Title:
Glove with memory foam inserts
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A glove that can be used as a conventional glove, or, alternatively, if the glove is to be used for special purposes, can be modified to include shaped articles comprising yieldably deformable, shaped-inserts of different configuration constructed from foamed cushion material having a memory. These shaped articles can be selectively inserted into strategically located, internal pockets formed internally and externally of the glove. When the shaped-inserts are in position within the pockets of the glove, they provide protection to the hand, provide superior tactile perception and also tend to substantially replicate the surface features exhibited by the device being gripped by the user.



Inventors:
Van Hale, Gregory (Glendale, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/075663
Publication Date:
09/17/2009
Filing Date:
03/13/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/159, 2/163, 2/167, 2/169
International Classes:
A41D19/00; A41D19/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080201828Protective garment for sporting activitiesAugust, 2008Kanavage
20080222803Children's BagSeptember, 2008Korshamn
20080276343Draped garment with pocketsNovember, 2008Bruvelis
20040221367Flushable mitt for pick up and disposal of dog wasteNovember, 2004Darrow
20090183295SPORT GLOVESJuly, 2009Rhee
20020088044Self-sizing sun visorJuly, 2002Lee
20060005298Headwear using a sheet adhering to aluminum bitsJanuary, 2006Kim
20050229293Athletic support garmentOctober, 2005Miller
20080196144Surgical headpieceAugust, 2008Ruiz
20010034892Smooth on hosiery glovesNovember, 2001Ferdig
20040244092Glove having back with improved direct embroideryDecember, 2004Peil



Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James E. Brunton (Fallbrook, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A glove construction comprising: (a) a hand covering including a hand-receiving chamber and an article-gripping surface; and (b) a plurality of spaced-apart, insert-receiving pockets connected to said hand covering for removably receiving shaped articles comprising yieldably deformable shaped-inserts constructed from foamed-cushion material having a memory.

2. The glove construction as defined in claim 1 in which said yieldably deformable, foamed-cushion material comprises resilient, foamed polyurethane.

3. The glove construction as defined in claim 1 in which said article-gripping surface comprises a fabric.

4. The glove construction as defined in claim 1 in which said article-gripping surface comprises leather.

5. The glove construction as defined in claim 1 in which said article-gripping surface comprises canvas.

6. The glove construction as defined in claim 1 in which said article-gripping surface comprises a composite material.

7. The glove construction as defined in claim 1 in which said insert-receiving pockets are constructed from a yieldably deformable material so as to be collapsible and expandable.

8. A glove construction for covering a user's hand including the thumb, fingers comprising: (a) a hand covering having an inner surface and an outer surface and including a thumb-receiving portion, an index-finger-receiving portion, a back portion and a palm portion for covering at least the thumb, the index finger, the back and palm portions of the user; (b) a thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to said thumb-receiving portion of said hand covering for removably receiving an elongated, yieldably deformable thumb protecting shaped-insert constructed from foamed cushion material having a memory; (c) an index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to said index-finger-receiving portion of said hand covering for removably receiving an index finger protecting elongated, yieldably deformable, shaped-insert constructed from foamed cushion material having a memory; (d) a palm protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to said palm portion of said hand covering for removably receiving a yieldably deformable palm protecting shaped-insert constructed from foamed-cushion material having a memory; and (e) a back protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to said palm portion of said hand covering for removably receiving a yieldably deformable back protecting shaped-insert constructed from foamed-cushion material having a memory, including the index finger and palm portions thereof.

9. The glove construction as defined in claim 8 in which said yieldably deformable, foamed-cushion material comprises resilient, foamed polyurethane.

10. The glove construction as defined in claim 9 in which said insert-receiving pockets are constructed from a yieldably deformable material so as to be collapsible and expandable.

11. The glove construction as defined in claim 10 in which said thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket, said index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket insert and said palm protecting insert-receiving pocket are connected to the inner surface of said hand covering.

