Headgear comprising at least an earbud and a strap suitable for attachment to a device, which device transports at least one of a gas, a liquid, and a solid suspended in a liquid to and/or away from the wearer.
People often need to wear headgear to secure devices to the face. Examples include sleep apnea devices—such as continuous positive airway pressure (“CPAP”) devices also referred to herein as nasal pillows—braces, retainers, glasses, and the like. Certain of such devices need to be secured to the face to resist forces which might otherwise remove the device in an undesired way or circumstance. For example, nasal pillows provide air under pressure to the nose and/or nostrils of a wearer while the wearer is sleeping. Nasal pillow headgear must counteract the forces produced by the air pressure and by movement of the wearer while sleeping.
Existing prior art headgear for securing nasal pillows to the head includes U.S. Pat. No. 7,225,811 and U.S. application Ser. No. 12/074,596, published as publication number 2008/0264422. The headgear disclosed in this prior art is undesirable because it is in contact with the user's hair, because it is in contact with much of a user's head, because it is claustrophobic, because it is visually disruptive, because it can be difficult to attach and remove, and because it produces physical and/or mental discomfort for users. Discomfort with prior art headgear prevents use of such headgear, notwithstanding that the device held on by the headgear may provide benefits to the potential wearer.
Needed is headgear for securing a nasal pillow or similar to the face, which headgear is more comfortable than the prior art.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Disclosed is headgear comprising at least an earbud and a strap suitable for attachment to a device, which device transports at least one of a gas, a liquid, and a solid suspended in a liquid to and/or away from the wearer.
The description of the drawings and following detailed description refer to the accompanying drawings. The reference numbers begin with a two-digit numeral which identifies the figure, followed by a three digit numeral which identifies the feature. The same feature number in different drawing figures generally identify the same or similar elements and/or components. A reference to a feature in an figure may be to “##ABC” where “ABC” is the feature number and “##” identifies any figure containing the feature.
The following detailed description is for the purpose of illustrating embodiments of the invention only, and other embodiments are possible without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is limited only by the appended claims. Certain of the figures are discussed in this specification using certain terms. The following discussion uses these terms and related terms as examples and not as limitations. The components depicted in certain of the figures represent functional groups; it should be understood that such functional groupings need not exist as discrete hardware devices and that the functions described as occurring within, comprising, or being provided by a grouping may be provided within or by common or separate physical devices. The functions within and comprising any of the function groupings may be regrouped in other combinations and certain of the components may be omitted or added without deviating from this disclosure. Certain of the groupings depict components which are included together in the illustration for the sake of convenience. Certain of the figures depict components in isolation; the components from different figures may be combined and/or regrouped.
The figures depict a human wearer; the wearer may be another animal with an ear canal and/or concha.
As used herein, a “provisioning system ##011” is a device which transports at least one of (for example) a gas, a liquid, and a solid suspended in a liquid to and/or away from the wearer. Examples of such transported gas and/or material include pressurized air, food, water, oxygen, medicine, and/or anesthetic. A CPAP device or nasal pillow is a provisioning system.
Waveguides (discussed further below) may pass through, over, and/or be attached to the provisioning system ##011, the strap ##005/009, the earbud ##001, and the securing arm ##003, which waveguides may connect or connect to a sensor or emitter (such as a speaker inside an earbud or another sensor or emitter attached to or in proximity to the wearer) to equipment, which equipment, for example, may determine the state of a sensor and/or emitter and/or may provide the sensor and/or emitter with electrical power, digital data and/or analogue information and/or may connect the sensor and/or emitter with relays, computer memory, and/or computer processors, and/or a data sink or source.
The provisioning system in the example depicted in
The provisioning system may comprise a device or component which covers the nose and/or mouth instead of as shown, with nostril cones 01015 inserted into the nostrils. As examples, the earbud ##001, securing arm ##003, strap ##005/009, cheek pad ##007, provisioning system ##011, and conduit ##013 may be made of molded or extruded rubber, silicone, plastic, thermoplastic, vinyl, acrylic, fiberglass, carbon fiber, aramid or other composite, and/or one or more metals.
As used herein, a releasable connection is a connection between two or more components, which connection may be disengaged by a human without the use of a tool (examples of tools include screwdriver, pliers, drills, saws, welding machines, torches, and heat sources). A non-releasable connection is a connection between two or more components which connection may only be disengaged through use of a tool.
The illustration in
In use and as illustrated in
The canal rod 03019 may be found inside of the earbud, for example, inside 03001. The canal rod 03019 may be a different shape, for example to accommodate curvature and shrinking space within the ear canal. Box 03090 shows an example of a bent canal rod 03091. The bend shown is an example; in practice curves may also be used, as well as more than one bend and/or curve. The amount of bend and/or curve may be variable across a distribution curve. In addition to and/or as part of custom made earbuds (discussed below), a characteristic bend and/or curve may be selected to accommodate a range of a target population, such as, for example, a quintile.
