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Title:
FUTON CUSHION SYSTEM AND METHOD OF USING THE SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/083516
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A futon cushion system is provided comprising a foam core (20) having a first side and a second side, and a first cover (60) defining a cavity for enclosing the foam core (20), with the first cover (60) further including a zipper (70) for removably securing the first cover (60) around the foam core (20). A second cover (80) is selectively attachable to at least a top panel (62) of the first cover (60).

Inventors:
ASKLØF KRISTINA SKJOLDEMOSE (DK)
BONDESEN RIKKE (DK)
Application Number:
IB2016/056570
Publication Date:
May 11, 2018
Filing Date:
November 01, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
DAN FOAM APS (DK)
International Classes:
A47C27/00; A47C27/14; A47C27/15; A47C31/00; A47C31/10
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016018703A12016-02-04
Foreign References:
US20150182042A12015-07-02
EP2186447A12010-05-19
US4316298A1982-02-23
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THEANDER, Anna (SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A futon cushion system, comprising:

a foam core having a first foam layer and a second foam layer;

a first cover having a top panel, a bottom panel, and a continuous side panel collectively defining a cavity for enclosing the foam core, the first cover further including a zipper for removably securing the first cover around the foam core; and

a second cover selectively attachable and dimensionally-sized to cover at least the top panel of the first cover;

wherein the foam core is removable from the first cover such that the foam core can be positioned within the first cover with either the first foam layer or the second foam layer adjacent to the top panel of the first cover.

2. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the foam core further includes a third foam layer positioned between the first foam layer and the second foam layer.

3. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the zipper for removably securing the first cover around the foam core comprises:

a first zipper track positioned along a perimeter of the continuous side panel opposite the top panel of the first cover; and

a second zipper track positioned along a perimeter of the bottom panel, the second zipper track selectively attachable to the first zipper track.

4. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , further comprising:

a first zipper track positioned along a perimeter of the top panel of the first cover;

a second zipper track positioned along a perimeter of the second cover, the second zipper track selectively attachable to the first zipper track.

5. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the continuous side panel of the first cover comprises a spacer textile.

6. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the first foam layer has a first hardness and the second foam layer has a second hardness less than the first hardness of the first foam layer.

7. The futon cushion system of claim 2, wherein the first foam layer has a first hardness, the second foam layer has a second hardness less than the first hardness of the first foam layer, and the third foam layer has a third hardness greater than the first hardness of the first foam layer, the second hardness of the second foam layer, or both the first hardness of the first foam layer and the second hardness of the second foam layer.

8. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the first foam layer has a first porosity and the second foam layer has a second porosity greater than the first porosity of the first foam layer.

9. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the top panel of the first cover is configured to provide a cooling effect to a portion of a user's body positioned on the top panel of the first cover.

10. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the top panel of the first cover comprises ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene yarns.

11. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein, when the futon cushion system is in a first configuration, the foam core is positioned within the first cover with the first foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover, and the second cover is not attached to the first cover such that the top panel of the first cover provides a first level of temperature comfort; wherein, when the futon cushion system is in a second configuration, the foam core is positioned within the first cover with the first foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover, and the second cover is attached to the first cover such that the second cover provides a second level of temperature comfort warmer than the first level of temperature comfort;

wherein, when the futon cushion system is in a third configuration, the foam core is positioned within the first cover with the second foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover, and the second cover is not attached to the first cover such that the top panel of the first cover provides a third level of temperature comfort cooler than the first level of temperature comfort; and

wherein, when the futon cushion system is in a fourth configuration, the foam core is positioned within the first cover with the second foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover, and the second cover is attached to the first cover such that the second cover provides a fourth level of temperature comfort warmer than the third level of temperature comfort.

12. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the futon cushion system is configured to fold and be stored within a bag.

13. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein at least one of the first foam layer and the second foam layer is comprised of a visco-elastic foam.

14. The futon cushion system of claim 2, wherein at least one of the first foam layer, the second foam layer, and the third foam layer is comprised of a visco-elastic foam.

15. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the second cover includes a foam layer.

16. The futon cushion system of claim 1 , wherein the second cover is comprised of a plush knitted textile.

17. A method of using a futon cushion system, the method comprising the steps of:

providing a futon cushion system including

a foam core having a first foam layer and a second foam layer, a first cover having a top panel, a bottom panel, and a continuous side panel collectively defining a cavity for enclosing the foam core, the first cover further including a zipper for removably securing the first cover around the foam core, and

a second cover selectively attachable and dimensionally-sized to cover at least the top panel of the first cover; and

positioning the foam core within the first cover either with the first foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover and without the second cover attached to the first cover, or with the second foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover without the second cover attached to the first cover.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising a step of attaching the second cover to the first cover.

