Title:
Protective swimsuit incorporating an electrical wiring system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective swim suit to be worn by swimmers and surfers. The suit includes two electrodes, each connected to an electromagnetic field generating unit. In use, the suit generates an electromagnetic field in a volume of water about the wearer, which acts to repel targeted aquatic creatures such as sharks.



Inventors:
Wescombe-down, Michael (Glenelg North, AU)
Application Number:
10/179720
Publication Date:
12/25/2003
Filing Date:
06/25/2002
Assignee:
WESCOMBE-DOWN MICHAEL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/186, 405/185
International Classes:
A41D13/012; B63C11/04; (IPC1-7): B63C11/02; B63C11/00
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Primary Examiner:
SAFAVI, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hoffmann & Baron LLP (Syosset, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A suit able to be worn by a person in water, the suit comprising: a first electrode located on a portion of the suit which in use, is exposed to the water; a second electrode spaced apart from said first electrode, also located on a portion of the suit which in use, is exposed to the water; and two electrically conductive wires incorporated into or on the suit wherein each wire is connected to a respective electrode, as well as to an electromagnetic field generator unit, so that in operation, an electromagnetic field is radiated through the water from and between the first and second electrodes.

2. A suit according to claim 1 wherein said electromagnetic field generator unit is releasably attachable to the suit.

3. A suit according to any one of claims 1 or 2 wherein the wires are releasably connectable to the electromagnetic field generator unit.

4. A suit according to claim 1 wherein the wires are incorporated into a flexible flat ribbon material adapted for adhesion to said suit between said electrodes and said electromagnetic field generator unit.

5. A suit according to claim 1 wherein said wires are inserted into channels formed within the suit.

6. A suit according to claim 1 wherein said electromagnetic field generator unit is located on the suit at the waist region of the suit wearer.

7. A suit according to claim 1 wherein said electromagnetic field generator unit has an externally located visible status indicator which is located so as to be visible to the wearer when wearing the suit.

8. A suit according to claim 1 wherein said first electrode is located at a lower leg portion of the suit and a second electrode is located on the suit substantially in the buttock region thereof.

9. A suit according to claim 1 wherein said first electrode is located at a lower portion of a first leg of the suit and said second electrode is located at a lower portion of a second leg of the suit.

10. A suit able to be worn by a person in water, the suit comprising one or more channels formed with the material of the suit to accommodate a first electrically conductive wire which is able to be connected at one end, to a first electrode and at another end to an electromagnetic field generator unit, and a second wire which in use is able to be connected at one end to a second electrode and at another end to said electromagnetic field generator unit.

Description:
[0001] This invention relates to personal protection devices and in particular to facilitating the propagation of an electromagnetic field through a conductive medium, such as sea water, to deter the close proximity of aquatic creatures, in particular sharks.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Numerous devices are known for the purpose of repelling aquatic creatures. The majority of these devices are designed to generate an electromagnetic field in close proximity of a diver or to form a barrier or boundary in the nearby water.

[0003] Details of the exact nature of the generated electromagnetic field, vary depending on the search results obtained from various studies on the effects of different electromagnetic fields on a range of aquatic creatures.

[0004] Most studies are conducted on the aquatic creature sub-group of Elasmobranchii, ie sharks. It appears that most shark repellant apparatus use electromagnetic pulses, delivered into the water by submerged antennae or electrodes, to create an appropriate electromagnetic field in the vicinity of the diver.

[0005] Various types of pulse generators are used, the characteristics of which include a specification of its duration; repetition rate; amplitude and the pulse rise time. The value or ranges of each characteristic are carefully selected so as to create the electromagnetic field deemed most effective by the preferred research.

[0006] Although great care in the design of the generator characteristics has been displayed, it is apparent to the inventor of this invention that equal care and consideration has not been evident in regards to the nature of the radiation element of the repellant apparatus.

[0007] The type and positioning of the radiation elements, typically electrodes, has not been ideal. In one prior art example, the pulse generator circuitry and self contained power source, is located in a water tight container upon which is located one of the at least two electrodes. The container itself is mounted to the diver's Self-Contained Underwater-Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) typically because it is large and bulky (approximately the size of a 10 kg watermelon) and can be readily strapped to the SCUBA tanks.

[0008] A second electrode is located/strapped to the diver's fin so as to be spaced from the SCUBA mounted electrode. Such spacing increases the dimensions of the field of the electromagnetic energy created by the pulse generator. However, to link the second electrode to the pulse generator a long (approximately 2 metre) coiled wire is fitted between the fin mounted electrode and the pulse generator circuitry. The coiled wire is kept close to the body of the diver by adjustable leg straps, belts and other add on devices.

