Patent application title: Underwater Furniture
Christopher Charles Brindle (Colchester, GB)
IPC8 Class: AB63B3574FI
Class name: Buoys, rafts, and aquatic devices body supporting buoyant device with seat
Publication date: 2010-09-30
Patent application number: 20100248568
The present invention is an underwater chair to support a person at least
partially submerged in a body of water. The chair comprises a main
structure (10) and a seat (40) connected thereto; the main structure
having a leg portion (12), that in use rests on the bottom of the body of
water, a head portion (11) and an arm portion (16). The seat comprises a
flexible sheet (41) that is attached to the head portion and the arm
portion, and a buoyant member (30) that is connected to the sheet between
the points at which the seat is attached to the main structure. The
person is supported on that part of the seat that extends between the
buoyant member and the arm portion in such a way that movement of the
person on the seat can alter the seating position.
1. An underwater chair comprising a main structure and a seat connected
thereto to support a person at least partially submerged in a body of
water having a bottom; the main structure having a leg portion, that in
use rests on said bottom of the body of water, a head portion and an arm
portion, the seat comprising a flexible sheet that is attached to the
head portion and the arm portion, and a buoyant member that is connected
to the sheet between points at which the seat is attached to the main
structure, whereby the person is supported on that part of the seat that
extends between the buoyant member and the arm portion in such a way that
movement of the person on the seat can alter the seating position.
2. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1, wherein the leg portion includes a first bar that rests on the bottom of the body of water.
3. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 2, wherein the head portion includes a second bar that is parallel to the first bar of the foot portion.
4. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 3, wherein the arm portion includes a third bar that is parallel to the first and second bars.
5. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 4, wherein the seat attaches to the second and third bars.
6. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein the main structure comprises a generally rectangular frame defining both the head portion and the leg portion, and a U-shaped sub-frame defining the arm region and connected by the free ends thereof to oppose sides of the frame.
7. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 6, wherein the frame comprises two generally U-shaped components, one telescopically mounted within the other.
8. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 6, wherein the connection of the sub-frame to the frame is adjustable.
9. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein at least one of the configuration of the leg portion, the configuration of the head portion, the configuration of the arm portion, and the position of the arm portion relative to the head or leg portions is adjustable.
10. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein the seat has sleeves provided thereon and connects to the main structure by the location of parts of the head and arm regions in the sleeves.
11. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein the length of the seat between the points at which it is attached to the main structure is adjustable.
12. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 11, wherein the seat has a plurality of sleeves formed thereon; and the effective length of the seat between the connections to the main structure may be adjusted by locating a suitable pair of sleeves around parts of the head and arm regions.
13. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein the buoyant member is an inflatable bladder.
14. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1, wherein the buoyant member locates in a pocket formed in the seat.
15. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein the main structure is predominantly formed from metal or plastics material.
16. An underwater chair as claimed in claim 1 wherein the seat is predominantly formed from a flexible textile material.
The present invention relates to furniture for use underwater and in
particular to an underwater chair that supports a human body when
immersed in a body of water such as a swimming pool, lake or the sea.
There are many devices that allow the human body to float on the surface of water such as inflatable mattresses, buoyancy jackets, and other inflatable or air-filled items. However there are no adjustable devices intended to support an immersed body so that it remains in a non-static position, with only the head being necessarily above the water. Fixed devices exist that allow the human body to rest in a static state, as for example a step, ledge or seat as might exist within spa bath or swimming pool. An adjustable device however has the advantage that it may work equally effectively in different locations, and being adjustable might better fit the size and shape of the user and their preference for the attitude at which they sit or recline.
The advantage of being held more fully immersed in the body of water is that the water might be warmer than the ambient air, or that protection from the wind or the effects of a hot sun might be gained. Fuller immersion in water may also be desirable to take the benefit of salts or other minerals present within the water.
It is an aim of the present invention to provide a chair that gives a secure, adjustable, semi-immersed sitting or lying position to a swimmer. It is a further aim to provide such a chair that is adjustable to a variety of modes of use and users, and may be easily removed, transported and stored as required.
According to the present invention there is provided an underwater chair comprising a main structure and a seat connected thereto to support a person at least partially submerged in a body of water; the main structure having a leg portion, that in use rests on the bottom of the body of water, a head portion and an arm portion; the seat comprising a flexible sheet that is attached to the head portion and the arm portion, and a buoyant member that is connected to the sheet between points at which the seat is attached to the main structure, whereby the person is supported on that part of the seat that extends between the buoyant member and the arm portion in such a way that movement of the person on the seat can alter the seating position.
The main structure requires only a single point of contact with the bottom, and preferably is configured such that it allows the chair to rock in one or more plane. Such planes include a longitudinal plane running parallel to the leg region and the seat. It preferred that the contact of the leg region with the bottom provides a degree of lateral stability so that rocking only occurs in the longitudinal plane. The leg portion may include a first bar that rests on the bottom of the body of water, and which preferably extends laterally. This bar may have a generally circular cross section to aid a gentle rocking on the bottom surface of the body of water.
