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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ADJUSTABLE LENS HOLDER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/091679
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An adjustable lens holding device (10) with a frame (12) having two lens holders (14, 16), a base (30), and user-adjustable means carried by the frame (12) and base (30) for fitting the device (10) to an individual user and different headgear. The lens holders (14, 16) can hold virtually any types of lenses, including clear and tinted lenses, prescription and nonprescription lenses, and special-purpose lenses such as sunglasses or glare-reducing glasses. The base (30) is attached to the user's headgear by VELCRO strips (52, 54) or other suitable fasteners or combinations thereof; shims may be added to adjust the vertical position of the base (30) with respect to the headgear. The adjusting means includes a first portion (20) carried by the frame (12) and a second portion (32) carried by the base (30). The device (10) is made of sturdy, cost-effective materials such as thermoplastics.

Inventors:
BOWERS JAMES A (US)
SHEDROW C BARRY (US)
WIKE LYNN D (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2001/017792
Publication Date:
December 06, 2001
Filing Date:
May 31, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BOWERS JAMES A (US)
SHEDROW C BARRY (US)
WIKE LYNN D (US)
International Classes:
A42B3/22; G02C3/02; G02C11/00; (IPC1-7): A61F9/02
Foreign References:
US5720040A1998-02-24
US2619641A1952-12-02
US5129102A1992-07-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Reichmanis, Maria (SC, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A device for supporting a pair of eyeglass lenses on an item of protective headgear, said device comprising: frame means for holding a pair of eyeglass lenses; base means adapted for attachment to said headgear; and means for attaching said frame means to said base means, said attaching means including first adjusting means operable for vertical adjustment of said frame means with respect to said base means, and second adjusting means operable for pantoscopic adjustment of said frame means with respect to said base means.
2. The device as recited in claim 1, wherein said first adjusting means further comprises first detent means and first detent receiving means, and wherein said second adjusting means further comprises second detent means and second detent receiving means.
3. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said first detent means further comprises a first detent and wherein said first detent receiving means further comprises at least two cavities, each of said cavities dimensioned for receiving said first detent.
4. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said second detent means further comprises a second detent, and wherein said second detent receiving means further comprises a plurality of defined positions for receiving said second detent.
5. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said first detent means further comprises a first detent, said first detent receiving means further comprises at least two cavities each dimensioned for receiving said first detent, said second detent means further comprises a second detent, and said second detent receiving means further comprises a plurality of user selectable positions for receiving said second detent so that, when said first detent is placed in a selected cavity of said at least two cavities, said first detent is pivotable therein to place said second detent in a selected one of said defined positions.
6. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said frame means further comprises: a pair of lens holders; a bridge connecting said lens holders; and a tab integrally formed with said bridge, said tab carrying at least one of said first and second detent means.
7. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said base means carries at least one of said first and second detent receiving means.
8. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said base means further comprises a shelf having a pair of spacedapart side walls depending therefrom, said side walls having at least one of said first and second detent receiving means formed therein.
9. The device as recited in claim 1, wherein said first adjusting means further comprises first detent means and first detent receiving means, and wherein said second adjusting means further comprises tab means operable for said pantoscopic adjustment.
10. The device as recited in claim 9, wherein said frame means further comprises ; a pair of lens holders; a bridge connecting said lens holders; and a flexible tab integrally formed with said bridge, said tab being bendable to adjust a pantoscopic position of said frame means with respect to said base means.
11. The device as recited in claim 1, wherein said base means, said frame means, and said attaching means are made of somewhat flexible, thermoplastic materials.
12. The device as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for securing said base means to said headgear.
13. A device for supporting a pair of eyeglass lenses on an item of protective headgear, said device comprising: a frame having a pair of lens holders, a bridge extending between said lens holders, and a tab integrally formed with said bridge and extending upwards therefrom; and a base having a shelf, and a pair of spacedapart side walls integrally formed with said shelf and extending downwards therefrom, said side walls having means formed therein for receiving said tab so that a position of said frame with respect to said base is vertically and pantoscopically adjustable.
14. The device as recited in claim 13, wherein said tab is flexible and bendable to adjust said pantoscopic position of said frame with respect to said base.
15. The device as recited in claim 13, wherein said tab carries a first pair of detents and a second pair of detents, and wherein said side walls have at least two first pairs of receiving means configured for receiving said first pair of detents and at least two second pairs of receiving means configured for receiving said second pair of detents, said first pair of detents adapted for vertical adjustment of a position of said frame with respect to said base and said second pair of detents adapted for pantoscopic adjustment of said position.
16. The device as recited in claim 15, wherein said first receiving means further comprises at least two pairs of spacedapart cavities formed in said side walls.
17. The device as recited in claim 51, wherein said first receiving means further comprises at least two pairs of spacedapart cavities formed in said side walls, and wherein said second receiving means further comprises at least two pairs of spacedapart, radial slots formed in said side walls, said slots positioned so that, when said first pair of detents is positioned in a selected pair of cavities, said frame is pivotable on said first detents to position said second pair of detents in a selected pair of slots.
18. The device as recited in claim 15, wherein said first receiving means further comprises at least two pairs of spacedapart cavities formed in said side walls, and wherein said second receiving means further comprises at least two pairs of spacedapart, radial ridges formed in said side walls, said ridges positioned so that, when said first pair of detents is positioned in a selected first pair of cavities, said frame is pivotable on said first detents to position said second pair of detents against a selected pair of ridges.
19. The device as recited in claim 15, wherein a distance between said pairs of detents is approximately the same as a distance between a selected first receiving means and a selected second receiving means.
20. The device as recited in claim 13, wherein said base and said frame are made of somewhat flexible thermoplastic materials.
21. The device as recited in claim 13, further comprising means for attaching said base to said headgear, said attaching means including hookandloop fabric, screws, pins, tabs, adhesive, or a combination thereof.
22. The device as recited in claim 13, further comprising shim means configured for attaching said base to said headgear.
23. The device as recited in claim 13, further comprising a hinge formed in said tab.
24. The device as recited in claim 13, further comprising a hinge formed in said bridge.
25. The device as recited in claim 13, further comprising means for adjusting a position of said base on said headgear.
Description:
ADJUSTABLE LENS HOLDER TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to devices for mounting eyeglass lenses to protective headgear such as masks, helmets, and the like. In particular, the present invention relates to user-adjustable lens-mounting devices that can be fitted with prescription lenses, conventional sunglasses-type lenses, or glare-reducing lenses.

