Title:
Floating platform which may be pneumatically submerged and emerged for use in swimming pools
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
It is a platform fit to be disposed over the water mass retained in a swimming pool, or the like, and to act as a receiving platform for a person, placed on same, to be able to enter into and submerge in the water as a consequence of the vertical descending movements, and then emerge by means of the ascent produced by the same platform in said water mass. The novelty is that said submergible platform is a hollow, light and rigid vessel that has a top horizontal floor, from which lateral walls are projected are facing downwards (when situated in the water), defining an internal precinct that remains in communication with the exterior by means of, at least, one air entry and exit conduit produced by the said ascending and descending movements of said platform in the water mass; said movements being guided by vertical guides disposed adjacently to the internal face of the swimming pool wall, along which the corresponding sliding carts projecting from the platform are driven.



Inventors:
Sors, Carlos Alberto (Parana-Pcia. De Entre Rios, AR)
Application Number:
11/482877
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
07/10/2006
Assignee:
Sors, Carlos Alberto (PARANA-PCIA. DE ENTRE RIOS, AR)
Gschwind, Carlos A. (PARANA-PCIA. DE ENTRE RIOS, AR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNKINS, KAREN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. FLOATING PLATFORM, WHICH MAY BE PNEUMATICALLY SUBMERGED AND EMERGED, FOR USE IN SWIMMING POOLS, fit to be placed over the water mass contained in a swimming pool or the like, and to act as a receptor platform to enable a person, placed on same, to enter into and submerge in the water as a consequence of vertical descending movements, and then emerge, by means of the uplift produced by the same platform in said water mass, characterized in that said submergible platform is a hollow vessel, light and rigid which has a top horizontal floor, from which laterally oriented walls project downwardly (when placed in the water), conforming an internal precinct that is in communication with the exterior by means of, at least, one exit and entry air tube that generate the vertical ascending and descending displacements of said platform in the water mass; those displacements being guided by means of vertical guides that are disposed adjacently to the internal face of the swimming pool, along which corresponding sliding carts projecting from the platform are driven.

2. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the sliding carts are projected from the lateral walls of the platform, are hinges “T” the crossbars of which are loosely housed in the vertical sliding guides.

3. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the sliding guides helping the respective vertical hydraulic cylinders regulating the ascending and descending speed of the platform.

4. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the vertical sliding guides are defined in a unique body including a respective cylinder regulating the ascend and descent speed of the platform, which are incorporated in a supporting structure projecting outwards the swimming pool for an stable fixing anchorage.

5. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the air entry and exit conduit that communicates with the internal precinct defining the platform, prolongs itself outside the swimming pool up to a first air outflow derivation to the exterior inserting a closure valve and towards a second derivation where it is associated with an air propeller pump in which a non return valve is interspersed.

6. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the air feeding conduit is a tube extending from an air propeller pump in which a non return valve is interspaced, such tube enters into the swimming pool defining a bent end the vertical portion of which faces the internal precinct conforming said submergible platform; thus, the air outflow for the descents of the same submergible platform are produced by a vertical tube projecting upwardly from its floor, which includes a closure valve.

7. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that between the internal face of the platform floor and the bottom of the swimming pool, there extends an ascending speed limiting regulator.

8. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 7, characterized in that the ascending speed liming regulator is a vertical alignment of telescopically disposed coaxial tubes from different sections; the end tubes being linked to the platform and bottom of the swimming pool, respectively.

9. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the external surface of the platform floor includes a pair of slots for anchoring chairs and wheel chairs.

10. FLOATING PLATFORM, according to claim 1, characterized in that the ascending and descending displacements of the platform in the water mass are ordered from an integrated remote command to an electronic driving circuit in which are integrated an air propeller pump with its non return valve, and a closure valve interspaced in the air outflow derivation to the exterior.

Description:

The present invention has as main object a FLOATING PLATFORM, WHICH MAY BE PNEUMATICALLY SUBMERGED AND EMERGED TO BE USED IN SWIMMING POOLS, by means of which the entry and exit from the swimming pool is facilitated to disabled persons, overcoming a series of problems and inconveniences in relation to the motions to be performed, for which they always need the assistance of third parties assistance. In fact, this patent of invention encompasses a very special floating platform able to be placed over the water level, preferably, coplanar to the edge surface of the swimming pool and to be stable over same providing a plane surface able to receive a person seated on a chair, or directly seated on said platform.

