US20090307846A1 - Contour shaped support pillow - Google Patents

Contour shaped support pillow Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090307846A1
US20090307846A1 US12/139,448 US13944808A US2009307846A1 US 20090307846 A1 US20090307846 A1 US 20090307846A1 US 13944808 A US13944808 A US 13944808A US 2009307846 A1 US2009307846 A1 US 2009307846A1
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Prior art keywords
pillow
support
trough
neck
contour
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Abandoned
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US12/139,448
Inventor
Takafumi Eura
Sohail Sherif
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Takafumi Eura
Sohail Sherif
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Priority to US12/139,448 priority Critical patent/US20090307846A1/en
Publication of US20090307846A1 publication Critical patent/US20090307846A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C7/00Parts, details, or accessories of chairs or stools
    • A47C7/36Support for the head or the back
    • A47C7/38Support for the head or the back for the head
    • A47C7/383Detachable or loose head- or neck-supports, e.g. horse-shoe shaped
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G9/00Bed-covers; Counterpanes; Travelling rugs; Sleeping rugs; Sleeping bags; Pillows
    • A47G9/10Pillows

Abstract

A contour shaped support pillow is provided including a trough located at an upper center of a front surface of the pillow, side support areas on the front surface at sides of the trough, and first and second neck support areas above and below the trough. A substantially flat back surface adjoins the front surface at an outer rear edge. A parting line is on the front surface following the outer rear edge and terminates on each side of the first neck support area at the outer rear edge. An edge region is between the parting line and the outer rear edge. The trough, the side support areas, and the first and second neck support areas within the parting line form a concave surface. A top of the front surface between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface has a concave shape.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates generally to a support pillow, and more particularly, to a contour shaped support pillow.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • Children in particular, but also adults, have a tendency to roll or drop their heads sideways and sometimes forward while sleeping in a seated position. This is very uncomfortable, and causes the person sleeping to lack proper rest as a result. Many sleep pattern interruptions occur while fighting this position of imbalance during sleep. Sitting fully upright poses the greatest challenge in maintaining a balanced head position while trying to sleep. Usually, and especially in children, the upper torso will follow the head's position to the side, to the point of moving the person's body completely off center.
  • Many pillows have been developed to control a person's head position when seated in repose. Resulting prior art pillows tend to either be too bulky, incorporating too much material, or they are placed around a person's head and neck in an awkward position, or they allow for excessive movement of the head, which in turn causes the body to follow the head's position to the side. None keep the head balanced rather than cradled and none are designed in a contoured form to keep the head balanced effectively.
  • One of these prior art pillows is described by McNiel, U.S. Pat. No. 5,471,690, which is incorporated herein by reference. McNiel states that freedom of head movement, even the freedom in sliding of the body is an important consideration in the pillow's development, thereby facilitating a person's head and body to easily become off balance while sleeping in a seated position. Silver et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,230,349, which is incorporated herein by reference, references a pillow which is U-shaped for cradling a person's head and neck. By examining that pillow's design it becomes apparent that a person's neck and head are cradled by that or similar designs. One of the disadvantages of such designs is that the neck is forced forward by the thickness and the composition of the pillow's back side, thereby requiring a constant back pressure to keep the head in a resting position. Furthermore, due to its design, that pillow is not suitable for use by smaller children because of their lack of ability to apply enough back pressure against the pillow. Also, the U-shaped pillow only offers indirect head side support. The head side support is achieved by supporting the jaw bones which roll onto the pillow's side arm surface, rather than by supporting the skull itself, which is an uncomfortable solution. That pillow's use is not only uncomfortable, but also restricting and awkward. Due to its placement position it easily wrinkles collars and clothing in the neck and shoulder areas of the persons using it, which many times are business travelers. It also causes the head to tilt to one side or another onto the U-Shaped arms creating excessive and uncomfortable pressure points on one's cheek area and face. Lincoln, U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 2005/0264055 A1, which is incorporated herein by reference, is designed to provide lateral padding to protect the sides of a child's face. The design of that pillow is specific to a child's car seat. Its excess side material for the purpose of side face protection will cause excessive heat buildup. The pillow includes a central hole and two neck support areas, one on the lower portion and one on the upper portion of the pillow, which along with the side support areas cause the pillow to form an enclosure (cradle) around the user's head when applied for use. Harnish, U.S. Pat. No. 5,345,633, and Gold et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,958 B2, both of which are incorporated herein by reference, are not pre-shaped to conform to the natural lines and form of the contact area of a person's rear skull area. The pillows only display generic surfaces, and due to their shape and incorporated angles and because those devices do not offer an effective natural neck support area, the head is easily allowed to roll out of them. In fact, the pillows place the head in a position conducive to being off balance due to their thickness. The pillows do not keep the head balanced and therefore the head will eventually fall sideways and/or forward in the direction of the straight or diverging wing angles. Other prior art pillows, such as those mentioned in Kogan, U.S. Pat. No. 4,218,792, and Josefek, U.S. Pat. No. 4,773,107, both of which are incorporated herein by reference, are primarily designed for rest in a supine position and incorporate excessive use of material, which is not user friendly for travel.
