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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ADJUSTABLE SPRING MATTRESS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/169822
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Various systems and methods for adjusting the firmness of a spring mattress are described herein. Inflation elements having fingers may be coupled with a spring layer of a mattress to provide for inflating or deflating the fingers in the interstitial spaces defined by a group of springs of the mattress. Increasing the fluid pressure inside the fingers increases the lateral pressure on the springs. The increase in lateral pressure in turn increases the force required to compress the springs, ultimately resulting in increasing the firmness of the mattress. Conversely, decreasing the fluid pressure inside the fingers decreases the lateral pressure on the springs, which decreases the firmness of the mattress.

Inventors:
LONGMAN PAUL (US)
WELLS THOMAS (US)
Application Number:
US2018/021917
Publication Date:
September 20, 2018
Filing Date:
March 12, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ADVANCED SLEEP TECH LLC (US)
International Classes:
A47C23/047; A47C27/08; A47C27/10
Foreign References:
US5113539A1992-05-19
US20080109965A12008-05-15
US5027454A1991-07-02
US3610289A1971-10-05
US20140259417A12014-09-18
US20080093784A12008-04-24
US20100318239A12010-12-16
US20120054968A12012-03-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DELANEY, Matthew, D. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
I/we claim:

1. An adjustable spring mattress system comprising:

(a) a mattress having a firmness, wherein the firmness is adjustable;

(b) a group of springs disposed in the mattress;

(c) an interstitial space defined by the group of springs;

(d) a finger disposed in the interstitial space, wherein the finger includes a pressure, wherein the pressure is adjustable; and

wherein the firmness of the mattress is based at least in part with the pressure of the finger.

2. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 1, further comprising an inflation element, wherein the inflation element includes a base tube, wherein the finger extends from the base tube.

3. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 2, further comprising a first axis and a second axis, wherein the base tube is coaxial with the first axis, wherein the finger is coaxial with the second axis, wherein the first axis is orthogonal to the second axis.

4. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 2, further comprising a spring layer in the mattress, wherein the group of springs are disposed in the spring layer, wherein a first portion of the inflation element is disposed outside of the spring layer, wherein a second portion of the inflation element is disposed inside of the spring layer.

5. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 4, wherein the inflation element comprises a nozzle, wherein the nozzle is disposed in the first portion.

6. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 2, further comprising a cable coil disposed inside the inflation element.

7. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 1, wherein each spring in the group of springs include a spring height, wherein the finger includes a finger height, wherein the spring height is greater than the finger height.

8. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 1, further comprising a controller, wherein the controller is configured to selectively adjust the pressure.

9. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 1, wherein the group of springs comprises four springs, wherein each of the four springs are encased in a fabric to form a pocketed spring.

10. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 9, wherein the finger is configured to abut each of the four pocketed springs when the finger is adjusted to a first pressure.

11. An adjustable spring mattress system comprising:

(a) a mattress comprising:

(i) a spring layer, wherein the spring layer includes a group of springs compressible by a force, and

(ii) an interstitial space, wherein the interstitial space is defined by the group of springs,

(b) an adjustment system comprising:

(i) a finger, wherein the finger is disposed in the interstitial space, wherein the finger includes a pressure, wherein the pressure is adjustable, wherein the force is based at least in part on the pressure, wherein the adjustment system is configured to adjust the pressure in response to receiving an adjustment command; and

(c) an interface system, wherein the interface system is configured to transmit the adjustment command to the adjustment system.

12. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 11, wherein the adjustment system further comprises a pump, wherein the pump is in fluid communication with the finger, wherein the pump is configured to increase the pressure in the finger in response to the adjustment system receiving the adjustment command.

13. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 11, wherein the mattress comprises an inflation element, wherein the inflation element includes a base tube, wherein the finger extends from the base tube.

14. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 13, wherein the mattress comprises a first axis and a second axis, wherein the base tube is coaxial with the first axis, wherein the finger is coaxial with the second axis, wherein the first axis is orthogonal to the second axis.

15. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 13, wherein a first portion of the inflation element is disposed outside of the spring layer, wherein a second portion of the inflation element is disposed in the spring layer.

16. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 15, wherein the inflation element comprises a nozzle, wherein the nozzle is disposed in the first portion.

17. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 13, further comprising a cable coil disposed inside the inflation element.

18. The adjustable spring mattress system of claim 1, wherein each spring in the group of springs include a spring height, wherein the finger includes a finger height, wherein the spring height is greater than the finger height.

19. A method comprising:

(a) receiving a first command signal by an adjustment system, wherein the adjustment system is associated with a spring mattress having an adjustable firmness, wherein the first command signal is associated with increasing the firmness; (b) in response to receiving the first command signal, increasing a pressure within a finger disposed in the spring mattress, wherein the finger is disposed between a group of springs; and

(c) in response to increasing the pressure within the finger, increasing a force required to compress the group of springs and thereby increase the firmness of the spring mattress.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the group of springs comprises four springs, wherein the finger is disposed in an interstitial space defined between the four springs.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the four springs extend to a spring height, wherein the finger extends to a finger height, wherein the finger height is less than the spring height.

22. The method of claim 18, further comprising:

(a) actuating an interface system; and

(b) in response to actuating the interface system, sending the first command signal to the adjustment system.

23. The method of claim 22, further comprising sending the first command signal wirelessly to a wireless module of the adjustment system.

24. The method of claim 18, further comprising:

(a) receiving a second command signal by the adjustment system, wherein the second command signal is associated with decreasing the firmness;

(b) in response to receiving the second command signal, decreasing the pressure within the finger; and

(c) in response to decreasing the pressure within the finger, decreasing the force required to compress the group of springs and thereby decrease the firmness of the spring mattress.

25. The method of claim 18, wherein the finger is in fluid communication with a base tube. The method of claim 25, further comprising pumping fluid into the base tube to increase the pressure in the finger.

The method of claim 25, further comprising disposing a cable coil in the base tube.

