Title:
Hands Free Lifting Mechanism For Toilets
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed herein is a hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet. The lifting mechanism includes a foot pedal assembly having at least one foot pedal, the foot pedal has a starting position and a finishing position. In the start position, the seat is down, in the finishing position the seat is up, depressing the foot pedal causes the pedal to go from the start position to the finishing position. In an exemplary embodiment, the mechanism includes a passive locking means for holding the foot pedal travel in any position and soft lowering structure for limiting the rate of travel of the pedal from the finish position to the start position. Additionally, the mechanism includes a lifting assembly having a cylinder housing attached to the toilet, the cylinder housing having at least one lifting cylinder attached to the seat and a stabilizing rod between the cylinder housing and the foot pedal. A cable attached at one end to the foot pedal and the other end to the lifting cylinder.



Inventors:
Cayabyab, Ernesto (Chino Hills, CA, US)
Application Number:
14/229841
Publication Date:
10/01/2015
Filing Date:
03/29/2014
Assignee:
CAYABYAB ERNESTO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/10
View Patent Images:
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20020073482Toilet system with a ventilation apparatus and an automatic flushing mechanismJune, 2002Hashemi
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20140259378PORTABLE SINK STANDSeptember, 2014Combs et al.
20120151667TOILET FLUSHING ASSEMBLYJune, 2012Berry et al.
20150026880DRAIN DEVICE AND ELECTRONIC CONTROL TYPE DRAIN SYSTEMJanuary, 2015Chung
20060085898Toilet ventilation systemApril, 2006Rosa
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Primary Examiner:
SKUBINNA, CHRISTINE J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOUGLAS A. CHAIKIN (Paradise Valley, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet, the toilet including a container, a seat over the container, a lid covering the seat and a lifting mechanism for lifting the toilet lid and seat, the lifting mechanism, comprising: a foot pedal assembly, including at least one foot pedal, the foot pedal having a starting position and a finishing position, in the start position, the seat is down, in the finishing position the seat is up, depressing the foot pedal causes the pedal to go from the start position to the finishing position; a passive locking means for holding the foot pedal travel in any position from the start to the finish; soft lowering means for limiting the rate of travel of the pedal from the finish position to the start position; and a lifting assembly including a cylinder housing attached to the toilet, the cylinder housing having at least one lifting cylinder attached to the seat; a stabilizing rod between the cylinder housing and the foot pedal; a cable attached at one end to the foot pedal and the other end to the lifting cylinder.

2. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 1, wherein the cylinder housing houses two lifting cylinder, one for the seat and one for the lid.

3. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 2, wherein the foot pedal assembly includes two foot pedal, each foot pedal including a cable extending through the stabilizer rod and to the cylinder housing; one foot pedal controls the seat and the other the lid, the lifting cylinders respond independently to movement of the foot pedals.

4. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 3, wherein the foot pedal assembly includes two foot pedals, one on either side of the toilet.

5. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 3, wherein the foot pedal assembly includes two foot pedals on either side of the toilet.

6. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 3, wherein the foot pedal assembly includes two foot pedals, one on either side of the toilet.

7. A hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet, the toilet including a container, a seat over the container, a lid covering the seat and a lifting mechanism for lifting the toilet lid and seat, the lifting mechanism, comprising: a foot pedal assembly, including at least one foot pedal, the foot pedal having a starting position and a finishing position, in the start position, the seat is down, in the finishing position the seat is up, depressing the foot pedal causes the pedal to go from the start position to the finishing position; a passive locking means for holding the foot pedal travel in any position from the start to the finish; soft lowering means for limiting the rate of travel of the pedal from the finish position to the start position; and a lifting assembly including: a spool housing having a first spool, the lifting mechanism including a first lifting cylinder having a first and second ends, the first end of the first lifting cylinder connected to the toilet seat, while the second end is connected to the spool, and at the other end to the respective spool. Thus, each foot pedal operates the toilet elements as desired, and a cable attached at one end to the foot pedal and the other end to the first spool.

8. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 7, wherein the lifting assembly includes a second cylinder over and concentric with the first lifting cylinder, the second lifting cylinder attached at one end to the lid and wherein the spool housing includes a second spool connected to the other end of the second lifting cylinder and wherein a second cable is provided and connected to a second foot pedal at one end and the second spool at the other end.

9. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 7, wherein the mechanism includes a passive locking system for locking a toilet element in the open position.