12. The glove construction as defined in claim 10 in which said thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket, said index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket insert and said back protecting insert-receiving pocket are connected to the outer surface of said hand covering.

13. The glove construction as defined in claim 10 in which said article-gripping surface comprises a fabric material.

14. A glove construction for covering a user's hand including the thumb, fingers, including the index finger and palm portions thereof, comprising: (a) a hand covering including a thumb-receiving chamber, an index-finger-receiving chamber and a palm chamber disposed proximate a yieldably deformable article-gripping surface covering at least the thumb, the index finger and palm portions of the user; (b) a first insert-receiving pocket formed within said thumb-receiving chamber for removably receiving an elongated, yieldably deformable first shaped-insert constructed from a resilient, foamed polyurethane material having a memory; (c) a second insert-receiving pocket formed within said index-finger-receiving chamber for removably receiving a second elongated, yieldably deformable shaped-insert constructed from a foamed polyurethane material having a memory; and (d) a third insert-receiving pocket formed within said palm chamber for removably receiving a yieldably deformable third shaped-insert constructed from a foamed polyurethane material having a memory.

15. The glove construction as defined in claim 14 in which said first, second and third insert-receiving pockets are constructed from a yieldably deformable material so as to be collapsible and expandable.

16. The glove construction as defined in claim 15 in which said first and second shaped-inserts are generally semi-circular in cross section.

17. The glove construction as defined in claim 16 in which said third shaped-insert is generally rectangular in cross section.

18. The glove construction as defined in claim 17 in which said article-gripping surface comprises a latex material.

19. A method of making a glove for covering a user's hand that comprises a hand covering having an inner surface and an outer surface and including a thumb portion and an index-finger portion; a thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to the inner surface of the hand covering; a thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to the outer surface of the hand covering; an index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to the inner surface of the hand covering; and an index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to the outer surface of the hand covering; said method comprising the steps of: (a) selecting from a plurality of elongated, yieldably deformable thumb protecting cushioning inserts a thumb protecting cushioning insert; (b) inserting said selected thumb protecting cushioning insert into a selected one of said thumb protecting insert-receiving pockets; (c) selecting from a plurality of elongated, yieldably deformable index-finger protecting cushioning inserts an index-finger protecting cushioning insert; and (d) inserting said selected index-finger protecting cushioning insert into a selected one out of said index-finger protecting insert-receiving pockets.

20. The method as defined in claim 19 in which said hand covering further includes a palm portion and a back portion, a palm protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to the inner surface of the palm portion of the hand covering; and a back protecting insert-receiving pocket connected to the outer surface of the back portion of the hand covering and in which said method comprises the further steps of inserting a palm protecting cushioning insert into the palm protecting insert-receiving pocket and inserting a back protecting cushioning insert into the back protecting insert-receiving pocket.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to gloves. More particularly, the invention concerns a novel glove construction which includes a hand covering, including a hand-receiving chamber and an article-gripping surface and a plurality of spaced-apart, insert-receiving pockets connected to the hand covering for removably receiving strategically shaped inserts constructed from a foamed-cushion material having a memory.

2. Discussion of the Prior Art

A number of gloves of various constructions are readily commercially available and include work gloves, dress gloves, driving gloves, gloves worn for warmth and athletic gloves for use in carrying out various sporting activities. As a general rule, gloves, such as work gloves, driving gloves and athletic gloves are worn to protect the user's hands from injury. A common drawback of all of these types of gloves is the loss of tactile perception to a greater or lesser degree. For example, when heavy work gloves are used, the surface characteristics of the article being gripped is severely masked by the glove. If lighter work gloves are used, the cushioning effect found in the heavier work gloves is substantially diminished. It is this latter problem that the present invention seeks to overcome by providing a glove that exhibits substantial cushioning while at the same time providing a high degree of tactile perception.

As will be better understood from the discussion that follows, the glove of the invention is easy to don and can be used as a conventional glove, or alternatively, especially shaped inserts constructed from foamed-cushion material having a memory can be selectively inserted into strategically located insert-receiving pockets formed within the glove. The shaped-inserts, when in position within the internal pockets substantially replicate the surface features exhibited by the device being gripped by the user.

As disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 7,037,110 issued to the present inventor, the cushion material used in the present invention to construct the shaped-inserts was successfully used in a different application. More particularly, the material was used as a protective barrier that could be removably fitted over a dental instrument to generally replicate the ergonomic features found on the outer surface of the dental instrument. The barrier was constructed from two mating half portions that include interior chambers and was adapted for placement over and in proximate contact with at least a portion of the outer surface of a dental instrument. The interior chambers of each half portion uniquely contain a yieldably deformable cushion-like elastomer such as polyurethane foam.

The material was also used in an application disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,721,960 issued to Levesque, et al. As disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,721,960 issued to Levesque, et al., the cushioning material was also used as padding in a batting glove. More particularly, the batting glove disclosed in Levesque, et al., includes a base portion and a protective portion attached to the interior of the base portion and located between the base portion and a wearer's hand. The protective portion includes a cushioning material that attenuates impact forces and dampens vibrations associated with hitting a baseball or softball with a bat. As discussed in column 3 of the Levesque, et al., patent, starting at line 48, the cushioning material is securely attached to the interior base portion of the glove as by sewing. Nowhere does Levesque, et al., disclose or remotely suggest the novel cushion material selectability and removability features of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a glove that is easy to don and can, if desired be used as a conventional glove. Alternatively, shaped articles comprising yieldably deformable, shaped-inserts of different configuration constructed from foamed-cushion material having a memory can be selectively inserted into strategically located, internal and external pockets or compartments interconnected with the hand covering portion of the glove. When the shaped-inserts are in position within the internal pockets of the gloves they tend to substantially replicate the surface features exhibited by the device being gripped by the user. When the shaped inserts are in position within the external pockets of the glove they provide substantial protection against external impact to the user's hands.

Another object of the invention is to provide a multi-purpose glove construction of the character described in the preceding paragraph in which the user can select inserts of different sizes and configurations for insertion into the insert-receiving pockets, which inserts are best suited for the task to be performed. The user can elect to use the gloves of the invention with the variously configured inserts in the internal pockets, in the external pockets, or alternatively, in both the internal and external pockets simultaneously.

Another object of the invention is to provide a multi-purpose glove construction as described in the preceding paragraph which is highly versatile in use and can be selectively adapted to perform various tasks that require a high degree of tactile perception.

Another object of the invention is to provide a glove construction of the character described that is lightweight, durable and comfortable to wear.

Another object of the invention is to provide a glove construction that can be inexpensively fabricated in quantity using well-known fabrication techniques.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a generally perspective, exploded view of one form of the glove construction of the present invention illustrating the positioning of strategically located insert-receiving pockets within the interior of the glove.

FIG. 2 is a generally perspective, exploded view, similar to FIG. 1, illustrating the strategically configured, yieldably deformable inserts that are constructed from foamed-cushion material having a memory and are removably receivable within the strategically located, insert-receiving pockets formed within the interior of the glove.

FIG. 3 is a generally perspective, exploded view, similar to FIG. 2, illustrating the uniquely configured, yieldably deformable inserts in position within the strategically located, insert-receiving pockets formed within the interior of the glove.

FIG. 4 is a greatly enlarged, cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a greatly enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of one form of the resiliently deformable, polyurethane foam or like material that is used to construct the strategically shaped inserts or cushioning components of the glove.

FIG. 7 is a generally diagrammatic view illustrating the deformation of the cushioning component as a result the downward force being imposed on the cushioning component.

FIG. 8 is a generally diagrammatic view, similar to FIG. 7, but showing release of the downward force imposed on the cushioning component.

FIG. 9 is a generally diagrammatic view, similar to FIG. 8, showing automatic recovery of the cushioning material to its original configuration following removal of the downward force imposed on the cushioning material.

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view, similar to FIG. 9, showing the cushioning component having returned to its original configuration.

