US20160345631A1 - Portable devices for generating an inhalable vapor - Google Patents

Portable devices for generating an inhalable vapor Download PDF

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Publication number
US20160345631A1
US20160345631A1 US15/165,972 US201615165972A US2016345631A1 US 20160345631 A1 US20160345631 A1 US 20160345631A1 US 201615165972 A US201615165972 A US 201615165972A US 2016345631 A1 US2016345631 A1 US 2016345631A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
device
body
heater
configured
embodiments
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Pending
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US15/165,972
Inventor
James Monsees
Adam Bowen
Patrick A. Myall
Krista HUNTER
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Juul Labs Inc
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Juul Labs Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US70010505P priority Critical
Priority to US11/485,168 priority patent/US9675109B2/en
Priority to US201161524308P priority
Priority to US13/587,416 priority patent/US9408416B2/en
Priority to US13/837,438 priority patent/US20130312742A1/en
Priority to US14/578,193 priority patent/US20150150308A1/en
Application filed by Juul Labs Inc filed Critical Juul Labs Inc
Priority to US15/165,972 priority patent/US20160345631A1/en
Publication of US20160345631A1 publication Critical patent/US20160345631A1/en
Assigned to PAX LABS, INC. reassignment PAX LABS, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MYALL, PATRICK A., BOWEN, ADAM, HUNTER, Krista, MONSEES, JAMES
Priority claimed from PCT/US2017/034845 external-priority patent/WO2017205838A1/en
Assigned to JUUL LABS, INC. reassignment JUUL LABS, INC. CHANGE OF NAME (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: PAX LABS, INC.
Assigned to MUFG UNION BANK, N.A. reassignment MUFG UNION BANK, N.A. PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: JUUL LABS, INC
Assigned to JUUL LABS, INC. reassignment JUUL LABS, INC. CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE ASSIGNOR EXECUTION DATE PREVIOUSLY RECORDED AT REEL: 043544 FRAME: 0004. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE CHANGE OF NAME. Assignors: PAX LABS, INC.
Assigned to JUUL LABS, INC. reassignment JUUL LABS, INC. TERMINATION OF PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: MUFG UNION BANK, N.A
Assigned to MUFG UNION BANK, N.A. reassignment MUFG UNION BANK, N.A. PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: JUUL LABS, INC.
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F47/00Smokers' requisites not provided for elsewhere, e.g. devices to assist in stopping or limiting smoking
    • A24F47/002Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes
    • A24F47/004Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel
    • A24F47/008Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel with electrical heating means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24DCIGARS; CIGARETTES; TOBACCO SMOKE FILTERS; MOUTHPIECES FOR CIGARS OR CIGARETTES; MANUFACTURE OF TOBACCO SMOKE FILTERS OR MOUTHPIECES
    • A24D1/00Cigars; Cigarettes
    • A24D1/14Tobacco cartridges for pipes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F1/00Tobacco pipes
    • A24F1/32Selection of materials for pipes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F13/00Appliances for smoking cigars or cigarettes
    • A24F13/02Cigar or cigarette holders
    • A24F13/04Cigar or cigarette holders with arrangements for cleaning or cooling the smoke
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F47/00Smokers' requisites not provided for elsewhere, e.g. devices to assist in stopping or limiting smoking
    • A24F47/002Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes
    • A24F47/004Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel
    • A24F47/006Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel with chemical heating means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F7/00Mouthpieces for pipes; Mouthpieces for cigar or cigarette holders
    • A24F7/02Mouthpieces for pipes; Mouthpieces for cigar or cigarette holders with detachable connecting members
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M11/00Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes
    • A61M11/04Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised
    • A61M11/041Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised using heaters
    • A61M11/042Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised using heaters electrical
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M11/00Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes
    • A61M11/04Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised
    • A61M11/041Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised using heaters
    • A61M11/048Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised using heaters with a flame, e.g. using a burner
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0028Inhalators using prepacked dosages, one for each application, e.g. capsules to be perforated or broken-up
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/06Inhaling appliances shaped like cigars, cigarettes or pipes
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01BBOILING; BOILING APPARATUS ; EVAPORATION; EVAPORATION APPARATUS
    • B01B1/00Boiling; Boiling apparatus for physical or chemical purposes ; Evaporation in general
    • B01B1/005Evaporation for physical or chemical purposes; Evaporation apparatus therefor, e.g. evaporation of liquids for gas phase reactions
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F21LIGHTING
    • F21VFUNCTIONAL FEATURES OR DETAILS OF LIGHTING DEVICES OR SYSTEMS THEREOF; STRUCTURAL COMBINATIONS OF LIGHTING DEVICES WITH OTHER ARTICLES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • F21V33/00Structural combinations of lighting devices with other articles, not otherwise provided for
    • F21V33/0004Personal or domestic articles
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D23/00Control of temperature
    • G05D23/19Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means
    • G05D23/1917Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means using digital means
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/14Digital output to display device; Cooperation and interconnection of the display device with other functional units
    • G06F3/147Digital output to display device; Cooperation and interconnection of the display device with other functional units using display panels
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B1/00Details of electric heating devices
    • H05B1/02Automatic switching arrangements specially adapted to apparatus ; Control of heating devices
    • H05B1/0227Applications
    • H05B1/023Industrial applications
    • H05B1/0244Heating of fluids
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B3/00Ohmic-resistance heating
    • H05B3/10Heater elements characterised by the composition or nature of the materials or by the arrangement of the conductor
    • H05B3/12Heater elements characterised by the composition or nature of the materials or by the arrangement of the conductor characterised by the composition or nature of the conductive material
    • H05B3/14Heater elements characterised by the composition or nature of the materials or by the arrangement of the conductor characterised by the composition or nature of the conductive material the material being non-metallic
    • H05B3/146Conductive polymers, e.g. polyethylene, thermoplastics
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B3/00Ohmic-resistance heating
    • H05B3/20Heating elements having extended surface area substantially in a two-dimensional plane, e.g. plate-heater
    • H05B3/34Heating elements having extended surface area substantially in a two-dimensional plane, e.g. plate-heater flexible, e.g. heating nets or webs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/02General characteristics of the apparatus characterised by a particular materials
    • A61M2205/0266Shape memory materials
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/33Controlling, regulating or measuring
    • A61M2205/3368Temperature
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F21LIGHTING
    • F21YINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASSES F21K, F21L, F21S and F21V, RELATING TO THE FORM OR THE KIND OF THE LIGHT SOURCES OR OF THE COLOUR OF THE LIGHT EMITTED
    • F21Y2115/00Light-generating elements of semiconductor light sources
    • F21Y2115/10Light-emitting diodes [LED]
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/02Input arrangements using manually operated switches, e.g. using keyboards or dials
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B2203/00Aspects relating to Ohmic resistive heating covered by group H05B3/00
    • H05B2203/021Heaters specially adapted for heating liquids

Abstract

Devices for generating and releasing vapor comprising a mouthpiece for providing vapor for inhalation to a user including a tubular casing containing a heater for heating a vaporizable substance at a substantially constant low temperature having means for visual indication of the operation of the device.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority as a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/578,193, filed on Dec. 19, 2014, titled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR VAPORIZATION OF A SUBSTANCE”, Publication No. US 2015-0150308-A1, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/485,168, filed on Jul. 11, 2006, titled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR VAPORIZATION OF A SUBSTANCE”, Publication No. US-2007-0283972-A1, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/700,105 filed on Jul. 15, 2005, tilted “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR VAPORIZATION OF A SUBSTANCE”. Each of these patents and patent applications are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • This application also claims priority as a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/587,416, filed on Aug. 16, 2012, titled “LOW TEMPERATURE ELECTRONIC VAPORIZATION DEVICE AND METHODS”, Publication No. US-2013-0042865-A1, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/524,308, filed on Aug. 16, 2011, titled “LOW TEMPERATURE ELECTRONIC VAPORIZATION DEVICE AND METHODS”. Each of these patents and patent applications are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • This patent application also claims priority as a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/837,438, filed on Mar. 15, 2013, titled “LOW TEMPERATURE ELECTRONIC VAPORIZATION DEVICE AND METHODS”, Publication No. US-2013-0312742-A1 which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE
  • All publications and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD
  • Described herein are smoking devices, particularly to smoking articles which produce vapor by heat transfer to the cartridge by conduction, convection, and/or radiation for smoke and flavor. The devices and systems described herein include self-contained vaporization devices, and more particularly, low-temperature vaporization devices for use with a vaporizable material such as tobacco and tobacco products. These devices may include an elongated main body with a mouthpiece at one end and an attached tubular casing having a vaporization chamber and a heater. The mouthpiece and the casing may form a unitary unit.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Smoking devices, such as cigarette holders and pipes are well known in the art for providing flavored vapor from a smokeable substance to a user for therapeutic and smoking pleasure. However, existing devices used have no control of heating and combustion of the tobacco products. The devices tend to produce toxic, tarry and carcinogenic by-products which are harmful and also impart a bitter and burnt taste to a mouth of a user.
  • In an effort to overcome these deficiencies, there have been numerous attempts to provide a device structure and the substance for producing vapor for smoking which is free from harmful by-product and would provide a cool and soothing vapor for smoking.
  • For example, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0237974 A1, published on Dec. 2, 2004 for Min discloses a filtering cigarette and cigar holder which removes tar and nicotine from the tobacco smoke.
