957Footboard extension railAugust, 2007Milam
20020152553Travel pillow securing to bucket seatsOctober, 2002Wynveen
20090094748Adjustable Bed Having Snap-On Actuator DriveApril, 2009Long
20080128965Pad Spring DeviceJune, 2008Bock
20090313762Bumper pads for the prevention of chewing crib rails by small childrenDecember, 2009Boutwell



Primary Examiner:
WILSON, BRITTANY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A pillow comprising a foam body having a width, a length having a longitudinal axis, a top surface, a bottom surface and an uncut core having a center and lateral sides wherein the lateral sides are thicker than the centre, at least one of the top surface and bottom surface having a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis and provided on the centre and the lateral sides of the uncut core.

2. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the top surface and the bottom surface has a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis.

3. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein the foam comprises viscoelastic foam.

4. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ribs are of a sufficient height such that when pressure is applied at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

5. The pillow as claimed in claim 4, wherein when deflected, at least 50% of the height of the first rib will overlie the adjacent second rib.

6. The pillow as claimed in claim 4, wherein when deflected, at least 75% of the height of the first rib will overlie the adjacent second rib.

7. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ribs have a height and adjacent ribs are spaced apart by grooves having a width and the ratio of the height of the ribs to the width of the grooves is from 6:1 to 2:1.

8. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pillow is generally rectangular in shape and has spaced apart opposed longitudinally extending edges and spaced apart opposed edges extending transversely between the longitudinally extending edges and the ribs are provided over at least 75 percent of the one of the top surface and bottom surface.

9. The pillow as claimed in claim 8, wherein the ribs are provided over at least 90 percent of the one of the top surface and bottom surface.

10. The pillow as claimed in claim 8, wherein the ribs positioned adjacent the longitudinally extending edges extend upwardly at an angle to the vertical.

11. The pillow as claimed in claim 10, wherein the pillow has a center and the ribs positioned adjacent the centre extend vertically upwardly.

12. The pillow as claimed in claim 11, wherein the ribs positioned adjacent the longitudinally extending edges extend upwardly at an angle of from 30° to 0° to the vertical.

13. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein the lateral sides of the uncut core have a thickness and the center of the uncut core has a thickness and the ratio of the thickness of the lateral sides to the thickness of the center is from 3:1 to 1.5:1.

14. The pillow as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pillow is a single continuous piece of foam.

15. The method of using a pillow comprising a foam body having a width, a length having a longitudinal axis, a top surface, a bottom surface and an uncut core having a center and lateral sides wherein the lateral sides are thicker than the centre, at least one of the top surface and bottom surface having a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs provided on the centre and the lateral sides of the uncut core, the method comprising orienting the pillow such that, in use, the grooves and ribs are oriented to extend generally transverse to a user's spine.

16. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising forming the pillow using viscoelastic foam.

17. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising configuring the ribs such that when pressure is applied, at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

18. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising configuring the ribs such that when pressure is applied, at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and when deflected, at least 50% of the height of a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

19. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising configuring the ribs such that when pressure is applied, at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and when deflected, at least 75% of the height of a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

20. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising producing the ribs and grooves by cutting the pillow such that the ribs have a height and adjacent ribs are spaced apart by grooves having a width and the ratio of the height of the ribs to the width of the grooves is from 6:1 to 2:1.

21. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising providing the ribs and grooves over at least 75 percent of the one of the top surface and bottom surface.

22. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising providing the ribs and grooves over at least 90 percent of the one of the top surface and bottom surface.

23. The method as claimed in claim 15, further comprising forming the ribs that are positioned adjacent the longitudinally extending edges to extend upwardly at an angle to the vertical.

24. The method as claimed in claim 23, wherein the pillow has a center and the method further comprises forming the ribs positioned adjacent the centre to extend vertically upwardly.

25. The method as claimed in claim 24, further comprising forming the ribs positioned adjacent the longitudinally extending edges extend upwardly at an angle of from 30° to 90° to the vertical.

26. The method as claimed in claim 15, wherein the lateral sides of the uncut core have a thickness and the center of the uncut core has a thickness and the method further comprises providing a pillow wherein the ratio of the thickness of the lateral sides to the thickness of the center is from 3:1 to 1.5:1.

27. The method as claimed in claim 15 further comprising forming the pillow is from a single continuous piece of foam.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This application relates to a pillow that has parallel extending grooves and ribs. Preferably, the grooves and ribs extend along the length of the pillow having a longitudinal axis and/or the pillow is made of viscoelastic foam.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Pillows are commonly used to support the head of a user while in the supine position. Many different types of pillows are known. Typically, pillows are made from polyurethane foam. Alternately, pillows have been made from viscoelastic foam (see for example in U.S. Pat. No. 7,082,633). In addition, it has been suggested to construct pillows from a combination of different foams.

