CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/412,514filed Oct. 5, 1999, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an upper garment and, more particularly, to an upper garment equipped with an inflatable collar.
Long distance traveling by many kinds of carriers (for example, planes, trains or cars) requires travelers to stay on their seats for a long time and often causes some fatigue to their bodies, especially to their heads due to shaking of the carriers. While most seats are equipped with a headrest, such a headrest is not generally designed to prevent the travelers' heads from being shaken. Accordingly, conventional headrests are not effective in preventing on-board fatigue. For instance, delicate quaking or inclining of carriers may cause intense shaking to a boarder sleeping with the neck unstably laid on the headrest or with the head on the backrest of the seat and may thereby disturb the boarder and cause considerable fatigue or pain in the neck and/or shoulders.
To address the above-mentioned problems, a pillow for use in traveling has been proposed. The pillow is designed to keep the wearer's head safe regardless of the carrier's rocking and is given out to airplane passengers for use during a long flight.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Korean Utility Model Laid-Open No. 87-14367 discloses one type of air pillow 1 having a U-shape (see FIG. 1). More particularly, the air pillow I has a tube 3 which is formed by a cloth 2 made from a sealing material and is provided with an air cock 4 for injecting and releasing air. The air pillow I of FIG. 1 may be worn around the user's neck for placing the neck and head of the user U safely on the backrest and/or headrest of a seat S, as shown in FIG. 2. The air pillow 1 is adapted to be carried and used without difficulty by injecting air thereinto and wearing it around the neck during a flight or journey. That is, the user U may lean against the backrest of the seat S with the air pillow I being worn around the neck and held against the backrest or the headrest, resisting the carrier's rocking and keeping his or her head safe and comfortable. However, because the air pillow 1 is a separate and/or discrete article or merchandise, it may not be available when needed or may be inadvertently lost or misplaced.
This invention has been made to solve the problems mentioned above. It is an object of the present invention to provide an upper garment with a collar which can function as an air pillow by injecting air into the collar to safely bolster or support the wearer's neck and/or head against a backrest or headrest of a seat.
It is another object of the invention to eliminate the necessity of carrying a separate air pillow for use while traveling by cars or airplanes. To attain the above objects, the present invention provides an upper garment with an inflatable collar formed with a sealed cavity and at least an air cock.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
According to an aspect of the present invention, the collar is made of a sealing-treated fiber or cloth which forms an air-tight cavity therein. According to another aspect of the present invention, the cavity in the collar is formed by a tube with an air cock mounted in or on the collar. The inflatable collar of the upper garment according to the present invention may be transformed into an air pillow, when air is injected into the cavity therein, and used to bolster or support the wearer's neck and head against the backrest or headrest of a seat in a car, airplane, etc. so that fatigue may be alleviated.
The detailed characteristics and other benefits will be better understood from the following detailed description of various preferred embodiments of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an air pillow;
FIG. 2 shows the air pillow of FIG. 1 in use;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an upper garment according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 4a is a cross-sectional view of the collar taken along section line 4-4 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 4b is a view similar to FIG. 4a, except that the collar is inflated with air;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a tube extracted from the collar of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 shows the upper garment of FIG. 1 with the collar inflated with air and worn by a man leaning against the backrest of a seat;
FIG. 7a is a rear perspective view of an upper garment with an inflatable collar according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 7b is a cross-sectional view of the collar of FIG. 7a with a tube therein;
FIG. 8a shows the tube of FIG. 7b drawn out of a cavity in the collar;
FIG. 8b is a cutaway view of the collar shown in FIG. 7a and inflated with air;
FIG. 9a is a cross-sectional view of a collar of an upper garment according to a third preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 9b is a cross-sectional view of the collar of FIG. 9a with air injected therein;
FIG. 9c is an enlarged view of a portion of the collar shown in FIG. 9a;
FIG. 9d is an enlarged view of a portion of the collar shown in FIG. 9b;
FIG. 10a is a perspective view of an upper garment with an inflatable collar according to a fourth preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 10b is a cross-sectional view of the collar of FIG. 10a; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 11 is a view of a modified version of the garment shown in FIGS. 7a-8 b.
FIGS. 3-5 illustrate an upper garment (e.g., a jacket) 10 constructed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. More particularly, the upper garment 10 has an inflatable collar 11. A plastic tube 12 is formed in the collar 11 and is sized and shaped such that air can be injected or released into or from the tube 12 for inflating or deflating the collar 11. The tube 12 preferably has a circular or oval shape in cross-section with a proper curvature to conform to the size and the shape of the collar 11 when inflated. The tube 12 is also equipped with a conventional air cock 13 extending through the collar 11 and exposed out of the collar 11 such that it is accessible by a user U (see FIG. 6) for inflating or deflating the tube 12 (i.e., for injecting or releasing air to or from same). The tube 12 is placed in a cavity formed by the collar 11. It is desirable to sew or fasten a margin 14 (see FIG. 5) of the tube 12, preferably its opposing ends, to a corresponding part of the collar 11 for maintaining the tube 12 in the cavity of the collar 11.
The collar 11 is preferably provided with a size larger than the collar of a conventional clothing so that it can surround and bolster (i.e., support) the wearer's neck and thus function as an air pillow when in use. Therefore, the upper garment 10 is suitable for use as a safari jacket with a collar 11 bigger than that of a conventional clothing. Alternatively, the collar 11 can be provided with a conventional size.
In use, the upper garment 10 can be worn with the collar 11 in its inflated state or flat (i.e., deflated) state. For instance, when the collar 11 is not used as a pillow, air is released from the collar 11. In this manner, the collar 11 can be in its flat condition so as not to cause any inconvenience or discomfort to the user in wearing the jacket 10 or working with the jacket 10 on.