The canal rod 03019 may include a flange, notch or similar to accommodate and/or facilitate removal and re-attachment of earbud shells of different sizes from and to the canal rod 03019. The canal rod 03019 may be a semi-flexible and/or deformable material, such as a metal, plastic, or thermoplastic, to allow it to be reshaped. The canal rod 03019 or an air tube(s) with a similar structure as depicted in 03019 may provided ventilation, auditory communication, connection with hearing aids, connection with removable securing arms 03003, and similar. The force transmitting function of the canal rod 03019 may be provided by the rigidity of the material of the earbud, rather than being provided by a distinct canal rod component 03019; in this case, attachment of the strap 03005 to the earbud 03005 may be to a plate on the outer surface of the earbud, such as 11111 in
To be used as part of the apparatus disclosed herein, the earbuds shown in boxes 05028, 05030, and 05032 would need to be made of a sufficiently rigid material to resist forces which might otherwise remove the earbuds (rigidity of the material transferring the forces into the concha and/or ear canal), they would need a strap to connect the earbud to a provisioning system, and, optionally, they would include a securing arm 05003. To accommodate a strap and (optional) securing arm, the earbuds shown in boxes 05028, 05030, and 05032 need i) a connector to connect the strap to the earbud, the strap exiting the earbud, for example, in the notch between the tragus and anti-tragus, and ii) a(n) (optional) securing arm exiting the concha generally above the tragus.
More than one attachment system may be used in a single embodiment. For example, an embodiment may include a snap, to allow a strap ##005 to be released by disengaging the snap, and a velcro system as described with respect to
Instead of or in addition to being located proximate to the provisioning device (as shown in
The second friction device illustrated in
Not all possible attachment components, friction devices, and similar are shown. The figures contain examples. Other components may be used which would provide a similar function.
The apparatus may produce less discomfort than prior art systems for securing nasal pillows to the head, thereby making it more likely for the apparatus to be worn and for the wearer to obtain the benefits offered by the provisioning system. The apparatus may offer additional benefits such as attenuation of external noise and the generation of auditory signals by or in the earbuds. In addition, data collection sensor(s) may be located in the device, including in the earbud, the strap, the provisioning system, and/or the air pump to measure, for example, temperature, pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygen level, or other vital statistics.
1. An apparatus for attaching a provisioning system to a wearer's head, comprising:
- a first earbud for insertion into an ear canal and/or concha of a wearer of the apparatus, the earbud comprising a first connection;
- a first strap attached to the first earbud via the first connection and further comprising a second connection to attach the first strap to a provisioning system.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first earbud further comprises a securing arm, which securing arm comprises at least a partial arc extending from the earbud, circumferentially posterior to the auricle of the wearer of the apparatus, to a region between the helix and the head of the wearer of the apparatus and behind the location where the first earbud is inserted into the ear canal and/or concha of the wearer.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the apparatus further comprises the provisioning system.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the apparatus further comprises a cheek pad attached to the first strap.
5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the provisioning system comprises a conduit.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the conduit and provisioning system transports at least one of a gas, a liquid, and a solid suspended in a liquid to and/or away from the wearer.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein at least one of the conduit, the earbud, and strap transports an electrical or optical signal and/or data to and/or away from the wearer.
8. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the provisioning system is a nasal pillow.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the earbud comprises at least one of a portion custom-fitted to the ear canal and/or concha of the wearer, a portion comprising a disk, a portion comprising one or more disks on a stalk, and a foam portion.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the earbud comprises a brace which contacts the anti-helix and/or concha and/or cymba of a wearer.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the earbud further comprises at least two prongs which come together at a junction, wherein the first prong comprises the first connection and the second prong is within the portion of the earbud insertable into the ear canal and/or concha of the user.
12. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the earbud further comprises at least three prongs which come together at a junction, wherein the first prong comprises the first connection, the second prong is within the portion of the earbud insertable into the ear canal and/or concha of the user, and the third prong attaches to and/or comprises at least a portion of the securing arm.
13. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a second earbud and a second strap.
14. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an attachment component to adjust the effective length of the strap between the provisioning system and the earbud.
15. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first and second connections comprises an opening through which the first strap passes.
16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the opening is in at least one of the provisioning system and the earbud.
17. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the attachment component comprises a friction device, wherein the strap passes through the friction device, which friction device produces friction on the strap.
18. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the attachment component comprises at least one of a cinch plate, a spring-loaded clamp, a buckle, and a hook and loop fastener.
19. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the hook and loop fastener comprises a first portion on the strap and a second portion for releasable attachment to a cheek pad.
20. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first and second connection are at least one of releasable and non-releasable.
21. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein the non-releasable connection comprises a chemical or physical bond with or to the first strap.
22. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein the releasable connection comprises an attachment component to adjust the effective length of the strap between the provisioning system and the earbud.
23. An apparatus for attaching a provisioning system to a human head, comprising: a first earbud for insertion into an ear canal and/or concha of a wearer of the apparatus, which first earbud is configured to be attached to the provisioning system via a first strap.
Filed: Mar 16, 2012
Publication Date: Sep 19, 2013
Inventor: Meredith Broderick (Seattle, WA)
Application Number: 13/423,091
International Classification: A42C 5/04 (20060101); A41D 13/05 (20060101); A42B 1/00 (20060101);