FIG. 11 is a generally perspective, diagrammatic view illustrating one form of the glove of the invention being used in connection with the operation of a micrometer.

FIG. 12 is a generally perspective, diagrammatic view illustrating an alternate form of the glove of the invention being used in connection with the operation of a conventional screwdriver.

FIG. 13 is a generally perspective view of an alternate form of the glove construction of the present invention, partly broken away to illustrate the positioning of strategically located inserts and insert-receiving pockets located exteriorly of the glove.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, one form of the glove construction of the present invention is there shown. The basic glove, which is designated in FIG. 1 by the numeral 14, here comprises a hand covering 16 that includes an inner surface 16a, an outer surface 16b and article-gripping surface 18. The basic glove shown in FIG. 1 is adapted to cover a user's hand including the thumb, the fingers, including the index finger and palm portions thereof. The hand covering 16 here comprises a thumb-receiving chamber 22, an index-finger-receiving chamber 24 and a palm chamber 26 each of which is disposed internally of the basic glove. Article-gripping surface 18 can be constructed from numerous pliable materials, including fabrics; knits; thin, soft leather; thin canvas and various types of composite material. For certain specialized applications, gripping surface 18 can also be constructed from a latex material.

Provided within the thumb-receiving chamber 22 and connected to the inner surface 16a of the hand covering 16 is a thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket 28 for removably receiving a selected one of a plurality of elongated, yieldably deformable, thumb-shaped-inserts, such is thumb protecting inserts 30 and 30a, that are generally semi-circular in cross section and are uniquely constructed from resilient, foamed polyurethane material having a memory (see FIGS. 2 and 3). As indicated in FIG. 2 of the drawings, insert 30 has a thickness “T”, while insert 30a has a lesser thickness “T−1”.

In similar manner, provided within the index-finger-receiving chamber 24 and connected to the inner surface 16a of the hand covering 16 is a index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket 32 for removably receiving a selected one of a plurality of elongated, yieldably deformable, index-finger protecting-inserts, such as inserts 34 and 34a, that are generally semi-circular in cross section and are uniquely constructed from a resilient, foamed polyurethane material having a memory (see FIGS. 2 and 3). As indicated in FIG. 2 of the drawings, insert 34 has a thickness “T−2”, while insert 34a has a lesser thickness “T−3”.

Provided within the palm chamber 26 and connected to the inner surface 16a of the hand covering 16 is a palm protecting insert-receiving pocket 36 for removably receiving a yieldably deformable, palm protecting shaped-insert 38 that is generally rectangular in cross section and is uniquely constructed from a resilient, foamed polyurethane material having a memory (see FIGS. 2 and 3).

In order that the basic glove can be used in a conventional manner, the insert-receiving pockets 22, 32 and 36 are constructed from a yieldably deformable material, such as a suitable fabric, a thin plastic, or like pliable material so as to be readily collapsible and expandable. More particularly, when the glove is used in the conventional manner, the insert-receiving pockets are constructed and arranged so that they will collapse into a generally flattened condition and will generally conform to the shape of the user's hand. Conversely, when the glove is modified to permit its use in the performance of tasks that require a high degree of tactile perception, the insert-receiving pockets 22, 32 and 36 are constructed and arranged so that they will readily expand to receive and removably contain the inserts 30, 34 and 38 respectively (see FIGS. 3 and 4).

In one form of the method of the present invention the user can select, instead of elongated, yieldably deformable shaped-insert 30 for insertion into insert-receiving pocket 28, an elongated yieldably deformable shaped-insert 30a that is of a different size and configuration that would be better suited for carrying out the task at hand (FIG. 2).

Similarly, the user can select instead of elongated, yieldably deformable shaped-insert 34, an elongated yieldably deformable shaped-insert 34a for insertion into the insert-receiving pocket 32 that is of a different size and configuration that would be better suited for carrying out the task at hand (FIG. 2).

