Title:
HEAD RESTRAINT SYSTEM FOR A VEHICLE SEAT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vehicle seat 10 is disclosed with a seatback frame 18 and an actuator 20 for supporting an occupant. A head restraint 16 extends from the seatback frame 18 for supporting the head of the occupant. The head restraint 16 is movable from a rest position 24 to a deployed position 26. In one embodiment, a two-bar mechanism 22 is housed partially within the head restraint 16. A linkage 30 extends between the mechanism 22 and the actuator 20. When the actuator 20 receives an input force from the occupant in response to an impact, the linkage 30 actuates the head restraint 16 to the deployed position by cooperative movement of the two-bar mechanism 22.



Inventors:
Sturt, Alan (West Bloomfield, MI, US)
Weaver, Mark S. (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Kempf, Jeff A. (Romeo, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/771368
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
06/29/2007
Assignee:
LEAR CORPORATION (Southfield, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C3/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GARRETT, ERIKA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BROOKS KUSHMAN P.C. / LEAR CORPORATION (1000 TOWN CENTER TWENTY-SECOND FLOOR, SOUTHFIELD, MI, 48075-1238, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A vehicle seat comprising: a seatback frame with a lumbar support for supporting a back of an occupant; a head restraint extending from the seatback frame for supporting the head of the occupant; a mechanism having one or more bars that is housed at least partially within the head restraint so that the head restraint is movable from a rest position to a deployed position; an actuator; and a linkage extending between the mechanism and the actuator so that when the actuator receives an input force from the occupant in response to an impact, the linkage actuates the mechanism to the deployed position.

2. The vehicle seat of claim 1 wherein the mechanism moves to the deployed position in response to the input force exerted by the seatback against the occupant.

3. The vehicle seat of claim 1 wherein the mechanism comprises: a slider plate that can move upwardly or downwardly in relation to a pair of posts that extend from the seatback frame; a first bar having a lower end pivotably connected to the slider plate; a second bar having a lower end pivotably connected to the slider plate; a support plate that is pivotably connected between upper ends of the first and second bars; and an arm having a lower end that is pivotably connected to the first bar for limiting arcuate displacement of the first and second bars.

4. The vehicle seat of claim 1 wherein the linkage includes a connector.

5. The vehicle seat of claim 1 further comprising a biasing member cooperating with the mechanism for maintaining the head restraint in a rest position in the absence of an impact that exceeds a predetermined load.

6. The vehicle seat of claim 1 wherein the actuator is operatively connected via the linkage to the mechanism for actuating the mechanism.

7. The vehicle seat of claim 1 wherein the head restraint is slidably connected to the seatback frame.

8. The vehicle seat of claim 3 wherein the first bar and the second bar cooperate with the slider plate for displacing the support plate forwardly and downwardly, and for actuating the head restraint to the deployed position.

9. The vehicle seat of claim 3 further comprising: a detent mechanism located between the slider plate and at least one of the pair of posts which allows manual forward adjustment of the headrest by pulling it to a desired position.

10. The vehicle seat of claim 9 further including: a release button that is located adjacent to the detent mechanism, the release button permitting disengagement from the detent thereby permitting movement of the headrest to a rearward position.

11. A vehicle seat comprising: a seatback frame with a lumbar support for supporting a back of an occupant; a head restraint extending from the seatback frame for supporting the head of the occupant, the head restraint being movable from a rest position to a deployed position; a mechanism that is housed partially within the head restraint and is biased to an actuated position but is releasably secured in a design position before impact; an actuator; and a linkage extending between the mechanism and the actuator so that when the actuator receives an input force from the occupant in response to an impact, the linkage actuates the head restraint to the deployed position by cooperative movement of the mechanism.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to head restraints for vehicle seats.

2. Background Art

Vehicle seats are often provided with headrests or head restraints that translate from a rest to a deployed position in response to a force imparted to the seat by an occupant during an impact condition. One example of a vehicle seat having a movable head restraint is disclosed in U.S. Pub. No. 2006/0071518, which published on Jun. 24, 2004.

Several anti-whiplash mechanisms are available today that are not adjustable. Others may require a clamshell or elastic material with which to encapsulate the mechanism. Such approaches are bulky and make it difficult to match the style of the head restraint to that of the seat.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a vehicle seat comprised of a seatback frame for supporting the back of an occupant. A head restraint extends from the seatback frame for supporting the head of the occupant. In one embodiment, a two-bar mechanism that is operably connected to the head restraint receives an input force from the occupant in response to an impact and actuates the head restraint to the deployed position. Thus, the head restraint is movable from a rest position to a deployed position before or in response to an impacting force that exceeds a nominal value.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a quartering perspective view of the invention that depicts a vehicle seat with a seatback frame for supporting the back of an occupant and a head restraint that extends from the seatback frame;

FIG. 2 is a quartering perspective, partially broken away view of a two-bar mechanism that is supported between two headrest posts, the two-bar mechanism being depicted in a rest or design position;

FIG. 3 resembles the view of FIG. 2, except that the two-bar mechanism is depicted in a deployed or actuated position;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 6 is a view that resembles FIG. 5 with the head restraint cover material shown in phantom.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale; some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for the claims and/or as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

In FIG. 1, a vehicle seat is illustrated in accordance with the present invention and is referenced generally by numeral 10. The vehicle seat includes a seat bottom 12 secured to a floor of the associated vehicle for seating an occupant. A seatback 14 extends from and is secured relative to the seat bottom 12 for supporting the back of the occupant. The seat 10 also includes a head restraint 16 extending above the seatback 14 for supporting the head of the occupant.