  • In summary, prior art pillows allow for excessive head movement, are placed around a person's neck and head at very uncomfortable positions, or they offer too much contact area with the top and sides of a person's head and neck circumference, which creates a feeling of cradling and constriction. Further, some of the prior art pillows promote heat buildup around the head region. Most prior art pillows are not designed for both children and adults. Further, none take balance into account, which is an important aspect of rest. Thus, there is a need for a pillow for both children and adults that keeps the head balanced in its centered and most comfortable position.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A contour shaped pillow is provided to balance and to maintain a person's head in its neutral resting position. The pillow includes two upper side support areas with a trough centered between the two upper side support areas. The pillow has two neck support areas contour shaped to fill the area between a person's neck and a substantially flat surface upon which a person chooses to rest with an approximately flat back side with or without a fastening device. The pillow offers a comfortable front form molded to fit the contour and shape of a person's back skull and neck areas.
  • The contour shaped support pillow of the present invention provides an adequate and highly effective means of stabilizing the head in its most comfortable centered position, giving the head and the body the best chance to naturally maintain their balance and upright position while sleeping in a seated state. The pillow offers two neck support surfaces designed to relax the head supporting muscles and a concave center area molded to support the back side of the skull without forcing it forward when seated as do other inventions. The neck support surfaces are shaped for a better fit for providing support without cradling the user in any way. The pillow is small and convenient for use while traveling or at home. The pillow counteracts the natural tendency of the human head to drop sideways and forward while sleeping in a seated body position, thereby affording maximum rest quality to the user. The pillow is light in weight for ease of handling. The pillow makes efficient use of the material which comprises its make-up. The pillow keeps the user's face area clear, as the pillow does not require any face area contact, thus unnecessary heat buildup will be avoided and the user will be awarded a feeling of being free and unrestricted. The pillow does not cradle a person's head or neck. The pillow awards the user a higher degree of comfort by distributing the weight of the user's head evenly across its contour shaped surface area. The pillow is suitable for use by all age groups and is fashionable and pleasing to the eye. The pillow can be used without wrinkling the user's clothes.
  • A contour shaped support pillow is provided. The contour shaped support pillow balances and maintains a person's head in a neutral resting position. A trough is located at an upper center of a front surface of the pillow. Side support areas are on the front surface at a right side of the trough and a left side of the trough. A first neck support area is on the front surface below the trough. A second neck support area is on the front surface above the trough. A substantially flat back surface adjoins the front surface at an outer rear edge. A parting line is on the front surface of the pillow following the outer rear edge and terminates on each side of the first neck support area at the outer rear edge of the back surface. An edge region is between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface. The trough, the side support areas, and the neck support areas, one of which is within the parting line, form a concave surface for balancing and maintaining the person's head in the neutral resting position. A top of the front surface above the second neck support area between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface has a concave shape.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the side support areas are configured to provide side support to the person's head in a first alignment and to provide side support to a person's head, as well as neck support in a second alignment, the first alignment and the second alignment being 180° out of alignment, with regard to rotation around the trough center point.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, any given contour line of the front surface smoothly transitions between the trough and the side support areas in the shape of a logarithmic function such as that which is generally approximated by f(x)=2 log(10x)−x2.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the edge region is sloping.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow is shaped like a heart with the side support areas being lobes of the heart, the concave shape of the top of the front surface being a bridge between the lobes, and the neck support area being a bottom rounded edge of the heart.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow contains elastomeric fill selected from the group consisting of an elastomer, a gel filled pouch, an air filled bladder, a polyurethane foam, a latex foam, a memory foam, cotton, and feathers.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow further includes a first hook and loop fastener strip at the center of the trough, and a cover having a second hook and loop fastener strip for attaching to the first hook and loop fastener strip such that the cover conforms to the concave surface.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow further includes a side pocket in the cover to which a portable media player can be attached or within which a portable media player can be inserted.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow further includes an interior pocket interior to the cover; and a zip fastener attached to the cover for opening and closing the cover and for providing access to the interior pocket.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow is rollable and insertable into a tube shaped container; and the pillow expands to a designed form when removed from the container.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the pillow further includes hook and loop fastener strips on the back surface for attaching to an underlying surface.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the cover is a material selected from the group consisting of leather, synthetic leather, fabric, and plastic.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a width of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the side support areas is between 150 mm and 300 mm; a height of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the first neck support area and the second neck support area is between 100 mm and 260 mm; a thickness of a thickest portion of the side support areas is between 20 mm and 120 mm; and a thickness of a center of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a difference in thickness between the trough and the thickest portion of the side support areas is between 0 mm and 120 mm.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a width of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the side support areas is between 190 mm and 300 mm; a height of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the first neck support area and the second neck support area is between 150 mm and 260 mm; a thickness of a thickest portion of the side support areas is between 30 mm and 60 mm; and a thickness of a center of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a difference in thickness between the trough and the thickest portion of the side support areas is between 0 mm and 60 mm.
