Title:
Toilet Seat Alarm Handle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention which provides a novel means for raising and lowering the seat on a toilet bowl is composed of a housing unit which has a base portion and a handle portion, means for attaching the base portion to the bottom side of the toilet seat, a Central Processing Unit (CPU), an infrared emitter, a signal processor, an infrared receiver module, a speaker, a LED module, a power source, a ball switch, and a power detector. It is to provide a method and an apparatus in a sanitary application or especially in a public toilet, whereby the method and apparatus achieve a clean and hygienic way of raising the toilet seat, and also alert the user to lower the toilet seat after use.



Inventors:
Chikara Imamura, Marc (Lihue, HI, US)
Application Number:
12/209954
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/12/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040231043Bath lifting systemNovember, 2004Sherlock et al.
20050251938Snake plungerNovember, 2005Hofer Sr. et al.
20010025389Human body washing deviceOctober, 2001Kitamura
20060283971LINER ASSEMBLY AND WATER POOL INCORPORATING THE SAMEDecember, 2006Hunter
20140026315Shower with Integrated Bidet and Drain SystemJanuary, 2014Simpson
20080034485DISPOSABLE TOILET HUGGERFebruary, 2008Mcclelland
20030140411Arm rest massage feature for whirlpool tubsJuly, 2003Belford
20080172784BATH MAT BLOWER ASSEMBLY WITH CORD REELJuly, 2008Fung
20070079433Hydrotherapy assembly for a swimming poolApril, 2007Juneau et al.
20160032573PROTECTIVE SINK COVERFebruary, 2016Gavin
20060219623Filter assembly with integrated debris cup for sanitary fittingsOctober, 2006Seggio et al.



Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHMEISER OLSEN & WATTS (MESA, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toilet seat alarm handle, for detecting and signaling when a toilet seat is left in a raised position, comprising: A housing unit which has a base portion with upper and lower planar surfaces configured so as to fit with said upper planar surface against the bottom side of the toilet seat and a handle portion with upper and lower planar surfaces unitarily constructed with said base portion so as to have one end affixed to said base portion and another end extending outwardly from said base portion, the handle portion being thicker than said base portion and said lower planar surface of said base portion is in the same plane as the lower planar surface of said handle portion; means for attaching the base portion to the bottom side of the toilet seat; a Central Processing Unit (CPU), contained within said housing unit; an infrared emitter, connected to CPU to emit infrared signal; an infrared receiver module, connected to said CPU, the said infrared signal which detected by said infrared receiver module to process the signal for CPU; a speaker, connected to said CPU to produce alert sound; a LED module, connected to said CPU to display alert signal; a power source, contained within said housing unit; a ball switch, in circuit with the power source and CPU, which, upon actuation by the ball position in response to the toilet seat being left in an up position, causes the power source to provide power to start up CPU; and a power detector contained within said housing unit and in circuit with said power source and CPU, for detecting when the power source is low in power.

2. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the housing unit having opposite ends and a peg located at each of said ends, said pegs inserted into predefined holes located upon an underside surface of a toilet seat to secure the toilet seat alarm handle thereto.

3. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the means for attaching the base portion to the bottom side of the toilet seat is adhesive.

4. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the power source is battery.

5. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the power source is power from power grid.

6. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the ball switch is pendulum type ball switch.

7. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the speaker is a buzzer.

8. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the LED module is a three color RGB display.

9. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 1, wherein the CPU is connected to said recording module.

10. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 9, wherein the recording module has switches to control recording the sound to be played.

11. The toilet seat alarm handle as recited in claim 9, wherein the recording module has a microphone and a recorder speaker connected to the recording module.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to sanitary accessories for toilet seats and, specifically, to an easily attached handle to assist in the lifting and lowering of the toilet seat with an integrated reminder function that reminds the user when the seat is in the up position during use and, alerts the user when the seat has not been lowered.

2. Description of the Prior Art

A toilet is a plumbing fixture and disposal system primarily intended for the disposal of bodily waste, such as urine and fecal matter. The most common type of toilet in modern cities is the flush toilet, in which water takes away the waste through sewers to a waste treatment plant. Examples are public toilets, public lavatories, or public conveniences which are toilets that are accessible to general public with common access from the street. There are many different accessories for the toilet and the most basic one is the toilet seat. The toilet seat is generally hinged at its rear edge so that the seat can be rotated with the hinge pins from a usable position where the seat sits on top of the bowl to a storage position where the seat is raised vertically. It has been the conventional practice to raise and lower toilet seats by manually grasping the edge of the seat and lifting or lowering the seat accordingly. One of the problems with toilet seats is that due to the nature of toilet use, toilets frequently become unsanitary. This problem is especially acute with public accessible facilities. The use of toilet seats also frequently involves the need to either raise or lower it. Toilet seats have the potential to transmit infectious diseases from one user to another.