Description:
ADJUSTABLE SPRING MATTRESS

BACKGROUND

[0001] In some instances, it may be desirable to provide a mattress having a particular firmness. However, mattress firmness is a personal preference and therefore a mattress may provide a satisfactory firmness for one user, while the same firmness will be unsatisfactory to another user. Air mattresses easily provide for an adjustable firmness, as the air mattress is essentially a large balloon that may be inflated or deflated as desired.

[0002] While customers enjoy the adjustable firmness of air mattresses, consumers often note that spring mattresses are the most comfortable overall when compared to foam and air mattresses. Unfortunately, inasmuch as mattress springs are formed from coiled metal such as tempered steel, the tension of the spring is not directly adjustable. Therefore, a spring mattress with an adjustable firmness would combine two highly desirable mattress features into a signal mattress.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003] While the specification concludes with claims which particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention, it is believed the present invention will be better understood from the following description of certain examples taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify the same elements and in which:

[0004] FIG. 1 depicts a diagrammatic view of an exemplary operating environment of an exemplary adjustable spring mattress system;

[0005] FIG. 2 depicts a diagrammatic view of an exemplary computer of the adjustable spring mattress system of FIG. 1;

[0006] FIG. 3 depicts a perspective view of an exemplary mattress of the adjustable spring mattress system of FIG. 1;

[0007] FIG. 4 depicts an exploded view of the various exemplary layers of the mattress of FIG. 3, including an exemplary spring layer;

[0008] FIG. 5 depicts a side elevational view of an exemplary pocketed spring of the spring layer of FIG. 4;

[0009] FIG. 6 depicts a side elevational view of an exemplary inflation element of an exemplary adjustment system of the adjustable spring mattress system of FIG. 1 with parts cut away to reveal an exemplary cable coil therein;

[00010] FIG. 7 depicts a perspective view of the cable coil of FIG. 6;

[00011] FIG. 8 depicts a perspective view of the spring layer of FIG. 4 with inflation elements of FIG. 6 disposed therein;

[00012] FIG. 9 depicts an enlarged perspective view of FIG. 8;

[00013] FIG. 10 depicts a diagrammatic view of the spring layer of FIG. 4 with the adjustment system of FIG. 6, and an exemplary interface system;

[00014] FIG. 11 depicts a side elevational view of inflation elements of FIG. 6 having a different number of exemplary fingers;

[00015] FIG. 12 depicts a side elevational view of two pocketed springs of FIG. 5 with an exemplary finger of the inflation element adjacent the two pocketed springs and in a generally deflated state;

[00016] FIG. 13 depicts a top plan view of four pocketed springs of FIG. 5 defining an exemplary interstitial space therebetween, with the finger of FIG. 12 disposed therein and in a generally deflated state;

[00017] FIG. 14 depicts a side elevational view of two pocketed springs of FIG. 5 with an exemplary finger of the inflation element adjacent the two pocketed springs and in a generally inflated state;

[00018] FIG. 15 depicts a top plan view of four pocketed springs of FIG. 5 defining an exemplary interstitial space therebetween, with the finger of FIG. 14 disposed therein and in a generally inflated state;

[00019] FIG. 16 depicts a front elevational view of an exemplary handheld device of the adjustable spring mattress system of FIG. 1 projecting an exemplary graphical user interface;

[00020] FIG. 17 depicts a flowchart of an exemplary method for adjusting a firmness of a spring mattress;

[00021] FIG. 18 depicts a flowchart of another exemplary method for adjusting a firmness of a spring mattress;

[00022] FIG. 19 depicts a side elevational view of two pocketed springs of FIG. 5 with another exemplary inflation element adjacent the two pocketed springs; and

[00023] FIG. 20 depicts a side elevational view of two exemplary hourglass- shaped pocketed springs with another exemplary inflation element adjacent the two hourglass- shaped pocketed springs.

[00024] The drawings are not intended to be limiting in any way, and it is contemplated that various embodiments of the invention may be carried out in a variety of other ways, including those not necessarily depicted in the drawings. The accompanying drawings incorporated in and forming a part of the specification illustrate several aspects of the present invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention; it being understood, however, that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements shown.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[00025] The following description of certain examples of the invention should not be used to limit the scope of the present invention. Other examples, features, aspects, embodiments, and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description, which is by way of illustration, one of the best modes contemplated for carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other different and obvious aspects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions should be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

[00026] It will be appreciated that any one or more of the teachings, expressions, versions, examples, etc. described herein may be combined with any one or more of the other teachings, expressions, versions, examples, etc. that are described herein. The following- described teachings, expressions, versions, examples, etc. should therefore not be viewed in isolation relative to each other. Various suitable ways in which the teachings herein may be combined will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the teachings herein. Such modifications and variations are intended to be included within the scope of the claims.

[00027] I. Exemplary Adjustable Spring Mattress System

[00028] An adjustable spring mattress system (1) is shown and described in FIGS. 1-16.

As shown in FIG. 1, an operating environment (10) of adjustable mattress system (1) includes a mattress (3) associated with an adjustment system (5) and an interface system (7). In general, adjustment system (5) is configured to receive adjustment commands from interface system (7) and adjust the firmness of mattress (3) in accordance with the adjustment commands.

[00029] In some versions of operating environment (10), adjustment system (5) and interface system (7) may send and receive communications data between one another directly via a wired or wireless connection. Alternatively, in other versions of operating environment (10), adjustment system (5) and interface system (7) may send and receive communications data between one another indirectly through a network (24). Network (24) may include one or more private or public networks (e.g. the Internet) that enable the exchange of data.

