Title:
Draft varying systems for floating loungers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Draft varying systems for floating loungers. These systems may be applied to those floating loungers or devices which wish to offer the user the possibility of varying the draft. Said systems will always have a user-actuated coupled ballasting/unballasting module actuated by the user, allowing the latter to vary the draft of the device-user assembly by sinking/emerging it at will. The object of the invention is to develop new mechanisms allowing recovering the initial floating position at all times by means of a potential energy storing system. The mechanisms developed will have a rigid chamber with a variable volume elastic chamber inside it.



Inventors:
Pinon Gisbert, Ruben (La Coruna, ES)
Application Number:
11/264398
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
10/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C9/28
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Primary Examiner:
SOTELO, JESUS D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A draft varying system (or ballasting/unballasting system) based on the storage of potential energy, which can be coupled to a floating lounger (with one or more seats) or to any other floating device susceptible of having its draft varied, the main purpose of which is that the immersion level may be controlled in the device it is applied to, going from the maximum immersion position, which will be called “initial position”, to the minimum immersion or maximum emersion position, which will be called “final position”, passing through the infinite intermediate flotation positions in equilibrium and therefore perfectly stable, and the “final position” of flotation being recoverable at any time. The ballasting/unballasting system is made up of a rigid chamber having inside it a wet area and another dry one separated by an elastic material attached to the walls of the rigid chamber. The shape of the elastic will be closed, like a sleeve, bag or bottle, such that water may be introduced and expelled from inside it, thus varying the floatability of the device this draft varying system is coupled to. The inlet and/or outlet of water from inside the elastic chamber will be controlled by valves, such that in order to introduce pressurised water inside the elastic chamber by means of the appropriate impulsion system—in order to overcome the resistance offered by the elastic chamber—the inlet valve(s) will be open and the outlet valve(s) will be closed; whereas in the water expulsion phase the outlet valve(s) will be opened and the inlet valve(s) will be closed and the water will be expelled by the action of the elastic material.

2. A draft varying system (or ballasting/unballasting system) based on the storage of potential energy, which can be coupled to a floating lounger (with one or more seats) or to any other floating device susceptible of having its draft varied, the main purpose of which is that the immersion level may be controlled in the device it is applied to, going from the maximum immersion position, which will be called “initial position”, to the minimum immersion or maximum emersion position, which will be called “final position”, passing through the infinite intermediate flotation positions in equilibrium and therefore perfectly stable, and the “final position” of flotation being recoverable at any time. The ballasting/unballasting system is made up of a rigid chamber having inside it a wet area and another dry area separated by an elastic material attached to the walls of the rigid chamber. The shape of the elastic will be closed and watertight, like a bag or bottle, and filled with pressurised air inside of it, this constituting the dry area. The wet area will be the area comprised between the rigid chamber and the elastic chamber. The inlet and/or outlet of water into and from the wet chamber will be controlled by valves, such that in order to introduce pressurised water by means of the appropriate impulsion system—in order to overcome the resistance offered by the air when being compressed—the inlet valve(s) will be open and the outlet valve(s) will be closed; whereas in the water expulsion phase the outlet valve(s) will be opened and the water will be expelled by the action of the compressed air.

3. A draft varying system according to claim 1, wherein, in the event that sufficient stability of the device-draft varying system assembly is not achieved, additional floats will be added to it at the end of the side arms. These arms will be coupled to the draft varying system or the device by means of a vertical guide system allowing a degree of freedom of vertical sliding but not rotation (the free vertical shifting enables them to act as stabilisers at any immersion level without influencing the stability of the assembly).

4. A draft varying system according to claim 2, wherein, in the event that sufficient stability of the device-draft varying system assembly is not achieved, additional floats will be added at the end of the side arms. These arms will be coupled to the draft varying system or to the device by means of a vertical guide system allowing a degree of freedom of vertical sliding but not rotation (the free vertical shifting enables them to act as stabilisers at any immersion level without affecting the stability of the assembly).

5. A draft varying system according to claim 1, characterised in that due to its amphibious nature it will have wheels for operations on land.

6. A draft varying system according to claim 2, characterised in that due to its amphibious nature it will have wheels for operations on land.

7. A draft varying system, of the type, based on the storage of potential energy, for a floating lounger having a maximum immersion position defined as an initial position and a minimum immersion position defined as a final position, the draft varying system comprising: a rigid chamber having inside it a wet area and another dry one separated by an elastic material attached to the walls of the rigid chamber, wherein the shape of the elastic is closed to form a chamber such that water may be introduced and expelled from inside it, thus varying the bouyancy of the floating lounger; and the inflow and outflow of water from inside the chamber is controlled by inlet and outlet valves, the valves being arranged and configured to introduce pressurised water inside the chamber by means of an appropriate impulsion system, wherein to introduce water into the chamber impulsion system, the inlet valve(s) are open and the outlet valve(s) are closed and in a water expulsion phase, the outlet valve(s) are opened and the inlet valve(s) are closed, whereby the water is expelled by the action of the elastic material.