19. A futon cushion system comprising:

a foam core having a first foam layer at a first side of the foam core, a second foam layer at a second side of the foam core opposite the first side, and a third foam layer positioned between the first foam layer and the second foam layer;

a first cover having a top panel, a bottom panel, and a continuous side panel collectively defining a cavity for enclosing the foam core, the first cover further including a zipper for removably securing the first cover around the foam core; and

a second cover selectively attachable and dimensionally-sized to cover at least the top panel of the first cover; wherein the first foam layer has a first hardness, the second foam layer has a second hardness less than the first hardness of the first foam layer, and the third foam layer has a third hardness greater than the first hardness of the first foam layer, the second hardness of the second foam layer, or both the first hardness of the first foam layer and the second hardness of the second foam layer;

wherein the first foam layer has a first porosity and the second foam layer has a second porosity greater than the first porosity of the first foam layer; and

wherein the top panel of the first cover is configured to move heat away from an exterior surface of the top panel and the second cover is configured to retain heat adjacent to an exterior surface of the top panel.

20. The futon cushion system of claim 19, wherein the top panel of the first cover is comprised of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene yarns and the second cover is comprised of a plush knitted textile.

Description:
FUTON CUSHION SYSTEM AND METHOD OF USING THE SAME

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to a futon cushion system having a foam core and a removable cover. In particular, the present invention relates to a futon cushion system with a reversible foam core that, in combination with the removable cover, is changeable between a plurality of configurations to allow a user to customize his or her sleep experience.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Futon cushions, which can also be referred to simply as futons, have traditionally been produced with cotton, wool, or synthetic batting that is surrounded by an outer cloth covering. Recently, to increase the appeal of futon cushions and to provide an increased amount of cushioning, futon mattresses having one or more foam layers, either with or without batting, have also been produced. Even in such foam-based futon cushions, however, the outer cover adds little, if anything, to the comfort of a user resting on the futon cushion. As such, futon cushions often require the addition of pads, sheets, quilts, blankets, and the like to allow a user to increase or customize his or her sleep comfort. Of course, such additions can vary widely depending on the particular season and climate and can easily shift while in use such that a user may be awoken in the middle of the night. Furthermore, when not in use, such additional items must be stored and oftentimes take up a large volume of storage space.

SUMMARY

[0003] The present invention includes a futon cushion system having a foam core and a removable cover. In particular, the present invention includes a futon cushion system with a reversible foam core that, in combination with the removable cover, is changeable between a plurality of configurations to allow a user to customize his or her sleep experience.

[0004] In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a futon cushion system is provided that includes a foam core having a first foam layer and a second foam layer, a first cover having a top panel, a bottom panel, and a continuous side panel that collectively define a cavity for enclosing the foam core, and a second cover selectively attachable and dimensionally- sized to cover at least the top panel of the first cover.

[0005] With respect to the foam core utilized in the futon cushion systems of the present invention, an exemplary foam core includes a first foam layer forming a first side of the foam core, a second foam layer forming a second side of the foam core, and a third foam layer that is positioned between the first foam layer and the second foam layer. In some embodiments, the first foam layer, the second foam layer, and/or the third foam layer are each comprised of a visco-elastic foam. By varying the properties of the first foam layer and the second foam layer, however, the foam core can provide differing levels of comfort and support, depending on which side of the foam core is used to support a user or a portion thereof. For example, in some exemplary embodiments, the first foam layer has a first hardness greater than a second hardness of the second foam layer. In this way, the first side of the foam core, which is formed by the first foam layer, is configured to provide a firmer surface for the user to rest his or her body, or a portion thereof, while the second side of the foam core, which has a lesser hardness, provides a softer surface. Furthermore, the third foam layer has, in some embodiments, a third hardness greater than the first hardness of the first foam layer as well as the second hardness of the second foam layer to thereby provide stiffness and support in the middle of the foam core. In this regard, the first foam layer and the second foam layer are thus generally configured to provide a desirable support or feel characteristic at the respective first side and second side of the foam core, with the third foam layer providing the necessary underlying support to ensure that a user does not feel a hard surface underneath the futon cushion system of the present invention.

[0006] Furthermore, in the exemplary futon cushion system, the foam layers can be comprised of foams having various levels of porosity which assist in providing a desired degree of temperature comfort. Foams that are more porous generally provide greater airflow through the foam which, in turn, lowers the overall sleep temperature of the foam and removes moisture buildup that may occur in proximity to a user positioned on the futon cushion system. In some exemplary embodiments, the first foam layer has a porosity less than the porosity of the second foam layer, such that the first side of the foam core, which is formed by the first foam layer, is configured to maintain a higher sleep temperature, while the second side of the foam core, which is formed of the more porous second foam layer, provides better airflow through second foam layer and a cooler sleep temperature.

[0007] Turning now to the top panel of the first cover, in an exemplary futon cushion system, the top panel is typically comprised of a textile having a sufficient amount of durability to protect the underlying foam core, but also having a sufficient amount of "breathability" to allow air and heat to travel through the textile and provide a cooling effect to a portion of a user's body positioned on the underlying foam core. In order to improve heat transfer away from a user's body and to further provide a cooling effect, the top panel is comprised of a textile which allows for sufficient movement of air through the textile. In one particular embodiment, the top panel is comprised of a textile knitted with ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) yarn. [0008] As a further refinement, in some exemplary embodiments, the continuous side panel of the first cover is a spacer textile. The spacer textile is generally comprised of a highly porous material suitable for allowing heat to readily dissipate away from the foam core and increase airflow through each of the foam layers, which further helps to improve heat and moisture transfer away from a user's body and to provide a cooling effect at the side surfaces of the foam core.

