Patent application title: MULTIPURPOSE HEAD COVERING
Elliot Lyle Frank (Alexandria, VA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA42B106FI
Class name: Guard or protector for wearer's head including energy-absorbing means
Publication date: 2008-10-16
Patent application number: 20080250547
An apparatus that may be worn on the head extending from the top of the
wearer's head down past their eyes in order to provide at least light
screening. The apparatus may further include a substantially arc-shaped
inset region configured to allow the nose of the wearer to protrude and
not be covered by the apparatus, as well as one or more cushioning
components that may be oriented circumferentially around the apparatus to
provide comfort and protection for the head of the wearer when napping.
Other configurations include features that may block sound and/or light
from the wearer, as well as provide relief for physical ailments.
1. An apparatus, comprising:a head-covering component, the head covering
component extending from the top of the head down past the eye area of a
wearer to block at least ambient light;the head-covering component
including a substantially arc-shaped inset region, the substantially
arc-shaped inset region configured to allow the nose of the wearer to
protrude out of the apparatus; andthe head-covering component further
including one or more cushioning components, the cushioning components
being configured to circumferentially surround the head-covering
component in order to provide cushioning to the head of the wearer.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising sound-dampening components coupled to, or formed within, the head-covering component and located proximate to a wearer's ears.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a semi-rigid insert, the semi-rigid insert being composed of at least a flexible material that returns to an original configuration after being manipulated, and is located within the thickness of the head-covering component adjacent to the substantially arc-shaped inset region.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a retention device coupled to the head-covering component, the retention device configured to retain the lower extremity of the head covering component when worn in a rolled-up configuration.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cushioning components are formed by dividing the head-covering component into sections that are filled with a shock-absorbing material.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cushioning components are filled with a shock-absorbing material and are formed separately from the head-covering component.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cushioning components are filled with solid filler material.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cushioning components are filled with a fluid filler material, the fluid filler material including at least one of a liquid or a gas.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least some of the head-covering component is comprised of a plurality of coupled cushioning components.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the cushioning components are coupled together in fluid communication through one or more ports formed between the plurality of cushioning components, the ports being configured to allow a fluid to pass from one cushioning component to another cushioning component.
11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein at least one of the plurality of cushioning components includes an access port, the access port being configured to allow the fluid to and from the apparatus.
12. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising a circulation device coupled to at least one cushioning component of the plurality of cushioning components, the circulation device including at least a pump, a temperature control and one or more control switches.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising receptacles formed in the head-covering component located adjacent to the substantially arc-shaped inset region.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the receptacles are pockets formed in the head-covering component, the pockets being configured to receive a heat or cold source.
15. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a heat or cold source imbedded in the thickness of the head-covering adjacent to the substantially arc-shaped inset region.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a timer coupled to the head-covering component, the timer being configured to count down from a predetermined time and sound an alarm when the predetermined time has expired.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the timer further includes an interface usable to set the predetermined time and start/reset the timer.
18. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising electronic sound deadening components coupled to the head-covering component and located adjacent to the ears of the wearer, the electronic sound deadening components being configured to actively cancel out environmental noise.
19. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising sound reproduction components coupled to the head-covering component and located adjacent to the ears of the wearer, the sound reproduction components being configured to further couple to an electronic multimedia device.
20. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an ocular port coupled to the head-covering component, the ocular port being tinted and located adjacent to the substantially arc-shaped inset region.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
1. Field of Invention
The present invention relates to an apparatus that covers a wearers head, and more specifically, to a head covering apparatus including features which may allow the wearer to nap or sleep by blocking disturbances such as light and noise in the surrounding environment.
2. Description of Prior Art
People are very busy in modern society. Work and family responsibilities often require a large amount of time spent in motion. This travel may consist of local travel, for example, via public transportation to a place of employment, or long distance travel, such as on an airplane, bus, train, etc. Regardless of the specific mode of conveyance, local or long distance travel consumes substantial spans of time that are continuing to expand. For instance, more and more people are being forced to move out of major cities due to escalating housing costs. The resulting daily travel time needed to commute to and from work then becomes longer, requiring employees to wake up earlier in the morning and arrive home later at night. Further, as business continues to become more global, international travel has evolved into a regular requirement, which may necessitate traveling for extended periods of time, followed by long return trips.