Description:

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

The present invention refers to a device allowing the user to rest in a lying or sifting position, being able to freely choose her or his level of immersion when floating on water (or any other fluid). Due to its amphibious character, it will be easily transportable from water to land by means of wheels coupled thereto, also performing there its resting functions. Given the features of this invention, its natural field of application will be swimming pools and beaches.

When the device is in the water, the user may be sitting, perfectly resting in a comfortable and stable manner, being able to control the flotation level of the user-device assembly with a simple mechanism. Thus, the user will be able to make the water reach up to her or his neck (the rest of the body being submerged while she or he rests), up to the chest, up to the abdomen, up to the knee, etc., being able to modify floatability of the device until her or his body completely emerges out of the water. This emersion process may be inverted and an immersion similarly effected at any time, both processes being controlled at all times by the user.

The object of the invention is to develop new mechanisms in order to achieve the draft variation.

Namely, the mechanisms developed will be based on draft varying systems with a rigid chamber having a variable volume elastic chamber inside it.

STATE OF THE ART

Several devices for controlling draft have been invented to date, but none with the systems described herein.

The patents closest to the present patent, according to an SPTO technological report coordinated by Mr. Luis J. Dueñas Campo, are:

ES 271,287 U, U.S. Pat. No. 2,803,839 A, U.S. Pat. No. 3,751,030 A, U.S. Pat. No. 6,371,041 B1, U.S. Pat. No. 1,382,073 A and U.S. Pat. No. 4,954,106 A.

The operation of this invention is based on hydrostatic principles, and specifically on the Archimedes' principle. According to this principle, the device-user assembly will reach a position of equilibrium when floating each time the weight of the volume of water displaced is equal to the weight of said assembly.

This device will comply with transverse and longitudinal stability criteria providing acceptable safety for the user, therefore having, if necessary, a system for controlling the position of the centre of gravity of the device-user assembly, consisting either of the addition of external weights or variations in the filling of flooding chambers arranged for such purpose.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The device object of the invention is essentially made up of two modules which will be called “lounger module” and “ballasting/unballasting system module”.

The lounger module, as its name suggests, is similar to a normal lounger. It will be anatomical, it will have reclining backrest and foot rest (these features being of a non-limiting character), and due to the type of activity this device is intended for, it will also be necessary that the seat area has such a configuration as to prevent, as far as possible, the individual from sliding at all times.

Due to the amphibious character of the device, the lounger module, or otherwise the ballasting/unballasting module, will have one or more wheels coupled thereto allowing a comfortable movement of the device while it is on land. It may also have different accessories such as a parasol, a folding tray, a drink holder, etc.

The ballasting/unballasting system module will be the one allowing the user to vary the draft of the user-device assembly at will.

The ballasting/unballasting module will be located in the position in which the greatest stability is achieved according to the shape of the lounger module. It may thus be located:

a) Preferably on the sides, at the height of the lounger module

b) In any other position allowing sufficient stability.

In the event that sufficient stability is not achieved with the assembly of the two modules, additional floats will be added at the ends of two side arms. These arms will be coupled to the previous assembly by means of a vertical guide system allowing a degree of freedom of vertical sliding but not rotation (the free vertical shifting enables them to act as stabilisers at any level of immersion without influencing the stability of the assembly). As it is obvious, these stabilising arms may be applicable to any floating device needing additional stability.

The proposed draft varying systems will be described now:

Systems For Varying Draft Which Can Be Controlled by Means of a Rigid Chamber With a Variable Volume Elastic Chamber Inside It (FIGS. 1 and 2)

The ballasting/unballasting module will consist of one or several rigid chambers, each with its corresponding variable volume elastic chamber inside it.

Each elastic chamber will have a closed, sleeve-, bag- or bottle-like shape such that water may be introduced and expelled from within it, thus varying the floatability of the device this draft varying system is coupled to. Inside the rigid chamber, the elastic material will be attached to the walls of said rigid chamber separating the dry area from the wet area. The inlet and/or outlet of water from inside the elastic will be controlled by valves, such that in order to introduce water inside the elastic the inlet valve(s) will be open and the outlet valve(s) will be closed, whereas in the water expulsion phase the outlet valve(s) will be opened and the water will be expelled by the tendency of the elastic material to recover its original shape. The water, in the filling phase (corresponding to the immersion process) will have to be introduced in the elastic with a certain pressure (necessary to perform the elastic material deforming work) and using a suitable impulsion system such as can be, for example and in a non-limiting manner, a manual liquid pump.

The space between the rigid chamber and the elastic chamber may have a device communicating freely with the atmosphere in order to enable the evacuation of air in that region to the exterior so that it can freely exit during the volume increasing phase of the elastic chamber upon filling up with water, thus preventing an undesired compression of the air.

The operating principle of this module will be as described below. There will be a filling system (for example a manual piston or pump) for introducing water in the elastic chamber overcoming the pressure exerted by the material thereof upon deforming. During the filling phase, the outlet valve(s) will remain closed whereas the inlet valve(s) will allow the circulation of water only in one direction, preventing the undesired return of water to the outside by the action of the pressure exerted by the elastic material. When introducing water in the elastic chamber, the volume thereof increases and the device-user assembly experiences an increase in weight which gives rise to the successive immersion positions of the device, while potential energy accumulates in the elastic material. Thus, the corresponding immersion level will be obtained for each filling level of the elastic chamber, and the user only has to introduce or expel water at will in or from the ballasting/unballasting module in order to reach the desired flotation level.

