Title:
Magnetic snow equipment attachment system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snowboard or snowskate having ferrous metal plates inlaid into the top surface is attracted to magnet housing assemblies embedded in the soles of the rider's boots. The magnet housing assemblies increase the strength of the magnets housed within them to a point sufficient to overcome the strong G forces induced from the sudden upward thrust of the rider's legs during an airborne maneuver.



Inventors:
Jacobs, Robert A. (Campbell, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/339726
Publication Date:
05/22/2003
Filing Date:
01/08/2003
Assignee:
JACOBS ROBERT A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C9/00; A63C9/08; A63C17/26; (IPC1-7): A63C9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLEBE, GERALD B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREGORY SMITH & ASSOCIATES (NEWARK, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A snowboard or snowskate for use with a boot or shoe having magnetic properties, the snowboard or snowskate comprising: a board body, a first ferrous plate attached to said board body proximate a front edge of said board body, and a second ferrous plate attached to said board body proximate a back edge of said board body.

2. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said first plate is elongated and located on a horizontal portion of said board body adjacent an upturned portion of said board body.

3. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said first plate is located with an edge between 0 and 5 inches from a back edge of the board body.

4. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said second plate is round and located on an upturned portion of said board body.

5. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said second plate is located with an edge between 0 and 10 inches from a front edge of the board body.

6. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said first plate is elongated and located on a horizontal portion of said board body adjacent a first upturned portion and with an first plate edge between zero and 10 inches from a front edge of the board body, and wherein said second plate is round and located on a second upturned portion of said board body with an edge between zero and 5 inches from a rear edge of the board body.

7. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said first plate has a width between 1 to 6 inches and a length between 2 inches and 18 inches.

8. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, wherein said second plate has a width between 1 to 7 inches and a length between 2 and 18 inches.

9. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, further comprising a mounting plate, said mounting plate attaching said first ferrous plate to said board body.

10. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 9, wherein said mounting plate includes a bumper located proximate a forward edge thereof.

11. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 9, wherein said mounting plate includes a boot scraper.

12. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 11, wherein said boot scraper has a plurality of ridges.

13. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 11, wherein said boot scraper is located proximate a rear edge of said mounting plate.

14. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 9, wherein said mounting plate is formed of neoprene.

15. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, further comprising a mounting plate, said mounting plate attaching said second ferrous plate to said board body.

16. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, further comprising a first mounting plate and a second mounting plate, said first mounting plate attaching said first ferrous plate to said board body, and said second mounting plate attaching said second ferrous plate to said board body.

17. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 16, further comprising a top layer on said board body, a top surface of said top layer being flush with a top surface of said first and second mounting plates.

18. The snowboard or snowskate of claim 1, further comprising a top layer on said board body, a top surface of said top layer being flush with a top surface of said first and second ferrous plates.

19. A sole for footwear used with a snowboard or snowskate having magnetic properties, the sole comprising: a sole sized and configured to connect with the footwear, a sole cavity located within said sole, a ferrous pole piece sized and configured to fit within said sole cavity and having a magnet cavity located within said ferrous pole piece, and a magnet located within said magnet cavity, wherein said ferrous pole piece and magnet are connected with said sole and located at least partially within said cavity.

20. The sole of claim 19, further comprising a base plate attached to said ferrous pole piece.

21. The sole of claim 19, further comprising a second ferrous pole piece attached to said base plate and having a second magnet cavity located therein and a second magnet located within said second cavity.

22. The sole of claim 19, wherein said ferrous pole pieces are spaced apart such that a portion of said sole of the footwear may be located between said ferrous pole pieces.

23. In combination: a snowboard or snowskate, comprising: a board body, a ferrous plate attached to said board body, a boot, comprising: a boot upper, a sole, a sole cavity located within said sole, a ferrous pole piece sized and configured to fit within said sole cavity and having a magnet cavity located within said ferrous pole piece, and a magnet located within said magnet cavity, wherein said ferrous pole piece and magnet are connected with said sole and located at least partially within said cavity, wherein said magnet and ferrous pole piece providing sufficient attraction with said ferrous plate to keep said board proximate said boot during normal aerial maneuvers.

24. The combination of claim 23, wherein said ferrous plate is a first plate attached to said board body proximate a front edge of said board body, and further comprising a second ferrous plate attached to said board body proximate a back edge of said board body.

