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Title:
INSPECTION/DETECTION DEVICE PATICULARLY FOR USE UNDER A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2005/012054
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An inspection/detection device (10) suitable for inspecting under vehicles comprises a frame (11) on which is mounted a mirror (16), castors (14) so as to facilitate movement of the device over the ground, and a handle (12). The frame defines a plurality of mounting elements (22) on which are mounted a plurality of self-contained movement-activated light sources (24) and a self- contained movement-activated magnetic anomaly detector (25). A user may place each of the light sources and the magnetic anomaly detector in an off mode, an on mode, or a standby mode. Each of the light sources and the magnetic anomaly detector has a movement-activated switch (26a). In use, when the light sources and magnetic anomaly detector are placed in standby mode, movement of the device activates the light sources and magnetic anomaly detector. The light sources and magnetic anomaly detector remain activated for a predetermined period of time after movement of the device has ceased. Each light source and magnetic anomaly detector is fully detachable from the device to allow independent use or charging thereof.

Inventors:
Peers-smith, Roy Peter (Bramley Tree, Backney Fellack, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6QX, GB)
Cull, Robert Jonathan (19 Wellfield Newtown, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 8BY, GB)
Morgan, Andrew Leslie (6 Wintles Close, Mitcheldean Gloucestershire, GL17 0JP, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2004/003256
Publication Date:
February 10, 2005
Filing Date:
July 27, 2004
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
P.W. ALLEN & COMPANY LIMITED (Allen House, Alexandra Way Ashchurch Business Centr, Tewkesbury GLoucestershire GL20 8TD, GB)
Peers-smith, Roy Peter (Bramley Tree, Backney Fellack, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6QX, GB)
Cull, Robert Jonathan (19 Wellfield Newtown, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 8BY, GB)
Morgan, Andrew Leslie (6 Wintles Close, Mitcheldean Gloucestershire, GL17 0JP, GB)
International Classes:
F21L14/04; G01V3/08; G02B7/182; (IPC1-7): B60S5/00; G01V3/08
Foreign References:
US3936668A
DE19522112A1
US2188677A
DE4316386A1
DE19653081A1
US6179431B1
GB2320348A
GB2249836A
GB2112144A
US6097190A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mosey, Stephen George (Marks & Clerk, Alpha Tower Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham B1 1TT, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims
1. An inspection/detection device comprising a mirror and a light source, wherein said light source is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of said device.
2. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 1 wherein the light source is activated by movement of the device, in use, by a first switch which is movementactivated.
3. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 2, wherein said device has a second switch for the control of the operation of the light source, said second switch being operable between on, off and standby, such that in use, when the second switch is in standby, any movement of the first switch causes activation of the light source.
4. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 3, wherein said second switch is located on said light source.
5. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 4, wherein said light source is a selfcontained unit which is detachable from the device.
6. An inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said device is provided with at least one mounting element.
7. An inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the device further includes a magnetic anomaly detector.
8. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 7 when dependent on Claim 6, wherein said magnetic anomaly detector or light source may be mounted at said at least one mounting element.
9. An inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein when activated, the light source remains on for a predetermined period of time after movement of the device has ceased.
10. A light source which is capable of being activated, in use, by any movement of said light source.
11. A light source as claimed in Claim 10, having a first switch for the control of the operation of said light source, and a second switch which is movement activated, said first switch being operable between on, off, and standby, such that in use, when the first switch is in standby, any movement of the second switch causes activation of the light source.
12. An inspection/detection device comprising a mirror and a magnetic anomaly detector.
13. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 12, wherein said magnetic anomaly detector is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of the device.
14. An inspection/detection device as claimed in either one of Claims 12 or 13, wherein when activated, the magnetic anomaly detector remains on for a predetermined period of time after movement of the device has ceased.
15. An inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of Claims 12 to 14, wherein said device has a first switch for the control of the operation of the magnetic anomaly detector, and a second switch which is movement activated, said first switch being operable between on, off and standby, such that in use, when the first switch is in standby, any movement of the second switch causes activation of the magnetic anomaly detector.
16. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 15, wherein said first switch is located on said magnetic anomaly detector.
17. An inspection/detection device as claimed in Claim 16, wherein said magnetic anomaly detector is a selfcontained unit which is detachable from the device.
18. An inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of Claims 12 to 17, wherein said device is provided with at least one mounting element.
19. A magnetic anomaly detector which is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of said detector.
20. A magnetic anomaly detector as claimed in Claim 19, having a first switch for the control of the operation of said magnetic anomaly detector, and a second switch which is movement activated, said first switch being operable between on, off, and standby, such that in use, when the first switch is in standby, movement of the second switch causes activation of the magnetic anomaly detector.
21. An inspection/detection device comprising a mirror and at least two mounting elements, each of which is capable of receiving either a self contained light source or a magnetic anomaly detector, wherein said device has castors so as to facilitate movement of the device over a surface, such that in use, the mirror is disposed approximately at the level of the castors.
22. A light source as claimed in either one of Claims 10 or 11 suitable for use with the inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of Claims 1 to 9 or Claim 21.
23. A magnetic anomaly detector as claimed in either one of Claims 18 or 19 suitable for use with the inspection/detection device as claimed in any one of Claims 7 to 8, Claims 12 to 18 or Claim 21.
Description:
Inspection/Detection Device Particularly For Use Under a Vehicle This invention relates to an inspection/detection device particularly for inspecting under vehicles, for example to detect explosive devices attached thereto.

