US20040049842A1 - Remote control bath mat blower unit - Google Patents

Remote control bath mat blower unit Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040049842A1
US20040049842A1 US10/243,257 US24325702A US2004049842A1 US 20040049842 A1 US20040049842 A1 US 20040049842A1 US 24325702 A US24325702 A US 24325702A US 2004049842 A1 US2004049842 A1 US 2004049842A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
remote control
blower unit
bath mat
control unit
unit
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10/243,257
Inventor
Barry Prehodka
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Conair CIP Inc
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Conair CIP Inc
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Publication date
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Priority to US10/243,257 priority Critical patent/US20040049842A1/en
Assigned to CONAIR CIP, INC. reassignment CONAIR CIP, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: PREHODKA, BARRY VICTOR
Publication of US20040049842A1 publication Critical patent/US20040049842A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H33/00Bathing devices for special therapeutic or hygienic purposes
    • A61H33/02Bathing devices for use with gas-containing liquid, or liquid in which gas is led or generated, e.g. carbon dioxide baths
    • A61H33/025Aerating mats or frames, e.g. to be put in a bath-tub
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H33/00Bathing devices for special therapeutic or hygienic purposes
    • A61H33/02Bathing devices for use with gas-containing liquid, or liquid in which gas is led or generated, e.g. carbon dioxide baths
    • A61H33/028Means for producing a flow of gas, e.g. blowers, compressors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H33/00Bathing devices for special therapeutic or hygienic purposes
    • A61H33/005Electrical circuits therefor
    • A61H2033/0058Electrical circuits therefor controlled by the user
    • A61H2033/0079Electrical circuits therefor controlled by the user using remote control signal transmission devices, e.g. ultrasonic, infra-red

