Patent application title: Diffuser of natural aromas for refrigerated environments
Gerald Lolmede (Nice, FR)
IPC8 Class: AF04B4900FI
Class name: Rotary kinetic fluid motors or pumps method of operation
Publication date: 2010-11-11
Patent application number: 20100284783
A diffuser of natural aromas for refrigerated environments includes a dome
designed to build up aromas, and houses a cartridge containing coffee as
a natural base product, which is covered by a waterproofed mesh to
protect the substance from moisture. The dome is coupled to a base that
hosts an isolated battery compartment. Windows cut in the base are
covered with a dehumidifying net allowing refrigerated and dried air to
penetrate the base's inner surface. An electronic fan connected to the
battery compartment is mounted on an overhang inside the base to convey
air from the refrigerated environment through and outside the dome,
creating an airflow cycle. A method of providing a way to neutralize
unpleasant odors within refrigerated environments by diffusing natural
aromas and a method of providing beneficial effects to a subject when
natural aromas are inhaled may be implemented using the above described
1. A diffuser device of one or more natural aromas for refrigerated
environments comprising:a base (11) equipped with an electronic fan (16)
connected to an electronic system (20) and connected to a battery
compartment (15) which is isolated in the bottom of the base;a battery
enclosed in the battery compartment and actuated by a manual pushbutton
(19) or automatically in accordance with a pre-established electronic
time relay (20) to diffuse the one or more natural aromas during
predetermined intervals of time through and out the diffuser device;a
dome (42) coupled to the base (11) with a threaded connection; anda
cartridge (27) containing a natural product releasing the one or more
2. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein lateral windows (14) are cut on the lower base's sides which allow the cool air from the refrigerated environment to penetrate the base's lower inner surface of the device (17').
3. The diffuser device of claim 2, wherein a replaceable dehumidifying net (21) covers the inner or outer sides of the lateral windows (14) which retain excessive moisture in the air penetrating the inner surface of the device.
4. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein the electronic fan (16) is mounted on an overhang (18) located on top of the base's lower inner surface (17').
5. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein the battery compartment (15) located in the bottom of the base is isolated from the base upper (17) and lower (17') inner surfaces of the base.
6. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein the electronic fan (16) produces an airflow cycle (22) by sucking in cold air from the outer refrigerated environment through the inner device and subtly diffuses out the available aromas from the device.
7. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein the upper portion of the dome's inner surface is designed to contain a conical chamber (41) extending to a funnel (44) which helps to build, retain and promote air diffusion coming from the base and its ventilation system.
8. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein the lower portion of the dome's inner surface shelters a circular opened container (28) which hosts the one or more natural aromas cartridge (27) to allow it to dispense aroma molecules freely from any side.
9. The diffuser device of claim 1, wherein the cartridge's backbone is made of several stems linked perpendicularly and on its center stem(s) (43) to an upper ring (25) and a lower ring (26) made of plastic components.
10. The diffuser device of claim 9, wherein the cartridge (27) is replaceable, slides in the opened container and attaches to it with finger pressure.
11. The diffuser device of claim 10, wherein the cartridge's (27) natural product is retained in it and protected by a waterproofed mesh which fully covers the cartridge.
12. The diffuser device of claim 11, wherein the base product contained and used in the cartridge (27) has to be roasted coffee product(s) or any other natural products or substances having similar aroma chemical properties.
13. The diffuser device of claim 12, wherein the base product can be combined and or mixed to provide the one or more natural aromas.
