Title:
MAGNETIC HELMET
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a magnetic helmet with a detectable magnetic field effective to repel a substantially similar helmet in close proximity. A helmet of the invention can be used to redirect an impending head collision, reduce the force of impact upon a head collision or prevent a head collision among wearers of the helmet thereby reducing injuries.



Inventors:
Moss, Brandon R. (East Peoria, IL, US)
Martin, Branden S. (East Peoria, IL, US)
Application Number:
14/214512
Publication Date:
09/18/2014
Filing Date:
03/14/2014
Assignee:
B. MAGNANIMOUS, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANNIS, KHALED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wendy Thai (Lexington, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A helmet comprising a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, wherein the magnetic field is detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets, and wherein the magnetic material comprises one or more discrete magnets detachably secured to select locations on the helmet.

2. The helmet of claim 1, wherein the one or more discrete magnets are secured using an adhesive, hook and loop fastener or snapfit mechanism.

3. The helmet of claim 1, wherein the one or more discrete magnets are disposed at one or more sections of the helmet that engage the top, crown, side, temple occipital bone, nape, parietal ridge or any combination thereof of the wearer's head.

4. The helmet of claim 1, wherein the north pole of each of the discrete magnets is oriented outwardly from the helmet such that the south poles are oriented into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head.

5. The helmet of any one of claims 4, wherein the magnetic material comprises an alnico or ferrite composite.

6. The helmet of any one of claims 4, wherein the magnetic material comprises a rare earth element.

7. The helmet of any one of claims 4, wherein the magnetic material comprises samarium-cobalt or neodymium-iron-boron.

8. The helmet of claim 1, wherein the south pole of each of the discrete magnets is oriented outwardly from the helmet such that the north poles are oriented into the cavity of the helmet twards the wearer's head.

9. The helmet of any one of claims 8, wherein the magnetic material comprises an alnico or ferrite composite.

10. The helmet of any one of claims 8, wherein the magnetic material comprises a rare earth element.

11. The helmet of any one of claims 8, wherein the magnetic material comprises samarium-cobalt or neodymium-iron-boron.

12. A helmet comprising a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, wherein the magnetic field is detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets, and wherein the magnetic material is a coating disposed on the exterior surface of the helmet, and wherein the magnetic coating comprises about 70% to about 95% by weight of a magnetic particle and about 5% to about 20% by weight of a polymeric binder.

13. The helmet of any one of claims 12, wherein the magnetic particle comprises an alnico or ferrite composite.

14. The helmet of any one of claims 12, wherein the magnetic particle comprises a rare earth element.

15. The helmet of claim 12, wherein the magnetic particle comprises samarium-cobalt, neodymium-iron-boron, or any combination thereof.

16. The helmet of claim 12, wherein the polymeric binder is a thermoplastic material.

17. A helmet comprising a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, wherein the magnetic field is detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets, and wherein the magnetic material is embedded in the outer shell of the helmet, and wherein the magnetic material comprises samarium-cobalt, neodymium-iron-boron, or any combination thereof.

18. The helmet of claim 17, wherein the magnetic material is further embedded or coated on the facemask of the helmet.

19. The helmet of claim 17, wherein the magnetic materials generate a magnetic field substantially uniform across the surface of the helmet.

20. The helmet of claim 17, wherein the magnetic materials generate a magnetic field of about 1 tesla to about 15 tesla.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional applications 61/781,417, filed Mar. 14, 2013, and 61/938,678, filed Feb. 11, 2014, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Sports-related injuries to the scalp, skull or brain can occur when two athletes collide in the field. Such injuries can lead to permanent disability or death. Yet head-to-head tactics such as butt-blocking, face tackling or spearing tackles that make the head the initial and primary contact point with an opposing player frequently occur in football. And it is common for players to lower their heads and use the crown of their helmets to strike a blow against an opponent on the field. These tactics lead to increased risk of brain injuries among football players at the college and professional level, as well as among children and teenangers who are involved in this sport.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a magnetic helmet that can redirect the force or reduce the force of impact between two individuals wearing the helmet when a head-to-head collision between the individuals is likely.

In one aspect, the invention provides a helmet having a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, the magnetic field being detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets.

