MULTI-CHAMBER AIR MATTRESS

- BOYD SPECIALTY SLEEP

A multi-chamber air mattress has an outer air chamber having a top and a bottom and a sidewall therebetween; and an inner air chamber disposed entirely within said outer chamber and having a top, a bottom, and a sidewall therebetween. An air pump, a first connection between the air pump and the outer chamber and a second connection between the air pump and the inner chamber to provide air to the outer and inner chambers.

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Description

FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to the field of mattresses, and in particular to air mattresses with multiple pressure zones.

BACKGROUND

This section provides background information related to the present disclosure which is not necessarily prior art.

There is a significant demand for mattresses of all types of bedding that is capable of providing zones of varying firmness or pressure to provide greater comfort to the user. With inner spring or foam mattresses, this can be accomplished relatively easily by varying the stiffness of the spring coils or foam material in the different zones of the mattress. However, air mattresses present a unique problem in providing multiple zones of firmness.

While air mattresses with multiple chambers are known, these prior art mattresses suffer from significant limitations. Notably, each chamber usually requires a separate hose connected to the air chamber and to a manifold port. The manifold port for a particular air chamber must be opened for the chamber pressure to be monitored or for the pressure to be adjusted. Further, the prior art mattresses typically require a relatively large number of connection points within the air supply network, each of which represents a potential leak point within the system that can compromise quality and long-term performance.

SUMMARY

This section provides a general summary of the disclosure, and is not a comprehensive disclosure of its full scope or all of its features.

Embodiments of this invention provide a multi-chamber air mattress. A preferred embodiment of the a multi-chamber air mattress in accordance with the principles of this invention generally comprising: an outer air chamber having a top, a bottom, and sides extending between the top and bottom, defining a height between the top and bottom, and a width and length between opposed sides. At least one inner air chamber, having a top a bottom, and sides, defining a width and a length between opposed sides, is disposed within the outer chamber. An air pump system has a first connection with the outer chamber, and a second connection with the inner chamber.

The width and the length of said inner air chamber are preferably less than the width and the length of the outer air chamber, so that the inner and outer chambers can define a plurality of regions of different firmness.

The inner chamber can have its own separate top and bottom, or the sides of the in chamber can be jointed to the top and bottom of the outer chamber, so that the top and bottom of the inner chamber are coextensive with top and bottom of the outer chamber.

At least the sides of the inner chamber are made of a different material than the material comprising the sides of the outer chamber.

The second connection with the inner air chamber preferably comprises a flexible, internal connector spanning the distance between one of said sides of said outer air chamber and one of said sides of said inner air chamber.

Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected embodiments and not all possible implementations, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a prior art multi-chambered mattress illustrating possible leak points;

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of a preferred embodiment of a multi-chambered mattress according to the principles of the present invention, illustrating possible leak points;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a multi-chambered mattress according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a first alternate construction of the multi-chambered mattress of the preferred embodiment, showing a first arrangement of internal baffles; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second alternate construction of the multi-chambered mattress of the preferred embodiment, showing a second arrangement of internal baffles.

Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Example embodiments will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings.

A preferred embodiment of a multi-chamber mattress constructed according to the principles of this invention is indicated generally as 10 in FIGS. 2-5. As shown in FIG. 3, in this preferred embodiment, the mattress 10 includes an outer chamber 12 and an inner chamber 14 capable of providing a support pressure in a portion of the mattress, different from the support pressure provided in the remaining portions of the mattress 10.

The outer chamber 12 preferably includes a top 16, a bottom 18, and a sidewall 20 extending between the top and bottom, defining the height of the outer chamber. In this preferred embodiment the outer chamber 12 has a generally rectangular prismatic configuration, and the sidewall 20 comprises opposed head and foot walls 22 and 24, defining the length of the outer chamber, and opposed left and right walls 26 and 28, defining with width of the outer chamber.

The inner chamber 14 is disposed entirely within the outer air chamber 12, and comprises a top 30 and a bottom 32, and a sidewall 34 extending between the top and bottom, defining the height of the inner chamber. In this preferred embodiment the inner chamber has a generally rectangular prismatic configuration, and the sidewall 34 comprises opposed head and foot walls 36 and 38, defining the length of the inner chamber, and opposed left and right walls 40 and 42, defining with width of the inner chamber.

In the preferred embodiment, top 30 and bottom 32 of the inner chamber 14 are formed of portions of the top 16 and bottom 18 of the outer chamber 12, with the sidewall 34 of the inner chamber extending between the top and the bottom of the outer chamber. However, the inner chamber 14 could have its own top and bottom.

The inner and outer chambers 12 and 14 can be made of the same material or different materials. Preferably at least portions of the inner chamber 14 are made of a different material than portions of the outer chamber 12. In the preferred embodiment, the outer chamber 12 is made from a Nylon/TPU laminate, with an outwardly facing layer of 210 denier nylon and an inwardly facing 0.14 mm layer of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), while the inner chamber is made a 0.20 mm layer of TPU. The combination material forming the outer chamber 12 reinforced the shape and reduced distortion even at high pressure levels. Using just a thermoplastic material for the inner chamber 14 and other internal structures creates greater resiliency in the mattress 10 and allows deflecting high stress impacts to the mattress (such as an individual jumping on the mattress) while still maintaining its original shape. The thicker TPU material allows for resiliency as well as memory to retain its original shape after elongating to deflect a sudden impact. Both the TPU and the nylon can have an anti-fungal treatment such that the mattress can pass an ASTM G21 standard.