In one embodiment, the seatback 14, which is illustrated with a cover and padding removed for depicting internal components, includes a frame 18 for providing structural support for the seatback 14. The seatback may include a trigger mechanism before actuating one or more impact response devices within the seat (hereinafter “actuator mechanism”), generally depicted by the reference 20 (FIG. 1). One such actuator mechanism is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,188,894, which is incorporated by reference herein. Such a device includes mechanical or electronic triggering devices. Upon receipt of an impact to the actuator mechanism 20, such as a body of the occupant that exceeds a predetermined force, the actuator mechanism 20 actuates a linkage 30. In a manner to be described, the output of the linkage 30 may be communicated to a mechanism having one or more bars, such as a two-bar mechanism 22 in the head restraint 16. This results in the head restraint 16 being translated forwardly relative to the seatback 14. Thus, at one end of the linkage 30 lies the actuator mechanism 20 (driving end). At the other end of the linkage 30 is a driven end. The driven end in some embodiments is a two-bar mechanism 22. That mechanism 22 is housed at least partially within the head restraint 16.

In some embodiments, the mechanism 22 is molded into a thin profile, self-contained plastic shell, that in one embodiment permits a thin one-piece foam and trim cover to be applied over it.

After the impact, the linkage 30 actuates the head restraint 16 to the deployed position by cooperative movement of components within the two-bar mechanism 22.

In some embodiments (FIGS. 2-5), the two-bar mechanism 22 comprises a slider plate 28 that can move upwardly or downwardly in relation to a pair of headrest posts 62 that extend from the seatback frame 18. Optionally, the slider plate 28 may be fabricated in plastic and can be snapped on to the headrest posts 62.

The mechanism 22 includes a first bar 38 having a lower end that is pivotably connected to the slider plate 28 that can move upwardly or downwardly in relation to the headrest posts 62. In some embodiments, a first bar 38 having a lower end is pivotably connected to the slider plate 28. A second bar 40 has a lower end that is also pivotably connected to the slider plate 28. In some embodiments, the first bar or the second bar or both may assume an L-shaped cross section, although the invention is not so limited. A support plate 42 is pivotably connected between the upper ends 44, 48 of the first 38 and second 40 bars.

The various components of a two-bar link mechanism 22 have alternative cross sections. For example, in FIG. 2, the first bar 38 is illustrated as having a U-shaped cross section. It will be appreciated that in alternate embodiments, the first bar (or the second bar for that matter) may have a cross section that is rounded, but it will be understood that any suitable cross section may be deployed. In the design position (FIG. 2) the first bar 38 is illustrated as being received within the second bar 40. Alternatively, either the first or the second bar to be presented in rod-form or tubular. In this case, the mating bar could be shaped in a complimentary channel-shaped form.

If desired, the support plate 42 that extends between the upper ends of the first and second bars 38, 40 can include an elastomeric or padded material.

Preferably, an arm 52 (FIGS. 4-5) extends between a cross member 64 that extends between the headrest posts 62 and a pivot point that is located at an intermediate region of the first bar 38. The arm 52 controls the movement of first bar 38, second bar 40, and the support plate 42 when the support plate 42 is driven away from headrest posts 62 during actuation. It will be appreciated that the extent of arcuate displacement of the two-bar mechanism 22 can be influenced, among other ways, by the location at which the arm 52 is pivotably connected to the first bar 38.

In some embodiments, the linkage 30 includes an elongate wire or rod or cable or other connector (collectively “connector”) that extends between the actuator mechanism 20 and the two-bar mechanism 22.

Preferably, a biasing member 70 cooperates with the two-bar mechanism 22 for maintaining the head restraint 16 in a rest position in the absence of an impact that exceeds a predetermined load.

Optionally, the system allows the head restraint to be adjusted forwardly and aft as desired. This can be accomplished by use of a detent mechanism between the slider plate 28 and a headrest post 62 which allows manual forward adjustment of the headrest by pulling it to the desired position. Movement to a rear position can be accomplished by a release button adjacent to the detent mechanism on the slider plate 28.

The device can optionally activate the head restraint upwardly or downwardly so as to accommodate multiple deployment solutions. Thus, the invention can be adjustable to meet individual vehicle specifications. In several embodiments, for example, the invention can be installed on the second or third row seats.

Thus, the disclosed invention is a small manageable package that is easy to install.

Thus, there has been disclosed an integrated anti-whiplash device that has an energy-activated head restraint 16. The restraint 16 moves forwardly to support the occupant's head in the event of a rear impact. The mechanism that drives the forward (and, in some embodiments, downward) motion of the head restraint uses a two-bar link mechanism 22 which is molded into a thin profile, self-contained plastic shell 74 (FIG. 6). This plastic shell 74 in some embodiments is surrounded by a thin one piece foam and a trim cover.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.