10. The hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 7, wherein the mechanism includes means for preventing the toilet from slamming shut. The free lifting mechanism for a toilet as set forth in claim 7, wherein the mechanism includes means for normally urging the seat into the open position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO PROVISIONAL APPLICATION

This application is a convention filing of this application as a provisional on Mar. 28, 2013 as provisional application Ser. No. 61/806,126.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to bathrooms in general and more particularly, to toilets and specifically to the mechanisms assisting the using in lifting the seat and/or the lid for toilets.

2. Background

The definition of a toilet is a seat with a container below it, which is used primarily for disposing of human waste. In modern culture, a toilet includes not only a seat and a container, but also includes a lid covering the seat. Obviously, in order to properly use the toilet, one must be able to lift the seat and lid. Unfortunately, for many, this is not possible.

Many folks have lost the complete or partial use of their arms and hands. For example, returning war veterans sometimes lose the complete or partial use of their hands or arms. Others afflicted with a neuromuscular disease, such as ALS end up being so weak that they cannot lift the toilet elements including the seat and the lid. Accidents, whether recreational or on the job claim the use of many folks hands and arms.

More commonly back problems prevent a number of people from bending over so that they can properly lift the toilet seat or lid. Back problems can cause muscle weakness and of course, pain and in all, prevent such sufferers from being able to lift or lower a lid or a seat. Less prevalent, but not uncommon, are surgical procedures, which have at least the same effect, if only for a temporary period of time.

When the lid and seat are left open, unsanitary and unsafe conditions naturally result. This is especially true in general health care public facility, where large numbers of persons having such afflictions are present. In fact, it is sometimes said that the most dangerous place in the hospital is in the room of a patient who is incapable of properly using the rest room facilities, including not lowering the toilet seat or lid. The combination of this condition and of a large number can be especially alarming.

The solution to such issues is to provide a person incapable of raising and lowering the toilet seat or lid with their hands and/or arms, a hands free way to raise and lower the toilet seat and the lid. Moreover, even healthy people prefer not to touch the seat or lid of a toilet used by others. Reducing the amount of contact with the toilet seat and lid naturally reduces the risk of sickness and serious illness, especially in public places like hospitals.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of this invention to provide a hands free mechanism to enable a user to raise and lower a toilet seat and lid.

It is an additional object of this invention to provide such a hands free mechanism which is operated by a person's foot.

It is an additional object of this invention to provide such a hands free mechanism, which fits with presently existing toilets.

In accordance with the above objects and those that will be mentioned and will become apparent below, the lifting mechanism in accordance with this invention comprises:

    • a foot pedal assembly, including
      • at least one foot pedal, the foot pedal having a starting position and a finishing position, in the start position, the seat is down, in the finishing position the seat is up, depressing the foot pedal causes the pedal to go from the start position to the finishing position;
      • a passive locking means for holding the foot pedal travel in any position from the start to the finish;
      • soft lowering means for limiting the rate of travel of the pedal from the finish position to the start position; and
    • a lifting assembly including
      • a cylinder housing attached to the toilet, the cylinder housing having at least one lifting cylinder attached to the seat;
      • a stabilizing rod between the cylinder housing and the foot pedal;
    • a cable attached at one end to the foot pedal and the other end to the lifting cylinder.

In another exemplary embodiment of the hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet in accordance with this invention, there are provided two foot pedals and two lifting cylinder cylinders, one for the seat and one for the lid. The pedals are adjustable to the user's desire in as much as they are provided on the left or right sides of the toilet depending upon the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of the hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet in accordance with this invention, each of the foot pedals operates independently.

An additional exemplary embodiment includes the lifting mechanism including first and second lifting cylinders, on one end the first lifting cylinder is connected to the lid, while the second lifting cylinder is connected to the seat. In this embodiment, the lifting mechanism includes a spool housing having a first and a second spool. Each spool is connected to its counterpart lifting cylinder at the opposite end from the attachment to the toilet element. So, the first spool is connected to the first lifting cylinder and the second spool is connected to the second lifting cylinder. Each lifting cylinder includes its own cable with the cable connected at one end to the respective foot pedal and at the other end to the respective spool. Thus, each foot pedal operates the toilet elements independently as desired.

It is an advantage of this invention to provide a hands free lifting mechanism for a toilet that can be operated without the use of arms or hands and without bending over.

