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Title:
AN AID FOR DRESSING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/051161
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to an aiding device for dressing. The novel and characterising feature of the device according to the invention is that the device comprises two half−hangers (2a, 2b) that cooperate with a slide element (4), which slide element (4) is connected to means for elevation, and wherein each of the half−hangers (2a, 2b) is connected at least one guide shoe (14), which guide shoe (14) is conveyed in at least one adjustable slideway guide (16), whereby the half−hangers (2a, 2b) are, at least for a distance, upon elevation of the slide element (4), caused to move between a first position in which the half−hangers (2a, 2b) are at least partially sideways straightened in a direction away from each other, and another upper position in which the half−hangers (2a, 2b) face essentially downwards.

Inventors:
Vestergaard, Tage (Skippergade 9, Marstal, DK-5960, DK)
Application Number:
PCT/DK2002/000828
Publication Date:
June 26, 2003
Filing Date:
December 10, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Vestergaard, Tage (Skippergade 9, Marstal, DK-5960, DK)
International Classes:
A47G25/90; (IPC1-7): A47G25/90
Foreign References:
US4892239A1990-01-09
DE101931C
US5501376A1996-03-26
FR2620323A11989-03-17
DE19849137A11999-04-29
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 2000, no. 01 31 January 2000 (2000-01-31)
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Zacco, Denmark A/s (Aaboulevarden 17, Aarhus C, DK-8000, DK)
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Claims:
Claims
1. An aiding device for dressing, which device comprises holding means for temporarily holding the article of clothing or the articles of clothing, and means for moving and means for controlling the holding means, characterised in that the device comprises two halfhangers (2a, 2b) that cooperate with a slide element (4), which slide element (4) is connected to means for elevation, and wherein each of the halfhangers (2a, 2b) is connected to at least one guide shoe (14), which guide shoe (14) is conveyed in at least one adjustable slideway guide (16), whereby the half hangers (2a, 2b) are, at least for a distance, upon elevation of the slide element (4), caused to move between a first position in which the half hangers (2a, 2b) are at least partially sideways straightened in a direction away from each other, and another upper position in which the halfhangers (2a, 2b) face essentially downwards.
2. An aiding device for dressing according to claim 1, characterised in that the device comprises that the halfhangers (2a, 2b) are each connected to at least two guide shoes (14), said guide shoes (14) being conveyed in each their slideway guide (16).
3. An aiding device for dressing according to claim 1, characterised in that the device comprises that the halfhangers (2a, 2b) are each pivotally journalled to the slide element (4) with preferably horizontal, parallel pivot axes (10a, 10b).
4. An aiding device for dressing according to one or more of claims 13, characterised in that the device comprises a hanger (36) that is connected to the slide element (4), which hanger (36) is pivotal about a horizontal axis, whereby the hanger (36) can be caused to move between a first essentially horizontal and forwardly protruding position of operation and an essentially vertical passive position.
5. An aiding device for dressing according to claim 4, characterised in that the hanger (36) comprises two parts (38,40) that are connected by means of a hinge (42).
6. An aiding device for dressing according to one of claims 4 or 5, characterised in that the hanger (36) comprises flexibly suspended fastening means (52) for suspension of articles of clothing.
7. An aiding device for dressing according to any one of claims 46, characterised in that the hanger (36) comprises locking means (48) for being locked in its passive position.
8. An aiding device for dressing according to any one of claims 17, characterised in that means for elevation comprises at least one profile (19), at least one spindle (22) and at least one motor (20).
9. An aiding device for dressing according to one or more of claims 18, characterised in that the device comprises at least one control unit (24) that is hand and/or foot operated.
10. An aiding device for dressing according to one or more of claims 19, characterised in that the at least one control unit (24) comprises switches (A, B), which switches (A, B) are springbiased and activate the device exclusively in a given intermediate position between two end positions.
11. An aiding device for dressing according to one or more of claims 110, characterised in that the device comprises at least one sensor for recording the position of the slide element (4), which recording is used for automatically controlling the device, including automatic stop.
Description:
An aid for dressing The invention relates to a device for aiding in dressing, said device comprising holding means for temporarily holding the article of clothing or the articles of clothing and means for moving and means for controlling the holding means.

It is already known from French application No. FR 2620323 to use a hanger that can be translated vertically by means of a linear guide for aiding in dressing with articles of clothing intended for the upper part of the body of a person. The article of clothing is positioned inside out on the hanger, albeit with the sleeves true sided, following which the person, back towards hanger, puts his arms rearwards into the armholes, Then the linear guide is activated, whereby the hanger and hence the article of clothing is caused to be displaced upwards. Once the hanger has gone far enough, it is possible for the user to put on the article of clothing by twisting his/her shoulder. This prior art technique is associated with several considerable drawbacks, including that the article of clothing easily falls off the hanger before it has been elevated far enough for the person to be able to put on the article of clothing. The article of clothing has to be sitting very loosely on the hanger, since otherwise it will be very difficult for him/her to put on the article of clothing. Thereby the two technical tasks counteract, since the more securely the article of clothing is held on the hanger the more difficult it is for the person to put on the article of clothing. Besides the twisting of his/her shoulder may be difficult to perform for persons with reduced mobility; viz. precisely the target group for which the product is intended. Besides, it is necessary to have the collar of the article of clothing, located inside out on the hanger, true sided. Thus it is a further requirement that the person is capable of reaching upwards and seizing the collar behind his/her own nape and thus to arrange his/her collar to be true sided, which is extremely difficult for the majority of persons in the target group.

US 4.892. 239 teaches a device that also comprises a vertical guide and a hanger arrangement. Instead of one hanger, the hanger arrangement consists of two half-hangers, each of which is articulated by means of hinges to the linear guide in such a manner that they are individually and substantially horizontally tiltable between a position in which the half-hangers face away from each other and a position in which they are oriented forwards. The technique can be perceived as an attempt to remedy one of the drawbacks of FR 2620323. The article of clothing is suspended inside out on the half-hangers, the sleeves, however, being true sided. In the region of their outer ends the half-hangers are provided with a rubber coating, thereby increasing the friction, and the article of clothing is securely held during elevation. In order to release the article of clothing form the half-hangers, the person needs to lean back to cause the half-hangers to tilt forwards, whereby the shoulder portions of the article of clothing are caused to move around and in front of the person's shoulders. Now the person has to lift his/her shoulders or lower the half-hangers to release the article of clothing. Hereby the shoulder twisting is eliminated, but it will still be necessary to reach behind his/her nape to rearrange the inside-out collar to be true sided.

However, the most serious drawback is that the person has to lean backwards, whereby he/she risks loosing his/her balance; a serious problem in view of the intended target group. The seriousness is aggravated in that precisely members of this target group have a great need to feel comfortable with the aids they depend on. Furthermore, the use of said technique presupposes that either one is very agile to be able to release the tilting movement without stopping the elevation, which is a contradiction in terms in view of the relevant target group, or-in the opposite event-accurate control of the switches that control the device. The latter involves that, in case of erroneous operation or too slow operation, the person risks to be caught by the device and thus be hurt.

It is an object of the invention to provide a device, wherein the article of clothing or the articles of clothing is/are arranged in the same manner as on an ordinary clothes hanger without having to be inside out, whereby the

subsequent effort involved in turning the true side of the article of clothing out is avoided. It is a further object of the invention to provide a device, whereby the effort of the user himself/herself is limited and that does not require quick and accurate operation or otherwise agile behaviour; wherein the user merely needs to activate the device. It is yet a further object of the invention to provide a device that is to a particular extent able to assist persons having difficulties in raising their arms backwards and/or upwards. It is yet a further object to provide a device that can be used for dressing with articles of clothing intended to be worn both on the upper part of the body and on the lower part/the lower limbs of the body.

The novel and characterising feature of the device according to the invention is that the device comprises two half-hangers that cooperate with a slide element, said slide element being connected to means for elevation, and wherein each of the half-hangers is connected to at least one guide shoe, said guide shoe being conveyed in at least one adjustable slideway guide, whereby the half-hangers are, at least for a distance of the elevation of the slide element, moved between a first position in which the half-hangers are at least partially sideways straightened away from each other and a second, upper position in which the half-hangers face essentially downwards.

By the novel features of the invention it is achieved that the article of clothing or the articles of clothing can, in the first position, be suspended in the same manner on the half-hangers as on a clothes hanger of the prior art type, whereby the risk of the article of clothing or the articles of clothing falling off during use of the device is minimised, and that the article of clothing or the articles of clothing are not to be turned inside out. Thereby the article of clothing is caused to be suspended such that the user is able to introduce his/her arms into the sleeves of the article of clothing or the articles of clothing, while it or they is/are suspended on the half-hangers in a comfortable height in the same manner as when another person holds the article (s) of clothing. Then the device can be activated, whereby the half- hangers can be caused to move upwards towards its second upper position

and, by means of the guide in the slideway guides, turn downwards and inwards towards each other and assemble, whereby the half-hangers are gradually released from the article of clothing or the articles of clothing at the opening (s) thereof at the neck/nape in order to finally be completely released with the half-hangers in their upper position. Thereby the person is fully dressed in the article of clothing or the articles of clothing without having to perform further actions after having activated the device.