The capability to conduct a rapid and effective visual search of vehicles is essential for the protection of fixed installations and other potential targets, and in the search for contraband material. In order to avoid the need for a searcher physically to position himself beneath a vehicle, or for specialist equipment to raise the vehicle for inspection, devices employing mirrors have been developed. In order to enhance visibility of the underside of the vehicle, it is known to incorporate a light source into such a mirror device.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved inspection/detection device.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided an inspection/detection device comprising a mirror and a light source, wherein said light source is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of said device.

Preferably, the light source is activated by movement of the device, in use, by a first switch which is movement-activated. In one embodiment, when activated, the light source remains on for a predetermined period of time after movement of the device has ceased.

Preferably, said device has a second switch for the control of the operation of said light source. Advantageously, said second switch is located on said light source. Desirably said second switch is operable between on, off and stand- by, such that in use, when the second switch is in stand-by, any movement of the first switch causes activation of the light source.

Preferably, said light source comprises at least one light-emitting diode.

Advantageously, said light source has an integral power supply, and desirably said light source has an integral charging unit to provide charge to said power supply. Preferably, said light source is a self-contained unit, and conveniently said light source is detachable from the device.

Preferably, said inspection/detection device is provided with at least one mounting element, and desirably said light source is adapted such that it may be mounted at said at least one mounting element.

Preferably, said inspection/detection device has a frame, upon which said mirror is mounted. Desirably, said inspection/detection device has a handle, and advantageously said inspection/detection device has castors, so as to facilitate movement of said device over a surface. Preferably, said at least one mounting element is located on said frame. Preferably, said castors are located on said frame, and desirably said mirror is mounted on said frame, inboard of said castors located on said frame. The mirror is, in one embodiment, approximately at the level of the castors.

Preferably, said mirror is convex, and advantageously, in use, the angular disposition of said mirror, relative to said surface, is adjustable.

In one convenient embodiment, a device includes a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD). Preferably, the MAD or light source may be mounted at said at least one mounting element.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a light source which is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of said light source.

Preferably, said light source has a first switch for the control of the operation of said light source, and a second switch which is movement activated, said first switch being operable between on, off, or stand-by, such that in use, when the first switch is in stand-by, any movement of the second switch causes activation of the light source.

Preferably, said switch for the control of the operation of the light source is located on said light source. Preferably, said light source has an integral power supply. Advantageously, said light source has an integral charging unit to provide charge to the power supply. Desirably, said light source is a self-contained unit.

Preferably, said light source comprises at least one light-emitting diode.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided an inspection/detection device comprising a mirror and a magnetic anomaly detector. Preferably, said magnetic anomaly detector is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of the device. Desirably, when activated, the magnetic anomaly detector remains on for a predetermined period of time after movement of the device has ceased.

Preferably, said device has a first switch for the control of the operation of the magnetic anomaly detector, and a second switch which is movement- activated, said first switch being operable between on, off and stand-by, such that in use, when the first switch is in stand-by, any movement of the second switch causes activation of the magnetic anomaly detector. Conveniently, said first switch is located on the magnetic anomaly detector.

Preferably, said magnetic anomaly detector has an integral power supply.

Desirably, said magnetic anomaly detector has an integral charging unit to provide charge to said power supply.

Conveniently, said magnetic anomaly detector is a self-contained unit, and advantageously said magnetic anomaly detector is detachable from the device.

Preferably, said inspection/detection device is provided with at least one mounting element, and desirably said magnetic anomaly detector is formed such that it may be mounted at said at least one mounting element.

