Title:
Personal floating system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A personal anti-drowning system comprising an inflatable body suit and inflating means: the inflatable body suit being fabricated from a water and air resistant fabric wherein at least part of the inflatable body suit comprises air tight inflatable pockets.



Inventors:
Carl, Nechama (Jerusalem, IL)
Application Number:
12/221271
Publication Date:
02/05/2009
Filing Date:
08/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
128/201.11, 441/98, 441/102, 441/105
International Classes:
B63C9/105; B63C11/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VASUDEVA, AJAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT G. LEV (YOUNGSTOWN, OH, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A personal anti-drowning system comprising an inflatable body suit and inflating means: said inflatable body suit being fabricated from a water and air resistant fabric wherein at least part of said inflatable body suit comprises air tight inflatable pockets.

2. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein said inflatable body suit separately encases distal body limbs, such that movement of arms and/or legs of person therein, causes corresponding movement of sleeves and/or leggings of the inflatable body suit.

3. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein a person therein is able to walk relatively unhindered when the body suit is not inflated.

4. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein a person therein is able to walk in said inflated body suit.

5. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein said body suit is closable by a zip.

6. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein said body suit includes a transparent canopy over face of person therein.

7. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 6, wherein said transparent canopy is fabricated from a clear polymeric sheet.

8. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 6, wherein said inflated body suit includes a snorkel, allowing person within said inflated body suit to breath air therethrough.

9. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein, due to gravity thereon, a person therein naturally assumes a face upward floating position.

10. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein said inflating means includes a blow tube for manual inflation of said airtight inflatable pockets thereby.

11. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1, wherein said inflating means includes a source of gas.

12. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 11, wherein said source of gas is a compressed gas cylinder.

13. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 11, wherein said source of gas is a dense chemical that reacts with water to release prodigious quantities of gas.

14. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 13, wherein said dense chemical is selected from the list of solids and liquids.

15. The personal anti-drowning system of claim 1 further comprising an enhancement selected from the list of: (a) a catch for towing thereby; (b) a dye means for dying water therearound; (c) a shark repellant; (d) a light source; (e) a GPS; (f) signal flares. (g) emergency rations selected from the list comprising drinking water, vitamin supplements, food and mineral supplements; (h) a dynamo; (i) propulsion means; (j) steering means; (k) communication means; (l) navigating means, and (m) a snorkel.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to providing a personal floating life support system to protect and prevent persons from drowning.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sea-craft and aircraft provided with life-vests, so that should craft sink, persons thereon may take advantage of life-vests and stay afloat until located by rescuers.

Although in wide use, and, in many instances required by law, such life-vests are limited in their effectiveness as life support means, since, although they effectively prevent persons from sinking, and also are fairly effective in keeping conscious persons' mouth and nose out of the water, and thereby preventing drowning, persons not fished out of the water fairly quickly tend to suffer from hypothermia, resulting in death in a matter of minutes to hours, depending on the water temperature, fitness of the person, and the like.

There is thus a need for a floating lifesaving system to prevent drowning, that overcomes the problem of hypothermia, and the present invention is directed to providing such a system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect, the present invention is directed to providing a personal anti-drowning system comprising an inflatable body suit and inflating means: said inflatable body suit being fabricated from a water resistant and air resistant fabric wherein at least part of said inflatable body suit comprises air tight inflatable pockets.

Preferably, the inflatable body suit separately encases distal body limbs, such that movement of arms and/or legs of person therein, cause corresponding movement of sleeves and/or leggings of the inflatable body suit.

Optionally and preferably, the person therein is able to walk relatively unhindered when the body suit is not inflated. Preferably, the person therein is also able to walk in the inflated body suit.

Typically, the inflatable body suit is closable by a zip.

In one embodiment the body suit includes a transparent canopy over face of person therein, typically fabricated from a clear polymeric sheet. Furthermore, the inflated body suit may include a snorkel, allowing person within said inflated body suit to breath air therethrough.

Due to gravity thereon, a person within the body suit typically naturally assumes a face upward floating position.

The inflating means may include a blow tube for manual inflation of said airtight inflatable pockets thereby. Preferably however, the inflating means includes a source of gas, such as a cylinder of compressed gas for example. Additionally or alternatively, the source of gas is a dense chemical (solid or liquid) that reacts with water to release prodigious quantities of gas.

