US20080016624A1 - Soothing devices - Google Patents

Soothing devices Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080016624A1
US20080016624A1 US11/784,683 US78468307A US2008016624A1 US 20080016624 A1 US20080016624 A1 US 20080016624A1 US 78468307 A US78468307 A US 78468307A US 2008016624 A1 US2008016624 A1 US 2008016624A1
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Prior art keywords
device
media
portion
soothing
apparatus
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Abandoned
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US11/784,683
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Kathy Osborn
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NAPTOWN DREAMS LLC
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NAPTOWN DREAMS LLC
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Priority to US11/490,561 priority Critical patent/US20080020672A1/en
Application filed by NAPTOWN DREAMS LLC filed Critical NAPTOWN DREAMS LLC
Priority to US11/784,683 priority patent/US20080016624A1/en
Assigned to NAPTOWN DREAMS LLC reassignment NAPTOWN DREAMS LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: OSBORN, KATHY L.
Publication of US20080016624A1 publication Critical patent/US20080016624A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/006Infant exercisers, e.g. for attachment to a crib
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/22Optical, colour, or shadow toys
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H5/00Musical or noise- producing devices for additional toy effects other than acoustical

Abstract

A soothing device is disclosed. The soothing device may be used in combination with a person support, such as a baby crib, a bed, and a dentist chair. The soothing device may include a display, a projector, a screen, and a mobile. The soothing device may include one or more covers. The soothing device may be used in combination with a portable, stand alone media device.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/490,561, filed Jul. 21, 2006, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.
  • BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to soothing devices including baby mobiles and baby soothing devices.
  • 2. Prior Art
  • Traditional baby mobiles are mountable to a baby's crib and include a music box, an arm extending from a music box over the baby crib, and a plurality of objects or toys suspended from the arm. The music box typically stores only a few songs. The music box is powered by batteries and operates to play the songs and rotate the objects above the crib. The mechanism for activating the mobile (i.e. playing the songs and rotating the objects) is often in the form of a wind up music box. In these cases the mechanism for playing the music is usually a mechanical music player and the music is played for the duration of the wind. In other words, the play length of the music box is determined by the wind up capacity. In other cases, the mechanism for activating the mobile is electronic and a button is pushed to activate the mobile. In these cases, the playback mechanism is digital in nature and typically plays less soothing and more robotic sounding renditions of the music. The play length of these electronic playback music boxes is determined by the length of the song.
  • Oftentimes, the length of the playback is not long enough to soothe a baby to sleep and parents are forced to sneak back into the baby's room to re-activate the music box. In addition, the variety of songs and sound quality is limited. It can be rather frustrating to come home with a baby mobile that plays a song that, for one reason or another, is not soothing to the baby. It would be beneficial to provide a baby soothing device that would allow parents to program and play back any variety of songs for any desired duration. It would be of further benefit to provide a baby soothing device that provided improved sound quality.
  • SUMMARY
  • In an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, a soothing device for soothing or relaxing a person and/or for entertaining a person is provided. In one example the soothing device is a baby soothing device. In another example, the soothing device is for an older person, such as a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager, an adult, and a senior. In an exemplary embodiment, the soothing device is configured to receive media content from a stand alone media device and to present the media to the person. Exemplary types of media content include audio, images, visualizations, and videos. Exemplary methods of presenting the media content include with at least one speaker, with a projector, and/or with a display. Further, the soothing device in an exemplary embodiment, includes a rotatable member which supports a plurality of visual stimuli.
  • In another exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, an apparatus for mounting to a person support having a support surface for supporting a person is provided. The apparatus comprising a soothing device supported by the person support and a cover. The soothing device includes a first portion adapted to couple to the person support, a second portion positioned over the support surface of the person support within a periphery of the person support, and an arm connecting the first portion and the second portion. The cover being configured to cover over at least a portion of one of the first portion, the arm, and the second portion. The cover being selectable from a plurality of covers each having a different decorative appearance.
  • In a further exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, an apparatus for mounting to a person support having a support surface for supporting a person is provided. The apparatus comprising a soothing device supported by the person support and a stand alone media device. The soothing device includes a first portion adapted to be coupled to the person support, a second portion positioned over the support surface of the person support within a periphery of the person support, and an arm connecting the first portion and the second portion. The stand alone media device being configured to be operatively coupled to a media input of the soothing device and to provide media content to a media output device of the soothing device. The media content including a configurable playlist.
