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Numéro de publicationUS20070074359 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeUS 11/243,133
Date de publication5 avr. 2007
Date de dépôt4 oct. 2005
Date de priorité4 oct. 2005
Numéro de publication11243133, 243133, US 2007/0074359 A1, US 2007/074359 A1, US 20070074359 A1, US 20070074359A1, US 2007074359 A1, US 2007074359A1, US-A1-20070074359, US-A1-2007074359, US2007/0074359A1, US2007/074359A1, US20070074359 A1, US20070074359A1, US2007074359 A1, US2007074359A1
InventeursTheresa O'Lynn
Cessionnaire d'origineO'lynn Theresa M
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Teaching toothbrush
US 20070074359 A1
Résumé
A toothbrush for setting and communicating brushing time and for providing instructional and encouragement messages during brushing includes a handle with a hollow interior, a controller capable, upon activation, of generating such messages, a power source electrically connected to the controller, a speaker for emitting such messages and a switch for activating the controller and enabling the speaker to emit the messages. A timer is provided to terminate operation of the speaker after a predetermined amount of time. A digital or a conventional clock is disposed on the surface of the handle and cooperates with the timer for visual communication of the elapsed brushing time.
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Revendications(20)
1. In combination with a toothbrush having a plurality of bristles, a head, a neck and a handle, the improvement comprising:
(a) a hollow interior portion disposed within said handle;
(b) a control means disposed within said hollow interior portion, said control means capable, upon activation, of generating a predetermined sound for providing one of an instruction, encouragement, guidance and a combination thereof during brushing;
(c) a power source disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to said control means;
(d) a speaker disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to said control means and said power source for emitting said predetermined sound; and
(e) a switch means connected to said control means for activating said control means and for enabling said speaker to emit said predetermined sound.
2. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said toothbrush includes a timing means disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to at least said control means, said timing means operable by one of said switch means, said control means and a combination thereof to terminate operation of said speaker after a predetermined duration.
3. The improvement, according to claim 2, wherein said predetermined sound is preselected based on an elapsed increment of said predetermined duration as determined by said timing means.
4. The improvement, according to claim 2, wherein said predetermined duration is one of a fixed, variable, variable and selectable by a user, definable by said user and various combinations thereof.
5. The improvement, according to claim 2, wherein said toothbrush further includes a digital display visible through a wall of said handle, said display connected at least to said timing means for incrementally displaying an elapsed brushing time.
6. The improvement, according to claim 2, wherein said toothbrush further includes:
(a) a shaft mounted for rotation and having a first end protruding through an aperture disposed in a wall of said handle;
(b) at least one head disposed on said first end for rotation therewith;
(c) a numeral indicia disposed in a circular pattern on a surface of said handle and aligned radially with an axis of said aperture; and
(d) means disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to a second end of said shaft for enabling rotation thereof, said rotation enabling means is operable by at least said timing means to rotate said at least one head for said predetermined duration.
7. The improvement, according to claim 6, wherein said toothbrush further includes a predetermined graphical indicia disposed on said surface of said handle and substantially aligned with said numeral indicia and said at least one head.
8. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said switch means is manually operable to terminate operation of said speaker.
9. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said toothbrush further includes a second switch means for manually terminating operation of said speaker.
10. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said handle includes a compressible portion and wherein said switch means is disposed within said hollow interior portion and engageable with said compressible portion, whereby a compression of said compressible portion enables one of actuation, deactuation and a combination thereof of said switch means.
11. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said handle includes a compressible portion and wherein said switch means is disposed within said hollow interior portion and has a portion thereof protruding through a wall of said handle and engageable with said compressible portion, whereby a compression of said compressible portion enables one of actuation, deactuation and a combination thereof of said switch.
12. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said predetermined sound is one of a voice messaging, musical tone, signal tone and various combinations thereof.
13. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said toothbrush has a predetermined material and at least one predetermined color.
14. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said neck is flexible.
15. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said head, said neck and said handle are one of removably and rigidly connected therebetween.
16. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said head is mounted for rotation on said neck and rotatable by a drive mechanism disposed within said hollow handle and a hollow neck.
17. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said toothbrush further includes a bristle carrier movably mounted on said head and a drive mechanism disposed within said hollow handle and a hollow neck for driving said bristle carrier in one of an oscillating and a reciprocating manner.
18. The improvement, according to claim 1, wherein said toothbrush is encased in a package body.
19. In combination with a toothbrush having a plurality of bristles, a head, a neck and a handle, the improvement comprising:
(a) a hollow interior portion disposed within such handle;
(b) a control means disposed within said hollow interior portion;
(c) a power source disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to said control means;
(d) a switch means connected to said control means for activating said control means and enabling a speaker to emit a predetermined sound;
(e) a timing means disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to said control means, said timing means operable by one of said switch means, said control means and a combination thereof to terminate operation of said speaker after a predetermined duration; and
(f) a time display means substantially aligned with a graphical tooth representation disposed on a surface of said handle in a predetermined portion thereof, said time display means having a shaft mounted for rotation and having a first end protruding through an aperture aligned with said graphical tooth representation, at least one head disposed on said first end for rotation therewith, a numeral indicia disposed in a circular pattern on a surface of said handle and aligned radially with an axis of said aperture, and drive means disposed within said hollow interior portion and connected to a second end of said shaft for enabling rotation thereof, said drive means is operable by at least said timing means to rotate said at least one head for said predetermined duration.
20. In combination with a toothbrush having a plurality of bristles, a head, a neck, a hollow handle, a switch means and a power source disposed within said hollow handle, the improvement comprising:
(a) a control means disposed within such hollow handle and connected to such power source and to such switch means, said control means capable, upon activation by such switch means, of generating a predetermined sound for providing one of an instruction, encouragement, guidance and combination thereof during brushing;
(b) a speaker disposed within such hollow handle and connected to said control means and such power source for emitting said predetermined sound; and
(c) a timing means disposed within such hollow handle and connected to said control means, said timing means operable by one of such switch means, said control means and a combination thereof to terminate operation of said speaker after a predetermined duration.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates, in general, to a toothbrush for dental hygiene and, more particularly, this invention relates to a toothbrush for communicating proper brushing time and for providing instructional and encouragement messages during brushing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional toothbrushes have been used extensively over a long period to maintain dental hygiene. Lately, to enhance a user's ability to properly clean teeth, various improvements have been made in the areas of shape and pattern of bristles, orientation and the shape of the toothbrush head, incorporation of motors and linkages to rotate the head or move bristles in an oscillating or a reciprocating manner and the like.

