CUSHION AND METHOD OF USE

A cushion for inserting in the legwell between individual seats in rows of seats, for example in a vehicle, is disclosed. The top of the cushion can act as a surface for a user to lie down. The cushion can be inflatable and can be deflated for easy transport. The cushion can have multiple reservoirs so the internal pressure can be separately adjusted for the base and for the mattress of the cushion, similar to a box spring and a mattress in a common bed.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional App. No. 61/836,851, filed 19 Jun. 2013, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety,

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

A cushion for use between seats on a vehicle and a method of using the same is disclosed. For example, the cushion can be positioned in the legwell between a first seat and a second seat in the row immediately in front of the first seat on an airplane and be laid upon by a passenger.

2. Description of Related Art

Airplane, train and car travel over long distances can be physically uncomfortable, especially for younger passengers accustomed to moving around more than allowed on cars and in planes. Sleeping helps pass the travel time for such passengers, but often the seats do not sufficiently recline to make sleep comfortable, the seats are too uncomfortable (e.g., hard or rough), dirty, the armrest between adjacent seats can not be raised to allow the passenger to lie down across the seats, or the adjacent seat is occupied by another passenger preventing the sleep-desiring passenger from lying across the two seats.

There exist cushions to fill the space in the legwell between the front of the passenger's seat and the back of the next seat forward. However, some of these cushions are rigid, providing an uncomfortable experience. Some also extend to cover the seat, making the entire assembly unnecessarily large, making transport of the cushions even more difficult considering the awkward contortions needed to transit an airport and board and exit a crowded plane, as well as getting into and out of the legwell space in a car or train. The existing inflatable cushions have a single bladder in the legwell area, reducing the ability to adjust the pressure at different locations in the cushion in the legwell, similarly to a bed with a stiffer bottom box spring and a softer top mattress.

Accordingly, a cushion for filling the space in the legwell between seats in adjacent rows is desired that is soft, does not cover the seat, and can be adjusted to different levels of softness and rigidity at different heights is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An inflatable cushion is disclosed. The cushion can have a flexible wall that can define a first reservoir (e.g., a mattress reservoir) and a second reservoir (e.g., a base reservoir), a first closable valve, and a second closable valve. The flexible wall can have an external wall and a septum separating the first reservoir and the second reservoir.

The first closable valve can be in fluid communication with the first reservoir and the outside environment. The second reservoir can be in fluid isolation from the first reservoir. The second closable valve can be in fluid communication with the first reservoir and the outside environment.

When the first reservoir and the second reservoir are in inflated configurations the external surface of the wall adjacent to the first reservoir and opposite to the second reservoir can be flat. The external surface of the wall adjacent to the second reservoir and opposite to the first reservoir can be flat and parallel to the external surface of the wall adjacent to the first reservoir and opposite to the second reservoir. For example, the top of the mattress reservoir's top wall can be flat and parallel to the bottom of the base reservoir's bottom wall.

When the first reservoir and the second reservoir are in inflated configurations, the first reservoir can have a first reservoir central axis and the second reservoir can have a second reservoir central axis. The first reservoir central axis can be collinear with the second reservoir central axis when the reservoirs are in inflated configurations.

The first reservoir can be above the second reservoir when positioned for use. The second reservoir can be narrower and/or shorter than the first reservoir,

Either or both reservoirs can have cells in fluid communication with each other and the respective reservoir. The cells can be surrounded by internal tensile cell walls attached to the external wall and the septum. The cell walls can provide tension to the external wall when the respective reservoir is inflated to maintain a desired shape of the respective sub-cushion (e.g., a fiat top or bottom). When the respective reservoirs are in inflated configurations, the cell walls can be in tension between the septum and the respective external wall.

The cushion can have a heater and/or a cooler.

The cushion can have a third reservoir (e.g., a pillow reservoir) extending from the first reservoir in a direction away from the second reservoir. The third reservoir can be in fluid isolation from or fluid communication with the first and/or second reservoirs.

A method of using a cushion in the legwell between a first seat and a second seat in a vehicle is disclosed. The cushion can have an inflatable mattress reservoir and an inflatable base reservoir. The method can include inflating the base reservoir to a first pressure, positioning the cushion between the first seat and the second seat after the base reservoir is inflated, and inflating the mattress reservoir to a second pressure. After inflating the mattress reservoir, the cushion ma not extend onto the first seat.

