US20150007393A1 - Controller for multi-zone fluid chamber mattress system - Google Patents

Controller for multi-zone fluid chamber mattress system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150007393A1
US20150007393A1 US13/933,285 US201313933285A US2015007393A1 US 20150007393 A1 US20150007393 A1 US 20150007393A1 US 201313933285 A US201313933285 A US 201313933285A US 2015007393 A1 US2015007393 A1 US 2015007393A1
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fluid
zone
bladder
inflatable
pressure setting
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US13/933,285
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Wade Daniel Palashewski
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Select Comfort Corp
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Select Comfort Corp
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Priority to US13/933,285 priority Critical patent/US20150007393A1/en
Assigned to SELECT COMFORT CORPORATION reassignment SELECT COMFORT CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: PALASHEWSKI, WADE DANIEL
Publication of US20150007393A1 publication Critical patent/US20150007393A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C27/00Spring, stuffed or fluid mattresses or cushions specially adapted for chairs, beds or sofas
    • A47C27/08Fluid mattresses or cushions
    • A47C27/10Fluid mattresses or cushions with two or more independently-fillable chambers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C27/00Spring, stuffed or fluid mattresses or cushions specially adapted for chairs, beds or sofas
    • A47C27/08Fluid mattresses or cushions
    • A47C27/081Fluid mattresses or cushions of pneumatic type
    • A47C27/082Fluid mattresses or cushions of pneumatic type with non-manual inflation, e.g. with electric pumps
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C27/00Spring, stuffed or fluid mattresses or cushions specially adapted for chairs, beds or sofas
    • A47C27/08Fluid mattresses or cushions
    • A47C27/081Fluid mattresses or cushions of pneumatic type
    • A47C27/083Fluid mattresses or cushions of pneumatic type with pressure control, e.g. with pressure sensors

Abstract

A sleep system comprises a mattress comprising a plurality of zones, each zone comprising at least one fluid inflatable bladder, a controller configured to control a fluid pressure within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each of the plurality of zones, and a user controlling device in communication with the controller, the user controlling device being configured to display a firmness identifier, the firmness identifier comprising a plurality of symbols, each symbol corresponding to a pressure setting within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of a corresponding one of the plurality of zones.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • Beds comprising mattresses formed from fluid-inflatable bladders, such as air-inflatable bladders, can allow a user to adjust the pressure in the bladders, which can adjust the perceived firmness of the mattress for the user to a level of individual comfort. In beds designed for two users, such as queen-sized or king-sized beds, each side of the bed can be provided with its own inflatable bladder or set of inflatable bladders and controls to allow each user to separately adjust their own side of the bed to their preferred individual comfort level.
  • SUMMARY
  • The present disclosure is directed to a sleep system, and in particular to a control system for controlling a multi-zone mattress that can be used as part of a sleep system. The mattress can include a support surface assembly that can comprise a plurality of zones, with each zone comprising one or more inflatable bladders that can be controlled by one or more controlling devices, such as a remote control. The controlling device can be configured to provide to a user a convenient way of identifying a pressure or perceived firmness level of each of the plurality of zones as well as providing for individual control over pressure settings within each zone.
  • The present disclosure describes a sleep system comprising a mattress comprising a plurality of zones, each zone comprising at least one fluid inflatable bladder, a controller configured to control a fluid pressure within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each of the plurality of zones, and a user controlling device in communication with the controller, the user controlling device configured to display a firmness identifier, the firmness identifier comprising a plurality of symbols, each symbol corresponding to a pressure setting within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of a corresponding one of the plurality of zones.
  • The present disclosure also describes a method of controlling a multi-zone mattress, the method comprising receiving, at a user controlling device, an input firmness identifier comprising plurality of symbols, formulating, at the user controlling device or at a central controller in communication with the user controlling device, at least one control signal for at least one fluid pump, the at least one fluid pump configured to inflate or deflate fluid inflatable bladders of a multi-zone mattress, the mattress comprising a plurality of zones, each zone comprising at least one fluid inflatable bladder, wherein each symbol of the firmness identifier corresponds to a pressure setting within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of a corresponding one of the plurality of zones, transmitting the at least one control signal from the user controlling device or the central controller to the at least one fluid pump, and adjusting, with the at least one fluid pump, the pressure within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each of the plurality of zones to correspond to the pressure setting of the corresponding one of the plurality of symbols.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an example sleep system including an adjustable bed for two occupants.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an example support surface assembly comprising a plurality of zones formed from inflatable bladders that can be used in the example sleep system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a top view of the example support surface assembly of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the support surface assembly taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 5 is a conceptual perspective view of an example of a support surface assembly.
  • FIG. 6 is a conceptual perspective view of a second example of a support surface assembly.
  • FIG. 7 is a block diagram of various components of an example sleep system.
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram of an example control system for an example sleep system.
  • FIGS. 9A and 9B are top views of an example remote control configured to control a dual-zone mattress of a sleep system.
  • FIGS. 10A and 10B are top views of a second example remote control configured to control a three-zone mattress of a sleep system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • This disclosure describes a sleep system including at least one multi-zone mattress that can be used as part of a bed. The mattress can comprise a plurality of zones each including one or more fluid inflatable bladders. This disclosure further describes a control system for controlling the pressure, and thus the perceived firmness, within each zone of the multi-zone mattress used within a sleep system.
  • The term “zone,” as used herein, can refer to a specified portion of the footprint of a mattress used by an occupant for sleeping. The mattress can be configured so that each “zone” corresponds, for example, to a particular area of the occupants body, such as an upper zone configured to support the occupant's head and upper torso, a middle zone configured to support an occupant's lower torso (e.g., lumbar region), and an upper portion of the occupant's legs, and a lower zone configured to support the occupant's lower legs. Other zone configurations are also contemplated.
  • Each “zone” can be configured to be adjustable in some way, such as adjustable firmness, adjustable position, or adjustable temperature. A “zone” having adjustable firmness can comprise one or more fluid inflatable bladders that can be inflated or deflated with an inflation fluid, such as air. If a particular zone comprises a plurality of inflatable bladders, the inflatable bladders of the zone can be adjacent and in close proximity to each other to form a continuous or substantially continuous zone. Inflation or deflation of the fluid can provide for control of the pressure within the one or more inflatable bladders associated with each zone.
  • The term “multi-zone” (e.g., as used in the phrase “multi-zone mattress” or “multi-zone support surface assembly”), as used herein, can refer to a mattress comprising a plurality of zones, wherein at least one property (e.g., pressure, position, or temperature) of at least one zone of the plurality of zones can be controlled independently of at least one other zone. In some examples, each zone of the plurality of zones can be controlled independently of all other zones of the plurality of zones. For example, a multi-zone mattress can be configured so that the firmness of each zone can be controlled independently of the firmness of each other zone, e.g., by independently controlling the pressure within the one or more inflatable bladders of each zone.
  • The control system can include a controlling device, such as a remote control, configured to control inflation and deflation the inflatable bladders within each zone of the multi-zone mattress. The controlling device can also include a display configured to provide information to a user about the fluid pressure, and thus the perceived firmness, within each zone of the multi-zone mattress.
  • FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an example sleep system 10. The sleep system 10 can include a bed 12 that is configured and intended to be used by one or more occupants. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the bed 12 is designed to be used by two occupants, a first occupant 14 and a second occupant 16. In such a configuration, the bed 12 can include one or more mattresses 18A, 18B (collectively referred to as “mattress 18” or “mattresses 18”) supported by a frame 19. The occupants 14, 16 can be supported by the one or more mattresses 18. The bed 12 can include a first sleep area 20 for the first occupant 14 and a second sleep area 22 for the second occupant 16. In the case of a bed designed for a single occupant, a single mattress 18 can be used. The one or more mattresses 18 can comprise a pair of mattresses 18A, 18B, with a first mattress 18A making up the first sleep area 20 and a second mattress 18B making up the second sleep area 22. As described in more detail below, each mattress 18 can be a multi-zone mattress 18, with the firmness (e.g., the pressure) of each zone being independently controllable.
  • Each of the sleep areas 20, 22 can be movable or articulable between a plurality of positions to provide the occupants 14, 16 with the ability to select a preferred position for comfort of for a particular purpose. Each sleep area 20, 22 can include one or more articulable sections. In an example, the first sleep area 20 can include a first head section 24 that can be raised and lowered to adjust a position of the head or upper torso, or both, of the first occupant 14 and a first leg section 26 that can be raised and lowered to adjust a position of the legs or lower torso, or both, of the first occupant 14. Similarly, the second sleep area 22 can include a second head section 28 that can be raised and lowered to adjust a position of the head or upper torso, or both, of the second occupant 16 and a second leg section 30 that can be raised and lowered to adjust a position of the legs or lower torso, or both, of the second occupant 16.
  • As described in more detail below, each mattress 18 can comprise a support surface assembly formed from a plurality of fluid-inflatable bladders, e.g., air-inflatable bladders. The sleep system 10 can further include one or more fluid filling sources 21, 23, such as a fluid pump, e.g., an air pump for air inflatable bladders, which can feed pressurized fluid into the inflatable bladders in order to inflate one or more inflatable bladders, or can withdraw fluid from the inflatable bladders to assist in deflating one or more inflatable bladders, or both. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the sleep system 10 includes a first fluid pump 21 for inflating or deflating, or both, the inflatable bladders associated with the first sleep area 20 and a second fluid pump 23 for inflating or deflating, or both, the inflatable bladders associated with the second sleep area 22.
  • The sleep system 10 can also include a pair of user controlling devices 32, 34 to allow each occupant 14, 16 to control the operation of his or her respective sleep area 20, 22. As shown in FIG. 1, the sleep system 10 can include a first user controlling device 32, e.g., a first handheld remote control 32, that has been configured to control operation of the first sleep area 20, and a second user control device 34, e.g., a second handheld remote control 34, that has been configured to control operation of the second sleep area 22. The first occupant 14 can use the first remote control 32 to control operation of the first sleep area 20, upon which the first occupant 14 is positioned, and the second occupant 16 can use the second remote control 34 to control operation of the second sleep area 22 upon which the second occupant 16 is positioned.
