US20110228964A1 - Inflatable Bubble - Google Patents

Inflatable Bubble Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110228964A1
US20110228964A1 US13/086,138 US201113086138A US2011228964A1 US 20110228964 A1 US20110228964 A1 US 20110228964A1 US 201113086138 A US201113086138 A US 201113086138A US 2011228964 A1 US2011228964 A1 US 2011228964A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
bubble
ear
inflation
device
ear device
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US13/086,138
Inventor
Stephen D. Ambrose
Samuel P. Gido
Robert B. Schulein
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Asius Tech LLC
Original Assignee
Asius Tech LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US12/178,236 priority Critical patent/US8340310B2/en
Priority to US32359910P priority
Priority to US12/777,001 priority patent/US8391534B2/en
Application filed by Asius Tech LLC filed Critical Asius Tech LLC
Priority to US13/086,138 priority patent/US20110228964A1/en
Priority claimed from US13/222,943 external-priority patent/US20120057734A1/en
Publication of US20110228964A1 publication Critical patent/US20110228964A1/en
Priority claimed from US13/288,515 external-priority patent/US8774435B2/en
Assigned to BISHOP DIEHL & LEE, LTD. reassignment BISHOP DIEHL & LEE, LTD. SECURITY INTEREST Assignors: ASIUS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
Assigned to ASIUS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC reassignment ASIUS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GIDO, SAMUEL P., SCHULEIN, ROBERT B., AMBROSE, STEPHEN D.
Assigned to ASIUS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC reassignment ASIUS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: AMBROSE, STEPHEN D, GIDO, SAMUEL P
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R1/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R1/20Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics
    • H04R1/32Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics for obtaining desired directional characteristic only
    • H04R1/323Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics for obtaining desired directional characteristic only for loudspeakers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F11/00Methods or devices for treatment of the ears, e.g. surgical; Protective devices for the ears, carried on the body or in the hand; Non-electric hearing aids
    • A61F11/006Ear cleaners, e.g. curettes
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R1/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R1/10Earpieces; Attachments therefor ; Earphones; Monophonic headphones
    • H04R1/1016Earpieces of the intra-aural type
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R1/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R1/10Earpieces; Attachments therefor ; Earphones; Monophonic headphones
    • H04R1/1091Details not provided for in groups H04R1/1008 - H04R1/1083

Abstract

An ear device having a bubble for placement approximate a user's ear canal and capable of inflation and deflation is disclosed. An inflation tube for delivering inflating air to the bubble during inflation of the bubble and an inflation source, such as a diaphonic valve, cause the bubble to extend automatically into the user's ear canal during inflation and retract from the user's ear canal during deflation. The bubble is substantially cylindrical and is comprised of a plurality of adjacently adjoined inflatable chambers. The bubble may also comprise at least one non-inflatable section interspersed therein. Where the ear device is used to convey sound to the user's ear, the device includes a sound tube positioned within the cylindrical bubble. At least one resilient member attached to a portion of the bubble, which may be a non-inflatable section of the bubble, is used to retract the bubble automatically. The ear device, equipped with a cerumen removing mechanism, may be used to clean a user's ear canal as well.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application claims filing priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/323,599, dated Apr. 13, 2010. In addition, the present application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/777,001, to Ambrose et al., filed on May 10, 2010 and published as Publication No. 2010/0322454 A1 on Dec. 23, 2010, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/178,236, to Ambrose et al., filed on Jul. 23, 2008 and published as Publication No. 2009/0028356 A1 on Jan. 29, 2009. The complete content of each of the above-listed applications is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present device and methods relate to the structure, operation and manufacture of an insertable sound transmission instrument for a user's ear. Specifically, the device and methods relate to such an instrument which can be coupled with any number of electronic sound devices, such as a hearing aid, MP3 player, Bluetooth® device, phone, and the like, while providing improved comfort and control to the user.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The use of headphones for private listening of an audio device, such as a phone, telegraph or the like, began back as early as the 1900's. The original devices provided very poor sound quality and even less comfort to the user. Such devices have come a long way in the last 20 years with noise-reduction, sound control, feedback control and comfort features as well. However, prior designs have typically employed a “one-size-fits-all” approach to function and comfort and as such they have been unable to offer an in-ear device which is individually customizable for a particular user. The present device addresses this oversight in the prior art by providing an in-ear device which is adjustable to comfortably fit each user, while providing full rich sound quality.
