Title:
ABOVE-GROUND, COMPACT, MULTI-PURPOSE POOL FOR PRACTICING STATIONARY SWIMMING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An above-ground, compact, multi-purpose pool, particularly for practicing stationary swimming has three portions that make up a compact unit or are arranged so as to be assembled to form a compact unit. The three portions include a pool capable of containing a volume of water and comprising a bottom, two longitudinal walls, and two end walls; a dressing/undressing and/or showering cabin placed on one side of the pool; and a chamber placing said cabin in communication with the pool. The chamber includes an upper space mounted on the portion of the pool that is adjacent to said cabin, as well as two side walls, a front wall, and a covering wall. The front wall has an opening in communication with the free space above the pool, wherein the opening is provided with a door.



Inventors:
Mayaud, Christophe (Sorgues, FR)
Application Number:
13/203552
Publication Date:
01/26/2012
Filing Date:
02/25/2010
Assignee:
MAYAUD CHRISTOPHE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SKUBINNA, CHRISTINE J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Egbert, McDaniel & Swartz, PLLC (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
1. Aboveground, compact, multipurpose pool, more particularly intended for practicing stationary swimming, characterized in that it includes three parts constituting a compact unit or arranged so it can be assembled by forming a compact unit, these three parts comprising: a basin suitable for containing a volume of water and having a bottom, two longitudinal walls, and two end walls; a changing cabin and/or shower adjoined to one of the said walls of the basin; and a chamber establishing communication between this cabin and the basin, this chamber comprising an upper space surmounting the portion of the basin adjacent to said cabin and being delimited by two lateral walls, a fore wall and a covering wall, said fore wall having an opening that communicates with the free space above the basin, this opening being equipped with a door.

2. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, characterized in that that changing cabin and/or shower is adjoined to one of the end walls of the basin and the upper space of the chamber surmounts the end portion of said basin adjacent to said cabin.

3. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, characterized in that said door of the chamber has two leaves controlled by an automatic closure system.

4. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, characterized in that the lower portion of the door or of each leaf of said door, is equipped with a flexible strip that descends into the upper portion of the basin.

5. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, characterized in that the basin has, when viewed from above, an irregular octagonal shape comprising two large parallel, or approximately parallel, sides corresponding to the longitudinal walls of said basin, whose front and rear walls comprise three surfaces connected to one another and to said longitudinal walls while forming angles, the three surfaces constituting the front wall or fore wall of the basin being inclined in the direction of the bottom of this latter.

6. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, of the continuous overflow type, characterized in that the upper edge of the lateral walls of the basin has a rounded profile, preferably semicircular or appreciably semicircular.

7. Aboveground pool according to claim 6, characterized in that the upper edge of the basin is ringed by an exterior peripheral gutter for collecting overflowing water and quickly directing the water into the recycling system, this gutter being provided to serve as a buffer reservoir.

8. Aboveground pool according to claim 7, characterized in that it has an auxiliary reservoir adjoined to the rear end of the basin and into which the peripheral gutter flows, said auxiliary reservoir being connected to the pool's recycling system.

9. Aboveground pool according to claim 6, characterized in that it has two nozzles connected to the exterior peripheral gutter or to the auxiliary reservoir and obliquely oriented toward the exterior with respect to the longitudinal axis of the basin so that they participate in the creation and reinforcement of water currents.

10. Aboveground pool according to claim 7, characterized in that the gutter is equipped with a floating insulation system that can limit heat loss to the open air.

11. Aboveground pool according to claim 6, characterized in that its lateral walls are equipped with retractable wings, which, when raised, are directed into the gutter.

12. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, characterized in that at least the center portion of the front wall of the basin includes at least one glass pane or glass panel.

13. Aboveground pool according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises a dynamic retention device that, in combination with the shape of the basin, enables stationary swimming, whereby the user can swim continuously without constant changes in direction being required, this retention device comprising a flexible elastic connector one of whose ends is connected to a harness intended to be attached to the swimmer and whose other end is arranged so it can be attached, preferably removably, to the rear wall of the pool or to a fixed point placed in proximity to said wall.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED U.S. APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

NAMES OF PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO AN APPENDIX SUBMITTED ON COMPACT DISC

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention concerns an above-ground, compact, multipurpose pool for practicing stationary swimming, for leisure activities (relaxation, water sports, etc.), competitive training, conditioning and toning, reeducation, therapy, and so on.

