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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SEAT RISER APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/079444
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a riser apparatus which is configured to rise the height of a seat, such as a toilet seat. The present invention also provides a kit comprising a riser apparatus of the invention and a seat arrangement and provides for the use of the riser apparatus and kit in order to assist a mobility impaired subject to use a seat.

Inventors:
TOOZE DOMINIC (GB)
RIDDIFORD MARTIN (GB)
LYELL NATHAN (GB)
Application Number:
GB2019/052974
Publication Date:
April 23, 2020
Filing Date:
October 17, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
VERSUS ARTHRITIS (GB)
International Classes:
A47K13/28
Domestic Patent References:
WO1997041765A11997-11-13
Foreign References:
JPH0984720A1997-03-31
US8646123B12014-02-11
DE9004549U11990-08-02
CN107684392A2018-02-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WP THOMPSON (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A seat riser apparatus for coupling to a seat arrangement, said seat riser apparatus comprising a riser member rotatably coupled to a seat component and, at an opposing end, the riser member comprising a coupling arrangement for rotatably coupling the riser member to a support component.

2. A seat riser apparatus according to Claim 1 , wherein the seat riser apparatus further comprises a support component rotatably coupled to the riser member.

3. A seat riser apparatus according to any preceding claim, configured for use with a toilet.

4. A seat riser apparatus according to any proceeding claim wherein the riser member is provided by a hinged rod.

5. A seat riser apparatus according to Claim 4, wherein the apparatus comprises two riser members.

6. A seat riser apparatus according to any of Claims 2 to 5, wherein the support component comprises one or more engagement portions configured to engage a portion of the seat component.

7. A seat riser apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the riser member comprises one or more engagement portions configured to engage a portion of the seat component.

8. A seat riser apparatus according to Claim 6 or 7, wherein the one or more engagement portions comprise one or more grooves, protrusions and/or pins.

9. A seat riser according to Claim 6 or 7, wherein the one or more engagement portions comprise one or more rods rotatably coupled to the seat component at one end and comprising a coupling arrangement for rotatably coupling the engagement portion to the support component at the opposing end.

10. A seat riser apparatus according to any one of Claims 6 to 9, wherein the one or more engagement portions are configured to prevent over-rotation of the seat component relative to the support component.

1 1 . A seat riser apparatus according to any one of Claims 6 to 10 wherein the one or more engagement portions prevent an edge of the seat component from being displaced by more than a maximum distance from the support component.

12. A seat riser apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the riser member coupling to the seat component is positioned away from the edge of the seat component configured to engage the one or more engagement portions.

13. A seat riser apparatus according to any proceeding claim, wherein the seat riser apparatus comprises a second seat component, wherein the second seat component is coupled to the support component and/or first seat component by a single hinge mechanism configured to enable rotational movement of the second seat relative to the support component and/or first seat component without simultaneous linear movement.

14. A seat riser apparatus according to any proceeding claim, wherein the first seat component comprises one or more movable support elements.

15. A seat riser apparatus according to any of Claims 2 to 13, wherein the support component is configured to be capable of housing the first seat component.

16. A seat riser apparatus according to any of Claims 2 to 15, wherein the seat riser apparatus comprising a further coupling means for releasably coupling a portion of the first seat component to the support component to enable simultaneous rotation of the support component and seat component without linear movement.

17. A seat riser apparatus according to Claim 15, wherein the further coupling means comprises one or more magnets.

18. A seat riser apparatus according to Claim 15, wherein the apparatus comprises an externally mounted release mechanism configured to release the further coupling to automatically deploy the seat component, preferably wherein the release mechanism comprises a push button.

19. A seat riser apparatus according to any of Claims 2 to 18, wherein rotation of the first seat component relative to the support component, results in a linear movement of the seat component relative to the lid of 5-30 cm.

20. A seat riser apparatus according to any of Claims 2 to 19, wherein the first seat component comprises a graspable element configured to enable a user to move the first seat component relative to the support component.

21 . A seat riser apparatus according to any of Claims 2 to 20, wherein the support component comprises a back support element.

22. A seat riser apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the first seat component comprise at least one portion formed of a resiliently deformable material.

23. A kit comprising a seat arrangement and a seat riser apparatus according to any proceeding claim.

24. A kit according to Claim 23 wherein the seat arrangement comprises a toilet.

25. A seat arrangement comprising a seat riser apparatus according to any one of Claims 1 -22.

26. A seat arrangement according to Claim 25, wherein the seat arrangement comprises a toilet.

27. A toilet according to Claim 26, wherein the seat riser apparatus is configured to be rotatable between a first position substantially parallel with a rim of the toilet and a second generally upright position, transverse to the rim of the toilet.

28. Use of a seat riser apparatus according to any one of Claims 1 -20.

Description:
SEAT RISER APPARATUS

The present invention relates to riser apparatus for a seat, the riser configured to raise the height of the seat. The present invention also relates to a kit comprising a seat arrangement and riser apparatus, to a seat arrangement having such a riser apparatus and to the use of such riser apparatus. In particular, but not exclusively, to riser apparatus for a toilet or toilet seat.

Conventionally, toilets comprise a base unit, which may be fixed to a wall and/or floor surface, and which comprises a toilet basin surrounded by a rim and a toilet seat and lid hingedly mounted to the top of the base unit to provide a more comfortable and hygienic product than would be the case without a seat and lid. The toilet seat is movable between a first position in which it forms a seat providing a support platform for a user’s buttocks when seated on the toilet seat and generally rests on the rim of the toilet basin; and a second generally upright position, extending in a direction transverse to the plane of the rim of the toilet seat, such that there is access by a user to the toilet basin and rim without obstruction by the seat. In such an arrangement, the toilet seat height is determined by the height of the toilet rim upon which it is supported when the seat is in the first position, this height being fixed for any given toilet. The seat height is thus understood to be the combined height of the toilet rim, the thickness of the toilet seat and the height of any intermediate support member or members. Where a toilet seat is not present, as is the custom in some countries, the seat height may be considered to be the height of the rim alone.

