Title:
SUBMERSIBLE SWIMMING POOL DECK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A retrofit, submersible swimming pool deck deployable in existing swimming pools without altering the pool infrastructure. The submersible deck includes: (a) a panel, which is configured to be moved reversibly between a lowered state that is substantially parallel to a floor of the swimming pool and a raised state that is substantially flat and horizontal; and (b) at least one motor, operationally coupled to the panel, wherein the motor is configured to effect the reversible movement of the panel between the lowered state and the raised state, and wherein said panel includes a first portion and a second portion that are pivotable relative to each other.



Inventors:
Seri, Moshe (RAMAT GAN, IL)
Application Number:
15/065902
Publication Date:
06/30/2016
Filing Date:
03/10/2016
Assignee:
SERI MOSHE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/06; E04H4/08; E04H4/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LE, HUYEN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniel J. Swirsky (Beit Shemesh, IL)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A retrofit, submersible deck for a swimming pool comprising: (a) a panel, wherein said panel is configured to be moved reversibly between a lowered state that is substantially parallel to a floor of the swimming pool and a raised state that is substantially flat and horizontal; and (b) at least one motor, operationally coupled to said panel, wherein said at least one motor is configured to effect said reversible movement of said panel between said lowered state and said raised state, and wherein said panel includes a first portion and a second portion that are pivotable relative to each other.

2. The submersible deck of claim 1, wherein said first portion is adapted to be disposed substantially horizontally, parallel to a shallow portion of said floor of the swimming pool.

3. The submersible deck of claim 1, wherein said second portion is adapted to be at an oblique angle relative to said first portion when in said lowered state.

4. The submersible deck of claim 1, wherein said second portion is adapted to be disposed substantially parallel to a deep portion of said floor of the swimming pool when said panel is in said lowered state, wherein said deep portion of said floor is relatively deeper than said shallow portion of said floor.

5. The submersible deck of claim 1, further comprising at least one other motor, wherein said at least one motor is operationally coupled to said first portion and said at least one other motor is operationally coupled to said second portion.

6. The submersible deck of claim 1, wherein said second portion includes a plurality of hinged sub-portions.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/528,883, filed Jun. 21, 2012, which is a continuation-in-part of International Application No. PCT/IB2010/055988, filed Dec. 21, 2010, which claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/288,353, filed Dec. 21, 2009, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

The present invention relates to swimming pools and, in particular, it concerns a pool cover configured to increase usable deck space.

BACKGROUND

It is known that during time periods when swimming pools are not in use the pool cavity consumes useful deck space that could be employed for a wide variety of uses. During summer months, the loss of deck space is less pronounced because pools are normally used most of the day. However, during the winter in which there are extended months of pool inactivity, the loss of deck space becomes significant.

There is a need for a retrofit submersible pool deck suitable for existing pools capable of serving as a pool deck and an elevatable pool floor deployable in existing swimming pools without significantly altering existing pool infrastructure.

SUMMARY

A retrofit, submersible swimming pool deck deployable in existing swimming pools without altering the pool infrastructure. The submersible deck includes: (a) a panel, which is configured to be moved reversibly between a lowered state that is substantially parallel to a floor of the swimming pool and a raised state that is substantially flat and horizontal; and (b) at least one motor, operationally coupled to the panel, wherein the motor is configured to effect the reversible movement of the panel between the lowered state and the raised state, and wherein said panel includes a first portion and a second portion that are pivotable relative to each other.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments, features, and aspects of the invention are described herein in conjunction with the following drawings:

FIG. 1 is schematic, side view of a submersible pool deck in a fully ascended deck configuration;

FIGS. 2-3 are schematic, side views of a submersible pool deck in elevated pool floor configurations during descent;

FIG. 4 is schematic, side view of the submersible pool deck in an elevated pool floor configuration during ascent;

FIG. 5 is a schematic top view of panel of a submersible pool deck and pull-cord arrangement for releasing locked support legs;

FIG. 6 is a schematic bottom depicting nested telescopic legs disposed in storage channels;

FIG. 7 is a schematic side view, depicting the pull-cord arrangement associated with the nested telescopic legs of FIG. 6;

