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Title:
DEODORIZING TOILET SEAT ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/030761
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A deodorizing toilet seat assembly includes a seat, a pod housing a fan, a deodorizer, a sensor and a timer. A seat may be a heated seat. User seating activates the fan, and the timer may stop the fan a set time after the user rises from the seat. The deodorizer deodorizes air drawn by the fan, to which air fragrance and aroma may be added. Control or sensor signals may be electrical, optical, sonic, or other signals. Wiring may pass through a hinge connecting the pod and the seat or lid. Methods to deodorize air from a toilet include steps of providing an assembly with a seat, pod, fan, timer and deodorizer; activating a fan and a timer, contacting air with a deodorizer and optionally a fragrance or aroma dispenser, effective to improve the quality of the air and optionally provide fragrance or aroma to the air.

Inventors:
PINIZZOTTO, Scott (3538 California Street, San Francisco, CA, 94118, US)
Application Number:
US2007/077304
Publication Date:
March 13, 2008
Filing Date:
August 30, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BRONDELL, INC. (2183 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA, 94115, US)
PINIZZOTTO, Scott (3538 California Street, San Francisco, CA, 94118, US)
International Classes:
E03D9/04; A47K13/00
Foreign References:
US6643850B2
US5079783A
US3781924A
US3857119A
US6347415B1
US6795980B1
US20040078880A1
US5666672A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOX, James, A. et al. (Heller Ehrman LLP, 275 Middlefield RoadMenlo Park, CA, 94025-3506, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An assembly for use with a toilet, said toilet having a toilet bowl with a lip, wherein said assembly comprises:

a toilet seat configured to be disposed over said toilet bowl lip, thereby defining a gap between at least a portion of said lip and at least a portion of said seat;

a sensor configured for detecting the presence of a user;

a pod connected to the toilet seat and configured to mount on said toilet bowl, said pod having an air inlet, an air outlet, and a hinge;

said air inlet being disposed adjacent said gap between the toilet seat and the toilet bowl lip when said pod is mounted on said toilet bowl, the air inlet being configured to accept air from the toilet bowl, and

said hinge being configured to connect the toilet seat with the pod effective to allow relative motion between the toilet seat and the pod, the hinge comprising electrical connection means;

a fan disposed to draw air into said air inlet when operating;

a deodorizer not in contact with said fan and disposed to receive air drawn from said air inlet by the fan;

a dispenser not in contact with the fan and disposed to receive air that has contacted or passed by or through said deodorizer and to condition said air;

a power source;

a switch operably connected with the fan, the sensor and said power source;

said electrical connection means connecting said sensor with said switch;

a timer configured to provide a timing function and operably connected with said switch;

said switch being configured upon activation to initiate said timing function of said timer and to initiate operation of said fan for a time period determined by said timer, effective that operation of the fan draws air from the toilet bowl through the air inlet effective to contact the deodorizer to provide deodorized air, and effective that said deodorized air contacts said dispenser to provide conditioned air to said air outlet effective to improve the quality of air from the toilet bowl.

2. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein said dispenser disposed to receive air that has contacted or passed by or through the deodorizer is selected from an aromatherapy aroma dispenser configured to provide aromatherapy aroma to air, a fragrance dispenser configured to provide fragrance to air, and both an aromatherapy dispenser configured to provide aromatherapy aroma to air and a fragrance dispenser configured to provide fragrance to air, effective to condition said air and to improve the quality of said air from the toilet bowl.

3. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein said sensor configured for detecting the presence of a user is disposed on or in an assembly element selected from the seat, the lid, and the pod.

4.. The assembly of claim 3, wherein said sensor configured for detecting the presence of a user is disposed on or in the seat.

5. The assembly of claim 1 , further comprising a lid and means for preventing abrupt closure of said lid.

6. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein said pod is configured to reduce the likelihood of water entering said pod or to reduce the likelihood of water remaining within the pod, or both.

7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein said pod comprises elements selected from the group of elements consisting of one or more of:

an air inlet having sloped surfaces effective to encourage water to drip out of the pod;

an air inlet comprising a front edge, said front edge being extended downward effective to block potential splash-back from inside the toilet and effective to direct dripping liquids back into the bowl;

an air inlet having a lip along the outer edge configured to reduce the likelihood of water coming up and over that edge; and

an air outlet having sloped surfaces effective to encourage water to drip out of the pod.

8. The assembly of claim 1 , said assembly comprising anti-microbial materials.

9. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein said exposed surfaces are smooth and rounded surfaces effective to facilitate cleaning and inhibit deposition of dirt thereon.

10. An assembly for use with a toilet, said toilet having a toilet bowl with a lip, wherein said assembly comprises:

a toilet seat comprising a heating element and configured to be disposed over said toilet bowl lip, thereby defining a gap between at least a portion of said lip and at least a portion of said seat;

a sensor configured for detecting the presence of a user on said toilet seat;

a pod connected to the toilet seat and configured to mount on said toilet bowl, said pod having an air inlet, an air outlet, and a hinge;

said air inlet being disposed adjacent said gap between the toilet seat and the toilet bowl lip when said pod is mounted on said toilet bowl, the air inlet being configured to accept air from the toilet bowl;

said hinge being configured to connect the toilet seat with the pod effective to allow relative motion between the toilet seat and the pod, the hinge comprising electrical connection means;

a fan disposed to draw air into said air inlet when operating;

a deodorizer not in contact with said fan and disposed to receive air drawn from said air inlet by the fan;

a dispenser not in contact with the fan and disposed to receive air that has contacted or passed by or through said deodorizer and to condition said air;

a power source;

a switch operably connected with the fan, the sensor and said power source by said electrical connection means;

said electrical connection means being configured to connect said heating element and said power source;

a timer configured to provide a timing function and operably connected with said switch;

said switch being configured upon activation to initiate said timing function of said timer and to initiate operation of said fan for a time period determined by said timer, effective that operation of the fan draws air from the toilet bowl through the air inlet effective to contact the deodorizer to provide deodorized air, and effective that said deodorized air contacts said dispenser to provide conditioned air to said air outlet effective to improve the quality of air from the toilet bowl.

11. The assembly for use with a toilet of claim 10, wherein said dispenser disposed to receive air that has contacted or passed by or through the deodorizer is selected from an aromatherapy aroma dispenser configured to provide aromatherapy aroma to air, a fragrance dispenser configured to provide fragrance to air, and both an aromatherapy dispenser configured to provide aromatherapy aroma to air and a fragrance dispenser configured to provide fragrance to air, effective to condition said air and to improve the quality of said air from the toilet bowl.

12. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said sensor configured for detecting the presence of a user is disposed on or in an assembly element selected from the seat, the lid, and the pod.

13. The assembly of claim 12, wherein said sensor configured for detecting the presence of a user is disposed on or in the seat.

14. The assembly of claim 10, further comprising a lid and means for preventing abrupt closure of said lid.

15. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said pod is configured to reduce the likelihood of water entering said pod or to reduce the likelihood of water remaining within the pod, or both.

16. The assembly of claim 15, wherein said pod comprises elements selected from the group of elements consisting of one or more of:

an air inlet having sloped surfaces effective to encourage water to drip out of the pod;

an air inlet comprising a front edge, said front edge being extended downward effective to block potential splash-back from inside the toilet and effective to direct dripping liquids back into the bowl;

an air inlet having a lip along the outer edge configured to reduce the likelihood of water coming up and over that edge; and

an air outlet having sloped surfaces effective to encourage water to drip out of the pod.

17. The assembly of claim 10, said assembly comprising anti-microbial materials.

18. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said exposed surfaces are smooth and rounded surfaces effective to facilitate cleaning and inhibit deposition of dirt thereon.

19. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said sensor is disposed in or on the toilet seat, and said electrical connection means connect the sensor with the switch.

20. The assembly of claim 10, further comprising a temperature control element effective to control the temperature of said seat comprising a heating element.

21. The assembly of claim 20, further comprising a temperature sensor effective to detect the temperature of said seat or said heating element.

22. A method of deodorizing air in the vicinity of a toilet, said method comprising:

providing an assembly for use with a toilet of claim 1 ;

activating said fan; and

initiating said timing function of said timer,

effective to draw air from said bowl through said inlet to contact said deodorizer and said dispenser for a time period determined by said timer, effective to deodorize and condition said air effective to improve the quality of the air from the toilet bowl.

23. A method of deodorizing air in the vicinity of a toilet, said method comprising:

providing an assembly for use with a toilet of claim 10;

activating said fan; and

initiating said timing function of said timer,

effective to draw air from said bowl through said inlet to contact said deodorizer and said dispenser for a time period determined by said timer, effective to deodorize and condition said air effective to improve the quality of the air from the toilet bowl.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein said dispenser is selected from an aromatherapy aroma dispenser, a fragrance dispenser, or both.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein said dispenser is selected from an aromatherapy aroma dispenser, a fragrance dispenser, or both.

26. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein said sensor configured to detect the presence of a user is selected from the group of sensors consisting of a weight sensor, an infra-red sensor, an ultrasound sensor, a temperature sensor, a motion sensor, a capacitative sensor, a pressure sensor, and a strain sensor.

27. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said sensor configured to detect the presence of a user on the toilet seat is selected from the group of sensors consisting of a weight sensor, an infra-red sensor, an ultrasound sensor, a temperature sensor, a motion sensor, a capacitative sensor, a pressure sensor, and a strain sensor.

