Patent application title: Integrated Consumer Products
IPC8 Class: AA43B714FI
Publication date: 2016-08-11
Patent application number: 20160227875
Integrated consumer products including an article of footwear that
provides for correction, mitigation or prevention of hallux valgus or
bunion. The footwear is constructed such that forces generated by a
wearer's foot while standing or walking are directed or redirected to
provide support and forces on selective bone and soft tissues of the foot
thereby providing corrective forces to counter the development or
progression of a bunion. The mechanism of force redirection may include
compliant type mechanisms.
1. An article of footwear for correcting or mitigating a bunion deformity
comprising: a sole comprising a bottom surface for contacting the ground
and a top surface for receiving the bottom of a foot; an upper portion
that is connected to said sole and which has means to maintain foot in
relative proximity to the sole, and wherein the upper portion includes a
means for applying support or one or more lateral forces to one or more
portions of a foot; wherein said sole has means for receiving one or more
forces from a foot or a planting surface and transmitting or redirecting
at least a portion of said force to a first part of the upper portion;
and wherein said redirected force causes said first part of upper portion
to apply a corrective force to at least one of a bone or soft tissue of
foot thereby correcting or mitigating a foot deformity or misalignment.
2. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein the corrective force is applied to at least one of the following foot structures: the distal lateral hallux in the medial direction, the proximal medial hallux in the lateral direction, the medial portion of the first metatarsal in the lateral direction, and the metatarsophalangeal joint in the lateral direction.
3. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein the corrective force relaxes when the foot is not in contact with the ground, thereby relieving or reducing the corrective pressures on the foot structures.
4. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein the means for receiving and redirecting forces comprises a gel or fluid filled compartment.
5. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein the means for receiving and redirecting forces comprises a compliant, spring or other elastic mechanism.
6. An article of footwear comprising: a sole for receiving a foot; a strap comprising a first portion secured to said sole and a second portion for abutting or contacting at least a portion of a non-sole portion of a foot, said strap configured to at least partially transmit and redirect a force applied to the sole through the lower portion to an upper portion of the strap; and wherein the redirected force through the upper portion provides a force on the portion of a foot to which abuts or contacts.
7. An article of footwear comprising: a sole for receiving a foot; a fluid or gel filled chamber existing within a portion of the sole and extending above the sole and configured to abut or contact a portion of an upper portion of a foot; wherein said chamber provides means for transmitting a force applied to the sole to an upper or lateral portion of a foot; and wherein the force transmitted is relaxed when the force on the sole is relaxed.
8. The article of claim 7 wherein the transmitted force provides a corrective action on one or more foot abnormalities or alignment.
 This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S.
Provisional Application No. 62/112,231, filed Feb. 5, 2015. The contents
of that application are incorporated herein in their entirety.
 The following U.S. patents and patent applications are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety: U.S. Pat. Nos. 8,413,349, 8,578,634, 8,739,434, 7,856,742, 6,228,045, 6,205,685, 5,755,679, 5,437,616, 20150101213 20010035962, 20110130695, U.S. Pat. Nos. 8,984,770, 9,167,864, 8,490,297, 8,381,417, 7,794,417, 7,418,790, 6,898,870, 6,860,034, 8,112,905, 4,689,898, 4,651,445, 4,843,737, 20070107264, 20090094855, 20140047740, 20110277348, 20110061262; AND U.S. Pat. Nos. 9,119,708, 8,459,254, 5,806,525, 20090183734, 20130174333, 20120160240, 8,430,908.
 The subject matter disclosed herein relate to integrated consumer products and particularly to an article of footwear which corrects or mitigate feet abnormalities including bunions, and an integrated system of sports goggles and nasal dilator.
 Bunions are common ailments amongst a proportion of the shod population. Bunions are painful and debilitating, interfering with daily activities. Bunions generally develop progressively and may become worse over time. Numerous treatments including surgery and over the counter orthotic type devices have been developed, but the problem of bunions persist and the need to help those developing bunions from progressing to deformity and disability is needed.
 Eyewear is commonly worn during sporting activities to both enhance vision and performance and protect the face and eyes. Nasal dilators are commonly employed by athletes to facilitate increased respiratory and air flow through the nasal passages thus enhancing athletic performance. Combining these two elements into an integrated product offers useful advantaged.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustration of a bunion correcting footwear article in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustration of the bunion correcting footwear article according to another embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the combined eyeglasses and nasal dilator;
 FIG. 4 illustrates another perspective of the combined eyeglasses and nasal dilator as shown in FIG. 3;
 FIG. 5 is illustrates another embodiment of the combined eyeglasses and nasal dilator; and
 FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of the combined eyeglasses and nasal dilator.