Pillows having shallow grooves extending along the width of a pillow are also known (see U.S. Pat. No. D325,839).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the instant invention, a pillow, preferably a viscoelastic or memory foam pillow, is provided having a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs that, in use, extend transversely to the spine of a user and are provided on the pillow at locations that, in use, support the head of a use and the neck of a user. Accordingly, when a user places their head on the pillow, the ribs under the back of the head of the user and under the neck. Preferably, the ribs directly under the head and neck will tend to be deformed (compressed) while ribs positioned forwards and rearwards thereof will tend to be deflected from the vertical and folded over to overlie adjacent ribs. An advantage of this design is that a solid foam pillow may be provided that has increased compression (i.e. softness) for the neck as well as the head. Traditionally, pillows are generally oval in cross section. If such a pillow is made from foam, then a user may put stress on their neck trying to position their head at a comfortable height on the pillow. The use of ribs permits the pillow to be more easily deformable at the locations on which the head and neck rest, while forming the pillow from material having a uniform density. The use of an uncut core having increased thickness at the location of the neck (i.e. the lateral side) permits the pillow to firmly support the neck of a user. Further, the use of a thinner uncut core at the location of the head permits the head to be at a more natural position that follows the curve of the spine. If the centre of a pillow is too firm, then when a person is on their back, the head will be elevated and the correct cervical curve will not be achieved. By providing ribs having different depths, different softness (i.e., effective density) may be provided at different parts of the pillow.

In a preferred embodiment, the pillow has a width and a length having a longitudinal axis (i.e. the longitudinal axis extends lengthwise) wherein the length is longer than the width and the length is positioned in use such that the length extends in the direction of the width of a bed. In this orientation, the plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs extend generally parallel to the longitudinal axis. The pillow has a top surface and a bottom surface, with at least one of the top surface and the bottom surface having a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis.

Accordingly, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, there is provided a pillow comprising a foam body having a width, a length having a longitudinal axis, a top surface, a bottom surface and an uncut core having a center and lateral sides wherein the lateral sides are thicker than the centre, at least one of the top surface and bottom surface having a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis and provided on the centre and the lateral sides of the uncut core.

In one embodiment, the top surface and the bottom surface of the pillow both have a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis.

In another embodiment, the ribs of the pillow are of a sufficient height such that when a pressure is applied at least some of the ribs are deflected towards the horizontal and a first rib will overlie in adjacent second rib.

In another embodiment, when the first rib is deflected, at least 50% of the height of the first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

In another embodiment, when the first rib is deflected, at least 75% of the height of the first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

In another embodiment, the ribs of the pillow have a height and adjacent ribs are spaced apart by grooves having a width. The ratio of the height of the ribs to the width of the grooves is from 6:1 to 2:1.

In another embodiment, the pillow is generally rectangular in shape.

In another embodiment, the pillow is generally rectangular in shape and has spaced apart, opposed longitudinally extending edges and spaced apart, opposed edges extending transversely between the longitudinally extending edges.

In another embodiment, the pillow is generally rectangular in shape and the ribs are provided over at least 75 percent of at least one of the top surface and the bottom surface.

In another embodiment, the pillow is generally rectangular in shape and the ribs are provided over at least 90 percent of at least one of the top surface and the bottom surface.

In another embodiment, the ribs positioned adjacent to the longitudinally extending edges extend upwardly at an angle to the vertical.

In another embodiment, the ribs positioned adjacent to the longitudinally extending edges extend upwardly at an angle of from 0° to 30° to the vertical.

In another embodiment, the pillow has a center and the ribs positioned adjacent to the center extend vertically upward.

In another embodiment, the lateral sides of the uncut core have a thickness and the center of the uncut core has a thickness and the ratio of the thickness of the lateral sides to the thickness of the center is from 3:1 to 1.5:1.

In another embodiment, the pillow is a single continuous piece of viscoelastic foam.

In accordance with another aspect of this invention, there is provided a method of using a pillow comprising a foam body having a width, a length having a longitudinal axis, a top surface, a bottom surface and an uncut core having a center and lateral sides wherein the lateral sides are thicker than the centre, at least one of the top surface and bottom surface having a plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs provided on the centre and the lateral sides of the uncut core, the method comprising orienting the pillow such that, in use, the grooves and ribs are oriented to extend generally transverse to a user's spine.

