US 3872526 A
A water bed includes a water-filled container forming a mattress which is surrounded around its periphery by a frame for supporting the sides thereof. A plurality of vibrating units are coupled in mechanical communication with sides of the mattress and include apertures formed through the frame and covered by sheets of flexible material adjacent and in contact with the water mattress. A variable speed motor is coupled directly to each sheet of flexible material and extends through the aperture in the frame. An eccentric weight is coupled to the shaft of the motor for vibrating the flexible sheet which transmits such mechanical perturbations to the mattress and to the body of a person resting on the mattress by the filling fluid. Means are provided for supplying the motor with an adjustable voltage for varying the speed of rotation of the eccentric weight and, therefore, the frequency of vibrations developed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
tent [191 Mar. 25, 1975  US. Cl. 5/348 WB, 5/109, 128/33  Int. Cl A47c 27/08, A6lg 7/04  Field of Search 5/348, 348 WB, 109;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4/1963 Whitesell 5/348 WB 9/1970 Crawford 128/33 X Primary Examiner-Paul R. Gilliam Assistant ExaminerAndrew M. Calvert Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Price, l-leneveld, Huizenga & Cooper  ABSTRACT A water bed includes a water-filled container forming a mattress which is surrounded around its periphery by a frame for supporting the sides thereof. A plurality of vibrating units are coupled in mechanical communication with sides of the mattress and include apertures formed through the frame and covered by sheets of flexible material adjacent and in contact with the water mattress. A variable speed motor is coupled directly to each sheet of flexible material and extends through the aperture in the frame. An eccentric weight is coupled to the shaft of the motor for vibrating the flexible sheet which transmits such mechanical perturbations to the mattress and to the body of a person resting on the mattress by the filling fluid. Means are provided for supplying the motor with an adjustable voltage for varying the speed of rotation of the eccentric weight and, therefore, the frequency of vibrations developed.
' 12 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures VIBRATORY WATER BED BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to water beds and more particularly, to means for applying vibratory impulses to them.
The relaxing effects of vibrating mattresses are wellknown. Conventional spring mattresses of this type, such as frequently employed in motels, are provided with vibrating motors for providing localized vibratory forces or impulses to a person resting on the mattress. Typically, such installations provide a constant frequency and amplitude vibration which is relaxing to the user and conducive to sleep.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,085,568 issued to H. Whitesell on Apr. 16, 1963 describes a vibrating bed for physiotherapy applications. This unit employs a water-filled support cushion with vibratory impulses provided thereto by means of either a pump which pulsates fluid through the cushion or by employing a conventional loudspeaker actuated at audio frequencies and coupled to the bottom of the cushion.
The pulsating pump approach is relatively expensive as it requires a specialized pump together with fluid connections to the mattress. The loudspeaker approach will provide some localized vibrating forces of limited amplitude to the cushion but due to the inherent power handling limitations of a loudspeaker, as well as the relatively expensive power source required for driving them, such a system is not practically or economically feasible for use with conventional water beds. Uses of known systems, therefore, are restricted to clinical applications such as in physical therapy clinics where specially designed beds can be provided as well as the required peripheral excitation equipment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention, however, relates to improved and simplified structure for use with commercially available water beds and which provides variable frequency vibratory impulses to a water bed ofa sufficient amplitude to achieve the desired results economically and easily. Apparatus embodying the present invention include a water-filled mattress with a support member coupled to at least a portion thereof and including an aperture formed therethrough. A flexible sheet is coupled to the support member immediately adjacent and in contact with the mattress and covers the aperture. A variable speed motor is coupled to the flexible sheet and spaced from the sides of the aperture. The motor is provided with an eccentric weight causing the motor to vibrate when in operation thereby vibrating the flexible sheet which transmits such mechanical impulses to the mattress and to a person resting on the mattress.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a water bed with three vibrating units embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of the vibrating unit at location C shown in FIG. 1 and taken along the section lines lI--II of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2 taken along the section lines IIIIII of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is an electrical circuit diagram of the control circuit for the unit shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a water bed including a mattress 12 comprising a sealed container made of polymeric material 14 such as P.V.C. and filled with fluid 166 such as water. Such mattresses are commercially available and in widespread usage and typically include a sealable opening (not shown) for filling and draining the water mattress so formed.
Mattress 12 is supported by a generally rectangular framework comprising end walls 17 and 18 and side walls 20 and 22. End wall 18 forms the head end of the bed. Along the right side of the'water bed there is provided a horizontally extending ledge 24 coupled to wall 22 for housing the controls employed with the vibratory water bed. The frame members are, in the preferred embodiment, made of wood although other suitable material could likewise be employed. The mattress 12 is supported on a floor surface 26 although in' some installations, it may be desirable to provide an elevated platform to support the mattress.
