CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This application relates to and incorporates by reference the parent patent application, Ser. No. 60/540829, and claims by priority the filing date of said parent patent application.
- REFERENCE TO A “MICROFICHE APPENDIX”
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to the field of body support devices, particularly that of mattresses.
2. Description of the Related Art
Ever since the earliest humans essentially found that sleeping on hard dirt or stone floors led to stiffness and soreness in the morning, they have pursued a means, which could provide them with a more comfortable sleep. This search has generally resulted in various developments, which may include but are not limited to: sleeping on a pile of leaves and other soft organic matter that could fit the resting human form for greater support and comfort; the use of pads or beds made of straw or other natural fibers; resting on cross rope beds with filler (e.g., feather) mattresses. More modem times have essentially seen the progression to a spring and foam based mattress systems (with accompanying box spring) as well as futon-type mattresses.
The modem mattress, with countless variations, may be seen as generally being comprised of various body support elements. These elements may comprise of sides, which may hold resilient members, such as springs, in essentially a vertical stance, on top of which pad(s) of foam or other resilient materials being laid. These elements generally being encompassed within some form of covering (e.g., fabric covering). Such standardized mattress construction has essentially led to the firm but sometimes stiff, resilient support of a person utilizing the mattress. The construction of such mattresses, in general, could be seen as being essentially limited in their ability to adapt to, accept and support the form of that portion of the user's body as it was pressed into the mattress. Such limitations could be seen as generally causing the user of the mattress to awaken with stiffness, soreness and limited rest, comfort and relaxation.
One possible solution to this issue could be the introduction of the waterbed. The waterbed essentially utilizes the inherent fluid dynamics of a fluid filler to generally accommodate and evenly support the person's form essentially much more effectively than could a standard mattress. One possible limitation to the usage of the waterbed could be the weight of liquid filler, which in many cases could exceed the load bearing capacity of a floor supporting the water mattress. Another possible limitation is the leakage of liquid filler for the waterbed (a typical waterbed being capable of holding about a hundred gallons of liquid filler) could result in significant damage to the building housing the leaking waterbed. For these and other reasons, the usage of waterbeds may be limited. For example, many property owners, property management companies, property insurers, and the like specifically prohibit tenants from the placing any waterbeds in their buildings due to various concerns of possible leakage and overstressing floors.
- SUMMARY OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
What is generally needed therefore is a lightweight, non-fluid based mattress that has the same or similar body support and conforming properties as provided by a waterbed type mattress.
Advantages of One or More Embodiments of the Present Invention
The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:
the ability to reduce foam sheet waste by the foam manufacturers;
provide a comfort, form fitting and support of a fluid based mattress without the weight and possibility of leakage damage that may be found with a fluid base mattress;
provide a non-fluid based mattress with the comfort, form fitting and support of a fluid-based mattress;
provide a mattress which could provide comfort levels that meet or exceed traditional spring- based mattresses with less weight, and bulk of spring-based mattresses;
provide a mattress that has waterbed type support and comfort that is easily transportable;
provide a mattress that has waterbed type support and comfort without the usage of liquid filler;
provide a mattress that is easier to lift, maneuver, move and otherwise transport than a traditional spring based mattress; and
provide a mattress that has waterbed type support and comfort without the potential problems of liquid filler leakage and heavy weight.
- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.
One possible embodiment of the invention could be a mattress comprising an outer envelope, whose exterior generally forms an interior; the interior encompasses a particulate filler matter envelope containing particulate filler material; and a foam pad supporting the particulate filler material envelope.
Another possible version of the embodiment could be a mattress comprising an outer envelope, the outer envelope is made from elastic and low friction material, forming a hollow interior; a particulate filler material envelope comprising a secondary fabric envelope containing a particulate filler matter; a foam pad, which supports the particulate filler envelope; wherein the outer envelope encompasses both the particulate filler material envelope and the foam pad within the interior of the fabric envelope.
Another possible version of the invention could be a mattress comprising a particulate filler envelope means for containing filler means; a support means for supporting the particulate filler envelope means; and an envelope means for encapsulating the particulate filler envelope means and the support means.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The above description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of one embodiment of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. In addition, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
FIG. 1 is substantially a perspective cutaway view of one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is substantially a perspective cutaway view of one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is substantially a perspective cutaway view of one embodiment of the present invention.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 4 is substantially a perspective cutaway view of one embodiment of the present invention.
In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
As substantially shown in FIG. 1, one possible embodiment of the present invention could be a methodology and apparatus for a particulate filler based mattress. The invention in this embodiment could be comprised of an outer envelope 10 (e.g., an outer ticking) essentially containing particulate filler material 13.
