Pneumatic Patents (Class 297/DIG3)
  • Patent number: 6161902
    Abstract: An inflatable chair having a seat with front, rear, top, bottom and opposite side portions, a back at the rear of the seat, a pair of armrests at the sides of the seat, the seat, back and armrests defining inflatable first air chambers, a first valve for inflating the first air chambers, the bottom having front, rear and opposite side parts the chair further including generally tubular inflatable second air chambers at the front and rear and side parts respectively of the seat, and a second valve for inflating the second air chambers independently of the first air chambers for providing a stabilizing support to resist tipping of said chair.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2000
    Assignee: Alvimar Manfacturing Co., Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin S. Lieberman
  • Patent number: 6119727
    Abstract: A pneumatic valve (10) for use in a pneumatic seat (12) of a vehicle is disclosed. The pneumatic valve includes an upper housing (32) and a lower housing (38). The lower housing is slidably received within the upper housing. The lower housing has an upper surface (78) and a lower surface (79). The lower surface has an inlet stem (88), a seat air inlet/outlet stem (90), and at least a first exhaust port (94). The pneumatic valve also includes an elongate poppet (108) slidably mounted within the seat air inlet/outlet port on a first spring (106) to control air flow through the seat air inlet/outlet port. The poppet has an enlarged head portion (110) located at one end and a cam projection (113) located at the other end. A slide member (34) is supported on the upper surface of the lower housing for reciprocating movement relative to the housing to selectively control air flow therethrough. The slide member has an upper surface and a lower surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: GT Development Corporation
    Inventor: John M. Morris
  • Patent number: 6113188
    Abstract: A portable device is provided for assisting persons with the acts of sitting down and rising from a seated position. The device comprises a base a seat, an inflatable air chamber and a battery powered air compressor. The air chamber, the compressor and the battery are self-contained within the base and seat, which fit together to form a case. The device further comprises three stabilizing scissor-braces which support and stabilize the side edges and the rear edge of the seat throughout its range of travel. The air chamber is preferably fashioned of non-stretch material. The device may also include a cable and spring mechanism to urge the seat into a closed position from a raised open position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2000
    Inventors: Robert V. Stewart, Robert B. Stewart
  • Patent number: 6089668
    Abstract: Air cushioned furniture including an inflatable support ring and a separately inflatable insert that is matingly received in the central cavity of the support ring. This support ring and insert combination provides a stable article of furniture that will adequately support the weight of the user. The air cushioned article of furniture may be used, for example, as a footstool, chair, loveseat, or couch suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Both the support ring and the insert may be covered with a shell of various fabrics that would be compatible with any desired decor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2000
    Assignee: Sportsstuff, Inc.
    Inventor: Leroy L. Peterson
  • Patent number: 6042185
    Abstract: The rest pillow comprises an inflated flexible substantially rectangular compartment having top, bottom, front and rear portions and opposite side portions. An inflation port is located in the compartment to selectively inflate or deflate the compartment. A strap is secured by its ends to the sides of the compartment for securing the compartment to the waist of the person using it. A plurality of baffles extend from the front interior of the compartment to the rearward portion thereof to prevent the compartment from becoming substantially distorted when the person using the pillow rests his or her head on the top portion thereof. The method of the rest pillow comprises placing an inflated substantially rectangular flexible compartment on the lap of a sitting person, causing the person to lean forward to rest the person's head and arms on the top of the compartment to bind the compartment between the head and arms, and the lap of the person, and to provide resting support for the person's head and arms.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Assignee: Brex, Inc.