  • The sleep system 10 can include an articulation system for controlling articulation of the articulable sections 24, 26, 28, 30. The articulation system can include a set of articulating motors, with each articulable section being articulated by one or more of the motors. For example, a first head motor 42 can be configured to articulate the first head section 24 of the first sleep area 20. A first leg motor 44 can be configured to articulate the first leg section 26 of the first sleep area 20. A second head motor 46 can be configured to articulate the second head section 28 of the second sleep area 22. And, a second leg motor 48 can be configured to articulate the second leg section 30 of the second sleep area 22. Examples of motors that can be used for the articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48 include, but are not limited to, bed articulating motors manufactured by Leggett & Platt, Inc., Carthage, Mo., USA.
  • The sleep system 10 can also include one or more controllers, such as a control box that includes the electronics and hardware for providing instructions to the fluid pumps 21, 23 and the articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48. FIG. 1 shows the articulation system including a single, common controller 50 that is configured to control both of the sleep areas 20, 22, e.g., both of the fluid pumps 21, 23 and all of the articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48. The articulation system can also include more than a single common controller. For example, each sleep area 20, 22 can have its own controller (not shown), such as a first controller corresponding to the first sleep area 20 that is configured to control the first fluid pump 21 and the articulating motors 42 and 44 and a second controller corresponding to the second sleep area 22 that is configured to control the second fluid pump 23 and the articulating motors 46 and 48.
  • Each remote control 32, 34 can be in communication with the one or more controllers 50, such as via a wireless communication link 52, 54. The remote controls 32, 34 can send control signals to the controller 50 via the communication links 52, 54, such as an inflation control signal directed to a fluid pump 21, 23 or a movement control signal directed to one or more articulable motor 42, 44, 46, 48.
  • An “inflation control signal,” as used herein, can refer to a signal or plurality of signals sent from a remote control 32, 34 to the controller 50 corresponding to a particular inflation condition, such as a pressure setting within a particular inflatable bladder. An inflation control signal can include one or more instructions for a pressure or perceived firmness set point for a particular inflatable bladder, for the action to be taken by a particular fluid pump 21, 23, e.g., feeding the inflating fluid into the bladder or withdrawal of the fluid from the bladder and determining the pressure within the particular inflatable bladder.
  • A “movement control signal,” as used herein, can refer to a signal or plurality of signals sent from a remote control 32, 34 to the controller 50 corresponding to a particular movement or position of one or more of the articulable sections 24, 26, 28, 30. A movement control signal can include one or more instructions for the direction of movement of a particular articulable section 24, 26, 28, 30, e.g., the direction of movement of a corresponding articulating motor 42, 44, 46, 48, a speed for the movement of a particular articulable section 24, 26, 28, 30 or of a particular articulating motor 42, 44, 46, 48, or an overall position of the corresponding sleep area 20, 22 being controlled by the remote control 32, 34, such as a preset position.
  • The controller 50 can send one or more pump control signals to the fluid pumps 21, 23 corresponding to a desired action to be taken by the fluid pumps 21, 23. A “pump control signal,” as used herein, can refer to a signal or plurality of signals sent from a controller, such as the controller 50, to one or more fluid pumps 21, 23, corresponding to a particular action to be taken by the fluid pump 21, 23 (such as opening of an inlet valve into a particular inflatable bladder and either feeding of fluid into the bladder or withdrawing fluid from the bladder).
  • The controller 50 can also send one or more motor control signals to the articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48 corresponding to a desired motion of the articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48. A “motor control signal,” as used herein, can refer to a signal or plurality of signals sent from a controller, such as the controller 50, to one or more articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48, corresponding to a particular movement or position of one or more articulable sections 24, 26, 28, 30. A motor control signal or signals can comprise an instruction for one or both of the direction that the articulating motor 42, 44, 46, 48 should articulate and the speed that the articulating motor 42, 44, 46, 48 should travel.
  • In an example, a plurality of communication cables 56 can carry the motor control signals from the controller 50 to the articulating motors 42, 44, 46, 48, e.g., with each cable 56 corresponding to a particular motor 42, 44, 46, 48.
  • Examples of inflatable beds that can be used with the systems and methods of the present disclosure include, but are not limited to, Sleep Number beds, sold by Select Comfort Corp., Minneapolis, Minn., USA. Examples of inflatable adjustable beds that are similar to the articulable sleep areas described in the present disclosure include, but are not limited to, Sleep Number Split King or Split Queen beds, sold by Select Comfort Corp.
  • Although FIG. 1 is shown and described as including one or more articulable sleep areas, the present disclosure is not so limited, and the articulable sleep areas 20, 22 of FIG. 1 are merely meant to be a non-limited example. In some examples, the sleep areas 20, 22 can be non-articulable, or standard type sleep areas, e.g., so that each sleep area 20, 22 remains in the same or substantially the same position, such as a flat or substantially flat position, throughout the use of the sleep system 10.
  • FIGS. 2-4 show an example support surface assembly 60 that can be used in the example sleep system 10 of FIG. 1. For example, the support surface assembly 60 can form a part of either of the mattresses 18A, 18B of the bed 12. In an example, each sleep area 20, 22 can comprise a separate support surface assembly 60, and the pair of support surface assemblies 60 can be joined together to form a substantially uniform and substantially continuous support surface. An example of structures and methods for joining a pair of support surface assemblies 60 in a side-by-side arrangement is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,865,988, issued on Jan. 11, 2011, assigned to the assignee of this application, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety
  • The support surface assembly 60 can comprise a plurality of inflatable bladders 62A, 62B, 62C (collectively “inflatable bladder 62” or “inflatable bladders 62”), such as one or more fluid-inflatable bladders 62, for example one or more air-inflatable bladders 62. The inflatable bladders 62 can be arranged in a manner to form a support surface 64. The support surface 64 can be a sleep surface upon which an occupant 14, 16 can be supported, or the support surface 64 can support For example, a top surface 66A of a first inflatable bladder 62A, a top surface 66B of a second inflatable bladder 62B, and a top surface 66C of a third inflatable bladder 62C can be arranged in an end-to-end manner so as to form a continuous or substantially continuous support surface 64. In the example of FIGS. 2-4, the support surface assembly 60 includes three inflatable bladders 62A, 62B, 62C. However, the support surface assembly 60 can include fewer or more inflatable bladders 62. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, a support surface assembly can include two inflatable bladders, or a support surface assembly can include four or more inflatable bladders.
  • Each inflatable bladder 62 can comprise a generally rectangular prism shape defined by a top wall 68A, 68B, 68C (collectively “top wall 68” or “top walls 68”), a bottom wall 70A, 70B, 70C (collectively “bottom wall 70” or “bottom walls 70”), a side wall 72A, 72B, 72C (collectively “side wall 72” or “side walls 72”) and side wall 74A, 74B, 74C (collectively “side wall 74” or “side walls 74”), an end wall 76A, 76B, 76C (collectively “end wall 76” or “end walls 76”), and an end wall 78A, 78B, 78C (collectively “end wall 78” or “end walls 78”). The inflatable bladders 62 can have substantially the same dimensions or can have different dimensions depending on the desired effect for the occupant 14, 16 lying on the support surface assembly 60.
  • As best shown in FIG. 2, the inflatable bladders 62 can be arranged in a series end-to-end arrangement, e.g., with the second end wall 78A of the first inflatable bladder 62A being adjacent to the first end wall 76A of the second inflatable bladder 62B, and the second end wall 78B of the second inflatable bladder 62B being adjacent to the first end wall 76C of the third inflatable bladder 62C. In this way, the inflatable bladders 62 can be arranged in a head-to-toe fashion, e.g., with the first inflatable bladder 62A being adjacent to a head and upper torso of an occupant 14, 16, the second inflatable bladder 62B being adjacent to the trunk or lumbar area of an occupant 14, 16, and the third inflatable bladder 62C being adjacent to the legs of the occupant 14, 16.
  • In an example, a thickness of each inflatable bladder 62 can be from about 2.5 centimeters (cm) (about 1 inch) to about 25 cm (about 10 inches). The walls 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78 of the inflatable bladders 62 can comprise any material that can be useful for an inflatable application, particularly with respect to fluid-inflatable bladders for sleep systems. Examples of materials that can be used for the walls inflatable bladders 62 include, but are not limited to, cotton rubber materials, nylon, polyvinylchloride, polyester, polyurethane, rayon vinyl, and combinations thereof.
  • FIGS. 5 and 6 show non-limiting examples of different configurations of support surface assemblies that can be used, for example, in the sleep system of FIG. 1. Each example support surface assembly includes two or more inflatable bladders, and each inflatable bladder in the examples of FIGS. 5 and 6 can include features of the inflatable bladders 62 described above with respect to the support surface assembly 60 in FIGS. 2-4.
  • FIG. 5 shows a conceptual perspective view of a first example multi-zone support surface assembly 80. The example support surface assembly 80 includes two zones having different sizes, with a first zone comprising a first inflatable bladder 82A and a second zone comprising a second inflatable bladder 82B. The first inflatable bladder 82A can be positioned generally at a head end of the support surface assembly 80 such that the first inflatable bladder 82A can support the head and upper torso of an occupant. The first inflatable bladder 82A is, therefore, referred to herein as a “head bladder 82A.” The second inflatable bladder 82B can be positioned longitudinally adjacent to the head bladder 82A, e.g., at a foot end of the support surface assembly 80 such that the second inflatable bladder 82B can support the feet, legs, and lumbar region of an occupant. The second inflatable bladder 82B is, therefore, referred to herein as a “foot bladder 82B.”