The personal anti-drowning system preferably includes at least one of the refinements selected from the list of:

(a) a catch for towing thereby;

(b) a dye means for dying water therearound;

(c) a shark repellant;

(d) a light source;

(e) a GPS;

(f) signal flares.

(g) emergency rations, such as drinking water, vitamin supplements, food and mineral supplements and the like;

(h) a dynamo;

(i) propulsion means;

(j) steering means;

(k) communication means;

(l) navigating means, and

(m) a snorkel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the invention and to show how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, to the accompanying drawings.

With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention; the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice. In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is an isometric projection of a personal anti-drowning system of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows the personal anti-drowning system of FIG. 1, with a person therein, floating in the sea;

FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of one inflating means for the personal anti-drowning system of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a person encapsulated within a second embodiment of a personal anti-drowning system of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is directed to providing a personal anti-drowning system. Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown, in isometric projection, a first embodiment of the invention comprising an inflatable body suit 10 for protecting a human being, henceforth a person 12. The inflatable body suit 10 has sleeves 14L, 14R appended thereto, for encasing the left and right arms of the person 12 therein, and similarly, has leggings 16L, 16R appended thereto, for encasing the left and right legs of the person 12 therein. In this manner, the distal body limbs of the person 12 encased therein are free to move, thereby causing movement of the sleeves 14L, 14R and leggings 16L, 16R of the inflatable body suit 10.

The inflatable body suit 10 is fabricated from a water resistant and air resistant fabric. The suit panels are compartmentalized into air-tight inflatable pockets 18, 20, 22, 24, similar to the sections of an air mattress, such that a puncture or tear in the body suit, will only result in loss of pressure in a limited section, minimizing the likelihood of sinking.

It will be appreciated that since the body suit 10 conforms to the limbs, a person 12 will be able to shuffle along therein, along the deck of a boat, perhaps. Furthermore, prior to inflation of the body suit 10, a person 12 encased therein, will be able to walk relatively unhindered.

Typically, the body suit will be fastened by a zip fastener 26, providing an easily openable and closable join. Alternatively, other fastening means such as buttons, press-studs, toggles, or Velcro may be used. Optionally, the seams and fastening means are watertight, but this is not actually necessary, since by virtue of the air pockets, the body suit is kept afloat.

Although, the suit need not cover hands and feet, to prevent these body extremities from coming into contact with the seawater, and to minimize the likelihood of hypothermia in consequence, the body suit typically encloses these as well. Similarly, preferably a transparent canopy 28 is provided to shield the face of the person 12 therein. The transparent canopy 28 may be fabricated from a clear polymeric sheet material such as polyethylene, for example, but may also be tinted to provide protection from the sun, typically to the eyes.

Preferably a light source 30 is provided. This may be a flashing light or steady light, and may be white, red or any other color. The light may be provided by a battery power supply, or electrodes of differing metals, such as copper and zinc, may be provided, that are immersed in the water therearound, to provide an electrical current thereby. Such a light source greatly increases the likelihood of the person 12 being spotted by a searching boat, helicopter or airplane, and, facilitates rescue searches being carried out at night and in other conditions of poor visibility.

Typically to further aid visibility, the body suit will be fabricated, at least in part, from a fluorescent or a reflective material. Other means of increasing visibility are preferably provided, such as fluorescent or coloured dyes that may be intentionally released by person 12, or automatically released into water by being encapsulated in a slow dissolving casing, for example. Similarly, flares and/or other signaling means may be provided. To facilitate rescue, the body suit 10 typically includes a catch 32, such as a loop, enabling the body suit 10 to be engaged to a boat hook or a towrope, for example. In preferred embodiments, individual body suits may be attached together by such loops or similar attachment means, facilitating mutual support and ease of rescue.

As shown in FIG. 2, by virtue of the design, a person 12 within the body suit 10 of the personal anti-drowning system, naturally assumes a face upward floating position, and will float upon the waves of the sea 40. In this manner, the person 12 therein is above the water, insulated therefrom by two layers of plastic and air cushions therebetween. In consequence, the person's 12 body is better able to conserve body heat, than with conventional life jackets, wherewith the body is mostly immersed in water, which sucks out body heat and induces hypothermia and death. By providing full body protection and due to the encapsulation of the person within, the personal anti-drowning system of the present invention provides protection against sun and wind, effectively minimizing the likelihood of dehydration. Furthermore, the person 12 is protected from the chilling effect of the rain and is thus effectively cocooned from the elements. It will be appreciated however, that where calm weather conditions prevail, the person 12 within the body suit 10 is able to unfasten the part of the body suit covering the torso, and will be able to sit up and review his surroundings, look out for land, other survivors or rescuers. Thus a crewmember or passenger of a sinking yacht 42, has a greatly increased likelihood of survival. It will also be appreciated, that insurance premiums will drop significantly, as the likelihood of survival is greatly increased.

