Title:
Vision Augmentation System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A platform for attachment to a helmet having front chin strap mounting holes on opposite sides of the helmet has a center section adapted to support one or more items such as a headlamp or goggles. The platform also includes two side arms extending rearward from the center section and disposed along the opposite sides of the helmet when the platform is mounted on the helmet. The side arms of the platform are adjustable in length. The platform also includes a universal mounting plate for attachment to the platform center section and adapted to support either of two different types of night vision goggles. The platform may be mounted on different helmets having different front mounting hole configurations.



Inventors:
Dempsey, Christopher Martin (Tempe, AZ, US)
Harris, Christian J. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Stalzer, Christopher Michael (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/398792
Publication Date:
07/15/2010
Filing Date:
03/05/2009
Assignee:
BAE SYSTEMS AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE GROUP INC. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, ANDREW WARREN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kane Kessler P.C. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. Apparatus for attachment to a helmet having front chin strap mounting holes on opposite sides of the helmet, comprising: a platform including a center section adapted to support one or more items such as a headlamp or goggles, the platform also including two side arms extending rearward from the center section and disposed along the opposite sides of the helmet when the platform is mounted on the helmet; the side arms of the platform being adjustable in length.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein each side arm includes a fixed arm portion and a movable arm portion that is selectively lockable in different positions along the length of the fixed arm portion, the movable arm portion receiving a fastener into a front chin strap mounting hole of the helmet to secure the movable arm portion to the helmet thereby to secure the fixed arm portion to the helmet.

3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein the fixed arm portion of the platform has a series of locking teeth and the movable arm portion has an engagement member selectively engageable at different positions along the series of locking teeth thereby to lockably position the movable arm portion on the fixed arm portion at a selected position thereby to adjust the length of the side arm of the platform.

4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein the platform has a plurality of press fit nuts for supporting a plurality of different items at a plurality of different locations on the platform.

5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein the platform center section has openings adapted to receive items to be supported on the platform in a snap fit manner.

6. Apparatus for attachment to a helmet, comprising: a platform including a center section adapted to support one or more items such as a headlamp or goggles, the platform also including two side arms extending rearward from the center section and disposed along the sides of the helmet when the platform is mounted on the helmet; and a universal mounting plate for attachment to the platform center section and adapted to support either of two different types of night vision goggles.

7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the plate has first and second opposite major side surfaces, a first type of night vision goggle being securable on the first major side surface of the plate when the plate is attached to the platform center section, and a differently configured second type of night vision goggle being securable on the second major side surface of the plate when the plate is attached to the platform center section.

8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the plate is reversible and is adapted to support a first type of night vision goggle on the platform center section when the plate is in a first orientation relative to the platform center section and is adapted to support a differently configured second type of night vision goggle on the platform center section when the plate is in a second orientation relative to the platform center section.

9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the platform center section has a plate mounting portion including tracks adapted to slidably receive the plate in either one of first and second different orientations depending on whether the center section is to support a first type of night vision goggle or a second type of night vision goggle.

10. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the side arms include portions having fastener openings for receiving fasteners to secure the platform to front chin strap mounting holes of the helmet, the side arms being adjustable in length.

11. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the plate includes fastener openings for receiving fasteners to secure a night vision goggles to the plate.

12. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the platform has a plurality of press fit nuts for supporting a plurality of different items at a plurality of different locations on the platform.

13. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein the platform center section has openings adapted to receive items to be supported on the platform in a snap fit manner.

14. Apparatus for attachment either to a first helmet having a first front mounting hole configuration or to a second helmet having a different second front mounting hole configuration, or to a third helmet having no front mounting holes, each helmet also having front chin strap mounting holes, the apparatus comprising: a platform including a center section adapted to support one or more items such as a headlamp or goggles on the selected helmet, the platform also including two side arms extending rearward from the center section and disposed along the sides of the helmet when the platform is mounted on the a helmet, the side arms adapted to be secured to the front chin strap mounting holes of the selected helmet; the platform including a first slot in the platform center section for receiving a fastener through the first slot into the front mounting hole of the first helmet when the platform is to be mounted on the first helmet; the platform including a second slot in the platform center section spaced from the first slot for receiving a fastener through the second slot into the front mounting hole of the second helmet when the platform is to be mounted on the second helmet; and the platform center section including a strap attachment portion for attaching a strap to extend from the platform center section across the top of the third helmet to the rear brim of the third helmet when the platform is to be mounted on the third helmet.

15. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 wherein the first slot is spaced vertically from the second slot on the platform center section.

16. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 wherein the platform center section further includes a portion adapted to enable attachment of the platform center section to the front brim of the helmet to cooperate with the strap to help to secure the platform to the third helmet.

17. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 wherein the side arms include portions having fastener openings for receiving fasteners to secure the platform to front chin strap mounting holes of the helmet, the side arms being adjustable in length.

18. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 wherein the platform has a plurality of press fit nuts for supporting a plurality of different items at a plurality of different locations on the platform.

19. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 wherein the platform center section has openings adapted to receive items to be supported on the platform in a snap fit manner.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a non-provisional application of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/054,252, filed May 19, 2008, and claims the benefit of said application, and incorporates by reference the entire disclosure of said Application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Military personnel often need to carry items of equipment on their helmets. Such items may include night vision goggles, headlamps, communications equipment, etc. The helmets typically have a few mounting openings for supporting such items. This arrangement, however, does not lend itself to the user's being able to accommodate a large number of items mounted at different locations on the helmet, and to customize the mounting locations.

SUMMARY

A platform for attachment to a helmet having front chin strap mounting holes on opposite sides of the helmet has a center section adapted to support one or more items such as a headlamp or goggles. The platform also includes two side arms extending rearward from the center section and disposed along the opposite sides of the helmet when the platform is mounted on the helmet. The side arms of the platform are adjustable in length. The platform also includes a universal mounting plate for attachment to the platform center section and adapted to support either of two different types of night vision goggles. The platform may be mounted on different helmets having different front mounting hole configurations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a military helmet with which the attachment platform system of the present invention can be used;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing an attachment platform system to be used in mounting night vision goggles on the helmet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a platform that forms part of the attachment platform system of FIG. 2, shown mounted on the helmet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the platform of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of an adjustable length side arm of the platform of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is another exploded perspective view of the adjustable length side arm of FIG. 5, taken from the opposite side; and

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of the mounting plate of FIG. 2, shown in a reverse orientation;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an attachment platform and system. The invention is applicable to attachment platforms of various differing constructions and configurations. As representative of the invention, FIGS. 2-7 illustrate an attachment platform system 10 that is a first embodiment of the invention, including an attachment platform 12 (FIG. 2) illustrated in use with a helmet 13 (FIG. 1).

The attachment platform 12 is preferably made from a strong but lightweight plastic, such as polycarbonate or another suitable material. The color of the platform is preferably selected to match both the Woodland and the Desert versions of the US Military camouflage helmet covers.

Existing military helmets, such as the LWH helmet and the ACH/MICH helmet, may have front mounting holes at different locations. (The helmet 13 shown in the drawings is a composite of the LWH and or the ACH/MICH helmets, as the drawings show the front mounting holes for both.) The platform 12 is adapted, as described below, to be mounted on either the LWH or the ACH/MICH helmet, as described below. In addition, the platform 12 can be mounted on a helmet that does not have any front mounting hole.

Both the LWH helmet and the ACH/MICH helmet (FIG. 1) have front and rear suspension (or chin strap) mounting holes 14 on each side. In addition, the LWH helmet has one front mounting hole 16 on the front. The ACH/MICH helmet is similarly provided with a front mounting hole 18 at a different location (spaced vertically from the hole 16).

The platform 12 has a center section 20 and two side arms 30. The platform 12 can be secured to the ACH helmet using a screw (not shown) through a first slot 32 in the platform center section 20 and into the ACH hole 18. (The platform side arms 30 are also secured, in a manner as described below.) The length of the first slot 32 enables adjustability of the platform center 20 section, on the selected helmet 13, in a vertical direction, to fit different sizes and styles of helmets.