The method can include applying pressure with the mattress reservoir in a first direction (e.g., rearward) to a seat pad of the first seat and in a second direction (e.g., forward) to a seat back of the second seat. The mattress reservoir can be held in tension between the seat pad of the first seat and the seat back or backrest of the second seat. The first direction can be the opposite of the second direction.

The cushion can be positioned before the mattress reservoir is inflated. The cushion can be positioned after the mattress reservoir is inflated.

The first seat can be directly behind the second seat,

The first pressure can be greater than, equal to or less than the second pressure.

Also disclosed is a method for using a cushion system for a vehicle passenger. The method can include positioning a first legwell cushion in a first legwell of a first seat and second legwell cushion in a second legwell of a second seat. The first legwell can be adjacent to the second legwell. The method can also include laying a first passenger across the first cushion and the second cushion.

The method can also include rotating armrests attached to the first and/or second. seat out of the way, and laying a second passenger across the first and second seats.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIGS. 1a to and 1b illustrate variations of the cushion.

FIG. 2 is a variation of sectional view A-A of the cushion of FIG. 1a.

FIG. 3 illustrates a variation of a method for positioning the cushion between seats in adjacent rows.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate variations of methods for using the cushion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1a and 1b illustrate a cushion or pillow that can be used in combination with a chair, sofa or seat The cushion can have a cushion wall that can be impermeable to air or other gasses or fluids, or combinations thereof. The cushion wall can be made from a flexible material, such as a fiber-reinforced plastic such as PVC vinyl polymer. The material can be bare and/or coated in all or part of the outside of the cushion with a low-friction material such as felt, velvet, silk, satin, cotton, or combinations thereof.

The cushion can have one or more sub-cushions, for example a mattress sub-cushion and a base sub-cushion. The sub-cushions can be fluid-fillable and inflatable reservoirs or bladders. For example, the sub-cushions can be filled with air, carbon dioxide, water, saline solution, nitrogen, gel, or combinations thereof One or both of the sub-cushions can be filled with one or more foams without or in combination with a fluid. The sub-cushions can be in fluid communication with each other or can be not in fluid communication with each other, for example having separate and distinct reservoirs. The mattress sub-cushions can be at the top end of the cushion.

The sub-cushions can each have generally square or rectangular footprints with curved or rounded corners. When the sub-cushions are in an inflated configuration, the top surface of the mattress sub-cushion can be substantially flat, and the bottom surface of the base sub-cushion can be flat and parallel to the top of the mattress sub-cushion

When in an inflated configuration and unbiased, the mattress sub-cushion can have a mattress width, mattress length, and mattress height. The mattress width at the wisest portion of the mattress sub-cushion can be, for example, from about 30 cm to about 60 cm, more narrowly from about 45 cm to about 50 cm, for example about 47 cm. The mattress length at the longest portion of the mattress sub-cushion can be from about 20 cm to about 50 cm, more narrowly from about 35 cm to about 40 cm, for example about 38 cm. The mattress length can be equal to the mattress width. The mattress height can be from about 5 cm to about 30 cm, more narrowly from about 10 cm to about 2.0 cm, for example about 15 cm.

When in an inflated configuration and unbiased, the base sub-cushion can have a base width, base length, and base height. The base width at the widest portion of the base sub-cushion can be, for example, from about 10 cm to about 60 cm, more narrowly from about 25 cm to about 30 cm, for example about 28 cm. The base length at the longest portion of the base sub-cushion can be from about 10 cm to about 60 cm, more narrowly from about 25 cm to about 30 cm, for example about 28 cm. The base length can be equal to the base width. The base height can be from about 10 cm to about 50 cm, more narrowly from about 25 cm to about 30 cm, for example about 27 cm.

The base length and/or base width can be equal to, larger than or smaller than the mattress length and/or mattress width, respectively.

The mattress sub-cushion (as shown) and/or base sub-cushion can have one or more tension cells. The tension cells can hold the top and/or bottom external wall in a substantially flat configuration when the respective sub-cushion is inflated. The walls of the cells can be attached to the external walls of the respective sub-cushions at cell seams.

The base sub-cushion can have a foot at the bottom terminal end of the base sub-cushion opposite the mattress sub-cushion. The base can narrow in width and/or length adjacent to the foot. The remainder of the base sub-cushion can adjoin to the foot at a foot juncture ridge is narrower in length and width than the remainder of the base sub- cushion. The foot can expand in width and/or length extending downward from the foot juncture ridge.

