Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
GLASS BREAKING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/182443
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a glass breaking device (1, 301), comprising a housing (10, 1) and a glass breaking element (20). The glass breaking element (20) may be at least partially arranged in the housing (10, 1) and comprises a tip (21). The device (1) is adapted to impact the glass with the tip (21) and the device (1) comprises a device (1) tongue plate (10, 240, 331, 340, 40) that is, with a first end portion (41, 42) thereof, configured to be connected to a seat belt buckle (110, 120, 320) of a seat belt assembly (100, 300). The invention further relates to a seat belt assembly (100, 300), comprising a seat belt (110, 120, 310), a seat belt buckle (110, 120, 320), and the above-mentioned glass breaking device (1, 301). The glass breaking device (1, 301) is configured to be connected to the seat belt buckle (110, 120, 320).

Inventors:
FRANKE, Mike (Werner von Siemensstraat, 2712 PP Zoetermeer, NL)
BARK, Jaap Patrick (Werner von Siemensstraat, 2712 PP Zoetermeer, NL)
Application Number:
NL2019/050172
Publication Date:
September 26, 2019
Filing Date:
March 21, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LIFEHAMMER INNOVATIONS B.V. (22 Werner von Siemensstraat, 2712 PP Zoetermeer, 2712 PP Zoetermeer, NL)
International Classes:
A44B11/26; A44B11/25; B25D1/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002064320A12002-08-22
Foreign References:
CN204055706U2014-12-31
DE4220671C11993-12-09
NL1024454C22005-04-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VERMEULEN, M. (EP&C, P.O. Box 3241, 2280 GE RIJSWIJK, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. Glass breaking device (1), comprising:

a housing (10), and

a glass breaking element (10), which comprises a tip (21),

wherein the device (1) is adapted to impact the glass with the tip (21),

characterized in that the device (1) comprises a device tongue plate (40, 240) that is, with a first end portion (41) thereof, configured to be connected to a seat belt buckle of a seat belt assembly.

2. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 1 , comprising a connector (30), which is configured to be connected to a seat belt of a seat belt assembly.

3. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the tongue plate (40, 240) is releasably connected to the housing (10) with a second end portion (42) thereof that opposes the first end portion (41).

4. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 3, wherein the housing comprises an outer wall (12), by which an interior (11) of the housing (10) is defined, and wherein the glass breaking device (1) further comprises:

an aperture (51) in the outer wall (12) of the housing (10), which is adapted to receive the tongue plate (40, 240) along an insertion direction (I),

a locking arrangement, which is arranged in the interior (11) of the housing (10) and which is configured to secure a position of the second end portion (42) of the tongue plate (40, 240) with respect to the housing (10), and

a release handle (52, 252), which is, upon actuation, configured to bring the locking arrangement in a release position, in which the second end portion (42) of the tongue plate (40, 240) is released with respect to the housing (10).

5. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 4, wherein the release handle (52, 252) forms part of the outer wall (12) of the housing (10).

6. Glass breaking device (1) according to any of the claims 4 or 5, wherein the second end portion (42) of the tongue plate (40, 240) comprises two recesses (43, 243), each of which protrudes the tongue plate (40, 240) from an opposing side, and

wherein the locking arrangement is, in its locking position, configured to interlock with the recesses (43, 243) in the tongue plate (40, 240).

7. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 6, wherein the locking arrangement comprises two pins (33, 233), which are each configured to interlock with a respective recess (43, 243) in the tongue plate (40, 240) and wherein the release handle (52, 252) is configured to move the pins (33, 233) away from each other and out of the recesses (43, 243), in order to release the tongue plate (40, 240).

8. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 7, wherein the release handle (52, 252) comprises two grooves (53, 253), wherein a pin (33, 233) is arranged in each of the respective grooves (53, 253) and wherein the grooves (53, 253) are arranged such, that upon movement of the release handle (52, 252) in the insertion direction (I), the pins (33, 233) are moved with respect to each other in a locking direction (L), which is aligned perpendicular to the insertion direction (I).

