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Title:
DEPTH AND ASCENT CONTROL FOR SCUBA DIVING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1999/037534
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A combined digital depth control and rate of ascent control device to be used by scuba divers. The device comprises a sealed housing (10) attachable to a buoyancy compensator so as to be submerged in the water with a diver. The housing has an inlet (11) connectable to the pressurized gas tank, an outlet (12) connected to the buoyancy compensator, a control passageway between the inlet and outlet, being automatically displaced to open the passageway upon sensing the predetermined depth.

Inventors:
Biran, Daniel (Hacharuv Street 16 Givat Ada, 37808, IL)
Goldenberg, Gershon (Dgania Street 12 Carcoor, 37063, IL)
Spenser, Benjamin (Haguefen Street 5 Zihron Yaakov, 30900, IL)
Application Number:
PCT/IL1999/000032
Publication Date:
July 29, 1999
Filing Date:
January 19, 1999
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NDE LTD. (Hacharuv Street 16 Givat Ada, 37808, IL)
Biran, Daniel (Hacharuv Street 16 Givat Ada, 37808, IL)
Goldenberg, Gershon (Dgania Street 12 Carcoor, 37063, IL)
Spenser, Benjamin (Haguefen Street 5 Zihron Yaakov, 30900, IL)
International Classes:
B63C11/02; B63C11/32; (IPC1-7): B63C/
Foreign References:
US4379656A1983-04-12
US4529333A1985-07-16
US5482405A1996-01-09
Other References:
None
See also references of EP 1062151A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EITAN, PEARL, LATZER & COHEN-ZEDEK (2 Gav Yam Center Shenkar Street 7 Herzlia, 46725, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A combine depth and rate of ascent control device to be used with a scuba apparats, for sensing the depth of the diver and for automatically increasing the buoyancy of the buoyancy compensator when the diver is submerge at a predetermined depth in the water, to thereby prevent the diver from exceeding said predetermined depth, and automatically to decrease or terminate ascent when it exceeds a predetermined rate, said control device inclues a housing having an inlet connectable to a pressurized gas tank, an outlet connecte to the inflatable buoyancy jacket, controlled passageways between said inlet and outlet, said passageways being automatically controlled by a central control unit.
2. The device according to claim 1, wherein said passageways are controlled by valves.
3. The apparats according to claim 2, wherein said valves are actuated by means of solenoids.
4. The apparats according to claim 1, wherein said control unit is adopted to control said solenoids.
5. The apparats according to claim 1, wherein said housing further inclues a power source.
6. The apparats according to claim 5 wherein said power source being a battery.
7. The apparats according to claim 1, wherein said device further inclues a manual actuator.
8. The apparats according to claim 1, wherein said apparats further inclues an inflator tube permitting the diver to blow air into said buoyancy compensator.
9. A combine depth and rate of ascent control device to be used with a scuba apparats, for sensing the depth of the diver, substantially as hereinbefore described and with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Description:
A COMBINE DIGITAL DEPTH CONTROL AND RATE OF ASCENT CONTROL DEVICE FOR SCUBADIVING FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a device to be used in scuba (derived from "Self-Contained Underwater-Breathing Apparatus") diving apparats, and particularly to digital device which automatically prevents the diver using it, from exceeding a predetermined depth, and a rate of ascent control to prevent the diver from ascending at an excessively high rate which may be harmful to the diver.

Scuba diving apparats generally inclues a buoyancy compensator attachable to the diver to enable the diver to operate at any desired depth. In one type of such diving apparats, the buoyancy compensator is an inflatable device, e. g., a jacket or vest worn by the diver or a pillow attache to the diver, such that the change in volume of the buoyancy compensator changes the buoyancy of the diver. Another type of buoyancy compensator inclues a constant volume tank into which water is admitted or expelled to change the buoyancy of the diver. In both types of devices, there is a danger that the diver may unwillingly exceed a predetermined depth such as to result in a serious danger to the divers health or safety.

In the conventional apparats, the inflation or deflation of the buoyancy compensator is manually controiled by the diver. However, in such apparats, there is a danger that the diver may unwillingly ascend at an unduly high rate such as may cause the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood, a disorder called"bends", which can be extremely painful and even fatal.

OBJECTS AND BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide scuba divers with a device which minimizes the foregoing dangers.

According to the present invention, there is provided scuba diving apparats comprising: a buoyancy compensator attachable to a diver, and a combine digital depth control and a rate of ascent control device for sensing the depth, and rate of ascent of the diver and for automatically increasing the buoyancy of the buoyancy compensator when the diver is submerge at a predetermined depth in the water, or when the rate of ascent exceeds a predetermined value to thereby prevent the diver from exceeding the predetermined depth.

The invention is particularly useful in the type of diving apparats including an inflatable buoyancy device, particularly an inflatable buoyancy jacket, and is therefore described below with respect to this application.

According to further features in the described preferred embodiments, the apparats further inclues a pressurized gas tank, attachable to the diver, and a conduit between the inflatable buoyancy jacket and the pressurized gas tank and controlled by the depth control device to automatically introduce gas into the inflatable buoyancy jacket, and thereby to further inflate it, when the diver is at the predetermined depth.

The rate of ascent control device automatically vents the interior of the inflatable device to the outside water when the rate of ascent exceeds a predetermined value.

According to further features in the described preferred embodiments, the combine digital depth and rate of ascent control device inclues a sealed housing attachable to the apparats so as to be submerge in the water with the diver. The housing has an inlet connectable to the pressurized gas tank, an

outlet connecte to the inflatable buoyancy jacket, a control passageway between the inlet and outlet, being automatically displaced to open the passageway upon sensing the predetermined depth.