  • The head bladder 82A and the foot bladder 82B can be sized for a desired effect. In an example, the head bladder 82A can be sized so that at certain pressures, such as low pressures within the bladder 82A, the shifting of an occupant during sleep, or the shifting of the bladder 82A during articulation, will not substantially affect the overall pressure in the head bladder 82A. One factor that can determine the effect of shifting or articulation is the overall volume of the head bladder 82A, which can be changed by changing the overall length of the head bladder 82A.
  • As shown in the example of FIG. 5, the head bladder 82A and the foot bladder 82B can be completely separate inflatable bladders such that the adjacent bladders 82A, 82B are substantially free to move with respect to one another, for example substantial freedom to move in one or more of a longitudinal direction, in a lateral direction, and in a vertical direction. The substantially free movement of the head bladder 82A and the foot bladder 82B can allow for better positioning of the bladders 82A, 82B with respect to each other during movement of the bed or the occupant. The more free movement can provide for advantages such as better alignment of the occupants spine during sleep, particularly when the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B are inflated to higher pressures. The substantially free movement can also provide a more stable support surface, such as by dampening wave-like movement of the support surface assembly 80. The substantially free movement can also provide for more cost-effective replacement or easier replacement of inflatable bladders 102, or both. The substantially free inflatable bladders 102 can also have better aesthetics, e.g., can be more visually appealing. Alternatively, the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B can be configured similar to the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C of the support surface assembly 90 of FIG. 6, e.g., with a flexible joint between the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B.
  • The bladders 82A, 82B can be inflatable and deflatable in order to control the pressure within the bladders 82A, 82B, and thus to control the perceived firmness of each zone of the support surface assembly 80 as experienced by an occupant. In the case of fluid-inflatable bladders 82A, 82B, one or more fluid inlet hoses 84A, 84B can be connected to each one of the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B. The connection of the inlet hoses 82A, 84B in FIG. 5 can be referred to as a “parallel fluid communication,” which, as used herein, can refer to at least two inflatable bladders being directly connected to an fluid filling source, rather than a single fluid bladder being directly connected to the fluid filling source and subsequent inflatable bladders being connected to an adjacent inflatable bladder for its fluid filling source. The fluid inlet hoses 84A, 84B can be connected to a fluid filling source, such one of the fluid pumps 21, 23 shown in FIG. 1, that can feed pressurized fluid into the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B in order to inflate the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B or can withdraw fluid in order to deflate the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B to provide a desired pressure, and therefore a desired firmness for the occupant.
  • As described in more detail below, each separate fluid inlet hose 84A, 84B can also be controlled separately in order to provide for independent control of the pressure, and thus the perceived firmness, of each inflatable bladder 82A, 82B.
  • Each fluid inlet hose 84A, 84B can include a corresponding valve 86A, 86B that can be positioned within the fluid inlet hose 84A, 84B or at a connection point between the fluid inlet hose 84A, 84B and a corresponding inflatable bladder 82A, 82B to control or shut off fluid flow through the fluid inlet hoses 84A, 84B. Each inflatable bladder 82A, 82B can also include a corresponding bladder inlet valve 88A, 88B to prevent fluid from escaping an inflatable bladder 82A, 82B if a corresponding fluid inlet hose 84A, 84B is disconnected from the inflatable bladder 82A, 82B. In another example, the fluid inlet hoses 84A, 84B can be coupled directly to the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B.
  • FIG. 6 shows a conceptual perspective view of a second example multi-zone support surface assembly 90. The example support surface assembly 90 includes three zones rather than the dual zones of the support surface assembly 80 shown in FIG. 5. A first zone of the support surface assembly 90 comprises a first inflatable bladder 92A, a second zone comprises a second inflatable bladder 92B, and a third zone comprises a third inflatable bladder 92C. The first inflatable bladder 92A can be positioned generally at a head end of the support surface assembly 90 such that the first inflatable bladder 92A can support the head and upper torso of an occupant. The first inflatable bladder 92A is, therefore, referred to herein as a “head bladder 92A.” The second inflatable bladder 92B can be positioned longitudinally adjacent to the head bladder 92A and the third inflatable bladder 92C and can be sized so that the second inflatable bladder 92B can support the lumbar region, trunk/waist, and upper legs of an occupant. The second inflatable bladder 92B is, therefore, referred to herein as a “lumbar bladder 92B.” The third inflatable bladder 92C can be positioned longitudinally adjacent to the lumbar bladder 92B so that the third inflatable bladder can support the lower legs and feet of an occupant. The third inflatable bladder 92C is, therefore, referred to herein as a “foot bladder 92C.”
  • Adjacent inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C of the support surface assembly 90 can be connected together with a flexible joint, such as a first flexible joint 94 between the head bladder 92A and the lumbar bladder 92B, and a second flexible joint 96 between the lumbar bladder 92B and the foot bladder 92C. In an example, the first flexible joint 94 can be formed by a common sheet of material that spans across the head bladder 92A and the lumbar bladder 92B, and the second flexible joint 96 can be formed by a common sheet of material that spans across the lumbar bladder 92B and the foot bladder 92C. One or more of the flexible joints 94, 96 can be on the top of the support surface assembly 90, e.g., so that the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C can pivot generally upward relative to one another at the flexible joints 94, 96. Alternatively, one or more of the flexible joints 94, 96 can be on the bottom of the support surface assembly 90, e.g., so that the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C can pivot generally downward relative to one another at the flexible joint 94, 96.
  • The location of each flexible joint 94, 96 can be selected to be on the top or on the bottom of the support surface assembly 90 depending on the desired ease of pivoting in a particular direction. For example, if the flexible joint 94 is to be located over an articulable joint in an articulable sleep system that articulates upward, such as the joint of the head sections 24, 28 in the sleep system 10 of FIG. 1, than the flexible joint 94 can be located on the top of the support surface assembly 90, e.g., to better permit the head bladder 92A to pivot upward relative to the lumbar bladder 92B. Similarly, if the flexible joint 96 is to be located over an articulable joint that articulates downward, such as the joint of the leg sections 26, 30 in the sleep system 10 of FIG. 1, then the flexible joint 96 can be located on the bottom of the support surface assembly 90, e.g., to better permit the leg bladder 92C to pivot downward relative to the lumbar bladder 92B.
  • In an example, the flexible joints 94, 96 can be formed in a support surface 98 that is formed by the support surface assembly 90. For example, the top walls (similar to the top walls 68 of the inflatable bladders 62 in FIGS. 2-4) of the head bladder 92A, the lumbar bladder 92B, and the foot bladder 92C can both be formed by a continuous sheet of material that spans across the entire length of the support surface assembly 90. Alternatively, the continuous sheet of material can be coupled with the top wall of the head bladder 92A, the top wall of the lumbar bladder 92B, and the top wall of the foot bladder 92C. Such a continuous sheet of material can also be laid across the bottom walls of the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C to form the flexible joint 124 on a bottom side, rather than the top side of the support surface assembly 90.
  • Each flexible joint 94, 96 can include one or more releasable fasteners (not shown) that can allow the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C to be disconnected and separated from one another if needed. For example, the releasable fastener can comprise a zipper between the head bladder 92A and the lumbar bladder 92B (flexible joint 94) or between the lumbar bladder 92B and the foot bladder 92C (flexible joint 96). Releasable fasteners other than a zipper can be used, such as, but not limited to, releasable clips, releasable clamps, or releasable hooks and eyelets.
  • One or more releasable fasteners coupling the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C can allow a damaged inflatable bladder to be uncoupled from undamaged inflatable bladders to replace the damaged inflatable bladder without having to replace the entire support surface assembly, e.g., without having to replace the undamaged inflatable bladder. For example, if during use, the foot bladder 92C becomes damaged, such as by being punctured or developing a leak, while the head bladder 92A and the lumbar bladder 92B remains undamaged, the one or more releasable fasteners can then be disengaged to uncouple the damaged foot bladder 92C from the undamaged bladders 92A, 92B. The damaged foot bladder 92C can then be removed without having to replace the undamaged bladders 92A, 92B. A replacement foot bladder 92C can then be coupled to the undamaged lumbar bladder 92B with the one or more releasable fasteners.
  • FIGS. 5 and 6 show examples of support surface assemblies 80, 90 that can be used as part of a multi-zone mattress, for example to be used as a mattress 18A, 18B in the sleep surface assembly 10 shown in FIG. 1. As shown above, each zone of the multi-zone support surface assemblies can comprise only a single inflatable bladder, e.g., only the head bladder 82A for a first zone and only the foot bladder 82B for a second zone of the support surface assembly 80; or only the head bladder 92A for a first zone, only the lumbar bladder 92B for a second zone, and only the foot bladder 92B for a third zone of the support surface assembly 90). However, the present disclosure is not limited to multi-zone mattress or multi-zone support surface assemblies with zones comprising only a single inflatable bladder. Rather, each zone can include a plurality of inflatable bladders that are grouped together or controlled together, or both, so that, to the occupant, they seem to be a single unit. The number of inflatable bladders selected for each zone can depend on design considerations, such as ease of operation and the overall comfort of the occupant. Further examples of multi-zone support surface assemblies and mattresses are described in the co-pending patent application entitled “MULTI-ZONE FLUID CHAMBER AND MATTRESS SYTEM,” U.S. application Ser. No. 13/828,985, filed on Mar. 14, 2013, assigned to the assignee of this patent application, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • FIG. 7 is a block diagram detailing an example of data communication between certain components of the sleep system 10. As described above with respect to FIG. 1, the sleep system 10 can include one or more user controlling devices 32, 34, such as handheld remote controls 32, 34, that can be in communication with the controller 50 via a communication link 52, 54, such as a wireless communication link 52, 54. The controller 50 is, in turn, in electrical communication with the fluid pumps 21, 23 via cables 56.