The head portion may include a second bar that is parallel to the first bar of the foot portion. The arm portion may include a third bar that is parallel to the first and second bars. The leg head and arm regions may each be generally L-shaped with the bars comprising one part of each L. The seat may connect to the main structure by attachment between the second and third bars.
The main structure may comprise any shape providing the leg, head and arm regions support the seat and person. It preferably includes a frame which is generally rectangular and defines both the head portion and the leg portion, and a U-shaped sub-frame defining the arm region and connected to opposite sides of the rectangular frame by the free ends of the U-shaped sub-frame. Opposed ends of the rectangular frame could define the first and second bars, and a transverse part of the U-shaped sub-frame could define the third bar.
In order to ensure that the present invention accommodates and can be adapted to suit a wide range of people, water depths and seating positions, it is desirable that several aspects are adjustable. Preferable at least some of the following may be altered by the person prior to or during use: the length of the leg portion; the length of the head portion; the separation and relative position of that part of the head section to which the seat is connected and the bottom contacting part of the leg section; the length of the arm portion; the position of the arm portion relative to the head or leg portions; the angle of the arm portion relative to the rest of the main structure; the length of seat between the connections to the main structure; and the width of the main structure/seat.
The leg and head regions may be generally co-planar, especially when both defined by a frame. The frame may comprise two U-shaped components, the free ends of which are telescopically interconnected. The relative telescopic sliding of the components allows the length of the head and/or leg regions to be altered. Locking collars or other means adapted to lock the telescopic parts at the desired position may be provided.
The connection of the U-shaped sub-frame to the frame may also be adjustable. The free ends of the sub-frame may be provided with means to adjustably locate on or around the side parts of the frame. These may be used to adjust the position or the angle of the sub-frame relative to the head and foot regions of the frame prior to fixing in position.
The seat may be connected to the main structure in a variety of suitable ways. The attachment could be fully or semi-permanent, or might allow removal for transport, storage, maintenance, or adjustment. Preferably the seat has sleeves provided thereon, which permit connection to the main structure by the location of parts of the head and arm regions in the sleeves. Appropriate parts of the main structure, such as the second and third bars, may be laterally slid into the sleeves, or the sleeves might be formed as required by folding a flap around that part of the main structure and releasably securing to the main sheet.
The nature of such a flap might be adjustable to alter the length of the seat between the points at which it is attached to the frame. Other means of adjustment are possible. A preferred form is where the seat has a plurality of sleeves formed thereon, and the effective length of the seat may be adjusted by locating a suitable pair of sleeves around parts of the head and arm regions. The further the relative spacing of the selected sleeves the longer the seat and vice versa.
The purpose of the buoyant member is to hold up one side of the chair and person. The buoyancy of the buoyant member and its position along the length of the seat will affect the seating position, so desirably each is adjustable. The buoyant member may be an inflatable bladder, and may be provided with a valve through which the amount of gas therein may be altered. The buoyant member may be located in a pocket formed in the seat.
The main structure may be formed from metal or plastics material, preferably one or more that is/are suitably water and corrosion resistant such as marine grade stainless steel. Lightweight components are desirable to minimise the amount of buoyancy required and the weight when removed from the water. Tubular components are usually suitable. As regards the seat, this may be formed from a flexible sheet material, such as woven textiles and plastic films. Due to continued immersion of the chair, synthetic woven fabric has thus far proved advantageous.
The present invention provides a comfortable chair to support a person mostly submerged in a body of water. The position of that person may be easily adjusted by the person without getting out of the chair, and an oscillating motion akin to a rocking chair can be readily achieved. By shifting body weight within the present invention it is possible to go from a hunched foetal position, to a sitting position and, by stretching backwards, to a fully recumbent position. To achieve the recumbent position a person pushes with their feet against the arm section, and applies pressure with their neck or head to the buoyant member which then takes a horizontal attitude to the water surface thereby supporting the head of the user. By slight movements between the different possible positions it is possible to set up a very relaxing rocking motion. The effect of this motion may be increased by sitting on the present invention in front of a wave motion, a swimming pool inlet, or counter-current swimming machine.
My co-pending applications GB 0515274, GB 0524174 and GB 0526189 make it possible to simply insulate an above-ground pool structure and contain it within a lightweight relatively inexpensive enclosure. With these innovations it becomes cost-effective to turn such a pool into a much higher temperature spa bath in which one can swim. The present invention makes it possible to adopt the seated positions typical of such a spa bath without impinging on normal swimming by providing fixed seats.
In order that it may be better understood, but by way of example only, one embodiment of the present invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the frame and sub-frame of the main structure of the present invention without the seat;
FIG. 2 is a similar perspective view to FIG. 1 with the frame and sub-frame differently arranged;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the collar used to fix the telescopically sliding components of the frame in a desired position;
FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C show different perspective views of a slidable boss that connects the sub-frame to the frame;
FIG. 5 shows the buoyant member;
FIG. 6 shows the seat, to be connected to the main structure;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a user seated in a semi-seated position on the chair and partially submersed in a pool; and
FIG. 8 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 7 but with the user in a recumbent position.