FIGS. 8-10 are schematic, side views of an alternative embodiment of the invention of FIGS. 1-4 at different stages of descent;

FIG. 11 is a schematic bottom of a grated panel embodiment depicting nested telescopic legs disposed in storage channels and a non-integral ballast chamber;

FIG. 12 is a schematic side view of an alternative embodiment of the panel of FIG. 1 configured to be assembled from a plurality of panel units;

FIG. 13 is a schematic top view of an alternative embodiment of the panel of FIG. 1 configured to be assembled from a plurality of panel units;

FIG. 14 is an isometric view of a second configuration of the invention in a submerged state;

FIG. 15 is an isometric view of a second configuration of the invention in an elevated, emerged state;

FIG. 16 is a schematic side view of an alternative embodiment of the panel of FIG. 14 including a hinged portion of panel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is a retrofit, submersible swimming pool deck deployable in existing swimming pools without altering the pool infrastructure.

The present invention relates to a submersible, swimming-pool deck configured to provide a sturdy support surface that effectively extends the deck surface over the pool cavity and provides an elevated pool floor when submerged.

In addition to these benefits the present invention also: Serves as a safety device by preventing toddlers from inadvertent falling into the pool. Prevents unwanted elements from falling into the pool. Prevents unwanted evaporation of the pool. Insulates the pool thereby reducing cooling during nights and freezing during cold winter months.

The principles and operation of the retrofit, submersible swimming pool deck according to the present invention may be better understood with reference to the drawings and the accompanying description.

Referring to the figures, FIGS. 1-4 depict a retrofit, submersible pool deck generally designated 11. The retrofit, submersible pool deck includes a ballast system having a ballast chamber implemented as a rigid panel 3, in a non-limiting exemplary embodiment, a pump 4a, a compressor 4b, and control system (not shown). Panel 3 provides a vertically mobile, substantially horizontal support surface on which users can stand or perform various activities while panel 3 is disposed at different depths in pool 1. The height at which panel 3 is submerged defines a new effective depth for pool 1. Panel 3 is raised or lowered to a particular depth by changing its buoyancy by the proportion of air and water introduced into a panel cavity 6 by way of air compressor 4a and water pump 4b, as is known to those skilled in the art. Panel 3 is constructed of thermoplastic materials such as polypropylene, polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in an exemplary non-limiting embodiment; however, it should be appreciated that any light weight, water resistant, durable material is included within the scope of the present invention. The outer edge 2a of panel 3 substantially contours the walls of pool 1 so that the vertical motion of panel 3 is directed by swimming pools walls 13 as shown in FIGS. 1-4. A space is provided between perimeter of panel 3 and pool wall 13 enabling passage of displaced water while panel 3 during descent and ascent as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, designation “A”. The upper surface 2b of panel 3, in a non-limiting exemplary embodiment, is constructed from hard plastic, stone or any other material durable in both aqueous and non-aqueous environments. Furthermore, upper surface 2b in a non-limiting, exemplary embodiment slopes downwards towards its perimeter to form angle “C” with a horizontal plane so as to facilitate runoff of water from during ascent as depicted in FIG. 4. It should be appreciated that panels having non-planar upper-surface geometries like steps and indentations are also included within the scope of the present invention. Panel chamber 6 has a volume sufficient to provide the necessary buoyancy to raise panel 3 to the water surface and support up to 100 kilos per square meter as is known by those skilled in the art.

