Title:
HELMET SYSTEMS AND OTHER WEARABLE SAFETY GEAR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system of two or more helmets used in team sports with magnetic material embedded in, or attached to, each helmet. Magnets are positioned identically in helmets so that the north magnetic field is facing outward. When two or more helmets come in close proximity, the like magnetic fields repel one another. This slows the velocities of the helmets, deflects the helmets as they collide, and generally causes helmets to move away from one another. This system is applicable for any sport or activity where concussive forces are caused by two or more helmets colliding, such as helmets in football, hockey, lacrosse, etc. When the helmet system is in place, magnets polarized in the same direction can be placed in other team equipment (e.g., knee pads) to mitigate blows to the head caused by that part of the body.



Inventors:
O'gara, Gregory J. (Morganville, NJ, US)
Application Number:
13/796620
Publication Date:
08/07/2014
Filing Date:
03/12/2013
Assignee:
O'GARA GREGORY J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B3/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070033717Flash memory audio strap for eyeglasses and gogglesFebruary, 2007Anderson
20110072562Helmet bracketMarch, 2011Prendergast
20130232667Helmet SystemSeptember, 2013Leon
20060282933Easy to Don and Secure Martial Arts UniformDecember, 2006Chambliss et al.
20140345032FUNCTIONAL SOCKSNovember, 2014Sheu
20160100634SHIRT STIFFENING DEVICEApril, 2016Rogers
20160120245UTILITY POCKET WITH V-SHAPED OPENINGMay, 2016Novela
20090222965SAFETY GLASSES FOR CLEAN ROOMS AND METHOD FOR SECURING SAMESeptember, 2009Behar
20130227764PORTABLE POCKET TO ENCASE AN AUTO INJECTORSeptember, 2013Didavide
20060168708Shade capAugust, 2006Moshier
20140000006ABRASION AND CUT RESISTANT COATING AND COATED GLOVEJanuary, 2014Perera et al.



Other References:
Neodymium magnet and website https://www.kjmagnetics.com/neomaginfo.asp
Primary Examiner:
TRIEU, TIMOTHY K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
W&C IP (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A helmet system comprising: a first helmet comprising a first magnet; a second helmet comprising a second magnet, wherein the second magnet and the first magnet are arranged to repel each other when the first helmet and the second helmet approach each other.

2. The helmet system of claim 1, wherein the second magnet and the first magnet repel each other with a repulsive force of a magnitude that prevents a collision between the first helmet and the second helmet.

3. 3-11. (canceled)

12. A method of reducing an incoming force sustained by a first sports player on contact with a second sports player, comprising: outfitting the first sports player with a first set of magnetic material and outfitting the second sports player with a second set of magnetic material, wherein the first set of magnetic material repels the second set of magnetic material.

13. The method of claim 12, comprising connecting each helmet to a controller, and, adjusting magnetic forces between the first helmet and the second helmet, wherein the adjusting is performed by the controller.

14. The helmet system of claim 1, wherein the first magnet and the second magnet have a repulsive force therebetween of at least 100 lbs.

15. The helmet system of claim 1, wherein the first magnet and the second magnet each is a respective neodymium magnet.

16. The helmet system of claim 15, wherein the first magnet and the second magnet each is a respective N52 magnet.

17. The helmet system of claim 1, wherein the first magnet and the second magnet each is curve-shaped.

18. The helmet system of claim 1, wherein the first helmet comprises multiple magnets and the second helmet comprises multiple magnets.

19. The helmet system of claim 1, comprising a set of helmets, each helmet being wearable on a player's head, and each helmet in the set comprising a set of magnets, wherein all magnets in all of the helmets have either all magnets positioned with N-poles positioned with all N-poles facing inwards towards a player's head or all magnets positioned with N-poles facing outwards away from a player's head.

20. A set of wearable safety gear, comprising: a first wearable article to be worn by a first wearer; a second wearable article to be worn by a second wearer; a repulsive magnetic force between the first wearable article and the second wearable article at a distance therebetween of about 0.25 inches.

21. The set of wearable safety gear of claim 20, wherein the repulsive magnetic force exceeds 100 lbs. at the distance of about 0.25 inches.

