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Publication numberUS20060010625 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/037,952
Publication dateJan 19, 2006
Filing dateJan 18, 2005
Priority dateJul 14, 2004
Also published asWO2006019507A2, WO2006019507A3
Publication number037952, 11037952, US 2006/0010625 A1, US 2006/010625 A1, US 20060010625 A1, US 20060010625A1, US 2006010625 A1, US 2006010625A1, US-A1-20060010625, US-A1-2006010625, US2006/0010625A1, US2006/010625A1, US20060010625 A1, US20060010625A1, US2006010625 A1, US2006010625A1
InventorsJay Tapper, Charles Althoff, Patrick Brown, Carolyn McNeeley, Kadir Rahman, John Nottingham, John Spirk, William Babbs
Original AssigneeZuko, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cleansing system with disposable pads
US 20060010625 A1
Abstract
A support tool for holding disposable pads and method of exfoliating or cleansing facial skin. The support tool includes a handle for supporting the pads during use, and a pad gripper system. A user of the cleansing system utilizes the pad gripper to either attach a disposable pad to the pad housing or to release a previously attached disposable pad. A method of exfoliating or cleansing facial skin includes attaching a disposable pad to a pad housing attached to a handle of a cleansing system by utilizing a grabbing/releasing means, moving the attached disposable pad over the facial skin with moderate pressure, and releasing the attached disposable pad from the pad housing by utilizing a grabbing/releasing means. A cleansing system package includes a cleansing device and a plurality of disposable pads.
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Claims(37)
1. A support tool for holding disposable pads, comprising:
a handle for supporting the pads during use wherein the handle includes:
a pad gripper system for actuation by a user of the tool to either attach a disposable pad to the handle or to release a previously attached disposable pad from the handle.
2. The tool as set forth in claim 1, further including a pad housing pivotally mounted to the handle.
3. The tool as set forth in claim 2, further including a gimbal connecting the pad housing to the handle, thereby permitting the pad housing to incline in any direction with respect to the handle.
4. The tool as set forth in claim 3, further including a resilient centering material between the handle and the pad housing for generating a centering force when the pad housing is inclined from a rest position.
5. The tool as set forth in claim 2, further including:
a pad housing extension attached to the pad housing;
the pad housing extension serving to provide an enlarged area for supporting the attached disposable pad.
6. The tool as set forth in claim 5, wherein the pad housing extension is flexible.
7. The tool as set forth in claim 5, wherein the pad housing extension is rigid.
8. The tool as set forth in claim 5, wherein at least one of the pad housing and the pad housing extension include markings for maintaining a more secure grip on the attached disposable pad.
9. The tool as set forth in claim 2, wherein the pad housing is flexible.
10. The tool as set forth in claim 2, wherein the pad housing is rigid.
11. The tool as set forth in claim 1, wherein a grabber is included in the gripper system and configured to release the disposable pad without a user touching the disposable pad.
12. The tool as set forth in claim 1, wherein the pad gripper system includes:
a pad housing;
at least one grabber carriage attached to the pad housing;
a piston slidably housed within each grabber carriage interior volume;
a grabber control button positioned on an outer surface of the handle and connected to each piston via a connection passing through a longitudinal slot in the grabber carriage;
a piston return spring configured to provide a restoring force to each piston, for returning the piston to a normal piston rest position; and,
a plurality of grabber prongs connected at one end to each piston, the plurality of grabber prongs retained within a tubular opening in the respective grabber carriage, the grabber prongs extending through the pad housing when the grabber control button is moved by a user to a grabbing position, the grabber prongs thereby expanding in a radial direction with respect to each other to a grabbing position when not constrained by the tubular opening, wherein, after insertion of the grabber prongs into the disposable pad, and after return of the grabber control button to a normal-use position, the grabbing prongs contract radially with respect to each other, thereby gripping the disposable pad.
13. The tool as set forth in claim 2, wherein the pad gripper system includes:
a pad housing;
at least one grabber hook mechanism attached to the pad housing, each grabber hook mechanism including:
a curved hook rotatably attached to the pad housing, having a detached position and an attached position, a tip of the curved hook extended outside the pad housing when in the detached position, and the tip retracted into the pad housing when in the attached position; and
a tab and associated first and second detents configured to provide a positive stopping action to each curved hook at desired limits of travel; and
a grabber control knob positioned on an outer surface of the handle and connected to each grabber hook mechanism via a connection passing through an opening in the handle.
14. The tool as set forth in claim 13, further including:
a rack gear attached to the grabber control knob;
a pinion gear engaged with the rack gear;
a crown gear attached to one end of the pinion gear; and
a hook gear fixedly attached to one end of the curved hook, rotatably mounted to the pad housing, and engaged with the crown gear, so that when the grabber control knob is moved in a linear direction, the rack gear, the pinion gear, the crown gear, and the hook gear operate to rotate the grabber hook.
15. The tool as set forth in claim 13, further including:
a crown gear fixedly attached on one side to the grabber control knob; and