  • U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0028356 A1 (the '356 application), published on Jan. 29, 2009, discloses an in-ear, inflatable, diaphonic member (bubble), for the coupling of sound to the ear, wherein a source of static and active pressure is utilized to inflate the bubble and to keep it inflated. As part of the '356 application disclosure, a diaphonic valve is described that can convert oscillating sound pressure into static pressure to inflate the bubble in the user's ear. This is accomplished while still passing the sound of the program material (music, voice, etc.) through the valve, into the bubble and thus into the ear, with a minimum of attenuation or distortion. Thus a speaker or acoustical driver of the type used in hearing aids, mp3 player ear buds, or professional in ear monitors may be used to generate static pressures to inflate the diaphonic member (bubble), in addition to playing the program material. The diaphonic valve of the '356 application uses a flat valve design where oscillating sound waves cause oscillations in thin elastic membranes, thus opening and closing ports to harvest the positive pressure, pushing cycles of the speaker and venting in outside air during the negative pressure, pulling cycles of the speaker.
  • Embodiments of the present invention supplement the inventive pumping methods which utilize sound energy to actively inflate and deflate a diaphonic bubble in a user's ear by creating a bubble which expands in a completely unique manner.
  • The present invention addresses and solves numerous problems in the ear device industry and provides uncountable improvements in the area of earphone devices and manufacturing methods of the same. Solutions to other problems associated with prior earphone devices, whether the intended use is to be in conjunction with hearing aids, MP3 players, mobile phones, or other similar devices, may be achieved by the present devices.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • There is disclosed herein an improved ear device for in-ear placement of a user which avoids the disadvantages of prior devices while affording additional structural and operating advantages.
  • Generally speaking, the invention of the present application, numerously embodied in countless combinations of components, is comprised of a bubble for placement approximate a user's ear canal and capable of inflation and deflation, and an inflation tube for delivering inflating air to the bubble during inflation of the bubble, wherein the bubble automatically extends into the user's ear canal during inflation and retracts from the user's ear canal during deflation. An inflating air source coupled to an end of the inflation tube is used to provide inflation air to the bubble. In a preferred embodiment, the inflating air source comprises a diaphonic valve.
  • In an embodiment of the invention, the bubble is substantially cylindrical and is comprised of a plurality of adjacently adjoined inflatable chambers. The bubble may also comprise at least one non-inflatable section interspersed therein. Where the ear device is used to convey sound to the user's ear, an embodiment of the invention includes a sound tube positioned within the cylindrical bubble.
  • An aspect of another embodiment comprises at least one resilient member attached to a portion of the bubble, which may be a non-inflatable section of the bubble. In one embodiment, the resilient member may comprise a coil spring positioned within the sound tube. In another, it may comprise at least one flat spring.
  • An ear device having a cerumen removing mechanism is also disclosed. The cerumen removing mechanism may be comprised of a textured outer surface on the bubble or a coating on an outer surface of the bubble. It is an aspect of an embodiment of the disclosed ear device to provide fibers selected from the group consisting of cotton fibers, linen fibers, polyester fibers, synthetic fibers, and any combination thereof within a bubble coating. Such fibers may be impregnated with a cleaning solution to soften or dissolve the cerumen.
  • Alternately, the ear device may be used exclusively as a cleaning device.
  • These and other aspects of the invention may be understood more readily from the following description and the appended drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected, there are illustrated in the accompanying drawings embodiments thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, the subject matter sought to be protected, its construction and operation, and many of its advantages should be readily understood and appreciated. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the following description and throughout the numerous drawings, like reference numbers are used to designate corresponding parts.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the ear device of the present application;
  • FIGS. 2A through 2D illustrate the inflation and automatic insertion of the present ear device into an ear canal;
  • FIG. 3 diagrammatically illustrates one mechanism by which a cylindrical bubble may extend and contract in accordance with an embodiment of the present ear device;
  • FIG. 4 diagrammatically illustrates another mechanism by which a cylindrical bubble may extend and contract in accordance with an embodiment of the present ear device;
  • FIGS. 5, 5A, and 5B are side and cross-sectional illustrations of an embodiment of an inflatable bubble for the present ear device;
  • FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate one embodiment of a resilient member, i.e., a flat spring, in a relaxed and a tensioned form;
  • FIG. 7A is a side view and cross-section of an inflatable bubble retracted using the mechanism of FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 7B is a side view and cross-section of an inflatable bubble retracted using the mechanism of FIG. 4;
  • FIGS. 8, 8A, and 8B are side and cross-sectional illustrations of another embodiment of an inflatable bubble for the present ear device; and
  • FIGS. 9, 9A, 9B, and 9C are side and cross-sectional illustrations of the embodiment of FIG. 8 in a retracted state.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings, and will herein be described in detail, preferred embodiments of the invention, including embodiments of the various components of the invention, with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to embodiments illustrated.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1-9, several embodiments of an automatic inserting ear device, generally referenced by the number 10. The ear device 10 is most generally comprised of a transducer 20, a bubble 12 comprised of multiple inflatable chambers 14, a coupling 16 for attaching the bubble 12 to the transducer 20, a resilient member 18 and an inflation tube 22 for delivering inflation air from the transducer 20 to the bubble interior.
