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Wheelchair having a height adjustable seat

Abstract
A height adjustable seat for wheelchair having a frame, wheels, a wheelchair seat and back operably connected thereto includes a base with connector for connecting the base to the frame of the wheelchair, a seat, and an elevator operably connecting the base and the seat for adjustably elevating the seat to a selectable height, a remote control therefor, and wherein there are provided an anti-pinch point covers and torsion spring mechanisms to aid the elevation of the seat.

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Inventors: Bell, Dale A.; (Wilmington, OH)
Correspondence Name and Address: R. William Graham
22 S. St. Clair St.
Dayton
OH
45402
US


Serial No.: 904588
Series Code: 09
Filed: July 13, 2001

U.S. Current Class: 297/344.17
U.S. Class at Publication: 297/344.17
Intern'l Class: A47C 001/02

 

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Claims

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What is claimed is:

1. A wheelchair having a height adjustable seat, comprising: a frame having a pair of laterally disposed side members, wherein each said side member has a seat supporting bar and a wheel supporting hub; a wheel operably connected to each said hub; and a seat having a base with means for connecting said base to said side members and means operably connecting said base and said seat for adjustably elevating said seat to a selectable height, wherein said elevation means includes scissor like support members which interconnect said base and said seat to move between an extended raised position and a retracted lower position, and having a spring connected to said support members to normally bias said support members toward said extended raised position, and a motor operably connected to said support members to further aid in movement of said support members between said positions.

2. The wheelchair having a height adjustable seat according to claim 1, wherein said seat includes means for collapsing said wheelchair with said height adjustable seat connected thereto.

3. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 2, wherein said base is pivotally connected to said wheelchair frame.

4. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 1, which further includes a remote control operatively associated with said motor for controlling operation of said motor.

5. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 1, which further includes at least one anti-pinch point cover which extends from said seat over a portion of said wheelchair.

6. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 5, wherein said portion is an arm of said wheelchair.

7. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 5, wherein said portion is a leg support of said wheelchair

8. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 5, wherein said portion is a back of said wheelchair

9. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 1, which further includes an expandable boot cover which extends from said seat to said base.

10. A wheelchair having a height adjustable seat, comprising. a frame having a pair of laterally disposed side members, wherein each said side member has a seat supporting bar and a wheel supporting hub; a wheel operably connected to each said hub; a seat having a base with means for connecting said base to said side members and means operably connecting said base and said seat for adjustably elevating said seat to a selectable height; and at least one anti-pinch point cover which extends from said seat over a portion of said wheelchair.

11. The wheelchair having a height adjustable seat according to claim 10, wherein said seat includes means for collapsing said wheelchair with said height adjustable seat connected thereto.

12. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 11, wherein said base is pivotally connected to said wheelchair frame.

13. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 10, which further includes a remote control operatively associated with said motor for controlling operation of said motor.

14. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 10, wherein said elevation means includes scissor like support members which interconnect said base and said seat to move between an extended raised position and a retracted lower position, and having a spring connected to said support members to normally bias said support members toward said extended raised position, and a motor operably connected to said support members to further aid in movement of said support members between said positions.

15. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 10, wherein said portion is an arm of said wheelchair.

16. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 10, wherein said portion is a leg support of said wheelchair.

17. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 10, wherein said portion is a back of said wheelchair.

18. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 10, which further includes an expandable boot cover which extends from said seat to said base.

19. A wheelchair having a height adjustable seat, comprising: a frame having a pair of laterally disposed side members, wherein each said side member has a seat supporting bar and a wheel supporting hub; a wheel operably connected to each said hub; a seat having a base with means for connecting said base to said side members and means operably connecting said base and said seat for adjustably elevating said seat to a selectable height; and wherein said seat includes means for collapsing said wheelchair with said height adjustable seat connected thereto.

20. The wheelchair having a height adjustable seat according to claim 19, at least one anti-pinch point cover which extends from said seat over a portion of said wheelchair.

21. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 19, wherein said base is pivotally connected to said wheelchair frame.

22. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 19, which further includes a remote control operatively associated with said motor for controlling operation of said motor.

23. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 19, wherein said elevation means includes scissor like support members which interconnect said base and said seat to move between an extended raised position and a retracted lower position, and having a spring connected to said support members to normally bias said support members toward said extended raised position, and a motor operably connected to said support members to further aid in movement of said support members between said positions.

24. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 20, wherein said portion is an arm of said wheelchair

25. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 20, wherein said portion is a leg support of said wheelchair.

26. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 20, wherein said portion is a back of said wheelchair.

27. The wheelchair having a adjustable seat according to claim 20, which further includes an expandable boot cover which extends from said seat to said base.
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Description

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BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] This invention concerns improvements in or relating to a height adjustable seat primarily for use on a wheelchair and like apparatus for raising and lowering a seat of a wheelchair.

[0002] The present invention is an improvement over the teachings in U.S. Pat. No. 5,695,248 which pertained to a retrofit adjustable seat for connection to a conventional wheelchair having a frame, wheels, a wheelchair seat and back operably connected thereto. Such a seat comprised a base with releasable connector for connecting the base to the frame of the wheelchair, a retrofit seat, and an elevator operably connecting the base and the retrofit seat for adjustably elevating the retrofit seat to a selectable height.

[0003] Even with the improvements made to the art, there remains a need to improve the art. Particularly, the height adjustable seats for a wheelchair may expose a person to certain pinch-points during operation of the seat and or wheelchair. Accordingly, the present invention aims to improve on the art to overcome the problem of pinch-point exposure thus making a device for adjusting seat height of a conventional wheelchair in a safer manner.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0004] It is an object to improve wheelchairs.

[0005] It is another object to provide an improved height adjustable seat for a wheelchair while minimizing pinch-point exposure to the user

[0006] It is yet another object to provide a height adjustable seat for a wheelchair having improved elevation apparatus.

[0007] Accordingly, the invention is directed to an anti-pinch point cover connectable to a seat for adjustably elevating the seat to a selectable height with respect to a wheel chair. In a preferred embodiment, the anti-pinch point cover includes a pair of side arm flaps and a leg flap which are associated with the height adjustable seat to extend over side arms and leg supports of a wheelchair, respectively, during operation of the height adjustable seat. The cover also includes a back support panel. There is also provided improved elevation spring based apparatus to ease the elevation of the seat. Further, a remote control is provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the retrofit adjustable seat of the present invention.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a wheelchair with the retrofit adjustable seat of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 2a is a perspective view of another embodiment wheelchair with the retrofit adjustable seat of the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a side view of the retrofit adjustable seat of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 3a is a side view of the retrofit adjustable seat of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a front view of retrofit adjustable seat of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0014] Referring to the drawings, the adjustable seat 10 which is here shown to include a base 12 which is connected to the side frame member 14 of a wheelchair W through use of brackets 16 which are fixably slidably connected to the base 12. The base 12 may be formed of any resilient and strong material, preferably a light weight plastic, providing ease of portability along with strength. It is also contemplated that the present invention may be integrally formed as part of the wheelchair W or as a retrofit seat therefor.

[0015] In the case of a retrofit, FIGS. 3 and 4 depict the brackets 16 as generally planar and elongated having an open surface 18 therein and a terminal end 20 which is slightly arcuate. Screws 22 are provided of a size such that the threads thereof are less in diameter than the open surfaces 18 and are received within threaded open surfaces 24 of the base 12 to enable connection of the brackets 16 to the base 12 When the screws 22 are loosened, the brackets 16 may be lengthwise positioned and then fixed in place by tightening screws 22 to the base 12.

[0016] When the wheelchair W is opened the wheelchair side frame members 14 typically open to a first predetermined spacing The wheelchair side members 14 open to a second maximum spacing when a person sits on the wheelchair W. The wheelchair side members 14 return to the first spacing when the person gets off the wheelchair W.

[0017] The brackets 16 are positioned such that a distance between the ends 20a and 20b are slightly greater than the second distance to accommodate the side members 14 in their maximum spaced relation The arcuate terminal ends 20a and 20b are in a fixed contact with the wheelchair side members 14 to hold the adjustable seat 10 in place until the person gets off of the wheelchair W, at which time the wheelchair side members 14 return to their first spaced relation to permit removal of the retrofit adjustable seat 10. Also, the screws 22 can be loosened to aid the removal of the retrofit adjustable seat.