It refers to a platform intended to be used not only for disabled persons, but also by obese persons or older persons in general, at their homes or in institutions, clubs and physical and therapeutic centers.

The particular design of this platform corresponds to a function principle that consists in keeping a sufficient volume of air enclosed in a vessel, with an horizontal basis that acts as a platform, to support the load of a person without sinking.

Once a user person is on the platform, a valving incorporated resource may be opened, whereby the said confined air exits thus producing the progressive sinking of the platform in a way that the user contacts the water without making any effort.

The above mentioned air outflow may be almost total, so that the platform is kept under water and laying on the bottom of the swimming pool allowing the user to use it, comfortably, either performing hydrotherapeutic exercises or enjoying a bath.

To go out, the user just has to place himself on the platform and close the air outflow valving resource, and then activate a pneumatic pump that sends air through a tube which free end faces inwards the said platform.

Said input of air results in the gradual uplift of the platform along with its load, until its surface returns to its initial coplanar position at the edge of the pool.

This patent of invention encompasses, precisely, the resulting combination of means, since there are no antecedents, and an existing current problem is solved.

PRIOR ART

Currently, there are several Rehabilitation Centers and Public and Private Institutions specialized in the therapeutic treatment of persons who have lost the ability to move on their own, either temporarily or permanently. These centers function to provide special treatment for physical exercises to stimulate the general functioning of the body of these persons, either to recover them or to avoid any dysfunction due to the lack of exercise.

In this regard, it is well known that hydrotherapeutics is very important to such recovery methods. Due to this, most of these Rehabilitation Centers have swimming pools as part of their equipment.

Even when many of such swimming pools have commonly an adapted construction condition to be used by disabled persons, such as railings adjacent to the entry and exit areas, or else, fixed displacement platforms, the existing problem has not been completely and properly solved.

Mostly, it is pointed that many of these institutions use nurses or even volunteers that, due to their female condition do not have sufficient strength or physical capacity to assist a patient who needs to be lifted, hold or moved.

On the other side, it is also pointed out that, due to safety reasons, it is not recommended the use of electric resources to equip means with motors in sub-aquatic areas due to the risk and danger that these may imply. Therefore, it is intended to restrain the access with electrically driven chairs, as well as the use of lifts including electrical means to their function.

It has been also discarded the use of hydraulic lifts, due to the inconvenience implied by the risk of contaminating the water with the oil used by these devices.

NOVELTY OF THE INVENTION—MAIN OBJECT

The floating platform referred to by the present invention clearly overcomes the inconveniences mentioned, since it uses air movement, as a resource for movement, so that its presence does not represent any risk to its users.

In facto, the novel platform is a hollow vessel consisting of a horizontal and planar floor, from which vertical walls are projected downwardly when it is placed over water.

Then, it is defined an internal recipient and housing that contains a certain volume of air offering a resistance to the sinking, therefore the platform keeps floating over the water, even if it has a load such as that of a person placed on same.

As long as the air volume retained within said recipient is removed, the weight supported by the platform will gradually overcome the resisting force and, thus, it will sink in the water mass.

For this purpose, in a possible embodiment, the novel device includes, in communication with said internal recipient, an outwardly projecting tube for exiting air including a valving closure, by means of which the communication established is opened or closed.

The same internal housing may be in communication with a tubular conduit, that extends to an air supply source, which is adequately away from the swimming pool, so that the inverse process is carried out by means of same. That is, the entrance of air in said internal precinct creates an internal pneumatic pressure that produces an ascending force that, once it overcomes the weight of the supported load, will result in the lifting of the platform.

In order to avoid deviations or oscillating movements that may affect the adequate balance that must be provided by the novel platform, it is a condition for the platform to be in relation with guidance means that only allow the referred to vertical ascending and descending movements.

It is also observed that, the horizontal surface receiving the user includes a means to fasten wheel chairs and the like. Within the same constructive and functional concept, this patent of invention refers to a version that may be built and installed together with the construction of the swimming pool itself, or else, it requires that the existing swimming pool is empty (without water) to allow its assembly; it refers to a facility that may be referred to as “permanent facility”.