Various users, including the elderly, infirm, injured or otherwise facing mobility or health challenges, such as arthritis, may have difficulty in lowering themselves down to sit on a conventional toilet and/or in standing up from a seated position on a toilet. This may be due to the low seat height of conventional toilets but such difficulty may also exist for furniture such as chairs or the like. Such users may therefore find themselves needing assistance from either another person or support object in order to enable them to use existing toilet facilities. For many people, the reliance on another person may be felt to be embarrassing, demoralising, inconvenient and/or degrading, while a support object, such as a booster seat, may be unstable, degrading, timely and difficult to position before use and/or remove after use as necessary for the toilet to be used by a user who is not elderly, infirm, injured or otherwise disabled. Supports such as a cane, walking stick, grab rail or the like may also be unhygienic, especially after using a toilet, before an opportunity may be afforded the user to wash their hands. Furthermore, the use of such supports may require greater upper body or arm strength than the user may possess.

There is therefore a need to provide a support that may be utilised by a user to aid them in easily and effectively being able to use a conventional toilet.

It may also be the case, that an injured, elderly and/or otherwise infirm or mobility or health challenged person may often feel embarrassed, ashamed or otherwise resentful of medical apparatus and disability support devices. In particular, there may be a reluctance to utilise devices such as grab rails and conventional toilet booster seats which may be required to be permanently fixed to a wall or toilet, which stand out from usual bathroom fittings and which may be readily recognised as a support device, marking the household out as having a user as being injured, elderly and/or otherwise infirm or mobility or health challenged. Moreover, the use of non-fixed devices such as canes, or such fixed grips, may be dropped by a user after sitting and may fall out of reach, thereby preventing the user from getting up from the toilet.

Known devices, such as booster seat type devices may be placed on a toilet to raise the height of the toilet to reduce the height through which a user must lower and raise themselves to utilise the toilet. However, such devices are bulky, cumbersome devices, easily identified as a medical apparatus, and are thus undignified. Furthermore, such devices are required to be removed by a toilet user who does not require a raised height toilet, and must then be stored, which may result in hygiene issues and/or be an over medicalised-eyesore in a bathroom setting. The repeated removal and re-instatement of a device between different toilet users may also be impractical and time consuming. Furthermore, depending on the ailment affecting the user, it may not be possible for the user to attend to the removal or fixing of the device to or from the toilet without help.

Alternatively, there exist specialised toilets configured to be used by mobility and/or health challenged people. Such toilets may have motorised components, obtrusive support rails and/or harnesses which enable them to be used by an injured, elderly and/or otherwise infirm or mobility or health challenged person. However, such devices generally cannot be retrofitted to an existing toilet, cannot be removed between users (which may be desired where a toilet is to be used by more than one person, for example in a family dwelling, hospital, care home, hotel or the like), are clearly identifiable as a medical or disability support device and are overly large and complex and are thus expensive.

The following has been devised with the foregoing in mind.

Summary

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a seat riser apparatus for coupling to a seat arrangement, said seat riser apparatus comprising a riser member rotatably coupled to a seat component and, at an opposing end, the riser member comprising a coupling arrangement for rotatably coupling the riser member to a support component.

The riser member may take the form of a plate or other surface configured to extend across any width of the seat component. Preferably, the plate or surface may be configured to extend across the whole width of the seat component or a substantial portion thereof. For example, the riser member may extend across at least 50% percent of the width of the seat component, preferably at least 70% of the width of the seat component, and particularly preferably, across at least 95% of the width of the seat component. The plate or surface may be affixed to the seat component and configured to couple to the support component at one more discrete points or along an extended portion of the plate or surface.

Alternatively, the riser member may take the form of a rod or bar rotatably coupled to a seat component at one end and comprising a coupling arrangement for rotatably coupling the riser member to a support component at the other end. Optionally, more than one such riser member may be utilised. For example, two or three riser members may be utilised with a single seat, preferably two. The provision of multiple riser members may improve the reliability, stability and/or robustness of the device. In addition, the maximum load which the apparatus can be subjected to by a user without resulting in device failure may be increased. Further, the use of multiple riser members may result in improved aesthetics, for example by enabling a symmetric apparatus to be produced. The provision of one or more a seat risers may enable simultaneous linear and rotational movement of the seat component relative to the support component.

Optionally, the one or more riser members, or any part or component therefore may be provided with a cleanable cover for hygiene purposes, such as a wipe clean cover. Such a cover may optionally be removable.

In some embodiments, the seat riser apparatus further comprises a support component rotatably coupled to the riser member. The support component may be coupled to the riser member by the coupling arrangement. Any suitable coupling arrangement may be utilized, including but not limited to the use of screw fixings, nails, bolts, glue, welding, pins, clips and the like.

In some embodiments, the seat riser apparatus may be configured for use with a toilet. In such cases, the seat riser apparatus may be a toilet seat wherein the support component may form the lid of the toilet seat, or a part thereof, and the seat component may form the toilet seat, or a part thereof. Thus, the seat riser apparatus may provide a raiseable toilet seat. When mounted on a toilet, the one or more seat risers may enable the seat component to move linearly away from the rim of the toilet while undergoing a rotational movement relative to the support component. By linearly it shall be understood that the movement may be resolved to have a linear component.

According to some embodiments, the riser member and/or support component comprise one or more engagement portions configured to engage a portion of the seat component. The engagement portion may utilise direct or indirect engagement means. Optionally, the one or engagement means may form part of the first and/or second rotatable hinge portions.

In some embodiments the one or more engagement portions may take the form of an additional rod and/or surface rotatably coupled to the seat component at one end and comprising a coupling arrangement for rotatably coupling the engagement portion to the support component at the opposing end. Such engagement portions may preferably be formed of a rigid non-deformable material in order to maintain a maximum distance between the rearward edge of the seat component and a portion of the support member.