BACKGROUND ART Protective masks, goggles, helmets, and like devices (referred to herein as "protective headgear") are used in a wide range of activities and environments. Whether they participate in individual or team sports, amateur and professional athletes frequently wear protective headgear to guard against head and eye injuries: divers, bicyclists, motorcycle drivers, race car drivers, equestrians, football players, hunters, boaters, skiers, skateboarders, etc. Protective masks and goggles are also worn in environments that contain irritants such as dust, or environments that might contain toxic or hazardous substances.

While the appropriate equipment can help guard against head and eye injuries, most protective headgear makes no provision for eyeglasses (prescription lenses, sunglasses, etc.).

By some estimates, almost half of the adult population of the U. S. relies on glasses or contact lenses, which leads to difficulties in fitting safety goggles and helmets. People who rely on glasses for good vision sometimes improvise by wearing goggles or safety glasses over their everyday glasses, or by putting on their glasses after donning a closely-fitting helmet. Those with relatively low-index prescriptions may not use their glasses with protective equipment; others may forgo the use of the equipment in favor of better vision.

Prescription goggles and safety glasses are available, but are not always particularly suitable for high-index prescriptions due to optical distortion effects.

Many different types of visors, sunglasses, and eye shields are available to consumers. Many of these devices can be attached to caps, helmets, of the like by clips, snaps, suction cups, hook-and-loop closures such as VELCRO, and so forth, and some of

them can be fitted with prescription lenses. By way of example, Shedrow discloses several adjustable lens holders for use with safety masks (U. S. Nos. 4,618,225,4,542,865, and 4,349,251), all having a somewhat flexible frame molded of thermoplastic material. These devices allow for both vertical and pantoscopic adjustment of the lens holder to fit the individual user.

