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Publication numberUS3613671 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 19, 1971
Filing dateAug 7, 1968
Priority dateAug 7, 1968
Publication numberUS 3613671 A, US 3613671A, US-A-3613671, US3613671 A, US3613671A
InventorsJohn H Poor, Charles H Logan
Original AssigneeJohn H Poor, Charles H Logan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable massaging pad for a seat
US 3613671 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors John 11. Poor 32582 Crete Drive, Laguna Niguel, Calif. 92677; Charles H. Logan, 4828 Tilden Ave., Sherman Oaks, Calif. 91403 [21] Appl. No. 750,987 [22] Filed Aug. 7,1968 [45] Patented Oct. 19, 1971 [54] INFLATABLE MASSAGING PAD FOR A SEAT 15 Claims, 17 Drawing Figs.

[52] 11.8. C1 128/24 R [51] Int. Cl A61h 1/00 [50] Field of Search... 128/24, 24.2, 33, 64

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,608,239 1 1/1926 Rosett 128/24 UX 1,795,893 3/1931 Rosett 128/24 2,533,504 12/1950 Poor 128/24 2,345,073 3/1944 Rosett 128/24 UX 3,446,203 5/1969 Murray... 128/33 X 3,446,204 5/1969 Murphy.. 128/33 3,483,862 12/1969 Takeucki 128/33 Primary Examiner-L. W. Trapp Attorney-Robert E. Geauque ABSTRACT: A seat pad having a fabric cover attached to a pad base and a plurality of inflatable cells spaced parallel within the cover. Each of the inflatable cells is closed at one end and connected at the other end to an air tube which communicates with a compressed air source and the atmosphere. A distributor is interconnected between the air tubes, and the compressed air source and atmosphere to sequentially distribute the compressed air to the air tubes to alternately distribute the compressed air to the air tubes to alternately inflate and deflate each of the cells, thereby producing a translational pressure wave along the seat. The distributor includes a plate member having a plurality of ports communicating with the air tubes, a portion of these ports being relatively larger than the remaining portion to produce a differential in the translational inflating time and a varying volume and pressure of inflation in the air tubes. A padded headrest is also provided with a plurality of inflatable air chambers which are sequentially inflated and deflated in the same manner to produce a massaging effect.

PATENTEnum 19 Ian SHEET 2 OF 3 INFLATABLE MASSAGING PAD FOR A SEAT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention relates to an inflatable seat pad and more particularly to means for producing a translational pressure wave through the seat pad for massaging parts of the human body for therapeutic relief.

The use of massage for its therapeutic effect is one of the oldest of prescribed treatments. Furthermore, medical research has proven that a rapid, directional massage, moving either toward or away from the heart, is the most effective method known to move body fluids. By incorporating this rapid directional stroking action in a seat pad, a person can remain in a sitting position for extended periods of time without discomfort or fatigue.

2. Description of the Prior Art Heretofore, prior seat pads or body supports have been produced with inflatable sections to provide added comfort to the seat occupant. Some of these prior body supports have ineluded means for producing a pulsating or intermittent surface pressure variation on the entire body support. A difficulty with these prior seat pads is that they do not produce a translational pressure wave movement for a massaging effect but merely produce a pulsating action on the entire pad, having little or no therapeutic effect.

One such device is exemplified in the US. Pat. No. 2,684,672 to Summerville. This patent discloses a seat pad having a plurality of adjacent rows of cells with each row being alternately inflated and deflated. The seat pad is also provided with a control mechanism for alternately expanding and contracting adjacent rows of cells and expanding one row of cells while contracting an adjacent row of cells. However, here again there is no translational pressure wave movement to move the body fluids but a series of alternately pulsating rows of cells, which do not produce a rapid directional massage as preferred.