  • U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0031495 A1, published on Feb. 19, 2004 for Steinberg discloses a vaporization pipe with flame filter which uses a flame to vaporize the smoking substance.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,164,287, issued Dec. 26, 2000 to White, describes a smoking device which produces smoke from tobacco at low temperatures, without producing harmful byproducts.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,374, issued Jul. 18, 1989 to Chard et al describe a smoking device to vaporize aerosol precursor, an event which precedes condensation to mainstream aerosol precursor by contact with heated surface rather than by hot gases into the mouth of a smoker.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,219,032, issued Aug. 26, 1980 to Tabatznik et al describe a smoking device wherein an extracted smoke is cooled by passing it through a suitable liquid to provide a soothing smoke.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,020,853, issued May 3, 1977 to Nuttall, describes a smoking pipe made of ceramic material such as colored and ornamental porcelain for enhancing the artistic look, and also to provide a circulating air to keep the outer wall of the pipe cool and safe for handling.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 3,792,704, issued Feb. 19, 1974 to Parker, describes a pipe tobacco smoking system, wherein the pipe and the tobacco capsule are mutually designed to yield a slim-line smoking combination that can be manufactured from relatively low temperature thermoplastic material.
  • The use of tobacco products and the harmful side effects of smoking tobacco continue to gain increasing attention worldwide. As more regulations come into effect regarding smoking in the work place or in public, interest in developing alternative products is growing significantly. One method of reducing the harmful side effects of smoking is to not burn the tobacco products. This is because many of the harmful analytes, such as Hoffman analytes, obtained from smoking are received due to the burning of the material.
  • A difficulty of developing and marketing a device that can deliver an aerosolized tobacco product is catering to the user in terms of visual and physical appeal of use. A device that can be used multiple times to aerosolize a variety of different substances while providing similar sensations to the user as those from smoking, such as visual vapor, are desirable. A device and product that can aerosolize a tobacco product and reduce Hoffman analytes and mutagenic compounds delivered to a user as compared to smoking are also desirable.
  • SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • Some variations of the devices and systems described herein are drawn to novel vaporizing device consisting of a mouthpiece and a casing having a heater, a low temperature vaporization chamber, a fuel tank, an igniter with control means for maintaining equilibrium point by keeping the operating temperature below 400° F., preferably below 350° F., during vaporization, whereby a thermal regulator may be used to control flow rate of the fuel to maintain a stable operating temperature.
  • These devices may provide a mouthpiece made of a high temperature food-safe material, such as ceramic, glass, or high temperature plastics known as PEI resin (brand name Ultem). However, suitable plastic or wood, etc., could also be used but would additionally require an insulating material that would prevent excessive heat reaching the user's lips.
  • Additionally, air inlets are directed downwards, so that fresh ambient air drawn through mixes with the vapor generated into the vaporization chamber located above the smokeable substance cartridge, which is extracted from the cartridge by inlets located below the cartridge and drawn into user's mouth for inhalation.
  • These devices and systems may also provide air inlet or inlets having a diameter and direction sized to admit ambient air into the chamber to heat up the substance and not affect the operating temperature and also regulating the velocity of ambient air entering and mixing with the vapor generated from combustion, radiation and convection in the chamber at such a rate that the proportionate inhalation passage provides a perception to the user as if the smoke is drawn through a cigarette.
  • These devices and systems may also provide a heater which is separated from the vapor chamber by an insulating medium such as ring made of PTFE, ceramic or other insulating material and thereby preventing the exhaust gases produced by the heater from entering and contaminating the vapor in the vaporization chamber collected for inhalation.
  • These devices and systems may also provide a heater is formed of a conductive shell and a catalyst, the shell may be of one or more material formed by welding or pressing together. Whereas, the catalyst could be of platinum or palladium impregnated metal or glass or other suitable material, which provides for efficient flameless combustion of the fuel and glows red when heated to indicate that the device is activated. Additionally, a feedback loop could be employed to regulate the desired temperature.
  • In variations including a cartridge (e.g., of tobacco), the tobacco cartridge may be formed and shaped for easier insertion into the heating chamber and to snugly fit into the cavity of the heating chamber for improved thermal conduction and vaporization. The cartridges may be formed and wrapped into wrapper which does not produce significant amount of harmful gases.
  • Also described herein are devices for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece, a body; an electronic heater within said body comprising a printed circuit board to heat a viscous vaporizable material to a generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator. The inhalable aerosol can accommodate a pod comprising particles that are less than about 2 microns (in their longest dimension—whether length or width or depth) or loose leaf tobacco and other botanicals (no pods).
  • In one aspect, a resistive heating element and thermistor to monitor and precisely control vaporization temperature are disclosed for use in a device for aerosolizing a material. In some embodiments, the heating element comprises an electronic circuit with power transistor to drive the heater. In certain embodiments, the tail of the electronic circuit solders to a PCB (printed circuit board). In some embodiments, the device comprises aerogel insulation to maintain efficiency and low exposed surface temperature. In certain embodiments, the aerogel is a silica aerogel with reinforcing fibers (e.g., Pyrogel 2250 flexible aerogel blanket). In some embodiments, the device comprises a single button interface wherein the single button interface provides means for on, off and wake from sleep (e.g., pressed to begin heating, turn off heating, and wake from standby mode).
  • In some embodiments, the electronic heater comprises a polyimide thin film (“flex”) printed heater circuit (also or alternatively called a flexible heater circuit). In certain embodiments provide the electronic heater with soldered thermistor element for control loop. In certain embodiments, the device comprises a PID (proportional integral derivative) control loop to control operating temperature.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic charge connector. In some embodiments, the device comprises time or sensor based standby activation to conserve battery power. This may also or alternatively be called a standby mode. In certain embodiments, sensing means includes accelerometer or other tile/vibration sensor, capacitive (touch) sensor, or monitoring the thermistor to detect if the heater is being loaded by the user puffing on the device.
  • In some embodiments, the heater is a metallic heater wherein the heater component is heat staked, ultrasonic bonded or over-molded into a high temperature capable plastic component. The processes create a hermetic or dust seal. In some embodiments, a split mouthpiece design is disclosed for use in a device for aerosolizing a material. The half of the split mouthpiece is removable and conforms to contour of the device. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece attaches to the body of the device with rare earth magnet. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece attaches to the body with plastic detent or other similar mechanism. In other embodiments, the mouthpiece is integrated into the device with a hinge, or other mechanism (e.g., a string, or the like). In certain embodiments, the mouthpiece swivels or slides away to reveal the heating chamber. In certain embodiments, the mouthpiece is detached fully from the attachment mechanism for cleaning or replacement but still links to the device (“removably captured”).
  • In another aspect provides an electronic stand-alone vaporizer device for use with loose leaf tobacco and/or other botanicals. In some embodiments, the device comprises a mouthpiece that retracts from said device with a push-push mechanism. In some embodiments, the push-push mechanism also turns the device on via a magnet embedded in the mouthpiece and a hall effect sensor on the PCB (printed circuit board). In certain embodiments, the mouthpiece comprises a compression spring, a leaf spring and a stainless steel tube attached to the mouthpiece with a catch groove and a toggle slider. In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic on/off control using reed or hall effect switch. In certain embodiments, the magnetic control is integrated into mouthpiece to eliminate additional buttons. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece adapts push-push mechanism for mouthpiece withdrawal and/or retraction. In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic lid to cover vaporization chamber. In some embodiments, the device comprises a thermally conductive shell to distribute excess heat and maintain low exposed surface temperature. In some embodiments, the device comprises a button-operated temperature selection with visual, audible indicator, and/or other sensory output (e.g. vibration). In some embodiments, the mouthpiece is integrated into the device with a hinge, or other mechanism (e.g., a string, or the like). In some embodiments, the vaporization device comprises a thin wall metal heating chamber. Thin walls allow for low thermal mass and thus fast startup. In some embodiments, the devices comprise a tilting lid using magnetic or snap attachments for the lid to stay in its closed position to prevent accidental opening. The tilting lid has no visible removal button.
  • In another aspect provides a device which emulates smoking wherein the device generates an aerosol for inhalation by a subject by heating a viscous material containing plant matter to about 150° C. and wherein the aerosol has a tactile response in the mouth or respiratory tract. The viscous material can comprise an aerosol-forming medium that can comprise at least one of propylene glycol and glycerin to produce a visual aerosol when heated. The viscous material can also comprise tobacco and flavorants.
  • The device can also deliver an active element to a user that is part of the aerosol. The active element can be absorbed in the respiratory tract. The aerosol can comprise particles less than about 2 microns in diameter.
  • The target temperature for heating the viscous material in the device can be about 100° C. to about 200° C. Preferably, the target temperature is about 150° C., which generates an aerosol.
  • In another aspect, a method of creating a tactile response in the mouth or respiratory tract is disclosed. The method comprises: deploying a smoke emulating device wherein the device generates a smokeless aerosol having a tactile response in the mouth or respiratory tract by heating a viscous material containing plant matter contained therein; heating the viscous material to a target temperature; generating an aerosol having the tactile response in the mouth or respiratory tract from the heated viscous material; and inhaling the aerosol. The viscous material can comprise an aerosol-forming medium that can comprise at least one of propylene glycol and glycerin to produce a visual aerosol when heated. The viscous material can also comprise at least one of tobacco and flavorants. The device can deliver an active element to a user that is part of the aerosol. The active element can be absorbed in the respiratory tract.
  • Provided herein are devices for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater comprising a heater circuit, an oven, and a printed circuit board within said body, said electronic heater configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator.
  • In some embodiments, the mouthpiece is split or integrated into the device. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece retracts from the device with a push-push mechanism.