Evans (U. S. No. 3,236,579) and Olnhausen (U. S. No. 2,818,774) also provide devices that can be used with prescription lenses. The Evans device consists of a glare shield that is attached to a prescription lens by small vacuum cups. The Olnhausen device is aimed at people who have difficulty in adjusting to conventional bifocal lenses. Here, a mounting system temporarily attaches auxiliary prescription lenses to a pair of glasses, thereby converting single-vision lenses to bifocals.

Cahill (U. S. No. 5,471,259) shows a sunglasses assembly that clips onto the visor of a baseball cap. The base of the assembly includes a spring clip and a spring action sled; the lens holder has a cylindrical drum mounted in the bottom of the sled which allows the user to pivot the holder by about 90°. Phillips (U. S. No. 4,811,430) discloses a device with a clip part which is attached to the visor of a cap, and an eyeglasses part which is attachable to the clip. The eyeglasses can be pivoted from an operative position to an inoperative position (parallel to the visor). Both pieces are molded of plastic or similar material. The Fairbanks (U. S. No. 779,591) eye shield includes a flexible plate having an array of perforations, attached to the sweat band of a hat. A flexible celluloid shield is attached to a selected perforation via a small hook or round-head fastener. Siprut (U. S. No. 6,009,555) provides a multiple component headgear system that includes a visor, a headband, an eye shield, a protective hood, and a mask.

Hook-and-loop type fasteners such as VELCRO fabric are found in several devices.

For example, Gatchalianfs detachable eyeshield attachment includes a base and a pivotable eyeshield holder (U. S. No. 5,412,812). The base can be attached to a visor by VELCRO tape. Lisle, et al. (U. S. No. 5,056,164) attach an eyeglass frame to a visor by means of hook-and-loop fabric. The frame is pivotably mounted to a body portion with a stripper tab that allows the user to remove the frame without touching the lenses. The frame can be fitted with tinted lenses of prescription lenses.

Janusz (U. S. No. 4,811,430) provides a combination eye shield and headband, wherein the shield is a transparent sheet with a strip of VELCRO-type material attached to

the upper margin of its outer surface. The headband has a matching VELCRO strip on the inside surface, together with a pocket for storing the shield when it is not in use. Nicastro's combination visor and sweatband has a conventional pair of safety goggles (which can be worn over prescription glasses) secured to the inside of a visor via VELCRO strips (U. S.

No. 4,393,519). Alternatively, the goggles have a small projection (148, Fig. 3) which is attached to a corresponding eyelet in the visor. Van Tiem, et al. (U. S. No. 4,152,051) attach an eyeglass frame to a headband with a VELCRO strip. The frame is pivotable between positions in and out of the line of sight; the distance between the headband the frame is adjustable.

Helmets, goggles, and other protective gear are available in a range of sizes to fit different users. While some lens holders provide a degree of adjustability to position prescription lenses (and other types of lenses) properly for an individual user, there is a continuing need for a simple, easy-to-use device that allows the user to properly adjust the vertical and pantoscopic position of the holder. (The proper, or optimum lens position is one where the user looks through the optical centers of the lenses.) Despite the availability of a variety of adjustable and non-adjustable eyeglass holders, there is a continuing need for a simple, easy-to-use device that allows the user to adjust the position of the lenses.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention is an adjustable lens holding device with a frame portion that carries a pair of lenses, a base portion that can be attached to a helmet or other protective headgear, and an adjustable connector mechanism for fitting the device to an individual user. The frame portion can hold virtually any types of lenses, including prescription and nonprescription lenses, clear or tinted lenses, or special-purpose lenses such as UV-blocking lenses or glare-reducing lenses. The base portion is attached to the user's headgear by strips of hook-and-loop fabric such as VELCRO, or by screws, tabs, adhesives, or other suitable fastening means or combinations thereof. Shims may be used to adapt the base portion to particular headgear and/or for vertical adjustment of the base portion with respect to the headgear.