  • The bubble 12 automatically operates between two forms: i.e., an inflated form and a deflated form. In the inflated form, the bubble 12 is unfurled and relatively firm, extending into a user's ear canal where it seals against the wall of the canal to retain the ear device 10 in place. When in the deflated form, the bubble 12 is refracted from the ear canal, flaccid and soft, and is pulled to some degree into or about itself. Specific details of the two forms and the operation of the bubble 12 to achieve such forms are explained in greater detail below.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, an embodiment of the automatic ear device 10 is illustrated with the bubble 12 in the deflated form and turned partially inside itself. The bubble 12 of the ear device 10 is shown attached to an ear piece 30 of an audio transducer 20. The inflation tube 22 is linked to a pressure output of a diaphonic valve (not shown) of the type described in previous patent and provisional application filings, each of which was incorporated herein to this application by reference above.
  • FIGS. 2A-2D are a series of drawings illustrating the inflation of the bubble 12 to automatically insert into a human ear canal. Beginning with FIG. 2A, the bubble 12 is shown positioned at the entrance to the ear canal before inflation begins. FIG. 2B shows the bubble 12 of the ear device 10 partially inflated and partially inserted into the ear canal as a result of the inflation. FIG. 2C shows the bubble 12 almost fully inflated and almost fully inserted into the ear canal. Finally, FIG. 2D shows the bubble 12 fully inflated and fully inserted into the ear canal, thus sealing against the walls of the ear canal to secure the device 10 as well as block out extraneous noise.
  • As can be seen, when fully inserted and fully inflated (FIG. 2D), the opening of the sound tube 24 at the end of the bubble 12 faces into the ear canal toward the tympanic membrane (ear drum). This is believed to be the most effective positioning in a majority of uses for the ear device 10.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3, a first mechanism by which the bubble 12 may be automatically inflated and inserted into the ear canal can be more readily understood. The first mechanism is probably best described as that of a cylinder rolled inward on itself from one of its ends. FIG. 3 illustrates in perspective and cross-section, the unrolling of such a cylinder.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a second possible mechanism by which the bubble 12 of the ear device 10 may insert itself into the ear canal. In the second mechanism, the cylinder starts doubled over (or at least some fraction of its inflated form), the end folding inside the cylinder itself, as opposed to being rolled up inside itself as shown in FIG. 3. The mechanism of FIG. 3 is similar to that of rolling out a strip of rolled up carpeting (i.e. rolling out the red carpet). Contrastingly, the mechanism of FIG. 4 operates more like the motion of the treads of a tracked vehicle, such as a bulldozer or a tank (except that these mechanisms occur circumferentially because the layer is tubular). Both of these mechanisms are very effective at translating a layer (carpet or tank tread) forward along a surface. Various embodiments of the ear device 10 use one of the mechanisms of either FIG. 3 or FIG. 4 to “crawl up” the inside walls of the ear canal, without having to be slid, pushed or otherwise forced by the user into the ear canal.
  • The unrolling or unfurling of the bubble 12 from the ear device 10 is driven by the pumping of air into inflatable chambers 14 which make up the cylindrical bubble wall 32. This pumping is provided by a diaphonic valve of one of the numerous types previously disclosed. The re-rolling or re-furling of the bubble 12, i.e. the mechanism by which it retracts from the ear canal and turns inside itself, is driven by energy stored in a resilient member 18, such as a spring or springs. During inflation, air pressure pumped into the bubble 12 from the attached diaphonic pump unrolls or unfurls the rolled or furled portion of the bubble 12 and simultaneously places tension onto the resilient member, i.e., a flat spring or flat springs 26. As the air pressure is released in deflation mode, the spring or springs 26 begin to recoil, thereby re-rolling or re-furling the bubble 12.
  • FIGS. 5, 5A, and 5B show one particular embodiment of the mechanism by which the inflation and deflation is accomplished.
