No assignee for this patent application has been made.
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates generally to a crib accessory, and more particularly, to a multi-purpose crib accessory that is mountable to an infant's crib or changing table, selectively emits room sterilizing and sanitizing agents into the environment, includes compartments for holding infant care products and provides visual and audible stimulation to promote cognitive development.
"It is well known that a clean and mentally stimulating environment is important for facilitating health and cognitive development in an infant. An infant's room is often contaminated with airborne bacteria, unhealthy micro-organisms, germs and other unhealthy conditions in the actual dwelling, such as odors, mold, dirt and, or dust, which can adversely affect an infant's health and cognitive development. Sanitizing agents are typically provided in spray cans or bottles, which require the cognizant caretaker to remember to use them. In fact, they may be harmful if used improperly or excessively or by a child. It is also known that infant brains develop and mature when an infant is exposed to visual, audible and tactile stimulation. Colorful and audible mobiles are known in the art but are limited to providing visual and/or audible stimulation. Infant sanitization and brain stimulating products historically comprise separate articles. However, given the dual needs and concerns, it would be beneficial to provide a safe and effective infant stimulation and environment sterilizing device.
"Ultraviolet radiation or UVC is reportedly a reliable and safe sterilizing/sanitizing alternative, but has not been effectively adapted for automatically or controllably sterilizing an infant's immediate environment and items. UV-C, also known as germicidal irradiation, lies in the spectrum between 100 and 280 nanometers (nm) and is used for purification of air, water and surfaces. Due to its short wavelength (200 to 270 nm), UV-C penetrates the outer membrane of bacteria, yeasts, molds and viruses, attacking the DNA that makes up their structure. By breaking the chains between the two helixes within the DNA, the microorganism is rendered unable to reproduce, i.e. clinically dead.
"Visual and audible mobiles that connect to cribs also exist. However, they fail to offer any environment cleansing benefits or structure for holding infant care products in a conveniently accessible location.
"Although various sterilizing products and cognitive development devices are recognized in the prior art, they fail to adequately address or resolve the above noted concerns in a single device for sterilizing the immediate environment while facilitating cognitive growth. The applicant previously obtained U.S. Pat. No. 3,711,021 for a device that suspends from a ceiling and holds hair-grooming articles for use in hair salons, but it fails to address the above noted gap in the prior art. A device that simultaneously and reliably sterilizes an infant's environment while promoting cognitive development, as contemplated by the instant invention, is simply not known. For instance, U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,592,131; 3,100,842; 4,806,770; 4,877,964; 4,888,487; 5,023,460; 5,126,572 and 5,185,532 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,171,559 disclose toothbrush and dental instrument sanitizing devices that merely employ ultraviolet radiation as a sanitation agent. Likewise, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,625,119; 5,029,252; 5,160,699; 5,166,528; 5,487,877 and 5,979,472 and U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,461,568; 6,558,640 and 6,811,748 only describe devices that utilize ultraviolet light as a sterilizing agent.
