Title:
COMPACT AND SAFE CHILD CARRYING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for assisting an adult in shoulder-carrying a child is provided, wherein the apparatus has a first cuff for clasping a first ankle of the child, second cuff for clasping the second ankle of the child, and a belt in selective engagement with the first and second cuffs, wherein the belt wraps around the back and under the arms of the adult for substantially hands-free carrying of the child on the shoulders. The first and second cuffs are removable from the belt, and selectively clasp the first and second ankles of the child by respective first and second fastening members, such as Velcro, snaps, and buckles. The first and second fastening members, in one example, generally prohibit fastening to one another when not fastened to the belt. A self-contained carrier is further provided, wherein carrier is configured to contain the first and second cuffs and belt for portability.



Inventors:
Long, Christopher J. (Willoughby, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/367102
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
02/06/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D13/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WAGGENSPACK, ADAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eschweiler & Potashnik, LLC (Cleveland, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for assisting an adult in shoulder-carrying a child, the apparatus comprising: a first cuff comprising a first strap and a first cuff fastening member, wherein the first cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the first strap, and wherein the first strap is configured to encircle and selectively clasp a first ankle of the child; a second cuff comprising a second strap and a second cuff fastening member, wherein the second cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the second strap, and wherein the second strap is configured to encircle and selectively clasp a second ankle of the child; and a belt having a first end and a second end, wherein the belt is configured to wrap around the back and under the arms of the adult, wherein the belt further comprises: a third strap; a belt length adjustment member, wherein the belt length adjustment member generally determines a length of the belt between the first end and the second end thereof via a selective engagement between the belt length adjustment member and the third strap; a first belt fastening member in selective mating engagement with the first cuff fastening member, wherein the first belt fastening member is operably coupled to the first end of the belt; and a second belt fastening member in selective mating engagement with the second cuff fastening member, wherein the second belt fastening member is operably coupled to the second end of the belt.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first cuff further comprises a first cuff length adjustment member, wherein the first cuff length adjustment member generally determines a length of the first cuff via a selective engagement between the first cuff length adjustment member and the first strap, and wherein the second cuff further comprises a second cuff length adjustment member, wherein the second cuff length adjustment member generally determines a length of the second cuff via a selective engagement between the second cuff length adjustment member and the second strap.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first cuff length adjustment member and second cuff length adjustment member comprise a respective Velcro bands coupled to opposing sides of the respective first strap and second strap.

4. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first cuff length adjustment member and second cuff length adjustment member respectively comprise one or more of a plurality of snaps, and a buckle.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first cuff and the second cuff further each comprise a cuff pad member respectively operably coupled to at least a portion of the first strap and second strap, wherein the cuff pad member generally provides a cushion between the respective first ankle and strap and the second ankle and second strap.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the belt further comprises belt pad member operably coupled to the third strap, wherein the belt pad member generally provides a cushion between the third strap and the back of the adult.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a carrier member operably coupled to the belt, wherein the carrier member is configured to selectively enclose the first cuff, second cuff, and belt therein.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the carrier member comprises a fabric flap operably coupled to the belt, wherein the fabric flap comprises a first closure member and a second closure member operably coupled to opposing ends thereof, wherein the fabric flap is configured to be folded upon itself, wherein the first closure member and second closure member selectively couple to one another, therein generally encasing the first cuff, second cuff, and belt within the fabric flap.

9. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the carrier member comprises a case detachably coupled to the belt, wherein the case comprises an closure member, and wherein the closure member generally secures the first cuff, second cuff, and belt within the case.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the closure member comprises a zipper, drawstring, snap, or biased material operably coupled to the case.

11. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the carrier member comprises a clasp member operably coupled thereto.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the clasp member comprises a caribiner or a hasp.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first cuff fastening member and first belt fastening member generally define a first quick-release buckle having mating male and female ends, and wherein the second cuff fastening member and second belt fastening member generally define a second quick-release buckle having mating male and female ends.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the first cuff fastening member and second cuff fastening member do not mate with one another, therein generally prohibiting a direct coupling of the first cuff to the second cuff.