The device may comprise that the half-hangers are each connected to at least two guide shoes, which guide shoes are conveyed in each their slideway guide. Hereby it is obtained that the movement of the half-hangers may comprise curve paths with a high degree of curvature, while simultaneously a relatively low friction is maintained. The friction can be further reduced by use of guide shoes in the form of rollers.

The device may comprise that the half-hangers are each pivotally journalled to the slide element by means of preferably horizontal, parallel pivot axes.

Thereby a convenient connection and journaling of the half-hangers on the slide element is obtained, whereby only one slideway guide will be enough for each half-hanger, and where the movement of the half-hangers are caused to take place essentially in a vertical plane in parallel with the user's back. Thereby the risk of undesired contact between the user's back or body and the half-hangers is avoided.

The device may further comprise a hanger that is connected to the slide element, which hanger is pivotal about a horizontal axis, whereby the hanger can be caused to be moved between a first substantially horizontal and forwardly projecting position of operation and a substantially vertical passive position. Hereby, in its position of operation the hanger may serve as movable holder means for an article of clothing or articles of clothing intended for the lower part of the body or the lower limbs, whereby the device is also suitable for this purpose. The hanger thus having an essentially vertical passive position accomplishes that the hanger can assume this

position when not in use and that, therefore, it does not constitute a hindrance to the use of the device as an aid in dressing the upper part of the body.

The hanger may comprise two parts that are hinged to each other, thereby enabling the hanger to be collapsed and thus to be less bulky in its passive position.

The hanger may comprise flexibly suspended securing means for suspending articles of clothing, thereby enabling them to be suspended reliably from the hanger and preventing them from falling off during use.

The hanger may comprise locking means for being locked in its passive position, thereby ensuring the user that the hanger cannot fall off and thus cause injury to the user.

Means for elevation may, in accordance with a convenient embodiment, comprise at least one profile, at least one spindle and at least one motor.

Depending on the mobility of the user or lack of same, it may be expedient either to operate, including activate, the device by means of at least one control unit which is hand and/or foot operated.

The at least one control unit may comprise switches, which switches are spring-biased and exclusively activate the device in a given intermediate position between two end positions. Hereby particular reliability is obtained that the device is not activated unless the user so desires; that if-contrary to expectations-something should go wrong, the device is interrupted even in case the user panics. This means that it is switched off irrespective of the switch being let go or pressed home-the device is activated only in the intermediate position.

The device may comprise at least one sensor for recording the position of the slide element, which recording can be used for automatically controlling the device, including automatic stop. This can be used e. g. for automating the device, thereby also enabling users with more comprehensive handicaps to use it.

In the following, the invention will be described in closer detail by figures that show exemplary embodiments of the invention: Figure 1 shows a device according to the invention, seen from the front with the half-hangers in straightened position; Figure 2 is a sectional view of the device with the half-hangers in an intermediate position; Figure 3 is a sectional view of the device with the half-hangers in an upper position; Figure 4 is a sectional view along the line c-c shown in Figure 1; Figure 5 is a sectional view of the device in use with the half-hangers during release ; Figure 6 is a sectional view corresponding to Figure 4, wherein the device comprises a hanger for dressing the lower part of the body/the lower limbs ; Figure 7 is a sectional view of the device with a hanger in passive, locked position; Figure 8 is a sectional view of the device with a hanger in active position.

Figure 1 shows a device for aiding in dressing, which device comprises two half-hangers 2a and 2b that are connected to a slide element 4 located in a

profile 19. The slide element 4 is in engagement with a spindle 22 that is journalled at its ends. Via a connecting device 18 that may be e. g. a notched belt and notched-belt wheel that can be supplied with power/rotation for the spindle 22 by a motor 20. When the spindle is rotated in the one and the other direction, respectively, the slide element 4 is caused to move upwards and downwards, respectively, within the profile 19; the profile 19 preventing the slide element 4 from rotating. Power for the motor 20 can be supplied e. g. via the mains by means of a plug 28, whereby the voltage can optionally be adapted by means of a transformer 26. Activation and control of the device can be performed by means of the control unit 24 that may comprise two switches A and B for upwards and downwards movement, respectively. The switches are preferably of a type that is spring-biased and activate the device exclusively in a given intermediate position between two end positions. The control unit 24 can be foot-operated and/or hand-operated either by wire connection or cordlessly. The device may further comprise one or more sensors that record the position of the slide element 4 in such a manner that the device may e. g. be automatically deactivated when it reaches pre- determined positions, including the end positions. The half-hangers 2a and 2b can be pivotally journalled to the slide element by preferably horizontal, parallel pivot axes 10a and 10b. The half-hangers 2a, 2b also comprise guide shoes 14 that cooperate with adjustable guide shoes 14 that cooperate with adjustable slideway guides 16. The adjustment of the slideway guides 16 occurs relative to the height of the user or the level at which the person is located, e. g. sitting on a stool or in a wheelchair. The adjustment is not shown in the figure, but it may be accomplished e. g. by providing elongate openings in the slideway guides that are fastened to the profile 19 by means of screws through the elongate openings.

