US 3927434 A
Water powered rotary brush means adapted for toothbrushes, bath brushes, and the like, containing a fluid motor therein that is driven by water available from a pressurized local source such as a basin, shower, or bathtub. According to the invention, a pair of parallel rotary brushes are synchronously driven by the fluid motor in opposite directions of rotation, and only one side of the brush pair is exposed so that the operative portions of the brushes move toward each other. In a toothbrush form of the invention the brushes are arranged as laterally intermeshed, overlapping helixes for concentration of the brushing effect, and the brushes are contained in a separate head unit releasably connected to a handle unit which contains the fluid motor, for sanitary utilization by a plurality of persons of separate head units in connection with a single handle unit. In a bath brush form, the oppositely driven brushes are spaced apart to avoid catching hair therebetween, the bath brush including a spray head outlet of exhaust water from the fluid motor, providing a spray flow rate generally in proportion to the rate of rotation of the brushes.
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United States Patent [191 Burgess Dec. 23, 1975 WATER POWDERED ROTARY BRUSH  Inventor: Fred M. Burgess, PO. Box 70, San
Fernando, Calif. 91340  Filed: May 14, 1973  Appl. No.: 360,048
 US. Cl 15/24; 415/503  Int. Cl. A46B 13/06  Field of Search 15/23, 24; 310/50; 418/266; 415/503  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 256,131 4/1882 Denison 418/266 1,927,566 9/1933 Hawk 15/23 2,124,145 7/1938 Merkel, .Ir. 15/23 2,285,865 6/1942 Lowe et a1. 15/24 2,583,886 l/1952 Schlegel 15/23 3,258,802 7/1966 Rodriguez 15/23 3,439,422 4/1969 Doeden et al. 415/503 3,553,758 l/197l Wood 15/24 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 262,496 6/1964 Australia.....' 15/23 1,236,471 6/1960 France....
460,319 11/1950 Italy 15/24 M .-."lulLl"L- &\\\\\\ I 1 1 10 11 3 Primary ExaminerEdward L. Roberts Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Albert L. Gabriel ABSTRACT Water powered rotary bnlsh means adapted for toothbrushes, bath brushes, and the like, containing a fluid motor therein that is driven by water available from a pressurized local source such as a basin, shower, or bathtub. According to the invention, a pair of parallel rotary brushes are synchronously driven by the fluid motor in opposite directions of rotation, and only one side of the brush pair is exposed so that the operative portions of the brushes move toward each other. In a toothbrush form of the invention the brushes are arranged as laterally intermeshed, overlapping helixes for concentration of the brushing effect, and the brushes are contained in a separate head unit releasably connected to a handle unit which contains the fluid motor, for sanitary utilization by a plurality of persons of separate head units in connection with a single handle unit. In a bath brush form, the oppositely driven brushes are spaced apart to avoid catching hair therebetween, the bath brush including a spray head outlet of exhaust water from the fluid motor, providing a spray flow rate generally in proportion to the rate of rotation of the brushes.
7 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures US. atent Dec. 23, 1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,27,434
US. Patent Dec. 23, 1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,927,434
FIGQQ WATER POWDERED ROTARY BRUSH DISCLOSURE DOCUMENTS The present applicant has heretofore lodged disclosures of the present invention with the United States Patent Office under its Disclosure Document Program, filed Dec. 15, 1972 as Diclosure Documents Nos. 015516 and 015517.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is desirable to provide power actuated rotary brush means for various personal hygiene functions, as for example for the brushing of teeth, shower bathing, and the like. At present the most dependable and compact power source for such rotary apparatus is electrical, but in the typical personal hygiene environment plug-in electrical appliances of this general type are simply too dangerous to be feasible, and battery power is generally inadequate.