15. An child-carrying apparatus, comprising: a first cuff; a second cuff; a belt having a first end and a second end; a first quick-release buckle operably coupled to the first cuff and the first end of the belt, wherein the first quick-release buckle provides selective coupling of the first cuff to the belt via a mating engagement of male and female components thereof; a second quick-release buckle operably coupled to the second cuff and the second end of the belt, wherein the second quick-release buckle provides selective coupling of the second cuff to the belt via a mating engagement of male and female components thereof; and a compact carrier member, wherein the compact carrier member is configured to selectively enclose the first cuff, second cuff, belt, first quick-release buckle, and second quick-release buckle.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the first cuff comprises a first strap and a first cuff fastening member operably coupled to the first strap, wherein the first strap is configured to encircle and selectively clasp a first ankle of a child, and wherein the second cuff comprises a second strap and a second cuff fastening member operably coupled to the second strap, and wherein the second strap is configured to encircle and selectively clasp a second ankle of the child, and wherein the belt further comprises a third strap, a belt length adjustment member, a first belt fastening member in selective mating engagement with the first cuff fastening member, and a second belt fastening member in selective mating engagement with the second cuff fastening member, wherein the belt length adjustment member generally determines a length of the belt between the first end and the second end thereof via a selective engagement between the belt length adjustment member and the third strap, wherein the first belt fastening member is operably coupled to the first end of the belt, and wherein the second belt fastening member is operably coupled to the second end of the belt.

17. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the compact carrier member comprises a case operably coupled to the belt, wherein the case comprises an closure member, and wherein the closure member generally secures at least the first cuff, second cuff, and belt within the case.

18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the compact carrier member further comprises a clasp member operably coupled thereto.

19. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the one or more of the first cuff, second cuff, belt, and compact carrier member comprise an insignia operably coupled thereto.

20. A method for carrying a child on the shoulders of an adult, the method comprising: placing a child on the shoulders of the adult in a seated position, wherein the buttocks of the child rest on the shoulders of the adult and the legs of the child extend around the neck of the adult and toward the chest of the adult; placing a first cuff around a first ankle of the child; placing a second cuff around a second ankle of the child; coupling a first end of a belt to the first cuff; wrapping the belt around the back of the adult; and coupling a second end of the belt to the second cuff, wherein the first and second ankles of the child are generally confined from forward motion via the coupling of the first and second cuffs to the belt.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/027,163 which was filed Feb. 8, 2008, entitled, Compact Child Safety And Convenience Belt, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally child restraint systems, and more particularly, to an apparatus for safely shoulder-carrying a child in a substantially hands-free manner.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Carrying a child on ones shoulders has been practiced throughout history.

Conventionally, carrying a child on the shoulders has often required the holding of the child's ankles by the carrier's hands, wherein the child is stabilized and generally prevented from falling backwards. Moderately complicated framed carrying devices have also been used, wherein the child is placed in the framed carrying device and the carrying apparatus is fitted on the carrier's back or shoulders. Such conventional framed carrying devices are often heavy, cumbersome, and not easily portable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of the present invention in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of the invention nor delineate the scope of the invention. Its purpose is to present some concepts of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

The present invention is generally directed toward an apparatus for assisting an adult in shoulder-carrying a child, wherein the apparatus safely secures the ankles of the child in front of the adult, while being portable enough such that the entire apparatus can be stowed and carried almost anywhere when not in use in carrying a child. The apparatus provides freedom to the adult to use his or her hands and arms to perform normal tasks and movements, while still carrying the child, without jeopardizing the safety of the child.

