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Número de publicaciónUS20030084526 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 10/114,780
Fecha de publicación8 May 2003
Fecha de presentación3 Abr 2002
Fecha de prioridad6 Nov 2001
También publicado comoCA2727682A1, CA2727867A1, US7225494, US20030084528
Número de publicación10114780, 114780, US 2003/0084526 A1, US 2003/084526 A1, US 20030084526 A1, US 20030084526A1, US 2003084526 A1, US 2003084526A1, US-A1-20030084526, US-A1-2003084526, US2003/0084526A1, US2003/084526A1, US20030084526 A1, US20030084526A1, US2003084526 A1, US2003084526A1
InventoresPatrick Brown, Douglas Gall
Cesionario originalThe Procter & Gamble Co.
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Multi-motion toothbrush
US 20030084526 A1
Resumen
An electric toothbrush is disclosed. The electric toothbrush includes a body having an interior hollow region for retaining a motor, one or more batteries, and a drive mechanism. The toothbrush includes multiple bristle carriers. Each of the bristle carriers undergoes some type of movement and is driven by the motor. Various combinations of movement of the bristle carriers are described.
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Reclamaciones(37)
We claim:
1. A multi-motion toothbrush comprising:
an elongated body having a first end and a second head end opposite from said first end, said body defining an interior hollow region accessible from said first end;
a first moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed proximate said second end of said body;
a second moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed between said first bristle carrier and said first end of said body;
an electrically powered motor disposed in said elongated body, said motor providing a rotating powered output;
a positionable switch for selectively activating said motor, said switch accessible along said elongated body;
a drive mechanism disposed in said elongated body and engaging said output of said motor to said first bristle carrier and said second bristle carrier; and
a battery disposed in said hollow region of said elongated body for providing electrical power to said motor upon positioning of said switch;
wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes one dimensional periodic linear movement and said second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement upon activating said motor by use of said switch.
2. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said first bristle carrier reciprocates along an axis that is generally parallel to a longitudinal axis of the toothbrush.
3. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said first bristle carrier reciprocates along an axis (i) extending within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head and (ii) generally perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the toothbrush.
4. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said first bristle carrier reciprocates along an axis (i) extending within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head and (ii) at an acute angle with respect to a longitudinal axis of the toothbrush.
5. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said first bristle carrier reciprocates along an axis (i) extending within a plane that is generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head and (ii) generally perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the toothbrush.
6. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said first bristle carrier reciprocates along an axis extending within a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
7. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
8. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head.
9. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
10. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear movement.
11. A multi-motion toothbrush comprising:
an elongated body having a first end and a second head end opposite from said first end, said body defining an interior hollow region accessible from said first end;
a first moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed proximate said second end of said body;
a second moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed between said first bristle carrier and said first end of said body;
an electrically powered motor disposed in said elongated body, said motor providing a rotating powered output;
a positionable switch for selectively activating said motor, said switch accessible along said elongated body;
a drive mechanism disposed in said elongated body and engaging said output of said motor to said first and said second bristle carriers; and
a battery disposed in said hollow region of said elongated body for providing electrical power to said motor upon positioning of said switch;
wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional periodic primarily linear movement and said second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement upon activating said motor by use of said switch.
12. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
13. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement in a plane that is generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head.
14. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement in a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
15. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear movement.
16. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
17. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head.
18. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
19. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 11 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear movement.
20. A multi-motion toothbrush comprising:
an elongated body having a first end and a second head end opposite from said first end, said body defining an interior hollow region accessible from said first end;
a first moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed proximate said second end of said body;
a second moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed between said first bristle carrier and said first end of said body;
an electrically powered motor disposed in said elongated body, said motor providing a rotating powered output;
a positionable switch for selectively activating said motor, said switch accessible along said elongated body;
a drive mechanism disposed in said elongated body and engaging said output of said motor to said first and said second bristle carriers; and
a battery disposed in said hollow region of said elongated body for providing electrical power to said motor upon positioning of said switch;
wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear periodic movement and said second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement upon activating said motor by use of said switch.
21. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 20 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
22. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 20 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head.
23. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 20 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
24. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 20 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear movement.
25. A multi-motion toothbrush comprising:
an elongated body having a first end and a second head end opposite from said first end, said body defining an interior hollow region accessible from said first end;
a first moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed proximate said second end of said body;
a second moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed between said first bristle carrier and said first end of said body;
an electrically powered motor disposed in said elongated body, said motor providing a rotating powered output;
a positionable switch for selectively activating said motor, said switch accessible along said elongated body;
a drive mechanism disposed in said elongated body and engaging said output of said motor to said first and said second bristle carriers; and
a battery disposed in said hollow region of said elongated body for providing electrical power to said motor upon positioning of said switch;
wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional periodic curvilinear movement and said second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement upon activating said motor by use of said switch.
26. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional curvilinear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
27. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional curvilinear movement within a plane that is generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head.
28. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional curvilinear movement within a plane other than a plane perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head or within the plane of the toothbrush head.
29. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
30. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane generally perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush.
31. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
32. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 25 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear movement.
33. A multi-motion toothbrush comprising:
an elongated body having a first end and a second head end opposite from said first end, said body defining an interior hollow region accessible from said first end;
a first moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed proximate said second end of said body;
a second moveable bristle carrier secured to said body and disposed between said first bristle carrier and said first end of said body;
an electrically powered motor disposed in said elongated body, said motor providing a rotating powered output;
a positionable switch for selectively activating said motor, said switch accessible along said elongated body;
a drive mechanism disposed in said elongated body and engaging said output of said motor to said first and said second bristle carriers; and
a battery disposed in said hollow region of said elongated body for providing electrical power to said motor upon positioning of said switch;
wherein said first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional periodic curvilinear movement and said second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement upon activating said motor by use of said switch.
34. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 33 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane that is generally parallel to a plane of the toothbrush head.
35. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 33 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane generally perpendicular to a plane of the toothbrush head.
36. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 33 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional primarily linear movement within a plane other than a plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.
37. The multi-motion toothbrush of claim 33 wherein said second bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional primarily linear movement.
Descripción
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/027,594, filed Dec. 21, 2001 which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/993,167 filed Nov. 6, 2001, and U.S. application Ser. No. 10/036,613, filed on Nov. 7, 2001, the substances of which are incorporated herein by reference.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0064] As will be appreciated, the present invention is directed to electric toothbrushes, including electric toothbrushes having replaceable brush head ends, replaceable bristle carriers and electric toothbrushes having multiple bristle carriers. In particular, the present invention is directed to an electric toothbrush with two bristle carriers, each of which is driven by an electric motor incorporated within the toothbrush body.

