Title:
EXOSKELETON SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An exoskeleton (100) system comprises at least one garment selected from the group consisting of a shirt or vest (110), short or pants (120), an upper arm sleeve (130), a lower arm sleeve (140), a thigh sleeve (150), and a leg sleeve (160) wherein the garment is a multilayer construct that essentially comprises an inner layer (201) of nylon material, a middle layer (202) made of neoprene, an outer layer (203) made of plush material; and an article (300) with attached hook and loop fasteners (301) to be mounted onto the garment by securing the hook and loop fasteners (301) onto any spots of the outer layer (203).


Inventors:
Dolcetti, Joseph Cleary (Kuala Lumpur, MY)
Application Number:
13/576034
Publication Date:
01/03/2013
Filing Date:
01/28/2011
Assignee:
DOLCETTI JOSEPH CLEARY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/105
International Classes:
A41D13/015; A63B21/065
View Patent Images:
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Claims:
1. 1-9. (canceled)

10. An exoskeleton system, comprising: at least one garment selected from the group consisting of a shirt, vest, shorts, pants, an upper arm sleeve, a lower arm sleeve, a thigh sleeve, a leg sleeve, and combinations thereof; wherein the garment includes a multilayer construct, comprising: an inner layer of nylon material; and an outer layer substantially fully covered by a plush material; wherein both the inner and outer layer are comprised of an elastic material and the garment is compressive upon wearing.

11. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, further comprising an article including attached hook and loop fasteners selectively operable to be mounted onto the garment by securing the hook and loop fasteners onto any portion of the outer layer.

12. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, wherein the garment further comprises a middle layer comprised of neoprene, wherein the middle layer is disposed in between the inner layer and outer layer.

13. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, wherein the article is a pocket.

14. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, wherein the garment is perforated for air ventilation.

15. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, wherein the upper arm sleeve, lower arm sleeve, thigh sleeve, or leg sleeve includes at least one circumferential end selectively operable to be adjustable in diameter by a strap attached thereon.

16. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, wherein the article is weight-loaded.

17. The exoskeleton system according to claim 10, wherein the article is selected from the group consisting of stopwatches, timers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, motion sensors, force sensors, inertia sensors, acceleration sensors, GPS tracking devices, light reflector strips, hard or soft protective shells or liners, MP3 players or other audio listening devices, cameras or video cameras, phones, wallets, and combinations thereof.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to garments to be worn by a user that the garments serve as an exoskeleton. Moreover, the garment has an outer surface which is made of plush material and allows anchorage of useful devices onto the garments with the use of hook and loop fasteners.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various garments have been specially designed for promoting performance and recovery progress of athlete. For example, most of the performance enhancing garment is loaded up with exogenous weight to be worn by the athlete during training session. Consequently, this stimulates generation of body muscle in the athlete for exerting additional force to cope with the exogenous weight put on. Many of the commercial products available in the market work on this principle to enhance sport performance in athletes as well as to promote general fitness for the active person.

United Kingdom patent application no. 2359497 discloses a progressive weighted exercise garment. The claimed invention basically comprises a garment panel, a weigh receiving module with pouches for receiving weighted member and a securing means to fix the module onto the garment. The receiving module in the claimed invention is preferably sewn onto the garment at a predetermined position to minimize possible injury to the user and the pouches within are compartments made of pleated sheet.

Exercise apparel with a weight packet is disclosed in U.S. patent application No. 5144694. The disclosed apparel includes structure for holding at least one weight packet, while the weight packets are plural rows and plural columns of weight member inside a cloth pouch.

Johnson further describes a weighted exercise garment in U.S. patent application No. 5553322 which the garment is formed of one piece resilient flexible material to be snug fit onto the wearer. Preferably, the disclosed garment has means for removably carrying weight to be attached onto the front and rear upper panels as well as thigh portion of the garment. Correspondingly, complementary releasable fasteners are located at the mentioned panels for mounting of the weight.

A non-exercise activity thermogenesis weight loss garment is provided in the U.S. patent publication No. 2006/0172870. The garments are sleeves for distal limbs that it contains predefined amount of additional weight loads stitched onto it. By wearing the disclosed garment in daily activities, the disclosed invention claims to be able to increase daily caloric expenditure.

