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Inflatable bed with cushion cells

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Title: Inflatable bed with cushion cells.
Abstract: An inflatable bed assembly having a plurality of inflatable cushion cells disposed on the top of the inflatable bed. Each cushion cell has a vent fluidly interconnecting the interior volume of the cushion cell with a main air chamber of the bed. When the bed is inflated, the cushion cells inflate and form raised projections on the top of the bed. The cushion cells provide a pressure sensitive surface which molds to the user's body for increased comfort. The vents are sized to allow the cushion cells to inflate upon inflation of the main air chamber, partially deflate when pressure is applied, and re-inflate when the pressure is removed. The size of the vents dampens the rate that air passes through the vent. The controlled inflation and deflation of the cells softens the impact caused by application of a body thereon and simulates the dampened response of “memory-foam”. ...


USPTO Applicaton #: #20090320211 - Class: 5713 (USPTO) -
Beds > Mattress (for Whole Body) >Having Confined Gas (e.g., Air Mattress) >Variably Pressurizable Chambers (e.g., With Pump)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20090320211, Inflatable bed with cushion cells.

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RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/980,181, filed Oct. 16, 2007.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention pertains to the field of inflatable beds.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Inflatable beds are popular because they are portable and have a relatively low cost compared to beds with traditional mattresses. While improvements in inflatable beds have given them a comfort level comparable with traditional mattresses, inflatable beds still do not offer many of the features of traditional mattresses. For instance, traditional mattresses constructed out of memory foam have become very popular because they offer a pressure sensitive surface that molds to the contours of a user\'s body in a dampened manner, while still providing firm support. Prior inflatable beds have not offered such a pressure sensitive surface.

Another disadvantage of prior inflatable beds is that they do not offer a comfortable landing for the user\'s body. When a user places their body on a prior inflatable bed, there is a significant impact on the top of the inflatable bed which causes it to depress considerably thereby failing to cushion the person or provide a soft landing.

Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide an inflatable bed that provides a pressure sensitive surface which molds to the contours of the user\'s body while still providing firm support.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable bed that molds to the contours of the user\'s body in a dampened manner, and that returns to an at-rest state in a dampened manner.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable bed that provides a soft landing surface when a user places their body on the inflatable bed.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable bed with increased comfort that is suitable for everyday usage.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable bed which provides increased comfort and is economical to manufacture.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing objects are met by the present invention directed to an improved inflatable bed. The inflatable bed has a top and bottom, a main air chamber, and an inflation valve in fluid communication with the main air chamber. A plurality of inflatable cushion cells are disposed on the top of the inflatable bed.

Each of the inflatable cushion cells is comprised of an exterior panel and an interior panel. The interior panel of each inflatable cushion cell has a vent fluidly interconnecting the interior volume of the cushion cell with the main air chamber. The inflatable bed also has retaining means connected to the interior panel of each cushion cell to retain the interior panel a predetermined maximum distance from the bottom of the inflatable bed.

When the inflatable bed is inflated, the main chamber fills with air, pushing the top of the inflatable bed in a direction away from the bottom of the bed. Air travels from the main air chamber through the cushion cell vents to begin to inflate the cushion cells. When the cushion cells begin to inflate, the exterior panel of each cushion cell is pushed in a direction away from the bottom of the bed, together with the interior panel of each cushion cell. When the interior panel is at a predetermined maximum distance from the bottom of the inflatable bed, the interior panel is retained by the retaining means, which stops its movement away from the bottom of the air bed. The exterior panel, free to move past the predetermined maximum distance from the bottom of the inflatable bed, separates from the interior panel as the cushion cell continues to inflate.

