US 20070039109 A1
Disclosed herein are toothbrushes. The toothbrushes are self-standing and are oriented in an upright position when resting on a support surface. In some arrangements, the toothbrush can have a stamp. A closure of the toothbrush can be removed to expose the stamp. The toothbrush has an ink source that deposits ink on the stamp. A receiving stand configured to receive the lower portion of the toothbrush can maintain the toothbrush in a generally vertical orientation.
1. A toothbrush comprising:
an upper portion having a plurality of bristles configured to clean teeth; and
a lower portion being removably coupled to the upper portion, wherein when the lower portion is separated from the upper portion, a stamp is exposed.
2. The toothbrush of
3. The toothbrush of
4. The toothbrush of
5. The toothbrush of
6. The toothbrush of
7. The toothbrush of
8. The toothbrush of
9. The toothbrush of
10. The toothbrush of
11. The toothbrush of
12. The toothbrush of
13. A self-standing toothbrush comprising:
a toothbrush head comprising a plurality of cleaning elements; and
a body having an upper end and a bottom, the head being coupled to the upper end of the body, the bottom is configured such that the toothbrush assumes a neutral position when gravity acts on the toothbrush resting on a support surface.
14. The toothbrush of
15. The toothbrush of
wherein the bottom comprises at least one magnet and the base comprises at least one repelling magnet to cause the toothbrush to bias to a generally upright position when the toothbrush is placed on the base.
16. The toothbrush of
17. The toothbrush of
18. The toothbrush of
19. A stand member configured to receive and support a toothbrush in a generally vertical position, said stand member comprising:
a shell portion comprising an internal space into which a toothbrush can be positioned; and
at least one support member attached to the shell portion and configured to maintain the position of the stand member on a generally flat surface.
20. The stand member of
21. The stand member of
22. The toothbrush of
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/707,388, filed Aug. 11, 2005, and U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/709,215, filed Aug. 18, 2005, both herein incorporated by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present inventions relate to dental hygiene and, more particularly, to toothbrushes.
2. Description of the Related Art
To ensure proper oral care, dentists recommend that we brush our teeth more than once a day for at least two to three minutes each time. Despite this recommendation, the average adult person does not brush his or her teeth for two to three minutes. This problem is worse with children, who have notoriously short attention spans and often view brushing their teeth as a chore. Accordingly, there is a general need for a device that encourages people, specially children, to brush their teeth more often and for longer periods of time. See e.g., U.S. Patent Publication No. 2004-0143920, filed Jan. 24, 2003 and published on Jul. 29, 2004, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.
In some embodiments, a self-standing toothbrush comprises a stamp. The stamp is configured to leave an impression on a surface. In some arrangements, the stamp is unexposed when the toothbrush is in a first position. When the toothbrush is in a second position, the stamp can be exposed for stamping. In some arrangements, a closure is used to cover and conceal the stamp. The first position can correspond to when the closure is attached to the toothbrush. The second position can correspond to when the closure is separated from the toothbrush. In some arrangements, the toothbrush comprises an ink source. Ink from the ink source can be deposited on the stamp.
In some embodiments, a toothbrush comprises an upper portion and a lower portion. The lower portion is removably coupled to the upper portion. When the lower portion is separated from the upper portion, a stamp is exposed. The stamp can be coupled to the upper portion. Alternatively, the stamp can be coupled to the lower portion. In some embodiments, lower portion is a closure. The stamp can be concealed when the closure is attached to the upper portion.
In some embodiments, the toothbrush further includes a stand member which is configured to receive the lower portion of the toothbrush and maintain it in a substantially vertical position. In another embodiment, the stand member includes at least one support member.
In some embodiments, the toothbrush further includes one or more illumination circuits. The illumination circuits can include a lighting element, a switch, a timing circuit, a resistor, a power supply and/or the like.
In some embodiments, a toothbrush comprises a head that includes a plurality of cleaning elements. A body of the toothbrush has an upper end and a bottom. The head is coupled to the upper end of the body. The bottom is configured such that the toothbrush assumes a neutral position, when gravity acts on the toothbrush resting on a support surface. In some embodiments, the toothbrush is a self-standing toothbrush. In other embodiments, the toothbrush further includes one or more illumination circuits. The illumination circuits can include a lighting element, a switch, a timing circuit, a resistor, a power supply and/or the like.
In some embodiments, the toothbrush further comprises a base on which the toothbrush is configured to be positioned. The bottom of the toothbrush and the base include magnets which are configured to repel each other so as to bias the toothbrush in generally upright position when the toothbrush is placed on the base.
In some embodiments, a toothbrush has a stamp configured to make an impression. The toothbrush can have an ink supply that can deliver ink to the stamp. The stamp can be used before, during, and/or after the toothbrush is utilized.
