Title:
Cushioned support devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Cushions or support devices are provided that include a cushioned panel including a pair of openings therein and spaced apart from one another each for receiving a breast therein. The support devices may include a base for supporting the panel above a surface. For example, the base may include a plurality of legs extending from the panel, e.g., pivotally or removably coupled to the panel. Alternatively, the support devices may include an inflatable body. During use, the base is positioned on a support surface such that a panel of the support member is disposed above and spaced apart from the support surface, e.g., at an angle, and the user lies against the panel such that the user's breasts extend into openings in the panel.



Inventors:
Rubio, Ilse (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/218747
Publication Date:
01/21/2010
Filing Date:
07/17/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C20/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070099525Fireproof cover for spring mattressesMay, 2007Barberis Canonico
20090193584WOVEN CONTOURED BED SHEET WITH ELASTOMERIC YARNSAugust, 2009Stewart et al.
20020108174E-frame futonAugust, 2002Widly et al.
20080086819Ergonomic PillowApril, 2008Valero Pavia
20060179565Classic all in 1 musical baby bedAugust, 2006Miller
20050071924Bedding having no foot-end cornersApril, 2005Ratigan
20070204406Cushion and inflatable cushionSeptember, 2007Thisse et al.
20040133979Orthopedic table apparatusJuly, 2004Newkirk et al.
20090193590BED FOR PREVENTING BED SORESAugust, 2009Hata
20100050339MATTRESS RETAINER BUCKLEMarch, 2010Beard et al.
20050262641Face-saver sun cotDecember, 2005Maslyar



Primary Examiner:
LEE, GILBERT Y
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
llse Rubio (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A support device, comprising: a cushioned panel including a pair of openings therein and spaced apart from one another each for receiving a breast therein; and a base for supporting the panel above a surface.

2. The support device of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a plurality of legs extending from the panel.

3. The support device of claim 2, wherein the legs defines an angle relative to the panel such that the panel lies at a nonparallel angle to a surface when the legs are placed on the surface.

4. The support device of claim 1, wherein the base is foldable to reduce the size of the support device during nonuse.

5. The support device of claim 4, wherein the base comprises a pair of legs that are foldable from a supporting position transverse to the panel to a folded position generally against the panel.

6. The support device of claim 5, wherein each of the pair of legs comprises a first end pivotally coupled to the panel and a second end pivotally coupled to opposite ends of a cross member extending between the second ends of the pair of legs to enhance support of the legs in the supporting position.

7. The support device of claim 1, wherein the panel comprises a frame comprising the pair of openings therein, and cushioning material at least partially covering the frame such that the openings remain substantially open.

8. The support device of claim 7, wherein the frame comprises at least one of wood, cardboard, metal, plastic, fiberglass, and composite materials, and wherein the cushioning material comprises at least one of foam, fiber fill, and fabric.

9. The support device of claim 1, wherein the base is removable from the panel.

10. The support device of claim 9, wherein the panel comprises a lower surface and a plurality of connectors spaced apart on the lower surface, and wherein the base comprises cooperating connectors for mating with the plurality of connectors for removably coupling the base to the panel.

11. A support device for supporting a woman's chest, comprising: a cushioned panel including a pair of openings therein and spaced apart from one another each for receiving a breast therein, the cushioned panel comprising a frame defining the pair of openings and cushioning material at least partially covering the frame such that the openings remain substantially open to accommodate a breast being received therein; and a pair of legs pivotally coupled to a lower surface of the frame such that the legs are foldable from a supporting position transverse to the panel to a folded position generally against the panel.

12. The support device of claim 11, wherein each of the pair of legs comprises a first end pivotally coupled to the panel and a second end pivotally coupled to opposite ends of a planar member extending between the second ends of the pair of legs to enhance support of the legs in the supporting position.

13. A support device for supporting a woman's chest, comprising an inflatable body defining an interior and a port for delivering inflation media into the interior, the inflatable body comprising one or more panels of material such that the inflatable body is inflatable from a collapsed condition to an inflated condition in which the inflatable body defines a pair of openings spaced apart from one another each for receiving a breast therein.