  • In the embodiment of FIG. 5 the cylindrical bubble wall 32 is composed of two layers of a flexible polymer film. This polymer film is preferably about one mil thickness of thermoplastic, elastomeric polyurethane (Bayer). However, the wall 32 could be comprised of any of the various elastomeric or flexible, but non-elastomeric polymer materials described in the incorporated references of this application. The bubble wall 32 may be divided lengthwise into sections, as opposed to being one single inflated chamber. The sections are preferably comprised of a plurality of inflatable chambers 14 interspersed with other non-inflatable sections. These inflatable chambers 14 preferably alternate with the non-inflatable sections 28. Further, the non-inflatable sections may contain constant force flat springs 26, shown fully extended in FIG. 5, to facilitate the furling or rolling of the bubble 12 during deflation.
  • FIGS. 6A-6B illustrate a flat spring 26, which is preferably made from polyvinylchloride (PVC). The flat spring 26 is shown in FIG. 6A in a fully coiled, relaxed state. In FIG. 6B the spring 26 is shown in a partially extended and thus partially tensioned state. Other embodiments have been constructed using steel flat springs and silicone rubber flat springs. A broad range of flat springs composed of a broad range of polymers, metals, or combinations of materials are appropriate for this application.
  • The particular embodiment of the ear device 10 shown in FIG. 5 has three flat springs 26 arranged every 120° around the circumference of the cylindrical bubble 12 and also three alternating similarly distributed inflatable chambers 14. In some embodiments, the wall sections containing the flat springs 26 may not extend all the way to the end of the bubble 12 and thus the inflatable chambers 14 may be connected to one another around the bubble circumference near the bubble end. Other embodiments may have a greater or lesser number of inflatable chambers 14 and flat springs 26 distributed around the bubble circumference. Further, the inflatable chambers 14 and flat springs 26 need not strictly alternate as shown in FIG. 5.
  • In alternate embodiments, some or all of the flat springs 26 may be housed in parallel inflatable chambers. The inflated, spring containing chambers may alternate or otherwise be arranged parallel to the non-spring containing inflated chambers. Still another alternative would be to have all the chambers around the bubble circumference be both inflatable and containing a flat spring.
  • As can be seen, the center of the bubble 12 is open and forms sound tube 24 by which sound is conducted from the transducer, into the user's ear canal, and directed toward the tympanic membrane.
  • FIGS. 7A-B illustrate the embodiment of FIG. 5 with the bubble 12 in an un-inflated, retracted state. The air has been discharged from the inflatable chambers 14 in the bubble wall 32 and the flat springs 26 have retracted causing the bubble wall 32 to roll into the sound tube 24 (FIG. 7A) or to fold into the sound tube 24 (FIG. 7B). Depending upon the detailed properties of the spring and bubble geometry, both folding mechanism (FIG. 7A or FIG. 7B) can be achieved.
  • FIGS. 8, 8A, and 8B illustrate another embodiment of a bubble 12 for the ear device 10. The bubble 12 is shown in its inflated and fully extended state, and uses a coil spring 27 rather than the flat springs of FIG. 7. In this embodiment there are only inflatable chambers 14 in the bubble wall 32—i.e., no chambers for springs—separated by seams where the inner and outer layers of the bubble wall 32 are joined. The inflation of the inflatable chambers 14 in the bubble wall 32 extends a coil spring 27 which is positioned in the middle of the sound tube 24. The coil spring 27 also acts to hold the sound tube 24 open during bubble use. Preferably, the spring 27 is connected by one end to a collar 34 used to hold the bubble 12 to the transducer 20 at the base of the bubble 12, and at its other end the coil spring 27 is attached to a sound tube collar 36 which is attached to the top of the bubble 12. The sound tube collar 36 is preferably made of thicker material (e.g., plastic, rubber, metal, etc.) than the thin walled bubble 12 and may be soft, semi-soft, rigid or semi-rigid. Alternatively, embodiments may be designed without the sound tube collar where the end of the coil spring 27 is affixed directly to the top of the bubble 12.
  • FIGS. 9, 9A-9C are similar to FIGS. 8, 8A, and 8B and illustrate retraction of the bubble 12 which occurs when air is let out of the inflatable chambers 14. As the air is removed, the coil spring 27 relaxes to its preferred, less elongated, state. The action of the coil spring 27 results in the bubble 12 folding into the sound tube 24 by the mechanism shown in FIG. 4.
  • While the use of a springs, either flat or coil as described above, are preferred as the resilient member, the same result may be achieved by the use of pressurized chambers which can be inflated and deflated to furl and unfurl a portion of the bubble 12.