When used as a pillow, for instance, during a long journey in a car or airplane, the collar 11 is inflated by injecting air into the tube 12 of the collar 11 through the air cock 13, with the jacket 10 worn or not worn on the user U (see FIG. 6). As a result, the collar 11 becomes inflated in an arc shape so as to surround and bolster or support the user's neck. Thus, the collar 11 of the upper garment 10 is adapted to keep the user's neck against a backrest or headrest of a seat S comfortable while on board. In this manner, the collar 11 is adapted to diminish fatigue to the user U by, for instance, suppressing the shaking of the user's head.
It should be appreciated that the jacket 10 has numerous advantages over the prior art discussed above. For instance, as indicated above, the collar 11, when inflated, can be used as an air pillow for supporting the neck of a wearer. Moreover, the inflatable collar 11 can also be used as a muffler worn around the neck of a wearer. By way of example, the collar 11 can be partially or fully inflated so as to surround the wearer's neck and insulate his or her body and/or neck. In this manner, the collar 11 can be used as a shield against wind, debris, etc.
It should be noted that the upper garment 10 can have numerous modifications and variations. For instance, the upper garment 10 can be any type of clothing adapted to be worn on an upper body (e.g., coats, blazers, vests, etc.). Moreover, the collar 11 can be provided with many different shapes and sizes, depending upon, for instance, user preferences or application requirements. Further, the tube 12 can be made from any suitable materials. Moreover, while the upper garment 10 is particularly suitable for use during a long journey in a car or airplane, it has a wide range of applications. For instance, the upper garment 10 can be used during an outdoor picnic or can be used while reading books, magazines, etc. The upper garment 10 can also be used as a pillow while resting on a ground in a lying position. In addition, a manual pump can be attached to the air cock 13 for injecting air into the tube 12. Further, the outer layer of the collar 11 (i.e., the collar layer remote from the air cock 13 in FIGS. 3 and 4a) can be made from a material different from the inner layer of the collar 11 (i.e., the collar layer adjacent to the air cock 13 in FIGS. 3 and 4a). More particularly, since the inner collar layer comes in contact with the user's neck, it is preferably made from a natural fiber material or synthetic fiber-like material so as to provide a comfortable touch or feeling to the user U. However, because the outer collar layer does not come in contact with the user's neck during use, it can be made from any type of materials. Alternatively, the outer collar layer can be completely eliminated, exposing the tube 12.
FIGS. 7a-8 b illustrate an upper garment 10 constructed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention. More particularly, the upper garment 10 has an inflatable collar 11 formed with an incision part (i.e., an opening) in a rear side of the collar 11. The opening is provided with a sufficient length so as to permit a tube 12 mounted within the collar 11 to be pulled out through the opening. The opening may be provided with an opening/closing mechanism 15, such as a zipper or a “VELCRO” fastener. In this case, a part of the tube 12 is fixed on or to the collar 11, and, unlike the embodiment of FIGS. 3-6, there is no need to mount an air cock 13 of the tube 12 through or on the collar 11.
Referring to FIGS. 7a and 7 b, the tube 12 may be placed in the collar 11, which may then be closed up by the zipper 15, after air has been discharged therefrom. In this manner, the upper garment 10 can be used as a conventional jacket, as shown in FIGS. 7a and 7 b. In order to use the tube 12 as an air pillow, the tube 12 is drawn out of the collar 11 after the opening is unzipped and opened with the zipper 15, as shown in FIG. 8a. Air is then injected into the tube 12 through the air cock 13 (see FIG. 8b). As a result, the tube 12 becomes inflated for girding or supporting the wearer's neck without being separated from the collar 11. At this point, the collar 11 is positioned between the wearer's neck and the tube 12 and hence prevents the tube 12 from directly contacting the wearer's neck, preventing the wearer U from feeling the touch of the tube material.
It should be noted that the upper garment 10 shown in FIGS. 7a-8 b can have numerous modifications and variations. For instance, the tube 12 can be made to be detached from the collar 11 (see FIG. 11) via a fastener 16. In this regard, any suitable fasteners (e.g., clips, “VELCRO” fasteners, buttons, zippers) can be used for removably attaching the tube 12 to the collar 11. In this manner, the tube 12 can be removed from the upper garment 10 to be cleaned or stored externally or to be replaced with another tube.
A third embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 9a-9 d. More particularly, an upper garment 20 is provided with an inflatable collar 21, which functions as a tube with a cavity 22 therein. In this regard, an air cock 23 is provided on one side of the collar 21. The collar 21 of this embodiment is made of a sealing-treated fiber or cloth for preventing air leakage. That is, the collar 21 is coated with a layer 24 of a sealing material on an inner side of the collar 21 so as to make the cavity 22 air-tight. While any type of sealing materials can be used in this regard, nylon, urethane or silicone resin is particularly suitable. The collar 21 of this embodiment has the same effect as that of the first and second embodiments shown in FIGS. 3-8 b without an extra tube provided in the collar 21.
FIGS. 10a and 10 b show an upper garment 30 constructed in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention. More particularly, the garment 30 has a double-layered collar 31 having an air-tight cavity 31. As in the embodiments discussed above, when air is injected into the cavity 32 through an air cock 33, the collar 31 is inflated for surrounding the user's neck (as shown in FIG. 10b in broken line representation) so as to be used as an air pillow.
It will be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art may make many variations and modifications, including those discussed above, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. All such variations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.