Description:

DEODORIZING TOILET SEAT ASSEMBLY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to toilets and components, accessories, and devices related to toilets.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Toilets are devices that are often used on a daily basis. With such frequent use, the comfort, odor, and convenience of toilets are important to users of these devices. Removal or diminution of odors is often desired by users of a toilet. The comfort of the seat of a toilet is an important determinant of the comfort and convenience of use of these devices. The ease of use, including ease of raising and lowering a toilet lid or toilet seat are also important to users of these devices. Thus, there is need for devices, systems and methods providing comfortable seats, easily used lids and seats, and for removing, or reducing the amount of, odors associated with a toilet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Devices, assemblies, systems and methods for ameliorating, reducing or eliminating odors associated with a toilet, for improving the opening and closing of a toilet, for improving the action of opening or closing a toilet seat, and for otherwise making the use of a toilet easier or more pleasant, are provided.

An embodiment of an assembly for use with a toilet having features of the invention includes a toilet seat configured to be disposed over a toilet bowl lip, thereby defining a gap between at least a portion of the lip and at least a portion of the seat; a sensor for detecting the presence of a user on the toilet seat, the sensor optionally being disposed in or on the toilet seat, lid, pod, or elsewhere; a pod connected to the toilet seat and configured to mount on the toilet bowl, the pod having an air inlet, an air outlet, and a hinge; the air inlet being disposed adjacent the gap between the toilet seat and the toilet bowl lip when the pod is mounted on the toilet bowl, and the hinge being configured to connect the toilet seat with the pod, allowing the

toilet seat and the pod to move relative to one another, the hinge including electrical connection means; a fan disposed to draw air into said air inlet when operating; a deodorizer not in contact with the fan and disposed to receive air drawn from the air inlet by the fan; a dispenser not in contact with the fan and disposed to receive air that has contacted or passed by or through the deodorizer and to condition the air; a power source; a switch operably connected with the fan, the sensor and said power source; the electrical connection means connecting the sensor with the switch; a timer configured to provide a timing function and operably connected with the switch; the switch being configured upon activation to initiate the timing function of the timer and to initiate operation of the fan for a time period determined by the timer, effective that operation of the fan draws air from the toilet bowl through the air inlet effective to contact the deodorizer to provide deodorized air, and effective that the deodorized air contacts the dispenser to provide conditioned air to the air outlet effective to improve the quality of air from the toilet bowl.

The toilet seat may include a heating element effective to heat the seat. The sensor may be disposed on or in the seat; in or on the lid; in or on the pod; or elsewhere. The assembly may include temperature control elements, and temperature sensing elements, effective to control the temperature of a seat having a heating element.

Thus, in an embodiment, provided herein is an assembly for use with a toilet, the assembly including a toilet seat; an air inlet disposed adjacent the gap between the seat and the lip of the toilet bowl; a fan; a deodorizer; a pod including power and control elements; and a sensor for detecting the presence of a user. An air inlet provides a pathway for air to follow from the toilet bowl to a deodorizer and optionally other elements. A deodorizer may be, e.g., an air filter, and is effective to deodorize air, e.g., by removing or inactivating odors. The fan and deodorizer may be disposed so that each does not contact the each other, but are instead disposed near to each other effective that air impelled by a fan contacts the deodorizer. The deodorizer is configured to deodorize air from the toilet bowl. The fan is disposed effective to withdraw air from the bowl through the air inlet effective

to contact a deodorizer (and optionally by or through other elements). The fan may operate for a time period determined by a timer.

These elements are operably connected effective that detection of the presence of a user seated on the toilet seat starts the fan operating to withdraw air from the toilet bowl into the air inlet to the deodorizer so that the withdrawn air is deodorized. In this way, the quality of the air is improved.

Systems and assemblies having features of the invention may include a lid; an element adding fragrance to the air; an element adding aromatherapy aroma to the air; a timer to control the duration of fan operation; control elements; status indicators; and other elements. A switch may be provided that is operably connected with a fan, or with a fan and with a sensor, by the wiring means. A timer may be configured to provide a timing function and that is operably connected with a switch. Such a switch may be configured, upon activation, to initiate operation of a fan, to initiate a timing function of a timer, or both. A hinge is provided that is configured to engage the seat and lid allowing relative motion between the seat, the lid, and the toilet bowl. The hinge includes wiring means effective to allow passage of wires, or passage of electrical signals, via the hinge. Materials and coatings used in constructing the systems and assemblies disclosed herein may be antimicrobial materials, such as antimicrobial resins, plastics, and coatings. Wiring means include any means for carrying electrical, optical, sonic, or other signals, and need not include physical connection between elements.

Devices, assemblies, and systems having features of the invention may optionally include a fragrance dispenser, an aromatherapy aroma dispenser, or both. A fragrance dispenser may be a fragrance cartridge, and an aromatherapy aroma dispenser may be an aromatherapy cartridge. A fragrance dispenser or an aromatherapy cartridge may be operably connected with an inlet means, and may be disposed to receive air that has contacted a deodorizer. A fragrance dispenser and an aromatherapy cartridge are preferably not in direct contact with a fan. Such dispensers are

effective to provide fragrance and to provide aromatherapy aroma to the air removed from the toilet bowl and adjacent to the toilet bowl.

Wiring or conductive elements connecting the pod (which may contain a power source, controls, sensors, or other elements) and the seat or lid (which may include sensors, switches, heating elements, or other elements) may pass along, adjacent to, or through a hinge or hinges connecting the pod and the seat or lid. Such wiring or conductive elements are configured to accommodate movement between a pod and a lid or seat. Such wiring or conductive elements are thus effective to maintain electrical continuity during or after rotation, sliding, flexing, or other relative motion between the pod and a seat or lid. In embodiments, signals may be carried by optical means (e.g., with fiber optic connections, or by infrared signals without physical connections), by ultrasonic means, or by other means, between a sensing element and another element, or between a control element and another element.

The devices, assemblies and systems may include means for preventing abrupt closure of a lid or abrupt contact between a toilet seat and a toilet bowl. For example, mechanical, magnetic, hydraulic, pneumatic, piezoelectric, or other damping means effective to reduce the speed of closure, or to provide a braking function, or otherwise to preventing abrupt closure of a lid or abrupt contact between a toilet seat and toilet bowl may be provided.

A pod may include a pod housing enclosing some or all elements and assemblies that provide air-flow, deodorizing, fragrance, aromatherapy aroma, timing, power, control, indications of status or operation, mechanical adjustment or alteration of hinge motion, and other features of the devices, assemblies and systems disclosed herein. In embodiments, deodorizing elements and aromatherapy elements may be disposed within the pod housing, or may be mounted on or to the pod housing. A pod housing may have an air inlet configured to allow air flow from within a toilet bowl into the pod housing so that such air contacts, flows by, or flows through deodorizing elements and optionally aromatherapy elements. A pod housing may have

an air vent configured to allow exit of air flowing into the pod housing. An air inlet and a vent may have sloped surfaces effective to encourage water or fluid to drip out of the pod. In embodiments, such sloped surfaces may extend downwardly effective to block potential splash-back of fluid from inside the toilet and effective to direct dripping fluids back into the bowl. A pod housing may have a lip or multiple lips along a perimeter configured to reduce the likelihood of water or fluids entering the pod housing, or to reduce the amount of time such water or fluid may remain within the pod housing. Methods of deodorizing and of deodorizing and conditioning (adding fragrance or aromatherapy aroma to air) air in the vicinity of a toilet are also disclosed herein. In an embodiment, a method of deodorizing air in the vicinity of a toilet includes the steps of providing an assembly for use with a toilet having features of the invention; activating a fan; activating a timer, effective to draw air from said bowl through said inlet to contact said deodorizer for a time period determined by the timer, effective to improve the quality of said air from the toilet bowl. In further embodiments, a method of deodorizing air in the vicinity of a toilet comprises providing an assembly for use with a toilet, the assembly having features of the invention; activating a fan; activating a timer, effective to draw air from a toilet bowl through an air inlet to contact a deodorizer and a dispenser for a time period determined by the timer, effective to deodorize and condition the air effective to improve the quality of the air from the toilet bowl. A dispenser may be selected from an aromatherapy aroma dispenser, a fragrance dispenser, or both. An assembly having features of the invention may have a toilet seat having a sensor configured to sense the presence of a user seated on the toilet seat, may have a toilet seat comprising a heating element, or both.

The systems, assemblies, devices and methods disclosed herein are effective to deodorize and condition air from a toilet bowl, and provide the advantages of improving air quality and improving user comfort with respect to the use of a toilet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Figures 1A, 1 B, 1 C, 1 D and 1 E provide schematic views of assemblies and systems having features of the invention. Figure 1A shows a toilet assembly having features of the invention in operable position in place on a toilet bowl with the seat and lid in down (closed) positions. Figure 1 B shows a toilet assembly having features of the invention in operable position in place on a toilet bowl with the lid up (open) and the seat down (closed). Figure 1 C shows a toilet assembly having features of the invention in operable position in place on a toilet bowl with seat and lid in up (open) positions. Figure 1 D is a rear schematic view of a toilet assembly having features of the invention in operable position in place on a toilet bowl with seat and lid in down (closed) positions, providing an alternative view of a pod of the assembly having features of the invention. Figure 1 E is a schematic view of a toilet assembly having features of the invention with seat and lid in up (open) positions, providing an alternative view showing an air inlet of a pod having features of the invention.

Figure 2 is an exploded schematic view of an assembly having features of the invention showing elements of the assembly.

Figure 3A is an exploded schematic view of a pod having features of the invention with the pod lid removed, illustrating internal elements of the pod, including a fan and a deodorizer. Figure 3B is an exploded schematic view of a pod having features of the invention shown in an upside-down orientation with the pod bottom facing up. Figure 3C is an detailed view of a portion of a hinge element having features of the invention. Figure 3D is a schematic view of a pod having features of the invention with the lid removed, illustrating internal elements of the pod including a fan, a deodorizer, and an aromatherapy cartridge.