14. A method of diffusing one or more natural aromas within a refrigerated environment comprising:providing a diffuser device of the one or more natural aromas for refrigerated environments comprising:a base (11) equipped with an electronic fan (16) connected to an electronic system (20) and connected to a battery compartment (15) which is isolated in the bottom of the base, a dome (42) attached to the base (11) with a threaded connection,a cartridge (27) containing a natural product releasing the one or more natural aromas,an electronic fan (16) producing an airflow cycle (22) by sucking in cold air from the refrigerated environment outside the diffuser through the inner device and subtly diffusing the one or more natural aromas from the device,a replaceable dehumidifying net (21) covering the inner or outer sides of lateral windows (14) which retain excessive moisture in the air penetrating the inner surface of the device,an upper portion of the dome's inner surface designed to contain a conical chamber (41) extending to a funnel (44) which helps to build, retain and promote air diffusion coming from the base and its ventilation system,a lower portion of the dome's inner surface which shelters a circular opened container (28) which hosts a cartridge (27) of the one or more natural aromas and allows dispensing the one or more natural aromas freely from any side,wherein the natural product is retained in the cartridge (27) and is protected by a waterproofed mesh which fully covers the cartridge; andstoring the diffuser device in the refrigerated environment.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the natural base product contained and used in the device's cartridge (27) is a roasted coffee product or any other natural products or substances having similar aroma chemical properties.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein the diffuser of the one or more natural aromas for refrigerated environment neutralizes unpleasant odors within the refrigerated environment.
17. A method of providing one or more natural aromas to a subject in a refrigerated environment using a diffuser according to claim 1, comprising:causing the user to open or entering the refrigerated environments;causing the diffuser to spreading and mixing the one or more natural aromas into an environment surrounding the air receiver; andhaving the user receive beneficial effects by inhaling the one or more natural aromas.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application claims priority to provisional application Ser. No. 61/176,986 filed on May 11, 2009.
This invention relates to an improved device that combines a unique dome shape and a unique aroma cartridge for diffusing a natural aroma (for example, natural coffee molecules) and is to be used specifically within refrigerated and cold environments such as cold rooms and refrigerators. The device helps provides a fresh and agreeable environment inside the refrigerator when used with the right natural aroma having similar chemistry properties as coffee and can be used with any natural aroma or aromas. The device then might also offer some aromatherapy properties when someone, for example, opens his/her refrigerator to load or unload it, by putting that person in direct contact with the natural aroma, which may have beneficial effects when inhaled e.g. may improve that person's mood.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Air fresheners according to the prior art usually only remove parts of bad odors or cover them up with other odors, which are most of the time artificial perfumes or fragrances. In a refrigerator, one cannot use any fragrances especially artificial ones without knowing exactly the impact on food contents and the way they mix with natural aromas and odorants that are spread in the air. For refrigerators, it seems that only odor absorbents or absorbent materials such as baking soda, activated carbon, aluminosilicate minerals, clays and other minerals, and the like and even combinations of such materials have been used, but the results have not been completely satisfactory. Some companies manufacture artificial aromas generators using fan and batteries for multipurpose applications, but none of them involve using natural aromas and more specifically whole natural ground coffee or any form of natural roasted coffee in a cartridge that is diffused efficiently in cold rooms and refrigerators.
Coffee aroma can be perceived by two different mechanisms. It can either be sensed nasally simply by smelling the coffee through the nose, or retro nasally. In this description, I will focus only on the coffee molecules sensed nasally, as enables by an apparatus according to the present invention, which provides that the coffee aroma molecules are diffused slowly and in abundance, so that they can be sensed nasally simply by smelling around the refrigerator while the door is open and the molecules are released to the outside.
According to Yasser Don, a scientist from the University of Oklahoma, "the high vibration intensity from coffee molecules may cause the detachment of food odorant from olfactory receptors" because of "the unique structure of these coffee molecules". This scientist suggested that "the smell of coffee can restore appetite and refresh olfactory receptors". He also suggested that "people can regain their appetite after cooking by smelling coffee beans, and that this method can also be used for research animals".
According to another article written for the Neurocritic in 2008, "A team of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, deprived rats of sleep for a day. When they examined their brains they found reduced levels of mRNA--messenger molecules that indicate when a gene is being expressed--for 11 genes important to brain function. When the rats were exposed to the aroma of coffee, the mRNA for nine of the genes was restored to near normal levels, and exceeded above normal levels for two--GIR, involved in neuro-endocrine control, and NFGR, thought to control oxidative stress." Scientists seem to suggest then that it could be the smell of coffee that causes this effect rather than sipping a cup of coffee.
Diffusing natural coffee is not an easy task as the coffee essence evaporates easily, rapidly, and tends also to absorb other less desirable flavors. In order to preserve this essence, the coffee has to be diffused in a device specifically designed for it. Even though the prior art and the wide variety of diffusers are very rich and extended, there is no real teaching on how to diffuse natural coffee despite several scientific research on coffee smell.