Accordingly, there have been numerous attempts to provide rotary hygienic brush means utilizing the flow of water from the water tap at a basin or the like, most such prior art devices being directed to the cleaning of teeth. However, such devices in general have not been satisfactory for home use, in that they have generally been too bulky or complicated, cumbersome for the ordinary unskilled user to operate, and have not employed brush positioning and movement such as would produce results noticeably superior to those achieved by conventional manual brushing.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of these and other problems in the art, it is an object of the present invention to provide novel water powered rotary brush means which is adaptable for various personal hygiene uses including but not limited to use in a toothbrush, bath brush, or the like, wherein a pair of generally cylindrical brushes are rotatably mounted in housing means adapted for convenient holding in one hand, in a generally parallel array with only one side of the brush pair exposed outside of the housing means, and a fluid motor is disposed within the housing means and is operatively connected to the brushes so as to drive the brushes in opposite directions of rotation with the exposed portions of the brushes moving toward each other.
Another object of the invention is to provide novel water powered rotary brush means of the character described, in the form of a toothbrush, wherein the rotary brushes are contained in a separate, elongated head unit, and the fluid motor is contained in a separate elongated handle unit, the head unit being quick-releasably connected to the handle unit to enable the sanitary utilization by a plurality of persons of separate such head units in connection with a single one of such handle units.
A further object of the invention is to provide a water powered rotary brush of the character described in the form of a bath brush for use in a shower or bathtub, wherein the source of water may be Td off of the shower head or bathtub spout, and which includes fluid valve means in the brush housing that is adjustable between a closed position wherein the brushes are stopped and all of the water is backed out through the shower head or bathtub spout, and an open position wherein water is admitted to the fluid motor so as to drive the brushes, and proportionately less water is allowed to flow out through the shower head or spout. In a preferred bath brush form of the invention, the exhaust water flow from the fluid motor is ejected from the brush through a spray head outlet to provide what is, in effect, a mobile shower head having a water flow generally proportioned to the rate of rotation of the brushes.
Further objects and advantages of the present invention will appear during the course of the following part of the specification, wherein the details of construction and mode of operation of a presently preferred embodiment of the invention are described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a water powered rotary toothbrush according to the invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, axial section, with a portion broken away, showing internal details of construction of the rotary toothbrush form of the invention shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevational view, partly in axial section, illustrating further details of the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
FIG. 4 is a further enlarged transverse section taken on the line 4-4 in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a similar transverse section taken on the line 55 in FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 is a greatly enlarged, fragmentary elevational view illustrating beveled spline means employed for on-off clutching in the form shown in FIGS. 1 to 5.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a rotary bath brush form of the invention.
FIG. 8 is a longitudinal section, with portions in elevation, illustrating internal details of construction of the bath brush form shown in FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 is a transverse section, with portions in elevation, showing further details of the bath brush form shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary longitudinal section illustrating details of a valve actuating mechanism employed in the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 7 to 9.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Water Powered Rotary Toothbrush Embodiment Reference will first be made to FIGS. 1 to 6 of the drawings which illustrate a water powered rotary toothbrush embodiment of the invention. The rotary toothbrush is generally designated 10, and includes a handle unit 12 and a head unit 14. The head unit 14 is removable and replaceable by quick release coupling means described hereinafter to permit replacement of worn brushes, and in particular to allow a single handle unit 12 to be utilized in connection with a plurality of head units 14, whereby in a family the sanitation of separate head units 14 for each member is permitted, while only one of the handle units 12 is required.
The head unit 14 is elongated, including a base portion 18 adapted for releasable engagement with the front end of the handle unit 12, a reduced, elongated shank portion 20, and a forward cup-shaped brush shield 22 within which a pair of parallel rotary brushes 24 and 26 nest so that only one side of the brush pair is operatively exposed, the other side being shielded against engagement with teeth or gums by means of the brush shield 22, as best illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3.
The brush 24 is mounted on primary shaft 28 that extends generally the length of the head unit 14 and has a splined end portion 30 projecting rearwardly out of the base portion 18 of the head unit so as to be selectively driven by drive means in the handle unit 12 as described in detail hereinafter. The other brush 26 is mounted on secondary shaft 32 that is parallel to primary shaft 28 and also extends substantially the length of head unit 14.