22. The set of wearable safety gear of claim 20, comprising at least two football helmets.

23. The set of wearable safety gear of claim 20, wherein the first wearable article comprises at least one magnet, and the second wearable article comprises at least one magnet.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to wearable safety gear, especially helmet systems and helmets worn by athletes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Football players (including high school students, college students, professional players, etc.) currently suffer certain injuries, especially concussions and head trauma, despite their wearing of currently-available safety gear. Reducing the instances of head trauma, and reducing the severity of head injuries, suffered by football players would be desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention exploits magnetic force, in a helmet system, to reduce head trauma, such as in a helmet system using magnetic force to reduce forces that cause head trauma. Helmets repel when magnetic materials are aligned or arranged to create a repulsive force between two helmets, such as by exploiting a front repulsive force that is produced by diametrically opposed magnetic material on two helmets. For example, magnetic materials are embedded in each of two or more helmets, so that the helmets magnetically repel each other when in close proximity. When such helmets approach or collide, such as when worn by football players, concussive forces are mitigated.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention provides a system of two or more helmets used in team sports with magnetic material embedded in, or attached to, each helmet. Magnets are positioned (e.g., identically) in helmets so that the north magnetic field is facing outward. When two or more helmets come in close proximity (i.e., within four inches, etc., see, e.g., FIG. 3), the like magnetic fields repel one another. This slows the velocities of the helmets, deflects the helmets as they collide, and generally causes helmets to move away from one another. This system is applicable for any sport or activity where concussive forces are caused by two or more helmets colliding, such as helmets in football, hockey, lacrosse, etc. When the helmet system is in place, magnets polarized in the same direction can be placed in other team equipment (e.g., knee pads) to mitigate blows to the head caused by that part of the body.

The invention in a preferred embodiment provides a helmet system comprising: a first helmet comprising a first magnet; and a second helmet comprising a second magnet, wherein the second magnet and the first magnet are arranged to repel each other when the first helmet and the second helmet approach each other, such as, e.g., inventive helmet systems wherein the second magnet and the first magnet repel each other with a repulsive force of a magnitude that prevents a collision between the first helmet and the second helmet; inventive helmet systems wherein each helmet comprises foam within which is positioned the magnet; inventive helmet systems further comprising a controller that performs a pre-collision step of adjusting magnetic field in the first helmet and the second helmet before a collision between the first helmet and the second helmet; inventive helmet systems further comprising a controller (such as, e.g., a controller that performs steps of: tracking a position of each helmet; tracking a relative speed of the first helmet vis-a-vis the second helmet; and adjusting a magnetic field associated with each helmet to optimize a repulsive magnetic force between the first helmet and the second helmet); and other inventive helmet systems.

In another preferred embodiment, the invention provides a helmet system comprising: a first helmet comprising a first magnet and a second magnet (such as, e.g., a second magnet contained within a second helmet), wherein the second magnet and the first magnet repel each other; such as, e.g., inventive helmet systems wherein the second magnet and the first magnet repel each other with a repulsive force of a magnitude that prevents a collision between the first helmet and an object comprising the second magnet; and other inventive helmet systems.

The invention in another preferred embodiment provides a deceleration method, comprising: monitoring a measurable condition between a first helmet comprising a first magnetic system and a second helmet comprising a second magnetic system, to obtain a measurement; comparing the measurement to a predefined value; upon detecting that the measurement satisfies the predefined value, activating the first magnetic system and the second magnetic system including generating a repulsive magnetic force that acts between the first helmet and the second helmet; such as, e.g., inventive deceleration methods wherein each magnet comprises magnetic material that is integral with the helmet; inventive deceleration methods wherein each magnet comprises magnetic material positioned in a layer below the helmet;

In another preferred embodiment the invention provides a method of reducing an incoming force sustained by a first sports player on contact with a second sports player, comprising: outfitting the first sports player with a first set of magnetic material and outfitting the second sports player with a second set of magnetic material, wherein the first set of magnetic material repels the second set of magnetic material, such as, e.g., inventive force-reducing methods that comprise connecting each helmet to a controller, and, adjusting magnetic forces between the first helmet and the second helmet, wherein the adjusting is performed by the controller; and other inventive force-reducing methods.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

The invention may be appreciated with reference to the following figures, without the invention being limited thereto. Figures are not drawn to scale.

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of an embodiment of an inventive system of repulsive-force sports gear. A symbol “−→+” is used to represent magnetic force. A symbol “→” is used to represent repulsive force.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of an embodiment of an inventive system comprising a controller.