a hook gear fixedly attached to one end of the curved hook, rotatably mounted to the pad housing, and engaged with the crown gear, so that when the grabber control knob is rotated, the crown gear and the hook gear operate to rotate the grabber hook.
16. The tool as set forth in claim 13, further including:
at least one vibration generator mounted to at least one of the handle and the pad housing; and,
a switch for activating the vibration generator, wherein vibrations from the vibration generator are transmitted to the attached disposable pad.
17. The tool as set forth in claim 16, further including replaceable batteries disposed in an interior volume of the handle for providing power to the vibration generator via the switch.
18. The tool as set forth in claim 16, further including rechargeable batteries disposed in an interior volume of the handle for providing power to the vibration generator via the switch.
19. The tool as set forth in claim 16, wherein the at least one vibration generator comprises an electric motor including an eccentric weight on an output shaft of the motor.
20. The tool as set forth in claim 16, wherein the switch activates the at least one vibration generator at a selective one of two or more vibration rates.
21. The tool as set forth in claim 1, further including:
a motor mounted to the handle;
a pad housing attached to the handle;
a gear arrangement coupled to the motor and the pad housing; and,
a switch for activating the motor, wherein the gear arrangement provides at least one of oscillating movement and rotating movement of the pad housing and the attached disposable pad.
22. A method of exfoliating or cleansing facial skin, the method comprising:
attaching a disposable pad to a pad housing attached to a handle of a cleansing system by utilizing a grabbing/releasing means;
moving the attached disposable pad on the facial skin with moderate pressure; and,
releasing the attached disposable pad from the pad housing by utilizing the grabbing/releasing means.
23. The method as set forth in claim 22, the releasing comprising:
removing the attached disposable pad from the pad housing by utilizing the grabbing/releasing means without touching the disposable pad.
24. The method as set forth in claim 22, the attaching comprising:
extending at least one multi-pronged gripper through an aperture in the pad housing, thereby diametrically expanding a gripping end of the at least one multi-pronged gripper;
pressing the expanded gripping end against the disposable pad; and
retracting the at least one multi-pronged gripper through the aperture, thereby diametrically contracting the gripping end and applying additional gripping force to the disposable pad.
25. The method as set forth in claim 24, further including releasing the disposable pad, the releasing comprising:
re-extending the at least one multi-pronged gripper through the aperture in the pad housing, thereby diametrically re-expanding the gripping end of the multi-pronged gripper;
separating the disposable pad from the re-expanded gripping end.
26. The method as set forth in claim 25, wherein the separating comprises dropping the disposable pad from the expanded gripping end without touching the disposable pad.
27. The method as set forth in claim 22, the attaching comprising:
rotating at least one grabber hook to a released position;
pressing the pad housing against the disposable pad; and
returning the at least one grabber hook to an attached position, thereby passing the tip of the grabber hook through a portion of the disposable pad and thereby gripping the disposable pad.
28. The method as set forth in claim 27, further including releasing the disposable pad, the releasing comprising
re-rotating the at least one grabber hook to the released position, thereby releasing the grabber hook from the disposable pad.
29. The method as set forth in claim 28, wherein the separating comprises dropping the disposable pad from the pad housing without touching the disposable pad.
30. The method as set forth in claim 22, the method further including:
generating vibrations in the electric facializer, thereby transmitting vibrations to the disposable pad; and
pressing the affixed disposable pad to the facial skin when the electric facializer is generating vibrations.
31. A cleansing system package, comprising:
a plurality of disposable pads;
a cleansing device comprising:
a handle for holding the cleansing system during use and for supporting one of the disposable pads during use;
a pad housing attached to the handle; and,
a pad gripper, for actuation by a user of the cleansing device to either attach one of the plurality of disposable pads to the pad housing or to release a previously attached disposable pad; and,
a container for packaging the cleansing device and the plurality of disposable pads.
32. The cleansing system package as set forth in claim 31, wherein the container comprises a blister pack.
33. The cleansing system package as set forth in claim 31, the cleansing device further including:
at least one vibration generator mounted to at least one of the handle and the pad housing; and,
a switch for activating the vibration generator, wherein vibrations from the vibration generator are transmitted to the attached disposable pad.
34. The cleansing system package as set forth in claim 33, the cleansing device further including replaceable batteries disposed in an interior volume of the handle for providing power to the vibration generator via the switch.
35. The cleansing system package as set forth in claim 34, the cleansing device further including:
a try-me switch for temporarily activating the vibration generator, wherein the try-me switch is accessible without removing the cleansing device from the blister pack.
36. A cleansing system package, comprising:
a plurality of disposable pads;
a cleansing device for supporting one of the plurality of disposable pads during use; and,
a container for packaging the cleansing device and the plurality of disposable pads.
37. The cleansing system package as set forth in claim 36, wherein the container comprises a blister pack.
Description