The mattress sub-cushion can have a mattress valve and the base sub-cushion can have a base valve. The valves can be operable and closable and can be pulled away from and pushed into a recessed position in the respective sub-cushions, lying flat and flush against the sub-cushion external wall. When opened, the respective reservoirs can be in fluid communication with the outside environment through the respective valve. For example, a user can open the valve and pressurize or depressurize the respective reservoir (e.g., with a pump or by blowing through the valve) and then close the valve.

The external wall on the top of the mattress sub-cushion and/or on the bottom of the base reservoir can have a foam, and/or liquid, and/or gel padding.

FIG. 1b illustrates that the base sib-cushion can have a base mid-seam. The mid-seam can circumscribe the base sub-cushion. The mid-seam can extend outward from the remainder of the base sub-cushion and can have a higher coefficient of friction than the surrounding base sub-cushion. For example, the mid-seam can frictionally secure cargo stowed in the underseat storage volumes in front of the cushion, and/or frictionally secure the cushion to the seat pad or frame of the user's active seat.

One or both of the sub-cushions can have temperature control elements such as heaters and/or coolers. For example, the top wall of the mattress sub-cushion can have one or more resistive heating coils and/or thermoelectric Peltier cooling strips (that can be used as heaters and/or coolers) embedded in the wall. The heating coils and/or Peltier coolers can be powered by replaceable and/or rechargeable batteries in a hard case on the side of the cushion and/or by a detachable or fixed electrical cord extending from the wall of the cushion. The heaters and/or coolers can have a control for power, both to turn the power on and off and/or to adjust the amount of heat produced by the heaters and cooling produced by the coolers. The controls can include a thermostat to turn the heaters and/or coolers on and off or dynamically adjust the quantity of heat output or cooling output to maintain a constant temperature of the top surface of the cushion as defined by a temperature control set by the user. The top surface of the cushion can have a thermometer. The thermometer can sense the temperature of the top surface of the cushion and can communicate the temperature of the top surface of the cushion to the thermostat.

FIG. 2 illustrates that the cushion wall can have an external wall, a septum, and internal cell walls defining, for example, a first cell and a second cell.

When the cushion is in an inflated configuration, the cell walls can be in tension between the top external wall of the mattress sub-cushion and the septum. The cells can be in fluid communication with the remainder of the mattress reservoir. For example, the cell walls can have holes or can be otherwise fluid permeable. The cell walls can be fluid impermeable and the cells can be inflated to individual openable and closeable cell valves (not shown) through the external wall.

The external wall and the septum can define a mattress reservoir. The mattress reservoir can be filled and pressurized or emptied and depressurized with a fluid through the mattress valve.

The external wall and the septum can define a base reservoir on the opposite side of the septum from the mattress reservoir. The base reservoir can be filled and pressurized or emptied and depressurized with a fluid through the base valve

The septum can separate the base reservoir from the mattress reservoir. The base reservoir can be separate, distinct and not in fluid communication with the mattress reservoir. The septum can be fluid impermeable. The mattress reservoir can be filled with fluid to a mattress reservoir pressure. The base reservoir can be filled with fluid to a base reservoir pressure. The mattress reservoir pressure can be the same as, less than or more than the base reservoir pressure.

The mattress reservoir can be in fluid communication with the base reservoir. For example, the septum can instead be fluid permeable, for example having holes.

When in an inflated configuration, the mattress reservoir can have a vertical central axis and the base reservoir can have a vertical central axis. The vertical central axis of the mattress reservoir can be collinear with the vertical central axis of the base reservoir.

FIG. 3 illustrates that the cushion can be positioned in the legwell between an active seat (i.e., the rear seat) and a direct adjacent, forward-adjacent seat (i.e., the front seat or bulkhead) to the active seat. The forward-adjacent seat can be in a row of seats in front of a row of seats in which the active seat resides. A passenger using the cushion can be assigned to or seated in the active seat before the cushion is inflated and positioned between the adjacent seats.

The seats can have seat pads that can be horizontal or at a small angle to the horizontal, backrests and/or seatbacks that can be vertical or at a small angle to the vertical, armrests, or combinations thereof The armrests can separate the seating between directly adjacent side-by-side seats. The armrest can be rotatable out of the way of the seating (i.e., rotated to a position where the length of the armrest will be located between adjacent side-by-side seats' backrests).

The space directly under the seats and within the underside support frame of the seat can be the footwell or standard undersea storage volume. The standard underseat storage volume can be accessible to the user seated in the seat behind the respective standard underseat storage volume. When the cushion is positioned and inflated as shown in FIG. 3, the front of the cushion can segregate additional volume, an extended underseat storage, behind the standard underseat storage volume.