FIG. 3 is a graph of repulsive force (in pounds) as a function of distance (in inches) between two like N52 magnets of size 7″×3″×0.375″. “N52” is used in its usual meaning, referring to NdFeB or NIB, Grade 52.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of an embodiment of an inventive system of repulsive-force sports gear, showing repelling magnetic fields.

FIG. 5 is a set of diagrams modeling a helmet as a sphere.

FIG. 6 is a diagram of a magnet 10 molded to a helmet according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6A is a side view of magnet 10 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 6B is a front view of magnet 10 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 6C is an angled view of magnet 10 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 7 is a top cutaway view of a cross-section of a helmet 7 according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is an exploded diagrammatic layered view of a magnet secured to a helmet according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a front view of helmet according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9A is a back view of the helmet of FIG. 9.

FIG. 9B is a left side view of the helmet of FIGS. 9-9A.

FIG. 9C is a right side view of the helmet of FIGS. 9-9B.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a housing part useable inside a helmet according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view, looking into a helmet from a neck opening, of a magnet sliding into a housing part according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 12A is a diagram of two magnetic-fronted helmets repelling each other in an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 12B is a cross-sectional top view of a curved magnet end within a housing according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 13 is a side view of a helmet carry handle device carrying a helmet according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 13A is a rear view of the carry handle device of FIG. 13.

FIG. 13B is a front view of the carry handle device of FIGS. 13-13A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, sports players wear safety gear, a preferred example of which is a set of wearable safety gear that comprises a first wearable article to be worn by a first wearer; a second wearable article to be worn by a second wearer; and a repulsive magnetic force between the first wearable article and the second wearable article at a distance therebetween (such as, e.g., a distance therebetween of about 0.25 inches). An example of the repulsive magnetic force is a repulsive magnetic force that exceeds 100 lbs. at a distance between players of about ¼ inch. An example of a wearable article useable in the invention is, e.g., a football helmet; a wearable article that comprises a magnet; etc.

A preferred example of a magnet useable in the invention is a permanent magnet. A most preferred example of a magnet useable in the invention is a BZ0Z02-N52 sintered neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnet.

Advantageously the invention provides for a first sports player and a second sports player who are likely to collide with each other during the sporting event to each be equipped with respective gear (such as a helmet, knee pad, etc.) whereby a repulsive force (preferably, a magnetic repulsive force) is provided between the first player and the second player. Preferably the repulsive force is produced by interaction of a first set of magnetic material (that is located in the gear worn by the first player) and a second set of magnetic material (that is located in the gear worn by the second player).

A single piece (such as piece 1b) or multiple pieces (such as, e.g., five pieces 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e in FIG. 1) may be used as a set of magnetic material.

An example of magnetic material useable in inventive helmet systems is, e.g., a rare earth magnet; a magnetic material under control of a controller; a neodymium magnet, etc. An example of a magnet that is commercially available that can be used in an inventive helmet system is a neodymium magnet such as, e.g., an N52 magnet; a magnet composed of about 33% neodymium; a nanocomposite magnet; etc. A preferred magnet to use is a strongest available magnet such as, e.g., a neodymium magnet of grade 52 (i.e., N52).

A preferred example of constructing an inventive system is to build or fit at least two helmets, preferably a plurality of helmets, with magnets identically arranged to have a same outward-facing pole, e.g., each helmet in the set of helmets is fitted with a magnet arranged with its north pole outermost closest to the outside of the helmet and its south pole innermost most inside the helmet such as shown for helmets 11, 12 in FIG. 4. In FIG. 4, the repelling magnetic fields of two helmets 11, 12 fitted with like magnets (such as, e.g., like N52 magnets) are shown. In a case where helmets 11, 12 are fitted with like N52 magnets, the repulsive force is about 135 lbs. at 0.25 inches.

In some embodiments, helmet 11 and helmet 12 are worn by teammates. In other embodiments, helmet 11 and helmet 12 are worn by opposing team members.

An example of a helmet useable in the invention is, e.g., a helmet that is commercially available from Riddell Sports Inc., such as a 2012 Riddell Revolution Edge football helmet with face mask (youth large, model no. R41171).

A preferred example of constructing a magnetized helmet according to the invention is to treat a helmet as essentially a sphere (see FIG. 5), and to mold a magnet 10 (such as an N52 permanent magnet) to fit on an inside surface of the helmet, such as on the inside surface of the front and back of the helmet (see FIG. 6). To construct a magnet into the inside front surface of a helmet and further to construct a magnet into the inside back surface of the helmet is considered preferred.