[0065] Specifically, the present invention can be used in conjunction with electric toothbrushes, brush heads, and bristle carriers that include shafts that rotate, oscillate, or reciprocate (as well as combinations thereof to impart motion to the first and second bristle carriers. In addition, the present invention can be used in combination with electric toothbrushes, brush heads, and bristle carriers where the shaft is operatively connected to both the first and second bristle carriers or only one of the bristle carriers. In the latter instance, the bristle carriers are themselves interconnected so that a motion is imparted to the bristle carrier that is not directly coupled to the shaft.

[0066] Before describing the various preferred embodiment toothbrushes and associated drive mechanisms, it is instructive to define the various types of motions referenced herein. As used herein, the term “angular motion” refers to any angular displacement. “Linear motion” is movement along a straight or substantially straight, line or direction. “Primarily linear motion” is described below. “Curvilinear motion” is movement that is neither completely linear nor completely angular but is a combination of the two (e.g., curvilinear). These motions can be constant or periodic. Constant motion refers to motion that does not change direction or path (i.e., is unidirectional). Periodic motion refers to motion that reverses direction or path. Constant angular motion (i.e., motion that extends through 360 degrees or more) that is substantially in the form of a circle is referred to as rotary motion. Periodic angular motion is motion that extends through less than 360 degrees and is referred to as oscillating motion. Curvilinear motions can also be either constant (i.e., unidirectional) or periodic (i.e., reverses direction). Periodic linear motion is referred to as “reciprocation”.

[0067] The above-described motions can also occur along one or more axes of a bristle carrier. Accordingly, motion is described herein as being either one, two, or three dimensional motion depending upon the number of axial coordinates required to describe the position of a bristle carrier during its movement. The axes, X, Y, and Z, are shown in FIG. 1. One dimensional motion is motion that can be described by a single coordinate (e.g., X, Y, or Z coordinates). Typically, only linear motion can be one dimensional. For example, periodic linear motion substantially along only the Y axis is one dimensional motion (referred to herein as a “pulsing motion”). Two dimensional motion is movement by a bristle carrier that requires two coordinates (e.g., X and Y coordinates) to describe the path of travel of the bristle carrier. Angular motion that occurs in a single plane is two dimensional motion. Three dimensional motion is movement by a bristle carrier that requires three coordinates (e.g., X, Y, and Z coordinates) to describe the path of travel of the bristle carrier. An example of three dimensional motion is movement by a bristle carrier in the path of a helix.

[0068]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush 2 in accordance with the present invention. The toothbrush 2 comprises an elongated body 10 having a handle 30, a head 50, and a neck 40 extending between the handle 30 and the head 50. A switch 20 is provided or made accessible along the outer region of the body 10. As will be appreciated, the switch 20 actuates an electrical motor contained within the body 10 of toothbrush 2. The motor (not shown) and a drive mechanism as described herein (not shown) provide a powered drive for one or more bristle carriers disposed near a distal end of the toothbrush. Specifically, the toothbrush 2 further includes a first bristle carrier 60 and a second bristle carrier 70 located adjacent a distal-most end 52. As described in greater detail herein, upon activation of the drive mechanism, the first and second bristle carriers undergo a particular combination of motions. The motions are best described in terms of the axes X, Y, and Z and the planes which contain these axes.

[0069] The X axis is generally referred to herein as the longitudinal axis and generally extends along a longitudinal or lengthwise dimension (as seen from the top planar view of the toothbrush) of the toothbrush head or the bristle carrier. The longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head or bristle carrier may coincide with the longitudinal axes of the toothbrush neck and/or handle, although it need not do so as for example where the toothbrush head is angled with respect to either the toothbrush neck or handle. For example, a longitudinal axis is an axis passing through the longest dimension of the toothbrush head. The Y axis is transverse to the X axis and generally bisects the toothbrush head into its left and right halves. The Z axis is orthogonal or perpendicular to the X and Y axes.

[0070] Plane X contains the X axis and is generally referred to herein as the plane of the toothbrush or the plane of the toothbrush head. This plane generally extends along the longitudinal dimension of the toothbrush. The Y plane contains the Y axis and extends through the toothbrush and is perpendicular to the X plane. The Y plane either bisects the toothbrush or is parallel to a plane that does. The Z plane is perpendicular to both the X plane and the Y plane.