The second version, leading to the practice of the same explained function, responds to an embodiment that may be installed over existing, filled swimming pools, without the need of removing the volume of water; it refers to a facility that may be referred to as “removable facility”.

Consequently, the main object of the present patent of invention is a floating PLATFORM, WHICH MAY BE PNEUMATICALLY SUBMERGED AND EMERGED, TO BE USED IN SWIMMING POOLS, fit to be disposed over the water mass contained in a swimming pool, or the like, and to act as a receptor platform to enable a person, placed on same, to enter into and submerge in the water as a consequence of vertical descending movements, and then emerge, by means of the upwards movement produced by the same platform in said water mass.

The novelty is that said submergible platform is a hollow, light and rigid vessel with a top horizontal floor, from which laterally oriented walls project downwardly (when placed in the water), conforming an internal precinct that is in communication with the exterior by means of, at least, one exit and entry air conduit that generates the vertical ascending and descending movements of said platform in the water mass; those displacements being guided by vertical guides that are disposed adjacently to the internal face of the swimming pool, along which the corresponding sliding carts projecting from the platform are driven.

In a preferred embodiment, the sliding carts projected from the lateral walls of the platform are “T” spindles that have crossbars loosely housed in the vertical sliding guides.

It is pointed out that, in a preferred embodiment, the sliding guides are joined to respective vertical hydraulic cylinders regulating the ascending and descending speed of the platform.

It is also considered that the vertical sliding guides are defined in a unique body including a respective hydraulic cylinder regulating the ascending and descending speed of the platform, which are incorporated in a supporting structure that projects outwards the swimming pool for an stable fixing anchorage.

In a preferred embodiment, the air entry and exit conduit that is in communication with the internal precinct which defines the platform, prolongs itself outside the swimming pool up to a first air outflow derivation to the exterior inserting a closure valve and towards a second derivation where it is associated with an air propeller pump in which a non return valve is interspersed.

It is also seen that the air feeding conduit is a tube extending from an air propeller pump in which a non return valve is interspaced, such tube enters into the swimming pool defining a bent end, the vertical portion of which facing the internal precinct conforming said submergible platform; thus, the air outflow for the descents of the same submergible platform are produced by a vertical tube projecting upwardly from its floor, which includes a closure valve.

Other considered option consists in that between the internal face of the platform floor and the bottom of the swimming pool, there extendes an ascending speed limting regulator consisting of a vertical alignment of telescopically disposed coaxial tubes from different sections; the end tubes being linked, to the platform and bottom of the swimming pool, respectively.

The invention considers that the external surface of the platform floor includes a pair of slots for anchoring chairs and wheel chairs.

The invention considers that the descending and ascending movements of the platform in the water mass are commanded from a remote control incorporated to an electronically driven device in which an air propeller pump and its non return valve are joined, and a closure valve is interspaced in the air outflow derivation to the exterior.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE REPRESENTATIVE FIGURES

In order to accomplish the above mentioned advantages, to which users and those skilled in the art may add others, and to facilitate the understanding of the constructive, constituent and functional characteristics of the novel platform, it is hereby described a preferred example of the embodiment, schematically illustrated, and without a defined scale, in the attached drawings, expressly clarifying that, in fact, as an example, this is not intended to limit in any way the scope of protection of the present patent of invention, but it is only intended to simply explain and illustrate the spirit on which this is based.

FIG. 1 is a joined view showing, in a scheme, a floating platform, which may be submerged and emerged, built in a swimming pool, that keeps constructive and functional conditions that are set forth in this patent of invention.

FIG. 2 shows a floating platform, pneumatically submergible in a perspective view and disposed within a swimming pool, which has been cut with the sole objective of visual observation of the set of elements intervening in the integral operation of the set.

FIG. 3 is a vertical cut schematic view, showing the same platform of the previous figure during its descending movement.

FIG. 4 is a vertical view, similar to the previous one, showing the novel platform during its descending movement.

FIG. 5 is a detailed vertical cut that shows the same platform as FIG. 1, illustrating, in a more detailed fashion, the way in which the sliding guides and the resource regulating the ascending and descending movements belonging to the set of means used by the novel floating platform are built.