The seat pad can have a seat pad maximum height plane extending from the highest point on the seat pad. The seat pad maximum height plane can extend at a seat pad maximum height from the floor. When inflated, the cushion can have a cushion height. The cushion height can be less than or equal to the seat pad maximum height.

The base reservoir, e.g., and thus the base sub-cushion, can be inflated before, concurrent with, or after positioning the cushion on the floor between the active seat and the forward-adjacent seat. The mattress reservoir, e.g., and this the mattress sub-cushion, can be inflated before, concurrent with, or after positioning the cushion on the floor between the active seat and the forward-adjacent seat, and before, concurrent with, or after inflating the base reservoir.

When the mattress sub-cushion is inflated and positioned between the active seat and the forward-adjacent seat, the mattress sub-cushion can be spaced from the active seat and/or the forward adjacent seat, or can deform and be biased around the surface of the backrest of the forward-adjacent seat and/or around the front of the seat pad of the active seat. The mattress sub-cushion can be squeezed between and apply forward pressure to the rear of the backrest of the forward-adjacent seat and rearward pressure to the front of the seat pad of the active seat, for example securing the mattress sub-cushion between the rear of the forward-adjacent seat's backrest and the front of the active seat's seat pad.

The highest point or highest line at which the mattress sub-cushion contacts the seat pad can be the seat contact high point (which can also be the seat contact high line). The seat contact high point can be lower than the highest cushion height (as shown) or can be coplanar with the highest cushion height (e.g., if there is no dip or divot at the location where the top of the cushion surface contacts the seat pad, forming a smooth transition from the seat pad to the top of the cushion).

FIG. 4 illustrates that the cushion can be positioned and inflated in the legwell between the front of the seat pad and behind the bulkhead (or a forward-adjacent seat). The user, such as a vehicle passenger assigned to the active seat, can lie along a longitudinal axis of the seat and/or vehicle on the seat pad and the top of the cushion.

FIG. 5 illustrates that a first cushion can be positioned and inflated in the legwell between the front of a first seat pad of a first seat and the bulkhead (or a forward-adjacent seat). A second cushion can be positioned and inflated in the legwell between the front of a second seat pad of a second seat and the bulkhead (or a forward-adjacent seat). The first seat and the second seat can be directly adjacent side-by-side. The user can lie along a lateral or transverse axis of the seats along the first and second cushions.

The pressure in the mattress reservoir can be increased and decreased to a satisfactory firmness for the user. The pressure in the mattress reservoir can also be increased or decreased to fit the mattress sub-cushion between the active seat and forward-adjacent seat (or bulkhead), for example with sufficient pressure to friction fit the mattress sub-cushion between the active seat and the forward adjacent seat.

The armrest(s) can be rotated out of the way of the seat pads, for example positioning the length of the armrest between the first seat's backrest and the second seat's backrest. A first user can lie along the transverse axis of the cushions (as shown in FIG. 5), and a second user can concurrently lie along the transverse axis of the first seat pad and the second seat pad.

A pillow sub-cushion (not shown) can be attached to or integral with and extend upward from the top of the mattress sub-cushion on one side of the central axis. The pillow sub-cushion can have a pillow reservoir in fluid communication with a pillow valve, similar to the valves described above. The pillow reservoir can be inflated and deflated separately from the mattress and base sub-cushions to the same or a different pressure as the mattress reservoir. The pillow reservoir can be in fluid communication with or isolation from the mattress reservoir.

It is apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made to this disclosure, and equivalents employed, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, Elements shown with any embodiment are exemplary for the specific embodiment and can be used in combination with or otherwise on other embodiments within this disclosure.

Claims

1. An inflatable cushion comprising:

a flexible wall defining a first reservoir and a second reservoir, wherein the flexible wall comprises an external wall and a septum separating the first reservoir and the second reservoir;
a first closable valve in fluid communication with the first reservoir and the outside environment;
a second reservoir, wherein the second reservoir is in fluid isolation from the first reservoir;
a second closable valve in fluid communication with the first reservoir and the outside environment;
wherein when the first reservoir and the second reservoir are in inflated configurations the external surface of the wall adjacent to the first reservoir and opposite to the second reservoir is flat, and the external surface of the wall adjacent to the second reservoir and opposite to the first reservoir is flat and parallel to the external surface of the wall adjacent to the first reservoir and opposite to the second reservoir; and
wherein When the first reservoir and the second reservoir are in inflated configurations, the first reservoir has a first reservoir central axis and the second reservoir has a second reservoir central axis, and wherein the first reservoir central axis is collinear with the second reservoir central axis.

2. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the first reservoir is above the second reservoir, and wherein the second reservoir is narrower than the first reservoir.

3. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the first reservoir is above the second reservoir, and wherein the second reservoir is shorter in length than the first reservoir.

4. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the first reservoir further comprises two cells, and wherein the two cells are in fluid communication with each other.

5. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the flexible wall further comprises an internal tensile wall, and wherein the tensile wall is attached to the external wall and the septum.

6. The cushion of claim 5, wherein when the first reservoir is in an inflated configuration, the cell wall is in tension between the septum and the external wall.

7. The cushion of claim 1, further comprising a heater.

8. The cushion of claim 1, further comprising a cooler.

9. The cushion of claim 1, further comprising a third reservoir extending from the first reservoir and in fluid isolation from the first and second reservoirs.

10. A method of using a cushion in the legwell between a first seat and a second seat in a vehicle, wherein the cushion comprises an inflatable mattress reservoir and an inflatable base reservoir, the method comprising:

inflating the base reservoir to a first pressure;
positioning the cushion between the first seat and the second seat after the base reservoir is inflated; and
inflating the mattress reservoir to a second pressure;
wherein after inflating the mattress reservoir, the cushion does not extend onto the first seat.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising applying pressure with the mattress reservoir in a first direction to a seat pad of the first seat and in a second direction to a seat back of the second seat, wherein the first direction is opposite to the second direction.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the positioning of the cushion occurs before the mattress reservoir is inflated.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein the positioning of the cushion occurs after the mattress reservoir is inflated.

14. The method of claim 10, wherein the first seat is directly behind the second seat.

15. The method of claim 10, wherein the first pressure is greater than the second pressure.

16. The method of claim 10, wherein the first pressure is less than the second pressure.

17. A method of using a cushion in the legwell between a first seat and a second seat in a vehicle, wherein the cushion comprises an inflatable mattress reservoir and an inflatable base reservoir, the method comprising:

inflating the base reservoir to a first pressure;
positioning the cushion between the first seat and the second seat after the base reservoir is inflated;
inflating the mattress reservoir to a second pressure; and
applying pressure with the mattress reservoir in a first direction to a seat pad of
the first seat and in a second direction to a seat back of the second seat, wherein
the first direction is opposite to the second direction.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the first pressure is greater than the second pressure.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the first pressure is less than the second pressure.

20. A method for using a cushion system for a passenger in a vehicle comprising:

positioning a first legwell cushion in a first legwell of a first seat and second legwell cushion in a second legwell of a second seat, wherein the first legwell is adjacent to the second legwell; and
laying a first passenger across the first cushion and the second cushion.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising rotating an armrest attached to the first and/or second seat, and laying a second passenger across the first and second seats.

22. An inflatable cushion comprising:

a first reservoir and a second reservoir, wherein the first reservoir is in fluid isolation from the second reservoir;
a first reservoir wall around the first reservoir, wherein the first reservoir wall defines a first sub-cushion;
a second reservoir wall around the second reservoir, wherein the second reservoir wall defines a first sub-cushion, wherein the first sub-cushion has a larger first dimension than the second sub-cushion, and wherein the first reservoir has a first reservoir central axis and the second reservoir has a second reservoir central axis, and wherein the first reservoir central axis is collinear with the second reservoir central axis.

23. The cushion of claim 22, wherein the first dimension is width.

24. The cushion of claim 22, wherein the first dimension is length.

25. A method of using an inflatable cushion having a first bladder and a second bladder comprising:

positioning the cushion in the legwell between the front of a first seat and the rear of a second seat;
inflating the first bladder to a first pressure; and
inflating the second bladder to a second pressure, wherein the second pressure is less than the first pressure.

26. A method of claim 25, wherein the first reservoir is below the second reservoir.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140373274
Type: Application
Filed: Jun 19, 2014
Publication Date: Dec 25, 2014
Inventor: Chia-Ao William LU (Taipei)
Application Number: 14/309,094

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: With Heating Or Cooling (5/421); Including Plural, Separately Inflatable, Distinct Gas Containing Compartments (5/710); Gas Or Variation Of Gaseous Condition In Receiver (141/4)
International Classification: A47C 27/08 (20060101); A47C 21/04 (20060101); B60N 2/44 (20060101);