US20110174209A1 - Underwater personal propulsion device - Google Patents

Underwater personal propulsion device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110174209A1
US20110174209A1 US13/011,482 US201113011482A US2011174209A1 US 20110174209 A1 US20110174209 A1 US 20110174209A1 US 201113011482 A US201113011482 A US 201113011482A US 2011174209 A1 US2011174209 A1 US 2011174209A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
motor
extending
power source
source housing
control
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US13/011,482
Inventor
Matthew J. Thiessen
Original Assignee
Thiessen Matthew J
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Publication date
Priority to US28231510P priority Critical
Application filed by Thiessen Matthew J filed Critical Thiessen Matthew J
Priority to US13/011,482 priority patent/US20110174209A1/en
Publication of US20110174209A1 publication Critical patent/US20110174209A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63CLAUNCHING, HAULING-OUT, OR DRY-DOCKING OF VESSELS; LIFE-SAVING IN WATER; EQUIPMENT FOR DWELLING OR WORKING UNDER WATER; MEANS FOR SALVAGING OR SEARCHING FOR UNDERWATER OBJECTS
    • B63C11/00Equipment for dwelling or working underwater; Means for searching for underwater objects
    • B63C11/46Divers' sleds or like craft, i.e. craft on which man in diving-suit rides

Abstract

The underwater personal propulsion device is placed between the diver's lower legs to allow hands-free operation of the device by the diver. The device includes a pair of footrests extending laterally from its lower end, and a pair of braces or pads extending from the sides of the device to allow the diver to brace the device between his or her lower legs. A series of straps, e.g., bungee cords, extend from the upper end of the device to the diver's waist belt, e.g., the conventional weight belt, or to attachments or straps extending therefrom. Power control is provided by a controller installed on the diver's belt or, alternatively, by a foot or lower leg control. The device is easily aimed or steered by manipulation of the diver's legs, thereby allowing the diver to maneuver while his or her hands remain free for other operations.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/282,315, filed Jan. 21, 2010.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates generally to scuba and other diving equipment, and particularly to an underwater personal propulsion device for propelling a diver underwater, the device being configured and adapted for hands-free operation by the diver.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Conventionally, free divers (i.e., divers not tethered to a boat or other platform by an air line and/or other attachment) have resorted to their own muscular power as applied to swim fins, etc. for propulsion when underwater. While personal muscle power may be adequate for many circumstances, there are many other circumstances (e.g., commercial and military diving) where human muscle power is relatively limiting insofar as the ability of the diver to carry out the desired task or mission.
  • As a result, a number of different propulsion devices have been developed for underwater use by divers. While some of these devices are relatively sophisticated and complex, e.g., relatively large submersible craft in which the diver rides, many others are relatively simple handheld devices having a propulsion system by which the diver is pulled through the water. A number of such devices have been developed and sold commercially under such trade names as the Sea-Doo® SeaScooter™ and the X-treme Scooters® X-160 sea scooter. Such devices enable the diver to conserve his or her energy, and greatly facilitate the movement of the diver through the water.
  • A problem with such devices is that they require the use of the diver's hands to hold and control the device. While this may not be a problem most of the time, it most certainly interferes with other operations the diver may need to perform from time to time, e.g., operating a camera or other equipment, etc. Yet, there are times when the operation of such an underwater propulsion device in a virtually continuous manner is necessary, e.g., while attempting to maintain position in a river or ocean current. When such a handheld device must be operated essentially continually during a dive, the diver obviously finds it difficult to use his or her hands to carry out some other essential task.
  • As a result, a relatively few underwater personal propulsion devices have been developed that allow hands-free operation by the diver. None of these devices has been found entirely suitable. Thus, an underwater personal propulsion device solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The underwater personal propulsion device comprises a self-contained motor and power supply driving a shrouded impeller. The motor is selectively controlled by the operator, e.g., by a belt-attached control or, alternatively, by a foot control situated on a footrest extending from the base of the device, or by a lower leg-actuated control extending from the side of the device. The motor is preferably electric, having an electric battery providing power for the motor. Other power principles may be used as desired, e.g., a pneumatic motor powered by a compressed air tank, etc.
  • The device is adapted or configured for carriage between the lower legs of the diver, the lower end of the device having a pair of footrests extending laterally therefrom. Additional rests or braces are preferably provided to each side of the device. The diver braces the calves of his or her legs against these braces for additional stability and control. The upper end of the device is secured to a waist belt (e.g., the diver's weight belt, etc.) by a series of straps or cords, e.g., elastic (bungee) cords secured to the belt by quick-release fasteners.
  • The diver using the device clips the upper end of the device to his or her waist belt, places his or her feet upon the footrests, and braces the calf braces between his or her calves. The diver may then apply power to the device by means of the control, the device providing hands-free propulsion for the diver. Directional control is easily accomplished by orienting or maneuvering the legs to aim the device in the desired direction. The device is quickly and easily detached from the diver by releasing the quick-release clips or attachments connecting the device to the diver's belt, allowing the diver to maneuver freely without being encumbered by the device.
  • These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an environmental left rear perspective view of a diver using the underwater personal propulsion device according to the present invention, showing the general operation of the device.
  • FIG. 2 is an environmental front perspective view of the underwater personal propulsion device according to the present invention, showing further details thereof.
  • FIG. 3 is a partial side elevation view of the underwater personal propulsion device according to the present invention, showing an alternative motor control by means of a pivoting footrest.
  • FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of the underwater personal propulsion device according to the present invention, showing an alternative motor control by means of one of the calf brace pads.
  • Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The underwater personal propulsion device enables the user to keep his or her hands free for other operations while using the propulsion device for propulsion underwater. FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a first embodiment of the underwater personal propulsion device 10 and show its various features. The device 10 includes a motor and power source housing 12 having a forward end 14, the motor and power source housing further including a conventional motor and power supply. The motor may be electric with an electrical battery power supply, or pneumatic, being powered by a supply of compressed air or other gas.
  • The motor and power source housing 12 further includes an intake screen 16 extending opposite the forward end 14, and an outlet shroud 18 extending from the intake screen 16 opposite its attachment to the motor and power source housing 12. The drive motor installed within the motor and power source housing 12 selectively drives a conventional impeller located within the outlet shroud 18 to propel the device 10.
  • A waist harness 20 secures the propulsion device 10 to the diver D, generally as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The waist harness 20 includes a waist belt 22 having a plurality of relatively short straps 24 extending therefrom, and some form of quick-release fastener extending from the distal end of each strap 24, e.g., a D-ring extending from the distal end of each strap 24 with a carabiner, snap hook, or the like removably secured to the D-ring. A corresponding cord, strap, or line, e.g., an elastic or bungee cord 26, is removably attached to each of the straps 24 by means of the quick-release fastener extending therefrom. Each cord 26 extends to an attachment fitting 28 (eye, etc.) disposed upon the forward end 14 of the motor and power source housing 12. Each of the elastic cords 26 may extend from one of the strap 24 attachments through the attachment fitting 28 and thence to an opposite strap 24 attachment, or shorter cords 26 may extend from each of the strap 24 attachments to terminate at the attachment fitting 28 of the propulsion device 10.
  • It will be seen that while the waist harness 20 and its attachment cords 26 to the propulsion device 10 act to stabilize the device, they do nothing to hold the device 10 to prevent longitudinal movement thereof relative to the diver. Accordingly, the propulsion device 10 is provided with diametrically opposed first and second footrests 30 a and 30 b extending from the outlet shroud 18. The diver rests his or her feet upon these footrests 30 a, 30 b, essentially “standing” upon the base of the propulsion device 10. When power is applied thereto, the device 10 pushes longitudinally toward the diver, generally as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the weight or mass of the diver being propelled forwardly along the line of thrust provided by the propulsion device 10 as the diver stands upon the footrests 30 a, 30 b.
  • Additional stability may be provided by diametrically opposed first and second calf pads 32 a and 32 b extending from the sides of the motor and power source housing 12. The diver braces the calves of his or her legs against these pads 32 a, 32 b, for additional support and security. Moreover, the contact points provided by the two footrests 30 a, 30 b and the two calf pads 32 a, 32 b enable the diver to twist or turn his or her lower legs to redirect or orient the direction of the propulsion device 10 as desired, while simultaneously keeping his or her hands free for other tasks.
  • Various means may be provided for selectively controlling the motor output or speed of the propulsion device 10. FIG. 2 illustrates a waist belt mounted control 34 communicating electrically with the motor within the housing 12 by means of a connecting electrical cord or cable 36. This may be sufficient for the diver in circumstances where the power or speed need only be adjusted infrequently, but it does require the diver to reach to the belt 22 to manipulate the control 34 from time to time, thus requiring the diver to relinquish the use of that hand from any other task being undertaken at the time.
  • Accordingly, alternative power control means are illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 that enable the diver to operate the power control without using his or her hands. In FIG. 3, a rotary power control 38 (rheostat, multiple contact switch, etc., shown in broken lines in FIG. 3) is disposed at or just within the outlet shroud 18, the rotary control 38 having a control shaft 40 extending generally radially from the shroud 18. One of the footrests, e.g., the first footrest 30 a, is rigidly mounted upon the control shaft 40. Thus, when the footrest 30 a is pivoted, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 3, the control shaft 40 of the power control 38 is also pivoted, thereby changing the power setting of the motor of the propulsion device 10. The footrest 30 a thus operates somewhat similarly to the accelerator pedal in an automobile, so that any diver who has some experience driving a motor vehicle becomes readily acclimated to the footrest control system of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 4 provides an illustration of another hands-free means of power control of the device 10, wherein one of the lower legs or calves of the diver is used to reposition one of the calf pads. A rotary power control 38 substantially identical to the footrest controlled power control 38 of FIG. 3 is installed within the motor and power source housing 12. Its control shaft 40 extends outwardly and generally radially from the motor and power source housing 12. The first calf pad 32 a is affixed to the control shaft 40. Swiveling or pivoting the calf pad 32 a about the rotary axis of the control shaft 40 operates the rotary power control 38, thus changing the power output of the motor contained within the motor and power source housing 12. The power control 38 and its control shaft 40 may be oriented differently than shown in FIG. 4, e.g., with the rotary axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the housing 12, thus allowing the calf pad 32 a to be rocked fore and aft to control the power control 38 and motor.
  • Accordingly, the underwater personal propulsion device 10 in its various embodiments will prove to be quite valuable to the diver who has occasion to use his or her hands for photography, tool manipulation, etc. while simultaneously needing some form of thrust or propulsion to maintain position or to travel through the water. The various alternative means of controlling the power output of the motor, i.e., foot or lower leg control, further facilitate hands-free activities by the diver while simultaneously allowing the diver to control the propulsion device as desired.
  • It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (18)