  • In yet another exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, a method of customizing a soothing device for a first environment including a person support including a support surface for supporting a person is provided. The method comprising the steps of offering a soothing device including a first portion adapted to couple to the person support, a second portion positioned over the support surface within a periphery of the person support, and an arm connecting the first portion and the second portion; offering a plurality of different covers for at least at least a portion of one of the first portion, the arm, and the second portion, a first cover of the plurality of different covers being coordinated with the first environment; and selling the soothing device and the first cover.
  • In still a further exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, a soothing device for use with a person support having a support surface for supporting the person and a stand alone media device is provided. The soothing device comprising a housing; a controller positioned within the housing, the controller being adapted to be operably coupled with the stand alone media source; at least one speaker operatively coupled to the controller, a mobile supported by the housing, and a visual media output device spaced apart from the housing. The at least one speaker positioned within the housing and operably coupled to the stand alone media device when the stand alone media device is operably coupled to the controller such that audio media stored in a memory of the stand alone media device is played through the at least one speaker. The mobile being positioned within a periphery of the person support. The visual media output device being configured to provide visual media within a periphery of the support and operably coupled to the stand alone media device when the stand alone media device is operably coupled to the controller, the visual media being stored in the memory of the stand alone media device.
  • Additional features of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of the presently perceived best mode of carrying out the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a crib having a baby soothing device according to one embodiment of the present invention mounted thereon;
  • FIG. 1A is a top view of the crib of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 2 is a top view of the baby soothing device of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 2A is a front view of an exemplary cover;
  • FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a crib having a baby soothing device according to another embodiment of the present invention mounted thereon;
  • FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a crib having a baby soothing device according to another embodiment of the present invention mounted thereon;
  • FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic representation of a stand alone media source and a baby soothing device;
  • FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic view of exemplary media types stored on a memory of the media source of FIG. 5 and exemplary media output devices of the baby soothing device of FIG. 5;
  • FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic view of various covers that may be associated with various components of an environment, an exemplary baby soothing device, and an exemplary media source;
  • FIG. 8 is a side view of a bed having a mattress supported by a frame, a headboard, a footboard, and a pair of siderails;
  • FIG. 9 is a top view of the bed of FIG. 8;
  • FIG. 10 is a side view an exemplary embodiment of a portion of a soothing device;
  • FIG. 11A is a bottom view of the portion of the soothing device of FIG. 10 including a screen; and
  • FIG. 11B is a bottom view of the portion of the soothing device of FIG. 10 including a display.
  • Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. Although the drawings represent embodiments of the present invention, the drawings are not necessarily to scale and certain features may be exaggerated in order to better illustrate and explain the present invention. Although the exemplification set out herein illustrates embodiments of the invention, in several forms, the embodiments disclosed below are not intended to be exhaustive or to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention to the precise forms disclosed.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The embodiments hereinafter disclosed are not intended to be exhaustive or limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed in the following description. Rather, the embodiments are chosen and described so that others skilled in the art may utilize its teachings.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, an exemplary soothing device 300 is shown. Soothing device 300 includes a controller 302, a media input 304, a memory 306, a user input 308, and one or more media output devices 310. In one embodiment, soothing device 300 is a baby soothing device and includes a baby mobile, such as baby mobile 36 shown in FIG. 1.
  • Soothing device 300 interacts with a stand alone media source or device 320 which provides media content to soothing device 300. Exemplary types of media content include audio content, image content, visualization content, and video content. Exemplary types of audio content include songs and other types of recordings, such as books. Exemplary types of image content include photos, such as of family members, art, educational items, or visualizations. Exemplary types of video content include video clips of family members, movies, and educational shows. Exemplary visualization content include wave visualizations, such as available for Windows Media Player available from Microsoft corporation located in Redmond, Wash.
  • An exemplary media source 320 is an IPOD brand media source available from Apple Computer, Inc. located at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, Calif. 95014. Additional details regarding exemplary media sources are provided in U.S. Pat. No. 6,934,812, U.S. Pat. No. 7,046,230, U.S. Pat. No. 7,072,477, U.S. Pat. No. 7,146,437, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,166,791, the disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.
  • Media source 320 receives exemplary media content from a remote media content storage 330. Exemplary remote media content storages 330 include a personal computer and a computer accessible through a network, such as the Internet. An exemplary remote media content storage 330 is ITUNES brand media software available from Apple Computer, Inc. located at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, Calif. 95014.
  • In one embodiment, media source 320 is coupled to remote media content storage 330 through a data port 332. In one embodiment, media source 320 is coupled to remote media content storage 330 through a docking station which includes an electrical connection for data port 332. In one embodiment, media source 320 is wirelessly coupled to remote media content storage 330.
  • Media source 320 includes a controller 334 and an associated memory 336. Media source 320 further includes a user input 338, an output device 340, and a media output 342. Media content received from remote media content storage 330 is stored in memory 336 by controller 334.