In some embodiments, a stand member is configured to receive and support a toothbrush in a generally vertical position. The stand member may include a shell portion having an internal space into which a toothbrush can be positioned and one or more support members, attached to the shell portion and configured to maintain the position of the stand member on a generally flat surface. In other embodiments, the support members are shaped like feet. In yet another embodiment, the shell of the stand member includes at least one opening.
These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention are decsribed with reference to drawings of certain preferred embodiments, which are intended to illustrate, but not to limit, the present invention. The drawings include twenty-one (21) figures. It is to be understood that the attached drawings are for the purpose of illustrating concepts of the present invention and may not be to scale.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any-one of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.
With continued reference to
With continued reference to
One or more decorative members 106 can extend through the chamber 100 and is surrounded by the fluids 102, 104. The illustrated decorative member 106 comprises an elongated member upon which a character, in the form of a bird, is mounted. It will be appreciated, however, that one or more other decorative members, such as for example, other animals, cartoon characters and the like, can be included in the chamber 100, either in lieu of or in addition to the illustrated bird. In other embodiments, the decorative member 106 can include text, a logo, a symbol, an identifier and/or other type of graphic. For example, the manufacturer's name and/or trademark may be included in the chamber 100. In another embodiment, the decorative member 106 may comprise text identifying a user's name. In yet other embodiments, the user may be allowed to freely customize the toothbrush by removing or installing one or more decorative members 106. Any number of decorative members can be positioned within the body 50. In some embodiments, the decorative member comprises one or more lighting elements that can be activated for a desired length of time. The illustrated toothbrush 40 has a single lighting element 107.
One or more lighting elements or other sensory devices, such as, for example, audible members, vibrating members, articulating members or the like, can be activated at any time. For example, the lighting element 107 of the toothbrush 40 can be activated when the toothbrush 40 is moved, such as during normal brushing. Alternatively, the lighting elements can be activated when the toothbrush 40 undergoes a target temperature change or is exposed to a fluid, such as water. In some embodiments, the lighting elements are activated when the closure 60 is removed, the stamp 70 is pressed against a surface, or a switch is moved to an ON position.
The lighting element can remain activated for a desired length of time, preferably corresponding to a desired brush period. The lighting element can effectively function as a timer to ensure that a person utilizes the toothbrush 40 for a target period of time.
The lighting element 107 can comprise a light source (e.g., a diode) powered by a power source (e.g., a battery). The lighting element can pulse, remain continuously activated for the entire brushing period, or have a programmed sequence of activation. The lighting element can be activated to make brushing more enjoyable.
The lighting elements can be positioned within the closure 60, coupled to the decorative element 66 (illustrated), in the fluid contained in the chamber 100, within the body 50, or so at any other suitable location for a lighting element.
For purposes of powering, controlling and/or effecting the lighting element 107 or other sensory device, the toothbrush 40 includes one or more illumination circuits. In some embodiments, an illumination circuit can be positioned within the chamber 100 or any other location of the toothbrush 40.
As illustrated schematically in
In one embodiment, the lighting element 107 is a light emitting diode (LED). Alternatively, the lighting element 107 can be an incandescent lightbulb or any other device capable of providing illumination and/or other sensory output.
In a preferred embodiment, the power source 86 includes one or more batteries (e.g., micro cell model number G3-ACNB). For example, three batteries can be placed in serial within the space defined by negative terminal conductor 90 and positive terminal conductor 92 (
As illustrated in
The illustrated decorative element 66 floats in the fluid 102. Any number of decorative elements can be utilized. For example, the toothbrush 40 can contain at least three decorative elements floating in the fluid 102. In other embodiments, as illustrated in
With reference again to
The closure 60 is removably coupled to the body 50 and forms a bottom 200 of the toothbrush 40. As used herein, the term “closure” is a broad term and is used in its ordinary meaning and includes, without limitation, a cap, a cover, or other structure that can be attached to the body 50. The somewhat rounded closure 60 provides a self-standing toothbrush 40. When the toothbrush 40 is not used, the toothbrush 40 can be in a neutral orientation (e.g., an upright position) when it rests on a support surface 44, such as a bathroom countertop. The closure 60 can cover and conceal the stamp 70. When a person cleans their teeth with the toothbrush 40, the closure 60 can remain attached to the body 50. At any time the closure 60 can be removed to use the stamp 70.
When the closure 60 is separated from the body 50, the stamp 70 is exposed as shown in
With continued reference to
In some embodiments, the closure 60 is temporarily secured to the body-mounting portion 130. A closure-mounting portion 140 of the closure 60 is releasably coupled to the body-mounting portion 130 of the body 50. The closure-mounting portion 140 can have threads that are configured to mate with corresponding threads of the body-mounting portion 130. As such, the closure 60 can be screwed on and off of the body 50 as desired.