In accordance with the invention, a first cuff and a second cuff are provided for securing first and second ankles of a child, such as a toddler. The first cuff, for example, comprises a first strap and a first cuff fastening member, wherein the first cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the first strap, and wherein the first strap is configured to encircle and selectively clasp a first ankle of the child. The second cuff, for example, comprises a second strap and a second cuff fastening member, wherein the second cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the second strap, and wherein the second strap is configured to encircle and selectively clasp a second ankle of the child. A belt is further provided, wherein the belt is configured to wrap around the back and under the arms of the adult who is to shoulder-carry the child. The belt has a first end and a second end associated therewith, wherein a first belt fastening member is operably coupled to the first end of the belt, and wherein the second belt fastening member is in selective mating engagement with the first cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the second end of the belt.

The first belt fastening member, for example, is configured to selectively mate and engage with the first cuff fastening member, and the second belt fastening member is configured to selectively mate and engage with the second cuff fastening member. In one example, the first belt fastening member and first cuff fastening member generally define a first quick-release buckle, and the second belt fastening member and second cuff fastening member generally define a second quick-release buckle. Accordingly, the first quick-release buckle and second quick-release buckle can be easily engaged and disengaged using a single hand of the adult, while the other hand can be used to stabilize the child the adult's shoulders. Further, in accordance with another example, the first cuff fastening member and second cuff fastening member are configured to generally prohibit a direct connection or coupling of the first cuff to the second cuff.

According to one exemplary aspect, the belt further comprises a third strap and a belt length adjustment member, wherein the belt length adjustment member generally determines a length of the belt between the first end and the second end thereof via a selective engagement between the belt length adjustment member and the third strap.

In accordance with another exemplary aspect of the invention, the apparatus further comprises a carrier member operably coupled to the belt, wherein the carrier member is configured to selectively enclose the first cuff, second cuff, and belt therein. In one example, the carrier member comprises a fabric flap operably coupled to the belt, wherein the fabric flap comprises a first closure member and a second closure member operably coupled to opposing ends thereof. The fabric flap is further configured to be folded upon itself, wherein the first closure member and second closure member selectively couple to one another, therein generally encasing the first cuff, second cuff, and belt within the fabric flap.

The carrier member, in another example, comprises a case that detachably coupled to the belt. The case, for example, comprises a closure member, and wherein the closure member generally secures the first cuff, second cuff, and belt within the case. In accordance with yet another example, a clasp member is operably coupled to one or more of the carrier member and the belt, wherein the clasp member is configured to selectively couple the case and/or belt to a personal object such as a pants belt loop, a purse, or other object. The clasp member, for example, comprises a caribiner or a hasp, wherein the child carrying apparatus is secured to the personal object when the child is not being carried on the shoulders of the adult. Thus, the child carrying apparatus can be stowed or carried conveniently with minimal hassle or consideration of space for stowage.

To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the invention comprises the features hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims. The following description and the annexed drawings set forth in detail certain illustrative embodiments of the invention. These embodiments are indicative, however, of a few of the various ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed. Other objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a child carrier device in accordance with one exemplary aspect of the invention.

FIGS. 2A-2B illustrate the apparatus of FIG. 1 being utilized to shoulder-carry a child in accordance with another exemplary aspect of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary carrier member according to yet another aspect of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates another exemplary carrier member according to still another aspect of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a method for shoulder-carrying a child in accordance with an exemplary aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed generally toward an apparatus and method for assisting a first person, such as an adult, in carrying another person, such as a child, in a forward-facing seated position on the shoulders of the first person. When in use for shoulder-carrying the second person, the apparatus safely secures legs, ankles, or feet of the second person in front of the first person. When not in use in carrying the second person, the apparatus is highly portable can be stowed and carried almost anywhere.

Accordingly, the present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals may be used to refer to like elements throughout. It should be understood that the description of these aspects are merely illustrative and that they should not be interpreted in a limiting sense. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be evident to one skilled in the art, however, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details.

