Title:
CUSTOMIZABLE, CONVENIENT BED UNIT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable enclosure for covering a conventional mattress, supported by a frame which is removably connected to a holding member. The holding member can be four angle members having inside corners which fit under and along the sides of the mattress corners. The frame is made of flexible members which engage the holding members and is covered with a canopy which defines the enclosure above the mattress and is coextensive with an upper surface of the mattress. The canopy is connected to the frame members with removable ties. Depending upon the environment desired, a heater and/or an air conditioning unit is coupled to supply warm and/or cool air to the enclosure above the mattress. The canopy has the means for providing ingress and egress to the enclosure above the mattress, and the enclosure can contain low voltage wiring for supplying power for security, audio/video devices, etc.



Inventors:
Gururaj, Raghavendra (Norcross, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/463387
Publication Date:
11/12/2009
Filing Date:
05/09/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C21/00; A47C21/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KELLEHER, WILLIAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL RIES (Peshtigo, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bed enclosure unit for providing an enclosure over a conventional mattress comprising: support means adapted to be removably fitted to a side of the mattress; holding means for retaining said support means to the mattress; flexible frame members engaging said support means; canopy means for defining an enclosure above said mattress and being coextensive with an upper surface of the mattress; means for connecting said flexible frame members to said canopy means; heating means coupled to supply warm air to the enclosure above said mattress; and cooling means coupled to supply cool air to the enclosure above said mattress; wherein said canopy means further comprising means for providing ingress and egress to the enclosure above said mattress.

2. The bed enclosure unit of claim 1 wherein said holding means comprises elastomeric members adapted to snugly secure said support means to said mattress.

3. The bed enclosure unit of claim 1 wherein said canopy means further comprises at least one aperture adapted to provide ventilation to the interior portion of said bed enclosure unit.

4. The bed enclosure unit of clam 1 wherein said frame members further comprise a plurality of substantially vertically positioned tubular members.

5. The bed enclosure unit of claim 1 wherein said frame members comprise a plurality of vertically positioned, collapsible, segmented tubular members.

6. The bed enclosure unit of claim 5 wherein said segmented tubular members are adapted to be connected into a top unitary support member by means of sleeves that frictionally engage said segmented tubular members.

7. The bed enclosure unit of claim 1 wherein said frame members comprise internally disposed inflatable ribs.

8. The bed enclosure unit of claim 1 wherein said heating means and said cooling means is a heat pump.

9. The bed enclosure unit of claim 8 wherein said support means comprises two side members positioned at substantially right angles to each other to form a corner and a bottom member.

10. The bed enclosure unit of claim 9 wherein said two side members and said bottom member of a support means is coupled to a corner of said mattress.

11. The bed enclosure unit of claim 10 wherein said side members and said bottom member each support at least one opening for engaging an elastomeric member.

12. The bed enclosure unit of claim 11 wherein said canapé means has a window.

13. The bed enclosure unit of claim 12 wherein said window has a shade for controlling light through the window.

14. The bed enclosure unit of claim 13 further comprising at least one wire circuit for supplying low voltage to the interior of said bed enclosure.

15. The bed enclosure unit of claim 11 further comprising a sleeve attached to the inside corner of said support means.

16. The bed enclosure unit of claim 15 wherein said sleeve is provided to removably receive a bottom end of said frame member.

17. The bed enclosure unit of claim 16 further comprising a top member for removably receiving top ends of said frame members.

18. The bed enclosure unit of claim 17 wherein said heat pump is located on the outside of said enclosure.

19. The bed enclosure unit of claim 18 wherein said heat pump is coupled to said canapé with flexible hoses.

20. The bed enclosure unit of claim 19 wherein said heat pump is coupled to said canapé with at least two hoses.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/052,211 filed 11 May 2008, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to an enclosure for beds and more particularly to and enclosure adapted to be fitted over a conventional mattress. The enclosure of the invention is for indoor use and can be employed with any of several types of conventional mattresses, including, for example, innerspring mattress, foam mattresses, air mattresses, water beds, and the like. The enclosure of the invention is preferable portable, is adapted to be easily erected and collapsed by a single individual and can provide a comfortable, convenient sleeping environment for a person in the sleeping area.