In order to effect a maximum brushing capability within a minimum size head unit, each of the brushes 24 and 26 is formed as a helix 33 of bristles with the adjacent turns thereof spaced apart to form a helical slot 34 at least substantially as wide in the axial direction as the thickness of the bristle helix 33 in the axial direction. The helix 33 of bristles on the brush 24 is engaged in the helical slot 34 of the brush 26; and conversely the helix 33 of bristles on the brush 26 is engaged in the helical slot 34 of the brush 24. Preferably, the majority of the radial length of the helix 33 of bristles of each brush is extended into the helical slot 34 of the other brush, so as to provide a combination of the two brushes having a minimum of width. In this manner, the brush portion of the head unit 14 can be maneuvered most easily to a maximum of effective brushing positions within the mouth.
In order that the brush helixes maintain freedom of movement in the opposed helical slots, and to provide the desired brushing action, it is essential that the brushes 24 and 26 rotate in opposite directions and be synchronized. This is accomplished by having the drive input to the head unit 14 applied from the handle unit 12 to only the primary shaft 28, and by driving the secondary shaft 32 off of the primary shaft 28. This is done by having a drive gear 35 on primary shaft 28 engaged with a driven gear 36 on secondary shaft 32, the gears 35 and 36 being of the same size, and being located in the base portion 18 of the head unit 14. The gears 35 and 36 are initially engaged at relative positions of rotation such as to dispose the bristle helices 33 in the respective opposed helical slots 34. With the brushes 24 and 26 thus rotating in opposite directions, and with only one side of the brush pair exposed outside of the brush shield 22, brush movement will always be down for the upper gums and up for the lower gums, regardless of application of the brushes to the outside of the teeth, to the inside of the teeth, or either right or left handed.
This closely spaced, intermeshing pair of brushes 24 and 26 which thus rotate in opposite directions and are shielded on one side also avoids the necessity of complicating the mechanism with reversing means.
The handle unit 12 includes a cylindrical shell 38 having a forward end wall 40, and having a fluid motor 42 disposed in its rearward end portion. Water inlet and outlet conduits are provided by means of a siamese hose 44 which may be connected to a bathroom sink by any conventional means known in the art; for example, the inlet conduit may be provided with water through a T connection to the faucet, and the outlet may simply open into the basin.
The motor shaft 46 extends longitudinally through the shell 38, but is offset laterally from the axis of the shell 38 so as to be aligned with the primary shaft 28 of head unit 14. An annular clutch member 48 is axially slidable on the forward end portion of the motor shaft 46, having splined connection 50 therewith so as to be rotatably driven with the motor shaft 46. A second splined connection 52 is provided between the exposed end portion 30 of primary shaft 28 and the clutch member 48. The clutch member 48 is slidable on motor shaft 46 between a forward position as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 wherein the splined connection 52 is effected for driving the brushes 24 and 26; and a rearward position wherein the clutch member 48 is disengaged from the splined end portion 30 of primary shaft 28 so as to stop the rotation of brushes 24 and 26. It will be noted from FIG. 6 that the splines on the splined end portion 30 of shaft 28 have lead-in bevels, which facilitates engagement of the clutch member 48 with the splined end portion 30 when it is desired to actuate the brushes 24 and 26. Preferably there will be similar lead-in bevels on the mating splines in clutch member 48.
The clutch member 48 is both axially slidable and rotatable in a generally cylindrical clutch bearing 54 extending rearwardly from the forward end wall 40 of the handle unit. The clutch member 48 has an annular flange 56 formed at its rearward end, the flange 56 being engaged by a clutch actuator 58 that is longitudinally slidably mounted in a suitable slot 59 in shell 38. Thus the clutch actuator 58 provides a mechanical on-off switch for rotation of the brushes, while the fluid motor 42 remains in operation. Alternatively, on-off fluid valving may be provided for the fluid motor 42 for switching the brush rotation on and off.