[0071] Furthermore, it is useful to address the terminology used in describing the preferred embodiment toothbrushes, bristle carriers, and the various drive mechanisms. As used herein, the term “forward” refers to the direction from the handle to the head while the term “rearward” refers to the direction from the head to the handle. A longitudinal direction is a direction that generally corresponds to a longitudinal or X axis but which may not lie in the same plane as the axis. For example, the longitudinal axes of a shaft and a bristle carrier may not extend in the same plane but generally extend in the same direction from a top planar view. Similarly, a neck and head that are angled with respect to each other may not have longitudinal axes that extend in the same plane, but do have axes which extend in the same general longitudinal direction from a top planar view. Many of the preferred embodiment electric toothbrushes typically have an elongated head with a longitudinal axis passing through the longest dimension thereof. This axis typically extends in the same general direction as the longitudinal axes of the toothbrush neck and/or shaft. This axis is generally referred to as the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush. By the phrase “same general direction,” some angular deviation is contemplated between the axes. Various references are also made herein to the “plane of the toothbrush.” As will be understood, this is generally the plane within which extends the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head.

[0072] And, as described herein, the first bristle carrier is the bristle carrier that is located at the distal-most end of the toothbrush. The second bristle carrier is the next bristle carrier positioned alongside or proximate to the first bristle carrier and rearward therefrom. A third bristle carrier is proximate the second bristle carrier and is positioned rearward of the second bristle carrier. A fourth bristle carrier is rearward of the third and so on.

[0073] Generally, the preferred embodiment toothbrushes according to the present invention comprise an elongated hollow body that retains an electrically powered motor and drive mechanism that is used to drive two or more moveable bristle carriers. The elongated hollow body also includes an interior chamber for containing one or more batteries for powering the motor. And, one or more switches are provided along the outer region of the body for activating the motor and drive mechanism. As will be appreciated, a removable end cap is provided to enclose the interior chamber and provide a seal against external agents for the components inside the toothbrush body. As described in detail herein, the preferred embodiment toothbrushes comprise two or more movable bristle carriers. Each of the bristle carriers undergoes particular types of motion and the resulting combinations of movements provide unique cleaning efficacy.

[0074] As noted, the preferred embodiment electric toothbrushes comprise a plurality of bristle carriers that are driven by an electric motor and drive mechanism incorporated in the toothbrush. Preferably, these toothbrushes utilize two bristle carriers, each undergoing motion different than the motion of the other bristle carrier. Specifically, there are numerous categories of combinations of movements of the two bristle carriers which are encompassed by the present invention. Each of these categories involves various specific types of combinations of movement as follows.

[0075] A first category of combinations of movements of the two bristle carriers is that in which the first or distal-most bristle carrier moves in a linear fashion, and the second bristle carrier moves in a primarily linear fashion. Specifically, this category involves motion in which the first bristle carrier undergoes one dimensional periodic, i.e. repeated, linear movement in combination with two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement by the second bristle carrier. It will be appreciated that the reference to “primarily linear” refers to movement that is in two or three dimensions and not entirely linear in nature. Movement that is primarily linear is movement that is best characterized as non-linear movement, however movement that is substantially along a single axis, line or direction. That is, primarily linear motion is movement that is generally along a single line or direction. This motion may include deviation from the line or direction of movement, however such motion is substantially linear.

[0076] This combination of movements may be further defined as involving one of the following specific types of movement by the first bristle carrier and one of the following specific types of movement by the second bristle carrier.

[0077] The first bristle carrier may reciprocate along a single axis or line in the X plane of the toothbrush head or a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head, and in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head. Or, the first bristle carrier may reciprocate along a single axis or line in the X plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head, and in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head (and so the first bristle carrier moves in a “side-to-side” fashion). Alternately, the first bristle carrier may reciprocate along a single axis in the X plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel to the X plane of the toothbrush head, and in a direction other than parallel or perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head. That is, the first bristle carrier may reciprocate along an axis that extends at an acute angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head. Instead, the first bristle carrier may reciprocate along a single axis in a plane perpendicular to the X plane of the toothbrush head (and so, moving in an “up and down” or “pulsing” fashion). In other words, the first bristle carrier may move in a direction aligned with the Y axis of the toothbrush head. Yet another motion is that in which the first bristle carrier may reciprocate along a single axis in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the X plane of the toothbrush head. All of these motions of the first bristle carrier are one dimensional or linear.

[0078] The second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear within the X plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel to the X plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and in a plane that is perpendicular to the X plane of the toothbrush head (and so, the second bristle carrier would resemble a “pulsing” type motion). Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Alternatively, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar (hence, the designation that motion of the second bristle carrier is in three dimensions). This motion of the second bristle carrier, although non-planar, can be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is: (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0079] It will be understood that in this category of movement combinations, any of the previously described movements of the first bristle carrier may be utilized in conjunction with any of the previously described movements of the second bristle carrier.

[0080]FIG. 2 illustrates a preferred embodiment toothbrush A having a pair of bristle carriers as previously described. FIGS. 2a to 2 i illustrate the various combinations of movements of these bristle carriers as previously described. Specifically, FIG. 2 illustrates a preferred embodiment toothbrush A including a body 110 having a neck 140 and a head 150. The toothbrush A further includes a first bristle carrier 160 and a second bristle carrier 170 disposed proximate to a distal-most end 152 of the head 150. The first bristle carrier 160 may be configured to move in a variety of fashions as previously noted. Specifically, referring to FIGS. 2a to 2 e these motions are as follows.