It should be noted that the compressor 4a and pump 4b are powered by electricity or any suitable petro fuel. Telescopic legs 5 are pivotally mounted to the underside of panel 3 for fixing and supporting panel 3 at a chosen height in a non-limiting exemplary embodiment. Each telescopic leg 5 includes a number of telescopic segments 5a-5c resiliently biased by way of a spring arrangement to assume an extended position as panel 3 ascends and to retract into the adjacent segment having a larger inner diameter as panel 3 descends in an exemplary, non-limiting embodiment. Each of telescopic segments 5a-5c includes a locking configurations 15a resiliently biased to releasably lock at locking locations disposed at the end of each telescopic segment so as to define a height at which panel 3 is fixed in a non-limiting, exemplary embodiment. FIG. 1 depicts telescopic legs 5 locked in a fully extended position thereby supporting panel 3 at its uppermost position where panel 3 functions as a deck extension as described above and is advantageously stabilized by pool floor 8 on which legs 5 are supported with out being permanently attached. FIG. 2 depicts panel 3 submerged at a shallow depth and locked at this height by way of telescopic legs. In a non-limiting exemplary embodiment, telescopic legs 5 have three extendable leg segments 5a-5c in which segments 5b and 5c are configured to lock with adjacent, previously extended segments, as noted above. Segment 5a is pivotally connected to panel 3 and is locked into an extended position upon original deployment in pool 1 in a non-limiting, exemplary embodiment. As noted above, leg segments 5b-5c automatically lock into a fixed position when fully extended. To enable a user to change the height of panel 3 locking configuration 15a is held in a non-locking state as panel 3 changes height by way of a pull-cord arrangement 15 as will be discussed. Telescope leg segment 5b is retracted into segment 5a and locked (by releasing pull-cord 15) so that panel 3 is fixed at such a height thereby functioning as an elevated pool floor suitable for pool users requiring shallow water most clearly visible in FIG. 2. A user desiring to further lower panel 3, unlocks legs 5 and continues to increase the proportion of water inside ballast chamber 6 so that panel 3 continues to descend, remaining leg segment Sc retracts into previously retracted segment 5b thereby supporting panel 3 at a height from pool floor 8 equal to the length of segment 5a. It should be noted that the number of legs required is a function of the size of the pool, the volume of ballast chamber 6 and the weight to be supported as will be understood by one skilled in the art. FIG. 4 depicts the reverse process in which a user raises panel 3 by reducing the proportion of water in ballast chamber 6 by feeding compressed air is mentioned above. Leg segments 5c-5b are unlocked by way of a pull-cord arrangement, as will be discussed, enabling resiliently biased segment 5c to extend out of retracted segment 5b. As shown, as panel 3 rises, water runs off the top of sloping surface and through the clearance between panel perimeter and pool walls 13 as shown by flow arrow “A”. It should be noted that any order of changing the buoyancy of panel 3, and unlocking lock configurations 15a is included within the scope of the present invention. The lock configurations 15a of each of telescopic legs 5 is actuated in a non-limiting exemplary embodiment by way of a pull-cords arrangement 15 configured to release the lock configuration 15a from any of the locking locations disposed along the length of segments 5a-5c as noted above. It should be noted that lock-release configurations actuated by way of lever arrangements are also included within the scope of the present invention. It should be appreciated that in a non-limiting exemplary embodiment, telescopic legs 5 are constructed from aluminum; however, it should be appreciated that any durable, water resistant material is included within the scope of the present invention. FIG. 5 is a top view of panel 3 and a pull-cord arrangement 15 in which separate pull-cords for each telescopic leg 5 passes through panel 3 by way of pull-cord port 14 disposed opposite each telescopic leg 5 in an exemplary, non-limiting embodiment. Pull-cords 15 are connected to a pull ring 16 to enable a user to effectively pull on each cord simultaneously to unlock simultaneously each of telescopic leg 5. It should be appreciated that the leg-lock release configuration 15a can be actuated by a user standing on panel 3 or standing on deck 2 by way of a pulley arrangement. FIGS. 6-7 are a schematic bottom and side views, respectively, of panel 3 depicting pivotally mounted telescopic legs 5 in a fully retracted state and folded into transport channels 17. Each channel 17 is integrally formed into panel 3 thereby facilitating panel storage and transport. It should be noted that removable telescopic legs and foldable legs that are removable or pivotable are also included within the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 8 depicts a non-limiting alternative embodiment of grated panel 8 having a series of openings 7 to enable water to pass through panel 3 during descent and ascent. Buoyancy regulation is achieved by way of a non-integral, ballast chamber 10 connected to ballast support member 13 near the perimeter of panel 3. Ballast chamber 10 is non-integral to panel 3 because it is attached to panel 3 after it has been constructed. The outermost face of non-integral ballast chamber 10 is in sliding engagement with pool wall 13 in a non-limiting exemplary embodiment. Accordingly, outer face of external ballast chamber 10 is reinforced with a reinforcement element 12 to prevent wear and tear in ballast chamber 10. Reinforcement element 12 is typically constructed from thermoplastic materials such polypropylene, polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It should be appreciate that other lightweight durable, water resistant materials are also included within the scope of the present invention. It should be appreciated that that flexible ballast chambers are also included within the scope of the present invention. FIGS. 8-10 depict grated panel 8 disposed at different depths as buoyancy is regulated as described above. As described above, panel 3 is locked at the desired height by way of lock configurations disposed in telescopic legs 5. FIG. 11 is a schematic, bottom view of the grated panel of FIGS. 8-10 depicting the non-integral ballast chamber 10 disposed around the perimeter of grated panel 8 with reinforcement element 12 as mentioned above. FIG. 12 is a schematic side view of a non-limiting alternative embodiment of panel 3, constructed from a plurality of panel units 3a having releasable lock configurations 3b disposed between units 3a for locking together panel units 3a into a single, large panel 3. Each panel unit 3a has an independent ballast chamber 6b in fluid communication with other independent ballast chamber 6b by way flow paths 3c enabling the passage of air and water (flow arrow “A”) between contiguous panel units 3a. This arrangement advantageously facilitates transport of panel disassembled into smaller more units 3a and when assembled, panel 3 may be constructed from standard modular units 3a best fitting the outline of an existing pool. It should be noted that units 3a implemented as grated panel units, in which the assembled panel attaches to an non-integral ballast are also included within the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a schematic, top view of a panel 3 constructed from four panel units 3a that interlock by way of locking assembly 3b. It should be noted that the number of panel units employed to construct a single panel 3 is a function of the size of the pool to be retrofitted as is known to those skilled in the art.

