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Publication numberUS3790150 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 5, 1974
Filing dateSep 25, 1970
Priority dateOct 4, 1969
Also published asCA961827A1, DE2048593A1, DE2048593C2, US4033567, US4283864
Publication numberUS 3790150 A, US 3790150A, US-A-3790150, US3790150 A, US3790150A
InventorsD Lippert
Original AssigneeDeres Dev Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mechanical support system
US 3790150 A
Images(7)
Previous page
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

0 United States Paieni I 1 1 3,790,150

Lippert V 1 Feb. 5, 1974 [54] MECHANICAL SUPPORT SYSTEM 3,332,719 7/1967 Flint 267/103 Donald nest 3,529,866 9/1970 Getz 297/452 Maine FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Assignee: De -es Development Corporation, France Greenwich, Conn. [22] Filed: Sept. 25, 1970 Primary Examiner-James B. Marbert Attorney-Edward Halle [21] Appl. No.: 75,373 [30] Foreign Applicziiion Priority Data 57] ABSTRACT Oct. 4, 1969 Great Britain ..48860/69 52 U.S. Cl. 267/151, 267/80J5/351, A non-liquid mechanical Support System having a 297/451 placeable support surface, comprising displaceable 51 Int. Cl. A47c 25/02 Support means, Simulate a liquid Support System [581 Field of Search 267/102, 103, 80, (Such as a Water container) and have Similar P ties of 1oad displacement featuring a tree-like arrangement of branched levers forming a plurality of displaceable 1oad support points.

58 Claims, 25 Drawing Figures PATENTEB FEB 5 4 SHEEI 1 6F 7 v PATENTED FEB 51974 SHEET 8 OF 7 MECHANICAL SUPPORT SYSTEM This invention relates to a mechanical support system which will provide low pressures on body prominences comparable to those realized in fluid flotation systems wherein a body is floated on a fluid such as water. The invention provides such a system in which the flotation pressures for the body are provided by mechanical means rather than by fluid means.

While the apparent advantages of such a mechanical system as set forth in the invention have been devised for beds, the principles of the system may be applied without limitation to any situation where it is desired to exert balanced or proportioned pressures against a body by the system or to balance or proportion a force from a body against the system. Thus, the system of the invention can be used not only in beds, but on any weight load supporting area or load counter-pressure area. The system may be used in shoes, automobile tires, platforms of various types, chairs and couches, and in other constructions generally.

In order to illustrate a preferred mode of the use of the invention, an embodiment of the invention in the form of a mattress for a bed will be described, it being understood, however, that the construction and practice of the invention is not limited to beds but may be general as set forth hereinabove.

The mattress to be described herein is of a special type for a hospital bed to be used for bedridden patients who would ordinarily become oversensitive to pressures against their skin and bodies from prolonged bed confinement. Existing hospital mattresses that have been effective for such patients, and especially in preventing or curing decubitus ulcers, involve the use of a fluid which must be confined, sealed, filled, drained, pumped, warmed and kept sterile. The necessary equipment and labor to set up and take down such beds adds considerable cost to the initial investment for such an expensive system.

It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a non-liquid suspension system to simulate the low pressures of a fluid displacement suspension while eliminating the need for liquids or fluids.

It is a further object of this invention to providea mechanical flotation system which is self contained within its frame or body portion, and requires no support equipment (other than the bedstead on which it is placed) requiring set-up time or the application of electrical or heat energy.

It is a further object of this invention to provide such a mechanical flotation. system with the quality of desired stiffness and viscosity, and it is also an object of this invention to provide such a system which may have a supporting surface or covering provided to support the weight of a body in a manner comparable to the flexible cover or surface of a true fluid suspension system.

I achieve the objects and advantages of the invention with the system illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of-the invention with parts cut away and a portion in enlarged exploded perspective;

FIG. 2 is a top plan diagrammatic view of the invention with the lower portion of the view cut away;

FIG. 3 is a top plan diagrammatic enlarged detail of the upper left hand portion of FIG. 2 of the drawings;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view along the lines 4-4 in FIG. 1 with parts cut away, showing a load (not shown in FIG. 1) imposed on the invention;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation, greatly enlarged, of the portion of the invention represented in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is an end elevation, greatly enlarged, of the portion of the invention represented in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a perspective detail of the invention, greatly enlarged, with part in section;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a cover of the invention with parts cut away;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view along the lines 9-9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view along the lines 10-10 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view, somewhat enlarged, similar to FIG. 9 showing another form of cover for the invention;