For the emersion process it will be sufficient to actuate a push-button arranged to that end, which will cause the opening of the outlet valve(s) by means of the appropriate mechanism. In this situation, the water inside the elastic chamber will only be subjected to the recovering action of the elastic material and it will consequently be expelled to the outside. If the relief valve is submerged, the water enclosed in the elastic chamber will encounter a counterpressure at its outlet due to the water column which is above it. The elastic material forming the elastic chamber will be chosen so that it may overcome that counterpressure and is able to expel the water from inside the elastic chamber.

The arrangement of the elastic and rigid chambers will be such that it ensures the stability of the device for any draft.

This draft varying system may be applied to any other type of floating device besides the lounger in question.

An alternative to this system is that the dry chamber (air) is the space delimited by the elastic chamber, and the wet chamber (water) that comprised between the rigid chamber and the elastic chamber (see FIG. 2). The operation of the ballasting/unballasting system is the same as in the previous option, with the difference that in this case water is introduced in the space between the rigid chamber and the elastic chamber. The inlet and outlet valve(s) will be located in the region of the rigid chamber corresponding to the wet area. The elastic chamber (dry) will be watertight and will have a certain amount of pressurised air inside it which will be compressed—thus storing potential energy—when introducing water in the wet chamber by means of the corresponding pumping mechanism. In the emerging process, the outlet valve(s) will be opened and the compressed air, in its expansion process, will expel the water from the wet chamber to the outside, increasing the floatability of the assembly.

Alternatively, the pressure of the air contained inside the elastic material may be regulated if necessary by means of an inflation valve.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to complement the description being made and in order to aid in better understanding of the features of the invention, drawings are enclosed with the present specification as an integral part thereof, wherein with an illustrative and non-limiting manner the following has been depicted:

FIG. 1:

(1) A reclining backrest, the position of which will be chosen by the user.

(2) An actuator of the elastic chamber filling mechanism.

(3) A push-button which actuates the opening mechanism of the relief valve, so that the water is subjected only to the recovering action of the elastic material, whereupon it will be expelled. If the relief valve is submerged, the water enclosed in the elastic chamber will encounter a counterpressure at its outlet due to the water column which is above it. The elastic material forming the elastic chamber will be chosen so that it may overcome that counterpressure and is able to expel the water from inside the elastic chamber.

(4) A wheel arranged in order to allow a comfortable movement of the device on land. In normal usage positions, the wheel will be cancelled by a leg arranged to such effect in the front, such that an undesired movement is prevented.

(5) A variable volume elastic chamber containing the ballasting/unballasting water. During filling the water will be introduced inside it by means of the appropriate pumping mechanism, overcoming the elastic resistance of the material. When the user desires to start emerging she or he will open the relief valve, the water thus being subjected to the action of the recovering force of the elastic material.

(6) A water inlet opening in the elastic chamber.

(7) A ballasting/unballasting module. This module is made up of the assembly of rigid and elastic chambers in which the buoyancy losses or gains occur.

(8) A lounger module intended for user rest and comfort.

(9) A mechanism for pumping water into the elastic chamber.

(10) A one-way inlet valve.

(11) A one-way outlet valve.

(12) A water outlet opening in the elastic chamber.

(13) A suction tube.

FIG. 2:

(1) A reclining backrest, the position of which will be chosen by the user.

(2) An actuator of the elastic chamber filling mechanism.

(3) A push-button which actuates the opening mechanism of the water outlet valve, so that the water is subjected only to the action of the pressure of the compressed air contained in the elastic material, whereupon it is expelled. If the outlet valve is submerged, the water enclosed in the elastic chamber will find a counterpressure at its outlet due to the water column which is above it. The pressure of the air existing in the elastic chamber will be chosen so that it allows the trapped water to overcome that counterpressure and is able to be expelled to the outside.

(4) A wheel arranged in order to allow a comfortable movement of the device on land. In normal usage positions, the wheel will be cancelled by a leg arranged to such effect in the front, such that an undesired movement is prevented.

(5) A variable volume elastic chamber containing the potential energy-storing pressurised air.

(6) An elastic chamber inflation valve.

(7) A ballasting/unballasting module. This module is made up of the assembly of rigid and elastic chambers in which the buoyancy losses or gains occur.

(8) A lounger module intended for user rest and comfort.

(9) An opening with a water outlet valve.

(10) A one-way inlet valve.

(11) A mechanism for pumping water into the rigid chamber.

(12) A water inlet opening in the rigid chamber.

(13) A suction tube.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

As indicated, the device will have a lounger module and a ballasting/unballasting system module.

The ballasting/unballasting system module will consist of the draft varying system with a rigid chamber having a variable volume elastic chamber inside it, in any of its two variations discussed.





 
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