In one aspect, the invention provides a helmet that includes a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, wherein the magnetic field is detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets, and wherein the magnetic material includes one or more discrete magnets detachably secured to select locations on the helmet. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are secured using an adhesive, hook and loop fastener or snapfit mechanism. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are disposed at one or more sections of the helmet that engage the top, crown, side, temple occipital bone, nape, parietal ridge or any combination thereof of the wearer's head. In some embodiments, the north pole of each of the discrete magnets is oriented outwardly from the helmet such that the south poles are oriented into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head. In some embodiments, the south pole of each of the discrete magnets is oriented outwardly from the helmet such that the north poles are oriented into the cavity of the helmet twards the wearer's head. In some embodiments, the magnetic material includes an alnico or ferrite composite. In some embodiments, the magnetic material includes a rare earth element. In some embodiments, the magnetic material includes samarium-cobalt or neodymium-iron-boron.

In another aspect, the invention provides a helmet that includes a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, wherein the magnetic field is detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets, and wherein the magnetic material is a coating disposed on the exterior surface of the helmet, and wherein the magnetic coating includes about 70% to about 95% by weight of a magnetic particle and about 5% to about 20% by weight of a polymeric binder. In some embodiments, the magnetic particle includes an alnico or ferrite composite. In some embodiments, the magnetic particle includes a rare earth element. In some embodiments, the magnetic particle includes samarium-cobalt, neodymium-iron-boron, or any combination thereof. In some embodiments, the polymeric binder is a thermoplastic material.

In another aspect, the invention provides a helmet that includes a magnetic material that generates a detectable magnetic field when a substantially similar helmet is brought in proximity, wherein the magnetic field is detectable through a repulsive force between the two helmets, and wherein the magnetic material is embedded in the outer shell of the helmet, and wherein the magnetic material comprises samarium-cobalt, neodymium-iron-boron, or any combination thereof. In some embodiments, the magnetic material is further embedded or coated on the facemask of the helmet. In some embodiments, the magnetic materials generate a magnetic field substantially uniform across the surface of the helmet. In some embodiments, the magnetic materials generate a magnetic field of about 1 tesla to about 15 teslas.

In one aspect, the invention provides a sports helmet that has of a magnetic material that generates a magnetic field effective to repel a substantially similar helmet so as to prevent contact of the two helmets or reduce the impact on contact of the two helmets relative to that which would occur in the absence of the magnetic material. In some embodiments, the magnetic material in the helmet is one or more discrete magnet disposed so that the north pole of each is oriented outwardly from the helmet so as to generate the magnetic field. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are secured to the exterior surface of the helmet. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are secured to the exterior surface of the helmet using an adhesive. In some embodiments, the discrete magnets are removably secured to the exterior surface of the helmet using a fastener. In some embodiments, the each of the discrete magnets is embedded in the helmet through a snap-fit recess in the shell of the helmet. In some embodiments, each of the discrete magnets is embedded in the helmet. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are disposed in the section of the helmet that engages the top of the wearer's head. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are disposed in one or more sections of the helmet that engage the top, crown, side, temple occipital bone, nape, parietal ridge or any combination thereof of the wearer's head. In some embodiments, the magnetic material is an alnico or ferrite composite. In some embodiments, the magnetic material includes a rare earth element. In some embodiments, the magnetic material includes samarium-cobalt or neodymium-iron-boron. In some embodiments, the magnetic material is a coating on the exterior surface of the shell of the helmet. In some embodiments, the magnetic coating includes about 70% to about 95% by weight of a magnetic particle and about 5% to about 20% by weight of a polymeric binder. In some embodiments, the magnetic particle includes neodymium, a rare earth element, samarium-cobalt, neodymium-iron-boron, or any combination thereof. In some embodiments, the polymeric binder is a thermoplastic material. In some embodiments, the helmet includes an outer shell that includes the magnetic material. In some embodiments, the outer shell includes neodymium. In some embodiments, the outer shell includes a thermoplastic material. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are detachably secured to the outer shell. In some embodiments, the one or more discrete magnets are secured to the outer shell through a hook and loop fastener or a snap fit mechanism. In some embodiments, the magnetic materials generate a magnetic field substantially uniform across the surface of the helmet. In some embodiments, the magnetic materials generate a magnetic field of about 1 tesla to about 15 teslas.

Any feature or combination of features described herein are included within the scope of the present invention provided that the features included in any such combination are not mutually inconsistent as will be apparent from the context, this specification and the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used to practice the invention, suitable methods and materials are described below.