The resulting chamber within a chamber has been found to provide superior support while allowing the mattress to have varying firmness across its surface. The inner chamber 14 is preferably disposed in the outer chamber 12, intermediate the head wall 22 and foot wall 24 of the outer chamber, providing an area of additional support or firmness in the center portion of the mattress, and defining areas of lesser support of firmness adjacent the head wall 22 and the foot wall 24.

The left and right walls 40 and 42 of the inner chamber 14 are preferably close to, but still spaced from the left and right walls 28 and 30 of the outer chamber 32. For example the walls might be spaced about 1 inch from each other, but this gap could be smaller or larger. This construction allows the inner chamber 14 to provide additional support across substantially the entire width of the outer chamber 12, yet allows the spaced within the outer chamber separated by the inner chamber to fluidly communicate, so that there are only two regions in which the pressure needs to be controlled, reducing the number of connection points as described in more detail below.

While the preferred embodiment is shown and described as having a single inner chamber 14, two or more inner chambers could be provided in the outer chamber to provide additional areas of controlled differential support. For example, three inner chambers 14 can be positioned in the outer chamber 12 at the approximate points of contact between the mattress 10 and user's head, lumbar region, and knees. Such a mattress would effectively have seven different pressure zones from the head to the foot of the mattress. The air supply system could be simplified to provide a single connection to the outer chamber, and one connection through the outer chamber to each of the three inner chambers in series or in parallel. Of course separate connections could be provided to each of the interior chambers if individual control of the regions of the mattress were desired.

These chambers can be formed using the top and bottom of the outer chamber to form the top or bottom of the inner chamber, or the inner chambers can have their own tops and bottoms. Where the inner chamber is not formed from the top and bottom of the outer chamber, it is usually desirable to anchor the inner chamber is some way to restrict its movement relative to the outer chamber. This helps further reduce the number of require connection points for the air supply system. In this preferred embodiment the gap between the sides of the inner 22 and outer 18 chambers is about 1 inch, but this gap could be smaller or larger.

Previous air mattress designs also used “coils” to join the top of the air mattress to the bottom of the air mattress. However, these circular connections can cause an uneven, lumpy sleep surface with a tufted appearance. The mattress 10 of the preferred embodiment has a plurality of wall beams 58 that can extend substantially the length (FIG. 5) and/or the width (FIG. 4) of the mattress chamber. The wall beams 58 are preferably spaced and aligned symmetrically such that they maintain a very flat even sleep surface with a minimal arc between the beams. Air can easily pass around the wall beams 58, but port holes (not shown) may optionally be provided in the wall beams for additional flow. Wall beams 58 have been found to test superior to coil beams or other designs in burst tests, fatigue tests, rollator tests, etc. The wall beams 58 also minimize distortion upon inflation of the air core and help to maintain its rectangular prismatic shape.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 the wall beams 58 can also be provided in the interior chamber 14, particularly when the top and bottom of the interior are formed by the top and bottom of the outer chamber 12. As shown in FIG. 4, a set of wall beams 58 can extend from substantially the left wall 26 to substantially the right wall 28, in the space between the head wall 22 of the outer chamber 12 and the head wall 36 of the inner chamber 14. A set of wall beams 58 can extend from substantially the left wall 40 to the right wall 42, between the head wall 36 and the foot wall 38 of the inner chamber 14. A set of wall beans 58 can extend substantially the left wall 26 to substantially the right wall 28, in the space between the foot wall 38 of the inner chamber 14 and the foot wall 24 of the outer chamber 12.

As shown in FIG. 5, a set of wall beams 58 can extend from substantially the head wall 22 of the outer chamber 12 to the head wall 36 of the inner chamber 14, between the left wall 26 and the right wall 28. A set of wall beams 58 can extend from substantially the head wall 36 to the foot wall 38 of the inner chamber 14, between the left wall 40 to the right wall 42. A set of wall beans 58 can extend substantially the foot wall 38 of the inner chamber to the foot wall 24 of the outer chamber, between the left wall 26 and the right wall 28.

The wall beams 58 of each set are preferably parallel and equally spaced, so that they provide a smooth surface for the top of the mattress.

