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United States Patent Application 20110173754
Kind Code A1
Calder; Michael David July 21, 2011

INFLATABLE PILLOW

Abstract

An inflatable pillow usable in a first mode for a person sleeping on their back and in a second mode for a person sleeping on their side, wherein the pillow when inflated has a profile which features a generally flat base for stable support of the pillow, a first end wall curving upwardly to a first height, and an opposed end wall curving upwardly to a second height, the end walls leading to the upper surface of the pillow which inclines downwardly from each end wall into a valley within the central part of the pillow, wherein the first height is greater than the second height, and when used in the first mode the pillow is orientated so that the end wall of greater height and upper surface provide support for the upper spine region and head of a person lying on their back, and when the pillow is used in the second mode, the end wall of lesser height and the upper surface provide support for the upper spine region and head of a person lying on their side.


Inventors: Calder; Michael David; (Brunswick, AU)
Assignee: ARTOON PTY LTD
Brunswick
AU

Serial No.: 009667
Series Code: 13
Filed: January 19, 2011

Current U.S. Class: 5/644
Class at Publication: 5/644
International Class: A47G 9/10 20060101 A47G009/10


Claims



1. An inflatable pillow usable in a first mode for a person sleeping on their back and in a second mode for a person sleeping on their side, wherein the pillow when inflated has a profile which features a generally flat base for stable support of the pillow, a first end wall curving upwardly to a first height, and an opposed end wall curving upwardly to a second height, the end walls leading to the upper surface of the pillow which inclines downwardly from each end wall into a valley within the central part of the pillow, wherein the first height is greater than the second height, and when used in the first mode the pillow is orientated so that the end wall of greater height and upper surface provide support for the upper spine region and head of a person lying on their back, and when the pillow is used in the second mode, the end wall of lesser height and the upper surface provide support for the upper spine region and head of a person lying on their side.

2. A pillow according to claim 1, wherein the first height is about 51/2 inches and the second height is about 43/4 inches.

3. A pillow according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the second wall has a greater curvature than does the first wall.
Description



[0001] The present invention relates to an inflatable pillow appropriately contoured to support an adult person sleeping in a lying position.

[0002] The inflatable pillow of the invention is specially contoured to provide two alternative modes of use. In a first mode it better suits a person who prefers to sleep on their back and in the second mode it better suits a person who prefers to sleep on their side. The contouring is such that in each of the two modes good support of the spine is achieved.

[0003] More specifically, the invention provides an inflatable pillow usable in a first mode for a person sleeping on their back and in a second mode for a person sleeping on their side, wherein the pillow when inflated has a profile which features a generally flat base for stable support of the pillow, a first end wall curving upwardly to a first height, and an opposed end wall curving upwardly to a second height, the end walls leading to the upper surface of the pillow which inclines downwardly from each end wall into a valley within the central part of the pillow, wherein the first height is greater than the second height, and when used in the first mode the pillow is orientated so that the end wall of greater height and upper surface provide support for the upper spine region and head of a person lying on their back, and when the pillow is used in the second mode, the end wall of lesser height and the upper surface provide support for the upper spine region and head of a person lying on their side.

[0004] An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the drawings in which:

[0005] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the pillow;

[0006] FIG. 2 is a sectional view to better illustrate the internal structure of the pillow;

[0007] FIG. 3 is a view of the pillow from one side;

[0008] FIG. 4 is a view from the opposite side; and

[0009] FIGS. 5 and 6 are views showing schematically the manner in which the pillow acts in its alternative modes of use.

[0010] The basic form of the pillow is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 which show the pillow in its inflated state. The pillow is defined by a series of tubes 2 arranged in side-by-side relation with each tube 2 being defined between upper and lower surfaces 4, 6 of the pillow and shaped transverse webs 8a, 8b interconnecting the upper and lower surfaces. The outer ones 8a of these webs define the opposed outer side walls of the pillow and the immediate internal webs 8b are of substantially the same shape as the outer webs 8a and act in conjunction with the outer webs 8a to define the overall shape of the pillow when inflated. The overall pillow including external surfaces and webs is constructed from thin, flexible, sheet material to enable the pillow to be erected by inflation from a flattened and collapsed state in which the pillow occupies a low volume for packing and storage purposes. To permit inflation and deflation through a single valve 10 in the external surface, preferably in one of the side walls, the intermediate webs 8b are apertured to permit air flow between the adjacent tubes. The general structure of the pillow can best be understood with reference to the sectional view of FIG. 2 in which web apertures between adjacent tubes are designated 12. The techniques for making a pillow of this type will be well understood by persons skilled in the art of making inflatable objects, mattresses for example.

[0011] The profile of the pillow in its inflated state as viewed from the side is critical to the correct functioning of the pillow in its two operational modes and this will now be described in detail. It is to be noted that due to the inherent tendency of the flexible material to "balloon" or form an arcuate shape in the zones between the adjacent webs 8a, 8b which define the basic shape of the pillow when inflated, its cross sectional profile will not remain absolutely constant along its entire length but nevertheless its profile can be satisfactorily defined with reference to the profile seen at each lateral side and which, with relatively minor variation due to the ballooning effect just described, is repeated along the length of the inflated pillow. From FIGS. 3 and 4 it will be seen that the base 16 of the pillow can be regarded as being generally flat to provide stable support for the pillow when resting on the surface on which the user is lying. At one end 18 the outer wall of the pillow curves upwardly from the base 16 through a convex arc and at its upper edge the wall inclines downwardly into an arcuate valley 20 in the central part of the upper side of the pillow. In the preferred embodiment, the height from the base to the upper edge of the curved wall is about 51/2 inches. The overall width of the pillow of the preferred embodiment is about 13 inches and at its lowest point the depth of the arcuate valley 20 (as measured from the base 16) approximately midway along the width is about 41/4 inches. The profile of the pillow from the upper half of the end wall 18 to the valley 20 corresponds approximately to the profile defined by the upper part of the back, neck, and back of the head of a person lying on the pillow on their back as shown in FIG. 5 to provide good spinal support for a person in that position. The opposite end wall 22 of the pillow is curved to a smaller radius (and thereby a greater curvature) than the wall 18 and extends to a lower height from the base 16 and in the preferred embodiment that height extension is about 43/4 inches and this greater curvature and lower height extension provides, when the pillow is orientated through 180.degree. relative to that shown in FIG. 5, a profile which corresponds approximately to the profile defined by the shoulder, neck and side of the head of a person lying on their side as shown in FIG. 6.

[0012] The pillow in the embodiment shown has six tubes 2 each with a width of about 3 to 31/2 inches. However a smaller version with just four tubes of the same width may be preferred for some uses.

[0013] The embodiment has been described by way of example and modifications can be made within the scope of the invention.

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