Figure 4A is a schematic view of a portion of a pod having features of the invention. Figure 4B is a schematic cross-sectional view of a portion of a pod, seat and lid having features of the invention, shown in position on a toilet.

Figure 5 is a schematic, partially cut-away view of a system and assembly having features of the invention including a heated seat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The devices, systems and methods disclosed herein are effective to improve the quality of air from a toilet bowl, and to deodorize air from a toilet bowl, to provide fragrance to air from a toilet bowl, and to provide aromatherapy treatment to air from a toilet bowl. The devices, systems and methods disclosed herein also provide improved user comfort and ease of use of a toilet, toilet seat and lid, and optionally provide heated toilet seat to further improve user comfort.

In one embodiment, a system and assembly are provided which include a battery powered deodorizing toilet seat with optional aromatherapy feature, including a toilet seat (lid and seat) plus a fan, battery pack, deodorizing filter, soft-close toilet seat and lid, and an optional aromatherapy dispenser. A fragrance dispenser is further optionally provided in embodiments having these features of the invention.

In a further embodiment, a system and assembly are provided which include an alternating current (AC)- powered, heated, deodorizing toilet seat with optional aromatherapy feature including a toilet seat (lid and seat) plus a fan, AC power, deodorizing filter, temperature adjustable heating element in the seat, soft-close toilet seat and lid, and an optional aromatherapy dispenser. A fragrance dispenser is further optionally provided in embodiments having these features of the invention.

Definitions As used herein, the term "or" includes "and" as well as indicating that one or another of possible alternatives are indicated. Thus, the phrase "A or B" indicates all of the following: A alone, B alone, and both A and B together.

As used herein, a "toilet" includes a bowl and plumbing connections effective to integrate the toilet with an external sewage and plumbing system to provide water inflow and sewage outflow, and may include other

elements, such as a tank, handle, and other elements. It will be understood that the plural form (e.g. "toilets") and other related variants of this and of subsequently defined terms are also included in these definitions.

The terms "toilet" and "toilet bowl" will be understood to include a standard toilet (the entire assembly) having a toilet bowl (the receptacle portion) that is configured for the collection and removal of human waste, and also applies to a bidet or seat-bidet type toilet, in which a spray device is provided for personal cleaning. Thus, as used herein, unless otherwise limited, the term "toilet" will be taken to include a toilet, a bidet, and a seat- bidet type toilet, and, although a nozzle or other spray device may not be mentioned in the following discussion, it will be understood that embodiments of the devices, assemblies and systems disclosed herein may also include spray devices to provide a bidet-type function in addition to other embodiments disclosed herein. As used herein in conjunction with a toilet (as defined above), the term "assembly" refers to a device or system that is configured to be used with a toilet. For example, a toilet assembly may include a seat, a lid, a fan, a deodorizer, an aromatherapy aroma dispenser and associated equipment (which may, e.g., be housed in an "pod") that is configured to be attached to a toilet, atop a toilet bowl, and to provide a seat for use of the toilet by a user.

As used herein, a "toilet assembly" is an element or set of elements configured for use with a toilet, and may be a seat configured for use with a toilet; a seat and lid combination; a seat, lid and accessory pod combination; a seat, lid, deodorizer and accessory pod combination; and other elements and combinations of elements configured for use with a toilet.

The term "toilet accessory" refers to an element or device for use with a toilet. Accessories for use with a toilet may include a toilet seat, a lid, a fan, a deodorizer, an aromatherapy dispenser, or other elements. As used herein the term "deodorize" refers to the act of reducing or eliminating odor as perceived by a human observer; e.g., to improve the quality of air. A "deodorizer" is a device, element, or combination that is

effective to reduce or remove odors, scents, odor-causing materials, vapors or fluids, from air (e.g., passing air) or a region or volume adjacent or in contact with the deodorizer. Air that has passed by, or through, or contacted a deodorizer has been "deodorized" and may be termed "deodorized air." A deodorizer such as a deodorizing filter is a device that removes, alters, and/or masks the odor from odor-causing molecules or materials. Deodorizing filters may include active ingredients that remove or inactivate odor-causing materials, and may include passive elements and ingredients that primarily trap or impede the flow of odor-causing materials. As used herein, "fragrance" refers to an odor added to the air that is typically found to be pleasant to the sense of smell of a subject. A fragrance may be termed a fragrance, a scent, an odor, a smell, or may be referred to by other such term.

As used herein, "aromatherapy", "aromatherapy aroma", and "aroma" refer to a chemical, compound or material, whether gaseous, vaporous, particulate, or otherwise, added to the air and believed to have an effect on a subject. Such an effect may be believed to be an effect on the mood, temperament, or emotional state of a subject, may be an effect on the physiological state of a subject, or both. An aromatherapy aroma may or may not have a detectable odor. Thus, an aroma differs from a fragrance in that an aroma is believed to have an effect on a subject in addition to any possible pleasurable sensation that may be derived from the detection of any odor of the aroma.

As discussed herein, a "dispenser" such as a "fragrance dispenser", a "fragrance cartridge", an "aromatherapy dispenser", an "aromatherapy cartridge", or similarly termed devices, elements or combinations may be used to store and dispense aromas or fragrances. To "dispense" aromas or fragrances is to provide aromas or fragrances to air, that is, to add such aromas or fragrances to air. A dispenser or cartridge may be configured to store and dispense both an aroma and a fragrance. Such a dispenser or cartridge is thus capable of providing aromas and fragrances to air that contacts, passes over, or passes through the dispenser or cartridge. Such

aromas and fragrances may provide pleasant sensations, or mask unpleasant odors, or produce advantageous effects in a person exposed to air that has been in contact with such a cartridge or dispenser.

As used herein, to "condition" air refers to adding fragrance or aromatherapy aroma to air. Air that has been conditioned ("conditioned air") is air to which fragrance or aromatherapy aroma has been added. Conditioned air may have been first deodorized.

As used herein, the term "sensor" is used to signify a device, element or combination effective to detect a target action or event. Such detection may be by any suitable means. For example, strain gauges, switches, motion detectors, photoelectric cells, temperature sensors, hydraulic devices, devices that measure electrical conductivity, electromagnetic fields, or other phenomena, all may be used in a sensor configured to detect the presence of a user on a toilet seat. In embodiments, a sensor may also provide a signal indicating that the target event has been detected or that the target action has occurred.

As used herein, the term "fan" indicates a device for moving air or inducing airflow. Although typical fans include rotating blades or vanes that cause air to flow, any other means of moving air in a desired direction is included in the term.

As used herein, the term "timer" is used to indicate a device, element, or combination effective to detect and measure the passage of time after a triggering event. A timer may be an electrical or electronic, mechanical, or other device, and may be included in electronic circuits which may or may not also provide other functions.

As used herein, the term "power" refers to energy available to do work, and is typically electrical power. A "power supply" is a device, assembly, or means to provide power, and may be or include, e.g., a battery, a cable with a plug configured to engage a standard wall socket and to carry alternating current (AC) electricity, an electrical assembly configured to receive AC to provide either AC or direct current (DC), or other such

element known in the art. In embodiments, a power supply may include a voltage regulator.

As used herein, the terms "electrical connection" and an "electrical connection means" refer to wires, cables, traces, conduits, or other conductors configured to provide a path for, and to carry, electrical current, electrical power, electrical signals, or other form of electricity. An electrical connection may be static, e.g., a solder connection between a wire and a switch or circuit board; may be flexible, e.g., a wire configured to bend or flex; may be movable or sliding, e.g., a sliding contact between a static element and a rotating element in a rotary switch, or other connection or combination of such connections.

As used herein, the term "antimicrobial" refers to a material or element that inhibits the growth and proliferation of microbes, such as bacteria, mold, fungus, and other microscopic organisms. A material that presents a substantially impenetrable surface, that facilitates cleaning or removal of undesirable organisms, or otherwise is resistant to microbial contamination, may also be termed an antimicrobial material. Thus, an antimicrobial material may kill or injure such undesirable organisms, or may inhibit or slow their growth, or may facilitate their removal (e.g., inhibit or prevent penetration of a surface by such organisms, or inhibit their adherence to a surface), may reduce their numbers, or may in these or other ways deter or reduce the presence of undesirable organisms on or in a material. An antimicrobial material may be an anti-microbial plastic, an antimicrobial resin, or an anti-microbial coating, or other material. General Description:

A deodorizing toilet seat assembly as disclosed herein may be used in place of an existing toilet seat on a standard toilet. The toilet seat may be a heated toilet seat. Assemblies, devices, and systems having features of the invention include an integrated deodorizing module built into a "pod" disposed at the rear of the seat. The deodorizing function may be automatically activated by the act of a user sitting on the seat. The deodorizing function, once activated, may be configured to stop

automatically a certain amount of time after the user gets off the seat. Deodohzation may be aided by action of a fan configured to draw air from the toilet bowl. Air drawn by a fan may pass through a deodorizing filter. A deodorizing filter may include activated charcoal, spun glass or glass wool, fibers, and/or other filter materials effective to trap or impede the passage of odors and particulates in air passing by, over, or through the filter. In addition, a fragrance source, an aromatherapy source, or both, may also contact the air that is drawn to, into, and/or through the pod effective to add fragrances, aromas, or other elements to the passing air. A filter, a fragrance source, an aroma source, or some or all of these, may use no power for its function, or may use power to, for example, power a heating element, activate ionization elements, or to otherwise aid in deodorizing or providing fragrance or aroma to the air.

In one embodiment, a toilet seat assembly with an accessory pod and a hinged seat configured to mount on a toilet bowl is provided. An assembly may include a lid also hinged to allow opening and closing. Devices, assemblies, and systems having features of the invention may be configured to deodorize air removed from or near a toilet bowl, and may be configured to add aromas, fragrances, or other elements to air removed from or near a toilet bowl. A lid, a seat, or a lid and a seat may be configured for "soft closing" (e.g., may be configured to close slowly, or for the last part of the closing action to be slowed down or cushioned).