  • An additional optional feature of the disclosed ear device 10 is that it may be used to clean ear wax (cerumen) from the user's ear. To accomplish this, the bubble 12 is constructed with an outer coating or texture which is readily adhered to by ear wax. Examples of such a texture would be, without limitation, ridges, bumps, grooves or even a fibrous surface texture. Examples of a suitable coating would include cotton fibers, linen fibers, polyester or other synthetic fibers, or a combination of these or other suitable materials. These fibers may also be impregnated with cleaning solutions for the purpose of softening/dissolving the cerumen.
  • In use, the ear device 10 with special surface coating or surface texture would be inflated into the user's ear canal. Once fully inflated, it may be necessary to give the special solutions time to work, then the device 10 can then be removed, either by deflating or by pulling directly out without deflating. Upon removal the surface of the device 10 pulls ear wax out of the ear. This cleaning system may be used with or without the audio listening component of the device.
  • It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present invention, particularly, any “preferred” embodiments, are possible examples of implementations merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles for the invention. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) of the invention without substantially departing from the spirit and principles of the invention. All such modifications are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and the present invention, and protected by the following claims.
  • The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only and not as a limitation. While particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the broader aspects of applicants' contribution. The actual scope of the protection sought is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the prior art.

Claims (43)

1. An ear device comprising:
a base capable of positioning proximate a user's ear canal;
a bubble attached to the base and capable of inflation and deflation; and
an inflation tube for delivering inflating air to the bubble during inflation of the bubble;
wherein the bubble automatically extends into the user's ear canal during inflation and retracts from the user's ear canal during deflation.
2. The ear device of claim 1, further comprising an inflating air source coupled to an end of the inflation tube.
3. The ear device of claim 2, wherein the inflating air source comprises a diaphonic valve.
4. The ear device of claim 1, wherein the bubble is substantially cylindrical.
5. The ear device of claim 4, wherein the cylindrical bubble is comprised of a plurality of adjacently adjoined inflatable chambers.
6. The ear device of claim 4, wherein the cylindrical bubble is comprised of a plurality of adjacently adjoined inflatable chambers and at least one non-inflatable section interspersed therein.
7. The ear device of claim 1, further comprising at least one resilient member attached to a portion of the bubble.
8. The ear device of claim 4, further comprising at least one resilient member attached to a portion of the bubble.
9. The ear device of claim 6, further comprising at least one resilient member attached to a non-inflatable section of the bubble.
10. The ear device of claim 8, further comprising a sound tube positioned within the cylindrical bubble.
11. The ear device of claim 10, wherein the at least one resilient member comprises a coil spring positioned within the sound tube.
12. The ear device of claim 7, wherein the at least one resilient member comprises at least one flat spring.
13. The ear device of claim 9, wherein the at least one resilient member comprises at least one flat spring.
14. The ear device of claim 1, further comprising a cerumen removing mechanism.
15. The ear device of claim 14, wherein the cerumen removing mechanism comprises a textured outer surface on the bubble.
16. The ear device of claim 14, wherein the cerumen removing mechanism comprises a coating on an outer surface of the bubble.
17. The ear device of claim 16, wherein the coating comprises fibers selected from the group consisting of cotton fibers, linen fibers, polyester fibers, synthetic fibers, and any combination thereof.
18. The ear device of claim 17, wherein the fibers are impregnated with a cleaning solution.
19. The ear device of claim 18, wherein the cleaning solution comprises a cerumen softening or dissolving solution.
20. The ear device of claim 1, wherein the bubble automatically inserts into the ear canal on inflation.
21. The ear device of claim 7, wherein the resilient member facilitates folding of the bubble inward upon deflation.
22. The ear device of claim 7, wherein the resilient member facilitates rolling of the bubble inward upon deflation.
23. The ear device of claim 11, wherein the coil spring pulls at least a portion of the bubble into the sound tube upon deflation.
24. The ear device of claim 10, further comprising an audio transducer coupled to the base.
25. An ear device comprising:
a base capable of being positioned proximate a user's ear canal;
a cylindrical bubble attached to the base and comprised of a plurality of inflatable chambers each capable of simultaneous inflation and deflation;
an inflation tube for delivering inflating air to the inflatable chambers of the bubble during inflation of the inflatable chambers; and
an air source coupled to the inflation tube for supplying inflation air during inflation of the inflatable chambers;
wherein the bubble automatically extends into the user's ear canal during inflation and retracts from the user's ear canal during deflation.