While these improvements have enhanced the ability to clean teeth, they benefit primarily older users who, over time, became convinced in the benefits of tooth cleaning and have developed proper brushing techniques.

Attempts have been made to provide children and particularly young children with instructions and encouragements during brushing.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,673,451 to Moore et al teaches an instructional toothbrush with a visual indicator and a complex motion sensing mechanism which is only activated when the toothbrush is being used in accordance with recommended tooth brushing techniques.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,389,633 to Rosen describes a motion sensing assembly driving a small LCD screen or a speaker to output visual or audible rewards to the user.

U.S. Patent Publication No. 2004/0000017 to Kumagai generates different voice messages or musical tones based on the pulse values counted from a swingable contact-type switch.

Such attempts failed to provide a toothbrush that teaches children and, particularly young children, a proper brushing time period and provides proper instructions and encouragements according to such time period.

Therefore, there is a need for an improved toothbrush for setting and communicating a proper brushing time and for teaching brushing techniques and providing encouragement to children during brushing which is economical to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention provides a toothbrush for setting and communicating brushing time and providing instructional and encouragement messages during brushing. The toothbrush includes a handle with a hollow interior, a control member capable, upon activation, of generating such messages, a power source electrically connected to the control member, a speaker for emitting such messages and a switch for activating the control member and enabling the speaker to emit the messages. A timer is provided to terminate operation of the speaker after a predetermined amount of time. Alternatively, the switch may be manually operable to terminate operation of the speaker or a second switch may be provided for such purposes. A digital or a conventional clock is disposed on the surface of the handle and cooperates with the timer for visual communication of the elapsed brushing time. A graphical indicia such as a smiling facial representation is disposed on the surface of the handle and is aligned with the conventional clock. The toothbrush is configured for manual or powered operation.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention to provide a teaching toothbrush setting and communicating brushing time and for teaching brushing techniques and encouraging the user during brushing.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a teaching toothbrush which emits instructional and encouraging voice messages.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a teaching toothbrush which includes a time display providing information on the elapsed time during brushing.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a teaching toothbrush which includes a timer for controlling the duration of the voice messages and for enabling generation of the voice messages in accordance with the elapsed time.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a teaching toothbrush which is electrically powered.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a teaching toothbrush which is economical to manufacture.