A hinge may be operably connected with a seat or a lid, and may include or provide a conduit or guide for wiring, or electrical connections, effective to pass electrical signals or electrical power between elements of the devices, assemblies and systems, such as sensors, fans, power supplies, or other elements.

Wiring means include means for carrying electrical, optical, sonic, or other signals, between elements. Electrically conductive elements (e.g., wires or traces) operably connect a power source, controls, sensors, and other elements in the pod with related elements disposed in the seat or lid (such as, e.g., sensors, switches, heating elements). Wiring and conductive

elements connecting the pod and the seat or lid may pass along, adjacent to, or through a hinge or hinges connecting the pod and the seat or lid. Such wiring or conductive elements are effective to maintain electrical continuity during or after rotation, sliding, flexing, or other relative motion between the pod and a seat or lid, and are thus configured to accommodate movement between a pod and a lid or seat. Such elements may include wires, traces, brushes, sliders, and other connectors known in the art.

Optical wiring means may include fiber optic cables, light pipes, light sources and light sensors, including infrared sources and sensors, and other elements for passing and receiving optical signals. Such optical wiring means need not carry or pass signals by metal wires. Electromagnetic wiring means include infrared, radiofrequency, microwave, or other electromagnetic, signaling elements. Ultrasonic wiring means may include a source of ultrasonic energy, and a receiver for ultrasonic energy, configured to pass and receive sonic signals. Such ultrasonic wiring means need not carry or pass signals by metal wires. Optical, electromagnetic, and ultrasonic wiring means may be used to carry signals to and from control elements, sensors and active elements.

The presence of a user may be detected by a sensor. For example, a sensor for detecting a user may be a switch configured to be closed by the weight of a user positioned on the toilet seat. The departure or absence of a user may be detected by the opening of a weight-sensitive switch, e.g., by relief or absence of the weight of a user. In further examples, an infra-red sensor, a temperature sensor, a motion sensor, a capacitative sensor, a pressure sensor, a strain sensor, or other sensor may by used to detect the presence or departure of a user. Such sensors may be mechanical, electrical, optical, electromagnetic, sonic, or other sensors. A sensor may be or include, for example, one or more of a weight sensor, a strain sensor, a pressure sensor, a temperature sensor, a capacitative sensor, a motion sensor, and an ultrasound sensor. Such sensors may be located in or on one or more of the toilet seat, the pod, the lid, a hinge, or elsewhere.

A fan may be activated by the presence of a user sitting on the toilet seat. In embodiments, a fan may run for a set period of time (e.g., one minute) after a user rises off the seat. A fan may be a low power- consumption, battery-powered fan, may be an electrically powered fan configured to obtain power from a standard wall-socket, or may be configured for use with multiple sources of power (e.g., configured for optional use with battery power or with wall-socket power). In embodiments, a sensor may be an electromagnetic sensor or a sonic sensor configured to detect the presence or the departure of a user. An odor-reducing element (a deodorizer), such as a replaceable odor-absorbing cartridge may be provided. A deodorizer may include a filter. In embodiments, a deodorizer may be configured to last about 1-12 months, e.g., about 1-3 months, about 1-6 months, or about 3-6 months, in normal use. An dispenser may be provided to add a fragrance or aroma to the air that has passed by or through a deodorizer. A fragrance-providing or aroma-providing dispenser may be, for example, a replaceable fragrance cartridge or a replaceable aromatherapy cartridge. In embodiments, such a cartridge may be configured to last about 1-12 months, e.g., about 1-3 months, about 1-6 months, or about 3-6 months, in normal use. A fragrance dispenser or aromatherapy dispenser may be disposed in-line with a deodorizer, such as a deodorizing cartridge, effective that substantially all the air deodorized by the deodorizer subsequently passes by or through the fragrance dispenser or aromatherapy dispenser. In some embodiments, a single element may provide more than one of the deodorizing, fragrance- providing, and aroma-providing functions.

Thus, for example, in some embodiments, a single element provides fragrance and provides aromatherapy aroma. In further embodiments, a single element deodorizes and provides fragrance; and in yet further embodiments, a single element deodorizes and provides aromatherapy aroma. It will thus be understood that a fragrance cartridge, an aromatherapy cartridge, both a fragrance cartridge and an aromatherapy cartridge, or a single cartridge that adds both a fragrance and an aroma to the air may be provided. It will also be understood that a deodorizer, an

aromatherapy cartridge, both a deodorizer and an aromatherapy cartridge, or a single cartridge that deodorizes and adds aroma to the air may be provided. It will similarly be understood that a deodorizer and a fragrance cartridge, both a deodorizer and an aromatherapy cartridge, or a single cartridge that deodorizes and adds a fragrance to the air may be provided. It will thus also be understood that a deodorizer, a fragrance cartridge, an aromatherapy cartridge, or all three, may be provided as a single cartridge that deodorizes and adds both a fragrance and an aroma to the air may be provided. An indicator or indicators configured to inform a user whether or not the fan is on, whether or not deodorizing is activated (e.g., whether or not a deodorizing cartridge is in place), whether or not aromatherapy is activated (e.g., whether or not an aromatherapy cartridge is in place), whether or not batteries may need changing, and to provide other information about the status or configuration of the devices, assemblies, and systems disclosed herein. In embodiments, an indicator may be a light-emitting diode (LED), such as a red LED, a yellow LED, a blue LED, a green LED, a multi-color LED (e.g., an LED capable of emitting different colors of light depending upon the control signals provided to the LED), or other color LED. In embodiments of the devices, assemblies, and systems having features of the invention, a seat may be a heated seat, or a seat whose temperature may be controlled. Heating elements, such as electrical heating coils or wires, may be provided in, or on a surface of, a seat of a device, assembly, or system having features of the invention. Power for such a heating element or such heating elements may be provided by a power supply configured for connection with a power source via a standard electrical wall socket. The heating elements include, or are operably connected with, control elements, and optionally with sensing elements (e.g., temperature sensors), configured to control and regulate the operation of the heating elements. A heating element may be controlled to provide for continuously variable temperatures within the operating range of temperatures, or may provide for one or more pre-set heating levels. Controls may include a two-state on/off switch; a three-state

on/off/powersave switch; or other switches. Temperature controls may provide, for example, three levels of temperature adjustment, or may provide for other numbers of levels of temperature adjustment. Controls may include a button for temperature adjustment, a knob for temperature adjustment, a sliding switch for temperature adjustment, or other control interface for temperature adjustment. A display may be provided to indicate the selected heat level, the temperature, or other information. For example, illumination of a LED (e.g., a green LED) may indicate power is being provided to heat the seat. Devices, assemblies and systems having features of the invention are configured for use in the presence of water and environments where frequent cleaning is often indicated. Electrical elements, such as a printed circuit board, switches, batteries, electrical connectors, and other elements, may be covered, coated, wrapped, or embedded in a waterproof, water- resistant or water-repellant material. Waterproof or water-resistant materials suitable for such purposes include epoxy resins, plastics, including plastic films, cellophane, wax paper, oil cloth, and other waterproof, water-resistant, or water-repellant materials.

Features in the design are effective to minimize potential water intrusion into the pod or other elements, and to make cleaning easier. Such features include that the lower "pod" housing may have a lip along the outer edge (hidden by the upper housing) to reduce the likelihood of water coming up and over that edge. The lower "pod" housing may have sloped surfaces at the air inlet and vent to encourage water to drip out of the pod rather than into it. The front edge of the pod inlet may be extended downwardly effective to block potential splash-back from inside the toilet and to direct dripping liquids back into the bowl. Exposed surfaces may be configured to be smooth and rounded effective to make wipe-down easier and to reduce the likelihood of dirt getting stuck in crevices. Devices, assemblies, and systems having features of the invention may include or be made from antimicrobial materials such as an antimicrobial resin or plastic. Anti-microbial materials are effective to reduce

the numbers of, or to eliminate, bacteria, fungi, or other undesirable microorganisms from the surfaces of the devices, assemblies, and systems disclosed herein. For example, anti-bacterial plastics may be used for some or all exposed surfaces. In embodiments, a toilet seat of an assembly disclosed herein may be made with anti-microbial materials, may be covered or coated with anti-microbial materials, or may include antimicrobial materials with other materials that also make up the seat. Similarly, a lid, a pod, or any other portion or surface of a device, assembly or system disclosed herein may include or be covered or coated (in whole or in part) with antimicrobial materials. An antimicrobial material may be an antimicrobial plastic, or an anti-microbial coating, or other material.

Antimicrobial coatings and surfaces may also include other means for enhancing the cleanliness of a surface or a portion of the devices, assemblies and systems disclosed herein. For example, smooth and rounded surfaces are effective to facilitate cleaning and inhibit deposition of dirt thereon, and so are effective to reduce the growth and proliferation of microbes such as bacteria, fungus, and mold. Non-porous surfaces are resistant to invasion by microbes, and to the growth and deposition of microbes. These and other surface attributes also increase the ease of cleaning, aid in reducing the growth and proliferation of undesirable organisms, and so have an antimicrobial effect. . All these materials and material attributes add to, and are included in, the materials referred to as antimicrobial materials and surfaces.

As illustrated in Figs. 1A-1 E, a system 10 having features of the invention includes a toilet assembly 12 with a toilet 14 having a toilet bowl 16, the toilet bowl 16 having a lip 18 which can support a toilet seat 20. A toilet lid 22 is configured to fit over and cover a toilet seat 20. A toilet 14 may also have a toilet tank 24. A toilet seat 20 and a toilet lid 22 are able to open and close while remaining connected to a pod 30 and so to other parts of the toilet 14 and toilet assembly 12 by means of a seat hinge 26 and a lid hinge 28. A seat hinge 26 and a lid hinge 28 may include co-axial components, and be configured to co-operate together.