9. Glass breaking device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the

housing (10) comprises an outer wall (12), by which an interior (11) of the housing (10) is defined, and wherein the glass breaking device (1) further comprises:

an opening (13) in the outer wall (12) of the housing (10), to provide access to the interior (11),

a head (14), which is arranged at least partially within the opening (13) and which is, with respect to the housing (10), movable between:

• an extended position, in which the head (14) protrudes at least partially out of the interior (11), and

• a retracted position, in which the head (14) is arranged within the interior

(11) ,

wherein the glass breaking element (1) is arranged at least partially within the head (14) and, with respect to the head (14), movable between:

• a rest position, in which the tip (21) is arranged within the head (14) and in which the glass breaking element (20) protrudes at least partially through the opening (13),

• a tensioned position, in which the tip (21) is arranged within the head (14) and in which the glass breaking element (20) is arranged within the interior (11), and

• an active position, in which the tip (21) protrudes out of the head (14) and in which the glass breaking element (20) protrudes at least partially through the opening (13), at least one first spring element (15), which is configured to apply a force between the housing (10) and the head (14) to bias the head (14) in the extended position,

at least one second spring element (23), which is configured to apply a force between the housing (10) and the glass breaking element (20) to bias the glass breaking element (20):

• in the rest position, when the head (14) is in the extended position, and

• in the active position, when the head (14) is in the retracted position, and a strut (18), which is mounted on the head (14) and which is adapted to selectively engage the glass breaking element (20) upon movement of the head (14) from the extended position into the retracted position, and which is adapted to disengage the glass breaking element (20) upon further movement of the head (14) beyond the retracted position.

10. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 9, comprising two first spring elements (15), wherein the first spring elements (15) are arranged on opposite sides of the glass breaking element (20).

11. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 9 or 10, wherein the glass breaking

element (20) comprises a shaft (22), which has a substantially cylindrical shape.

12. Glass breaking device (1) according to claim 11 , comprising a single second spring element (23), of which an elongate axis is aligned concentrically with an elongate axis of the cylindrical shaft (22) of the glass breaking element (20).

13. Glass breaking device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least the tip (21) of the glass breaking element (20) has a hardness that is substantially larger than the hardness of glass, preferably larger than the hardness of tempered glass, and wherein the glass breaking element preferably comprises a ceramic material.

14. Glass breaking device (1) according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a

device buckle (302), which is configured to be connected to a seat belt tongue of a seat belt assembly.

15. Seat belt assembly (100, 300), comprising:

a seat belt (110, 310), a seat belt buckle (120, 320), and

the glass breaking device (1 , 301 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the glass breaking device (1 , 301) is configured to be connected to the seat belt buckle (120, 320).

16. Seat belt assembly (100) according to claim 15, wherein the seat belt (110) is guided through a slot (30) of the glass breaking device (1).

17. Seat belt assembly (300) according to claim 15, further comprising a seat belt tongue (330), wherein the seat belt tongue (330) is configured to be connected to a device buckle (302) of the glass breaking device (301).

Description:
Title: Glass breaking device

The present invention relates to a glass breaking device and a seat belt assembly, comprising such a glass breaking device.

Glass breaking devices are already known and being used in practice. An example of such a glass breaking device is disclosed in WO 02/064320 A1. Glass breaking devices are being used in vehicles, such as cars or buses, in order to provide an emergency exit. When a vehicle crashes, it may occur that its doors are blocked and its windows cannot be opened normally. The glass breaking device may then be used to break the windows, such that passengers may leave the vehicle through the scattered windows.

The known glass breaking device comprises a housing with a head that is provided with one or more pointed and hardened ends. The housing comprises a handle, with which the device may be gripped by a person in order to hit a glass window with the hardened ends and to break the glass therewith. The hardened ends typically have a hardness that is larger than a typical hardness of tempered glass, such that the glass will break upon impact of the hardened end.

The known glass breaking device is a handheld piece that is gripped by a person during use. The device is generally provided with a bracket that is adapted to be mounted in the interior of the vehicle, preferably within the reach of the person.

It can, however, be a disadvantage that the glass breaking devices is a loose handheld device, because it may get lost in the vehicle. The device may, furthermore, be mounted at a location which the person could not reach in case of an emergency, in particular when the person is tightly pulled against the back of his seat by a jammed or tensioned seat belt. This occurs sometimes in practice, in particular with older seat belt assemblies. This is the reason that most of the known glass breaking devices are provided with a knife, for cutting the seat belt in case of such an emergency. If the person is, however, unable to reach the glass breaking device because of the jammed or tensioned seat belt, he would also be unable to cut his seat belt with the knife in order to escape.

It may furthermore occur that it gets dark in the vehicle after an emergency has occurred. This is for example the case when the vehicle ends up sinking in the water after a crash. In such a situation, the person may panic because of water entering the vehicle and malfunctioning electric windows and electric door locking mechanisms. The glass breaking device may not be visible in the water and in the dark. The person may furthermore not be able to find the device by touch, which may lead to possible catastrophic results. Finally, the person may drop the glass breaking device in an emergency situation, after which he may lose the device or may no longer be able to reach the device.