Another inflatable back support for a seat is shown in the US. Pat. No. 3,326,601 to Vanderbilt et al. This device provides an inflatable support having spaced air chambers which may be inflated to provide additional support in the lumbar area of the occupant. Although these air chambers can be inflated and deflated manually by the use of valves, there are no means provided to carry out this operation automatically and continuously.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an inflatable massaging pad for a seat having a fabric cover attached to a pad base; the fabric cover attached to a pad base; the fabric cover includes a plurality of spaced parallel pockets for receiving a plurality of inflatable cells. Each of the cells is alternately inflated and deflated by means of a compressed air source which communicates with the cells via air tubes. A distributor is interconnected therebetween to sequentially distribute the compressed air to the air tubes to produce a translational pressure wave through the cells. In one form, the distributor further includes a plate member adapted to produce a differential in the translational inflation. A padded headrest is also provided with a plurality of air chambers to operate in the same manner.

Therefore, it is among the primary objects of the invention to provide an inflatable seat pad having means for producing a translational pressure wave for massaging parts of the human body for therapeutic relief.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved device which will produce a body massaging effect more nearly like that produced by hand massaging.

Another object is to provide an inflatable seat pad which will enhance the comfort, relaxation and eliminate fatigue for an individual who must remain in a comparatively unmoving position for long periods of time.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a seat pad which is adaptable for installation in an automobile or other various environments such as in the home or hospital.

Another object is to provide an inflatable headrest operating to produce a massaging effect.

Another object is to provide a distributor for producing a differential in the translational inflation.

Various other objects and advantages will appear from the following description of one embodiment of the invention, and the novel features will be particularly pointed out hereinafter in connection with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the novel inflatable massaging pad and headrest of the present invention, illustrated as being installed on a conventional vehicle seat;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the inflatable pad and headrest showing pressurized air supply and exhaust conduits;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the inflatable pad shown in FIG. 2 as taken in the direction of arrows 33 thereof;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentarv view of the seat portion of the inflatable pad shown in the direction of arrows 44 of FIG. 2 and illustrating portions thereof broken away to expose underlying components;

FIG. 5 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the seat portion in its deflated condition as taken in the direction of arrows 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the seat portion shown in FIG. 5 as taken in the direction of arrows 6-6 thereof;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to the view of FIG. 6 illustrating the seat portion in its inflated condition;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the seat portion as taken in the direction of arrows 88 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the fabric cover with the parallel spaced pockets;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the pad base for supporting the enclosed air chambers;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the distributor illustrating the various mating components thereof;

FIG. 12 is an elevational view of the rotor face;

FIG. 13 is an elevational view of the stator face; and

FIG. 14 a-f are diagrammatic views of the inflatable pad illustrating the sequence of inflation in accordance with the method of the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a side elevational view of a modified cell construction utilizing two separate tubes;

FIG. 16 is an end elevational view along line 16-16 of FIG. 15 showing the flexible coupling to the tubes.

FIG. 17 is a vertical section along line 17-17 of FIG. 15.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the illustrated embodiment, FIGS. 1 and 2 show the novel inflatable massaging pad 10 and headrest II in accordance with the present invention, illustrated as being installed on a vehicle seat 12. The seat I2 is of a conventional design having a bottom seat portion 13 and a back section 14. As shown, the back section 14 can be made to pivot about a connection 15, if desired. The seat pad 10 also is made in two sections, i.e. the bottom section 16 and the back section I7. As will be shown later, the two sections 16 and 17 are pivotally attached and the back section 17 is capable of pivoting in unison with the seat back section 14. The pad 10 is secured to the seat 12 by bands 18 which are attached beneath the seat 12. The headrest ll may be attached to the top of the seat back section 14 in any conventional manner.

The control mechanism, generally shown at 20, is conveniently located at the lower right front section of the pad I0. The control mechanism 20 includes an air control valve M for regulating the amount of air entering the inflatable seat pad 10; an on-off and reverse switch 22 for starting and stopping the operation of the device and controlling the translational direction of the pressure wave, described hereinafter; and an air distributor 23. Electrical wires 24 lead from the control mechanism 20 to the electrical source (not shown). The control mechanism 20 may also be built into the seat 12 with the control panel flush with the seat front.