However, all the above mentioned prior arts share a common shortcoming. The mentioned inventions lack the flexibility which allows users to customize themselves regarding the body parts to be loaded with exogenous weight. In more specific terms, the above mentioned inventions have predetermined locations fabricated on the garment to be loaded with the exogenous weight. A limitation of this can be, for example, athletes of a particular sport may need neuromuscular or physiological development in only specific parts of the body, pouches or attachment sites for securing the exogenous weight provided on the garment can be redundant if these sites were not in use. On the other hand, lack of attachment sites at certain location may prohibit exogenous weight to be loaded for training purpose. Moreover, the mentioned inventions focus mainly on weight load training solely while ignoring the fact that protection to the body part is equally important particularly in sports involving violent physical contact like soccer or football. The sport performance promoting garment should offer sufficient protection to the wearer, preferably serves as exoskeleton, while it is worn to enhance sport performance and/or general health and fitness.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention aims to provide an exoskeleton system which is equipped with a convenient and user-friendly anchoring mechanism over its entire outer surface for attachment of various devices. More particularly, the exoskeleton system has an outer surface fully covered by plush material providing thereon a platform for anchoring different devices designed to perform various tasks during. but not limited to, all types of exercise and movements associated with health, fitness, and sports training and/or protection during high impact activities.

A further object of the present invention is to disclose an exoskeleton system capable of enhancing recovery progress and overall neuromuscular, physiological and psychological function upon wearing the disclosed system on its own. Specifically, the present invention is made of material with good pliability and it is intended to be worn in a snug fit fashion. The exoskeleton in its contracting state applies compressive force onto the body part following which promotes several positive responses including but not limited to, favourable blood flow, enhanced muscle contraction, improved stabilization and confidence during movement and a positive thermogenic effect in the specific area.

Still another object of the present invention is to disclose an exoskeleton system that allows light to moderate progressive resistance and specific weight load training onto different muscle parts in the body according to the user's preference. In more detail, the anchoring mechanism permits the user to attach exogenous weight load of any volume onto specific location of the body as long the body part is covered by the exoskeleton system. Consequently, specific muscle parts can be progressively trained as planned by the user.

Another object of the present invention is to offer protection to the wearer. Apart from the fact that the present invention is made of soft elastic material with impact absorbing, property, a soft or hardened, shield-like device can be anchored and used in conjunction to render additional protection to the user.

At least one of the preceding objects is met, in whole or in part, by the present invention, in which one of the embodiments of the present invention includes an exoskeleton system comprising at least one garment selected from the group consisting of a shirt or vest, pants, an upper arm sleeve, a lower aim sleeve, a thigh sleeve, and a calf leg sleeve wherein the garment is a multilayer construct that essentially comprises an inner layer of nylon material and an outer layer made of plush material; and an article with attached hook and loop fasteners to be mounted onto the garment by securing the hook and loop fasteners onto any spots of the outer layer.

In further embodiment, a structurally strong material such as neoprene or polyurethane are disposed in between the inner layer and the outer layer forming a middle layer thereto.

In another aspect of the present invention, the garment is made to be perforated with plurality of through holes for air ventilation.

According to another aspect, the article in the present invention will also allow the attachment to any part of the body covered by the exo-skeleton, various useful devices to be used in conjunction with the garments. Representative examples of the devices are stopwatches, timers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, inertia, motion or acceleration sensors, GPS tracking devices, mp3 devices and the like.

In further aspect, the article is exogenous weight to be attached for specific and progressive, light to moderate resistance training. Preferably, the garment is compressive upon wearing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the front view of the disclosed exoskeleton system worn by a subject;

FIG. 2 shows the back view of the disclosed exoskeleton system as shown in FIG. 1 without attachment of the articles;

FIG. 3 shows (a) one embodiment of the sleeveless vest, (b) the embodiment with short sleeve and (c) the embodiment with long sleeve;

FIG. 4 shows (a) one embodiment of the pant as shorts and (b) one embodiment of long pants;

FIG. 5 shows one embodiment of sleeve with perforated through hole;

FIG. 6 shows different volumes and size of the sleeve;

FIG. 7 shows one embodiment of the sleeve prepared as single ply;

FIG. 8 shows the embodiment of FIG. 7 being worn by a subject;

FIG. 9 shows one embodiment of the article which taken the form of exogenous weight load;