Figure 1 D is a rear schematic view of a toilet assembly 12 having features of the invention in operable position in place on a toilet bowl 16 with seat 20 and lid 22 in closed positions, providing an alternative view of a pod 30 of the assembly 12 having features of the invention. Tank 24 is not shown in Fig. 1 D to provide a view of the rear of pod 30 when an assembly 12 is in place on a toilet 14. Vent cover 38 over air outlet 36 may be seen in position on pod 30 between pod lid 50 and pod top 58 of pod housing 56.

Figure 1 E is an upwardly-looking schematic view of a toilet assembly 12 having features of the invention with seat 20 and lid 22 in closed positions, providing an alternative view showing an air inlet 32 of a pod 30 having features of the invention. Toilet bowl 18 is not shown in Figure 1 E to provide a better view of the lower aspect of seat 20, pod bottom 60, and other features. A sensor 40 placed on the bottom of seat 20 is positioned so that pressure on seat 20 (e.g., from a user sitting on the seat 20) will force seat 20 down pressing sensor 40 onto toilet bowl lip 18 effective that sensor 40 detects the presence of a user on the seat 20, and may send a signal (e.g., via wire 83 shown in Fig. 2) to a circuit (e.g., on PCB 70 shown in Fig. 2) effective to initiate the operation of fan 34 and optionally to initiate timer 44. Alternatively, a fan 34 may be configured to operate only while a sensor 40 detects the presence of a user on the seat 20.

Also shown in Fig. 1 E are mounting slots 52 for use in mounting an assembly 12 onto a toilet 14. As shown in Fig. 2, gaskets 72 are configured to secure an assembly 12 to a toilet 14. Slots 52 and gaskets 72 are configured to be placed around a bolt used to secure an assembly 12 to a toilet 14.

Fig. 2 shows many elements suitable for devices, assemblies and systems having features of the invention, providing an exploded schematic view of elements of an assembly 12. In this figure, and in Figures 3A and 3B, some elements are shown vertically disposed from the positions they take when they are assembled together. A seat 20 is shown below a lid 22, showing seat hinge 26 and lid hinge 28. A pod 30 is shown with external

and internal components visible in this exploded view. Pod 30 is made up of a pod housing 56 having a pod top 58, a pod bottom 60, and a pod lid 50. Pod lid 50 is configured to fit into pod top 58 where it may open and close; when closed, pod lid 50 covers contents of pod 30 such as batteries 54, deodorizer 46, aromatherapy or fragrance dispenser 48, and may cover or contact vent cover 38. Vanes 39 of vent cover 38 are shown; a vent cover 38, optionally including vanes 39, may be coated, impregnated with, or constructed with, material effective to provide an aromatherapy aroma, a fragrance, or both, to passing air. Fan 34 is also shown; fan 34 is configured to be housed within pod 30, not necessarily in a position that is accessible when lid 50 is in an open position. A printed circuit board (PCB) 70 is shown, and may provide timing (e.g., may serve as, or include, a timer 44), power regulation, sensing, computing, and other functions, including control functions related to manual controls, indicators, and other elements. Dampers 62 (seat damper) and 64 (lid damper) and their axles (seat damper axle 66 and lid damper axle 68) connect with seat hinge 26 and lid hinge 28 to provide a soft close. Gaskets 72 aid in mounting an assembly 12 to a toilet 14 by providing compression and grip, and helping to seal against water flow. Other elements known to one of ordinary skill in the art, such as, for example, mounting bolts, wiring, switches, and other electronic elements, and other features related to the pod assembly, may be included in or used with systems 10, assemblies 12, and devices having features of the invention, and need not be, and are not, shown in these figures.

A pod 30 may house components useful for providing airflow effective to deodorize and optionally to add aromas, scents, or fragrances to air drawn from a toilet bowl 16 and exhausted into a space outside the toilet 14. A pod 30 may include an air inlet 32, a fan 34, and air outlet 36 which may be covered by a cover 38 (shown, e.g., in Fig. 1 D as having vanes 39 effective to direct airflow in a desired direction). Other elements of a system 10 or assembly 12 having features of the invention, such as a sensor 40, a switch 42, an indicator 43, a timer 44, and other elements, may be disposed within or on a pod 30, or may be disposed wholly or in part in or on a pod 30. Such elements may be disposed wholly or in part elsewhere. For

example, a sensor 40 may be disposed in or on a toilet seat 20 effective to detect the presence of a user. As illustrated in Fig. 1 E, a sensor 40 may be placed on the underside of a seat 20 effective that pressure from the weight of a user seated on seat 20 may be detected by sensor 20. Such a sensor 40 may provide a signal indicating that a user is seated on a toilet seat 20, and may provide a signal indicating that a user is not, or is no longer, seated on a toilet seat 20. Alternatively, a sensor 40 configured to detect the presence of a user may be disposed in or on a pod 30 (e.g., an infrared or other light or electromagnetic-wave-based sensor may detect the presence of a user on a toilet seat 20 without itself being located in or on the seat 20.

A sensor 40 configured to detect the presence of a user may include: a weight-activated switch, button, strain gauge, pneumatic or hydraulic sensor; a light-activated (or other electromagnetically-activated) sensor; a temperature sensor; a motion detection sensor; or other sensor. An assembly 12 may include a switch 42, an indicator 43 and other controls and indicators to allow a user to initiate, modify, and end the operation of one of more features of an assembly 12, and to monitor the status or operation of one of more features of an assembly 12. In embodiments, a switch 42 or an indicator 43 may be mounted on a pod 30. A pod 30 may also house a deodorizer 46. A deodorizer 46 may include a filter, such as a passive filter, an activated charcoal filter, a fiber filter, a mesh or web filter, or other filter. A deodorizer 46 may include components which inactivate odors, and may add materials, scents, or odors to passing air in order to inactivate or mask unpleasant odors. A deodorizer 46 is disposed within housing 50 of a pod 30 effective that air flowing from air inlet 32 passes over or through deodorizer 46 before exiting via air outlet 36. An air outlet 36 may have a cover 38 which allows air to escape. As illustrated in Figs. 3A and 3B, a cover 38 may have vanes 39, which may be effective to direct airflow, and to modulate the flow to improve the efficiency of flow. Such vanes 39, or other suitable features (not shown, such as mesh, baffles, or other features) may be present on a cover 38, and in addition to improving airflow, may aid in reducing noise, reducing the

passage of fluids, and protecting internal components within a pod 30. Fig. 3B also shows mounting slots 52 and gaskets 72 on pod bottom 60.

A cover 38 may also serve as a fragrance dispenser or aromatherapy dispenser. A cover 38 may be coated or impregnated with a fragrance or an aroma, or both, or other suitable material, effective that air passing through a cover 38 and over vanes 39 or other features of a cover 38 will provide aroma or fragrance to the emitted air.

A fan 34 provides impetus for such airflow. As indicated in Fig. 3B, a fan 34 may be disposed adjacent the air inlet 32 of a pod 30, and a deodorizer 46 disposed distal to the air inlet 32 with the fan 34 interposed between air inlet 32 and deodorizer 46. In embodiments of an assembly 12 having features of the invention, there is a separation 76 between a fan 34 and a deodorizer 46 so that the fan 34 and the deodorizer 46 are separated and substantially not in contact, although spacers, pillars, or other features on a fan 34 or a deodorizer 46 may be in contact effective to effect and to maintain such separation 76. A separation 76 provides advantages including improving airflow, improving deodorizing action of a deodorizer, reducing the likelihood of impairment of fan operation due to build-up and retention of debris (e.g., dust or lint) on the fan, improving ease of replacement of a deodorizer cartridge, and other advantages. For example, a separation 76 may improve airflow and deodorizing action by allowing the air moved by the fan to flow to, over, or through a larger portion of a near-by deodorizer 46, separated from a fan 34 by a separation 76, than would be possible were the deodorizer 46 to be in contact with the fan 34. In embodiments, the width of a separation 76 may be between about 1 mm and about 5 cm, or between about 3 mm and about 3 cm, or between about 5 mm and about 2 cm. In embodiments, a separation 76 may be about 1 cm in width.

A pod 30 may also house a dispenser 48, which may be, e.g., an aromatherapy dispenser 48 or a fragrance dispenser 48. In embodiments, as shown in Fig. 3D, an aromatherapy dispenser 48 may be disposed adjacent to a deodorizer 46, opposite to a fan 34, so that air flowing from a

toilet bowl 16 via an air inlet 32 passes through fan 34, through or over deodorizer 46, and then through or over dispenser 48 before exiting via air outlet 36 via vent cover 38. Such passage of air past or through a dispenser 48 allows the treatment of the passing air by the dispenser 48, which may include the addition of aromatherapy components, fragrance, or both to the passing air effective to condition the air. In embodiments, as illustrated in Fig. 3D, two dispensers 48 may be provided, e.g., an aromatherapy dispenser 48 and a fragrance dispenser 48 effective to condition the passing air by providing both aromatherapy aromas and fragrance to air. In embodiments, both an aroma and a fragrance may be provided by a dispenser 48 disposed adjacent to a deodorizer 46, opposite to a fan 34, and by a vent cover 39 coated or impregnated with a fragrance effective to add a fragrance so that air flowing from a toilet bowl 16 via an air inlet 32, through fan 34, through or over deodorizer 46, is provided with an aroma when passing through or over dispenser 48 and is provided with a fragrance when passing through a vent cover 38 as the air exits via air outlet 36.