    Inventor: Bruce W. Cowgur
  • Patent number: 6021863
    Abstract: A hydrostatic weight sensor comprises a continuous flexible sensing tube incorporated within the seat. A fluid is contained therein and a pressure sensor is operatively coupled thereto. The continuous flexible sensing tube may be arranged in a spiral or serpentine pattern, or comprise a plurality of segments each in fluid communication with a central port. A load applied to the seat causes the continuous flexible sensing tube to deform, thereby increasing the pressure of the fluid contained therein. A signal processor calculates the weight of the occupant from the pressure signal, and controls a safety restraint system responsive to the weight measurement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2000
    Assignee: Automotive Systems Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventor: James G. Stanley
  • Patent number: 5975629
    Abstract: A vehicle seat having a bladder with more than two inflatable chambers and an integral control flap, all of one piece, integral construction. To maximize inflatable volume of each chamber, each chamber preferably has a sidewall portion that is generally perpendicular. The control flap has passages in communication with the chambers and valving for selectively controlling inflation of the chambers. Valving preferably includes pinch valves having a generally T-shaped body with legs that pinch passages in the control flap to retain gas in a chamber and selectively inflate or deflate the chamber. The bladder is connected to a gas supply having a pump in communication with a reservoir for storing a charge of pressurized gas in the reservoir so that the pump need not immediately operate when gas is needed to inflate a chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Inventor: James R. Lorbiecki
  • Patent number: 5975637
    Abstract: A vehicle seat includes a seat part displaceable at least in the seat longitudinal direction; a back rest that is held on the seat part; and an adjustable head restraint held on the back rest and having a head cushion. For automatically adapting the head restraint correctly in terms of safety to seat adjustments carried out by a seat user, a medium reservoir of variable volume, communicating with a filling and discharge device, is integrated in the head cushion so that the cushion front face is shifted forwards during an increase in volume and is drawn back again as a result of a reduction in volume. The filling quantity introduced into the medium reservoir or drawn off from the medium reservoir is controlled depending on the seat setting by means of a control unit. The medium reservoir also may include a pressure limiter that allows a controlled outflow of the reservoir when a predetermined pressure value, caused by the impact of the head, is reached.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Assignee: DaimlerChrysler AG
    Inventors: Hartwich Geuss, Werner Reichelt, Helge Schmidt-Spalding
  • Patent number: 5957491
    Abstract: A seat weight sensor incorporates a fluid containing bladder placed in series with the load path in the seat, whereby a load applied to and distributed across the bladder increases the pressure of the fluid therein. The pressure of the fluid is measured by a pressure sensor and is substantially proportional to the magnitude of the applied load, and substantially inversely proportional to the supported area of the bladder. The output signal is substantially linear with respect to weight. Preferably, the amount of fluid in the bladder should be less than the capacity of the bladder when the bladder is unloaded. The seat weight sensor is incorporated into an occupant restraint system for controlling the safety restraint system responsive to the weight of the occupant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1999
    Assignee: Automotive Systems Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Leonard S. Cech, Michael R. Sewell, Edward J. Gillis, Dennis E. Palmer, James G. Stanley, Vinh H. Tran, Todd K. Bowman
  • Patent number: 5947563
    Abstract: Disclosed is an inflatable leisure chair which can be quickly inflated to serve as a comfortable sofa for use indoors and/or outdoors. A plurality of I-shaped supporting beams made of plastic material of high tensile strength are radio heated to and between inner surfaces of a seat and a bottom of the inflatable chair to reinforce the space in the inflatable chair below the seat. The inflatable leisure chair can be quickly inflated for use and deflated for convenient storage and carrying.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: Sevylor U.S.A., Inc.
    Inventor: K. "Conny" Klimenko
  • Patent number: 5927427
    Abstract: A hydrostatic weight sensor incorporates a bladder having a plurality of cells in fluid communication with one another, and with the outlet of a check valve, the inlet of which is in fluid communication with a source of sensing fluid, preferably the atmosphere. A cell-filling restoring mechanism is operatively coupled to a portion of the cells of the bladder. When the applied load is removed from the hydrostatic weight sensor, the volume of those cells operatively coupled to the cell-filling restoring mechanism is restored, whereupon if the pressure becomes less than the local atmospheric pressure, then fluid is added to the bladder through the check valve, thereby restoring lost sensing fluid. A pressure sensor operatively coupled to the bladder generates a signal responsive to the pressure of the sensing fluid within the bladder, and a signal processor calculates the weight of the occupant therefrom.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 27, 1999
    Assignee: Automotive Systems Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael R. Sewell, Donald A. Duda
  • Patent number: 5918696
    Abstract: A hydrostatic weight sensor incorporates a load distributor to prevent the bladder of the hydrostatic weight sensor from bottoming out under the influence of applied loads of sufficient concentration and magnitude. The load distributor comprises a flexible mat proximate a load bearing surface of the hydrostatic weight sensor, wherein the flexible mat may be constructed from slitted, punched, pierced, or expanded semi-rigid sheet, a multi-layer plurality of such sheets, or a woven assembly of a plurality of semi-rigid strips. The load distributor is sufficiently flexible to not interfere with seating comfort, yet sufficiently stiff to prevent the bladder of the hydrostatic weight sensor from bottoming out as a result of concentrated loading.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 6, 1999
    Assignee: Automotive Systems Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventor: Kurt L. VanVoorhies
  • Patent number: 5904219
    Abstract: An air bladder type pressure sensor for a vehicle seat includes an integral pressure reservoir and interconnecting valves to keep the sensor membrane automatically properly inflated. An air pump refills the reservoir intermittently, while the reservoir keeps the membrane pressurized continually.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 15, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 18, 1999
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Hassan Anahid, Joseph John Zwolinski, Liwen Xu
  • Patent number: 5893609
    Abstract: An inflatable lumbar support system for a vehicle seat includes an inflatable air cell, or cells, coupled by an air line to a motorized diaphragm pump. The outlet valve of the pump is in the form of an umbrella valve which serves not only to seal the pump on the intake strokes, but is of such character to provide the sole seal between the air cell and pump, thereby eliminating the need to have a separate external check valve between the pump and air cell to assure that the air cell does not leak once pressurized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 13, 1999
    Assignee: McCord Winn Textron Inc.