[0081]FIG. 2a illustrates that the first bristle carrier 160 may reciprocate along a single axis or line in the plane of the toothbrush head such as plane X as shown in FIG. 1, or a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head, and in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis L of the toothbrush. FIG. 2b illustrates another motion in which the first bristle carrier 160 reciprocates along a single axis or line in the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head, and in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush. FIG. 2b illustrates the first bristle carrier 160 moving in a “side-to-side” fashion. FIG. 2c illustrates the first bristle carrier 160 reciprocating along a single axis in the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head, and in a direction other than parallel or perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush. That is, FIG. 2c illustrates the first bristle carrier 160 reciprocating along an axis that extends at an acute angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush. FIG. 2d illustrates the first bristle carrier 160 reciprocating along a single axis in a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as plane Y as shown in FIG. 1, and generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush, and so moving in an up and down or pulsing fashion. FIG. 2e illustrates the first bristle carrier 160 moving or reciprocating along a single axis in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. All of these motions of the first bristle carrier 160 are one dimensional or linear.

[0082]FIGS. 2f to 2 i illustrate various motions that the second bristle carrier 170 may undergo. FIG. 2f illustrates the second bristle carrier 170 undergoing motion that is primarily linear and so, not one dimensional, within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 2g illustrates the second bristle carrier 170 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as plane Y shown in FIG. 1. And so, the second bristle carrier 170 is moving in a motion that resembles a pulsing type motion. FIG. 2h illustrates the second bristle carrier 170 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 2i illustrates the second bristle carrier 170 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear, however, non-planar, and hence three dimensional.

[0083] The preferred embodiment toothbrush A may be configured such that the first bristle carrier 160 may undergo any of the motions depicted in FIGS. 2a to 2 e, in combination with the second bristle carrier 170 undergoing any of the motions depicted in FIGS. 2f to 2 i.

[0084] Another category of combinations of movements of the two bristle carriers is that in which the first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional periodic movement that is primarily linear in combination with two or three dimensional periodic movement that is also primarily linear by the second bristle carrier.

[0085] The first bristle carrier may undergo any type of repeated motion that is primarily linear and within the plane of the toothbrush head or within a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the first bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and within a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head (and so, approach a “pulsing” type motion). Or, the first bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Instead, the first bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. This motion of the first bristle carrier, although non-planar and thus three dimensional, can be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane generally parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0086] The second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head (and so, approach a “pulsing” type motion). Alternately, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. This motion of the second bristle carrier, although non-planar and thus three dimensional, can be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0087] Again, it will be appreciated that in this category of movement combinations, any of the movements of the first bristle carrier may be utilized in combination with any of the movements of the second bristle carrier.

[0088]FIG. 3 is a front elevational view illustrating another preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention and providing the previously noted combinations of bristle carrier motions. FIG. 3 illustrates toothbrush B having a body 210 with a neck 240 and a head 250. Disposed on the head 250 are a first bristle carrier 260 and a second bristle carrier 270. As will be noted, the first bristle carrier 260 is proximate the distal-most end 252 of the head 250. The first bristle carrier 260 and second bristle carrier 270 of the preferred embodiment toothbrush B are configured to undergo various types of specific motion as follows.

[0089]FIGS. 3a to 3 d illustrate various types of motion that the first bristle carrier 260 may undergo. FIG. 3a illustrates the first bristle carrier 260 undergoing motion that is primarily linear and within the plane of the toothbrush head or within a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 3b illustrates the first bristle carrier 260 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and within a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as plane Y depicted in FIG. 1. And so, FIG. 3b illustrates the pulsing type motion described herein. FIG. 3c illustrates another motion by the first bristle carrier 260 in which its motion is primarily linear and in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. And, FIG. 3d illustrates another motion of the first bristle carrier 260 in which it undergoes repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar, and thus three dimensional.

[0090]FIGS. 3e to 3 h illustrate additional types of motion that the second bristle carrier 270 of the preferred embodiment toothbrush B may undergo. Specifically, FIG. 3e illustrates repeated motion that the second bristle carrier 270 may undergo that is primarily linear within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 3f illustrates the second bristle carrier undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as plane Y shown in FIG. 1, and so approaching a pulsing type motion. FIG. 3g illustrates the second bristle carrier 270 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 3h illustrates the second bristle carrier 270 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. This motion of the bristle carrier 270 is three dimensional.

[0091] The preferred embodiment toothbrush B may be configured such that the first bristle carrier 260 may undergo any of the motions depicted in FIGS. 3a to 3 e, in combination with the second bristle carrier 270 undergoing any of the motions depicted in FIGS. 3e to 3 h.

[0092] Yet another category of combination of movements of the two bristle carriers is that in which the first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement in combination with two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement by the second bristle carrier.

[0093] The first bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. The motion of the first bristle carrier, although non-planar and thus three dimensional, can be characterized by primarily extending in a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head.

[0094] The second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane that is generally parallel thereto. Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head (and so, approach a “pulsing” type motion). Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. This motion of the second bristle carrier, although non-planar and therefore three dimensional, can be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0095] Any of the movements of the first bristle carrier may be utilized in combination with any of the movements of the second bristle carrier.

[0096]FIG. 4 illustrates another preferred embodiment toothbrush C in accordance with the present invention and providing the previously noted combinations of bristle carrier motions. Toothbrush C comprises a body 310 having a neck 340 and a head 350. Disposed generally on the head 350 are a first bristle carrier 360 and a second bristle carrier 370. It will be noted that the first bristle carrier 360 is proximate a distal-most end 352 of the head 350. The first bristle carrier 360 and the second bristle carrier 370 may undergo a variety of motions and combinations of motions as follows.

[0097]FIG. 4a illustrates the first bristle carrier 360 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. Restated, the first bristle carrier 360 undergoes a primarily linear and three dimensional motion.

[0098]FIGS. 4b to 4 e illustrate motions of the second bristle carrier 370. FIG. 4b illustrates the second bristle carrier 370 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and within the plane of the toothbrush head or within a plane that is generally parallel thereto. FIG. 4c illustrates the second bristle carrier 370 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as plane Y shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 4c illustrates that motion resembling a pulsing type motion. FIG. 4d illustrates the second bristle carrier 370 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head C. FIG. 4e illustrates the second bristle carrier 370 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar, and thus, motion that is three dimensional.