2. Description of the Related Art

Portable enclosures for beds are well known, and can be used for many different purposes. Bed enclosures generally comprise one or more walls adapted to be erected in some fashion so as to create an enclosure for the user. Bed enclosures adapted for use outdoors such as tents generally comprise a floor or bottom portion adapted to maintain cleanliness inside the enclosure and to protect a user from the dampness of the underlying earth. Such enclosures are typically anchored to the earth by means of pins or spikes, and are supported by a network of interconnected poles, rods or braces. Once the user has erected such an enclosure at the intended use site, cots and/or mattresses are thereafter placed inside for use in sleeping. A variety of synthetic fibers and reinforced polymeric materials are used for making such bed enclosures.

Portable bed enclosures that are intended for indoor use are also well known. Such enclosures may or may not incorporate a floor or bottom portion. Because bed enclosures intended for indoor use cannot generally be anchored to the flooring which supports them, such enclosures typically comprise a network of frame members that define the perimeter of the bed enclosure base in addition to the frame members that are employed to maintain the upper portion of the enclosure in an upright position.

Although the enclosures referred to above have many beneficial advantages, there are numerous other deficiencies and disadvantages that have been encountered during their use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is disclosed a bed enclosure unit for providing an enclosure over a conventional mattress comprising:

support means adapted to be removably fitted to a side of the mattress;
holding means for retaining said support means to the mattress;
flexible frame members engaging said support means;
canopy means for defining an enclosure above said mattress and being coextensive with an upper surface of the mattress;
means for connecting said flexible frame members to said canopy means; heating means coupled to supply warm air to the enclosure above said mattress; and
cooling means coupled to supply cool air to the enclosure above said mattress;
wherein said canopy means further comprising means for providing ingress and egress to the enclosure above said mattress.

The foregoing has outlined, rather broadly, the preferred feature of the present invention so that those skilled in the art may better understand the detailed description of the invention that follows. Additional features of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claim of the invention.

Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they can readily use the conception and specific embodiment as a base for designing or modifying the structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention and that such other features do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description, the appended claims, and the accompanying drawings in which similar elements are given similar reference numerals.

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the bed enclosure of the invention wherein the door flaps are open to expose a portion of the interior of the bed enclosure and wherein the path of the zipper closure for the door flaps is shown in phantom;

FIG. 2 is an outside perspective view of an angle member used to anchor a frame member to a mattress;

FIG. 3 is an inside perspective view of the angle member of FIG. 2 used to anchor a frame member to a mattress;

FIG. 4 is a detailed view depicting one end of a frame member suitable for use in supporting the canopy portion of the bed enclosure in a substantially upright position;

FIG. 5 depicts a preferred frame member for use in supporting the canopy portion of the subject bed enclosure in a partially collapsed position; and

FIG. 6 shows a control console for controlling and regulating different functions within the bed enclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The portable bed enclosure disclosed can reduce the number of times a person is awakened at night because of light or temperature changes. Use of the bed enclosure can help reduce a person's electricity/utility bill for cooling or heating a person's house while trying to have a comfortable night sleep, help reduce a person's dependence on precious and limited energy resources and, at the same time, provide an environment that helps to provide an environment for a comfortable sleep. Features of the bed enclosure can be used to help avoid a need to set an alarm every day, and help to avoid the possibility of sleeping past a set time to get up. The need for a good nights sleep is very important for proper health and daytime functioning. The bed enclosure disclosed can provide an environment that is conducive to allowing a person to have a comfortable night sleep and wake up well rested and refreshed.

The features provided by the portable bed enclosure unit here disclosed will allow a person to regulate the temperature of the sleeping area with the use of a one-stop control panel; allow a person to adjust the level of light in the bed enclosure unit with the use of a one-stop control panel; allow a person to set up a wake up call at a specific time, in addition to other features.

The portable bed enclosure is a customizable bed enclosure that can be attached to beds of different sizes, that has functions for regulating light and temperature within the sleeping area of the bed enclosure for providing a restful, comfortable and convenient sleeping environment. The bed enclosure unit can have a wakeup call feature and easy entry/exit capabilities. It can include equipment for detecting any emergency situation and, when used by a person, can effectively lower overall energy/utility/electricity costs for an entire house/hotel room or any living area which has a bed.

Electrical energy which is needed by the bed enclosure unit to perform its functions can be minimal. The bed enclosure unit can be attached to an existing bed which can be of different sizes ranging from full, twin, queen, king, etc. The bed enclosure unit is portable and can be easily transported and carried to other locations where it can be attached to another bed.