FIG. 12 is another sectional view similar to FIG. 11 showing another form of covering arrangement for the invention;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view, greatly enlarged, of a form of displaceable load support means of the invention;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view, greatly enlarged, of another form of displaceable load support means of the invention;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view, greatly enlarged, of another form of displaceable load support means of the invention;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another form of the invention;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of another form of the invention;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view, greatly enlarged, of a detail of FIG. 17;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view, greatly enlarged, of a detail of FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 is a side elevation, diagram form, of another form of the invention;

FIG. 21 is a side elevation, partly in section, with parts cut away, of the form of invention shown in FIG. 20;

FIG. 22 is an enlarged perspective detail of the form of invention shown in FIG. 211;

FIG. 23 is a cross sectional view of another form of the invention;

FIG. 24 is an elevation, partly in section, of another form of the invention; and

FIG. 25 is an elevation, partly in section, of another form of the invention.

, Similar numerals refer to similar parts throughout the several views.

My mechanical support system 20 comprises a main,

frame in the form of a tree-like structure 22 having a base or trunk means 24 and a plurality of displaceable load support means 26. The displaceable load support means 26 are carried by branches in the main frame 22 which form levers. In a preferred form of the invention, there are branchings forming branched levers designated by reference letters A through K inclusive. The branched levers A through K on each respective level are substantially identical except for relative facing with respect to the trunk 24. This will be apparent from a study of the drawings and the description to follow. Thus, unless otherwise stated, reference to a branched lever and its components on any level will apply equally to any branched lever on the same level. The lowermost branched lever K comprises two branches 28 and 30. These branches have common inner ends at reference numeral 32. They also have divergent outer ends at reference numerals 34 and 36. The branches 28 and 30 are arranged in branched lever K to form a fulcrum area at the common inner ends 32. The common inner ends 32 are provided with a torsion bushing shaft 38 which is rigidly fixed by welding, bonding or other means. Shaft 38 cooperates with torsion bushing means 40 to connect branched lever K to the trunk 24 at the common inner end fulcrum area 32.

The torsion bushing means 40 is best illustrated in FIG. 7 of the drawings, and it is to be understood that throughout the drawings reference numeral 40 represents a torsion bushing connection means such as the connection between trunk 24 and branched lever K, or at the connection between levers K and J, between levers J and I, between levers I and H, between levers H and G, and between lever G and bracket 90 connecting to branched lever F. Thus, wherever placed in the drawings, the reference numeral 40 indicates that within the trunk or branch portion referred to, there is a similar bushing such as torsion bushing 40.

Referring now to FIG. 7 of the drawings, there can be seen a torsion shaft 38 connected to branch G and a torsion bushing 40 in an end of branch H. There is a bearing 42 to accomodate the journal-like end 44 of shaft 38 and a bushing 46 bonded to the branch inner wall 48 and also bonded to the surface of torsion shaft 38. The material of bushing 46 may be of a high ratio strength to modulus such as urethane or a material with similar properties. Thus, the bushing 46 which is bonded'to an inner surface of either the trunk 24 or of any of the branches in which it may be installed, as well as to its corresponding bushing shaft 38, will provide yieldable resistance to the rotation of shaft 38 to build up torque when a load is placed on either or both of ends 34 and 36. This provides a springiness to the branched levers, the importance of which will become apparent.

Thus, starting with trunk 24, a connection is made by means of a shaft 38 and bushing 40 to the fulcrum area 32 of branched lever K. Branched lever K is in turn connected at ends 34 and 36 respectively to fulcrum areas 49 of branched levers J, each of which has a branch 50 and a branch 52. Branched levers J are in turn connected at ends 54 and 56 respectively to fulcrum areas 58 of branched levers I, each of which has a branch 60 and a branch 62. Branched levers I are in turn connected at ends 64 and 66 respectively to fulcrum areas 68 of branched levers H, each of which has a branch 70 and a branch 72. Branched levers H are in turn connected at ends 74 and 76 respectively to fulcrum areas 78 of branched levers G, each of which has a branch 80 and a branch 82. Branched levers G are in turn connected at ends 84 and 88 respectively to brackets 90 positioned at fulcrum areas 92 of branched levers F, each of which has a branch 94 and a branch 96. Each of the connections of the ends of branched levers G through K as described hereinabove to the fulcrum area of the next succeeding branch is by means of a torsion shaft 38 cooperating with a torsion bushing 40 as indicated in FIGS. 2 and 7 of the drawings.