Extending forward from beneath the seat 12 is a flat rigid housing 25 which enclosed a compressed air conduit 26 and an exhaust conduit 27. The air and exhaust conduits 26 and 27 are respectively connected to an air tube 28 and an exhaust tube 29 which leads into the distributor 23.

The headrest 11 also includes an air control knob 30 for regulating the amount of air entering the headrest; and an onoff and reverse switch 3] for controlling the operation of the headrest. A plurality of air tubes 32, shown in broken lines, lead to the distributor 23 for communication therewith.

In FIG. 3, the cross-sectional view of the pad 10 includes a base 33 having a bottom section 34 and a back section 35 pivotally connected thereto. A fabric cover 36 extends completely over the base 33 and is attached to the ends of the base 33 in a conventional manner. The fabric cover 36 is made of a plurality of spaced parallel pockets 37 each of which is adapted to receive an inflatable cell 38. Each of the inflatable cells 38 is inflatable and is made of rubber, plastic, or an analogous flexible material. Three of the cells 38 are shown in their inflated condition while the rest are shown in their deflated condition.

. The headrest 11 also includes a base portion 39 for supporting a pair of fabric pockets 40 each of which is adapted to receive an inflatable cell 41.

FIG. 4 shows an enlarged fragmentary view of the fabric cover 36 partially broken away to expose the underlying components. As shown, the cells 38 are spaced parallel and transversely along the base 33, with air slots 42 formed in the base 33 between the cells 38. Each cell 38 is closed at one end 38', while a port 43 is located at the other end to receive an air tube 44. Each of the air tubes 44 extends outwardly from a cell 38, into a channel 45 formed by the base 33. The air tube 44 then forms a right angle and extends forwardly along its respective channel 45.

FIG. more clearly shows the air tubes 44 being press fitted into the channels 45 formed in the base 33. The cell 38 is shown as an elongated tube folded at its midportion where the port 43 is located, and joined at its closed end in a bonded union. If preferred, the cell can consist of a pair of stacked tubes with twin ports located at their ends.

FIG. 6 shows the cell 38 positioned in flat layers while in its deflated position.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show the cell 38 in its inflated position and more clearly shows an external layer 46 located at the top and bottom portion of the cell 38 and integrally connected thereto. This layer 46 is semirigid and flat to afford a more comfortable seating platform while permitting the cell 38 to be more stable.

FIG. 9 shows the fabric cover 36 with the pockets 37 formed therein. The cover 36 also includes a plurality of flaps 47 which are folded over the base 33 and secured thereto when the cover 36 is superimposed over the base 33.

FIG. shows the base 33 with the air slots 42 formed thereon to permit adequate ventilation through the entire pad. The channels 45, not shown, are located in the conduit 48 formed on the right side of the base 33. Apertures 49 are provided to allow the air tubes 44 to connect with the chambers 38. As previously described, the two sections of the base 33 are pivotally connected to permit the back section to turn in either direction to allow the car seat to be tilted forward for egress from the back seat of the car, or to be lowered backward to a reclining position.

FIG. 11 shows the distributor 23 used to allocate the compressed air to the air tubes 32. A similar distributor is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,741,265 by Poor. The distributor 23 generally comprises a pair of cooperatively associated plate members, rotor 49 and stator 50, with an index plate 51 located therebetween. The plate members 49 and 50 are supported in cooperative relationship for relative rotative movement with their confronting faces in intimate contact with the faces of the index plate.

The rotor 49 has an opening 49a surrounded by a boss 49b to receive bearing 490 on shaft 49d. The shaft also projects through stator 50 and is secured at opening 49e. A spring 49f biases the stator against the rotor which is restrained by shaft head 49g. The stator 50 is provided with a plurality of passages 52 opening into its confronting face and are adapted to re gister with a plurality ofports 53 located on the index plate 51. The opposite side of the stator 50 is connected to a quickdisconnect housing 54 which also has a plurality of ports 55 registering with the passages 52. A tube housing 56 is connected to the other side of the housing 54. The passages 52 are in communication with connecting nipples, now shown, located within the stator housing, which project from the 0pposite side of the stator 50 and provide connecting means for the air tubes 32, respectively. The air tubes 32, not shown, extend through the ports 55 of the housing 54, around the tube housing 56, and to the channels 45 for connection with the cells 38.