25. The combination of claim 23, further comprising a base plate attached to said ferrous pole piece.

26. The combination of claim 25, wherein said ferrous pole piece is attached to said base plate with a rivet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO OTHER APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/011,328, filed Oct. 22, 2001, the specification of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to snow equipment, and more particularly to a snowboard or snowskate that remains magnetically held against the rider's shoes or boots while the rider is performing maneuvers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The sports of skateboarding and snowboarding have reached new heights of popularity in recent years. A skateboard includes a board with wheels attached to the underside and is designed for riding on a sidewalk or in a specially designed skate-park. A snowboard includes a board with a waxed underside and bindings for securing the feet of a rider to the snowboard, and is designed primarily for riding on a snow-covered slope or in a specially designed snow-park.

[0004] Riding a skateboard is similar to riding a snowboard in that a rider assumes a sideways stance on both types of boards. However, there are two primary differences. The first is that in skateboard riding, the rider's feet are free to leave the surface of the skateboard, whereas in snowboarding, the rider's feet remain securely attached to the snowboard. The second difference is the fact that skateboarding is done on a hard surface (sidewalks or wooden floors) and snowboarding is done on a soft surface (snow). Skateboard riding has evolved to include a host of well known tricks such as Ollies, kickflips, shovits, etc. To perform these tricks on a skateboard there are two essential requirements. First, the rider's feet must be free to leave the surface of the skateboard when required, and second, the tricks must be performed on a hard surface. The second requirement of a hard surface is the most important. This is because the basis of almost all modern skateboard tricks is a maneuver called the Ollie. The Ollie is a technique used by skaters to spring their skateboard into the air so that it remains firmly against their feet as they hop over obstacles or grind rails. To perform this maneuver the skater accelerates himself upward by suddenly straightening his legs and raising his arms. During the jump, his rear foot exerts a much greater force on the tail of the skateboard than the front foot does on the nose, causing the board to pivot about the rear wheel. As the tail strikes the ground, the ground exerts a large upward force on the tail. The result of this upward force is that the board bounces upward and stays with the rider throughout the maneuver being performed. Without a hard surface, the Ollie would be virtually impossible to perform.

[0005] In recent years, attempts have been made to transfer the maneuvers performed on skateboards into the sport of snowboarding. However, for the reasons described in the above paragraph, most modern skateboard maneuvers require that the rider has the ability to remove his feet from the board, and that the maneuvers be performed on a hard surface allowing the rider to Ollie the board when needed. Since snowboards have bindings that secure the rider's feet to the board, and are used on a soft surface like snow, performing today's modern skateboard tricks on a snowboard is very difficult if not impossible. What is needed is a snow gliding apparatus that allows the rider's feet to become easily detached at will, but also stays securely attached to the feet during airborne maneuvers to allow a simulation of the Ollie maneuver. A prior art snow-gliding apparatus such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,290,249 to Wolf provides a snowboard that is slightly larger than a skateboard with no foot binding system. This snow-gliding apparatus allows the rider the ability to remove his feet when needed, however it does nothing to address the issue of keeping the board firmly against the rider's feet when hopping over obstacles or grinding rails.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention uses a specially designed snowboard or snowskate with 2 thin ferrous metal plates inlaid into the top surface of the body of the board. These thin ferrous metal plates are attracted to magnet housing assemblies embedded in the soles of the rider's shoes or boots. The magnet housing assemblies, by nature or their geometry and material, increase the strength of the magnets housed within them to a point sufficient to keep the board firmly attached to the rider's feet and overcome the strong G forces induced from the sudden upward thrust of the rider's legs during an airborne maneuver. The magnet housing assemblies are also designed and embedded into the soles of the rider's shoes such that the rider can break free of the board at will by slightly rotating the foot at the ankle. The size and position of the inlaid ferrous metal plates with respect to the magnet housing assemblies embedded in the soles of the rider's shoes or boots allows the rider to use the standard positioning and movement of the feet required by most snowboard, snowskate, and skateboard maneuvers. The present invention also allows the rider full use of the hands and arms for balance and stability rather than for holding the board to the feet throughout airborne maneuvers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a magnetic snowskate in accordance with the present invention.

[0008] FIG. 1B is an exploded view of the magnetic snowskate.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the mounting plate for the oval ferrous metal plate.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the mounting plate for the round ferrous metal plate.