From United States design patent USD 642,444 S, a seat belt cutter is known, which is intended to be clipped around a seat belt of a vehicle. The seat belt cutter comprises a pin for impacting a glass window, in case it is desired to escape from the vehicle. This seat belt cutter, however, has the disadvantage that it may slide along the seat belt. This cutter is therefore not only hard to find in an emergency situation, but it may also take time to disconnect it from the seat belt. Upon every instant of fastening or releasing of the seat belt, this cutter needs to be moved along the belt in order to unwind or retract the seat belt with its retractor. This seat belt cutter may even form a danger for the person using it, because it may disconnect undesirably from the seat belt during a crash or the person may be forced against the cutter, during the crash, due to possible accelerations which the person is subjected to.

It is an object of the invention to provide a glass breaking device that lacks the above- mentioned disadvantages or at least to provide an alternative glass breaking device.

The present invention provides a glass breaking device that comprises a housing and a glass breaking element, which may be at least partially arranged in the housing and which comprises a tip,

wherein the device is adapted to impact the glass with the tip,

characterized in that the device comprises a device tongue plate that is, with a first end portion thereof, configured to be connected to a seat belt buckle of a seat belt assembly.

The glass breaking device according to the invention comprises a device tongue plate that is configured to be inserted in a seat belt buckle, similar as how a conventional seat belt tongue is normally inserted in such a seat belt buckle. During use, the glass breaking device may be connected to a seat belt and to the seat belt buckle, such that it forms part of a seat belt assembly of the vehicle.

Seat belt buckles are provided in seat belt assemblies, being adapted to receive seat belt tongues in order to fasten the seat belt. Seat belt buckles are generally provided with an opening, through which the seat belt tongue may be inserted in the buckle, and a locking mechanism, to secure a connection between the seat belt buckle and the seat belt tongue that is inserted therein.

This provides the advantage over the known glass breaking devices, that the glass breaking device is connected to the seat belt and/or to the seat belt buckle, which means that it may no longer get lost in the interior of the vehicle. The tongue plate of the glass breaking device is preferably provided as a male coupling piece, which can be inserted in an opening of the seat belt buckle, being provided as a female coupling piece. If, for example, the glass breaking device were to be provided in a car, the device can be connected to the seat belt of the driver of the car. During the driving, the driver has fastened his seat belt, e.g. has connected the device tongue plate to seat belt buckle, which means that the glass breaking device is always arranged near the seat belt buckle.

In case of an emergency, when it is required to break a window of the vehicle, the driver can easily find the glass breaking device, because the device is connected to the seat belt or to the seat belt buckle with its device tongue plate. For breaking the glass, the driver may disconnect the device tongue plate from the seat belt buckle, after which he can easily grab the glass breaking device to impact the window with the glass breaking element.

The glass breaking device according to the invention provides a further advantage that a user of the device no longer has the freedom to arrange the glass breaking device at any location in the interior of the vehicle by himself, but that the glass breaking device is always connected to the seat belt or to the seat belt buckle. The user cannot choose locations in the interior of the vehicle that may, for example, be out of his reach or choose locations that do not allow for proper, solid mounting of the device. The glass breaking device according to the invention thus provides for clearer placement in the vehicle, increasing the effectiveness of the device.

The glass breaking device, being connected to the seat belt or to the seat belt buckle, is always within reach of the person that needs to use the device. Generally, seat belt assemblies comprise a mechanism that is, during or after an emergency or possible crash of the vehicle, configured to tension the seat belt and to pull the person in his seat. The seat belt does, however, limit the movement of the person in the seat when it is tensioned or when the seat belt is jammed, which is a likely result of a crash. This might not allow him to reach a position near his feat, in which a prior art glass breaking device are located frequently. The glass breaking device according to the present invention is, however, configured to remain connected to the seat belt or to the seat belt buckle, in order to remain within reach of the person, even or in particular when the seat belt were to be tensioned or jammed and when it were to limit movements of the person.

The glass breaking device according to the invention furthermore allows to be retrieved more easily when it were, for example, unintentionally dropped by the person. In order to retrieve the glass breaking device, the person now only has to locate his seat belt and will automatically and easily find the glass breaking device being connected thereto. This is an advantage over the prior art glass breaking devices, which were not connected to anything and could easily get lost in the vehicle, especially when a crash or an emergency would have occurred.