It is an additional advantage of toilet in accordance with this invention to provide a user with a hands free lifting mechanism such that the user does not need to use toilet paper to close the lid or the seat.

It is another additional advantage of toilet in accordance with this invention to provide a user with a hands free lifting mechanism that is low maintenance and easy to use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

For a further understanding of the objects and advantages of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which like parts are given like reference numerals and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the hands free toilet in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the foot pedal assembly of the hands free toilet in accordance with the invention in the start position with the toilet seat and cover in the closed position.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the foot pedal assembly of the hands free toilet in accordance with the invention in the finishing position with the toilet seat and cover in the open position and also illustrating in phantom the operation of the foot pedal.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the lifting assembly of the hands free toilet in accordance with the invention and the structure for attaching the lifting assembly to the toilet seat and toilet lid.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative exemplary embodiment of the hands free toilet in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention will now be described with respect to FIG. 1, which illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the invention shown generally by the numeral 10 attached to a conventional toilet. The conventional toilet includes a container, a seat over the container. The toilet includes a lid covering the seat and the container. The toilet further includes a lifting mechanism for disposing of the contents within the container.

The hands free lifting mechanism, generally indicated by the numeral 10 includes foot pedal assembly 12, a stabilizing rod member 14 and a lifting assembly 16.

The foot pedal assembly 12 will be described with respect to FIGS. 1-3. The foot pedal assembly 12 includes two pedals 18 and 20. Each pedal, 18 and 20 operates independently. One pedal raises the lid and the other pedal raises both the lid and the seat. It will be appreciated that the independent operation of each pedal is somewhat limited. For example, the seat cannot be raised higher than the lid and the lid cannot be lowered more than the seat.

As shown in FIG. 2, the foot pedals 18 and 20 are in the start position. In this position, the seat and the lid are closed. The foot pedal assembly 12 includes a supporting rod member 22 and a base 24. The pedals 18 and 20 are pivotally connected to the base 22 at pivot member 26. The base 24 includes guide 28.

The supporting rod member 22 is pivotally connected to the pedals 18 and 20 at pivot member 30. Additionally, the supporting rod member 22 has a guide bearing 32, which slides within guide 28 as the foot pedals 18 and 20 are depressed and released as shown more clearly in FIG. 3. As the foot pedals 18 and 20 are depressed, the guide bearing 32 slides along and within guide 28. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2, the guide 32 includes a roller bearing 34 to facilitate the ease of travel along the guide 28. This also provides a smooth and stress free operation of the foot pedals 18 and 20 and lessens the needs for force required to lift the seat and/or lid.

The guide 28 has a distal end 40 and a proximal end 42. Located at the distal end 40 is a passive locking and unlocking member 50. As the foot pedals 18 and 20 are depressed or released, the release of pressure from the foot, in effect, activates the passive locking and unlocking member 50. Thus, should there be a sudden release of pressure from the foot as the pedals 18 and 20 are being depressed, the passive locking and unlocking member 50 holds the pedals in the position where last pressure was applied. This prevents the slamming down of the seat and/or lid because the user's foot accidentally slipped off the pedals.

At the proximal end of the guide 28, there is located the soft lowering member 60. As can be appreciated by those familiar with the art, the lid and seat have considerable weight. In order to prevent gravity from taking over and simply slamming down the seat and/or lid, the foot pedal assembly 12 is provided with a soft lowering member 60. The a soft lowering member 60 includes an adjustment knob 62 and a contact point 64. Additionally, the bearing member 32 includes a landing block 66. Upon sudden release of pressure on the foot pedals during lowering of the seat and lid, the fail safe situation occurs such the a soft landing is made as the contact point 64 engages the block 66 preventing the slamming effect that might otherwise have occurred by gravity. The adjustment knob 62 allows adjust of the contact point so that the lid and seat close properly without allowing slamming of the same.

As shown in FIG. 3, the foot pedals 18 and 20 are in the start position, while the seat and lid are closed. As pressure is applied to the foot pedals in the direction of the arrow 13, the foot pedals are depressed toward the base 24. The bearing 32 travels from the proximal end of the guide 28 toward the distal end and the foot pedals 18 and 20 and collapses onto the base 24 in the finishing position.

