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Title:
MULTI-FUNCTIONAL CAPS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/141514
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Headwear apparatus that can provide multiple supporting applications, which includes an item of headwear (10), having a brim (11) wherein all, or a substantial part, of the underside of the brim is covered either by a loop or loop-like element material (12), or a hook or hook-like element material, as found in a "loop and hook" fastener, such that one or more items of suitable size and weight to be supported by the headwear when in use can be attached to the underside of the brim by means of complementary hook or loop material which is attached to each supported item. Optionally, the headwear can have extension structures (20) and can be used to support a pair of spectacles.

Inventors:
KAM KIN FAI (GB)
Application Number:
GB2007/002063
Publication Date:
December 13, 2007
Filing Date:
June 04, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KAM KIN FAI (GB)
International Classes:
A42B1/24; G02C3/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005076055A12005-08-18
Foreign References:
US20050257310A12005-11-24
US20040228119A12004-11-18
JP2004019064A2004-01-22
US6644807B12003-11-11
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. An item of headwear having a brim wherein all, or a substantial part, of the underside of the brim is covered either by a loop or loop-like element material, or a hook or hook-like element material, as found in a "loop and hook" fastener, such that one or more items of suitable size and weight to be supported by the headwear when in use can be attached to the underside of the brim by means of complementary hook or loop material which is attached to each supported item.

2. A support system for a device, gadget or piece of equipment comprising an item of headwear having a brim, wherein all, or a substantial part, of the underside of the brim is covered either by a loop or loop-like element material, or a hook or hook-like element material, as found in a "loop and hook" fastener, and one or more items supported by the headwear by attachment to the underside of the brim by means of complementary hook or loop material which is attached to each supported item.

3. An item of headwear or support system according to claim 1 or claim 2, in which the headwear is modified to have one or more extension structures in the region adjacent to the temple area of the head when the headwear is in use.

4. An item of headwear or support system according to claim 3, in which one or more of the extension structures are covered in whole or in part either by a loop or loop-like element material, or a hook or hook-like element material, as found in a "loop and hook" fastener, such that one or more items of suitable size and weight to be supported by the headwear when in use can be attached to such

extension structures by means of complementary hook or loop material which is attached to each supported item.

5. An item of headwear or support system according to any preceding claim, in which the supported item or items comprise one or more support means, such as a support rod or a support string, for the purpose of connecting to and supporting a device, gadget or piece of equipment.

6. An item of headwear or support system according to any preceding claim, in which one or more of the supported items is connected to the complementary hook or loop material in a flexible or hinged manner.

7. An item of headwear or support system according to claim 5, in which the device, gadget or piece of equipment is a pair of spectacles.

8. An item of headwear or support system according to claim 5, in which the brim of the headwear is adapted by the positioning of holes, through the brim, specifically located to benefit a particular user of the headwear such that through one or more of the holes can pass one or more of the support means.

9. An item of headwear or support system according to claim 7, in which there are two or more support means which can be or are attached to the brim, and each temple arm of the spectacles can be or is attached to at least one of the support means in such a way that, when in use, the temple arms of the spectacles are subject to compression pressure towards the head of the user, and that compression pressure can be increased or decreased by decreasing

or increasing the distance between the points at which two of the support means are attached to the brim.

10. An item of headwear or support system according to claim 3 or claim 4, in which the extension structures are constructed so that when attached to appropriate support means, such as support strings or support rods, those support means can be used to support a pair of spectacles such that, when the headwear or support system and the spectacles are in use, the spectacles will have no substantial contact with the head of the user.

Description:

Multi-functional Caps

The present invention relates to headwear apparatus that can provide multiple supporting applications. In particular, application in reducing discomfort for wearers of conventional spectacles and devices that use spectacle-like fitment is discussed in detail.