[0009] In some exemplary embodiments, the futon cushion system further includes a fastener in the form of a zipper that connects the second cover to the top panel of the first cover and thus inhibits or reduces movement of the second cover relative to the first cover and the underlying foam core. Specifically, a first zipper track is positioned along a perimeter of the top panel and a second zipper track is positioned along a perimeter of the second cover. The zipper also includes a zipper pull that is connected to the track of the zipper, such that the zipper pull can slide around the zipper track and can be used to attach or separate the second cover from the first cover.

[0010] With respect to the second cover, in some embodiments, the second cover includes a thin foam layer that is surrounded by a textile (e.g., as a quilted foam layer) that provides not only a soft sleep surface but also insulative properties, as further discussed below. In particular, in some embodiments, the cover is comprised of a plush knitted textile, such as velour, which is quilted to or is otherwise attached to a thin foam layer positioned within the cover.

[0011] As noted, the futon cushion system of the present invention advantageously is changeable between a plurality of configurations which allow a user to customize his or her sleep experience. In particular, in a first configuration of the futon cushion system, the foam core is positioned within the first cover with the first foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover. Furthermore, the second cover is not attached to the first cover so that the top panel of the first cover is left exposed and directly supports a user's body, or a portion thereof. In this way, because the top panel of the first cover is left exposed, it is allowed to provide a cooling effect to a portion of a user's body positioned on the top pane of the first cover of the futon cushion system.

[0012] In a second configuration of the futon cushion system, the foam core is positioned in the same as the first configuration with the first foam layer of the foam core adjacent to the top panel of the first cover, but the second cover is attached to the first cover so as to extend over the top panel of the first cover. The second cover thus effectively counteracts, at least in part in this second configuration, the cooling effect provided by the top panel and, as such, when the futon cushion system is in the second configuration, the combination of the relatively insulative first foam layer with the insulative cover provides a second level of temperature comfort at an exterior surface of the second cover of the futon cushion system. That second level of temperature comfort, due to the arrangement of the foam layers and second cover, is

contemplated to keep a user warmer than the first level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system is in the first configuration.

[0013] In a third configuration of the futon cushion system, the foam core is positioned with the second foam layer adjacent to the top panel of the first cover and the second cover is not attached to the first cover. Without the second cover attached, the top panel is thus left exposed and directly supports a user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the futon cushion system. In this third configuration, the additive effect of the breathable and porous second foam layer in combination with the cooling effect of the top panel provides a third level of temperature comfort which is contemplated to keep a user cooler than the first level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system is in the first configuration.

[0014] Even further, in a fourth configuration of the futon cushion system, the foam core is positioned with the second foam layer positioned adjacent to the top panel of the first cover and the second cover is attached to the first cover so as to extend over the top panel. In this fourth configuration, the insulative cover thus effectively counteracts, at least in part, the cooling effect provided by the top panel. As such, when the futon cushion system is in the fourth configuration, the balance of the breathable and porous second foam layer in combination with the insulative cover provides a fourth level of temperature comfort at the exterior surface of the second cover, which is configured to keep a user warmer than the third level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system is in the third configuration. It is further contemplated that the fourth level of temperature comfort provided in the fourth configuration of the futon cushion system can be warmer or cooler than the first level of temperature comfort provided in the first configuration of the futon cushion system, depending on the particular configuration of the foam core, the first cover, and the second cover. In all instances, however, the fourth level of temperature comfort is cooler than the second level of temperature comfort provided in the second configuration of the futon cushion system.

[0015] Further provided by the present invention are methods of using a futon cushion system. In some implementations, a method of using a futon cushion system comprises providing a futon cushion system including a foam core having a first foam layer and a second foam layer, a first cover having a top panel, a bottom panel, and a continuous side panel collectively defining a cavity for enclosing the foam core, and a second cover selectively attachable and

dimensionally-sized to cover at least the top panel of the first cover. Next, the foam core is either positioned with the first foam layer positioned adjacent to the top panel of the first cover or with the second foam layer positioned adjacent to the top panel of the first cover. Optionally, the second cover can then be attached to the first cover such that the second cover extends over the top panel of the first cover.

[0016] Further features and advantages of the present invention will become evident to those of ordinary skill in the art after a study of the description, figures, and non-limiting examples in this document.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary futon cushion system made in accordance with the present invention with a second cover partially removed from a first cover positioned over a foam core;

[0018] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the exemplary futon cushion system of

FIG. 1 ;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 1 depicted in a first configuration;

[0020] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 1 depicted in a second configuration;

[0021] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 1 depicted in a third configuration;

[0022] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 1 depicted in a fourth configuration;

[0023] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the futon cushion system of FIG. 1 folded and stored in a bag made in accordance with the present invention [0024] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another exemplary futon cushion system made in accordance with the present invention with a second cover partially removed from a first cover positioned over a foam core;

[0025] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 8 depicted in a first configuration;

[0026] FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 8 depicted in a second configuration;

[0027] FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 8 depicted in a third configuration; and

[0028] FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary futon cushion system of FIG. 8 depicted in a fourth configuration.

DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

[0029] The present invention includes a futon cushion system having a foam core and a removable cover. In particular, the present invention includes a futon cushion system with a reversible foam core that, in combination with the removable cover, is changeable between a plurality of configurations to allow a user to customize his or her sleep experience.