According to some embodiments, the one or more engagement portions may comprise one or more grooves, protrusions, pins or the like. However, any known engagement means may be used, for example, means utilizing magnets, flexible and/or stretchable materials or the like.

According to some embodiments, the one or more engagement portions may be configured to prevent over-rotation of the seat component relative to the support component. Alternatively or in addition, in some embodiments, the engagement portion may be configured to prevent the displacement between the edge of the seat component which rotates closest to the support component during rotation from varying beyond a fixed parameter. Optionally, one engagement element may be active in both preventing over-rotation and undesirable displacements. However, in other options, multiple engagement elements may be utilised to carry out the two tasks separately.

Optionally, the displacement between the rearward edge of the seat component, i.e. the edge which rotates closest to the support component during rotation, is maintained within a range from 0 cm to 10 cm throughout the achievable angle of rotation. The achievable angle of rotation may be limited by the one or more engagement portions and/or by the mounting of the device in proximity to surfaces, walls and/or other fixtures and fittings. Where the engagement portion comprises one or more rods and/or a surface rotatably coupled to the seat component at one end and comprising a coupling arrangement for rotatably coupling the engagement portion to the support component at the opposing end, the maximum displacement may be defined by the length of the rod and/or surface measured between the two rotatable couplings.

Preferably, the variance in the displacement, may be less than about 10 cm, less than about 5 cm, less than about 2 cm, less than about 1 cm, less than about 0.5 cm or less than about 0.1 cm. Particularly, preferably, the engagement member may enable the edge of the seat component which rotates closest to the support component during rotation to be maintained at the same distance from the surface of the support component throughout the achievable angle of rotation, within standard working tolerances of the manufacturing process and the materials used, for example within a tolerance of 0-3 mm. In some options the rearward edge may be maintained within 1 cm, preferably within 0.5 cm of the support component at all times during throughout the achievable angle of rotation. For example, the rearward edge may maintain contact with the support component throughout the achievable angle of rotation. As such, the optimal position of the seat component may be ensured when in the lowered position. For example, where the seat riser apparatus is configured for use with a toilet, the seat component may be optimally positioned directly atop, but vertically displaced from the rim of the toilet.

By preventing over-rotation of the seat component, the one or more engagement portions may enable the seat component to be positioned substantially level. As such, the user may be provided with a seat component which may be stably sat on without a risk of sliding due to gravity. In this context, “substantially level” may be understood encompass any slope from -5 degrees to +5 degrees calculated relative to horizontal.

Alternatively and/or additionally, it may be desirable to fix the seat component at an elevated height while maintaining a gradient to the horizontal. For example, where a user has difficulty moving from a fully seated to a standing position, and/or for a user of short stature, it may be preferable to provide a seat component which is elevated towards the rear of the seat component (i.e. towards the support component), with the front of the seat component tilted downwards. In such embodiments, an additional fixing point may be provided to stabilise the seat component at a desired angle prior to use and to prevent the lowered front portion of seat component from continuing to rotate when the force of a user sitting or resting thereupon is applied.

Such an embodiment may provide a seat component which is raised towards the rear of the seat component, thereby reducing the need for the user to lower themselves fully to the height of a standard toilet, while remaining accessible to users of a wide variety of heights and mobilities.

The seat component may be releasably fixable at a single gradient to the rim of the toilet. Any suitable fixing may be utilised, including but not limited to the use of pins and/or protrusions configured to prevent over-rotation of the seat component, springs or the like. Alternatively, the fixing means may enable the user to select a desired angle. Optionally, this may be achieved by the use of multiple such fixing points or by a ratchet-type system.

Optionally, the user may be able to select a seat angle from +10 to -30 degrees from the plane of the toilet rim. Preferably, the user may be able to select one or more seat angles from 0 to -20 degrees from the plane of the toilet rim. For example, the user may be able to select one or more angles from 0°, 5°, 10°, 15° and 20°. Optionally, the one or more engagement portions may enable the seat component to be rotated relative to the support component through an angle of 0-90 degrees. Alternatively, the one or more engagement portions may enable the seat element to be rotated relative to the support component through an angle greater than 90 degrees, for example, through an angle of 0-100 degrees, 0-110 degrees or 0-120 degrees. Optionally, the maximum angle of rotation enabled by the one or more engagement portions may be optimised for the particular toilet design. For example, a greater degree of rotation may be desired where the seat riser apparatus is configured for use with a toilet having a cistern hidden within a wall compared to a toilet having a cistern mounted on a wall.

The provision of one or more engagement portions which are configured to prevent over-rotation of the seat component relative to the support member may negate the requirement for any further components to support the seat component in the lowered position when sat on by a user.

According to some embodiments, the riser member coupling to the seat component may be positioned away from the edge of the seat component configured to engage the one or more engagement portions.

By off-setting the point of rotation of the seat element from its rearward edge, the edge of the seat component is not directly fixed to the support component, and is therefore free to move linearly along an axis of the support component during rotation. The distance through which this edge may travel during rotation is limited by the distance between this edge of the seat component and the coupling arrangement coupled to the seat component. Optionally, this distance of travel may be from 1-30 cm, and the distance between the rearward edge of the seat component and the second hinge element may be from 1-20 cm. Preferably, the distance between the rearward edge of the seat component and the second hinge element may be from 5 to 10 cm. According to some embodiments, the seat riser apparatus comprises a second seat component, wherein the second seat component is coupled to the support component and/or first seat component by a single hinge mechanism configured to enable rotational movement of the second seat relative to the support component and/or first seat component without simultaneous linear movement.

As such, when affixed to a toilet, a user is provided with the choice of utilising the device to sit on a toilet seat at a conventional height above the toilet using the second seat component, or at a raised height using the first seat component, without necessitating the removal of the device.