1. An underwater personal propulsion device, comprising:
a motor and power source housing having a forward end;
an intake screen extending from the motor and power source housing opposite the forward end thereof;
an outlet shroud extending from the intake screen;
a waist harness removably attached to the forward end of the motor and power source housing; and
diametrically opposed first and second footrests extending from the outlet shroud.
2. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 1, further including diametrically opposed first and second calf pads extending from the motor and power source housing.
3. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 1, wherein the waist harness comprises:
a waist belt;
a plurality of straps extending from the waist belt; and
an elastic cord removably secured to each of the straps, each of the elastic cords extending between one of the straps and the forward end of the motor and power source housing.
4. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 1, further including a power control disposed upon the waist harness, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing.
5. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 1, further comprising a power control disposed at the outlet shroud, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing, the power control having a control shaft extending therefrom, one of the footrests extending from the control shaft of the power control.
6. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 1, further including:
diametrically opposed first and second calf pads extending from the motor and power source housing; and
a power control disposed at the motor and power source housing, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing, the power control having a control shaft extending therefrom, one of the calf pads extending from the control shaft.
7. An underwater personal propulsion device, comprising:
a motor and power source housing having a forward end;
an intake screen extending from the motor and power source housing opposite the forward end thereof;
an outlet shroud extending from the intake screen;
a waist harness removably attached to the forward end of the motor and power source housing; and
diametrically opposed first and second calf pads extending from the motor and power source housing.
8. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 7, further including diametrically opposed first and second footrests extending from the outlet shroud.
9. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 7, wherein the waist harness comprises:
a waist belt;
a plurality of straps extending from the waist belt; and
an elastic cord removably secured to each of the straps, each of the elastic cords extending between one of the straps and the forward end of the motor and power source housing.
10. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 7, further including a power control disposed upon the waist harness, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing.
11. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 7, further including:
diametrically opposed first and second footrests extending from the outlet shroud; and
a power control disposed at the outlet shroud, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing, the power control having a control shaft extending therefrom, one of the footrests extending from the control shaft.
12. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 7, further including:
diametrically opposed first and second calf pads extending from the motor and power source housing; and
a power control disposed at the motor and power source housing, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing, the power control having a control shaft extending therefrom, one of the calf pads extending from the control shaft.
13. An underwater personal propulsion device, comprising:
a motor and power source housing having a forward end;
an intake screen extending from the motor and power source housing opposite the forward end thereof;
an outlet shroud extending from the intake screen;
diametrically opposed first and second footrests extending from the outlet shroud; and
diametrically opposed first and second calf pads extending from the motor and power source housing.
14. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 13, further including a waist harness removably secured to the forward end of the motor and power source housing.
15. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 14, wherein the waist harness comprises:
a waist belt;
a plurality of straps extending from the waist belt; and
an elastic cord removably secured to each of the straps, each of the elastic cords extending between one of the straps and the forward end of the motor and power source housing.
16. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 14, further including a power control disposed upon the waist harness, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing.
17. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 13, further including a power control disposed at the outlet shroud, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing, the power control having a control shaft extending therefrom, one of the footrests extending from the control shaft of the power control.
18. The underwater personal propulsion device according to claim 13, further including:
diametrically opposed, first and second calf pads extending from the motor and power source housing; and
a power control disposed at the motor and power source housing, the power control being adapted for communicating electrically with a drive motor disposed within the motor and power source housing, the power control having a control shaft extending therefrom, one of the calf pads extending from the control shaft.
US13/011,482 2010-01-21 2011-01-21 Underwater personal propulsion device Abandoned US20110174209A1 (en)