[0018] Means 26 for elevating are provided and include a base support member 28 connected to the base 12, side support members 30 and 31, and a top support member 32. An end 33 of side support member 31 is hingedly connected to an end 35 of side support member 30. An end 36 of side support member 31 is hingedly connected to top support member 32 and an end 37 of side support member 30 is hingedly connected to base support member 28. Interconnecting members 38 are also provided, which interconnect ends 33 and 35 and each have a threaded open surface 40 which coaxially align. A threaded bar 42 has opposite threaded ends and threads to open surfaces 40. In this way, the side support members 30 and 31 performs scissors like function of opening and closing upon the threading and unthreading of the bar 42.

[0019] The elevating means 26 includes a motor 48 which is slidably connected to a linear race track 50 which in turn is connected to the base 12. The motor 48 includes a jointed rotatable shaft 60 extends from the motor 48 and fixably connects to the end of the threaded shaft 42. A stop 61 limits translational movement such that the threaded bar 42 does not thread beyond and out of the threaded open surfaces 40. The motor 48 can be powered by a battery 49 or other energy source, for example, which can be connected to the base 12. Further, torsion springs 58 are fixably connected at their ends to support members 30 and 31 such that they are normally in a relaxed state when the support members 30 and 31 are in an extended position and seat 44 is in a raised position. Thus, the springs 58 aid to normally bias the seat 40 toward a raised position which in turn reduces the amount of work to be done by the motor 48. It is contemplated that other springs such as extension springs can be employed, for example, interconnecting the interconnecting members 38 to further aid in raising the seat 44.

[0020] The seat 44 is connected to the top support member 32. The seat 44 preferably includes a bottom made of rigid material to support an individual when seated thereon as well as a soft cushion disposed on top of the bottom. The seat 44 may be formed in any variety of configurations. For example, the seat 44 may be formed with a central raised edge portion 46 the purpose of which is to aid in leg comfort and support to the user as well as provide additional space therebeneath for accommodating the motor 48.

[0021] An electronic controller receiver 70 is operably connected to the motor 48 and battery 49 to cause activation of the motor 48 in forward and reverse directions A remote control transmitter 71 is provided with an internal battery power source and equipped to send signals to the receiver 70 to cause rotation forward, backward or to stop rotation. Optionally, a control can operably connect to the motor 48 and battery 49 and can be disposed adjacent the seat 44 or on the wheelchair W. The control may be a hand operated switch or a joy stick mounted on a cord, for example, wherein moving the switch or joy stick one direction raises the seat 44 and moving the switch or joy stick in another direction lowers the seat.

[0022] A flexible expandable boot cover (side cover) 64 can be optionally included to cover the seat 10, elevating means 26 and base 12. The cover 64 can be of any suitable cloth or synthetic material.

[0023] An anti-pinch point cover 100 and is intended to compliment the adjustable seat 10. The anti-pinch point cover 100 can be fabricated from a polymer, polyfoam and or cloth material for example. The cover 100 may be formed of any flexible or resilient and strong material, preferably a light weight plastic and which provides ease of portability. The cover 100 includes a pair of side flaps 112 which can be connected to the base 12 and are of a sufficient length and flexibility to remain draped over a side arm members 114 of wheelchair W. Further a leg flap 116 can be connected to the base 12 and is of sufficient length and flexibility to remain draped over leg supports 118 of the wheelchair W. A back panel 120 can also be provided to connect to the seat 44 and extend upwardly to form a back rest therefor.

[0024] Finally, it is now contemplated by the inventor that the ends 20a and/or 20b can be formed in with a slot 21a, for example, and the side member 14 include a threaded bores 124 to receive locking wing nuts 23a. Thus, this provides for a substitute seat of the wheelchair W. In this embodiment, the end 20b of the brackets 16 can be loosened and slid inwardly such that the adjustable seat 10 can swing or pivot to a vertical position and hang by ends 20a. The present invention now provides a compact means for either retrofitting a conventional wheelchair or providing an integral wheelchair which includes the features of an improved height adjustable seat and means for collapsing the wheelchair with the eight adjustable seat attached thereto in a conventional manner, i.e, inwardly from the wheelchair's sides.

[0025] While the present invention has been set forth above in a preferred embodiment, it is contemplated that other modifications, improvements and derivations will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, it is contemplated that the support members 30 and 31 could be alternatively designed as shown in FIG. 3a. Accordingly, the appended claims hereto should be accorded the full scope of protection of any such modifications, improvements and derivations.

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