  • In some embodiments, the heater circuit is soldered to the heater circuit board. In some embodiments, the electronic heater comprises a resistive heating element and a thermistor configured monitor and precisely control vaporization temperature of the viscous vaporizable material. In some embodiments, the heater circuit is a thin film polyimide heater.
  • In some embodiments, the electronic heater is sealed by a hermetic or dust seal.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic control using reed or hall effect switch. In some embodiments, the magnetic control using reed or hall effect switch is integrated into the mouthpiece.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic lid.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a thermally conductive shell configured to distribute excess heat and configured maintain a low exposed surface temperature.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises time based or sensor based standby mode activation. In some embodiments, the sensor comprises an accelerometer or other tactile/vibration sensor, capacitive (touch) sensor, or a sensor for monitoring the thermistor configured to detect if the heater is being loaded by the user puffing on the device.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a proportional integral derivative (PID) control loop configured to control operating temperature.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a thin wall metal heating chamber.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises aerogel insulation. In some embodiments, the aerogel insulation comprises a silica aerogel with reinforcing fibers.
  • In some embodiments, the heater is thermal pressed, ultrasonic bonded or over-molded into a high temperature capable plastic component. In some embodiments, the heater is heat stated or heat swaged into a high temperature capable plastic component. In some embodiments, the heater is heat swaged into a high temperature capable plastic component.
  • In some embodiments, the device further comprise a magnetic charge connector configured to connect the device to a charger.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a single button interface.
  • In some embodiments, the viscous vaporizable material is in a removable pod. In some embodiments, the removable pod comprises particles of the viscous vaporizable material that are less than about 2 microns. In some embodiments, the removable pod comprises the viscous vaporizable material consisting essentially of particle sizes that are less than about 2 microns.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator and an aerogel insulation.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator and a magnetic charge connector.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator, and time or sensor based standby activation configured to conserve battery power.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator, and a temperature control loop.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator, and a single button interface.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator; wherein the electronic heater is sealed by a hermetic or dust seal.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; a vaporization chamber; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator; and a magnetic lid configured to cover the vaporization chamber.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a thermally conductive shell configured to distribute excess heat and maintain a low exposed surface temperature; and a temperature regulator.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator; and a push-push mechanism configured to toggle the mouthpiece between a retracted and an “on” position.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator; and a button-operated temperature selection with a visual indicator, an audible indicator and/or a vibration indicator.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator; and a tilting lid comprising a magnetic attachment or a snap attachment configured to maintain the lid in its closed position and/or configured to prevent accidental opening.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator, wherein the mouthpiece is integrated into the device.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater comprising a heater circuit within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator; wherein the heater circuit has low resistance such that a single battery is capable of powering the device.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the claims that follow. A better understanding of the features and advantages of the present invention will be obtained by reference to the following detailed description that sets forth illustrative embodiments, in which the principles of the invention are utilized, and the accompanying drawings of which:
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of a portable vaporization device, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the same embodiment.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a heater, according to the same embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a cutaway view of an alternate embodiment according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 5 is a sectional detail view of a tobacco cartridge, according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a tobacco cartridge, according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 7 is a sectional detail view of a tobacco cartridge, according to an alternate embodiment.
  • FIG. 8 is a sectional detail view of a tobacco cartridge, according to an alternate embodiment.
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a device comprising a single button interface, a LiPo battery, and body outer halves wherein the tail of flexible heater circuit is soldered to a PCB.
  • FIG. 10 is an interior view of the same embodiment as shown in FIG. 9, shown as a section taken through the charging contacts 312 in the long axis of the device.
  • FIGS. 11A and 11B are perspective views of the device with detachable mouthpieces and a tactile button with LED-illuminated “halo” indicator.
  • FIG. 12 demonstrates a device of single piece with extruded aluminum outer body wherein the mouthpiece of the device retracts from device with a push-push mechanism.
  • FIG. 13 is a sectional detail view of the device 500 as illustrated in FIG. 12.
  • FIG. 14 shows how the magnetically attached vaporization chamber lid works.
  • FIG. 15 shows how to charge the battery by an exemplary battery charging source (e.g. a USB charger).
  • FIG. 16 is an interior detail view of the device charged by a USB charger shown in FIG. 7.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the exterior of the device 10 comprises a mouthpiece 11, a tubular case 12, and the base 14 of a butane tank 21. The mouthpiece is removable and creates an airtight seal with the interior of the case. With the mouthpiece removed, a tobacco cartridge (FIG. 5) is introduced to vaporization chamber 15 of a heater 16. The mouthpiece is then reinserted to close the device. Thus, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, removal of the mouthpiece exposes the vaporization chamber and replacement of the mouthpiece closes the vaporization chamber.
  • The mouthpiece is made of a high-temperature and food-safe material such as ceramic, glass, or various high-temperature plastics such as PEI resin (brand name Ultem). Design is simplified by use of high temperature materials, but standard plastics or wood, etc., could also be used with the addition of an insulating component that prevents any excessive heat from reaching the user's lips.
  • To activate the device, the butane tank is pulled axially outward, partially removing it from the case. This starts the flow of butane by opening a master valve 18, and then activating a piezoelectric igniter 13. The tank remains in the partially removed position for the duration of use. While the master valve is open, butane flows through a thermal regulator 17, and into the carburetor 20. Ambient air enters the case through slot 19. A venturi in the carburetor entrains air, causing it to mix with the butane. The mixture then flows into the heater 16.
  • The lead of the ignitor is positioned in the heater. With the spark of the ignitor (immediately following the start of gas flow) the gas ignites and heat starts conducting throughout the heater. Heat transfers to the cartridge by conduction, convection, and radiation. The cartridge is shaped to fill the chamber, so as to maximize surface contact for thermal conduction.
  • As the cartridge heats, vapor generates within the cartridge and in the space immediately above it. When a user draws on the device, fresh air enters through air inlet 22, mixes with the vapor, and the mixture is delivered to the user via the inhalation passage 23. In one embodiment, the air inlet or inlets are directed downward, so as to improve the extraction of vapor from the cartridge. They could also be directed along a diagonal through the mouthpiece, or laterally through the case itself, above the cartridge.
  • FIG. 3 depicts a detailed view of the heater 16. The heater comprises a thermally conductive shell 26 and catalyst 27. The shell could be comprised of one material, or a combination of materials welded or pressed together. The catalyst could be platinum- or palladium-impregnated metal or glass, or other suitable material known to those skilled in the art. The catalyst provides for efficient flame-less combustion of the butane. The vent 28 of the heater is positioned such that it is visible through the slot 29 of the body as shown in FIG. 1. This allows the user to see the catalyst which, when heated, can glow red to indicate that the device has been activated. Thus, the window (slot 29) shown in FIG. 1 extends through the elongated main body (tubular case 12). Thus, FIG. 3 is one example of a portable device for generating an inhalable vapor from a botanical material including an elongate body and a vaporization chamber 15 within the body that is configured to hold a vaporizable material therein. As just described, the window 29 through the body in this example is configured to allow a user to see a glow of the heater through the window to indicate that the heater has been activated.
  • Referring again to FIG. 3, adjacent to the heater and in intimate thermal contact is the thermal regulator 17. As the temperature of the heater increases, so does that of the regulator. The regulator is designed to restrict the flow of butane as the temperature increases, thus creating a feedback loop. In one embodiment, the regulator consists of a bimetallic strip 60 and silicone tubing 61 which is the conduit of the butane. The two are arranged such that as the bimetallic strip heats up, it curls to pinch the silicone tube and thereby restrict the flow of butane. The reduced flow of butane results in less heat generated. The heater subsequently cools down, and so does the regulator, allowing more butane to flow again. The overall result is that a stable operating temperature is established in the heater. Such a system can be readily tuned to achieve an operating temperature that varies by less than +/−5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The regulator further comprises a moveable backplate 62 which allows adjustability of the operating temperature by adjusting the temperature at which the bi-metallic actuator closes the tube valve. This is to be performed once at manufacture, to calibrate the device. In alternate embodiments, a control means could be used to allow the target temperature of the device changed during operation.
  • In one embodiment, the regulator comprises in part a bi-metallic strip and silicone tubing valve. In alternate embodiments, the regulator could be comprised of other materials and configurations, as described later.
  • For the purposes of vaporizing most botanicals in this device, the desired operating temperature is below 400° F.; preferably below 350° F.
  • In one embodiment, the air inlet diameter is sized such that inhalation is somewhat inhibited. This allows time for ambient air entering the chamber to heat up and not affect operating temperature considerably. It also increases velocity of the entering air, which improves circulation and mixing in the vaporization chamber. It also creates a partial vacuum, lowering the vapor point temperature for material contained in the vaporization chamber. The reduction in draw rate can also serve to give the impression of drawing on a cigarette or pipe. Both the fresh air inlet and inhalation passage can be adjusted to provide appropriate draw rate for the operating temperature of the device, and the perception intended for the user.
  • Once the cartridge is consumed, the device is turned off by pushing the tank back into the case, closing the master valve. The spent tobacco cartridge is removed by opening the device and turning the body over. In one embodiment, the cartridge simply falls out. In alternate embodiments, a mechanism could be used to quickly and easily remove the cartridge. This mechanism could include, but does not require, the use of a pin or slide part to eject the cartridge as another part of the device is moved or removed. The removal mechanism could also involve introduction of a foreign object.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the mouthpiece is permanently attached to the body. In that case, the vaporization chamber could be accessed by operating a sliding or hinged door, or similar means, built into the device.