Time spent traveling may be utilized in a variety of ways. Some employees may use this time to catch up on work. Some people read or do puzzles. However, a large segment of the populace uses this time to try and recover some of the sleep forfeited in order to make the trip. Many people are not able to get at least eight hours of sleep a night due to the requirements of work and family, and as a result, may try to supplement their sleep on public transportation.
Sleeping on public transportation (e.g., a commuter train) may be a difficult task. The seats may not be conducive to finding a comfortable position. For example, a passenger his/her their head on a window or wall may find it cold and unsanitary, not to mention the fact that this sort of transportation (as well as buses, planes, trains, etc.) are necessarily well lit, which may be annoying to someone trying to nap. Further, passengers traveling in public transportation may be injured when unexpected bumps are encountered, as their heads could bounce against a window, wall, etc. against which they are leaning. The impact of these exemplary environmental disturbances may be multiplied for those who suffer from medical conditions such as chronic migraine headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, sinus pain or even a hangover.
During long-distance travel, for instance, if a long layover is involved or if a traveler gets stuck at a transportation terminal due to situations such as bad weather or airplane malfunction, it may be impossible for some passengers to nap in a frenetic and well-lit terminal. Further, when the traveler finally reaches their destination they may want to take a nap due to being exhausted from travel or needing to refresh before an event, meeting, etc. This may be difficult in the case of international travel because it may still be early in the day at the traveler's destination. Light and or disturbances caused by daily activities may be prohibitive to sleep. People may also be affected by travel due to circumstances surrounding jet-lag. This situation may involve headaches, dizziness, nausea, etc., and sleep alone may not resolve the problem.
What is therefore needed is an apparatus that may be worn by a person in order to provide a personal environment that may be conducive to relaxation (e.g., napping or sleeping), regardless of environment disturbances. This apparatus should be configurable with features usable during casual wear (e.g., for keeping the wearer's head warm), for use during napping in a public place, and may also include features to help alleviate physical ailments (e.g., headaches).
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
The present invention includes at least an apparatus that may be worn on the head. The apparatus, in at least one configuration, may extend from the top of the wearer's head down past the eye area in order to provide at least light screening. The apparatus may further include a substantially arc-shaped inset region configured to allow the nose of the wearer to protrude and not be covered by the apparatus, as well as one or more cushioning components that may be oriented circumferentially around the apparatus to provide comfort and protection for the head of the wearer when napping. The apparatus may also include ear components to screen out noise.
The apparatus, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention, may further incorporate a semi-rigid insert adjacent to the substantially arc-shaped inset region. This semi-rigid insert may be utilized to provide better light and noise screening, as well as to facilitate easy folding and storage of the lower extremity of the apparatus up so that it may be worn like a normal hat. The one or more cushioning components may be constructed in a variety of configurations. For example, the cushioning components may be filled with a solid or fluid shock absorbing material. In the case of a fluid filling, the cushioning components may be coupled together by holes or ports in order to provide fluid communication. At least a pump, temperature control device and power source may further be incorporated in the worn apparatus to both circulate the fluid in the cushioning components and control the temperature of this fluid. In this manner, the one or more cushioning components may be maintained at a designated temperature to provide, for example, therapeutic relief for a physical ailment such as a headache.
In further exemplary configurations, the apparatus may include receptacles located adjacent to the substantially arc-shaped inset region. These receptacles may retain, for example, removable heat or cold sources for treating physical ailments. A similar heat or cold source may also be imbedded in the device. Other implementations of the present invention may include features related to audio or visual enhancements. For example, a snooze alarm may allow a user to rest for a specific set amount of time, active (electronic) sound deadening may further reduce environmental noise that otherwise might disturb a wearer, and may also provide a sound interface for listening to a multimedia player. An ocular port may further be included in the apparatus so that light may be partially suppressed while still allowing the wearer to see.
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
The invention will be further understood from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment, taken in conjunction with appended drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 discloses an example configuration for a worn apparatus in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 discloses the exemplary worn apparatus of FIG. 1 being applied in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 discloses an exemplary structural diagram for a worn apparatus in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 discloses an alternative operational mode for the worn apparatus of FIG. 1 in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 discloses an exemplary diagram of an alternative structural configuration for a worn apparatus in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 discloses an exemplary diagram of an alternative structural configuration for a worn apparatus in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 discloses an exemplary configuration for a worn apparatus including a temperature control system in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 discloses an exemplary configuration for a worn apparatus including receptacles in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 discloses an exemplary configuration for a worn apparatus including at least one insert in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 10 discloses an exemplary configuration for a worn apparatus including at least one snooze timer in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 11 discloses an exemplary configuration for a worn apparatus including audio and visual related features in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
While the invention has been described in preferred embodiments, various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as described in the appended claims.