Quick release coupling means is generally designated 60 for releasably mounting the head unit 14 on the front end of the handle unit 12. The coupling means 60 includes a pair of tangs 62 which project outwardly or rearwardly from the base portion 18 of head unit 14, the tangs 62 being engageable through complementary holes 63 in the forward end wall 40 of handle shell 38. The tangs 62 also extend through respective apertures 64 in a transverse slide member 66. A spring 68 biases the transverse slide member 66 laterally so as to normally engage the slide member 66 in slots 70 in tangs 62 as best illustrated in FIG. 4, so as to normally lock the head unit 14 onto the forward end of the handle unit 12. The transverse slide member 66 projects outwardly through the cylindrical shell 38, and quick release is effected by simply depressing this outer end of slide member 66 so as to align the apertures 64 in the slide member 66 with the tangs 62 so that the tangs can be withdrawn. The tangs 62 are preferably chamfered or beveled at their free ends so that re-engagement of the head unit 14 on the handle unit 12 can be accomplished by simply inserting the tangs 62 in the holes 63 and pushing, the tangs camming the slide member 66 laterally to permit insertion of the tangs into the apertures 64 of the slide member 66.
It is preferred that the fluid motor 42 be of the positive displacement type to enable the rotary toothbrush 10 to be operated with a minimum flow of water. For convenience, the fluid motor 42 is shown as embodied in an independent cup-shaped housing 71 which enables the motor 42 to be independently assembled and then inserted in the rearward end of cylindrical shell 38. Nevertheless, if desired the fluid motor 42 may be embodied in the rearward end portion of shell 38 so that the shell 38 directly forms a part of the motor housing.
The positive displacement fluid motor 42 includes a pair of axially separated, generally annular chambers 72 and 74, the rearward chamber 72 being defined axially between a butt plate 76 and a central partition plate 78, and the forward chamber 74 being defined between the partition plate 78 and the forward end wall 80 of motor housing 71. The motor shaft 46 is suitably stepped in the rearward portion thereof so as to be journaled in the butt plate 76, partition plate 78, and motor housing wall 80, and splined for driving connection with a pair of rotors 82 and 84 disposed in the respective chambers 72 and 74. The lateral offset of motor shaft 46 enabling it to be axially aligned with the primary brush shaft 28 also provides the desired eccentric mounting of the annular rotors 82 and 84 relative to the center axis of the chambers 72 and 74 for the positive displacement motor.
Each of the rotors 82 and 84 embodies respective pairs 86 and 88 of diametrically opposed, outwardly spring biased blades. For smoothest driving action, and to assure self-starting, the blades 86 of rotor 82 are preferably rotationally offset approximately 90 from the blades 88 of rotor 84.
A hose connector structure 90 is connected to the shell 38 in the region where the rotor bodies 82 and 84 come closest to the shell 38, and the connector structure 90 provides communication between the inlet and outlet conduits of siamese hose 44 to the motor chambers through respective inlet and outlet channels 92 and 94, and inlet and outlet ports 96 and 98.
Water Powered Rotary Bath Brush Embodiment Referring now to FIGS. 7 to of the drawings, the rotary bath brush embodiment of the invention is generally designated 100, and includes a body shell 102 of generally blocklike configuration, having a top wall 104, a pair of side walls 106, a front end wall 108, a rear end wall 110, and a generally open bottom 112. A flexible hand strap 114 extends in a loop over the top of the body 102, transversely from side to side, enabling the bath brush 100 to be conveniently manipulated by engaging all or part of either hand between the strap 114 and the top wall 104 in the rear-to-front direction.
A pair of elongated, longitudinally arranged, parallel brushes 116 and 118 are mounted on respective shafts 120 and 122 that arejournaled in the end walls 108 and 110. The brushes 116 and 118 are arranged so that approximately half of the periphery of each thereof is exposed below the lower edges of the side walls 106 and end walls 108 and 110 of body shell 102, the re mainder of the peripheries of the brushes being recessed within the shell 102.
A fluid motor 124 is supported within shell 102, and in the case of the bath brush may be of the turbine type because of the large amount of flow available thereto when used in either a shower or a bathtub. The motor 124 includes a generally cylindrical housing 126 supported within body shell 102 adjacent top wall 104, the motor housing 126 having a rearward inlet end wall 128 and a forward outlet end wall 130. Water to drive the fluid motor 124 is supplied through a flexible hose 132 from a suitable T-connection or the like proximate the shower head or bathtub spout. The flexible hose 132 is connected to an inlet conduit 134 at the rear of shell 102, the inlet conduit 134 having a valve 136 therein which permits adjustment of the flow of water as desired between flow off and flow on positions. The inlet conduit 134 leads to motor inlet port 138 in the inlet end wall 128 of the motor.