  • The heater of the device is fitted into the case with an insulator 24. The insulator could be made of PEI (brand name Ultem), ceramic, or other insulating material. The insulator serves to minimize thermal transfer from the heater to the case, while creating an air-tight seal. The seal prevents exhaust gases produced by the heater from entering the vaporization chamber. Exhaust gases are instead vented out the case slots. Since the air inlet is distant from the slots, there is substantially no contamination of the inhaled vapor mixture by heater exhaust gases.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the insulator could be a partially hollow shell, containing a sealed vacuum. In another embodiment, the heater might be sealed directly to the case by braising in a vacuum furnace, so as to create a vacuum between the two and obviate need for an insulator component.
  • In one embodiment, the tank is made of a translucent material. This allows the user to determine the level of fuel remaining by looking at the base of the tank.
  • In one embodiment, the case is made of a material that is either a good thermal conductor (such as aluminum), or a poor one (such as ceramics). In both cases, the effect is that the body remains cool enough to touch over a large portion of its surface.
  • In one embodiment, a bimetallic actuator is used in the regulator. In alternate embodiments, a shape memory alloy actuator such nickel-titanium alloys (“Nitinol”) could be used. Alternatively, a paraffin-filled component that expands and contracts to modulate butane flow could be employed. Alternatively, a system could be employed to measure the current temperature, e.g., with a thermocouple sensor and compare it to a prescribed temperature, e.g., with a micro-controller, and by controlling an electromechanical valve, e.g., servo or solenoid valve. In an embodiment with user-selected temperature, as described above, the selected temperature could be used as an input to this system.
  • In one embodiment, a thermal regulator is used. In an alternate embodiment, the device is constructed without an active regulating element. This could result in reduced complexity and in lowering the overall cost of the device. In this case, the flow of butane is set at a low level. In use, the temperature inside the chamber increases until an equilibrium point where additional heat introduced equals the heat lost to the environment. Heat is lost by conduction through the body of the device, and with the vapor delivered to the user. This equilibrium point determines the operating temperature of the device. By changing the butane flow rate, size and material of the burner, and other factors, the system can be calibrated to provide a fairly stable desired operating temperature.
  • The principal advantage of the preferred bimetallic regulator feedback loop methods over the equilibrium method is that the operating temperature is not dependent on environmental factors such as ambient temperature and wind.
  • In one embodiment, a piezo-electric ignitor is used. Other ignitors could be used, such as, a flint starter or battery-powered resistive coil.
  • In one embodiment, the butane tank is meant to be refillable, and has a port 25 for that purpose. As an alternate embodiment, the tank might be disposable once its fuel is exhausted. A release mechanism such as a pin or cam would be employed allowing the user to quickly remove the depleted tank and replace it with a full one. The replaceable tank might include additional parts of the device including, but not limited to, the ignitor and heater. Butane is one fuel source, but could be replaced by other liquid fuels, such as ethanol.
  • In alternate embodiments of the present invention, various means of feedback could be used to indicate the following states or metrics of the device: 1) the device is on, 2) the current temperature of the vaporization chamber, 3) the chamber is below a prescribed operating temperature, 4) the chamber has reached a prescribed operating temperature and vapor is ready for consumption (e.g., the device is ready to use), and 5) the chamber has exceeded a prescribed operating temperature. Thus the feedback, such as one or more LEDs on the device may indicate that the device is heating and/or is ready to use.
  • The means of the feedback includes both physical and electronic implementations. Possibilities include thermochromatic paint, light-emitting diodes and liquid crystal display. The sensing and control means for electronic feedback could be implemented by use of thermocouple and micro-controller, as is known to those skilled in the art.
  • Active elements contained in botanicals vaporize at different temperatures. In one embodiment, the device is calibrated to establish a single stable temperature, intended for vaporizing solely tobacco or solely chamomile, for example. In alternate embodiments, a control means would be used to select a variety of temperature settings. The user would choose which setting based on the type of cartridge used. The control means could effect a desired temperature mechanically, such as by changing flow rate of the valve, or electronically, such as by electromechanical valve and micro-controller intermediary.
  • Butane was found to be the most energy-dense and practical fuel source. In alternate embodiments of the invention, the butane heating system is replaced by a battery-powered electric heater or other compact heat source.
  • FIG. 4 depicts a cutaway view of an alternate embodiment which more closely resembles a traditional pipe form. In this embodiment the device retains all of the critical elements from one embodiment. The user inserts a tobacco cartridge 40, under a sliding top piece 41, where the cartridge mates with the heater 42. Fuel held in the tank 43 is released by turning dial 44 to open master valve 45. The fuel travels through the regulator 51, and then through the carburetor 46 where it draws in air through the intake port 47 and catalyzes in a manner similar to that of one embodiment. As the cartridge 40 reaches its operating temperature the user places the mouthpiece 48 in their mouth and draws air in through the inhalation intake port 49 and through the vapor passage 50 where it is pre-cooled.
  • FIG. 5 depicts a sectional view of the tobacco cartridge 30. In one embodiment, it consists of tobacco material 31, enclosed in a wrapper 32, with perforations 33, and aeration wells 34. The wrapped cartridge allows for the easy insertion and disposal of tobacco material without creating a mess, while the perforations allow the formed vapor to be released. When the cartridge is used up it can be easily disposed of in its entirety.
  • Here, tobacco or tobacco material is defined as any combination of natural and synthetic material that can be vaporized for pleasure or medicinal use. As an example, one test cartridge was prepared as embodiment of the present invention using flue-cured tobacco, glycerin, and flavorings. Those skilled in the art of tobacco product manufacture are familiar with these and other ingredients used for cigarettes, cigars, and the like. The test cartridge was produced by chopping tobacco into fine pieces (less than 3 mm diameter, preferably less than 2 mm), adding the other ingredients, and mixing until even consistency was achieved.
  • In one embodiment, the cartridge is primarily cylindrical. In other embodiments, the form could be modified for various reasons. As an example, the walls of the cartridge might be drafted for easier insertion into the vaporization chamber. Or, the bottom of the cartridge might possess receptacles, which when combined with complimentary features on the surface cavity of the vaporization chamber would allow for more surface contact and hence improved thermal conduction.
  • Any material could be used for the wrapper, provided that when heated to the operating temperature, it does not produce significant amounts of harmful gases. Aluminum foil and parchment paper are two examples. With papers, the cartridge would be manufactured in a folded-cup design, similar to that shown in FIG. 6. With films or metal foils, the wrapper could be pressed or blow-molded to the appropriate shape.
  • During manufacture of one embodiment, the cartridge is enclosed on all sides, and perforated on the top so that vapors can emanate upwards. In the perforation step, or in an additional step, the optional aeration wells would be created.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the cartridge might be wrapped on all sides but leaving the top exposed, as shown in FIG. 7. This is possible since the purpose of the wrapper is primarily to prevent tobacco material from touching the sides and bottom of the vaporization chamber.
  • In another embodiment, the material for the top of the cartridge might be vapor-permeable, such that perforations are not necessary.
  • In another embodiment, the cartridge as purchased by the user has no openings, but is punctured prior to insertion into the device, or upon introduction to the vaporization device. The latter could be achieved by adding a hollow puncturing means to the mouthpiece part of the device. For example, the inhalation passage of the mouthpiece could be extended by a hollow tube. When the mouthpiece is reinserted to close the device, it pierces the cartridge previously introduced, and allows a path for vapor to exit to the user.
  • In one embodiment, the tobacco material is a homogenous mixture. In another embodiment, there might be two layers, as shown in FIG. 8. The moist layer 35 has higher content of vapor-forming material than the dry layer 36, which consists of dry tobacco or other material acting as a filter. The dry layer serves to prevent any liquid from bubbling up and out of the cartridge during heating.
  • In another embodiment of the cartridge, a lower compartment might consist entirely of a vapor-forming medium, such as glycerine. An upper region would consist of the tobacco material to be vaporized, and the two would be separated by a material that only allows the medium to pass in a vapor or gaseous phase. Gore-tex (brand name) is one such material. In use, vapor generated in the lower region would pass through the semi-permeable membrane, volatize the active components of the tobacco, and a mix of the two would be delivered to the user upon inhalation.
  • In another embodiment, the consistency of the tobacco material is such that the wrapper is not necessary. This is possible if at least the outer surface of the cartridge is dry and cohesive enough to not leave deposits inside the device. Such a cartridge can be made by forming tobacco material in a mold. If the resulting surface is excessively moist, it can be dried by heating the cartridge in an oven.
  • The devices and systems described herein have a wide range of applications for inhalation of an active substance as will be appreciated by persons of skill in the art upon reviewing the disclosure. For example, the devices, cartridges (i.e. pods), such as disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/485,168, systems, kits and methods could be used, for example, to inhale a tobacco product through the mouth or nose. The devices, systems, kits and methods could be used, for example, to inhale any substance, such as a botanical, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, or any other substance providing a benefit or sensation to an end user.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece 110; a body; an electronic heater comprising a heater circuit, an oven, and a printed circuit board within said body, said electronic heater configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator.
  • In some embodiments, the mouthpiece is split or integrated into the device. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece retracts from the device with a push-push mechanism.
  • In some embodiments, the heater circuit is soldered to the heater circuit board. In some embodiments, the electronic heater comprises a resistive heating element and a thermistor configured monitor and precisely control vaporization temperature of the viscous vaporizable material. In some embodiments, the heater circuit is a thin film polyimide heater.