    Inventor: Howard J. Schmidt
  • Patent number: 5851055
    Abstract: A vehicle passenger restraint system in which a belt band includes a lap belt portion which may or may not be inflatable and an inflatable torso belt portion. The toro belt portion is partially mounted in an enclosure which prevents substantial inflation with the remainder of the torso belt portion positioned to protect the passenger. When a large passenger buckles-up more torso belt is withdrawn from the enclosure. Upon activation of the inflator with a larger passenger buckled-up, gases are supplied to the torso belt portion in the enclosure with less gas remaining in the enclosure and more gas being supplied to the torso belt portion outside the enclosure which portion protects the larger passenger.When a small passenger buckles-up, less gas is supplied the torso belt portion outside the enclosure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 22, 1998
    Assignee: Universal Propulsion Company, Inc.
    Inventor: Donald J. Lewis
  • Patent number: 5797155
    Abstract: A seating system is designed for self-adjusting pressure relief for use with wheelchairs and other generally confined seating arrangements. One or more support chambers filled with resilient foam and a fluid such as air are arranged on an upper support surface. Respective self-adjusting reservoirs are provided and arranged in fluid communication (such as through plastic tubing) with various of the chambers. As elastic band or similar is placed surrounding each respective reservoir, to compensate for, and reach equilibrium with, air pressure differences caused therein by the amount of force or loading received on the corresponding respective support chamber. The physical placement of the reservoir arrangements may be accommodated within an enclosing cover, so that an integrally formed self-contained wheelchair cushion or similar is provided with self-adjusting features, operative in respective zones of the support surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Assignee: Span-America Medical Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Edmund K. Maier, Richard W. Raburn
  • Patent number: 5742957
    Abstract: A pneumatic sit/stand device which is preferably used in assisting an invalid or physically disadvantaged person in rising from, or being seated in, a chair. The sit/stand device includes an inflatable bag having two or more cavities which inflate sequentially to help stabilize the person as he is raised from or lowered into a chair. Rear and side wall cavities inflate first to provide stabilization and push the person forward so that his feet contact the floor. A center cavity then inflates to lift and thrust the person into a standing position. The side walls help prevent the person from tilting or leaning from one side to another as air pressure equalizes the bag. The device can be used alone by the physically disadvantaged person or in conjunction with an attendant whose duty is to assist the person in sitting or standing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1998
    Inventor: B. W. Vanzant
  • Patent number: 5738406
    Abstract: A custom fitted seat having internal fluid compartments whose fluid pressure may be adjusted. Each compartment is in fluid communication with adjoining compartments through a system of one-way valves. There also are release or relief valves in each compartment to reduce the fluid pressure therein and at least one fluid port inlet for the compartments. Pressurized fluid such as air, gel, water or any combination thereof, may be introduced into the compartments via the fluid port inlet by a hand operated squeeze pump. This pump may contain air or be filled with a gel or water or other fluid contained in a separate container introduced to the pump via its own inlet port. The seat components can be manufactured using the electronically heat welded vinyl process and the hand pump by the blow molding process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 14, 1998
    Inventor: Janet Lee Deus
  • Patent number: 5713631
    Abstract: A seating support cushion system has a seat cushion with an H-shaped inflatable cell, with the sides of the "H" extending parallel to a cushion axis that corresponds to the longitudinal axis of a person sitting on the cushion, and therefore parallel to the thighs. The crossbar cell is midway in the cushion, forward of the location of the position of the ischial tuberosities of a person supported on the cushion. A pair of inner cells fill in the voids of the "H" shape, with one cell in the rear of the cushion positioned for supporting the ischial tuberosities. This rear cell also preferably has a recess for receiving the coccyx without significant pressure, and a secondary crossbar portion adjacent to the crossbar cell. A back cushion has two sets of alternatingly inflated, laterally extending cells forming a spinal recess and contoured to conform to the shape of a person's back.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 19, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 3, 1998
    Assignee: Peter W. Linley
    Inventors: Hugh O'Neill, Peter W. Linley
  • Patent number: 5699569
    Abstract: A combined bed and seat device for an infant is made of plastic material and is formed with various separately inflatable elements, namely a base (1) upon which the child sits or lies, a cushion (2) that surrounds the base (1) on three sides, an outer wall connected thereto and formed of wedge-shaped configuration in side view, and a second inflatable cushion (6) of approximately same circumference and connected to the other border of the outer wall (4). The cushion (6) forms the body that supports and stabilizes the bed upon the ground. In order to angle the base (1) into the seating position, the cushion (2) is clampable approximately in the middle of its length by means of an eyelet connection (5) against the second cushion (6). The inclination of the base (1) is adjustable by inflating the outer wall (4) to a lesser or greater degree.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 23, 1997