Referring initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown an embodiment of the main structure according to the present invention, and generally indicated 10. The main structure 10 comprises a first U-shaped component 11 and a second U-shaped component 12 telescopically slidable therein. The first and second U-shaped components together define a frame that is generally rectangular and whose overall length may be telescopically adjusted. Locking collars 14 (shown in more detail in FIG. 3) are used to fix the first and second U-shaped components at the desired telescopic position.
A sub-frame 16, which is also generally U-shaped, is connected to the opposed side arms of the first U-shaped component, and extends in a plane generally at 90° to the plane of the frame. The sub-frame 16 and the first and second U-shaped components 11, 12 are formed from tubes of suitable material, in this instance stainless steel.
Sliding bosses 18 (which are shown in more detail in FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C) locate around the arms of the first U-shaped component 11. These bosses comprise a split sleeve 20 which may be tightened or loosened around the first component using a threaded nut 21 to hold it in place or release it as required. Projecting laterally from the sleeve 20 is a spigot 22 which locates within the open ends of the sub-frame 16 to connect it thereto.
FIG. 3 shows in greater detail a locking collar 14 used to adjustably interconnect the telescopic sliding components of the frame. The spilt locking collar 14 attaches to the free ends of the first U-shaped component 11 and is adapted on rotation of the threaded nut 24 to tighten around the first U-shaped component 11 and that part of the second U-shaped component 12 that is instantaneously located therebetween. This locks the first and second U-shaped components at their respective positions.
FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of buoyant member. The buoyant member is generally indicated 30 and comprises a flexible air bladder with a valve 31. The valve 31 may be used to selectively inflate and deflate the buoyant member to achieve the desired level of buoyancy. Alternative buoyant items may be used.
FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of a flexible seat generally indicated 40. This flexible seat comprises an elongate sheet 41 of synthetic textile material that will not deteriorate during prolonged use and immersion. The elongate sheet 41 is wide enough to support a person, and has a first end 42 and a second end 43. A plurality of first sleeves 44 are formed on the under side of the sheet at the first end 42. A plurality of second sleeves 45 are similarly provided on the under side of the sheet at the second end 43. These sleeves engage with the first U-shaped component and the sub-frame as described in more detail below. A triangular pocket 47 is located intermediate the first and second ends to locate a buoyant member.
FIGS. 7 and 8 show the seat 40 and main structure 10 connected together to form a chair and in use supporting a person partially submerged within a body of water such as a pool. One of the first sleeves 44 is located around the upper end of the first U-shaped component 11 and one of the second sleeves 45 is located around the outer end of the sub-frame 16. For convenience the other sleeves not in use have been omitted from these drawings but alternative ones can be connected to the frame and sub-frame as required. Connection of the sleeves may be achieved by disassembly of the frame and sub-frame and sliding of the sleeves thereon from the free ends. Alternatively the sleeves might have releasable connection means to permit them to be opened and closed for connection and disconnection.
The buoyant member 30 is located in the triangular pocket 47 and causes that part of the seat 40 to float at the surface of the water. A person 50 seated on that portion of the seat between the buoyant member 30 and the second end 43 is in a reclined semi-seated position with their head and hands out of the water. Given that the majority of that person 50 is submerged a relatively low level of buoyancy from the buoyant member 30 is sufficient to counter the opposite force tending to drive the person and seat down, and so to rotate about the lower end of the second U-shaped component 12. The second U-shaped component 12 is in contact with the bottom 51 of the pool to effectively support the foot end of the chair. The head end of the chair is supported by the buoyant member 30. Any fluctuation on the surface of the water, such as waves, will cause a gentle rocking motion in the chair. Similarly, the user's feet could hang out beyond the second end 43 but in this drawing they are shown bearing against the sub-frame 16. In this way, by gently extending and flexing their legs, the user may impart a rocking motion to the chair and themselves.
As can be seen in FIG. 8 a fully recumbent position may also be adopted simply by straightening of the user's legs and back. This results in the user's head bearing down upon the buoyant member and tending to force it slightly further under the surface and further from the sub-frame. This imparts a greater degree of buoyancy which counteracts the larger turning moment caused by the shifting of the weight further from the effective pivot point, which is where the frame rests on the bottom 51.
In these drawings the user 50 is shown reading a book, which activity can easily be undertaken whilst seated on the present invention. Obviously the user's hands may also be immersed in the water with only the head remaining un-submerged. This would permit a state of almost total immersion to be achieved as temporarily desired. Indeed by suitable adjustment of the buoyancy the person could be made to float fully submerged, if desired.
By adjustment of the overall length of the frame, achieved by telescopic sliding of the first U-shaped component with respect to the second U-shaped component, the alteration of the position of the sub-frame 16 on the first U-shaped component 11, the selective location of different first and second sleeves on to the respective parts of the main structure; and the controlled buoyancy of the buoyant member 30, the present invention may be adapted to allow varied positioning of the same user and to suit users of different sizes and weights as well as location in bodies of water of differing depths and flow characteristics (such as waves, current, etc.).
Patent applications by Christopher Charles Brindle, Colchester GB
Patent applications in class With seat
Patent applications in all subclasses With seat