Patent application title: FIGURE WARMER
Carolyn René Garrick (Winnetka, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63H336FI
Class name: Amusement devices: toys figure toy or accessory therefor fabric-covered stuffed figure
Publication date: 2014-11-27
Patent application number: 20140349548
A plush figure such as a teddy bear of about 20 inches height and a
weight of about 3 to 5 pounds holds an insert that can be heated so the
figure warms a child or adult. The insert is filled with non-electrically
conductive filler elements of a high specific heat such as at least 0.2,
so the insert can be heated in a microwave oven and can continue to heat
a person for up to 8 hours. The filler elements each have a smooth
surface and have a length of about 0.25 inch, so the elements easily
slide over one another to conform to a person's body during a hug. An
adjustable/detachable sling for carrying the figure, has opposite ends
with detachable fasteners of electrically nonconductive material so the
figure with fasteners can be heated in a microwave oven.
1. A figure that has a body, a head extending from a top of the body, and
appendages extending from the body, including an insert lying in the
body, with said insert containing filler material, wherein: said filler
material comprises multiple elements that slide with low friction against
each other to fit the contour of a part of a person that the figure body
presses against; said elements each being constructed of electrically
non-conductive material so the filler material can be heated in a
2. The figure described in claim 1 wherein: said filler material has a specific heat of at least 0.2.
3. The figure described in claim 1 wherein: said insert is removable from said body and said insert fits in a microwave oven that has a receiving volume of one cubic foot.
4. The figure described in claim 1 including: a sling that has opposite sling ends and that has a detachable sling fastener at each of said sling ends, said body has a pair of figure fasteners that are each detachably connectable to one of said sling fasteners; said figure fasteners are each non-electrically conductive.
5. The figure described in claim 4 including: a pair of covers of cloth-like material that are each fastened to said figure adjacent to one of said body fasteners, and that each fits over and conceals a corresponding one of said figure fasteners when the sling is not in use.
6. The figure described in claim 1 wherein: said filler material comprises particles each of a length of at least 0.1 inch with a smooth surface so the particles can easily slide over one another.
7. The figure described in claim 1 wherein: a majority of said filler material is corn kernels.
8. The figure described in claim 1 including: said insert has a covering, and including means for applying a scent to said covering
9. A figure that has a body and an insert in the body, wherein: said insert is filled with particles having smooth surfaces, with a majority of particles each having a specific heat of at least 0.2.
10. The figure described in claim 9 wherein: said particles are non-electrically conductive and said insert and said figure each fits into a microwave oven that has a volume of one cubic foot.
11. A figure wherein: said figure has a pair of detachable figure fasteners spaced apart by a plurality of inches on said figure; a heatable insert lying in said figure; and a sling that has opposite ends and that has a sling fastener at each end, with each sling fastener being detachably fastenable to one of said figure fasteners, so the figure can be carried by the sling; said insert, said figure fasteners, and said sling fasteners each being electrically non-conductive so they all can be heated in a microwave oven.
12. The figure described in claim 11 including: a pair of covers that are each fastened to said figure at a location adjacent to one of said figure fasteners and that each fits over and conceals a corresponding one of said figure fasteners.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Children and some adults enjoy hugging a plush figure such as a bear for comfort. The plush figure can include an insert that comprises multiple filler particles or elements, and means are provided for warming the insert. The particles should retain a maximum amount of heat, and heating of the particles should be as easy as possible. It is desirable that a person be able to maintain hugging of the plush figure while performing other tasks. Most plush figures with means for warming have a height of less than 15 inches and a weight of less than 3 pounds. This prevents the plush figure from offering extended significant warmth. There is a need for a plush figure that can effectively warm a person for a plurality of hours and that simulates a human embrace, with the option that the person can be hands free.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, applicant provides a figure that people can hold close to them in a hug, while being warmed by the figure. The plush figure is usually of the appearance of an animal such as a "teddy" bear, but many other animals or characters may be represented, all of which may be referred to herein as a figure or plush figure. The figure holds a heat-retainable insert which is usually removable and which can be easily warmed and that retains considerable heat. The insert is designed for heating in a household microwave oven. The insert contains multiple filler elements that can slide over each other, so the insert can readily conform to the body of the person who holds it, as in a hug or embrace.
 An adjustable length and detachable sling is provided that has opposite ends with sling fasteners that can be attached and detached from figure fasteners on the figure. The figure has covers that can cover the figure fasteners when the sling is not being used. The fasteners, and especially the figure fasteners, are constructed of electrically nonconductive material so they can be safely heated in a microwave oven.
 The multiple filler elements in the insert are electrically nonconductive so the insert can be safely heated in a microwave oven. The filler elements have smooth surfaces so they can slide against one another to allow the figure to conform to the body of the person holding the figure. The filler elements are constructed of nonmetalllic material that preferably has a specific heat of at least 0.2 so the filler elements retain considerable heat. The insert and preferably the entire figure, are of a weight such as two to six pounds and a volume of somewhat less than one cubic foot to fit in a household microwave oven, which usually has a capacity of at least one cubic foot.