    Inventor: Sabine Schwarz-Zohrer
  • Patent number: 5678891
    Abstract: A seating support cushion system has a seat cushion with an H-shaped inflatable cell, with the sides of the "H" extending parallel to a cushion axis that corresponds to the longitudinal axis of a person sitting on the cushion, and therefore parallel to the thighs. The crossbar cell is midway in the cushion, forward of the location of the position of the ischial tuberosities of a person supported on the cushion. A pair of inner cells fill in the voids of the "H" shape, with one cell in the rear of the cushion positioned for supporting the ischial tuberosities. This rear cell also preferably has a recess for receiving the coccyx without significant pressure, and a secondary crossbar portion adjacent to the crossbar cell. A back cushion has two sets of alternatingly inflated, laterally extending cells forming a spinal recess and contoured to conform to the shape of a person's back.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 19, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 21, 1997
    Assignee: Peter W. Linley
    Inventors: Hugh O'Neill, Peter W. Linley
  • Patent number: 5669662
    Abstract: A relatively rigid plastic sheet is molded into the foam seat pad of a motor vehicle seat where it forms part of the exterior surface of the pad. The sheet defines an airbag opening which communicates with a side-impact airbag module adjacent the pad and is positioned against an upholstery seam at a desired location on the seat. Upon actuation, the inflating bag is guided to and through the airbag opening so that the inflated bag is precisely located to provide maximum protection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 23, 1997
    Assignee: Morton International, Inc.
    Inventor: Timothy M. Maly
  • Patent number: 5662384
    Abstract: A seating support cushion system has a seat cushion with an H-shaped inflatable cell, with the sides of the "H" extending parallel to a cushion axis that corresponds to the longitudinal axis of a person sitting on the cushion, and therefore parallel to the thighs. The crossbar cell is midway in the cushion, forward of the location of the position of the ischial tuberosities of a person supported on the cushion. A pair of inner cells fill in the voids of the "H" shape, with one cell in the rear of the cushion positioned for supporting the ischial tuberosities. This rear cell also preferably has a recess for receiving the coccyx without significant pressure, and a secondary crossbar portion adjacent to the crossbar cell. A back cushion has two sets of alternatingly inflated laterally extending cells forming a spinal recess and contoured to conform to the shape of a persons back.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 2, 1997
    Assignee: Peter W. Linley
    Inventors: Hugh O'Neill, Peter W. Linley
  • Patent number: 5658050
    Abstract: A vehicle seat having a bladder with more than two inflatable chambers and an integral control flap, all of one piece, integral construction. To maximize inflatable volume of each chamber, each chamber preferably has a sidewall portion that is generally perpendicular. The control flap has passages in communication with the chambers and valving for selectively controlling inflation of the chambers. Valving preferably includes pinch valves having a generally T-shaped body with legs that pinch passages in the control flap to retain gas in a chamber and selectively inflate or deflate the chamber. The bladder is connected to a gas supply having a pump in communication with a reservoir for storing a charge of pressurized gas in the reservoir so that the pump need not immediately operate when gas is needed to inflate a chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 11, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 19, 1997
    Assignee: Milsco Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: James R. Lorbiecki
  • Patent number: 5657499
    Abstract: An efficient pump system for transferring air between sets of bladders in a cushion. The pump system utilizes a reversible piston within a cylinder in conjunction with an equalizing valve in the piston which opens when the piston reaches the end of travel in one direction. The weight of a seated user then forces air back across the piston from an inflated bladder to the previously deflated bladder until the pressure is equalized. In this fashion the work done by the pump is cut in half. The inflation and deflation of the different bladders is controlled to vary the pressure on the several pressure points of a seated user. A principal application is for wheel chair use to prevent pressure ulcers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 11, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 19, 1997
    Assignee: Sandia Corporation
    Inventors: Mark R. Vaughn, Edward J. Constantineau, Gordon E. Groves
  • Patent number: 5652985