It should be noted that the pumps 4a and air compressors 4b built into panel 3, disposed outside of the panel on pool deck 2, or disposed underwater are all included within the scope of the current invention.

Another possible configuration is shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. FIG. 14 is an isometric view of a second configuration 20 of the invention in a submerged state. FIG. 15 is an isometric view of a second configuration 20 of the invention in an elevated, emerged state. In FIG. 14, motorized submersible pool deck includes a substantially horizontal panel 22 which is configured to be actuated vertically so as to move reversibly between a lowered state, substantially close to the floor of the swimming pool, and an elevated state, wherein the panel is positioned above the waterline of the pool.

In a preferred embodiment, panel 22 is punctuated with a series of holes 26 designed to allow water to filter through panel 22 during submersion. It is to be understood that series of holes 26, as depicted in FIGS. 14-15, is merely an exemplary configuration of perforations in panel 22 which are adapted to allow water to pass therethrough during submersion and surfacing of panel 22. Any applicable configuration of perforations 26 (e.g. slits, grills, vents etc.), are considered to be included within the scope of the invention. Those skilled in the art can further improve the design to ensure that when emerged, the runoff water escapes through the holes to provide a substantially dry pool deck.

Furthermore, deck/panel 22 may be fabricated from a non-slip material, or otherwise coated with a non-slip material, so as to reduce the possibility of slippage when walking on the surfaced deck.

Furthermore, those skilled in the art are able to design the optimal configuration of the holes 26 (or any other type of perforations) so as to ensure that panel 22 can withstand, at least, the weight of 100 Kg per square meter.

Submersible deck 22 is controlled by a plurality of motors 24. In FIGS. 14 and 15, four motors are depicted. The use of four motors is merely exemplary, and it is to be understood that any applicable number of motors, in any efficient configuration, may be employed to effect the same or similar function of raising and lowering panel 22. The motors are operationally coupled to linkage assemblies 28 (shown in FIG. 16) which are coupled to the submersible platform in a manner so as to electively raise and lower the platform. A linkage assembly 28 can be any mechanism known in the art capable raising and lowering a platform. Potentially, more than one linkage assembly 28 can be coupled to a single motor 24. A non-limiting exemplary list of linkage assemblies includes: a belt drive, chain drive, rack and pinion system, a ballscrew and luger and any other linear actuator that converts the rotational motion of the motors into linear movement. Preferably, motors 24 and linkage assemblies 28 are installed without making any alterations to an existing swimming pool. Furthermore, as the linkage assemblies may protrude beyond the walls of the swimming pool, the assembly should be shielded from swimmers so as to prevent tampering or harm to the swimmers. If any part of the system (motors, linkage assemblies, etc.) is installed in the walls, floor or areas surrounding the existing swimming pool, any installation should adhere to accepted swimming pool practices to prevent leakage of pool water and/or contact between electrical parts and the water.