The user-adjustable connector mechanism includes a first portion carried by the frame and a second portion carried by the base. The first portion may have a tab with a pair of detents, one of which is used for adjusting the vertical position, and the other for

adjusting the pantoscopic or rotational position of the frame with respect to the base. The second portion includes a pair of side walls formed to operably receive the detents of the first portion. (As used herein, the terms"pantoscopic adjustment"and"rotational adjustment"refer to rotational adjustment of the frame with respect to the base in a plane approximately perpendicular to the user's face.) Alternatively, the tab is made of a flexible material that adjusts to fit the individual user; in this embodiment, the first and second portions are detachable connected by any suitable fasteners. The device is made of sturdy, cost-effective materials such as thermoplastics.

An important feature of the present invention is the connector mechanism which provides a plurality of stable, user-selectable or user-adjustable positions for the frame. In one embodiment of the invention, the first portion of the connector mechanism includes a tab with two pairs of somewhat springy, spaced-apart detent pins; the second portion includes a pair of spaced-apart side walls fitted with a plurality of pairs of throughholes and adjustment slots that, together, permit vertical and pantoscopic adjustment of the frame with respect to the base. The first pair of pins is fitted into a selected pair of throughholes, and the frame is pivoted on these pins until the second pair of pins can be inserted into a selected pair of slots. In another embodiment of the invention, the first portion has a pair of detent pins and a pair of detent tabs; the second portion has corresponding throughholes (or other receiving means) for vertical adjustment and a series of radial ridges, grooves, serrations, indentations, or other useful structures configured for pantoscopic adjustment of the frame.

In use, the first pair of detents are fitted into the selected throughholes (or other retainers) that provide the most comfortable vertical position of the frame with respect to the base. The frame is then pivoted on these detents until the second pair can be fixed in the selected pantoscopic position. For typical users, the best position is one where he or she can look approximately directly through the optical centers of the lenses mounted in the frame.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the connector mechanism provides at least two vertical positions and at least two (preferably at least three) pantoscopic positions, thereby allowing a degree of flexibility for fitting the device to different users and different types of headgear. In another embodiment of the invention, the tab is made of a material that is at least somewhat flexible and bendable, but that tends to return to its original position when not in use. Thus, the tab bends somewhat to adjust the pantoscopic position of the frame to fit the user.

Another important feature of the present invention is the thermoplastic material, which provides the flexibility and elastomeric properties that further the comfort and adjustability of the device. By way of example, the lens holders of the frame portion may be made of a type of material that, once adjusted to a preferred configuration, retains its shape (these types of materials are used for"living hinges,"which are said to have a"memory"of the preferred configuration). A bridge or tab made of this type of material is somewhat flexible, thereby allowing the device to be adjusted to the facial contours of the individual user, and also ensuring greater comfort when worn with safety helmets having curved visors.

The detents of the adjustable connector mechanism are preferably somewhat springy, ensuring a snug fit that secures the frame and the base together against inadvertent separation. However, the inherent flexibility of the device allows the frame and base portions to be easily separated by a simple rocking motion.

Still another feature of the present invention is the means for attaching the device to the user's headgear. The base can be permanently or semi-permanently mounted to a suitable part of the headgear, and can be used with any of a variety of frames (for example, the same user might have frames with tinted and clear prescription lenses for use in different lighting conditions or for different activities). Indeed, the same frame can be used with different headgear, simply by mounting a base in each item with which the owner wishes to use the frame. If needed, the vertical position of the base with respect to the headgear can be adjusted with one or more shims.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from a careful reading of the Best Modes for Carrying Out the Invention presented below and accompanied by the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings, Figs. 1A and 1B are front and side views, respectively, of the frame portion of an adjustable lens holding device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 2A is a rear view of the base portion of the device; Figs. 2B and 2C are side detail views showing two different embodiments of the base portion of Fig. 2A;