14. The support device of claim 13, wherein the pair of openings are recesses in a first surface of the inflatable body, and wherein the inflatable body comprises a lower surface opposite the first surface when the inflatable body is in the inflated condition.

14. The support device of claim 13, wherein the first surface and the lower surface are substantially flat in the inflated condition.



15. The support device of claim 14, wherein the first surface and the lower surface are connected together by one or more curved side surfaces, the first, lower, and side surfaces together substantially enclosing the interior of the inflatable body.

16. The support device of claim 14, wherein a plane defined by the first surface is nonparallel to a plane defined by the lower surface in the inflated condition.

17. A method for supporting a woman's breasts away from a support surface, comprising: positioning a base of a support member on a support surface such that a panel of the support member is disposed above and spaced apart from the support surface; and lying against the panel such that the woman's breasts extend into openings in the panel.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the support surface comprises one of a bed and a floor.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the base supports the panel above the support surface at a nonparallel angle relative to the support surface.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the base comprises legs pivotally coupled to the panel in a folded position, and wherein positioning the base comprises: moving the legs to a supporting position transverse to the panel; and placing the legs on the support surface.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to cushioning devices and, more particularly, to pillows or support devices, e.g., for providing support to a user, and to methods for making and using such support devices.

BACKGROUND

Cushions or pillows have been suggested for use by a woman, i.e., that include holes or recesses therein, e.g., to accommodate and/or receive the woman's breasts. U.S. Pat. No. 3,967,335 to Rhoads, U.S. Pat. No. 6,185,768 to Schlechter, D220,823 to Howe et al., and U.S. Publication No. 2007/0089240 to Dazzi disclose various pillow or cushions.

Accordingly, cushioning and/or support devices that provide support of a woman without applying pressure to the woman's breasts would be useful.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed generally to cushioning devices and, more particularly, to pillows or support devices, e.g., for providing support to a user, and to methods for making and using such support devices.

In accordance with one embodiment, a chest support device is provided that includes a cushioned panel including a pair of openings therein and spaced apart from one another each for receiving a breast therein; and a base for supporting the panel above a surface.

In one embodiment, the base may include a plurality of legs extending from the panel, e.g., pivotally, foldably, or removably coupled to the panel. For example, the base may include a pair of legs that are foldable or movable between a supporting position transverse to the panel and a folded or collapsed position, e.g., generally against the panel. Optionally, each of the pair of legs may include a first end pivotally coupled to the panel and a second end pivotally coupled to opposite ends of a cross member extending between the second ends of the pair of legs to enhance support of the legs in the supporting position.

Alternatively, the panel may include a lower surface and a plurality of connectors spaced apart on the lower surface, and the base may include cooperating connectors for mating with the plurality of connectors for removably coupling the base to the panel.

In addition, if desired the legs may define an angle relative to the panel such that the panel lies at a nonparallel angle to a surface when the legs are placed on the surface.

In accordance with another embodiment, a chest support device is provided that includes a cushioned panel including openings therein for receiving breasts therein, and a plurality of legs pivotally coupled to a lower surface of the frame such that the legs are movable between a supporting position transverse to the panel and a folded position generally against the panel. In one embodiment, the cushioned panel may include a frame defining a pair of openings and fabric or other cushioning material at least partially covering the frame such that the openings remain substantially open to accommodate a breast being received within each opening.

In accordance with still another embodiment, a support device is provided that includes an inflatable body defining an interior and a port for delivering inflation media into the interior. The inflatable body may include one or more panels of material such that the inflatable body is expandable from a collapsed condition to an expanded condition in which the inflatable body defines a pair of openings spaced apart from one another each for receiving a breast therein.

In accordance with yet another embodiment, a method is provided for supporting a woman's breasts away from a support surface, e.g., a bed, floor, and the like, that includes positioning a base of a support member on a support surface such that a panel of the support member is disposed above and spaced apart from the support surface; and lying against the panel such that the woman's breasts extend into openings in the panel.