  • Controller 334 in response to inputs received through user input 338 retrieves various types of media content stored in memory 336. Exemplary user inputs include a touch input, a button, a switch, and other suitable inputs. Exemplary output devices include a display screen and other suitable output devices. In one example, controller 334 displays on a display screen identifiers for various media content stored in memory 336 and a user selects various media content with user input 338.
  • Controller 334 provides the media content or a representation of the media content to one or both of a media output 342 and data port 332. An exemplary media output 342 is a speaker or headphone jack. One or both of media output 342 and data port 332 are operably coupled to media input 304 of soothing device 300.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, exemplary types of media content 331 are shown stored in memory 336 of stand alone media source 320 including a one or more audio files 350, one or more playlists 352, one or more image files 354, one or more visualizations 355, and one or more video files 356. Playlists 352 reference a plurality of audio files 350, image files 354, visualizations 355, and/or video files 356 and provide a quick way to select a plurality of media content. Further, playlists 352 which may include one or more audio files 350, image files 354, visualizations 355, and/or video files 356 are configurable. In one embodiment, a user may through user input 338 (see FIG. 5) add media content to a playlist, remove media content from a playlist, and/or organize the order of media content for a playlist. Further, a user may program the amount of time each image is shown on a display, such as display 560 (see FIG. 11B), and whether a playlist should play through once, cycle, and/or be presented in random order.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 6, media content 331 is provided to soothing device 300. As mentioned above, media content 331 may be provided through media output 342 (see FIG. 5) and/or data port 332 (see FIG. 5). The media content provided to soothing device 300 is directed by controller 302 (see FIG. 5) to various media output devices 310. Exemplary media output devices 310 are shown in FIG. 6 including one or more speakers 360, one or more projectors 362, and one or more displays 364. Exemplary displays include LCD displays, plasma displays, and other suitable displays. In one embodiment, display 364 is positioned along a side of a person support, such as the location of visual simulation device 248 on crib 10 (see FIG. 4). In one embodiment, display 364 is positioned over a mattress of a person report, such as display 560 supported by arm 38 (see FIGS. 10 and 11B).
  • With one or more speakers 360, audio files 350 and/or a sound component of video files 356 may be presented to a person, such as a baby. With one or more projectors 362, image files 354 and/or an image component of video files 356 may be presented to a person, such as a baby, on a surface. Exemplary surfaces include screens (see screen 550 in FIG. 11A or a canopy of a crib), walls, and ceilings. With one or more displays, image files 354 and/or an image component of video files 356 may be presented to a person, such as a baby. In one embodiment wherein the person support is a baby crib 10, a display of stand alone media device 320 is covered with a cover or otherwise obstructed from the view of a baby in a crib 10.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, an exemplary soothing device 400 is shown coupled to media source 320. Soothing device 400 generally interacts with media source 320 as described herein for soothing device 300 (see FIG. 5). Soothing device 400 is a baby soothing device and includes a base portion 402, an arm 404, a second portion 406, and a plurality of visual stimulation devices 408. Base portion 402, in one embodiment, is configured to be coupled to crib 410. Second portion 406 is positioned over crib 410 within a periphery of crib 410, such as periphery 15 shown in FIG. 1A for crib 10.
  • Crib 410 is one example of a person support. Additional types of person supports include standard beds, hospital beds, dentist chairs, other suitable person supports. Exemplary person supports are provided in U.S. Pat. No. 7,195,219, U.S. Pat. No. 7,076,818, U.S. Pat. No. 7,017,208, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,957,461, the disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.
  • Exemplary person supports include a support surface for supporting a person thereon. Exemplary support surfaces include an upper surface of one or more support members. Exemplary support members include a mattress and one or more support portion of a chair, such as a backrest, an arm rest, a leg rest, and a mid-section rest. Exemplary support members may be comprised of foam, air cells, springs, and other suitable forms of padding or combination thereof. In one embodiment, the support surface is the top of the support member. In one embodiment, the support surface is a top surface of a cover placed over the support member.
  • An exemplary person support 500 is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Support 500 includes a frame 502, a headboard 504 and a footboard 506, headboard 504 and footboard 506 being coupled to frame 502. A mattress 508 is supported by frame 502. Person support 500 includes a pair of siderails 510 and 512. A periphery 514 of support 500 is illustrated in FIG. 9.
  • The soothing devices disclosed herein may be coupled to support 500. The soothing devices disclosed herein may be coupled to one of frame 502, headboard 504, footboard 506, and siderails 510 and 512.