    Abstract: A pressure relief support system utilizes a self-adjusting approach to maintaining generally constant pressure in fluid support bladders. A constant force, such as from a constant force linear spring or from a counterweight system, is applied directly to a fluid support bladder or to a reservoir in fluid communication with such bladder. Plural self-adjusting arrangements may be provided in a single device for fabricating a support body with sectionalized support. Such arrangements may be incorporated into mattress support systems or into seating arrangements or other alternative uses. By appropriately selecting system components, such as the amount of the constant force applied, the original volume of fluid to which the force is applied, and the reservoir size, pressure dispersion for a patient or supported object of any type may be controlled at a predetermined generally constant point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 5, 1997
    Assignee: Span-America Medical Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Wilkinson, Richard W. Raburn, Thomas S. Hargest
  • Patent number: 5649331
    Abstract: A pressure relief support system utilizes a self-adjusting approach to maintaining generally constant pressure in fluid support bladders. A constant force, such as from a constant force linear spring or from a counterweight system, is applied directly to a fluid support bladder or to a reservoir in fluid communication with such bladder. Plural self-adjusting arrangements may be provided in a single device for fabricating a support body with sectionalized support. Such arrangements may be incorporated into mattress support systems or into seating arrangements or other alternative uses. By appropriately selecting system components, such as the amount of the constant force applied, the original volume of fluid to which the force is applied, and the reservoir size, pressure dispersion for a patient or supported object of any type may be controlled at a predetermined generally constant point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 22, 1997
    Assignee: Span-America Medical Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Wilkinson, Richard W. Raburn, Thomas S. Hargest
  • Patent number: 5634685
    Abstract: An inflatable/deflatable cushion system adapted for installation onto a motorcycle seat may be operated either manually or electrically operated. In the latter case, an electrically operated air compressor is supported on the motorcycle and connected in a pneumatic path to an air port on the cushion. An electrical switch in electrical communication with a source of electrical power on the vehicle includes a first position activating the air compressor, causing the cushion to inflate, and a second position causing the cushion to deflate. In the preferred embodiment the cushion is generally U-shaped and attached to the motorcycle seat such that the rounded section of the U is most rearward on the seat with the ends of the U pointing forwardly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 3, 1997
    Inventor: Charles Herring
  • Patent number: 5611601
    Abstract: A rest pillow for facilitating rest for a person in a sitting position comprises an inflated flexible substantially rectangular compartment having top, bottom, front and rear portions and opposite side portions. An inflation port is located in the compartment to selectively inflate or deflate the compartment. A strap is secured by its ends to the sides of the compartment for securing the compartment to the waist of the person using it. A plurality of baffles extend from the front interior of the compartment to the rearward portion thereof to prevent the compartment from becoming substantially distorted when the person using the device rests his or her head on the top portion thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 18, 1997
    Assignee: Brex, Inc.
    Inventor: Bruce E. Cowgur
  • Patent number: 5599062
    Abstract: A device for the stepless alteration of the seat depth of a seat cushion of a car seat, has a variable-pressure air cushion which is arranged, on the front side of the seat cushion, between a padded rest and a supporting surface. An extremely high degree of support is achieved if the air cushion is configured approximately in the form of a U and its legs, oriented in the direction of the rear edge of the seat cushion, bear on a side support which terminates towards the front side of the seat cushion and is formed by the extremely dimensionally stable supporting surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 4, 1997
    Assignee: Mercedes-Benz AG
    Inventors: Dieter Hagedorn, Hans-Juergen Schlaffke, Volker Speck, Emil Dinkel, Otto Hoelderlin
  • Patent number: 5588699
    Abstract: An inflatable safety cushion for a child constructed of a one-piece inflatable structure having an upper portion with a centrally disposed aperture for placement about a child's neck, a middle section positionable over the chest of the child, and a lower section which accommodates a portion of each thigh of the child. A blood pressure bulb type manual pump is used for inflating the structure. When the device is placed around the neck of a child and properly inflated in conjunction with a seat restraining harness, the device operates in protecting the child's head, neck and chest from injury by maintaining the head and neck in a substantially vertical position and providing the cushioning effect to the upper torso and thigh area should impact occur. The device allows for the customization of various restraining mechanisms such as swings, car seats, airplane seats, and amusement park rides to accommodate the size of the child.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 31, 1996
    Inventors: Christopher Rundle, Michael Borell
  • Patent number: 5584536