In one embodiment, the base may support the panel above the support surface at a nonparallel angle relative to the support surface. In addition or alternatively, the base may include legs pivotally coupled to the panel in a folded position, and positioning the base may include moving the legs from a collapsed position to a supporting position transverse to the panel.

Other aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent from consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings illustrate exemplary embodiments of the invention, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a first embodiment of a support device.

FIG. 2 is a left side view of the support device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the support device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the support device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a right side view of the support device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is another perspective view of the support device of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective views of a second embodiment of a support device including a collapsible base.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a support device.

FIGS. 10 and 11 are top and side views, respectively, of the support device of FIG. 9.

FIG. 12 is a top view of a fourth embodiment of a support device.

FIG. 13 is a side view of the support device of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Turning to the drawings, FIGS. 1-6 show a first exemplary embodiment of a support device or cushion 10 that generally includes an elongated cushioned panel 12 including openings 14 for receiving breasts of a person lying against the support device 10, and a base 20 for supporting the base 12 above a surface, such as a bed, floor, and the like (not shown).

The panel 12 may include a frame or other support structure 16 having the openings 14 therethrough and cushioning material 18 at least partially covering the frame 16. For example, the frame 16 may be a substantially planar member, e.g., having a rectangular or other elongated shape, including an upper surface 16a, a lower surface 16b, and side surfaces 16c extending between ends 16d of the frame 16. The frame 16 may be made from a variety of materials, e.g., wood, cardboard, metal, plastic, fiberglass, composite materials, and the like, having sufficient rigidity to maintain a substantially planar shape when a user lies against the panel 12 during use. Alternatively, the frame 16 may have a concave or other curved shape, e.g., to accommodate generally the shape of a chest of a user lying against the upper surface 16a of the frame 16.

The cushioning material 18 may also be made from a variety of materials, e.g., foam, fiber fill, fabric, and the like, that is substantially conformable and/or resilient. As used herein, “conformable” means that the cushioning material is sufficiently flexible to yield when a user lies against the panel 12 to conform to the user's shape while providing comfort, yet is sufficiently resilient to expand and/or return substantially to its original shape when the user no longer lies against the panel 12. For example, the cushioning material 18 may include a core of foam or other fill material (not shown) adjacent at least the upper surface 16a, side surfaces 16c, and ends 16d, and a layer of fabric, textile, or other material over the layer of foam to provide a cover over the core. Optionally, the core may be attached to the frame 16, e.g., by bonding with adhesive to the desired surface(s) or may simply be contained within the layer of fabric. One or more sheets or panels of fabric may extend around the foam and frame 16, e.g., stitched together, to substantially encase the foam and/or frame 16 within the cover. Optionally, the cover may include a desired pattern or images, e.g., to provide a desired aesthetic appearance for the support device 10.

The cushioning material 18 may have a substantially uniform thickness on at least the upper surface 16a, as shown. Alternatively, the cushioning material 18 may have a variable thickness at different regions around the frame 16, e.g., between the ends 16d of the frame 16. For example, the cushioning material 18 may have a greater thickness adjacent the ends 16d than at a central region of the frame 16 (not shown), e.g., to enhance conformance to a user's body, or the cushioning material 18 may have a greater thickness at the central region (also not shown), e.g., to provide additional cushioning and/or conformability at the central region.

The cushioning material 18 may extend into and/or through the openings 14, e.g., to provide cushioning between breasts of a user and the frame 16 when the breasts are received within or through the openings 14. For example, the foam or other core material may extend at least partially into or through the openings 14, e.g., from the upper surface 16a, and the fabric cover may extend through the openings 14, e.g., to be stitched or otherwise attached to the fabric on the upper and/or lower surfaces 16a, 16b of the cover.