The bed enclosure unit can be collapsed, folded and opened as needed.

The bed enclosure can be opened and attached to a bed to provide an enclosed area within which a person can sleep at any time of the day or night.

The bed enclosure unit can be closed by folding and/or dissembled when not in use.

The bed enclosure unit can have a shade in a side or end wall to regulate light entering the sleeping area.

The shade can be adjustable to regulate the light in the sleeping area from fully dark to some light.

The bed enclosure unit can have a control to regulate the temperature within the sleeping area.

The bed enclosure unit can have provisions for receiving fresh air within the sleeping area and for adjusting or regulating the temperature in the sleeping area from very warm to very cold, and any temperature in between.

The bed enclosure unit can have a wake up feature that can be set.

The wakeup feature can also gradually regulate light and temperature in the sleeping area as well as providing an alarm clock like function with sound, voice, music, etc. to help a person gradually wake up at a given time. This feature can be expanded to include video and other sources of stimulus.

The bed enclosure unit can have a smoke, heat, and/or a gas detector to detect an emergency condition and alert a person of a possible dangerous condition that may require immediate action.

The bed enclosure unit can have a conveniently located control panel that allows a user to control the various function described above. The control panel can be user friendly and can be controlled from within the sleeping area as will as from t outside of the sleeping area.

The bed enclosure unit can contain low voltage wiring for supplying low voltage power to the sleeping area. The low voltage power can be obtained from a transformer connected to a plug that is attached to a standard wall outlet.

The bed enclosure unit can be customized and sold to include any combination of features mentioned above and which can be expanded to include additional features such as additional security, audio/video devices etc.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, bed enclosure unit 10 preferably comprises frame members 12 adapted to be fitted over a conventional bed or cot mattress 16 and a canopy portion 14 adapted to provide a substantially upright enclosure over the mattress. The canopy portion 14 can be fabricated from conventional cotton sheeting material or the like.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the bottom ends 24 of the frame members 12 are coupled to support means such as angle members 30. See FIGS. 2 and 3. Each angle member 30 has two side members 32, a bottom member 34 and a corner 36 where the two side members meet. The angle members can be of a plastic or a metal. The lower end of the frame member 12 is securely attached to the inside corner 36 of the angle member 30. In another embodiment, the inside corner of the angle members can be secured to a sleeve that has an inside diameter slightly larger than the outside diameter of the frame member. In this embodiment, the bottom end of the frame member is removably coupled to the bottom member by sliding the bottom end of the frame member into the sleeve.

After the angle members are placed at each corner of the mattress with the bottom member 34 located under the mattress and the side members 32 on the sides of the mattress, the angle members can be tied together with elastomeric bands 38 that may or may not extend continuously around either the sides or the underside edge of the mattress. Each side member of the angle members 30 has an opening 38 and the bottom member has two openings 38. Openings 38 are provided to receive a hook located at each end of holding means such as elastomeric bands or straps 39. Although the means described for fitting the elastomeric bands or straps around the mattress 16 is a preferred means for use in the apparatus of the invention, other similarly effective means can also be employed within a scope of the invention. Thus, for example, elastomeric straps extending transversely across the bottom of the mattress so as to connect and draw together opposed angle members can also be used where desired.

After the frame members are erected, which includes removably connecting the top ends of frame members to sleeves attached to the top member 46, the lower extending perimeter of canopy portion 14 is tucked under the sides and ends of mattress 16 except for that portion of the edge of the canopy which is beneath door flaps 22 when door flaps 22 are in their closed position.

Canopy portion 14 is preferably constructed of a material having characteristics that are consistent with the intended use. Thus, where the passage of light and air through canopy portion 14 is desired, a more loosely woven fabric is desirably employed than if the intended function of canopy portion 14 is to provide more complete privacy for the user.

To resist tearing at stress areas, the canopy portion 14 may be reinforced by means of additional layers of a fabric or material that may or may not be the same as that employed as the primary material of construction for canopy portion 14. According to another embodiment of the invention, loops or pockets can also be stitched or otherwise fastened into corners on the interior side of canopy portion 14 so as to assist in maintaining the corner portions of the canopy in their desired position relative to the corners of the mattress.