  • In some embodiments, the electronic heater is sealed by a hermetic or dust seal.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic control using reed or hall effect switch. In some embodiments, the magnetic control using reed or hall effect switch is integrated into the mouthpiece.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a magnetic lid.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a thermally conductive shell configured to distribute excess heat and configured maintain a low exposed surface temperature.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises time based or sensor based standby mode activation. In some embodiments, the sensor comprises an accelerometer or other tactile/vibration sensor, capacitive (touch) sensor, or a sensor for monitoring the thermistor configured to detect if the heater is being loaded by the user puffing on the device.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a proportional integral derivative (PID) control loop configured to control operating temperature.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a thin wall metal heating chamber.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises aerogel insulation. In some embodiments, the aerogel insulation comprises a silica aerogel with reinforcing fibers.
  • In some embodiments, the heater is thermal pressed, ultrasonic bonded or over-molded into a high temperature capable plastic component. In some embodiments, the heater is heat stated or heat swaged into a high temperature capable plastic component. In some embodiments, the heater is heat swaged into a high temperature capable plastic component.
  • In some embodiments, the device further comprise a magnetic charge connector configured to connect the device to a charger.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a single button interface.
  • In some embodiments, the viscous vaporizable material is in a removable pod. In some embodiments, the removable pod comprises particles of the viscous vaporizable material that are less than about 2 microns. In some embodiments, the removable pod comprises the viscous vaporizable material consisting essentially of particle sizes that are less than about 2 microns.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece 110; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator, and a single button interface. An exemplary device 100 is illustrated in FIG. 9 comprising a single button interface 102 for on, off, wake from sleep mechanism and a heater circuit (105, tail shown) soldered to a PCB 104 and a battery 103 (e.g., a LiPo battery). As shown in FIG. 9, body outer halves 101 snap together to hold and protect the device. In some instances, the outer body is molded as one part. In some embodiments, the single button interface that provides mechanism for on, off and wake from sleep. In other embodiments, additional buttons are included for any of these functions. For example, pressing the single button for 1 second turns the device on. Continuing to hold the button for 5 seconds disables the motion-based low power standby and automatic shut-down. Alternatively, a second button may be used to disable the motion-based low power standby and and/or shut-down. If a user does not want the device to cool down while resting on a table, e.g., they can use this override. In some embodiments, upon power-up, if the single button is depressed for a very long period (>10 seconds), the device turns off again. This is to prevent inadvertent activation while in a purse, etc. While on, pressing the button momentarily turns it off. In some embodiments, a single or more than one button could report battery level (via LED blinks, for instance), change operating temperature of the device, or change the nominal intensity of the LED(s)—if the user is in a dark environment and does not want the light to be distracting. These various features could be triggered with one or more buttons or with the same button by pressing it for a prescribed duration or number of presses. Thus, a single button interface may include a single button that is configured to be pressed to begin heating, select a heating temperature, and turn off heating.
  • As described herein, an electronic heater comprises a heater circuit, an oven and a printed circuit board to heat a viscous vaporizable material to a generate an inhalable aerosol. The heater circuit may be flexible. In some embodiments, flexible heater circuits are typically etched from a copper- or constantan-clad polyimide film. In some embodiments, a flexible heater is constructed by stamping (die-cutting) a thin sheet of constantan or copper. In this case, the heater circuit would have to be electrically insulated from adjacent conductive elements in the assembly, using polyimide or other suitable insulation that is stable at elevated temperatures. The heater circuit heats the attached oven which then heats the cartridge or active substance by thermal conduction. The resistive heater circuit heats up as current passes through it. Heat is then conducted from the circuit to the oven walls. Thermal conduction continues from the oven walls into the cartridge or active substance. Note that heat also transfers from the oven walls into the active substance or cartridge via convection and radiation, but most transfer occurs via conduction,
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises more than one button interface for on, off, wake from sleep mechanism and a heater circuit soldered to a PCB.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator, and time or sensor based standby activation configured to conserve battery power. In some embodiments, the device comprises time or sensor based standby activation to conserve battery power. This may also or alternatively be called a standby mode. The standby mode may also or alternatively be called sleep, or sleep mode. After non-use based on time, movement or lack thereof, position (e.g. vertical), or placement in a charging cradle, or after any combination of any of these, the device is programmed to convert to sleep mode (standby mode), in order to conserve battery power, at least. The device may be awoken from this standby or sleep mode by a change in any of: movement (e.g. horizontal from vertical, vertical from horizontal, or movement indicating the user has picked up the device), removal from the charging cradle, user touch, the user puffing on the device, or activation by pressing any button on the device (or any combinations thereof). After an extended period in standby mode, the device will turn off, to be awoken and/or turned on by the user pressing the button on the device, in some embodiments, or by the user puffing on the device. In such an embodiment, simply moving the device or removing it from its charging cradle will not activate the device once turned off. In other embodiments, moving the device or removing it from its charging cradle does turn on the device from off or standby mode.
  • In some embodiments, standby mode conserves battery power by lowering the regulation temperature of the device. For example, a large portion of the heat generated by the device is lost to the environment, whether or not the user is puffing on it. So maximizing the time the device spends in standby, and minimizing the internal temperature while it's in standby conserve power. However, when the device awakes from standby, it is desirable for it to return to the main operating temperature as quickly as possible, so as to give the impression of an uninterrupted puffing experience to the user. So a balance must be established. For example, on the current electronic cartridge-based device, the main operating temperature is 165° C., and standby temperature is 150° C. This temperature difference is slight enough that if the user wakes the device from standby, by the time the user starts puffing, the heater has had enough time to raise the temperature and the user perceives little or no interruption in production of vapor. In some embodiments, the temperature difference is set to be 30° C., 25° C., 20° C., 15° C., 10° C., or 5° C. between the main operating temperature and standby temperature. In some embodiments, the temperature difference is set to be any temperature from 30° C. to 5° C. between the main operating temperature and standby temperature.
  • In some embodiments, the battery is a disposable battery. In other embodiments, the battery is a rechargeable battery. In certain embodiments, the rechargeable battery is a lead-acid, nickel cadmium (NiCd), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion (Li-ion), lithium ion polymer (Li-ion polymer or LiPo), or the like.
  • A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or accumulator is a type of electrical battery. It comprises one or more electrochemical cells, and is a type of energy accumulator. It is known as a secondary cell because its electrochemical reactions are electrically reversible. Rechargeable batteries come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from button cells to megawatt systems connected to stabilize an electrical distribution network. Several different combinations of chemicals are commonly used, including: lead-acid, nickel cadmium (NiCd), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion (Li-ion), and lithium ion polymer (Li-ion polymer, Li-poly, Li-Pol, LiPo, LIP, PLI or LiP).
  • The device is capable of creating temperatures high enough to aerosolize a product contained within the device. An exemplary device can comprise a mouthpiece and a body having a heater, an oven chamber, a LiPo battery, and a controller for maintaining the operating temperature. A user-selected temperature, as described above, could be used as an input to this system. In some embodiments, the temperature could be pre-set. Examples of operating temperature regulators of a device include a bimetallic actuator. Alternatively, a system could be employed to measure the current temperature, for example, with a thermocouple sensor and compare it to a prescribed temperature, for example, with a micro-controller, and by controlling an electromechanical valve, for example, servo or solenoid valve. A user-selected temperature, as described above, the selected temperature could be used as an input to this system. Typically, the operating temperatures of the device are no more than 200° C.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator, and a temperature control loop. In certain embodiments provide the heater with soldered thermistor element for control loop. In certain embodiments, the device comprises a PID (proportional integral derivative) control loop to control operating temperature. The control loop serves to precisely regulate the desired setpoint temperature for the device. Depending on the design and intended use of the device, the set point temperature, in some embodiments, is fixed; in other embodiments, the set point temperature is user-selectable. The set point can also change dynamically during device operation. For example, in standby mode the set point is lowered a certain amount. In some embodiments, the input for the control loop is typically a thermistor, located on or adjacent to the heater circuit. This thermistor leads to a microcontroller which makes A/D measurements and the resulting value is used in calculating the PID control variable. The control variable then sets the duty cycle (and resulting power output) of the heater circuit.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater comprising a heater circuit within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator; wherein the heater circuit has low resistance such that a single battery is capable of powering the device. In some embodiments, the heater circuit is of such low resistance that a single battery may be used to power the device. In some embodiments, the heater circuit resistance is chosen such that the power output of the heater circuit is high enough to reach the desired operating temperature, within an acceptable heat-up period, and such that it can withstand the loading of the system by a user puffing on the device. A rough calculation is provided by the relation: R=V̂2/P, where V is the battery voltage under load, P is the desired wattage of the heater, and R is the heater circuit resistance.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a battery; a temperature regulator; wherein the electronic heater is sealed by a hermetic or dust seal. As illustrated in FIG. 10, an exemplary device 200 comprises a thin-walled stainless steel tube 210 perforated the sealed lid of the capsule (i.e., a pod). The thin-walled stainless steel tube 210 (e.g. a metallic “oven”) in the illustrated device is thermal pressed (e.g., heat staked or swaged), ultrasonic bonded or over-molded into a high temperature capable plastic component. The processes create a hermetic or dust seal (air-tight seal) 240,which prevents environmental dust from entering the internal chambers of the device, as well as any dust from the internal insulation materials from escaping the device and entering the heating chamber. The plastic component may comprise any thermoplastic materials that provide high temperature stability. In some embodiments, the plastic component comprises polyphenylene sulfide (PPS, trade name Ryton), polyetherimide (PEI, trade name Ultem), liquid crystal polymer (LCP), or the like. In certain embodiments, the plastic component comprises PPS. PPS is used also for its general good moldability.
