Title:
Buoyant Cushion
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates generally to buoyant cushions for use in a pool and being adaptable for use as outdoor furniture or in cooperation with outdoor furniture. The physical properties of the buoyant cushion having physical properties that include buoyancy, weather-resistance, and malleability that allow the buoyant cushion to be used dually as a lounging floatation device, in bodies of water such as pools, lakes, or the ocean, and as a cushion adapted to compliment outdoor furniture or to be used independently.



Inventors:
Starmer, Laura (Long Beach, MS, US)
Application Number:
12/563851
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
09/21/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B35/73; B63C9/30
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARTHUR G. YEAGER, Esq. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
Having thus described the aforementioned invention, what is claimed is:

1. A buoyant cushion comprising: an exterior covering constructed of a substantially weather-resistant material, said exterior covering defining a chamber; and a plurality of buoyant beads being held within said chamber, said plurality of buoyant beads providing said buoyant cushion with cushioning and enabling said buoyant cushion to support an object in a body of water to the extent that at least a portion of the object is maintained above the water.

2. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of buoyant beads is constructed of virgin polystyrene material.

3. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of buoyant beads is dimensioned to be approximately 3 millimeters in diameter.

4. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of buoyant beads is dimensioned to be larger than 3 millimeters in diameter.

5. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein said buoyant cushion is configured to cooperate with outdoor furniture.

6. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein said exterior covering is constructed of Sunprella® Fabric.

7. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein said exterior covering defines a cylindrical recess for providing a cup holder, said buoyant beads being held in said chamber proximate said cylindrical recess to insulate cups being disposed therein.

8. The buoyant cushion in claim 1, wherein said exterior covering further defines a rim about said chamber.

9. The buoyant cushion in claim 8, comprising a first grommet and a second grommet, said first grommet and said second grommet being disposed at said rim on opposing ends of said chamber, said first grommet being securable to said second grommet by a fastener thereby allowing said buoyant cushion to be bound together for compact transportation.

10. The buoyant cushion in claim 8, comprising a plurality of grommets disposed at said rim on opposing sides of said chamber, said plurality of grommets being adapted to receive suspension cables secured to structural supports proximate the grommets thereby allowing a person to be received on said buoyant cushion to be suspended above the ground.

11. A buoyant cushion comprising: an exterior covering constructed of a substantially weather-resistant material, said exterior covering defining a chamber; and a plurality of buoyant beads constructed of a virgin polystyrene material, said plurality of buoyant beads being held within said chamber, said plurality of buoyant beads providing said buoyant cushion with cushioning and enabling said buoyant cushion to support an object in a body of water to the extent at least a portion of the object is maintained above the water.

12. The buoyant cushion in claim 11, wherein each of said plurality of buoyant beads is dimensioned to be approximately 3 millimeters in diameter.

13. The buoyant cushion in claim 11, wherein said exterior covering is constructed of Sunprella® Fabric.

14. The buoyant cushion in claim 11, wherein said exterior covering further defines a rim about said chamber.

15. The buoyant cushion in claim 11, wherein said buoyant cushion is configured to cooperate with outdoor furniture.

16. The buoyant cushion in claim 11, wherein said exterior covering defines a recess for placement of an object.

17. The buoyant cushion in claim 16, wherein said recess is cylindrical for providing a cup holder, said buoyant beads insulating a cup being disposed therein.

18. A buoyant cushion comprising: an interior covering defining a chamber; an exterior covering constructed of a substantially weather-resistant material, said exterior covering substantially enclosing said interior covering; and a plurality of buoyant beads constructed of a virgin polystyrene material, said plurality of buoyant beads being held within said chamber, said plurality of buoyant beads providing said buoyant cushion with cushioning and enabling said buoyant cushion to support an object in a body of water to the extent at least a portion of the object is maintained above the water.

