Patent application title: ADJUSTABLE V-CUSHION ASSEMBLY FOR ALLEVIATING SITTING DISCOMFORT
IPC8 Class: AA47C2700FI
Class name: Beds support for user`s body or part thereof removable support specially adapted for seating
Publication date: 2012-01-26
Patent application number: 20120017375
A V-shaped cushion assembly has two cushions that are connected to each
other by a connector so as to form a V-shape. The cushions are pivotable
relative to each other at the connector, so that an angle of the V-shape
between the cushions can be selectively adjusted. By adjusting this angle
and the placement of the V-shaped cushion assembly on a seating surface,
the V-shaped cushion assembly provides a wide variety of
user-configurable options in order to allow a user to select the
configuration that is most comfortable to the user.
1. A cushion assembly for human seating, comprising: a first cushion
assembly having a first cushion assembly corner; a second cushion
assembly having a second cushion assembly corner; and a connector joining
said first and second cushions respectively at said first and second
cushion assembly corners to form a V-shape with an angle between said
first cushion assembly and said second cushion assembly, said connector
forming a hinge allowing pivoting of said first and second cushions
relative to each other to selectively adjust said angle between said
first and second cushions.
2. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of said first and second cushions has a cushion assembly surface adapted to rest on a seating surface, and wherein at least one of said cushions, at said cushion assembly surface, has a portion thereof comprised of non-slip material that prevents slippage of said at least one of said cushions with respect to said seating surface.
3. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said connector permits pivoting of said cushions relative to each other to a position wherein said cushions are adjacent to each other, with said angle being substantially zero.
4. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said V-shape defines a plane, and wherein said connector also permits pivoting of said cushions relative to each other out of said plane.
5. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 4 wherein said connector permits said cushions to be folded one-on-top of another.
6. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 comprising a rigid angle strap connectable between said cushions to maintain an angle, once said angle is selected, between said cushions.
7. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 comprising at least one security strap connected to at least one of said cushions, and configured to proceed around a seating surface on which said cushions are located.
8. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 7 wherein said seating surface has two sides with a front and a back there between, and wherein said at least one strap is configured to proceed around said seating surface between said front and said back.
9. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 7 wherein said seating surface has two sides with a front and a back there between, and wherein said at least one strap is configured to proceed around said seating surface between said two sides.
10. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of said cushions comprises material selected from the group consisting of foam material, foam rubber gel material and batting material.
11. A cushion assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of said cushions has a width in a range between approximately 2 and 8 inches, a length in a range between approximately 8 and 16 inches, and a thickness in a range between 0.125 and 2.25 inches.
12. A method for alleviating human discomfort during sitting, comprising the steps of: placing a V-shaped cushion assembly on a seating surface on which a human is to be seated, said V-shaped cushion assembly comprising two cushions pivotably connected to each other to form a V-shape with an angle between said cushions; selectively positioning said V-shaped cushion assembly on said seating surface in a position selected from the group consisting of said V-shape facing toward a front of said seating surface, and said V-shape facing toward a rear of said seating surface; and pivoting said cushions relative to each other to select a size of said angle between said cushions.
13. A method as claimed in claim 12 comprising preventing slippage of said cushions on said seating surface by providing a surface of at least one of said cushions that faces said seating surface with a non-slip region.
14. A method as claimed in claim 12 comprising, after selecting said angle, fixing and maintaining said angle between said cushions by applying a rigid angle strap between said cushions.
15. A method as claimed in claim 12 comprising holding said V-cushion assembly in place on said seating surface by encircling said seating surface with a strap that is connected to said V-shape cushion assembly.
 The present application claims the benefit of provisional application 61/400,078, filed on Jul. 22, 2010.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention generally concerns cushions of the type that are specifically configured to alleviate discomfort in sitting, and in particular seat cushions used for the prevention, protection or alleviation either of pain, pressure or discomfort to the pelvic floor, perineum, coccyx and rectal region of the human body caused by sitting.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Although symptoms of the above type may be centralized in the lower body, secondary sites in the upper body or extremities may be affected, with pain radiating from the original site of pain or discomfort.
 Developmentally, humans learn to sit upright at the age of approximately five months. Humans progressively gain motor control and core strength, enabling an upright position to be maintained while sitting on the body's weight bearing surfaces, the ischial tuberosities and greater trochanters.
 There is a well-documented need for seat cushions that perform at least one of the following functions. There is a need to pad or protect the user from pain or discomfort caused by either short or long periods of sitting on an un-padded, or insufficiently padded, surface. There is also a need to pad or protect the user from exacerbating pain or discomfort from an existing pathology or injury, such as childbirth, traumatic injury, surgery, etc.
 There is furthermore a need to lift the user off of the surface of a seat by redistributing weight and allowing the suspension of affected body parts above the seat.
 There is also a need to create an ergonomically correct seated position and posture for the user.
 A number of products are known that have attempted to address these needs for protection or alignment correction.