The second seat component may be a conventional toilet seat. In additional, the second seat component may be rotatable away from the rim of the toilet towards the support component and/or toilet seat lid. This may aid in maintaining hygiene. For example, the second seat component may be movable by a user in a conventional manner to gain access to the toilet bowl either to clean the toilet bowl or by male users who are able to stand while urinating and thus do not require use of any seat component.

Accordingly to some embodiments, the first seat component comprises one or more movable support elements. When such a seat riser apparatus is affixed to a toilet, the one or more support elements may be configured to contact the rim of a toilet and/or a portion of the second seat component.

The provision of one or more support elements may prevent over-rotation of the first seat component relative to the support component and/or remove some of the strain from the double hinge and/or one or more engagement portions which arises when a user is sat upon the raised first seat component. As such, the device may be more stable and/or sturdy. The provision of one or more supports may therefore enable the device to be used by more heavyset users and/or increase the usable lifetime of the device.

Optionally, the moveable support elements may be provided with a means for varying their height. For example, the one or more movable support elements may comprise a sprung or telescopic foot component. The provision of a variable height movable support element may be advantageous in maintaining the seat component at a desired gradient. In particular, the provision of such a movable support element may enable the seat component to be maintained in a substantially horizontal position where the rim of the toilet may not be horizontal, for example due to an uneven ground surface.

The provision of such a movable support element may also be advantageous in embodiments in which the seat component is configured to be positioned at a gradient to the horizontal or where the gradient is selectable by a user.

The one or more support elements may have any suitable form. Furthermore, they may be foldable or otherwise extendable and/or retractable from a portion of the seat riser apparatus. As such, the one or more support elements may be housed in an unobtrusive and/or otherwise practical position when not in use, and manipulated to a suitable position when required. Optionally, the one or more support elements may be linked to the first seat component such that rotation of the first seat component relative to the support component, along with the simultaneous linear movement of the first seat component relative to the support component, also results in the extension and/or positioning of the one or more support members ready for supportive use. Alternatively or in addition, the user may be able to manipulate the position of the one or more support members to simultaneously deploy the first seat component from the support component of the toilet seat. For example, unfolding or pulling on the one or more support elements so as to place them in a support position may simultaneously cause the first seat element to be rotated away from the support component, whereby it may easily be positioned for use by a user.

Accordingly to some embodiments, the seat riser apparatus comprises a further coupling means for releasably coupling a portion of the first seat component to the support component to enable simultaneous rotation of the support component and seat component without linear movement. Where the seat riser apparatus is affixed to a toilet, the provision of such a coupling may allow the first seat component and support component, i.e. lid, to be simultaneously lifted to open the toilet to provide access to the basin or second seat component. Preferably, the second seat component may not be similarly coupled to the first seat component and lid.

Such an arrangement may enable a user to lift the lid of the toilet seat of the present invention in an analogous manner to a conventional toilet, and be presented with a standard toilet seat positioned across the basin ready for use. As such, the existence of a further (first) seat component coupled to the lid may not be immediately apparent to the user, preventing the toilet as a whole from appearing over-medicalised.

Accordingly to some embodiments, the further coupling means may comprise one or more magnets. However, it shall be understood that clasps, clips and other known releasable coupling means may also be used. Optionally, the further coupling means may comprise an external clip, push button or the like. In such embodiments, the user may be able to release the further coupling mechanism prior to or during the lifting of the lid of the toilet seat so as to be presented with the seat component in the raised position upon the opening of the toilet lid. This may negate the need for the user to perform additional actions to position the raised seat component ready for use.

Optionally, the configuration of the one or more engagement portions may maintain the seat component at a suitable distance from the support component at all times so as to enable the seat component to be lowered by the rotation of the support component towards to the second seat component, thereby collapsing the seat riser apparatus. This may enable the seat raiser apparatus to be closed away upon the closing of the toilet lid without the need for the user to first touch or the seat component and/or perform any additional actions. In such embodiments, the collapsing of the seat riser apparatus in this manner may result in the re-fastening of the further coupling means.

Thus, the seat riser apparatus may be positioned for use and/or put away by the simple action of opening and/or closing a toilet seat in a conventional manner. This provides a convenient, easy to use apparatus. In addition, by removing the need to touch any component other than the lid, a hygienic apparatus may be provided.

Optionally, the seat riser apparatus may be comprise a dampening mechanism configured to provide a“soft-closure” to one or more aspects of the apparatus. For example, where the seat riser apparatus comprises a support component, optionally in the form of a lid, the support component or lid may comprise a dampening mechanism configured to impede the rotation of the support element towards the seat component. This may enable the seat riser to be collapsed and/or stowed in a controlled manner which may reduce the risk of injury to a user. The use of such a dampener may also reduce the volume of any sounds associated with the collapsing of the seat component, especially where the closure of the support component and/or lid may be accelerated due to gravity. This may aid in the user in being able to use the apparatus discretely.

Where the seat riser apparatus comprises a further second seat component, the apparatus may alternatively or additionally comprise a dampening mechanism configured to impede the rotation of the support element and/or first seat component towards the second seat component. This may provide similar safety and noise advantages.

Any suitable dampening mechanism may be used including automatic hinge closure mechanisms, sprung dampeners, viscous and/or oil based dampeners, and other conventional soft-close dampeners.

Accordingly to some embodiments, the first seat component may comprise a graspable element configured to enable a user to move the first seat component relative to the support component. Such a graspable element may optionally form part of the one or more support elements. The provision of a graspable element may enable the user to pull the first seat component from the support component, overcoming any releasable coupling means. Once the first seat component has been positioned for use, the graspable element may be positioned away from interior of the seat component. This may be particularly beneficial when the seat riser apparatus is configured for use with a toilet to reduce the risk of the graspable element becoming contaminated with bodily fluids during use. The provision of such a graspable element may therefore provide a hygienic way for a use to manipulate the movement of the first seat component.