FIG. 6 is also a detailed view of the mounting of a platform as that illustrated in FIG. 1 wherein it is appreciated the association of same with the fixed guides that allow the ascending and descending movement.

It must be noted that, in all figures, the like reference numbers and letters correspond to the same or equivalent parts or constituent elements of the set, according to the example selected for this explanation of the novel floating platform.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EXAMPLE OF THE EMBODIMENT

As it may be seen in FIG. 1, the floating platform, pneumatically submergible, to be used by disabled persons in swimming pools, to which this patent of invention refers to, is adequate to be mounted in a swimming pool -P-, laying over the volume of water -A- and, preferably, adjacent to the edge -B- of a lateral wall of the pool.

As can be seen in said FIG. 1, the novel platform is a hollow, light and rigid housing, that has a surface receiving the load as in floor -1- from where the vertical lateral walls -2- are projected, in use, that are orientated to the bottom of the pool, defining an internal precinct -R-, wherein the pneumatic pressure is established, which regulated by means of the entrance and outflow of air, performed its submerging and emerging movements.

In the case of FIG. 1, the platform is moved in relation to at least a pair of vertical sliding guides -3- and -4- that lay over the internal face of the swimming pool wall and are joined in a supporting structure -5- that may be fixed to the floor by means of screws and anchoring spindles.

For the entrance and exit of air, only conduit -6- is used which is in communication by one end with said internal precinct -R-, and by its other end with a derivation branch -7- for the air outflow during the descending movements, wherein there is an interspaced closure valve -8-. For the ascending movements, the air supply pump -9- is used, together with its corresponding non return valve -10-.

In an preferred embodiment for the integral operation of the set, a remote command -11- will be used, duly protected by an isolating coating that allows the swimmer to use it in the swimming pool and thus command the ascending and descending movements of the platform in use.

In fact, using said remote control -11-, the swimmer himself will be able to open the valve -8- to release the air outflow contained in the said internal precinct, and then gradually submerge; as well as to keep said valve -8- closed, and activate the air pump -9- to let air come into the same internal precinct, thus producing the ascending movement.

The platform is mounted on said vertical sliding guides -3- and -4- that, to such effect, include at least a pair of carts (that can be seen in FIGS. 5 and 6) that slide along them.

Now, observing FIG. 2, a case is showed wherein a facility is built that, to be mounted, requires the pool -P- to be empty.

In such a case, a vertical tube -12- from the same platform is projected upwards, in communication with the said internal precinct -R-, the height of which is determined in relation to the height occupied by the water volume -A- since in its top free end it bears the manual closure valve -13- that opens or closes the passage of air outflow.

In this case, the novel platform is placed adjacent to a corner area of the pool, and it is kept linked to the same by means of the vertical sliding guides -14-, -15- and -16-, where the free ends of the corresponding “T” spindles -17- are housed, which are projected from lateral walls -2- of the platform.

In this way, it is assured that the only possible movements are vertical, eliminating the possibility of undesired dangling or oscillating movements typical of floaters over water masses.

In this same FIG. 2, it can also be seen that, corresponding to the bottom of the swimming pool, it is disposed the bent end of a tube -18- coming from the said air pump -9- (that can be seen in FIG. 1). This is not illustrated since it may be located anywhere and, above all, it is well known. Its function is simply to produce an air flow to be carried through the tubular conduit -18-, to the interior of the swimming pool, entering same by means of the said bent portion that orientates it to the above mentioned internal precinct -R- that defines said hollow platform.

Thus, in reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, it is possible to understand more clearly the principle of operation of the novel platform. In effect, the vertical cut views allow to observe that the said hollow vessel defines an internal precinct -R-. Specially created for containing the air that provides the floating condition to the same, with the ability to resist the weight load of a person standing on same.

FIG. 3 shows the platform completely submerged in the water volume -A-, which has descended towards the right direction. This effect is achieved, in this case, by opening the manual valve -13- that allows the exit to the exterior of the air retained in said internal precinct -R-, that flows towards the exterior by the interior of the vertical tube -12-.

The scheme in FIG. 4 shows that the valve -13- has been closed, and at the same time, it occurs the entrance of air coming from the feeding source -9- (not shown), orientated towards the referred to internal precinct -R- through the bent conduit -18-.