For example, during periods of high use of a public accessible toilet, the toilet surfaces may be contaminated with various germs and contaminants ranging from urine, feces, blood, or other waste materials. This is unsanitary and unhealthy for the users of the toilet to raise or lower the contaminated toilet seat before or after use. In recent years, the importance of toilet seat hygiene, and in particular, public toilet seat hygiene, has come to people's attention and raised great public attention. Thus, a healthy and secured way of raising or lowering the toilet seat before or after use can address concerns regarding sanitation of toilet seats. To maintain the required hygiene standards, many different methods have been utilized, many of which have not been applied on a large scale because of their various disadvantages including practicality, cosmetic looks, and manufacture costs. Therefore, a great majority of private and public toilet seats are still manually lifted and lowered.

Due to the unsanitary nature of toilet surfaces and toilet seats, it is necessary to create a means to allow a user to raise or lower a toilet seat without direct contact with the toilet seat and/or rim. It is also advisable that such means should be easily attached to the toilet seat and easy to locate without expensive parts or difficult installations.

Another long-standing problem exists when men in particular do not lower the toilet seat after use. This may cause an unpleasant and highly unsanitary situation upon a user who might potentially sit on the toilet with the toilet seat in the up position.

Therefore, there is a strong need to provide a novel means of raising and lowering a toilet seat that is both sanitary and economical. Also, an alert system is used to inform the user of the position of the toilet seat and alert the user if the seat is not properly lowered so as to maintain sanitation.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the above problems and difficulties are obviated by the present invention which provides a novel means of raising and lowering the seat. The present invention is attached to a toilet seat that is pivotally mounted on the toilet bowl and incorporates an elongated handle that has an attachment portion adhesively secured to the underside of the seat and includes a handle portion which cantilevers outwardly from the edge of the seat for a user to grab. Also, the attachment of the handle may be achieved by screws, tongue and groove methods, tapes or other adhesive coatings.

Therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention is to provide a novel device that can alert users to lower the seat of a toilet and can be simply and economically manufactured. In addition, the device can be easily installed on conventional seats without alteration of the toilet.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel handle that is attachable to the underside of a seat so that it may be grabbed by a user and to raise or lower the seat in a sanitary and convenient manner.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel handle that is attachable to a pivoting seat whereby the user may raise or lower the seat without touching the seat itself and wherein the handle includes microchip controlled sensors and alarm in a preferred area of the handle.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a simple and economical means for raising and lowering a pivoted seat attached to a toilet bowl that is safe and sanitary and wherein the means includes a ball switch to detect the position of the toilet seat and switch on and off a system power for transmitting detection signals.

In view of the above, it is an object of the invention to provide a method and an apparatus in a sanitary application or especially in a public toilet, whereby the method and apparatus achieve the cleaning and hygienic way of raising the toilet seat, remind the user when the toilet seat is in the upper position during use, and also alert the user to lower the toilet seat after use. Particularly, the invention aims to completely avoid touching the surface of the toilet seat. The invention further aims to avoid or overcome the disadvantages of the prior art, and to achieve additional advantages, as apparent from the present specification. The attainment of these objects is, however, not a mandatory feature or limitation of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood with reference to the following description and the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a first embodiment of an apparatus installed on a toilet; and

FIG. 2 is a diagram of a perspective view of toilet seat alarm handle; and

FIG. 3 is a diagram of a bottom perspective view of toilet seat alarm handle; and

FIG. 4A is a schematic diagram of a toilet seat alarm that is installed in the toilet seat alarm handle;

FIG. 4B is a schematic diagram of a recording module that is installed in the toilet seat alarm handle circuit; and

FIGS. 5A, and B illustrates the toilet seat alarm handle 14 circuit. It is an example of how to implement the design of the circuit to achieve the aim of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

An example embodiment of the invention will be discussed in connection with a toilet system installed in a public toilet, which is merely schematically indicated. The invention is to provide a method and an apparatus in a stationary application or especially in a public toilet, whereby the method and apparatus achieve the cleaning and hygienic way of raising the toilet seat, and also alert the user to lower the toilet seat after use. Particularly, the invention aims to completely avoid touching the surface of the toilet seat.

