SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR PROVIDING A TOILET SEAT LIFTING DEVICE

This invention relates generally to mechanics, and more specifically, to systems and methods for providing a toilet seat lifting device. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device includes a base; a lever, the lever rotatably coupled to the base; and a weight, the weight coupled to the lever, wherein the base is configurable to being mounted on a toilet having a toilet seat and wherein gravitational force applied to the weight results in biased rotation of the lever to lift the toilet seat.

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Description

PRIORITY

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/984,883 filed Nov. 2, 2007. The foregoing application is incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to mechanics, and more specifically, to systems and methods for providing a toilet seat lifting device.

BACKGROUND

Traditional toilets include a tank for storing fluid, a bowl for receiving waste, and a toilet seat for facilitating comfortable use of the bowl. The toilet seat is typically adjustably mounted proximate to the rim of the bowl and configurable to being displaced between a lower position adjacent to the bowl and an upper position distant from the bowl. As such, when sitting on the toilet is desired, the toilet seat can be disposed to the lower position adjacent to the bowl. Further, when the toilet seat is not required its surface can be kept clean by moving the toilet seat to the upper position distant from the bowl.

One significant problem with the traditional toilet is that it requires contact by a user to forcibly move the toilet seat between the lower and the upper positions. Concerns over the sanitary condition of the toilet seat make this contact undesirable for many users, which is exacerbated in public restrooms. Therefore, it is common for toilet seats to be left in the lower position adjacent to the bowl or for users to use a foot or other object to make contact with the toilet seat. Quite clearly, neither of these methods is satisfactory because both contribute to unsanitary conditions and reinforce a user's concerns over cleanliness.

One solution to this problem is to install separate urinals in the vicinity of the traditional toilet because separate urinals permit the traditional toilet to be dedicated to a single use whereby the toilet seat remains in the lower position. However, separate urinals add significant expense to a business or homeowner and require ample amounts of space for use and installation. Furthermore, it is impossible to prevent some rogue users from bypassing the urinals and electing to use the traditional toilet in the unintended fashion. Another solution to this problem is to make disposable toilet seat covers available to users. However, disposable covers must constantly be replaced, add additional expenses for business or homeowners, and merely cover the underlying problem.

Another solution to this problem is to equip the toilet seat with an extension handle. There are a number of prior art references that teach such inventions, including Greco (U.S. Pat. No. 5,713,084) and Lirette (U.S. Pat. No. 4,951,324). Although extension handles eliminate the need for user contact with the toilet seat, they merely transfer the point of contact to the extension handle. Because the extension handle is in close proximity to the toilet seat and still requires user intervention, the same concerns regarding unsanitary conditions are present.

Yet another solution to this problem is to equip the toilet seat with a foot lifting device. There are a number of prior art references that teach such inventions, including Uchida (U.S. Pat. No. 7,281,277); Kim (U.S. Pat. No. 7,254,846); Stewart (U.S. Pat. No. 7,134,150); Jackson (U.S. Pat. No. 6,738,990); Strickland (U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,623); Browne (U.S. Pat. No. 6,351,856); Pettus (U.S. Pat. No. 6,189,160); Zhang (U.S. Pat. No. 6,158,059); Gaston (U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,335); Alfonso (U.S. Pat. No. 5,488,743); Ratajac (U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,782); Blair (U.S. Pat. No. 5,323,496); Zamoyski (U.S. Pat. No. 5,237,708); Ellison (U.S. Pat. No. 4,803,741); Wilson (U.S. Pat. No. 4,584,724); Bruner (U.S. Patent Publication 2006/0021122); and Petty (U.S. Patent 2005/0155141). Foot lifting devices require complicated force transferring mechanisms and are cumbersome. Furthermore, although foot lifting devices eliminate the requirement to handle a toilet seat, they still require user contact. Thus, users can elect not to use the foot lifting device and thereby contribute to unsanitary conditions.

Still another solution to this problem is to introduce an electromechanical device that is configurable to automatically moving the toilet seat between the lower and upper positions. Although there is much room for improvement, there are a few prior art references that teach such inventions, including Dyson (U.S. Patent Publication 2007/0056085) and Hayashi (U.S. Patent Publication 2005/0217010). While these electromechanical devices perform the function of moving the toilet seat between the lower and upper positions, they suffer, among other things, from being expensive, complicated, bulky, and from requiring a separate power source. Furthermore, they often still require user input.