As shown in FIG. 12, the rotor 49 has its confronting face provided with an arcuate feed chamber 57 surrounding the rotor axis and so positioned as to be in continuous communication with a port opening 58 in the confronting face of the stator 50. The opening 58 connects with a passage 59, see FIG. 13, which externally connects with a nipple 60 at one side of the stator 50, this nipple 60 providing connecting means to the compressed air conduit 26. A slot 61 communicates with a plurality of port openings 62 which extend through the rotor 49 and connect the slot with atmosphere.

With the foregoing arrangement, rotation of rotor 49 will successively move the feed chamber 57 and slot 61 over the passages 52; fluid pressure being supplied to the passages 52 which are in communication with the feed chamber 57. Those passages 52 which are in communication with slot 61 are vented to atmosphere.

It will be observed that the length of the slot 61 is such as to be capable of simultaneous communication with a plurality of passages 52 and, in the arrangement illustrated, the slot 61 is of sufficient length to extend over all of the passages 52 simultaneously. The width of the feed chamber 57, on the other hand, is such as to extend over several of the passages 52 at the same time, and has been shown in the present instance as being of sufficient width to simultaneously encompass three of the passages 52.

The operation of the device is shown in conjunction with FIGS. 14 a-f. Assuming that during the operation of the device, the feed chamber 57 is positioned in the large interval between the endmost passages 52, it will be apparent that as the feed chamber 57 is moved from this interval, the first passage 52 will be connected to the fluid pressure supply, and the first cell 38 will be inflated as shown in Flg. 14 a.

As relative rotation is continued between the plate members 49 and 50, passages 52 will be successively connected with the feed chamber 57 in the direction of rotation and successively disconnected in the opposite direction, but at least one passage 52 will remain connected so as to maintain one of the seat pad sections connected to the group of passages which are in communication with the feed chamber 57. Thus, one pad section will at all times be inflated so as to apply a holding pressure therein. This holding pressure is constantly maintained, but is translated or advanced longitudinally along the pad sections, similarly, as the passages are connected at one end of the feed chamber 57 and disconnected at the opposite end of slot 61. Thus as the translational wave continues, three cells will successively be inflated, as shown in FIGS. 14a to 1' although the wave will only travel in one section intervals, all of which are now shown. This continues until the feed chamber 57 starts moving into the space interval, at which time the last passages 52 will be successively disconnected from communication with the feed chamber 57. Consequently, movement of the feed chamber 57 over the space interval will form a dwell period, during which there will be no fluid pressure supplied to the pad cells. At the end of the dwell period, the cycle will again be repeated. The passages 52, which are not in communication with the feed chamber 57, will be in communication with slot 61, and thus vented to the atmosphere.

Finally, it is noted that three of the ports 62 of the index plate 51 are larger than the rest of the ports 53. When the feed chamber 57 is in communication with the ports 62, more fluid is permitted to enter the air tubes 32 and their respective cells 38, thus permitting those cells to inflate for a longer period of time to receive more air. Such an action produces a differential in the translation volume and pressure of the tubes. The index plate 51 is relatively rotatable with respect to the plate member 50 and may be positioned to register the ports 62 with any of the passages 52. if this feature is not desired, the index plate 51 can be rotated so that the ports 62 are registered with the space interval between the passages 52.

In another embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. l5, l6 and 17, a pair of tubes 70 and 71 are placed one above the other in each pocket 37 (not shown) and each tube has an opening at one end and is sealed at the other end. The opening for each tube is connected to one of the passages 44 by a branch of a flexible coupling 69 so that both tubes 70 and 7l are inflated and deflated at the same time. The overlying of the tubes provides for a rapid use of each pocket during inflation of the tubes. The number and size of the overlapping tubes can be varied to produce the desired inflation action.

