Title:
FASHION COVERS FOR MEDICAL/EMERGENCY ALERT DEVICES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Many people with disabilities—especially, but not limited to, the elderly—wear battery operated emergency/medical alert devices on their persons. This invention envisions Interchangeable covers, or “shells,” designed to attach to, fit over, or fit around, such medical/emergency alert devices. In addition to providing additional protection against damage, these shells will also disguise said devices, giving them a more fashionable appearance. Thus, the wearer of said device with a fashion cover shell may feel less stigmatized about needing to wear said device and be more apt to keep it on.



Inventors:
Asla, Terryl M. (Newton, KS, US)
Application Number:
12/437430
Publication Date:
12/31/2009
Filing Date:
05/07/2009
Assignee:
Asla, Terryl Mitchell (Newton, KS, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ORTIZ, RAFAEL ALFREDO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TERRYL M. ASLA (NEWTON, KS, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. (See drawing 7 for example.) A protective mask adopted to be coupled with a medical alert device, the protective mask comprising: a shell formed to slide like a sheath over said medical alert device; said protective mask can have holes in it as needed to allow the wearer access to any buttons on said medical alert device; said shell could be all one material, or half of it could be made of a hard material and the sides or back made of nylon or other flexible material said flexible material would allow the shell to slide over the device and then hold it in place.

2. (See drawing 1 for example.) The protective mask of claim 1, except instead of the protective mask being one solid piece, it is split into a front and back faceplate; both faceplates are shaped to fit over the shape of said medical alert device so that in the closed position the two faceplates form a shell hugging the device securely inside of the faceplates; said two faceplates are joined by a hinge thus forming a clamshell;

3. Same as claim 2, additionally, said hinge incorporates tension into the hinge to keep said clamshell in the closed position.

4. Same as claim 2, except the clamshell is held closed with some form of male peg into female opening, or tongue and groove.

5. Same as claim 2, except the clamshell is held closed by Magnets.

6. Same as claim 2, except the shell is held closed with Velcro.

7. Same as claim 2, except the shell is held shut with any means of hooks, snaps, clamps, or the equivalent.

8. Same as any of the claims listed in 1-7, additionally, any holes in said protective mask have been covered with some form of plastic membrane to prevent moisture from getting to said medical alert device.

9. Same as any of claims 1-7, except any holes in the protective mask has plunger buttons; Said plunger buttons correspond to any buttons on said medical alert device so that pressing a plunger button will press a button on said medical alert device.

10. (See drawings 3 and 4). Two faceplates are used to create a shell as described in claim 2, except no hinge is used, instead the two faceplates interlock with any means of clasps, or some form of male pegs into female openings, or tongue and groove, or Magnets, or Velcro, or any form of hooks, snaps, clamps, or the equivalent.

11. (See drawing 5 and drawing 6 for examples of single face plates.) The same as claim 10 except only one faceplate is used, and said Faceplate has one or more clips that grasp said medical alert device thus securing said faceplate to said medical alert device.

12. Same as claim 11, except the medical alert device has been designed with said clips part of said medical alert device, said clips grasp said face plate and hold said face plate securely.

13. Same as claim 11, except the method for attaching said face plate is by using a male peg to female opening, the face plate has one or more male pegs, and the medical alert device has been reshaped with female one or more female openings to accommodate the male pegs.

14. Same as claim 11, except the method for attaching said face plate is by using a male to peg to female opening, the face plate has one or more female openings and the medical alert device has been reshaped with one or more male pegs that insert into said female openings.

15. (See drawing 5 for example). The same as claim 11, except the method for attaching said faceplate to said medical alert device is tongue and groove. That would allow for the faceplate to hold on to the device by means of tongue and groove.

16. Same as claim 11, except the faceplate is held to the device with Velcro, magnets, tape, or other equivalent adhesive means.

Description:

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Interchangeable covers, or “shells,” designed to attach to, fit over, or fit around, medical/emergency alert devices. In addition to providing additional protection against damage, these shells will also disguise said devices, giving them a more fashionable appearance. Thus, the wearer of said device with a fashion cover shell may feel less stigmatized about needing to wear said device and be more apt to keep it on. The Medical Alert Device will be referred to hereafter simply as “said device.” The fashion cover will hereafter be referred to as the “shell.”

RELEVANT FIELD/STATE OF THE ART

Many people with disabilities—especially, but not limited to, the elderly—wear battery operated emergency/medical alert devices on their persons. The present invention relates to a protective shell for said devices.

Said battery operated devices have a button, or buttons, the user can push the event of an emergency. (Most people are familiar with the “Help, I've fallen and I can't get up” commercial for one such device.) When the user pushes the button, said device automatically sends a radio signal to a nearby base station attached to a phone line which, in turn, automatically dials emergency services or a first responder. Said devices save lives every year while making it possible for their users to continue living independently.

