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Publication numberUS3376870 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 9, 1968
Filing dateMar 8, 1965
Priority dateMar 8, 1965
Publication numberUS 3376870 A, US 3376870A, US-A-3376870, US3376870 A, US3376870A
InventorsYamamoto Yujiro, Edwin S Hamberg
Original AssigneeYamamoto Yujiro, Edwin S. Hamberg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cranial electrode construction for sleep inducing machine
US 3376870 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 8 YUJlRO YAMAMOTO ET AL 3,376,870

CRANIAL ELECTRODE CONSTRUCTION FOR SLEEP INDUCING MACHINE Filed March 8, 1965 I N VENTORJ BY M41 gw lrroe/vs/r United States Patent Ofiice 3,376,870 CRANIAL ELECTRODE CONSTRUCTION FOR SLEEP INDUCING MACHINE Yuiiro Yamamoto, 18611 Newton Ave., and Edwin S.

Hamberg, 17171 Calvo Drive, both of Santa Ana,

Calif. 92705 Filed Mar. 8, 1965, Ser. No. 437,752

3 Claims. (Cl. 128-410) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE For use in a sleep inducing machine, an electrode construction including :a pair of resilient, elliptically shaped eye electrodes each having a central opening and each being adapted to engage the wearers eyelid Without exerting substantial pressure on the eyeball, a frame for holding the eye electrodes in place and adapted to be supported therefrom, the frame having rearward .portions extending above the ears and having posterior electrodes attached thereto, and means for supplying electrical current between the eye electrodes and the posterior electrodes.

This invention relates generally to electro-somnific instruments and has more particular reference to an improved cranial electrode vconstruction for such instruments. I

An electro-somnific instrument is an electrical instrument for inducing sleep. Instruments of this type are wellknown in the art and have been successfully used for a number of years in many parts of the world. While the exact mechanism of sleep is not understood, the phenomen'on of electrical sleep induction has been widely studied and the basic techniques required for its successful practice have been established. Since these basic techniques are well understood, it is unnecessary to describe them in detail here. Sufiice it to say that electrical sleep induction is based on the fact that transmission of a fluctuating electrical current of low frequency and amperage through certain parts of the human brain tends to induce sleep in many persons. To this end, a typical electrosomnific instrument is equipped with a low voltage signal generator for generating a fluctuating signal, preferably with a DC. bias, and electrodes for impressing the output from the signal generator across the head in such manner that the resulting current fio'w between the electrodes occurs through the proper portions of the brain to induce sleep. The signal frequency, signal level, pulse width, and/ or DC. bias level may be adjusted, in many instruments, to permit-each individual user to obtain the type of signal which is most effective in inducing sleep.

Experiments conducted with electro-somnific instruments have demonstrated that sleep may be successfully induced with many different electrode placements. These experiments have further revealed, however, that most effective electrical sleep induction occurs, when the cur rent flow between the electrodes occurs through the brain in the anterior-posterior direction, and more specifically,

between the eyelids and the regions just behind the ears,

that is the mastoid regions. For this reason many electrorsomnific instruments are equipped with electrodes which are designed to be applied to the eyelids and to the mastoid regions.

The. existing electrode devices of this latter variety, however, are deficient in several respects. For example, the existing electrode devices tend to be'ditficult and time consuming to put onand take off, awkward and uncomfortable to wear, particularly when sleeping, and are often rather grotesque in appearance. In addition, many 3,376,870 Patented Apr. 9, 1968 of the existing electrode devices are diflicult to adjust and frequently have no provision for replacement of the body-engaging portions of the devices, whereby the latter are objectionable to many persons from the sanitary standpoint. In many cases, the electrode devices are also complex in construction and otherwise quite costly. It is apparent, therefore, that there is a definite need for an improved electrode device for electro-somnific instruments of the character described.

It is a general object of this invention to provide such an improved electrode device.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide an improved electrode device of the character described which is relatively simple to put on and take off, comfortable to wear, even while sleeping, and which is not offensive in appearance.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved electrode device of the character described embodying eyelid electrodes which may be replaced after each use, thereby to render the device acceptable from the sanitary standpoint.

A further object of the invention is to provide an electrode device of the character described which may be quickly and easily adjusted in size.