[0030] Referring first to FIGS. 1 -2, in one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a futon cushion system 10 is provided that includes a foam core 20 having a first foam layer 30 and a second foam layer 50. The futon cushion system 10 also includes a first cover 60 having a top panel 62, a bottom panel 64, and a continuous side panel 66 that collectively define a cavity for enclosing the foam core 20, and a second cover 80 selectively attachable and dimensionally-sized to cover at least the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. [0031] Referring now FIGS. 2-6, the foam core 20 included in the futon cushion system 10 includes a first foam layer 30 forming a first side 22 of the foam core 20, a second foam layer 50 forming a second side 24 of the foam core 20, and a third foam layer 40 positioned between the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50. Each of the foam layers 30, 40, 50 is comprised of a substantially equal-sized rectangular piece of flexible foam which are each aligned with one another and bonded together in order to form the foam core 20. In this regard, the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50 are thus positioned and configured to provide different support surfaces and a different feel to a user resting on the foam core 20 depending on whether the user is resting their body, or a portion thereof, on the first side 22 or second side 24 of the foam core 20, as described in further detail below.

[0032] Referring still to FIGS. 2-6, the first foam layer 30, the second foam layer 50, and the third foam layer 40, are each generally comprised of a foam that is capable of suitably distributing the pressure from a user's body or portion thereof across the foam core 20. Such foams include, but are not limited to, latex foam, reticulated or non-reticulated visco-elastic foam (sometimes referred to as memory foam or low-resilience foam), reticulated or non-reticulated non-visco-elastic foam, polyurethane high-resilience foam, soy foam, expanded polymer foams (e.g., expanded ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene, polystyrene, or polyethylene), and the like. Furthermore, the foams may include gel additives or inserts.

[0033] One or more of the foam layers of the foam core of the present invention can be comprised of a visco-elastic foam, and in the exemplary foam core 20 shown in FIGS. 2-6, at least the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50 of the foam core 20 are comprised of a visco-elastic foam. Generally, a visco-elastic foam capable of use in an exemplary foam core of the present invention has a hardness of at least about 10 N to no greater than about 100 N, as measured by exerting pressure from a plate against a sample of the material to a compression of at least 40% of an original thickness of the material at approximately room temperature (i.e., 21°C to 23°C), where the 40% compression is held for a set period of time as established by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 2439 hardness measuring standard. In some embodiments, the visco-elastic foam used in at least one of the foam layers 30, 40, 50 of the foam core 20 has hardness of about 10 N, about 20 N, about 30 N, about 40 N, about 50 N, about 60 N, about 70 N, about 80 N, about 90N, or about 100N to provide a desired degree of comfort and body-conforming qualities.

[0034] The visco-elastic foam used in the foam layers 30, 40, 50 of the foam core 20 can also have a density that assists in providing a desired degree of comfort and body-conforming qualities, as well as an increased degree of material durability. In some embodiments, the visco- elastic foam used in one or more of the foam layers 30, 40, 50 of the foam core 20 is no less than about 30 kg/m 3 to no greater than about 150 kg/m 3 . In some embodiments, the density of the visco-elastic foam is about 30 kg/m 3 , about 40 kg/m 3 , about 50 kg/m 3 , about 60 kg/m 3 , about 70 kg/m 3 , about 80 kg/m 3 , about 90 kg/m 3 , about 100 kg/m 3 , about 110 kg/m 3 , about 120 kg/m 3 , about 130 kg/m 3 , about 140 kg/m 3 , or about 150 kg/m 3 .

[0035] In the futon cushion system 10 shown in FIGS. 1-6, by varying the properties of the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50, the foam core 20 can provide differing levels of comfort and support, depending on which side 22, 24 of the foam core 20 is being used to support the user, or a portion thereof. For example, in certain embodiments, the first foam layer 30 has a first hardness greater than a second hardness of the second foam layer 50, such that the first side 22 of the foam core 20, which is formed by the first foam layer 30, is configured to provide a firm surface for the user to rest his or her body, or a portion thereof, while the second side 24 of the foam core 20, which is formed by the second foam layer 50 that has a hardness less than the first foam layer 30, provides a softer surface. For instance, in the foam core 20 shown in FIGS. 2-6, the first foam layer 30 is comprised of a visco-elastic foam having a first hardness of about 76-90 N, while the second foam layer 50 is comprised of a visco- elastic foam having a second hardness of about 61-75 N. Furthermore, the first foam layer 30 has a first density of about 72-78 kg/m 3 and the second foam layer 50 has a second density of about 80-90 kg/m 3 .

[0036] In addition to the varying hardnesses of the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50 shown in FIGS. 2-6, in some embodiments, a third density and/or hardness of the third foam layer 40 is not the same as the density and/or hardness of the first foam layer 30, the second foam layer 50, or both the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50. For example, in the exemplary foam core 20 shown in FIGS. 2-6, the third hardness of the third foam layer 40 is greater than the first hardness of the first foam layer 30 as well as the second hardness of the second foam layer 50 to thereby provide stiffness and support in the middle of the foam core 20. Specifically, in the foam core 20, the third foam layer 40 is comprised of a polyurethane foam having a third hardness of about 220 N. In this way, the first foam layer 30 and the second foam layer 50 can thus be configured to provide a desirable support or feel characteristic at the respective first side 22 or second side 24 of the foam core 20, while the third foam layer 40 provides the necessary underlying support to ensure that a user does not feel a hard surface underneath the futon cushion system 10 of the present invention. Of course, the selection of foams having a particular hardness will affect other characteristics of the foam, including the density, the manner in which the foam responds to pressure, and the overall feel of the foam. It should be appreciated though that a foam having a desired hardness and density can readily be selected for a particular application as desired.