More specifically, the invention relates to an above-ground, compact, micro-pool suitable for being transported and moved by means of currently available lightweight machinery or equipment, and suitable for both exterior and interior use, for example, in a house or apartment, with a small volume of water (for example, on the order of 5 m3 for a small basin). According to another embodiment, this micro-pool can be mounted on wheels and moved from place to place by means of a tractor vehicle, similarly to a trailer or camper.

2. Description of Related Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98.

Pools of very small size, intended primarily for stationary swimming by an individual continue to remain speculative, and the various designs that have been proposed to date have failed to result in promising implementations, primarily because of the failure to resolve problems that this type of article presents, such as, for example: discomfort whenever used when the room temperature is low; no way to prevent water from projecting in all directions in the pool environment; lack of sensations comparable to those procured by swimming in large pools; and the difficulty of keeping the swimmer in the center and along the axis of the basin.

A small basin for practicing stationary swimming provided with a roof or protective dome that opens to allow the swimmer to enter the basin has already been proposed (for example, WO 01/12123 and WO 2004/012827). In this case, while proposing a pool enclosed by a dome or cover that opens may offer a means to prevent water from projecting around the basin, it does not eliminate the discomfort that would inevitably result from use when room temperature is low. Moreover, because the basin is completely enclosed by a covering, the swimmer is confined to a very restricted enclosed space and may experience anxiety from such confinement.

Different means have been proposed for keeping the swimmer in the center and along the axis of the basin. For example, in the aforementioned WO 01/12123 document, it is proposed that the swimmer be attached to a ventral support attached to the bottom and in the center of the basin, whereas, according to GB 2,382,525 and WO 2004/012827, it is proposed that the swimmer be connected by means of two flexible tethers to the opposed longitudinal walls of the pool. The drawback of these arrangements is that they immobilize the swimmer in the center of the pool without providing the sensation of moving within a basin of considerable length. To overcome this drawback, WO 2004/012827 proposes that, by means of channels arranged in the pool's longitudinal walls, the flow of water created by the swimmer's movements will be returned to the front of the pool. However, such a method requires that the pool be constructed in a very specific manner and its cost thereby becomes prohibitively high.

Arrangements to the upper edge of pools for stationary swimming, to prevent splashing, are described, for example, in GB 2,382,525 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,787,519. According to GB 2,382,525, the upper edge of the pool has a concave deflective shape intended to break the waves and a smooth peak, whereas, according to U.S. Pat. No. 5,787,519, the upper edge of the infinity pool consists of an appreciably triangular rim or lip surrounded by a peripheral gutter that collects the overflow water. The results obtained from these two arrangements are very unsatisfactory.

An object of the invention is to overcome the drawbacks and inadequacies of micro-pools or small pools for practicing stationary swimming, belonging to the prior art, and make available to groups, or professionals, or individuals a pool of modest dimensions that affords considerable comfort during use and minimum operating cost.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first characteristic arrangement, the above-ground pool according to the invention has three parts constituting a compact unit, or arranged in such a way that they can be assembled to form a compact unit, those three parts comprising: a basin suitable for containing a volume of water and having a bottom, two longitudinal walls, and two end walls; a changing cabin and/or shower adjoined to one of the sides of the basin; and a chamber communicating with this cabin and comprising an upper space surmounting the part of the basin adjacent to said cabin and delimited by two lateral walls, a fore wall, and a covering wall, said fore wall having an opening that communicates with the free space above the basin, wherein this opening is provided with a door.

It can be appreciated from such an arrangement that the basin is covered by an overhanging chamber, for example over approximately the rear quarter of its length, and that the swimmer can thus be isolated in the heated cabin to undress and then enter the basin; or exit the water subsequently to dress, by first crossing the chamber, also heated, without coming into contact with the surrounding cold air, this arrangement being suitable for use in all weather when outdoors or simply to provide maximum comfort when used indoors.