Abstract

There is provided a blower unit for a bubbling bath mat. The blower unit includes a housing, an air pump, a control assembly, a remote control and a connector secured to the blower unit. The remote control unit controls the operation of the control assembly via a wireless communication protocol. Preferably, the remote control unit is conveniently and securely connected to the blower unit by connector.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention [0001]
  • The present invention relates to a blower unit for a bath mat. More particularly, the present invention relates to a blower unit for a bath mat that provides an aerated bubbling, therapeutic massage. In a preferred embodiment, the present invention also provides a remote control unit that controls the operation of a control assembly of the blower unit via a wireless communication protocol. The remote control unit may be connected to the blower unit. [0002]
  • 2. Description of the Prior Art [0003]
  • Examples of bubbling bath mats demonstrating the state of the art can be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,090,403; 5,080,091; 4,962,759; 4,417,568; 4,409,693; and 3,809,073. In addition, German Patent Nos. 2,854,503 and 4,033,021 also reflect the state of the art. [0004]
  • All of the above patents provide bubbling bath mats that introduce air into a body of water through a number of apertures located in an upper and/or side surface of the bath mat. However, the prior art bath mats lack the convenient operation desired by a user. It is not convenient for the user to exit the bathtub in order to operate a control disposed on the blower unit. Remote control of the bath mat blower unit would be advantageous. However, a blower unit having a remote control that controls operation of the blower unit via a wireless communication protocol may become misplaced, damaged, or even pose a hazard in the operating environment of a bubbling bat mat. [0005]
  • A preferred embodiment of the present invention addresses the above-mentioned deficiencies by providing a bubbling bath mat blower unit having the convenience of a remote control unit that is securely, safely, and conveniently connected to the blower unit, yet the remote control unit can control the functions of the blower unit via a wireless communication protocol. [0006]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is an object of the present invention to provide a blower unit for a bubbling bath mat having a remote control unit. [0007]
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide such a remote control unit that is securely and conveniently connected to the blower unit by a connector. [0008]
  • It is still a further object of the present invention to provide such a remote control unit connected to the housing by a retractable connector. [0009]
  • These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are achieved by the blower unit for a bubbling bath mat. The blower unit of the present invention includes a housing preferably having an air pump, a control assembly, a remote control, and preferably a connector for connecting the remote control to the blower unit. The remote control unit controls the operation of the blower unit's functions via a wireless communication protocol. Preferably, the remote control unit is connected to the blower unit.[0010]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a blower unit for a bubbling bath mat of the present invention with a remote control unit connected to the blower unit; [0011]
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an exemplary bath mat for use with the blower unit of the present invention; [0012]
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the blower unit for a bubbling bath mat with a remote control unit connected to the housing of the blower unit by a connector, in accordance with the present invention; [0013]
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the blower unit of FIG. 1, in which the remote control unit is connected to the housing of the blower unit by a retractable connector, in accordance with the present invention; [0014]
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the blower unit of FIG. 4, in which the remote control unit is connected to the blower unit by a retractable connector in accordance with the present invention; [0015]
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the blower unit of FIG. 1, in which the remote control unit is connected to the housing of the blower unit by a coiled connector; and [0016]
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the blower unit of FIG. 6; [0017]
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of the present invention; and [0018]
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.[0019]
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a blower unit for a bath mat in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention generally represented by reference numeral [0020] 10. Blower unit 10 can be removably connected to the bath mat 100 by an air hose 140. Heated and pressurized air generated in blower unit 10 is directed through air hose 140 into bath mat 100. A user rests on bath mat 100 within, for example, a bath tub for a relaxing aerated, heated massage. The user can selectively control the aerated and heating sensations generated in the blower unit with a remote control 30. Typically, blower unit 10 may be placed adjacent to the bath tub on a floor and bath mat 100 placed in the bath tub for the user to selectively lie on top of the bath mat.
  • With reference to FIG. 2, bath mat [0021] 100 includes a receptacle for which heated and/or pressurized air may enter the bath mat from air hose 140. Bath mat 100 may be made of a flexible material, a vinyl, or any suitable material having a surface that imparts beneficial aspects upon the user. Bath mat 100 may also have a plurality of longitudinally disposed segments including head segment 105 and body segments 110, 115, 120 and 125 that extend the longitudinal length of bath mat 100. Preferably, segments 105, 110, 115, 120 and 125 are made of a semi-rigid material.
  • Head segment [0022] 105 has an air distributor controller 130. Preferably, air distributor controller 130 has an air inlet orifice 135 for receiving and engaging hose 140. Head segment 105 is connected to segment 110 by two or more air channels. Preferably, the air channels include at least two outer channels 145 and at least two inner channels 150. Outer channels 145 and inner channels 150 can extend substantially the entire longitudinal length of bath mat 100 and to flexibly traverse joints 155. Outer channels 145 preferably run along opposing outer edges of bath mat 100 in the longitudinal direction. Inner channels 150 preferably run along an inner portion of mat 100 in the longitudinal direction.
  • Each segment [0023] 110, 115, 120, and 125 preferably has one or more apertures 175 randomly distributed throughout a surface of each segment. Preferably, apertures 175 are sized differently. Segments 110, 115, 120, and 125 can be flexibly hinged together in any suitable manner, but preferably by link hinges 156 laterally spaced and diametrically opposed along the outer edge of bubbling bath mat 100 at one or more joints 155. In this manner, heated and pressurized air generated within blower unit 10 is released through apertures 175 to provide the user with a relaxing heat, aerated sensation.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, there is shown blower unit [0024] 10 with remote control 30. Blower unit 10 has a housing 15. In housing 15, there is an air pump, a control assembly, a transmitter, a heater, (all of which are not shown), a cradle 20, a remote control 30, and a connector 45 for connecting the remote control to blower unit 10. The air pump, control assembly, transmitter and heater are all conventionally known. The heater may be a thermally conductive plate, a heater wire, a positive thermal coefficient heater or in-line heater disposed in housing 15. The pump may be a centrifugal pump, a gear pump, a piston pump, a vane pump, a rotor or any other device or method suitable for pumping the heated air through the air hose 140 to the bath mat 100. Housing 15 has a number of legs 16 disposed on the exterior thereof for supporting blower unit 10 on a support surface in a stable manner, preferably adjacent to the bath tub. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that housing 15 may be formed as a “U” shaped member or any other suitable shape to house the pump, the heater and the operational components of the blower unit.