  • Returning to FIG. 7, base portion 402 is coupled to a crib 410. Crib 410 is generally similar to crib 10 in FIG. 1. In one embodiment, crib 410 includes bedding 412, a bumper pad 414, and at least one accessory 416. Exemplary bedding includes sheets, blankets, and a comforter. Bumper pad 414 is positioned generally above a mattress of crib 410 and extends around an inner perimeter of crib 410. Exemplary accessories 416 include window treatments, a diaper holder, and other suitable accessories. Crib 410, bedding 412, bumper pad 414, and accessory 416 are generally grouped as the environment 420 into which soothing device 400 is introduced.
  • In one embodiment, soothing device 400 and/or media source 320 are configured to coordinate with environment 420 and to be configurable for various different environments. In one embodiment, media source 320, base portion 402, arm 404, media output device 405, and/or mobile 406 have an associated cover 430, 432, 434, 435, and 436, respectively. Further, in one embodiment cover 46 (see FIG. 1) is selected to coordinate with the environment and/or covers 430, 432, 434, 435, and 436. Each of covers 46, 430, 432, 434, 435, and 436 have a decorative appearance. Exemplary decorative appearances include colors, patterns, textures, and other suitable appearances. In one embodiment, covers 46, 430, 432, 434, 435, and 436 are coordinated by having the same decorative appearance. In one embodiment, covers 46, 430, 432, 434, 435, and 436 are coordinated by having complementing decorative appearances.
  • Exemplary covers include snap on covers, such as interchangeable faceplates for media source 320, stretchable covers, such as fabric covers, plastic covers, rubber covers, neoprene covers and other suitable covers.
  • Turning to FIGS. 1-4, additional embodiments of soothing devices are shown. Referring first to FIG. 1, a baby soothing device 20 according to one embodiment of the present invention is shown. Baby soothing device 20 is adapted for mounting on baby crib 10, as described in further detail below. Baby soothing device 20 is also adapted for mounting nearby crib 10. Crib 10 generally includes headboard panel 12, footboard panel (not shown) and side panels 14 extending between headboard 12 and footboard 13 (see FIG. 1A). Headboard 12, footboard (not shown) and side panels 14 cooperate to surround mattress 16. An outer side of headboard 12, the footboard, and side panels 14 define a periphery 15 (see FIG. 1A) of crib 10.
  • Baby soothing device 20 generally includes central operating unit or base 22 and may include a visual stimulation device 36, illustratively a mobile, operatively coupled to central operating unit 22. Optionally central operating unit 22 is operably coupled to an interface component 24. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, central operating unit 22 includes interface component 24, which is adapted to electronically interface with any stand alone media source 26 such as Mp3 player, IPOD brand media source, any portable music player, digital music player or music storage device including an Mp3 player, flash drive, satellite radio receiver, and CD player. It should also be understood that interface component 24 may include wireless communication or network system interaction between central operating unit 22 and media source 26. For instance, the central operating unit 22 may include a USB port adapted to receive the USB connector end of a standard Mp3 connector cable. The central operating unit 22 may also include a mechanism to communicate with the home computer network or bluetooth technology. It should be further understood that media includes any sensory communication medium, such as audio and video. Media source includes the functionality described herein for media source 320 (see FIG. 6).
  • Interface component 24 electrically or wirelessly couples to media source 26. As illustrated in FIG. 2, interface component 24 acts as a docking station for media source 26 and includes recess 24 a, in which media source 26 may be cradled, and dock connector 24 b disposed within recess 24 a. Dock connector 24 b is adapted to electronically couple with a mating port or connector (not shown) on media source 26. For example, dock connector 24 b may be in the form of a male connector mateable with a standard female connector (not shown) on media source 26. As illustrated in FIG. 1, central operating unit 22 operatively couples and communicates with media source 26 via dock connector 24 b. Central operating unit 22 also includes speaker 28, which is operatively coupled with media source 26 via dock connector 24 b and is adapted to transmit the sound and music stored in media source 26. Central operating unit 22 may also include remote sensor 30, which is adapted to receive signals from a remote controller (not shown) to control central operating unit in response to the signals received. Central operating unit 22 is also adapted to transmit and display images or video stored in media source 26, such as a video IPOD, as discussed in greater detail below.
  • Baby soothing device 20 optionally includes attachment bracket 32 coupling central operating unit 22 to crib 10 or other support. As illustrated in FIG. 1, attachment bracket 32 is coupled to central operating unit 22 and is adapted to mount central operating unit 22 to side panel 14 of crib 10. Attachment bracket 32 may be in the form of any known attachment bracket used for mounting mobiles or other devices to a crib. Alternatively, attachment bracket 32 may be configured to mount central operating unit 22 to a wall W near crib 10.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 1, visual stimulation device 36 is in the form of a mobile having arm 38, a rotatable member 39, and visual stimuli 40. In one embodiment, mobile 36 is mounted to a wall W or ceiling C instead of central operating unit 22.