[0099] The preferred embodiment toothbrush C may be configured such that the first bristle carrier 360 may undergo motion such as depicted in FIG. 4A in combination with the second bristle carrier 370 undergoing any of the motions depicted in FIGS. 4b to 4 e.

[0100] Additionally, another category of combinations of movements involves curvilinear movement by the first bristle carrier in combination with movement in two or three dimensions by the second bristle carrier. Specifically, in this category of movements, the first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional periodic curvilinear movement in combination with two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement by the second bristle carrier.

[0101] The first bristle carrier may undergo repeated curvilinear motion within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the first bristle carrier may undergo repeated curvilinear motion within a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or, the first bristle carrier may undergo repeated curvilinear motion within a plane other than the plane of the toothbrush head or one perpendicular thereto.

[0102] The second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto. Or the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head (and so, approach a “pulsing” type motion). Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Or the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar. The motion of the second bristle carrier, although non-planar and therefore three dimensional, can be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0103] As previously noted, any and all combinations of movements between the first bristle carrier and second bristle carrier are contemplated.

[0104]FIG. 5 illustrates another preferred embodiment toothbrush D in accordance with the present invention and providing the previously noted combinations of bristle carrier motions. Toothbrush D comprises a body 410 having a neck 440 and a head 450. Disposed on the head 450 is a first bristle carrier 460 and a second bristle carrier 470. The first bristle carrier 460 is provided proximate to the distal-most end 452 of the toothbrush D. The first bristle carrier 460 and the second bristle carrier 470 of the toothbrush D may undergo a variety of motions as follows.

[0105]FIGS. 5a to 5 c illustrate specific motions that the first bristle carrier 460 may undergo. Specifically, FIG. 5a illustrates the first bristle carrier 460 undergoing repeated curvilinear motion within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 5b illustrates the first bristle carrier 460 undergoing repeated curvilinear motion within a plane perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as within plane Y illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 5c illustrates the first bristle carrier 460 undergoing repeated curvilinear motion within a plane other than the plane of the toothbrush head or one perpendicular thereto.

[0106]FIGS. 5d to 5 g illustrate various motions that the second bristle carrier 470 may undergo. Specifically, FIG. 5d illustrates the second bristle carrier 470 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto. FIG. 5e illustrates the second bristle carrier 470 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as within the plane Y illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 5e illustrates the motion of the second bristle carrier 470 approaching or resembling a pulsing type motion as described herein. FIG. 5f illustrates the second bristle carrier 470 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 5g illustrates the second bristle carrier 470 undergoing three dimensional motion.

[0107] The preferred embodiment toothbrush D may be configured such that the first bristle carrier 460 undergoes motion such as shown in any of FIGS. 5a to 5 c in combination with the second bristle carrier 470 undergoing motion such as depicted in any of FIGS. 5d to 5 g.

[0108] Another category of combination of movements of the two bristle carriers is that in which the first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional periodic curvilinear movement in combination with two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement by the second bristle carrier.

[0109] The first bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is curvilinear in nature and non-planar. The motion of the first bristle carrier, although non-planar and thus three dimensional, may be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0110] The second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and within the plane of the toothbrush head or within a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. The second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head (and so, the second bristle carrier would approach a “pulsing” type motion). Or, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Alternately, the second bristle carrier may undergo repeated motion that is primarily linear and non-planar (hence, the designation that motion of the second bristle carrier is in three dimensions). This motion of the second bristle carrier, although non-planar, can be characterized by primarily extending within a plane that is (i) within the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane parallel thereto; (ii) perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head; or (iii) different than either the plane of the toothbrush head or a plane perpendicular thereto.

[0111] Again, any and all combinations of movements between the first bristle carrier and the second bristle carrier are contemplated.

[0112]FIG. 6 illustrates a front elevational view of the head portion of a preferred embodiment toothbrush E in accordance with the present invention and providing the previously noted combinations of bristle carrier motions. Toothbrush E comprises a body 510 having a neck 540 and a head 550. Disposed on the head 550 is a first bristle carrier 560 and a second bristle carrier 570. The first bristle carrier 560 is positioned or provided proximate the distal-most end 552 of the head 550. As explained herein, the first bristle carrier 560 and the second bristle carrier 570 may undergo a variety of motions as follows.

[0113]FIG. 6a illustrates the first bristle carrier 560 undergoing repeated motion that is curvilinear in nature and non-planar. That is, the motion of the first bristle carrier 560 is three dimensional. FIG. 6b illustrates the second bristle carrier 570 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear and within the plane of the toothbrush head or within a plane that is generally parallel to the plane of the toothbrush head. FIG. 6c illustrates the second bristle carrier 570 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane that is perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head, such as plane Y shown in FIG. 1. And so, FIG. 6c illustrates the second bristle carrier 570 undergoing motion that resembles a pulsing type motion as described herein. FIG. 6d illustrates the second bristle carrier 570 undergoing repeated motion that is primarily linear in a plane other than one that is parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. And, FIG. 6 illustrates the second bristle carrier 570 undergoing three dimensional motion.

[0114] The preferred embodiment toothbrush E may be configured such that the first bristle carrier 560 undergoes motion such as shown in FIG. 6a in combination with the second bristle carrier 570 undergoing any of the types of motion shown in FIGS. 6b to 6 e.