We claim:

1. An inflatable pad for a seat comprising:

a plurality of elongated inflatable cells spaced parallel in a transverse direction along the base and back section of the seat, each of said cells being inflated independently from each other cell;

means for sequentially inflating and deflating said inflatable cells to produce a translational movement of pressure in the cells in the longitudinal direction of the seat;

a tube communicating with the interior of each of said cells;

distributing means connected to each of said tubes, said distributing means adapted to communicate with a source of fluid pressure and the atmosphere;

a stator having a face and a plurality of ports extending through said face, said stator ports communicating with said tubes;

a rotor having a face contiguous to said stator face and a feed chamber extending through said rotor face and communicating with said pressure source, said feed chamber adapted to register with each of the stator ports as said rotor rotates;

said rotor further includes ports extending through said rotor face and being vented to the atmosphere;

said rotor ports adapted to register with each of said stator ports as said rotor rotates;

said distributing means further includes an indexing plate having one side confronting said stator face and the other side confronting said rotor face;

said indexing plate further including a plurality of ports,

each of said ports registering with a stator port; and

at least one of said indexing ports being larger than the remaining indexing ports to permit a larger amount of fluid volume to enter the registering stator port.

2. An inflatable pad for a seat comprising:

a plurality of elongated inflatable cells spaced parallel in a transverse direction along the base and back section of the seat, each of said cells being inflated independently from each other cell;

means for sequentially inflating and deflating said inflatable cells to produce a translational movement of pressure in the cells in the longitudinal direction of the seat;

a tube communicating with the interior of each of said cells;

distributing means connected to each of said tubes, said distributing means adapted to communicate with a source of fluid pressure and the atmosphere;

a stator having a face and a plurality of ports extending through said face, said stator ports communicating with said tubes;

a rotor having a face contiguous to said stator face and a feed chamber extending through said rotor face and communicating with said pressure source, said feed chamber adapted to register with each of the stator ports as said rotor rotates;

said rotor further includes ports extending through said rotor face and being vented to the atmosphere;

said rotor ports adapted to register with each of said stator ports as said rotor rotates;

including a headrest located atop the back section of the seat, said headrest comprising:

at least two inflatable cells spaced parallel in a longitudinal direction along said headrest; and

a tube communicating with the interior of each of said cells, said tubes being connected to said distributing means for sequential distribution of fluid pressure to said headrest cells.

3. An inflatable pad for a seat comprising:

a plurality of elongated inflatable cells spaced parallel in a transverse direction along the base and back section of the seat, each of said cells being inflated independently from each other cell;

means for sequentially inflating and deflating said inflatable cells to produce a translational movement of pressure in the cells in the longitudinal direction of the seat;

a tube communicating with the interior of each of said cells;

distributing means connected to each of said tubes, said distributing means adapted to communicate with a source of fluid pressure and the atmosphere; and

said pad further includes a fabric cover having a plurality of pockets for receiving said inflatable cells; and

said pad further includes a base having a bottom section and a back section pivotally connected to said bottom section, said fabric cover extending over said base sections.

4. The invention in accordance with claim 3 wherein said base includes a conduit for housing said tubes.

5. An inflatable pad for a seat comprising:

a plurality of inflatable cells spaced parallel in a transverse direction along the base and back section of the seat;

means for sequentially inflating and deflating said inflatable cells to produce a translational movement of pressure in the cells in the longitudinal direction of the seat;

a tube communicating with the interior of each of said cells;

distributing means connected to each of said tubes, said distributing means adapted to communicate with a source of fluid pressure and the atmosphere; and

each of said cells comprises an elongated tube folded at its midpoint in an overlapping position within said pocket.