[0037] In addition to varying the hardnesses and densities of the foams used in accordance with the futon cushion systems of the present invention, the foam layers used in an exemplary foam core can also be comprised of foams having various levels of porosity to assist in providing a desired degree of temperature comfort as foams that are more porous generally provide greater airflow through the foam which, in turn, lowers the overall sleep temperature of the foam and removes moisture buildup that may occur in proximity to a user positioned on the futon cushion system. For example, in the exemplary foam core 20 shown in FIGS. 2-6, the first foam layer 30 is comprised of a visco-elastic foam having a porosity less than the porosity of the second foam layer 50, such that the first side 22 of the foam core 20, which is formed by the first foam layer 30, is configured to maintain a higher sleep temperature, while the second side 24 of the foam core 20, which is formed of the more porous second foam layer 50, provides a cooler sleep temperature. For instance, in the foam core 20 shown in FIGS. 2-6, the first foam layer 30 is comprised of a visco-elastic foam having a first porosity that allows about 0.05-0.06 L/sec of airflow through the first foam layer 30, while the second foam layer 50 is comprised of a visco- elastic foam having a second porosity that allows about 4 L/sec or more of airflow through the second foam layer 50. In some embodiments, to provide a second foam layer 50 having such an increased porosity, the second foam layer 50 is comprised of a visco-elastic foam having a structure comprised of thick, open-cell walls that form a web of struts to ensure not only faster airflow through the second foam layer 50 but also better heat conduction and more efficient moisture movement through the second foam layer 50. [0038] Turning now to the first cover 60 included in the exemplary futon cushion system 10, and referring now to FIGS. 1 -6, the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 is typically comprised of a textile having a sufficient amount of durability to protect the underlying foam core 20, but also having a sufficient amount of "breathability" to allow air and heat to flow through the top panel 62 and provide a cooling effect to a portion of a user's body positioned on the underlying foam core 20. In order to improve heat transfer away from a user's body and to further provide a cooling effect, the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 is comprised of a textile knitted with ultra- high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) yarn. UHMWPE yarn provides a light-weight, durable material which also has low moisture absorption. In the exemplary futon cushion system 10 shown in FIGS. 1-6, the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 is comprised of a blend of about 33% UHMWPE fibers and about 67% polyester fibers. Of course, in some embodiments, the top panel can also be comprised of other textiles, including cotton, silk, or other composite textiles, which typically allow for sufficient movement of air through the textiles.

[0039] Furthermore, in some embodiments, the top panel can also include an amount of a flame-retardant material, such that a flame-retardant barrier surrounds and protects the underlying foam core 20. Further still, in some exemplary embodiments, the top panel can also include an amount of phase change material. Such phase change materials typically undergo a phase change at a temperature of about 20° C to about 36° C, but other phase change materials can also be used depending on the particular intended use of an exemplary futon cushion system.

[0040] Referring still to FIGS. 1 -6, the bottom panel 64 of the first cover 60 is also typically comprised of a textile having a sufficient amount of durability to protect the underlying foam core 20. Unlike the top panel 62, however, the bottom panel 64 is not comprised of UHMWPE yarn, but is instead comprised of polyester. In the exemplary embodiment, the bottom panel is comprised of 100% polyester in a pique weave. Furthermore, although not expressly shown, the bottom panel 64 includes one or more non-slip areas that include a high-friction coating to prevent unwanted movement of the futon cushion system 10 when placed on a relatively smooth surface, such as a hardwood floor.

[0041] Referring still to FIGS. 1 -6, in the futon cushion system 10, the continuous side panel 66 of the first cover 60 is comprised of a spacer textile. The spacer textile of the continuous side panel 66 is generally comprised of a highly-porous material suitable for allowing heat to readily dissipate away from the foam core 20. Such porous materials include, but are not limited to: convoluted foam, extruded filaments, spacer fabrics, and the like. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 -6, the spacer textile of the continuous side panel 66 is comprised of 100% polyester formed in a three-dimensional structure of fibers. Furthermore, the continuous side panel 66 also includes a plurality of airflow holes to further improve airflow through the continuous side panel 66. Because of the highly-porous nature of the continuous side panel 66, airflow through each of the foam layers 30, 40, 50 of the foam core 20 is increased which further improves heat and moisture transfer away from the foam core 20 and a user's body resting on the foam core.