FIG. 10 shows the article of FIG. 9 being attached onto the thigh sleeve; and

FIG. 11 shows (a) front perspective view and (b) back perspective view of a pocket used for holding other devices to be anchored onto the disclosed exoskeleton system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It is to be understood that the present invention may be embodied in other specific fauns and is not limited to the sole embodiment described above. However modification and equivalents of the disclosed concepts such as those which readily occur to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the claims which are appended thereto.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the disclosed invention is an exoskeleton (100) system comprising at least one garment including a vest (110), pants (120), an upper Lin sleeve (130), a lower arm sleeve (140), a thigh sleeve (150), and a leg sleeve (160) wherein the garment is a multilayer construct that essentially comprises an inner layer (201) of nylon material, and an outer layer (203) made of plush material; and an article (300) with attached hook and loop fasteners (301) to be mounted onto the garment by securing the hook and loop fasteners (301) onto any spots of the outer layer (203). In one preferred embodiment, but not limited to, the complete set of exoskeleton can be divided into eight different garments to cover different body segment. In another embodiment, the complete set of exoskeleton (100) may be only constituted of 2 different garment pieces where all the sleeve are extended out from the vest and pants respectively. The garments disclosed in the present invention covers almost all major muscles parts of the body namely back and rear torso, hip and groin, left and right thigh, left and right leg, left and right upper arm, as well as left and right lower arm.

It was found by the inventors of the present invention that the materials for fabricating the disclosed invention are the key factors to deliver the setting forth advantages. The inner layer (201) of the garments of the present invention is directly in contact with the wearer skin. Thus, it has to be made of material which is non-irritating and bio-compatible with human skin to reduce the likelihood of allergy in the user, while the material should show good abrasion resistance, good durability, and high resilient as well. In the most preferred embodiment, nylon or a similar material is employed as the material to fabricate the inner layer (201). As the inner layer of the disclosed garment is frequently stretched and subjected to friction with human skin, nylon material with the desired properties ensures durability of the disclosed invention for long term utilization. Further, the outer layer (203) of the garments preferably derives from plush material serving as loop for anchorage of the articles with the hook and loop fasteners, more specific the hook fasteners like Velcro. With the plush fabric or material as the outer layer (203), the disclosed garment not only supports attachments of the articles but also renders the garment to be felt smooth and silky. Moreover, the plush material used in the present invention is non-irritating fabric to further avoid skin irritation.

In accordance with the preferred embodiment, a middle layer made of neoprene or polyurethane is disposed in between the outer (203) and inner layer (201), more preferably, the outer (203) and inner layer (201) are joined by the middle layer (202) to form a multilayer structure. The middle layer (202) is preferably made of highly pliable yet mechanically strong material such as neoprene or polyurethane to give the garment the necessary structural integrity. Preferably, the three different layers are stitched together at the peripheral edges or laminated using adhesive, heat, pressure or any combination thereof. Without the middle layer, the wearer may find the garment especially the sleeves slide up or down or even folded due to the body's movement. The neoprene middle layer also guards the user from abrasive injuries and reinforces the body parts. Therapeutic compressive force can be evenly applied to the body parts via the neoprene-based middle layer (202) as well. Having the outer and inner layer covering the neoprene, neoprene induced skin irritation is avoided. The nylon layer deposited in between the skin and the neoprene makes the skin breathable. It is important to be noted that the disclosed garments can be worn in complete set or a single piece upon user preference. For snug fitting, the garments are preferably slightly stretched or poised in a contracting state when the garments are worn. Thus, the garment is compressive to the soft tissues on the body of the wearer upon wearing. Referring to FIG. 3, different embodiments of the vest (110) are shown. FIG. 3a shows a sleeveless design, FIG. 3b is a vest with short sleeve extended out from the shoulder that the short sleeves may eliminate the need of using upper arm sleeves, and FIG. 3c reveals a vest (110) with long sleeves that no upper limb sleeves are used in conjunction. Through the outer plush layer (203), articles can be removably attached anywhere on the front torso, back torso, side torso and the shoulder areas of the wearer onto the vest of the exoskeleton. Preferably, the vest is made to be seamless single piece for snug fitting. Embodiments can be adapted by the pants (120) are illustrated in FIGS. 4a and 4b. Short pants in the FIG. 4a cover the hip, the groin and parts of the thigh of the wearer. The long pants of FIG. 4b can extend down to the leg portion covering whole thigh and legs area that no thigh sleeve (150) and/or leg sleeve (160) are used together. Further illustrated in FIG. 5 is one embodiment of the sleeve (180) where similar design is generally applied for fabricating different sleeves of various bodies segments namely thigh sleeve (150), leg sleeve (160), upper arm sleeve (130) and lower arm sleeve (140). These sleeves are almost identical to one another besides being different in terms of dimension. Preferably, the sleeve (180) is fabricated as a single seamless piece. For example, the sleeve (180) is tubular having two ends, namely a first end (181) and a second end (182). The first end (181) is tapered towards the second end (182) that the second end (182) is shorter in diameter. For putting on the exoskeleton (100), the sleeve (180) is orientated in such a way that the first end (181) is wrapped around the proximal end of the limb segment while the second end (182) is located at the distal end of the limb segment. The sleeve of a single limb segment can be produced in various size and length, as shown in FIG. 6, to be used by the wearer for different purposes.