All patents and publications referenced or mentioned herein are indicative of the levels of skill of those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains, and each such referenced patent or publication is hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if it had been incorporated by reference in its entirety individually or set forth herein in its entirety. Applicants reserve the right to physically incorporate into this specification any and all materials and information from any such cited patents or publications.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is side view of a football helmet in which the shell is coated with a magnetic material that generates a magnetic field surrounding the shell.

FIG. 2 is side view of a football helmet constructed with a plurality of magnets spaced apart and disposed on the body of the helmet so as to generate a magnetic field surrounding the helmet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is based on the discovery that a magnetic material can be incorporated into a helmet so as to prevent or reduce the impact of head collisions. The invention provides a helmet constructed to include a magnetic material capable of generating a magnetic field effective to repel a substantially similar helmet, thereby enabling two or more helmet wearers to avoid head collision or reduce impact of a collision when they are in proximity. The magnetic material can be a magnetic layer, as well as one or more discrete magnets so long as the magnetic materials in the helmet are aligned to achieve a like-polarity system.

The term “like-polarity system,” as used in reference to a helmet of the invention, means a helmet in which a substantial portion of the magnetic particles in the helmet are align so that their south poles are oriented in a similar direction, i.e. either radiating outwardly from the helmet or into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head, and their north poles are oriented in the other direction, so that a net magnetic force can be detected. As such, a repulsive force can be detected when two or more helmets having similar like-polarity systems are in proximity.

Two helmets have similar like-polarity systems if a substantial portion of the magnetic particles on one helmet is oriented in the same direction as a substantial portion of the magnetic particles on the other helmet. For example, two helmets of the invention have similar like-polarity systems if, in both helmets, a substantial portion of the magnetic particles is aligned so the south poles are oriented outwardly from the helmet (and their north poles are directed inwardly into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head). Similarly, two helmets of the invention also have similar like-polarity systems if, in both helmets, a substantial portion of the magnetic particles is aligned so the north poles are oriented outwardly from the helmet (and their south poles are directed inwardly into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head). Thus, if a substantial portion of the magnetic particles on two or more helmets is aligned so their south poles are oriented outwardly from the helmets (and their north poles are directed into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head), the helmets have similar like-polarity systems. And similarly, if a substantial portion of the magnetic particles on two or more helmets is aligned so their north poles are oriented outwardly from the helmets (and their south poles are directed into the cavity of the helmet towards the wearer's head), the two or more helmets have similar like-polarity systems. Helmets that have similar like-polarity systems exert detectable magnetic replusive forces when in proximity. As such, helmets that have similar like-polarity systems can be worn during a sporting event to to redirect a collision or reduce the force of impact that can occur during a collision thereby reducing the severity of injury.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate two embodiments of the invention. Helmet 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 has an outer shell that includes magnetic layer 20 disposed on the body of the helmet, while helmet 100 illustrated in FIG. 2 is constructed with a plurality of discrete magnet 30 disposed at select positions on the body of the helmet to achieve a like-polarity system. For example, each discrete magnet 30 on helmet 100 can be oriented so that its south pole is directed outwardly from the helmet and its north pole is directed inwardly into the cavity of the helmet toward the wearer's head. Alternatively, each discrete magnet 30 can be oriented so that its north pole is directed outwardly from the helmet and its south pole is directed inwardly into the cavity of the helmet toward the wearer's head. The like-polarity system allows two or more similar helmets, i.e. helmets that have similar like-polarity systems, to repel when in close proximity, thereby redirecting a likely collision or reducing the force of impact between wearers of the helmets. As such wearers of the helmets can avoid head collision or reduce injury where a collision does occur when in close proximity such as during a sport event.

Magnetic materials that can be used in a helmet of the invention include ferromagnetic and ferromagnetic materials. Magnetic materials that can be used in a helmet of the invention include materials such as magnetized iron, nickel, cobalt and their alloys, rare earth metals such as neodymium, samarium-cobalt and yttrium cobalt (YCo5), naturally-occurring minerals such as lodestone. Magnetic materials that can be used in a helmet of the invention also include ferrites and magnetic garnets including magnetite (iron oxide), yttrium iron garnet (YIG), cubic ferrites composed of iron oxides and aluminum, cobalt, nickel, manganese and zinc, as well as hexagonal ferrites such as PbFe12O9 and BaFe12O9 and pyrrhotite. Non-limiting examples of mangets that can be used include neodymium magnets and samarium magnets such as neodymium iron boron magnets (NdFeB, NIB) and samarium cobalt magnets (SmCo), ferrites such as strontium-iron, and alnicos such as aluminum-nickel-cobalt, or any combination thereof.