Finally, the glass breaking device according to the invention provides for awareness of the presence of such a glass breaking device in the vehicle. Prior art glass breaking devices were generally arranged at a fixed location, where persons, for example a driver, would not be hindered by the device. The glass breaking device according to the invention, however, is seen and felt by the driver, every time he fastens his seat belt. The awareness of users is thus increased, which increases the effectiveness of the device and increases the success rate of the glass breaking device. In particular in case of a panic situation, that was described above, the person would be able to recall the position of the glass breaking device more easily, as compared to when it were to be arranged out of sight.

In an embodiment, the glass breaking device comprises a connector, which is configured to be connected to a seat belt. The connector may be provided as a slot, through which the seat belt may be guided, such that a first end of the seat belt is fixedly connected to the vehicle, that a second end of the belt is mounted to a seat belt retractor and that the glass breaking device is slidably arranged along the seat belt, in between its first and second end.

The glass breaking device is, according to this embodiment, preferably provided as a conventional seat belt tongue, comprising a connector for connecting the seat belt tongue to the seat belt of the seat belt assembly and a device tongue plate that is adapted to be inserted in a seat belt buckle. The connector is preferably a slot for guiding the seat belt tongue along the seat belt.

This embodiment of the glass breaking device may be advantageous, because it can be used in the same manner as a conventional seat belt tongue and does not require any adaption of the users.

In an alternative embodiment, the glass breaking device comprises a device buckle, which is configured to be connected to a seat belt tongue of a seat belt assembly. The device buckle may be similar to a seat belt buckle of a seat belt assembly and may comprise an opening, to receive a seat belt tongue, and a locking mechanism, to secure a connection between the device buckle and the seat belt tongue.

In this embodiment, the glass breaking device thus comprises both a device tongue plate and a device buckle. This allows the device to be arranged in between the seat belt buckle and a seat belt tongue of a seat belt assembly during use. Preferably, the tongue plate of the glass breaking device is thereby provided as a male coupling piece, whereas the device buckle is provided as a female coupling piece.

This embodiment is in particular convenient for application in existing seat belt assemblies, because it does not require any modification of the existing seat belt assembly. During use, the seat belt tongue of the seat belt assembly may be inserted in the device buckle, after which the seat belt can be fastened similar to conventional seat belts, by inserting the tongue plate of the glass breaking device in the seat belt buckle of the seat belt assembly. In an embodiment of the glass breaking device, the tongue plate is releasably connected to the housing with a second end portion thereof. This second end portion of the tongue plate opposes the first end portion that is adapted to be inserted in the seat belt buckle.

This embodiment of the glass breaking device allows the tongue plate to be

disconnected from the housing of the glass breaking device that may be connected to the seat belt. When it is desired to release the connection between the seat belt buckle and the housing of the glass breaking device, it is firstly possible to disconnect the tongue plate from the seat belt buckle in a conventional manner. Secondly, it is also possible to release the coupling between the tongue plate and the housing of the device.

This additional way of disconnecting the housing of the glass breaking device from the seat belt buckle is in particular convenient when the conventional release mechanism of the seat belt buckle, e.g. being activated by a red release button, does not function properly. By releasing the connection between the tongue plate and the seat belt buckle, the seat belt becomes unfastened and the glass breaking devices becomes available to break the glass.

The prior art glass breaking devices comprise a cutting blade to cut the seat belt in case of a malfunctioning release mechanism of the seat belt buckle. This cutting of the seat belt provides a reliable alternative for the conventional release mechanism of the seat belt buckle, although it does require a significant amount of time to cut the seat belt.

With the glass breaking device according to the present invention, it would no longer be possible to cut the seat belt, because the glass breaking device remains connected to the seat belt buckle. The additional release mechanism, for releasing the connection between the tongue plate of the glass device and the housing, provides for a different backup in case the conventional release mechanism of the seat belt buckle does not function. The cutting of the seat belt is therefore no longer required, which brings an additional advantage of this embodiment, because the required time to unfasten the seat belt is reduced, compared to when the seat belt had to be cut.