19. The buoyant cushion in claim 18, wherein said buoyant cushion is configured to cooperate with outdoor furniture.

20. The buoyant cushion in claim 18, wherein each of said plurality of buoyant beads is dimensioned to be approximately 3 millimeters in diameter.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/098,382, filed Sep. 19, 2008.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates generally to buoyant cushions for use in a pool and being adaptable for use as outdoor furniture or in cooperation with outdoor furniture.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventional floatation devices for use at a swimming pool, a river, or a lake are typically inflatable. These inflatable floatation devices, although fully capable of supporting the weight of a person, suffer from numerous shortcomings. A user of these conventional floatation devices is essentially required to inflate the device before each use. Conventional floatation devices having insufficient air pressure often results in the device sinking or suspending the user underwater. In order to inflate these floatation devices the user is required to bring an air pump to the desired location. Furthermore, these conventional floatation devices are typically being manufactured from thin plastic materials that are prone to scratches and punctures that consequently render them useless as a floatation device. Resultingly, these conventional floatation devices can only be used in the pool and cannot be used as outdoor furniture or in conjunction with outdoor furniture.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The present invention relates generally to a buoyant cushion for use in a pool and being adaptable for use as outdoor furniture or in cooperation with outdoor furniture. The buoyant cushion having physical properties that include buoyancy, weather-resistance, and malleability that allow the buoyant cushion to be used dually as a lounging floatation device, in bodies of water such as pools, lakes, or the ocean, and as a cushion adapted to compliment outdoor furniture or to be used independently.

The buoyant cushion includes a mechanically compliant exterior covering and defines a mechanically compliant chamber. The chamber containing a plurality of buoyant beads. These buoyant beads enabling the buoyant cushion to support the weight of a subject in a body of liquid to the extent that at least a portion of the subject is maintained above the surface of the liquid. Additionally, because of the properties of the buoyant cushion the cushion is adapted to serve as a weatherproof cushion that compliments a piece of outdoor furniture or to serve as an independent furniture-type device when the buoyant cushion is not being used as a flotation device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned features of the invention will become more clearly understood from the following detailed description of the invention read together with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the buoyant cushion in accordance with the various features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the buoyant cushion having a plurality of grommets at opposing ends of the buoyant cushion;

FIG. 3 illustrates a sectional view of the buoyant cushion of FIG. 2 taken at lines 3-3;

FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of the buoyant cushion defining a cup holder and a cooler; and

FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of the buoyant cushion cooperating with a lounge chair.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a buoyant cushion for use in a pool and being adaptable for use as outdoor furniture or in cooperation with outdoor furniture. More specifically, the buoyant beads enable the buoyant cushion to support the weight of a subject in a body of liquid to the extent that at least a portion of the subject is maintained above the surface of the liquid. Additionally, the buoyant cushion is adapted to serve as a weatherproof cushion that compliments a piece of outdoor furniture or to serve as an independent furniture-type device. One embodiment of the buoyant cushion constructed in accordance with the various features of the present invention is illustrated generally at 10 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the buoyant cushion 10 having a substantially rectangular contour. The buoyant cushion 10 includes a mechanically compliant exterior covering 12 and defines a mechanically compliant chamber. In accordance with one embodiment, the buoyant cushion 10 includes an internal covering and an external covering. More specifically, the internal covering defines a mechanically compliant chamber while the exterior covering provides protection to the internal covering. The internal covering and external covering may be permanently joined together or releasably coupleable such that said exterior covering may be replaced. The exterior covering 12 is constructed of a compliant or flexible material that is water repellant and otherwise weather-resistant. For example, in one embodiment, the exterior covering 12 is constructed of an acrylic fabric, rendering the exterior covering 12 not only weather-resistant, but also UV-resistant and mildew-resistant. One example of such an acrylic fabric is the Sunprella® Fabrics manufactured by Glen Raven Mills, Inc. Additionally, the buoyant cushion 10 may be contoured and dimensioned to function as a seating cushion, small neck-supporting pillow, throw pillow, or roll-type pillow to be used, for example, at poolside.

FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of the buoyant cushion 10 that defines a rim 14 about the perimeter of the chamber. In the illustrated embodiment, the rim 14 includes a reinforced seam defined by the exterior covering 12. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the rim 14 extends from the exterior covering 12 by two inches and thereafter includes additional seams to reinforce the rim 14. The rim 14 provides a user with a handle for maneuvering and/or transporting the buoyant cushion 10 in and around a body of water.

Furthermore, FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of the buoyant cushion 10 that includes at least one grommet 16 at the rim 14. In one embodiment, the grommet 16 is defined by reinforced stitching so as not to include an additional eyelet made of, for example, metal, plastic, or rubber. In another embodiment, the buoyant cushion 10 including a first grommet and a second grommet enables a user to tether the buoyant cushion 10 to a stationary object, such as a dock, and to fold and bind the buoyant cushion 10, for example using a fastener, for compact transportation.

In another embodiment, the grommets 16 allow the buoyant cushion 10 to function as a hammock. More specifically, this embodiment of the buoyant cushion 10 has a contour that is substantially that of a hammock such that the buoyant cushion 10 includes a first end 18 and a second end 20, the first end 18 being opposite the second end 20 with respect to the buoyant cushion 10. Additionally, in the illustrated embodiment, the buoyant cushion 10 includes a plurality of grommets 16 at the first end 18 and a plurality of grommets 16 at the second end 20. The grommets 16 are adapted to receive suspension devices, such as ropes, such that when the suspension devices are secured to a structural support, such as a tree or hammock stand, the buoyant cushion 10 is suspended in the same manner as would be a conventional hammock.

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of the chamber 22 defined by the buoyant cushion 10 housing a plurality of buoyant beads 24. The buoyant beads 24 provide the buoyant cushion 10 with its buoyancy, enabling the buoyant cushion 10 to support a subject, such as a human, in a body of water to the extent that at least a portion of the human is maintained above the surface of the water, as discussed above. In one embodiment, the buoyant beads 24 are constructed of a virgin polystyrene material. The virgin polystyrene beads do not absorb water or resins and do not expand to the extent that the beads define cracks or separations. As a result, the beads are not prone to collecting moisture or debris, which reduces the probability of mold or mildew developing in or on the beads. The buoyant beads are small in size, such as having a 3 mm diameter, such that the buoyant cushion 10 is substantially conformable and malleable. Because the buoyant beads 24 provide the buoyant cushion 10 with its buoyancy, the buoyant cushion 10 cannot be deflated, such as by way of a puncture to the exterior covering 12.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the buoyant cushion 10. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the outer covering 12 defines at least one cup holder 26 and a cubby 28 for holding a small cooler or personal items, such as keys. The chamber defines the cup holder 26 and the cubby 28 by defining a recess that extends within the chamber. As a result, the buoyant beads substantially surround the recess such that the buoyant beads provide thermal insulation for the cup holders 26 and the cubby 28. In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, the cup holders 26 and the cubby 28 extend past the chamber thereby allowing the cups to obtain some thermal insulation from the liquid below the buoyant cushion 10. In another embodiment of the present invention, the outer covering 12 and the chamber define a cooler having a lid.

FIG. 5 illustrates yet another embodiment of the buoyant cushion 10 contoured and dimensioned as a lounge pillow to cooperate with conventional poolside and outdoor furniture. Because the buoyant cushion 10 is malleable and weather-resistant, it is capable of cooperating with and withstanding the environmental exposure associated with outdoor furniture. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, illustrated in FIG. 5, the outer covering 12 being amendable such that the buoyant cushion 10 conforms to the lounge chair, namely a rectangular portion of the lounge chair where a person is received. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the buoyant cushion 10 may be easily contoured and dimensioned to cooperate with a platform bed, an outdoor bed having table tops 46 and a storage compartment, a standard chair, a hanging chair frame, a porch swing, and a bench seat cabana.

While the present invention has been illustrated by description of several embodiments and while the illustrative embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is therefore not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and methods, and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of applicant's general inventive concept.