Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TIMER APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/153728
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A timer apparatus for a container, the apparatus comprising a timer device (10) and an attachment member (12) for removably and adjustably attaching the timer device (10) to a container containing an ingestible substance, the timer device comprising a display (14); a user interface (20) configured to receive a user input representative of a user-selected time period; and a semi-rigid housing (16) which encapsulates all of said timer device except said display (14), wherein the housing (16) comprises a water resilient material; and wherein the timer device (10) is configured to count down from said user-selected time period and display the time remaining on said display (14).

Inventors:
SEAGRIM PETER (GB)
SEAGRIM VICTORIA (GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/050593
Publication Date:
September 14, 2017
Filing Date:
March 06, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FIRST HAND LEARNING LTD (GB)
International Classes:
G04B37/08; A61J7/04; G04B37/12; G04F1/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STRACHAN, Victoria (22 Rodney Road, Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL50 1JJ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A timer apparatus for a container, the apparatus comprising a timer device and an attachment member for removably and adjustably attaching the timer device to a container containing an ingestible substance, the timer device comprising a display; a user interface configured to receive a user input representative of a user-selected time period; and a semi-rigid housing which encapsulates all of said timer device except said display, wherein the housing comprises a water resilient material; and wherein the timer device is configured to count down from said user-selected time period and display the time remaining on said display.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the user interface comprises input means for enabling a user to select a time period in terms of hours and minutes.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the user interface further comprises a start function which, once enabled, causes the timer device to count down from said selected time period and periodically update the time remaining displayed on the display.

4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the timer device is configured such that, when the start function has been enabled, the selected time period cannot be manually altered or stopped by a user.

5. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the user interface

includes a reset function which, when enabled by a user, clears the currently selected time period, thus enabling a user to select a new time period.

6. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing is formed of

silicone or the like.

7. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the housing defines an open portion to accommodate said display, and wherein a water resistant sealant material is provided to seal the interface between the edges of said open portion and said the periphery of said display.

8. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least a portion of said housing, covering said user interface, is formed of a resiliency flexible material to enable the functions of said user interface to be operated through said portion of said housing.

9. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims , wherein the housing includes an opening through which a battery compartment is selectively accessible, to enable a user the change the timer device battery as required.

10. Apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the opening has an associated cover or door which, when closed, substantially seals the housing in a water-resistant manner.

11. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the timer device further

comprises a temperature display function, and a temperature sensing module.

12. Apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the temperature sensing module is

configured to calculate the temperature of said ingestible substance and, upon actuation of said temperature display function, display data representative of said temperature on said display.

13. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the attachment means comprises a resiliency flexible band extending between the side edges of the timer device to define a loop in which a bottle or other container can be received to removably attach the apparatus thereto.

14. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the resiliency flexible band is formed of a rubber material.

15. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the display comprises an LCD display incorporating backlighting means.

16. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, when dependent on any of claims 6 to 11, wherein the housing includes one or more portions of fluorescent material or coating which is/are configured to glow in the dark.

17. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said container is an infant feeding bottle and said ingestible substance is an ingestible liquid.

18. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said container is a

medicament container and said ingestible substance is a medicament.

Description:
TIMER APPARATUS

This invention relates generally to a timer apparatus and, more particularly but not necessarily exclusively, to a timer device for providing an indicator of the useful life of ingestible substance contained within a feeding bottle or the time remaining until the next dose of a medicament contained in a medicament container is due.

It is well known to feed expressed breast milk or formula milk to an infant using an infant feeding bottle having a teat. In general, such ingestible liquid is decanted into, or made up in, such bottles and then stored for some time before being used to feed an infant.

However, such liquids, thus stored, have a maximum useful life depending, to a large extent, on the nature of the milk itself (breastmilk or formula) and the conditions in which it is stored. Thus, for example, milk stored at an ambient room temperature will have a significantly shorter useful life than such milk stored in refrigerated conditions; and milk from a bottle that has already partially been fed to an infant and is then stored at ambient room temperature will have an even shorter useful life. At the end of its useful life, milk may start to spoil and/or its nutritional value may be reduced, thus making it unsuitable for use. However, for economic purposes, it is important that milk still within its useful life is not discarded unnecessarily.

Thus, it would be desirable to provide a feeding bottle timer that indicates the remaining useful life of an ingestible liquid stored in a feeding bottle, that is sufficiently flexible to take into account the varying conditions that may affect the useful life of the contents of a feeding bottle.