[00030] A. Exemplary Computer System

[00031] Referring now to FIG. 2, all or portions of adjustment system (5), interface system

(7), and network (24) of operating environment (10) may be implemented on one or more computing devices or systems, such as an exemplary computer system (26). Computer system (26) may include a processor (28), a memory (20), a mass storage memory device (32), an input/output (I/O) interface (34), and a Human Machine Interface (HMI) (22). Computer system (26) may also be operatively coupled to one or more external resources (23) via network (24) or an I/O interface (21). External resources may include, but are not limited to, servers, databases, mass storage devices, peripheral devices, cloud-based network services, or any other suitable computer resource that may be used by computer system (26). [00032] Processor (28) may include one or more devices selected from microprocessors, micro-controllers, digital signal processors, microcomputers, central processing units, field programmable gate arrays, programmable logic devices, state machines, logic circuits, analog circuits, digital circuits, or any other devices that manipulate signals (analog or digital) based on operational instructions that are stored in memory (20). Memory (20) may include a single memory device or a plurality of memory devices including, but not limited, to read-only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), volatile memory, non-volatile memory, static random-access memory (SRAM), dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), flash memory, cache memory, or any other device capable of storing information. Mass storage memory device (32) may include data storage devices such as a hard drive, optical drive, tape drive, non-volatile solid-state device, or any other device capable of storing information.

[00033] Processor (28) may operate under the control of an operating system (40) that resides in memory (20). Operating system (40) may manage computer resources so that computer program code embodied as one or more computer software applications, such as an application (42) residing in memory (20), may have instructions executed by processor (28). In an alternative embodiment, processor (28) may execute the application (42) directly, in which case operating system (40) may be omitted. One or more data structures (44) may also reside in memory (20), and may be used by processor (28), operating system (40), or application (42) to store or manipulate data.

[00034] I/O interface (21) may provide a machine interface that operatively couples processor (28) to other devices and systems, such as network (24) or external resource (23). Application (42) may thereby work cooperatively with network (24) or external resource (23) by communicating via I/O interface (21) to provide the various features, functions, applications, processes, or modules comprising embodiments of the invention. Application (42) may also have program code that is executed by one or more external resources (23), or otherwise rely on functions or signals provided by other system or network components external to computer system (26). Indeed, given the nearly endless hardware and software configurations possible, persons having ordinary skill in the art will understand that embodiments of the invention may include applications that are located externally to computer system (26), distributed among multiple computers or other external resources (23), or provided by computing resources (hardware and software) that are provided as a service over network (24), such as a cloud computing service.

[00035] HMI (22) may be operatively coupled to processor (28) of computer system (26) in a known manner to allow a user to interact directly with computer system (26). HMI (22) may include video or alphanumeric displays, a touch screen, a speaker, and any other suitable audio and visual indicators capable of providing data to the user. HMI (22) may also include input devices and controls such as an alphanumeric keyboard, a pointing device, keypads, pushbuttons, control knobs, microphones, etc., capable of accepting commands or input from the user and transmitting the entered input to processor (28).

[00036] A database (46) may reside on mass storage memory device (32), and may be used to collect and organize data used by the various systems and modules described herein. Database (46) may include data and supporting data structures that store and organize the data. In particular, database (46) may be arranged with any database organization or structure including, but not limited to, a relational database, a hierarchical database, a network database, or combinations thereof. A database management system in the form of a computer software application executing as instructions on processor (28) may be used to access the information or data stored in records of database (46) in response to a query, where a query may be dynamically determined and executed by operating system (40), other applications (42), or one or more modules.

[00037] B. Exemplary Mattress

[00038] As shown in FIG. 3, mattress (3) extends lengthwise from a head end (9) to a foot end (11) and widthwise from a first side (13) to a second side (15). Mattress (3) extends depth wise from a bottom (14) of mattress (3) to a top (16). Top (16) of mattress (3) includes a top surface (17). As shown in FIG. 4, in general, mattress (3) is formed from a plurality of comfort layers (19) and a spring layer (27). Comfort layers (19) are formed of various compressible materials or elements and coupled with a base or encasement, depicted in FIG. 4 as a base encasement (31). Comfort layers (19) provide comfortable support for a user laying on top surface (17) of mattress (3). [00039] Referring to FIG. 4, comfort layers (19) of mattress (3) may include one or more of a quilted fabric cover layer (19A), a fire barrier layer (19B), a quilting foam layer (19C), a support foam layer (19D), a nano coils layer (19E), a foam layer (19F), a support foam layer (19G), a breathable fabric panel layer (19H), and a foundational support foam layer (191). Some of the particular comfort layers (19) are disposed in a chamber (29) defined in part by a reinforced edge support (30) and base encasement (31). Those comfort layers (19) not disposed in chamber (29) can overlay base encasement (31). Comfort layers (19) are secured together by way of gluing, sewing, or otherwise sandwiching between other adjacent comfort layers (19) to form mattress (3). In the exemplary mattress (3) depicted in FIG. 4, quilted fabric cover layer (19A) provides top surface (17) as the outermost layer.

[00040] As shown in FIGS 4, 5, and 8, spring layer (27) includes one or more springs (33) aligned vertically within mattress (3). Spring (33) may be formed from coiled metal such as tempered steel or plastic or any other element for forming spring (33). The force required to compress spring (33) is referred to as the "firmness" of mattress (3). When a user lays or otherwise presses on top surface (17) of mattress (3), spring (33) compresses in response to receiving the force of the user. Hereinafter, the interaction between spring (33) and the compression force will be referred to as the "firmness" of mattress (3).

[00041] Spring (33) may be disposed inside a pocket (35) formed from a fabric (37) to form a pocketed spring (38). Fabric (37) may be breathable with openings defined therethrough to allow for ambient fluid such as air to enter and leave pocket (35) as required as springs (33) are compressed and uncompressed. As noted with spring (33), the interaction between pocketed spring (38) and the compression force will also be referred to as the "firmness" of mattress (3). Each pocketed spring (38) extends from a bottom end (39) to a top end (41) and has an outer peripheral surface (43) extending between bottom end (39) and top end (41). In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), pocketed springs (38) are generally cylindrical shaped. In other versions, pocketed springs (38) are generally hourglass shaped or other non-cylindrical shapes.

[00042] As shown in FIG. 10, pocketed springs (38) are generally arranged in a plurality of columns (34) arranged between head end (9) to foot end (11) of mattress (3) and a plurality of rows (36) arranged between first side (13) and second side (15) of mattress (3). Columns (34) and/or rows (36) of pocketed springs (38) may be secured together via ultrasonic welding or gluing or any other mechanism for securing together a line of pocketed springs (38).