Preferably, said inspection/detection device has a frame, upon which said mirror is mounted. Desirably, said inspection/detection device has a handle, and advantageously said inspection/detection device has castors, so as to facilitate movement of the inspection/detection device over a surface.

Preferably, said castors are located on said frame, and desirably said mirror is mounted on said frame, inboard of said castors. Preferably, said at least one mounting element is located on said frame. The mirror is, in one embodiment, approximately at the level of the castors.

Preferably, said mirror is convex, and advantageously, in use, the angular disposition of said mirror, relative to a surface such as the ground, is adjustable.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a magnetic anomaly detector which is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of said detector.

Preferably said magnetic anomaly detector has a first switch for the control of the operation of said magnetic anomaly detector, and a second switch which is movement activated, said first switch being operable between on, off, and stand-by, such that in use, when the first switch is in stand-by, movement of the second switch causes activation of the magnetic anomaly detector.

Preferably, said first switch is located on said magnetic anomaly detector.

Preferably said magnetic anomaly detector is a self-contained unit.

Preferably, said detector has an integral power supply, and desirably said magnetic anomaly detector has an integral charging unit to provide charge to said power supply.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided an inspection/detection device comprising a mirror and at least two mounting elements, each of which is capable of receiving either a self-contained light source or a magnetic anomaly detector, wherein said device has castors so as to facilitate movement of the device over a surface, such that in use, the mirror is disposed approximately at the level of the castors.

Preferably, said inspection/detection device has a frame, upon which said mirror is mounted. Desirably, said inspection/detection device has a handle.

Preferably, said at least two mounting elements are located on said frame.

Preferably, said castors are located on said frame, and desirably said mirror is mounted on said frame, inboard of said castors.

Preferably, said mirror is convex, and advantageously, in use, the angular disposition of said mirror, relative to a surface such as the ground, is adjustable.

Advantageously, said light source of the second aspect of the invention is suitable for use with the inspection/detection device of the first or fifth aspects of the invention.

Conveniently, said magnetic anomaly detector of the fourth aspect of the invention is suitable for use with the inspection/detection device of the first, third or fifth aspects of the invention.

The invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a perspective view of an inspection/detection device of the invention, having two light units and one magnetic anomaly detector unit, Figure 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a light unit of Figure 1, Figure 2A is an enlarged schematic side view of a light unit of Figure 2, Figure 3 is an enlarged perspective view of a magnetic anomaly detector unit of Figure 1, Figure 3A is an enlarged schematic side view of a magnetic anomaly detector unit of Figure 3, Figure 4 is a perspective view of a chassis and handle of the inspection/detection device of Figure 1, with the light unit or magnetic anomaly detector unit not being shown, Figure 5 is a perspective view of the inspection/detection device of Figure 1 fitted with one light unit only, Figure 5A is a perspective view of the inspection/detection device of Figure 1 fitted with one magnetic anomaly detector unit only, Figure 6 is a perspective view of the inspection/detection device fitted with one light unit and one magnetic anomaly detector unit only, Figure 7 is a schematic diagram showing circuitry of a light unit switch, Figure 8 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the inspection/detection device of Figure 1 according to the invention, and Figure 9 is an enlarged perspective view of the tubular chassis frame only of the inspection/detection device of Figure 8.

Referring to the drawings, Figure 1 shows an inspection/detection device 10 having a chassis 11 and a handle 12. The chassis 11 comprises a square frame comprising two side bar pairs 13a and 13b, mounted on four castors 14. Preferably, each bar is of circular cross-section, and could instead be tubular. In use, the castors 14 facilitate movement of the inspection/detection device over a surface such as the ground. As can be seen from Figures 4 and 5, two struts 15 run between and are connected to the side bar pair 13b such that the struts runs parallel to side bar pair 13a, to one of which bars the handle 12 is attached. The struts 15 provide support for a square shaped mirror 16, which is mounted thereon, inboard of side bar pairs 13a and 13b.

The mirror 16 is preferably convex, in order to achieve a relatively wide field of vision. The castors are attached to the side bar pairs 13a and 13b by inverted U-shaped portions 17 which are disposed between each castor 14 and a corner of the frame formed by adjacent side bar pairs 13a and 13b.

The arrangement of the mirror 16 being disposed inboard of the castors 14, allows the mirror to be disposed approximately level with the castors. In use, such a relatively'low-slung'position of the mirror 16 optimises the view of the underside of the vehicle that is being inspected. The mirror may be mounted in such a way that it may be tiltable so as to enhance the view of the underside of the vehicle.