Thus, although desirable results have been achieved, there exists much room for improvement. For instance, it would be desirable to have a device for moving a toilet seat that was inexpensive, simply operated, compact, easy to install, usable with variations of the traditional toilet, independent of a power source, automatic, and usable without user intervention. What is needed then are systems and methods for providing a toilet seat lifting device.

SUMMARY

This invention relates generally to mechanics, and more specifically, to systems and methods for providing a toilet seat lifting device. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device includes a base; a lever, the lever rotatably coupled to the base; and a weight, the weight coupled to the lever, wherein the base is configurable to being mounted on a toilet having a toilet seat and wherein gravitational force applied to the weight results in biased rotation of the lever to lift the toilet seat. In one embodiment, the weight is slidably mounted on the lever. In a related embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device further includes a device for locking the weight at a position along a length of the lever. In another related embodiment, a position of the weight along a length of the lever is electromechanically controllable. In an alternate embodiment, the weight is integrated with the lever. In yet a further embodiment, an amount of the weight is adjustable. In another embodiment, the base includes at least one orifice. In a related embodiment, the at least one orifice is elongated. In an additional embodiment, the lever includes an arm that is configurable to being disposed at least partially under the toilet seat. In a related embodiment, the arm is adjustably movable relative to the lever. In a different embodiment, the lever is configurable to being coupled to the toilet seat. In a further embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device also includes a device for locking the lever at a position relative to the toilet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a toilet seat lifting device, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a toilet seat lifting device, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a toilet seat lifting device installable on a toilet, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a toilet seat lifting device installed on a toilet, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a toilet seat lifting device installed on a toilet, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This invention relates generally to mechanics, and more specifically, to systems and methods for providing a toilet seat lifting device. Specific details of certain embodiments of the invention are set forth in the following description and in FIGS. 1-5 to provide a thorough understanding of such embodiments. The present invention may have additional embodiments, may be practiced without one or more of the details described for any particular described embodiment, or may have any detail described for one particular embodiment practiced with any other detail described for another embodiment.

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a toilet seat lifting device, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device 100 includes a base 102, a fastener 104, a lever 106, a weight 108, and a cap 110. The base 102 defines at least one orifice 112; the lever 106 includes an arm 116; and the weight 108 includes a post 114.

In one embodiment, the lever 106 is movably coupled to the base 102 using the fastener 104 such that the lever 106 is rotatable about an axis defined by the base 102. The lever 106 includes the weight 108 on one end and the arm 116 on an opposite end. When the base 102 is mounted on a toilet, the lever 106 extends alongside the toilet with the arm 116 resting under a toilet seat. Gravitational force applied to the weight 108 is transferred along the lever 106 to lift the arm 116 and thereby bias the toilet seat in an upper position.

In one embodiment, the base 102 is an elongated relatively flat member constructed from metal, wood, plastic, synthetic, or other material or combination thereof. The base 102 defines two orifices 112a and 112b for receiving fasteners to secure the base 102 to a toilet. The two orifices 112a and 112b are elongated to accommodate variably spaced fasteners present on different toilet models. In various embodiments, the base 102 can be alternatively shaped or constructed from different materials. For example, the base 102 can be shorter, longer, wider, thicker, thinner, or non-uniformly shaped. Further, any of the two orifices 112a and 112b can be omitted or supplemented or replaced with additional orifices or alternative securing mechanisms such as adhesive. In yet a further embodiment, the base 102 can be omitted and the lever 106 can be alternatively coupled to the toilet.

In one embodiment, the lever 106 is an elongated shaft having a relatively small diameter and an aperture for receiving the fastener 104. The lever 106 is constructed from metal, wood, plastic, synthetic or other material or combination thereof. The lever 106 includes the arm 116 on one end and the cap 110 on an opposing end. The arm 116 is a relatively flat extension of the lever 106 for resting under a toilet seat and can be constructed from metal, wood, plastic, synthetic or other material or combination thereof. The cap 110 is a removable screw having a diameter slightly larger than the lever 106. In various embodiments, the lever 106 is alternatively shaped, longer, shorter, wider, thinner, thicker, or non-uniformly shaped. Also, the arm 116 can be alternatively shaped or disposed relative to the lever 106. Furthermore, the arm 116 can be adjustable in any direction relative to the lever 106. Additionally, the cap 110 can be omitted, alternatively positioned, or replaced with an alternative mechanism for obstructing displacement of the weight 108, such as a pin, bearing, or flange. Further, the aperture of the lever 106 can omitted, alternatively positioned, or replaced with an alternative means for rotatably securing the lever 106 to the base 102.