 Among these is the well known "donut" foam seat cushion, which is cylindrical with a hollow core for pressure relief, so named because it is in the shape of a donut with a hole in the middle. The donut foam cushion is large and is made of relatively dense material. The donut cushion, as one of few options that are available to users, has not received complete acceptance, due to its cumbersome size, the obviousness of its use (some users would prefer a cushion that is not so noticeable when in use), and issues with comfort. Examples of such cushions are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,079,785 and 5,046,205 and 5,288,132.
 While the donut cushion does promote pressure relief due to the hollow core, it may cause a pressure build-up as a result of the user's weight displacement into the center of the circle. The vascular supply to the perineum may be altered secondary to the increase in pressure around the ring from the user's weight being subject to natural gravitational forces, so as to displace the tissue down into the central opening.
 A U-shaped cushion with a thermal transfer unit is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,344,196.
 Another commercially available product is the so-called "Tush Cush," described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,840,425 which is a padded seat cushion in the shape of a square, having a small central opening in order to decrease pressure on the coccyx. The cushion itself is not adjustable, and the limited size of the opening may decrease pressure only for users who fall within a relatively limited range of weights and body types. Moreover, this cushion is large and bulky, and does not address pressure relief in the perineum.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a seat cushion that addresses the above issues in a unique and more effective manner than currently available cushions.
 This object is achieved in accordance with the present invention by a cushion adapted for human sitting, that is formed by two padded members or "wings" that are joined together at one end of each wing, so as to form a V-shape. The wings are joined together by a connection that allows the internal angle of the V-shape to be selectively adjusted. For storage or portability, the wings can be brought to a closed position directly adjacent to each other, wherein the angle is essentially 0 degrees.
 The V-cushion assembly is small, portable, lightweight and can be discretely used, making it ideal for use in the workplace, at sporting events, and concerts. The V-cushion assembly may also be beneficial for use while driving, or in any application where long periods of sitting, especially on a hard surface, are required.
 Compared to existing products, the V-cushion assembly exhibits superior portability and a discreet size and shape, thereby making the V-cushion assembly much more amenable to frequent use in all types of environments. Because the V-cushion assembly is not cumbersome and is easily portable and can be discreetly used, users are more likely to make use of the V-cushion assembly in environments where the user may previously have had a reluctance to use currently available products.
 In general, the V-cushion assembly provides relief and prevention of discomfort and pain experienced by persons seeking relief from such issues related to sitting. The V-cushion assembly offers an alternative to costly or insufficient products available to persons who have a range and variety of issues with unsatisfactory existing products. The V-cushion assembly is portable and concealable when in use, and thus offers a discrete solution to the use of such a cushion in public. The V-cushion assembly is easily adjustable by the user to ensure a proper sitting position that reduces that particular user's pressure, discomfort and/or pain. The V-cushion assembly offers relief to persons who are required to sit for long periods of time, whether in a work or recreational environment, or who have a medical need for such relief. The wings of the V-cushion assembly can be made available in various heights, widths and lengths so as to provide a range of models that suit all body types and sizes. Even with the use of a "standard" model of the V-cushion assembly, having dimensions designed to accommodate the "average" person, the versatility and adjustability of the V-cushion assembly allows the user a significant degree of customization to configure the V-cushion assembly to provide each person with the most comfortable configuration that simultaneously maximizes relief and minimizes the introduction of new, or exacerbation of existing, pain or discomfort.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a top view of the V-cushion assembly in accordance with the present invention.
 FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the V-cushion assembly in accordance with the present invention.
 FIG. 3 is a top view of the V-cushion assembly according to the invention with different configurations of the wings.
 FIG. 4 is a top view of the V-cushion assembly according to the invention, placed on the seat of a common chair.
 FIG. 5 shows the V-cushion assembly in accordance with the invention placed on a flat surface while lying flat, and while being folded to stack the wings, and in a completely folded position.
 FIG. 6 shows a further embodiment of the V-cushion assembly in accordance with the present invention having rigid angle straps.
 FIG. 7 shows a further embodiment of the V-cushion assembly according to the present invention placed on the seat of a common chair, making use of both rigid angle straps and pliable security straps.
 FIG. 8 shows a detail of the construction of a wing member of the V-cushion assembly in accordance with the present invention.
 FIG. 9 shows a detail and application of the rigid angle strap.
 FIG. 10 shows a detail and application of the pliable security strap.
 FIG. 11 is a side view, showing a preferred use of the V-cushion assembly in accordance with the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 FIG. 1 shows a top view of a V-cushion assembly in accordance with the invention. The V-cushion assembly has two wings W1 and W2, that are joined together at a connecting point CP, at which a connector C is present. The connector C not only holds the wings W1 and W2 together to form a V-shape, but also functions as a hinge to allow the angle between the wings W1 and W2 to be selectively adjusted.
 As explained in more detail below, the V-cushion assembly shown in FIG. 1 is intended to be placed on a seat surface, on which a human user will be seated. FIG. 2 shows a bottom view of the V-cushion assembly, i.e., the portion of the V-cushion assembly that will be adjacent to the seating surface when the V-cushion assembly is in use. As shown in the embodiment of FIG. 2, the wings W1 and W2 can optionally be provided with respective non-slip regions NSP1 and NSP2. The non-slip regions NSP1 and NSP2 provide sufficient frictional engagement with the seating surface to prevent slippage or shifting of the V-cushion assembly when in use on such a seating surface.