[0042] As previously mentioned, the top panel 62, bottom panel 64, and continuous side panel 66 of the first cover 60 collectively define a cavity for enclosing the foam core 20.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, a fastener in the form of a first zipper 70 connects the bottom panel 64 of the first cover 60 to the continuous side panel 66 to secure the first cover 60 around the foam core 20 while also allowing the foam core 20 to be removed from the first cover 60, as further discussed below. In particular, a first zipper track 72 is positioned along a perimeter of the continuous side panel 66 opposite the top panel 62, and a second zipper track 74 is positioned along a perimeter of the bottom panel 64. The first zipper 70 further includes at least one zipper pull 76 that is connected to the first and second tracks 72, 74 of the first zipper 70, such that the zipper pull 76 can slide around the first and second tracks 72, 74 and can be used to separate the bottom panel 64 from the remainder of the first cover 60. Of course, the first zipper 70 need not be configured to completely separate the bottom panel 64 from the remainder of the first cover 60, but instead can, in some other embodiments, merely provide a large enough opening that the foam core 20 can be removed from the first cover 60.

[0043] Referring still to FIGS. 1 and 2, the futon cushion system 10 further includes a fastener in the form of second zipper 90 that connects the second cover 80 to the first cover 60, and thus inhibits movement of the second cover 80 relative to the first cover 60 and the underlying foam core 20. Specifically, a first zipper track 92 is positioned along a perimeter of the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 and a second zipper track 94 is positioned along a perimeter of the second cover 80. The second zipper 90 further includes at least one zipper pull 96 that is connected to the first and second tracks 92, 94 of the second zipper 90, such that the zipper pull 96 can slide around the first and second tracks 92, 94 and can be used to separate the second cover 80 from the first cover 60. As such, not only can the second cover 80 be easily removed from the first cover 60 by simply unzipping the second cover 80, but the second cover 80 can also be easily reattached.

[0044] With respect to the second cover 80, and referring once again to FIGS. 1-6, the second cover 80 is comprised of a thin foam layer that is surrounded by a textile to provide not only a soft sleep surface but also insulative properties, as further discussed below. In particular, in some embodiments, the second cover 80 is comprised of a plush knitted textile which is attached to an interior foam layer. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the textile can be quilted onto the inner foam layer of second cover 80, although other known methods can be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In the exemplary futon cushion system 10 shown in FIGS. 1-6, the second cover 80 includes a velour textile comprised of a blend of about 75% cotton and about 25% polyester and which surrounds a washable thin foam layer. Consequentially, the rate of airflow through the second cover 80 is less than the rate of airflow through the top panel 62 of the first cover 60, and so the second cover 80 does not provide improved heat transfer away from the exterior surface of the second cover 80. Rather, the velour textile and thin foam layer of the second cover 80 act somewhat like an insulator to retain a user's body heat adjacent to the user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the exterior surface of the second cover 80.

[0045] Referring now to FIGS. 3-6, through the use of the removable second cover 80 and differing foam layers 30, 40, 50 of the foam core 20, the futon cushion system 10 of the present invention advantageously is changeable between a plurality of configurations to allow a user to customize his or her sleep experience. More specifically, and with reference to FIG. 3, in a first configuration of the futon cushion system 10, the foam core 20 is positioned within the first cover 60 with the first foam layer 30 of the foam core 20 adjacent to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. Furthermore, the second cover 80 is not attached to the first cover 60 so that the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 is left exposed and directly supports a user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the futon cushion system 10. In this way, and because the first foam layer 30 has a greater hardness and is less porous than the second foam layer 50, the first foam layer 30 not only provides firmer support for the user, but the first foam layer 30 is relatively insulative and more readily retains the user's body heat. Moreover, since the second cover 80 is not attached to the first cover 60, the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 is left exposed and allowed to provide a cooling effect to a portion of a user's body positioned the futon cushion system 10 as previously described. Accordingly, when the futon cushion system 10 is in the first configuration, the balance of the relatively insulative first foam layer 30 in combination with the cooling effect of the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 provides a first level of temperature comfort for a user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the first cover 60.

[0046] Referring now to FIG. 4, in a second configuration of the futon cushion system 10, the foam core 20 is positioned the same as the first configuration shown in FIG. 3 with the first foam layer 30 of the foam core 20 adjacent to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. Unlike the first configuration shown in FIG. 3, however, in the second configuration shown in FIG. 4, the second cover 80 is attached to the first cover 60 via the second zipper 90, such that an exterior surface of the second cover 80 directly supports a user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the futon cushion system 10. In this second configuration, the insulative second cover 80 thus effectively counteracts, at least in part, the cooling effect provided by the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. As such, when the futon cushion system 10 is in the second

configuration, the combination of the relatively insulative first foam layer 30 with the insulative second cover 80 provides a second level of temperature comfort for a user, which is configured to keep a user warmer than the first level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the first configuration.

[0047] Referring now to FIG. 5, in a third configuration of the futon cushion system 10, the foam core 20 is no longer positioned the same as the first and second configurations shown in FIGS. 3-4. Instead, in the third configuration shown in FIG. 5, the second foam layer 50 of the foam core 20 is positioned adjacent to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. In this regard, in order to change the position of the foam core 20 from the first and second configurations shown in FIGS. 3-4, to the third configuration shown in FIG. 5, the first zipper 70 is typically first opened so as to either completely separate the bottom panel 64 from the remainder of the first cover 60 or to provide a large enough opening that the foam core 20 can be removed from the first cover 60. In either way, the foam core 20 is then removed from the first cover 60 and reinserted into the first cover 60 with the second foam layer 50 positioned adjacent to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. The bottom panel 64 is then reattached to the remainder of the first cover 60 by way of the first zipper 70.