Accordingly to some embodiments, the support component may be configured to be capable of housing the first seat component. For example, the support component may have a depth greater than about 1 cm, 2 cm, 3 cm, 4 cm, or 5 cm in order to enable it to house the first seat component. Optionally, the support component may also house one or more other components such as one or more support elements or a second seat component. Optionally, the support component may be configured to house all of the components of the seat riser apparatus, apart from the support component itself. Once housed in the support component, the components housed therein may be unobservable to an external viewer. As such, where the seat riser apparatus is configured for use with a toilet, the lid may be of a suitable depth to house the first seat component, and optionally any additional components such that the seat riser apparatus of the present invention may provide a discreet raisable toilet seat, which may not be immediately apparent to an observer when not in a raised configuration.

The seat riser apparatus of the present invention can be used to raise the height of a seat arrangement, such as a conventional toilet, by any desirable height, i.e. the seat riser apparatus of the present invention may provide any suitable linear movement. Preferably, rotation of the seat component relative to the support component through the maximum angle permitted by the positioning of the seat riser apparatus and/or by the presence of any engagement portions may enable the first seat element to be raised by a height from 5-30 cm. Preferably, the height raised may be from 5-20 cm, for example about 10 cm. In this context, the height raised may be understood to be the height of the surface of the first seat component configured to be sat on above the alternative sitting surface afforded by the seat arrangement. For example, the height of the rim of the toilet upon which the toilet seat device is affixed or, where applicable, the height of the rim of the toilet upon which the toilet seat device is affixed, plus the depth of the second seat component (including any feet or mountings thereof) upon which the first seat component may rest.

Accordingly, in some embodiments, rotation of the first seat component relative to the support component may result in a linear movement of the seat component relative to the support component of 5-30 cm. Preferably, the linear movement may be from 5-20 cm, for example about 10 cm.

According to some embodiments, the support component comprises a back support element. The back support element may take any form and be formed of any material. The back support element may be positioned on a portion of the interior surface of the support component and may provide a supportive surface to be leant against by a user. Optionally, the support may be padded or cushioned. Optionally, the back support may have a wipe-clean surface so as to be hygienic.

Such supports may be of particular benefit for elderly, infirm, injured or otherwise mobility or health challenged users who may struggle to maintain themselves in an un-supported, up-right sitting position.

It shall be understood the seat riser apparatus of the present invention or parts thereof may be formed of any suitable materials, including materials used in conventional toilet seats, such as but not limited to, metals, plastics, wood, ceramics, resins or the like, as well as from mixtures thereof, including, for example but not limited to: polystyrene, polypropene (polypropylene), acrylic polymers, melamine, maple, birch, and bamboo. Preferably at least a portion of the seat riser apparatus may comprise melamine.

Optionally, the seat riser apparatus of the present invention may utilise one or more non-conventional materials, such as one or more resiliently deformable materials such as a polymer gel, foam or the like. Such materials may particularly be utilised in the back support, where they may provide improved comfort, and/or in the first (and optionally second) seat component where they may provide a more comfortable sitting experience. Preferably, where present in a seat component, such a resiliently deformable material may be used only in the first seat component configured to provide the raised sitting position. Such a material may be particularly beneficial for users who are elderly, injured, infirm or otherwise mobility or health challenged and who have joint pain, such as hip pain, when sitting. Furthermore, when provided as part of the first seat component only, the resiliently deformable material may be unobtrusive to a user who does not utilise this sitting surface.

Optionally, the seat riser apparatus, or parts thereof may be at least partially covered with a non-slip surface.

Preferably, regardless of the materials used, the surface of the seat riser apparatus may be wipe- clean. Optionally, a wipe-clean surface may be applied to components of the seat riser apparatus during its manufacture in the event that absorbent materials form part of its construction. Wipe-clean surfaces may include non-absorbent plastics, metals, ceramic and resins, as well as varnishes and the like.

The seat riser apparatus of the present invention may be affixed to a conventional seat, such as a toilet by any known means. Alternatively, the seat riser apparatus may be formed integrally with a seat arrangement.

Where the seat riser apparatus is configured for use with a toilet, the seat riser apparatus may be screwed on to a conventional toilet either from above or below. Optionally, the toilet seat may be affixed by the provision of one or more sticky pads, suction cups, clips, brackets or the like.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a kit comprising a seat arrangement and a seat riser apparatus according to any proceeding claim.

According to some embodiments, the seat arrangement may comprise a toilet.

The toilet may be any toilet, including conventional 1 and 2 piece toilets wherein the cistern is mounted against or integrally formed with the rear of the toilet basin, wall mounted toilets in which the toilet may be mounted on a wall with a cistern hidden inside the wall, and any other known toilet.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a seat arrangement comprising a seat riser apparatus according to the first aspect of the present invention.

According to some embodiments, the seat arrangement may comprise a toilet.

Again, the toilet may be any form of toilet, including conventional 1 and 2 piece toilets wherein the cistern is mounted against or integrally formed with the rear of the toilet basin, wall mounted toilets in which the toilet may be mounted on a wall with a cistern hidden inside the wall, and any other known toilet.

According to some embodiments, the seat riser apparatus is configured to be rotatable between a first position substantially parallel with a rim of the toilet and a second generally upright position, transverse to the rim of the toilet.

It shall be understood that the rim of the toilet is considered to be the rim of the toilet basin of a conventional toilet, which is conventionally planar and level. As such, the present invention provides a toilet seat which may be level in order that the user is prevented from sliding off of the toilet seat due to the existence of an undesired gradient.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided the use of a seat riser apparatus according to the first embodiment of the present invention, and/or the use of a seat assembly, such as a toilet, comprising such a device.

For completeness, it is noted that, unless specifically recited as the“second seat component”, the term“seat component” shall be understood as relating to the“first seat component”.