Optionally, magnets are positioned at each side of a helmet. A preferred example of a magnet useable as a side-positioned magnet in the invention is a square magnet such as a 3×3 inch square, 0.5 inch thick N52 magnet. A 3″×3″×0.5″ block N52 magnet has approximately 110 lbs. repulsive force at 0.25 inches against a like N52 magnet.

In some embodiments, optionally a controller (such as controller 5 in FIG. 2) may be used to control magnetic material in wearable gear, such as by adjusting and/or optimizing a magnetic field and/or a magnetic force.

For an inventive helmet that includes a permanent magnet, optionally an inventive helmet carry handle device (such as carry device 24 in FIG. 13) may be used when storing and transporting the helmet during non-use. Preferably an inventive handle device is of a structure that coordinates with an inventive helmet, such as a structure that is susceptible of being placed over a top of a helmet and that thereby grasps the helmet by the helmet's magnets using weak ferromagnetic material inside the carry device, e.g., a handled carry device with an embedded piece of magnetic material far enough away from the helmet's surface so as to be lightly attached to the helmet. A carrying handle device preferably is proportional in size to helmet size.

The invention may be appreciated with reference to the following examples, without the invention being limited thereto.

EXAMPLE 1

Referring to FIG. 1, wearable gear 1, 2 each is illustrated as a helmet which is a preferred example of wearable gear. It should be appreciated that wearable gear 1, 2 is not limited to a helmet. Examples of wearable gear 1, 2 are, e.g., a helmet (such as, e.g., a football helmet), a knee pad, etc.

Wearable gear 1 comprises magnetic materials 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e. Wearable gear 2 comprises magnetic materials 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e.

EXAMPLE 2

Optional Controller

In this example, referring to FIG. 2, an optional controller 5 is a separate unit that connects to each helmet 3 and adjusts the magnetic material in each helmet 3 to optimize the repulsive magnetic field before collisions. Controller 5 is in a form of a controller box that connects to helmet 3 via a connection (such as, e.g., a connection through transmitter 5a/receiver 3a; a direct hardwire connection 6).

A processor or other computer performs a step of informing the controller box of the optimal magnetic fields in each helmet 3 to minimize concussive forces. A processor or other computer tracks the position of each helmet 3, relative speed, and adjusts the magnetic fields in each helmet 3 to optimize their repulsive magnetic forces to reduce concussive force and injury to a player wearing helmet 3.

EXAMPLE 3

Velocity Reduction and Deflection in Helmets with Repelling Magnetic Fields

To decrease head trauma caused by football helmet collisions, the impact force associated with hits to the head is decreased. Two ways of accomplishing such decrease in impact force are:

1. Decrease the amount of energy transferred during the collision;

2. Increase the amount of time it takes to transfer the energy.

Decrease of energy transfer during the collision and increase of time to transfer energy are NOT mutually exclusive, and in the invention, preferably both approaches are used simultaneously or in combination.

Decreasing the Energy Transfer.

The amount of energy transferred is a function of the component of the relative velocity normal to the surface of helmets at the point of impact. This can be readily seen by considering elastic collisions of spherical bodies. It follows that we can decrease the amount of energy transferred by decreasing this component of the player's relative velocity.

Magnetized helmets accomplish decrease in energy transfer in two ways. First, a magnetic field pushes the helmets away from one another causing the collision to be more “glancing” (e.g., by some distance Δx). Second, the magnetic field causes each player's helmet velocity to be deflected away from their opponent by angle θ. These two effects are summarized in the following Equation (1):

VimpactVhead-on=1-(Δx2R)2cosθ-Δx2RsinθEq(1)

Equation (1) exemplifies the ratio of the impact velocity of a head on collision Vhead-on, to that of a collision Vimpact where the velocity is the same, but the helmets are offset by Δx, and the velocity is deflected by angle θ. R is the radius of the helmets. This ratio will always be less than 1 in a repelling magnetic field.

For example, in a case where the helmet radius is 7 inches, each helmet is deflected by 2 inches (making Δx=4 inches), and θ=30. Vimpact/Vhead-on=65 (i.e., the impact velocity is decreased by 35%. Energy is proportional to the velocity squared, therefore, the amount of energy transferred by the collision is reduced by 43% compared to an unprotected helmet collision.

Increasing the Time Over Which the Impact Takes Place.