6. The invention in accordance with claim 5 wherein each 7. A massaging pad for imparting therapeutic relief to a person supported thereon in a sedentary position comprising:

a base having a bottom section and a back section pivotally connected to said bottom section;

a fabric cover having a plurality of elongated parallel pockets adapted to be retained on said base so as to cover said bottom and said back sections;

a plurality of elongated inflatable cells insertably disposed in said pockets extending transversely across said base; and

means operably coupled to each of said cells for sequentially inflating and deflating said cells in accordance with a predetermined sequence so as to produce a translational movement of pressure in said cells in the longitudinal direction.

8. The invention as defined in claim 7 including:

a source of fluid pressure; and

distribution means interconnecting said cells with said source of fluid pressure adapted to program said respective pocket.

10. The invention as defined in claim 9 wherein said fabric cover includes a top and bottom layer of material secured together at predetermined locations in spaced-apart relationship across the width thereof so as to define each of said plurality of pockets between adjacent material securements.

11. The invention as defined in claim 7 wherein each of said pockets contains a plurality of overlying tubes each separately connected to said last-mentioned means for inflation and deflation together.

12. An inflatable pad for a seat to make more comfortable the body of a human being especially during an extended sitting period of time, said pad comprising:

a plurality of elongated inflatable cells spaced parallel in a transverse direction along the base and back section of the seat, each of said cells being inflated independently from each other cell, each of said cells being substantially lineal in configuration, said body effecting compressing of said cells against said seat, and

means for sequentially inflating and deflating said inflatable cells to produce a translational movement of pressure in the cells in the longitudinal direction of the seat, whereby the blood flow within a human being is assisted to avoid discomfort of the human being,

said means including means for effecting a holding action of at least one of said cells and simultaneously deflating one of said cells and inflating one of said cells, said holding cell being located between said inflating cell and said deflating cell.

13. An inflatable pad as defined within claim 12 wherein:

a plurality of said cells being held at the same time.

14. An inflatable pad comprising:

a plurality of elongated inflatable cells spaced parallel in a transverse direction, each of said cells being inflated independently from each other cell;

means for sequentially inflating and deflating said inflatable cells to produce a translational movement of pressure in the cells in the longitudinal direction;

a tube communicating with the interior of each of said cells;

distributing means connected to each of said tubes, said distributing means adapted to communicate with a source of fluid pressure and the atmosphere;

a stator having a face and a plurality of ports extending through said face, said stator ports communicating with said tubes;

a rotor having a face contiguous to said stator face and a feed chamber extending through said rotor face and communicating with said pressure source, said feed chamber adapted to register with each of the stator ports as said rotor rotates;

said rotor further includes ports extending through said rotor face and being vented to the atmosphere;

said rotor ports adapted to register with each of said stator ports as said rotor rotates;

said distributing means includes an indexing plate having one side confronting said stator face and the other side confronting said rotor face;

said indexing plate further including a plurality of ports,

each of said ports registering with a stator port; and

at least one pair of said indexing ports being varied in size to permit a varied amount of fluid volume to enter the registering stator port.

15. A massaging pad for imparting therapeutic relief to a person supported thereon in a sedentary position comprising:

a fabric cover having a plurality of elongated parallel pockets adapted to be retained on said base so as to cover said bottom and said back sections; a plurality of elongated inflatable cells insertably disposed in said pockets extending transversely across said base;

means operably coupled to each of said cells for sequentially inflating and deflating said cells in accordance with a predetermined sequence so as to produce a translational movement of pressure in said cells in the longitudinal direction; and

each of said pockets containing a plurality of said cells, said cells lying one over the other and extending substantially in the same lineal direction, thereby obtaining maximum outward movement of said cells for a given volume of air.

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification601/149
International ClassificationA61H23/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61H2205/02, A61H2201/1623, A61H2201/0157, A61H2201/5053, B60N2/448, B60N2/4415, A61H9/0078, A61H2201/0134, A61H2201/0149, A61H2205/086, A61H2201/1628, A61H2201/1604, A61H2205/081
European ClassificationA61H9/00P6