When the cushion cells are fully inflated, the exterior panels form raised projections on the top of the inflatable bed and provide increased support for the user. The vents are sized so that when the user places their body on the inflatable bed, air from the cushion cells in contact with the user\'s body slowly exits the cushion cells and travels into the main air chamber, in a dampened manner. The rate of deflation of the cushion cells is dependent on the amount of pressure placed on the exterior panel of the cushion cell and the size (area) of the vent. The cushion cells will normally partially or fully deflate when a person rests their body thereon. When the weight is removed from the cushion cells, the vents allow the cushion cells to re-inflate with air from the main chamber.

The inflation and deflation of the cushion cells causes the projecting exterior panels to depress in portions bearing the user\'s weight and to maintain their inflation in areas not bearing the user\'s weight. Therefore, the cushion cells act as a pressure sensitive surface which molds to the contours of the user\'s body for increased comfort. When a user changes their position on the inflatable bed, the cushion cells will adapt, in a dampened manner, to provide a continual contoured surface. When the user removes their body from the bed, the cushion cells re-inflate, again, in a dampened manner. This pressure sensitive surface allows the cushion cells to simulate the advantages offered by memory foam on a traditional mattresses.

The size of the vents affects the rate at which air flows in and out of the cushion cell. The sizing of the vent preferably substantially restricts the rate that the air may pass through the vent, such that the vent will prevent air from rapidly leaving or entering the cushion cell. The controlled deflation (and re-inflation) of the cushion cells serves to simulate the dampened response of a “memory-foam” surface of a traditional bed, to cushion the impact caused by application of the user\'s body on the bed, and provide a soft landing to the user.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of a preferred but, nonetheless, illustrative embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 provides a perspective view of the inflatable bed in a fully inflated state;

FIG. 2 provides a sectional view of the inflatable bed in a fully inflated state;

FIG. 3 provides a sectional view of the inflatable bed in a partially inflated state;

FIG. 4 provides a top plan view of the inflatable bed;

FIG. 5 provides a sectional view of the inflatable bed in an inflated state with a user\'s body applied thereon;

FIG. 6 provides a sectional view of the inflatable bed, from the bottom, wherein the top comprises two sheets substantially the full length and width of the top that are welded together to form cushion cells;

FIG. 7 provides a sectional view of the inflatable bed in a fully inflated state with the retaining means comprising a plurality of beams; and

FIG. 8 provides a sectional view of the inflatable bed, from the side, wherein the top comprises one sheet substantially the full length and width of the top and discrete panels attached thereto to form the interior panels of the cushion cells.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With particular reference to the drawings, the present invention is directed to an improved inflatable bed assembly 2 having a plurality of inflatable cushion cells 4 providing a pressure-sensitive surface for increased comfort.

As shown in FIG. 1, the inflatable bed has a top portion 6, bottom portion 8, and four side panels 14. The inflatable bed is a generally rectangular shape and can be of varying sizes. The side panels 14, top portion 6 and bottom portion 8 form a main air chamber 10. An inflation valve 12 in fluid communication with the main air chamber 10 is used to inflate the inflatable bed 2.

A plurality of inflatable cushion cells 4 are disposed on the top portion 6 of the inflatable bed. The cushion cells 4 may be formed on isolated areas of the top portion 6 of the inflatable bed or, as depicted, they may be arranged throughout a majority of the top. In the embodiment shown, the top 6 of the inflatable bed has a border 30 extending around the periphery. The border 30 has no cushion cells 4 disposed thereon. The remaining surface of the top portion 6 of the inflatable bed has a plurality of cushion cells 4 in an adjacent relationship to each other.