Referring now to the Figures, FIG. 1 illustrates a child-carrying apparatus 100 in accordance with one exemplary aspect of the invention. The apparatus 100, for example, comprises a first cuff 102, a second cuff 104, and a belt 106, wherein the first and second cuffs and the belt are configured to selective secure respective first and second ankles of a child, such as a toddler, when being shoulder-carried, as will be further discussed infra. The first cuff 102 of FIG. 1, for example, comprises a first strap 108 and a first cuff fastening member 110, wherein the first cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the first strap, such as by being sewn to a first webbing 112, or otherwise coupled to the first cuff. The second cuff 104, for example, comprises a second strap 114 and a second cuff fastening member 116, wherein the second cuff fastening member is operably coupled to the second strap, such as by being sewn to a second webbing 118. The first and second webbing 112 and 118, for example, may be alternatively heat welded to the respective first and second strap 108 and 114. In another alternative, the first cuff fastening member 110 and second cuff fastening member 116 are coupled directly to the respective first strap 108 and second strap 114.

According to another aspect, the belt 106, for example, comprises a third strap 120, wherein a first belt fastening member 122 is operably coupled to a first end 124 of the belt, and wherein a second belt fastening member 126 is operably coupled to a second end 128 of the belt. In accordance with the invention, the first belt fastening member 122 is configured to be in selective mating engagement with the first cuff fastening member 110, and the second belt fastening member 126 is configured to be in selective mating engagement with the second cuff fastening member 116. For example, the first belt fastening member 122 and first cuff fastening member 110 generally define a first quick-release buckle 130, and the second belt fastening member 126 and second cuff fastening member 116 generally define a second quick-release buckle 132. The first quick-release buckle 130 and second quick-release buckle 132, for example, are comprised of plastic or other lightweight, yet durable material, having mating male and female ends. Accordingly, the first quick-release buckle 130 and second quick-release buckle 132, for example, are configured to be easily engaged and disengaged (e.g., clasped and unclasped) using a single hand of a user of the apparatus. Such a single-handed engagement and disengagement generally frees the other hand of the user to be used otherwise, such as in stabilizing the child the adult's shoulders during fitting of the apparatus 100. Alternative first and second quick-release buckles 130 and 132 are also contemplated, such as Velcro fasteners (not shown), or any other fastener operable to selectively secure the first and second cuffs 102 and 104 to the belt 106, and all such alternatives are contemplated as falling within the scope of the present invention. One or more of the first strap 108, second strap 114, and third strap 120, for example, are comprised of a flexible, yet strong, non-stretching material, such as a natural or synthetic webbing. For example, the first strap 108, second strap 114, and third strap 120 are comprised of a nylon or synthetic strapping.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the first cuff fastening member 110 (the male end of the first quick-release buckle 130) is further configured to mate with the second cuff fastening member 116 (the female end of the second quick-release buckle 132), wherein the first cuff 102 can be directly coupled to the second cuff 104. Such an arrangement can provide an alternative use of the first and second cuffs 102 and 104 without the belt 106, wherein the first and second cuffs may be operably coupled to a respective wrist of a first and second person (not shown).

It may be preferred, however, to generally prohibit the first cuff 102 from being coupled directly to the second cuff 104 (e.g., such as for reasons of safety from tripping, etc.). In such a case, the first cuff fastening member 110 and second cuff member 116 can be configured to comprise similar, non-mating ends (e.g., both female ends). Alternatively, differing sizes or configurations between the first quick-release buckle 130 and second quick-release buckle 132 can be provided, wherein a mating between the first cuff fastening member 110 and second cuff fastening member 116 is generally prohibited.