26. The ear device of claim 25, wherein the bubble further comprises at least one non-inflatable section interspersed with the inflatable chambers.
27. The ear device of claim 25, further comprising at least one resilient member attached to a portion of the bubble.
28. The ear device of claim 26, further comprising at least one resilient member attached to a non-inflatable section of the bubble.
29. The ear device of claim 27, further comprising a sound tube positioned within the cylindrical bubble.
30. The ear device of claim 29, wherein the at least one resilient member comprises a coil spring positioned within the sound tube.
31. The ear device of claim 28, wherein the at least one resilient member comprises at least one flat spring.
32. An audio system ear device comprising:
a base capable of positioning proximate a user's ear canal;
a bubble attached to the base and having an outer surface capable of inflation and deflation;
an inflation tube for delivering inflating air to the bubble during inflation of the bubble;
an air source coupled to the inflation tube for supplying inflation air during inflation of the bubble;
a sound tube positioned within the bubble and having an open end coupled to the outer surface of the bubble; and
an audio source coupled to the sound tube;
wherein the bubble and sound tube automatically extend into the user's ear canal during inflation and retracts from the user's ear canal during deflation.
33. The audio system of claim 32, wherein the air source comprises a diaphonic valve.
34. The audio system of claim 32, wherein the bubble is substantially cylindrical.
35. The audio system of claim 34, wherein the cylindrical bubble is comprised of a plurality of adjacently adjoined inflatable chambers.
36. The audio system of claim 34, wherein the cylindrical bubble is comprised of a plurality of adjacently adjoined inflatable chambers and at least one non-inflatable section interspersed therein.
37. The audio system of claim 32, further comprising at least one resilient member attached to a portion of the bubble.
38. An ear cleaning device comprising:
a base capable of positioning proximate a user's ear canal;
a bubble attached to the base and having an outer surface capable of inflation and deflation;
a cerumen removing mechanism attached to the outer surface of the bubble;
an inflation tube for delivering inflating air to the bubble during inflation of the bubble; and
an air source coupled to the inflation tube for supplying inflation air during inflation of the bubble;
wherein the bubble automatically extends into the user's ear canal during inflation and retracts from the user's ear canal during deflation.
39. The ear cleaning device of claim 38, wherein the cerumen removing mechanism comprises a textured outer surface.
40. The ear cleaning device of claim 38, wherein the cerumen removing mechanism comprises a coating on an outer surface.
41. The ear cleaning device of claim 40, wherein the coating comprises fibers selected from the group consisting of cotton fibers, linen fibers, polyester fibers, synthetic fibers, and any combination thereof.
42. The ear cleaning device of claim 41, wherein the fibers are impregnated with a cleaning solution.
43. The ear cleaning device of claim 42, wherein the cleaning solution comprises a cerumen softening or dissolving solution.
US13/086,138 2007-07-23 2011-04-13 Inflatable Bubble Abandoned US20110228964A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US12/178,236 US8340310B2 (en) 2007-07-23 2008-07-23 Diaphonic acoustic transduction coupler and ear bud
US32359910P true 2010-04-13 2010-04-13
US12/777,001 US8391534B2 (en) 2008-07-23 2010-05-10 Inflatable ear device
US13/086,138 US20110228964A1 (en) 2008-07-23 2011-04-13 Inflatable Bubble

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US13/086,138 US20110228964A1 (en) 2008-07-23 2011-04-13 Inflatable Bubble
US13/222,943 US20120057734A1 (en) 2008-07-23 2011-08-31 Hearing Device System and Method
US13/288,515 US8774435B2 (en) 2008-07-23 2011-11-03 Audio device, system and method
US14/524,627 US9326059B2 (en) 2008-07-23 2014-10-27 Inflatable bubble

Related Parent Applications (3)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US12/178,236 Continuation-In-Part US8340310B2 (en) 2007-07-23 2008-07-23 Diaphonic acoustic transduction coupler and ear bud
US12/777,001 Continuation-In-Part US8391534B2 (en) 2007-07-23 2010-05-10 Inflatable ear device
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US9066190B2 (en) 2012-10-25 2015-06-23 Sonion Nederland B. V. Hearing aid with a pump arrangement
US10110988B2 (en) 2016-04-19 2018-10-23 Christopher Robert Barry Human-ear-wearable apparatus, system, and method of operation
US10129634B2 (en) 2016-04-19 2018-11-13 Christopher Robert Barry Human-ear-wearable apparatus, system, and method of operation

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