[00043] As shown in FIGS. 8-10, a grouping of pocketed springs (38) may define an interstitial space (43) therebetween, extending generally from bottom end (39) to top end (41) of each pocketed spring (38) in the grouping. In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), a grouping of four pocketed springs (38) define interstitial space (43). However, different spacing of pocketed springs (38) within spring layer (27) may result in a smaller or greater number of pocketed springs (38) defining interstitial space (43) therebetween.

[00044] As shown in FIG. 10, in some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), spring layer (27) may be divided into a left side (45) and a right side (47) as well as a head zone (49), a body zone (51), and a feet zone (53). Head zone (49) may include springs (33A), where springs (33A) have a particular firmness. Similarly, body zone (51) may include springs (33B) having a different particular firmness and feet zone (53) may include springs (33C) having yet another particular firmness. In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), springs (33B) of body zone (51) have a softer firmness relative to springs (33A) of head zone (51) and springs (33C) of feet zone (53). In other versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), head zone (49), body zone (51), and feet zone (53) include springs (33) having generally identical firmness. In still other versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), different zones include springs (33) having different firmness.

[00045] C. Exemplary Adjustment System

[00046] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 6-15, adjustment system (5) includes features to allow a user to dynamically change the firmness of at least a portion of spring layer (27) of mattress (3). In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), adjustment system (5) includes features to allow a user to dynamically adjust body zone (51) of spring layer (27). In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), adjustment system (5) includes features to allow a user to dynamically adjust body zone (51) of left side (45) to a particular firmness and body zone (51) of right side (47) to a different particular firmness. In other versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), the firmness of the entire spring layer (27) or any other parts thereof may be adjusted by the user.

[00047] Adjustment system (5) includes at least one inflation element (55) configured to selectively hold a fluid therein. The fluid may be a liquid or a gas, including air from the ambient environment. Inflation element (55) extends from a first end (57) to a second end (58). Some versions of inflation element (55) include base tube (59) extending from first end (57) to second end (58) and a plurality of fingers (61) extending from base tube (59) in a generally orthogonal orientation. In some versions of inflation element (55), base tube (59) is co-axial with a first axis (A), one of the plurality of fingers (61) is coaxial with a second axis (B), and first axis (A) and second axis (B) are substantially orthogonal to one another. Base tube (59) defines a base tube chamber (63) extending generally from first end (57) to second end (58). Each finger (61) defines a finger chamber (65), whereby each finger chamber (65) is in fluid communication with base tube chamber (63). Each finger (61) extends from base tube (59) to a tip (67) and includes an outer peripheral surface (69). A pitch (71) is defined by the distance between each tip (67) of two adjacent fingers (61).

[00048] Inflation element (55) includes a first portion (56) generally disposed at first end

(57) and a second portion (60) comprised of the remainder of inflation element (55) and extending to second end (58). As shown in FIG. 8, in some versions of inflation element (55), first portion (56) of inflation element (55) is disposed outside of spring layer (27) and second portion (60) is disposed inside spring layer (27).

[00049] A nozzle (73) is disposed in first portion (56) and extends from first end (57).

Nozzle (73) is in fluid communication with base tube chamber (63) and finger chambers (65). As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, a cable coil (75) can be disposed along the length of base tube (59) inside base tube chamber (63). Cable coil (75) extends from a first end (76) to a second end (77). In some versions of inflation element (55), first end (76) is disposed proximate nozzle (73), while second end (77) is disposed in finger chamber (65A) of finger (61A), which is the most distal finger (61) from nozzle (73). Cable coil (75) defines an inner channel (79) extending from first end (76) to second end (77). Cable coil (75) further defines a plurality of slits (81) along the length of inner channel (79).

[00050] As shown in FIG. 6, the placement of cable coil (75) in base tube chamber (63) provides for an even distribution of fluid such as air along the length of base tube (59) and each finger (61). As fluid enters nozzle (73) and base tube chamber (63), an amount of fluid enters first end (76) of cable coil (75) and proceeds into inner channel (79), traveling toward second end (77). Slits (81) provide a mechanism for the fluid to exit inner channel (79) at various points as determined by fluid dynamics and as the fluid moves from first end (76) toward second end (77). Slits (81) provide for a portion of the fluid to be transferred to fingers (61) located proximate second end (58) of inflation element (55) and more evenly and quickly distribute the incoming fluid. Without cable coil (75), incoming fluid would condense and fill each finger (61) in succession starting with the particular finger (61) closest to the nozzle. A user would feel an uneven firming of mattress (3) starting from a side and moving towards the middle of mattress (3), particularly given that a user typically lays on a bed away from the outermost edge and therefore applies pressure to the particular fingers (61) located most distally to nozzle (73).

[00051] In addition to addressing a more even distribution of fluid along the length of inflation element (55), cable coil (75) provides for maintaining base tube (59) in a generally open and non-collapsed configuration while inflation element (55) includes a minimal amount of fluid. With base tube (59) in an open configuration, base tube channel (63) is able to receive fluid and transmit the fluid along the length of base tube chamber (63) immediately without first having to open or inflate base tube (59). Similarly, as fluid exits inflation element (55), the material of base tube (59) is prevented from closing or abutting itself and trapping fluid inside inflation element (55). Still further, noise from the expelling of fluid is reduced as the sides of base tube (59) are prevented from flapping together by cable coil (75).

[00052] In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), cable coil (75) is replaced with another form of an element that provides for an even distribution of fluid along the length of base tube (59) and each finger (61) and also aids in maintaining base tube chamber (63) open and not collapsed. The element may take the form of a hose with perforations or other openings disposed on the length of the hose. The element may also include valves for releasing fluid at certain rates or positioned along the tube. A resilient, spongy, and/or porous material may be used to form all or parts of the element. Alternatively, structural element such as bracing or other features may be incorporated into inflation element (55) and configured to evenly distribute fluid along the length of base tube (59) as well as hold tube chamber (63) open. These structural elements may be incorporated into the material used to form inflation element (55). For example, metal ribs may be integrated with the material used to form inflation element (55), whereby the rips are disposed along the length of base tube (59) to hold base tube chamber (63) open. Other integrated components may also be used in place of cable coil (75).