A further object of the invention is to provide an electrode device of the character described which is relatively simple in construction, economical to manufacture, small in size, light-weight, and otherwise ideally suited to its intended purposes.

With these and other objects in view, the invention consists in the construction, arrangement, and combination of the various parts of the invention, whereby the objects contemplated are attained, as hereinafter set forth, pointed out in the appended claims, and illustrated in the attached drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of an electro-somnific instrument equipped with the present cranial electrode device;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged rear view of the electrode device;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged section taken on line 33 in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is a plan view of the electrode device; and

FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of an eye pad embodied in the electrode device.

The electro-somnific instrument 10 illustrated in these drawings comprises an electrical power unit 12 and a cranial electrode device 14. This invention is concerned entirely with the construction of the electrode device and, accordingly, the power unit will be described only in sufficient detail to enable afull and complete understanding of the invention. With this in mind, the power unit 12 includes a housing 16 containing an electrical power supply or signal generator (not shown) for generating, preferably with a DC. bias on the order of 02 volts, a fluctuating output voltage of low magnitude (on the order of 0.0 to 17.0 volts) and low frequency (on the order of 0.5 to pulses per second with a pulse width on the order of 0.5 ms.2.5 ms.). Various types of signal generators may be employed in the power unit. Housing 16 has a front control panel 18 mounting control knobs 20 and 22 for adjusting respectively the output frequency and, signal level of the power unit. An additional control knob, not shown, is provided for adjusting pulse width. The signal level is indicated by a meter 24 on the control panel. Also mounted on the control panel is a timer 26 selectively connecting the timer 26 into and removing the timer from the power supply circuit of the instrument, thereby to permit either continuous or timed operation of the instrument.

lectrode device 14 of this invention comprises a frame 30 which resembles and is adapted to be worn in a manner similar to a pair of eyeglasses. According to the preferred practice of the invention, this electrode frame is constructed of sheet metal and is fabricated by a simple stamping and forming operation. As will appear from a later description, however, the frame may be constructed of other materials and by other fabricating operations. Electrode frame 30 includes a curved anterior part 32 having two generally elliptical portions 34 joined by an intervening bridge portion 36. These frame portions define therebetween a recess 38. At the ends of the anterior frame part 32 are curved, rearwardly extending bows 49. If desired, the electrode frame may comprise a one-piece structure in which case, the bows will be integrally joined to the anterior frame part. Preferably, however, the bows are constructed separately from the frame part and are adjustably secured to the latter part to accommodate adjustment of the electrode frame to persons of different cranial dimensions. It is apparent that the bows may be adjustably secured to the anterior frame part in various ways. In the drawings, for example, frame part 32 has terminal rearwardly directed extensions 42 with transverse tabs 44 which are bent about the forward ends of the bows in such a way a to frictionally secure the bows to the frame extensions. The bows may thereby be t adjusted relative to the anterior frame part 32 to vary the effective length of the bows.

At the rear side of the anterior frame part 32 is an anterior electrode 46. This electrode is shown to comprise a metal stamping including generally elliptical portions 48 which are generally centered relative to the elliptical portions 34 of the frame part 32 and an intervening connecting bridge portion 50 which is aligned with the bridge portion 36 of the frame part. Disposed between the electrode 46 and the frame part 32 is an electrical insulator 52 which is similar in outline to, but somewhat larger than the electrode. The electrode and insulator are secured to the frame part by rivets 54. These rivets are electrically insulated from the frame part. Electrode 46 and insulator 52 have recesses 56 and 58, respectively, aligned with the recess 38 in the frame part 32. For reasons which will appear pre ently, the insulator recess 58 is preferably made slightly narrower than the recess 38 in the anterior frame part, as shown, so that the edges of the insulator which bound the sides of the insulator recess project inwardly a short distance beyond the edges of the anterior frame part which bound the side edges of the recess 38 in the frame part.

Mounted on the rear extremities of the bows 40 are a pair of posterior electrodes 60. These latter electrodes are located on the inner sides of the bows and are secured to the bows in a convenient way. In the drawings, for example, each electrode 60 has a central stem 62 which extends through an opening in its adjacent bow and is secured in the opening by a cross pin 64 which may be removed to permit replacement of the electrode. These posterior electrodes are electrically connected to the electrode frame 30.