List of Figures

One or more embodiments in accordance with the present disclosures will now be described, by way of reference only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 : depicts an illustration of a seat riser apparatus according to an embodiment of the present disclosure configured for use with a toilet, in which the support component and first seat component have been simultaneously rotated away from the second seat component.

Figure 2: depicts an illustration the seat riser apparatus of Figure 1 in which the first seat component has been rotated away from the support component towards the second seat component.

Figure 3: depicts an illustration of the seat riser apparatus of Figure 1 in a closed configuration.

Figure 4: depicts an illustration of the seat riser apparatus of Figure 1 positioned in an arrangement for fixing to a conventional toilet.

Figure 5: depicts an illustration of the seat riser apparatus of Figures 1 -4 in the closed position affixed to a conventional toilet.

Figure 6: depicts an illustration of the seat riser apparatus of Figure 5 in which the support component and first seat component have been simultaneously rotated to open the toilet.

Figure 7 depicts an illustration of an alternative embodiment of the seat riser apparatus which utilises a rod-based actuator configured for use with a toilet, in which seat component is positioned in a raised state.

Figures 8A-E depict a series of side on illustrations of the seat riser apparatus of Figure 7 moving from a closed position to an open position with the seat component simultaneously undergoing a linear raising motion upon rotation of the support member to the open position. It shall be understood that viewing these figures in the reverse order may provide an illustration of stowing the same apparatus after use.

Figure 9 depicts an illustration of the seat riser apparatus of Figure 7 in which the first seat component is mounted within the housing of the support component which has been rotated to an open position to expose the second seat component. Figure 10 depicts an illustration of an embodiment of the seat riser apparatus which utilises a rod- based actuator and which additionally includes an actuator cover.

Description of Figures

Figure 1 is an illustrative depiction of a seat riser apparatus 1 according to the present invention, configured for use with a toilet. The seat riser apparatus 1 comprises a support component (lid) 2, first seat component 3, and second seat component 4. However, it shall be understood that alternative embodiments may be envisaged in which the second seat component 4 is omitted.

The first seat component 3 comprises a graspable tab 5 which is configured to be gripped by the user in order to pull the first seat component 3 away from the lid 2. The first seat component 3 also comprises two support elements 6. However, it shall be envisaged that alternative embodiments may have any number of support elements. Support elements 6 are integrally formed with or connected to the graspable tab.

In use the user may grasp the graspable tab 5 to pull the first seat component 3 from the interior of the lid 2. This causes the first seat component 3 to be rotated relative to the lid 2, to place the first seat component in a position for sitting on by a user, as depicted in Figure 2. During rotation, a simultaneous linear movement of the seat component 3 relative to the lid 2 occurs, with the seat component 3 rising upwards (based on the orientation depicted) when the lid 2 and seat component 3 are rotated apart, and moving downwards as the lid 2 and seat component are rotate towards each other.

Figure 2 depicts a riser member 7 which forms a double hinge mechanism enabling the seat component 3 to simultaneously move linearly with respect to the lid when rotating away from it. The riser member 7 comprises a first rotatable coupling arrangement 8 connected to a portion of the lid 2 and a second rotatable coupling arrangement 9 connected to a portion of the seat component 3. As shown in Figure 2, the first and second rotatable coupling arrangements are displaced relative to each other, with the rotatable coupling arrangement 8 being mounted distance further removed from the edge 10 of the lid about which the lid is configured to rotate when the toilet seat is affixed to the toilet, than the second rotatable coupling arrangement 9. The second rotatable coupling arrangement 9 is connected to the seat component 3 at a distance displaced from the edge 1 1 of the seat component about which the seat is configured to rotate when affixed to the toilet. This edge is housed within the lid 2 when the seat component 3 is rotated relative to the lid, but is depicted in the un-rotated view shown in Figure 1 .

To move the seat riser apparatus from the first conformation depicted in Figure 1 to the second conformation depicted in Figure 2, the user may grasp the graspable tab 5, pulling in an outward and downward direction. This causes the riser member 7 to start to rotate, with edge 1 1 being drawn upwards as the tab 5 is drawn downwards. Engagement portions (not shown) may be present to prevent the edge 1 1 from being pulled away from the lid to and/or to prevent edge 1 1 from travelling more than a desired amount. Support elements 6 may also prevent the edge 1 1 from travelling more than a desired amount by inhibiting further rotation of the seat component 3 once the seat component is in the desired position. As depicted in Figure 2, in the desired position, the seat component 3 is substantially parallel with the second seat component 4, and is positioned directly atop thereof but vertically removed therefrom.

To rehouse the seat component within the lid, the user may simply push the seat component 3 back up towards the lid. Alternatively, the lid may be rotated downwards towards the seat component 3. In doing so, the rotation results in a simultaneous downwards linear motion of the seat component 3, enabling it to be once more housed within the lid, as depicted in Figure 3. Optionally, the lid and/or seat component may include a further coupling means (not shown), such as a magnet, such that when the lid is rotated away from the second seat component 4, the first seat component 3 is simultaneously rotated away from the second seat component 4 with the lid 2. This may provide an easy way of enabling the user to re-house the first seat component 3 within the lid 2 without having to touch the first seat component 3, which may be unhygienic.

The provision of such a seat riser apparatus 1 , wherein the riser member 7 comprises two rotatable couplings 8 and 9 (i.e. a double hinge), enables the seat component to be elevated from the rim of the toilet when in use, but to rotate downwards, relative to the lid 2 of the toilet as the lid is rotated towards the seat component. As such the seat component 3 is capable of being housed within the lid 2 without protruding therefrom, and without requiring the lid 2 to be oversized relative to the geometry of the seat component 3, as would be required were the seat component 3 to be mounted to the lid 2 using a convention mounting, such as a single hinge, as a suitable position on the lid to provide an elevated seating position.