Positioned at areas A, B and C along side wall 22 to be located at the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions, respectively, when a person is resting on the mattress, are vibrating units 30 (FIG. 2) for providing relatively localized vibrations to these body areas. Units 30 can be positioned at other locations of the bed and a greater or fewernumber of units also could be employed. Each of the vibrating units is identical so a description of only one of the units follows.
Each of the units 30 includes a motor 32 which, in the preferred embodiment, was a relatively small alternating current motor such as a fan motor capable of variable speed operation when the voltage applied to the motor is varied. Motor 32 includes an output shaft 34 having an eccentric weight 36 coupled thereto. In the preferred embodiment, the eccentric weight 36 comprised a piece of rectangular steel bar stock onefourth inch by one-fourth inch, approximately 1 V2 inches long, weighing two to three ounces and coupled at one end to shaft 34.
Motor 32 is mounted at its end remote from shaft 34 to a flexible sheet 40 for transmitting vibrations of the motor housing to the sheet which is coupled across an aperture 23 in support wall22. As seen in FIG. 2, sheet 40 is in direct contact with the side of the mattress 12 to effect transmission of vibrations of motor 32 to the mattress. In the preferred embodiment, sheet 40 was a one-eighth inch sheet of ABS. plastic 12 inches by 12 inches and a motor 32 was coupled thereto by means of a pair of flat head screws 37 extending through the sheet into threaded apertures in the end of the motor housing. Aperture 23 was approximately eight inches by eight inches to permit the motor to extend outwardly from sheet 40, as seen in FIG. 2, without contacting the edges of aperture 23. Thus, sufficient clearance is provided around the motor to prevent rubbing of the motor against wall 22.
As seen in FIG. 3, sheet 40 is stapled to wall 22 to cover aperture 23 by a plurality of staples 42 around its edges. For safety purposes, the flat head screws 37 are backed by strips 43 of electrically insulative tape to insulate the screw heads from mattress 12. Each of the vibrating units at locations A, B and C is independently 3 operated byspeed controls 25 and on-off switches 21 now discussed.
One of the identical controls used with each of the vibratory units 30 is shown in FIG. 4. The control units shown in FIG. 4 include a pair of power input terminals XX coupled to a conventional 110V AC line. Supply voltage is applied to motor 32 through an on-off switch 21 and a rheostat 25 having a wiper arm 25' which can be adjusted to reduce or increase the voltage applied to the motor and, therefore, the speed of operation and frequency of vibrations produced. In the preferred embodiment, vibrating frequencies of approximately -1800 Hz were obtainableQBy adjusting the weight of the eccentric weight 36 coupled to the shaft 34 of the motor, the amplitude of the vibrations may be varied.
Thus, by providing the water bed with the improved vibratory unit as herein disclosed, a conventional water bed can easily be converted to a vibratory unit at a relatively reduced cost. Various modifications to the preferred embodiment will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Thus, for example, sheet 40 can be made of other materials such as P.V.C., rubber or the like as long as it is generally flexible or resilient to respond to motor vibrations and transmit such vibrations to the mattress. The support for sheet 40 need not be in the form of a rectangular bed frame but could be of any shape as long as sheet 40 is securely held in contact with the mattress. These and other modifications to the invention will, however, fall within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. A vibrating water bed comprising: a fluid-filled container forming a mattress; a planar sheet of relatively thick flexible material; rigid support means positioned in contact with said mattress and including an aperture and means for securing said sheet of flexible material to said support means to coversuch aperture wherein said sheet engages a portion of said mattress; a vibrating motor; and means mounting said vibrating motor directly to said sheet to transmit vibrations to said sheet. 2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said flexible material comprises ABS plastic.
3. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said supporting means comprises a panel extending along and in contact with a side of said mattress, and wherein said sheet of flexible material is affixed to said panel on a side adjacent and in contact with said side.
4. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said vibrating motor comprises a variable speed motor having a rotating output shaft including an eccentric weight coupled to said shaft.
5. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said vibrating motor includes a housing and wherein said coupling means includes a plurality of screws extending through said sheet and threadably engaging said housing.
6. Theapparatus as defined in claim 5 and further including insulating means positioned over said screws between said screws and said mattress.
7. Apparatus for providing a vibrating water bed which includes a fluid-filled container forming a mattress, said apparatus comprising:
a frame for engaging side walls of a water bed mattress, at least one side of said frame including an aperture formed therethrough;
a panel of resilient material secured at the periphery thereof to said one side of said frame to be adjacent said mattress to cover said aperture and engage a side of said mattress;
means for generating vibratory impulses; and
means coupling said generating means to said panel to transmit impulses to said panel and said mattress.
8. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said panel comprises sheet plastic material.
9. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said panel comprises a sheet of ABS plastic affixed to said frame around the periphery of said sheet.
10. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said generating means comprises a vibratory motor including a housing.
11. The apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said coupling means includes a plurality of screws extending through said panel and threadably engaging said hous ing.
12. The apparatus as defined in claim 11 and further including insulating means positioned over said screws between said screws and said mattress.