Title:
SELF-DRIVEN CABLE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FOR PERSONS USED FOR THE (AERIAL) PANORAMIC OBSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment comprises: A cable suspended over the ground held and tensed by brackets fixed to any natural element available like trees, rocks, etc., or to any type of artificial element, like poles towers, constructions, etc., along this line vehicles driven by the a user's feet run in a safe and comfortable manner to observe the environment without having to stop at the cable's anchoring points. The user has full control of the vehicle's speed, being able to accelerate, break and stop at will, having at all times both hands free. This system may be installed and used on any type of ground with recreation and/or scientific observation purposes.



Inventors:
Quattlebaum, Gordon Thomas (Ciudad Chemuyil, MX)
Application Number:
12/037616
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/26/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61B7/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SMITH, JASON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARENT FOX LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
Having sufficiently described my invention, I consider as a novelty and therefore claim as my exclusive property, the contents in the following claims:

1. A self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment, said self-driven cable transportation system comprising: a cable route having a cable, wherein said cable is suspended over the ground and is supported and tensed by one or more brackets fixed to available natural or artificial elements; and a vehicle driven by a user's legs and feet, wherein said vehicle runs along said cable and wherein said vehicle can displace in a safe and comfortable manner along said route without having to stop at said one or more brackets.

2. The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 1, wherein said one or more brackets support and tense said cable (1) sideways and are each fixed through a second cable and a third cable to said available natural or artificial elements.

3. The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 1, wherein said available or artificial elements are selected from the group consisting of trees, rocks, poles, or tower constructions.

4. The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 1, wherein at least one of said one or more brackets comprise an L-shaped bracket having a lower part for attachment to said cable and an upper part for fixing to said available natural or artificial elements, and wherein said upper part has an outer side and an inner side.

5. The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 1, wherein at least one of said one or more brackets comprise a lower part having a ledge with a tab coupling flange (15) to support said cable (1), wherein said coupling flange surrounds said cable and fastens to said cable with one or more screws.

6. The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 1, wherein at least one of said one or more brackets comprise an upper part connected to a tensor cable (16) and a positioning cable (17) on an outer side of said upper part.

7. The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 1, wherein at least one of said one or more brackets comprise an upper part connected to an opposed tensor cable (16) on an inner side of said upper part and a positioning cable (17) on an outer side of said upper part.

8. A vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment, said vehicle comprising: a frame comprising a rigid material (5), said frame having a hook-shaped arm (20) at a top of said frame; a seat with a backrest (6), wherein said seat has safety straps which fasten a user to said vehicle; a lower pair of grip bars (8) fixed to said seat; an upper pair of grip bars (9) placed on said frame; a drive mechanism (11) having two pedals, one or more chains, one or more sprockets, and one or more grooved wheels, wherein said drive mechanism is driven by said user's feet; and a braking system installed at said one or more grooved wheels, wherein said braking system is actuated by a lever (10) located on said upper pair of grip bars.

9. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 8, wherein said vehicle (4) hangs from a cable by said hook-shaped arm (20), and wherein said one or more grooved wheels (13) and a mechanism for proper hanging are fixed to said hook-shaped arm.

10. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 9, wherein said hook-shaped arm, said one or more grooved wheels, said mechanism for proper hanging and said frame form a safety system which prevents said vehicle from being removed from said cable while said vehicle is in use.

11. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 9, wherein said hook-shaped arm, said one or more grooved wheels, said mechanism for proper hanging and said frame form a safety system which allows said vehicle to be removed from said cable when said vehicle is not in use.

12. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 9, wherein said hook-shaped arm, said one or more grooved wheels, said mechanism for proper hanging and said frame form a safety system which allows said vehicle to freely run through a support bracket connected to said cable.

13. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 9, wherein said hook-shaped arm, said one or more grooved wheels, said mechanism for proper hanging and said frame form a safety system such that when said vehicle derails from said cable, an angle created by said vehicle with respect to said cable is sufficient for said vehicle to seize to or get stuck with said cable.

14. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 8, wherein said vehicle has a mechanism for proper hanging from a cable comprising a set of “V”-shaped guides (14) which align said one or more grooved wheels (13) of said vehicle onto said cable (1).

15. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 14, wherein said “V”-shaped guides (14) each comprise tapered guides located on each side of said one or more grooved wheels.

16. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 8, wherein said vehicle hangs from a cable on two grooved wheels, wherein each grooved wheel has a rubber-lined rolling surface, and wherein the first of said two grooved wheels rotates idly, and wherein the second of said two grooved wheels provides traction for motion along said cable and is driven by said drive mechanism (11).

17. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 8 further comprising a mechanism for adjusting said seat horizontally, vertically, or both horizontally and vertically within said frame to fit the size of said user.

18. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 8 further comprising a protective top (7).

19. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 18, wherein said protective top has any geometrical shape and is comprised of any material.

20. The vehicle for a self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment of claim 8, wherein said pedals have elements allowing said pedals to be fixed to said user's feet.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Mexican Patent Application Nos. MX/a/2007/002349 and MX/E/2007/013901, filed on Feb. 27, 2007 with the Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property, the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The technical field of the invention is that of vehicles, devices, structures and installations used for the transportation of persons by cable that are self-driven and may serve to observe the scenery (environment) in a (aerial) panoramic way with recreation and/or scientific purposes.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

There are different ways to make aerial panoramic observations of the environment with recreation and/or scientific purposes, however, most of these require very costly and sophisticated mechanical equipment, i.e., Airplanes, helicopters, cableways, lift-cars, etc., and the intervention of highly trained third parties who are dedicated to operate the said equipment, so that their use is limited to a few persons.

There are different cable transportation systems for people, however the great majority are not self-driven and require special rails or lanes so that the cost of installation, maintenance and operation, increases.

There are other cheaper ways like the use of cables set at an angle so there is a level difference between the starting and ending points, through which the user slides using his own weight and gravity as the driving force. The user hangs from the cable through a pulley to which he is attached using straps, hooks and a harness; these methods are inconvenient as they can only be used one way (downwards), there is no real control of the speed, nor is it possible to stop to make detailed observations. In addition, the user must stop at the points of cable anchorage which must be fitted with a platform, remove his weight from the cable, separate himself from the pulley and/or cable to re-attach again to the same after the anchorage in order to be able to continue in his descending tour.

In some cases, the same system is used in level stretches wherein the user pulls himself along the cable with his arms, which is not very practical as he is using the same to provide the driving force instead of having his arms ready to observe the environment with binoculars, take notes or pictures, in addition to the quick tiredness of the arms of any users, so the level stretch must be very short.

The problem to overcome is: How to attain a cable transportation device for persons that allows for the aerial panoramic observation over any type of terrain, that is easy and cheap to build and maintain, and which will allow, in addition, any person with no prior training or specialized equipment to use it?

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1. General view of the self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment.

FIG. 2. Detailed view of the vehicle of the self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment.

FIG. 3. Detail view of the safety mechanism and the grooved wheels of the self-driven cable transportation vehicle system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment.

FIG. 4. Detail view of the mechanism to mount the self-driven cable transportation vehicle system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment.

FIG. 5. Front perspective view of the side-support bracket.

FIG. 6. Front perspective view of the opposed support bracket.

FIG. 7. Detail of (A) showing the tab coupling flange for the cable used in the brackets.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment described herein, will allow for the economic installation and operation of suspended cable through rough terrain like mountains, jungles, ravines, rivers, forests, etc., with which a great number of people will be able to make observations, investigation and pictures of the environment from an aerial panoramic perspective in a safe and comfortable manner, without requiring any prior training and/or the use of costly mechanized equipment.

The system is essentially a cable suspended over the ground using special brackets through which vehicles driven by the a user's feet run, through the use of these vehicles the user moves about in a safe and comfortable manner through the line in order to observe the environment and transport himself from one place to the other of the line without having to stop at the cable's anchoring points.

The user has full control of the vehicle's speed, being able to accelerate, break and stop at will, having at all times both hands free to be able to take notes, snapshots, etc.

The self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment is made up by a cable (1), which allows the user to transport himself through any type of ground over which the same is suspended. The journey, extension, level gradient and the way of setting the route will vary according to the design of its path and the different variables of the ground over which it will be installed. The route is made up mainly of a cable, preferably of steel, which is run along the route of the desired path using brackets which support and provide the tension. Two types of brackets have been used: the side-support bracket (2) and the opposed-support bracket (3), which are fixed to any natural element available like trees, rocks, etc., or if necessary, to any type of artificial element, like poles, towers, constructions, etc.. These brackets allow the system's vehicle (4) to run freely along the route without need for stopping or making transfers in the places of the cable anchoring (FIG. 1).

The cable (1), once installed over the ground using the brackets (2, 3) may be used by several vehicles (4) at the same time, having to limit their number according to the resistance of the natural or artificial elements to which the brackets have been fixed and with the resistance specifications of the materials used in the construction of same.