As shown in Figure 4, the seat riser apparatus of the present invention is fixed to a toilet using standard connections 13. However, it shall be envisaged that alternative connection means may also be utilised.

Figures 5 and 6 depict a toilet seat of the present invention affixed to a toilet 14. As shown in Figure 5, when mounted on a toilet 14 and in the closed position, the first seat component 3 may be unobservable to a user. Furthermore, as shown in Figure 6, when deployed, the first seat component may be vertically atop but displaced therefrom the rim 12 of the toilet, with the displacement between the second seat component 4 and the first seat component 3 being around 8-15 cm.

Accordingly, a seat riser apparatus 1 according to the first aspect of the present invention therefore, and/or a kit or seat arrangement according to the second and/or third aspect of the present invention may provide a device which may be utilised by an injured, elderly, infirm, and/or otherwise mobility or health challenged person to aid them in being able to sit down and/or rise from a seated position, optionally without the use of assistance and/or other supportive aids, wherein the device may be discretely hidden away when not in use. Advantageously, the seat arrangement may also be able to be utilised by other users without utilising the raised seat component without necessitating the removal of the device from the seat arrangement.

In particular, where the seat riser apparatus is configured to be affixed to a toilet, the toilet may be easily used either with or without an elevated seat position. This may be of particular benefit to multi- person households where different users may wish to use the same toilet with and without a support aid. It may also be of particular benefit where a toilet may be used by guests who do not require the use of a support aid, and who might be prompted to ask potentially awkward and/or embarrassing questions of the household user when seeing an obvious medical or disability support device, which may result in an infringement of the user’s privacy. Furthermore, the seat raiser apparatus according to aspects of the invention provides a support device which may be unobtrusively mounted on a toilet such that the toilet may be conventionally used without having to first remove or reposition the device, drawing adverse attention to its presence, as depicted in Figure 5

It will be appreciated that any of the optional features of any of the embodiments described herein could also be provided with one or more of any of the other embodiments described herein.

In embodiments according to Figures 1 -6 the user may be presented with the seat riser apparatus mounted on a toilet in a collapsed position as depicted in Figure 5. In use the user may lift lid 2 in a conventional manner, with rotation about a rearward edge 1 1 . When lifted, seat component 3 may be retained in connection with the lid and thus simultaneously be rotated away from the toilet and second seat component 4. This serves to expose the second seat component to the user for conventional use of the toilet.

To deploy the seat riser apparatus, the user grasps the graspable tab 5 to pull the first seat component 3 from the interior of the lid 2. As the seat component is pulled away from the lid 2, the seat component pivots about its rearward edge 1 1 . By locating the rotatable coupling arrangement 9 at a location displaced from the rearward edge of the seat component 3, movement of the rearward edge of the seat component 3 necessarily includes a liner component wherein the rearward edge shifts along a portion of the lid 2 thereby raising the seat component away from the second seat component 4. Thus, in use, rotational movement of seat component 3 relative to the lid 2 results in an element of simultaneous linear movement of the seat component 3 compared to second seat component 4.

Graspable tab 5 is integrally formed with support elements 6. Thus, in use, when graspable tab 5 is pulled away from the seat component 3, the support elements 6 are moved from a first position against and/or at least partially recessed in or on the underside of the seat component 3 to a second position configured to contact the second seat component 4 and support the first seat component 3 in a raised position as shown in Figure 2. In use, the support members may prevent the raised seat component 3 from being brought closer to the second seat component 4 without simultaneous rotational movement of the lid 2 towards the first seat component 3, thereby preventing an undesired collapsing of the seat component.

Figure 7 depicts an alternative embodiment of the seat riser apparatus 1 in which the riser member is a rod 27 which forms a double hinge mechanism. The riser member 27 comprises a first rotatable coupling arrangement 28 connected to a portion of the lid 22 which acts as the support component and a second rotatable coupling arrangement 29 connected to a portion of the seat component 23. The embodiment shown comprises two units of the seat riser apparatus, one mounted on each side of the seat around the central void. However, it shall be appreciated that a single apparatus may be sufficient.

As shown in Figure 8A-8E, the lid 22 houses the seat component 23 when the seat component is in the collapsed state with the lid 22 closed. As lid 22 is raised, rotation of the riser member 27 enables the seat component 23 to simultaneously move along a linear axis away from the second seat component 24 while moving rotationally away from the lid 22. Further, a portion 35 of the riser member 27 extends through seat component 23 and is rotatably connected to a movable support element 26. This connection enables the movable support elements to be deployed simultaneously with the deployment of the seat component into its raised position. Thus, the seat riser apparatus of Figure 7 may be deployed from the first conformation depicted in Figure 8A to the second conformation depicted in Figure 7 by the raising of lid 22.

As depicted in Figure 8E, the lid 22 may be rotated away from the second seat component 24 by an angle greater than 90° to“lock” the engagement portion and prevent premature collapsing of the seat and/or further rotation. However, it shall be appreciated that the maximum angle of rotation may be varied depending on the geometries of the raiser member 27, engagement portion 32 and/or moveable seat components 26, with alternative maximum angles envisaged.

In some embodiments, a further coupling (not shown) means may be present to releasably retain the seat component 23 within or in connection with the lid 22. The further coupling means may be a push button or the like and may be accessible on an exterior surface of the lid 22. When actuated, the further coupling mechanism may release the second seat component 23 from the lid 22 to enable its deployment. In such embodiments, failure to actuate the push button or the like may enable the lid 22 to be opened without deployment of the seat component 23, in order that the second seat component 24 may instead be accessible to a user.

To rehouse the seat component 23 within the lid 22, the user may simply push the seat component 23 back up towards the lid. Alternatively, the lid may be rotated downward towards the seat component 23. In doing so, movable support elements 26 start to collapse and seat component 23 is lowered until it is once more housed within the lid 22, as depicted in Figure 8A. This may provide an easy way of enabling the user to re-house the first seat component 23 within or in connection to the lid 22 without having to touch the first seat component 23, which may be unhygienic.