[0009] A clear disadvantage of this arrangement is the bulk of the pulse generator circuit and power source. Furthermore, there is an ever present potential for snagging and entanglement of the coiled wire with objects while the diver is under water.

[0010] As the latter problem can be a critical safety issue in certain environments the shark repelling equipment is sometimes forgone in spite of its potential to safeguard its wearer. Also, the inner electrode distance may be varied greatly by the user, either as a factor caused by body length variation, or by careless placement, with the end result being a compromised electrical field.

[0011] Since the pulse generating circuitry is inaccessible to the wearer/user of the equipment, the diver requires a remote switch to control whether it is “on” or “off”. However, the wire from the control unit to the remote switch can also be similarly snagged and become entangled and this adds to the possibility of difficulties with this arrangement.

[0012] In another example of a shark repelling apparatus, an antenna is mounted to the SCUBA tank to increase the effectiveness of the emitted electromagnetic field. However, this is also prone to snag and entangle with objects to the distress and discomfort of the wearer.

[0013] A yet further example of a shark repelling arrangement is the use of a first electrode located on the circuit enclosure mounted to the SCUBA tank and a second electrode connected via a wire to a fin or nose of a surfing or swimming aid such as a tethered surfboard.

[0014] Clearly, such an arrangement is prone to the second electrode becoming disconnected from the circuit as the large forces generated by the sea act differently on the user and the craft to which the second electrode is fitted. Even if the second electrode remains connected, the connection itself deteriorates over time and the quality and strength of the electromagnetic fields and/or its reliability reduces.

[0015] None of the shark repelling examples described herein are necessarily part of the common general knowledge of those skilled in the art. These examples are merely known to the inventor and have been used to illustrate some of the perceived problems of the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a suit able to be worn by a person in water, the suit comprising:

[0017] a first electrode located on a portion of the suit which in use, is exposed to the water;

[0018] a second electrode spaced apart from said first electrode, also located on a portion of the suit which in use, is exposed to the water; and

[0019] two electrically conductive wires incorporated into or on the suit wherein each wire is connected to a respective electrode, as well as to an electromagnetic field generator unit, so that in operation, an electromagnetic field is radiated through the water from and between the first and second electrodes.

[0020] Preferably, the electromagnetic field generator unit is releasably attachable to the suit.

[0021] In a preferred arrangement the wires are releasably connectable to the electromagnetic field generator unit.

[0022] In a yet further embodiment, the wires are incorporated into a flexible flat ribbon material adapted for adhesion to the suit between said electrodes and said electromagnetic field generator unit.

[0023] In another embodiment of the invention the wires are electrically insulated and inserted into channels as original equipment in the suit material, e.g. by the wetsuit manufacturer.

[0024] In a preferred embodiment, the electromagnetic field generator unit is located on the suit at the waist region of the suit wearer.

[0025] In a yet further preferred embodiment, the electromagnetic field generator unit has an externally located visible status indicator and the status indicator is located so as to be visible to the wearer of the suit.

[0026] Advantageously, the invention has a first electrode located at a lower leg portion of the suit and a second electrode located on the suit substantially in the buttock region thereof, or in the case of a surfer, at a lower portion of the other leg.

[0027] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a suit able to be worn by a person in water, the suit including one or more channels formed with the material of the suit to accommodate a first electrically conductive wire which is able to be connected at one end, to a first electrode and at another end to an electromagnetic field generator unit, and a second wire which in use is able to be connected at one end to a second electrode and at another end to said electromagnetic field generator unit.

[0028] Specific embodiments of the invention will now be described in some further detail with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying figures. These embodiments are illustrative, and not meant to be restrictive of the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0029] FIG. 1 depicts a side view of a swimsuit incorporating the invention showing only one electrode, its connecting wire and an attached control unit;

[0030] FIG. 2 depicts a front view of a swimsuit having an attached control unit; and

[0031] FIG. 3 depicts a rear view of a swimsuit incorporating two electrodes, connection wires and an attached control unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

[0032] FIG. 1 depicts a swimmer wearing a suit 10. In this embodiment the suit is depicted in the style of a wetsuit made of flexible neoprene material that is contoured to the shape of the wearer. This is however merely an example, and the suit (hereinafter referred for convenience as a swim suit) could be of other types and made of other materials. Furthermore the apparatus of the invention could be incorporated into other clothing such as survival suits worn typically by sailors and aviators in the event that they fall into the water.