According to a preferred embodiment, the basin, when viewed from above, has an irregular octagonal shape comprising two large, parallel, or approximately parallel sides, corresponding to the longitudinal walls of said basin, whose front and rear walls consist of three surfaces, connected to one another and to said longitudinal walls by forming angles of 120°, or in the vicinity of 120°; and where the three surfaces forming the front or fore wall of the basin are inclined in the direction of the bottom of this latter.

Because of this conformation, the swimming movements of the swimmer result in the creation and maintenance of natural flows of water along the longitudinal walls of the basin, in the direction of the fore wall of the latter, from which they are redirected and collected to form a current whose direction is opposite that of the swimmer. This natural circulation of water provides the sensation of swimming in a much larger pool.

According to another characteristic arrangement, the pool is of the infinity type and its upper peripheral edge has a rounded profile, for example, semicircular, or appreciably semicircular, over its entire length.

The effect of this arrangement is, on the one hand, to enable the waves produced by the swimmer to “roll” against the rounded edges of the basin, thus avoiding their projection outside the latter and, on the other hand, to eliminate the phenomena of disorderly splashing and resonance, which amplifies the wave, which could be rapidly created and affect swimming.

According to another characteristic arrangement, the upper edge of the basin is surrounded by an exterior peripheral gutter for collecting overflow water and rapidly directing the water to the customary recycling system, the dimensions of said gutter being such as to constitute a buffer reservoir. On the other hand, because of this characteristic, air bubbles generated by the swimmer's movements are freed and eliminated along the water's return path before it is reintroduced into the basin, which avoids the introduction of turbid water with a frothy appearance into same.

According to another characteristic arrangement, the compact pool according to the invention comprises a dynamic retention device that, in combination with the specially designed shape of the basin, allows for stationary swimming during which the user can swim continuously, at his own pace, without being forced to make incessant changes in direction, as in open water, this retention device having a flexible elastic link one of whose ends is connected to a harness intended to be attached to the swimmer and whose other end is designed so that it can be attached, preferably in removable fashion, to the rear wall of the pool or to a fixed point arranged in proximity to said wall.

According to another characteristic arrangement, at least the central part of the front wall of the pool includes, along at least a portion of its height, of at least one glass panel or other transparent surface.

Because of this arrangement, it is possible to observe the swimmer beneath the water from the outside, while the swimmer can have a view of the outside.

The swimmer's progress in the water can be viewed, for example, by means of a camera that when coupled: to a TFT monitor with integrated video circuit, can be used to automatically control and automatically correct, in real time, the swimming movements of the swimmer; or to a remote transmission system can be used to monitor children when swimming.

Said transparent central portion, in a more play-oriented context, can also allow the swimmer to display a film or television program, or view his computer, controlled from the cabin or Internet (in fixed mode) while he trains.

In addition to the customary pool equipment, such as, for example, a recycling, water processing, and heating system, the pool according to the invention can incorporate various modifications or equipment providing benefits or interesting results, or extending its fields of application. For example:

    • a system for measuring the effort expended, swim time, movement, and so on, coupled to the swimmer's dynamic retention system and enabling remote measurement of performance to be monitored live;
    • a hi-fi system for listening to music when on the surface;
    • a computer screen and television installed in front of the glass fore wall for viewing video cassettes, DVDs, television programs, and so on;
    • a watertight UHF helmet connected to the swimmer for individual listening, for example, to access multimedia while swimming;
    • a satellite link system between the video screen and the demodulator satellite, VHF, digital television, and so on, of the home;
    • a camera installed next to the television screen and connected to it so the swimmer can see himself and correct his movements in real time; this same camera can also be used for remote surveillance from the family television;
    • installation, in the cabin, of a computer screen, television display, refrigerator, sauna, treadmill, and so on.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above objectives, characteristics, and advantages, and others as well, can be better appreciated from the detailed description that follows and the attached drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, with a partial cutaway, of an embodiment of the above-ground, compact, multipurpose pool according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the pool;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section of the pool;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section of the basin;

FIG. 5 is a detail view and longitudinal section of the front end of the basin;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the basin, illustrating the natural water current created and maintained by the swimmer's movements while swimming.