In one embodiment, the method further comprises forming the pillow using viscoelastic foam.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises configuring the ribs such that when pressure is applied, at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises configuring the ribs such that when pressure is applied, at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and when deflected, at least 50% of the height of a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises configuring the ribs such that when pressure is applied, at least some of the ribs will be deflected towards the horizontal and when deflected, at least 75% of the height of a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises producing the ribs and grooves by cutting the pillow such that the ribs have a height and adjacent ribs are spaced apart by grooves having a width and the ratio of the height of the ribs to the width of the grooves is from 6:1 to 2:1.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises providing the ribs and grooves over at least 75 percent of the one of the top surface and bottom surface.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises providing the ribs and grooves over at least 90 percent of the one of the top surface and bottom surface.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises forming the ribs that are positioned adjacent the longitudinally extending edges to extend upwardly at an angle to the vertical.

In another embodiment, the pillow has a center and the method further comprises forming the ribs positioned adjacent the centre to extend vertically upwardly.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises forming the ribs positioned adjacent the longitudinally extending edges extend upwardly at an angle of from 0° to 30° to the vertical.

In another embodiment, the lateral sides of the uncut core have a thickness and the center of the uncut core has a thickness and the method further comprises providing a pillow wherein the ratio of the thickness of the lateral sides to the thickness of the center is from 3:1 to 1.5:1.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises forming the pillow is from a single continuous piece of foam.

It will be appreciated that various optional features or preferred embodiments may be used in any particular combination or sub-combination of features.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other advantages of the instant invention will be more fully and completely understood in conjunction with the following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a first embodiment of a pillow according to the instant invention;

FIG. 2 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section along line 4-4 in FIG. 3; and,

FIG. 5 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 exemplifying the deformation and folding of the ribs when a user's head is placed on the pillow.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an aspect of this invention, pillow 10 comprises a plurality of generally parallel grooves 12 and ribs 14 that are oriented to extend transverse to a spine of a user when in use and to be positioned under the neck and head of a user, as exemplified in FIG. 5. Accordingly, it will be understood that pillow 10 is oriented such that grooves 12 and ribs 14 extend in the general direction of the width of a bed on which pillow is placed.

FIG. 1 exemplifies a top perspective view of pillow 10. As shown, pillow 10 has a plurality of generally parallel grooves 12 and ribs 14. The pillow 10 has a width 16 and a length 18. The length has a longitudinal axis 20. Preferably, the ratio of the length of pillow 10 to the width of pillow 10 is from 1:1 to 2:1, preferably from 1.5:1 to 1:1, and more preferably about 1.3 to 1.

As shown in FIG. 1, the plurality of generally parallel grooves 12 and ribs 14 extend generally parallel to the longitudinal axis 20. It will be appreciated that grooves 12 and ribs 14 may extend at an angle to longitudinal axis 20. Grooves 12 and ribs 14 extend at an angle (the included angle between the longitudinal axis and the axis of the ribs) from 0° to 60° to longitudinal axis 20, preferably from 0° to 45°, more preferably from 0° to 30° and most preferably about 0° (i.e., parallel to longitudinal axis 20).

The pillow also has a top surface 22 and a bottom surface 24. The pillow also has spaced apart, opposed longitudinally extending edges 26 and spaced apart, opposed edges 28 extending transversely between the longitudinally extending edges 26. It will be appreciated that one of top surface 22 and a bottom surface 24 may be provided with ribs 14. As exemplified in the particularly preferred embodiment of FIG. 2, bottom surface 24 is also provided with a plurality of generally parallel grooves 12 and ribs 14. It will be appreciated that, in many designs, the top and bottom surfaces of a pillow are identical and grooves 12 and ribs 14 may be provided on either or both such surfaces.

The top surface 22 and the bottom surface 24 have a center 30 where the ribs 32 positioned adjacent to center 30 extend generally vertically upward. For example, ribs 32 may extend upwardly at an angle (the included angle a between the vertical and the ribs) of from 60° to 0° to the vertical, preferably from 45° to 0°, more preferably from 30° to 0°, and most preferably about 0°. The pillow also has ribs 34 which are positioned adjacent to the longitudinally extending edges 26 that extend upwardly at an angle to the vertical. Ribs 34 may extend upwardly at an angle from the vertical of from 0° to 75°, preferably from 0° to 45°, more preferably, from 0° to 30°, and most preferably about 15°.