[0115] Specifically, the preferred structure and arrangement of the moveable and powered bristle carriers is as follows. A second bristle carrier is disposed adjacent the first bristle carrier. While it is desirable to locate the second bristle carrier directly adjacent the first bristle carrier, it is contemplated that a gap may be provided between the first and second bristle carriers. In addition, the gap between the first and second bristle carriers might be filled with stationary bristles which are embedded in a fixed or stationary third bristle carrier (not shown) which forms part of the toothbrush end. Further, while the first bristle carrier has been described as adjacent the distal end of the toothbrush, it is contemplated that the second bristle carrier might be disposed adjacent the distal end of the toothbrush and driven in the same manner as described herein.

[0116] While the embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated for simplicity with bristles which extend in a direction substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and the surface of the bristle carriers, it is contemplated that the bristles might be arranged differently to complement or further enhance the motions of the first and/or second bristle carriers. That is, some or all of the bristles might extend in a direction which forms an acute angle to a surface of the bristle carrier and extend in a direction toward or away from the handle. In another embodiment, some of the bristles might extend outwardly away from the head, in another direction, again forming an acute angle with respect to the surface of the bristle carrier. Massaging bristles or bristles of varying height might also be used, such as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. Des. 330,286, Des. 434,563, the substances of which are incorporated herein by reference. Other preferred bristle arrangements suitable for use include those arrangements described in whole or part in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,006,394; 4,081,876; 5,046,213; 5,335,389; 5,392,483; 5,446,940; 4,894,880; and international publication no. WO 99/23910; the substances of which are incorporated herein by reference.

[0117] A variety of drive mechanisms may be utilized in the preferred embodiment toothbrushes described herein. As noted, drive mechanisms that provide a powered rotating output or a reciprocating or oscillating output are preferred. For example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,617,603; 5,850,603; 5,974,615; 6,032,313; 5,504,959; 5,524,312; 5,625,916; 5,732,432; 5,070,567; 5,170,525; 5,416,942; 3,588,936; 5,867,856; and 4,397,055, the substances of which are incorporated herein by reference, disclose other motor and rotating or oscillating shaft arrangements that might be suitable. Furthermore, the drive mechanisms disclosed in U.S. Ser. No. 10/027,594, filed Dec. 21, 2001; and U.S. Ser. No. 09/993,167, filed Nov. 6, 2001, both of which are incorporated herein by reference, may be used. Additionally, any or all of the aspects of U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,617,601 and 5,435,032, both of which are hereby incorporated herein, may be utilized in the toothbrushes described herein.

[0118] A preferred mechanism for imparting a pulsing type motion, or referring to FIG. 1, a motion in the Y plane, is illustrated in FIGS. 7A-7D. This mechanism converts a rotary motion, such as from an output of an electric motor, to a reciprocating linear or substantially linear motion in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the toothbrush head. Referring to FIGS. 7A and 7B, a partial view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush F is shown. These figures illustrate a first bristle carrier 660 and a second bristle carrier 670 disposed along a head 650 proximate a neck 640. Extending within the neck 640 is a portion of a drive mechanism including a rotating shaft 602. It will be appreciated that the shaft 602 is powered or driven by an electric motor (not shown) disposed in the body or handle of the toothbrush. The drive mechanism also includes a crank portion 606 that is offset from the longitudinal axis of the shaft 602. The shaft 602 is rotatably supported at the distal end of the toothbrush F by a support 604.

[0119] As will be appreciated, either or both of the first or second bristle carriers 660 and 670 may be driven by the mechanism illustrated in FIGS. 7A-7D. However, for purposes of the present discussion, these figures depict only the first bristle carrier 660 being driven. Provided along the base or underside of the bristle carrier 660 is a plate 610. The plate 610 is connected to the crank portion 606 by a linkage member 608. FIG. 7A illustrates the mechanism in one position in which the first bristle carrier 660 is urged outward and generally away from the head 650, and FIG. 7B illustrates another position in which the bristle carrier 660 is drawn towards or partially retracted into the head 650. FIGS. 7C and 7D illustrate cross-sectional views detailing the mechanism and its positions in relation to the bristle carrier 660. FIG. 7C is a cross-sectional view of the head 650 taken along line 7C-7C in FIG. 7A. FIG. 7C illustrates the orientation of the crank portion 606 and base 610 when the first bristle carrier 660 is extended outward from the head 650 of the toothbrush F. FIG. 7D is also a cross-sectional view however, taken along the line 7D-7D in FIG. 7B. FIG. 7D illustrates the orientation of the crank portion 606 and base 610 when the bristle carrier 660 is drawn towards the head 650. It may be desirable to provide a guide member 648 that extends alongside the plate 610 to provide a channel within which the plate 610 and bristle carrier 660 may reciprocate as shaft 602 rotates.

[0120] Another preferred mechanism for imparting motion to one or more bristle carriers is described in provisional application Serial No. 60/361,625, filed Mar. 4, 2002, herein incorporated by reference. That mechanism imparts a “side-to-side” motion to a bristle carrier. Referring to FIG. 1, such motion causes either of both of the bristle carriers 60 and 70 to reciprocate within the plane of the toothbrush head, e.g. within the X plane, or within a plane parallel thereto, and in a direction generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush.