Turning to FIGS. 2-6, the base 20 includes a plurality of legs 22 extending from the panel 12, e.g., from the lower surface 16b of the frame 16. The legs 22 may include first ends 22a coupled to the frame 16, e.g., to the lower surface 16b, and second ends 22b for placement against a support surface (not shown). As shown in FIG. 2, the legs 22 may have a trapezoidal shape, e.g., such that the first and second ends 22a, 22b define respective planes that are nonparallel to one another, e.g., that define an angle “A” therebetween. For example, the second ends 22b of the legs 22 may define a plane that intersects a plane defined by the first ends 22a and/or the panel 12, e.g., such that the angle “A” is between about 10-22 degrees. The legs 22 may be solid, as shown, or may have portions removed or may be constructed of multiple pieces attached together (not shown), e.g., to provide a webbed structure, which may reduce weight. The legs 22 may be formed from substantially rigid material, such as wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass, composite materials, and the like, which may provide a substantially rigid base 20 to support the weight of a user lying against the panel 12.

As shown, the base 20 includes two legs 22 spaced apart from one another adjacent the ends 16d of the frame 16, e.g., extending transversely relative to the side surfaces 16c, for example, substantially parallel to the ends 16d. Thus, during use, the panel 12 may lie at an angle “A” relative to a surface upon which the legs 22 are placed. Alternatively, multiple legs (not shown) may be provided at each of the ends 16d, e.g., adjacent corners where the side surfaces 16c and ends 16d meet. In this alternative, the legs may have different lengths such that second free ends of the legs lie within the plane defining the angle “A.” In addition or alternatively, one or more legs (not shown) may be provided between the ends 16d of the frame 16, e.g., at a central region of the frame 16 to enhance support of the panel 12 during use. For example, a third leg (not shown) may be provided midway between the legs 22 adjacent the ends 16d of the frame 16.

Optionally, the legs 22 may be removable, foldable, adjustable, and/or collapsible, e.g., to facilitate storage and/or portability of the support device 10. For example, the legs 22 (and any other legs, not shown) may be pivotally attached to the frame 16, e.g., by providing hinges (not shown) between the first ends 22a of the legs 22 and the lower surface 16b of the frame 16. The legs 22 may then be pivotable between a supporting position transverse to the panel 12, as shown in FIGS. 2-6, and a folded position, e.g., generally against the panel 12 (not shown). For example, the legs 22 may be pivotable away from the ends 16d of the frame 16 towards one another, e.g., such that legs 22 may be substantially flat against the lower surface 16 of the frame 16 in the folded position, which may reduce the size of the support device 10 during storage or other nonuse.

Alternatively, the legs 22 may be removably attached to the panel 12, e.g., such that the legs 22 may be removed for storage and attached to the panel 12 immediately before use. For example, the lower surface 16b of the frame 16 may include slots (not shown) into which the first ends 22a of the legs 22 may be received. In a further alternative, the lower surface 16b of the frame 16 and/or the first ends 22a of the legs 22 may include tongue and groove connectors or other cooperating connectors that may be coupled together to secure the legs in the supporting position transverse to the panel 12. Thus, the legs 22 may be removed entirely from the panel 12 during storage or other nonuse, and yet attached to the panel 12 immediately before use.

Turning to FIGS. 7 and 8, another embodiment of a support device or cushion 10′ is shown that generally includes a cushioned panel 12′ including openings 14,′ and a collapsible base 20′ for supporting the panel 12′ above a surface (not shown). Similar to the previous embodiment, the panel 12′ may include a frame or other support structure 16′ having the openings 14′ therethrough and cushioning material 18′ at least partially covering the frame 16.′ In addition, the base 20′ includes a plurality of legs 22′ extending from the panel 12,′ e.g., pivotally coupled to a lower surface of the frame 16.′ Unlike the previous embodiment, the base 20′ also includes a cross member 24′ that is coupled to the legs 22,′ e.g., to enhance stability of the support device 10′ during use. For example, the legs 22′ may include first ends 22a′ pivotally coupled to the lower surface of the frame 16,′ and second ends 22b′ pivotally coupled to ends 26′ of the cross member 24.′