A pod 30 may house a power source, such as batteries 54, to power the operation of a fan 34, a sensor 40, an indicator 43, a seat heater 94, or other elements which may require or may optionally use power. Placement of batteries 54 within a pod 30 is illustrated in Figs. 3B and 3D. In embodiments, a power source may be an alternating current (AC) power source. A pod 30 may include batteries 54 and an AC power source. In further embodiments, a pod 30 may house a recharger effective that a battery 54 may be recharged by an AC power source. Some or all of the features or functionality included within a pod 30 may be provided by a multifunctional element, such as a printed circuit board (PCB) 70. A PCB 70 may include, or participate in providing, one or more of the following functions: timing function, sensing function, controlling function, power monitoring, power regulation (including voltage regulation), power modulation, power rectification (e.g., AC to DC conversion, optionally including voltage reduction), temperature sensing, monitoring status (e.g., of

batteries, deodorizers, aromatherapy cartridge lifetime, or other status), or other function.

Electrical connections between elements in the seat 20, lid 22, and pod 30 may be provided via a hinge 26 or a hinge 28. Thus, electrical connections between elements are maintained via a hole 78 (on pod 30) and a hole 80 (on seat hinge 26) or hole 81 (on lid hinge 28). In embodiments, and as illustrated in Fig. 3C for hole 80, a hole 80 or 81 may be an elongated hole having the shape of a slot. An elongated slot-shaped hole 80 or 81 , e.g., one with a curved aspect as illustrated in Fig. 3C, allows a wire 83 or other electrical conductor to pass from a pod 30 into a seat 20 or lid 22, and maintain its continuity while a seat 20 or lid 22 is opened or closed, causing relative motion between a seat 20 or lid 22 and between a pod 30. In embodiments of the systems 10 and assemblies 12 having features of the invention, a wire 83 or other conductor is configured for movement and contact with water or corrosive fluids. For example, a wire

83 or other conductor may include a conductive core 85 having one or more electrical conductors and an insulating coating 87. Such an insulating coating 87 is configured to be flexible yet strong enough to withstand movement and exposure to wet, corrosive environment. A pod 30 may have controls 82 and may have indicators 84 effective to provide user input, and to provide status or other information to a user. A control 82 may be a switch (e.g., a toggle switch, a slide switch, a rotary switch, or other switch), a user-adjustable dial, a knob, or other control. For example, a switch 42 is such a control 82. A control 82 may be a configured to control a fan, enable aromatherapy, adjust seat temperature, or other feature. An indicator 43 is one such indicator 84, and may be a light-emitting diode (LED), a gauge, a dial, or other indicator. An indicator

84 may be configured to provide information regarding a fan 34, a battery 54, a deodorizer 46, an aromatherapy dispenser 48, seat temperature, or other indicator.

A pod 30 may also provide mechanical support for a seat 20 and a lid 22. A seat 20 and lid 22 may be configured to have a "soft close", i.e., to

close slowly over at least a portion of the closure movement. A soft close may be provided by including a damper, such as a spring, a hydraulic mechanism, pulley, cam, or other damping mechanism as is known in the art. A damper may be attached to a hinge 26 or 28, or to a portion of a seat 20 or lid 22. As illustrated in Fig. 2 and in Fig. 3C, hinge dampers 62 (for seat 20) and 64 (for lid 22) may be provided, mounted in and to pad 30. Seat damper axle 66 and lid damper axle 68 extend from housing 50 of pad 30 to engage seat hinge 26 and lid hinge 28, to provide a soft close for seat 20 and lid 22. Figs. 3A and 3B are schematic views of a pod 30 having features of the invention, showing lid 50 in a partially open configuration (Fig. 3A) and removed (Fig. 3B), with batteries 54 in place within pod 30. A fan 34 is shown within pod 30 is shown in Fig. 3B, being hidden by lid 50 in Fig. 3A, while deodorizer 46 is visible in both Figs. 3A and 3B. Controls 82 and indicators 84 are also shown in Figs. 3A, 3B, and 3D.

Vent cover 38 with vanes 39 is shown covering air outlet 36. Vent cover 38 may be provided with a fragrance to provide an aroma or fragrance if desired. A vent cover 38 as illustrated in Figs. 3A, 3B, and 3D, is removable for replacement, as may be desired to provide aroma, fragrance, or replace an aroma or fragrance after extensive use, or for cleaning.

Lid damper 64 and lid damper axle 68 are shown, as is wiring hole 78 configured to allow passage of a wire 83 (not shown in Figs. 3A-3C) to connect with electrical elements in a seat 20 or lid 22 (such as a sensor 40, a switch 42, or other element). Fig. 3C provides an exploded view of a portion of a seat hinge 26 showing wiring slot 80 configured to accept a wire 83 or other conductive element effective to connect electrical elements in a seat 20 or lid 22 with power, control, or other electrical elements in or on pod 30. It will be understood that corresponding wiring holes and slots are provided on the side of pod 30 opposite to the side that is shown in the figures, which wiring holes and slots serve corresponding purposes as the ones shown in the figures.

Fig. 3D provides a schematic view of a pod 30 having features of the invention, with lid 50 removed to reveal a fan 34, a deodorizer 46, and an aromatherapy dispenser 48 in place adjacent (but not touching) the deodorizer 46 on the side opposite the deodorizer 46 from the fan 34. Vent cover 38 may be provided with a fragrance, so as to provide both aroma and fragrance in the configuration illustrated in Fig. 3D if desired.

Figs. 4A and 4B are partially schematic, partially cross-sectional views of a portion of a pod 30 showing a portion of pod housing 56 made up of pod top 58 and pod bottom 60. The cross section shown in Figs. 4A and 4B is taken along line 4-4 of Fig. 3D. Fig. 4A is a partially superior view, showing features on pod top 58, and Fig. 4B is a cross-sectional view, showing features of the pod. Conduit 90 is configured to provide passage of electrical connections. Dividers 92 provide support and serve to position elements mounted within pod 30. For example, dividers 92 partially enclose and secure fan 34 in place when pod housing 56 is assembled.

Fig. 4A shows a portion of the interior of air inlet 32, showing the angled floor 86 of air inlet 32, and the curved roof 88 of air inlet 32. The angles and curves of floor 86 and roof 88 of air inlet 32 serve to direct the inflow of air while providing for the outflow of any fluid which may splash or condense within air inlet 32 or pod 30 in general. A lip 61 of the lower pod housing 60 is shown at the leading edge 63 of air inlet floor 86, and serves to reduce the likelihood of water coming up and over that edge 63. The sloped surfaces of the pod bottom 60 (and of air outlet 38 and vent cover 39) encourage water to drip out of the pod 30 rather than into it. The front edge 63 of the air inlet 32 is extended downward to block potential splashback from inside the toilet bowl 16 and to direct dripping liquids back into the bowl 16. Figs.4A and 4B also show controls 82 and indicators 84.

Fig. 5 is a schematic, partially cut-away view of a system and assembly having features of the invention including a heated seat. A system 10 having features of the invention as illustrated in Fig. 5 includes a toilet assembly 12 with a toilet 14 having a toilet bowl 16, the toilet bowl 16 having a lip 18 which can support a toilet seat 20. The toilet seat 20 is a

heated toilet seat, having heating elements 94 within the seat. A temperature sensor 96 may also be positioned within seat 20 to provide temperature and status information to allow control of the seat temperature. Connections between seat elements, such as heating elements 94, temperature sensors 96, and other elements, is provided via electrical connections configured to pass from the seat 20 and lid 22 via hinges 26 and 28 to pod 30. Power to heat the heating elements 94 in seat 20 is provided by a power supply within pod 30 and connected by wires via hinges 26 and 28. The power supply is operably connected to a power cable 98 which is configured to operably connect to a standard wall socket to obtain power.

Power:

Fans and other elements requiring power, such as electric power, may be powered by a battery 54 or batteries 54. For example, as illustrated in Figs. 2 and 3B, electric batteries 54 may be used to provide power to a fan 34, indicator lights 84, and other electrical elements of an assembly 12 having features of the invention. It will be understood that variations and different embodiments may be powered by one, two, three, or other number of batteries, and that such batteries need not be D-sized, but may be A, AA, C, or other sized batteries, and may include batteries of different sizes. As illustrated in Fig. 3B, the batteries 54 may be placed for ready and easy access under a removable battery cover for installation and replacement.

A fan 34 may be configured to run at any desired voltage, such as, e.g., 3V, 5 V, or other voltage. In embodiments, a fan 34 engineered to run at lower voltages may be used. In one embodiment, a 5V fan is used. In such an embodiment, the nominal 3V supplied by the two D-sized batteries in series may be stepped up to approximately 5V by a voltage regulator circuit as is known in the art. A voltage regulator circuit may be implemented on a PCB 70, may be a separate component housed within pod 30, or may be provided in other ways known in the art. Such a voltage regulator circuit is also effective to provide a relatively steady voltage supply to the fan even as the supply voltage from the batteries varies from

approximately 3.6V when the batteries are fresh to 1.2V when the batteries are considered "dead". Thus, the fan will be enabled to perform relatively consistently throughout the life of the battery. Such consistent power usage is advantageous for providing more consistent power to the fan, so that the operation of the fan is more consistent than it would be in the absence of a voltage regulator circuit, and is advantageous in that a constant rate of power usage is believed to improve the overall operational life of the batteries.

A fan 34 may be powered by batteries 54 without a voltage regulator. For example, 4 D-sized batteries in series may be used to run a 5V fan. At the beginning of the batteries' life, the total voltage is about 7V, providing power that causes the fan to run faster than it runs at lower voltages. The initial rate of decline in battery power is thus faster than the later rate of battery power decline, as the output voltage declines, and the fan turns more slowly. As the batteries drain and the voltage drops, the fan slows down, reducing the air-flow performance. In such a configuration, a 5 V fan is expected to stop spinning at a supplied voltage of around 3V, at which time the batteries need to be replaced.