In one embodiment, the fastener 104 is a screw that couples the lever 106 approximately medially to an end of the base 102 such that the lever 106 is configurable to rotate relative to the base 102. In various embodiments, the fastener 104 is alternatively positioned relative to the lever 106 or the base 102. Also, the fastener 104 can be replaced with a pin, a joint, gears, magnets, or any other mechanism that permits the lever 106 to rotate relative to the base 102.

In one embodiment, the weight 108 is cylindrical and constructed of a metal having a weight of approximately one (1) lbs. The weight 108 includes an internal channel for receiving the lever 106 such that the weight 108 is slidably positionable along a length of the lever 106 limited by the cap 110 on one end and the fastener 104 on an opposing end. The weight 108 includes the post 114 which is a screw that radially traverses the weight 108 from a surface of the weight 108 to the internal channel of the weight 108. The post 114 is configurable to removably and adjustably press against the lever 106 to secure the weight 108 at a desired position along a length of the lever 106. Increased leverage is applied to the lever 106 when the weight 108 is positioned more distal from the axis defined by the base 102. Likewise, less leverage is applied to the lever 106 when the weight 108 is positioned more proximate to the axis defined by the base 102. In various other embodiments, the weight 108 is omitted and weight is integrated into the lever 106. The weight 108 can have any different weight besides one (1) lbs, such as zero to five (0-5) lbs. The weight 108 can be supplemented with additional weights. Also, the weight 108 can be differently shaped, alternatively disposed on the lever 106, or constructed from metal, wood, plastic, synthetic, liquid, sand, or other material or combination thereof. Further, the internal channel of the weight 108 can be omitted and the weight 108 can be alternatively coupled to the lever 106. Alternatively, the weight 108 can be fixed at a position along a length of the lever 106. And, the post 114 can be alternatively disposed relative to the weight 108, such as on an end of the weight. Alternatively, the post 114 can be omitted or replaced with another mechanism for securing the weight 108 to the lever 106, such as a rack and pinion gear system. Further, the weight 108 can be configured to have an adjustable weight. For instance, the weight 108 can receive different amounts of sand or metal bands, or metal rings.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a toilet seat lifting device, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device 100 includes the base 102, the fastener 104, the lever 106, the weight 108, the cap 110, and the post 114 as described more fully in reference to FIG. 1.

In one embodiment, the base 102 has a vertical lip that extends upwardly for receiving the fastener 104. The lever 106 is disposed perpendicularly to the base 102 and against the vertical lip of the base 102. The fastener 104 couples the lever 106 to the vertical lip of the base 102 such that the lever 106 is configurable to rotate about an axis defined by the base 102. The lever 106 is an elongated shaft having the arm 116 on one end (FIG. 1) and the cap 110 on an opposing end. The lever 106 is slightly angled to facilitate the arm 116 comfortably resting under a toilet seat (FIG. 4). The cap 110 removably couples to the lever 106 and has a diameter slightly larger than the lever 106. With the cap 110 removed, the lever 106 can slidably receive the weight 108 through the internal channel of the weight 108 (FIG. 3). Once the lever 106 receives the weight 108, the cap 110 is coupled to the lever 106 to prevent removal of the weight 108. The weight 108 is then movable along the length of the lever 106 between the fastener 104 and the cap 110. The weight 108 includes the post 114, which is configurable to removably lock the weight 108 at a desired position along the length of the lever 106. Thus, gravitational force exerted upon the weight 108 is transferred through the lever 106 to lift the arm 116 with the amount of leverage being adjustable based on a position of the weight 108 on the lever 106.

In one particular embodiment, the base 102 is differently shaped. For instance, the base 102 can include a vertical lip that extends downwardly, a horizontal lip, or no lip. In yet another embodiment, the lever 106 is differently positioned relative to the base 102. For example, the lever 106 can be non-perpendicular to the base 102, can be coupled above or below the base 102, can be coupled on an opposing end of the base 102, or can be coupled more medially on the base 102. Further, the base 102 can be differently positioned relative to the lever 106, such as closer to an end of the lever 106. Also, the lever 106 can differently shaped, including more linear, less linear, or curvilinear. In additional embodiments, the weight 108 is differently shaped or positioned relative to the lever 106. For instance, the weight 108 can be disposed on a side or a top of the lever 106, can be more or less elongated, or can be omitted or integrated within the lever 106. The post 114 can be differently positioned relative to the weight 108, can be disposed on the lever 106, or can be omitted, supplemented, or replaced with an alternative mechanism for securing the weight 108 at a desired position along the lever 106.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a toilet seat lifting device installable on a toilet, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device installable on a toilet 300 includes the toilet seat lifting device 100 as more fully described in reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 supra.