Valve 136 includes a rotary valve element 140 having an actuating lever 142 attached thereto which is connected through a link member 144 with a slidable valve actuator 146. The valve actuator 146 is preferably mounted in a suitable longitudinal slot 147 in the forward portion of top wall 104 so as to be readily accessible by either the fingers of the hand that is engaged under the flexible hand strap 114, or by the free hand. Alternatively, if desired, a pair of valve actuators similar to the valve actuator 146 may be slidably mounted in the respective side walls 106 and connected to the valve element through suitable link and lever means, so that the valve actuator members would be accessible to the thumb of either a right hand or a left hand engaged with the bath brush 100.
The fluid motor 124 includes a vaned turbine stator 148 on the upstream side thereof, and a vaned turbine rotor 150 on the downstream side thereof, the rotor 150 being mounted on rotor shaft 152 that is journaled in walls 110, 128, and 130, the shaft 152 extending through a suitable aperture in stator 148. Turbine inlet header 154 is defined between inlet end wall 128 and stator 148; while turbine outlet header 156 is defined between rotor 150 and outlet end wall 130. Outlet end wall 130 has outlet port 158 therein which communicates with a flared conduit 160 leading to spray head outlet 162 in rear end wall 110 of body shell 102. With this arrangement, the exhaust water from fluid motor 124 is dispensed through spray head outlet 162, which serves as a mobile shower head to be used in conjunction with the rotating brushes 116 and 118.
The drive connections from rotor shaft 152 to the brush shafts 120 and 122 are arranged as follows: An idler shaft 164 is journaled at its ends in walls 110 and 128, being parallel to the rotor shaft 152 and brush shafts 120 and 122. Idler shaft 164 is driven at the same speed as rotor shaft 152 by a drive gear 166 on rotor shaft 152 and a driven gear 168 of the same size on idler shaft 164. The drive for brush 116 includes a drive sprocket 170 on rotor shaft 152 which drives a driven sprocket 172 on brush shaft 120 through a T-chain 174, so as to drive the brush 116 in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 9. The drive for brush 118 includes the gears 166 and 168, and a drive sprocket 176 on idler shaft 164 which drives a driven sprocket 178 on brush shaft 122 through a T-chain 180 so as to drive the brush 118 anticlockwise as viewed in FIG. 9. It will be seen that the reversal of the direction of rotation of brush 118 relative to brush 116 is accomplished through the addition of the idler shaft 164 and its gear drive off of rotor shaft 152.
The illustrated arrangement of sprocket and T-chain drives to the brushes 116 and 118 is desirable to provide the presently preferred disposition of the two brushes approximately one-half exposed out of the generally open bottom 1 12 of the shell 102, and spaced substantially apart with the exposed portions thereof rotating in opposite directions toward each other. The T-chain type drive is desirable as it can be fabricated of nylon or other suitable plastic material resistant to the water environment, and it is adaptable to centrally grooved sprockets to assure continual alignment. Nevertheless, it will be apparent that other types of belts or chains may be employed in the drive, or that the drive may consist entirely of gears, or of shafts and bevel gears.
It is desirable that the brushes 116 and 118 be spaced apart as best illustrated in FIG. 9 so as to avoid catching hair between the brushes. The movement of the exposed portions of brushes 116 and 118 in opposite directions and toward each other is important in preventing the rotary bath brush from slinging soapy water about the area in an uncontrolled manner.