[0048] Similar to the first configuration shown in FIG. 3, in the third configuration shown in FIG. 5, the second cover 80 is not attached to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 so that the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 is left exposed and directly supports a user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the futon cushion system 10. When the futon cushion system 10 is in this third configuration, the breathable and porous second foam layer 50 in combination with the cooling effect of the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 thus provides a third level of temperature comfort for a user, which is configured to keep a user cooler than the first level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the first configuration.

[0049] Referring now to FIG. 6, in a fourth configuration of the futon cushion system 10, the foam core 20 is positioned in the same manner as the third configuration shown in FIG. 5, with the second foam layer 50 positioned adjacent to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60.

Unlike the third configuration shown in FIG. 5, however, in the fourth configuration shown in FIG. 6, the second cover 80 is attached to the first cover 60 via the second zipper 90, such that an exterior surface of the second cover 80 directly supports a user's body, or a portion thereof, positioned on the futon cushion system 10. In this way, the insulative second cover 80 effectively counteracts, at least in part, the cooling effect provided by the top panel 62 of the first cover 60. As such, when the futon cushion system 10 is in the fourth configuration, the balance of the relatively breathable and porous second foam layer 50 in combination with the insulative second cover 80 provides a fourth level of temperature comfort for a user, which is configured to keep a user warmer than the third level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the third configuration. Of course, it is further contemplated that the fourth level of temperature comfort provided in the fourth configuration of the futon cushion system 10 shown in FIG. 6 can be warmer or cooler than the first level of temperature comfort provided in the first configuration of the futon cushion system 10 shown in FIG. 3, depending on the particular configuration of the foam core 20, the first cover 60, and the second cover 80. In all instances, however, the fourth level of temperature comfort is configured to be cooler than the second level of temperature comfort provided in the second configuration of the futon cushion system 10 shown in FIG. 4.

[0050] As shown in FIGS. 3-6, the futon cushion system 10 of the present invention thus provides at least four different configurations with four different levels of temperature comfort. In this regard, a user can readily configure the futon cushion system 10 to his or her preferences by simply flipping the foam core 20 within the first cover 60 and/or attaching or removing the second cover 80 in order to provide a support surface having the desired level of temperature comfort. For example, a user can continually change the configuration of a futon cushion system made in accordance with the present invention as the climate changes throughout the year so that a preferred configuration can be used for each of the spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons.

[0051] As a further refinement to the present invention, and referring now to FIG. 7, an exemplary futon cushion system, such as the futon cushion system 10 described above, is generally configured to fold and be stored within a bag 102. Specifically, in this exemplary embodiment, the futon cushion system 10 is configured to fold in thirds along the length of the futon cushion system 10 before being placed inside the bag 102. In addition to the bag 102, it is contemplated that a belt 104 can also be used to secure the futon cushion system 10 in the folded position whether or not it is stored within the bag 102. To this end, the belt 104 includes a means of securing the belt 104 in place around the futon cushion system 10, such as a hook-and-loop fastener 106 that maintains the belt 104 around the futon cushion system 10. One or more handles 108 connected to the belt 104 are further included to assist a user in transporting the stored futon cushion system 10.

[0052] With further respect to the use of the futon cushion systems of the present invention, in some implementations, methods of using a futon cushion system are further provided. In some implementations, a method of using a futon cushion system, such as the futon cushion system 10 described above, comprises the steps of providing a futon cushion system including a foam core having a first foam layer and a second foam layer, a first cover having a top panel, a bottom panel, and a continuous side panel collectively defining a cavity for enclosing the foam core, and a second cover selectively attachable and dimensionally-sized to cover at least the top panel of the first cover.

[0053] Next, the foam core is either positioned: (a) with the first foam layer positioned adjacent to the top panel of the first cover without the second cover attached to the first cover; or (b) with the second foam layer positioned adjacent to the top panel of the first cover without the second cover attached to the first cover. Optionally, the second cover can then be attached to the first cover such that the second cover extends over the top panel of the first cover.

[0054] Referring now to FIGS. 8-12, in another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a futon cushion system 210 is provided that, much like the futon cushion system 10 described above in FIGS. 1-6, includes a foam core 220, a first cover 260 that encloses the foam core 220, and a second cover 280a that is selectively attachable and dimensionally-sized to cover at least a first panel 262a of the first cover 260. The first cover 260 also similarly includes a first panel 262a positioned over a first side 222 of the foam core 220, a second panel 262b positioned over a second side 224 of the foam core 220 opposite the first side, and a continuous side panel 266 that extends between the first panel 262a and the second panel 262b.