The particulate filler material 13 for the various embodiments of the invention could be generally composed of beads 40, which could have generally a round or granular shape (e.g., a sphere, toroid, cylinder, frustum, disk and the like) with a generally uniform size. In at least one embodiment, the size of the beads could be between 1 and 50 millimeters. Size range could be selected upon factors which allow the beads 40 to readily adapt to the contours of a body when the invention is in use.
The beads 40 could be selected from materials, which essentially provide free flowing characteristics to the beads 40 with respect to one another. In at least one embodiment, the beads 40 could be manufactured so that they will be essentially resilient (or may have limited compressibility) and generally be non-adhesive (e.g., low friction) and low absorption. In at least one other embodiment, the beads 40 could be manufactured to be compressible to an extent and have low friction capabilities.
In general, most embodiments of the beads 40 will be constructed generally to provide for a low friction passage amongst themselves under pressure during the operation of the invention. In this manner, the characteristics of the beads 40 could allow the beads 40 to 20 essentially move freely past one another during operation, so that beads 40 can essentially move from those generally compressed areas of the invention (e.g., which are conforming to a body impression or imprint of a user) to generally uncompressed areas of the invention.
The beads 40 could be made from synthetic materials or natural materials, or combinations thereof. Such synthetic materials could be classes of materials such a polymers, which could include thermoplastic resins, thermoset resins, and the like. Specific examples of the synthetic materials could include latex, Viscoelastic, polyurethane, expandable polystyrene and the like. In at least one embodiment, of the invention, the beads 40 of the particulate filler material 13 could be made from natural materials such a grains (e.g. oat, flax seed, wheat), rice, beans, popping corn, either whole or partial (e.g. crushed walnuts shells, buckwheat husks) and the like.
The composition of the beads 40 could be further selected from materials which could supply other characteristics such as: general increase in flame retardancy; general reduction in smoke generation capability; and a general reduction of the airborne contaminates generation (e.g., caused by the mattress filler when the outer envelope 10 is punctured or otherwise penetrated).
Although the various means of manufacturing the synthetic versions of the beads 40 utilizing new and dedicated materials are known to those versed in the art and need not be related to here, the invention in at least one embodiment also provides for the beads 40 made from secondary, non-dedicated synthetic materials. Such secondary, non-dedicated synthetic materials could include scrap or leftover cutout sheets of foam (not shown) from which other foam-based products were previously cut, punched or otherwise formed. These scrap cutout foam sheets (not shown) could be then be fed into a shredder (not shown) to form the desired beads 40. In this manner, a foam manufacturer, in making the particulate filler matter 13 for the invention could generally be able to utilize otherwise useless foam scrap sheets. It could be possible for a foam manufacturer, while providing the beads 40 for the invention, to generally to increase its profits, lower its costs, as well as essentially reduce waste.
The outer envelope 10 essentially provides an exterior 11, which generally defines an essentially hollow interior 12. The exterior 11 may be seen as having top 14, a bottom 15, and a wall 16 that essentially connects the top 14 and bottom 15 together. The top 14, a bottom 15, and a wall 16 can also be seen as generally defining an essentially hollow interior 12, which may receive and contain the particulate filler material 13. The outer envelope 10 could be made in a variety of shapes and sizes generally to provide the invention with a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The outer envelope 10 could be constructed from a material or composition that has both low friction (e.g., sheer) and elastic (e.g., is stretchable) qualities. At least one embodiment having such elastic and low friction qualities could accordingly be made from material composed of 86% nylon and 14% spandex with a 7.6-ounce weight. In at least one embodiment, the outer envelope 10 could be constructed to be cloth like (e.g., fabric). The outer envelope 10 could be constructed using methods known to the art to conform to the various industry standards for body support devices.
As generally shown in FIG. 1, the top 14 could be constructed to allow for low friction and stretchable contact with the particulate filler material 13 during the impact of the user's body with the invention. The wall 16 in at least one version of the present embodiment could be composed of a series of sealable side compartments 17 containing resilient foam inserts 18 or the like. The stiffness or resilience of such inserts 18 could be adjusted generally to provide a desired rigidity to the wall 16. The desired rigidity could be sufficient generally to maintain the overall vertical positioning of the invention and to provide generally, a shaped containment of the particulate filler material 13. Additionally, the rigidity could have enough give or flexibility generally to accommodate, in a comfortable manner, the form of the user if the user should impact upon the top edge of the wall 16.
The bottom 15, in at least one embodiment, could similarly feature one or more bottom compartments 19, which could also contain resilient support elements 20. These elements 20 are essentially of sufficient strength, size and resilience generally to hold the invention within a bed frame (not shown in FIG. 1) as the outer edges of the elements 20 could engage at least portions of the rails of the bed frame (not shown in FIG. 1). The elements 20 could generally be placed and essentially sealed in the bottom compartments 19 during manufacture.