The platform 12 can alternatively be secured to the MICH helmet using a screw (not shown) through a second slot 34 in the center section 20 and into the MICH hole 16. (The side arms 30 are also secured, in a manner as described below.) The length of the second slot 34 enables adjustability of the platform center section 20, on the helmet 13, in a vertical direction, to fit different sizes and styles of helmets.

Some helmets do not have any front mounting holes. In that case, a strap system is used. Specifically, an adjustable chin strap or other strap (not shown) can be fitted through a slot 36 in the top of the platform center section 20, extending over the crown of the helmet 13 and hooking onto the back brim (not shown) of the helmet. Also, the platform center section 20 has a lower portion 38 to attach an optional hook that engages underneath the front brim of the helmet. This acts as a stop to enable the top strap to be pulled tight, thereby securing the platform center section 20 to the helmet 13.

The platform side arms 30 are disposed at the back and sides of the center section 20. The side arms 30 are adjustable in length to accommodate different helmet sizes and styles. The two side arms 30 are similar in configuration; specifically, they are mirror images of each other. Therefore, only one side arm 30 is described here.

Each side arm 30 (FIGS. 5 and 6) has an end portion 40 with a series of locking teeth 42 on its inner side surface 44. Each arm 30 has a slot 46 in its end portion 40 that can allow a fastener 48 to extend through, from outside to inside, to enable movement of the arm relative to the helmet 13 when the fastener is loosened.

A clip assembly 50 is associated with the side arm 30 for enabling adjustment of the length of the side arm. The clip assembly 50 includes two clips 52 and 54. The two clips 52 and 54 are located on the arm end portion 40, with the inner clip 52 extending over the locking teeth 42. The inner and outer clips 52 and 54 both have circular holes 56 for receiving the shank of the screw 48. The inner clip 52 has a tongue 58 that is engageable with the series of locking teeth 42. The end portion 40 of the arm 30 is offset outwardly from the plane of the side arm 30, adjacent a shoulder 59. This offset allows the inner clip 52 to be introduced (positioned) between the side arm 30 and the helmet 13.

In use, the inner and outer clips 52 and 54 are placed on the inner and outer side surfaces, respectively, of the platform side arm 30. The shank of the screw 48 is placed through the circular opening 56 in the outer clip 54, through the slot 46 in the side arm 30, through the circular opening 56 in the inner clip 52, and into the front chin strap mounting opening 14 (FIG. 1) in the helmet 13. When the screw 48 is tightened, the screw fixes the clips 52 and 54 in position on the helmet 13, relative to each other and to the helmet.

When the screw 48 is tightened, it also causes the tongue 58 on the inner clip 52 to engage firmly in the locking teeth 42 of the side arm 30 of the platform center section 20. As a result, the clip assembly 50 is secured in position relative to the side arm 30. Because the clips 52 and 54 are fixed in position on the helmet 13, this engagement also secures the platform side arm 30 in position on the helmet.

Because there are a series of locking teeth 42 spaced along the side arm 30 in a front to back direction, the clip assembly 50 can selectively engage the side arm at different locations in the front to back direction. With one clip assembly 50 on each side arm 30 of the platform 12 (on each side of the helmet 13), this effectively provides variable length side arms, and thus a large range of adjustability in the front to back direction, between the platform center section 20 and the helmet 13. Accordingly, the platform 12 can be adjusted to fit the different helmet sizes that are available, as well as different helmet styles.

The side arm end portion 40 constitutes a fixed arm portion of the platform 12 that is fixed in position relative to the platform center section 20. The clip assembly 50 constitutes a movable arm portion of the platform 12 that is selectively positionable along the length of the fixed arm portion 40, and thus relative to the platform center section 20. As a result, the adjustment of the length of the side arms 30 adjusts the position (distance) of the platform center section 20 relative to the front chin strap mounting holes 14 of the helmet 13. A tongue 63 engages in a slot 61 to prevent the side arm 30 from pulling away from the fastener 48.