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of U.S. provisional application No. 60/587,657, filed Jul. 14, 2004.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present exemplary embodiments relate to skin cleaning devices. They find particular application in skin care product applicators and skin cleaning devices such as facial cleansers, and will be described with particular reference thereto. However, it is to be appreciated that the present exemplary embodiments are also amenable to other like applications.

2. Prior Art

The use of skin cleaning devices utilizing cleansing brushes or foam pads is known in the art. The devices heretofore devised and utilized are known to consist basically of familiar, expected and obvious structural configurations.

While prior art devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, these devices do not disclose a system and method for utilizing disposable pads with a cleaning device comprising a support tool such as, e.g., a self-actuating handle or a pad housing attached to a handle. And, additionally, prior art devices do not offer a method of touchlessly removing a soiled cleansing pad. Typically, in prior art devices, even those utilizing interchangeable, semi-permanent pads, a soiled pad must be touched during the removal procedure. For example, if the pad is affixed to the cleaning device by means of a hook-and-loop arrangement, such as Velcro for example, the user's hand is not necessarily in contact with the pad during use, however, the user removes the pad after use by grabbing the pad to remove it from the cleaning device, touching the operative side of the pad in the process. Unfortunately, after using the cleaning device for cleansing the skin, or for exfoliating the skin, the operative side of the pad, the side in contact with the facial skin, is no longer clean, and may be contaminated with bacteria, detritus, residue from previously applied cosmetics or medications, etc. Further, the user may contaminate the working area, such as the counter top, sink, etc.

The problem is exacerbated when commercially available pads or cleansing pillows currently available in the retail market are used. Examples of such include cleansing pads or pillows include Dove® Face Care Essential Nutrients cleansing pillows or Olay® Daily Facial Pillows. When these are utilized, the user usually pre-wets the pad, and then holds the pad with their fingers as the facial cleansing is performed. Because the pads are in direct contact with the face and the hand, cleansing agents, water and contaminants tend to run down the user's hand, creating an uncomfortable and unsanitary situation for the user. The pad is intended to then be disposed. Further, because the user is relying on their hands to manipulate and control the pad, the user finds it very difficult, if hot impossible, to obtain an even application or exfoliating.

In these respects, the skin cleaning device according to the present application substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides an apparatus that provides a means of overcoming the above-described problems while also beneficially providing separation of the user's hand from the cleansing pad during use.

Applicant is aware of U.S. Patents which may be considered relevant to the invention described herein, but which have shortcomings and problems which are solved by the present application. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,640,462 to Stearns, III describes a handheld water driven shower massager. The water driven shower massager provides a means for releasably securing pads to the device, however, no specific means of attaching or removing the pads is described or provided. Further, The device, being water driven, is not an electric device and requires attachment to a shower head during normal use, and would not be suitable for the applications described herein.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,178,970 to Purifoy et al. describes a portable personal grooming device which utilizes a removably attached sandpaper or massaging sheet. However, each sandpaper or massaging sheet is peeled from a release liner prior to use, requiring some form of contact by the user before and after use.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,401,289 to Herbert describes a skin cleaning device for removing dirt, oils and dead skin. The device utilizes washable cleaning cloth pads, however, the multi-use pads are attached to a disk in a sock-like fashion by means of an elastic member attached to a periphery edge of each pad. Removal of soiled cloth pads would normally involve touching the used pad.

Thus there is a need for a means for conveniently, and more effectively, utilizing disposable, one-time use pads with a skin cleaning device, and with vibrating, oscillating or rotating cleaning devices (facializers) in particular.

There is also an additional need for a means for removing disposable pads from a skin cleaning device without contacting contaminated or soiled portions of the used pads, particularly with reference to vibrating, oscillating or rotating facializers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

In accordance with one embodiment of the present application, there is provided a support tool for holding disposable pads. The support tool includes a handle for supporting the pads during use, and a pad gripper system for actuation by a user of the tool to either attach a disposable pad to the handle or to release a previously attached disposable pad from the handle.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present application, there is provided a method of exfoliating or cleansing facial skin. The method comprises attaching a disposable pad to a pad housing attached to a handle of a cleansing system by utilizing a grabbing mechanism, moving the affixed disposable pad on the facial skin with moderate pressure, and releasing the disposable pad from the cleansing system by utilizing the grabbing mechanism.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present application, there is provided a cleansing system package. The package comprises a cleansing device, a plurality of disposable cleansing pads, and a container holding the cleansing device and the plurality of disposable cleansing pads. The cleansing device includes a handle for holding the cleansing system during use, a pad housing attached to the handle, and a pad gripper, wherein a user of the cleansing system utilizes the pad gripper to attach one of the plurality of disposable cleansing pads to the pad housing after releasing any previously attached disposable cleansing pad.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a cleansing system and a disposable pad according to the present application;

FIG. 2 is a partially exposed view of the cleansing system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of one embodiment of a cleansing system according to the present application;

FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of one embodiment of a cleansing system according to the present application;

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of an alternate embodiment of a cleansing system according to the present application;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view a gimbaled pad housing mounting according to an embodiment of the cleansing system of the present application;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a partially exposed embodiment of a cleansing system utilizing a plurality of grabber carriages according to the present application;

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a portion of the cleansing system of FIG. 7 in an attached position;

FIG. 8B is a perspective view of a portion of the cleansing system of FIG. 7 in a detached position;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an engagement mechanism suitable for use in the cleansing system of FIG. 7;

FIG. 10A is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of an engagement mechanism suitable for use in the cleansing system of FIG. 7;

FIG. 10B is a side view of an spring detent mechanism suitable for use in the embodiment of FIG. 10B;

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a cleansing system according to the present application;

FIG. 12A is a side view of a grabber hook assembly suitable for use in the cleansing system of FIG. 11;

FIG. 12B is an end view of the grabber hook assembly of FIG. 12A;

FIG. 13A is a view of an opened cleansing system showing an arrangement suitable for use in the cleansing system of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13B is a partial exploded view of the assembled cleansing system of FIG. 13B;

FIG. 14 is an exploded perspective view of another alternate embodiment of a cleansing system according to the present application;

FIG. 15 is a top view of a cleansing system including a try-me button according to the present application;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of alternate grabber prongs suitable for use in the cleansing system of FIGS. 1-10B;