In addition to the several objects and advantages of the present invention which have been described with some degree of specificity above, various other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent to those persons who are skilled in the relevant art, particularly, when such description is taken in conjunction with the attached drawing Figures and with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a teaching toothbrush of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a teaching toothbrush of the present invention, particularly showing the time display members; and

FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Prior to proceeding to the more detailed description of the present invention, it should be noted that, for the sake of clarity and understanding, identical components which have identical functions have been identified with identical reference numerals throughout the several views illustrated in the drawing figures.

Reference is now made, to FIGS. 1-3, wherein there is shown a toothbrush, generally designated 10, for setting and communicating brushing time and for providing instructions, encouragement and guiding during teeth brushing. Such toothbrush 10 includes a plurality of bristles 12 mounted on a head 14 which is connected to a first end of a neck 16. The second end of the neck 16 is connected to a handle 18. The handle 18 has a hollow inner portion 20 and a wall 22.

In one embodiment of the present invention, there is a control means 30 disposed within the hollow interior portion 20, which is capable, upon activation, of generating a predetermined sound for providing one of instruction, encouragement, guidance and a combination thereof during brushing. A power source 32 is disposed within the hollow interior portion and electrically connected to the control means 30. The power source 32 may be a DC power source, such as a battery or a cord connection to an electrical outlet. The battery 32 may be a rechargeable or a non rechargeable type. There is a speaker 34 disposed within the hollow interior portion 20, preferably adjacent distal end 26 of the handle 18 and which is electrically connected to the control means 30 and to the power source 32 for emitting the predetermined sound. The predetermined sound may be one of a voice messaging, musical tone, signal tone or various combinations thereof. The presently preferred predetermined sound is a plurality of voice messages providing instructional information and encouragement to the user during brushing. Such voices messages may include but are not limited to “Three minutes, get going” “Let's get these teeth clean” “One minute left” “Now reach those back teeth” “Good job, you are really good at it” and the like.

A switch means 36 is connected to the control means 30 for activating the control means 30 and enabling the speaker 34 to emit the predetermined sound.

The switch means 36 activates such control means 30. Preferably, such switch means 36 is a pushbutton type, best shown in FIG. 3, which is advantageous for use by a small child.

The toothbrush 10 is further provided with a timing means 38 disposed within the hollow interior portion 20 which is connected to the control means 30 and to the power source 32. Such timing means 40 is operable by one of the switch means 36, the control means 30 or a combination thereof to terminate operation of the speaker 34 after a predetermined duration. Such predetermined duration may be fixed for a predetermined number of minutes or such duration may be variable and selectable by the user depending on the age of the child. Additionally, the timing means 40 may be configured to enable the user to define the brushing duration by inputting a desired number of minutes.

Advantageously, the timing means 40 enables the predetermined sound to be varied based on the elapsed increments of such predetermined duration. For example, when the brushing duration is set at three minutes, the instructional voice messages, at one and two minute intervals, may instruct the user to focus on different areas of the upper and lower teeth thus aiding the user in determining adequate brushing time for each area of the teeth. If the brushing duration has not been defined, the instructional and encouragement message may follow a predetermined sequence stored in the control means 30.

While the timing means 40 automatically terminates operation of the speaker 34 after the predetermined duration has elapsed, the switch means 36 may be configured to manually terminate operation of the speaker 34. In such embodiment, the switch means 36 is preferably a sliding type movable between a first position enabling operation of the speaker 34 and a second position disabling the operation of the speaker 34. Alternatively, a second switch (not shown) may be provided for manually terminating operation of the speaker 34.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that timing means 40 may be integrated into the control means 30.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the toothbrush 10 is provided with a time display means, generally designated 41, which in the presently preferred embodiment includes a shaft 42 mounted for rotation and having a first end protruding through an aperture 44 disposed in the wall 22 of the handle 18, as best shown in FIG. 3. There is at least one head 46 disposed on the first end of the shaft 42 for rotation therewith. Numeral indicia 48, best shown in FIG. 2, is disposed in a circular pattern on a portion of an exterior surface of the handle 18 and is aligned radially with an axis of the aperture 44. The drive means 50 is disposed within the hollow interior portion 20 and connected to a second end of the shaft 42 for enabling rotation thereof. Such drive means 50 is operable by at least the timing means 40 to rotate the at least one head 46 for such predetermined duration. In the presently preferred embodiment, the drive means 50 is a small electric motor connected to the power source 32 and further connected to the control means 30.