    Abstract: The present device relates to a seat belt cushioning device which is adapted to be positioned over the existing seat belt of a vehicle. More specifically, the present device is adapted to be positioned over the shoulder restraint portion of a vehicle seat belt in order to reduce any pressure that is applied to the chest of a wearer. The present device defines particular application with users who have recently undergone heart surgery and need to avoid any excess pressures that may otherwise be applied to the chest. Thus, the device of the present device is adapted to be secured over the shoulder restraint of a vehicle seat belt to reduce any pressures that are applied to the chest of a wearer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 17, 1996
    Inventor: Edwin J. White
  • Patent number: 5580124
    Abstract: A vehicle-installed supporting seat for a passenger is provided, which includes a seat back provided with an integral head-neck restraint comprising a cranium support portion and a cervical spine support portion. Each portion includes a layer of resilient material supported on an underlying inflexible support shell, which together act to effectively define a contour that interfits with the posterior contour of the passenger's cranium and cervical spine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 3, 1996
    Inventor: Ronald P. Dellanno
  • Patent number: 5558398
    Abstract: A seat back for a seating system wherein the contour of the seat back is automatically adjusted to the spinal curvature of an occupant by a multiplicity of compressible interconnected plenum chambers which project horizontally forward from the seat back and are connected to a source of air under sufficient pressure to inflate and maintain the plenum chambers fully extended when the seat is unoccupied. The plenum chambers are interconnected by either very small-diameter tubing, or tubing having small-orificed restrictors therein for reducing the rate of flow of air from one chamber to another for introducing a time delay between movement of the occupant and inflation and deflation of the chambers affected by such movement. The plenum chambers are arranged in one or more arrays each consisting of vertically-separated pairs, the chamber of each pair being equally spaced from a vertical center-line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 8, 1993
    Date of Patent: September 24, 1996
    Inventor: James P. Santos
  • Patent number: 5548948
    Abstract: An inflatable saddle support apparatus which is characterized in a first preferred embodiment by an inflatable saddle bladder that fits beneath a saddle and serves to equalize the pressure applied by the saddle and rider to a horse. In a most preferred embodiment of the invention the saddle bladder is shaped to effectively fill the voids between the saddle and the horse and is attached to a felt pad by a seam or by means of loop-pile fasteners. A segment of a conventional saddle blanket is first placed on the horse and receives the saddle bladder, with the felt pad positioned on top of the saddle bladder. The saddle blanket is then folded over the felt pad to receive a saddle. The saddle bladder may be inflated without dismounting by squeezing an inflation bulb which communicates with the inflation chamber of the saddle bladder to provide a selected degree of pressure equalization between the saddle and the horse.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 27, 1996
    Inventors: Scott C. Smith, Julie T. Smith, Holly A. Foster
  • Patent number: 5529377
    Abstract: A unit handled air cell assembly or module is mounted on a backplate or other suitable support of an automotive seat back. The module comprises an air cell, an electric motor driven air pump, a solenoid valve and a reversible electric pigtail for connecting the electric motor and the solenoid valve to a control circuit. The electric motor driven air pump is disposed inside the air cell and operatively connected to an air tube that extends out of the air cell. The solenoid valve is connected to the exterior end of the air tube to control the flow of air to and from the air cell. The electric motor driven air pump is shaped so as to fit in a cut-out of the back plate or support and avoid discomfort to the seat occupant. In a second embodiment, the electric motor driven air pump is disposed in a plastic sleeve that is attached to the air cell and the solenoid valve is attached to the outlet end of the air pump.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1993
    Date of Patent: June 25, 1996
    Assignee: McCord Winn Texton
    Inventor: Paul Miller
  • Patent number: 5516188
    Abstract: An inflatable child seat includes at least two air chambers. The child seat is foldable when the at least two air chambers have been evacuated to form a suitcase like body. A releasable fastener is provided for fixing the child seat in its folded position. One half of the suitcase-like body forms an air chamber representing an inflatable cushion and the other half contains air chambers forming side parts, a backrest, a head restraint and a tray of the child seat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 14, 1996
    Assignee: Mercedes-Benz AG
    Inventors: Ulrich Bruhnke, Klaus P. Claar, Dieter Feichtiger, Horst Kohl, Wolfram Schroeder, Martin Lindmayer
  • Patent number: 5511850
    Abstract: A children's automobile safety seat including an L-shaped frame, a seat portion and a backrest portion constructed as an integral unit, both of which are connected to the L-shaped frame. A padded, C-shaped safety bar is attached to the L-shaped frame such that the safety bar is disposed in a generally horizontal plane which is parallel to the seat portion. There is a pivoting mechanism for pivotally connecting a first end of the safety bar to a first side of the L-shaped frame, and a disconnecting mechanism for detachably connecting a second end of the safety bar to a second side of the L-shaped frame. A first air bag is stored within the safety bar, and a second air bag is stored within the seat portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 3, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 30, 1996