The vehicle (4) in which the user travels driving it with his legs and feet along the cable, has among its main elements: A frame made of a rigid material like welded metal (5) with a hook-shaped arm of the top (20) made of the same material; a seat with backrest (6), wherein the user may sit comfortably and recline his back. This seat may be adjusted by sliding horizontally and vertically within the frame of the vehicle in order to fit the sizes of the different users. This seat has safety straps which fasten the user to the vehicle avoiding accidental falls; A top (roof) (7), designed to protect the user against possible impacts, from the rain and the sun, in addition to forming a barrier to avoid accidental contact of his head or hands with the cable and the grooved blocks (13). This top may have different shapes and be made of different materials; Two grip bars, a lower one (8) placed at the seat, and a higher one (9) fixed to the frame, which the user may take momentarily to stabilize or break if he so desires, without this being necessary for the operation of the vehicle; A traction mechanism (11) with pedals, sprockets, chain and the grooved wheels, driven by the user's legs and feet, which provides the drive force that moves the vehicle through the cable route, the pedals may have elements allowing them to be fixed to the user's feet, and a braking system installed at the grooved wheels (13) which its actuated by a handle (10) located on the higher handgrip (FIG. 2).

The vehicle (4) hangs from the cable line through a hook-shaped arm (20), where the grooved wheels (13) and the hanging mechanisms are (14); these elements, along with the vehicle frame (5) form a safety system to keep the same from being removed from the cable line while in use. However, this versatile safety system allows the vehicle to be easily removed from the cable whenever the user is not in the same. In order to remove it, it is necessary to take the vehicle, lift it and maintain it parallel to the cable (1) push it to the front a few centimeters, with which the vehicle will be released from the cable. This is possible because it has an open side (12) and precise distances in relation to the grooved blocks (13), to the hanging system (14) and to the vehicle's frame (5); this mechanism allows the vehicle to run freely through the brackets, but in case of jumping out of the grooves, the angle created by the vehicle with respect to the cable (1) is sufficient for the vehicle assisted by gravity to seize or lock to the cable (FIG. 3).

The vehicle displaces through the cable by means of two grooved wheels (13) with a rolling surface lined in rubber. One of them is idle, while the other provides the traction using a chain and sprockets mechanism driven by the user's feet (11).

The vehicle has a mechanism to hang properly from the cable, comprising a set of “V” shaped guides (14), which align the grooved wheels of the vehicle (13) with the cable (1) in case of incorrect alignment or jumping out of track, this mechanism is found at the bottom and at each side of the grooved wheels. This mechanism forms a “V” which allows the vehicle to keep the optimal alignment with the cable without using moving parts. This mechanism is also designed to allow the free passage of the vehicle through the brackets (FIG. 4).

The “L” shaped brackets, supporting and providing tension to the cable route (1), are made of a rigid material which is strong enough to support the weight of the cable and of the vehicles like for example, welded metal. The brackets, at their lower open side have a ledge with a tab coupling flange (15) to support the cable (1).

Brackets are fixed by means of two cables to any type of natural element available like trees, rocks, etc., or if necessary, to any type of artificial element, such as poles, towers, constructions, etc. the system uses two different types of brackets, chosen depending on the direction in which the cable route (1) is to be laid-out.

The bracket with side support (2) is connected to the tensor cable (16) and to the positioning cable (17) in its closed side, that is, on the outer part of the long side of the “L”, which allows pulling the cable route (1) toward the closed side of the bracket, making the cable route turn in that direction. This is achieved by pulling the lateral tensor cable (16). Once the said cable has been fixed, the positioning cable (17) allows adjustment of the bracket so that it stays straight, thus allowing passage of the vehicle (FIG. 5).

The opposed support bracket (3) is connected to the opposed tensor cable (18) at the open side or internal part of the long side of the “L”, and the positioning cable (17) is connected to its closed side, that is, that the external part of the long side of the “L”, which allows pulling the cable line (1) toward the open side of the bracket, and making the cable route turn in that direction. This is achieved by pulling the opposed tensor cable (18). Once the said cable is fixed, the positioning cable (17) allows adjusting the bracket so that it remains straight, thus allowing passage of the vehicle (FIG. 6).

At their open side, brackets have a ledge with a tab coupling flange allowing them to support the cable (1). This coupling flange surrounds the cable and fixes it to the bracket with screws (19). This tab coupling flange allows for the brackets to be installed and removed from the cable easily and quickly, making it possible to maintain and repair the cable route in an efficient and economic manner (FIG. 7).

The brackets, the safety mechanism, and the mechanism for proper hanging are designed in such a way that they allow the vehicle to displace safely and continuously along the cable. The brackets support the cable on the side allowing the vehicle to pass. The mechanism to ensure proper hanging passes above the bracket, while the vehicle frame passes below the same (FIG. 4).

From the aforesaid, it can be affirmed that the features of the self-driven cable transportation system for persons used for the aerial panoramic observation of the environment, are unique and exclusive of same, as these have not been achieved by any other similar existing artifact.