Fig. 3A and 3B are partial cross-sectional front and side views, respectively, showing the device mounted to the liner of an item of protective headgear such as a helmet (for clarity, Fig. 3A shows the shelf, the hook-and-loop fasteners, and the liner in exploded view) ; Fig. 4 is a side view showing the device mounted to a helmet; Fig. 5 is a side, cross-sectional view of a hinge usable with the invention; Figs. 6A and 6B are perspective views of another base portion according to the invention, wherein tabs are used to affix the base portion to the helmet lining; and Figs. 7A and 7B illustrate the side walls and positioning tabs, respectively, of another pantoscopic adjustment mechanism usable with the invention.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION In the following description of best modes for carrying out the invention, reference numerals are used to identify structural elements, portions of elements, surfaces or areas in the drawings, as such elements, portions, surfaces or areas may be further described or explained by the entire written specification. For consistency, whenever the same numeral is used in different drawings, it indicates the same element, portion, surface or area as when first used. Unless otherwise indicated, the drawings are intended to be read together with the specification, and are to be considered a portion of the entire written description of this invention as required by 35 U. S. C. § 112. As used herein, the terms"horizontal,""vertical," "left,"right,""up,""down,"as well as adjectival and adverbial derivatives thereof, refer to the relative orientation of the illustrated structure as the particular drawing figure faces the reader.

Referring now to Figs. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B, there is shown an adjustable lens holding device 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention (the main components of device 10 are shown in Figs. 1A-2B ; the assembled device is shown in Figs. 3A and 3B). Device 10 includes a frame portion 12 with two lens holders 14,16 connected by a bridge 18 (Figs. 1A and 1B). A tab 20 extends upward from bridge 18, and, in one embodiment of the invention, is provided with at least one, preferably two pairs of detent pins 22,24.

Lens holders 14,16 may be fitted with virtually any types of lenses (not shown) that may be convenient for the user of device 10, including clear and tinted lenses, prescription

and nonprescription lenses, single-vision, bifocal, and multifocal lenses, glare-reducing lenses of POLAROID or like materials, and so forth. It will be understood that the lenses are usable with the invention, but do not in themselves form part of the invention.

A base portion 30 includes a shelf 32 that can be attached to tab 20 in a manner to be described below (Figs. 2A and 2B). In one embodiment of the invention, shelf 32 has a pair of side walls 34. Each of walls 34 has at least one, preferably two or more cavities or throughholes 36, and a plurality of adjustment cavities or slots 38 positioned and dimensioned for receiving pins 22,24 to permit vertical and pantoscopic adjustment of frame portion 12 to suit the individual user. As noted above, the terms"pantoscopic adjustment" and"rotational adjustment"refer to rotational adjustment of frame portion 12 in a plane approximately perpendicular to the user's face. The general direction of pantoscopic adjustment is indicated by an arrow A in Fig. 3B. For purposes of this detailed description, throughholes 36 may be holes, or alternatively, cavities or depressions formed in side walls 34. Similarly, slots 38 may extend through walls 34, or be formed as cavities or depressions in the walls.

The back portions of walls 34 may be connected by an integrally-formed bar or bridge 40 (Fig. 2A). Walls 34 and tab 20 (with detent pins 22,24) together form a connector mechanism that attaches frame 12 to base 30, and also allows the user to adjust the vertical and pantoscopic position of the frame with respect to the base. Shelf 32 and side walls 34 may be of any convenient shapes.

Base portion 30 is removably attached to a liner or brow portion 50 of a helmet (or other protective headgear) via a hook-and-loop fastener with mating portions 52 (attached to liner 50) and 54 (attached to shelf 32). Depending on the particular type of headgear, liner 50 may be made of any of a variety of impact-absorbing (i. e., shock-absorbing) materials, including but not limited to expanded cellular polystyrene materials such as Styrofoam, polystyrene resins such as Styrol, Beadall, and natural and synthetic foam rubber. Portions 52,54 may represent the"hook"and"loop"portions of VELCRO or similar fabrics; alternatively, base portion 30 may. be attached to liner 50 by screws, clips, tabs, adhesives, or other suitable fastening means or combinations thereof.

When hook-and-loop fabric is used for portions 52,54, the portions may be approximately the same size and shape. Alternatively, portion 52 is larger than portion 54 so that the user can adjust the position of base portion 30 with respect to the headgear simply

by moving it around to find the most comfortable position. If desired, portion 30 can be easily detached form portion 52 and placed in a different spot. This allows the user to fine- tune the placement of device 10 for both comfort and vision correction.