When the support member 10′ is being stored or otherwise not in use, the legs 22′ may be folded into a folded position, e.g., generally against the panel 12′ as shown in FIG. 8. In the folded position, the cross member may remain substantially parallel to the panel 12,′ as shown, or may be folded into another configuration or orientation, if desired. Before use, the legs 22′ may be swung out to a supporting position transverse to the panel 12,′ as shown in FIG. 7. The cross member 22′ may move away from the panel 12′ as the legs 22′ are moved to the supporting position, yet remain substantially parallel to the panel 12′ within a plane extending between the ends 16d′ of the panel 12.′ The legs 22′ may have a trapezoidal or other shape such that the panel 12′ and cross member 22′ define an angle therebetween in a plane extending transversely between the ends 16d′ of the panel 12,′ similar to the views shown in FIG. 2. Thus, in the supporting position, the panel 12′ may be supported by the base 20′ at an angle relative the surface upon which the base 20′ is placed such that the ends 16d′ are at substantially the same height as one another while one side surface 16c′ is higher than the other.

Optionally, the support devices 10 or 10′ may include one or more locking mechanisms for securing the base 20 or 20′ in the supporting position. For example, a hook, slide, or other latch (not shown) may be provided on one or both legs 22, 22′ and/or on the lower surface of the panel 12, 12′ that may be engaged when the legs 22, 22′ are directed to the supporting position. Thus, once the locking mechanism is engaged, the legs 22, 22′ may not be moved substantially from the supporting position, which may reduce the risk of the base 20, 20′ accidentally collapsing during use. In a further option, a locking mechanism may also be provided for securing the base 20, 20′ in the folded position, if desired.

During use, the base 20, 20′ may support the panel 12, 12′ at a desired distance above 20 the support surface, e.g., above a bed, floor, and the like. When a woman lies against the panel 12, 12′ face down, the woman's breasts may pass into and/or through the openings 14, 14′ with the panel 12, 12′ supporting the woman's torso. The support device 10, 10′ may also provide sufficient clearance to allow the breasts to rest freely through the openings 14, 14′ without substantial compression due to the weight of the woman, which may otherwise be uncomfortable to the user. Thus, the support device 10, 10′ may reduce breast discomfort, which may be due to recovery from surgery or other medical treatment, breast implants, or general compression from the user's weight. In addition, the support device 10, 10′ may provide sufficient clearance to allow ventilation between the woman's chest and the support surface, e.g., which may enhance recovery time from surgery or other medical treatment.

Optionally, the support device 10, 10′ may be sized to support the user's neck and/or head. Thus, the support device 10, 10′ may allow the user to relax more easily than simply lying directly against the support surface, which may also relieve tension of the user.

In addition or alternatively, the size of the support device 10, 10′ may be varied to accommodate different needs and/or users. For example, the height of the legs 20, 20′ may be varied to support the user a desired distance above a support surface, e.g., which may be based upon the size of the user's breasts and/or based upon a height that may be more comfortable to the particular user. For example, the legs 20, 20′ may have a height to support the lower side surface 16c, 16c′ of the panel 12, 12′ above a support surface, e.g., about two to twenty four inches (2-24 in.), or six to ten inches (6-10 in.). In addition, the height and/or width of the panel 12, 12′ may be varied to accommodate different size and/or weight users. For example, the support device 10, 10′ may be provided in small, medium, or large sizes based on the size of the panel 12, 12.′

Turning to FIGS. 9-11, another embodiment of a support device 110 is shown that generally includes an inflatable body 112 including a pair of openings 114 therethrough. The inflatable body 112 may include one or more panels of material defining a substantially enclosed interior, e.g., including an upper surface 116a, lower surface 116b, side surfaces 116c, and ends 116d.

The inflatable body 112 is inflatable or otherwise expandable from a collapsed condition (not shown) to an inflated or expanded condition in which the openings 114 are spaced apart from one another sufficiently for receiving a breast therein. The inflatable body 112 may include one or more ports, e.g., nipple 130, communicating with an interior of the inflatable body 112. The port(s) 130 may be selectively opened to allow inflation media, e.g., air or water, to be introduced into the interior and then closed to substantially seal the inflation media within the inflatable body 112.

In the inflated condition, the upper and lower surfaces 116a, 116b may be substantially flat, e.g., such that the lower surface 116b may be placed against a support surface (not shown), and a user may lie against the upper surface 116a such that the user's breasts extend into the openings 114. The openings 114 may extend entirely through the inflatable body 112 or may be recesses extending only partially from the upper surface 116a towards the lower surface 116b. The inflatable body 112 may have a height in the inflated condition, e.g., between about two to twenty four inches (2-24 in.), or six to ten inches (6-10 in.).

