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1. (CA2069625) INFRARED MEDICAL THERMOMETER
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters
THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION IN WHICH AN EXCLUSIVE
PROPERTY OR PRIVILEGE IS CLAIMED ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:
1. Infrared thermometer apparatus comprising: a housing adapted to be held in a user's hand; an elongated probe adapted to be inserted into a patient's ear canal to receive infrared radiation and provide a signal indicating the patient's body temperature; extension/retraction means for selectively extending the elongated probe to an operative position outside the housing when a patient's temperature is to be measured and for selectively retracting the elongated probe to be an inoperative position fully within the housing when the measurement has been completed; and probe cover means for positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the extension/retraction means selectively extends the probe to its operative position, the protective cover automatically covers the probe.
2. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein: the protective cover includes a substantially flat base with a central aperture and further includes a stretchable plastic film extending across the aperture; the extension/retraction means is operable, while it extends the elongated probe to its operative position, to move the probe through the central aperture of the
protective cover, to stretch the plastic film over the probe; and the extension/retraction means is further operable, while it retracts the elongated probe to its inoperative position, to automatically remove the protective cover from the probe.
3. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein: the apparatus further includes a container carrying a plurality of substantially identical protective covers connected together end-to-end; and the probe cover means includes a pawl for engaging the end-most protective cover and advancing it into alignment with elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing.
4. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 3, wherein: each adjacent pair of protective covers is connected together by a narrow strip aligned with the centers of the covers; and the pawl includes a U-shaped end adapted to engage the rearward edge of the end-most protective cover, on opposite sides of the narrow strip connecting the endmost cover with the adjacent cover, and thereby to urge the end-most cover into alignment with the elongated probe.
5. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 1, and further including calibration reference located within the housing and positioned directly in front
of the elongated probe when the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing.
6. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein: the elongated probe has a longitudinal axis; the extension/retraction means extends and retracts the elongated probe along its longitudinal axis; the apparatus further includes a calibration reference located within the housing and movable between an operative position directly in front of the elongated probe, when the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing, and an inoperative position alongside the elongated probe, when the probe is extended to its operative position outside the housing; and the extension/retraction means includes means for selectively moving the calibration reference between its operative and inoperative positions.
7. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 6, wherein the calibration reference includes: a plate adapted to be selectively positioned directly in front of the elongated probe; an arm secured to the plate; and a pin and cooperating slot carried by the arm and the housing, for guiding the plate and arm between the calibration reference's operative and inoperative positions.
8. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 6, and further including:
probe cover means for positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the extension/retraction means selectively extends the probe to its operative position, the protective cover automatically covers the probe; and selectable actuator means for substantially simultaneously conditioning the calibration reference to move to its inoperative position, conditioning the probe cover means to position a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe, and conditioning the extension/retraction means to extend the elongated probe to its operative position.
9. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 8, wherein the selectable actuator means further includes means for substantially simultaneously conditioning the extension/retraction means to retract the elongated probe to its inoperative position, conditioning the probe cover means to engage a further protective cover, and conditioning the calibration reference to move to its operative position directly in front of the elongated probe.
10. Infrared thermometer apparatus comprising: a housing adapted to be held in a user's hand; an elongated probe adapted to be inserted into a patient's ear canal to receive infrared radiation and provide a signal indicating the patient's body temperature; extension/retraction means for selectively extending
the elongated probe to an operative position outside the housing when a patient's temperature is to be measured and for selectively retracting the elongated probe to an inoperative position fully within the housing when the measurement has been completed; and a calibration reference located within the housing and movable between an operative position directly in front of the probe, while the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing, and an inoperative position alongside the probe, while the probe is extended to its operative position outside the housing.
11. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 10, and further including probe cover means for positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated prove while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the extension/retraction means selectively extends the probe to its operative position, the protective cover is automatically placed over the probe.
12. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 11, wherein: the protective cover includes a substantially flat base with a central aperture and further includes a stretchable plastic film extending across the aperture; the extension/retraction means is operable, while it extends the elongated probe to its operative position, to move the probe through the central aperture of the protective cover and stretch the plastic film over the
probe; and the extension/retraction means is further operable, while it retracts the elongated probe to its inoperative position, to automatically remove the protective cover from the probe.
13. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 11, wherein: the apparatus further includes a container carrying a plurality of substantially identical protective covers connected together end-to-end; and the probe cover means includes a pawl for engaging the end-most protective cover and advancing it into alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing.
14. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 13, wherein: each adjacent pair of protective covers in the elongated chain of covers is connected together by a narrow strip aligned with the centers of the covers; and the pawl includes a U-shaped end adapted to engage the rearward edge of the end-most protective cover, on opposite sides of the narrow strip connecting the end-most cover with the adjacent cover, and thereby to urge the end-most cover into alignment with the elongated probe.
15. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 10, wherein: the elongated probe has a longitudinal axis; the extension/retraction means extends and retracts
the elongated probe along its longitudinal axis; and the extension/retraction means includes means for selectively moving the calibration reference between its operative and inoperative positions.
16. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 15, wherein the calibration reference includes: a plate adapted to be selectively positioned directly in front of the elongated probe; an arm secured to the plate; and a pin and cooperating slot carried by the arm and the housing, for guiding the plate and arm between the calibration reference's operative and inoperative positions.
17. infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 15, and further including: probe cover means for positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the extension/retraction means selectively extends the probe to its operative position, the protective cover is automatically placed over the probe; and selectable actuator means for substantially simultaneously conditioning the calibration reference to move to its inoperative position, conditioning the probe cover means to position a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe, and conditioning the extension/retraction means to extend the elongated probe to its operative position.
18. Infrared thermometer apparatus as defined in claim 17, wherein the selectable actuator means further includes means for substantially simultaneously conditioning the extension/retraction means to retract the elongated probe to its inoperative position, conditioning the probe cover means to engage a further protective cover, and conditioning the calibration reference to move to its operative position directly in front of the elongated probe.
19. Infrared thermometer apparatus comprising: a housing adapted to be held in a user's hand: an elongated probe having a longitudinal axis and adapted to be inserted into a patient's ear to receive infrared radiation and provide a signal indicating the patient's body temperature; extension/retraction means for selectively extending the elongated probe along its longitudinal axis to an operative position outside the housing when a patient's temperature is to be measured and for selectively retracting the elongated probe along its longitudinal axis to an inoperative position fully within the housing when the measurement has been completed; a container located within the housing and carrying a plurality of substantially identical protective covers connected together end-to-end to form an elongated chain, wherein each protective cover includes a substantially flat base with a central aperture and further includes a stretchable plastic film extending across the aperture; and
wherein each adjacent pair of protective covers in the elongated chain is connected together by a narrow strip aligned with the centers of the covers: probe cover means having a pawl with a U-shaped end adapted to engage the rearward edge of the end-most adjacent cover, to move the end-most cover into alignment protective cover in the elongated chain, on opposite sides of the narrow strip connecting the end-most cover with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the extension/retraction means selectively extends the probe to its operative position, the protective cover automatically covers the probe; wherein the extension/retraction means is operable, while it extends the elongated probe to its operative position, to move the probe through the central aperture of the protective cover and stretch the plastic film over the probe, and the extension/retraction means is further operable, while it retracts the elongated probe to its inoperative position, to automatically remove the protective cover from the probe; a calibration reference located within the housing and movable between a position directly in front of the elongated probe when the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing and a position alongside the elongated probe when the probe is extended to its operative position outside the housing; and selectable actuator means for substantially simultaneously conditioning the calibration reference to
move to its position alongside the elongated probe, conditioning the probe cover means to position a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe, and conditioning the extension/retraction means to extend the elongated probe to its operative position, wherein the selectable actuator means further includes means for substantially simultaneously conditioning the extension/retraction means to retract the elongated probe to its inoperative position, conditioning the pawl of the probe cover means to engage a further protective cover, and conditioning the calibration reference to move to its position directly in front of the elongated probe.