 The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will be best understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a front view showing a plush figure of the invention held to a person by a sling of the invention.
 FIG. 2 is a rear view of the figure of FIG. 1, showing a covered opening for access to the insert.
 FIG. 3 is a plan view of a figure fastener and of a sling fastener, with the covers shown in a closed position in phantom lines.
 FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view of the covering, the insert, and filler elements in the insert.
 FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a microwave oven.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 FIG. 1 shows a plush FIG. 12 in the form of a teddy bear, and shows a sling 14 that holds the figure against a person 16 in a hug position. The figure includes a flexible and soft outer covering 20 that holds an insert 22. The figure has a head and appendages that mimic those of an animal or character. The insert 22 fills the entire abdomen and chest areas 24 of the animal figure, but not the head 26 or appendages 31-34. This makes it easy to remove and replace the insert from the figure. The insert has an outer insert wall 47 (FIG. 4) of dense fabric and the cavity 46 of the figure is also lined with heat retainable dense fabric. That is, with soft material of low thermal conductivity (below 0.001 calcm/sec-cm2-C°.) Applicant notes that concrete has a thermal conductivity of 0.002. The insert and covering are each easily deformed so the figure can effectively conform to a part of the person's body that it presses against. The figure is especially useful for stimulating subcutaneous pressure receptors in the body and thermo receptors in the skin in order to effectively comfort and warm a person of any size.
 The insert 22 (FIG. 4) is filled with filler particles, or small elements 40 that have smooth surfaces 42 that slide against one another. This allows the insert to easily change shape, as when a person hugs the figure against his/her side. It would be possible to place a heating element in the insert, but this could complicate its use. The particles are of non-electrically conductive, or insulative, material. This allows the figure with the insert therein, or the insert by itself, to be warmed in a microwave oven. Applicant constructs the insert with dimensions of about 9 inches height, width and thickness (these can vary as the insert is deformed) for a volume of about 0.5 cubic feet. The head and appendages are easily deformed. This allows the insert and usually the entire figure to fit in a home microwave oven where it may be heated.
 The amount of heat that a filler particle, and therefore the entire insert, can hold, depends upon the specific heat of the particle material. Water has one of the highest specific heats, of about 1.0 calorie per gram-degree Centigrade (at 20° C.). Most metals have a specific heat of less than 0.01. Dried corn has a specific heat of at least about 0.2. Applicant has constructed inserts filled with wheat, flax, and other seed material, and found that corn worked best, in that its particles have smooth surfaces to slide easily across one another and it has a high specific heat. The corn kernels have a length of about 0.25 inch each. Much smaller dimensions (e.g. less than 0.1 inch long) might cause seeds to lock against each other and prevent deformation. Plastics are available that have high specific heats, and they also could be used, although corn kernels are of very low cost.
 The insert 22 can be inserted and removed from the rest of the Figure. FIG. 2 shows a closeable opening with buttons or snaps 48 (non-electrically conductive) through which the insert can be inserted and removed. Applicant provides a sling 14 (FIG. 1) that allows a person to carry around the FIG. 12. FIG. 3 shows that the sling has sling fasteners 52 at its opposite ends, and the sling has means for adjusting its length. The figure has figure fasteners 62 that are easily fastened to the sling fasteners. Both pairs of fasteners are easily detachable from one another. The sling and figure fasteners are each constructed of non-electrically conductive material. This allows the fasteners to remain attached to the figure and sling when heating the figure in a microwave oven.
 Applicant provides covers 70 on the figure to cover the figure fasteners when they are not attached to the sling fasteners. In FIG. 3, the cover 70 has
 Velcro fasteners 74, but may use stitching to conceal the fasteners. An end portion 76 of the figure appendage has corresponding Velcro fasteners. This allows a person to cover the fastener when it is not being used.
 Thus, the invention provides a figure such as a plush figure of a height of about 20 inches of a volume of about 0.5 cubic feet (0.4 to 1.0 cubic feet) and a figure weight of about 4 pounds (3 to 5 pounds), that can be heated so as to warm and comfort a person who places the figure against him/herself and simulates a human embrace. The figure usually has an insert comprising a closed cloth-like container that is filled with particles that easily slide against each other to allow the figure to conform to a part of a person that the figure is pressed against. The particles preferably have a specific heat that is more than ten times the specific heat of metals. Applicant prefers to use dried corn kernels as the heat retaining particles but may use heat retaining beads of similar size. The figure and/or insert is intended to be heated in a microwave oven, and therefore is formed of electrically nonconductive material (less electrically conductive than metals). The insert preferably has a volume of about 0.4 cubic feet and holds particles of a weight of about 3 pounds. A sling can be provided that is adjustable in length to detachably hold the figure to a person. The sling and figure have fasteners that are preferably each of electrically nonconductive material to allow them to be heated with the figure in a microwave oven.
 The figure may be scented as by an additional small insert or by infusing the fabric or figure with a scent.
 Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art, and consequently, it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents.
Patent applications in class Fabric-covered stuffed figure
Patent applications in all subclasses Fabric-covered stuffed figure