For liners 50 made of materials that do not lend themselves to direct attachment of hook-and-loop fabric (for example, by an adhesive), a mounting plate or shim 56 (Fig. 3B) may be secured to the liner by any suitable means (adhesives, screws, clips, tabs, etc.). Shim 56 is generally rectangular, rounded, or of any other convenient shape, and is preferably made of plastic. However, other materials that permit attachment of a hook-and-loop fabric such as VELCRO may also be suitable. Interposing a shim 56 (or a plurality of shims) also permits a greater degree of vertical adjustment of frame portion 12 to suit the individual user.

Frame portion 12 is attached to base portion 30 by fitting pairs of pins 22,24 into selected throughholes 36 and slots 38 of walls 34 to provide the desired vertical and pantoscopic position of portion 12 with respect to the user's face. The preferred position of frame 12 is such that the user looks through the approximate optical centers of the lenses carried by lens holders 14,16. For vertical adjustment, pins 22 are inserted into selected throughholes 36; the pins pivot in their respective throughholes so that the user can thereby adjust the pantoscopic position of frame portion 12 with respect to base portion 30. For pantoscopic adjustment, frame portion 12 is rotated about the pivot points of pins 22 until pins 24 can be inserted into selected slots 38.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, base portion 30 has at least two, preferably three or more slots 38 configured to receive pins 24. The slots are preferably somewhat elongated as shown in Figs. 2B and 3B, and approximately radially disposed about throughholes 36 so that the same slots can be used with any of the throughholes. Pins 22 and 24 are preferably somewhat springy, and preferably separated by a distance dl (Fig.

1A) that is approximately equal to or slightly greater than a perpendicular distance d2 (Fig.

2B) between any one of throughholes 36 and the ends of slots 38. That is, when pins 22 are in slots 36a, pins 24 are in the position indicated as 38a; when pins 22 are in slots 36b, pins 24 are at 38b. For tabs 20 having more than three throughholes 36, slots 38 may be formed with indentations (not shown) that provide an appropriate number of intermediate rest positions for pins 24.

When detent pins 22,24 are placed as described above, the resulting snug fit between the pins, throughholes 36 and slots 38 ensures that the pins are securely held by base portion 30 to prevent inadvertent removal of frame portion 12 from the base. Once pins 22 and 24 are inserted into the selected throughholes 36 and slots 38, tab 20 remains securely in position until dislodged by the user. However, tab 20 (and frame portion 12) is easily removed from base portion 30 by dislodging one or both pairs of pins 22,24 from their selected slots, or by a simple rocking motion. Alternatively, the user can press side walls 34 apart to dislodge tabs 22,24.

Fig. 2C shows another embodiment of side walls 34 which allows an even greater degree of pantoscopic adjustment than the embodiment of Fig. 2B. Here, a back 42 of each wall 34 is at an angle a to the vertical, wherein oc is no more than approximately 30°. It will be understood that the arrangement of the connector mechanism formed by detent pins 22, 24, throughholes 36, and slots 38 may be modified. For example, pins 22,24 may be carried by a tab extending downwards from shelf 32, and side walls 34 may be carried by tab 20.

Device 10 has at least two pairs of throughholes 36 and at least two pairs of slots 38.

The larger the number of throughholes 36 and slots 38, the greater the degree of adjustability of frame portion 12. In practice, however, the optimum number of throughholes 36 and slots 38, and their relative dimensions and placement, depends on the materials selected for device 10, the dimensions and structural strength of pins 22,24, and such other factors as will be evident to those of ordinary skill in the art.

The user of device 10 can adjust the position of frame portion 12 to best suit his or her physiognomy simply by experimenting with different combinations of throughholes 36 and slots 38. For many individuals, a more or less vertical position of frame portion 12 will be comfortable ; for others, a position wherein the frame is at an angle with respect to walls 34 is preferable. If desired, the user can temporarily place frame portion 12 in an approximately horizontal position by pivoting the frame so that pins 24 rest in the uppermost pair of slots 38, then return the frame to a usable position simply by releasing pins 24 and inserting them into another pair of slots.

Device 10 can be used with a wide variety of protective headgear, including but not necessarily limited to caps, visors, helmets such as those used by cyclists, motorcycle drivers, race car drivers, skiers, divers, skateboarders, and the like. Base portion 30 is attached to the headgear via VELCRO strips 52,54 or other suitable fasteners or combinations of

fasteners (screws, tabs, clips, adhesives, and so forth). Indeed, device 10 can be configured for use with virtually any type of headgear wherein the user can attach base portion 30 either directly or via a shim 56. For example, device 10 may be attached to the brow liner of a football helmet 60 having a face guard 62 (Fig. 4).