Branched levers A to F have a somewhat different construction. Branched levers F are in turn connected at ends 98 and 100 respectively to fulcrum areas 102 of branched levers E, each of which has a branch 104 and a branch 106. Branched levers E are in turn connected at ends 108 and 110 respectively to fulcrum areas 112 of branched levers D, each of which has a branch 114 and a branch 116. Branched levers D are in turn connected at ends 118 and 120 respectively to fulcrum areas 122 of branched levers C, each of which has a branch 124 and a branch 126. Branched levers C are in turn connected at ends 128 and 130 respectively to fulcrum areas 132 of branched levers B, each of which has a branch 134 and a branch 136. Branched levers B are in turn connected at ends 138 and 140 respectively to fulcrum areas 142 of branched levers A, each of which has a branch 144 and a branch 146. The outermost ends 148 and 150 of branched levers A support the displaceable load support means 26 which have outer tips 152 on which or through which the load such as a body 25 is to be supported. The load, instead of being a body such as body 25, could also be termed an area such as a surface 200 which supports a device incorporating the invention such as a tire, or wheel, 202, or a body such as an object, reference numeral 204, which is supported within a frame or container 206 made in accordance with the invention.

The lower branch lever means G through J inclusive and the lowermost branch K, as well as the trunk 24, are made of metal such as steel or aluminum, preferably with a dip coating of plastisol or similar type coating, and the upper construction comprising branches A through F inclusive are made of a relatively more springy material such as urethane. The aluminum as well as the urethane have the qualities of springiness. The aluminum, of course, has a markedly lower degree of displaceable springiness than the urethane; however, this is enhanced by the bushings 40. Nevertheless, the lower branches G to K will be stiffer than the upper branches A to F. Thus, a branch system is provided in which the upper branches have relatively greater springiness than the lower branches. This is desirable because the lower branches support a greater load area and should act as a stiff or firm foundation for the upper branches, and the upper branches have a relatively great displaceability, especially at the outer ends where the displaceable load support means 26 are attached.

Instead of using steel for the lower branched levers, I may use a reinforced glass fiber such as polypropylene or other relatively stiff material, and of course, instead of using urethane for the upper construction, one may use any other springy material, whether metal, plastic or in other form.

Reference to FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings will show dotted lines 156 and 156a which are representative of the imaginary contours or contour lines joining the tips 152 of the displaceable load support means 26. Tips 152 and their contours 156 lie within a plane when the mattress 20 is in unstressed or normal condition. Any pressure or load placed on any one or more of the tips 152 will, because of the springiness of the construction, cause such tips 152 to be displaced with relation to the normal contours 156.

It will be noted by referring to FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings that the branched levers are arranged in what may be called a geometrically unbalanced system. In other words, some of the lever arms are longer than their opposite numbers. For example, in branched lever E, it will be noted that branch 106 is longer than branch 104. In the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated, the system is purposely made geometrically unbalanced because if the branched levers'are joined to the next lower branched levers at their exact center forming branches of equal length on each side of a fulcrum area, a variation of an estimated plus or minus 14 percent in stiffness will result if a single point load is applied to any one of the various tips 152 of the displaceable load support means 26.

This variation results from unequal mechanical advantage effects when loads are placed on different ends of a lever because as the system progresses downwardly, the relationship of a lever to the third lever below it, insofar as its ends are concerned, will show that one end is much closer than the other end. For example, if we select lever B, its end 140 is closer to lever E than its end 138 resulting in a different mechanical advantage with respect to the mentioned levers when a single load is placed on either end of branched lever B. Because the force deflection rate at any one displaceable load support means 26 is the summation of the force deflection rate of every supporting branched lever below it in the tree, I have determined that an estimated lever ratio of approximately 56.5 to 43.5 percent gives an essentially uniform force deflection rate throughout the system while at the same time rendering the system geometrically unbalanced. I may refer to this arrangement as a geometrically unbalanced system.

Each lever A to K is also a torsional pivot. The torque it will feel varies with the position of the applied load. The force deflection for each branched lever in the system will vary depending on where the load is applied. By unbalancing each branched lever in the appropriate direction as aforesaid, it is possible to compensate for these variations so that the aggregate force deflection properties of all the levers will be substantially uniform everywhere and anywhere in the system.