  • Illustratively arm 38 is operatively attached at one end to arm receiving opening 37 (FIG. 2) of central operating unit 22. Illustratively visual stimuli 40 in the form of small stuffed animals are rotably mounted to the opposite end of arm 38 to rotatable member 39 which rotates under the control of central operating unit 22 as is known in the art. In one embodiment, visual stimuli 40 are coordinated with the covers for the soothing device. In one embodiment, visual stimuli 40 are themed. Exemplary themes include nautical themes (boats, anchors, sea life, and other items), sports (balls, clubs, and other items), and animals (bears, giraffes, and other items).
  • Visual stimuli 40 may be supported by rotatable member 39 by any suitable method including but not limited to fasteners such as snap hooks, snaps, stitching, molded plastic ends. Illustratively arm 38 is configured to position visual stimuli 40 over mattress 16 and within the periphery 15 (see FIG. 1A) of baby crib 10. Central operating unit 22 is adapted to drive the rotation of visual stimuli 40 in a manner similar to conventional mobiles. It should be understood that visual stimuli 40 need not be in the form of stuffed animals, but could be in the form of lights, toys, shapes including colorful geometric shapes and other visually stimulating objects. It should also be understood that visual stimuli 40 may be interchangeable and provided in assorted designs, motifs, colors, fabrics, materials, and styles.
  • In one embodiment, visual stimuli 40 may also come in colorful, artistic, non-baby motifs for use with adults and older children who may be bedridden, have disabilities, or otherwise need soothing stimulation and/or distractions. In one embodiment, the soothing devices disclosed herein are for use during and following activities such as medical procedures, such as chemotherapy treatment or dialysis.
  • Baby soothing device 20 optionally includes covers 50 which are available for exposed parts of baby soothing device 20, including but not limited to central operating unit 22, attachment bracket 32, rotatable member 39, and arm 38. As illustrated in FIG. 2A, a cover 50 is adapted to fit over central operating unit 22 (FIG. 2). Covers 50 are interchangeable and have assorted colors and designs and may be available in both solid colors and prints. Covers 50 may be made of cloth, plastic or other suitable materials. As illustrated in FIG. 2A, in one embodiment, covers 50 include apertures 52 to accommodate access points for baby soothing device 20, for example the cover for central operating unit 22 in FIG. 2A includes an aperture 52A for the arm connection 37 of central operating unit 22 and an aperture 52B for dock connector 24B. Covers 50 may be supported by baby soothing device 20 in any suitable fashion, including but not limited to the use of fasteners such as VELCRO brand fasteners, snaps, and ties; fitted and/or stretchable fibers which contour the shape of baby soothing device 20 or create sleeves around appropriate parts of baby soothing device 20.
  • There are many possible combinations of visual stimuli 40 and covers 50 making baby soothing device 20 customizable. Visual stimuli 40 and covers 50 may be sold individually. Sets of visual stimuli 40 and covers 50 may be combined into kits based on conceptual groups of color options, images, designs and shapes. Kits may assist in room decoration and kits may make baby soothing device 20 easily transferable from one baby's room to another baby's room with a different decoration motif. In one embodiment, a user would obtain a first selection of at least one visual stimuli 40 and covers 50 for a first baby, such as a girl, and subsequently obtain a second selection of at least one visual stimuli 40 and covers 50 for a second baby, such as a boy. Kits may also allow for differing levels of pattern complexity as baby grows and develops, or as preferred by older persons using the soothing device.
  • In one embodiment, baby soothing device 20 is offered for sale along with a plurality of covers 50 and visual stimuli 40 for a single price. A first cover of the plurality of covers coordinated for a first environment and a second cover of the plurality of covers coordinated for a second environment. In one embodiment, covers are provided for media source 26 which coordinate with the covers for baby soothing device 20. In one embodiment, a first cover for media source 26 is offered for sale along with coordinating covers 50 for a single price. In one embodiment, a first cover for baby soothing device 20 are offered for sale for a single price.
  • Central operating unit 22 optionally includes power cord 42, which is adapted to be plugged into AC outlet 44 and to deliver electrical current from outlet 44 to central operating unit 22. For added safety, cord 42 may be housed within rigid cover 46, also available in coordinating colors and materials, extending from central operating unit 22 to below mattress 16 such that cord 42 is out of the reach of a baby in crib 10.