  • In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a thickness of the first neck support area is between 30 mm and 50 mm, and a thickness of the second neck support area is between 10 mm and 20 mm.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a front view of a contour shaped support pillow according to a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a front view of the first exemplary embodiment showing the pillow supporting a person's head.
  • FIG. 2′ is a front view of the first exemplary embodiment showing the pillow rotated 180° and supporting a person's head.
  • FIG. 3 is a rear view of the first exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of the first exemplary embodiment showing the pillow supporting a person's head.
  • FIG. 5 is a section view of the first exemplary embodiment along the cross-section line a-a′ of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 5′ is another section view of the first exemplary embodiment along the cross-section line a-a′ of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 6 is a top down view of the first exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 7 is a section view of the first exemplary embodiment along the cross-section line b-b′ of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 8 is a front view of the first exemplary embodiment illustrating the dynamic front surface movement of the first exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the first exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 10 a is a front view of a contour shaped support pillow illustrating a hook and loop fastener strip according to a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 10 b is a side view illustrating the hook and loop fastener strips of the pillow and the pillow cover.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of an interior pocket according to a third exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 12 is a front view of the interior pocket according to the third exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 13 is another side view of the interior pocket according to the third exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 14 is a front view of a side pocket according to a fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 15 is a front view illustrating an electronic device attached to the side pocket of the fourth exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 16 is a front view illustrating an electronic device within the side pocket of the fourth exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 17 is a side view of the side pocket according to the fourth exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 18 is a side view illustrating an electronic device attached to the side pocket of the fourth exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 19 is a side view illustrating an electronic device within the side pocket of the fourth exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 20 illustrates the contour shaped support pillow rolled up.
  • FIG. 21 illustrates inserting the rolled up contour shaped support pillow into a tube container.
  • FIG. 22 illustrates the contour shaped support pillow within the tube container.
  • FIG. 23 a illustrates a front view of the contour shaped support pillow within a carrying bag.
  • FIG. 23 b illustrates a side view of the contour shaped support pillow within a carrying bag.
  • FIG. 24 illustrates dimensions of the contour shaped support pillow according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 25 illustrates dimensions of the contour shaped support pillow according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The contour shaped support pillows of exemplary embodiments of the present invention are optionally made from a variety of materials, such as polyurethane or latex foams, memory foams, or of natural materials such as cotton, feathers, or the like. Other exemplary embodiments could be comprised of a combination of the above mentioned materials, or of an inflatable air bladder or a pre-shaped gel pouch, containing a material such as silicone. The layering of different types of foam to achieve different types of firmness across the pillow's surface, with each layer being adjoined through adhesive to the one touching it, is conceivable. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the pillow is made from resilient polyurethane foams through cast molding, free rise processing, injection molding, cutting, or the like. The pillow design takes into account foam quality measuring units such as Indentation Force Deflection (IFD), Indentation Load Deflection (ILD), and foam recovery time in order to provide for a foam body of comfortable firmness and of high quality and durability. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the pillow is covered with a material, which is comfortable to the touch, such as leather, or a cotton material, synthetic leather, terry cloth, or the like. The cover can be fully enclosing or it can be manufactured with a zipper or hook-and-loop fastener type opening which could then allow for the separation of the fill material from the cover for the purpose of separate use or of cleaning each individual part of the pillow.
  • FIGS. 1-9 are views of contour shaped support pillow 10 according to a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the contour pillow 10 is formed of a resilient material, as described above, in the general shape of a heart including a trough 11, an elevated neck support area 12, and two side support pads 13 and 14. The trough 11 has a parabolic shape and the surface smoothly transitions between the trough 11 and the two side support pads 13, 14 and between the trough 11 and the neck support areas 12, 18′. The contour pillow 10 has a concave center shape, with the concave center located between the neck support area 12 and the concave exterior side 18 of the heart-shaped pillow. The concave exterior side 18 of the heart-shaped pillow reduces the contact area against the back of the head, particularly against the hair of a user, which minimizes heat build up, allows the head to breath while resting, and prevents “bed hair,” which is difficult to style and brush into a desire shape or form.