In the embodiment of the device as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings, 1 show the desirable unbalanced condition of the device. The upper branched levers A through F, which may be referred to as a first lever-type arrangement, are comprised of levers which operate principally through the springiness of the material of their composition. They are made of a material such as urethane which has a high strength to modulus ratio which makes it possible to achieve the force deflection designed for a device such as the mattress illustrated without the material of the branches being overstressed. This supplies the desired springy type of material which is strong enough so that its branches can hold up the next succeeding branch and the load for which the device is designed and yet have the necessary springiness so that the material itself is twistable to provide the torsional deflection necessary at the branch ends at the fulcrum areas for the levers in the system to operate. 1 1

Urethane has been selected as a preferred example because it is a material which has these qualities. However, any othermaterial having similar qualities may be employed for the types of levers thus described.

I could continue with the same type of material for the lower branched levers G through 1 and even for the lowest levers K. However, because of mold size and the resulting great length of these levers when compared to the lengths of the upper levers, I found it more desirable to provide for a different type of springy arrangement in the lower branches G through K, which may be referred to as a second lever-type arrangement. In addition to the size factor, the cost factor is also important since the amount of urethane that would be necessary for such lower branches would be much more expensive than the construction made of tubing and torsional bushings described above.

The tube branches G to K have the quality of springiness necessary for incorporation into the unbalanced system. The geometrical unbalance is provided in each of the tubed branched levers, where necessary, by making one of the branches longer than the other. In the preferred form of the invention, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the unbalance of the system as described above is provided by making the upper branches A through F of a particular length and cross section, and the lower branches G to K of a particular length in accordance with the following tables.

In the following tables, all of the measurements are given with the inch as the unit of measurement. In

' Table I, the upper branched levers A to F are shown,

being made of a material such as polyurethane or the equivalent, with branch ends being connected to the next succeeding fulcrum area directly. Table II shows the branched levers in the lower portion of the invention, G through K, which may be made of steel or aluminum, and which are connected toeach other by means of torsion bushings 40 and bushing shafts 38.

TABLE I First Lever-Type Arrangement In Table II, the measurements will show the length of the branches for each lever and the measurements of the torsion bushing 40 located in the branch end of the particular branch concerned.

TABLE II Second Lever-Type Arrangement torsion bushing dimensions inside outside lever branch length diameter diameter length G 4.140 .312 .526 .25 G 82 5.360 .312 .526 .25 1-1 70 4.140 .625 1.044 .25 H 72 5.360 .625 1.044 .25 l 60 8.26 .625 1.044 .50 l 62 10.73 .625 1.044 .50 J 50 10.12 1.25 2.41 .50 J 52 10.12 1.25 2.41 .50 K 28 19.00 1.25 2.41 1.00 K 30 19.00 1.25 2.41 1.00 Bushing 40 for trunk 24 1.25 2.41 2.00

It will be noted that the branches 50, 52, 28 and 30 of branched levers .l and K respectively are of equal length so asto divide the bed symmetrically. Reference is now made to FIG. 2 which is divided into eight areas by means of the dotted lines. These have been designated as areas 158, 160, 162, 164, 166, 168, and 172. It will be noted that the two halves of the bed defined by areas 158 through 164 respectively and areas 166 through 172 respectively are thus symmetrical and in mirror relationship to each other. Also, the quarters of the bed designated by areas 158, 162 and 160, 164 as well as their counterparts 166, 170 and 168, 172 are also symmetrical and in mirror relationship to each other.

As the portions formed by groupings of branched levers and branches become more remote from the trunk 24, the geometrical unbalance above referred to becomes apparent. The relationship of short to long branches in each branched lever is in accordance with the tables given above, and inspection of FIGS. 2 and 3 will show that the total balance of the system is maintained in this fashion so that a grouping of all of the levers completely within a given area will be in mirror relationship to adjacent groupings (with the exception of the positions of the fulcrum areas in some instances in order to maintain the desired geometrical unbalance).

It will now be appreciated that the invention requires a springy frame or body portion 22 and optimum results are obtained when the frame 22 comprises branched levers in unbalanced condition.

The term displaceable load support means as used to define element 26 is used to mean a displaceable element in the construction which will be displaced when a load such as load 25 (representing a body) is placed upon it, for example, in the use of a mattress 20. The term also includes the definition of displaceability when a device incorporating the invention is itself placed or pressed against a mass outside of the outer contours of the invention which would cause displacement.