Typically, a conventional spectacle frame rests on the nose, balances on the ears and anchors around the ears. Even if the perfect fitment is attained, prolonged wearing of spectacles leads to discomfort, as there is constant pressure on the nose, and to a lesser extent, pressure around the ears region. Discomfort due to nasal pressure can be particularly acute for wearer with heavy lens prescriptions or wearer of heavy optical devices that rely on spectacle frame type of fitment e.g. heavy goggles, some head- mount display and medical optical devices such as binocular loupe, which does not have additional support mechanism. The current common solutions are via the use of non-conventional spectacles with headband or other headwear support with limited adjustability, or an unsightly headband support that can be used on conventional spectacles, which alleviate pressure around the ear area. Other solutions also include the use of special nose-guard, cheek-lifts, and even using adhesive tape to reduce pressures from the nasal and/or ear regions. For the average wearer of conventional spectacles, the above solutions are inconvenient, expensive or cosmetically undesirable or of limited effectiveness due to poor user adjustability.

It is an aim of embodiments of the present invention to provide a highly adaptable headwear system, which utilises innovative modifications in the design of common headwear

apparels or specially designed headwear that could mitigate the above-mentioned problems. Unlike other related inventions which also utilise a headwear as a kind of weight transfer support (see for example patents GB2337443, US5056164, US4636048, EP1124152, WO9322946, US2004701), the present invention does not require specially adapted spectacle as are apparent from these prior arts: any conventional spectacle as already worn by a spectacle wearer could benefit from the present standalone invention which can provide support to any appropriate part of the spectacle frame (e.g. the temple arms, nose bridge or even on the rims of the said spectacle,). Pressures around the nose and/or ears can be minimised by providing lifting action on the temple arms of the spectacle via the use of an extended and adjustable support system, which transfer some or all of the weight of the spectacle to the headwear. Note, unlike some prior acts, the weight transfer is subtly and accurately transferred to the headwear without necessarily altering the normal position of the spectacle frame as normally worn by a spectacle user with prescription lenses. The current invention describes several significant improvements to the prior art of WO 2005/076055 by the same inventor.

Furthermore, sideway pressures from the temple arms of the spectacle can also be reduced or increased via the transfer of sideway pressures on to the supporting system. By using common headwear as part of the current spectacle supporting system, it serves to make the purpose of the current invention cosmetically much more desirable, and considerably more convenient and comfortable to use. In the case of one embodiment of this invention, which utilise magnetic elements, the support system, apart from the headwear, is almost completely inconspicuous, thus improving the product's cosmetic appeal. Using the present

invention, wearer of conventional spectacles or other heavy spectacle-fitting device will experience a significant reduction in discomfort as contact pressures due to wearing the spectacle is reduced or entirely removed. The invention is also particularly useful to spectacle wearers that tend to have low nasal bridges, such as very young children or some people of non-Caucasian ancestry. The use of the current invention will also reduce or eliminate sores, or production of excess grease or perspirations in the contact skin regions. Spectacle wearer with facial abnormalities or sensitive skin conditions may also benefit from using the present invention. The user may also notice an additional beneficial effect of improved stability of the spectacle frame, which may confer some advantages in some sporting activities. There is further application in the fashion industry, as it is now possible to design very elaborate and hence potentially very heavy spectacle design, which can now be worn comfortably when combined with the use of the current invention.

The generic form of the invention comprises description in a) to c) below: -

a) Any form of headwear with a protruding peak or brim e.g. baseball cap, visor cap, sun hats. For conciseness, the word x brim' rather than 'peak' will be used throughout the rest of the description. For additional support, the headwear or the brim structure may be modified to have additional extension structures around the temple region of the head.

b) The entire (or substantial part of the) underneath side of the brim is covered by a loop or loop-like element material as found in a 'loop and hook' fastener (i.e. Velcro). If the

headwear has additional extension structures around the temple region of the head, then the underneath side of this part may also be covered by the loop material. If necessary, some upper part region of the brim or the extended structures may also be covered by the loop material.

c) Any appropriate size device or equipment (e.g. torch, some optical device or supporting structure) can hence be attached at accurate locations to the loop material of the above constructed headwear, provided it has the complementary hook material (e.g. of Velcro) attached to the device.