[00053] As shown in FIG. 10, in some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), a plurality of inflation elements (55) are disposed in body zone (51) with nozzles (73) extending outwardly. For those inflation elements (55) disposed on left side (45) of spring layer (27), nozzles (73) extend toward first side (13) of mattress (3). Similarly, for those inflation elements (55) disposed on right side (47) of spring layer (27), nozzles (73) extend toward second side (15) of mattress (3). In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), nozzles (73) are configured to fluidly connect with a T-shaped splitter (83), as shown in FIG. 8. Adjacent splitters (83) are connected by way of a plurality of tubes (85) (FIG. 8) to connect each inflation element (55) to one another on each side of mattress (3). An elongate tube (86A, 86B) extends from the first inflation element (55) on each side. Elongate tubes (86A, 86B, together with splitters (83) and tube (85), form an overall inflation backbone (87 A, 87B) along the length of body zone (51).

[00054] In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), each alternating inflation element (55) includes an alternating number of fingers (61) associated therewith. For example, inflation elements (55) having six fingers (61) may be interlaced with inflation elements (55) having five fingers (61). To generalize, inflation elements (55) having "x" number of fingers (61) may be interlaced with inflation elements (55) having "x-1" number of fingers (61). As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, inflation elements (55A) and inflation elements (55B) may be alternatingly disposed in spring layer (27). This alternating of inflation elements (55A, 55B) offsets each finger (61A, 61B) relative to each other and more evenly distributes fingers (61) within mattress (3). In order to properly align inflation element (55B) with inflation element (55A) and maintain fluid communication with inflation backbone (87), base tube (59B) of inflation element (55B) is elongated relative to base tube (59A) of inflation element (55 A).

[00055] Adjustment system (5) further includes a controller (89). Controller (89) is configured to adjust the fluid pressure inside each finger (61) of each inflation element (55) disposed in a selected portion of mattress (3), such as left side (45) or right side (47) and thereby adjust the firmness of the respective portion of mattress (3). Each elongate tube (86A, 86B) extends from the first inflation element (55) on each side to controller (89) to fluidly connect each inflation backbone (87A, 87B) thereto. In general, controller (89) selectively provides fluid into either inflation backbone (87A, 87B) as desired to inflate each inflation element (55) on the selected portion of mattress (3). Similarly, controller (89) selectively releases fluid from either inflation backbone (87A, 87B) to deflate each inflation element (55) on the selected portion of mattress (3). In some versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1), controller (89) comprises an air pump assembly configured to pump ambient air into the selected inflation backbone (87A, 87B) and release air from the selected inflation backbone (87A, 87B) as desired to change the firmness of mattress (3). In other versions, controller (89) comprises a water pump assembly configured to pump water from a water reservoir into and out of the selected inflation backbone (87A, 87B) to change the firmness of mattress (3).

[00056] Some versions of controller (89) may include a wireless module (91). Wireless module (91) may utilize Bluetooth® technology or other similar near field wireless transmission protocols to interact wirelessly with interface system (7). Some versions of controller (89) include a communication wire (93) for interacting with interface system (7) through a wired connection to controller (89).

[00057] As shown in FIGS. 8-10, inflation elements (55) may be disposed within spring layer (27), either in between various columns (34) or rows (36) of pocketed springs (38). In the example shown in FIG. 10, inflation elements (55) are disposed between rows (36) in body zone (51) on each side of mattress (3). The pressure inside inflation elements (55) is adjustable by the user. By adjusting the pressure inside inflation elements (55), the firmness of the adjacent pocketed springs (38) is correspondingly adjusted. The firmness of the adjustable portion of mattress (3), such as body zone (51), is dependent on the pressure inside fingers (61), as fingers (61) are positioned to apply lateral pressure to any adjacent pocketed springs (38) and increase or decrease the force required to compress pocketed springs (38). For example, if pressure inside inflation elements (55) is increased, the lateral pressure on the adjacent pocketed springs (38) is increased. If the lateral pressure on pocketed springs (38) is increased, the force required to compress pocketed springs (38) is increased. This force required to compress pocketed springs (38) is also known as the "firmness" of pocketed springs (38). Similarly, if pressure inside inflation elements (55) is decreased, the lateral pressure on pocketed springs (38) is decreased along with the force required to compress pocketed springs (38). Thus, the firmness of the pocketed springs (38) adjacent to fingers (61) of inflation elements (55) is also decreased. Adjustment system (5) increases or decreases firmness of mattress (3) or portions thereof through the interaction between fingers (61) and pocketed springs (38). An exemplary finger (61) is depicted in FIGS. 12 and 13 in a generally fully deflated state and disposed in interstitial space (43) defined between a group of pocketed springs (38A- 38D). In this state, the pressure inside inflation element (55) is minimal and therefore finger (61) is deflated and does not apply significant pressure against the group of pocketed springs (38), as shown in FIG. 13. Thus, the group of pocketed springs (38) are free to flex and compress naturally in accordance with their natural bias or spring tension. In some versions of mattress (3), the particular springs (33B) disposed in body zone (51) are known in the industry as "soft coils," the overall firmness of body zone (51) is minimal when fingers (61) are in a generally fully deflated state as depicted in FIGS. 12 and 13. In the mattress industry, the firmness of mattress (3) with fingers (61) in the fully deflated state can be known as "Ultra Plush" mattress. However, springs (33) in body zone (51) or any portion of mattress (3) can be as firm or as soft as desired in other versions of adjustable spring mattress system (1). [00059] An exemplary finger (61) is depicted in FIGS. 14 and 15 in a generally fully inflated state. In this state, the pressure inside inflation element (55) is near the maximum pressure supplied through controller (89) and therefore finger (61) is fully inflated. When finger (61) is fully inflated, the overall size of finger (61) is increased which results in interstitial space (43) filled entirely by finger (61) and outer surface (69) firmly abutting each of the adjacent pocketed springs (38). In response to the lateral pressure on pocketed springs (38A-38D) from finger (61), each pocketed spring (38A- 38D) is reinforced and prevented from flexing naturally due to the frictional pressure from fingers (61). The force required to compress the group of pocketed springs (38A- 38D) adjacent to finger (61) is increased as a result of the lateral pressure on pocketed springs (38A-38D) from finger (61) and thus the firmness of body zone (51), or any portion of the mattress containing pocketed springs (38A-38D), is correspondingly increased. In the fully inflated state, fingers (61) apply maximum lateral pressure to each adjacent pocketed spring (38A-38D) resulting in body zone (51) at maximum firmness. In the mattress industry, the firmness of mattress (3) with fingers (61) in the fully inflated state can be known as an "Ultra Firm" mattress.