Reference is made to said drawings in describing an example of a preferred, although not limiting, embodiment of the above-ground, compact, multipurpose pool according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This compact pool is more particularly remarkable in that it includes an autonomous one-piece unit that can be moved without disassembly, comprising: a basin 1 capable of containing a volume of water and having a bottom 1A, two longitudinal walls 1B and two end walls 1C and 1D; a changing cabin 2 adjoining one of the sides of the pool; and a chamber 3 establishing the communication between cabin 2 and basin 1, this chamber comprising an upper space 4 surmounting part l′ of the basin adjacent to said cabin and being delimited by two lateral walls 3A, a covering wall 3B, and a fore wall 5, this latter having an opening that communicates with the free space arranged above the basin, this opening being equipped with a door 6. Preferably, the basin has an elongated shape, and the changing cabin is adjoined to one of the small sides or end of the pool, which will by convention be referred to as the “rear end” in the remainder of the description, and the upper space of the chamber surmounts the end portion 1′ of the basin adjacent to said cabin, which is thus isolated from the basin.

According to another embodiment, the micro-pool according to the invention can include three parts (basin 1, cabin 2, chamber 3) arranged in such a way that they can be easily and quickly assembled to form a compact unit after assembly.

Advantageously, cabin 2 is equipped with heating means that may include any appropriate device consistent with regulatory requirements and that includes the customary hardware of a changing room. It can also contain other equipment that serves diverse needs, as indicated above, such as a shower, chemical toilet, refrigerator, changing table, and so on.

Cabin 2 is equipped with an access door 2a equipped with an opening system 2b that operates by the introduction of a card, which may be personalized (bank card, association member card, or some other card), or a token.

Alternatively, it can be equipped with a conventional opening system (handle or other means).

Chamber 3 is also heated, for example, by the same device that heats cabin 2, or by a separate device.

Chamber 3 is placed above a rear portion l′ of the basin, for example, over approximately the rear quarter of its total length, which can represent a projection on the order of 80 cm above the surface of the water.

The front door of the chamber may include two door leaves 6A, 6B, each of which is connected to an automatic closure system, which is known per se. The lower part of leaves 6A, 6B is equipped with a flexible strip 6C, which descends into the upper part of the basin, for example, for several centimeters, these strips providing a seal for the chamber in the presence of cold air.

A flexible curtain 16 can suitably be installed above the rear wall 1D to establish a separation between the end portion l′ of the basin and cabin 2, thereby preventing water from projecting into said cabin.

Basin 1 is of reduced dimensions. For example, its dimensions are such that a large swimmer can engage in swimming motions (for example, breaststroke, butterfly stroke, or backstroke) in perfect comfort. For example, it may have a length on the order of 3 m to 3.6 m, a width on the order of 1.10 m to 2 m, and a depth on the order of 0.90 m to 1.20 m, the entire compact pool having an overall volume on the order of 2 m×2 m×5.2 m. These dimensions may vary but must remain within the range of “domestic” sizes so said units can be housed in a reduced space, such as a small garden, a garage, massage room, and so on.

The basin is made of a material endowed with heat-insulating qualities and the thickness of the lateral walls is significant (on the order of 10 cm).

In a more particularly interesting manner, the invention is applicable to infinity pools. In this case, the upper peripheral edge 7 of basin 1 has a rounded profile, preferably semicircular or appreciably semicircular, and said upper edge is ringed by a peripheral gutter 8 that can collect overflowing water and rapidly direct the collected water to a recycling system known per se.

The upper edge of basin 1 can be equipped with retractable wings 9 that can be deployed, for example, in anticipation of playtime activities by children or adolescents. These wings 9 can assume a retracted position along the walls of the basin or an extended position (FIG. 4), in which they will be inclined in the direction of the gutter 8 in such a way that they spill into it.

The gutter may contain a floating heat insulation system to limit the loss of heat to the open air. This insulation system may include floating sheets of polystyrene 14 allowing the free return of water spilling into gutter 8 with high thermal coverage.