In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device installable on a toilet 300 includes the base 102 having the at least one orifice 112, a washer 302, the fastener 104, the lever 106 having the arm 116, the weight 108 having an internal channel 318 and the post 114, the cap 110, a bowl 304, a toilet seat 306, a toilet seat cover 308, a tank 310, a mount bracket 312 having a hinge 314, and a mount orifice 316. The bowl 304 and the tank 310 are coupled together wherein the bowl 304 is configurable to receive waste and the tank 310 is configurable to store fluid for flushing the bowl 304. The toilet seat 306 is hingedly coupled to the toilet seat cover 308 via the hinge 314 such that both the toilet seat 306 and the toilet seat cover 308 are rotatable about an axis defined by the hinge 314. The hinge 314 includes the mount bracket 312 for securing the toilet seat 306 and the toilet seat cover 308 to the bowl 304 via the mount orifice 316. In various embodiments, the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, or the tank 310 are omitted, supplemented with additional components, alternatively coupled, differently shaped, or constructed from ceramics, metal, wood, plastic, synthetic material, or a combination thereof. In another embodiment, the mount bracket 312 and the mount orifice 316 are replaced with any mechanism for coupling. Further, the mount bracket 312 and the mount orifice 316 are locatable at any position relative to the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, and the tank 3 10.

In one embodiment, the base 102 is configurable to being disposed between the mount bracket 312 and the bowl 304 such that the mount bracket 312 couples to the mount orifice 316 through the at least one orifice 112. The lever 106 is rotatably coupled to the base 102 using the fastener 104 and the washer 302 such that the lever 106 is rotatable, along with the toilet seat 306 and the toilet seat cover 308, about an axis defined by the hinge 314. The lever 106 includes the arm 116 on a first end, which is configurable to resting under the toilet seat 306. The weight 108 includes the internal channel 318 and the lever 106 is configurable to being inserted within the internal channel 318. The weight 108 is slidably positionable along a length of the lever 106 between the fastener 104 and the cap 110, which is configurable to being removably coupled to an end of the lever 106. The weight 108 further includes the post 114 which is configurable to removably and frictionally lock the weight 108 at a desired position along the lever 106.

In one particular embodiment, the base 102 is disposed at any position relative to the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, or the tank 310. For example, the base 102 can be mounted on a front or side of the tank 310, on a side of the bowl 304, on the toilet seat 306, or on the toilet seat cover 308. Alternatively, the base 102 can be mounted to another object such as a nearby floor or wall. Alternatively, the base 102 can be molded to the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, the tank 310, or other nearby object such as a floor or wall. Also, the base 102 can be omitted and the lever 106 can be directly coupled to the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, the tank 310, or other nearby object such as a floor or wall. In an alternate embodiment, the lever 106 can be disposed at any position relative to the base 102, the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, or the tank 310 such as on a left, right, front, back, top or bottom side. In yet another embodiment, the arm 116 is differently positionable relative to the toilet seat 306 or toilet seat cover 308, such as below, above, or to a side of the toilet seat 306 or the toilet seat cover 308. Further, the arm 116 can be coupled to the toilet seat 306 or the toilet seat cover 308 using adhesive, fasteners, magnets, or some other mechanism. Alternatively, the arm 116 can be omitted and the lever 106 can be directly coupled to the toilet seat 306 or the toilet seat cover 308. In an alternative embodiment, the weight 108 is differently positionable relative to the bowl 304, the toilet seat 306, the toilet seat cover 308, the tank 310, the base 102, or the lever 106. For example, the weight 108 can be hidden from view below the tank 310.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a toilet seat lifting device installed on a toilet, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device installable on a toilet 300 includes the toilet seat lifting device 100 as more fully described in reference to FIGS. 1-3 supra.