US Patent Application No. US 2006/0120218 describes a baby bottle timer having an adjustable band to removably attach the timer to a feeding bottle containing an ingestible liquid. The timer, which may count up or down, is configured to have a maximum two-hour period to indicate exposure of the bottle contents to ambient room (or higher) temperature with a timer display that changes colour at the end of the time period. The timer is configured to a pre-set time (two hours or one hour) and, when a user presses the start button, the timer counts down from the pre-set time. The only other user interaction provided for is their ability to stop the timer for a period that the bottle is placed in a preserving environment, such as a refrigerator, which will have the effect of extending the useful life of the bottle contents. There is no provision to allow a user to select the time period according to the nature of the ingestible liquid or the conditions in which it will be stored. Furthermore, the ability to stop the countdown when the bottle is placed in a refrigerator introduces a real risk that the ingestible liquid will, in any event, go beyond its useful life, even if it is stored in refrigerated conditions, with no indication of how long the contents have actually been in the bottle itself. Yet another problem associated with the above-described device arises in relation to the conditions in which infant feeding bottles are often used, wherein liquid spillages or impact due to dropping the device can result in the timer becoming damaged and thus failing altogether. No provision is made to protect the timer in potentially wet or hazardous environments, and it would therefore be desirable to provide a feeding bottle timer that is additionally resilient to damage that might otherwise occur in the environments and conditions in which it is intended for use.

Aspects of the present invention seek to address at least some of these issues and, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a timer apparatus for a feeding bottle, the apparatus comprising a timer device and an attachment member for removably and adjustably attaching the timer device to a feeding bottle containing an ingestible substance, the timer device comprising a display; a user interface configured to receive a user input representative of a user-selected time period; and a semi-rigid housing which encapsulates all of said timer device except said display, wherein the housing comprises a water resilient material; and wherein the timer device is configured to count down from said user-selected time period and display the time remaining on said display.

In an exemplary embodiment, the user interface comprises input means for enabling a user to select a time period in terms of hours and minutes. The user interface may further comprise a start function which, once enabled, causes the timer device to count down from said selected time period and periodically update the time remaining displayed on the display. In an exemplary embodiment, the timer device is configured such that, when the start function has been enabled, the selected time period cannot be manually altered or stopped by a user. Thus, the timer device is effectively configured to lock out or prevent any timer modification to ensure that the remaining time displayed on the display is always within the useful life of the bottle contents (based on the originally set time period), and eliminates the risk to the infant of the bottle contents having gone beyond their useful life because the original time period has been altered or stopped. The user interface may include a reset function which, when enabled by a user, clears the currently selected time period, thus enabling a user to select a new time period. In one exemplary embodiment, the start function and the reset function may be incorporated in a single toggle switch which, when operated, alternates between said start function and said reset function.

In this case, the housing may, for example, be formed of silicone or the like. The housing may define an open portion to accommodate said display, wherein a water resistant sealant material is provided to seal the interface between the edges of said open portion and said the periphery of said display. At least a portion of said housing, covering said user interface, may be formed of a resiliency flexible material to enable the functions of said user interface to be operated through said portion of said housing. The housing may include an opening through which a battery compartment is selectively accessible, to enable a user the change the timer device battery as required. The opening may have a cover or door which, when closed, substantially seals the housing in a water-resistant manner.

In one exemplary embodiment the timer device may further comprise a temperature display function, and a temperature sensing module. The temperature sensing module may optionally be configured to calculate the temperature of the ingestible substance and, upon actuation of the temperature display function, may display data representative of the temperature on the display.

In an exemplary embodiment, the attachment means may comprise a resiliency flexible band extending between the side edges of the timer device to define a loop in which a feeding bottle can be received to removably attach the apparatus thereto. The resiliency flexible band may, for example, be formed of a rubber material.

The display may comprise an LCD display incorporating backlighting means. The housing may include one or more portions of fluorescent material or coating which is/are configured to glow in the dark. It will be appreciated that the bottle may be an infant feeding bottle, but may equally be, for example, a medicament bottle or the like and used to display the time remaining until the next dose of the medicament is due to be taken.

These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from the following specific description, in which embodiments of the present invention are described, by way of examples only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a schematic front view of a feeding bottle timer apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; Figure 2 is a schematic perspective view of the apparatus of Figure 1; and

Figure 3 is a schematic rear view of the apparatus of Figure 1.