The present invention, in accordance with at least one embodiment, is directed to apparel that may be worn on the head. FIG. 1 discloses an exemplary configuration of apparatus 100. Apparatus 100 may be worn on the head, for example like a winter hat. Apparatus 100 may include at least a substantially arc-shaped inset region 102 and one or more cushioning components 104. Cushioning components 104 may be configured to circumferentially wrap around apparatus 100 provide impact protection and comfort for the head of the wearer. Sound deadening components 106 may also be included in apparatus 100 to reduce background noise.
Now referring to FIG. 2, an exemplary application of apparatus 100 to the head of a wearer in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention is now disclosed. Apparatus 100 is shown placed on the head of wearer 200 extending from the top of the head down past eye level in order to shield the eyes of wearer 200 from ambient light. Cushioning components 104 surrounding apparatus 100 may provide comfort and protect wearer 200 from dirt and/or germs on the windows and/or walls of public transportation, as well as absorbing unexpected impacts. For example, a person riding on a commuter train may wear apparatus 200 while resting and lean against a wall or window. If the train experiences any bumps or other unexpected motion, then cushioning components 104 may protect wearer 200 from any injury, and further, help ensure that wearer 200 may maintain his/her nap until it is time to exit the train.
Apparatus 100 may be constructed from any pliable fabric or material. For example, a soft and comfortable material traditionally used in apparel would be appropriate given the possible applications for apparatus 100. Knits, weaves, fabrics and felts composed of natural and/or man-made fibers may deliver the combination of durability, opaqueness and comfort required for apparatus 100. In addition, emerging materials like plastics and fleece blends, such as the fleece material brand named Polartech® may be utilized alone or in combination to construct the various components comprising and/or integrated within apparatus 100. More specifically, some components that may be integrated into apparatus 100 may require materials with certain physical properties (e.g., the ability to retain fluid), and therefore, these components may be constructed of special materials different from the body of apparatus 100.
Now referring to FIG. 3, an exemplary sectional view that transects a side wall of apparatus 100 is disclosed. Cushioning component 104 is shown as an assembly that is separate from, but coupled to, the side wall of apparatus 100. However, cushioning component 104 is not limited to this recited configuration. The shock absorbing regions may be formed via a number of different manufacturing methods. For example, if the inside and outside side walls of apparatus 100 form an interior hollow space as shown in FIG. 3, a seam may first be placed between the inside and outside layers to form one closed side of cushioning component 104, which may then be followed by the insertion of a shock absorbing material. This material may similar to the fill used in making pillows, and therefore, may include such materials as goose down, cotton fill, foam rubber and other natural and man-made materials. After the insertion of the fill, a second seam may be laid down between the inner and outer walls of apparatus 100 in order to create a closed compartment retaining the shock absorbing fill. The closed compartment may form one cushioning component 104, which may be followed by additional fill and seams forming more cushioning components 104. Also, cushioning component 104 may be constructed as a sub-assembly unit separate from apparatus 100 that may be later coupled to apparatus 100.
The exemplary sectional view of FIG. 3 also discloses an optional semi-rigid insert 300 that may be coupled to apparatus 100. In at least one embodiment, insert 300 may be imbedded within the thickness (e.g., within the hollow interior formed by the inside and outside layers) of apparatus 100 and may be retained with seam 302. Insert 300 may help to maintain the shape and opacity of the bottom region of apparatus 300, ensuring that it continues to mask light and/or sound from reaching wearer 200. Insert 300 may be made of semi-rigid material like plastic, rubber, cardboard, etc. The material in semi-rigid insert 300 should be able to flex but then return to its original shape. Further, insert 300 may be located adjacent to arc-shaped inset region 103 and may, for example, circle the all or part of the periphery of apparatus 100, in order to bolster the light blocking and/or sound dampening abilities of apparatus 100.