The cranial electrode device 14 is electrically connected to the output of the power unit 12 by a pair of leads 66 and 68. Lead 66 is attached directly to'the electrode frame 30 and is thereby electrically connected through the frame to the posterior electrodes 60. Lead 68 is attached to the anterior electrode 46 and is electrically insulated from the electrode frame. It is apparent therefore, the fluctuating output voltage from the power unit 12 is impressed between the anterior electrode 46 and the two posterior electrodes 60. In the event the output signal has a DC bias component, the negative terminal of the power unit is connected to the anterior electrode 46 and the positive terminal is connected to the posterior electrodes 60.

The electrode device 14 is designed to be worn in the manner shown in the drawings so as to impress the output of the power unit 12 between the eyelids and the mastoid regions directly behind the ears. To this end, the electrode device is so shaped and proportioned that when the device is worn, as shown, the elliptical portions 49 of the anterior electrode 46 overlie the eyes, which are closed, and the posterior electrodes engage the mastoid regions. If desired, the anterior electrode 46 may directly engage the eyelids of the wearer. This direct contact of the anterior electrode with the wearers eyes, however, is undesirable for two reasons. First, it has been found, by experiment that the pressure of the rigid electrode against the eyes tends to distort the vision of the wearer for a short period of time after the electrode device is removed. Secondly, from a sanitary standpoint, it is preferable that the surfaces of the electrode device which engage the eyelids of the wearer be replaceable so as to avoid the transmission of eye and skin infections from one wearer to the next. To this end, the electrode device 14 illustrated in the drawings is equipped with resilient eye pads 78 which may be constructed of foam plastic or other resiliently compliant material. These eye pads include electrically conductive outer and inner surfaces 72 and 74 for engaging, respectively, the anterior electrode 46 and the eyelids of the wearer and a conductor 76 connecting the surfaces 72, 74. The eye pads may be provided with their conductive surfaces in various ways. Preferably, however, these conductive surfaces are furnished by thin metallic foil which is adhesively bonded or otherwise secured to the pads. Similarly, the conductor 76 of each pad may comprise a foil strip which is electrically joined, in any convenient way, to the inner and the outer foils.

At this point, therefore, it is apparent that when the electrode device 14 is worn, the eye pads are interposed between the anterior electrode 46 and the closed eyelids of the wearer, thereby to establish electrically conductive paths between the latter electrode and the eyelids without direct contact of the electrode with the eyelids. The resilient pressure of these eye pads against the eyelids avoids distortion of the wearers vision as would occur if the rigid anterior electrode 46 directly contacted the eyelids. Also, the eye pads may be replaced after each use, thus eliminating the possibility of transmitting eye and skin infections from one user to the next. The bows 40 of the electrode device are adjusted so that the posterior electrodes 60 engage the mastoid regions of the wearer just behind the ears, as shown in the drawings. Accordingly, activation of the power unit 12, with the electrode device 14 placed on the wearers head, as described, impresses the output voltage of the power unit across the wearers head in the anterior-posterior direction and results in a current flow between the wearers eyelids and his mastoid regions. As discussed earlier, experiments have demonstrated that this current flow occurs through the brain in such manner as to induce sleep in most individuals. The frequency and magnitude of the current flow are adjusted by the knobs 20 and 22 on the control panel, as required to optimize the sleep inducing effect of the current. Preferably, the areas of the skin contacted by the electrode surfaces of the electrode device 14 are coated with an electrically conductive cosmetic compound, various types of which are commercially available on the market, thereby to reduce the electrical resistance between the electrode surfaces and the skin. The contacting surfaces of the anterior electrode 46 and the eye pads 70 are also coated with this compound in order to provide a temporary bond and reduce the electrical resistance therebetween.

.While the present electrode device 14 has been disclosed herein as having a stamped metal frame 30 it is apparent that this frame may comprise other materials and may be fabricated in other ways. For example, the frame may :be molded of plastic. In this case, of course, the electrical lead 68 must be directly connected to the posterior electrodes 60, rather than being indirectly connected to these electrodes through the metallic frame, as described above.

While the invention has herein been shown and described in what is presently conceived to be its most practical and preferred embodiment, it is to be recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein, but is to be accorded the full scope of the claim so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices.