[0011] FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the magnet housing assembly.

[0012] FIG. 4B is a perspective exploded view of the magnet housing assembly.

[0013] FIG. 5A is a perspective exploded view of the specially molded rubber sole including the magnetic housing assembly.

[0014] FIG. 5B is a perspective view of the bottom face of the specially molded sole.

[0015] FIG. 6A is a perspective view of the placement of the specially molded soles on the magnetic snowskate.

[0016] FIGS. 6B & 6C are sectional views of the magnet housing assembly sitting on the thin ferrous metal plates.

[0017] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a magnetic snowskate with an extra ferrouse metal plate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in the drawing figures. FIG. 1A shows a perspective view and FIG. 1B shows an exploded view of a snowskate or snowboard 10 with a specially designed body 12. The body 12 may be the standard size for snowboards or for snowskates. In the preferred embodiment, the body 12 of the board 10 is comprised of laminated maple layers, however, any other wood, plastic or laminated fibrous materials could be used. Mounted to the top surface of the body 12 are two mounting plates 20, 40 and a top layer 14 of the board 10. The mounting plates 20, 40 may be formed of neoprene or other soft and/or nonskid materials, or the mounting plates may be cast, milled or otherwise formed of metal or other suitable materials. The top layer 14 may be a structural layer of the board 10 or it may be a nonskid material such as EVA, neoprene, rubber, etc. or other surface material. A ferrous metal plate 24, 44 is mounted within each of the mounting plates 20, 40.

[0019] FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the front mounting plate 20. The front mounting plate 20 has an oval cut, milled, molded or otherwise formed cavity 22. FIG. 3 shows an enlarged view of the rear mounting plate 40. The rear mounting plate 40 has a circular cut, milled, molded or otherwise formed cavity 42. Into these cavities 22, 42 an oval ferrous metal plate 24 and an round ferrous metal plate 44 are fastened using any desired attachment mechanism, such as adhesive, nails, screws, etc. 26, 46. In the embodiment shown, six small screws 26 are used to attach the oval ferrous plate 24. Seven larger screws 28 are used to attach the front mounting plate 20 to the body 12 of the board 10. The rear ferrous plate 44 is attached using 4 small screws 46. Depending on the shape and size of the ferrous plates 24, 44 and the mounting plates 20, 40, the size and number of screws or attachment means may be changed. The circular and oval shaped ferrous metal plates 44, 24 act as a means to secure the board 10 to the rider's feet by attracting a magnet housing assembly 50, shown in FIG. 4A, embedded in a specially molded sole 52, shown in FIG. 5A, of the rider's boot.

[0020] Optionally, the front mounting plate 20 may have additional features, including a scraper 32, designed to allow the user to rub his or her boot or shoe against the scraper 32 prior to placing the boot or shoe against the appropriate ferrous plate 24, 44. The boot scraper 32 may be formed of ridges, as shown, or may be discrete bumps or a brush. Another optional feature is a raised bumper or stop 30 located at or near the front of the mounting plate 20. The stop 30 prevents the rider's front foot from sliding too far forward. In the embodiment shown, the stop 30 is a raised, curved projection that is integrally molding with the mounting plate 20. However, other embodiments could use other shapes, such as a plurality of bumps, a straight line or other projection. The stop 30 could also be attached separately to the mounting plate 20 or the body 12 of the board 10.

[0021] FIGS. 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B show the preferred embodiment of the specially molded sole 52 and the magnet housing assembly 50 of the rider's shoes or boots. The sole 52 may be flexible, semi-rigid or rigid. For easier peel off or twisting for removal of the sole 52 from the snowskate 10, there may be advantages in using the flexible version of the sole 52. The magnet housing assembly 50, shown in FIGS. 4A & 4B, has a base plate 54, steel pole pieces 56, two magnets 58, and two rivets 60. The base plate 54 may be anywhere from 0.5 to 3.0 inches wide, more preferably between 1.0 and 2.5 inches wide, and most preferably between 1.5 and 2.25 inches wide. The base plate 54 may be anywhere from 0.5 to 5.0 inches long, more preferably between 1.5 and 4.0 inches long, and most preferably between 2.5 and 3.5 inches in length. The thickness of the plate 54 may be anywhere from 0.02 to 0.25 inches, more preferably between 0.03 and 0.125 inches, and most preferably between 0.04 and 0.9. The base plate 54 shown is and elongated oval approximately 1.75 inch wide by 3.15 inches long and having a thickness of 0.047 inch. In other embodiments, other sizes and shapes of plates 54 may be used. For example, if a single circular magnet 58 and pole 56 is used, the plate 54 may be round. If three magnets 58 are used, then the plate 54 might be a triangle with or without rounded corners. Four magnets 58 might use a round, square or diamond shape depending on the orientation of the magnets 58 and the holding force needed. In other embodiments, the plate 54 might be omitted entirely. In this case, the pole piece 56 would be adhered directly to the shoe or boot or an interlocking lip might be used to hold the pole piece 56 in place.