As shown in FIG. 2 an air supply system 50 includes an air pump 52, a first air supply hose 54 extending from the pump to the outer chamber 12, and a second air supply hose 56 extending form the pump through the outer chamber to the inner chamber 14. The air pump 52 is preferably capable of separately supplying air at a selected pressure to each of the first and second air supply hoses 54 and 56, and preferably includes a pressure measurement system and valving for selectively connecting with each of the first and second air supply hoses. The pump 52 can have manual controls, but preferably has a wired or wireless remote control. In this preferred embodiment, the air pump 52 registers pressure readings from each of the outer and inner chambers 12 and 14. The control is preferably provided with buttons, switches, or other controls to operate the pump to inflate or increase the pressure in each of the outer and inner chambers, preferably to a desired pressure, and to inner and/or outer chambers 18 and 20 through the pump 24, and to decrease or deflate in each of the outer and inner chambers by releasing or actively pumping air. The pump 52 may be any type of suitable pump, including a diaphragm pump, impellor pump, blower motor pump, or other known pumping mechanism.

The control is adapted to operate the pump to control the pressure/firmness of each of the various regions of the mattress. Often two or more mattress may be ganged together in a single tray. In this event a single control may be provided to control each of the mattresses, or a separate control can be provided for each mattress. Each hand control may be hard wired directly to its respective the pump. Alternatively the hand control may operate wirelessly with a Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, x10, Z-Wave, radio frequency (RF), infrared or other wireless connection. It may also be connected to smartphone allowing the user to operate their air bed functions from their phone.

To release air pressure the pumping 52 may or may not need to be engaged. To release air the user can operate the appropriate control (e.g. a deflate button) which can open a valve and allow the air from the chamber(s) to flow out. This will occur naturally when the pressure inside the chamber is higher than normal ambient air pressure.

The second air hose 56 can comprise a first portion 60 extending between the pump 52 and the outer chamber 12, and second portion 62 extending between the wall of the outer chamber 12 and the inner chamber 14 to deliver air to the inner chamber. Advantageously, the second portion 62 is preferably flexible to accommodate variations in distance between the sides of the two chambers and movement of the sides of the two chambers relative to one another during use or movement of the mattress. At least the portion 62 may be a corrugated, flexible tubing to provide the desired flexibility and strength.

In the prior art, the air hoses that connect air mattresses to the pump are typically external to the air mattress (as shown in FIG. 1). By the connection to the inner chamber inside the outer chamber, the number of connection ports can be reduced, reducing the risk that the hoses will kink or become restricted, compressed or otherwise have the air flow impeded. It also lessens the risk that the hoses will become entangled. Loose hoses also migrate over or under the air mattress which will cause a restriction of the air hose when someone lies on the mattress. The prior art mattresses typically had exit ports for the air hoses that protrude from the sides of the mattress, generally with an elbow valve that directs the hose toward the pump. When two such mattresses are placed side by side the elbow valves and/or hoses can create a gap between the two mattresses. As shown in FIGS. 3-5 the connections in the preferred embodiment are near the head of the mattress in the corner. Thus, when the mattresses are placed together in a foam tray, the two connections with each mattresses will not interfere with each other. This also allows for the same exact air mattress to be used for either the left or right side of the mattress. This avoids having to inventory “left side air cores” and “right size air cores” as there is only one air core.

The foregoing description of the embodiments has been provided for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure. Individual elements or features of a particular embodiment are generally not limited to that particular embodiment, but, where applicable, are interchangeable and can be used in a selected embodiment, even if not specifically shown or described. The same may also be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the disclosure, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the disclosure.

Claims

1. A multi-chamber air mattress, comprising:

an outer air chamber having a top and a bottom and a sidewall therebetween;
an inner air chamber disposed entirely within said outer chamber and having a top, a bottom, and a sidewall therebetween; and
an air pump, a first connection between the air pump and the outer chamber and a second connection between the air pump and the inner chamber to provide air to the outer and inner chambers.

2. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 1 wherein the first connection connects the pump to the sidewall of the outer chamber and the second connection connects the pump to the sidewall of the inner chamber.

3. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 1 wherein the top and bottom of the inner chamber comprise portions of the top and bottom of the other chambers, respectively.

4. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 1 wherein the sidewall of the inner chamber is of a different material than the sidewall of the outer chamber.

5. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 1 wherein the sidewall of the outer chamber comprises opposed head and foot walls, and opposed left and right walls, and wherein the sidewall of the inner chamber comprises opposed head and foot walls, and opposed left and right walls.

6. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 5 wherein the inner chamber is disposed inside the outer chamber intermediate the head and foot walls of the outer chamber.

7. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 1 further comprising a plurality of elongate flexible panels extending between the top and the bottom of the outer chamber.

8. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 7 wherein the elongate flexible panels extend generally parallel to the head and foot walls.

9. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 7 wherein the elongate flexible panels extend generally parallel to the left and walls.

10. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 7 further comprising a plurality of elongate flexible panels extending between the top and the bottom of the inner chamber.

11. The multi-chamber air mattress according to claim 7 wherein the elongate flexible panels in the inner chamber extend generally parallel to the elongate flexible panels in the inner chamber.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140090176
Type: Application
Filed: Sep 25, 2013
Publication Date: Apr 3, 2014
Applicant: BOYD SPECIALTY SLEEP (St. Louis, MO)
Inventor: Dennis M. Boyd (St. Louis, MO)
Application Number: 14/037,135

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Including Plural, Separately Inflatable, Distinct Gas Containing Compartments (5/710)
International Classification: A47C 27/08 (20060101);