FIG. 4 discloses an exemplary apparatus 100 configured in an alternative mode. In at least one embodiment, insert 300 may flex to permit the bottom of apparatus 100 to be folded or rolled-up, as shown at 124, so that the rolled portion 400 may emulate the bottom of an existing head covering, such as a winter hat. This may be beneficial in at least one scenario, wherein wearer 200 does not have to carry a separate head covering (e.g., on a cool day) and also apparatus 100. Instead, wearer 200 may don apparatus 100 when he/she leaves home. Upon finding a place suitable to nap or rest, wearer 200 may then simply fold the lower extremity of apparatus 100 down to cover his/her eyes and ears in order to rest without being disturbed by the activity occurring around them. Apparatus 100 further ensures that while implemented in a light and/or sound blocking mode, the breathing of wearer 200 will not be impeded since arc-shaped inset 102 may provide light and/or sound blocking without obstructing the nose or mouth area.
Then, when wearer 200 is ready to become active again (e.g., arrives at his/her destination, simply done sleeping, etc.) he/she may simply stow the lower part of apparatus 100 to reform rolled portion 306 and covert it back into a more traditional-looking cap. Depending on the material employed in manufacture, apparatus 100 is not specifically limited to cooler weather wear. For example, a lighter and/or more breathable fiber may be employed in versions that may be utilized in warmer weather. Also disclosed in FIG. 4, at least one retaining device 402 may be employed such as straps fastened with Velcro closures, snaps, buckles, buttons etc. in order to maintain the lower extremity of apparatus 100 in rolled configuration 400, and also, to possibly provide additional decoration for apparatus 100 when worn in the rolled mode.
FIG. 5 discloses another option for constructing apparatus 100. Instead of having one or more separate cushioning components 104 attached a core head-covering component, the whole of apparatus 100 may be constructed of a plurality of coupled cushioning components 104. The exemplary configuration of FIG. 5 discloses at least three cushioning components 104 that are coupled end-to-end in order to form the wall or shell of apparatus 100. Various benefits may be realized through this configuration with respect to both the construction and operation of apparatus 100. Initially, construction may become simpler for high volume production because apparatus 100 may be broken down into subassemblies or "modules" that may be separately pre-assembled and then later coupled in final assembly process. Further, depending on the materials utilized, separate components like insert 300 or sound blocking component 106 may be omitted. The functionality of apparatus 100 may likewise improve because impact protection and comfort of the device may ultimately increase with the addition of more cushioning.
As set forth above, additional cushioning may lead to additional comfort and protection in apparatus 100. FIG. 6 discloses an alternative configuration wherein the sides of apparatus 100 may be composed of fluid-filled cushioning components 600. The fluid employed in filling these hollow chambers may be a gas (e.g., air) or a liquid (e.g., water, gel, etc.). These chambers may be permanently filled, for example filled during the manufacturing process with the intention that fluid cushioning components 600 retain the fluid until disposal, or alternatively, wearer 200 may fill fluid cushioning components 600 at will. In the case of permanently filled fluid cushioning components 600, a fluid may be chosen based on certain properties in the fluid, for example, related to maintaining a temperature for an extended period of time. For example, the liquid may be enabled to retain heat and/or cold. In this way, wearer 200 may apply heat or cold to apparatus 100 via a temperature-controlled environment (e.g., refrigerator, freezer, oven, microwave, etc.) in order to set the filler fluid at a certain temperature. Apparatus 100 may then be worn in order to cure or alleviate a physical malady such as headache, sinus congestion, etc.
In this latter configuration ("fill-at-will"), fluid cushioning components 600 may be coupled together via holes or ports 604 as shown in FIG. 6. These fluid access ports may exist between fluid cushioning components 600 themselves, or the components may be further connected via coupling members 606 (e.g. tubes, channels, pipes, etc.). Through this coupling, wearer 200 may add fluid (e.g., air, water, etc.) to apparatus 100 at will through exterior access port 602. In this way, Apparatus 100, when stored, may be maintained in an extremely small form. Then when wearer 200 desires to use apparatus 100, fluid may be added to fluid cushioning components 600 through exterior access port 602 (e.g., apparatus 100 may be inflated) to a form that will provide the cushioning, light and noise protection needed for resting.
A further exemplary application of fluid cushioning components 600 is disclosed in FIG. 7. Circulation device 700 is now added to apparatus 100. Circulation device 700 may include at least a pump and a temperature controller. The pump may include a power switch 702 to provide power control for a low voltage electric motor driven pump. The temperature control may include a low voltage electronic temperature source, such as a peltier or resistor-driven heater, that is controlled by switch 704. Switch 704 may be utilized simply to change the mode of the temperature control from heat to cool, or alternatively, may allow wearer 200 to set a desired temperature. Circulation device 700 may be powered by an on-board power source such as a battery, or may receive power through a coupling to a stationary source (e.g., a wall socket).