In accordance with another exemplary aspect of the invention, the first cuff 102 further comprises a first cuff length adjustment member 134, wherein the first cuff length adjustment member generally determines a length of the first cuff via a selective engagement between the first cuff length adjustment member and the first strap 108. Likewise, the second cuff 104 further comprises a second cuff length adjustment member 136, wherein the second cuff length adjustment member generally determines a length of the second cuff via a selective engagement between the second cuff length adjustment member and the second strap 114. The first cuff length adjustment member 1 34 and second cuff length adjustment member 136, for example, comprise respective Velcro bands 138A, 138B and 140A, 140B coupled to opposing sides of the respective first strap and second strap 108 and 114. Alternatively or in addition, the first cuff length adjustment member 134 and second cuff length adjustment member 136 respectively comprise one or more of a plurality of snaps, and a buckle (not shown), wherein the first and second cuff length adjustment members respectively control a length (e.g., circumference) of the respective first cuff 102 and second cuff 104. Accordingly, the first cuff length adjustment member 134 and second cuff length adjustment member 136 are configured to generally provide a comfortable, yet snug engagement of a first ankle 142 and second ankle 144 of a child 146, as illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2B.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the first cuff 102 and the second cuff 104, for example, each further comprise a first cuff pad member 148 and a second cuff pad member 150 respectively operably coupled to at least a portion of the first strap 108 and second strap 114. The first and second cuff pad member 148 and 150, for example, are comprised of Neoprene or other cushioning material, and generally provide a cushion between the respective first ankle 142 and first strap 108 and the second ankle 144 and the second strap 114 for comfort of the child 146 of FIGS. 2A-2B. In another exemplary aspect, the belt 106 further comprises belt pad member (not shown) operably coupled to the third strap 120, wherein the belt pad member generally provides a cushion between the third strap and the back 152 of the adult 154. The belt pad member, for example, may be comprised of similar material as the first and second cuff pad members 148 and 150.

Referring again to FIG. 1, according to another exemplary aspect, the belt 106 further comprises a belt length adjustment member 156 operably coupled to the third strap 120, wherein the belt length adjustment member generally determines a length of the belt between the first end 124 and the second end 128 thereof via a selective engagement between the belt length adjustment member and the third strap. Thus, the length of the belt 106, for example, can be controlled based on a size of the adult 154 and a desired position of the first and second ankles 142 and 144 of the child 146.

Again, as illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2B, the belt 106 is configured to wrap around the back 152 and under the arms 156 of the adult 154 for shoulder-carrying the child 146 when the child is in a seated position. Therefore, when the child 146 is sitting on the shoulders 158 of the adult 154, the first and second cuffs 102 and 104 are secured around the ankles 142,144 or lower portion of child's legs. The belt 106, being operably coupled to the first and second cuffs 102 and 104, thus provides a forward end of travel point for the child's legs, thus securing the child from falling backwards off of the shoulders 158 of the adult 154. Such a security of the child 146 thus provides the adult 154 with freedom to use their arms 156 and hands to perform normal tasks and movements, while not jeopardizing the safety of the child.

In accordance with yet another exemplary aspect of the invention, the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 further comprises a carrier member 160, as illustrated in FIG. 3. The carrier member 160, for example, is selectively operably coupled to the belt 106 of FIG. 1, wherein the carrier member is configured to selectively enclose the first cuff 102, second cuff 104, and belt 106 therein. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the carrier member 160 comprises a case 162 detachably coupled to the belt 106 of FIG. 1, via a clasp member 164, such as a caribiner or a hasp, operably coupled thereto. The clasp member 164, for example, is configured to selectively couple the carrier member 160 and/or belt 106 to a personal object such as a pants belt loop, a purse, or other object when the child is not being carried on the shoulders of the adult via the apparatus 100. Thus, the child carrying apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 can be stowed or carried conveniently with minimal hassle or consideration of space for stowage. As further illustrated in FIG. 3, the case 162 further comprises an closure member 166, and wherein the closure member generally secures the first cuff, second cuff, and belt (not shown) within the case. The closure member 166, for example, comprises one or more of a zipper, drawstring, snap, or biased material operably coupled to the case 162.