[00060] Fingers (61) may be pressurized anywhere between the generally fully deflated state (FIG. 12) and the generally fully inflated state (FIG. 14). Thus, user is free to inflate or deflate fingers (61) as desired to correspondingly adjust the firmness of body zone (51) to provide the desired firmness. A user interacts with interface system (7) to actuate controller (89) to either pump fluid into inflation elements (55) and thereby increase the firmness of body zone (51) or to allow inflation elements (55) to deflate and thereby decrease the firmness of body zone (51). Once a user is satisfied with the firmness of body zone (51), controller (89) pneumatically holds the volume of fluid in inflation backbone (87A, 87B) to maintain the firmness of mattress (3) at the user's desired level. While body zone (51) is provided for an exemplary portion of mattress (3), any portion of mattress (3) may be configured to receive inflation elements (55) and therefore provide adjustable firmness to the user.

[00061] In some versions of inflation element (55), fingers (61) take the form of an elongated tubular shape, similar in shape to pocketed springs (38). For example, FIG. 14 depicts the elongated tubular shape of fingers (61). Elongated tubular shaped fingers (61) extend into interstitial space (43) defined between adjacent pocketed springs (38). However, fingers (61) terminate at tip (67) so as not to extend the full length of pocketed springs (38) to prevent fingers (61) from providing the compression forces of mattress (3) in place of springs (33). Thus, while fingers (61) are adjacent to and extending in the same vertical orientation as pocketed springs (38), fingers (61) are shorter than pocketed springs (38) and do not extend the entire length of interstitial space (43), as can be seen in FIGS. 12 and 14.

[00062] As shown in FIG. 10, inasmuch as mattress (3) includes left side (45) having inflation backbone (87 A) and right side (47) having inflation backbone (87B), the firmness of each side of mattress (3) can be independently adjusted. A user may adjust firmness of left side (45) to a desired firmness by adjusting the inflation and pressure of those fingers (61) disposed in left side (45). Similarly, the user may independently adjust firmness of right side (47) to a different desired firmness by adjusting the inflation and pressure of those fingers (61) disposed in right side (45).

[00063] D. Exemplary Alternative Inflation Element

[00064] As shown in FIG. 19, an alternative exemplary inflation element (155) may be incorporated into adjustment system (5) of mattress (3). Inflation element (155) is similar in most respects to inflation element (55). However, inflation element (155) includes a base tube (159) having an elongated flattened profile and is formed without fingers (61). Inflation element (155) is configured to press and abut against pocketed springs (38) in a lateral direction similar to fingers (61) of inflation element (55) and be inflated and deflated to increase and decrease the lateral pressure on pocketed springs (38) as described above with fingers (61). However, rather than fingers (61), the elongated flattened profile of base tube (159) is configured to provide the lateral abutment.

[00065] As shown in FIG. 20, an alternative exemplary inflation element (255) may be incorporated into adjustment system (5) of mattress (3). Inflation element (255) is similar in most respects to inflation element (55). However, inflation element (255) includes a base tube (259) having an elongated rounded profile and is formed without fingers (61). Rather than pocketed springs (38), which include a generally flat vertical profile, inflation element (255) is configured to align with a plurality of hourglass -shaped springs (233) disposed in a fabric (237) to form a pocketed spring (238). Pocketed springs (238) aligned in a row or column define a rounded opening (262) therebetween. The rounded profile of inflation element (255) is generally shaped to fit within the profile of rounded opening (262). As pressure inside inflation element (255) is increased or decreased, inflation element (255) abuts pocketed springs (238) to adjust the firmness of mattress (3) as described above with respect to inflation element (55) and pocketed springs (38).

[00066] While inflation element (155) and inflation element (255) are shown and described herein, inflation element may be formed in any shape, particularly those complementary to the profile of the space defined between two adjacent pocketed springs, such as pocketed springs (38) and pocketed springs (238). For example, a diamond shaped space may be defined between two adjacent pocketed springs and thus a complementary diamond- shaped inflation element may be provided for use in adjustment system (5).

[00067] E. Exemplary Interface System

[00068] As shown in FIGS. 1, 10, and 16, interface system (7) provides a user interface for adjustment system (5). The user of mattress (3) manipulates and controls interface system (7) to make firmness adjustments to one or both of left side (45) or right side (47) as desired. As detailed above, manipulation of interface system (7) actuates controller (89) of adjustment system (5) to either increase or decrease the pressure inside fingers (61) of inflation elements (55), thereby increasing or decreasing the firmness of the associated side of mattress (3).

[00069] With reference to FIGS. 10 and 16, interface system (7) includes a graphical user interface (95) on a handheld device (97). All or portions of handheld device (97) may be implemented on one or more computing devices or systems, such as exemplary computer (26) as described above. Handheld device (97) may be connected to controller (89) by a wire, such as handheld device (97 A) and communication wire (93) of FIG. 10. Handheld device (97) may be connected to controller (89) through network (24) and a wireless connection, such as handheld device (97B) and wireless module (91). Bluetooth® or other wireless protocols may be used to wirelessly transmit data between handheld device (97B) and wireless module (91). Handheld device (97B) may be an off-the-shelf mobile computing device such as a cellular telephone, with graphical user interface (95) provided through an application downloaded onto the mobile computing device, similar to application (42) as previously described.