Any magnetic material can be used in a helmet of the invention so long as the material can generate a detectable magnetic force when incorporated into a helmet—as determined when two or more similar helmets are in close proximity. As used herein, helmets are similar if they have similar like-polarity systems. The repulsive force can be detected using a gaussmeter or by bringing two similar helmets in close proximity. The magnetic material can have a field strength between about 1 tesla to about 15 tesla, or more than 15 tesla. For example, the magnetic material in a helmet of the invention can have a field strength of about 1 tesla, 2 tesla, about 3 tesla, about 4 tesla, about 5 tesla, about 6 tesla, about 7 tesla, about 8 tesla, about 9 tesla about 10 tesla, about 11 tesla, about 12 tesla, about 13 tesla, about 14 tesla, about 15 tesla or more than about 15 tesla. The magnets can have a pull force between about 1 lb to about 250 lbs, for example, about 2 lbs, about 3 lbs, about 4 lbs, about 5 lbs, about 6 lbs, about 7 lbs, about 8 lbs, about 9 lbs, about 10 lbs, about 20 lbs, about 30 lbs, about 40 lbs, about 50 lbs, about 60 lbs, about 70 lbs, about 80 lbs or more than 5 about 80 lbs.

Where a helmet of the invention includes a magnetic layer, the layer can be a coating on the exterior, interior or both exterior and interior of the helmet. The coating can be disposed on the entire surface of the helmet or at select locations, for example, on the side, back, top, crown of the helmet, on the facemask, or any combination thereof. Alternatively, the helmet including shell or facemask can include magnetic particles or discrete magnets distributed within the structure of the shell or facemask, e.g. embedded within the shell or facemask or attached to its surface.

Where a helmet of the invention includes discrete magnets, one or more magnets, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or more than 10 magnets can be used. The helmet can have one or more discrete magnetic discs embedded within the helmet or attached to its surface in select positions on the helmet using an adhesive such as epoxy, fasteners such as hook and loop fasterners, or through a snapfit mechanism. Thus, the magnetic material can be incorporated into the helmet, for example, into the shell of the helmet or embedded within the padding or foam lining or pads of the helmet and would not be visible to the user. The magnetic material can be incorporated into the helmet during an injection molding process by adding magnetic particles or one or more discrete magnets into the liquid mold. The magnetic material can be incorporated into the helmet by applying a coating on the interior or exterior surfaces of the helmet, on the entire helmet or at select positions on the body or facemask of the helmet. The helmet can have a skin or shell lining composed of a magnetic sheet, i.e. one or more surfaces of the helmet is lined or coated with a magnetic material.

A helmet of the invention can be produced using methods and materials known to those of skill in the art. A helmet of the invention can be made of thermoplastic material or hard plastic and can also include foam or rubber. A helmet of the invention can be made of polycarbonate, polypropylene, polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, high-grade fiberglass, resin, steel, carbon fiber, velvet, suede, leather, or any combination thereof.

Methods of forming magnetic coatings are known to those of skill in the art, see for example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,128, 798. Methods of forming a magnetic helmet of the invention include injection molding, see for example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,159,324. By including a magnetic material, particles or discrete magnets, in the conventional process for molding the helmet, a magnetic helmet of the invention can be produced. More specifically, a mold for the helmet can be formed, the mold being configured to accommodate insertion of one or more magnets at select locations and alignment/orientation within the mold, then the helmet is formed using conventional process including, for example, injection molding using the materials described above including polycarbonate, polycarbonate alloy or carbon fibre. Alternatively, one or more magnets can be inserted into drilled holes in a molded helmet.

OTHER EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

While the invention has been described in conjunction with the detailed description, the foregoing description is intended to illustrate and not limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the scope of the claims. Other aspects, advantages, and modifications are within the scope of the following claims.

The terms and expressions that have been employed are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intent in the use of such terms and expressions to exclude any equivalent of the features shown and described or portions thereof. Thus, it will be understood that although the present invention has been specifically disclosed by preferred embodiments and optional features, modification and variation of the concepts herein disclosed may be resorted to by those skilled in the art, and that such modifications and variations are considered to be within the scope of this invention as defined by the appended claims. In addition, the invention has been described broadly and generically herein. Each of the narrower species and subgeneric groupings falling within the generic disclosure also form part of the invention.

As used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Under no circumstances may the patent application be interpreted to be limited to the specific examples or embodiments or methods specifically disclosed herein.