[0022] In the preferred embodiment, two circular pole pieces 56 are fastened to the base plate 54 using solid rivets 60 at the center of the circular pole pieces 56. The rivet 60 may attach the pieces tightly together to inhibit movement between the base plate 54 and the pole pieces 56, or the rivet 60 may be fit loosely to allow the pole piece 56 to pivot slightly with respect to the base plate 54, thereby allowing the pole piece 56 to align with the body 12 of the board 10. In other embodiments the pieces 54, 56 may be connected by any other type of secure attachment mechanism, such as adhesive, nut and bolt, resistance spot welds, etc. In the current embodiment, the pole pieces 56 are cups formed of steel, iron or other ferrous material. The pole pieces 56 have an outer diameter anywhere between 0.5 and 2.0 inches, more preferably between 0.75 and 1.5 inches, and most preferably between 1.0 and 1.4 inches. The thickness of the wall of the pole 56 may be anywhere between 0.05 to 0.5 inches, more preferably between 0.07 and 0.4 inches, and most preferably between 0.1 and 0.15 inches. The pole 56 has a depth in the range of 0.1 to 0.75 inches, more preferably between 0.15 and 0.5 inches, and most preferably between 0.2 and 0.4 inches. In the embodiment shown, the cup has an outside diameter of approximately 1.25 inch, a wall thickness of 0.125, and a depth of 0.25 inches.

[0023] The magnets 58 are inserted into the circular pole pieces 56 and held in position by way of the magnetic attraction between the magnets 58 and the pole pieces 56. The magnets 58 are sized to fit closely within the cavity formed by the pole piece 56. Although other magnets may be used, currently the magnets 58 used are neodymium-iron-boron. The magnets 58 are inserted such that one magnet 58 has polar north facing outward and the other magnet 58 has polar south facing outward. This orientation of the magnets 58 assures that the magnets 58 do not repel one another when the rider steps on the ferrous metal plates 24, 44 of the board 10.

[0024] The magnet housing assembly 50 is inserted and cemented into the shallow oval shaped cavity 62 and circular holes 64, shown in FIG. 5A, of the specially molded sole 52. The thickness of the sole 52 is such that the face of the neodymium-iron-boron magnets 58 and the rim of the steel pole pieces 56 are flush with the bottom face 66 of the sole 52, as seen in FIG. 5B. The upper side of the molded sole 52 is shaped such that it can be used as the sole of a boot or shoe, such as snowboarding boots, ski boots, athletic shoes, etc. In alternate embodiments, the sole may be attached to the user's foot or current boot or shoe with other attachment systems. In this case, the sole may be a flat piece that has straps and buckles, hook and loop fastener, etc. extending out the sides to wrap around the foot and/or boot of the user. Although not necessary, it may provide additional security if a band of the sole extends between the poles 56 of the magnet housing assembly 50, as shown.

[0025] The positions of the ferrous metal plates 24, 44, in the preferred embodiment of the magnetic board 10, are such that the rider's feet can be placed in the same standard riding positions as that of any conventional snowboard or snowskate, as illustrated in FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C. The front plate 24 is located such that the front edge of the plate 24 may be anywhere between 0 and 10.0 inches from the front edge of the body 12, more preferably between 3.0 and 9.0 inches, and most preferably between 5.0 and 8.0 inches. The front plate 24 may be of any suitable size, such as in the range of 1.0 by 2.0 inches to 6.0 by 18.0 inches, more preferably between 2.0 by 3.0 inches and 5.0 by 12.0 inches, and most preferably between 3.0 by 6.0 inches and 4.0 by 10.0 inches. The thickness of the front plate 24 is in the range of 0.01 inches to 1.0 inch, more preferably between 0.05 and 0.5 inches, and most preferably between 0.1 and 0.25 inches. In the embodiment shown, the front plate 24 is an elongated oval shape with the width at maximum of approximately 3.5 inches, length 6.5 inches and a thickness of 0.104 inch. The front plate 24 may extend up into the upturned portion of the body 12, if desired.