As seen best in FIG. 2, the ribs 14 have a height and are spaced apart by grooves 12 and the ratio of the height of the ribs 14 to the width of the grooves 12 may be from 6:1 to 1:1, preferably from 5:1 to 1.5:1 and most preferably from 4:1 to 2:1. The height H of the ribs may be from 0.5 to 3, preferably from 0.5 to 4 and, more preferably from 1 to 2 inches. The width W of the grooves at the uncut core may be from 0.25 to 0.5, preferably from 0.25 to 1 and, more preferably from 0.25 to 0.75 inches. See FIG. 4. It will be appreciated that in a particularly preferred embodiment each groove has the same or essentially the same width W and that the height of the ribs is selected such that the centre of the pillow has a uniform height and that the longitudinally extending edges 26 are rounded.

As shown in FIG. 3, a side view of the pillow shows the longitudinal axis 20 and the spaced apart, opposed edges 28 extending transversely between the longitudinally extending edges 26.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the pillow taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3 and shows the uncut core 36 of the pillow. The uncut or solid core of the pillow has a center 38 and lateral sides 40. As seen in FIG. 4, the lateral sides 40 of the core (i.e., the front and the back) are thicker than the center 38 of the uncut core. The thicker lateral sides 40 provide support for the neck and may follow the natural curve of the spine (see FIG. 5). The lateral sides 40 of the uncut core 36 has a thickness T2 and the center 38 of the uncut core 36 has a thickness T1 and the ratio of the thickness of the lateral sides 40 to the thickness of the center 38 may be from 4:1 to 1:1, preferably from 3:1 to 1.75:1 and, more preferably from 3:1 to 1.5:1. The thickness T1 may be from 2 to 1, preferably from 1.5 to 1 and, more preferably from 1.6 to 1.4 inches. The thickness T2 may be from 4 to 1, preferably from 3.5 to 2 and, more preferably from 3 to 2.5 inches. Accordingly, the pillow may be oval in cross-section (as are traditional pillows) and the centre of the pillow may have a thickness (i.e., from the exterior of the ribs on the bottom surface to the exterior of the ribs on the upper surface) of 3-6, preferably 4-6 and more preferably about 5.5 inches.

As seen best in FIG. 1, the pillow of the invention is generally rectangular in shape. However, it will be appreciated that the pillow may be other shapes, such as square or oval.

As seen in FIG. 1, the ribs are provided over the entirety of a surface of the pillow. However, it will be appreciated that the ribs need not extend across the entire length of the pillow. For example they may be provided under the head and neck. Further, the ribs need not be continuous. For example, there may be discontinuities such that the ribs extend like a broken or stippled line. Preferably, at least one of top surface 22 and bottom surface 24 is provided with the plurality of generally parallel grooves and ribs covering at least 75 percent of the surface, more preferably at least 90 percent and most preferably all or essentially all of the surface.

The ribs and grooves may be formed in any manner known in the art. For example, the ribs and grooves may be formed integrally with the pillow (e.g., a mold for a pillow may be provided with the rib pattern). Alternately, or in addition, the grooves may be cut into a formed pillow thereby producing the ribs. It will be appreciated that ribs 14 preferably have linearly extending sidewalls 46 (see FIG. 2). However, in an alternate embodiment, sidewalls 46 may be curved or of any other shape.

FIG. 5 exemplifies the pillow in use and supporting a user's head 42 and neck 44. When the user's head 42 exerts a pressure upon the ribs 14, such as vertically extending ribs 32 that are positioned adjacent to the center of the top surface 30, some of the ribs 32 are deflected frontwardly and rearwardly towards the horizontal such that a first rib 14a will overlie a portion of an adjacent second rib 14b. When deflected, preferably at least 50 percent of the height of a first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib. More preferably, at least 75 percent of the height of the first rib will overlie an adjacent second rib.

FIG. 5 also exemplifies the contour of the uncut core 36 with center 38 and lateral ends 40. The pillow is preferably positioned such that a user's neck 44 is supported by a thicker lateral end 40 of the uncut core 36, while the user's head 42 sinks into the thinner center 38 of the uncut core 36. The contour of the uncut core 36 preferably follows the natural contour of the user's neck and head, which allows for the head 42 to be supported following the natural curve of the neck when the pillow is used. The provision of the uncut core provides firm support while the ribs provide a region of reduced effective density and therefore, increased softness or give.

The pillow of the invention is preferably made of viscoelastic foam. Preferably, the pillow is made of a single continuous piece of foam, which is preferably viscoelastic foam.

It will be appreciated that various modifications and changes may be made to the pillow and each is within the scope of the following claims.