Alternatively, the closure-mounting portion 140 and the body-mounting portion 130 can each have snap coupling structure. The closure 60 can be conveniently snapped on and off of the body 50. It is contemplated that the body-mounting portion 130 and the closure-mounting portion 140 can have any suitable arrangement for temporarily securing the closure 60 to the body 50.
The closure 60 can have an ink source 144 that is positioned and configured to deposit ink on the stamp 70. When the closure 60 is attached to the body-mounting portion 130 as illustrated, the stamp 70 can press against the ink source 144 so that ink is deposited on the stamp 70. The closure 60 can be removed to expose the inked stamp 70. The outwardly facing indicium or indicia 110 can be pressed against a surface to leave an image.
The ink source 144 can be in the form of an inkpad preferably containing ink. Non-limiting exemplary ink sources 144 can also include ink sponges, ink reservoirs, or other suitable ink storage devices. The type and location of the ink source 144 can be selected based on the type of stamp employed. The ink source 144 may or may not be refillable and/or replaceable.
The illustrated ink source 144 mates with the outwardly facing surface of the stamp 70. However, the ink source 144 can be positioned within the body-mounting portion 130 to supply ink to the stamp 70 in the form of a self-inking stamp. To make each impression, the ink source 144 re-inks the self-inking stamp 70. The toothbrush 40 may have an actuating mechanism to move the stamp 70 into engagement with the ink source 144. Alternatively, the stamp 70 can be a pre-inked stamp, wherein the ink source 144 is a reservoir of ink positioned behind the stamp 70. Ink from the reservoir 144 can saturate the stamp 70. Ink is deposited by the stamp 70 to make an impression on a surface.
The ink source 144 can be at any suitable location for delivering ink to the stamp 70 and can contain permanent ink, temporary ink, quick dry ink, or other suitable ink for use with a stamp. In some embodiments, the toothbrush does not have an ink source. For example, the stamp 70 can be used with a separate ink pad that is not attached to the toothbrush.
A kit can be provided with one or more of the following: instructions for use, a toothbrush, a stamp, and an ink source. Packaging can be provided to hold the components of the kit. The stamp and the ink pad may or may not be attached to the toothbrush. In some embodiments, the kit comprises an assortment of stamps, each configured to produce a different image.
With respect again to
With reference again to
Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the self-standing features described herein may be incorporated into a toothbrush that does not include a stamp. Further, the self-standing features may be included in a toothbrush that does not comprise a grip configured to activate a lighting element or other sensory device. Thus, in some embodiments, a simple toothbrush that does not include a stamp, a character and/or an illuminating member may be configured to assume a generally upright position when the toothbrush rests on a surface.
The bottom surface of the toothbrush can define a partially spherical surface. In some embodiments, including the illustrated embodiment of
Alternatively, the toothbrush can be configured to assume a vertical neutral position by using one or more magnetic members. In some embodiments, the toothbrush can include one or more magnets of a first polarity near its bottom portion, such as, for example, at or in the vicinity of the closure 60 (
The closure 260 comprises the stamp 270. The stamp 270 engages an ink source 280 positioned adjacent the stamp 270. To use a stamp 270, a user can pull the closure 260 from the body-mounting portion 130, and the stamp 270 can be pressed against a surface to leave an impression. It is contemplated that ink can be deposited on the stamp 270 in any manner.
The illustrated second portion 302 is generally in the form of a closure configured to cover the stamp 310. The second portion 302 can be moved away from the first portion 301, as indicated by the arrow 312 of
The various methods and techniques described above provide a number of ways to carry out the invention. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all objectives or advantages described may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment described herein. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the methods may be performed in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other objectives or advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.
Furthermore, the skilled artisan will recognize the interchangeability of various features from different embodiments disclosed herein. The toothbrushes may or may not be self-standing and may or may not comprise a stamp. For example, the toothbrushes described herein can be self-standing without a stamp. In some embodiments, the stamp is positioned along a side of the toothbrush. The toothbrushes can have any number of stamps at any suitable location along the toothbrush. Other types of brushes can be self-standing and/or comprise a stamp. For example, the brushes described above can be modified to form hair brushes. Alternatively, the stamp can be attached to other hygiene products, such as flossers, containers (e.g., mouthwash containers), picks, interdental brushes, or other hygiene products, including, but not limited to, dental products.
Similarly, the various features and steps discussed above, as well as other known equivalents for each such feature or step, can be mixed and matched by one of ordinary skill in this art to perform methods in accordance with principles described herein. Additionally, the methods which is described and illustrated herein is not limited to the exact sequence of acts described, nor is it necessarily limited to the practice of all of the acts set forth. Other sequences of events or acts, or less than all of the events, or simultaneous occurrence of the events, may be utilized in practicing the embodiments of the invention.
Although the invention has been disclosed in the context of certain embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the invention extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. Accordingly, the invention is not intended to be limited by the specific disclosures of preferred embodiments herein.