  • In the example shown in FIG. 7, the sleep system 10 includes a single fluid pump 21 that is configured for inflating or deflating both the first mattress 18A and the second mattress 18B (which each comprise a plurality of inflatable bladders (not shown in FIG. 7)), such that the pump 21 can supply fluid, such as air, to all of the inflatable bladders of the sleep system 10. The fluid pump 21 can supply fluid to mattresses 18A, 18B through one or more fluid tubes to cause increases and decreases in the fluid pressure in the inflatable bladders of each of the mattresses 18A, 18B based upon commands input by a user through the remote control 32, 34. For example, one or more first fluid tubes 102A can feed the inflating fluid, e.g., air, from the pump 21 to the first mattress 18A and one or more second fluid tubes 102B can feed the inflating fluid, e.g., air, from the pump 21 to the second mattress 18B.
  • FIG. 7 shows only a single fluid tube 102A, 102B to each mattress 18A, 18B. However, as described above with respect to FIGS. 5 and 6, the mattresses 18A, 18B can comprise a plurality of inflatable bladders that each have a separate fluid tube, such as the fluid tubes 84A, 84B for inflating or deflating the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B, respectively, of the example support surface assembly 80 shown in FIG. 5 or the fluid tubes 94A, 94B, 94C for inflating or deflating the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C, respectively, of the example support surface assembly 90 shown in FIG. 6.
  • The remote control 32, 34 can include a display 104 and one or more controls, such as controls 106 and 108, which are configured for control of the fluid dispensing system. The one or more controls 106, 108 can include an output selecting control, a pressure increase control, and a pressure decrease control. The output selecting control can be configured to allow a user to switch the output of the fluid pump 21 between the first mattress 18A and the second mattress 18B so that each remote control 32, 34 can be enabled control of multiple air chambers with a single remote control 32, 34. The output selecting control can also be configured to allow selection of a specific inflatable bladder that makes up the selected mattress 18A, 18B. For example, if each mattress 18A, 18B includes three inflatable bladders (similar to the head bladder 92A, the lumbar bladder 92B, and the foot bladder 92C of the support surface assembly 90 shown in FIG. 6), the output selecting control can allow a user to select which of the three inflatable bladders is desired to be controlled.
  • The pressure increase and decrease controls can allow a user to increase or decrease the pressure, respectively, in the selected inflatable bladder selected with the output selecting means 28. Adjusting the pressure within the selected inflatable bladder can cause a corresponding adjustment to the firmness of the inflatable bladder.
  • Each of the controls can be a physical control (e.g., switch or button) or can be an input control displayed on the display 104, such as via a series of menu prompts or a touch screen input device. Separate remote controls 32, 34 can be provided for each mattress 18A, 18B, as shown in FIG. 1.
  • As shown in FIG. 7, the controller 50 can include a power supply 110, a processor 112, a memory 114, a switching means 116, and an analog to digital (A/D) converter 118. The switching means 116 can be, for example, a relay or a solid state switch. The switching means 116 can be located in the pump 21 rather than the controller 50.
  • The pump 21 and the remote control 32, 34 can be in two-way communication with the controller 50. The pump 21 can include a motor 120, a pump manifold 122, a relief valve 124, one or more first control valves 126A, one or more second control valves 126B, and a pressure transducer 128. The pump 21 can be fluidly connected with the first mattress 18A via the one or more first fluid tubes 102A and to the second mattress 18B via the one or more second fluid tubes 102B.
  • The one or more first control valves 126A can be controlled to regulate the flow of fluid between the pump 21 and the inflatable bladders of the first mattress 18A, such as with each control valve 126A controlling the flow to a corresponding fluid tube 102A, which in turn is connected to a corresponding inflatable bladder of the first mattress 18A. The one or more second control valves 126B can be controlled to regulate the flow of fluid between the pump 21 and the inflatable bladders of the second mattress 18B, such as with each control valve 126B controlling the flow to a corresponding fluid tube 102B, which in turn is connected to a corresponding inflatable bladder of the second mattress 18B. The one or more first control valves 126A and the one or more second control valves 126B can be controlled by the switching means 116 to control which control valve 126A, 126B is to be opened or closed and by how much.
  • In an example, the pump 21 and the controller 50 can be provided and packaged as a single unit. Alternatively, the pump 21 and the controller 50 can be provided as physically separate units.
  • In operation, the power supply 110 of the controller 50 can receive power, such as 110 VAC power, from an external source and can convert the power to various forms required by certain components of the air bed system 10. The processor 112 can control various logic sequences associated with operation of the sleep system 10.
  • The example sleep system 10 shown in FIG. 7 shows two mattresses 18A, 18B and a single the pump 21. However, in an example, a separate pump can be associated with each mattress 18A, 18B of the sleep system, for example as shown in FIG. 1. In another example, the sleep system can include a pump for each inflatable bladder, or for a subset of the plurality of inflatable bladders, of the sleep system. Separate pumps can allow each inflatable bladder or set of bladders to be inflated or deflated independently and simultaneously. Furthermore, additional pressure transducers can also be incorporated into the system such that, for example, a separate pressure transducer can be associated with each inflatable bladder.
  • In the event that the processor 112 sends a decrease pressure command for one of the inflatable bladders, the switching means 116 can be used to convert the low voltage command signals sent by the processor 112 to higher operating voltages sufficient to operate the relief valve 124 of pump 21 and open the corresponding control valve 126A or 126B. Opening the relief valve 124 can allow air to escape from the desired inflatable bladder through the corresponding fluid tubes 102A, 102B. During deflation, the pressure transducer 128 can send pressure readings to the processor 112 via the A/D converter 118. The A/D converter 118 can receive analog information from the pressure transducer 128 and can convert the analog information to digital information useable by the processor 112. The processor 112 can send the digital signal to the remote control 32, 34 to update the display 104 on the remote control in order to convey pressure information regarding the plurality of inflatable bladders to the user, as described in more detail below.
  • In the event that the processor 112 sends an increase pressure command, the pump motor 120 can be energized, sending air to the designated air chamber through the corresponding fluid tube 48A or 48B via electronically operating the corresponding valve 126A, 126B. While air is being delivered to the particular inflatable bladder in order to increase the firmness of the particular inflatable bladder, the pressure transducer 128 can sense pressure within the pump manifold 122. The pressure transducer 128 can send pressure readings to the processor 112 via the A/D converter 118. The processor 112 can use the information received from the A/D converter 118 to determine the difference between the actual pressure in the particular inflatable bladder and the desired pressure. The processor 112 can send the digital signal to the remote control 32, 34 to update the display 104 on the remote control in order to convey pressure information to the user.
  • During an inflation or deflation process, the pressure sensed within the pump manifold 122 can provide an approximation of the pressure within the inflatable bladder. An example method of obtaining a pump manifold pressure reading that is substantially equivalent to the actual pressure within an inflatable bladder is to turn off the pump 21, wait a short period of time, e.g., about 1-5 seconds, to allow the pressure within the inflatable bladder and the pump manifold 122 to equalize, and then sense the pressure within the pump manifold 122 with the pressure transducer 128. Providing a sufficient amount of time to allow the pressures within the pump manifold 122 and the inflatable bladder to equalize can result in pressure readings that are accurate approximations of the actual pressure within the inflatable bladder. In various examples, the pressure the inflatable bladder being inflated or deflated is regularly and continuously monitored using one or more pressure sensors.
  • Another method of obtaining a pump manifold pressure reading that is substantially equivalent to the actual pressure within a particular inflatable bladder is through the use of a pressure adjustment algorithm. This method can function by approximating pressure within the inflatable bladder based upon a mathematical relationship between the inflatable bladder pressure and the pressure measured within the pump manifold 122, during both an inflation cycle and a deflation cycle, thereby eliminating the need to turn off the pump 21 in order to obtain a substantially accurate approximation of the pressure within the particular inflatable bladder. As a result, a desired pressure set point within the particular inflatable bladder being inflated or deflated can be achieved without the need for turning the pump 21 off to allow the pressures to equalize. The method of approximating a pressure within an inflatable bladder using a mathematical relationships between the inflatable bladder pressure and the pump manifold pressure is described in in the co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/936,084, entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR IMPROVED PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT,” filed on Oct. 1, 2010, assigned to the assignee of the present application, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates an example system architecture, for example that can be used for the operation of a sleep system 300. The sleep system 300 can include a bed 301, e.g., comprising an inflatable air mattress, that can be used by a user 303. The sleep system 300 can further include a central controller 302, a firmness controller 304, an articulation controller 306, a temperature controller 308, which can be in communication with one or more temperature sensors 309, an external network device 310, and at least one user controlling device, such as a remote control 312, or a voice controller 316, or both.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 8, the central controller 302 can include the firmness controller 304 and a pump 305. The sleep system 300 can be configured as a star topology with the central controller 302 and the firmness controller 304 functioning as the hub and the articulation controller 306, the temperature controller 308, the external network device 310, the remote control 312, and the voice controller 316 functioning as possible spokes, also referred to herein as components. Thus, in various examples, central controller 302 can act as a relay between the various components.
  • The central controller 302 can monitor communications (e.g., control signals) between the components even if the communication is not being relayed through the central controller 302. For example, in an example, the user 303 can send a command to the temperature controller 308 using the remote control 312 and the central controller 302 can monitor for the command and check to determine if instructions are stored at the central controller 302 to override the command (e.g., it conflicts with a previous setting). The central controller 302 can also log the command for future use (e.g., determining a pattern of user preferences for the components).
  • In other examples, different topologies may be used. For example, the components and the central controller 302 can be configured as a mesh network in which each component can communicate with one or all of the other components directly, bypassing the central controller 302. A combination of topologies also can be used. For example, the remote control 312 can communicate directly to the temperature controller 308 but also can relay the communication to the central controller 302.
  • In various examples, the controllers and devices illustrated in FIG. 8 can each include a processor, a storage device, and a network interface. The processor can be a general purpose central processing unit (CPU) or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), etc. The storage device can include volatile or non-volatile static storage (e.g., Flash memory, RAM, EPROM, etc.). The storage device can store instructions which, when executed by the processor, can configure the processor to perform the functionality described herein. For example, a processor of the firmness controller 304 can be configured to send a command to a relief valve to decrease the pressure in a bed.