During manufacture of the invention, the particulate filler material 13 may be inserted (e.g., injected) into the interior 12 of the outer envelope 10, which is then essentially sealed (permanent or otherwise) to prevent leakage of the beads 40 to the environment outside of the outer envelope 10. Additionally, in order to generally provide an additional safety against leakage, at least one embodiment could use a secondary envelope (not shown) can be utilized and placed within the interior 12 of the outer envelope 14 to generally receive and contain the particulate filler material 13. This “double bagging” helps generally to reduce the potential for bead type particulate filler material 13 from being propelled by electrostatic charges past a tear or rupture and spreading in great quantities throughout a room where the invention is deployed. In at least one version of this embodiment, the secondary envelope (not shown) could be constructed to be fire resistant.
It is the inventor's belief, although the invention is not limited in any way by the validity or invalidity of this belief, that when a portion of an the envelope containing the particulate filler matter 13 is compressed, the free flowing characteristics of the beads 40 of the particulate filler matter 13, in combination with the stretching and low friction qualities of the envelope encapsulating same, essentially allows the invention in general to quickly absorb and form to that portion of the user's body that is in contact with the invention. These attributes in general also provide in a greater degree of support from a greater portion of the invention for a greater portion of the impacted part of the user's body. In this manner, the envelope containing the particulate filler material 13 could generally be seen as mimicking the desired support qualities of a waterbed, to provide a user with a more comfortable rest.
As shown in FIG. 2, another possible embodiment of the invention has an outer envelope 10 that utilizes air compartments 22 to provide the rigidity for the wall structure 16. These air compartments 22 could be essentially airtight envelopes 23, which may be inflated and then generally sealed through a reversibly sealed inflating inlet 24. The inflating inlet 24 generally penetrates the air compartment and the exterior of the wall structure 16 essentially to allow for inflation/deflation as by the user. The inflated airtight envelopes 23 generally provide the user with essentially adjustable rigidity and structural support for the wall structure 16.
As shown in FIG. 3, another embodiment of the invention generally utilizes an outer envelope 10 whose bottom 15 and wall 16 essentially lacks elements or inserts which may be used to provide an essentially rigid structural support. This outer envelope 10 could be adapted to fit or nestle within a framework 25, which essentially has its own essentially rigid sides 26 supported by an essentially rigid bottom 27. The rigid sides 26 can be generally constructed of side compartments 17 containing elements 20 or inserts 18 as described above. Alternatively, the side compartments 17 can also be constructed as air compartments 22 made of essentially airtight envelopes 23 with an inflating inlet 24. Using this inflating inlet 24, the user, through inflation/deflation, can generally provide the desired rigidity to the rigid sides 26.
The rigid bottom 27 could also be made of bottom compartments 19, which essentially accept generally resilient elements 20 to generally allow the invention to be essentially placed upon by a bed frame 28. To accomplish this, the rails of a bed frame 28 could reversibly engage portions of the rigid bottom 27.
As shown in FIG. 4, another embodiment of the invention could be constructed so that outer envelope 10 could generally envelope a fire resistant liner 46. The fire resistant liner could then essentially encompass a particulate matter filler envelope 50 and a foam pad, generally denoted by reference numeral 29. The fire resistant liner 46 could be made of appropriate fire resistant material, treated with appropriate fire suppression elements or combinations of both, as known in the art or which may become known to the art in the future.
The particulate matter filler envelope 50, which essentially contains a particulate filler material 13, which may then placed on top of, and in at least one embodiment could be attached to and supported by the foam pad 29. The particulate matter filler envelope 50 could be, in at least one version of the embodiment, made of sheer and elastic material for desired interaction with the particulate filler material 13 during operations as denoted above. The particulate matter filler envelope 50 could also be constructed, in at least one version of the present embodiment, so that its depth, in conjunction with the particulate filler material 13 could be generally sufficient essentially to accommodate that the form of that portion of the user's body generally impressed into the top of the invention during operation.
In at least one embodiment of the invention, the foam pad 29 could be comprised of a foam sheet 42 placed upon a foam base 44. In one version of the present embodiment, the foam sheet 42 could be made of softer, more compressible material than the foam base 44. Conversely, the foam sheet 42 could be made of material, which is stiffer that the material used for the foam sheet 42. The foam sheet 42 could be resilient enough to support the invention upon a bed frame 28 (not shown in FIG. 4), when portions of the bottom of the invention engage the portions of the bed frame 28 (e.g., the railings).
In at least one version of the present embodiment of the invention, the foam sheet 42 could be made from Pillowflex™ made by Foamex, Addison, Pa., USA. In at least one version of the present embodiment, the foam base 44 could be made from polyurethane.
While these descriptions directly describe the above embodiments, it is understood that those skilled in the art may conceive modifications and/or variations to the specific embodiments shown and described herein. Any such modifications or variations that fall within the purview of this description are intended to be included therein as well. It is understood that the description herein is intended to be illustrative only and is not intended to be limitative.
Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.