The Patent of Invention U.S. Pat. No. 4,707,338 describes an aroma generator with an automated light sensor which discharges, with the help of a motor driven fan connected to a battery, an aromatic vapor when a light sensor is stimulated. It suggests this device can diffuse any aroma in any places such as a refrigerator. Even though this invention could generate an aroma in a refrigerator, it does not provide a specific disclosure on maximizing efficiency of its device in a refrigerated enclosure.
For example, the Patent of Invention U.S. Pat. No. 4,707,338 does not disclose whether the battery needs to be clearly separated from the atmosphere of the refrigerator and from the air flow pushing the aroma. Air moisture and battery doesn't mix well together.
Also this patent does not disclose how its device has to be modified and redesigned in order to work efficiently in a refrigerator.
The Patent of Invention U.S. Pat. No. 4,707,338 suggests that an "air freshener of a type acting to prevent food products in the interior from acquiring an unpleasant taste or disagreeable odor" can be used in its device but this patent does not disclose if and how the cartridge and the entire device has to be modified to work efficiently in a refrigerator which obviously has, in its interior, cold and humidity building up between cold and warm air coming from the outside environment each time the door of the refrigerator is opened.
The Patent of Invention U.S. Pat. No. 4,707,338 teaches that "the aroma generator is so placed in the refrigerator interior that its sensor is then adjacent the light bulb therein," but the device then might not work if placed in any spot in the refrigerator, such as that the light bulb may not be strong enough to trigger the sensor, which may also be covered with moisture and therefore, lower the overall efficiency of the sensor and the device.
In addition, this patent device is not designed to create an airflow cycle between its device and the room.
In summary, the Patent of Invention U.S. Pat. No. 4,707,338 provides no direction on how to diffuse natural coffee molecules properly within a refrigerator.
The Patent of Invention U.S. Pat. No. 5,468,447 describes an improved device for eliminating odors and maintaining a fresh environment within a refrigerator using chemical absorbents such as active carbon and odor-absorbing aluminosilicate minerals. No teaching is provided on how to diffuse coffee molecules within the refrigerator.
Therefore, despite the wide variety of prior art describing and comparing devices used in a refrigerator, it has not been previously recognized that the combination of a unique dome mounted on an apparatus and a unique cartridge containing natural aroma(s), and more specifically pure natural roasted ground coffee or coffee beans as a base product, which could be used to diffuse natural coffee molecules in a cold environment such as a refrigerator or any cold room. Several techniques were implemented to reduce only the problem with odors such as "odor eaters" (baking soda, active carbon, and so on). Each of these solutions helps with the odor problems but these devices are very limited in their function.
There is a need for the present device having unique dome and cartridge shapes to be used with coffee molecules for freshness, wellness and even aromatherapy in the simple environment of the kitchen. Furthermore, modified molecules developed with nanotechnology could be "attached" to the structure of these natural coffee molecules that reside in the cartridge and help people cope with food disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, but not only with these food disorders, thereby providing a new array of products for medicinal and aromatherapy purposes.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The main object of this invention is to provide a cold room or refrigerator with an abundant natural aroma from natural coffee or from substances having equivalent properties such that a user can perceive the aroma or the coffee or like substance while opening the refrigerator or cold room, and that the aroma would spread and diffuse in the proximity of the refrigerator thereafter.
It is an object of the invention to provide an apparatus that improves considerably the freshness of a cold room or a refrigerator by replacing unpleasant odors dispensed by the food stored in the refrigerator by an entirely natural aroma.
It is another object of the invention to provide a new way of enjoying coffee or any compatible aroma by simply opening the refrigerator's door while loading or unloading the refrigerator. For example, one might dislike the taste of coffee but might enjoy its agreeable smell when it is diffused in its cool environment.
It is still another object of the invention to provide an apparatus that allows a user to enjoy the benefits of odorant coffee molecules just by taking a whiff every now and then. It would be reasonable then to talk of kitchen aromatherapy enjoyed by almost anyone.