The platform center section 20 has a portion 60 (FIGS. 2 and 4) defining a pocket or recess 62 for receiving a universal mounting plate 70 for supporting night vision goggles. Tracks 64 are located on either side of the recess 62. The platform system 10 includes the universal mounting plate 70, which is adapted to be secured to the portion 60 of the platform 12 in either one of two different orientations thereby to support either a Wilcox style NVG or a Norotos style NVG on the platform.

The universal mounting plate (or adapter) 70 is adapted to support at least two different kinds of NVGs (NVG) on the helmet 13, without the need for extra loose parts to adapt the platform to the specific NVG. Specifically, the plate 70 is a reversible plate that can be mounted in one of two different orientations on the platform center section 20, to accommodate the two styles of NVG that are commonly in useā€”the Wilcox style, and the Norotos style, which have different mounting features from each other.

The configuration of the plate 70 on one major side surface 72 is different from the configuration on the opposite major side surface 74. Each one of the two sides 72 and 74 is configured to adapt and interfit specially with a respective one of the Wilcox style 76 and the Norotos style (not shown) NVG's. The plate 70 has four NVG securement screw holes 78, and two plate securement screw holes 80. The plate 70 also has two ribs 82 on the long sides. The ribs 82 are adapted to fit into and slide along the tracks 64 on the center section 20 of the platform 12.

To mount the Wilcox style NVG 76, the plate 70 is removed from the section and is oriented as shown in FIG. 2 relative to the NVG 76. Then, four screws 84 are passed from the back of the plate 70 through the opening 78 into the NVG 76. The NVG 76 is thus secured to the plate 70. The assembly of the NVG 76 and the plate 70 is then slid down into the tracks 64 on the platform center section 20, and secured with two screws 86 (FIG. 2) extending through the openings 80 into the platform center section 20. The front of the plate 70 lies flush with the plastic housing of the NVG 76; thus, the full vertical travel of the NVG is still permitted.

To mount the Norotos style NVG (not shown), the plate 70 is removed from the platform 12 and is reversed so that it is oriented as shown in FIG. 7. The plate 70 is then slid down (not shown) into the tracks 64 on the platform center section 20, and secured with the two screws 86. The plate 70 is thus in a reverse orientation on the platform 12 as compared to mounting for the Wilcox NVG. The plate 70, on its side 74 (FIG. 7), has mounting features that enable the Norotos NVG to snap onto the plate, after the plate has thus been mounted on the platform center section 20.

The front platform section 20 also includes, to either side of the NVG mounting portion 60, a pair of openings 90. These openings 90 can be used to support other items that are appropriate for the front of a helmet, such as a light, etc. The items can be clipped onto, snap fit, or otherwise secured to the platform 12 at these locations 90. Alternatively, separate adapters (not shown) can be provided that are specially configured to fit (for example snap fit) securely in the openings 90, and that are specially configured to receive and support one or more items. Further, these openings 90 can be left open, thus reducing the weight of the front platform section 20 as compared to a solid front section. Still further, these openings 90 can be closed, leaving a solid area suitable for mounting additional items.

The platform may include a press fit nut attachment system, an example of which is illustrated in FIG. 4. The system includes a plurality of nuts 92 that are press fit into the material of the platform 12. The nuts 92 are preferably located in recesses (not shown) in the back side or inside surface (facing the helmet) of the platform 12. At each recess, a through hole 96 extends between the outer surface of the platform and the recess. The through hole 96 enables a headed threaded fastener (not shown) to extend from outside the platform 12, through an item to be attached and through the platform 12, and screw into the nut 84, to clamp the item to the platform 12.

The recesses are preferably complementary in configuration to the nuts 92. For example, the nuts 92 shown in FIG. 4 are hexagonal, as are the recesses. As a result, when the nuts 92 are press fit in the recesses, they are prevented from rotating relative to the platform 12.

Recesses and nuts 92 can be located at various places on the platform 12. They can be located at predetermined places for mounting specific items in those specific places, as shown in the example of FIG. 4. Alternatively, a number of the press fit nuts 92 can be located elsewhere on the platform 12. This allows the user to customize where the user wants to mount an item on the platform 12; the user is not restricted to placing a given item in a given location on the platform section.





 
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