In a further embodiment of the glass breaking device, the housing comprises an outer wall, by which an interior of the housing is defined. The glass breaking device further comprises an aperture in the outer wall of the housing, which may oppose the connector and which is adapted to receive the tongue plate along an insertion direction. The aperture is arranged opposite to the connector, such that, seen along the insertion direction, the connector is arranged on one side of the housing and that the aperture is arranged on an opposite side of the connector. Preferably, the connector is arranged in an upper portion of the housing and the aperture is arranged in a lower portion of the housing when the glass breaking device is connected to the seat belt buckle. The embodiment of the glass breaking device further comprises a locking arrangement, which is arranged in the interior of the housing and which may be biased in a locking position. The locking arrangement is configured to secure a position of the second end portion of the tongue plate with respect to the housing. The embodiment of the glass breaking device further comprises a release handle, which is, upon actuation, configured to bring the locking arrangement in a release position, in which the second end portion of the tongue plate is released with respect to the housing.

The locking position of the locking arrangement is a normal position of the locking arrangement, but the locking arrangement may, upon actuation of the release handle be brought out of this locking position, into the release position. In the release position, the second end of the tongue plate is no longer locked in the locking arrangement and may be pulled out of the housing, in order to disconnect the housing from the tongue plate, thereby unfastening the seat belt.

The release handle forms, in a further embodiment of the glass breaking device, part of the outer wall of the housing. The release handle is thereby accessible from the outside of the housing, such that it may be pressed by persons intuitively.

The second end portion of the tongue plate comprises, in a different embodiment of the glass breaking device, two recesses. Each of the recesses protrudes the tongue plate from an opposing side and the locking arrangement is, in its locking position, configured to interlock with the recesses in the tongue plate.

The recesses preferably protrude the tongue plate from opposing sides in a locking direction that is perpendicular to the insertion direction. The locking arrangement is thereby configured to latch with the recesses, such that relative movements of the tongue plate with respect to the locking arrangement, and in particular relative movements in the insertion direction, are prevented.

The locking arrangement comprises, in a further embodiment of the glass breaking device, two pins, which are each configured to interlock with a respective recess in the tongue plate. The release handle is thereby configured to move the pins away from each other and out of the recesses, in order to bring the locking arrangement in the release position and to release the tongue plate.

When the pins are arranged in the recesses, the locking arrangement is in its locking position and prevents relative movements between the tongue plate and the locking arrangement. When the pins are, upon actuation by the release handle, moved away from each other, the tongue plate can be moved out of the locking arrangement and the aperture, in order to disconnect the tongue plate from the housing of the glass breaking device. The pins are preferably movable with respect to each other in the locking direction. The tongue plate is preferably asymmetric, such that there is only one possibility, in terms of relative orientation between the tongue plate and the housing, to insert the tongue plate into the housing of the glass breaking device. This may, for example, be achieved by providing the recesses in the tongue plate at different heights or by providing a non-flat tongue plate. An asymmetric tongue plate is in particular convenient when the tongue plate is bent, such that the bent portion of the plate always protrudes in the same direction.

In a further embodiment, the release handle comprises two grooves. A pin is arranged in each of the respective grooves and the grooves are arranged such, that upon movement of the release handle in the insertion direction, the pins are moved with respect to each other in the locking direction, which is aligned perpendicular to the insertion direction.

The grooves are preferably mirror images of each other with respect to the insertion direction and are preferably aligned along a direction between the insertion direction and the locking direction, most preferably at an angle of 45° with respect to both the insertion direction and the locking direction.

Since the grooves are set at an angle with both the insertion direction and the locking direction and the pins are guided through the grooves, it is achieved that a movement of the release handle in the insertion direction is translated in movements of the pins in the locking direction.

Preferably, the release handle comprises a spring mechanism to force the release handle in a non-actuated position, in order to maintain the locking arrangement in the locking position and to keep the pins in the recesses of the tongue plate. This forcing of the release handle into the non-actuated position is in particular convenient when the tongue plate has been released unintentionally, since it allows the tongue plate to be re-inserted in the housing, and allows re-securing of the connection between the tongue plate and the housing.

Release mechanisms in conventional seat belt buckles may malfunction when the seat belt is tensioned, for example caused by a tensioning mechanism of the seat belt assembly, or when the vehicle is arranged upside down such that the weight of a person is suspended by the seat belt. In such a situation, these conventional release mechanisms might not be activated and the seat belt tongues cannot be released from the seat belt buckle.