    Inventor: Jimmy M. Coursey
  • Patent number: 5490717
    Abstract: A seating device is disclosed that offers comfort in use over extended periods of time and certain therapeutic effects as well as being readily portable and storable when not in use. The device is embodied in an inflatable seat that may be molded from thin, clear polyethylene/vinyl plastic material and formed with a flat thicker bottom surface, a concave seat area, a rising rear support, and a smaller frontal post section. The concave seat area is formed with an inherent forward tilt design which automatically aligns the spine of a user while the rear support provides additional comfort. The smaller frontal post section prevents forward sliding on and ride up of the rear of the seat. A valve is located in the bottom surface for inflating and deflating the seat and a snap strap may be provided for permanent closure after deflation and folding of the seat into itself.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 13, 1996
    Inventor: James W. Greene
  • Patent number: 5487197
    Abstract: A pneumatic wheelchair cushion system has an air cushion with adjoining separate chambers for cushioning a user's coccyx, ischial tuberosities, greater trochanters and thighs. The chambers are pneumatically interconnected with each other such that pressure on one or more of the chambers is transmitted to the other chambers and to a control module with a controller for maintaining an inflation pressure in the air cushion within an upper and a lower set point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 1994
    Date of Patent: January 30, 1996
    Inventors: Joseph W. Iskra, Jr., John A. Havener
  • Patent number: 5469592
    Abstract: A self-inflating seat cushion is shown with airtight hollow body 32 comprising flexible material and resilient structure member 30 comprising foam. Hollow, resilient structure member 30, made of flat portions of material, can lie on the inside or attach to the outside of airtight hollow body 32. During inflating, resilient structure member 30 expands moving airtight hollow body 32 into an arching configuration with high volume relative to its dimensions. A proportionate volume of air flows into the chamber. During use, the chamber flattens and deforms, airtight hollow body 32's volume diminishes, its internal pressure increases proportionately, and the seat cushions and supports weight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1993
    Date of Patent: November 28, 1995
    Inventor: Mark C. Johnson
  • Patent number: 5455494
    Abstract: A method and device for controlling a lumbar support device, wherein a motor is controlled its drive under a repeated reversal drive operation to provide a fore-and-aft reciprocation of a lumbar plate within a predetermined operation time in a periodic way, so as to provide a massage effect to the lumbar part of an occupant on the seat. A manual control mode for giving a static lumbar support and in addition thereto, an automatic control mode for giving a dynamic lumbar support to the occupant's lumbar part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 1993
    Date of Patent: October 3, 1995
    Assignee: Tachi-S Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Hiromitsu Ogasawara
  • Patent number: 5450638
    Abstract: An inflating system for use in supports, mattresses, cushions, and the like is shown. In their erect configurations, the supports have opposed, end portions interconnected to a tubular, longitudinal portion to form an airtight chamber. The longitudinal portion comprises flexible material. Transverse, vertical cross-sections of the longitudinal portion have a high surface area relative to their corresponding rectangles. These are the rectangles with equal perimeter and equal width, where width is the maximum dimension. This geometric efficiency causes the cushions to be highly supporting when stretching of the support material is limited.The supports are inflated by moving the stiffened end portions from a horizontal configuration to a vertical one. This causes air to be drawn into the airtight chamber through a valve. The air is then trapped to form an air cushion.Various embodiments are shown. Pulling and attaching mechanisms can facilitate erecting and inflating.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 1993
    Date of Patent: September 19, 1995
    Inventor: Mark C. Johnson
  • Patent number: 5447178
    Abstract: The present invention provides an air valve (10) for inflating and deflating an inflatable. The air valve (10) includes a housing floor (16) with air ports (36, 38), and a slide bar (12) with an air passageway (54) formed therein. The slide bar (12) is supported on the floor (16) by seal rings (92) surrounding the ports (36, 38) and is biased into a center position by a spring (94) positioned in a spring well (28) in the slide bar (12) or the floor (16). Pins (50, 52) project into the spring well (28) and engage opposite ends of the spring (94). A stem extends from a tilt button (66) into a socket (48) on the slide bar (12). When the button (66) is tilted, it moves the slide bar (12), compressing the spring (94) and aligning the ports (36, 38) and the passageway (54) to allow air to pass through the valve (10). The slide bar (12) is prevented from tilting by a stabilizer frame (82) or housing shoulders (220).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 5, 1995