For example, the invention could be incorporated into a wheel, as will be described hereinbelow, in which the load to be supported actually presses the wheel against a surface, and the displaceable load support means are displaced with relation to the surface over which the wheel rides rather than with relation to the load supported by the wheel. It is to be understood that the term load" as used herein and in the claims appended hereto refers to any force which causes displacement of a displaceable load support means of the invention.

In the preferred embodiment, the mattress 20, the amount of displacement of the displaceable load support means 26 is relatively great, and it is desirable to limit this displacement when placing or removing a patient on or from such a mattress in order to avoid a fall and injury. I have, therefore, provided stop means to inhibit the displacement. These inhibition means 180 are comprised in a movable sub-frame means 182. The sub-frame means 182 has a central opening 184 adapted to fit around the trunk 24 and the lowermost branches K. These branches are relatively stiff and do not require inhibition. The sub-frame 182 is provided with operating means 186 so that the sub-frame 182 may be selectively positioned upwardly and downwardly. When the sub-frame 182 is in an upward position, it presses against the branch levers of the device and inhibits the resiliency due to their springiness. The inhibiting feature is removed when the sub-frame 182 is lowered away from physical contact with the branched levers.

It is desirable to provide a framework 188 comprising a floor 190, sides 192 and end braces 194 as a base frame for the tree system 20. This is illustrated in FIG.

4 of the preferred embodiment of the invention. However, any supporting frame suitable to support the tree system may be employed. The tree system 20 may be placed directly on a floor or other support. However, in the preferred embodiment, it is made as shown in FIG. 1.

The operating means 186 for the sub-frame 182 is shown as a rod and pulley system connected to four spool means 189 attached to cables 191 which in turn are attached to the sub-frame 182 in order to lift and lower the sub-frame by means of crank handle 193.

It is desirable to have a cushioning layer such as a layer of foam 195 over the sub-frame 182. This provides a better dampening effect and also protects the branched levers from injury when inhibited.

The preferred form of the invention is finished with covering means for the displaceable load support means 26. The covering means 196 comprises a layer 198 of thin material, preferably sheet urethane 0.002 inch thick. The sheet 198 is fastened to the tips 152 of the displaceable load support means 26 at junction points 208. The pitch or distance between junction points 208 on the sheet is larger than the pitch or distance between tips 152. As a result, the cross sectional area of the material of sheet 198 between three or more tips 152 is greater than the cross sectional area between such tips. This makes provision for an excess of sheet material so that the sheet 198 will not lie taut or flat on the tips 152. In the specific example shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 of the drawings, any selected area between four tips 152 will have a central portion 212 in the form of a curve or bight. Thus, provision is made for the material of the sheet 198 to move with the tips 152 as they are being displaced in the operation of the invention and leave sufficient play in the material so that the tips 152 can move without undue stretch resistance from the material.

Interstice means 214 in the form of cutouts are provided within the areas of sheet 198 between attached tips 152. This permits greater displacement of the tips 152 without inhibition from the sheet 198. In the preferred form, the interstices 214 are arranged to provide lines of material running directly from tip 152 to tip 152. These lines comprise lines 216 which run along the pitch lines between the tips 152 and form a grid as well as lines 218 which run diagonally between tips 152 and junction points 208.

The purpose of the covering means 196 is to distribute the supporting force of the tips 152 uniformly over the maximum possible area.

In another form of the invention, the sheet 198 may be replaced with a series of lines of material formed as lines 216 and 218, or it might be replaced with a very stretchy sheet.

Sheet 198 is flexibly connected at its edges 220 to the frame members 192.

The covering means 196 may also comprise an oversheet 222 which is preferably made of a fine pore size polyurethane foam about one-quarter inch thick. The oversheet 222 fits right over the sheet 198 and also may be made of thread which is elastic and springy and serves as a removable cover for the entire mattress 20. Oversheet 222 may also be flexibly fastened, at sides 224, if desired, to frame members 192.

It is desirable to provide for oversheet 222, and in some instances sheet 198, to be removable for laundering. Oversheet 222 is merely removed by unfastening the sides 224 and removing the sheet. Where sheet 198 needs to be removed, it is fastened to tips 152 by means of any suitable fastening device such as male and female snap fasteners illustrated in FIG. 10 at reference numeral 226. Thus, to remove the sheet 190, the sides 220 are unfastened and the snap fasteners 226 are unfastened and the sheet may be removed. In the preferred application, this would be a time consuming job. It may be easier to bond the sheet 198 to the tips 152 at junction points 208 and then remove the whole tree assembly for cleaning when necessary, or clean it in position.