  • Housing [0025] 15 also has an aperture 12 for connecting air hose 140 to bath mat 100. The blower unit 10 is connected to bath mat 100 by air hose 140 in a suitable airtight manner to direct air into the bath mat. Air hose 140 may be made from any suitable thermoplastic material that allows heated and pressurized air to communicate with bath mat 100. Air hose 140 is suitable to interface with aperture 12. Aperture 12 preferably has a diameter about the same diameter as air hose 140 such that air hose 140 may selectively interface with aperture. In this manner, the user may removably detach air hose 140 from blower unit 10 and bath mat 100 for storage purposes. Thus, a user resting on top of bath mat 100, in for example, the bath tub may enjoy a relaxing aerated massaging sensation from air circulated from the pump (not shown) in blower unit 10 to the user's skin tissues.
  • An exemplary aspect of the present invention is that remote control [0026] 30 is connected to blower unit 10. The housing 15 has a cradle 20. Cradle 20 is intended for storing remote control unit 30 therein. Cradle 20 may be a longitudinally shaped notch structure formed in the exterior of the housing or in the interior space of housing 15. Cradle 20 may also have a translucent plate 25 that extends from the top side of blower unit 10 for selectively engaging remote control unit 30. Cradle 20 may be any suitable shape for receiving and preferably securing remote control unit 30 with the cradle. Cradle 20 is preferably constructed of a durable thermoplastic material and may have a detent or other retaining device for removably holding remote control unit 30 in the cradle.
  • Housing [0027] 15 also has a receiver 14. Receiver 14 receives a wireless communication protocol signal, for example, an infrared, a radio frequency, or other type of signal, either analog or digital, from remote control unit 30. Receiver 14 is electrically connected to a control assembly (not shown) disposed in housing 15 for controlling the various functions of blower unit 10 such as the heater, the pump, an infrared therapy device, a vibration device, and a cooling device.
  • As can be understood from the drawings, remote control unit [0028] 30 is intended to be grasped by the hand and may be waterproof. Remote control unit 30 may be oblong with a top side 32, a bottom side 34, and a rear side 36. In an aspect hereof, top side 32 has one or more buttons 38. Button(s) 38 may be any configuration that corresponds and permits control of the operational and functional capabilities of blower unit 10 via remote control unit 30. For example, the button(s) 38 may include a heater button, an air pump activation/deactivation button, a cooling button, a vibration feature activation/deactivation button, an infrared therapy activation/deactivation button, a timer button, or any combinations thereof.
  • In an aspect of the present invention, remote control unit [0029] 30 has a transmitter (not shown) disposed in the remote control unit adjacent to a translucent plate 36. The translucent plate 36 facilitates transmission of the control signal from the transmitter of remote control unit 30 of blower unit 10. The transmitter may emit an infrared, a radio frequency, or other type of signal, either digital or analog, through plate 36 to receiver 14 disposed within blower unit 10 for receiving the transmitted signal for controlling the various operational functions of the blower unit. Preferably, the signal is an infrared signal or a radio frequency (RF) signal. One skilled in the art should appreciate that remote control unit 30 may be fabricated in a watertight manner such that the remote control unit 30 will not be damaged upon exposure to liquid.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, receiver [0030] 14 may be located in cradle 20, such that signals from remote control unit 30 may be received by transmitter (not shown) when remote control unit is seated in the cradle. In this manner, the need for control button(s) 38 on blower unit 10 is obviated. In another aspect of the present invention, remote control unit 30 may include a magnet, a hook and loop fastener, an adhesive or any combinations thereof for removably connecting the remote control unit 30 to the blower unit 10.
  • As shown on FIGS. 3 through 6 remote control unit [0031] 30 is connected to blower unit 10 by a connector 45. Referring to FIG. 3, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a post 40 having an aperture therethrough is connected to an exterior surface of housing 15. Post 40 may be any horizontal or vertical support structure having an aperture for securing remote control unit 30 to blower unit 10. One end of connector 45 is connected to post 40 and a second end of connector 45 is connected to remote control unit 30. In this manner, remote control unit 30 may be conveniently and securely attached to blower unit 10 to obviate the user from losing, misplacing or damaging the remote control unit. Connector 45 may include a nylon cord, a sheathed wire, a chain, or other, preferably flexible, material.
  • As shown on FIGS. 4 and 5, remote control unit [0032] 30 may be attached or connected to blower unit 10 by retractable connector 50. Retractable connector 50 may be disposed on an exterior surface of housing 15, disposed in blower unit 10 or on an interior surface of cradle 20. Referring to a preferred embodiment of the present invention shown on FIG. 5, retractable connector 50 may be disposed in the interior of blower unit 10. Retractable connector 50 is preferably wound around exemplary spindle 55.
  • Spindle [0033] 55 may have a housing 56 connected to an interior surface of blower unit 10. Spindle 55 is preferably biased with a spring or coil disposed in housing 56 such that retractable connector 50 retracts with a sufficient force to wind and pull remote control unit 30 from a remote location to a location substantially adjacent to blower unit 10. In this manner, by retracting remote control unit 30, the remote control unit avoids being lost, misplaced, and or damaged. Furthermore, remote control unit 30 can be quickly and conveniently retrieved and stored using retractable connector 50 after the user is comfortably resting on bath mat 100 in, for example a bath tub.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, remote control unit [0034] 30 may be connected to blower unit 10 by an exemplary coiled cord 60. Coiled cord 60 may be connected around post 40. Coiled cord 60 may be any slender length member of flexible material used to bind remote control unit 30 with post 40 disposed on blower unit 10. Coiled cord 60 preferably provides tension sufficient to retract remote control unit 30 from a remote location to a position adjacent blower unit 10. In yet another preferred embodiment shown on FIG. 7, coiled cord 60 may be connected to a lateral flange of housing 15. In this manner, coiled cord 60 prevents remote control unit 30 from becoming lost, misplaced, or damaged.
  • Referring again to FIG. 1, bath mat [0035] 100 is shown connected to blower unit 10 by hose 140. Bath mat 100 preferably releases warm aerating bubbles that at least maintains the water temperature of, for example, a bath tub. The function of aeration, as well as other functions, may be controlled in response to a wireless communication protocol signal transmitted from remote control unit 30 attached or connected by connector 45 to blower unit 10. The pressurized air is routed to bath mat 100 via air hose 140.
  • In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention shown on FIG. 8, blower unit [0036] 10 may also include a remote control unit 30 that is selectively separable from blower unit 10 and/or not connected to blower unit 10. The remote control 30 may be waterproof and wirelessly transmit a control signal to the control assembly disposed in housing 15. The remote control unit 30 may have a disengageable connector, a hook and loop fastener, a tether, a wire, a reel or any other suitable connector. The control signal may include an infrared signal or a radio frequency signal. The signals will control the operational functions of blower unit 10. In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, blower unit 10 can include an ionic/ozone producing assembly (not shown) for introducing ions into the heated and pressurized air which in turn is routed to bath mat 100 via air hose 140.
  • In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention shown on FIG. 9, blower unit [0037] 10 has a remote control unit 31 connected to the blower unit. Remote control unit 31 is attached to the control assembly (not shown) in the blower unit 10 by an insulated and waterproof electrical wire 62. The electrical wire 62 is suitable to communicate an analog or a digital signal through the wire to control unit (not shown) of the blower unit. The signals in the rectangular control unit 31 travel through the wire to control the operational functions of blower unit 10.
  • It should also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the particular functions and other aspects of blower unit [0038] 10 with remote control 30 discussed herein are but examples of the present invention.
  • It should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the present invention. Various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances. [0039]