FIG. 17 is a sectional view of an oscillating/rotating cleansing device according to an embodiment of the present application;

FIG. 18 is a side schematic view of combined packaging of the cleansing system and disposable pads according to the present application; and

FIG. 19 is a front schematic view of combined packaging of the cleansing system and disposable pads according to the present application.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIG. 1, a vibrating facializer 10 according to the present application is shown. The vibrating facializer 10 generally comprises a support tool for a disposable cleansing pad and includes a handle 12 and a pad support 14 for securing and supporting the disposable pad 16. Preferred and alternate methods of securing disposable pad 16 to the pad support 14 are described in detail in the following description. In one embodiment, the pad support 14 further comprises a pad housing 18 attached to the handle 12, a forward flexible pad housing extension 20 and a rear flexible extension 22. Also shown in the figure is a thumb slide 24 and grabber carriage 25 attached to the pad housing 18 for attaching a disposable pad 16 and releasing the disposable pad 16 from the vibrating facializer 10. The handle 12 is hinged at the pad housing 18 by hinge mechanism 23, or is rigidly attached to the pad housing 18. Also shown in the figure is a gripping rail 26 which is described in more detail in the following description. A second gripping rail 27 is provided on the opposite side of the pad support 14.

With reference now to FIG. 2, a partially exposed view of the vibrating facializer 10 is shown. In the figure, a handle mounted vibration generator 28 and a pad housing mounted vibration generator 30 are shown. In various embodiments of the vibrating facializer 10, either one of the vibration generators 28, 30 or both vibration generators may be utilized. In one embodiment, only the pad housing mounted vibration generator 30 is utilized. An activation switch 31 is preferably provided on the handle 12 for activating the vibration generators 28, 30. The switch may be any suitable type of switch, such as a push-button switch or a slide switch, as known in the art.

In some embodiments, the vibration generators 28, 30 are each comprised of a small electric motor having a weight 32 mounted on an output shaft of the motor. As shown in the figure, the weight 32 is configured to be mounted eccentric to the motor axis, thereby causing vibration when the motor is activated. Also shown in the figure is a battery 32 for powering the vibration generators 28, 30. Although one battery is shown, various arrangements and numbers of batteries may be utilized, in various sizes such as, for example, AA or AAA batteries. Rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium-ion (Li-ion), and others are also included within the scope of the present application.

The particular arrangement shown in the figure is an exemplary arrangement only, and the present application is not limited with respect to the arrangement or number of components in the handle 12 or the pad support 14. For example, the battery 32 may be mounted to any of the pad housing 18, the grabber carriage 25 or the handle 12. Further, the handle 12 may be provided in alternate arrangements and styles such as, for example, a contoured shell configured to be held comfortably in the palm of the hand, a half-loop shaped handle attached to the pad housing at both ends of the handle, or other handle shapes known in the art.

With reference now to FIG. 3, an exploded view of pad housing 18 and the grabber carriage 25 is shown. The piston 34 is fitted between the upper grabber carriage housing 25′ and the lower grabber carriage housing 25″. The piston 34 engages with the thumb side 24 after assembly by means of a pin 36 on the piston 34. A spring 38 is provided within the grabber carriage housing 25 which exerts a returning force on the piston 34. A grabber 40 comprises a plurality of grabber prongs 42 fixedly mounted in a sleeve 44. After assembly, the grabber 40 is fixedly attached within piston 34 either by means of a threaded fit, a press fit, or by adhesive. Any suitable means for a fixing grabber 40 to piston 34 falls within the scope with the present application. Further explanation of the grabber 40 is provided below.

With continued reference to FIG. 3, a wing activator arm 46 is provided within the pad housing 18 for the purpose of operating left wing 26 and right wing 27. Each of the wings 26, 27 is formed with a respective spiral groove 48, 50. Each of the spiral grooves, after assembly, engages a respective left pin 52 and right pin 54 included on the wing activator arm 46. The wing activator arm 46 is also formed with vertical slots 56, 58 which, after assembly, engage a wing activator pin 60. Further, after assembly, wing activator pin 60 engages an extension 62 on the piston 34 by means of a hole 64 in the extension 62. When a user applies a downward pressure on the thumb slide 24, the piston 34 compresses the spring 38 as it moves in a downward direction as shown in the figure. Further, as the wing activator pin 60 moves in a downward and forward direction as shown in the figure, the wing activator arm 46 moves in a forward direction as the wing activator pin 60, at the same time, slides in a downward direction in left vertical slot 56 and right vertical slot 58. This, in turn, moves left wing activator pin 52 and right wing activator pin 54 in a forward direction within the respective spiral grooves 48, 50.

The left wing 26 and the right wing 27 are each pivotally mounted about their respective longitudinal axis to the pad housing 18. As the left wing activator pin and right wing activator pin 54 move forward in the respective spiral groove, each of the wings 26, 27 is rotated about the longitudinal axis on which it is pivotally mounted. This, in turn, causes the lower portion of each of the wings 26, 27 to extend in an outward direction as shown by the dashed arrows in the figure.