Alternatively, a direct current (DC) power source, including a wall- socket plug, wire, alternating current (AC)-to-DC converter (of any sort known in the art) may be used to provide electrical power. In embodiments, batteries, AC and DC power sources may each be provided for use as most convenient or as needed. In such an embodiment, the battery power may be bypassed when a DC jack connected to an AC-to-DC converter is plugged in, or DC power is provided in any other way, so that no current is drawn form the batteries when power is obtained from a DC power source. In further embodiments, rechargeable batteries may be provided in an embodiment configured to recharge the batteries when a DC jack is plugged in and so provides power. As discussed above, embodiments of the devices, assemblies, and systems having features of the invention include heating elements in the toilet seat. In such embodiments, AC power from a wall-socket may be

used to provide power to the heating and control elements to provide for heated toilet seat.

Deodorization:

Deodohzation is achieved by drawing air from the toilet bowl and passing the air through, over, or around a deodorizing element that removes, alters, and/or masks the odor from odor-causing molecules. Odors that may be found offensive and which may be removed, altered, or masked include amine odors, including ammonia, ammonia sulfide, diethylamine, and triethylamine; mercaptans such as ethyl mercaptan and methyl mercaptan; sulfur compounds, inclusing methylsulfide, dimethyl sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide; aldehydes, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde; phenols, such as phenol and cresol; unsaturated compounds such as such as styrene; and others.

Important elements for effective toilet bowl deodorization include: providing enough airflow and providing a physical arrangement that directs the majority of the air in the toilet bowl through a deodorizing element, and minimizes the amount of air escaping directly out of the bowl without contacting, passing over, or going through the deodorizing element. An effective deodorizing element is one that can remove, alter, or mask the majority of odor causing molecules in the air that passed by or through it. In embodiments, a master power switch on the pod is provided to enable or to disable the deodorizing function.

Deodorizing elements may include a filter, a catalyst, an energy source, a neutralizing compound, or other element effective to deodorize air passing by or through the deodorizing element. In the following, where the term "filter" is used, it will be understood that a filter may include a catalyst, a neutralizing compound, or other element effective to deodorize air, and may include an energy source. Filters are configured to allow air to pass, and to condition air as it passes through or by the filter. Filters may be configured to trap particles and odor-causing chemicals, and may include natural materials, gauze,

mesh, glass, plastic or composite wool material, porous materials, or other materials and elements effective to remove particles and odors from the air.

In an embodiment of the devices, assemblies, and systems disclosed herein, the pod includes a portion that overhangs the toilet bowl and has an inlet opening that faces downwards into the bowl. Such a portion is illustrated in Figs. 3 and 4 as discussed above. A vent is provided on the pod at a position opposite to the inlet opening. A 50mm x 50mm x 10mm box-fan disposed inside the pod in fluid contact with the inlet opening is used to generate air flow. It will be understood that other sizes and designs of fans are suitable as well. Air enters through the inlet, goes through the fan, then through the filter, and finally out a vent at the rear of the pod. The filter is a deodorizing filter effective to reduce the amount of odor-causing material in the air flowing out of the vent as compared to the amount of odor-causing material in the air flowing into the inlet. In embodiments, the filter is located approximately /4 inch away from the fan (rather than right up against the fan) to allow less restricted airflow. Thus, in embodiments, the filter is disposed at a position near, but not in contact with, the fan to provide improved performance by providing less restricted air-flow than would occur were the filter placed directly in contact with the fan. In embodiments, more than one filter may be used, including filters of more than one type or of more than one means of deodohzation.

A deodorizing filter may include activated charcoal, as a powder, as granules, or in other forms. Activated charcoal may be present in or on a mesh, as granules packed loosely together so as to allow airflow between and around granules, as coatings on a mesh, grating, network, or other surface configured to allow contact between the activated charcoal and passing air, or may be present in other configurations. In some embodiments, activated carbon filters include extrusion-molded activated carbon elements, typically utilizing activated charcoal powder. In some embodiments, activated carbon filters include compression-molded activated carbon elements, typically utilizing activated charcoal granules. Such activated carbon elements typically also include binders. Activated carbon

filters, and other filters, are typically configured to have many holes or passages through which air may flow. Such air flow is typically impelled by a fan.

A filter may include a catalyst, energy source, neutralizing element, or other deodorizing element. Catalysts include low temperature catalysts that deodorize air by absorption and by catalyzing decomposition of odor- causing compounds (e.g., by oxidation of such compounds). Catalysts may include metals and metal oxides, such as manganese compounds (e.g., manganese oxides and manganese acids), titanium compounds (such as titanium oxides), or other compounds or elements suitable for deodorizing. Energy sources useful for deodorizing include corona discharge elements and plasma discharge elements effective to deodorize and/or sterilize air. Ultraviolet light is also useful for reducing odors, by effecting the decomposition of odor substances and by killing or injuring microbes. Ultraviolet light may be used in conjunction with a catalyst (e.g., a titanium dioxide catalyst) to catalyze the decomposition of odor-causing compounds. Neutralizing compounds, such as bicarbonate of soda, may absorb or neutralize odors in air. Filters are effective to deodorize air by trapping and removing odor-causing compounds from passing air. It will be understood that a filter is a consumable component that has a finite usable life, and requires replacement on occasion. The pod is configured to allow a user to easily replace the filter when needed. In embodiments, as illustrated in the figures, a filter is accessible under the same cover that is used for accessing the batteries. In embodiments, a switch or sensor is provided that senses when the filter is properly in place or not. For example, proper placement of the filter may depress a detent that closes a circuit configured to provide an indication of proper placement (e.g., when properly placed, a circuit is closed to allow current flow to illuminate an indicator light, or, proper placement opens a circuit to shut off an indicator light that indicates improper placement of the filter). Such a sensor may be configured to allow the micro-controller to track how long a filter has been in place and indicate

to the user (via an LED or other means) when the filter should be replaced. In embodiments, the fan is deactivated when the filter is not in place. This may provide an advantage in that running the fan without a filter is expected to exacerbate odor issues associated with toilet use. A fan suitable for use in the systems, assemblies and devices having features of the invention is capable of providing airflow effective to withdraw air from a toilet bowl and to pass air to and through a filter. For example, a suitable fan may provide airflow of between about 0.05 cubic meters per minute (m 3 /min) and about 0.5 m 3 /min, or between about 0.1 m 3 /min and about 0.3 m 3 /min, or between about 0.15 m 3 /min and about 0.2 m 3 /min. For example, a suitable fan may provide airflow of about 0.15 m 3 /min, or about 0.18 m 3 /min, or about 0.19 m 3 /min. A fan may be configured to produce a minimum of noise while providing sufficient airflow. Airflow of less than about 0.3 m 3 /min, or airflow of less than about 0.2 m 3 /min, provides sufficient airflow while producing acceptable amounts of noise. Such fans may be powered by 12 V or by 5 V direct current (DC) power, which may be provided by batteries, by alternating current (AC) power supplies which provide DC power, or any suitable means.

Vanes, Vent Louvers and Optional Fragrance Delivery: A vent cover, such as vent cover 38 having downwardly pitched vanes 39 illustrated in Figs. 2, 3A, 3B and 3D, is an example of a removable set of louvers configured to fit into the air outlet 36 at the rear of the pod 30. Such louvers are configured to help shed dripping water or other liquids and debris towards the outside of the pod. The louvers may be molded as a single piece that can slide vertically in and out of slots on either side of the vent, or may be made of separate pieces configured to fit together to form a louver effective to direct airflow and help shed water and other liquids and debris. In the embodiment illustrated in Figs. 2, 3A, 3B and 3D, pod lid 50 which serves as a battery/filter cover must be opened or removed to do so. It will be understood that alternative embodiments may be configured so that a louver, such as a vent cover 38 or other element serving a similar

purpose, may be configured for removal or replacement without requiring the removal or displacement of a pod lid 50.

Optionally, such a louver part may be molded with various impregnated fragrances or aromas, or have scented coatings which provide fragrances or aromas. Such fragrances or aromas passively dissipate into the air at all times. These fragrances or aromas are dissipated at increased rates and amounts when the fan blows air past or through a louver part, so that the effects of these fragrances or aromas are increased when the fan is on. Such impregnated or coated louvers provide the advantage that a variety of fragrances and aromas may be easily swapped out by the user at will, and may be easily replaced for fresh louvers as needed. The useful life of such impregnated or coated louvers is limited however, as only a finite amount of fragrance or aroma may be impregnated in or coated on such a louver part. Thus, such louvers may be replaced, e.g., at regular intervals, or as desired by a user, as the amount of fragrance or aroma declines over time.

The fragrance or aroma component for use with a replaceable louver or with a replaceable cartridge may consist of a coating, an impregnated material, a cartridge, a louver, or a stick, block, or sheet that would passively give off molecules of a desired odor or scent (by evaporation or sublimation). Placement in the airflow would increase the release or emission of the fragrance or aroma while the fan was on. It is advantageous to place the fragrance or aroma component after the filter in the air flow in order to minimize the amount of the fragrance or aroma that is absorbed or altered by the filter.

Any pleasant fragrance is suitable for use in the systems, assemblies and devices disclosed herein. For example, fragrances derived from or resembling natural smells, such as flower fragrances, fruit fragrances, perfumes, and other fragrances pleasant to smell, or which may evoke pleasant associations or sensations in a person sensing them, are all suitable. Particular examples include, but are not limited to, lemon, acacia, pine, peach, hazelnut, and other fragrances. A fragrance may also have

effects other than its mere ability to be sensed by a person's sense of smell, and so may also serve as an aromatherapy aroma.