As shown in FIGS. 2-3, the inflatable cushion cells 4 have an exterior panel 16, which is impermeable to air, and an interior panel 18, which is at least partially impermeable to air. The interior 18 and exterior 16 panels are preferably connected to each other along the periphery of the panels. The top portion 6 of the inflatable bed may be constructed out of an interior sheet 32 and an exterior sheet 34 that are attached to each other by heat welding or other attachment means well known in the art. The cross welds separate each of the sheets into discrete, virtually hermetically-sealed cushion cells, with the interior sheet 32 forming the interior panels 18 and the exterior sheet 34 forming the exterior panels 16 of a plurality of cushion cells 4. As shown in FIG. 4, the interior and exterior sheets 32, 34 may be welded together in a cross-hatching pattern forming predominantly square-shaped cushion cells with triangular-shaped cells on the periphery.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 8, the top portion 6 of the inflatable bed can be constructed out of an exterior sheet 34 extending along the entire top portion and discrete panels 38 attached to the interior portion of the exterior sheet 34. In this embodiment, the exterior sheet 34 serves as the exterior panels 16 of the cushion cells and the discrete panels 38 form the interior panels 18. In another embodiment, an interior sheet 32 extends substantially the entire length and width of the top portion and serves as the interior panels 18 of the cushion cells. Discrete panels 38 are attached to the exterior portion of the interior sheet to form exterior panels 16 of the cushion cells.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 5, and 7, each interior panel 18 of the inflatable cushion cells has a vent 20 which fluidly interconnects the interior volume of the cushion cells 4 with the main air chamber 10. Each interior panel 18 has retaining means 22 to retain the interior panel 18 within a predetermined distance from the bottom 8 of the inflatable bed.

The retaining means 22 may comprise a plurality of strings 24 attached to discrete, reinforced receptacles 26 on each interior panel 18 and on the bottom portion 8 of the inflatable bed. The receptacles 26 have string retaining apertures 28. Each string 24 extends through an associated string retaining aperture 28 and the free ends are held together by a collar or crimp. The free ends may instead be tied together or the string may be one continuous loop. The string 24 may be secured by other means well known in the art.

Alternatively, the retaining means 22 can comprise sheet-like or strip-like retaining interconnecting structures which extend from each interior panel 18 of the cushion cells to the bottom portion of the inflatable bed, such as beams or other support structures. For instance, FIG. 7 shows an embodiment of the inflatable bed 2 having a plurality of beams 23 as the retaining means. Furthermore, the retaining means 22 may be attached to a surface aside from the bottom portion as long as it is positioned closer to the bottom 8 than the interior panels 18.

The retaining means 22, in addition to retaining the interior panels 18 within the predetermined distance from the bottom 8 of the inflatable bed, also serve to retain the general rectilinear shape of the inflatable bed 2, similar to the function of I-beams in prior air beds.

When the inflatable bed 2 is inflated, the main air chamber 10 fills with air and the top 6 of the inflatable bed is pushed in a direction away from the bottom 8 of the bed. FIG. 3 shows the inflatable bed 2 in a partially inflated state. The cushion cells 4 also fill with air which travels from the main air chamber 10 through the vents 20 in the cushion cells.

FIG. 2 shows the inflatable bed 2 in a fully inflated state. As the inflatable bed 2 and cushion cells 4 begin to fill with air, the exterior panels 16 are pushed in a direction away from the bottom 8 of the bed together with the interior panels 18. When the interior panels 18 reach a predetermined maximum distance from the bottom 8 of the inflatable bed, the interior panels 18 are retained by the retaining means 22 which limit the movement of the interior panels 18. The exterior panels 16 are free to move past the predetermined maximum distance from the bottom 8 of the inflatable bed. Therefore, the exterior panels 16 and interior panels 18 separate from each other as the cushion cells 4 inflate.

When the air bed is fully inflated, the exterior panels 16 of the cushion cells 4 form raised projections on the top 6 of the inflatable bed and provide increased support for the user. The interior of each cushion cell 4 has a fully inflated volume that is substantially less than a fully-inflated volume of the main air chamber 10.

The vents 20 are sized so that when the user places their body on the inflatable bed 2, air from the cushion cells 4 in contact with the user\'s body slowly exits the cushion cells into the main air chamber 10, in a regulated or dampened manner. The rate of deflation of the cushion cells 4 is dependent on the amount of pressure placed on the exterior panel 16 of the cushion cell and the area of the vents 20. The cushion cells 4 will normally partially or fully deflate when a person rests their body thereon. When the weight is taken off of the cushion cells 4, the vents 20 allow the cushion cells 4 to re-inflate with air from the main chamber 10, in a dampened manner.