It can be seen from the figure that each of the wings 26, 27 is generally configured in the shape of a U-shaped channel. When a user is affixing a disposable pad 16, the user will move the thumb slide 24 in a downward direction thereby pivoting wings 26 and 27 in an outward direction as the lower pad housing 18″ is placed in contact with disposable pad 16. The user then releases the thumb slide 24, and the left wing 26 and the right wing 27 return to their normal position, thereby contacting the respective sides of the disposable pad 16. The purpose of the wings 26, 27 is to more securely hold the disposable pad 16 in a correct alignment with the lower pad housing 18″ and to prevent the pad 16 from twisting or rotating on the lower pad housing 18″. The primary grabbing mechanism, however, is the grabber 40 as explained in the following paragraph.

With reference now to FIG. 4, a side sectional view of the vibrating facializer 10 is shown. In its normal rest state, the thumb slide 24 will be moved to an upper position on the grabber carriage 25 by means of the spring 38. In this normal rest position the grabber prongs 42 will be retracted within an opening 64 in the pad housing 18. When an operator wishes to attach a disposable pad 16, the operator will slide the thumb slide in a downward direction, toward the pad housing 18, thereby extending the grabber prongs 42 outside the lower surface of the pad housing 18 as shown by the dashed lines in the figure. Because the grabber prongs are made of a spring wire type of material they expand circumferentially as they extend beneath the surface of the pad housing 18.

The operator places the pad housing 18 in contact with the pad 16 while moving the thumb slide 24 in a downward direction. Consequently, when the grabber prongs 42 extend outwardly from the bottom of the pad housing 18, the prongs make contact with and penetrate an upper portion of the disposable pad 16. The operator gradually releases the thumb slide 24 causing the grabber prongs 42 to attempt to return to their rest position, and thereby compress in a circumferential direction into the opening 64 and the pad housing 18. Because of the hooked nature of the grabber prongs 42, a firm grip is established on the disposable pad 16 and the grabber prongs 42 are not able to return fully within the pad housing 18, however, a firm grip is established on the disposable pad 16 and it is held firmly in place against the lower portion of the pad housing 18.

In the Figure, for clarity, the side wings have not been shown, however, left wing 26 and right wing 27, in one embodiment, assist the grabber prongs 42 to hold the pad in position on the pad housing 18. The wings 26 and 27 are not a necessary component of the vibrating facializer 10, and the present application is not so limited. It is to be appreciated that, in alternate embodiments, the thumb slide 24 may be replaced by other suitable controls. For example, a push button may be fitted at the handle end of the grabber carriage 25.

With reference now to FIG. 5, a bottom view of the electric vibrating facializer 10 is shown. As shown in the figure, the front extension 20 and the rear extension 22 may be configured with a plurality of marks, slots, indentations, or ridges 65 in order to further aide in preventing the disposable pad from shifting position with respect to the pad support 14. The front extension 20 and the rear extension 22 may also be formed without the grooves in a solid fashion, however, they may be formed from a material having a high coefficient of friction to further aide in maintaining the pad alignment with respect to the pad support 14. Any number of configurations for the front extension 20 and rear extension 22 may be used with the vibrating facializer 10 of the present application. Further, in one embodiment, the front extension 20 and rear extension 22 are made of an elastomer material while the pad housing 18 is made of a harder, more rigid, material more suitable for securely mounting the vibration generator 30. However, in alternate embodiments the front extension 20 and rear extension 22 may be formed of a rigid material similar to the pad housing 18, particularly in embodiments where the front extension 20 and 22 include grooves or other irregular surface elements to assist in maintaining the pad position on the pad support 14.

Among the advantages offered by the above-described arrangements of the vibrating facializer 10 are a reduced complexity, and an increased stimulation of the facial tissues in contact with the vibrating disposable pad. Further, the vibrations may further stimulate blood flow in the region contacted by the vibrating disposable pad. The stimulated blood flow may even provide an anti-aging benefit if used regularly. The vibrations may also assist when using the pad as an exfoliating agent or as a cleansing agent. The front extension 20 and rear extension 22, when made of an elastomer material, enhance the comfort and utility of the vibrating facializer by enabling the disposable pad to more readily and comfortably conform to the user's facial features, even while the pad housing 18 is made of a rigid material. Yet another advantage in some embodiments, is the enabling a user to touchlessly remove a soiled disposable pad, thereby avoiding contact with contaminants acquired by the pad during use.

In still other embodiments, the front extension 20, rear extension 22, and the pad housing 18 may all be formed of a flexible material so long as the material comprising the pad housing 18 is sufficiently rigid to hold the vibration generator 30 securely, and the pad housing 18 is sufficiently rigid to permit adequate sealing of the vibration generator 30 against infiltration of water and cleansing agents. In yet other embodiments, the front extension 20 and the rear extension 22 may be eliminated, wherein the pad housing 18 is formed in the shape, including the regions normally occupied by the front extension 20 and the rear extension 22, such that the pad housing 18 is essentially the same shape as the disposable pad 16.

