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1. WO1991014542 - USTENSILE DE TABLE POUR HANDICAPES MANUELS ET D'USAGE GENERAL

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

EATING UTENSIL FOR THE MANUALLY IMPAIRED AND GENERAL PUBLIC

This invention relates to eating utensils for the arthritic, neuromuscular impaired, individuals with loss of fingers as well as the general public.

For many years devices have been constructed for the manually handicapped to facilitate their feeding themselves.
Such devices which employ unusual handles and ways to attach these devices to the hand of the impaired person are often great sources of embarrassment and lack the dignity associated with the normal dining experience using ordinary flatware.
Though the arthritic, neuromuscular impaired, and other manually impaired have limitations which require special consideration, it is an aim of this invention to address these specific requirements while maintaining the general characteristics (simplicity and homogeneous construction) associated with the normal eating utensil for the un-impaired.
The present invention allows for the use of the eating utensil with a minimal clasping motion.
The location of the tip of the index finger to the forward most part of the handle of the eating utensil, such as a knife or fork, provides the user with complete control.
The utensil may be grasped by individuals possessing any one of the five fingers.
Also, the configuration of the 25 handle, which may or may not be flared and grooved, provides for maximum contact between the eating utensil, the index finger and the middle of the palm beggining at the metacarpal bone of the index finger and ending at the rear of the palm nearest the wrist.
This contact between the utensil and index finger and palm allows for maximum arm weight to be applied to the utensil.
The utensil can be constructed of lightweight material in as much as it does not depend on the weight of the utensil to apply maximum pressure to the forward most part of the utensil to facilitate the cutting of forking motion.
Insofar as devices have been constructed to address impairments associated with the arthritic, neuromuscular impaired, and manually impaired, the prior art utensils which have been developed with the foregoing objects in view, lack one or more of the aforementioned features and are consequently unsatisfactory.
Most importantly they compromise the simplicity of an eating utensil for use by the general public, and remain devices to be employed predominantly if not exclusively by the manually impaired.
It is, therefore, an aim of this invention to provide an improved eating utensil which has the aforementioned described features and which constitutes a vast improvement over the prior art devices without losing its' general simplicity of form, homogeneous construction, and hence, general market appeal .

The present invention contemplates an eating utensil to be used by the manually impaired and non-manual ly impaired person to overcome the disadvantages of the prior art.
The present invention is a great improvement over prior art as it facilitates eating for both the manually impaired and non-manually impaired while maintaining the aesthetic qualities associated with finer flatware.
It is an object of the invention to provide an eating utensil which when setting a table for numerous persons in a dining situation will be easy to use by all individuals, whether arthritic, neuromuscular impaired, lacking fingers or unimpaired.
The present invention requires no special place setting considerations for the manually impaired.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a utensil which is inexpensive to manufacture and will enable a homogeneous construction to be used by people afflicted with various disabilities.
The utensil includes a fork or knife forward most part which is connected to a handle or curvilenear form.
Where the handle meets the forward most part, the width of the handle is sufficient to allow the tip of the index finger to rest comfortably.
The handle then flares out to guide and cradle the index finger along its entire length.
This portion of the handle may or may not be flared and grooved as illustrated, but it is understood to represent the preferred embodiment as here described.
The handle then passes through the palm of the hand beginning at the metacarpal of the index finger and passing diagonally through the middle of the palm and ending at the base of the palm near the wrist.
The upwardly curved bottom portion of the handle allows any or all of the remaining fingers to apply the minimum amount of pressure necessary thereto clasp the utensil.

The present invention will be described in further detail below in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts and in which;

fig. 1 is a perspective view of the curved eating utensil in use;

fig. 2 is a side elevation view of the utensil shown in fig. 1;

fig. 3 is a top plan view of the utensil shown in fig. l;

fig. 4 is a bottom plan of the utensil.

Fig. 1 shows the utensil in use.
Held in the proper manner, the arm and wrist remain generally parallel with the horizon.
As shown, the index finger 20 rests on the forward end 13 of the handle 12 where the fork, knife or spoon are joined thereto.
The forward end portion 13 of handle 12 is sufficiently wide, as illustrated in FIG. 3, to comfortably support the tip of the index finger.
The index finger 20 is cradled by the flared portions 14 and 17 which guide and support it.
The grooved area 15 flanked by the flared portions 14 and 17 which cradle the index finger is best shown by the dotted line 15 in FIG. 2 and the elongated eliptical area 15 denoted in FIG.3.
The downwardly curved rear portion 16 of handle 12 passes through the center of the palm being squeezed by the two parts of the hand located at the base of the thumb and rearend side of the hand, hereafter referred to as the base of the palm

18.
Downwardly curved rear portion 16 of handle 12 extends beyond the base of the palm 18 a distance which varies in relation to the hand size and best illustrated in FIG. 1.
To allow the hand to clasp the utensil, the upwardly curved, bottom portion 19 of handle 12 allows fingers 21, 22, 23, and 24, to apply pressure thereto.
The clasping of the utensil and consequently its use, can be achieved with the index finger and any combination of fingers 21, 22, 23, and 24, individually or toghether.
The utensil can be used equally as well with the middle finger 21 replacing the function of the index finger 20. A person lacking all but one finger may grasp the utensil by applying presssure to the downwardly curved rear portion 16 with the palm of the hand while applying pressure to the upwardly curved bottom portion 19 of handle 12 with the remaining finger.
FIG. 2 shows the side elevation view of the utensil.
Since the utensil is symetrical about the long axis, the opposite side elevation is identical to FIG. 2.
Handle 12 has attached to the forward end therof a food supporting portion 25 in the form of a fork, spoon bowl or knife, which is adapted to hold, support or cut food.
FIG. 4 shows the bottom plan view, illustrating the flared portions 14 and 17, which are sufficiently rounded to accomodate the side of any finger making contact therewith.
The upwardly curved portion 19 is sufficiently rounded on the bottom side to accomodate the clasping motion thereupon, as best indicated in FIGS. 1 and 4.
While the various portions and parts of the utensil have been described as being attached together, it is to be understood that that term is sufficently broad to encompass a utensil which is molded or otherwise formed out of a homogeneuos material such as wood, metal, plastic, or the like.
While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the foregoing description and drawings, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not to be considered a limitation upon the invention.

It is understood that the preferred embodiment has been shown and that changes may be made. For example, portions 14, 17, and 15, may or may not be flared or grooved. All changes and modifications that do not depart from the essence of the invention are desired to be protected.