[00070] Some versions of interface system (7) provide the user with the option to selectively use either a wired handheld device (97 A) or a wireless handheld device (97B). For example, if a wireless handheld device (97B) is not available, the user may then use the wired handheld device (97 A) to adjust the firmness of mattress (3).

[00071] Graphical user interface (95) includes several buttons for actuating various features of adjustment system (5). One or more side selector buttons (99) are provided through graphical user interface (95). By depressing, selecting, or otherwise actuating side selector buttons (98), the user signifies to controller (89) which side of mattress (3) the user intends to adjust with respect to firmness, either left side (45) or right side (47). A firmness adjustment button (99) is provided through graphical user interface (95). By depressing, selecting, or otherwise actuating firmness adjustment button (99), the user can adjust the firmness of mattress (3) with respect to the selected left side (45) or right side (47). In the exemplary firmness adjustment button (99) depicted in FIG. 16, a virtual scroll wheel is provided for the user to dial in the directions represented by Arrow A and Arrow B to adjust the firmness of mattress (3).

[00072] In operation, to adjust the firmness of a particular side of mattress (3), the user grasps handheld device (97) and begins to interact with graphical user interface (95). If the user wants to change the firmness of left side (45), the user actuates side selector button (98) to select left side (45), as depicted in FIG. 16. Thereafter, the user actuates firmness adjustment button (99). If the user wants to increase the firmness of left side (45), the user moves firmness adjustment button (99) in the direction of Arrow A. If the user wants to decrease the firmness of left side (45), the user moves firmness adjustment button (99) in the direction of Arrow B.

[00073] Interface system (7) is operably connected with controller (89), and thus selecting a side through side selector button (98) and adjusting firmness through firmness adjustment button (99) actuates controller (89) to either increase or decrease the pressure inside those inflation elements (55) disposed on the selected side. This in turn adjusts the lateral pressure on pocketed springs (38) from those fingers (61) abutting pocketed springs (38) on the selected side. The lateral pressure from fingers (61) changes the compression force needed to compress springs (33) and thus adjusts the firmness of the selected side.

[00074] Once the firmness is at the desired level, the user closes the application or otherwise ends the user's interaction with interface system (7). The firmness of the selected side will be maintained until the next adjustment by the user through an interaction with interface system (7).

[00075] II. Exemplary Adjustable Spring Mattress Method

[00076] An adjustable spring mattress method (101) is depicted in FIG. 17. Method (101) begins with a step (103), whereby a user selects a mattress portion such as a mattress side for firmness adjustment via a side selector button of an interface system, which may be similar to interface system (7) and side selector button (98) as described above. Thereafter, step (103) proceeds to a step (105), whereby the user selects a firmness adjustment via a firmness adjustment button of the interface system. The firmness adjustment button may be similar to firmness adjustment button (99) as described above. Thereafter, step (103) proceeds to a step (107) whereby a controller is actuated in accordance with the selected mattress side and firmness adjustment of steps (103) and (105). The controller may be similar to controller (89) as described above. Thereafter, step (107) proceeds to a step (109). In step (109), the pressure in the relevant inflation elements is changed in accordance with the selected mattress side and the firmness adjustment. For example, if the user desired to increase the firmness of the left side of the mattress, the pressure in the left side inflation elements is increased to the desired firmness. Thereafter, method (101) terminates.

[00077] An adjustable spring mattress method (201) is depicted in FIG. 18. Method (201) begins with a step (203). In step (203), a determination is made regarding whether a first control signal has been received. If step (203) determines that a first control signal has been received, step (203) proceeds to a step (205). If step (203) determines that a first control signal has not been received, step (203) proceeds to a step (207). In step (205), the pressure of the relevant inflation elements, as specified as part of the first control signal, as increased. This increases the firmness of the mattress. Thereafter, step (205) proceeds to step (207).

[00078] In step (207), a determination is made regarding whether a second control signal has been received. If step (207) determines that a second control signal has not been received, step (207) proceeds back to step (203). If step (207) determines that a second control signal has been received, step (207) proceeds to a step (209). In step (209), the pressure of the relevant inflation elements, as specified as part of the second control signal, as decreased. This decreases the firmness of the mattress. Thereafter, step (209) proceeds back to step (203) and method (201) repeats the above described steps, continuously determining whether a first control signal or a second control signal has been received and inflating/deflating the relevant inflation elements accordingly.

[00079] III. Exemplary Combinations

[00080] The following examples relate to various non-exhaustive ways in which the teachings herein may be combined or applied. It should be understood that the following examples are not intended to restrict the coverage of any claims that may be presented at any time in this application or in subsequent filings of this application. No disclaimer is intended. The following examples are being provided for nothing more than merely illustrative purposes. It is contemplated that the various teachings herein may be arranged and applied in numerous other ways. It is also contemplated that some variations may omit certain features referred to in the below examples. Therefore, none of the aspects or features referred to below should be deemed critical unless otherwise explicitly indicated as such at a later date by the inventors or by a successor in interest to the inventors. If any claims are presented in this application or in subsequent filings related to this application that include additional features beyond those referred to below, those additional features shall not be presumed to have been added for any reason relating to patentability.

[00081] Example 1

[00082] An adjustable spring mattress system comprising: (a) a mattress having a firmness, wherein the firmness is adjustable; (b) a group of springs disposed in the mattress; (c) an interstitial space defined by the group of springs; (d) a finger disposed in the interstitial space, wherein the finger includes a pressure, wherein the pressure is adjustable; and wherein the firmness of the mattress is associated with the pressure of the finger.

[00083] Example 2

[00084] The adjustable spring mattress system of Example 1 or any of the subsequent

Examples, further comprising an inflation element, wherein the inflation element includes a base tube, wherein the finger extends from the base tube.

[00085] Example 3

[00086] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, further comprising a first axis and a second axis, wherein the base tube is coaxial with the first axis, wherein the finger is coaxial with the second axis, wherein the first axis is orthogonal to the second axis.

[00087] Example 4

[00088] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, further comprising a spring layer in the mattress, wherein the group of springs are disposed in the spring layer, wherein a first portion of the inflation element is disposed outside of the spring layer, wherein a second portion of the inflation element is disposed inside of the spring layer.