  • All planar angles of the front face surface of the contour pillow 10 change as per the cross-section illustration of FIG. 8. Parting line 15 follows the exterior edge of the sides and top of the contour pillow 10. From the parting line 15, the contour pillow 10 slopes downward towards the exterior rear edges of the contour pillow 10. Providing for the contour pillow 10 to slope downward toward the exterior rear edges provides for a larger rear surface area for making better contact with resting surfaces and a smaller contact area for a person's head. The contour of the edge can be a straight slope, concave, convex, or some other configuration that allows for a contact surface area to be less than a rear surface area. The smaller contact area for a person's head prevents the head from moving around too far from the trough 11, which thus provides for maintaining a person's head in the trough 11.
  • The center contoured region, which includes trough 11 together with the elevated neck support area 12, is molded to receive the occipital region of a user's head. The center contoured region minimizes forward force tendencies. The unique shape of the contour pillow 10 ensures that the face remains clear and free, and the shape ensures that predominantly the back side of a user's head is in contact with the front surface of the contour pillow 10 thereby minimizing any wrinkling effect on a user's clothing around the neck and shoulder region. The contour pillow 10, through its contoured front panel design helps greatly in the center stabilization of the head while in use, either in a seated or supine position.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates how a person's head 20 would normally be placed against the contour pillow 10. FIG. 2′ is a front view of the first exemplary embodiment showing the pillow rotated 180° and supporting a person's head. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 2′, the pillow 10 can be rotated 180° such that the bridge of the heart-shaped pillow (i.e., the concave edge portion 18) is located under the person's neck and the support area 12 is located above the person's head 20. In such a positioning, the pillow 10 provides an adequate amount of rear neck support utilizing a minimal area through support lip 18′ and a greater amount of side neck support through side support pads 13, 14. In addition, in such positioning, the neck support contact area is reduced, as concave edge portion 18 reduces the amount of contact the pillow makes with the neck, thus still providing adequate neck support with the benefit of allowing air circulation to flow around the neck for a cooler feel. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the person's head 20 is supported sideways by the side support pads 13 and 14. Parting line 15 follows the exterior edge of the sides and top of the pillow 10, but ends at a rear of each bottom side of the pillow 10 so that a person's neck would not make contact with the parting line 15.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates the flat back surface 30. The back surface 30 may include hook-and-loop fastener attach strips 31 and stitch lines 32 attaching the strips 31 to the back surface 30 of the contour pillow 10. The back surface 30 may be formed of a material such as a thin latex rubber. This back surface 30 co-acts with the underlying surface 42 upon which the user wishes to rest. The thin latex rubber material counteracts sideways or vertical slipping tendencies of the contour pillow 10 when in use against the underlying bottom surface 42.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates the relative position of a user's head 20 in relation to the contour pillow 10 while resting against the pillow 10 at the first design resting position. FIG. 4 shows the shape of the elevated neck support area 12 and the side contour line 41 of the side support pad 14. FIG. 4 also shows the pillow's placement against a flat surface 42. Alternatively, the pillow 10 may be used against other types of surfaces, including surfaces that are not flat. FIG. 4 further illustrates the position of the hook-and-loop fastener strip 31 and shows a parting stitch line 16 to which a cover would conform. It will be appreciated that the contact area between the contour pillow 10 and a person's head 20 is limited to the back side of the person's head and neck. It will also be appreciated that the neck support area 12 affords a comfortable fit between the person's occipital region and the surface against which the person wishes to rest upon. Furthermore it will be appreciated that the center area of the contour pillow 10 does not cradle the user's top surface of the person's head 20, nor does the contour pillow 10 cradle the circumference of the user's neck area.
  • FIGS. 5, 5′ are side views of the pillow 10 exposing the neck and head support area cross-section a-a′ of FIG. 2. The hook-and-loop fastener strip 31 position is also shown. FIGS. 5, 5′ show how the user's neck is supported by the neck support area 12, while the person's head 20 is resting against the concave trough 11. The resilient body 50 of the compact resilient foam material is shown in FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 6 shows a top down view of the contour pillow 10 receiving a person's head 20. By examining the person's head position as it is received by the contour pillow 10 one will appreciate the head centering qualities, and the limited intrusion or cradling properties of the contour pillow 10. FIG. 6 illustrates a parting stitch line 17 to which a cover would conform. Parting lines 15, 16, and 17 of FIG. 6 show where the pillow interior and cover may be mated together. For the cover to conform to the pillow in the concave trough 11, adhesives may be used. Alternatively, the cover may be stitched to the concave trough 11 of the pillow 10. Of course, different parting line formats may be used.
