US 3342285 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
p 1967 A. ROBBINS I 3,342,285
COMBINATION PILLOW SPEAKER AND CONTROL UNIT Filed Dec. 19, 1966 INVENTOR. ALEX ROBBINS ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,342,285 COMBINATION PILLOW SPEAKER AND CONTROL UNIT Alex Robbins, Jamaica, N.Y., assignor to Standard Systems Communications Corporation, Port Washington, N.Y.
Filed Dec. 19, 1966, Ser. No. 602,809 4 Claims. (Cl. 181-31) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The plastic speaker housing of this invention is capable of being handheld or used as a pillow speaker.
This invention relates generally to speakers and more particularly to such apparatus classified as pillow speakers.
The prior art has many examples of pillow speakers in the same general class as the present invention. However, to the best of applicants knowledge, none of the prior art devices exhibit all of the advantageous features available in the device to be described hereinafter. Stated another way, the present invention overcomes many of the shortcomings in the prior art devices.
The present invention includes an elongated housing that is near elliptical in cross section. One end of the housing is recessed to accommodate the actuating means for the combined speaker and control unit while the opposite end of the housing permits entry of the connecting cable. Internally, the housing contains all of the speaker components as well as the necessary switches and connections to permit usage of the device as a remote signaling device. As indicated in the drawing, the speaker faces the side of the housing which is provided with a plurality of suitable apertures.
Because the external controls are recessed, the user cannot inadvertently be hurt thereby. This is an important consideration since the device is in use while the individual is dozing or sleeping.
The unit may'safely be placed under the pillow without danger of actuating the controls. Sufiicient sound will penetrate the pillow and yet very little sound will be radiated to the room.-Thus the likelihood of disturbing other people in the room is minimized. This is particularly advantageous inwa hospital, for example, where there are frequently several patients in a single room.
In addition,'the two-part housing is made of different materials. The body of the housing is molded of a plastic such as high impact styrene. The front of the housing, which is the portion that recesses the controls, is made of a more resilient material such as polyethylene. Should the speaker fall off a bed or night table, and since the cord extends from one end, it will almost always land on the other end and the impact will be cushioned by the polyethylene housing.
The present invention has a wide range of utility. A volume control permits listening to a radio or TV set at the desired sound level. Pushbuttons may be incorporated to permit remote channel selection for TV programs and radio programs.
A push button may also be provided for use as a call button. If the unit is connected to a conventional nursecall system in a hospital it may then function as a microphone.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved combination pillow speaker and control unit.
Another object of this invention is to provide a device of the character described wherein the controls are recessed within the housing envelope.
Still another object is to provide a multipart housing wherein the portion thereof that recesses the controls is adapted to cushion the impact that results when the device is dropped.
Another object of this invention is to provide a pillow speaker having improved acoustical efficiency, thus allowing a higher percentage of electrical power to be converted into acoustical sound pressure.
An additional object of this invention is to provide a device of the character described wherein there is a tethered end and a free end fabricated of an impact cushioning Plastic.
These and other features, objects and advantages of the invention will, in part, be pointed out with particularity and will, in part, become obvious from the following FIG. 2, the internal components having been removed for clarity;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the forward end of the housing;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view, partly broken away, showing the speaker mounting means; and
FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of typical internal components.
Referring now to the drawing and in particular to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, it will be seen that the device 10 is comprised of rear housing section 12 molded of a suitable high impact plastic such as polypropylene and a forward housing section 14 molded of polyethylene. Should the device be dropped it will almost always land on the forward end or untethered end. The polyethylene construction provides a. good cushioning effect to the resultant impact force.
Front housing section 14 is provided with an integral transverse wall 16 that is disposed inwardly of the forwardmost part of the device. As shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, suitable cutouts such as 18a, 18b, 18c and 18d are formed in end wall 16 in order to permit mounting of switches 20a, 20b and 20c, as well as a volume control knob 22 thereon. It should be clearly understood that this particular combination of components is used by way of explanation only and that other components more applicable to a given requirement may be substituted.