Device 10 is made of a sturdy, durable, thermoplastic material such as nylon, polyethylene, or the like. Many materials with the preferred properties of durability and a degree of flexibility are known, including those materials commonly used in manufacturing eyeglass frames. The types of materials used in manufacturing living hinges are broadly suitable for the invention. Frame portion 12 and base portion 30 may each be molded in one piece, and be at least somewhat flexible. Alternatively, the individual components of portions 12 and 30 may be manufactured separately and secured together by suitable adhesives or other means. Frame portion 12 (including bridge 18) is somewhat flexible, permitting device 10 to be used safely and comfortably with curved masks such as those found on some safety helmets. For an even greater degree of adjustability, bridge 18 and/or tab 20 may include a hinge 64 formed by a generally V-shaped cutout 66 (Fig. 5).

Base portion 30 may be attached to the user's headgear in a number of ways, not limited to the hook-and-loop fabric strips described above. For example, shelf 32 (or shim 56) may include a pair of tabs 70 that can be inserted into corresponding holes formed in liner 50 (Fig. 6A). For stability, shelf 32 (or shim 56) has at least two such tabs 70. Like detent pins 22,24 and side walls 34, tabs 70 are preferably at least somewhat flexible. Tabs 70 may be fixed in place simply by press-fitting, or may be attached by any suitable adhesive.

If desired, tabs 70 may include one or more horizontal, vertical, or circumferential detents 72 that help maintain the tabs in position (Fig. 6B).

The connector mechanism formed by detent pins 22,24, throughholes 36, and slots 38 may be modified within the spirit of the present invention. As noted above, tab 20 may be at least somewhat flexible and bendable. In this case, slots 38 may be omitted without detriment since tab 20 itself provides pantoscopic adjustment to the individual user's features.

Alternatively, one or both of side walls 34 may have a curved depression or cavity 80 for pantoscopic adjustment (Fig. 7A). Cavity 80 has a plurality of radially-positioned grooves, serrations, indentations or ridges 82 formed therein (as used herein, the term "ridges"refers to ridges such as ridges 82 shown in Fig. 7A, grooves, serrations,

indentations, or other structures useful for defining the user-selectable positions of detent pins 24). If desired, detent pins 24 may be replaced with suitably-dimensioned detent tabs 90 (Fig. 7B). When pins 22 are placed in a selected pair of throughholes 36, the pantoscopic position of frame 12 can be adjusted by pivoting the frame about pins 22 to position tabs 90 against a selected pair of ridges 82.

As will be evident, depression 80 is optional, since ridges 82 may be formed directly on the surface of wall 34. Alternatively, tab 20 may have side walls such as above-described walls 34 provided with ridges 82 (with or without depressions 80), with tab 90 carried by shelf 32. Throughholes 36, slots 38, ridges 82, or other useful structures (channels, depressions, cavities, etc.) all define user-selectable positions for receiving detent pins 22, 24, tabs 90, and other useful detents.

Device 10 is versatile, in that the device can be fitted with virtually any types of lenses that may be useful to an individual: prescription lenses, sunglasses, glare-reducing lenses, bifocal and multifocal lenses, high-index lenses, etc. An individual who participates in a number of different activities that require different types of protective headgear can use the same frame portion 12 with each simply by securing a base portion 30 to each item of equipment. Alternatively, an individual who wears prescription lenses may have one frame portion 12 with clear lenses and another with tinted lenses.

Device 10 is comfortable to use. Unlike conventional glasses, which have temples (also referred to as side pieces or arms) that can be difficult to insert into a closely-fitting, lined helmet such as a race car driver's helmet, device 10 can be easily attached (or detached) while the user is wearing the helmet. Bridge 18 need not rest on bridge of the user's nose, but nevertheless maintains lens holders 14,16 in the proper position.

With respect to the above description of the invention, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing description is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and

operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention. Thus, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many changes and substitutions can be made to the preferred embodiment herein described without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.