  • FIG. 7 is a section view of the first exemplary embodiment along the cross-section line b-b′ of FIG. 2. FIG. 8 illustrates the flow lines 82 of the side support pads 13 and 14. FIG. 8 also shows the cross section contour line 80 corresponding to cross section line b-b′ of FIG. 2 intersecting with cross section contour line 81 corresponding to cross section line a-a′ of FIG. 2 in the trough area 11. FIG. 8 further shows the position of the neck support area 12 and the flow line 83 across this neck support area. FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the contour pillow 10 according to the first exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 10 a is a front view of a contour shaped support pillow 10 illustrating a hook and loop fastener strip 100 according to a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 10 b is a side view illustrating the hook and loop fastener strips of the pillow and the pillow cover. As depicted in FIG. 10 a and FIG. 10 b, the pillow 10 includes a hook and loop fastener strip 100 and the cover 104 includes a corresponding hook and loop fastener strip 100′. The hook and loop fastener strip 100 is aligned with the corresponding hook and loop fastener strip 100′ on an interior side of the cover. The hook and loop fastener strips 100, 100′ may be Velcro® and may include hook fasteners or loops, or both. Velcro® is a registered trademark of Velcro Industries B.V. The hook and loop fastener strip 100 allows a cover with a corresponding hook and loop fastener strip 100′ to attach to the pillow 10 in the concave trough 11. Alternatively, the cover may be attached to the pillow 10 in the trough 11 with buttons, button snaps, glue, stitches, or other means currently for attaching to surfaces together. Attaching the pillow cover to the pillow 10 in the concave trough 11 allows the cover to make contact with the foam material of the pillow 10, thereby preventing the material from exerting a force upwardly on a person's head away from the foam material. In addition, attaching the pillow cover to the pillow 10 in the concave trough 11 allows for small air gaps between the person's head and the pillow cover, which helps to reduce heat accumulation.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of an interior pocket 101 according to a third exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 12 is a front view of the interior pocket 100. FIG. 13 is another side view of the interior pocket 100. As depicted in FIGS. 11-13, the pillow 10 may further include an interior pocket 101, which is interior to the cover 104 covering the foam material 103 of the pillow 10. The interior pocket 101 may be revealed by unzipping the cover at zipper 102. Alternatively, the cover may be closed/opened with buttons, button snaps, hook and loop fasteners, or other types of zip fasteners. The interior pocket 101 may hold personal items, such as lip balm, ear plugs, or other small items to which a user would like access before or during sleeping periods. In addition, the interior pocket 101 may hold additional items, such as office notes, personal notes from loved ones, and pictures.
  • FIG. 14 is a front view of a side pocket 105 according to a fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 15 is a front view illustrating an electronic device attached to the side pocket 105. FIG. 16 is a front view illustrating an electronic device within the side pocket 105. FIG. 17 is a side view of the side pocket 105. FIG. 18 is a side view illustrating an electronic device attached to the side pocket 105. FIG. 19 is a side view illustrating an electronic device within the side pocket 105. As illustrated in FIGS. 14-19, the pillow 10 may further include one or more side pockets 105. The side pocket 105 allows a portable media player 106 to attach to the pocket 105 or to be inserted within the pocket 105. By providing an attachment location for a portable media player 106, users may use the pillow 10 while listening to music on the portable media player 106.
  • FIG. 20 illustrates the contour shaped support pillow 10 rolled up. FIG. 21 illustrates inserting the rolled up contour shaped support pillow 10 into a tube container 110. FIG. 22 illustrates the contour shaped support pillow 10 within the tube container 110. Between uses, the contour shaped support pillow 10 can be rolled up and placed within a small, thin container such as a tube-shaped container 110. When a user would like to use the pillow, such as on a flight, the user can pull out the rolled up pillow 10 and the pillow 10 will expand to its original shape and form.
  • FIGS. 23 a, 23 b illustrate front and side views of the contour shaped support pillow 10 within a carrying bag 111. Alternatively, between uses, the contour shaped support pillow 10 can be stored within a carrying bag 111.
  • FIG. 24 illustrates dimensions of the contour shaped support pillow according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the contour shaped support pillow has a width between 150 mm and 300 mm and a height between 100 mm and 260 mm. In addition, a thickness of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm, a thickness of the thickest portion of the side supports is between 20 mm and 120 mm, a thickness of the first neck support area is between 30 mm and 50 mm, and a thickness of the second neck support area is between 10 mm and 20 mm. Thus, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a difference in thickness between the trough and the side supports is between 0 mm and 120 mm.
  • FIG. 25 illustrates dimensions of the contour shaped support pillow according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the contour shaped support pillow has a width between 190 mm and 300 mm and a height between 150 mm and 260 mm. In addition, a thickness of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm, a thickness of the thickest portion of the side supports is between 30 mm and 60 mm, a thickness of the first neck support area is between 30 mm and 50 mm, and a thickness of the second neck support area is between 10 mm and 20 mm. Thus, according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a difference in thickness between the trough and the side supports is between 0 mm and 60 mm.