FIG. 1 illustrates a standard toilet 10, having a toilet seat 12 shown in a raised position. The toilet seat 12 has an underside surface 13. Toilet seat bumpers 16 are placed on the underside surface 13 of the toilet seat 12. A toilet seat alarm handle 14 is mounted in one of said toilet seat bumpers 16. The handle can be installed on the left or right side of the toilet seat for different users' preference.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the toilet seat alarm handle 14 comprising a housing unit 15 which physically resembles the toilet seat bumpers 16 in height in FIG. 1. The toilet seat alarm handle 14 can be then locked in the position where the bumper 16 would normally attach. A housing unit 15 consists a base portion 17 with upper planar surface 18 and lower planar surface 19 configured so as to fit with said upper planar surface 18 against the bottom side of the toilet seat. Also the toilet seat alarm handle incorporates an elongated handle which cantilevers outwardly from the edge of the seat for users to grab. The handle portion 20 with upper planar surface 21 and lower planar surface 22 unitarily constructed with said base portion 17 so as to have a one end affixed to said base portion and the other end extending outwardly from said base portion 17. The handle portion 20 is thicker than said base portion 17 and said lower planar surface 19 of said base portion 17 is in the same plane as the lower planar surface 22 of said handle portion 20. The housing unit 15 can have a means for attaching the base portion 17 to the bottom side of the toilet seat. The means of attaching the base portion 17 to the bottom side of the toilet seat can be adhesive. Or the housing unit can have opposite ends and a peg located at each of said ends. The said pegs inserted into predefined holes located upon an underside surface of a toilet seat to secure the toilet seat alarm handle thereto.

FIG. 3 illustrates a bottom view of the toilet seat alarm handle 14. Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, the housing unit 15 is divided into base portion 17 and handle portion 20, respectively. A hole 23 can be setup in the toilet seat alarm handle 14 for installing electronic devices. Referring to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4A, the toilet seat alarm handle 14 electronic device for detecting and signaling when a toilet seat is left in a raised position, is comprised of a Central Processing Unit (CPU) 39 and is contained within said the toilet seat alarm handle 14. An infrared emitter 31 is connected to CPU 39 to emit infrared signal. An infrared receiver module 32 is connected to CPU 39. The said infrared signal is detected by said infrared receiver module 32 to process the signal for CPU 39. A speaker 34 is connected to said CPU 39 to produce alert sound and the speaker can be a buzzer. A LED module 35 is connected to said CPU 39 to display alert signal. A power source 37 is contained within said the toilet seat alarm handle 14. A ball switch 38 is in circuit with the power source 37 and CPU 39, which upon actuation by the ball position in response to the toilet seat being left in the open position and to cause the power source 37 to provide power to start up CPU 39. And a power detector 36 is contained within said the toilet seat alarm handle 14 and in circuit with said power source 37 and CPU 39 for detecting when the power source 37 is low in power.

Referring to FIG. 1 and FIG. 4, when user of toilet lifts up the toilet seat 12, gravity would cause the ball inside of ball switch 38 falling to position to connect power source 37 with CPU 39. The ball switch 38 can also be pendulum type ball switch. When the toilet seat 12 is in a down position, gravity acting upon the pendulum causes the center lead to break the circuit connection; thereby disconnect the power source 37 and CPU 39. When the toilet seat 12 is in an upper position, gravity acting upon the pendulum causes the center ball to attach the circuit connection; thereby connect the power source 37 and CPU 39. After the CPU 39 powers up, CPU 39 would start sending out a signal to command infrared emitter 31 to emit infrared (IR) out. The reflected infrared signal will be detected by infrared receiver module 32. When a user is using the toilet, the infrared would be reflected and the reflected signal would be detected by infrared receiver module 32. The reflected signal amplifies the reflected signal or filters out background noise. When the infrared receiver module 32 does not detect infrared that is send out by infrared emitter 31 for a period of time, this means that user is no longer in front of the toilet and is about to leave with the toilet seat 12 up. The CPU 39 will send out a command to speaker 34 or LED module 35 to alert the user that the toilet seat 12 is still up. The speaker 34 can be a buzzer or speaker that can play multi tone music. Also the LED module 35 can be three colors RGB display or simply three colors LED to alert the user. When the toilet seat 12 is down, the ball inside the ball switch 38 will disconnect the CPU 39 and power source 37 by changing the direction of gravity acting on the toilet seat alarm handle 14 in order to save power of the toilet seat alarm handle 14. The power source 37 can also connect to power detector 36 to detect the power level of the power source 37. When the power level is low, the CPU 39 will send out a command to speaker 34 or LED module 35 to alert staff to change power source 37. The power source 37 that is used in the toilet seat alarm handle 14 can be batteries or power plugs to plug in any kind of power grid. A recorder module can also be installed to the CUP to record voice and sound to be used to alert the user the position of toilet seat. Referring to FIG. 4B, the recorder module also has switches to control the recording and speaker for playing the sound as illustrated in the recording module circuit as shown in FIG. 4B and FIG. 5A. A microphone 42 and recorder speaker 43 is connected to the recorder module 41 to reply and record the voice and sound that is used to alert users.

FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B illustrate the toilet seat alarm handle 14 circuit. It is an example of how to implement the design of the circuit to achieve the aim of the present invention. FIG. 5A shows the connection that is connected to the left side of CPU 39. The recording module 41 with recorder speaker 43 and microphone 42, speaker 34, LED module 35, IR receiver module 32 and power detector 36 are connected to the left side of the CPU 39. FIG. 5B shows the connection that is on the right side of CPU 39. IR emitter 31, ball switch 38 and power source 37 are connected to the right side of the CPU 39.