20. A method for measuring a patient's body temperature, comprising steps of: providing a housing adapted to be held in a user's hand and an associated elongated probe adapted to be inserted into a patient's ear canal to receive infrared radiation and provide a signal indicating the patient's body temperature; selectively extending the elongated probe to an operative position outside the housing when a patient's temperature is to be measured: selectively retracting the elongated probe to an inoperative position fully within the housing when the measurement has been completed; and positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the probe is extended to its
operative position in the step of selectively extending, the protective cover is automatically placed over the probe.
21. A method as defined in claim 20, wherein: the protective cover includes a substantially flat base with a central aperture and further includes a stretchable plastic film extending across the aperture; the step of selectively extending includes a step of moving the probe through the central aperture of the protective cover, to stretch the plastic film over the probe; and the step of selectively retracting includes a step of automatically removing the protective cover from the probe.
22. A method as defined in claim 20, wherein: the method further includes a step of placing within the housing a container for a plurality of substantially identical protective covers connected together end-to-end to form an elongated chain; and the step of selectively extending includes a step of engaging a pawl with the end-most protective cover and advancing the cover into alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing.
23. A method as defined in claim 20, and further including a step of positioning a calibration reference within the housing, directly in front of the elongated probe when the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing.
24. A method as defined in claim 20, and further
including steps of: providing a calibration reference within the housing; selectively moving the calibration reference to a position directly in front of the elongated probe when the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing; and selectively moving the calibration reference to a position alongside the elongated probe when the probe is extended to its operative position outside the housing.
25. A method as defined in claim 24, wherein: the method further includes a step of positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the probe is extended to its operative position in the step of selectively extending the protective cover automatically covers the probe: and the three steps of selectively moving the calibration reference to its position alongside the elongated probe positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe, and selectively extending the elongated probe, to its operative position all occur substantially simultaneously.
26. A method as defined in claim 25, wherein the steps of selectively retracting the elongated probe to its inoperative position and selectively moving the calibration reference to its position directly in front of the elongated probe both occur substantially simultaneously.
27. A method for measuring a patient's body
temperature, comprising steps of: providing a housing adapted to be held in a user's hand and an associated elongated probe adapted to be inserted into a patient's ear canal to receive infrared radiation and provide a signal indicating the patient's body temperature; selectively extending the elongated probe to an operative position outside the housing when a patient's temperature is to be measured; selectively retracting the elongated probe to an inoperative position fully within the housing when the measurement has been completed; providing a calibration reference within the housing; selectively moving the calibration reference to a position directly in front of the elongated probe when the probe is retracted to its inoperative position fully within the housing; and selectively moving the calibration reference to a position alongside the elongated probe when the probe is extended to its operative position outside the housing.
28. A method as defined in claim 27, and further including a step of positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the probe is extended to its operative position in the step of selectively extending, the protective cover is automatically placed over the probe.
29. A method as defined in claim 28, wherein:
the protective cover includes a substantially flat base with a central aperture and further includes a stretchable plastic film extending across the aperture; the step of selectively extending includes a step of moving the probe through the central aperture of the protective cover, to stretch the plastic film over the probe; and the step of selectively retracting includes a step of automatically removing the protective cover from the probe.
30. A method as defined in claim 28, wherein: the method further includes a step of placing within the housing a container for a plurality of substantially identical protective covers connected together end-to-end to form an elongated chain; and the step of selectively extending includes a step of engaging a pawl with the end-most protective cover and advancing the cover into alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing.
31. A method as defined in claim 27, wherein: the method further includes a step of positioning a protective cover in alignment with the elongated probe while the probe is retracted within the housing such that, when the probe is extended to its operative position in the step of selectively extending, the protective cover is automatically placed over the probe; and the three steps of selectively moving the calibration reference to its position alongside the elongated probe, positioning a protective cover in alignment with the
elongated probe, and selectively extending the elongated probe to its operative position all occur substantially simultaneously.
32. A method as defined in claim 31. wherein the steps of selectively retracting the elongated probe to its inoperative position and selectively moving the calibration reference to its position directly in front of the elongated probe both occur substantially simultaneously.