The release mechanism of seat belt buckles generally comprises a locking wedge, which is, in a locking position, arranged in an opening of the tongue plate of a seat belt tongue in order to prevent the seat belt tongue from being pulled out of the buckle. The locking wedge is arranged such that it is held in the locking position with an increasing force, with increasing force acting on the seat belt. In case the seat belt is tensioned, after an emergency, the locking wedge is firmly held in the locking position and can no longer be moved out of the locking position upon actuation of a release button of the buckle. The working principle of the locking arrangement of the glass breaking devices of these embodiments is, however, different, because the recesses are aligned parallel to the locking direction, which is perpendicular to the insertion direction of the tongue plate, and because the pins are configured to be moved in and out of the recesses along the locking direction. When the applied force on the seat belt increases, the force on the pins, to hold them in their locking positions in the recesses, increases slightly, but when the seat belt is tensioned, the pins can still be moved out of the recesses in order to release the connection between the housing of the device and the tongue plate. The locking arrangement therefor provides the advantage over the known release mechanisms in seat belt buckles that they may even be brought out of their locking positions when the seat belt is tensioned.

In an alternative embodiment, the spring mechanism is arranged adjacent the pins, such that each of the locking springs of the spring mechanism is configured to apply a force between the housing and the pins, in order to move the pins towards each other. In this embodiment, the grooves in the release handle serve the purpose to move the pins away from each other, in order to release a possible connection between the tongue plate and the housing, but the grooves do not have to push the pins towards each other and into the recesses in the tongue plate, because the locking springs act on the pins, rather than directly on the release handle.

This embodiment provides an advantage, because the release handle and the tongue plate can be arranged closer to each other, such that bending moments on the pins are reduced. This reduces the required force to release the connection between the tongue plate and the housing of the device and reduces the wear that occurs when this connection is released.

In a different embodiment, the glass breaking device may be provided with a movable, spring-loaded glass breaking element, which is adapted to impact the glass. In this embodiment of the device, the housing comprises an outer wall, by which an interior of the housing is defined. The glass breaking device further comprises an opening in the outer wall of the housing that is adapted to provide access to the interior.

The glass breaking device comprises a head, which is arranged at least partially within the opening and which is movable with respect to the housing. Preferably, a portion of the head is thereby arranged outside the housing of the device, such that the device may be set against a glass window with the head, prior to the breaking of the glass.

The head is movable between an extended position, in which the head protrudes at least partially out of the interior of the housing, and a retracted position, in which the head is arranged within the interior. Preferably, the head is normally biased in the extended position. During the process of the breaking of the glass, the head may be set against the glass, after which the housing may be moved towards the glass. The head is, as a result, moved into the housing from the extended position into the retracted position.

The glass breaking element is arranged at least partially within the head. The glass breaking element is furthermore movable with respect to the head and movable with respect to the housing. It is therefore understood that the housing, head and glass breaking element may be moved independently with respect to each other.

The glass breaking element is, with respect to the head, movable between a rest position, in which the tip is arranged within the head and in which the glass breaking element protrudes at least partially through the opening, a tensioned position, in which the tip is arranged within the head and in which the glass breaking element is arranged within the interior of the housing, and an active position, in which the tip protrudes out of the head and in which the glass breaking element protrudes at least partially through the opening.

Preferably, the glass breaking element is normally biased in the rest position, when the head is biased in the extended position, such that the glass breaking element does not protrude through the opening in the head with increasing compression thereof.

The embodiment of the glass breaking device further comprises at least one first spring element, which is configured to apply a force between the housing and the head. The at least one spring element is thereby adapted to bias the head in the extended position. Upon movement of the head, from the extended position into the retracted position, the at least one first spring element is compressed and is adapted to apply an increasing force between the housing and the head with increasing compression thereof.

The embodiment of the glass breaking device furthermore comprises at least one second spring element, which is configured to apply a force between the housing and the glass breaking element. The second spring element is configured to bias the glass breaking element in the rest position, when the head is in the extended position, and in the active position, when the head is in the retracted position. Upon movement of the glass breaking element, from the rest position into the tensioned position, the at least one second spring element is compressed and is adapted to apply an increasing force between the housing and the glass breaking device.

Finally, the embodiment of the glass breaking device comprises a strut, which is mounted on the head and which is adapted to selectively engage the glass breaking element upon movement of the head from the extended position into the retracted position. The strut is adapted to disengage the glass breaking element upon further movement of the head beyond the retracted position.

During the process of the breaking of the glass, the head is moved with respect to the housing from its extended position into the retracted position. During this movement, the glass breaking element is engaged by the strut and is moved, with respect to the housing and together with the head, from its rest position to its tensioned position. During this movement, a user has to apply a force on the housing in order to move the housing towards the glass, because the compression forces of the first spring elements and the second spring element have to be overcome.