[0033] In this embodiment, the first electrode 12 is located on a lower portion of one of the legs of the swimsuit, in particular in the region of the lower calf of the right leg of the wearer. The electrode is made of conductive threads inserted in or woven into a non-conductive material. Alternatively the conductive threads may be combined with a suitable thread and woven into a combination material. A suitable connector region is formed but not shown explicitly at 14 and the connector (not shown) connects to a reciprocal connector to achieve electrical conductivity with the wire 16.

[0034] The electrode 12 can be incorporated into the swim suit by stitching, i.e. in the same manner other panels of the swim suit are jointed together. This is a preferred arrangement, but, the electrode panel could be stitched over the material of the swim suit and this option would be suitable for retro fitting an electrode to an existing swimsuit or other types of suits. The use of stitching is of course also an option as there exists suitable adhesives which can permanently adhere the electrode panel to a suit. It is also possible to apply permanent fixings to the suit upon which an electrode can be temporarily fitted in a manner similar to hook and eye material such as VELCRO™.

[0035] The wire 16 is, in this embodiment, incorporated into the material of the wetsuit. The wire itself is preferably made of non-corrosive metal which is also preferably multi-stranded but may be ribbon-like in shape and configuration. The wire in another arrangement may be supplied pre-fitted or incorporated into a ribbon-like carrier which is suitable for stitching or adhering to a suit.

[0036] During manufacture, the suit can be constructed having hollow channels or tunnels within the material, which may receive electrically conductive wires for connecting the various elements of the apparatus.

[0037] Connectors at each end of the wire 16 are provided for connecting, at one end to the electrode 12 and at the other end to the control unit 18.

[0038] The control unit 18 is preferably detachable from the swimsuit 10 so that its power source can be replenished and the circuitry maintained and/or repaired. The control unit does not form a permanent part of the swimsuit.

[0039] The control unit can be removably attached to the swimsuit in a number of ways. The preferred means for doing so is in a neoprene pocket having a releasable containment strap or straps by which the control unit can be secured into the pocket during use. Such an arrangement is specifically arranged to allow the user easy access to the control panel (typically having an on/off switch which is preferably of the double action type so as to prevent accidental turn off) and an electromagnetic field booster control.

[0040] Status indicators (on/off status, power low) are also arranged to be readily viewable by the swimsuit wearer.

[0041] Connectors at the end of each wire 16 are preferably of the type that are easy to connect to the control unit 18, even with gloved and cold hands.

[0042] The connectors are also preferably of the type which positively lock into place and are not easily displaced or released unless intended by the user.

[0043] Desirably, the connectors, once placed, do not protrude so as to cause discomfort to the swimsuit wearer.

[0044] FIG. 2 shows a location for the control unit 18 about the hip/waist region of the wearer. This position is likely to be convenient for the reasons described above but also for the reason that it will not interfere with the wearing of a weight belt or other accoutrements of diving such as knives and SCUBA tanks.

[0045] FIG. 3 displays the second electrode 20 which in this embodiment is spaced both vertically and laterally from the first electrode on the swimsuit.

[0046] The nature of the second electrode 20 is the same as electrode 12 which has been previously described.

[0047] In the position displayed in FIG. 3 the electrodes will be under the water once the wearer of the suit submerges themselves to waist level which is the likely minimum depth of concern when considering the threat of sharks.

[0048] If the swimsuit is primarily used by a surfboard rider it may be preferable to position the second electrode somewhere along the leg opposite to the first electrode. Such a position would ensure that a surfboard rider sitting on their surfboard with both legs dangling into the water has both electrodes simultaneously submerged and capable of emitting a suitable electromagnetic field 22.

[0049] Clearly, both electrodes need to be in the conductive medium of sea water to effect via the control unit, an electromagnetic field 22 of the type suitable for repelling a shark or other targeted aquatic creature.

[0050] It is therefore clearly apparent that the prior entanglement problems are eliminated or much reduced in the preferred embodiment of the invention described herein and the protection effect remains with the swimsuit wearer regardless of their location and/or the position of the electrodes of the apparatus.

[0051] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that the invention is not restricted in its use to the particular application described. Neither is the present invention restricted in its preferred embodiment with regard to the particular element and/or features described or depicted herein. It will be appreciated that various modifications can be made without departing from the principles of the invention. Therefore, the invention should be understood to include all such modifications within its scope.