In said FIGS. 3 and 4, it is also shown the presence of a means for regulating the ascending movement -19-, which has the aim to prevent undesired sudden movements during the ascending route of the platform.

Indeed, it is well known that such sudden movement occurs when a hollow element, despite being submerged in a water volume, contains within itself a certain amount of air. When this, in its ascending route, reaches the surface, it produces a jump pushed by the contained air.

Consequently, the presence of, at least, one regulating element -19-, assures that the novel platform carries out its even ascending route and at a speed that does not endanger the person leaning on same.

In this selected example, the regulator -19- consists in a tubular body formed by telescopic coaxial portions of upward growing area. The bottom end portion is disposed anchored at the bottom of the swimming pool (reference -20-), while the upper end portion is associated to the internal face of the referred to floor -1- of the platform (reference -21-). In this way, it is also assured a limit in the ascending route of the platform.

The invention considers that, for the cases of final constructions, the same swimming pool in includes a cavity determined at the bottom of same, corresponding to the shape and design of the platform used. Therefore, when this platform is disposed at the deepest point, its floor -1- will be in a coplanar position in relation to the bottom of the swimming pool, so that the user may use all the height of the existing water volume.

In the mentioned case, the condition that the bent end tube -18- is always facing the said internal precinct -R- must be preserved.

Analyzing again FIGS. 1 and 2, it is noted that, in this same preferred embodiment, over the horizontal surface, grooves -22- and -23- are defined, the function of which is simply to provide a means to fasten the seat that the user may employ during the descending movement that allows his entry into the water, and vice versa.

FIGS. 1, 5 and 6 show the case wherein the novel platform us mounted over a structure intended to be installed in existing swimming pools. That is, it is not necessary to empty the pool or alter its walls, at all, to mount it. In this case, the mounting consists in a fixed supporting structure and another to hold the user.

The fixed structure, represented in FIG. 1 with the global reference -5- comprises the lateral railings -24- and -25- and the long shaped seats to be leaned over the floor -26- y -27- that may be passed over by the anchoring spindles -28- for a steady fixing.

The above mentioned sliding guides -3- y -4- are included joined to the same fixed structure that, in this particular case, are also relevant because they conform the displacement guides of the carts joined to the lateral walls of the platform, and also include the respective regulator means -29- which may be seen in more detailed in FIGS. 5 and 6.

In the same FIG. 1, it can be seen that the floating structure comprises the platform of floor -1- and walls -2- with their corresponding grooves -22- y -23-, as well as with their corresponding side railings -30- y -31- and the mentioned only conduit -6- for the input and output of air from the internal precinct -R-.

In this way, in order to mount the set, it is only necessary to fasten, fixed to the floor, the said fixed structure -5-, wherein the sliding guides -3- and -4- are vertically placed adjacent to the internal face of the wall -B- of the swimming pool. It is also considered that they must have the corresponding supports -32- and -33- to make sure that the internal surface coating of the pool is not damaged. Then, the floating structure is placed from above to the sliding carts, bound to the lateral walls of the platform, that are housed in the vertical grooves of the sliding guides -3- and -4-. After, said carts are hooked in the cable that links them to the piston of the related regulating cylinder.

It refers to a very quick and accurate mounting that provides the possibility of building facilities in existing swimming pools without any modification at all to them.

Now referring to FIGS. -5- and -6-, it is possible to understand the way in which the sliding guides -3- and -4- are incorporated to the fixed structure, these are disposed adjacently to the internal face of the swimming pool wall.

It is appreciated that each guide includes a respective ascending and descending regulator -29- that, as previously described, have the aim to prevent undesired sudden movements during the ascending and descending runs of the platform.

In facto, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, each sliding cart -34- bound to the floating platform slides over its corresponding sliding guide, linked to a cable -35- that, oriented by tackles -36- and -37- enters into the regulating cylinder -29- and associates with the regulating piston -38-. In this way, there occurs a functional relation between the ascending and descending movements of the platform with the movements of said regulating piston -38-.

Such piston is relevant because it includes a communication passage -39-, of a minimum area producing a delay in the passage of fluid, and then in the said regulating action.