With reference to FIG. 3, the personal anti-drowning system typically includes an automatic inflation subsystem 50, for inflating the body suit 12. This will usually include a source of gas, such as a compressed gas cylinder 52, closed by a valve 54, that, if opened, allows compressed gas therein, to escape and expand down conduits 56 to the air cushions 18, 20, 22, 24 . . . of the body suit 10.

Compressed gas may be released from the gas cylinder 52, by manually opening valve 54, by pressing on a release mechanism 58, for example. This might drive a pin 60 into the gas cylinder 52, overcoming the resistive force exerted by a spring 62. Preferably, an automatic release means 70 is provided for activating valve 54, for automatically releasing compressed gas and inflating air cushion of body suit when suit is immersed in water, so that even if person 12 is unconscious or paralyzed, the body suit 10 will inflate, preventing person 12 therein from drowning.

By way of example only, such an automatic release means 70 might include a power supply 72 such as an electrochemical cell, sensors 74 for determining presence of water and for automatically closing circuit if system is immersed in water, other electronic components 76 such as transistors, such that if sensors 74 detect presence of water, an electromagnet 78 will be activated, thereby activating valve 54. Typically and preferably, a circuit-breaking switch 80 will be provided to override the automatic release means 70.

It will be appreciated however, that the body suit 10 of the personal anti-drowning system might be inflated by gas originating elsewhere. For example, the air cushions might include or be connected to a reservoir containing a dense chemical (solid or liquid) that reacts with water to release prodigious quantities of gas, and be inflated thereby. Suitable gas releasing chemical means are known, and will not be described further herein.

Instead of the means described hereinabove, or in addition thereto, the airtight inflatable pockets of the body suit 12 of the personal anti-drowning system maybe manually inflated via a blow tube.

The body suit 10 described above need not be hermetically sealed, and should water be shipped thereinto, the person 12 therein will get a little wet, but, by virtue of the aircushions, the person 12 will be insulated and isolated form the sea itself, and will not loose too much body heat thereby.

The basic personal anti-drowning system is capable of modification and variation, and specific embodiments, may vary somewhat from that described above. Thus with reference to FIG. 4, a more sophisticated anti-drowning system 100 is shown having many optional features and enhancements, wherein the body suit 110 is almost a little dingy, allowing a person 112 there within to be quite comfortable. Such a system might have other uses than simply life saving, and might be used for research purposes, or by the military, for example. In addition to a gas cylinder 152 for the inflation thereof, and lamp 130 for signaling position thereof, many other features may be included. Thus, the more sophisticated anti-drowning system 100 may include a snorkel 114 thereby allowing person 112 encased within the body suit 110 to breath air therethrough, such a snorkel 114 may include a valve means 115 to prevent water from entering the space within the body suit 110. A global positioning system (GPS) 117 may be included for signaling the absolute position (latitude-longitude) of the anti-drowning system 100, further facilitating location and rescue. Emergency rations may be provided, such as drinking water 108, food 109 and vitamin and/or mineral supplements. Soluble, slow releasing chemicals 118 including shark repellant for repelling sharks and colored dyes for staining the water to aid location, may be provided, as may signal flares 120. Affixed to the catch 132 a tow hook 134 may be provided, for enabling, inter alia, linking up with other body suits 110, for keeping families together, and for facilitating rescue.

Even an internal light 113 might be provided to enable the person 112 within to read, and a sub posterior void for accumulation of human excretia.

Indeed, the person 112 within might be provided with a magnet compass and/or other navigating tools, and the system 100 might include a propeller 106 linked by a transmission means 105 to a pedal(s) 104 or pedals within the system 100 for propulsion through the water, and a rudder 107 for steering purposes. Other refinements such as a hand-operated dynamo 115 might be provided for powering the various systems, and a telecommunication system 119 for communication with the outside world.

Thus persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and includes both combinations and subcombinations of the various features described hereinabove as well as variations and modifications thereof, which would occur to persons skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description.

In the claims, the word “comprise”, and variations thereof such as “comprises”, “comprising” and the like indicate that the components listed are included, but not generally to the exclusion of other components.