The yieldably deformable cushion material from which the inserts 30, 34, 38, 30a and 34a are formed can comprise various types of resilient, foamed elastomers of a character well known to those skilled in the art. However, for present purposes, the yieldably deformable, cushion material preferably comprises resilient foamed polyurethane. The resilient foamed elastomer, such as foamed polyurethane, can readily be molded-to-shape or cut-to-shape to fit within the insert-receiving pockets 22, 32 and 36 respectively. As will be discussed in greater detail hereinafter, the foamed polyurethane, of the character used to form the cushioning component of the glove, has a unique capability of automatically returning to its original configuration after having been deformed.

Gloves of the construction illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawings can advantageously be used to grip numerous articles such as various types of hand tools including hammers, chisels, screwdrivers as well as various types of electrically powered tools such saws, drills, planers and the like.

As illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, the novel gloves of the present invention not only enable the user to securely grip the tool, but also provide a highly effective protective cushion for the user's palm and fingers. More particularly, as best seen in FIG. 12 of the drawings, the unique cushioning material, which overlays the thumb, index finger and palm of the glove, yieldably deforms in a manner to closely conform to the gripping surfaces formed on the tool, thereby enabling the user to tactilely perceive and securely grip the tool.

Because the shaped-inserts 30, 34, 30a and 34a are generally semi-circular in cross section, they can be closely received within insert pockets 28 and 32 in a manner illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings and can, thusly, be positioned to permit substantially improved tactical perception between the thumb and index finger of the user so as to enable precise manipulation of articles such as a micrometer “M” (see FIG. 11). As illustrated in FIG. 11, the cushioning material contained within insert-receiving pockets 22 and 32 not only enables the user to securely grip the tool between the palm and forefingers, but also provides an effective protective cushion to the user's hand and fingers.

Similarly, the strategically shaped palm insert 38 can be closely received within insert compartment 36 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings and can thusly be positioned to permit substantially improved tactical perception by the user while gripping an article such as a screwdriver “S” in the manner shown in FIG. 12 of the drawings. More particularly, as illustrated in FIG. 12, because the inserts 30, 34 and 38 deform in a manner so as to substantially replicate the surface features exhibited by the device being gripped by the user, in this case the screwdriver handle “H”, the user's ability to securely grip the handle is substantially improved. Once again, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the cushioning material contained within the interior chamber 20 not only enables the user to securely grip the article between the palm and forefingers, but also provides an effective protective cushion to the user's hand and fingers.

Referring next to FIGS. 6 through 10, these Figures illustrate the memory characteristic of the cushioning material from which the inserts are constructed that is the unique capability of the material to automatically return to its original configuration after having been deformed. FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of the cushioning material as it appears when encapsulated within an insert pocket. FIG. 7 illustrates a downward force being exerted on the cushioning material in the direction of the arrow tending to inwardly deform material. FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7, but showing removal of the downward force by upward movement of the thumb in the direction of the arrow of FIG. 8. The small arrows in FIG. 9 demonstrate the memory capability of the material and depict the automatic return of the cushioning material to its original configuration as shown in FIG. 10.

Because of the unique deformation capability of the cushioning material, when the user grips an object such as the screwdriver illustrated in FIG. 12, the cushioning material will deform in the manner shown in FIG. 7 to precisely conform to the surface characteristics of the handle “H” of the screwdriver, and at the same time provide a protective cushion to the hand of the user. When the user releases the screwdriver, the cushioning material will automatically expand in the manner shown in FIG. 9 and will return to its starting configuration, that is, the configuration of the material that existed prior to the user gripping the screwdriver.

Referring now to FIG. 13 of the drawings an alternate form of the glove construction of the present invention is there shown. This alternate form of glove construction is similar in some respects to that shown in FIGS. 1 through 5 of the drawings and here comprises a hand covering 40 that is somewhat similar to hand covering 16 and has an inner surface 40a and an outer surface 40b. As before, the basic glove shown in FIG. 13 is adapted to cover a user's hand including the thumb, the fingers, including the index finger, the back and the palm portions thereof. The hand covering 40 here comprises a thumb receiving portion 42, an index finger receiving portion 44, a back portion 45 and a palm portion 46. Hand the covering 40 can be constructed from numerous pliable materials, including fabrics, knits, thin, soft leather, thin canvas and various types of composite material. For certain specialized applications, the covering can also be constructed from a latex material.

Unlike the earlier described embodiment of the invention, certain of the insert pockets for receiving variously shaped a cushioned inserts of the invention, rather than being provided interiorly of the glove, are provided on the exterior of the glove in the manner illustrated in FIG. 13 of the drawings and are connected to the outer surface 40b of the hand covering 40. More particularly, provided proximate the thumb receiving portion 42 of the hand covering is a thumb protecting insert-receiving pocket 48 for removably receiving a selected one of a plurality of elongated, yieldably deformable shaped inserts, such as the earlier described inserts 30 and 30a that are generally semicircular and cross-section and are uniquely constructed from resilient, foamed polyurethane material having a memory (see FIGS. 2 and 3).

In similar manner, provided proximate the index finger receiving portion 44 of the hand covering and connected to the outer surface 40b of the hand covering is an index finger protecting insert-receiving pocket 52 for removably receiving a selected one of a plurality of elongated, yieldably deformable inserts, such as the previously described inserts 34 and 34a that are also generally semicircular and cross-section and are also uniquely constructed from resilient, a foamed polyurethane material having a memory (see FIGS. 2 and 3).

Provided proximate the back portion 45 of the hand covering and connected to the outer surface thereof is a back protecting insert-receiving pocket 54 for removably receiving a yieldably deformable shaped insert, such as the previously described palm insert 38, that is generally rectangular in cross-section and is also uniquely constructed from resilient, a foamed polyurethane material having a memory (see FIGS. 2 and 3).

As in the previously described embodiment of the invention, in order that the basic glove can be used in a conventional manner, the insert-receiving pockets 48, 52 and 54 are constructed from a yieldably deformable material, such as a suitable fabric, a thin plastic, or like pliable material so as to be readily collapsible and expandable. More particularly, when the glove is used in the conventional manner, the insert-receiving pockets are constructed and arranged so that they will collapse into a generally flattened condition and will generally conform to the shape of the exterior of the user's hand. Conversely, when the glove is modified to permit its use in the performance of tasks that require protection from impact to the back of the hand and the outside of the fingers, the insert-receiving pockets 48, 52 and 54 are constructed and arranged so that they will readily expand to selectively receive and removably contain the protecting inserts 30, 30a, 34, 34a and 38 respectively.

By way of example, the modified gloves of the alternate form of the invention as described in the preceding paragraphs, are ideally suited for use by skiers in performing slalom type races to protect the hands from impact against the marker poles. Similarly, the modified gloves are extremely useful in protecting the hands from impact by various objects during construction work and during the performance of similar activities.

As before, the user can select yieldably deformable shaped inserts of various configurations for insertion into the various insert-receiving pockets. Once again, the yieldably deformable cushion material from which the inserts are constructed preferably comprises resilient foamed polyurethane that can readily be molded to shape or cut to shape to fit within the insert-receiving pockets 48, 52 and 54 respectively.

When the shaped-inserts are in position within the internal pockets of the gloves they tend to substantially replicate the surface features exhibited by the device being gripped by the user. Alternatively, when the shaped inserts are in position within the external pockets of the glove they provide substantial protection against external impact to the user's hands. As in the earlier described embodiment of the invention, the user can select inserts of different sizes and configurations for insertion into the internal and external insert-receiving pockets. More particularly, the user can elect to use the gloves of the invention with the variously configured inserts in the internal pockets, in the external pockets, or alternatively, in both the internal and external pockets simultaneously.

Having now described the invention in detail in accordance with the requirements of the patent statutes, those skilled in this art will have no difficulty in making changes and modifications in the individual parts or their relative assembly in order to meet specific requirements or conditions. Such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention, as set forth in the following claims.