The current configuration is preferable over the previous configuration for a number of reasons. One advantage is the simplified implementation of the current system using standard motors and linear actuators known in the art. Another advantage is improved control over the raising and lowering of the platform so that the user can arbitrarily choose a position in which to lock the platform where the mechanical system is relatively simple and straightforward, using standard parts. Also, standard parts are easier to repair or replace than custom made systems. Being able to lock the mechanism at a given position enables a user to change, for all intents and purposes, the depth of the pool. For example, when adults or teenagers use the pool the panel can be lowered to the bottom of the pool, but when children or toddlers use the pool then the panel can be raised so that the children will be able to stand in the water. Changing the depth of the pool further reduces the danger of young children drowning when in the pool. Whereas many contraptions have been proposed and implemented for preventing accidental drowning of children who fall into a swimming pool, very few innovations (relating to the pool itself) exist which prevent children from drowning while swimming. Of course, the immediate innovative submersible deck, when in the raised state, serves as a safety device which prevents the accidental drowning of young children by preventing such children (or anyone else) from falling into the water.

Another advantage is increased control over the raising and lowering of the platform where the motors work in a synchronized manner that affords smooth raising and lowering of the platform.

Another configuration of the invention is depicted in FIG. 16. FIG. 16 is a schematic side view of an alternative embodiment of the panel of FIG. 14 including a hinged portion of the panel. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 16, panel 22 includes a second, hinged, segment 22b (or series of hinged segments) to accommodate a swimming pool with varied depths. Many swimming pools have a gradual descent in the depth of the pool. Some pools have a ‘shallow end’ which spans a portion of the pool (usually near entrance steps) where the floor of the pool is substantially flat giving the pool a consistent, relatively shallow, depth. Beyond the ‘shallow end’, the floor of the pool begins to gradually slope downwards, terminating at the far wall of the pool. The end of the pool where the floor is at a gradient is often referred to as the ‘deep end’. In order for the retrofit submersible platform of the immediate invention to be adaptable to a wide range of swimming pools including those which have a deep end and a shallow end, it would be preferable for the panel 22 to have a second, hinged segment 22b. The hinged segment 22b can be adapted to the gradient of the floor of the swimming pool so that when submersed, a first portion of the panel 22a can lie substantially parallel to the floor of the shallow end of the pool and the remainder of the panel swivel (lower than the first portion 22a but not higher) about a hinge 30 to lie at an obtuse/oblique angle (relative to the first portion 22a), substantially parallel to the floor of the sloping end (deep end) of the pool.

In order to prevent hinged second portion 22b from bending upwards, first portion 2a can overlap slightly beyond hinge 30. Any other configuration achieving the same or better preventative result, as would be clear to one skilled in the art, is considered to be within the scope of the invention.

Preferably, at least two motors or two sets of motors are needed to effect movement of the immediate embodiment of the invention, one motor or set for each portion of the panel. Hinged portion 22b can only tilt or swivel downwards, relative to first portion 22a, so that when panel 22 is submerged by motors 24, a motor or motors 24a controlling first portion 22a submerge first portion of panel 22a only to the depth of the shallow end while a motor or motors 24b controlling hinged portion 22b continue to submerge the hinged portion of panel 22 until the required depth is achieved. The opposite is true when the panel is raised: first motor/s 24b raise the hinged portion 22b until the hinged portion is parallel to first portion 22a at which time motor/s 24a begin to raise first portion 22a of the panel so that panel 22 rises as a single unit. Of course, when locked at any position, panel 22 of the current embodiment is configured to withstand the weight of 485 pounds per five square feet.

Potentially, only one motor or set of motors can be used to facilitate raising and lowering of the currently described hinged panel 22, although such a configuration is less preferred than the afore mentioned configuration.

While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, it will be appreciated that many variations, modifications and other applications of the invention may be made.