"As noted, the aforementioned art fails to disclose a device that automatically or controllably employs and emits ultraviolet light to sterilize/sanitize an infant's ambient environment while simultaneously providing visual and audible stimulation for the infant and holding infant care products for conveniently accessible. As the background art fails to disclose a device that adequately addresses these multiple requirements in a single device, there is a need for such a device. The instant invention addresses this need by providing such a device, as contemplated by the instant invention disclosed herein."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention provides a cognitive stimulating sterilizing device for providing visual, tactile and, or audible stimulation for facilitating cognitive development in infants and toddlers while selectively releasing ultraviolet light to sterilize the surrounding ambient by breaking down airborne bacteria, unhealthy microorganisms, odors and genus and that includes storage compartments for holding health care products, such as wipes, powder and lotions and power receiving or generating devices. The cognitive stimulating sterilizing device comprises a housing adapted for removable mounting to a ceiling, wall or floor stand or removable connection to cribs, changing tables and similar furniture or a stand-alone system; ultraviolet light (UV) generating device in the housing for sanitizing objects placed in the housing and the ambient; microcontroller in electrical communication with the UV light source for automatically energizing or de-energizing the UV light source according to one or more preset times; compartments for holding selected items and incandescent light bulb for providing ambient light. The cognitive stimulating sterilizing device temporarily energizes the UV light source for a predetermined period of time, such as 3-6 minutes, when the housing is closed to sterilize items therein and releases the sterilizing ultraviolet light when the housing is opened to sanitize the ambient. The instant invention includes a microprocessor or timer that controls when power is removed from the UV light source. In the preferred embodiment, the instant invention also includes a mobile projecting from the housing to provide visual stimulation. The housing may include reflective and, or transparent surfaces for directing, reflecting and, or passing ultraviolet light. The instant invention may include visible lights, which may form patterns, using LED's or other light sources, preferably controllable by the microcontroller. The instant invention includes a support frame comprising telescopic tubing for adjusting the height of the housing and that is mountable to a crib, changing table or similar furniture by a clamping device. The tubing may include spaced holes that receive a pin for maintaining a selected elevation.
"The housing is preferably spherical, comprising two hemispheres releasably engageable together. The housing includes and, or supports visual, audible and, or tactile stimulating devices removably attached to the housing for replacement with other stimulating devices to vary the stimulation. The housing preferably includes a rotatable section, such as a selected hemisphere or auxiliary ring, for providing a rotatable mobile that may be driven by a motor. The housing may also support at least one sound-generating device having one or more sound generating options to provide audible stimulation. The housing may also provide light stimulation and, or tactile stimulation with three-dimensional objects, which may also be caused to move or vibrate. The timer may be connected to the motor for automatically and, or adjustably removing and connecting power to the motor for rotating the mobile and varying speed of rotation. In accordance with these and other objects, which will become apparent hereinafter, the instant invention will now be described with particular reference to the accompanying drawings.
"In at least one embodiment, the system also includes a sensor structured to detect the presence of a human in the surrounding area in a motion-independent manner, such as by infrared (IR), thermal or other electromagnetic or energy emissions. This sensor may be digital, although preferably is analog so as to detect not only emissions, but also fluctuations in those emissions. The sensor is in electrical communication with the microcontroller, such that the UV light source may be activated and/or deactivated based on the readings detected from the sensor. In still other embodiments, the system includes an actuator in mechanical communication with the sensor so as to induce mechanical motion of the sensor or a portion thereof, such as a lens, in order to emulate or induce artificial fluctuations in emissions. Finally, an alarm is present in some embodiments and is structured to emit a warning when a human is detected within an unacceptable distance from an active UV light source.
"These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become clearer when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
"FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention shown in extended and retracted positions.
"FIG. 2 is an elevational view of another embodiment of the present invention shown in a partially extended position attached to a changing table and having a retraction unit.
"FIG. 3 is a partially exploded view of one embodiment of the instant invention illustrating removable trays and accessories such as bottle warmers.
"FIG. 4 is a plan view of the lower housing sphere of the instant invention showing the compartments and a bottle in a warmer.
"FIG. 5 is a plan view of the upper housing sphere of the instant invention showing the ultraviolet light source.
"FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the timer of the instant invention.
"FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the instant invention.
"FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention mounted to a ceiling and shown in extended and retracted positions.
"FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention mounted to a wall and shown in extended and retracted positions.
"FIG. 10 is an electrical block diagram of one embodiment of the present invention incorporating microcontroller.
"FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention mounted to a ceiling and showing a sensor and alarm.
"FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention mounted to a wall and showing a sensor and alarm.
"FIG. 13 is an electrical block diagram of one embodiment of the present invention incorporating a sensor.
"Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Tantillo, Sylvia. Infant Stimulation and Environment Sterilizing Device. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Electronics, Microcontroller, Electrical Communication.
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