The strut is guided by the housing, for example through a track in the housing. The track is aligned such, that when, during the process of the breaking of the glass, the head is moved beyond its retracted position, and the strut is bent away from glass breaking element. The strut thereby disengages from the glass breaking element and the compressed second spring element pushes the glass breaking element towards the glass, into its active position. The glass breaking element is thereby adapted to impact the glass with a substantial momentum in order to break the glass.

After the glass has been broken, the head could no longer be pressed against the glass and is thus moved back into its extended position, under the influence of the compressed first spring elements. The head is, as a result, moved over the glass breaking element, which therefore ends up in the rest position. Because the head returns in its rest position, the glass breaking device can be used again to break another glass window, by repeating the steps that are mentioned above.

In a further embodiment, the glass breaking device comprises two first spring elements, wherein the first spring elements are arranged on opposite sides of the glass breaking element. Each of the first spring elements preferably extends between a respective first spring seat of the housing and the head. The first spring elements are, furthermore, preferably provided as spiral compression springs, which are configured to apply an increasing spring force upon increasing compression thereof.

In an embodiment, the glass breaking element comprises a shaft, which has a substantially cylindrical shape. The tip of the glass breaking element is thereby provided at one end of the shaft, whereas the other, opposing end of the shaft may be blunt.

In a further embodiment, the glass breaking device comprises a single second spring element. An elongate axis of the second spring element is aligned concentrically with an elongate axis of the cylindrical shaft of the glass breaking element. The second spring element preferably extends between a second spring seat of the housing and the blunt end of the shaft of the glass breaking device. The second spring element is, furthermore, preferably provided as a spiral compression spring as well, which is also configured to apply an increasing spring force upon increasing compression thereof.

In an embodiment of the glass breaking device, at least the tip of the glass breaking element has a hardness that is substantially larger than the hardness of the glass, in particular tempered glass that is often used for manufacturing vehicle windows. The tip may, as a result of this larger hardness, break the glass upon impact. The tip preferably comprises a ceramic material, which has a hardness that is substantially larger than the hardness of tempered glass.

The present invention further provides a seat belt assembly, comprising a seat belt, a seat belt buckle, and the glass breaking device that is described above. The glass breaking device is configured to be connected to the seat belt buckle. The glass breaking device thereto comprises a device tongue plate that is configured to be inserted in the seat belt buckle in order to be connected thereto.

In an embodiment of the seat belt assembly, the seat belt is guided through a slot of the glass breaking device. A first end of the seat belt may be fixedly connected in the interior of the vehicle and a second end of the belt may be mounted to a seat belt retractor. The glass breaking device is slidably arranged along the seat belt, in between its first and second end. The glass breaking device is preferably provided as a seat belt tongue, of which the slot is configured to guide the seat belt tongue along the seat belt.

In a different embodiment, the seat belt assembly comprises a seat belt tongue, preferably a conventional seat belt tongue. The glass breaking device thereby comprises a device buckle, which is configured to receive the seat belt tongue, which allows the glass breaking device to be arranged in between the seat belt buckle and a seat belt tongue during use.

This embodiment is in particular convenient for application in existing seat belt assemblies, because it does not require any modification of the seat belt buckle or the seat belt tongue of the existing seat belt assembly.

Further characteristics of the glass breaking device according to the invention will be explained below, with reference to embodiments thereof, which are displayed in the appended drawings, in which:

Figure 1 schematically depicts a front view on an embodiment of the glass breaking device according to the invention;

Figure 2 schematically depicts a section view on an embodiment of the glass breaking device;

Figure 3A schematically depicts a front view on a release mechanism of the glass breaking device;

Figure 3B schematically depicts a rear view on the release mechanism of figure 3A;

Figure 3C schematically depicts a tongue plate of the glass breaking device;

Figure 4 schematically depicts an exploded view on the embodiment in figure 2;

Figure 5A schematically depicts a front view on a glass breaking device, wherein the tongue plate thereof is coupled to a housing of the device; Figure 5B schematically depicts the embodiment of figure 5A, wherein the coupling between the tongue plate and the housing is released;

Figures 6A - 6C schematically depict an embodiment of the seat belt assembly according to the invention;

Figures 7 A - 7C schematically depict an alternative embodiment of the release mechanism of the glass breaking device, and

Figures 8A - 8C schematically depict an alternative embodiment of the seat belt assembly according to the invention.