Referring to Figures 1 and 2 of the drawings, a feeding bottle timer apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention comprises, generally, a timer device 10 and an attachment member 12 for removably attaching the timer device 10 to the main body of an infant feeding bottle (not shown), breast milk storage pouch, or similar vessel. The timer device 10 comprises a backlit LCD display 14, a timer circuit (not shown) and a battery unit (not shown). This advantageously allows the user to clearly read the time left on the timer in the dark, for example, if doing a night-time feed for an infant. In order the activate the backlight of the backlit LCD display 14, the user presses down on a switch on the device. The timer device 10 is encapsulated within a silicone outer shell or housing 16 having a generally central front opening 18 corresponding to the display 14 such that information on the display 14 can be seen externally by a user. Referring additionally to Figure 3 of the drawings, at the rear of the housing 16, there is provided an access opening having an associated door or removable cover 17 to enable a user to access the battery unit and replace the battery as required. The cover or door 17 may be provided with a peripheral seal such that, when it is in situ over the access opening, a water-resistant seal is formed between the cover or door and the peripheral edges of the access opening.

A sealant material or substance may be provided between the peripheral edges of the front opening 18 and the display 14. As a result, the housing 16 provides a water-resistant shell around the timer device 10 such that damage thereto by small quantities of

moisture/splashing is effectively prevented.

The timer device 10 includes a user interface 20, embodied within a strip 22 of resiliency flexible material incorporated in the front of the housing 16. The user interface 20 defines a Start function 24 and time/reset buttons 26, 28 to enable the user to select a time period (in hours and minutes). Thus, in use, the user can select a time period by repeatedly pressing the time buttons 26, 28 to increment the respective hours/minutes until the required time period is displayed on the display 14. In order to start the timer, the user presses the Start function 24 and the timer device starts to count down from the selected time period, incrementally updating the displayed time, such that the displayed time always displays the time remaining. In the embodiment illustrated, only hours and minutes are displayed. Thus, as the timer counts down, the display is only updated (decremented) every minute, thus minimising battery usage and optimising battery life.

In an exemplary embodiment, an alarm may sound or other visual/audible indicator may be provided to alert the user when the selected time period has expired, but this is not essential - this may simply be indicated by a zero time indication or even a blank display screen. If a user wishes to clear the current time period, they can press and hold the timer/Reset buttons 26, 28 to reset the timer device and allow a user to enter a new selected time period. However, no other alteration of the selected time period is permitted, once the timer has been started. Thus, the user is locked out from altering the selected time period, unless they choose to reset the timer altogether. This advantageously helps to prevents accidental resetting due to the reset function 24 being knocked in, for example a bag, or being accidentally pressed or played with by an infant.

Portions of the housing 16, such as the strip 22 defining the use interface and/or other defined portions of the rigid housing 16 may be formed of, or coated with, a fluorescent material, such that those portions glow in the dark.

The attachment means 12 may comprise a resiliency flexible (e.g. rubber) band, extending between opposing side edges of the housing 16 to form a loop. In some exemplary embodiments, the diameter of the loop, thus formed, may be adjustable to accommodate various sizes of feeding bottle. However, in other exemplary embodiments, the band may be sufficiently flexible to accommodate various sizes of feeding bottle, simply by stretching, without the need for physical adjustment means. In use, therefore, the user simply stretches the loop over a bottle and releases it at a desired location on the main body of the bottle to attach the timer device thereto. This can, of course, be performed before or after the selected time has been set. The rubber band 12 may, in some exemplary embodiments, be

thermochromatically pigmented rubber material which is configured to change colour depending on the temperature of the contents of the bottle and/or the temperature of the environment within which said bottle is located.

Optionally, and referring to Figure 3 of the drawings, in another exemplary embodiment of the invention, the device may further include a temperature sensor within the housing 16 which detects the temperature of the bottle and its contents. The temperature sensor may comprise a copper or other thermally conductive plate 30 exposed at the rear of the device. In use, the housing 16 covers this plate 30. The plate 30 protrudes from the rear surface of the timer device such that when the device is placed on a bottle, pouch or other similar vessel, the sensor presses onto the outer surface of the vessel. A microprocessor may make adjustments for the temperature according to the thickness of the housing 16 if required. Such techniques of adjustment are known in the art and the invention is not intended to be limited in this regard.

Optionally the device may be used on bottles other than a milk bottle, for example, baby food jars or medicine which may expire quicker in higher temperatures.

This device provides the unique advantage of being universally adaptable for not only baby feeding bottles, but other types of medicine and food stuffs which are for particularly vulnerable people (infants, elderly, those with poor immune systems) wherein the importance of preventing illness is much higher than in other people, and indeed the device may be useful for any situation wherein there is a substance in a container which may

spoil/deteriorate over time. The user configurable interface allows the user to adjust the timer settings according to specific requirements. The waterproof sealant around the electronics module of the device allows for spillages and condensation build-up without compromising the functional abilities of the device. This contributes to the universal applicability of the device as it allows it to be used in scenarios where spillages are common and/or in wet environments.

It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art, from the foregoing description, that modifications and variations can be made to the described embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.