As described with reference to FIG. 1, the pad housing 18, in the embodiment shown, is pivotally mounted to the handle 25 by means of the hinge mechanism 23. However, in alternate embodiments, as shown in FIG. 6, a gimbaled mount may be used to permit the pad housing 18 a degree of flexibility in any direction. As shown in the figure, a ball 70 is rotatably secured in a socket 72 formed between the pad housing lower half 18″ and a socket upper half 74. The ball 70 is shown in the figure having pins 73 extending from the ball 70 and also pivotally secured between the pad housing lower half 18″ and a socket upper half 74. The socket upper half 74 is fastened to the pad housing lower half 18″ by means of fasteners 76. Any suitable fastener such as a rivet or a screw may be used. The socket upper half 74 may also be bonded to the pad housing lower half 18″ by means of an adhesive or by means of plastic welding techniques. In the embodiment shown, a ring 78 is fixed to the grabber carriage 25 and a rubber boot 80 is formed between the ring 78 and the socket upper half 74 and adhered to each respectively. The rubber boot 80 permits a degree of movement of the pad housing 18 while, at the same time, providing a restoring or centering action. In this manner, the pad housing 18 may more readily follow the contour of a user's face thereby increasing comfort to the user.

The embodiments so far described herein, utilize a vibration generator such as the vibration generators 28, 30 as shown in FIG. 2. It is to be appreciated that aspects of the present application, such as the separation of the user's hand from the disposable pad 16 may also be accomplished by means of an un-powered, non-vibrating facializer, similar in other respects to the facializer 10 hereinbefore described. Further, it is also to be appreciated that aspects of the present application may also be accomplished by utilizing a pad support and handle that are rigidly/flexibly attached to each other without any pivoting mechanism as hereinbefore described, thereby simplifying the cleansing device even further.

While the previously described embodiments show a facializer 10 having one grabber carriage 25, it is to be appreciated that a facializer may incorporate more than one grabber carriage. For example, with reference to FIG. 7, another embodiment of a facializer 10′ is shown having three grabber carriages 25 a, 25 b, 25 c. In this embodiment, a push button mechanism 82 is provided which is operatively connected to pins 36 a-36 c on pistons 34 a-34 c. The grabber carriages 25 a-26 c shown in the figure operate essentially as previously described in the previous embodiments. Further, this embodiment utilizes a one-piece flexible extension 83 rather that the two-piece extension as in the previously described embodiments.

With reference now to FIG. 8A and with continuing reference to FIG. 7, a bottom view of the pad housing 18 of the present embodiment is shown. As shown in the figure, the grabbers 40 a-40 c are in a retracted position within the pad housing 18. With reference now to FIG. 8 b, the grabbers 40 a-40 c are shown in an extended position wherein a user has depressed the push button mechanism 82 in order to attach a disposable pad. One advantage offered by the arrangement shown in the figures is that the triangular arrangement of the grabbers 40 a-40 c provides a firmer grasp of the disposable pad 16 while, at the same time, preventing any rotation of the disposable pad on the pad housing 18 during use.

In the embodiment described with reference to FIG. 7, the push button mechanism 82 operates parallel to the grabber carriages 25 a-25 c. With this arrangement, if the grabber carriages 25 are mounted obliquely with respect to the pad housing 18, then the movement of the push button mechanism 82 will be at an oblique angle to the pad housing 18 as well.

With reference now to FIG. 9, another embodiment is provided wherein the push button mechanism 82 operates perpendicular to the pad housing 18 irrespective of the angle of the grabber carriages 25 a-25 c. In the arrangement shown, the push button mechanism 82 acts upon a rack gear 84 preferably mounted vertically with respect to the pad housing 18. Operation of the rack gear 84 causes a rotary motion of a pinion gear 86 which is also engaged with a first grabber carriage rack gear 88 and a second grabber carriage rack gear 90. The rotary motion of the pinion gear 86 is converted into a linear motion of the two grabber carriage rack gears which are attached by means of pins, rivets, screws or other means to a carrier plate 92 which is further connected to the pins 36 a-36 c of the grabber carriage pistons 34 a-34 c. The linear motion of the carrier plate 92 causes the grabber carriage pistons 34 a-34 c to operate as previously described for extending and retracting the grabbers 40 a-40 c.

With reference now to FIG. 10, yet another embodiment is provided for utilizing a slide button 90 for operation of the grabber carriages 25 a-25 c. In this embodiment, the slide button 90 is configured so that it is attached directly to the pins 36 a-36 c of the grabber carriages. In this arrangement, as shown in FIG. 10B, a leaf spring 92 is provided within the handle 12 which is in contact with a tab or projection 94 on the slide button 90. A leaf spring 92 is configured with a first attached detent 96 and a second detached detent 98 so that, as the slide button 90 is operated, the button has a natural tendency to continue motion and stop in either the attached or detached position. The advantage of this arrangement is that partial activation or engagement of the grabbers 40 a-40 c is prevented or minimized.

With reference now to FIG. 11, yet another embodiment is described. In this embodiment, a slide button 100 is slidably mounted to the handle 12 and engages a crown gear 102 by means of a link pin 104. Operation of the slide button 100 by means of the link pin 104 causes a rotary motion of the crown gear 102 which engages grabber gears 106 a-106 c which, when rotated by the crown gear 102, cause grabber hooks 108 a-108 c to rotate from or to an attached position or a detached position. A more detailed illustration of the grabber hook 108 a and the grabber gear 106 a is provided in FIG. 12A. A grabber 106 a and the grabber hook 108 a are fixedly mounted to a shaft 110 a which is rotatably mounted in the pad housing 18. As shown in FIG. 12B, rotation of the shaft 110 a moves the grabber hook 108 a alternately between a detached position, shown as numeral 112 in the figure, and an attached position shown as numeral 114 in the figure. In the detached position 112, a grabber hook 108 a rotated in the pad housing 18 to a detached position in anticipation of engaging with a disposable pad 16. In the attached position 114, the grabber hook 108 a is rotated through a portion of the disposable pad 16 for securing and maintaining a grip on the disposable pad 16. In the attached position, the grabber hook 108 a is preferably retracted to a position not protruding beyond, or at least not significantly beyond, the outer surface of the pad housing 18.