In one embodiment, the lever 106 is rotatably coupled to the base 102 and the arm 116 is configurable to rest against the toilet seat 306. The weight 108 is disposed on the lever 106 such that gravitational force applied to the weight 108 rotates the lever 106 and thereby lifts the toilet seat 306 to the upper position against the tank 310. Force applied to the toilet seat 306 greater than the gravitational force applied to the weight 108 oppositely rotates the lever 106 and thereby lowers the toilet seat 306 to the lower position against the bowl 304. Accordingly, the toilet seat 306 is automatically biased to the upper position against the tank 310 unless force is applied to retain the toilet seat 306 in the lower position against the bowl 304. The weight 108 is adjustable along a length of the lever 106 to yield varying amounts of leverage and accommodate differing weights of the toilet seat 306. In one particular embodiment, a releasable hook (not illustrated) or other similar mechanism is usable to retain the toilet seat 306 in the lower position against the bowl 304.

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a toilet seat lifting device installed on a toilet, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, the toilet seat lifting device installable on a toilet 300 includes the toilet seat lifting device 100 as more fully described in reference to FIGS. 1-4 supra.

In one embodiment, the toilet seat 306 and the toilet seat cover 308 are configurable to rotate about a common axis 502 between the lower position adjacent to the bowl 304 and the upper position adjacent to the tank 310. The lever 106 is rotatably coupled to the base 102 (not visible) and is configurable to rotate with the toilet seat 306 and the toilet seat cover 308 about the common axis 502. The arm 116 (not visible) of the lever 106 rests under the toilet seat 306 and the weight 108 produces leverage to bias the toilet seat 306 and the toilet seat cover 308 in the upper position adjacent to the tank 310. In one particular embodiment, rotational motion of the lever 106 can be limited, such as with stoppers.

Disclosure of the lever 106 has been in reference to rotational movement. In various other embodiments, the lever 106 moves linearly or non-rotationally. In one particular embodiment, the lever 106 includes a pulley system. In yet a further embodiment, a position of the weight 108 along the lever 106 is electromechanically controllable such that movement of the weight 108 alters leverage of the lever 106 thereby controllably lifting or lowering the toilet seat 306. Input for the electromechanical controls can arise from direct user input or from sensors, such as infrared or weight sensors.

While preferred and alternate embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of these preferred and alternate embodiments. Instead, the invention should be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.

Claims

1. A toilet seat lifting device, the toilet seat lifting device comprising: wherein the base is configurable to being mounted on a toilet having a toilet seat and wherein gravitational force applied to the weight results in biased rotation of the lever to lift the toilet seat.

a base;
a lever, the lever rotatably coupled to the base; and
a weight, the weight coupled to the lever,

2. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, wherein the weight is slidably mounted on the lever.

3. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 2 further comprising a device for locking the weight at a position along a length of the lever.

4. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 2, wherein a position of the weight along a length of the lever is electromechanically controllable.

5. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, wherein the weight is integrated with the lever.

6. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, wherein an amount of the weight is adjustable.

7. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, wherein in the base includes at least one orifice.

8. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 7, wherein the at least one orifice is elongated.

9. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, wherein the lever includes an arm that is configurable to being disposed at least partially under the toilet seat.

10. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 9, wherein the arm is adjustably movable relative to the lever.

11. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, wherein the lever is configurable to being coupled to the toilet seat.

12. The toilet seat lifting device of claim 1, further comprising a device for locking the lever at a position relative to the toilet.

13. A toilet, the toilet comprising: wherein gravitational force applied to the weight results in biased rotation of the lever to lift the toilet seat.

a toilet seat;
a lever, the lever rotatably coupled to the toilet; and
a weight, the weight coupled to the lever,

14. The toilet of claim 13, wherein the weight is slidably mounted on the lever.

15. The toilet of claim 14 further comprising a device for locking the weight at a position along a length of the lever.

16. The toilet of claim 14, wherein a position of the weight along a length of the lever is electromechanically controllable.

17. The toilet of claim 13, wherein the weight is integrated with the lever.

18. The toilet of claim 13, further comprising a device for locking the lever at a position relative to the toilet.

19. The toilet of claim 13, wherein the lever includes an arm that is configurable to being disposed at least partially under the toilet seat.

20. A toilet seat lifting device, the toilet seat lifting device comprising:

a means for lifting a toilet seat; and
a means for biasing the means for lifting a toilet seat in an upright position through gravitational force.

Patent History

Publication number: 20090113611
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 30, 2008
Publication Date: May 7, 2009
Inventors: Adnan Jarjour (Houms), Mahmoud Abdallah (Houms)
Application Number: 12/261,995

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Lever Operated Opener (4/246.3)
International Classification: A47K 13/10 (20060101);