Aromatherapy aromas suitable for use in the systems, assemblies and devices disclosed herein may further include aloe vera, ambergris, castor, chamomile, cinnamon, cypress, eucalyptus, fennel, geranium, honey, jasmine, lavender, orange, peppermint, sage, rose, rosemary, vanilla, and other aromas. An aroma suitable for aromatherapy may, but need not, provide a detectable fragrance. However, an aroma suitable for aromatherapy may also have a fragrance that may be sensed by a person, and is therefore also suitable for use as a fragrance. Aromas providing pleasant fragrances and also believed to provide physiological, emotional, or temperamental effects include chamomile, eucalyptus, jasmine, peppermint, rosemary, and other aromas.

A component providing fragrance or aroma may be arranged to be accessible without removing the pod lid 50 for easier swapping. For example, a stick, block, or sheet may be placed in a slot, channel, or other receptacle in the pod 30, pod lid 50, or vent cover 38. For instance, there may be a hole in a pod lid 50 that a scent stick drops through with a small "finger grab" remaining above the hole so the user can easily remove it again. This way a user may select from a variety of available fragrances or aromas at whim.

In further embodiments, a "valve" may be placed between the deodorizer 46 and dispenser 48 (or other fragrance or aroma component as described above) to reduce the amount of fragrance or aroma that is passively absorbed or altered by the filter when the fan is not in use, thus extending the usable life and effectiveness of the deodorizer 46 and dispenser 48 (and other fragrance or aroma components where present). For instance, a flap may be provided that at least partially covers the outwardly exposed surface of the deodorizer 46 adjacent the dispenser 48, reducing the amount of passively scented air that enters the deodorizer 46 (from the direction opposite to the flow induced by action of the fan) when the fan is not in use. The flap is blown out of the way when the fan is on,

allowing proper air flow and providing dispersion of fragrances or aromas into the air outside a toilet.

In embodiments, a valve (which may be a flap, or may be any other valve or flow-controlling device) may be mechanically controlled by, for example, a solenoid, a magnet, a mechanical coupling, a lever, a gear, a rack and pinion, or other mechanical, electromechanical, magnetic, hydraulic, piezoelectric, or other control mechanism.

In further embodiments, aroma or fragrances may be delivered or emitted via an active mechanism that uses pressure, heat, or other dispersion methods to release the scent at specified times. These aromas or fragrances may be released at preset or programmed times chosen by the user or as initially set at the time of manufacture, including preset or programmed times that are at regular intervals, or at that are at certain time points during the deodohzation operational modes. Deodorization Activation:

Devices, assemblies and systems disclosed herein are configured to sense when a user sits on the toilet seat, effective to activate the deodorizing process. In one embodiment, as disclosed herein, a mechanical switch may be built into the underside of the toilet seat, and that touches the top surface of the toilet bowl when the seat is in the down position. The wiring to the switch passes through the seat hinge and into the pod. In the nominal position, the switch is open. A downward force (e.g., provided by the weight of a person sitting on the on the seat) provides a force between the switch and top of the bowl effective to close the switch and so to signal a micro-controller to start the fan.

In alternative embodiments, a capacitative sensor or body- conduction sensor in the seat, pod, or lid may be provided that senses the proximity of a user. In further alternative embodiments, a sensor may be an infrared or other electromagnetic radiation sensor, which may include a source of infrared or other radiation, and be configured to detect reflection of such radiation from a user seated on a toilet seat, or to sense blockade of radiation by the presence of a user across a path otherwise taken by such

radiation. Where the sensor is in the seat, or otherwise calibrated to distinguish the location of the person, such a sensor provides the benefit of distinguishing between a person sitting directly on the seat vs. a person sitting on a closed lid or some other object resting on the seat. In a further alternative embodiment, an electronic, pneumatic or hydraulic sensor in the seat may be provided that senses the presence of a user seated upon the seat by movement of fluid or gas within the sensor caused by pressure on the seat (and thus pressure on, or flexion of, at least a portion of the sensor). Such an electronic sensor may be, e.g., a strain gauge, or a piezoelectric device. Such a pneumatic or hydraulic sensor may include a chamber filled with a flowable fluid or gas which moves in response to pressure or flexion of at least a portion of the sensor effective to sense the presence of a user.

In a further alternative with a mechanical switch as described above, activation may be disabled with a switch or sensor that senses when the lid is closed. Where the lid is configured to rest directly on the edge of the toilet bowl, application of downward force on the sensor may be prevented and so prevent a downward force on the lid from mechanically translating to the seat and seat switch. In order to reduce the likelihood of accidental or momentary activation, a delay (e.g., a 1 or 2 second delay) may be programmed into the micro-controller to provide a delay between the seat switch closing and the fan starting.

Deodorization Modes:

Once deodorization is activated by the seat switch or sensor, various outcomes may be provided depending on how long the switch remains closed (indicating presence of a user) or the sensor remains activated (indicating presence of a user):

If the switch opens, or the sensor is de-activated, after a very short duration (e.g., 2 seconds) the fan will not come on at all. If the switch opens, or the sensor is de-activated, after a very short period (e.g., 2 seconds) and before a short period (e.g., 20 seconds) the fan will continue for very short period (e.g., 5 seconds) before stopping. If the

switch is closed again, or the sensor is re-activated, before the fan stops, the fan will continue as if the switch was not opened or the switch not reactivated. (And thus the timing is still measured from the initial time.)

If the switch opens, or the sensor is de-activated, after a short period (e.g., 20 seconds), the fan will continue for an "overrun" period (e.g., 60 seconds) before stopping. If the switch is closed again, or the sensor is re-activated, before this overrun period is complete, the fan will continue as if the switch was not opened (or sensor de-activated) and the "overrun" period will be reset for the next time the switch is opened (or sensor de-activated). If the switch is closed, or sensor is activated, for more than a long duration (e.g., 10 minutes) the fan will automatically stop. The system will be reset as soon as the switch is opened again, or sensor is de-activated again. (This is intended to prevent undue battery drain in the event the user places something on the seat or lid that may accidentally activate the fan.) In embodiments, an LED on the top of the "pod" will be lit to indicate that deodohzation is active whenever the fan is on.

Low Battery Indicator:

When the battery supply voltage drops to a certain level (TBD) an LED will blink to prompt the user to replace the batteries. In the current implementation, the same LED used to indicate the deodorization is active will begin to blink (e.g., 0.5 sec on, 0.5 sec off). It will only be on and blinking when the fan is running. Alternatively, the LED may continue to blink even when the fan is off to make sure the user sees it. However, in addition to the advantage of increasing the likelihood that a user will see the indicator, this embodiment has the disadvantage that it will continue to drain the battery further.

The LED may be a multi-color LED so that it can be one color for normal deodorization mode, and another color (blinking or not) for low-battery indication. Alternatively, a second LED may be used, any color, blinking or not blinking.

A comparison of features and components used in two of the embodiments of the devices, assemblies and systems disclosed herein is

provided in the TABLE, which lists some features present in embodiments which do not include a heated toilet seat ("Fan Only"), features present in embodiments which do include a heated toilet seat ("Fan and Heating"), and features present in both embodiments ("Both Embodiments"). Devices and systems embodying features of the invention may also include other useful features in addition to those discussed above. It will be apparent from the foregoing that, while particular forms of the invention have been illustrated and described, various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Moreover, those skilled in the art will recognize that features shown in one embodiment of the invention may be utilized in other embodiments of the invention. To the extent not otherwise described herein, the materials and methods of construction and the dimensions of conventional toilets and bidets may be employed with systems and devices embodying features of the present invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims. Reference to the terms "elements," "portions," source," and terms of similar import in the claims which follow shall not be interpreted to invoke the provisions of 35 U. S. C. ยง1 12, paragraph 6 unless reference is expressly made to the term "means" followed by an intended function.

TABLE

Fan Only Both Embodiments Fan and Heating

General

Fit one-piece toilets

5.5" hole pitch

Tight, solid, non-loosening mounts

Slight (-1/2") adjustability front to back

Easy to clean design

Common pod for round and elongated versions

Seat

Solid construction and feel (ultrasonic weld preferred) Ergonomic seat Soft closing Hollow cavity seat Heating element Antimicrobial seat resin Wiring for any sensors or heating internally through hinge

Lid

Soft closing

Strong lid that a person can sit on (6+mm wall)

Deodorizer and Fan

Small fan blowing air through deodorizing filter cartridge

Low power consumption More powerful fan (e.g., 8- fan, about 6-10 cubic 12 cfm) feet per minute (cfm)

Replaceable odor absorbing cartridge lasting about 6-12 months

Air inlet from inside toilet bowl with clean-air exhaust outside of bowl

Easy access to replace deodorizing cartridge

Optional Fragrance or Aromatherapy cartridge

Adds fragrance or aroma as air blows across it In-line with fan and deodorizer cartridge Easy access to replace cartridge

Optional fragrance or aroma cartridge

Optional Impregnated

Fan Only Both Embodiments Fan and Heating

Louver

Heater

No heater Adjustable temperature, 3 levels and off settings n/a Button to adjust temperature n/a Indicator for heat level

Power Supply

Battery powered (e.g., 2 A/C power with 4 foot cord D-sized batteries)

Battery life of 60+ hours n/a (10+ hours if rechargeable)

Easy access to replace n/a batteries

Low battery indicator n/a

Person Sensor

Senses when a person is on seat (body-conduction chip, infrared, mechanical switch, etc.)

Fan starts and runs while person is seated and runs for one minute after person is gone

Zero or very low power consumption

USER INTERFACE Power Buttons / Display

On/Off Button On/Off Button

Low Battery LED (flashes Power LED-blue when fan is on)

Deodorizer Buttons / Display

Deodorizing LED-blue (fan is on)

Heat Level Adjustment / Display

N/A Temp. Level Button (repeatedly push)

Temp. Level Display (3 LED or 3 color LED)