The change in a body's energy is equal to the time integral of its applied forces. Therefore, if you increase the amount of time over which the transfer of energy takes place, you decrease the magnitude of the applied force. This principle is applied when airbags protect us during automobile collisions.

Before the present invention, using conventional (magnet-free) helmets, all energy is transferred at the moment of impact, resulting in large impact forces. By contrast, when the invention is applied and helmets are magnetized with diametric fields, the impact energy is transferred throughout the time during which the helmets' magnetic fields interact. As a result, the force of impact can be dramatically decreased, making the impact less jarring.

Decreasing the energy transferred during collisions and increasing the amount of time over which the energy transfer takes place through the magnetized helmets advantageously contributes to protecting an athlete from brain injury.

EXAMPLE 4

Repulsive Force Between N52 Magnets

In this inventive example, a system is constructed using team sports protective helmets (such as test helmets commercially available from Riddell Sports, Elyria, Ohio); neodymium magnets (commercially available from K&J Magnetics, Inc., Jamison, Pa.); bonding agent (e.g., epoxy (such as epoxy commercially available from J-B Weld “Kwickweld” rated tensile strength of 2424 psi, temperatures up to 230 degrees); magnetic shielding (e.g., G-iron magnetic shielding that is commercially available from Less EMF Inc., Latham, N.Y.); and a helmet carry tool.

Magnets. At least two N52 magnets of a size 7″×3″×0.375″ are used in this example. In this example, each magnet has characteristics as follows:

Shape: spherical rectangular (rectangular magnet molded to fit inside spherical helmet surface)
Dimensions: 7″×3″×0.375″ thick, to fit inside a spherical helmet with radius of 5″

Material: NdFeB (“NIB”), Grade N52

Plating: NiCuNi over magnet; additional rubber coating (.e.g., “Plasti-Dip”) over NiCuNi (done at manufacturer)

Max Operating Temperature: 176° F. (80° C.)

Br max: 14,800 Gauss

BH max: 52 MGOe

Specific gravity: 7.4
Weight per magnet: 2.14 lbs.
Magnetization Direction: thru thickness

Helmets. The helmets used in this example are two 2012 Riddell Revolution Edge Football helmets with facemask (youth large; model no. R41171), having helmet weight with face mask of 3 lbs., 14 oz. The test helmet is treated as essentially a sphere with radius of 5 inches (i.e., radius of the helmet is 5 inches), as modeled in FIG. 5. A magnet is molded into each helmet as shown in FIGS. 6-6C.

The repulsive force of two or more N52 magnets with like poles facing each other increases as the magnets come together. According to several magnetic field models, the repulsive force is estimated to approach and then exceed 200 lbs. as the two magnets come in close proximity. In this example, the thickness of each test helmet in which the N52-magnet is contained is approximately 0.125 inches. Therefore, a magnet embedded on the inside surface of a first helmet will come to a distance of 0.25 inches of a magnet embedded on the inside surface of a second helmet when the helmets touch. The repulsive force at this distance, 0.25 inches, between magnets is approximately 135 lbs. (see FIG. 3)

EXAMPLE 5

A helmet, having a helmet front 11F and helmet rear 11R, is constructed according to FIG. 7. As a starting product, a Riddell test helmet is used. At helmet front 11F, front magnet 20 is positioned between removable head padding 21; the helmet is secured with epoxy and molded helmet slot. Removable head padding 21 is part of the commercially available test helmet product. At helmet rear 11R, rear magnet 22 is positioned between padding and helmet and secured with epoxy. Magnets 20, 22 are curved in shape.

In this inventive example, magnet 20 is secured to the helmet with epoxy (such as, e.g., JB Quick epoxy) as shown in FIG. 8, in which padding 21 is epoxied with epoxy 21x so that epoxy 21x is between magnet 20 and padding 21 inside helmet shell 11S at helmet front 11F. Epoxy 20x is used between magnet 20 and helmet shell 11S at inside surface 11i.

EXAMPLE 5A

Optionally, in the helmet of Example 5 are included side magnets 23. A square magnet is a preferred example of a side magnet 23.

EXAMPLE 6

With reference to FIGS. 9-9C, a helmet 9 according to an embodiment of the invention comprises magnets 90, 91 (such as a 7″×3″×⅜″ magnet) positioned inside the helmet 9. A preferred position for the magnet 91 is about 3″ above the centerline of the base of helmet 9.