In another form of the invention as illustrated in FIG. 12, I may provide a plurality of blocks 220 made of a springy material such as one-half inch thickness of fine pore polyurethane foam. The blocks 226 would be placed over an area between tips 152. The blocks would be fastened to sheet 198 by means of any suitable adhesive and a cover sheet 230 would be provided as a top sheet for the arrangement as shown in FIG. 12. The cover sheet 230 would preferably be of woven urethane.

In another form of the invention as illustrated in FIG. 13, I may provide circular flanges 232, or as illustrated in FIG. lmrectangular or square flanges 234 on the tips 152. These flanges would in turn be covered by a sheet such as sheet 222 which would be removable for laundering. The sheet 222 could be of fine pore polyurethane as defined above, or could be substituted by other sheets made of any other suitable material; for example, any material such as a woven material, plastic material or any sheet material which is easily removable and launderable and cleanable.

In another form of the invention as illustrated in FIG. 15, the tips 152 may be provided with springy blocks such as blocks 236. The springy blocks 236 would then be covered either with one or'more covers such as cover 222 or a thin covering such as cover 230 or a combination of two or more of such covers.

In FIG. 16 there is a representation of a plurality of branched systems 240 made in accordance with the invention, each mounted by means of a separate trunk such as trunks 242, 244- and 246 on an articulated platform 248. The platform 240 is preferably hinged at 250 and 252 so that its portions may be moved relative to each other in a manner similar to the frame for the usual hospital bed mattress. For example, platform portion 254 would normally be beneath the trunk and shoulders of the patient. 256 would be beneath his legs between the hip and the knee, and 258 would be beheath the pateints lower legs. The usual means (not shown) to adjust the various portions of the platform 248 would be provided in any manner known to the art. It is to be understood that the branched systems 240 as shown in FIG. 16 are incomplete, showing only the lowermost branches and the trunks 242, 244 and 246 of each section. The balance of the construction would be similar to that described hereinabove, ending in a plurality of displaceable load support means which would all be in a common plane when the platform portions 254, 256 and 258 were positioned in a flat plane.

In FIGS. 17, 18 and 19 of the drawings, there is shown another form of the invention in which branched systems 260 and 262 are used to form the back and seat of a chair having a frame 264 and legs 266. The displaceable load support means 268 in this form of the invention would be located as indicated in FIGS. 18 an 19 of the drawings. The surface of the chair could be finished with plates 270 which could be provided with foam pads 272 and an upholstery covering 274 having folds of material 276 between plates 270 which would serve the same purpose as the curve or bight 212 described hereinabove for the form of invention shown in FIG. 0. The supporting surface might also take any of the forms previouslydescribed.

In FIGS. 20, 21 and 22 of the drawings, another form of the invention in the form of a wheel is shown which is adapted to ride over a surface such as the stairway surface 200 shown in FIG. 21. The wheel 202 may, of course, ride over a flat surface or a surface of any configuration as well as the stairway surface 200 as illustrated. Such a wheel 200 comprises a hub-like branched trunk 292 having axis means at reference point 29 about which a branched system 296 is developed in accordance with the invention. The system 296 has displaceable load support means 298 forming a circle contour on the outermost branched levers 300. The displaceable load support means 296 displace with relation to the surface 200 over which the wheel 202 is run. Plates 304 may be added to the ends of the displaceable load support means 290 for better distribution of load.

Another form of the invention is shown in FIG. 23 of the drawings in which a series of displaceable load support means 306 in a branched system of the invention is incorporated in a shoe 307 supporting a foot 308.

In FIG. 24 of the drawings, another form of the invention is shown wherein an object 204 is packaged in a frame or container 206 by means of branched systems 309. In this form of invention, the displaceable load support means are shown at reference numeral 310. In FIG. 25, a container 312 is shown in which the displaceable load support means 314 bear against the container rather than against the object 316.

It will be understood from the foregoing that there are connected groups of levers terminating in displaceable load support means. In some instances, the ends of levers are actually molded to fulcrum areas of other levers to form support means. In some instances, the ends of levers are actually molded to fulcrum areas of other levers to form support means. Such a joint can be seen at reference numeral 320 in FIG. 5 and at reference numeral 322 in FIG. 6. In the preferred form of the invention, all of the joints thus shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 would be molded.