According to yet another exemplary aspect, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the carrier member 160 comprises a fabric flap 168 operably coupled to the belt 106, wherein the fabric flap comprises a first closure member 170A and a second closure member 170B operably coupled to opposing ends 172A, 172B of the fabric flap. Accordingly, the fabric flap 168 is configured to be folded upon itself, wherein the first and second closure members 170A, 170B selectively couple to one another, therein generally encasing the first cuff 102, second cuff 104, and belt 106 of FIG. 1 within the fabric flap. The first and second closure members 170A, 170B, for example, comprise one or more of Velcro, snap(s), or other device capable of selectively fastening together opposing ends 172A, 172B of the fabric flap 168.

In accordance with yet another exemplary aspect, one or more of the first cuff 102, second cuff 104, belt 106, and carrier member 160 of FIGS. 1, 3, and 4 comprise an insignia 176 (as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4) operably coupled thereto. The insignia 176, for example, comprises any indicia desired, such as a logo, owner's name, advertisement, or other indicia. The insignia 176, for example, can be screen printed, embroidered, or otherwise affixed to the carrier member 160.

According to still another exemplary aspect of the present invention, FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary method 200 for carrying a child on the shoulders of an adult utilizing the apparatus of the present invention. While exemplary methods are illustrated and described herein as a series of acts or events, it will be appreciated that the present invention is not limited by the illustrated ordering of such acts or events, as some steps may occur in different orders and/or concurrently with other steps apart from that shown and described herein, in accordance with the invention. In addition, not all illustrated steps may be required to implement a methodology in accordance with the present invention. Moreover, it will be appreciated that the methods may be implemented in association with the systems illustrated and described herein as well as in association with other systems not illustrated.

The method 200 begins with act 205, wherein a child is placed on the shoulders of the adult in a seated position. The buttocks of the child, for example, rest on the shoulders of the adult and the legs of the child extend around the neck of the adult and toward the chest of the adult. In act 210, a first cuff is placed and secured around a first ankle of the child, and in act 215, a second cuff is placed and secured around a second ankle of the child. It should be noted that acts 210 and 215 can be performed while the child is either on or off the shoulders of the adult, and that the child may continue to wear the first and second cuffs when not being carried on the shoulders of the adult.

In act 220, a first end of a belt is coupled to the first cuff. In act 225, the belt is wrapped around the back of the adult, and in act 230, a second end of the belt is coupled to the second cuff. Thus, upon coupling the first and second ends of the belt to the first and second cuffs, the first and second ankles of the child are generally confined from forward motion via the relationship of the first and second cuffs and the belt to the adult and ankles of the child.

Therefore, the apparatus of the present invention provides both security to the child, as well as convenience to the adult. Further, since the apparatus of the present invention is configured to be compact and easily carried in a small case or pouch worn on a waist belt, or as an alternative, carried in a purse or other enclosure, the apparatus can be conveniently brought to and used at parades, fairs, amusement parks, tourist locations, or anywhere a child would benefit from a higher view point, or an adult would benefit from an easy mode of transporting a child.

Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to a certain preferred embodiment or embodiments, it is obvious that equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art upon the reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. In particular regard to the various functions performed by the above described components (assemblies, devices, etc.), the terms (including a reference to a “means”) used to describe such components are intended to correspond, unless otherwise indicated, to any component which performs the specified function of the described component (i.e., that is functionally equivalent), even though not structurally equivalent to the disclosed structure which performs the function in the herein illustrated exemplary embodiments of the invention. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention may have been disclosed with respect to only one of several embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of the other embodiments as may be desired and advantageous for any given or particular application. Furthermore, to the extent that the terms “includes”, “having”, “has”, “with”, or variants thereof are used in either the detailed description or the claims, such terms are intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term “comprising.” Also, the term “exemplary”, as utilized herein, simply denotes an illustrative example or instance, and not necessarily a preferred embodiment, unless otherwise indicated.