With reference now to FIGS. 13A-13B, and continuing reference to FIG. 11, another embodiment is shown wherein the link 104 is replaced by a rack gear 116. In this embodiment, the rack gear 116 is fixedly attached to the sliding button 100, and the rack gear is elongated in the vertical direction as shown so that it maintains engagement with a pinion gear 118 formed with the crown gear 102 during operation. As the slide button 100 is operated, the rack gear 116 causes a rotation of the crown gear 102 and operation of the grabbers is otherwise as described with reference to FIG. 11. To provide positive stopping action in either the detached or the attached position, a tab 120 is provided on a flexible portion of the rack gear structure 116 which engages detents 122 and 124 at the desired limited of travel with the rack gear 116.

With reference now to FIG. 14, yet another embodiment is shown. In this embodiment, the crown gear 102 is formed with a turning knob 126 on the upper portion of the crown gear. The turning knob 126 extends up through the handle 12 where a user may rotate the turning knob 126 to rotate the grabbing hooks 108 a-108 d into either the attached or the detached position. As previously described with reference to FIG. 11, the crown gear 102 engages with gears 106 a-106 d for operation of the grabber hooks 108-108 d. It is to be appreciated that the pad housing 18 may be configured with any number of grabber hook mechanisms and in this particular embodiment, the pad housing 18 is configured to hold four grabber hook mechanisms 108 a-108 d. In this embodiment, the grabber hooks are mounted to a separate locking plate 128 which has been attached to the pad housing 18 which is flexible for the comfort of the user.

With reference now to FIG. 15, an embodiment of a facializer 10 is shown having a “try me” feature. In this embodiment, a facializer 10 is fitted with a try-me button 130 in addition to the activation switch 31. The try-me button 130 may be made accessible to a perspective purchaser by means know in the art, such as a flexible blistered pack. The try-me button 130 is preferably fitted with a return spring so that its action is momentary and the facializer 10 operates only while the user is pressing the try-me button. It is to be appreciated, however, that other arrangements of try-me buttons are known in the art and the present application is not limited in this respect.

While the previously described embodiments have been described either with wire grabber prongs 42 or grabber hooks 108, it is to be appreciated that alternate methods of attaching the disclosable pad 16 fall within the scope of the present application. For example, with reference to FIG. 16, the wire grabber prongs 42 may be replaced by plastic grabber prongs 42′ as shown in the figure. It is also to be appreciated that the grabber prongs 42, while formed of wire, may also be coated with a coating such as powder coating in order to facilitate smoother operation and corrosion resistance. Still further, it is to be appreciated that alternate methods of grabbing the pad may be deployed, such as pincher jaws having teeth which may grab the disposable pad 16, pairs of counter-rotating spiked rollers which may grab and secure the disposable pad 16, or flexible rollers having a surface with a high coefficient of friction which may grab the disposable pad 16 in a fashion similar to the spiked rollers. In these embodiments, either the spiked rollers or the flexible rubber rollers are provided in counter-rotating pairs parallel to each other for purposes of gripping portions of the disposable pad between adjacent rollers.

With reference now to FIG. 17, an oscillating/rotating facializer 140 according to an embodiment of the present application is shown. The oscillating/rotating facializer 140 generally comprises a handle 142 and a pad support 144 for securing and supporting a disposable pad 16. Preferred and alternate methods of securing disposable pad 16 to the pad support 144 are similar to the above-described embodiments and are not described in further detail here. Also shown in the figure, however, is a motor 146 and a gear arrangement 148 connecting the motor 146 to the pad support 144 for driving the pad support 144 in an oscillating or rotating manner as known in the art. The oscillating/rotating embodiments of the present application are more complex than the vibrating embodiments described above, however, the oscillating/rotating movements may be preferred by some users.

With reference now to FIG. 18, a method of packaging the vibrating facializer 10 with a plurality of disposable pads 16 is shown. A pad carton 150 containing a plurality of facial pads 16, fourteen pads for example, and a vibrating facializer 10 are packaged within a blister 152, or foil pack or other packaging system, provided with an opening 154 such that the blister 152 may be supported by a display hook 156 for display to customers, as is well known in the art. It is to be appreciated that the plurality of facial pads are not necessarily contained in a carton but may be packaged by other means such as, for example, foil packs containing individual or multiple facial pads.

With reference now to FIG. 19, a front view of the blister 152 containing a facializer 10 and the pad carton 150 is shown. The vibrating facializer 10 may be attractively displayed in this manner with compatible disposable pads. The vibrating facializer 10 may be configured to be compatible with a number of commercially available pre-treated pads or cleansing pillows currently available in the retail market. Examples include Dove® Face Care Essential Nutrients cleansing pillows or Olay® Daily Facial Pillows. An advantage to packaging the vibrating facializer 10 with the disposable pads 16 is that the benefits of using the cleansing pad 16 in combination with the vibrating facializer may be advertised. For example, the improved cleansing provided by the vibrating actions of the vibrating facializer 10 and the stimulating effect of the vibrations on the facial skin may be made readily apparent to the consumer.