[00089] Example 5

[00090] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, wherein the inflation element comprises a nozzle, wherein the nozzle is disposed in the first portion.

[00091] Example 6

[00092] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, further comprising a cable coil disposed inside the inflation element.

[00093] Example 7

[00094] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, wherein each spring in the group of springs include a spring height, wherein the finger includes a finger height, wherein the spring height is greater than the finger height.

[00095] Example 8

[00096] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, further comprising a controller, wherein the controller is configured to selectively adjust the pressure.

[00097] Example 9

[00098] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent

Examples, wherein the group of springs comprises four springs, wherein each of the four springs are encased in a fabric to form a pocketed spring.

[00099] Example 10

[000100] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the finger is configured to abut each of the four pocketed springs when the finger is adjusted to a first pressure.

[000101] Example 11

[000102] An adjustable spring mattress system comprising: (a) a mattress comprising: (i) a spring layer, wherein the spring layer includes a group of springs compressible by a force, (ii) an interstitial space, wherein the interstitial space is defined by the group of springs, and (iii) a finger, wherein the finger is disposed in the interstitial space, wherein the finger includes a pressure, wherein the pressure is adjustable, wherein the force is based at least in part on the pressure, and (b) an adjustment system, wherein the adjustment system is configured to adjust the pressure in response to receiving an adjustment command; and (c) an interface system, wherein the interface system is configured to transmit the adjustment command to the adjustment system.

[000103] Example 12

[000104] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the adjustment system further comprises a pump, wherein the pump is in fluid communication with the finger, wherein the pump is configured to increase the pressure in the finger in response to the adjustment system receiving the adjustment command.

[000105] Example 13

[000106] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the mattress comprises an inflation element, wherein the inflation element includes a base tube, wherein the finger extends from the base tube.

[000107] Example 14

[000108] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the mattress comprises a first axis and a second axis, wherein the base tube is coaxial with the first axis, wherein the finger is coaxial with the second axis, wherein the first axis is orthogonal to the second axis.

[000109] Example 15

[000110] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein a first portion of the inflation element is disposed outside of the spring layer, wherein a second portion of the inflation element is disposed in the spring layer.

[000111] Example 16

[000112] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the inflation element comprises a nozzle, wherein the nozzle is disposed in the first portion.

[000113] Example 17

[000114] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, further comprising a cable coil disposed inside the inflation element.

[000115] Example 18

[000116] The adjustable spring mattress system of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein each spring in the group of springs include a spring height, wherein the finger includes a finger height, wherein the spring height is greater than the finger height. [000117] Example 19

[000118] A method comprising: (a) receiving a first command signal by an adjustment system, wherein the adjustment system is associated with a spring mattress having an adjustable firmness, wherein the first command signal is associated with increasing the firmness; (b) in response to receiving the first command signal, increasing a pressure within a finger disposed in the spring mattress, wherein the finger is disposed between a group of springs; and (c) in response to increasing the pressure within the finger, increasing a force required to compress the group of springs and thereby increase the firmness of the spring mattress.

[000119] Example 20

[000120] The method of Example 19 or any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the group of springs comprises four springs, wherein the finger is disposed in an interstitial space defined between the four springs.

[000121] Example 21

[000122] The method of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the four springs extend to a spring height, wherein the finger extends to a finger height, wherein the finger height is less than the spring height.

[000123] Example 22

[000124] The method of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, further comprising:

(a) actuating an interface system; and (b) in response to actuating the interface system, sending the first command signal to the adjustment system.

[000125] Example 23

[000126] The method of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, further comprising sending the first command signal wirelessly to a wireless module of the adjustment system.

[000127] Example 24

[000128] The method of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, further comprising:

(a) receiving a second command signal by the adjustment system, wherein the second command signal is associated with decreasing the firmness; (b) in response to receiving the second command signal, decreasing the pressure within the finger; and (c) in response to decreasing the pressure within the finger, decreasing the force required to compress the group of springs and thereby decrease the firmness of the spring mattress.

[000129] Example 25

[000130] The method of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, wherein the finger is in fluid communication with a base tube.

[000131] Example 26

[000132] The method of any of the previous or subsequent Examples, further comprising pumping fluid into the base tube to increase the pressure in the finger.

[000133] Example 27

[000134] The method of any of the previous Examples, further comprising disposing a cable coil in the base tube.

[000135] IV. Miscellaneous

[000136] It should be understood that any of the examples described herein may include various other features in addition to or in lieu of those described above. By way of example only, any of the examples described herein may also include one or more of the various features disclosed in any of the various references that are incorporated by reference herein.

[000137] It should be understood that any one or more of the teachings, expressions, embodiments, examples, etc. described herein may be combined with any one or more of the other teachings, expressions, embodiments, examples, etc. that are described herein. The above-described teachings, expressions, embodiments, examples, etc. should therefore not be viewed in isolation relative to each other. Various suitable ways in which the teachings herein may be combined will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the teachings herein. Such modifications and variations are intended to be included within the scope of the claims.

[000138] It should be appreciated that any patent, publication, or other disclosure material, in whole or in part, that is said to be incorporated by reference herein is incorporated herein only to the extent that the incorporated material does not conflict with existing definitions, statements, or other disclosure material set forth in this disclosure. As such, and to the extent necessary, the disclosure as explicitly set forth herein supersedes any conflicting material incorporated herein by reference. Any material, or portion thereof, that is said to be incorporated by reference herein, but which conflicts with existing definitions, statements, or other disclosure material set forth herein will only be incorporated to the extent that no conflict arises between that incorporated material and the existing disclosure material. ] Having shown and described various versions of the present invention, further adaptations of the methods and systems described herein may be accomplished by appropriate modifications by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. Several of such potential modifications have been mentioned, and others will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For instance, the examples, versions, geometries, materials, dimensions, ratios, steps, and the like discussed above are illustrative and are not required. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention should be considered in terms of the following claims and is understood not to be limited to the details of structure and operation shown and described in the specification and drawings.