 FIG. 3 shows how the V-cushion assembly can be selectively configured to provide different angles θ between the wings W1 and W2. The left portion of FIG. 3 shows the wings W1 and W2 in a relatively wide open configuration, whereas the center portion of FIG. 3 shows the wings W1 and W2 in a still open, but more closed configuration, and the right portion of FIG. 3 shows the V-cushion assembly in a closed position, with the wings W1 and W2 being directly adjacent to each other. The right portion in FIG. 3 may be used, for example, for carrying the V-cushion assembly in a compact form.
 FIG. 4 is a top view showing how the V-cushion assembly can be placed on the seat of a common chair. The V-cushion assembly can be placed with the V-shape being open toward the back of the chair, as illustrated in the left portion of FIG. 4, or with the V-shape being open toward the front of the chair, as shown in the right portion of FIG. 4. Depending on the preferences and comfort of the user, either orientation may be appropriate.
 FIG. 5 shows how the connector allows further folding of the wings W1 and W2 of the V-cushion assembly, in addition to the above-described adjustability of the angle of the V-shape. As shown in the left illustration in FIG. 5, the wings W1 and W2 can lie completely flat, when in the closed position described above in connection with the right illustration in FIG. 3. As shown in the center illustration in FIG. 5, the wings W1 and W2 can be folded out of the plane shown in the left illustration, into a completely folded configuration as shown in the right illustration in FIG. 5.
 FIG. 6 shows different top views of an embodiment of the V-cushion assembly placed on a seat of a common chair, in the orientations described above in connection with FIG. 4. The two left illustrations in FIG. 6 show an embodiment of the V-cushion assembly having a rigid angle strap AS, which is sufficiently rigid to maintain the selected angle of the V-cushion assembly that is made by the user, once the user has appropriately configured the wings W1 and W2. The angle strap AS can be affixed in any appropriate manner to the wings W1 and W2 to maintain them at the selected angle.
 The two right illustrations in FIG. 6 show the combination of an angle strap and the further option of security straps SS The security straps SS secure the V-cushion assembly to the seat of the chair, and are attached to the exterior sides of the wings W1 and W2. The security straps SS can proceed beneath the seating surface, and be connected together in any suitable manner, such as by a buckle, snaps, or a hook-and-loop fastener. Alternatively, a continuous security strap, that does not require a connector, can be used, that is sufficiently elastic to hold the V-cushion assembly in place on the seat.
 FIG. 7 shows a further embodiment in the left illustrations, using both the angle strap AS and the security straps SS. In this embodiment, the security straps proceed between the front and rear of the seating surface, as opposed to proceeding around the sides of the seating surface as in the embodiment of FIG. 6. An embodiment showing the use of only the security straps SS, without the angle strap AS, is shown in FIG. 7, wherein the security straps SS again proceed between the front and rear of the seating surface.
 FIG. 8 shows a detail of one of the wings, in a top view, a side view, and a perspective view.
 FIG. 9 schematically illustrates the embodiment of the V-cushion assembly with the angle strap AS in a top view and a bottom view. This embodiment also includes the non-slip regions described above. As can be seen, the angle strip AS can be attached at the bottom of the wings of the V-cushion assembly, so as not to be noticeable by a user seated on the V-cushion assembly.
 FIG. 10 schematically illustrates a top view and a bottom view of the V-cushion assembly in the embodiment employing the security straps SS, in place on a chair. As can be seen in the bottom view at the right of FIG. 10, the security strap SS proceeds between the legs of the chair in an appropriate manner.
 Each wing can be constructed of a flat soft core, having a width in a range between approximately 2 and 8 inches, a length and a range between approximately 8 and 16 inches and a thickness in a range between approximately 0.125 and 2.225 inches. The wings can be provided in different models with different dimensions and different combinations of dimensions, so as to provide a range of V-cushions that accommodate all different body sizes and weights. The core material of each wing may be foam, gel, batting, or any suitable material that provides a sufficient and desirable degree of padding, protection and separation from the seating surface. The material may be flexible foam rubber, cut from sheets or poured in a suitable mold. Moreover, each wing may be formed as a multi-layer combination with any number of the aforementioned materials. Each wing is covered by a durable, washable, water resistant protective cover, which may be removed for cleaning, decorative enhancement or replacement. The cover may be held in place on the core material simply by a custom-fit, with the covering being provided with a slip or other type of opening therein in order to insert and remove the core material. Alternatively, the cover may be provided with a zipper, snaps, or other releasable closure at a location that does not come into contact, and thus cause discomfort to, a user of the V-cushion assembly. Another alternative is a vinyl cover.
 FIG. 11 schematically illustrates the V-cushion assembly in place on a chair, with a user seated on the V-cushion assembly on the chair.
 Although modifications and changes may be suggested by those skilled in the art, it is the intention of the inventors to embody within the patent warranted hereon all changes and modifications as reasonably and properly come within the scope of their contribution to the art.
Patent applications in class Removable support specially adapted for seating
Patent applications in all subclasses Removable support specially adapted for seating