Claims (19)

What is claimed is:
1. A blower unit for a bath mat comprising:
a housing;
an air pump being disposed in said housing;
a control assembly being disposed in said housing and operatively connected to said air pump;
a remote control unit for wirelessly transmitting a control signal to said control assembly; and
a connector for connecting said blower unit to said remote control unit.
2. The blower unit of claim 1, wherein said remote control unit transmits an infrared signal.
3. The blower unit of claim 1, wherein said remote control unit transmits a radio frequency (RF) signal.
4. The blower unit of claim 1, wherein said connector is selected from the group consisting of a retractable connector, a string, coiled cord, a sheathed wire, a magnet, and a hook and loop fastener.
5. The blower unit of claim 1, wherein said remote control unit is fixedly attached to said housing.
6. The blower unit of claim 1, further comprising a cradle for holding said remote control unit.
7. The blower unit of claim 6, wherein said cradle is disposed on a top surface of said housing.
8. The blower unit of claim 1, wherein said remote control unit is sealed watertight.
9. The blower unit of claim 1, wherein said remote control unit has at least one button for controlling one or more functions of said blower unit, and wherein said functions are selected from the group consisting of heating a liquid, pumping air, providing infrared therapy, vibrating, and providing a timed operation.
10. The blower unit of claim 1, further comprising a hose for attaching said blower unit to a bath mat.
11. A bubbling bath mat comprising:
a blower unit having a housing, an air pump disposed in said housing, a first control assembly disposed in said housing, a remote control unit for wirelessly transmitting a control signal to said first control assembly, said remote control unit being selectively separable from said blower unit;
a bath mat; and
an air hose connected to said bath mat and said air pump, wherein said air hose has a second control assembly for manipulating air flow to said bath mat.
12. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said remote control unit is sealed watertight.
13. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said remote control unit has an infrared transmitter.
14. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said remote control unit transmits a radio frequency (RF) signal.
15. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said remote control unit has at least one button for controlling one or more functions of said blower unit, and wherein said functions are selected from the group consisting of heating a liquid, pumping air, providing infrared therapy, providing ions to said air, vibrating, and providing a timed operation.
16. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said second control assembly for manipulating said air flow to said bath mat is disposed on said bath mat.
17. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said bath mat has an ionic/ozone producing assembly for introducing ions into said air flow.
18. The bubbling bath mat of claim 11, wherein said remote control unit transmits said control signal to said control assembly by an insulated electrical wire, said insulated electrical wire operatively connected to said control assembly and said remote control unit.
19. The bubbling bath mat of claim 18, wherein said insulated electrical wire is sealed watertight.
US10/243,257 2002-09-13 2002-09-13 Remote control bath mat blower unit Abandoned US20040049842A1 (en)

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US10/243,257 US20040049842A1 (en) 2002-09-13 2002-09-13 Remote control bath mat blower unit
GB0321428A GB2394565A (en) 2002-09-13 2003-09-12 Remotely controlled air pump for a bath mat
CA 2440586 CA2440586A1 (en) 2002-09-13 2003-09-12 A remote control bath mat blower unit

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