  • The pillow of exemplary embodiments of the present invention offers a comfortable front form molded to fit the contour and shape of a person's back skull and neck areas, and designed to support the back side of the skull without imposing any twisting moments on the person's skull.
  • It is recognized that proper fill material thickness between the skull area, at each point on the skull, and the surface upon which the skull is resting is important. Too thick of a fill will yield forward pressure on a person's head, not enough fill will yield a lack of support, true for any given point on the skull.
  • The contour of the pillow can be approximated by parabolic and logarithmic type curves. The trough 11 represents the fill space between the maximum curvature of a person's rear skull with the surface upon which the person chooses to rest. The thickness at this particular point determines the angle of the chamberlain's line and the resulting flexion angle when compared to the neutral head resting position. Further, points along the surface of the entire skull can be defined similarly and the fill space between said points and the substantially flat surface can then be determined. Each person's skull rounding is shaped slightly differently resulting in minute protrudences of the varying skull forms into the parabolic/logarithmic contour pillow. These minute indentations have been found to have no significant bearing on the comfort, or functionality of the device, as long as these variances are absorbed by proper fill material qualities, such as material composition, firmness and resilience, of which memory foam seems to be the best.
  • As the skull is a rounded object, any fill material height moving outwardly from the trough point 11 must also conform to the requirements described above, meaning proper fill material thickness must be chosen at any point where the pillow contacts the back area of a person's skull. A choice too thick will yield a rotational momentum imposed on said person's head, counteracting it will require fatiguing muscle input over the time of use.
  • The contour of the pillow follows a series of parabolic and logarithmic lines moving outwardly from the trough 11 to define proper material thickness at each point which contacts the person's skull and neck areas, resulting in a concave trough area and a varying convex edge along the circumference of the pillow's outer edge.
  • The height or focus of each parabola has been chosen to result in as small a shape as possible to allow for maximum comfort, also to allow for a form that is not intrusive on a person's space, and to allow for the object to be easily carried in transport, and also to reduce manufacturing costs by using the minimum amount of material to achieve all of the objectives above.
  • The contour shaped support pillow of exemplary embodiments of the present invention provides a more useful, efficient, and comfortable resting surface for the seated or supine rest seeking user than prior art pillows.
  • While the above description contains much specificity, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of one or more preferred embodiments thereof. It will occur to those skilled in the art that modifications and alternatives can be practiced within the spirit of the invention. Many other variations are possible. For example, embodiments of different basic shapes are possible, such as but not limited to oval or triangular shapes. Also other embodiments may contain, as possible fill materials, gel filled pouches or air filled bladders of the same shape as the pillow to name a few variations. The materials used to cover the pillow can vary from leather, to synthetic leather, to cotton, or terry cloth, or any other different varieties of cover materials can be used. Also, instead of using the described hook-and-loop strips to fasten the pillow to a given surface, one could use snaps, clips, or the like, and strips of different shapes to affix the pillow to any given attaching surface, or no attachment mechanisms at all can be an option as well. Furthermore, instead of using a back material which displays an adhesive like quality such as a latex material described herein, one could use patches of gel which could be made part of the pillow's make-up, or similar to create an affinity between the back panel of the pillow and the surface upon which it is resting, though this is not a requirement of the design either. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Claims (25)

1. A contour shaped support pillow for balancing and maintaining a person's head in a neutral resting position, comprising:
a trough located at an upper center of a front surface of the pillow;
side support areas on the front surface at a right side of the trough and a left side of the trough;
a first neck support area on the front surface below the trough;
a second neck support area on the front surface above the trough;
a substantially flat back surface adjoining the front surface at an outer rear edge;
a parting line on the front surface of the pillow following the outer rear edge and terminating on each side of the first neck support area at the outer rear edge of the back surface; and
an edge region between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface,
wherein the trough, the side support areas, the first neck support area, and the second neck support area within the parting line form a concave surface for balancing and maintaining the person's head in the neutral resting position,
wherein a top of the front surface above the second neck support area between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface has a concave shape.
2. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 1, wherein the side support areas are configured to provide side support to the person's head in a first alignment and to provide side support to a person's head and neck in a second alignment, the first alignment and the second alignment being 180° out of alignment.
3. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 1, wherein a contour of the front surface smoothly transitions between the trough and the side support and the neck support areas in the shape of parabolic and logarithmic approximated curves.
4. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 1, wherein the edge region is sloping.
5. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 1, wherein the pillow is shaped like a heart with the side support areas being lobes of the heart, the second neck support area and the concave shape of the top of the front surface being a bridge between the lobes, and the first neck support area being a bottom rounded edge of the heart.
6. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 1, wherein the pillow contains elastomeric fill selected from the group consisting of an elastomer, a gel filled pouch, an air filled bladder, a polyurethane foam, a latex foam, a memory foam, cotton, and feathers.
7. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 1, further comprising:
a first hook and loop fastener strip at the center of the trough; and
a cover having a second hook and loop fastener strip for attaching to the first hook and loop fastener strip such that the cover conforms to the concave surface.
8. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, further comprising:
a side pocket in the cover to which a portable media player can be attached or within which a portable media player can be inserted.
9. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, further comprising:
an interior pocket interior to the cover; and
a zip fastener attached to the cover for opening and closing the cover and for providing access to the interior pocket.
10. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, wherein:
the pillow is rollable and insertable into a tube shaped container; and
the pillow expands to a designed form when removed from the container.
11. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, further comprising:
hook and loop fastener strips on the back surface for attaching to an underlying surface.
12. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, wherein the cover is a material selected from the group consisting of leather, synthetic leather, fabric, and plastic.
13. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, wherein:
a width of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the side support areas is between 150 mm and 300 mm;
a height of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the first neck support area and the second neck support area is between 100 mm and 260 mm;
a thickness of a thickest portion of the side support areas is between 20 mm and 120 mm; and
a thickness of a center of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm.
14. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 13, wherein a difference in thickness between the trough and the thickest portion of the side support areas is between 0 mm and 120 mm.
15. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, wherein:
a width of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the side support areas is between 190 mm and 300 mm;
a height of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the first neck support area and the second neck support area is between 150 mm and 260 mm;
a thickness of a thickest portion of the side support areas is between 30 mm and 60 mm; and
a thickness of a center of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm.
16. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 15, wherein a difference in thickness between the trough and the thickest portion of the side support areas is between 0 mm and 60 mm.
17. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 7, wherein:
a thickness of the first neck support area is between 30 mm and 50 mm, and
a thickness of the second neck support area is between 10 mm and 20 mm.
18. A contour shaped support pillow for balancing and maintaining a person's head in a neutral resting position, comprising:
a trough located at an upper center of a front surface of the pillow;
side support areas on the front surface at a right side of the trough and a left side of the trough;
a first neck support area on the front surface below the trough;
a second neck support area on the front surface above the trough;
a substantially flat back surface adjoining the front surface at an outer rear edge;
a parting line on the front surface of the pillow following the outer rear edge and terminating on each side of the first neck support area at the outer rear edge of the back surface;
an edge region between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface;
a first hook and loop fastener strip at the center of the trough; and
a cover having a second hook and loop fastener strip for attaching to the first hook and loop fastener strip such that the cover conforms to the concave surface,
wherein the trough, the side support areas, the first neck support area, and the second neck support area within the parting line form a concave surface for balancing and maintaining the person's head in the neutral resting position,
wherein a top of the front surface above the second neck support area between the parting line and the outer rear edge of the back surface has a concave shape,
wherein the pillow is shaped like a heart with the side support areas being lobes of the heart, the second neck support area and the concave shape of the top of the front surface being a bridge between the lobes, and the first neck support area being a bottom rounded edge of the heart,
wherein the pillow contains elastomeric fill selected from the group consisting of an elastomer, a gel filled pouch, an air filled bladder, a polyurethane foam, a latex foam, a memory foam, cotton, and feathers,
wherein a width of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the side support areas is between 190 mm and 300 mm; a height of the contour shaped support pillow between edges of the first neck support area and the second neck support area is between 150 mm and 260 mm; a thickness of a thickest portion of the side support areas is between 30 mm and 60 mm; a thickness of a center of the trough is between 0 mm and 20 mm; a difference in thickness between the trough and the thickest portion of the side support areas is between 0 mm and 60 mm, a thickness of the first neck support area is between 30 mm and 50 mm, and a thickness of the second neck support area is between 10 mm and 20 mm, and
wherein the side support areas are configured to provide side support to the person's head in a first alignment and to provide side support to a person's head and neck in a second alignment, the first alignment and the second alignment being 180° out of alignment.
19. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, wherein the edge region is sloping.
20. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, further comprising:
a side pocket in the cover to which a portable media player can be attached or within which a portable media player can be inserted.
21. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, further comprising:
an interior pocket interior to the cover; and
a zip fastener attached to the cover for opening and closing the cover and for providing access to the interior pocket.
22. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, wherein:
the pillow is rollable and insertable into a tube shaped container; and
the pillow expands to a designed form when removed from the container.
23. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, further comprising:
hook and loop fastener strips on the back surface for attaching to an underlying surface.
24. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, wherein the cover is a material selected from the group consisting of leather, synthetic leather, fabric, and plastic.
25. The contour shaped support pillow of claim 18, wherein a contour of the front surface smoothly transitions between the trough the side support and the neck support areas in the shape of parabolic and logarithmic approximated curves.