[0121] Specifically, a representative drive mechanism to achieve a “side-to-side” motion is as follows. Referring to FIGS. 8A and 8B, a preferred embodiment toothbrush G is illustrated. A first bristle carrier 760 is movably mounted in slots 702 in a toothbristle carrier 750 and driven in a reciprocating or translating, transverse motion within the slots 702 by a cam 755 included on a driving shaft 745. The cam 755 can comprise an appropriately shaped bead placed over or molded and fixedly secured to the shaft 745. For example, the bead is shaped as an eccentric cam. Alternatively, the cam profile may utilize one or more rectilinear, curvilinear or other types of bends. A first cam follower 734 and a second cam follower 736 each extend from a bottom surface of the first bristle carrier 760. The cam followers are, for example, offset from the longitudinal axis L of the first bristle carrier and straddle or capture the cam 755. As the motor (not shown) rotates the shaft 745 in accordance with arrow C, the cam 755 contacts a surface 744 of the first cam follower 734 and drives the first cam follower 734, and therefore, the first bristle carrier 760 away from a first side 751 and toward a second side 753 of the toothbristle carrier 750 along a transverse axis 782 of the first bristle carrier 760. As the shaft 745 continues to rotate, the cam 755 becomes disengaged with the first cam follower 734. The cam 755 then contacts a surface 746 of the second cam follower 736 and drives the second cam follower 736, and therefore, the first bristle carrier 760 toward the first side 751 and away from the second side 753 of the toothbristle carrier 750. A clearance 765 is provided between the first and second bristle carriers 760, 770 to accommodate the spacing requirements of this motion. As this back and forth or “side-to-side” motion is repeated (as the shaft 745 continues to rotate), a sweeping motion is provided that provides enhanced cleaning action to the teeth in the direction of arrow B in FIG. 8B.

[0122] Referring to FIGS. 9A and 9B, in another version of the toothbrush G, referred to herein as toothbrush H, the second bristle carrier 870 is movably mounted in slots 802 in the toothbristle carrier 850 and separately driven in a reciprocating or translating, transverse motion within the slots 802 by a cam 806 included on a driving shaft 808. The cam 806 can comprise an appropriately shaped bead placed over or molded and fixedly secured to the shaft 808 as in the previously described embodiment for toothbrush G. First 810 and second 812 cam followers depend from a bottom surface of the second bristle carrier 870. The cam followers are, for example, offset from the longitudinal axis L of the second bristle carrier 870 and straddle or capture the cam 806. As the motor (not shown) rotates the shaft 808, the cam 806 comes into contact with a surface 814 of the first cam follower 810 and drives the first cam follower 810, and therefore, the second bristle carrier 870 away from a first side 820 and toward a second side 826 along an axis perpendicular to the longitudinal axis L. As the shaft 808 continues to rotate, the cam 806 becomes disengaged with the first cam follower 810. The cam 806 then comes into contact with a surface 816 of the second cam follower 812 and drives the second cam follower 812, and therefore, the second bristle carrier 870 toward the first side 820 and away from the second side 826 of the toothbristle carrier portion 850. As this back and forth or side-to-side motion is repeated (as the shaft 808 continues to rotate), the desired sweeping motion in the direction of arrow B is provided.

[0123] A variety of different mechanisms may be used to provide the noted motions described herein. These mechanisms may utilize either a rotating or oscillating shaft or a linearly reciprocating shaft as a power source. Generally, the various repeating periodic motions are achieved by arrangements of pivoting members and linkage assemblies that have certain predetermined regions of freedom. Accordingly, rotating or reciprocating motion from a powered shaft may be translated to a linear, primarily linear, curvilinear, or a three dimensional motion by particular selection and configuration of components forming the drive mechanism. Furthermore, guide channels may be provided along or within the head or region of the toothbrush body near the bristle carrier(s) for assisting or guiding the movement of the bristle carrier(s).

[0124] The present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments. Modifications and alternations will occur to others upon reading and understanding this specification. For example, while certain cams have been described as comprising bends in a shaft and other cams have been described as including appropriately shaped beads secured to a shaft, the cams are not limited to the suggested form. Indeed, bends may be substituted for beads and beads may be substituted for bends and other shapes, sizes, and configurations can be implemented. Furthermore, it is contemplated that any of the features or aspects of any of the toothbrushes A-H, may be combined with or utilized in conjunction with any of the other features or aspects of any of the toothbrushes A-H. It is intended that all such modifications and alternations are included insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or equivalents thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The present invention may take form in various components and arrangements of components, and in various techniques, methods, or procedures and arrangements of steps. The referenced drawings are only for purposes of illustrating preferred embodiments, they are not necessarily to scale, and are not to be construed as limiting the present invention.

[0015] It is believed that the present invention will be better understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0016]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention illustrating various planes and their orientation with respect to the toothbrush;

[0017]FIG. 2 is a front elevational view illustrating the bristle carriers of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention;

[0018]FIG. 2a is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0019]FIG. 2b is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0020]FIG. 2c is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2a illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0021]FIG. 2d is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0022]FIG. 2e is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0023]FIG. 2f is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0024]FIG. 2g is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0025]FIG. 2h is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0026]FIG. 2i is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0027]FIG. 3 is a front elevational view illustrating the bristle carriers of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention;

[0028]FIG. 3a is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0029]FIG. 3b is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0030]FIG. 3c is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0031]FIG. 3d is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0032]FIG. 3e is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0033]FIG. 3f is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0034]FIG. 3g is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0035]FIG. 3h is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 3 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0036]FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention;

[0037]FIG. 4a is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 4 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0038]FIG. 4b is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 4 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0039]FIG. 4c is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 4 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0040]FIG. 4d is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 4 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0041]FIG. 4e is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 4 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0042]FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention;

[0043]FIG. 5a is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0044]FIG. 5b is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0045]FIG. 5c is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0046]FIG. 5d is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0047]FIG. 5e is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0048]FIG. 5f is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0049]FIG. 5g is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0050]FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention;

[0051]FIG. 6a is a detail of a first bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 6 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0052]FIG. 6b is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 6 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0053]FIG. 6c is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 6 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0054]FIG. 6d is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 6 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0055]FIG. 6e is a detail of a second bristle carrier of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 6 illustrating the bristle carrier undergoing a certain type of motion;

[0056]FIG. 7A is a schematic view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention, illustrating a certain mechanism in a first position for imparting motion to a bristle carrier;