With the valve actuator 146 in its rearwardmost position, the valve 136 will be closed, so that no water will pass through the rotary bath brush 100, and all of the water will be backed out through the shower head or bath spout. Forward movement of the valve actuator 146 from its rearwardmost position will gradually and progressively cause the valve 136 to open, thereby providing increased rotary movement of the brushes 116 and 118, and an increased spray of water out of the spray head outlet 162; with a complementary reduction in the flow of water out of the normal shower head or bath spout. With the slidable valve actuator 146 in its forwardmost position, which is the position illustrated in FIGS. 7 to 10, full flow of water is permitted through the bath brush 100, whereby the brushes 116 and 118 will rotate at maximum speed, and a maximum spray of water will pass out through the spray head outlet 162; and correspondingly there will be only a minimum flow, or no flow at all, through the normal shower head or bath spout.
While the instant invention has been shown and described herein in what are conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is therefore not to be limited to the details disclosed herein, but is to be accorded the full scope of the appended claims.
1. A water powered rotary brush which comprises housing means; a pair of generally cylindrical brushes rotatably mounted in said housing means in a generally parallel array with one side of the brush pair exposed outside of said housing means and the other side of the brush pair recessed in said housing means; drive means in said housing means, said drive means including a fluid motor having fluid inlet and outlet conduit means, and drive connection means from said fluid motor to said brushes arranged to drive said brushes in opposite directions of rotation so that the exposed portions of said brushes move toward each other; and drive control means associated with said drive means for selectively actuating said drive means between on and off drive conditions, said drive control means comprising clutch means in said drive connection.
2. A water powered rotary brush as defined in claim 1 wherein said fluid motor is a positive displacement motor.
3. A water powered rotary brush as defined in claim 2, wherein said positive displacement motor has a pair of axially aligned rotors rotationally offset approximately 90.
4. A water powered rotary brush as defined in claim 2, wherein said positive displacement fluid motor is of the type having generally annular rotor means eccentrically mounted within generally annular chamber means.
5. A water powered rotary toothbrush which comprises housing means; a pair of generally cylindrical brushes rotatably mounted in said housing means in a generally parallel array with one side of the brush pair exposed outside of said housing means and the other side of the brush pair recessed in said housing means; and drive means in said housing means, said drive means including a fluid motor having fluid inlet and outlet conduit means, and drive connection means from said fluid motor to said brushes arranged to drive said brushes in opposite directions of rotation so that the exposed portions of said brushes move toward each other; said housing means comprising an elongated handle unit having said fluid motor therein and having front and rear ends and an elongated head unit having said brushes therein and having front and rear ends, the brushes being disposed proximate said front end of said head unit, and the rear end of said head unit being releasably connectable with the front end of said handle unit with the connection including a disengageable portion of said drive connection means; said disengageable portion of said drive connection means comprising a splined connection and including clutch means in said handle unit permitting selective engagement and disengagement thereof for on and off control of the toothbrush while said handle and head units are connected.
6. A water powered rotary toothbrush comprising: housing means, said housing means including an elongated head unit having front and rear ends and a handle unit having front and rear ends; primary and secondary rotatable shafts extending lengthwise in said head unit, a pair of generally cylindrical brushes rotatably mounted in said head unit and disposed proximate said front end thereof, one brush of said pair being disposed on said primary shaft and being rotatable therewith, the other brush being disposed on said secondary shaft and being rotatable therewith, said brushes of said pair being disposed in parallel array with one side of the brush pair being exposed outside of said head unit and the other side of the brush pair being recessed in said head unit, said brushes each being in the form of a helix of bristles with adjacent turns thereof spaced apart to form a helical slot at least substantially as wide as the thickness of the bristle helix in the axial direction, said brushes being intermeshed, the bristle helix of each brush being engaged within the helical slot of the other brush, said primary and secondary shafts being synchronized to maintain the intermeshing of the bristle helixes of said brushes, means for rotationally coupling said primary and secondary shafts together to maintain the synchronization of said shafts; a fluid motor in said handle unit; inlet and outlet conduit means associated with said fluid motor; a single drive connection means extending between said fluid motor and said rotational coupling means, said drive connection means including a releasable coupling; the rear end of said head unit being releasably connectable with the front end of said handle unit; whereby said head unit may be separated from said handle unit and the single drive connection means and rotational coupling means cooperate to ensure that the synchronization of the bristle helixes is maintained.
7. A water powered rotary brush as defined in claim 6 wherein said releasable coupling includes a splined connection.
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