The toothbrush 10 may be further provided with a predetermined graphical indicia 52 disposed on the outer surface of the handle 18 and substantially aligned with the numeral indicia 48 and the at least one head 46. Such predetermined graphical indicia 52 may be a smiling facial representation shown in FIG. 2, a graphical partial tooth representation or graphical representation of upper and lower tooth arches. The graphical tooth representation may be advantageous in teaching small children about various tooth nomenclature and their order and may be color coded to aid in such teaching. Alternatively, such graphical indicia 48 may be provided in combination with the switch means 36.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, the handle 18 includes a compressible portion 28 which is engageable with the switch means 36 disposed within the hollow interior portion 20, whereby a compression of the compressible portion 28 enables one of actuation, deactuation and a combination thereof of the switch means 36. Advantageously, in such embodiment, the switch means 36 may be integrated into the control means 30. Furthermore, the portion of the exterior surface of the handle 18 aligned with such compressible portion 28 may be shifted in a direction towards a longitudinal axis of the handle 18 in order to substantially align such compressible portion 28 with the exterior surface of the handle 18 as best shown in FIG. 3.

Alternatively, as best shown in FIG. 2, the compressible portion 28 engages the portion 38 of the switch means 36 which protrudes through the wall 22 of the handle 18, whereby the compression of the compressible portion 28 enables one of actuation, deactuation and the combination thereof of the switch means 36.

Yet, alternatively, the switch means 36 may be adapted to be operable by a portion of the shaft 42 of the time display means 41 enabling the user to activate the speaker 34 by pressing onto graphical indicia 52. An instructional text or a second graphical indicia (not shown) may be disposed on the surface of the handle 18 alerting the user to press the graphical indicia 52.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the time display means 41 may be a digital display 54, such as an LCD screen, visible through the wall 22 of the handle and connected to at least the timing means 38 for at least incrementally displaying an elapsed brushing time.

A material of the toothbrush 10 may be one of a plastic, plastic at least partially coated with rubber, rubber, metal and various combinations thereof. A color of the toothbrush 10 will be predetermined based on specific application.

According to well known toothbrush construction methods, the head 14, the neck 16 and the handle 18 may be removably or rigidly attached therebetween. The neck 18 may be formed as a flexible neck 18.

Furthermore, the head 14 may be mounted for rotation on the neck 16 and rotatable by a drive mechanism 56 disposed within the hollow handle 18 and a linkage 58 routed through a hollow neck 16, as best represented in FIG. 1. Advantageously, such drive mechanism 56 may be operable by the switch means 36.

Additionally, the plurality of bristles 12 may be attached to a bristle carrier (not shown) movably mounted on the head 14 and driven by the drive mechanism 56 and the linkage 58 in an oscillating or reciprocating manner.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art, that the toothbrush 10 of the present invention may be encased into a package body, provided with a stand which may further include means for recharging the rechargeable power source 32. It will be further apparent to those skilled in the art, that various embodiments of the present invention may be incorporated into a toothbrush presently having the hollow handle 18, the power source 32, and the drive means 56 and the linkage 58.

The toothbrush 10 may be further provided with any well known means for sensing a motion of the toothbrush and emitting predetermined messages when the motion has ceased for a predetermined amount of time.

Thus, the present invention has been described in such full, clear, concise and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains to make and use the same. It will be understood that variations, modifications, equivalents and substitutions for components of the specifically described embodiments of the invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

Référencé par
Brevet citant Date de dépôt Date de publication Déposant Titre
US7774888 *19 avr. 200717 août 2010World Trend, Inc.Child's music-playing toothbrush configured for attractive display of graphics and improved sound quality
US7976388 *23 mars 200712 juil. 2011Umagination Labs, L.P.Oral care gaming system with electronic game
US832749113 janv. 201211 déc. 2012Children Oral Care, LlcIlluminated flashing toothbrush and method of use
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US8484793 *10 nov. 200816 juil. 2013Children Oral Care, LlcToothbrush and method of use
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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis15/105
Classification internationaleA46B15/00
Classification coopérativeA46B15/0028, A46B15/0002, A46B15/0008, A46B15/0044
Classification européenneA46B15/00B2B, A46B15/00B5B, A46B15/00B3F, A46B15/00B