[0026] In most cases, the rear plate 44 is closer to the end of the body 12. The rear plate 44 may have its rear edge anywhere from 0 and 5.0 inches from the back edge of the board body 12, more preferably between 0.1 and 3.0 inches, and most preferably between 0.25 and 2.0 inches. The rear plate 44 may be of any suitable size, such as in the range of 1.0 by 2.0 inches to 7.0 by 18.0 inches, more preferably between 2.0 by 3.0 inches and 6.0 by 12.0 inches, and most preferably between 3.0 by 6.0 inches and 5.0 by 10.0 inches. The thickness of the rear plate 44 is in the range of 0.01 inches to 1.0 inch, more preferably between 0.05 and 0.5 inches, and most preferably between 0.1 and 0.25 inches. In the embodiment shown, the rear plate 44 is round with a diameter of approximately 4.0 inches and a thickness of 0.104 inch. The rear plate 44 may extend into the horizontal portion of the board body 12, if desired.

[0027] FIG. 7 shows an alternate version 70 of the snowskate with an additional ferrous plate 72 located between the front plate 24 and rear plate 44. This additional plate 72 allows the user additional versatility in foot placement on the snowskate 70.

[0028] The sole 52 of one boot or shoe is placed approximately over the circular ferrous metal plate 44 in the tail of the board 10. The sole 52 of the other shoe is placed approximately over the oval shaped ferrous metal plate 24 in the nose of the board 12. With the rider's feet in the standard riding position, the magnet housing assemblies 50 embedded in the soles 52 are positioned over the ferrous metal plates 24, 44. The sizes and shape of the ferrous metal plates 24, 44 are such that the magnet housing assemblies 50 do not have to be positioned exactly over the plates 24, 44. This allows the rider the ability to shift foot position while riding, thereby allowing better stability and control. With the rider's feet in the standard riding position, the magnetic flux from the inner facing poles of the magnets 58, as seen in FIG. 6B, is focused through the steel pole pieces 56, around the outer surface of the magnets 58, through the ferrous metal plates 24, 44 and back into the opposite outward facing poles of the magnets 58, to make a complete magnetic circuit. This magnetic circuit created by the magnet housing assembly 50 provides a holding force much greater than that which could be provided by the magnets 58 alone. This is because the individual magnets 58 cannot carry the high fluxes that the steel pole pieces 56 can. Therefore, the steel pole pieces 56 focus the magnetic flux so that the flux per unit area at the contact point of ferrous metal plates 24, 44 is higher than the flux per unit area at the interface between magnets 58 and pole pieces 56. It is through the use of the magnet housing assemblies 50 that the board 10 can remain securely attached to the rider's boots as the boots are thrust vertically upward during an airborne maneuver. Far less force is required to break the magnetic circuit if a rotational force is applied to the magnet housing assembly 50, as shown in FIG. 6C. A rider can assert this rotational force by rotating the boot heel over toe and bending at the ball of the foot. It is in this way that the rider can detach from the board 10 at will, such as when the rider needs to get clear of the board 10 for safety reasons.

[0029] Since the board is symmetric from side to side, the board may be used in either normal (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward) footed stance without any adjustment to the board or the boots of the rider. This allows for great versatility in riding style. The quick step on attachment of the magnetic binding also allows the user to quickly attach his or her second foot to the board 10 when exiting a ski lift.

[0030] Many features have been listed with particular configurations, options, and embodiments. Any one or more of the features described may be added to or combined with any of the other embodiments or other standard devices to create alternate combinations and embodiments.

[0031] Although the examples given include many specificities, they are intended as illustrative of only a few embodiments of the invention. Other embodiments and modifications will, no doubt, occur to those skilled in the art. For example, the embodiment shown has two magnets used in each housing. In alternate embodiments, fewer or more magnets may be used in each housing and more than one housing could be used in each boot. Further variations could include an embodiment with additional housings located in one or both of the boots. Thus, the examples given should only be interpreted as illustrations of some of the preferred embodiments of the invention, and the full scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.