As best seen in FIG. 11, the upper and lower surfaces 116a, 116b may be substantially parallel to one another in the inflated condition. The upper and lower surfaces 116a, 116b may be connected together by curved side surfaces 116c and ends 116d together substantially enclosing the interior of the inflatable body 112. Alternatively, similar to the previous embodiments, the upper and lower surfaces 116a, 116b may define planes that intersect one another, i.e., such that the upper surface is angled or nonparallel relative to the lower surface (not shown). Thus, when the lower surface is placed against a support surface, the upper surface may define an angle relative to the support surface to accommodate a user lying at an angle on the support device 110.

The inflatable body 112 may be formed from substantially inelastic material, e.g., substantially noncompliant plastic, such that the inflatable body 112 may be fully inflated to a predetermined, fixed size. The size of the inflatable body 112 and/or openings 114 may be varied to accommodate different sized users and/or breasts, similar to the previous embodiments. In addition, a thickness of the inflatable body 112, i.e., the distance between the upper and lower surfaces 116a, 116b, may be predetermined to accommodate receiving the user's breasts therein without substantial compression of the breasts when the user lies against the support device 110 and/or to position the user at a desired height above the support surface.

Alternatively, the inflatable body 112 may be formed from elastic or compliant material. In this alternative, the inflatable body 112 may be inflated to various sizes by elastically stretching the material of the inflatable body 112 to a desired size. In addition or alternatively, the inflatable body 112 may be compressible when the user lies against the support device 110, e.g., to accommodate adjustment of the user's position while maintaining the user's breasts within the openings 114. Such compliant material may enhance comfort to the user, as opposed to noncompliant material, which result in a substantially rigid support device 110 when fully inflated. Alternatively, the inflatable body 112 may be inflated less than fully such that the fluid may move within the interior, e.g., when the user lies against the support device 110, the movement enhancing comfort and conformability of the support device 110 to the user's size and/or weight.

During use, the inflatable body 112 may be inflated to a desired size, e.g., fully or partially inflated depending upon the material of the inflatable body 112. The user may then place the lower surface 116b against a support surface, e.g., on a bed, floor, ground, or other surface, and then lie against the upper surface 116a with the user's breasts received within the openings 116. Thus, the side walls 116c and ends 116d of the support device 110 may support the weight of the user without compressing or otherwise applying substantial pressure to the user's breasts received within the openings 114, similar to the previous embodiments.

Optionally, additional material may be provided within the openings 114, e.g., that may remain loose and/or flexible after inflation. Thus, when the user's breasts are received within the openings 114, the loose material may not apply any pressure to the breasts.

Turning to FIGS. 12 and 13, yet another embodiment of a support device 110′ is shown that includes an inflatable body 112′ including openings 114′ generally similar to the previous embodiment. Unlike the previous embodiment, the inflatable body 112′ may be inflatable into a substantially spherical shape in the inflated condition instead of the generally planar shape of the support device 110 shown in FIG. 9. In addition, the openings 114′ may only extend partially from the upper surface 116a′ towards the lower surface 116b′ without extending entirely through the inflatable body 112.′ This alternative may accommodate receiving breasts within the openings 114′ while providing some support for the breasts. The support device 110′ may include one or more ports (not shown) for inflating the inflatable body 112′ and may be expanded and used similar to the previous embodiments.

The inflatable body 112′ may have an adjustable shape, e.g., due to compliant material and/or partial inflation of interior with inflation media. Thus, the shape and/or thickness of the inflatable body 112′ may be automatically adjusted when the user lies against the support device 110,′ thereby enhancing comfort of the user while at least partially supporting the user's breast.

It will be appreciated that elements or components shown with any embodiment herein are exemplary for the specific embodiment and may be used on or in combination with other embodiments disclosed herein.

While embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, various modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The invention, therefore, should not be limited, except to the following claims, and their equivalents.