Said devices go by many names, the most common being “emergency alert device” or “medical alert device.” However, they are marketed by other names, e.g., “medical alert for seniors,” “medical alarm pendant,” “personal alert device,” “personal emergency alarm,” “personal emergency response device,” “personal emergency medical devices,” “medical emergency alarm,” “medical emergency alarm,” “senior alert help button,” alert button for seniors, “personal senior monitor pendant,” medical alert and emergency response system pendant,” and “telemergency alert device.”

Commonly, said devices are designed to be worn like a necklace or strapped to one of the user's arms or legs. However, other methods of attachment are possible.

Unfortunately, the plastic outer case of said device can get worn or damaged over time. This can create an ill-favored appearance and even hinder said device's ability to function properly, e.g., a cracked case is no longer waterproof and the user wears it in the shower or bath, shorting out the battery. The inventor is claiming a protective/decorative shell which can be attached to fit over, or around, said device. This shell will protect said device and can also be quite decorative.

Below is a description of possible Embodiments of this shell. These Embodiments are in no way intended to limit the scope of this invention. Also, this shell is not limited to said devices just in the form of amulets and bracelets. The shell can also be designed as a brooch, tie-clip, bolo tie—any form of jewelry.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Drawing 1: illustrates a hinged fashion cover for said device.

Drawing 2: illustrates alternative hanging systems for fashion covers for said devices.

Drawing 3: illustrates a snap peg fashion cover for said device.

Drawing 4: illustrates a snap lock pressure fit fashion cover for said device.

Drawing 5: illustrates a tongue and groove fashion cover for said device.

Drawing 6: illustrates a snap-on face plate fashion cover for said device.

Drawing 7: illustrates a sheath fashion cover which can be slid over said device.

EMBODIMENTS

Embodiment # 1—Hinged fashion cover for said device. This is the preferred Embodiment. (See Drawing #1 for example.) This Embodiment has front and back shell halves, most likely made of injection molded rigid or pliable plastic, although other materials can be used, e.g., metal, wood, rubber so long as they do not hinder the ability of said device to send a radio signal the base station when the button on said device is activated. Both the front and back halves are designed to fit snugly over said device so that, in the closed position, the two parts form a shell securely protecting said device. One or both sides of the shell would have opening(s) that correspond to button(s) on said device. The front and back shells would be joined by a hinge, much like a clamshell.

It would be best if the hinge was a spring latch hinge. The following describes a spring latch hinge, and what makes it unique:

A spring latch and hinge assembly for closure members generally on containers, such as compacts for powder and other cosmetics, includes spaced hinge elements on one peripheral side of the closure or cover member and base members to permit pivotal movement of the closure or cover member from open to closed position relative the base member and resilient elements alternatively on the base member or the closure member, whose resilience is a function of the coefficient of elasticity of the materials from which the closure or cover member and base member are made; said resilient elements disposed between the spaced hinge members and constructed with a designed resistance to closing which compresses the resilient element and establishes a predetermined expansion force therein to resist opening of the closure or cover member from the closed position. The closing and opening movement of the closure member produces an audible clicking sound by the resilient elements.

Other hinges can be substituted. Or, the hinge can have a tension spring which only holds the hinge closed. It is best if the hinge is located on the bottom of the shell when in the closed position, but, it does not have to be. The hinge can also be on a side or on the top. The hinge can be on the outside of the shell or the hinge can be positioned inside the shell halves, so that in the closed position the hinge is not visible.

To use the shell, the user simply pulls the two face plates apart, creating an opening ready to receive said device. The user will then insert said device between the front and back halves, making sure the opening(s) correspond to any button(s) on said device. Then, the user closes the halves around said device. Now, the two faceplates are together, forming a shell around said device and said device has taken on the look of the shell, thus, changing the appearance to something more desirable to the user. If the user wants to change to another shell, he or show simply repeats the process, using a different shell for a different appearance.

This is the preferred Embodiment because it will be easiest to use by individuals with disabilities, e.g., limited vision, reduced strength. The shell will open and close easily, yet hold said device securely inside. It will not have any pegs, interlocking tongues and grooves, clips, or other fasteners that might be frustrating and difficult to manipulate.

Also, other said fasteners could break off, thus, shortening the useful life of the shell.

Said device can be worn in different ways. Most commonly, said device is worn on a cord, chain, or ribbon around the neck. Said device is also worn with wrist bands, belt clips, or attached to the user's clothing. The shell, as described in this Embodiment, will be designed to accommodate the way said device is worn by the user. For example, if the device is to be worn as a necklace, then the shell needs to have an opening for the cord/chain/ribbon to pass through it, or have loop(s) on the shell itself for the cord/chain/ribbon to pass through or the equivalent. (See Drawing #2 for examples of loops.) If said device is being worn as a brooch, then the shell needs to have a clip or pin on it, or an opening to accommodate the clip or pin that is already on said device. Another example: if said device is to be worn with a wrist band, the shell needs to have openings to accommodate the wrist band or have its own wrist band. Again, if said device is to be worn with a belt clip, the shell needs to accommodate the clip on said device or have its own clip.