  • In use, illustratively central operating unit 22 is mounted to side panel 14 of crib 10 using attachment bracket 32. Visual stimulation device 36 is coupled to central operating unit 22 by inserting arm 38 into arm receiving opening 37 (FIG. 2) such that visual stimuli 40 are positioned above mattress 16 and within the periphery 15 of baby crib 10. Illustratively power cord 42 is plugged into outlet 44. Illustratively media source 26 is cradled in recess 24 a such that dock connector 24 b electronically couples with a mating port (not shown) on media source 26. A play list (i.e. a list of songs stored on the Mp3 player when media source 26 includes an Mp3 player) is selected using the user inputs (not shown) on media source 26. Media source 26 enables programmable listing of songs and multiple play lists. Media source 26 includes the ability to modify existing play lists. Media source 26 communicates the audio signals from the play list to speaker 28 via central operating unit 22 thereby causing speaker 28 to play the songs on the play list. When audio signals are being transmitted from media source 26 to speaker 28, illustratively central operating unit 22 operates to rotate rotating member 39 and thus visual stimuli 40. Central operating unit 22 also is adapted to synchronize audio signals with movement of visual stimuli 40. Further, in one embodiment central operating unit 22 is adapted to project and/or move images when audio and/or video signals are transmitted from media source 26 to speaker 28, a projector 134 (FIG. 3), and/or display 248 (see FIG. 4) through central operation unit 22.
  • A standard remote controller may be configured to operate central operating unit 22 by transmitting signals to remote sensor 30. Accordingly, central operating unit 22 may be adapted such that a user can turn off speaker 28, control the volume of speaker 28, repeat the selected play list, select a new play list, turn off central operating unit 22 or perform other operating tasks. Central operating unit 22 may include other useful components such as an on/off switch or volume control knob.
  • Unlike prior baby mobiles, baby soothing device 20 allows the user to program a play list containing any variety of songs to soothe the baby to sleep. The user is not limited to just one or two songs stored in the conventional mobile music boxes. In addition, the user can create a play list of any length to provide longer soothing time. Also, the user can create multiple play lists and/or modify current play lists to provide a variety of music to sooth the baby and/or stimulate brain development. Finally, device 20 provides improved sound quality in comparison to the music boxes of prior mobiles.
  • Turning now to FIG. 3, baby soothing device 120 according to another embodiment of the present invention is shown. Similar to device 20 (FIG. 1), illustratively baby soothing device 120 includes central operating unit 122, interface component 124 and speaker 128. Interface component 124 operates in a manner similar to interface component 24 (FIG. 2) to operatively couple central operating unit 122 to media source 26. Optionally central operating unit 122 is mountable to crib 10, as described above, using attachment bracket 132. Rather than employing AC current through an electrical cord, illustratively central operating unit 122 is adapted to be powered by batteries and includes battery compartment 142 for housing batteries.
  • Rather than a mobile, visual stimulus device 134 of baby soothing device 120 is in the form of a light projector 134. Light projector 134 is operatively coupled to baby soothing device 120, illustratively shown in FIG. 3, as coupled to central operating unit 122. It is understood that light projector 134 may be operatively coupled to arm 38 (FIG. 1), wall W or ceiling C. As previously described, central operating unit 122 is adapted to transmit video signals or still image signals which may include lights and/or images from media source 26. Also as previously described, projector 134 is adapted to output video signals or still image signals as previously described. Light projector 134 is adapted to project lights and/or images on items within the periphery of baby crib 10 including such things as ceiling C above mattress 16, a canopy attached to crib 10, and wall W. The lights or images may be in the form of animals, stars, or other shapes and may be a variety of colors. Furthermore, light projector 134 may be adapted to project moving images on items within the periphery 15 of baby crib 10 including such things as ceiling C.
  • In one embodiment, light projector 134 may project images, such as moving images, on a screen 550 (see FIG. 11A) supported by a stationary member 41 attached to arm 38. Stationary member 41 further includes a plurality of couplers 552 to which visual stimuli 40 may be attached. Exemplary couplers include clips, hooks, and other suitable couplers. In one embodiment, a display 560 (see FIG. 11B) replaces screen 550 of FIG. 11A.
  • In operation, baby soothing device 120 operates as described above with respect to device 20 (FIG. 1). However, rather than or in addition to rotating a mobile, central operating unit 122 causes projector 134 to project and/or move images and lights on items within the periphery of baby crib 10 including such things as ceiling C when music is played through speaker 128. Central operating unit 122 may be configured to operate in music only mode, whereby the music is played but projector 134 is turned off; projector only mode, whereby images are projected but speaker 128 is turned off; or combined music and projector mode, whereby images are projected and music is played. In the combined music and projector mode, central operating unit 122 may be adapted to move or project images on items within the periphery of baby crib 10 including such things as ceiling C in synchrony with the music being played.