Where a further coupling is present to releasably maintain the seat component 23 within or in correction with the lid 22, this may be automatically re-engaged upon the housing of the seat component 23 within or in connection with the lid 22. As shown in Figures 8A-E, the seat riser apparatus comprises an engagement portion 32. The engagement portion 32 is a double hinged rod rotatably coupled to the seat component 23 at one end 33 and rotatably coupled to the lid 22 at the opposing end 34, This prevents movement of the rear edge 31 of the seat component 23 away from the lid component 22 by any distance greater than that the distance between the two rotational coupling points, and ensures the optimal positioning of the seat component 23 when in a deployed state ready for use. In addition, the engagement portion 32 may prevent over rotation of the riser member by inhibiting further rotation as depicted in Figure 8E.

In addition, engagement portion 32 maintains seat component 23 at an optimal distance from the lid

22 to enable the seat component 23 to be lowered when lid 22 is rotated towards the second seat component so as to re-stow seat component 23 inside lid 22.

As shown in Figure 9, the support members 26 are configured to collapse when the seat component

23 is not deployed. To accommodate the collapsed supports, the underside of seat 23 is provided with channels configured to house the collapsed supports. As shown, when housed the support members 26 form a flat surface level with the remainder of the underside of the seat component 23. This may aid in enabling efficient and effective cleaning of the apparatus for hygiene purposes. In addition, this may improve the aesthetics of the apparatus by making the supports and/or the seat component 23 less noticeable when the second seat component 24 is in use, along with making the second seat component more accessible and comfortable. It shall, however, be envisaged that the support members 26, or parts thereof may be other than flush with the underside of the seat component 23. For example, the support members or parts thereof may be recessed compared to the underside of seat 23 and/or protrude therefrom.

As shown in Figure 10, a cover portion 33 is used to cover the riser elements 27 when the first seat component is in use. In addition to improving the aesthetics of the device, the provision of such, may aid in maintaining a hygienic toilet by providing a smooth surface for cleaning. In other embodiments, (not shown) the cover may extend over a width other than that shown. For example, two small covers may be provided, each extending over a single riser element.

In use according to the embodiments depicted in Figures 7-10, the user may be presented initially with the seat riser apparatus mounted on a toilet in a collapsed position with the lid (support) 22 in a closed position so as to block access to the toilet. The user may then elect to lift the lid 22 in a conventional manner to expose the second seat 24.

Alternatively, the user may simultaneously deploy the first seat component when opening lid 22. This may be achieved by the pressing of a push release button (not shown) on an external portion of the lid 22. When pressed, seat member 23 is free to rotate independently from lid 22. In use, as the lid 22 is rotated away from a released seat component 23, the rearward edge of seat component 23 traverses a geometric path relative to a portion of the lid 22 defined by the engagement portion 32, thereby raising and supporting the rearward edge of the seat component, while preventing the seat component from moving in an undesired path.

Simultaneously, in use, when lid 2 is lifted in a conventional manner with rotational movement about the single hinge 36, the double hinge mechanism of the riser member 27 simultaneously deploys the hingedly connected support elements 26, supporting seat component 23 in its deployed state. Thus, in use, the support members may prevent the raised seat component 23 from being brought closer to the second seat component 24 without simultaneous rotational movement of the lid 22 towards the first seat component 23, thereby preventing an undesired collapsing of the seat component. Further, by over rotating the seat member 23 beyond a 90 degree angle to the support (lid) 22 as shown in Figure 8E, the seat may become“locked” in use, whereby the exertion of a downward force on the seat component 23 by a user biases the lid away from the seat component 23.

In use, when the opened lid 22 (as depicted in Figures 8D and 8E) is rotated back toward the seat component 23, riser member 27 is drawn towards the lid 22 reducing the angle at the rotatable coupling 28 until the seat component 23 is flush to the lid 22 as depicted in Figure 8A. At the same time, rotation of the engagement portion 32 moves the rearward edge of seat component 23 along a set geometric pathway which draws the rearward edge of seat component 23 closer to the single hinge 36, while the rotation at coupling 29 causes the support elements 26 to be collapsed.

As used herein any reference to “one embodiment” or“an embodiment” means that a particular element, feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. The appearances of the phrase“in one embodiment” or the phrase“in an embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. In addition, it shall be understood that features described in relation to one embodiment may optionally be utilized with alternative embodiments or features thereof.

As used herein, the terms“comprises,”“comprising,”“includes,”“incl uding,”“has,”“having” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion. For example, a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Further, unless expressly stated to the contrary,“or” refers to an inclusive or and not to an exclusive or. For example, a condition A or B is satisfied by any one of the following: A is true (or present) and B is false (or not present), A is false (or not present) and B is true (or present), and both A and B are true (or present).

In addition, use of the “a” or “an” are employed to describe elements and components of the invention. This is done merely for convenience and to give a general sense of the invention. This description should be read to include one or at least one and the singular also includes the plural unless it is obvious that it is meant otherwise. In view of the foregoing description it will be evident to a person skilled in the art that various modifications may be made within the scope of the invention. For example, although an embodiment has been described with reference to a toilet one or more embodiments may be used with a chair or as part of a multiple seating arrangement such as a sofa.

The scope of the present disclosure includes any novel feature or combination of features disclosed therein either explicitly or implicitly or any generalisation thereof irrespective of whether or not it relates to the claimed invention or mitigate against any or all of the problems addressed by the present invention. The applicant hereby gives notice that new claims may be formulated to such features during prosecution of this application or of any such further application derived therefrom. In particular, with reference to the appended claims, features from dependent claims may be combined with those of the independent claims and features from respective independent claims may be combined in any appropriate manner and not merely in specific combinations enumerated in the claims.