The handle 12 is attached to one of side bar pair 13a by means of a pivoting joint 18, such that the handle may be folded towards the mirror 16. Such folding of the handle is advantageous, for example if the user wishes to transport or store the device when not in use. Similarly, handle 12 is telescopic so that it can be lengthened as required for use, and shortened for storage or ease of transportation. The telescopic nature of the handle 12 enables the height of the handle to be adjusted according to the requirements of the user. When the device is being used, the user of the device 10 grasps the handle 12 by the grip portion 19. A carrying handle 21 is attached to the bar 13a about the position where handle 12 is attached. Carrying handle 21 may be used to carry the device 10 when the handle 12 is shortened and folded.

Each of side bar pairs 13b, and the bar of pair 13a furthest from handle 12, defines a mounting element 22. Each mounting element 22 is formed such that either a light unit 24 (Figure 2) or a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) unit 25 (Figure 3) may be detachably mounted thereon. Figure 1 shows an inspection/detection device having two light units and one MAD unit mounted thereon.

A MAD unit acts to alert users to magnetic anomalies. When used in the context of detecting explosive devices under vehicles, the MAD works by taking a reading of the magnetic field produced from the underside of the vehicle and uses the general field produced by the vehicle structure as a background or normal level. If, for example a large magnet were used to secure explosives to the underside of the vehicle, a large magnetic field would emanate from around the magnet. The MAD would then discriminate the large magnetic field produced by the magnet from that of the background produced by the vehicle's structure. As is the nature of such magnetic fields, the field becomes weaker with distance from the source. The MAD may indicate this effect by illuminating a bar graph array of LEDs, illuminating only the lower portion of the LED array for low levels of detected field strength and the upper portion for stronger field strengths. Alternatively, the MAD may vary the pitch of a warning tone from a speaker, the pitch of the sound varying from a low frequency for low field strength to higher frequency for higher field strengths. Both bar graph and warning tone indicate relative levels as opposed to absolute levels. Thus a MAD unit may be fitted to the inspection/detection device in order to provide a further check for the presence of an explosive device in addition to a visual search afforded by the mirror and light sources.

Figures 2 and 3 respectively show example embodiments of a light unit and a MAD unit. It can be seen that each light unit is of a similar form to the MAD unit, being substantially tubular. Each light unit and MAD unit is a self-contained unit, having an integral power supply in the form of rechargeable batteries, and an integral charging circuit to supply charge to the power supply (both not shown). Each light unit 24 preferably comprises at least one light-emitting diode (LED), and preferably 20 LEDs, although it will be appreciated that the light unit may contain any suitable light source such as a fluorescent tube or a filament. The use of LEDs gives the advantage of providing relatively high brightness and power efficiency over conventional fluorescent lamp tube technology, allowing for smaller batteries to be used, and providing longer battery life before charging is required. It can be seen from Figures 2,2A, 3 and 3A, that each light unit and MAD unit has a switch 26 and a socket 27 as well as an additional switch 26a which is movement-activated. When charging of a light or MAD unit is required, the unit may be charged by mains electricity by means of a separate plug and lead (not shown), the lead connecting to the charging circuit via socket 27.

Each light/MAD unit has mounting legs 28 adjacent its opposite ends, as can be seen best from Figures 2 and 3. These legs 28 are shaped to clip onto the mounting elements 22 defined by side bars 13a and 13b. Thus the light/MAD units may be detachably mounted to the chassis 11 of the device 10. It will be appreciated, however, that any suitable method of mounting the light/MAD unit (s) to the device may be employed. It will also be appreciated that the light/MAD units may alternatively be mounted anywhere on the device 10, for example directly onto the mirror 16, in which case it is possible that the device may be solely comprised of a mirror 16 to which light/MAD units as herein described may be fitted.

The fact that each light unit 24 or MAD unit has its own switch, integral power supply and charging unit enables each unit to be a'cable-free', self- contained unit, which may be detached from the chassis 11 of the inspection/detection device 10. For example a MAD/light unit may be detached for charging whilst the device is being used with another set of light/MAD units. Figure 4 shows the chassis 11 and handle 12 of an inspection/detection device without any light or MAD units fitted. A further advantage of the detachability or'modular design'of the light/MAD units is that a user may fit as many light units as may be mounted, depending on the illumination required, and has the option of employing a MAD unit in conjunction with the light units, using light units alone, or MAD unit (s) alone. For example, Figure 5 shows the inspection/detection device with only one light unit fitted, Figure 6 shows the device with one light unit and one MAD unit fitted, although it will be appreciated that the MAD unit could be replaced with a light unit or vice versa. As previously described, Figure 1 shows the device with one MAD unit and two light units fitted, although again the MAD unit may be replaced by a light unit for enhanced illumination of the underside of the vehicle. A further advantage of the self- contained nature of each light unit and MAD unit is that each unit may be used in isolation from the rest of the device. For example, it is possible for a light unit to be used as a hand-held light source to enhance the user's visibility during inspection of a boot of a car. In addition to the detachability of the light and MAD units, the self-contained nature of the units has the advantage of being water-resistant, which is of benefit if the device is to be used outdoors. It will be appreciated that a self-contained MAD unit is inventive in its own right.

Each switch 26 is operable between on, off and stand-by. As can be seen from Figures 2A and 3A, the additional switch 26a which is movement- activated, such as a vibration switch, is connected to switch 26, such that when switch 26 is in stand-by, movement of the movement-activated switch 26a, and thus movement of the light or MAD unit itself, activates switch 26.

The circuitry of the switch 26 of a light unit is described below. It is believed that a self-contained light unit which is capable of being activated, in use, by movement of the light source as herein described, is inventive in its own right. As can be seen from Figure 7, the switch 26 circuitry may be described as being split into two basic blocks, comprising a monostable, which uses the movement switch as its input, and a LED driver, which either illuminates the LEDs or not, according to the output state of the monostable.

The monostable has a factory selectable quasi-stable period, which is the period for which the LEDs are illuminated. The LED drive circuitry uses a current regulated pulse drive mode. The frequency of the pulse drive mode is self-regulating. The brightness of the LEDs is controlled by: 1). The on period for the cycle 2). The amount of current through the LED.

When the switch 26 is set to off, the light or MAD unit is permanently off.

This is achieved by capturing the cycle in an off state and holding it in this state until further input from the user.

When the switch 26 is set to on, the light is permanently on. This is achieved by using the switch contacts to hold the monostable element in a continuous reset condition, meaning it will never time-out.

When the switch 26 is in stand-by, it is in its movement detection mode. If this mode is selected then any small movement of the mirror assembly will result in the light turning on for a fixed period of time, nominally 30 seconds, although it will be appreciated that this time period may be longer or shorter. If the mirror is being continually moved or used, the period for which the lamp is on for is continually reset to 30 seconds. Only when the mirror has been stationary for a period of greater than 30 seconds will the light then turn itself off. This is achieved by using the movement switch to reset the monostable. If the movement switch is subject to some small movement then the contacts momentarily cause a reset to the monostable, re- starting the 30 second quasi-stable period. The output from the monostable interfaces the LED drive circuitry, determining whether the LEDs are illuminated or off.

It will be understood that the above description of the switch circuitry of a light unit has a similar principle of action to that of the MAD unit.

In use, the user fits the desired number and arrangement of light/MAD units to the device, and switches each unit to either on or standby mode. If standby mode is selected for each light/MAD unit, movement of the device will cause the light source/MAD to switch on via the movement-activated switch. This would occur, for example, when the device is moved on its castors to position the mirror under the vehicle to be inspected. The light/MAD units will switch off after a given period of the device being stationary, for example 15 seconds after the device has stopped moving.

Alternatively, the light/MAD units may be switched to permanently on, in which case the units do not switch off due to lack of movement of the device, and the units will need to be switched off again after use, or may be switched to standby mode as desired. Use of the standby mode increases the time that the light/MAD units can last before requiring charging.

An alternative embodiment of the inspection/detection device 110 is shown fully in Figure 8. As can been from Figures 8 and 9, this embodiment has an alternative chassis 111 arrangement to that shown in Figure 1 and Figures 4 through 6. More specifically, inverted U-shaped portions 117 are disposed at an angle of approximately 45 ° to side bars 113a and 113b, and side bar pair 113a is raised above the level of mirror 116. The mirror 116 is fixed to the chassis 111 via an internal frame 129, thus negating the need for struts to support the mirror. The internal frame 129 is formed such that it fits upon, and may be secured to, the tubular portion of the chassis 111, which is shown in isolation in Figure 9. The mirror 116 is secured to the internal frame 129 by suitable fixing means. As previously, the light units 24 and MAD units 25 fit on the side bars 113a and 113b.

In a further alternative embodiment to those illustrated, it is envisaged that an inspection/detection device according to the present invention may have one or more switches for the operation of the light sources/magnetic anomaly detectors located on either the chassis 11 or the handle 12 itself. It will be appreciated that in such an arrangement, each light and MAD unit must be wired in to the inspection/detection device in order to connect the units to the switch.