Circulation device 700 may be coupled to at least one fluid cushioning component 600 through coupling members 706 and 716 (e.g. tubes, channels, pipes, etc). In this example, fluid is drawn down through fluid cushioning components 600 via access port 710 to 712 to 714. This fluid is then pumped from access port 714 through coupling member 716 to circulation device 700. The fluid passed through the temperature control so that it may be returned to the desired temperature (e.g. as set by switch 704) and then is moved via the pump back into fluid cushioning components 600 through coupling member 706 and access port 708. Arrow 718 further indicates that additional fluid cushioning components 600 may be included in apparatus 100, as needed. Through this exemplary implementation of the present invention, fluid may be continuously conveyed through fluid cushioning components 600 and maintained at a desired temperature, the effect of which may be used to treat various physical ailments in wearer 200.
FIGS. 8 and 9 disclose further examples of the present invention configured to possibly treat certain maladies experienced by wearer 200. FIG. 8 includes receptacles 800 and 802 adjacent to arc-shaped inset 102. Receptacles 800 and 802 may be, for example, pockets implemented with or without retaining devices (Velcro closures, snaps, buckles, buttons etc.) for holding various sources of heat or cold. These sources, such as heat packs that may be heated in the microwave or may heat via chemical reaction (e.g., when exposed to air) and cold packs that may be refrigerated, may be inserted as shown at 804 and 806 in FIG. 8 into receptacles 800 and 702, respectively, in order to provide treatment or relief for headaches, colds, sinus pain, etc.
FIG. 9 discloses a similar implementation of heat/cold sources, except in this example the heat/cold sources may be permanently-inserted in apparatus 100 in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention. Source 900 may be permanently inserted in apparatus 100 for granting relief and/or comfort to wearer 200. In this configuration, wearer 200 may place the entire apparatus 100 in a refrigerator or freezer to cool source 900 to a desired temperature. Alternatively, in the case of heat sources, the entire apparatus 100 may be heated in accordance with known methods to raise source 900 to the desired application temperature.
FIG. 10 discloses a configuration of the present invention that may further include sleep timer 1000 installed in, or within close proximity to, sound-deadening components 106. An exemplary implementation of timer 1000 may include a display (e.g. LCD or LED) to display a countdown time and also buttons 1004 for setting the countdown time. The countdown time, for example 15 minutes, may be set by wearer 200 to indicate the amount of time desired for rest. After start button "S" 1006 is depressed, sleep timer 1000 may count down from the time set in display 1002 until 0, at which time an alarm may be sounded to indicate to wearer 200 that his/her nap is concluded. In this way, wearer 200 may not miss an event, such as a meeting or a desired exit point from public transportation due to the sound/light blocking of apparatus 100.
FIG. 11 discloses further features that may be included in apparatus 100. Active (electronic) noise suppression components 110 may be incorporated into apparatus 100 to provide better insulation from environmental noise. These devices may be enabled to receive outside sound waves and create inverse sound waves to create a cancellation effect. Further, these devices may also include inwardly-facing speaker that may be coupled to an external music player, such as a radio, tape deck, CD player, MP3 player, DVD player, etc. through a cord and plug. In this way, wearer 200 may screen out environmental noise but still enjoy audio programs while resting. For example, wearer 200 may listen to music, talk radio, speeches, recorded books, instructional presentations, natural sounds that induce pleasant sleep, etc.
Ocular port 1102 is also shown in FIG. 11. Ocular port 1102 may be composed of clear or tinted plastic, glass or any other material known in the art for visors or eyewear. In at least one embodiment of the present invention, ocular port 1102 may be heavily tinted so that wearer 200 may still be able to partially see what is occurring outside apparatus 200 while still be mostly shielded from irritating or annoying environmental illumination. In this way, wearer 200 may still rest or nap while still being aware of events occurring around him/her. This may be essential if wearer 200 is forced to sleep, rest and/or nap in busy or heavily-trafficked area.
Accordingly, it will be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art that various changes in form a and detail can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The breadth and scope of the present invention should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.
Patent applications in class Including energy-absorbing means
Patent applications in all subclasses Including energy-absorbing means