[0057]FIG. 7B is a schematic view of the preferred embodiment toothbrush shown in FIG. 7A, illustrating the mechanism in a different position for imparting motion to the bristle carrier;

[0058]FIG. 7C is a schematic cross-sectional view taken along line 7C-7C in FIG. 7A;

[0059]FIG. 7D is a schematic cross-sectional view taken along line 7D-7D in FIG. 7B;

[0060]FIG. 8A is a schematic view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention, illustrating another mechanism for imparting motion to a bristle carrier;

[0061]FIG. 8B is a schematic cross-sectional view taken along line 8B-8B in FIG. 8A;

[0062]FIG. 9A is a schematic view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush in accordance with the present invention, illustrating another mechanism for imparting motion to a bristle carrier; and

[0063]FIG. 9B is a schematic cross-sectional view taken along line 9B-9B in FIG. 9A.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to the field of toothbrushes, and more particularly, the invention relates to the field of electrically powered toothbrushes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Most known electric toothbrushes utilize a single bristle carrier that is powered or otherwise driven by an electric motor incorporated in the toothbrush. The bristle carriers in these toothbrushes undergo a wide array of motions. For example, bristle carriers undergoing rotary motion are well known. Bristle carriers that reciprocate in a linear fashion within the plane of the brush are also known. And, bristle carriers that reciprocate in a linear fashion perpendicular to the plane of the brush are also known. Although satisfactory in certain respects, a need still exists for an improved powered toothbrush design.

[0004] Numerous attempts have been made to improve the design, efficiency, cleaning efficacy, simplicity, and/or commercial viability of electric toothbrushes. One approach has been the provision of multiple powered bristle carriers. Most artisans have grouped multiple sets of bristles along an end of a brush and incorporated a drive mechanism for simultaneously rotating each of the bristle sets, together. Exemplary designs include those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,242,516; 4,156,620; 4,845,795; 5,088,145; 5,020,179; 4,827,550; and 4,545,087, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

[0005] A related strategy is to group sets of bristles on multiple rotating bristle carriers, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,140,307 and 5,170,525, both of which are herein incorporated by reference. Rather than rotating each individual bristle set about its center, i.e. the approach adopted in the previously noted patents, the designs described in the '307 and '525 patents rotate multiple groups of bristle sets about the center of a bristle carrier. Specifically, multiple groups of bristle sets are disposed on a circular bristle carrier and that bristle carrier, typically one of several, is rotated about its own axis.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,070,567, herein incorporated by reference, describes a design combining the two previously noted strategies. A rotating bristle carrier is provided along with multiple individually rotatable bristle sets. Although this design likely provides many of the advantages associated with each of its predecessors, the cleaning efficacy of spinning bristle sets, alone, is somewhat limited.

[0007] Yet another design is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,617,603, herein incorporated by reference. The '603 patent describes an assembly of “staggered swing” brushes. Apparently, the two bristle carriers move along a complex path within the plane of the toothbrush.

[0008] Although dual bristle carriers that undergo various combinations of movement have been disclosed in the prior art, there remains a need to provide an electric toothbrush with multiple bristle carriers that provides additional combinations of motion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention satisfies all of the previously noted objectives and provides, in one aspect, a multi-motion toothbrush comprising dual bristle carriers and various components as follows. The multi-motion toothbrush in this aspect of the invention comprises an elongated body, a first movable bristle carrier secured to the body, and a second movable bristle carrier secured to the body. The toothbrush further comprises an electrically powered motor, a switch for selectively activating the motor, a drive mechanism engaging the motor to the two bristle carriers, and a battery. Upon activating the motor, the first bristle carrier undergoes one dimensional periodic linear movement while the second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement.

[0010] In another aspect, the present invention provides a multi-motion toothbrush comprising an elongated body, a first movable bristle carrier secured to the body, and a second movable bristle carrier secured to the body. The toothbrush also comprises an electrically powered motor, a switch, a drive mechanism for engaging the bristle carriers, and a battery contained within the body. Upon activating the motor, the first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional periodic primarily linear movement while the second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement.

[0011] In yet another aspect, the present invention provides a multi-motion toothbrush comprising an elongated body, a first movable bristle carrier secured to the body, a second movable bristle carrier secured to the body, a motor disposed in the body, a switch provided along the body, a drive mechanism engaging the bristle carriers to the motor, and a battery positioned in the hollow body. Upon activating the motor, the first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement while the second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement.

[0012] In a further aspect, the present invention provides a multi-motion toothbrush comprising a body, first and second bristle carriers, a motor, a switch, a drive mechanism, and a battery. The bristle carriers and drive mechanism are configured such that the first bristle carrier undergoes two dimensional periodic curvilinear movement while the second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement.

[0013] And, in an additional aspect, the present invention provides a multi-motion toothbrush comprising an elongated body, a first moveable bristle carrier secured to the body, and a second movable bristle carrier secured to the body. The toothbrush further comprises an electrically powered motor disposed in the elongated body, a switch accessible along the body, and a drive mechanism engaging the first and second bristle carriers to the motor. The toothbrush also comprises one or more batteries disposed in the hollow region of the body. Upon activation of the motor by use of the switch, the first bristle carrier undergoes three dimensional periodic curvilinear movement, and the second bristle carrier undergoes two or three dimensional periodic primarily linear movement.

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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.15/22.1, 15/22.2, 15/28
Clasificación internacionalA61C17/34
Clasificación cooperativaA61C17/34
Clasificación europeaA61C17/34
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
22 Jul 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BROWN, PATRICK W.;GALL, DOUGLAS A.;REEL/FRAME:013118/0879
Effective date: 20020711