By preventing air from rapidly leaving and entering the inflated cushion cell 4 when a user places and removes their body on the bed 2, the controlled deflation and re-inflation serves to cushion the impact caused by application of the user\'s body, providing a soft landing, and serves to dampen the re-inflation of the cushion cells 4, which simulates a memory foam surface of a traditional mattress. Preferably, the cushion cells will re-inflate from a fully or nearly-fully deflated state in about one-half to about 3 seconds and, most preferably, about one second.

The sizing of the vent 20 preferably substantially restricts the rate that air may pass through the vent to provide a dampened, restricted fluid interconnection between the interior of each cushion cell 4 and the main air chamber 10. The preferred sizing of the vent 20 is dependent on the volume of the cushion cells 4 and/or the area of the exterior panel 6. In a preferred embodiment, the volume of each individual cushion cell when fully inflated is in a range of about 480 cc to 700 cc, the area of the vent is in the range of approximately 10 mm2 to 20 mm2 and the area of the exterior panel is in the range of about 16,000 mm2 to 25,000 mm2. The volume of the main air chamber 10 is about 420,328 cc.

The volume of the cushion cells 4 and the area of the exterior panels 16 can vary depending on the level of dampening desired. However, for the most desirable level of dampening, it is preferred that the ratio between the area (in mm2) of the vent and the volume (in cc) of the cushion cell is approximately about 1:48 to about 1:24, and/or the ratio between the area of the vent (in mm2) and the area of the exterior panel (in mm2) is about 1:1600 to about 1:1250.

While each vent 20 depicted in the preferred embodiments comprises one hole (within a relatively small area) in each interior panel 18, other structures are also suitable to provide a dampened (i.e., restricted) fluid interconnection between the interior of the cushion cells 4 and the main air chamber 10. Such other structures can include a plurality of small holes in each interior panel 18, or a large plurality of very small perforations in each interior panel 18. For an optimal level of dampening, it is preferred that the ratio of the aggregate area (in mm2) of the fluid interconnection with respect to the volume (in cc) of the cushion cell is approximately 1:38 and/or is about 1:1225 with respect to the area (in mm2) of the exterior panel.

Alternatively (or additionally), each vent 20 can comprise or consist of an air-permeable membrane, such as a woven textile or mesh. Such an air-permeable membrane can be disposed partially or entirely over one or more holes in an otherwise impermeable interior panel, or can comprise the entirety of the interior panel of the cushion cells.

The cushion cells 4 cause the projecting exterior panels 16 to depress in areas bearing the user\'s weight and maintain their inflation in areas not bearing the user\'s weight. Therefore, the cushion cells 4 act as a pressure sensitive surface which molds to the contours of the user\'s body for increased comfort. When a user changes their position on the inflatable bed 2, the cushion cells 4 will adapt, in a dampened manner, to provide a continual contoured surface. When the user removes their body from the bed 2, the cushion cells 4 re-inflate, again, in a dampened manner. Therefore, the cushion cells 4 simulate the memory effect offered by memory foam on traditional mattresses, while providing a cushion and soft landing.

While the inflatable bed assembly 2 depicted has one main air chamber 10, the bed may include other distinct, and separately inflatable air chambers, in addition to the main air chamber 10 to which the cushion cells are connected. For example, the bed may include a second air chamber below or adjacent the main air chamber 10 (or elsewhere), and the second air chamber may be inflatable by a separate inflation valve. Further, the second air chamber may be of a larger or smaller volume than the main air chamber.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20090320211 A1
Publish Date
12/31/2009
Document #
12252504
File Date
10/16/2008
USPTO Class
/5713
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
47C27/10
Drawings
9


Deflation
Inflation


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