It is yet another object of the invention to provide the science community with a tool to heal in the future certain types of food disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, but not limited only to these two types of disorders, by exposing a patient visually to food stacked in a refrigerator and simultaneously by activating olfactory receptors with coffee molecules dispensed by a device according to the present invention, so that beneficial molecules of coffee or similar substances, in their natural states or modified with a variety of technologies available such as nanotechnologies, are in a position to trigger specific brain cells.
An apparatus constructed according to the principles of the present invention meets these and other objects. The apparatus may be made, for example, using four devices and two different techniques. In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a unique dome which hosts a uniquely shaped cartridge, a base that contains an electronic fan and that is perforated with tiny windows in its upper layer, and an isolated battery compartment in the lower deck on the bottom of the device. In one embodiment, the cartridge and the dome are combined and dispense the coffee molecules in a conical chamber of the dome.
Another feature of the invention includes a moisture proof air cycle flow generated by an electronic fan. Windows are provided, which are cut in the base to let air penetrate the inner surface of the device and vent gently to the conical chamber charged with odorant coffee molecules. The unique shape of the conical chamber and the extended funnel higher up finally dispenses the odorant coffee molecules to the outside through openings cut on the higher portion of the dome.
The invention also includes methods of diffusing a beneficial natural aroma within a refrigerated environment, more particularly, a coffee aroma.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The accompanying drawings illustrate the described embodiments of the invention:
FIG. 1 is a side view of the apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 1a is an exploded view of the base of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 1b is an exploded view of the dome of the apparatus of FIG. 1 hosting the cartridge, embodied as a natural coffee bag;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a detailed view of the parts of an apparatus of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
The invention will be described hereinafter with specific reference to a preferred embodiment as illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 3. The following description is based on the use of coffee as a natural aromatic substance. It should be understood that other natural substances with comparable properties may be employed as well.
The device (10) is designed to be used in a cold environment such as a cold room or a refrigerator where the temperature does not exceed 45 degrees Fahrenheit and can be placed anywhere within the cold environment. In one embodiment, the apparatus is made of one or more plastic resins, preferably HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene.
The base (11) of the apparatus has a cylindrical shape (12), preferably of oval cross-section which is closed by two planar rectangles (13). This particular shape makes it easier to attach or screw, or to detach or unscrew the base (11) and the dome (42) one from the other. In another embodiment, the base could take any shape or form for marketing or utility purpose; therefore, the shape of the base should not be considered a limiting element of the invention.
The depth of the base permits to design a battery compartment (15) in the bottom side of the base. The battery compartment is connected to a switch (19) that can be turned "off" or "on", which is in turn connected to a small electronic time relay (20) to automatically set or activate a predetermined operating time to permit the odorant coffee molecules to build up. The battery compartment (15) can host two regular AA batteries or a 9 volts battery format EN22 depending on consumption needs. In another embodiment, the battery could be rechargeable.
The low voltage electronic fan (16) is designed with six or seven blades (36) rotating at plus or minus 800 RPM to optimize airflow (22) and lower energy consumption.
The battery compartment (15) has a rectangular shape and is isolated from the outside environment and from the upper inner surface (17), which has a cylindrical shape.
The electronic fan (16) is fixed with four screws (18) to an overhang (18') designed to hang just above seven small windows (14) which are cut into both arc sides of the base. The windows allow then an air current, generated by the electronic fan, to enter into the base (11). The electronic time relay (20) automatically switches on the electronic fan (16) every hour for fifteen minutes.
Each window (14) is covered with a moisture proofed material mesh (21) to avoid excessive moisture build up in the apparatus (10) coming from the cold room (e.g. from a refrigerator) when warm air mixes with the refrigerator's cold interior atmosphere, hence increasing humidity in the air. In another embodiment, windows (14) can be replaced by a narrow rectangular opening or any other shape that can be cut in the side arc or oval shape (12).
The electronic fan (16) then generates an airflow (22), as shown in FIG. 3, and pushes dry air up. The dry and cold air flow then reaches the dome (24) in its inner surface, see FIG. 1b. In another embodiment, a moisture proofed material mesh could be added to the upper circular opening of the base (11), to filter one more time any residual moisture in the base's inner surface.