The word “shell” is used above to describe how the Embodiment fits over said device, and is not intended to limit the outer appearance of the fashion cover. Though the inside of the shell needs to fit said device, the outside of the shell may be decorated any number of ways, with any number of fashion styles, finishes, embellishments, and/or colors. The shell may be further disguised to look like jewelry, such as a locket or cameo.

The whole point of this Embodiment is to provide the user of said device with options with regard to what the shell looks like—and for the user to be able to easily interchange shells, creating the appearance of different jewelry pieces.

The above described Embodiment can be manufactured quite easily and affordably out of plastic by means of injection molding. The parts can also be carved out of wood or made out of metal by means of molds, stamping, or other forms of metalworking known to those in the art of manufacturing. Because such materials are common, it is not necessary to list sources. One skilled in the art would know how to find and use such materials.

Embodiment #2—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the hinged shell is held closed by a clasp.

Embodiment #3—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the hinged shell is held closed with some form of male peg into female opening, or tongue and groove.

Embodiment #4—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the hinged shell is held closed with magnets.

Embodiment #5—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the hinged shell is held closed with a pressure-fit lip.

Embodiment #6—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the hinged shell is held closed with Velcro.

Embodiment #7—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the hinged shell is held shut with any other means of hooks, snaps, clamps, or the equivalent.

Embodiment #8. Same as any of the Embodiments listed in # 1-#7, but the hole(s) in the shell(s) have been covered with some form of flexible plastic membrane. As mentioned in Embodiment # 1, one, or both, of the shell halves will need hole(s) that correspond to button(s) on said device. It may sometimes be advantageous to cover these holes with a membrane, thus, making the closed shell more water resistant. This might be accomplished by making a flexible membrane which pressure fits snugly inside the shell half, similar to the membranes used on key chain fobs which unlock autos and garage doors. Exactly how this membrane attaches to either the inside or the outside of the shell will vary depending on the type of material of which the faceplate is made. Because the task of attaching such a membrane is simple and known to one skilled in the art, no further description is needed.

Embodiment #9—Same as any of the Embodiments # 1-#7, except, rather than simply having hole(s) for said device's button (s), the shell has its own plunger button(s). Said plunger button(s) corresponds to the button(s) on said device. When pushed, the shell plunger button(s) push down on said device's button(s), activating the alarm signal. How to attach these plunger button(s) will vary depending on the type of material used to manufacture the shell and the design of said device. The task of attaching said plunger buttons would be simple for a manufacturer skilled in the art of working with whatever material has been chosen for the shell. Thus, no further description is needed to explain how to add said plunger buttons.

Embodiment #10—Same as Embodiment #1, except no hinge is used. (See Drawing 3 and Drawing 4 for examples.) The two pieces interlock with any means of clasp(s), snap lock pressure fit, or some form of male peg(s) into female opening(s), or tongue and groove, or magnets, or Velcro, or any form of hooks, snaps, clamps, adhesives, or the equivalent.

Note concerning Embodiments #11, #12, #13: The following Embodiments are the same as Embodiment #10, except only one cover is used. This will create a shell on only one side of said device. (See Drawing 5.) This will still provide the function of changing the appearance of said device and it will still protect said device against unwanted scars and abrasions. In all examples of means for attaching a one-piece shell to said device, (hooks, pegs, clips, et cetera) the device or the shell could have the male part, and the device or the shell could have the corresponding female part.

Embodiment # 11—Same as Embodiment #10, except only one faceplate is used. The shell has one or more clip(s) that grasp said device, thus, securing the shell to said device. (See Drawing 5 and Drawing 6 for examples.)

Embodiment # 12—Same as Embodiment # 11, except male pegs insert into said device. (This would require redesigning of the device itself to receive the male pegs.) Or, the pegs could be on the device and insert into the faceplate.

Embodiment # 13—Same as Embodiment # 1, except said device itself has been redesigned with a groove that would allow for the shell to attach to the device by means of a tongue and groove arrangement. (See Drawing 5 for example.) The shell may be made of a rigid or a pliable material. In both cases, said device has a groove around all or part of its outer edge. The inside of the shell has a tongue which corresponds to the groove on said device. To change the shell, the tongue is guided into said groove and tension between the tongue and groove holds the shell securely in place. The user could attach the shell by either sliding or snapping the tongue into the groove, depending on the design. To remove the shell, the process is reversed.

Embodiment # 1—Same as Embodiment # 1, except the faceplate is held to the device with Velcro, magnets, adhesive tape, or other equivalent means.

Embodiment # 15-Same as Embodiment #1, except the shell takes the form of a sheath that slides over said device. (See Drawing 7 for example.) This sheath could be all one material, or half of it could be made of a hard material and the sides and/or back made of elastic or other flexible material. The flexible material would allow the shell to slide over said device and then hold it securely in place.

From the foregoing, those skilled in the art will readily understand the nature of this invention and the manner in which it achieves and realizes all of the objectives as set forth in the foregoing. Those skilled in the art will also understand how to manufacture this invention.

The foregoing disclosure is representative of preferred forms of the invention and is intended to be interpreted in an illustrative, rather than a limiting, sense.