  • In certain embodiments, the oven is heat staked or heat swaged into a high temperature capable plastic component. As referring herein, with heat swaging, material is formed all the way around the perimeter of the mating edge. With heat staking, there would have a few posts of the thermoplastic that insert through holes in the formed metal oven, and then the posts are heated to form “rivets” of a sort). In certain embodiments, the oven is heat swaged into a high temperature capable plastic component. In some embodiments, the oven is bonded to the plastic component using adhesive. In certain embodiments, the adhesive is stable at high temperatures, such that the adhesive is not soften or off-gas. In some embodiments, the oven is joined to the plastic component by mechanical mechanism, such as using a crimp threaded connection, press fit, or the like. For any mechanical joining, in some embodiments, an o-ring is used between the two components to ensure the dust seal is created. It is important to minimize the thermal transfer at this junction, since that's how a lot of heat is transferred to the outer casing of the device (and thus, lost to the environment).
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator and an aerogel insulation. In some embodiment the aerogel insulation is an aerogel blanket. In some embodiments, the device comprises an insulation chamber 220 that includes an aerogel blanket (not shown in FIG. 10, see FIG. 13) to maintain efficiency and low exposed surface temperature. In some embodiments, the aerogel may be a silica aerogel with reinforcing fibers (e.g., Pyrogel 2250 flexible aerogel blanket).
  • As provided herein, the term, “aerogel” refers to a synthetic porous material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas. The result is a solid with extremely low density and thermal conductivity. Aerogels are good thermal insulators because they almost nullify the three methods of heat transfer (convection, conduction, and radiation). They are good conductive insulators because they are composed almost entirely from a gas, and gases are very poor heat conductors. Silica aerogel is especially good because silica is also a poor conductor of heat (a metallic aerogel, on the other hand, would be less effective). They are good convective inhibitors because air cannot circulate through the lattice. Silica aerogel is the most common type of aerogel and the most extensively studied and used. It is a silica-based substance, derived from silica gel. Carbon aerogels are composed of particles with sizes in the nanometer range, covalently bonded together. They have very high porosity (over 50%, with pore diameter under 100 nm) and surface areas ranging between 400-1,000 m2/g. Aerogels made with aluminum oxide are known as alumina aerogels. These aerogels are used as catalysts, especially when “doped” with a metal different from Al. Nickel-alumina aerogel is the most common combination.
  • In some embodiments, the device also include two magnets 230 (e.g., gold-plated rare earth magnets, or the like) used as both mechanical attachment and battery charging conduits to a charging cradle (not shown). The magnets need to strong enough to hold the device in place in the charging cradle. In some embodiments, the magnets comprise NdFeB, grade N42. In some embodiments, the magnets have 6128 gauss of surface field. The pod 270 is inserted into the oven, which has a polyimide thin film heater and thermistor applied to its exterior. A polyimide thin film heater is constructed of a thin, high dielectric, lightweight organic polymer film which provides excellent tensile strength, tear resistance and dimensional stability.
  • Thus, provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator and a magnetic charge connector.
  • In some embodiments, the battery used in the device is a single cell LiPo battery (e.g., 18-650 size 2600 mAh lithium ion single cell or 14-650 size 940 mAh lithium ion single cell) for repeated uses of the device. In some embodiments, the battery used for the device is other suitable rechargeable battery with 18-650 size 2600 mAh or 14-650 size 940 mAh. The device can be used for up to 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or more uses (depending what size of the rechargeable battery is employed). In some embodiments, the device can be used for more than 60 uses. The device can also be used for up to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 hours or more of continuous or non-continuous use. A cartridge for use with the device can be disposed after each use or used for multiple uses. The long lasting use of a device provides the user the advantage of not having to service the device or recharge the battery on a regular basis.
  • Typically, the operating temperatures of the device are no more than 200° C. Often the temperature required to aerosolize a product is between about 100 to 200° C. In some embodiments, the temperature required to aerosolize a product is about 150° C. Once the product within the device has been aerosolized, the aerosolized product is provided to a user through a mouthpiece. In many cases, an exemplary device is designed to emulate a smoking device, such as a cigarette, a pipe or a cigar holder.
  • In FIGS. 11A and 11B, the exemplary devices 300 comprises a split mouthpiece (310) design where half is removable and conforms to contour of the device. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece attaches to body with rare earth magnet. In some embodiments, the mouthpiece attaches to body with plastic detent or other mechanism. In FIG. 3B, the pod 370 is shown being inserted into the oven with the mouthpiece 310 detached.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator, wherein the mouthpiece is integrated into the device.
  • In some embodiments, the mouthpiece is integrated into the device with a hinge, or other mechanism (such as a string, or the like). In certain embodiments, the mouthpiece swivels or slides away to reveal the heating chamber. In certain embodiments, the mouthpiece is detached fully from the attachment mechanism for cleaning or replacement but is still linked to the device (“removably captured”). In some embodiments, the device also includes magnetic charge contacts 312 and a tactile button 302 with LED-illuminated “halo” indicator. The indicator reports information about the state of the device. In some embodiments, a saw-tooth pattern indicates that it is heating up. In some embodiments, solid pattern indicates that the set point temperature has been reached and the user can start puffing on the device. If the battery is critically low, in some embodiments, the LED indicator flashes several times (e.g., 5 times) and then the devices turn off. In some embodiments, while shaking the device, the motion sensor detects this and the LED indicates current battery level: for example, 3 flashes for full charge, 2 flashes for partial charge, and 1 flash for low charge. The device then resumes normal operation. When the device is placed in a charge cradle, in some embodiments, a saw-tooth pattern indicates that it is charging. In certain embodiments, when charging is complete, the LED turns solid. In some embodiments, error states can also be reported: if an internal failure is determined, the indicator flashes 10 times and the device turns itself off.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a detachable mouthpiece which can attach and/or insert into a removable pod. The mouthpiece is removed by quarter-turn to expose the removable pod. The removable pod comprises tobacco and/or other botanicals for use to generate an inhalable aerosol. The pod, in some embodiments, comprises particles less than about 2 microns in diameter. In some embodiments also provides vaporization devices for use with a viscous vaporizable material such as loose leaf tobacco and other botanicals (no pods).
  • FIG. 12 demonstrates exemplary devices (400) with a mouthpiece 410 retracted from device with a push-push mechanism. This also turns the devices on via a magnet embedded in the mouthpiece 411, and a hall effect sensor on the PCB. The devices include a LED indicator 460, (or the like) and a single piece extruded aluminum outer body. In some embodiments, the LED indicator is a tri-color (RGB). In some embodiments, the LED indicator displays many colors. For example, when heating, the indicator glows purple. Once the set point temperature is reached, it glows green. When in standby, it glows blue. If the device is shaken, battery indications are 3 blinks, and color determines the charge level: green for full charge, yellow for partial, and red for low. If the mouthpiece is removed fully from the device, the device immediately stops heating and the LED indicates the current user-selectable temperature setting: red for high, orange for medium, yellow for low temperature. Pressing the “temp set button” revealed by removing the mouthpiece cycles the temperature setting in firmware, and the new setting is reflected on the LED. Upon reinserting the mouthpiece, the device returns to normal heating operation. While charging, the LED is solid orange. When charging is complete, it turns solid green. Similar to the other embodiments, the LED can also report error states by flashing and/or distinct color of flashes. The colors described above may be changed to any colors in accordance with the practice of this invention.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a mouthpiece that retracts from said device with a push-push mechanism. In some embodiments, the push-push mechanism also turns the device on via a magnet 514 embedded in the mouthpiece and a hall effect sensor on the PCB (printed circuit board). One of ordinary skill in the art would readily recognize other suitable mechanism to turn the device on with suitable sensor.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; and a temperature regulator; and a push-push mechanism configured to toggle the mouthpiece between a retracted and an “on” position. An internal view of the exemplary device of FIG. 12 is shown in FIG. 13. In such embodiment comprising a push-push mechanism, the device includes a vaporization chamber lid 576 (opposite of the mouthpiece 510). The device comprises a deep-drawn stainless steel heating chamber 524 (“oven”), with polyimide thin film circuit heater applied. A push-push mechanism for retracting mouthpiece consists of compression spring 513, leaf spring 512, and stainless steel tube 511 attached to the mouthpiece 510, with a catch groove 534 and a toggle slider 509. Reed switch/hall effect sensor 533 is incorporated to detect if mouthpiece is inserted (device runs off). To extend the mouthpiece into the “on” position, the user presses on the mouthpiece 510. The mouthpiece is attached to the tube 511, so this action compresses the compression spring 513. This action also causes the leaf spring 512 to flex away from the axis of the tube and onto the outer diameter of the toggle slider 509. When the user then releases the mouthpiece, the compression spring pushes the mouthpiece & tube sub-assembly outward from the device. The angled lip of the leaf spring catches on the toggle slider, causing the slider to traverse the tube until it reaches a shoulder on the tube. At this point, the mouthpiece continues to extend out of the device, and the leaf spring now wipes along the toggle slider and continues along the shoulder of the outer diameter of the tube, which is of equivalent diameter and thus poses no resistance. When the catch groove of the tube intersects with the lip of the leaf spring, the mouthpiece stops, and is now in the extended, “on” position. Pressing the mouthpiece from the “on” position uses the push-push mechanism to move the mouthpiece to a retracted position. The push-push mechanism, thus, is configured to toggle the mouthpiece between an “on” position or an extended position such that the mouthpiece is extended from the body of the device, and a retracted position. In some embodiments, in the retracted position, the mouthpiece is fully within the body of the device. In some embodiments, in the retracted position, the mouthpiece is fully within the body of the device but is exposed at the open end of the device. In some embodiments, in the retracted position, the mouthpiece is substantially within the body of the device such that a portion of the mouthpiece extends beyond the end out of the body of the device.