[0055] In the exemplary futon cushion system 210 shown in FIGS. 8-12, and in addition to a second cover 280a that covers the first panel 262a of the first cover 260, in this embodiment, another second cover 280b similarly covers the second panel 262b of the first cover 260. The futon cushion system 210 further includes fasteners in the form of zippers 290a, 290b that connect the second covers 280a, 280b to the first panel 262a and the second panel 262b. One zipper 290a includes a first zipper track 292a positioned along a periphery of the first panel 262a, while the other zipper 290b includes a second zipper track 292b positioned along a periphery of the second panel 262b. Each of the second covers 280a, 280b similarly includes a cover zipper track 294a, 294b positioned along a periphery of the second covers 280a, 280b, and zipper pulls 296a, 296b that allow the second covers 280a, 280b to be easily removed from the first panel 262a and the second panel 262b with zipper pulls 296a, 296b, in substantially the same manner as the second zipper 90 described above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0056] The foam core 220 of the exemplary futon cushion system 210 shown in FIGS. 8- 12 is substantially identical to the foam core 20 described above with respect to FIGS. 2-6, and similarly includes a first foam layer 230 forming the first side 222 of the foam core 220, a second foam layer 250 forming the second side 224 of the foam core 220, and a third foam layer 240 positioned between the first foam layer 230 and the second foam layer 250. Likewise, the first panel 262a and the second panel 262b, which are positioned on either side of the foam core 220, are each substantially identical to the top panel 62 of the first cover 60 described above with respect to FIGS. 1-6, and each of the panels 262a, 262b has a sufficient amount of

"breathability" to allow air and heat to travel through each of the panels 262a, 262b and provide a cooling effect to a portion of a user's body positioned on the underlying foam core 220.

Similarly, the continuous side panel 266 is substantially identical to the continuous side panel 66 of the first cover 60 described above with respect to FIGS. 1-6. Moreover, each of the second covers 280a, 280b is also substantially identical to the second cover 80 described above with respect to FIGS. 1-6, and provides for less airflow through the second cover 280a, 280b as compared to the respective first and second panels 262a, 262b of the first cover 260.

[0057] Referring now to FIGS. 9-12, through the use of multiple covers and foam layers, the futon cushion system 210 of the present invention also advantageously is changeable between a plurality of configurations to allow a user to customize his or her sleep experience. More specifically, and with reference to FIG. 9, in a first configuration of the futon cushion system 210, the foam core 220 is positioned with the first foam layer 230 above the second foam layer 250 and with the second cover 280a not attached to the first panel 262a via the first zipper track 292a. However, the other second cover 280b is attached to the second panel 262b via the zipper 290b. Without the second cover 280a attached, the first panel 262a is left exposed and an exterior surface of the first panel 262a therefore comprises a first support surface 212 of the futon cushion system 210 that provides a first level of temperature comfort at the first support surface 212 of the futon cushion system 210 similar to the first level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the first configuration shown in FIG. 3. [0058] Referring now to FIG. 10, in a second configuration of the futon cushion system 210, the foam core 220 is positioned the same as the first configuration shown in FIG. 9, with the first foam layer 230 positioned above the second foam layer 250. Unlike the first configuration shown in FIG. 9, however, in the second configuration shown in FIG. 10, the second cover 280a is attached to the first panel 262a via the zipper 290a. The exterior surface of the second cover 280a therefore comprises a second support surface 214 of the futon cushion system 210 that provides a second level of temperature comfort at the second support surface 214 of the futon cushion system 210 similar to the second level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the second configuration shown in FIG. 4.

[0059] Referring now to FIG. 11 , in a third configuration of the futon cushion system 210, the foam core 220 is now positioned with the second foam layer 250 above the first foam layer 230. As previously mentioned, the first cover 260 is not removable from the foam core 220, and so the second panel 262b is now similarly positioned above the first panel 262a. As shown in the third configuration shown in FIG. 11, the second cover 280b is not attached to the second panel 262b. However, the other second cover 280a is attached to the first panel 262a via the zipper 290a. Without the second cover 280b attached, the second panel 262b is left exposed and an exterior surface of the second panel 262b therefore comprises a third support surface 216 of the futon cushion system 210 that provides a third level of temperature comfort at the first support surface 216 of the futon cushion system 210 similar to the third level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the third configuration shown in FIG. 5.

[0060] Referring now to FIG. 12, in a fourth configuration of the futon cushion system 210, the foam core 220 is positioned in the same manner as the third configuration shown in FIG. 11 , with the second foam layer 250 positioned above the first foam layer 230. Unlike the third configuration shown in FIG. l 1, however, in the fourth configuration shown in FIG. 12, the second cover 280b is attached to the second panel 262b via the zipper 290b. The exterior surface of the second cover 280b therefore comprises a fourth support surface 218 of the futon cushion system 210 that provides a fourth level of temperature comfort at the fourth support surface 218 of the futon cushion system 210 similar to the fourth level of temperature comfort provided when the futon cushion system 10 is in the fourth configuration shown in FIG. 6.

[0061] As shown in FIGS. 9-12, the futon cushion system 210 provides at least four different configurations similar to the four different configurations of the futon cushion system 10 described above with respect to FIGS. 2-6. Specifically, each of the configuration of the futon cushion system 210 shown in FIGS. 8-12 similarly has one of four different support surfaces 212, 214, 216, 218 having different levels of temperature comfort substantially similar to the four level of temperature comfort provided by the futon cushion system 10 described above with respect to FIGS. 2-6.

[0062] One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that additional embodiments are also possible without departing from the teachings of the present invention or the scope of the claims which follow. This detailed description, and particularly the specific details of the exemplary embodiments disclosed herein, is given primarily for clarity of understanding, and no unnecessary limitations are to be understood therefrom, for modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading this disclosure and may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the claimed invention.