Having described the invention, what is claimed as new in support of Letters Patent is:

1. In a sleep inducing machine, an eye electrode including a generally elliptically shaped resilient foam plastic pad having a central opening therethrough and having a radial cross-section which is of generally rectangular configuration when not under compression; a pair of thin metallic foil sheets secured to the parallel fiat outer surfaces of said pad; means engaging an outer one of said metallic foil sheets for supplying electrical current thereto and at the same time adapted to physically support said plastic pad with the inner one of said foil sheets being adapted to engage the wearers eyelid; and electrically conductive means interconnecting said metallic foil sheets together; said electrode being of such size as to supportingly engage the wearers eyelid around the periphery of his eye without applying substantial pressure to the eyeball.

2. In a sleep inducing machine, the combination comprising:

a pair of posterior electrodes adapted to engage the head in the region of the ears;

a pair of resilient, essentially elliptically shaped eye electrodes, each having a central opening and being adapted to engage the wearers eyelid about the periphery of a respective one of the eyes without applying substantial pressure to the eyeball;

each of said eye electrodes including a resilient foam plastic pad having a radial cross section which is generally rectangular when not subjected to compressive forces, a pair of thin sheets of metallic foil secured to the parallel outer surfaces of said plastic pad, and electrically conductive means connected between said metallic foil sheets;

frame means secured to all of said electrodes for maintaining same in conductive engagement with the wearers head, said eye electrodes being operative to support the forward portion of said frame means;

and means for supplying electrical current bet-ween said eye electrodes and said posterior electrodes.

3. In a sleep inducing machine, the combination comprising:

a pair of posterior electrodes adapted to engage the head in the region of the ears;

a pair of resilient, essentially elliptically shaped eye electrodes, each having a central opening and being adapted to engage the wearers eyelid about the periphery of a respective one of the eyes without applying substantial pressure to the eyeball;

frame means secured to all of said electrodes for maintaining same in conductive engagement with the wearers head, said eye electrodes being operative to support the forward portion of said frame means;

and means for supplying electrical current between said eye electrodes and said posterior electrodes;

said frame means including a rigid metal electrode in the form of a sheet having two generally elliptically shaped portions and a bridge portion therebetween, said eye electrodes being secured to said elliptically shaped portions; a resilient electrical insulating pad disposed forwardly of said metal sheet and overlapping all the peripheral edges thereof; and a forward frame portion formed from a rigid metal sheet having two generally elliptically shaped portions which are larger than corresponding portions of said pad and from which said pad is supported.

7/1964 Smith et al. 128-410 X 6/1966 Wing 128410 X RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner. W. E. KAMM, Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4018218 *Mar 12, 1975Apr 19, 1977Carlson James EMethod and apparatus for sleep induction
US4261364 *Jan 26, 1979Apr 14, 1981Haddad Heskel MElectric warm compress for ophthalmic treatment
US4331163 *Aug 11, 1980May 25, 1982Haruo NomuraMedical treatment glasses
US4664117 *Oct 9, 1984May 12, 1987Beck Stephen CApparatus and method for generating phosphenes
US5109846 *Nov 5, 1990May 5, 1992Physiodynamics, Inc.Apparatus and method for electrotherapeutic treatment of structures associated with the eye
US5344440 *Nov 10, 1992Sep 6, 1994Stephen Richard LMethod and apparatus for stimulating growth and healing of living tissues
US5360438 *Jan 26, 1993Nov 1, 1994Fisher Mary RMethod and device for improving cranial nerve function to improve muscle function and thereby overcome visual/perceptual dysfunction
US5913883 *Aug 6, 1996Jun 22, 1999Alexander; DaneTherapeutic facial mask
US8771328Sep 5, 2012Jul 8, 2014La Lumiere LlcLight therapy platform system
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US20130144358 *Dec 2, 2011Jun 6, 2013Stephen DaroeDopamine Stimulation Device
USD766456 *Feb 2, 2015Sep 13, 2016MerchSource, LLCSound machine
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Classifications
U.S. Classification607/141, 600/27
International ClassificationA61N1/34, A61N1/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61N1/0472, A61N1/36021, A61N1/36046, A61N1/0408, A61N1/0476
European ClassificationA61N1/04E1, A61N1/04E2, A61N1/36E4