The following parts d) to h) describe how the above embodiments can be used as a spectacle support system, eliminating contact pressures due to wearing spectacles. Most of these parts are not new, as described in prior act WO2005/076055, however it illustrates the functional improvements on the prior act by the use current invention described in a) to c).

d) One or more detachable supports. Each support may be of fixed or of adjustable length. The upper part of the support is attached to a hook or hook-like element material as found in a λ loop and hook' fastener, so that the support can be free adjusted to be non-permanently attached to any part of b) where there is covered loop material. The lower end of each support has detachable means to attach to the structure of the spectacle such as its temple arm.

e) The detachable means of the lower end structure of the support could be simply a hook or L-shaped design which enables it to support any part of the spectacle structure, such

as its temple arms or nose bridge. Alternatively, the detachable means could be a clip, or a magnet; the latter requiring the spectacle to have some magnet attracting material attachment built into the spectacle or as an external attachments.

f) The support mentioned in d) and e) could be made of any rigid material. A particularly useful example is that of a brim reed which are already commonly used in the manufacture of hat, where it provides structural rigidity. Brim reed is light, strong, and also malleable, so that for example, the lower end of the rod can be shaped by the user to become the hook support as mentioned in d) above.

g) The support rod mentioned in f) above may be replaced by a fully flexible string, which has the advantage that this component can be made to become very inconspicuous, and have its length easily adjustable.

h) For the system using a string as the weight supporting element, the brim would have strategically located small holes via which the lateral position of the string could be adjusted.

The invention and several variants will now be described solely by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 shows the underside of the embodiment consisting of a cap with loop type material integrated entirely on the underside of the cap's brim.

FIGURE 2 shows a selection of supports with a "Velcro-hook" material attachment at the upper end.

FIGURE 3 shows a spectacle user wearing an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGURE 4A shows a cap with an extended shaped brim design.

FIGURE 4B shows a spectacle user wearing an embodiment of the present invention which has an extended shaped brim design.

In the drawings like reference numerals refer to like parts.

Figure 1 shows the underside of a cap (10) where the entire underside of the brim (11) area is covered by soft loop or loop-like material (12) as typically found in Velcro. The soft loop material (12) covering the area covered by the diagonal lines in the Figure. Note it is assumed that this covered brim area is sufficiently rigid so that it can be used as a supporting structure. This construction has two distinct advantages; a) it allows any device with Velcro-like hook attachment (e.g. support rod (13) as described later) to be placed anywhere as desired by the user, enabling maximum lateral adjustments and functionalities, b) The cap looks and feels normal, which is important as some users may be discouraged from using it.

Figure 2 shows a selection of support rod (13) designs which can be independently attached to the loop covered area of the brim (12). All the designs share the common design of consisting of a hook or hook-like (i.e. of Velcro) material cover (14) at the top

end, as indicated by the cross-hatch pattern drawn, and a lower end which allows part of the spectacle to be rested on or attached to. This could be simply of hook-shaped designs (15, 16) or a clip (17) or a magnet (18). The use of a lightly bent hook shape design (16) rather than a fuller hook design is so that it only lightly secures the temple arm of the spectacle, thus allowing quick and easy engagement or disengagement of the support rods with the spectacle. In fact, for most non-physically active situation, a simple L-shape tip design (15) covered in grippy material is sufficient.