As may best be seen in FIG. 3, circumferential wall 24 of the front housing, in combination with the transverse wall 16, provides an enclosure for the switches and volume control knob. Thus there is less likelihood for any of these members to be inadvertently activated. The circumferential wall also shields the external control means from being damaged should the device be dropped. It Will be apparent from the drawing that the control means are at the same time both accessible and shielded.
The periphery of transverse Wall 16 is spaced from wall 24 to define an annular channel 26. The open end 28 of the rear housing is stepped down and dimensioned to be snugly received in the annular channel. In addition, the inside surface of wall 24 is provided with an annular groove 30 that is arranged to receive outwardly extending projections 32 formed on the outside surface of the stepped down end 28 of the rear housing. By this means, the two housing sections can be easily snapped together after the unit is assembled and yet may be just as readily taken apart should subsequent servicing be required. It will be evident then that a smooth continuous outside housing surface is provided without the need for any closure hardware that would be more costly to use and which may be dangerous should there be projections. Additional holding means such as cement, pins, flush mounted screws, etc., may be used for final sealing where a tamper-proof unit is required.
FIG. 6 is intended to show a particular combination of components that may be used although it should be clearly understood that the invention is not limited to this specific arrangement. One side of rear housing 12 is perforated, as shown by reference charcter 34, in order to provide acoustical coupling means between speaker 36 and the outside air.
In a typical installation knob 22 varies the arm of volume control 38 to control the amplitude of the signal driving speaker 36. Switch 20a, when closed momentarily, actuates holding relay 21 which turns signal light 23a on over the door of the patients room. Switch 20a also turns on signal light 23b and actuates buzzer 25. The nurse manually closes reset switch 27 to restore the holding relay to its initial condition. Switch 20b is shown connected to stepping relay 42 commonly found in remotely controlled TV sets to change channels and turn the set on and olf. Switch 20c may be used to control lamp 44 by means of relay 46.
The mounting means for speaker 36 is shown in FIG. 3 and in FIG. 5. In contrast to much of the prior art, the speaker in the unit is not mounted tightly against the inside of the perforated housing which defines the bafiie. Instead the speaker is resiliently mounted with a space between the speaker face and the bafile. In a vertical plane an elastic, foam plastic spacer 50 is placed above and below the speaker rim and a similar spacer 52 is placed behind the speaker. Optionally, other similar spacers could be interposed between the speaker cone and the rear housing Wall. To permit simplified assembly the spacers are coated on both sides with cement. The housing may also be modified by the inclusion of bleeder holes 34a on the rear surface. Improved acoustical characteristics are thereby provided by the combination of spatial mounting and the open cell foam material.
The device described hereinabove and illustrated by the drawing provides an improved lightweight pillow speaker and control unit that may easily be held in the hand but which is of minimum bulk so that it does not interfere with ones sleep or rest. The recessed controls are conveniently located but unlikely to be accidentally activated. The housing is in two parts, one of which exhibits high strength to protect the internal components, the other housing section being designed to absorb the shock should the device be dropped onto a hard surface. Because the unit will almost always fall on the shock absorbing end, it is unlikely that serious damage will be done. Although not specifically illustrated, it is within the scope of this invention to provide a self-contained battery-operated unit or a device that is operated by the more conventional power source.
Having thus disclosed the best embodiment of the invention presently contemplated, it is to be understood that various changes and modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A combination pillow speaker and control unit comprising:
(a) a tubular shell having a plurality of apertures for the transmission of sound and having a major longitudinal axis and a generally oval shape in a plane transverse to the longitudinal axis;
(b) a wall transverse to the major axis and set in from an open end of said shell to define an open chamber for receiving control means;
(c) Wall means closing the other end of said shell to define a speaker enclosure; and
(d) a speaker mounted within the speaker enclosure with the axis along which the speaker normally propagates sound transverse to the major axis of said shell and proximate to the apertures in said shell.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the tubular shell portion extending from said transverse wall to the open end is formed of a resilient plastic.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said tubular shell comprises a first portion extending from the transverse wall to the open end which is composed of a plastic which is more resilient than that of a second portion which comprises said speaker enclosure, and integral locking means for retaining said first and said second portions in an assembled condition.
4. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein there is interposed resilient mounting means between said speaker and said shell.
References Cited Detrick 1813l STEPHEN J. TOMSKY, Primary Examiner.