Figures 2 and 3 show half-hangers 2a and 2b that are pivotally journalled to a slide element 4 with pivot axes 10a, 10b. The half-hangers are provided with arms 12, at the ends of which a guide shoe 14 can be provided that may also be a roller. Figure 2 shows the half-hangers 2a and 2b in an intermediate position between fully sideways straightened, like in Figure 1, and fully

assembled, as will appear from Figure 3. In the example shown, the guide shoes 14 follow the slideway guides 16 due to the force of gravity on the half- hangers 2a and 2b; but the slideway guides 16 might just as well be closed around the guide shoes 14, whereby the half-hangers 2a and 2b are positively driven. Instead of the half-hangers 2a and 2b being journalled at the pivot axes 10a and 10b, these positions may also be provided with guide shoes 14 that are conveyed in slideway guides 16. From Figure 3 it will appear how the half-hangers 2a and 2b assemble when the guide shoes 14 are completely clear of the slideway guides 16.

Figure 4 shows two half-hangers 2a and 2b that are, via arms 15, connected to a slide element 4 via a exchangeable front plate 30, said slide element being located in a profile 19. The profile 19 can be extruded aluminium, while the slide element 4 may be made of e. g. a polymer, such as POM or PA. The slide element 4 is driven by means of a spindle 22. The figure also shows guide shoes 14 that abut on slideway guides 16. The movement of the slide element 4 may of course also take place by means of belt drives, chain drives and the like and by means of e. g. hydraulic cylinder, pneumatic cylinder, including the type without piston rod, and, likewise, other similar drive means will be obvious to the person skilled in the art. The opening in the profile 19, where there is access to the slide element 4, can be covered eg with plastics lips of the zipper-type that are known e. g. from pneumatic cylinders without piston rod, whereby the risk of the user having limbs or clothes caught in the movable parts is minimised. Alternatively the opening in the profile 19 can be caused to face opposite the half-hangers 2a and 2b; the arms then being slid around the profile 19.

Figure 5 is a sectional view of the device according to the invention with half- hangers 2a and 2b in assembled position, i. e. in their upper position.

Additionally, the profile 19 and the slide element 4 are shown as well as a jacket 32 with a neck portion 34. When using the device, the article of clothing is first suspended on the half-hangers 2a and 2b while in their lower position corresponding to the one shown in Figure 1. The user puts his/her

arms in the sleeves and activates the device, whereby the slide element 4 is caused to move upwards. Hereby the article of clothing is activated so as to make it easy for the user to continue dressing, following which-in response to the adjustment of the slideway guides 16-the outer ends of the half- hangers 2a and 2b turn downwards and assemble, while simultaneously the slide element 4 continues upwards and pulls the half-hangers 2a, 2b clear off the article of clothing or articles of clothing.

Figures 6 and 7 show a hanger 36 in laid open, approximately horizontal position of operation, which hanger comprises two parts 38 and 40, said parts being connected by a hinge 42. The hanger 36 is connected to a slide element 4 via an exchangeable front plate 30 by means of a spacer element 44 and fish-plates 46 and e. g. a bolt 50. The arrangement further comprises a locking means 48 that may be e. g. a spring-biased pin with an operating handle.

Figure 7 shows the hanger 36 in passive, laid-open state, the outer part 40 being initially tilted towards the inner part 38, following which the hanger 36 is tilted upwards and locked.

Figure 8 shows the hanger 36 in active position, in which a number of fastening means 52 in the form of e. g. hooks and/or clamps and/or spring hooks in lines/chains are suspended from the hanger.

The hanger 36 is used in that e. g. a pair of trousers is secured at eg the waistband by means of hooks or clamps or spring hooks 52, following which the slide element 4 is taken to its bottom position, whereby the hanger 36 and hence e. g. the trousers are caused to be located very close to the floor, following which the user is able to step into the legs of the trousers and cause the slide element 4 and hence the waistband of the trousers up again.

Without having bent over, the user is then able to seize the trousers and fasten them in a normal manner. The hanger 36 can be configured in a variety of ways, e. g. with due regard to the measurements and size of the

user. According to a preferred embodiment the user is able to stand freely within the hanger 36. It is possible to use hooks, spring hooks and/or clamps, the latter being associated with the advantage that one does not have to depend on the location of particular fastening points on the article of clothing.

According to one embodiment the device may comprise fish-plates, e. g. on the profile 19, for mounting e. g. against a wall by means of e. g. expansion bolts, thereby ensuring that it does not fall over.