To suit the wearer's need, a strap may be fabricated adjacent the second end (182) and/or first end (181) of the sleeve (180) to further tighten the sleeve and avoid slippage of the sleeve on the body. More specifically, the sleeve has at least one circumferential end to be adjustable in diameter by a strap attached thereon. The strap runs approximately in parallel to the rim of the second end (182) and/or first end (181) when it is pulled. Preferably, the strap has a free end reaching out from a fixed end connecting the sleeve. A hook fastener or Velcro is found at the back of the free end to be removably fixed onto the outer surface of the sleeve. Through wrapping and securing the free end around the sleeve, loose space occurred in between the skin and the first end or the second end can be tightened up. Subsequent embodiments preferably have the fixed end slightly expanded to connect larger surface area of the sleeve at length or in a direction perpendicular to the rim of the sleeve. Thus, pulling the strap in this embodiment actually tighten larger area of the sleeve.

Pursuant to another preferred embodiment, the sleeve may be fabricated as a single sheet with one of its short edges equipped with hook fasteners (193) or Velcro at the inner layer (201). Preferably, the short edge is divided into two different straps (195) as illustrated in FIG. 7 that each strap has a base connected to the sheet and a free end equipped with the hook fasteners (193) or Velcro. The sheet wraps around the limb forming a sleeve of the exoskeleton. Further, the wearer pulls the straps to tighten the sleeve and anchors the strap onto the outer plush surface. More preferably, the straps (195) have expanded base portion connecting larger surface area of the sheet to effectively fasten the formed sleeve onto the limb upon pulling.

According to another preferred embodiment, garments of the exoskeleton are perforated. More specifically, a plurality of through holes are punctured through the laminated layers. Presence of the through holes promotes air ventilation to the wrapped skin. Each of the through holes is measured 1 to 4 mm in diameter and spaced apart in a predetermined distance of 3 to 10 mm. To be informed, the through holes may be fabricated smaller in size and stretched to the desired dimension upon wearing. One embodiment may have the whole exoskeleton made perforated, yet there are embodiments which only partial of the exoskeleton being perforated to render the garment more aesthetically attractive. The perforations makes the multi-layer material breathable and comfortable to be used in warmer climates. However, in colder climates where heat retention is important, a non-perforated version may be applied where the multi-layered garments help to improve heat retention, warming-up of the muscle and preserve the peripheral/core body temperature of the wearer.