Helmet 9 further comprises magnets 92, 93 (such as N52 magnets) positioned inside. A preferred size for magnets 92, 93 is a 3×3×½ inch sized magnet. A preferred position for magnets 92, 93 is centered and positioned directly above ear holes 94, 95.

EXAMPLE 7

Magnet-securing Housing Part

In this inventive example, a housing part (such as housing part 8 in FIG. 10) is provided to secure magnets (such as, e.g., magnets 90, 91, 92, 93, 94) to the inside of a helmet (such as, e.g., helmet 9). To secure a magnet to a helmet, a helmet is constructed (such as, e.g., molded) to include a housing 8 that secures a magnet and prevents the secured magnet from detaching from the helmet's inside surface. An example of a material from which housing 8 is constructed, e.g., is plastic. Preferably housing 8 is constructed (such as, e.g., molded) into the helmet with an open end positioned towards a neck opening of the helmet. During construction, a magnet slides into housing 8 and is further epoxied into place. Preferred dimensions of a housing 8 are shown in FIG. 10 for illustration but it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to such dimension, and that the dimensions of housing 8 are selected to coordinate with dimensions of a magnet received into housing 8.

EXAMPLE 7A

An example of use of an inventive housing part (such as housing part 8) in constructing a helmet is shown in FIG. 11. At the front 11F of the helmet, housings 8A, 8B are used to secure magnet 13. During construction, magnet 13 is slid into housings 8A, 8B from the bottom. Housing 8A, 8B preferably are molded into the helmet.

Likewise, housings 8C, 8D are constructed (such as, e.g., molded), into the helmet back 11B to securely contain magnet 14. A preferred construction method is that magnet 14 is slid into housings 8C, 8D from the bottom of the helmet.

In FIG. 11, for relative simplicity, housings for optional side magnets are not illustrated, but it will be appreciated that housings also optionally are constructed into a helmet to secure side magnets.

An example of using a housing part to position a magnet inside a helmet is, in a case of a front magnet, to center the magnet on the helmet forehead inside the housing. In an example of a helmet with a Riddell name plate in front, for example, a preferred position for a front housing and front magnet is about 1″ positioned above the two screw holes for the Riddell name plate.

EXAMPLE 8

Curving Magnet Ends Away From the Helmet to Mitigate Attractive Magnetic Force

In this inventive example, when the magnets are being fit inside the helmet (such as, e.g., molded to fit inside the helmet), an extra distance is added from the ends of the magnet to the helmet in order to mitigate magnetic attraction that will occur as the magnetic fields wrap around the ends of the magnet, as shown in FIG. 12A.

EXAMPLE 8A

In this inventive example, to mitigate the attractive fields at magnet ends, the magnet ends are curved away from the helmet. A curved end 17 of magnet 13 is shown in FIG. 12B. Magnet 13 moves to distances greater than 0.25″ away from helmet 11F on all edges.

EXAMPLE 8B

As additional protection from the attractive force involving magnet ends and discussed in Examples 8-8A, a small amount of magnetic shielding (such as, e.g., G-iron) is placed between magnet 13 and helmet 11F such as at optional shielding areas 18, 19 (FIG. 12B).

EXAMPLE 9

Magnet Weights

An example of a magnet useable as a front magnet or a rear magnet is a magnet of about 2.1 lbs. and sized about 7″×3″×⅜″.

An example of a magnet useable as a side magnet is a magnet of about 1.2 lbs. and sized about 3″×3″×½″.

EXAMPLE 10

Minimizing Total Helmet Weight

Preferably total helmet weight is minimized when constructing a helmet according to the invention.

Reducing Helmet Weight and Magnetic Interference by Eliminating Ferromagnetic Components (e.g., steel). Before the invention, conventionally the single largest component of helmet weight (other than the helmet), is the face mask. Some face masks contain ferromagnetic material (e.g., steel) which would interact with Neodymium magnets added to the helmet according to the invention. To eliminate unwanted magnetic interaction and reduce helmet weight, facemasks for use in practicing the invention preferably are constructed out of titanium or carbon fiber which are both lighter than steel and non-magnetic. Based on a sampling of commercially available face masks, the weight reduction from using a titanium face mask rather than a steel face mask is estimated to reduce helmet weight by approximately 7-10 oz. Use of a carbon fiber face mask reduces the weight further.