With particular reference to FIGS. 2-4, the operation of the stabilizer rod member 14 will be described. The stabilizer rod member 14 is adjustable so that it will fit a wide variety of different toilets. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 2-4, the rod member 14 comprises a stiff rod and includes a telescoping rod that can adjust to any height desired. A locking ring 70 is provided to assure that the rod member 14 remains at the desired height. In order to adjust the height, the locking ring 70 is loosened and the height re-adjusted and then the ring 70 once again tightened.

A cable 72 is attached to the foot pedal 20 at one end and the lifting mechanism 16 at its other end. The cable 72 is threaded through the rod member 14. The rod member 14 stabilizes the cable 72 and also the foot pedal assembly 12. As can be appreciated, as the foot pedals 18 and 20 are depressed and released, the cable moves accordingly. It will be appreciated that in the exemplary embodiment shown, only one cable, namely 72 is shown attached to the foot pedal 20. However, there are actually two cables, one for each foot pedal. In the exemplary embodiment, the foot pedal 20 operates to lift and lower the lid and the foot pedal 18 operates to lift and lower both the lid and the cover together. In other exemplary embodiments, different configurations are with the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, each foot pedal 18 and 20 may operate independently and one operates the lid while the other operates only the seat.

With particular reference to FIG. 4, there is shown the remaining portion of the lifting mechanism generally designated by the numeral 16. The lifting mechanism 16 includes a spool housing 80 having a spool 82 and 83 for each cable. The other end of each cable is firmly secured to each of the spool(s) 82 and 83.

The lifting mechanism 16 additionally includes a cylinder housing 84, which houses two concentric lifting cylinders 86 and 88. The two concentric lifting cylinders 86 and 88 are spaced apart by a ball bearing member 90, located at each end of the cylinder housing 84. In another exemplary embodiment, the ball bearing member 90 is replaced by a roller bearing member. The ball bearing member 90 allows smooth and independent operation of one lifting cylinder relative to the other. Again, such enhancements, favor a stress-less lifting and lower of the seat and lid.

In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 4, the lid lifting cylinder is cylinder 84, while the seat lifting cylinder is 86. The lid lifting cylinder is cylinder 84 comprises a solid cylindrical rod and has a clasp 92 connected to it. The clasp 92 is then attached to the lid, so that in response to rotational movement of the lid lifting cylinder 84, the lid is either raised or lowered. Similarly, the seat lifting cylinder 86 has a clasp 94 connected to it, which is then connected to the seat for similar raising and lowering of the seat.

As shown clearly in FIG. 4, the lifting mechanism 16 includes a first cable 72 as previously discussed and a second cable 73. The cable 72 ties into the spool 82 as noted above. The spool 82 is connected to the inner solid lifting cylinder 86, which as noted above is connected to the lid. Once foot pressure is applied to the foot pedal 20, which controls cable 72, the cylinder 86 rotates accordingly, the cable is wound onto the spool 82 raising the toilet lid.

Similarly, the cable 73 is securely attached to the spool 83. The spool 104 is connected to the lifting cylinder 88, which as noted above, is connected to the toilet seat. The toilet seat raises or lowers in response to the rotation of the lifting cylinder 88. Likewise, upon the depression of foot pedal 18, the cable 73 winds up onto the spool 83 causing the seat and lid to be raised. It will again be appreciated that different configurations of this construction are possible such that the lid and seat movement are completely independent within the physical limits noted above within the spirit and scope of the invention.

Each of the spools 82 and 83 include a main body and side guards 106. The side guards 106 sandwich the respective cable within the main body and prevent the cable from spilling off of the respective spool.

With particular reference to FIG. 5, there is shown, another exemplary embodiment of the hands free toilet in accordance with the invention. In this embodiment, the seat includes a spring 120 on either side of the mid-line of the seat. The spring 120 normally urges the seat to the open position. Thus, when the foot pedal 18 is depressed, less pressure is needed to open the seat and lid. This is especially important with patients have systemic neuromuscular diseases such as ALS and other having less than ideal strength in their legs. For example children would greatly benefit from the addition of the spring 120.

While the foregoing detailed description has described several embodiments of the hands free lifting mechanism in accordance with this invention, it is to be understood that the above description is illustrative only and not limiting of the disclosed invention. Particularly, various configuration of the foot pedals can be used within the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, more complex systems of cables and pulleys can be used to the same effect also within the spirit and scope of the invention. It will be appreciated that the embodiments discussed above and the virtually infinite embodiments that are not mentioned could easily be within the scope and spirit of this invention. Thus, the invention is to be limited only by the claims as set forth below.