Reference is made to the term springy throughout the specification. This is understood to cover the molded construction as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 as well as the type of construction comprising torsion bushings as illustrated in FIG. 7 of the drawings.

While I have described my invention in its preferred forms, there are other forms which it may take without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, and I therefore desire to be protected for all forms coming within the claims hereinbelow.

Wherefore I claim:

1. A mechanical support system comprising a main frame including at least one trunlt means, at least one branch system branching out from said trunk means and forming a plurality of displaceable load support means, said branch system comprising branched levers comprising branches having divergent outer endsand common inner ends, with at least one branched lever positioned with its common inner, branch ends in juxtaposition to the outer end of another branch in the system, with at least one pair of common inner branch ends of a branched lever forming fulcrum area means, in which at least one of the branches comprises springy material and at least one of the divergent outer ends includes torsion means to permit rotation of fulcrum area means at juxtaposed branch common inner ends, and at least one branched lever comprises displaceable load support means and its divergent outer ends, whereby displacement of at least one of said displaceable load support means in a first direction will apply a force to at least one other lever connected, displaceable load support means in an opposite direction.

2. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the trunk means comprises axis means.

3. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the trunk means comprises at least one axis means from which a plurality of branch systems branch out.

4. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 3, in which the plurality of branch systems is a pair of branch systems.

5. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the displaceable load support means define at least a portion of at least one surface contour of the main frame.

6. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 5, in which the displaceable load support means comprises tips normally having contours within a plane.

7. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 5, in which the displaceable load support means comprises tips normally having contours that are nonplanar.

8. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 5, in which the displaceable load support means comprise tips normally defining con tours that are substantially circular with relation to said axis.

9. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the springy material in at least one branch provides the torsion means.

10. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the springy material of at least one of the branches forming the branched levers is comprised of torsion bushing means at said branchs divergent outer end to provide the torsion means.

11. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which at least one branch comprising springy material and at least one branch comprising torsion bushing means provide the torsion means.

12. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 comprising at least one lever having branches of different lengths.

13. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 comprising at least one lever in which the branches are of different cross section area.

14. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 comprising at least one lever in which the branches are of different lengths and of different cross section areas.

15. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 comprising at least one lever in which the branches are made of materials having different degrees of springiness.

16. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 comprising a plurality of branched levers in which at least one branched lever is of a first degree of springiness and another branched lever is of a second degree of springiness.

17. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which there are a plurality of levers, comprising branches, arranged in planes alternately substantially perpendicular and substantially parallel to the axis means.

18. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 12, in which there are a plurality of levers, comprising branches, arranged in planes alternately substantially perpendicular and substantially parallel to the axis means.

19. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 18, in which the length of the branches in the lever having branches of different lengths bear a ratio of 56.51435.

20. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 19 which comprises a plurality of branched levers with branches of different lengths in the ratio of 56.52435 in mirror relationship with each other.

21. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 comprising means to inhibit the displacement of at least one branch.

22. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 21 which comprises a main frame floor or wall, and the means to inhibit the displacement of at least one branch comprises movable sub-frame means between said floor or wall and said branches.

23. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 22 which includes means to selectively position the movable sub-frame means between a position inhibiting the displacement of at least one branch and a position which does not inhibit the displacement of at least one branch.

24. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 22, in which the sub-frame means comprises springy means positioned to contact at least one branch when the sub-frame means is moved toward said branch.

25. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 24, in which the springy means comprises foam material.

26. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 which includes sheet means covering the tips of the displaceable load support means.

27. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 26, in which the sheet means is connected to the tips of the displaceable load support means forming connection points.

28. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 27, in which the pitch between the connection points of the sheet means is greater than the pitch between the tips of the displaceable load support means.

29. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 27 comprising interstice means in the sheet means between the connection points.

30. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 29, in which the sheet means forms lines of material running between adjacent connection points with the interstice means formed between the lines of material.

31. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 30, which comprises a removable oversheet in the form of a springy cover.

32. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 31, in which the sheet connected to the tips of the displaceable load support means has the properties of a thin sheet of flexible material.

33. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 32, in which the oversheet has the properties of fine pore size. springy foam.

34. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 27, in which the connection points between the tips of the displaceable load support means and the sheet are provided with separable fasteners.

35. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 27, in which the tips of the displaceable load support means and the sheet means are bonded together.

36. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim l, in which the tips of the displaceable load support means in normal position form a plurality of at least three sided geometric figures in the surface contours and there are blocks of springy material connected to portions of at least three tips.

37. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1 which includes tips in normal position forming four sided geometrical figures in the surface contours, and there are substantially rectangular blocks of springy material connected to at least a portion of at least four of said tips.

38. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 37, in which the blocks comprise a fine pore springy foam.

39. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 38, in which there is a cover sheet of springy material removably placed over the blocks.

40. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the displaceable load support means are provided with tips comprising springy blocks.

41. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 40 including a thin cover sheet.

42. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which the tips of the displaceable load support means are provided with enlarged outer ends.

43. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 42, in which the flanged ends are circular.

44. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 42, in which the flanged ends are rectangular.

45. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 42, in which the flanged ends define a geometric figure with at least three sides.

46. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 42, including a removable cover sheet of springy material.

47. The mechanical support system as claimed in claim 1, in which there are a plurality of articulated support systems mounted on an articulated base.

48. A mechanical support system comprising a plurality of displaceable load support means, particular ones of said load support means being interconnected to others of said load support means by a first levertype arrangement, so as to define a grouping of load support means, said first lever-type arrangement being operative upon displacement of one of said load support means in a first direction to apply a force to another of said load support means in an opposite direction, such that the displaceable load support means will displace to conform to the shape of an imposed load and provide for distribution of load supporting forces;

wherein selected groupings of interconnected load support means are further interconnected to other groupings of interconnected load support means by a second lever-type arrangement.

49. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 48, wherein said load support means in said grouping are supported substantially in a same plane.

50. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 48 further comprising a trunk member for supporting each of said second lever-type arrangements to maintain said plurality of load support means in said groupings in substantially a same plane.

51. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 48, wherein each of said first lever-type arrangement comprises at least a pair of first branching arms located in a first plane and interconnected at a first fulcrum area, thereby defining a first-level system, and further comprising first supporting means connected at said fulcrum area for introducing an additional resistance with increased torque when said first branching arms are rotated in either direction in said first plane.

52. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 51, wherein selected ones of said first-level systems are interconnected by a second lever-type arrangement, said second lever-type arrangement comprising said first supporting means connected at the fulcrum areas corresponding to said interconnected first-level systems, and second lever-type arrangements comprising at least a pair of second branching arms located in a second plane, and interconnected at a second fulcrum area, and second supporting means connected at said second fulcrum area for introducing an additional resistance with increased torque when said second branching arms are rotated about said second fulcrum area in either direction in said second plane.

53. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 51, wherein said first supporting means are connected to said first fulcrum area along a torsion bushing.

54. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 51, wherein said second supporting means are connected to said second fulcrum area along a torsion bushing.

55. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 52, wherein said first and second fulcrum areas are located in different parallel planes.

56. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 51, wherein said first branching arms defining each first fulcrum area are of different lengths.

57. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 52, wherein said first branching arms defining each first fulcrum area are of different lengths and said second branching arms defining each second fulcrum area are of different lengths.

58. A mechanical support system as claimed in claim 57, wherein said first and second fulcrum areas are arranged in respective grid-like arrangements and located in different parallel planes, the branching arms connected to each of said first and second fulcrum areas being of different lengths, the branching arms of longer length being located so as to be oriented towards the interiors of said respective grid-like arrangements. 4- i l= 4 l

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Classifications
U.S. Classification267/151, 297/452.1, 5/727, 297/452.49, 267/80
International ClassificationA47C7/14, A43B17/02, B65D81/07, A47C23/00, A61G13/00, A61G7/057, B65D81/107, A61G5/06, A43B7/00, A61G7/00, A47C20/02, A47C31/00, A42B3/12, A47C7/02
Cooperative ClassificationA61G5/065, B65D81/07, A43B7/1465, A47C23/002, A47C7/14, A43B7/00, A61G5/06, A61G7/00, A61G13/009, A42B3/12, A47C7/022, A47C7/405, A61G7/0573, B65D81/1075, A47C7/024, A43B17/02
European ClassificationA43B7/14A30R, A47C7/40C, A47C7/02C, B65D81/107A, A61G7/057F, B65D81/07, A43B17/02, A47C7/14, A61G13/00M, A47C23/00A, A43B7/00, A42B3/12, A61G7/00, A47C7/02B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 1, 1988AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: C. & J. CLARK AMERICA, INC.
Effective date: 19880719
Owner name: WINGSPREAD CORPORATION
Aug 1, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: C. & J. CLARK AMERICA, INC.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:WINGSPREAD CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004925/0658
Effective date: 19880719