An auxiliary reservoir 10 into which the gutter flows is integrated into the pool's structure, this reservoir being arranged against rear wall 1D of the basin. This reservoir, which can contain on the order of 300 liters, serves as a volumetric buffer to maintain a constant volume of water in the basin whenever several persons enter said basin. It is connected to the pool's customary recycling system.

The return of water to the basin takes place from rear wall 1D of the basin, through two center-lateral nozzles 15 connected to exterior peripheral gutter 8 or to auxiliary reservoir 10 and obliquely oriented toward the exterior with respect to the longitudinal axis of the basin, so that they participate in the creation and reinforcement of the water currents described in the remainder of the present description.

According to a preferred embodiment, basin 1 has, when viewed from above, an irregular octagonal shape comprising two large, parallel, or approximately parallel, sides, corresponding to longitudinal walls 1B of said basin, whose front wall 1C and rear wall 1D have three surfaces connected to one another and to said longitudinal walls 1B by forming angles of 120° or in the proximity of 120°.

Additionally, the three surfaces forming the front or fore wall 1C of the basin are inclined toward bottom 1A of the latter, said surfaces forming, for example, an angle on the order of 120° with said bottom 1A.

In this conformation, when the swimmer N (FIG. 6) engages in so-called “stationary swimming” by using a dynamic retention system and is active in the central part of the basin, a volume of moving water is directed toward rear wall 1D of the basin, this volume of water being divided by the conformation of this wall, whose inclined surfaces 1D′ force the two currents of water thus created to be directed frontward, along longitudinal walls 1B of the basin, these currents of water undergoing deviation by inclined surfaces 1C′ and being reassembled in the front part of said basin and directed rearward, along the axis of said basin, facing the swimmer. This natural movement of water enables the swimmer to remain “aligned” and gives him the sensation of infinite space, in spite of the reduced size of said basin.

The 90° internal angles of the upper basin, ideally on the order of 120°, help create a countercurrent opposite the swimmer, without turbulence and with few bubbles, self-sustained by the latter and helping to maintain his “alignment.”

According to another characteristic arrangement, the compact pool according to the invention comprises a dynamic retention device that, in combination with the specially designed shape of the basin, enables stationary swimming whereby the user can swim continuously, at his own pace, without constant changes in direction being imposed, as in free water, this retention device including a flexible elastic connector 11 one of whose ends is connected to a belt or harness 12 intended to be attached to the swimmer and whose other end is arranged so it can be attached, preferably removably, to rear wall 1D of the pool or to a fixed point established in the vicinity of said wall.

Such a retention device, for example, is described and claimed in an earlier patent by the applicant, FR 2,896,997, while a flexible elastic connector is, for example, described in another earlier patent by the applicant, FR 2,917,143.

According to an interesting embodiment, at least the central portion 1C″ of front wall 1C of basin 1 includes, over at least a portion of its height, of at least one glass panel 13. This glass panel occupies, for example, three-quarters of the height of said center portion directly above the front of basin 1, allowing, on the one hand, a direct view of the swimmer beneath the water and, on the other hand, allowing the swimmer, in some cases, to view a screen installed behind the glass panel.

Said panel may include two parts arranged above one another.

The pool machinery (circulation equipment, water heating and filtration, etc.) is realized in the customary manner and is incorporated into the structure of said pool and accessible from the exterior.

It can be seen that the aboveground, compact, multipurpose pool according to the invention can also be used by:

    • babies and children, who can play in the water even in winter;
    • elderly or other persons who want to relax or play sports in complete security;
    • sport swimmers who want to train at home;
    • active persons who have time to relax after work;
    • massage therapists; or
    • any person who enjoys being in the water.

Installation requires an open area, which can be covered if so desired, of approximately 6 m by 3 m. A conventional water supply similar to a watering hose, an accessible drain point (50 m) for waste water (shower and overflow spillway), and an access point (50 m) for electricity (minimum of 4 kW) are also necessary.

In this way the environmental impact is reduced to a minimum when compared to its range of uses.

Its operating requirements have no equivalent in terms of water consumption, treatment chemicals, and energy.