 Although the following detailed description contains many specifics for the purposes of illustration, anyone of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that many variations and alterations to the following details are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the following preferred embodiments of the invention are set forth without any loss of generality to, and without imposing limitations upon, the claimed invention.
 In one embodiment the invention comprises an article of footwear, for example a sandal or shoe in preferred embodiments, that is constructed with features to prevent, reduce, correct, or mitigate the development or progression of hallux valgus or what is commonly known as a bunion. The correction or mitigation of the bunion deformity is accomplished by subjecting appropriate soft tissues and bones of the foot to appropriate pressures and forces, in the appropriate directions and magnitude through the action of the footwear applied to the foot during activity which may include standing, walking, running and the like. As will be described further herein in exemplary embodiments and shown in the figures, the motion of the foot itself and the pressure it exerts on its surrounding, and particularly the pressures and forces in exerts on the article of footwear itself, during normal motion and/or locomotion, is directed or redirected in the footwear itself to provide an effect action on the relevant tissues of the foot that relate to bunion development, progression or correction. For example, one or more of the forces generated when walking, including but not limited to, the heel strike, midsole planting and forefront lift-off, are harnesses by the footwear and redirected, at least in part to apply appropriate or desired forced on the bones and soft tissues of the foot in order to mitigate or correct bunion development. This is accomplished in the way that the footwear is constructed, which is such that the footwear transfers and re-directs applied and reactive forces of foot and footwear to bunion corrective forces on the foot itself.
 In one embodiment, a front strap exerts pressure against the inside of the big toe pushing it medially, and a second strap exerts tension against the outside of the base of the big toe pushing it laterally; in another embodiment, the second strap pushes laterally against the first metatarsal; in another embodiment the second strap pushes laterally against the joint between the hallux and the first metatarsal. In one embodiment, during walking, tension is developed across both the first and second straps, resulting in the hallux being held in position or pushes medially and the second strap pushes with a lateral force against one or more of the base of big to, first metatarsal, the hallux metatarsal joint. These forces result in s straightening of the big toe and more proper alignment between the hallux and the first metatarsal.
 In some embodiments, the body of the footwear (e.g., sole of show or sandal) flexes during stepping, and a portion of one or more of these stepping forces, e.g., heel impact, midsole step and forefront liftoff are transmitted through the sole to the upper (e.g., straps) thereby tension them, and the straps thereby push medially on the hallux and laterally on one or more of hallux, first metatarsal, or joint and resulting in a more proper alignment of bones and/or soft tissues, correcting or mitigating the bunion deformity.
 In some embodiments, after heel strike and during mid-sole planting (or during a particular phase of pronation or supination) tension develops on one of the straps and is maintained through ball of foot lift off; the straps then relax while the foot is in the air and then the next time the foot is planted, the straps re-tension effecting a more correct alignment of the hallux and metatarsal. It will be evident to one of skill in the art that any of the forces generated during any portion of the planting motion of the foot/footwear can be used to tension (push or pull) portions of the upper which may be in appropriate contact with and orientation to the hallux or metatarsal or joint to produce either a medial force and/or motion of the hallux or a lateral force/motion of first metatarsal, base of hallux, or joint or both thereby effecting a better alignment of these tissues. Any of straps may be shaped as to cup or cradle or generally conform to the tissues which they are operating on.
 In some embodiments, the front and rear straps are integral to the soles such that sole flexion or pressures results in strap tensioning. The weight or force of planting the foot or of pushing off is used to tension one or more of the straps which then act to straighten one or more of the hallux, metatarsal, and respective joint. The force is transferred through the sole or footwear body. Without limiting the invention, this motion may be viewed is analogous to the charging or tensioning of a spring, via the foot planting or lift off force, which tensions the straps, and then upon liftoff of the foot the spring relaxes and the tension on the straps is diminished. It is to be understood, that although the generic terms straps and upper are used to describe the elements of the footwear that apply the tensioning or force to the appropriate foot tissues, the shape, configuration, and materials used can be widely varying and are not limited to straps.
 In one embodiment the heel strike force is transmitted through a sandal to tension straps; the compression force of the heel is converted to a tensions one or more straps. In another embodiment, the force generated while the foot rolls forward on the mid-foot and/or arch tensions one or more of the straps. In some embodiments, the force generated during one part of foot planting may be used to align one part of the foot and another force generated at another portion of foot planting is used to align another part of the foot. In one embodiment, the tension providing the corrective alignment is maximum just after heel strike; in another example, the tension is maximum during midfoot rolling; in another embodiment, the tension in one or more of the straps is maximum during forefoot liftoff.