  • Many devices use a temperature regulation scheme in that the temperature regulator (bimetallic discs or other regulator) are located in close proximity to the area where temperature is most critical (at the oven). See temperature select button 535, PCB 504, O-ring seal 526 to control potential aerogel dusting, and insulation chamber 525 to contain aerogel blanket. Related art has typically located the temperature-sensitive component at the flow valve, which can be easily influenced by the cool temperature of expanding fuel gas and has minimally intimate contact with the vaporizing chamber. Examples of related devices and methods are described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/485,168 (Publication No. US-2007-0283972-A1), U.S. Pat. No. 4,819,665, U.S. Pat. No. 4,793,365, U.S. Pat. No. 5,027,836 and PCT Application Publication No. WO 2006/082571. The regulation scheme of an exemplary device may be tuned to a specific temperature by a simple twist of the oven.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator; and a button-operated temperature selection with a visual indicator, an audible indicator and/or a vibration indicator. In some embodiments, the device comprises a button-operated temperature selection with visual, audible indicator, and/or other sensory output (e.g. vibration). In some embodiments, a tactile (mechanical) switch is used as input to a microcontroller, which, via its software, indicates the change to the user (e.g., by visual LED, audible, vibration, or the like), and changes the set point temperature of the device. The switch can also be capacitive, resistive, or the like.
  • In some embodiments, the vaporization device comprises a thin wall metal heating chamber (or oven chamber). Thin walls allow for low thermal mass and thus fast startup. When the device use the viscous vaporizable material directly without including them in a pod (or a cartridge), the terms, “heating chamber”, “oven chamber” and “vaporization chamber” are used interchangeably. For the device including a pod or a cartridge, the terms, “heating chamber” and “oven chamber” are used interchangeably. In general, as shown in FIGS. 2, 10 and 13, the oven is configured to fit within the housing (and fits within the housing). As shown in these figures, the oven may be adjacent to the mouthpiece or on an opposite side of the elongate body from the mouthpiece.
  • Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; a vaporization chamber; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator; and a magnetic lid configured to cover the vaporization chamber. In the exemplary devices 600 of FIG. 14, an exemplary magnetically-attached vaporization chamber lid 676 is shown. The lid 676 is nominally recessed entirely into the body of the device. This is to prevent inadvertent removal of the lid in the user's pocket, purse, etc. To remove the lid, the user presses a finger against one side of the oval-shaped lid. The underside of the lid is chamfered, such that this allows the opposite side of the lid to pivot up. Two rare earth magnets are embedded on either side of the lid, along its short axis. Two mating magnets are embedded in the body of the device at corresponding points. These magnets together form a “hinge” around which the lid can swivel 678. Once the lid is swiveled up, it is relatively easy to overcome the magnetic force and remove the lid entirely, allowing access to the vaporization chamber. In some embodiments, the vaporization chamber lid is attached by other mechanism such as screw-on, a snap on, or the like. Thus, in some embodiments, the devices comprise a tilting lid using magnetic or snap attachments for the lid to stay in its closed position to prevent accidental opening. Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a temperature regulator; and a tilting lid comprising a magnetic attachment 677 or a snap attachment 679 configured to maintain the lid in its closed position and/or configured to prevent accidental opening. In FIG. 14, the elongate body of the device is cylindrical and has an oval cross-section, as shown.
  • One of ordinary skill in the art would readily employ energy supply sources to charge battery. For example, in FIG. 15, a USB charger 724 with a USB charge cable 734 are shown. In some embodiments, the energy supply source is a wall mount charger. In some embodiments, the energy supply source is a car charger. In some embodiments, the energy supply source is a portable charger. In certain embodiments, the energy supply sources include solar powered, wind powered or other green energy powered chargers.
  • In some embodiments, the device comprises a thermally conductive shell to distribute excess heat and maintain low exposed surface temperature. In some embodiments, the thermally conductive shell is made of materials having low specific heat but high thermal conductivity. In some embodiments, the configuration of materials in the thermally conductive shell is such that the temperature of the shell is below 140 degrees F., below 130 degrees F., below 120 degrees F., below 110 degrees F., below 100 degrees F., at or below 140 degrees F., at or below 130 degrees F., at or below 120 degrees F., at or below 110 degrees F., at or below 100 degrees F., at or below 98.6 degrees F., at or below 90 degrees F., at or about room temperature, at or below about 140 degrees F., at or below about 140 degrees F., at or below about 130 degrees F., at or below about 120 degrees F., at or below about 110 degrees F., at or below about 100 degrees F., at or below a temperature at which skin will burn after 2 seconds of touch, at or below a temperature at which skin will burn after 5 seconds of touch, at or below a temperature at which skin will burn after 10 seconds of touch, and/or about at room temperature. This combination means heat will spread quickly, but when held there is not much energy to be absorbed into the hand. In some embodiments, the thermally conductive shell is made of aluminum, or the like. Provided herein is a device for generating an inhalable aerosol comprising: a mouthpiece; a body; an electronic heater within said body configured to heat a viscous vaporizable material and generate an inhalable aerosol; a thermally conductive shell configured to distribute excess heat and maintain a low exposed surface temperature; and a temperature regulator.
  • The internals view of the exemplary device charged by a USB charger is shown in FIG. 16. The device includes a charger base 827 (an exemplary USB charger) comprising a rare earth magnet charge base interface 824. The battery 803 (e.g., a Li-ion battery) is charged with the help of a flex PCB 804 continues down to make contact with battery terminal Also shown for the device are button 802, accelerometer 816, aerogel 814 and thermistor 815 to monitor and precisely control vaporization temperature. The mouthpiece is attached to the body from points 844 and 845. Various embodiments of mouthpiece as described herein or known to one of ordinary skilled in the art may be used.
  • Any material that is capable of being aerosolized and inhaled by a user may be incorporated into a device or cartridge of the devices described herein, as would be obvious to one skilled in the art. It is of particular interest that the material provides an experience to the user either in terms of tactile response in the respiratory tract, or in terms of visual feedback regarding the exhalation of the inhaled material. For example, many materials have be contemplated for use with the present invention including, but not limited to, those containing tobacco, natural or artificial flavorants, coffee grounds or coffee beans, mint, chamomile, lemon, honey, tea leaves, cocoa, and other non-tobacco alternatives based on other botanicals. A device or cartridge can also be compatible for use with pharmaceutical compounds or synthetic compounds, either for pharmaceutical or pleasurable use. Any such compound which can be vaporized (or volatized) at a relatively low temperature and without harmful degradation products can be suitable for use with a cartridge or device. Examples of compounds include, but are not limited to, menthol, caffeine, taurine, and nicotine.
  • Active elements contained in botanicals vaporize at different temperatures. The device can be calibrated to establish a single stable temperature, intended for vaporizing specific products, for example. A controller can also be used to select a variety of temperature settings. The user would choose which setting based on the type of cartridge used. The controller can also affect a desired temperature mechanically, such as by changing flow rate of the valve, or electronically, such as by electromechanical valve and microcontroller intermediary. For example, to change the operating temperature of a device, the oven chamber can be moved in respect to the temperature regulator, such as bimetallic discs.
  • Here, tobacco or tobacco material is defined as any combination of natural and synthetic material that can be vaporized for pleasure or medicinal use. In one embodiment, a cartridge can be prepared using cured tobacco, glycerin, and flavorings. Those skilled in the art of tobacco product manufacture are familiar with these and other ingredients used for cigarettes, cigars, and the like. The cartridge can be produced by chopping tobacco into fine pieces (for example, less than 2 mm diameter, preferably less than 1 mm), adding the other ingredients, and mixing until even consistency was achieved. In another embodiment, a cartridge can be prepared by processing the fill material into an even paste-like consistency (for example, particle size less than 1 mm), which facilitates the processing of filling the cartridge, for example, by use of an auger filler, peristaltic pump or a piston pump.
  • Preferably the material for use with a device as described herein or contained within a cartridge as described herein comprises at least one of a vapor-forming medium and a medium for providing a tactile response in a respiratory tract of a user. The aerosolized product from the material inserted into a device can be a combination of vapor phase gases as well as small droplets which have condensed out of vapor phase and remain suspended in the gas/air mixture (the latter constitutes the visible portion of the inhaled substance).
  • Propylene glycol (PG), glycerin, or a combination of both can be used as vapor-forming medium. Other vapor-forming media can be used with a cartridge and device as described herein. The vapor-forming medium serves to produce a visual vapor, such as a smoke-like vapor, when heated. This vapor can be visualized both before inhalation and during exhalation of the medium. PG has some advantages as compared to glycerin alone, as it exhibits a much higher vapor pressure at equivalent temperature and allows the device to operate at a lower temperature. Reducing the operating temperature conserves energy, and potentially can further improve the health benefits of using this system.
  • The user is prevented from touching the hot internal elements by surrounding insulating features. An exemplary device can include insulation for keeping the user from contacting the necessarily hot portion of the device. While greater thermal insulating ability is preferable so that the device performs with the best efficiency possible, an important aspect for the user is to perceive a relatively cool surface temperature. Various strategies can be employed to address the perception of the user regarding the temperature of the device. The device may be wrapped in a thermal insulating material that has enough durability for external use. Materials for this purpose have low thermal conductivity and low thermal capacity (specific heat). The combination of these properties can allow little heat to be transferred to the fingers of the user. Examples of materials with low thermal conductivity and capacity include some polymers and ceramics. A separate strategy is to use standoff features that keep the user from touching the higher temperature area directly. This can also minimize the contact area of the user's fingers and the device to additionally reduce perceived heat. The thermal conductivity and specific heat of the standoff features should be as low as possible.
  • Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described herein, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that such embodiments are provided by way of example only. Numerous variations, changes, and substitutions will now occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. It should be understood that various alternatives to the embodiments of the invention described herein can be employed in practicing the invention. It is intended that the following claims define the scope of the invention and that methods and structures within the scope of these claims and their equivalents be covered thereby.
  • When a feature or element is herein referred to as being “on” another feature or element, it can be directly on the other feature or element or intervening features and/or elements may also be present. In contrast, when a feature or element is referred to as being “directly on” another feature or element, there are no intervening features or elements present. It will also be understood that, when a feature or element is referred to as being “connected”, “attached” or “coupled” to another feature or element, it can be directly connected, attached or coupled to the other feature or element or intervening features or elements may be present. In contrast, when a feature or element is referred to as being “directly connected”, “directly attached” or “directly coupled” to another feature or element, there are no intervening features or elements present. Although described or shown with respect to one embodiment, the features and elements so described or shown can apply to other embodiments. It will also be appreciated by those of skill in the art that references to a structure or feature that is disposed “adjacent” another feature may have portions that overlap or underlie the adjacent feature.
  • Terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. For example, as used herein, the singular forms “a”, “an” and “the” are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms “comprises” and/or “comprising,” when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof. As used herein, the term “and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items and may be abbreviated as “/”.
  • Spatially relative terms, such as “under”, “below”, “lower”, “over”, “upper” and the like, may be used herein for ease of description to describe one element or feature's relationship to another element(s) or feature(s) as illustrated in the figures. It will be understood that the spatially relative terms are intended to encompass different orientations of the device in use or operation in addition to the orientation depicted in the figures. For example, if a device in the figures is inverted, elements described as “under” or “beneath” other elements or features would then be oriented “over” the other elements or features. Thus, the exemplary term “under” can encompass both an orientation of over and under. The device may be otherwise oriented (rotated 90 degrees or at other orientations) and the spatially relative descriptors used herein interpreted accordingly. Similarly, the terms “upwardly”, “downwardly”, “vertical”, “horizontal” and the like are used herein for the purpose of explanation only unless specifically indicated otherwise.
  • Although the terms “first” and “second” may be used herein to describe various features/elements (including steps), these features/elements should not be limited by these terms, unless the context indicates otherwise. These terms may be used to distinguish one feature/element from another feature/element. Thus, a first feature/element discussed below could be termed a second feature/element, and similarly, a second feature/element discussed below could be termed a first feature/element without departing from the teachings of the present invention.
  • Throughout this specification and the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise”, and variations such as “comprises” and “comprising” means various components can be co-jointly employed in the methods and articles (e.g., compositions and apparatuses including device and methods). For example, the term “comprising” will be understood to imply the inclusion of any stated elements or steps but not the exclusion of any other elements or steps.
  • As used herein in the specification and claims, including as used in the examples and unless otherwise expressly specified, all numbers may be read as if prefaced by the word “about” or “approximately,” even if the term does not expressly appear. The phrase “about” or “approximately” may be used when describing magnitude and/or position to indicate that the value and/or position described is within a reasonable expected range of values and/or positions. For example, a numeric value may have a value that is +/−0.1% of the stated value (or range of values), +/−1% of the stated value (or range of values), +/−2% of the stated value (or range of values), +/−5% of the stated value (or range of values), +/−10% of the stated value (or range of values), etc. Any numerical values given herein should also be understood to include about or approximately that value, unless the context indicates otherwise. For example, if the value “10” is disclosed, then “about 10” is also disclosed. Any numerical range recited herein is intended to include all sub-ranges subsumed therein. It is also understood that when a value is disclosed that “less than or equal to” the value, “greater than or equal to the value” and possible ranges between values are also disclosed, as appropriately understood by the skilled artisan. For example, if the value “X” is disclosed the “less than or equal to X” as well as “greater than or equal to X” (e.g., where X is a numerical value) is also disclosed. It is also understood that the throughout the application, data is provided in a number of different formats, and that this data, represents endpoints and starting points, and ranges for any combination of the data points. For example, if a particular data point “10” and a particular data point “15” are disclosed, it is understood that greater than, greater than or equal to, less than, less than or equal to, and equal to 10 and 15 are considered disclosed as well as between 10 and 15. It is also understood that each unit between two particular units are also disclosed. For example, if 10 and 15 are disclosed, then 11, 12, 13, and 14 are also disclosed.
  • Although various illustrative embodiments are described above, any of a number of changes may be made to various embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as described by the claims. For example, the order in which various described method steps are performed may often be changed in alternative embodiments, and in other alternative embodiments one or more method steps may be skipped altogether. Optional features of various device and system embodiments may be included in some embodiments and not in others. Therefore, the foregoing description is provided primarily for exemplary purposes and should not be interpreted to limit the scope of the invention as it is set forth in the claims.
  • The examples and illustrations included herein show, by way of illustration and not of limitation, specific embodiments in which the subject matter may be practiced. As mentioned, other embodiments may be utilized and derived there from, such that structural and logical substitutions and changes may be made without departing from the scope of this disclosure. Such embodiments of the inventive subject matter may be referred to herein individually or collectively by the term “invention” merely for convenience and without intending to voluntarily limit the scope of this application to any single invention or inventive concept, if more than one is, in fact, disclosed. Thus, although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, any arrangement calculated to achieve the same purpose may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown. This disclosure is intended to cover any and all adaptations or variations of various embodiments. Combinations of the above embodiments, and other embodiments not specifically described herein, will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the above description.

Claims (19)

What is claimed is:
1. A portable device for generating an inhalable vapor from a botanical material, the device comprising:
a body;
a vaporization chamber within the body that is configured to hold a vaporizable material therein;
a heater within the body, wherein the heater is configured to heat the vaporizable material in the vaporization chamber by convection to generate an inhalable vapor;
a window through the body, wherein the window is configured to allow a user to see a glow of the heater through the window to indicate that the heater has been activated; and
one or more light-emitting diodes (LEDs) configured to indicate that the portable device is heating and ready to use.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the body comprises a cover configured to cover the vaporization chamber.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the window comprises a slot through the body.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the heater comprises a battery-powered electric heater.
5. The device of claim 1, further comprising a mouthpiece and an air inlet that is configured so that when the user draws on the mouthpiece, air enters through the air inlet and mixes with the inhalable vapor and is delivered to the user via an inhalation passage through the mouthpiece.
6. The device of claim 1, further comprising a removable mouthpiece.
7. The device of claim 1, further comprising a control configured to allow the user to select from a variety of temperature settings.
8. The device of claim 1, wherein the one or more LEDs is further configured to indicate that the vaporization chamber is below operating temperature, has reached the selected operating temperature, and/or is over the selected operating temperature.
9. The device of claim 1, further comprising a ceramic or glass material within the body for insulation to prevent thermal transfer to the body.
10. The device of claim 1, wherein the vaporization chamber is configured for use without a cartridge or wrapper covering the vapor-forming material.
11. A portable device for generating an inhalable vapor from a botanical material, the device comprising:
an elongate body;
a mouthpiece having an inhalation passage;
a vaporization chamber within the body that is configured to hold a vaporizable material therein;
a heater within the body, wherein the heater is configured to heat the vaporizable material in the vaporization chamber by convection to generate an inhalable vapor;
a window through the body, wherein the window is configured to allow a user to see a glow of the heater through the window to indicate that the heater has been activated;
an air inlet, configured so that when the user draws on the device, air enters through the air inlet mixes with the inhalable vapor and is delivered to the user via the inhalation passage; and
one or more light-emitting diodes configured to indicate the heating status of the vaporization chamber.
12. The device of claim 11, wherein the body comprises a cover configured to cover the vaporization chamber.
13. The device of claim 11, wherein the window comprises a slot through the body.
14. The device of claim 11, wherein the heater comprises a battery-powered electric heater.
15. The device of claim 11, wherein the mouthpiece is removable.
16. The device of claim 11, further comprising a control configured to allow the user to select from a variety of temperature settings.
17. The device of claim 11, wherein the one or more LEDs is further configured to indicate that the vaporization chamber is below operating temperature, has reached the selected operating temperature, and/or is over the selected operating temperature.
18. The device of claim 11, further comprising a ceramic or glass material within the body for insulation to prevent thermal transfer to the body.
19. The device of claim 11, wherein the vaporization chamber is configured for use without a cartridge or wrapper covering the vapor-forming material.
US15/165,972 2005-07-19 2016-05-26 Portable devices for generating an inhalable vapor Pending US20160345631A1 (en)

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US70010505P true 2005-07-19 2005-07-19
US11/485,168 US9675109B2 (en) 2005-07-19 2006-07-11 Method and system for vaporization of a substance
US201161524308P true 2011-08-16 2011-08-16
US13/587,416 US9408416B2 (en) 2011-08-16 2012-08-16 Low temperature electronic vaporization device and methods
US13/837,438 US20130312742A1 (en) 2011-08-16 2013-03-15 Low temperature electronic vaporization device and methods
US14/578,193 US20150150308A1 (en) 2005-07-19 2014-12-19 Method and system for vaporization of a substance
US15/165,972 US20160345631A1 (en) 2005-07-19 2016-05-26 Portable devices for generating an inhalable vapor

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