    Assignee: GT Development Corporation
    Inventors: Denny Gabrlik, John M. Morris
  • Patent number: 5444881
    Abstract: An anatomical support apparatus, such as a mattress pad or seat cushion, has a supporting frame, a perforated outer envelope, and a resilient inner body encased within said envelope, both said inner body and said envelope being supported by said frame, and an improved resilient inner body, comprising: a first panel including a first honeycomb core formed of resilient thermoplastic material and including cell walls defining a plurality of contiguous regularly shaped cells, the opposite extremities of said cells walls forming first and second core faces on opposite sides of said first core; andmeans tending to maintain said first core in its expanded cellular configuration so that it will anisotropically flex to stabilize and spread any load applied thereto by a user of said apparatus, and including at least a first facing sheet bonded to said first face and a second facing sheet of material bonded to said second face, said first facing sheet and said second facing sheet of said first panel being perforated and
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 29, 1995
    Assignee: Supracor Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Curtis L. Landi, Susan L. Wilson, Peter M. Cazalet
  • Patent number: 5433506
    Abstract: Prior pneumatically-cushioned chairs require over-inflation of the cushions to maintain a neat appearance for the chair when it is unoccupied. A chair is described having an array of pneumatically-inflated cushions each having an air storage reservoir which is biassed to force air into the cushions when the chair is unoccupied, providing a neat firm appearance, but to allow the volume of air in the cushions to be gradually reduced when placed under load to provide a gentler support.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 1993
    Date of Patent: July 18, 1995
    Inventor: Hans C. Jensen
  • Patent number: 5423094
    Abstract: A variety of pneumatic and other components assembled to afford comfort not found in conventional furniture as follows: a pneumatic cushion exchanging air through a bladder support into two independent bladders where upon depression by persons or other subsequence weight applied to the cushion evenly supports the weight applied. The inner and outer bladder operate independently receiving and compressing air through the cushion and bladder air transfer valves. This independent action allows frontal support when weight is applied to the frontal areas only. In addition to the frontal support a molded plastic material termed herein as the bladder support having memory after thermal molding offers additional front support when weight is applied. When weight or a person is fully seated both bladders are expanded as the air is expelled from the cushion through two air valves serving each of two independent bladders offering uniform seating support.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 1992
    Date of Patent: June 13, 1995
    Assignee: Michael J. Arsenault
    Inventors: Michael J. Arsenault, Joseph Arsenault
  • Patent number: 5419612
    Abstract: An inflatable bicycle seat or cover therefor having a plurality of independently inflatable cell assemblies, each of which is made up of one or more inflatable cells. The cell assemblies are connected to a fluid source so that the user can selectively adjust the degree of inflation of each individual cell assembly and, hence, the contour and support of the seat. The cells within each cell assembly are connected by a conduit that restricts fluid flow between cells within the assembly so that the seat will provide firm and stable support even under the forces generated in pedalling. A lightweight fluid source and controller valve are provided to permit selective adjustment of individual cell assemblies so that the contour and support characteristics can be adjusted to suit the individual requirements, from time to time, of the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 30, 1995
    Inventor: Andreas Rassekhi
  • Patent number: 5398994
    Abstract: First and second plate members mounted upon a vehicle seat include a selectively inflated pneumatic chamber positioned therebetween, whereupon actuation of a remote pneumatic pump effects inflation of the chamber, thereby pivoting the first plate relative to the second plate to enhance a directing of an individual from the vehicle seat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 21, 1995
    Inventor: Raymond M. Thomas
  • Patent number: 5396671
    Abstract: A pad for providing alternating pressure e.g. in a mattress. The pad comprises first and second flexible longitudinal tubes adjacent respective first and second sides of the pad. The pad also includes a plurality of first transverse tubes communicating pneumatically with the first longitudinal tube and each having a closed end remote therefrom and a plurality of second transverse tubes communicating pneumatically with the second longitudinal tube and each having a closed end remote therefrom. The first tubes are disposed at a first angle such that the closed ends of the first transverse tubes are located beneath the second longitudinal tube. The closed ends of the second transverse tubes are disposed at a second angle opposive to the first angle and are located beneath the first longitudinal tube. The first and second tubes are interdigitated so that the arrangement produces a shallow "V".
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 1993
    Date of Patent: March 14, 1995
    Inventor: Peter C. Stacy