 In another embodiment, a gel (e.g., molded silicone) or fluid fill compartment is utilized to transfer the force to apply needed lateral or medial pressures to the hallux and/or metatarsal. In one example, a fluid or gel chamber is situated such that foot pressure, for example on forefront liftoff compresses a gel or fluid which transmits the force to the appropriate anatomical structures; in this embodiment, the gel containing compartment extends either up and around or abutting the proximal portion of the hallux or distal portion of the first metatarsal or both, and when the fluid is compressed on stepping the force is transmitted through the gel to act of the tissues with a lateral force; in one embodiment the gel compartment forms a "cup" or otherwise wraps around to an extent the medial portions of the hallux or metatarsal. In another example, the gel compartment extends to the distal and later portion of the hallux, and the compressive force is directed through the gel/fluid to exert a medial force on the end of big toe providing a corrective alignment. In some embodiments, once the pressure from the stepping is withdrawn, e.g., when the foot leaves the ground, the gel fluid compression ceases and the fluid relaxes in its compartment and the corrective forces on the foot tissues are removed.
 In another embodiment, the force transmitting and alignment correcting mechanism is constructed using a web of interlinked elastic bands or cords, that act as a unit to redirect the applied force in the need direction while tensioning the appropriate foot tissues. Again, the pressure from a portion of the foot planting or step is redirected through the elastic webbing, which in one example, is integrated into the sole and upper of the footwear, to apply corrective alignment forces to the hallux, metatarsal or joint. Once the foot pressure is relieved, the elastic tension on the bunion associated tissues is also released. The dynamic nature of the corrective action and relaxation of the tissues should provide enhanced benefit over a rigid and less flexible system.
 Another embodiment of the invention comprises an integrated system that includes both spectacles and a nasal passage expander or dilator. In a preferred embodiment, the spectacles are sports goggles which may or not have refractive correction. The need for goggles or other types of eyewear, including corrective lenses, sunglasses, shatterproof or protective goggles for sporting activities is well known. In many instances, the sportsman would also benefit from increased dilatation of the nasal passages to assist with ventilation, respiration and increase oxygen flow. Off the shelf nasal expanders exist and are widely used for the purposes of assisting respiration as well as enhancing performance. In a preferred embodiment a nasal dilator is integrated with a sports goggle providing a convenient single unit that performs both useful function of protecting the orbits and enhancing vision in the case of the goggles and assisting inspiration and enhancing performance in the case of the nasal dilator. In one embodiment the nasal dilator is attached to the front of the goggle, for example near the middle/bridge section of the goggle and can be rotated down and positioned over and about the nose to accomplish the nasal dilator function. In one embodiment the nasal dilator is hinged on the mid section goggles and can be secured in either an "up" non-used position where it is out of the way and may in some embodiments conform generally to a portion of the contour of the goggle and can be secured in place using a clip, tab-slot or other convention means as will be evident to those skilled in the art. The dilator portion may be rotated down and fit over the nose and cheek portions as need to accomplish the nasal dilator function and effect. A variety of mechanism can be employed to secure the dilator portion to the nose including compliant mechanism and designs, a spring design, adhesives, adjustable tethers or straps attached to the goggles, etc. In one example of using a spring, the dilator piece is a spring or variation thereof, which in its relaxed state has a shape contour that generally matches the portion of the face over which is will be applied (e.g., the nose and adjacent portion of the cheek) and in that position will achieve its nasal dilation effect. In this embodiment, the spring expander is compressed by the user, e.g., with their fingers, and is place over the nose, held over the appropriate nose/cheek region with appropriate pressure and allowed to relax while guiding with the fingers with pressure such that the expander/spring draws the appropriate tissue achieving nasal dilation as the spring relaxes. In one embodiment, the configuration and of the expanders attachment to the goggles provides the downward force to keep the expander from disengaging the nose; in another embodiment, a second spring attached between the first spring expander and the goggles provides the appropriate force to maintain contact with the nose/cheeks. For example, the second spring is also compressed by user force (e.g., towards the goggle) upon application and the force spring relaxation maintains the needed pressure on the expander such that is maintains its position on the face. Other embodiments include a detachable expander piece, for example and integrated unit is provided wherein the 2 pieces are attachable such that the goggles or the expander can be used separately. Other embodiments include adjustable expanders, an embodiment wherein the expander also serves as the nose bridge of the goggles. A variety of designs using compliant and other mechanisms can be effected as will be evident to those skilled in the art.
 While the invention has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best or only mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include many variants and embodiments. Also, in the drawings and the description, there have been disclosed exemplary embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms may have been employed, they are unless otherwise stated used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention therefore not being so limited. Moreover, the use of the terms first, second, etc. do not denote any order or importance, but rather the terms first, second, etc. are used to distinguish one element from another. Furthermore, the use of the terms a, an, etc. do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item.
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