Minimizing use of magnets to reduce weight. When practicing the invention, magnets preferably are positioned on key areas of the helmets to address the most likely places of helmet to helmet contact. For example, the MIT Technology Review quotes a Riddell official as saying that 70% of concussions happen from impacts at the front of the helmet: “Riddell, the official equipment manufacturer of the NFL, has released a new type of helmet designed to help reduce concussions. The Riddell 360 reduces the force of impact to the front of a player's head, where 70 percent of hits occur, says Thad Ide, Riddell's senior vice president of research and development. Ide adds that 70 percent of concussions result from hits to the front of the helmet.” B. Sauser, MIT Technology Review, “The Search for a Safer Helmet”, Jan. 26, 2011.

In order to minimize the weight of adding the magnets (such as the N52 magnets) into a helmet, the magnets preferably are placed in high probability hit areas. Taking into account that experts indicate that 70% of concussive hits occur to the front of the helmet, the magnet placement preferably addresses these high probability hit areas. In some embodiments, magnet placement in lower-probability hit areas may be foregone in order to minimize helmet weight.

Adjusting size of magnets to accommodate body mass of professional, college, high school and youth players. Magnet placement and size preferably are adjusted to account for body mass of different player sizes. Preferably smaller and lighter magnets are used for players at the youth and high school levels compared to college and professional levels, and larger magnets are used to account for greater body mass or head mass.

EXAMPLE 11

In this example, the magnets used in practicing the invention are those in which nanoparticles of rare-earth magnets are combined with nanoparticles of cheaper magnetic materials, such as, e.g., neodymium-iron-boron (NIB) magnets; iron-cobalt combined with NIB magnet; nanocomposite magnets; etc.

EXAMPLE 12

Helmet Carry Handle

When an inventive helmet includes a permanent magnet, use of an inventive helmet carry handle device 24 (FIGS. 13-13B) while storing and transporting the helmet advantageously avoids a problem of the permanent magnets in the helmet attracting other ferromagnetic material. Carry device 24 covers the top of helmet 25 and grasps helmet 25 by helmet front magnet 26 and helmet rear magnet 27. Carry device 24 comprises arm 28 ending at magnetic material 28M which comes in contact with magnet 26 of helmet 25. Carry device 24 comprises arm 29 ending at magnetic material 29M which comes in contact with magnet 27 of helmet 25. Arms 28, 29 are topped by housing top 30 from which protrude a carry-handle.

EXAMPLE 12A

The handled carry device of Example 12 is modified to add more magnet arms to coincide with additional magnets on sides of a helmet.

EXAMPLE 13

For the experimentation of this inventive example, two Riddell test helmets were outfitted with N52 magnets secured to the outside front of each helmet with epoxy and Gorilla brand duct tape. Face masks were removed to facilitate full contact of the helmets in the test.

Magnets used were rectangular N52 4×3×0.5 inches positioned˜one inch above Riddell name plate on the center front of the helmet. To mitigate attractive forces at the ends of the center magnet, 3×3×0.0125 N52 squares (4 smaller magnets) were positioned center top, bottom, and at each side of the larger N52 center magnet. The smaller magnets mitigated the attractive force at the ends of the larger N52 magnet (reducing attractive force between helmets occurring at the ends of all N52 magnets). Further, a 3″×1″ piece of G-iron was placed at each of the three smaller magnets three exposed end surfaces that face away from the larger center magnet (12 pieces of G-iron total). Magnets were positioned with all north poles facing outward from the helmet front.

Two individuals (Total body weight of individual #1=250 lbs.; total body weight of individual #2=150 lbs.) put on identical helmets and walked rapidly (each moving at an estimated 3 mph) toward one another with their foreheads down. This was repeated several times. Each time the individuals approached, their heads were deflected mostly to the left and right of one another (X-axis) before the helmets could make contact on either the left or right side (i.e., the helmets were deflected from a directly centered head-to-head impact). Out of five tests, the helmets deflected each other once in the up/down direction (Y-axis). During the deflection, the individual's head turned approximately 30 degrees to the left or right or approximately 20 degrees up or down.

In each experimental run, the helmets deflected before they could touch each other, namely, without the approaching helmets actually touching each other. Each time, the deflection was a significant deflection that was observed by the helmet-wearing individuals.

As the deflection occurred, the helmet-wearing individual experienced a feeling of the head being softly pushed, in what felt to the individual like a natural movement of the head.

While the invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.