The support rod element (13) is connected to the hook- material cover (14) by the usual construction means (e.g. it can be tightly sewn on). The angle between the plane of (14) and (13) is expected to have some degrees of freedom which is feasible if (13) is flexible (e.g. a support rod made of brim reed material) or the connection between (13) and (14) is via some flexible hinge system. Thus the support can be adjusted to provide optimal fitting with the loop element (12) of the hat. This is important since the curvature of the brim or of the loop element (12) would not be necessarily flat. Furthermore, the support (13) may even be rotated such that it could be folded underneath the brim when it is not in used. The support rod (13) may have length adjustable feature (e.g. telescopic design) or can simply be supplied at various lengths so that best fit could be achieved. The hook-like material cover (14) could then be positioned as desired, and attached to the loop covered area (12) of the brim.

Note it is possible to interchange the materials used in (12) and (14), but this will not be as cosmetically desirable or feel as well, as the soft loop material (12) is more compatible with the soft fabric construction of a typical hat. When (14) is allocated the

desired position and securely attached to (12) as described, the invention will thus alleviate nasal and/or ear pressures by transferring the weight of the spectacle to the headwear. Figure 3 shows a spectacle wearer using an example of the present invention. This configuration clearly illustrates how nasal pressure can be relieved via weight transfer via the temple arms (19) of the spectacle to the supports (13) and consequently to the brim where the hook (14) and loop (12) attachments are mated (not shown). Not as obvious is that it is also possible to have some compression pressure on the temple arms (19) of the spectacle by placing the pair of support (13) closer together. This is useful in certain applications, such as in some active situations (e.g. sporting activities) when some additional fixture support for the spectacle is desirable.

The positions of the attachments as shown in Figure 3 are such that nasal pressure is most effectively minimised or eliminated totally, as most of the spectacle weight, via the non-skin contact region of the temple arms (19) are resting on the lower ends of the support rod. It is also possible to reduce the pressures around the ear, if the attachment position is situated nearer to the ear, such that the lower end support can be placed around the temple arm region which is nearer to the ear. To do this effectively, it would necessitate an extension structure around a typical conventional brim design and/or at the rim of the hat structure near the ear area. An example of this design is shown in Figure 4A, which shows the underside of a cap with the extension structures (20) situated at edge of the rim of the brim and the hat. Note the underside of the extension structures are also covered by loop material (12) so that attachment to it is possible.

Figure 4B shows how such design can enable the spectacle to be in a completely non-contact but also stable and secure situation; the front pair of support rods (13) takes the weight off the nose and provide additional compression support, whilst the rear pair of supports (i.e. the pairs close to ears, with type 15 hook: note only the support for the left temple region is visible in figure 4B) with its lower end support hook in the opposite direction to the front pair thus allowing the pressures exerted by the spectacle temple arms on the temple region of the head to be counteracted. As indicated, this support mechanism is possible only if the support is attached to an extension structure 20.

In general, the descriptions given for above are also applicable, if the solid support rod (13) is replaced by a supporting string system, consisting of a string and a magnetic tip, with the upper part hook cover (14) attached to the loop covered (12) part of the brim. The length of the string can be easily adjusted by locating the 'hook' upper end material of an over-lengthen support string at the appropriate position on the loop element (12). Several strategically placed holes can also be built into the brim, so as to enable some lateral adjustment regarding the position in which the magnet will hang. Alternatively, the exact optimal position of the holes can be tailored by the user or the physician, so as to enable the most useful leverage point. The detail arrangement of the string-magnet support system has been already covered by prior act WO 2005/076055. It is being mentioned to demonstrate the superior usability of the string-magnetic system when using the superior hat construction of the current invention.

The above-mentioned embodiments have been described by way of example only. It would be understood that modifications

may be made to the specifics of these examples without departing from the scope of the present invention. Similarly, additional applications other than those suggested are entirely feasible. For example, since the underside of the brim is now entirely covered by the loop material; it opens up the possibility of enabling any headwear with such brim design to support any other (potentially much heavier equipments than spectacles) equipments or gadgets which has reason to be so placed. These equipments needing only some λ hook' covered support attachment, analogous to the support rods discussed earlier.