  • Central operating unit 22 may also be configured to project images from media source 26. It is understood that the images may include photos that are stored in the media source 26 or digital/portable music device.
  • Turning now to FIG. 4, baby soothing device 220 according to another embodiment of the present invention is shown. As illustrated in FIG. 4, baby soothing device 220 includes central operating unit 222, mobile 236, battery compartment 242, speaker 228 attachment bracket 232, and interface component 224. In addition or in the alternative to mobile 236, baby soothing device 220 may also include a side panel visual stimulation device 248. Optionally side panel visual stimulation device 248 may extend downward from attachment bracket 232 such that visual stimulation device 248 is displayed to the side of the baby in crib 10 as illustrated in FIG. 4. Optionally side panel visual stimulation device 248 may also couple to baby crib 10 and operatively communicate with central operating unit 222. Optionally panel visual stimulation device 248 may also extend from mobile 236 or be mounted to wall W or ceiling C.
  • Central operating unit 222 may be configured to display images, visualizations, and/or video from media source 26 with visual stimulation device 248. It is understood that the images may include photos that are stored in the media source 26. Similar to projector 134 (FIG. 3), visual stimulation device 248 is adapted to display video signals which may include lights and/or images from media source 26. In one embodiment, visual stimulation device 248 is a flat panel display. In another embodiment, device 248 includes visual stimuli 248 a, which may be in the form of flashing lights or moving characters. For instance, device 248 may mimic an aquarium which may contain water and stimuli 248 a moving within the water and/or a celestial scene which may contain planets, stars, and stimuli moving through the galaxy or sky. The stimuli, in the case of an aquarium, may be in the form of fish or other sea creatures. Of course, the aquarium and celestial concepts are just two examples of the side panel visual stimulation device 248. Various other concepts may be used. Central operating unit 222 is adapted to activate (i.e. move and/or illuminate) stimuli 248 in a coordinated fashion with the audio from media source 26.
  • It should be understood that although several of the illustrated embodiments described above employ a docking station arrangement for electronically coupling the central operating unit to the Mp3 player, other means may be employed. Furthermore, the central operating unit of the present invention need not include a mounting bracket and need not be mounted on the crib 10 or wall W. Instead, central operating unit may be adapted to simply sit on a dresser or table in the room and project images or extend mobile over the mattress of the crib. As such, central operating unit may be adapted for use as a stand alone docking station for media source 26 for use by a growing child or adult in need of soothing stimulation. In addition, safety features may be added to the devices of the present invention. For instance, a locking device or cover may be employed to keep the Mp3 player from coming out of the docking station and to prevent a child in the crib from dislodging the Mp3 player.
  • In one embodiment, controller 302 based upon the type of media content being received from media source 320 activates or deactivates various media output devices. For example, if the media content being received is audio only, such as for a song, controller 302 will activate one or more speakers and deactivate the display and/or the projector, if both are provided with the soothing device. In another example wherein the media content is an audio file and a visualization, controller 302 will activate both one or more speakers and the display and/or the projector, if both are provided with the soothing device. Further, controller 302 may control the activation of a mobile provided with the soothing device. The activation or deactivation of the mobile may be based on an input with user input 308 or may be a timer. User input 308 may be a remote control unit that wirelessly communicates with controller 302. Through the remote control unit a user may activate or deactivate, one or more of speakers, projector, display, and mobile.
  • Although the present invention has been described in detail with reference to preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of the present invention.

Claims (31)

1. An apparatus for mounting to a person support having a support surface for supporting a person, the device comprising:
a soothing device supported by the person support, the soothing device including a first portion adapted to couple to the person support, a second portion positioned over the support surface of the person support within a periphery of the person support, and an arm connecting the first portion and the second portion; and
a cover configured to cover over at least a portion of one of the first portion, the arm, and the second portion, the cover being selectable from a plurality of covers each having a different decorative appearance.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first portion includes at least one speaker and a controller coupled to the speaker, the controller being operably coupled to a media source which provides media to be played by the speaker.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the media source is removably coupled to the soothing device and includes a memory storing at least a plurality of audio files.
4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the media source is a stand alone media device.
5. The apparatus of claim 3, further comprising a docking station provided on the soothing device, the media source being receivable by the docking station.
6. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising a second cover, the second cover being configured to provide a coordinated decorative appearance to the cover of the soothing device and to cover a portion of the media source.
7. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the memory of the media source further includes at least one of a plurality of image files and a plurality of video files.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, further comprising a display positioned within the periphery of the person support, the display being operably coupled to the controller and configured to display the at least one of the plurality of image files and the plurality of video files stored in the memory of the media source.
9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the display is supported by the second portion of the soothing device.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the display is an LCD display.
11. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the display is supported by the person support.
12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the display is positioned outside of a periphery of the support surface.
13. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the controller is configured to utilize the at least one speaker to play at least one of the audio files stored in the memory of the media source in conjunction with at least one file of the plurality of image files and the plurality of video files stored in the memory of the media source being displayed on the display.
14. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein a first portion of the plurality of audio files are referenced in a playlist stored in the memory.
15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the soothing device is configured to support a removable stand alone media device.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second portion of the soothing device includes a rotatable member and a plurality of visual stimulation devices supported by the rotatable member, the visual stimulation devices being removable from the rotatable member.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the plurality of visual stimulation devices are coordinated to the cover.
18. An apparatus for mounting to a person support having a support surface for supporting a person, the device comprising:
a soothing device supported by the person support, the soothing device including a first portion adapted to be coupled to the person support, a second portion positioned over the support surface of the person support within a periphery of the person support, and an arm connecting the first portion and the second portion; and
a stand alone media device configured to be operatively coupled to a media input of the soothing device and to provide media content to a media output device of the soothing device, the media content including a configurable playlist.
19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the first portion includes at least one speaker and a controller coupled to the at least one speaker, the controller being operably coupled to the stand alone media device which provides media content to be played by the speaker.
20. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the soothing device includes a docking station, the stand alone media device being receivable by the docking station.
21. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the soothing device includes a display positioned within the periphery of the person support, the display being operably coupled to the controller and configured to display media content provided by the stand alone media device.
22. A method of customizing a soothing device for a first environment including a person support including a support surface for supporting a person, the method comprising the steps of:
offering a soothing device including a first portion adapted to couple to the person support, a second portion positioned over the support surface within a periphery of the person support, and an arm connecting the first portion and the second portion;
offering a plurality of different covers for at least at least a portion of one of the first portion, the arm, and the second portion, a first cover of the plurality of different covers being coordinated with the first environment; and
selling the soothing device and the first cover.
23. The method of claim 22, wherein the person support is a baby crib and the first environment includes at least one of a bedding for the baby crib, a bumper pad for the baby crib, and an accessory related to the baby crib, further comprising the step of offering at least one of the bedding for the baby crib related to the first environment, the bumper pad for the baby crib related to the first environment, and the accessory related to the baby crib related to the first environment.
24. The method of claim 22, wherein the soothing device and the first cover are offered at a single price.
25. The method of claim 23, wherein the soothing device includes an interface to interact with a removable media source.
26. The method of claim 25, further comprising the step of offering a plurality of different covers for the media source, at least a first cover for the media source of the plurality of different covers for the media source coordinating with the first cover of the soothing device.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein the first cover of the soothing device and the first cover for the media source are offered at a single price.
28. A soothing device for use with a person support having a support surface for supporting a person and a stand alone media device, the soothing device comprising:
a housing;
a controller positioned within the housing, the controller being adapted to be operably coupled with the stand alone media source;
at least one speaker operatively coupled to the controller, the at least one speaker positioned within the housing and operably coupled to the stand alone media device when the stand alone media device is operably coupled to the controller such that audio media content stored in a memory of the stand alone media device is played through the at least one speaker;
a mobile supported by the housing, the mobile being positioned within a periphery of the person support; and
a visual media output device spaced apart from the housing, the visual media output device being configured to provide visual media within a periphery of the person support, and operably coupled to the stand alone media device when the stand alone media device is operably coupled to the controller, the visual media being stored in the memory of the stand alone media device.
29. The soothing device of claim 28, wherein the visual media output device is a projector.
30. The soothing device of claim 28, wherein the visual media output device is a display supported by the person support.
31. The soothing device of claim 28, wherein the visual media output device is a display supported by the mobile.
US11/784,683 2006-07-21 2007-04-09 Soothing devices Abandoned US20080016624A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/490,561 US20080020672A1 (en) 2006-07-21 2006-07-21 Programmable baby mobiles and baby soothing devices
US11/784,683 US20080016624A1 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-04-09 Soothing devices

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/784,683 US20080016624A1 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-04-09 Soothing devices
PCT/US2007/073450 WO2008011340A2 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-13 Soothing devices

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US11/490,561 Continuation-In-Part US20080020672A1 (en) 2006-07-21 2006-07-21 Programmable baby mobiles and baby soothing devices

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US11/784,683 Abandoned US20080016624A1 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-04-09 Soothing devices

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