Among the advantages offered by the above-described arrangements of the vibrating facializer 10 are and an increased stimulation of the facial tissues in contact with the vibrating disposable pad. Further, the vibrations may further stimulate blood flow in the region contacted by the vibrating disposable pad. The stimulated blood flow may even provide an anti-aging benefit if used regularly. The vibrations may also assist when using the pad as an exfoliating agent or as a cleansing agent. The flexible pad housing extension or extensions, preferably made of an elastomer material, enhance the comfort and utility of the vibrating facializer by enabling the disposable pad to more readily and comfortably conform to the user's facial features, even while the pad housing is made of a rigid material. Yet another advantage in some embodiments, is the enabling a user to touchlessly remove a soiled disposable pad, thereby avoiding contact with contaminants acquired by the pad during use. Further, because the disposable pad is not being touched during use, the user's hands do not become “dried out” from extended contact with the cleansing and/or medicinal agents contained in the pad. Or, still further, the user's manicure or, e.g., nail polish, are nor damaged by contact with the cleansing and/or medicinal agents. These particular advantages will generally be considered very beneficial by many users of the vibrating facializer.

According to popular wisdom, and recommendations from many cosmetic products companies, it is advisable to avoid “pulling” the skin when cleansing it because the pulling can lead to premature wrinkling of the skin. Users are advised to gently “pat” the skin, rather than pulling the cleansing pad across the skin. By providing the facializer with an ergonomically designed handle, users are provided with an improved control of the attached disposable pad, while the vibrations provide an effective and soothing cleansing action. Users are able to provide a steady, and more constant, pressure on the skin. The pad housing, and flexible extension, also provide an even contact pressure over the full breadth of the pad, which would be very difficult to obtain when holding the pads in one's fingers.

Additionally, the provision of a handle on the facializer facilitates use of the disposable pads on other parts of the body, in addition to the facial skin. For example, some persons are afflicted with acne on other bodily areas in addition to the face, such as on the back. The provision of a handle enables a user to reach the afflicted areas of the back, particularly if the handle is extended in length, or provided with a removable handle extension. In such cases, even if the cleansing and/or medicinal agents provided on the disposable pad are applied by a clinician or other assistant, provision of the handle provides an improved control and pressure while eliminating the need for the assistant to touch the disposable pad.

The handle of the facializer provides other beneficial advantages related to convenience and comfort. For example, a user may answer a phone, or attend to other events requiring attention such as turning off a TV or an iron, or unplugging a hair dryer, when using the facializer without first setting the disposable pad aside and drying the hands prior to attending to the event requiring attention or intervention.

Full use of the disposable pad, i.e., use of 100% of the surface area, is easily achieved with the above-described embodiments. All of the pad gripping action takes place on the back side of the disposable pad, without covering any usable area of the pad while, at the same time, permitting an easy, touchless release of the soiled disposable pad. Other, previously mentioned devices, either utilize an inconvenient sock-like pad which wraps around the pad housing, or utilize contact adhesives, requiring contact and effort to remove the soiled pads, while also increasing the expense and complexity of the pads. Further, the use of contact adhesives can also cause adverse reactions upon contact with the skin, or some users may be allergic to some contact adhesives.

Another benefit, apart from the previous described cleansing functions, is to employ the subject system as an applicator, such as for sunless tanning lotions, skin medications, selective creams and the like, where contact between the applied material and the user's hands is desired to be avoided. In such cases the applied material is only contacting the tool pad, and the areas that the pad touches, while upon completion of application, the pad can be easily disposed, as above.

The embodiments described herein also encourage further development of additional types of pads. For example, specific pads may be developed for epidermal medications, chemical treatments, etc. The provision of a handle and a flexible disposable pad support further facilitates the use and design of disposable pads for these and other purposes.

The exemplary embodiments have been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the exemplary embodiments be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7210185 *Dec 2, 2003May 1, 2007S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Floor cleaning device with motorized vibratory head
US8015653 *Jan 12, 2006Sep 13, 2011Dusa Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Applicator device
US20090105673 *Sep 3, 2008Apr 23, 2009Cascio Gregory RMedicament applicator
US20110225749 *Mar 16, 2010Sep 22, 2011Master Air Tool Corp.Eraser wheel for cleaning viscose
US20140216496 *Mar 18, 2013Aug 7, 2014Micro Base Technology CorporationEfficiency enhancing device for replaceable cosmetic skincare pads
EP2258332A1 *Jun 3, 2009Dec 8, 2010Yongxing YanMassage device
WO2008150635A1 *May 9, 2008Dec 11, 2008Robert ApplebaumApparatus for skin and muscle treatment
WO2010005844A1 *Jul 1, 2009Jan 14, 20103M Innovative Properties CompanyNon-motorized hand manipulatable surface modifying tool and method of converting the same
Classifications
U.S. Classification15/97.1, 15/230.19, 15/230, 15/147.2, 15/147.1
International ClassificationA47L13/16, A61H7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61H7/005
European ClassificationA61H7/00D4B
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Owner name: ZUKO, LLC, OHIO
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Jan 18, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ZUKO, LLC, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TAPPER, JAY;ALTHOFF, CHARLES P.;BROWN, PATRICK W.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016199/0074;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050107 TO 20050117
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NOTTINGHAM, JOHN R.;SPIRK, JOHN W.;REEL/FRAME:016199/0069
Effective date: 20050113