It will thus be seen that apparats constructed in accordance with the foregoing features automatically prevents the diver from ascending at a rate exceeding a predetermined value which might be harmful to the driver. Thus, as soon as this predetermined rate of ascent is sensed, the interior of the inflatable buoyancy compensator is automatically vented to the outside water, thereby immediately decreasing the rate of ascent.

According to still further preferred features, the housing further inclues a manual actuator for manually moving the displaceable member against the force of the spring to open the passageway.

Within the housing there are further provided batteries supplying electrical power to the various components including a controller, and solenoids adapted to open and close the various passageways, inlets and outlets.

Additional features and avantages of the invention will be apparent from the description below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein: FIG. 1 illustrates the well known form of scuba diving apparats; FIG. 2 is a perspective illustration of the new device incorporated in the diving apparats; FIG. 3 is a cross section of the control device; and FIG. 4 is a top illustration of the control device.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Overall Construction (FIG. 1, prior art) The scuba diving apparats illustrated in FIG. 1 comprises a buoyancy compensator in the form of a buoyancy jacket BJ which is to be worn by the diver. It inclues inflatable chambers to adjust the buoyancy of the diver, and thereby to permit the diver to operate at different depths. Attache to the buoyancy jacket BJ is a pressurized air tank PT which supplies air to inflate the buoyancy jacket BJ via a pressure regulator PR and conduits 2 and 3. The latter conduits include a depth control device DC provided with manual controls 4,5 and an inflator tube IT permitting the diver to manually control the degree of inflation of the buoyancy jacket. Manual control 4 is a button which is manually depressed by the diver in order to introduce air into the inflatable buoyancy jacket BJ, and manual control 5 is a second button depressed by the diver in order to discharge air from the buoyancy jacket BJ, or to inflate it by blowing through inflator tube IT.

The depth control unit DC, including the inflator tube IT and the manual controls 4 and 5.

The pressure tank PT also supplies breathing air to the diver via a conduit 6, demand regulator DR, and mouthpiece MP. A pressure gauge PG connecte to the pressure tank PT via the pressure regulator PR enables the diver to observe the pressure state of the tank. The pressure gauge PG also carries a depth gauge DG enabling the diver to observe the depth of the diver.

The buoyancy jacket BJ illustrated in FIG. 1 further inclues a manual valve MV which may be operated by the diver by pulling a pull cord 8 in order to discharge air from the buoyancy jacket.

The depth control device DC in FIG. 1 is constructed to sense the depth of the diver, and automatically to control the air introduced from the pressure tank PT into the buoyancy jacket BJ in order to increase the buoyancy of the diver when the diver reaches a predetermined depth, thereby preventing the diver from exceeding the predetermined depth which may represent a hazard to the diver's health or safety. The control unit is adopte, for automatically increasing the buoyancy of the diver when at the predetermined maximum depth, the inflator tube IT enables the diver to blow air into the buoyancy jacket in order to increase its buoyancy.

The buoyancy compensator, in this case the inflatable buoyancy jacket BJ, is provided with a rate of ascent control device ROA which is effective to sense the rate of ascent of the diver and automatically to decrease or terminate the ascent when it exceeds a predetermined rate which may be harmful to the diver. This is done by automatically venting the interior of the buoyancy jacket BJ to the atmosphere in order to discharge a quantity of air from the jacket to thereby redue the buoyancy of the diver.

The diving equipment insofar as described above is well known, and therefore further details of its construction and operation are not set forth herein.

The Depth Control and Rate of Ascent Unit The combine depth control and rate of ascent unit inclues a housing 10 formed with an inlet 11 connectable to the pressure tank PT via the pressure regulator PR and conduit 2. Housing 10 further inclues an outlet 12 connectable to the buoyancy jacket BJ via conduit 3. A solenoid controlled valve 13 within housing 10 connects the inlet 11 to the outlet 12. Valve 13 is controlled by a solenoid 14. Button 4 may also be depressed to open the passageway to further inflate the buoyancy jacket. Button 5, on the other hand, may be manually depressed to deflate the buoyancy jacket, or to permit the diver to blow air into the buoyancy jacket via inflator tube IT, which would carry a mouthpiece MP for this purpose.

A second solenoid 15 controls release valve 16 mounted on conduit 3. A controller unit 18 empowered by batteries 19 controls both solenoids and consequently valves 13 and 16.

Before diving the diver would plan the dive and insert the data into controller 18 accordingly. The controller 18 is adopted to perform the following: a. measure the actual depth in which the diver is in real time, b. measure the rate of ascent of the diver, c. could be adjusted for the maximum depth into which the diver is planning to dive, d. programme to control the rate of ascent.

In the event the diver exceeds the depth which was planned valve 13 would open, compresse air would enter the buoyancy compensator which would cause the slowing or stopping of the descent of the diver.

In the event the ascent of the diver is too fast valve 16 would open by means of solenoid 15 which would cause the release of air from the buoyancy compensator which would stop the fast ascenting of the diver.

The pressure at the inlet 11 connecte to the pressure reducer PR (FIG. 1) is the reduced pressure from the pressure tank PT plus the water pressure at the depth of the diver. So long as the diver is above the predetermined maximum depth, the pressure at inlet 11 will be insufficient, relative to the pressure in the buoyancy jacket BJ. However, should the diver reach the predetermined maximum depth, the pressure at the inlet 11 will be sufficient to activate solenoid 14, whereby a quantity of air flow from the pressure tank PT into the buoyancy jacket BJ via inlet 11, valve seat 21, passageway 13. This flow of air into the buoyancy jacket BJ will further inflate the buoyancy jacket, and thereby prevent the diver from exceeding the predetermined depth. The descent of the diver may also be controlled by manual button 5.