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US28231510P true 2010-01-21 2010-01-21
US13/011,482 US20110174209A1 (en) 2010-01-21 2011-01-21 Underwater personal propulsion device

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10000266B1 (en) 2016-12-19 2018-06-19 Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha Aquatic jet propulsion device
US10071289B1 (en) 2017-03-09 2018-09-11 Brandon C. Robinson Underwater propulsion device
WO2019028968A1 (en) * 2017-08-10 2019-02-14 刘健威 Life-saving device equipped portable underwater power-assisted propulsion device having self-adjustable steering function
US10300998B2 (en) 2016-12-19 2019-05-28 Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha Aquatic jet propulsion device

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US2331302A (en) * 1939-10-30 1943-10-12 American Pad & Textile Company Life preserver
US3422787A (en) * 1967-05-31 1969-01-21 Stephen K Rush Propulsion system for swimmers
US3635188A (en) * 1969-08-08 1972-01-18 Joseph Rutkowski Underwater propulsion device
US3995578A (en) * 1975-10-03 1976-12-07 Mccullough Keith R Scuba divers propulsion unit
US4700654A (en) * 1986-06-27 1987-10-20 Michael Borges Propulsion device for swimmers and divers
US4813367A (en) * 1987-05-18 1989-03-21 Michael Stevenson Diver's sled
US4938722A (en) * 1989-06-29 1990-07-03 Rizley Harold K Fisherman's float propelling system
US5024178A (en) * 1990-02-14 1991-06-18 Bruce Martin G Underwater propulsion device
US5105753A (en) * 1990-02-27 1992-04-21 Chih Liu P Multi-purpose underwater propelling device
US5906521A (en) * 1997-06-05 1999-05-25 Tippmann; Patrick A. Individual water vehicle
US5984739A (en) * 1997-12-23 1999-11-16 Donahue; Christopher Detachable propulsion unit for a scuba tank
US6341993B1 (en) * 2000-09-05 2002-01-29 William J. Lalli, Jr. Motorized swim fin
US6823813B2 (en) * 2001-03-08 2004-11-30 Benjamin A. Mazin Leg-mounted propulsion device for swimmers and divers
US7096815B2 (en) * 2004-04-09 2006-08-29 Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Underwater scooter

Patent Citations (14)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2331302A (en) * 1939-10-30 1943-10-12 American Pad & Textile Company Life preserver
US3422787A (en) * 1967-05-31 1969-01-21 Stephen K Rush Propulsion system for swimmers
US3635188A (en) * 1969-08-08 1972-01-18 Joseph Rutkowski Underwater propulsion device
US3995578A (en) * 1975-10-03 1976-12-07 Mccullough Keith R Scuba divers propulsion unit
US4700654A (en) * 1986-06-27 1987-10-20 Michael Borges Propulsion device for swimmers and divers
US4813367A (en) * 1987-05-18 1989-03-21 Michael Stevenson Diver's sled
US4938722A (en) * 1989-06-29 1990-07-03 Rizley Harold K Fisherman's float propelling system
US5024178A (en) * 1990-02-14 1991-06-18 Bruce Martin G Underwater propulsion device
US5105753A (en) * 1990-02-27 1992-04-21 Chih Liu P Multi-purpose underwater propelling device
US5906521A (en) * 1997-06-05 1999-05-25 Tippmann; Patrick A. Individual water vehicle
US5984739A (en) * 1997-12-23 1999-11-16 Donahue; Christopher Detachable propulsion unit for a scuba tank
US6341993B1 (en) * 2000-09-05 2002-01-29 William J. Lalli, Jr. Motorized swim fin
US6823813B2 (en) * 2001-03-08 2004-11-30 Benjamin A. Mazin Leg-mounted propulsion device for swimmers and divers
US7096815B2 (en) * 2004-04-09 2006-08-29 Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Underwater scooter

Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10000266B1 (en) 2016-12-19 2018-06-19 Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha Aquatic jet propulsion device
US10300998B2 (en) 2016-12-19 2019-05-28 Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha Aquatic jet propulsion device
US10363998B2 (en) 2016-12-19 2019-07-30 Yamaha Hatsudoki Kaisha Aquatic vessel and paddle
US10071289B1 (en) 2017-03-09 2018-09-11 Brandon C. Robinson Underwater propulsion device
WO2018165486A1 (en) * 2017-03-09 2018-09-13 Robinson Brandon C Underwater propulsion device
US10576332B2 (en) 2017-03-09 2020-03-03 Brandon C. Robinson Underwater propulsion device
WO2019028968A1 (en) * 2017-08-10 2019-02-14 刘健威 Life-saving device equipped portable underwater power-assisted propulsion device having self-adjustable steering function

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