US12/139,448 2008-06-13 2008-06-13 Contour shaped support pillow Abandoned US20090307846A1 (en)

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US20110271453A1 (en) * 2010-05-07 2011-11-10 Chimanlal Gandhi Adjustable cradle pillow systems
US20120011655A1 (en) * 2010-07-14 2012-01-19 Rojas Ana C Contoured Body Support Pillow
WO2012047371A1 (en) * 2010-10-08 2012-04-12 Fong Yu Liu Pillow cover with neck support
US20120244324A1 (en) * 2011-03-23 2012-09-27 Fu-Chieng Chen Thermo-pressed cushioning support device
US8322485B1 (en) * 2011-08-31 2012-12-04 Eric Gold Systems and methods for reduction of noise during sleep
US8671481B2 (en) * 2011-04-14 2014-03-18 Damon Franklin Cardiopulmonary resuscitation support pillow
US8695135B2 (en) 2012-05-16 2014-04-15 Daniel James Berube Sacrum support pillow
US8875330B2 (en) * 2012-12-06 2014-11-04 Nikesha Nicole Wallace Child safety and support pillow device
US20150245968A1 (en) * 2015-05-18 2015-09-03 Matthew Mitchell Facial Cradle
US20160120253A1 (en) * 2012-02-06 2016-05-05 Christopher Schenk Head Encircling Sensory Deprivation Pillow
US20160324711A1 (en) * 2009-07-09 2016-11-10 Barbara J. Richmond Craniosacral cradle system and method
USD778086S1 (en) 2015-08-21 2017-02-07 Gas Brand Starter, Llc Travel pillow
US9615682B1 (en) 2016-02-26 2017-04-11 Bullrest Llc Headrest for head and neck
US9949882B2 (en) * 2014-05-30 2018-04-24 Prime Medical, LLC Tapered operating room table pad
USD851259S1 (en) 2015-05-18 2019-06-11 Matthew Mitchell Face cradle
USD853152S1 (en) * 2017-06-15 2019-07-09 Shenzhen Lian Da Technology Industrial Co., Ltd. Cushion
USD871796S1 (en) * 2017-05-23 2020-01-07 Shenzhen Qishengxieneng Electronic Co., Ltd Sponge backrest
US10638860B1 (en) * 2018-02-02 2020-05-05 Christine M. Duncan Contoured pillow
USD898427S1 (en) * 2018-11-22 2020-10-13 Jiansheng Chen Neck pillow
USD898428S1 (en) * 2018-09-07 2020-10-13 Shenzhen Lantise Technology Co., Ltd. Seat cushion
USD906729S1 (en) * 2019-11-15 2021-01-05 JWill Pink Village Inc. Seat belt protector pillow
USD911069S1 (en) * 2019-07-31 2021-02-23 Cheng-Ting Lin Cushion
USD918624S1 (en) * 2020-04-07 2021-05-11 Snugell, Llc Pillow
USD919331S1 (en) * 2020-09-22 2021-05-18 Wencan Feng Seat cushion
USD920005S1 (en) 2020-03-12 2021-05-25 Annelorrie Brown Travel pillow
USD929769S1 (en) * 2020-08-12 2021-09-07 Yuyan Chen Double heart legs pillow
US11129764B2 (en) * 2016-07-19 2021-09-28 Barbara J. Richmond Craniosacral cradle system and method

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US20160324711A1 (en) * 2009-07-09 2016-11-10 Barbara J. Richmond Craniosacral cradle system and method
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US11129764B2 (en) * 2016-07-19 2021-09-28 Barbara J. Richmond Craniosacral cradle system and method
USD871796S1 (en) * 2017-05-23 2020-01-07 Shenzhen Qishengxieneng Electronic Co., Ltd Sponge backrest
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US10638860B1 (en) * 2018-02-02 2020-05-05 Christine M. Duncan Contoured pillow
USD898428S1 (en) * 2018-09-07 2020-10-13 Shenzhen Lantise Technology Co., Ltd. Seat cushion
USD898427S1 (en) * 2018-11-22 2020-10-13 Jiansheng Chen Neck pillow
USD911069S1 (en) * 2019-07-31 2021-02-23 Cheng-Ting Lin Cushion
USD906729S1 (en) * 2019-11-15 2021-01-05 JWill Pink Village Inc. Seat belt protector pillow
USD920005S1 (en) 2020-03-12 2021-05-25 Annelorrie Brown Travel pillow
USD918624S1 (en) * 2020-04-07 2021-05-11 Snugell, Llc Pillow
USD929769S1 (en) * 2020-08-12 2021-09-07 Yuyan Chen Double heart legs pillow
USD919331S1 (en) * 2020-09-22 2021-05-18 Wencan Feng Seat cushion

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