Illustrated in FIG. 9 is one embodiment of the article that the article is exogenous weight load. The exogenous weight load, in one embodiment, is solid bar produced by juxtaposing a plurality of substantially rectangular metal pieces and joining the juxtaposed metal pieces side by side via any known methods, preferably through welding. Each of the metal piece is weighted about 1 g to 10 g depending on its making material and fabricated dimensions. Consequently, each solid bar is weighted from 25 g to 200 g. Preferably, the solid bar has a slim cross-sectional profile to be attached closely to the user body. The slim design reduces possible slippage of the exogenous weight caused by gravitational force or being accidentally scratched off by the wearer during vigorous body movement. More preferably, the solid bar is bendable to allow it to twist or bend ergonomically without hindering the body movement. For example, the joint sides of the metal pieces may be indented to render the solid bar bendable. The metal pieces may be of lead, steel, iron or any other alloy materials. Coating or cover can be applied to fully shield the weight load followed by having the Velcro or hook fasteners fixed at the back or front of the coating. The coating or cover is preferred to be slightly elastic and can be made of any suitable thermosetting polymer, thermoplastic polymers, natural rubber or any combination thereof. Adhesive or any other known means can be used to fix the hook fastener or Velcro fastener onto the back and/or front surfaces of the solid bar or coating. Nevertheless, the exogenous weight load may be embodied in to form of liquid-filled capsule, gel-filled capsules, solid granules that exogenous weight load of these forms are preferably coated or packed. Besides weight loads, the same anchorage mechanism is applicable to other devices which the Velcro or hook fastener adheres onto the devices directly or a coating shields the device followed by having the Velcro attached on the coating. The devices above stated is, but not limited to, stopwatches, timers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, motion sensor, force sensor, inertia sensor, acceleration sensor, GPS tracking device, light reflector strips, hard or soft protective shells or liners, mp3 player or other audio listening devices, camera or video camera, phone, wallet and so on.

Yet, some of the devices such as heart rate sensor may have to be in direct contact with the skin of the wearer. To accommodate such devices, the exoskeleton may have a void area made at specific locations on the garments to permit the necessary contact or the device may be attached along the edge of the garment or even underneath. It is also plausible that the perforations will allow external devices to monitor physiological/physical activity in partial contact with the skin through these perforations. In another embodiment, the external devise may be two-pieced, with the anchor attached to the plush surface and a sensory device attached underneath the exoskeleton in direct contact with the skin. This could then be linked either through telemetry to the device, sending feedback to it, or directly to the advice through magnets and a direct connection link through the perforations or void areas. Nonetheless, the wearer can still position the devices at the preferred locations.

In more preferred embodiment, the article is a pocket (300a) of any size as long it can be firmly and neatly attached onto the plush outer surface of the exoskeleton. FIGS. 11a and 11b show one embodiment of the pocket (300a). The pocket (300a) is preferably composed of a hollow body (313) having a top opening, and a flap (312) extended out from one of the side surfaces of the hollow body (313) that the flap (312) can be folded to cover the top opening. Devices to be held by the pocket (300a) are inserted through the top opening, while the flap (312) covers the top opening. One skilled in the art should appreciate the fact that the opening is not necessary fabricated on top but at one of the side surfaces with corresponding flaps. To secure the flap (312) when the pocket is in use, the flap has Velcro hook/loop (311) at its inner surface to be attached on Velcro loop/hook (314) pre-disposed on the outer side surface opposite to the side surface where the flap reached out. Further, hook fasteners (315) is located at one of the external side surfaces as illustrated by FIG. 11b to anchor the pocket (300a) onto the exoskeleton. Devices mentioned herein refers to exogenous weight load, stopwatches, timers heart rate monitors, pedometers, motion sensor, force sensor, inertia sensor, acceleration sensor, GPS tracking device, light reflector strips, hard or soft protective shells or liners, mp3 player or other audio listening devices, camera or video camera, phone, wallet and so on. These devices are inserted into the pocket (300a) to be anchored onto the outer surface of the exoskeleton. Thus, eliminating the need, which can be occasionally impractical, to fix the hook fastener or Velcro onto the device especially the surface of the devices is not favorable for attachment of the Velcro. For example, a GPS tracking device can be put into the pocket and attached to a soccer player to allow analysis to be conducted on how the player positioned himself in a game. The exoskeleton of such embodiment can be aesthetically enhanced too by having various stylish designed pockets.

To tightly secure the garment onto the body, openings on the garments for the wearer to slide in are preferably slightly narrower in diameter compared to the other parts of the garments to avoid slipping down or up of the worn garments. Preferably, the narrower openings can be achieved by pleating the edges of the opening to form a narrower opening thereto. Possibly, edges of the garments are seamed to from ducts to provide firmer grip onto the body to avoid garments slipping. Further embodiment may have an elastic band attached at the edges of the opening to attain the same effect as the pleats mentioned above.

The present disclosure includes as contained in the appended claims, as well as that of the foregoing description. Although this invention has been described in its preferred form with a degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure of the preferred form has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangements of parts may be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention.