Title:
Adult flotation device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adult flotation device is provided that as a life “vest” to prevent drowning. Attached to the upper area of a user's arms in the same location as “swimming wings”, in their normal state, the device is not inflated and as such, it is extremely low-profile. Due to its low profile and lack of bulkiness, the invention is not cumbersome and allows the user to perform tasks such as fishing, rowing, water skiing and the like without hindrances. If the user should accidentally fall into the water and/or is unable to swim, the invention will transform into a flotation device by simply pulling on an inflation cord. With the invention inflated, the invention will lift the user to the surface.



Inventors:
Ishihara, Deric (Hilo, HI, US)
Application Number:
09/957738
Publication Date:
04/10/2003
Filing Date:
09/21/2001
Assignee:
ISHIHARA DERIC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C9/15; (IPC1-7): B63C9/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gugliotta & Gugliotta, LPA (Richfield, OH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A flotation device comprising: a linearly elongated flexible band of a sufficient length to be capable of circumscribing an upper arm of a user, said band having an upper surface opposite a lower surface and a first end opposite a second end; hook and loop fastener means affixed as said first end and said second end; a buoyancy member affixed about a center of said band.

2. The floatation device of claim 1, wherein said band extends laterally across the entire width of said device.

3. The floatation device of claim 1, wherein said buoyancy member comprises: an inner sidewall affixed to said band and forms an inner volume.

4. The floatation device of claim 3, wherein said buoyancy member further comprises and outer sidewall affixed to said band and enclosing said inner sidewall such as to form an outer volume.

5. The floatation device of claim 3, further comprising a first inflation valve in fluid communication with said inner volume and affixed to said inner sidewall.

6. The floatation device of claim 4, further comprising a second inflation valve in fluid communication with said outer volume and affixed to said outer sidewall,

7. The floatation device of claim 1, wherein said hook and loop fastener means comprise: a hook fastener element mounted on said top at one said end and on said bottom at an opposite said end; and a loop fastener element mounted on said bottom at said opposite end and on said top at one said end.

8. The floatation device of claim 4, further comprising: a compressed gas cartridge storing inflation gas and in fluid communication with said inner volume and said outer volume; and an actuation cord for triggering release of said gas for automatic inflation.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present invention was first described in Disclosure Document Number 482,094 filed on Nov. 06, 2000 under 35 U.S.C. §122 and 37 C.F.R. §1.14. There are no previously filed, nor currently any co-pending applications, anywhere in the world.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to arm encircling buoyancy devices and the like and, more particularly, to a size adjustable, self inflating flotation device for encircling a user's arms.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Very few leisure time activities rival that of spending a warm summer day in the water. Whether the water is at the beach, in a lake, on a boat, or even in a backyard pool, safety should be one of the prime considerations for all involved. Perhaps the most important piece of water safety gear is the flotation vest. Even if a non-swimmer should fall into deep water while wearing one, survival is almost insured. However, most flotation vests are large, bulky items. Wearing them while performing tasks such as fishing, rowing, or water skiing makes for a less than enjoyable experience. Such bulkiness often leads to people not wearing them who should and as such, leads to unfortunate incidents such as drowning.

[0006] A search of the prior art did not disclose any patents that read directly on the claims of the instant invention; however, the following references were considered related.

[0007] The following patents disclose a flotation or buoyancy aid comprising arm portions:

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 6,056,612 issued in the name of Markwitz

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,928,046 issued in the name of Constan-Tatos

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,190,489 issued in the name of Yeung

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,176,555 issued in the name of Burns

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,827 issued in the name of Rudy

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,806 issued in the name of Rudy

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 3,820,179 issued in the name of Maertin

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 3,775,788 issued in the name of Markwitz

[0016] U.S. Pat. No. 3,727,252 issued in the name of Bauermeister

[0017] The following patents describe a one-piece, form-fitting personal flotation device:

[0018] U.S. Pat. No. 5,759,076 issued in the name of Bateman et al.

[0019] U.S. Pat. No. 5,030,153 issued in the name of Bailey

[0020] Consequently, there exists a need for a means by which the life saving properties of flotation vest< can be provided in a low-profile package that is easy and effective to use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0021] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved adult flotation device.

[0022] It is a feature of the present invention to provide an improved size adjustable, self inflating flotation device for encircling a users arms.

[0023] Briefly described according to one embodiment of the present invention, an adult flotation device is provided that as a life “vest” to prevent drowning. The invention is attached to the upper area of a user's arms in the same location as “swimming wings” are placed upon children learning to swim. In their normal state, the invention is not inflated and as such, it is extremely low-profile. Due to its low profile and lack of bulkiness, the invention is not cumbersome and allows the user to perform tasks such as fishing, rowing, water skiing and the like without hindrances. If the user should accidentally fall into the water and/or is unable to swim, the invention will transform into a flotation device by simply pulling on an inflation cord. The inflation cord will activate a lever which actuates one or more CO2 cartridges, helium cartridges or similar inflation gas. With the invention inflated, the invention will lift the user to the surface.

[0024] The use of the present invention allows users the full protection of a flotation device without the bulkiness or hindrances of a conventional flotation vest.

[0025] An advantage of the present invention is that its use and storage is not as cumbersome as conventional life vests.

[0026] Another advantage of the present invention is that it allows user to tan without tan lines caused by conventional lifevest.

[0027] Further, use of an inflation cartridge allows the user to automatically inflates the devices when needed.

[0028] Further still, a preferred embodiment of the present invention has allows for greater ease of use and makes user more likely to wear.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0029] The advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following more detailed description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like elements are identified with like symbols, and in which:

[0030] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an adult flotation device according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0031] FIG. 2 is a top plan view thereof;

[0032] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional side elevational view taken along line III-III of FIG. 2; and

[0033] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional side elevational view of an alternate embodiment thereof; and

[0034] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the present invention in use as applied to a user's upper arms.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0035] The best mode for carrying out the invention is presented in terms of its preferred embodiment, herein depicted within the Figures.

[0036] 1. Detailed Description of the Figures

[0037] Referring now to FIGS. 1-2, adult flotation device 10 is shown, according to the present invention, including a linearly elongated flexible band 12 of a sufficient length to be capable of circumscribing the upper arm of the user. The band 12 as an upper surface opposite a lower surface, and supports a hook and loop fastener means at each opposite end. It is envisioned that a hook fastener element 14a would be mounted opposite a loop fastener element 14b, top and bottom and side to side. This allows the band 12 to circumscribe and affix together about a user's arm in either a forward or backward direction. Affixed about the center of the band 12 is a buoyancy member 16 as will be described in greater detail below.

[0038] FIG. 3 shows a cross sectional side elevational view taken along line III-III of FIG. 2. As shown, the band 12 extends lateral across the entire width of the device 10. The buoyancy member 16 includes an inner sidewall 18 that is affixed to the band 12 and forms an inner volume 19. Affixed to the band 12 and enclosing the inner sidewall 18 is an outer sidewall 20 that forms an outer volume 22. A first inflation valve 24 is in fluid communication with the inner volume 19 is affixed to the inner sidewall 18 and allows the user to inflate the inner volume 19. A second inflation valve 26 is affixed to the outer sidewall 20 and is in fluid communication with the outer volume 22. This provides an independent, double insulated floatation means for added comfort, safety, and security.

[0039] Referring to FIG. 4, a cross sectional side elevational view of an alternate embodiment is shown in which the first inflation valve 24 and second inflation valve 16 are replaced with an automatic inflation means 30, herein shown as a CO2 cartridge, helium cartridge or similar inflation gas. An actuation cord 32

[0040] allows for triggering release of the gas into the inner volume 19 and outer volume 22 for automatic inflation.

[0041] 2. Operation of the Preferred Embodiment

[0042] In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 5, the device 10 is attached to the upper area of a user's arms 40 in the same location as “swimming wings” are placed upon children learning to swim. In this fashion, an assisted buoyancy is provided without the bulkiness of conventional live vests or live preservers.

[0043] The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the Claims appended hereto and their equivalents. Therefore, the scope of the invention is to be limited only by the following claims.