  • In various examples, the network interface of the components can be configured to transmit and receive communications in a variety of wired and wireless protocols. For example, the network interface can be configured to use the 802.11 standards (e.g., 802.11a/b/c/g/n/ac), PAN network standards such as 802.15.4 or Bluetooth, infrared, cellular standards (e.g., 3G/4G etc.), Ethernet, and USB for receiving and transmitting data. The previous list is not intended to exhaustive and other protocols may be used. Not all components of FIG. 8 need to be configured to use the same protocols. For example, the remote control 312 can communicate with the central controller 302 via Bluetooth while the temperature controller 308 and the articulation controller 306 can be connected to the central controller using 802.15.4. Within FIG. 8, the lightning-shaped connectors represent wireless connections and the solid lines represent wired connections. However, the connections between the components is not limited to such connections and each connection can be wired or wireless. For example, the voice controller 316 can be connected wirelessly to the central controller 302.
  • Moreover, in various examples, the processor, the storage device, and the network interface of a component can be located in different locations than various elements used to affect a command. For example, the firmness controller 302 can have a pump that is housed in a separate enclosure than the processor used to control the pump. Similar separation of elements can be employed for the other controllers and devices in FIG. 8.
  • In various examples, the firmness controller 304 can be configured to regulate pressure in one or more inflatable bladders. For example, the firmness controller 304 can include a pump such as described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 7 (see e.g., pump 21). The firmness controller 304 can respond to commands to increase or decrease a pressure in an inflatable bladder of a mattress. The commands can be received from another component or based on stored application instructions that are part of the firmness controller 304.
  • In the example shown in FIG. 8, the central controller 302 includes the firmness controller 304. In such an example, the processor of the central controller 302 and the processor for the firmness controller 304 can be the same processor. Furthermore, the pump can also be part of the central controller 302. Accordingly, the central controller 302 can be responsible for pressure regulation as well as other functionality as described in further portions of this disclosure.
  • The articulation controller 306 can be configured to adjust a position of the bed 301 by adjusting a foundation 307 that supports the bed. Separate positions can be set for two different beds (e.g., two twin beds placed next to each other) or for two different sleep areas of the same bed. The foundation 307 can include more than one zone, e.g., a head zone 318, a lumbar zone 319, and a foot zone 320, that can be independently adjusted. Each zone 318, 319, 320 can include a separate inflatable bladder or set of inflatable bladders, wherein the pressure within the inflatable bladder(s) associated with each zone 318, 319, 320 can be independently adjusted by the firmness controller 304. The articulation controller 306 can also be configured to provide different levels of massage to a person on the bed.
  • The temperature controller 308 can be configured to increase, decrease, or maintain the temperature of the user 303. For example, a pad can be placed on top of or be part of the air mattress. A cooling or heating fluid, such as cooled or heated air, can be pushed through the pad and vented to cool or heat the user 303 on the bed 301. Conversely, the pad can include a heating element that can be used to keep the user 303 warm. In various examples, the pad can include the temperature sensor 309 and the temperature controller 308 can receive temperature readings from the temperature sensor 309. Alternatively, the temperature sensor 309 can be separate from the pad, e.g., part of the air mattress or foundation. Further details of a system for heating or cooling the user 303, e.g., that can be controlled by the temperature controller 308, is described in the co-pending patent application entitled “DISTRIBUTION PAD FOR A TEMPERATURE CONTROL SYSTEM,” U.S. application Ser. No. 13/728,087, filed on Dec. 27, 2012, assigned to the assignee of this patent application, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety
  • Additional controllers can communicate with the central controller 302. These controllers can include, but are not limited to, illumination controllers for turning on and off light elements placed on and around the bed and outlet controllers for controlling power to one or more power outlets.
  • The external network device 310, the remote control 312 and the voice controller 316 can be used to input commands (e.g., from the user 303 or remote system) to control one or more components of the sleep system 300. The commands can be transmitted from the remote control 312, the voice controller 316, or an external network, and received at the central controller 302. The central controller 302 can process the command to determine the appropriate component to route the received command. For example, each command sent via one of the remote control 312, the voice controller 316, or the network can include a header or other metadata that indicates which component the command is for. The header metadata can also indicate from which controller (e.g., which of the one or more remote controls 312, the voice controller 316, or the network) the command was initiated. The central controller 302 can then transmit the command via a network interface of the central controller 302 to the appropriate component.
  • For example, the user 303 can input a desired firmness or pressure for a particular zone of the bed 301 into the remote control 312. The desired pressure or firmness can be encapsulated in a command data structure that includes a signal corresponding to the desired pressure and that identifies the firmness controller 304 as the desired component to be controlled. The command data structure can then be transmitted to the central controller 302. The command data structure can be encrypted before being transmitted. The central controller 302 can parse the command data structure and relay the command to the firmness controller 304. The firmness controller 304 can then configure the pump 305 to increase or decrease the pressure within one or more inflatable bladders associated with the particular zone in order to achieve the pressure selected by the user 303 (or the pressure associated with the firmness selected by the user 303) that was originally input into the remote control 312.
  • In various examples, data can be transmitted from a component back to one or more of the remote controls 312. For example, the current temperature as determined by a sensor element of temperature controller 308, e.g., temperature sensor 309, the pressure in an inflatable bladder as measured by a pressure transducer, the current position of the foundation, or other information can be transmitted to central controller 302. The central controller 302 can then transmit the received information to the remote control 312 where it can be displayed to the user 303 on a display 322.
  • Multiple types of devices can be used to input commands to control the components of the example sleep system 300. For example, the remote control 312 can be a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet computer running an application. Another example of a remote control 312 can include a dedicated device for interacting with the components of the sleep system 300. The remote control 312 can include a display device 322 for displaying an interface to the user 303. As described in more detail below, the interface 322 can include a display of a firmness identifier 324 that provides an easy to read, easy to understand value that quickly indicates to the user 303 a pressure setting for each zone 318, 319, 320 of the bed 301. In the example shown in FIG. 8, the bed 301 includes three zones—the head zone 318, the lumbar zone 319, and the foot zone 320. Therefore, the example firmness identifier 324 shown on the display 322 in FIG. 8 includes a three-digit number, such that each digit of the firmness identifier 324 corresponds to a specific zone 318, 319, 320, and the value of each digit corresponds to a prearranged pressure or range or pressures within the particular zone 318, 319, 320 (described in more detail below). The remote control 312 can also include one or more input devices that can include, but are not limited to, a keypad, a touchscreen, a gesture input device, a motion-capture device, and a voice control (e.g., the voice controller 316).
  • The voice controller 316 can be configured to accept voice commands from the user 303 to control one or more components. More than one of the remote control 312 and the voice controller 316 can be used in tandem.
  • The remote control 312 can be configured to pair with one or more central controllers 302. For each central controller 302, data can be transmitted to the remote control 312 that includes a list of components linked with the central controller 302. For example, if the remote control 312 is a mobile phone, it can be loaded with an application configured to communicate with central controllers and the application can be authenticated and paired with the specific central controller 302 of the sleep system 300. The remote control 312 can transmit a discovery request to the central controller 302 to inquire about other components and available services. In response, the central controller 302 can transmit a list of services that includes available functions for adjusting the firmness of one or more zones 318, 319, 320 of the bed 301, the position of one or more zones 318, 319, 320 of the bed 301, and the temperature of one or more zones 318, 319, 320 of the bed 301. The application can then display functions for increasing or decreasing pressure of one or more inflatable bladders associated with one or more zones 318, 319, 320, adjusting positions of zones 218, 219, 220 of the bed 301, and adjusting temperature of the bed 301. If components are added or removed to the sleep system 300 under control of the central controller 302, an updated list can be transmitted to the remote control 312 and the interface of the application can be adjusted accordingly.
  • The central controller 302 can be configured as a distributor of software updates to components in the sleep system 300. For example, a firmware update for the firmness controller 304 can become available. The update can be loaded into a storage device of the central controller 302 (e.g., via a USB interface or via an external network device 310). The central controller 302 can transmit the update to the firmness controller 304 with instructions to update. The firmness controller 304 can attempt to install the update. A status message can be transmitted from the firmness controller 304 to the central controller 302 indicating the success or failure of the update.
  • The central controller 302 can be configured to analyze data collected by a pressure transducer (e.g., the transducer 128 shown in FIG. 7) to determine various states of the user 303 lying on the bed. For example, the central controller 302 can determine the heart rate or respiration rate of the user 303. Additional processing can be done using the collected data to determine a possible sleep state of the user 303. For example, the central controller 302 can determine when the user 303 falls asleep and, while asleep, the various sleep states of the user 303.
  • In various examples, the external network device 310 can include a network interface to interact with an external computer, server, or network for processing and storage of data related to components in the sleep system 300. For example, the determined sleep data as described above can be transmitted from the central controller 302 through the external network device 310 to a network (e.g., the Internet) for storage or other use. In an example, the pressure transducer data can be transmitted to the external server for additional analysis. The external network device 310 can also analyze and filter the data before transmitting it to the external server.
  • Diagnostic data of the components can also be routed to the external network device 310 for storage and diagnosis on the external server. For example, if the firmness controller 304 detects an abnormal pressure reading (e.g., a drop in pressure over a set period of time that exceeds a set threshold, or a measured pressure that is below a set point minimum), diagnostic data (e.g., sensor readings, current settings, etc.) can be transmitted from the firmness controller 304 to the central controller 302. The central controller 302 can then transmit this data to the external network device 310, and the external device 310 can transmit the information to the external network, for example via wireless transmission to an WLAN access point where it can be routed to the external server for analysis.
  • The sleep system 300 can include one or more lights 326A-326F (referred to collectively herein as “lights 326”) to illuminate a portion of a room, e.g., when a user 303 gets out of the bed 301. The lights 326 can be attached around the foundation 307, e.g., affixed to the foundation around its perimeter. In FIG. 8, the lights 326 are depicted as extending around two sides of the foundation 307. In other configurations, the lights 326 can extend around more than two sides of the foundation 307, or only a single side. The lights 326 can be positioned underneath the foundation 307 to project light outwardly from the foundation 307.
  • Additional aspects of sleep systems and control systems therefor in accordance with the present disclosure are described in the following: U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/785,397 entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ADJUSTING SETTINGS OF A BED WITH A REMOTE CONTROL,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/776,447 entitled “SWITCHING MEANS FOR AN ADJUSTABLE FOUNDATION SYSTEM,” filed on Mar. 11, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/776,466 entitled “ADJUSTABLE BED FOUNDATION SYSTEM WITH BUILT-IN SELF-TEST,” filed on Mar. 11, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/781,266 entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS ALARM AND MONITORING SYSTEM,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/781,503 entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/781,541 entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS AUTOFILL AND OFF BED PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/781,571 entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS SLEEP ENVIRONMENT ADJUSTMENT AND SUGGESTIONS,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/782,394, entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS SNORING DETECTION AND RESPONSE,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/781,296 entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS WITH LIGHT AND VOICE CONTROLS,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013; and U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/781,311 entitled “INFLATABLE AIR MATTRESS SYSTEM WITH DETECTION TECHNIQUES,” filed on Mar. 14, 2013, all assigned to the assignee of this patent application, all of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety.
  • FIGS. 9A, 9B, 10A, and 10B show examples of user controlling devices, e.g., handheld remote controls, that can be used to control a sleep system, such as the sleep system 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 7 or the sleep system 300 shown in FIG. 8. FIGS. 9A and 9B show a first example remote control 400 that is configured to control a dual-zone mattress, e.g., a mattress comprising a support surface assembly made up of two zones of inflatable bladders, such as the support surface assembly 80 comprising a first inflatable bladder 82A (a first zone) and a second inflatable bladder 82B (a second zone) described above with respect to FIG. 5.
  • The remote control 400 includes a display 402 and a set of controls for controlling operation of the sleep system, such as an up control 404, a down control 406, a left control 408, and a right control 410. In an example, the remote control 400 can be configured to allow a user to select between different mattresses in a two-person bed, such as mattresses 18A and 18B associated with sleep areas 20 and 22, respectively, as described above regarding the sleep system 10 of FIG. 1. For example, the left control 408 can be configured to allow for selection of a “left” side of the sleep system, e.g., the left side as viewed by a user lying on the bed with his or her head toward the head end of the sleep system. Similarly, the right control 410 can be configured to allow for selection of a “right” side of the sleep system, e.g., the right side as viewed by a user lying on the bed with his or her head toward the head end of the sleep system. Upon selection of either side of the sleep system, the user can then use the controls to control aspects of the selected side, such as articulation (if the sleep system comprises an adjustable bed), temperature, and pressure or firmness of the inflatable bladders of the dual-zone mattress.
  • FIGS. 10A and 10B show a second example remote control 500 that is configured to control a three-zone mattress, e.g., a mattress comprising a support surface assembly made up of three zones of inflatable bladders, such as the support surface assembly 90 comprising a first inflatable bladder 92A (a first zone), a second inflatable bladder 92B (a second bladder), and a third inflatable bladder 92C (a third zone) described above with respect to FIG. 6.
  • The remote control 500 includes a display 502 and a set of controls for controlling operation of the sleep system, such as an up control 504, a down control 506, a left control 508, and a right control 510. As with remote control 400, the remote control 500 can be configured to allow a user to select between different mattresses in a two-person bed. Upon selection of either side of the sleep system, the user can then use the controls to control aspects of the selected side, such as articulation (if the sleep system comprises an adjustable bed), temperature, and pressure or firmness of the inflatable bladders of the dual-zone mattress.
  • In an example, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured to allow a user to quickly and easily monitor and control the pressure setting in each zone that is configured to be controlled by the remote control 400, 500. For example, the remote control 400 of FIGS. 9A and 9B can be configured so that a user can quickly, easily, and conveniently monitor and control the pressure setting within both zones of a dual-zone mattress, such as inflatable bladders 82A and 82B of the support surface assembly 80 shown in FIG. 5. Similarly, the remote control 500 of FIGS. 10A and 10B can be configured so that a user can quickly, easily, and conveniently monitor and control the pressure setting within all three zones of a three-zone mattress, such as inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, and 92C of the support surface assembly 90 shown in FIG. 6.
  • In order to provide for quick, easy, and convenient monitoring and control of the pressure settings, the remote control 400 can be configured to display a firmness identifier 420A, 420B (collectively referred to herein as “firmness identifier 420” or “firmness identifiers 420”), as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. Similarly, as shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B, the remote control 500 can be configured to display a firmness identifier 520A, 520B (collectively referred to herein as “firmness identifier 520” or “firmness identifiers 520”).
  • Each firmness identifier 420, 520 can comprise a plurality of symbols, with the number of symbols corresponding to the number of zones of a multi-zone mattress being controlled by the remote control 400, 500. For example, the firmness identifier 420 of the remote control 400 corresponds to the pressure setting within the one or more inflatable bladders of each zone of a dual-zone mattress such that the firmness identifier 420 comprises two symbols 422A and 422B (collectively referred to herein as “symbol 422” or “symbol 422”). The example firmness identifier 520 of the remote control 500 is configured to display the pressure settings within the one or more inflatable bladders of each zone of a three-zone mattress such that the firmness identifier 520 comprises three symbols 522A, 522B and 522C (collectively referred to as “symbol 522” or “symbols 522”).
  • Each symbol 422, 522 can correspond to a pressure setting within the inflatable bladders of a particular zone of inflatable bladders within a multi-zone mattress. For example for the firmness identifier 420, the first, or left-most symbol 422A displayed on the remote control 400 can correspond to a first zone of a dual-zone mattress, such as the zone of the head bladder 82A for the support surface assembly 80 shown in FIG. 5, and the second, or right-most symbol 422B can correspond to a zone of the mattress, such as the zone of the foot bladder 82B. For the firmness identifier 520, the first, or left-most symbol 522A displayed on the remote control 500 can correspond to a first zone of a three-zone mattress, such as the zone of the head bladder 92A for the support surface assembly 90 shown in FIG. 6, a second, or middle symbol 522B can correspond to a second zone, such as the zone of the lumbar bladder 92B, and the third, or right-most symbol 522C can correspond to a third zone, such as the zone of the foot bladder 92C.
  • In a preferred example, each symbol 422, 522 comprises a single symbol (e.g., only one number or letter) and the plurality of symbols (e.g., the two symbols 422A, 422B of the firmness identifier 420 or the three symbols 522A, 522B, 522C of the firmness identifier 520) are present on the display 402, 502 in close proximity, e.g., in a side-by-side manner so that, to a user looking at the remote control 400, 500 the two symbols 422, 522 will appear as a single unit (e.g., a single number in the case of numerical digits, or a grouping of letters in the case of alphabetical letters). The close proximity, e.g. side-by-side arrangement, of the symbols 422, 522 can allow the user to quickly and easily view the firmness identifier 420, 520 and determine what the pressure setting is for each zone of the multi-zone mattress. The close proximity of the symbols 422, 522 can also permit the user with an easy-to-understand reference when the user is attempting to set the pressure or firmness in all the zones of a multi-zone mattress.
  • For example, as described in more detail below, the user can easily associate the two-symbol firmness identifier 420 of the remote control 400 with the firmness identifier in both zones of a dual-zone mattress without needing to think much. Similarly, the user can easily associate the three-symbol firmness identifier 520 of the remote control 500 with the firmness identifier in each zone of a three-zone mattress without undue mental burden. After repeated use, a user will be able to readily determine what the expected firmness will be in each zone of a multi-zone mattress simply by looking at the closely-spaced firmness reading 420, 520 and rapidly reading each symbol 422, 522.
  • The remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that a user can control the firmness or pressure within each zone of a multi-zone mattress at the same time or substantially at the same time, rather than a user having to select and control each zone individually.
  • The value displayed for each symbol 422, 522 can correspond to a particular pre-established pressure or range of pressures within the inflatable bladders of particular zone of inflatable bladders associated with that particular symbol 422, 522. The term “value,” as used herein when referring to the symbols 422, 522 is not intended to be limited to a numerical value, as may be suggested by an ordinary reading of the word “value.” Rather, “value,” refers to the specific symbol used and what that symbol represents (e.g., such that the use of “A” for one of the symbols 422, 522 will have a different meaning, e.g., a different value, than the use of “B”). For example, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that the value for each symbol 422, 522 is an integer from 0 to 9 (e.g., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9), such that the resulting firmness identifier 420, 520 appears to be a two-digit number from 00 to 99 (for the firmness identifier 420) or a three-digit number from 000 to 999 (for the firmness identifier 520).
  • In another example, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that the value for each symbol 422, 522 is an alphabetical letter, such as from the standard basic Latin-script alphabet (e.g., A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z), such that the resulting firmness identifier 420, 520 appears to be a two-symbol grouping of letters (for the firmness identifier 420, e.g., “AB,” “XR,” etc.) or a three-symbol grouping of letters (for the firmness identifier 520, e.g., “ACQ,” or “MRM,” etc.). The previous two examples can also be combined, e.g., with each symbol 422, 522 being an integer number or an alphabetical letter, so that the firmness identifier 420, 520 can be a two or three-digit number, a two or a three-symbol grouping of letters, a combination of one number and one letter (for a two-symbol firmness identifier 420), or a combination of two numbers and one letter or of one number and two letters (for a three-symbol firmness identifier 520).
  • Symbols other than numbers or letters can be used for each symbol 422, 522. However a universally understood symbol such as numbers or letters can be more recognizable for a user, particularly a set of symbols that are universally or nearly universally understood to indicate differences in magnitude (e.g., that a “9” value is greater in magnitude than a “8,” which is greater in magnitude than a “7,” and so on).
  • Each particular number, letter, or other symbol of the symbols 422, 522 can correspond to a predetermined pressure setting within the one or more inflatable bladders of each zone of the multi-zone mattress being controlled by the remote control 400, 500. Each predetermined pressure setting and the symbol that it is associated with can be stored in a memory, such as a memory on the remote control 400, 500 or on a central controller (e.g., controller 50 (FIG. 1) or 302 (FIG. 8)). Therefore, when a particular symbol value is selected for one of the symbols 422, 522 of the firmness identifier 420, 520, the remote control 400, 500 or the central controller, or both, can access the memory to retrieve the desired predetermined pressure setting that had been pre-associated with the selected symbol value. The retrieved pressure setting can be used to formulate a control signal that can be used to control a fluid pump in order to inflate or deflate the one or more inflatable bladders of the selected zone to the predetermined pressure associated with the selected symbol value.
  • In an example wherein each symbol 422A, 422B, 522A, 522B, 522C comprises a single integer number (e.g., from 0-9), the remote control 400, 500 and the system that it controls can be predetermined so that the value of each symbol corresponds to a particular pressure or range of pressures within the corresponding inflatable bladder or zone of a plurality of inflatable bladders. Table 1 provides a non-limiting example listing of pressures associated with each integer number.
  • TABLE 1 Firmness Identifier Approx. Setting Pressure (PSI) 0 0.045 1 0.105 2 0.165 3 0.225 4 0.285 5 0.345 6 0.405 7 0.465 8 0.525 9 0.585
  • The example remote control 400 in FIG. 9A shows the firmness identifier 420A as “45.” In an example, the system that is controlled by the remote control 400 can include a mattress comprising the support surface assembly 80 shown in FIG. 5, with the remote control 400 being configured so that the first symbol 422A corresponds to the pressure setting within the head bladder 82A and the second symbol 422B corresponds to the pressure setting within the foot bladder 82B. Therefore, using the example predetermined pressures of Table 1, the first symbol 422A of the firmness identifier 420A in FIG. 9A of “4” corresponds to the head bladder 82A having a pressure of about 0.285 pounds per square inch (psi) (about 1.96 kilopascal (kPa)) and the second symbol 422B of “5” corresponds to the foot bladder 82B having a pressure of about 0.345 psi (about 2.38 kPa).
  • In an example, the user can operate the remote control 400 to change the firmness identifier 420A in FIG. 9A (e.g. “45”) to the firmness identifier 420B in FIG. 9B (e.g., “29”). An appropriate control signal can be transmitted to a fluid pump, e.g., via a central controller, that will cause the fluid pump to adjust the pressure in the inflatable bladders 82A, 82B accordingly. In the example, the control signal can be configured to cause the fluid pump to lower the pressure in the head bladder 82A from about 0.285 psi (about 1.96 kPa) to about 0.165 psi (about 1.14 kPa), corresponding to the “2” value selected for the first symbol 422A. The control signal can also be configured to cause the fluid pump to raise the pressure in the foot bladder 82B from about 0.345 psi (about 2.38 kPa) to about 0.585 psi (about 4.03 kPa) to correspond with the “9” value selected for the second symbol 422B.
  • Similarly, the example remote control 500 in FIG. 10A shows the firmness identifier 520A as “783”. In an example, the system that is controlled by the remote control 500 can include a mattress comprising the support surface assembly 90 shown in FIG. 6, with the remote control 500 being configured so that the first symbol 522A corresponds to the pressure setting within the head bladder 92A, the second symbol 522B corresponds to the pressure setting within the lumbar bladder 92B, and the third symbol 522C corresponds to the pressure setting within the foot bladder 92C. Therefore, using the example predetermined pressures of Table 1, the first symbol 522A of the firmness identifier 520A in FIG. 10A of “7” corresponds to the head bladder 92A having a pressure of about 0.465 psi (about 3.21 kPa), the second symbol 522B of “8” corresponds to the lumbar bladder 92B having a pressure of about 0.525 psi (about 3.62 kPa), and the third symbol 522C of “3” corresponds to the foot bladder 92C having a pressure of about 0.225 psi (about 1.55 kPa).
  • In an example, the user can operate the remote control 500 to change the firmness identifier 520A in FIG. 10A (e.g. “783”) to the firmness identifier 520B in FIG. 10B (e.g., “252”). An appropriate control signal can be transmitted to a fluid pump, e.g., via a central controller, that will cause the fluid pump to adjust the pressure in the inflatable bladders 92A, 92B, 92C accordingly. In the example, the control signal can be configured to cause the fluid pump to lower the pressure in the head bladder 92A from about 0.465 psi (about 3.21 kPa) to about 0.165 psi (about 1.14 kPa), corresponding to the “2” value selected for the first symbol 522A. The control signal can also be configured to cause the fluid pump to lower the pressure in the lumbar bladder 92B from about 0.525 psi (about 3.62 kPa) to about 0.345 psi (about 2.38 kPa), corresponding to the “5” value selected for the second symbol 522C, and the control signal can be configured to cause the fluid pump to lower the pressure in the foot bladder 92C from about 0.225 psi (about 1.55 kPa) to about 0.165 psi (about 1.14 kPa) to correspond with the “2” value selected for the third symbol 522C.
  • The values in Table 1 are merely provided as an example for the purpose of illustrating one example of pre-configured association between pressure settings and the values of the symbols 422, 522 that can be used. It is to be understood that the present disclosure is not limited to the predetermined pressures shown in Table 1.
  • The remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that a user can control the firmness or pressure within each zone of a multi-zone mattress at the same time or substantially at the same time, rather than a user having to select and control each zone individually. For example, the example remote control 400 can be configured so that a user can modify the firmness identifier 420, e.g., the user can simultaneously or substantially simultaneously select a value for each symbol 422A, 422B, and the central controller can automatically control the pressure in both zones of the dual-zone mattress. Similarly, the example remote control 500 can be configured so that a user can modify the firmness identifier 520, e.g., the user can simultaneously or substantially simultaneously select a value for each symbol 522A, 522B, 522C, and the central controller can automatically control the pressure in all three zones of the three-zone mattress. In this way, the remote control 400, 500 and the firmness identifier 420, 520 can provide what amounts essentially to a sign-step control action or command to control multiple aspects of the multi-zone mattress, e.g., the firmness in multiple zones of the multi-zone mattress.
  • The remote control 400, 500 can be configured to control the firmness identifier 420, 520 using any convenient hardware or method. For example, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that the up control 404, 504 and the down control 406, 506 can act as a scrolling control for increasing or decreasing the firmness identifier 420, 520. The remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that the “scrolling” of the firmness identifier 420, 520 can proceed as if the firmness identifier 420, 520 was a single number that is being increased, e.g., rather than a set of discrete symbols 422, 522 each representing a different pressure setting within a multi-zone mattress. In this way, control of the firmness identifier 420, 520 can seem, to the user, as a simple operation of increasing or decreasing a single value, even though the firmness identifier 420, 520 actually represents multiple pieces of information.
  • In an example, the first remote control 400 can be configured so that if the up control 404 is pushed a single time, it causes the firmness identifier 420 to incrementally increase by one number, e.g., by increasing the second symbol 422B by one if the second symbol 422B has a value of 0-8 or increasing the first symbol 422A by one and setting the second symbol 422B to “0” if the second symbol 422B is “9.” Similarly, if the down control 406 is pushed one time, the remote control 400 can be configured so that the firmness identifier 420 is incrementally decreased by one number. The first remote control 400 can also be configured so that if the up control 404 or the down control 406 is held down, the firmness identifier 420 will continuously or substantially continuously increase or decrease, respectively, e.g., as if the firmness identifier 420 were on a dial that can be scrolling upward from 00 toward 99 or downward from 99 toward 00, respectively.
  • In an example, the second remote control 500 can be configured so that if the up control 504 is pushed a single time, it causes the firmness identifier 520 to incrementally increase by one number, e.g., by increasing the third symbol 522C by one if the third symbol 522C has a value of 0-8, or increasing the second symbol 522B by one and setting the third symbol 522C to “0” if the third symbol 522C is “9,” unless the last two symbols 522B and 522C are “99,” in which case the first symbol 522A can be increased by one and the second and third symbols 522B and 522C can be set as “00.” If the down control 506 is pushed one time, the remote control 500 can be configured so that the firmness identifier 520 is incrementally decreased by one number. The first remote control 500 can also be configured so that if the up control 504 or the down control 506 is held down, the firmness identifier 420 will continuously or substantially continuously increase or decrease, respectively, e.g., as if the firmness identifier 520 were scrolling upward from 000 toward 999 or downward from 999 toward 000, respectively.
  • In another example, the left control 408, 508 and the right control 410, 510 of the remote control 400, 500 can be configured to allow a user to select a specific symbol 422A, 422B or symbol 522A, 522B, or 522C to adjust at a time (rather than adjusting the entire firmness identifier 420 or 520 as in the previous example). For example, when using the second remote control 500 with a three-zone mattress, the left control 508 can be pressed until the first symbol 522A is selected, and a desired firmness setting for a head/shoulder zone can be entered. Next, the right control 510 can be pressed so that the second symbol 522B is selected, and a desired firmness setting for a lumbar zone can be entered. Finally, the right control 510 can be pressed so that the third symbol 522C is selected, and a desired firmness setting for a leg zone can be entered.
  • In another example, the remote control can include a text input device, such as a keypad or a touchscreen configured for text input (not shown). A user can use the text input device to directly input a desired firmness setting. For example, for a dual-zone mattress, the remote control can be configured so that when a user types in “37” using the text input device, a firmness setting of “3” for a first zone, e.g., a head/shoulder zone, can be set to a pre-set pressure corresponding to the “3” (e.g., about 0.225 psi using the example pressures in Table 1) and a second zone, e.g., a lumbar/leg zone, can be set to a pre-set pressure corresponding to the “7” (e.g., about 0.465 psi using the example pressures in Table 1).
  • In an example, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured with one or more preset firmness identifiers 420, 520 that a user can scroll through and select. Each preset firmness identifier can include a predetermined value for each symbol 422, 522 to correspond to a predetermined effect. In addition, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured so that a user can modify one or more of the preset firmness identifiers so that the user can customize his or her experience. For example, the user can have a “normal” preset firmness identifier that they use for most sleeps, and a “soft” preset firmness identifier, perhaps that the user selects after an injury or a challenging exercise workout to account for soreness within the user's joints, muscles, or both.
  • The controls of the remote control can also be configured to select between control parameters other than pressure or firmness within zones of the bed. For example, the left control 408, 508 and the right control 410, 510 of the remote control 400, 500 can be configured to select between firmness control, articulation control, and temperature control. Moreover, the remote control 400, 500 can be configured with other display identifiers similar to the firmness identifier 420, 520, e.g., a “temperature identifier” or a “position identifier,” with each symbol of the other display identifier corresponding to a different predetermined setting for the particular control aspect (e.g., temperature or articulation position) within each zone of a multi-zone mattress.
  • The present disclosure is not limited to dual-zone or three-zone mattresses, as described above with respect to FIGS. 5, 6, 9, and 10. Rather, the sleep system and remote control of the present disclosure can be configured for a multi-zone mattress having any number zones. The firmness identifier that is displayed can include the same number of symbols as the number of zones of inflatable bladders that are to be controlled, e.g., a symbol for each zone that is being controlled. For example, a four-zone mattress can be coupled with a remote control configured to display a four-symbol firmness identifier (e.g., “2539”), a five-zone mattress can be coupled with a remote control configured to display a five-symbol firmness identifier (e.g., “83972”), a six-zone mattress can be coupled with a remote control configured to display a six-symbol firmness identifier (e.g., “125952”), and so on.
  • The above Detailed Description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. For example, the above-described examples (or one or more elements thereof) can be used in combination with each other. Other embodiments can be used, such as by one of ordinary skill in the art upon reviewing the above description. Also, various features or elements can be grouped together to streamline the disclosure. This should not be interpreted as intending that an unclaimed disclosed feature is essential to any claim. Rather, inventive subject matter can lie in less than all features of a particular disclosed embodiment. Thus, the following claims are hereby incorporated into the Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as a separate embodiment. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.
  • In the event of inconsistent usages between this document and any documents so incorporated by reference, the usage in this document controls.
  • In this document, the terms “a” or “an” are used, as is common in patent documents, to include one or more than one, independent of any other instances or usages of “at least one” or “one or more.” In this document, the term “or” is used to refer to a nonexclusive or, such that “A or B” includes “A but not B,” “B but not A,” and “A and B,” unless otherwise indicated. In this document, the terms “including” and “in which” are used as the plain-English equivalents of the respective terms “comprising” and “wherein.” Also, in the following claims, the terms “including” and “comprising” are open-ended, that is, a system, device, article, composition, formulation, or process that includes elements in addition to those listed after such a term in a claim are still deemed to fall within the scope of that claim. Moreover, in the following claims, the terms “first,” “second,” and “third,” etc. are used merely as labels, and are not intended to impose numerical requirements on their objects.
  • Method examples described herein can be machine or computer-implemented, at least in part. Some examples can include a computer-readable medium or machine-readable medium encoded with instructions operable to configure an electronic device to perform methods or method steps as described in the above examples. An implementation of such methods or method steps can include code, such as microcode, assembly language code, a higher-level language code, or the like. Such code can include computer readable instructions for performing various methods. The code may form portions of computer program products. Further, in an example, the code can be tangibly stored on one or more volatile, non-transitory, or non-volatile tangible computer-readable media, such as during execution or at other times. Examples of these tangible computer-readable media can include, but are not limited to, hard disks, removable magnetic disks, removable optical disks (e.g., compact disks and digital video disks), magnetic cassettes, memory cards or sticks, random access memories (RAMs), read only memories (ROMs), and the like.
  • The Abstract is provided to comply with 37 C.F.R. §1.72(b), to allow the reader to quickly ascertain the nature of the technical disclosure. It is submitted with the understanding that it will not be used to interpret or limit the scope or meaning of the claims.
  • Although the invention has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims (22)

What is claimed is:
1. A sleep system comprising:
a mattress comprising a plurality of zones, each zone comprising at least one fluid inflatable bladder;
a controller configured to control a fluid pressure within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each of the plurality of zones; and
a user controlling device in communication with the controller, the user controlling device configured to display a firmness identifier, the firmness identifier comprising a plurality of symbols, each symbol corresponding to a pressure setting within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of a corresponding one of the plurality of zones.
2. The sleep system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of zones comprises a first zone comprising at least one first fluid inflatable bladder and a second zone comprising at least one second fluid inflatable bladder, wherein the firmness identifier comprises a first symbol corresponding to a fluid pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder, and a second symbol corresponding to a fluid pressure setting within the at least one second fluid inflatable bladder.
3. The sleep system of claim 2, wherein:
a first value of the first symbol corresponds to a first predefined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone;
a second value of the first symbol corresponds to a second predetermined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone.
4. The sleep system of claim 3, further wherein:
a third value of the first symbol corresponds to a third predetermined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone;
a fourth value of the first symbol corresponds to a fourth predetermined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone; and
a fifth value of the first symbol corresponds to a fifth predetermined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone.
5. The sleep system of claim 2, wherein:
a first value of the second symbol corresponds to a first predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone; and
a second value of the second symbol corresponds to a second predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone.
6. The sleep system of claim 5, further wherein:
a third value of the second symbol corresponds to a third predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone;
a fourth value of the second symbol corresponds to a fourth predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone; and
a fifth value of the second symbol corresponds to a fifth predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone.
7. The sleep system of claim 2, wherein the plurality of zones further comprises a third zone comprising at least one third fluid inflatable bladder, wherein the firmness identifier further comprises a third symbol corresponding to a fluid pressure setting within the at least one third fluid inflatable bladder.
8. The sleep system of claim 7, wherein:
a first value of the third symbol corresponds to a first predetermined pressure setting within the at least one third inflatable fluid bladder of the third zone; and
a second value of the third symbol corresponds to a second predetermined pressure setting within the at least one third inflatable fluid bladder of the third zone.
9. The sleep system of claim 8, further wherein:
a third value of the third symbol corresponds to a third predetermined pressure setting within the at least one third inflatable fluid bladder of the third zone;
a fourth value of the third symbol corresponds to a fourth predetermined pressure setting within the at least one third inflatable fluid bladder of the third zone; and
a fifth value of the second symbol corresponds to a fifth predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone.
10. The sleep system of claim 1, further comprising a memory accessible by at least one of the controller and the user controlling device, the memory including a plurality of predetermined pressure settings for the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each zone, each predetermined pressure setting being assigned to one of a plurality of symbol values, wherein each of the plurality of symbols of the firmness identifier can comprise only one of the plurality of assigned symbol values at any one time.
11. The sleep system of claim 1, further comprising at least one fluid pump controllable by the controller, wherein the at least one fluid pump is configured to inflate or deflate the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each of the plurality of zones.
12. The sleep system of claim 1, wherein each symbol of the firmness identifier comprises a single digit integer selected from the group consisting of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
13. The sleep system of claim 1, wherein each single digit integer is associated with a corresponding discrete pressure setting within the at least one inflatable bladder of a corresponding zone.
14. The sleep system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of symbols of the firmness identifier are positioned in close proximity to each other so that the firmness identifier appears as a single unit.
15. A method of controlling a multi-zone mattress, the method comprising:
receiving, at a user controlling device, an input firmness identifier comprising plurality of symbols;
formulating, at the user controlling device or at a central controller in communication with the user controlling device, at least one control signal for at least one fluid pump, the at least one fluid pump configured to inflate or deflate fluid inflatable bladders of a multi-zone mattress, the mattress comprising a plurality of zones, each zone comprising at least one fluid inflatable bladder,
wherein each symbol of the firmness identifier corresponds to a pressure setting within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of a corresponding one of the plurality of zones;
transmitting the at least one control signal from the user controlling device or the central controller to the at least one fluid pump; and
adjusting, with the at least one fluid pump, the pressure within the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each of the plurality of zones to correspond to the pressure setting of the corresponding one of the plurality of symbols.
16. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of zones comprises a first zone comprising at least one first fluid inflatable bladder and a second zone comprising at least one second fluid inflatable bladder, wherein the firmness identifier comprises a first symbol corresponding to a fluid pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder, and a second symbol corresponding to a fluid pressure setting within the at least one second fluid inflatable bladder.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein:
a first value of the first symbol corresponds to a first predetermined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone;
a second value of the first symbol corresponds to a second predetermined pressure setting within the at least one first inflatable fluid bladder of the first zone.
18. The sleep system of claim 16, wherein:
a first value of the second symbol corresponds to a first predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone; and
a second value of the second symbol corresponds to a second predetermined pressure setting within the at least one second inflatable fluid bladder of the second zone.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein the plurality of zones further comprises a third zone comprising at least one third fluid inflatable bladder, wherein the firmness identifier further comprises a third symbol corresponding to a fluid pressure setting within the at least one third fluid inflatable bladder.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein:
a first value of the third symbol corresponds to a first predetermined pressure setting within the at least one third inflatable fluid bladder of the third zone; and
a second value of the third symbol corresponds to a second predetermined pressure setting within the at least one third inflatable fluid bladder of the third zone.
21. The method of claim 15, further comprising storing a plurality of predetermined pressure settings for the at least one fluid inflatable bladder of each zone in a memory accessible by at least one of the controller and the user controlling device, each predetermined pressure setting being assigned to one of a plurality of symbol values, wherein each of the plurality of symbols of the firmness identifier can comprise only one of the plurality of assigned symbol values at any one time.
22. The method of claim 15, wherein the plurality of symbols of the firmness identifier are positioned in close proximity to each other so that the firmness identifier appears as a single unit.
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