The inner surface of the dome (24) should be coated preferably with the same plastic the coffee makers use to package and conserve coffee. The dome attaches the replaceable coffee cartridge (27) in its inner surface. It should be noted that, within the present description, terms such as "cartridge," "natural coffee bag," or the French terms "pastille" are used all to indicate a container of coffee or like substance in ground or granular form, such to release aroma within the refrigerated environment. The natural coffee cartridge (27) may have a variety of shapes, preferably shapes that maximize the surface of diffusion of the coffee aroma toward the refrigerated environment and at the same time that facilitate positioning into the designated seat inside apparatus (10). The natural coffee cartridge (27) should also be constructed to minimize intrusion of moisture inside it, as explained in greater detail below.
A circular open container (28) is designed to smoothly slide the natural coffee cartridge (27) in it. The natural coffee cartridge is retained in place within the circular open container (28) by an upper ring (25) and a lower ring (26), which are linked and attached, on a circular pattern, by four stems (29) spaced 90° from each other. The upper ring (25) is larger than the natural coffee cartridge to prevent it from moving further up. The upper and lower rings (25) and (26) may be releasable or attached to the inner wall of the dome (24). The upper ring (25) may also be constructed to serve as a barrier that prevents moisture from percolating from the upper to the lower portions of the dome within the free space.
The circular open container (28) is also attached to the upper and lower rings (25) and (26) with four stems (30) spaced out 90° on a circular pattern and perpendicular to the inner surface of the dome (24). The container (28) is designed to free a 360° wide open gap within the dome's inner surface and the container's edge to allow the coffee molecules to be dispensed in an omni-directional fashion.
The natural coffee cartridge is supported with a very thin mesh (31) made preferably of nylon and attached to an upper ring (32) and a lower ring (33) made of plastic resins, preferably HDPE, and to eight very thin and rigid stems (34) made also of HDPE attached perpendicularly to the upper and lower rings (32) and (33), and on its center stem (43) as shown in FIG. 3. The coffee cartridge is packaged in a hermetically sealed container with degassing valve before being used in the apparatus. In one embodiment, the coffee is contained in a bag or mesh (31) similar to the new nylon bags used for tea. A preferred amount of coffee in the bag is 5.5 oz, which should release sufficient aroma for 5-7 days depending on refrigerator use. In another embodiment, the coffee is entirely contained in a waterproof mesh (31) that enables the coffee aroma to be released from the cartridge while preventing moisture from entering the cartridge. In still other embodiments, the coffee cartridge has different shape to maximize the surface area exposed to the environment and, accordingly, maximizes the amount of coffee aroma that is released. Moreover, the coffee may be contained in the cartridge as ground coffee, or may be compresses in pill or pellet form.
The upper portion (35) of the dome's inner surface is separated from the coffee cartridge compartment (28) with a conical chamber (44) which extends toward a funnel (41) to reach a central aperture (37) toward the dome's top. This design not only helps in building up the odorant coffee molecules in the funnel shaped area (41), but most importantly, helps in protecting the coffee oils or coffee essence in the coffee cartridge (27) and around from with excessive moisture, but also prevents external less desirable odorants to build up around the coffee cartridge, which otherwise would spoil the coffee molecules. The odorant coffee molecules are then forced gently into the conical chamber (44) where they build up through the funnel area (41) until released by the central aperture (37) and four satellite apertures (38) cut into the top of the dome. The coffee odorant molecules, once dispensed in the refrigerator area progressively change the aroma atmosphere in the refrigerator without interfering or polluting the food stored in it.
The dome (42) and the base (11) are attached together with a threaded connection between them, or with another method known in the art, such as with fasteners, or with a snap or interference fit. An airtight rubber ring (39) is mounted on the screw thread (23) of the base to avoid air leak between the parts.
Two coin shaped magnets are preferred attached to the diffuser device to hold it anywhere in the refrigerator and in any position.
The invention also relates to a method of freshening a cold storage environment, such as a refrigerator, by diffusing a coffee aroma within the refrigerator, or a natural aroma having aromatic properties comparable to coffee.
While the invention has been described in connection with the above described embodiments, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular forms set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the scope of the invention. Further, the scope of the present invention fully encompasses other embodiments that may become obvious to those skilled in the art and the scope of the present invention is limited only by the appended claims.
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