It is here noted that the length of single, double, queen and king size mattress are substantially equal. Only their widths are different. Therefore, the two side panels of the canopy can have the same dimensions for all mattress and the end panels of the canopy can be sized for a specific size mattress. In the alternative, the end panels can be made for a king size mattress when the bed enclosure will be used with various size mattresses.

Canopy portion 14 further comprises means for providing ingress and egress to a user. A preferred means of ingress and egress is a zippered closure similar to that depicted in FIG. 1 of the drawings. Referring to FIG. 1, canopy portion 14 is desirably severed along edges 40, thereby creating door flaps 22. A closing device such as zipper 42 can then be attached to edges 40 of door flaps 22 to permit a user to open and close door flaps 22. Although the zipper shown in FIG. 1 is a preferred closure means for use with door flaps 22 of canopy portion 14, it will be apparent that other similarly effective closure devices including, for example, buttons, snaps, Velcro strips, ties, and the like can similarly be employed within the scope of the invention. Velcro pads 44 are provided for maintaining door flaps 22 in their open position when zipper 42 is unzipped. However, other similarly effective means including buttons, snaps, tie backs, and the like can also be employed for this purpose with the apparatus of the invention.

Canopy portion 14 preferably further comprises a plurality of apertures 44 adapted to provide ventilation to and promote air circulation through canopy portion 14. The size, number and placement of apertures 44 can vary according to the material of construction and the intended use. Where the primary material used in the construction of canopy portion 14 is loosely woven, the need for apertures 46 may be alleviated.

Referring to FIG. 1, means 48 are also preferably provided within the upper end portions the side and end panels of canopy portion 14 for use in tying the top portions of the side and end panels to top member 46. Means 48 can comprise ties that are connected to canopy portion 14 by stitching or by some other similarly effective fastening means. Means 48 may not be required where canopy portion 14 is designed and constructed as a self-supporting structure, thereby obviating the need for frame members 12, as discussed below.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, each frame member 12 is rigid enough to maintain canopy portion 14 in its desired upright position. According to the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, each frame member 12 further comprises a plurality of tubular fiberglass members 50 that are interconnected by a continuous elastomeric cord 52. Sleeves 54 preferably frictionally engage tubular members 50 to provide a substantially rigid connection between adjacent tubular members 50 whenever frame member 12 is in its extended position. Frame members 12 as shown in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5 are preferred for use in bed enclosure 10 because they are easily collapsible to a length that can be more conveniently packed or carried. Nevertheless, it is understood that flexible dowels, fiberglass rods, graphite rods, metallic rods and the like can also be used with the invention. Furthermore, where canopy portion 14 is adapted to be self-supporting, the need for frame members 12 can be entirely eliminated. Thus, all or a portion of canopy 14 can be fabricated with a double wall construction that can be inflated by air, or the like so as to make canopy portion 14 self supporting. Thus, canopy portion 14 can be constructed with pneumatically filled ribs adapted to maintain canopy portion 14 in an upright position whenever those ribs are inflated.

Returning to FIG. 1, bed enclosure unit 10 is supplied with fresh air at the proper temperature through a supply duct 60 for supplying cool or warm air and a return duct 62, each of which is selectively connected to a heat pump 64 or an air conditioning unit 66. A heat pump can be used to supply warm air and cool air, and an air conditioning unit can be used to supply only cool air. Because the heat pump and the air conditioning unit will be located in a room, provisions must be made to capture the condensate that is formed when either unit is used to provide cool air. One method is to allow the condensate to collect in a container of sufficient size and which is located under or near the cooling unit. Another method is to connect one end of a tube from the condensate outlet of the cooling unit and place the other end of the tube in a drain area such as a sink. With this method, the cooling unit should be elevated above the drain to allow condensate to drain away freely.

A control console can be attached to an inside surface of a panel of the canopy with Velcro strips and connected to a low voltage supply for controlling various functions and features noted above which may be desired by a user of the bed enclosure unit. The control console 60 can include a separate control such as a slide switch, rotatable knob or a push button to control each function, or the control console can have a display/touch screen which is adapted to separately control each function. In the alternative, switches, knobs and/or buttons that control the various functions are connected to a display screen which shows the state of each function control and, in addition to, can also be used to control each full on to off turn knobs, and/or on-off push buttons for separately controlling each of the various functions, in combination with a display/touch screen. The separate controls shown are for controlling light settings 68, video settings 70, audio settings 72, and touch screen 74.

Although a few examples of the present invention have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes might be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.