Throughout the figures, the same reference numerals are used to refer to

corresponding components or to components, which have a corresponding function

Figure 1 schematically depicts an embodiment of the glass breaking device according to the present invention, generally referred to with reference numeral 1. The glass breaking device 1 comprises a housing 10 and a glass breaking element 20. The glass breaking element 20 is arranged partially within an interior 11 of the housing 10, but a tip 21 of the glass breaking element 20 extends out of the housing 10.

The glass breaking device 1 is adapted to break a glass window, for example a vehicle window, upon impact thereof with the tip 21 of the glass breaking element 20. In the present embodiment, the tip 21 is a sharp tip, having a tip angle in the range between 45°and 90°. Alternatively, the tip of the glass breaking element may be a blunt tip or any other suitable shape to break the glass window.

The glass breaking element 20 comprises, in the present embodiment, a ceramic material having a hardness that is substantially larger that the hardness of tempered glass. In particular, the tip 21 of the glass breaking element 20 comprises a ceramic material to induce a crack in the glass in order to break the glass.

The glass breaking device 1 further comprises a slot 30 and a tongue plate 40. The slot 40 is provided at an upper portion of the housing 10 and is configured to receive a seat belt of a seat belt assembly. The seat belt may be guided through the slot 30, such that the glass breaking device 1 can be moved along the seat belt and wherein the slot 30 is configured to guide the seat belt. In the present embodiment, the slot 30 comprises a stainless steel material, but may, in an alternative embodiment, comprise any other suitable material.

The tongue plate 40 is provided at a lower portion of the housing 1 and is, with a first end portion 41 thereof, configured to be inserted in a seat belt buckle of a seat belt assembly. The tongue plate 40 comprises an opening 43, which is adapted to be gripped by a release mechanism of the seat belt buckle in order to form a rigid connection between both. In the present embodiment, the tongue plate 40 comprises a stainless steel material as well.

In figure 2, a section view is displayed on the glass breaking device 1. The device 1 comprises an outer wall 12, which defines the interior 11 of the housing 10. The device 1 comprises a spring-loaded glass breaking element 20, which is arranged at least partially in the interior 11 of the housing 10.

The outer wall 12 of the housing 10 comprises an opening 13 therein, through which access is provided, from the outside, to the interior 11 of the housing 10. The device 1 further comprises a head 14, which is partially arranged in the opening 13. In figure 2, the head 14 is arranged in its extended position, in which the head 14 is partially arranged outside the interior 11. The head 14 is movable with respect to the housing 10 between the extended position, which is displayed in figure 2, and a retracted position. In the retracted position of the head 14, the head 14 is moved (to the left) into the interior 11 of the housing 10 with respect to its extended position.

The device 1 comprises a first spring assembly, comprising two first springs 15. Each of the first springs 15 extends between a respective first seat 16, which may form part of the housing 10, and the head 14. The first springs 15 are spiral compression springs and are configured to bias the head 14 in the extended position, as shown in figure 2, by pushing the head to the right (in figure 2) with respect to the housing 10. The first springs 15 of the first assembly are arranged on opposite sides of the glass breaking element 20, in order to apply a balanced spring force on the head 14.

The glass breaking element 20 comprises a cylindrical shaft 22 and the tip 21. In the extended position of the head 14, the tip 21 is arranged in an opening of the head, not protruding thereout. The shaft 22 of the glass breaking element 20 is arranged in the interior 11 of the housing and comprises the tip 21 at one end thereof. A second spring assembly, comprising a second spring 23, is provided in the interior 11 of the housing 10 as well. The second spring 23 extends between a second seat 17 of the housing 10 and the other end of the glass breaking element 20, opposing the end that is provided with the tip 21. The second spring 23 is a spiral compression spring as well, which is arranged concentrically with the shaft 22 of the glass breaking element 20, and which is configured to bias the glass breaking element, depending on the position of the head 14, in a rest position or in an active position. To do so, the second spring applies 23 a spring force on the glass breaking element 20, with respect to the housing 10, which is directed towards the right (in figure 2).

The glass breaking element 20 is biased in the rest position when the head 14 is in the extended position, as is displayed in figure 2. The tip 21 of the glass breaking element 20 is thereby arranged in the head 14 and does not protrude out of the head 14. In case the head 14 were arranged in its retracted position, not protruding through the opening 13, the glass breaking element 20 would be biased in its active position. In the active position, the tip 21 protrudes out of the head 14 and the glass element 20 protrudes partially through the opening 13. It is remarked that, to move the glass breaking element 20 between its rest position and its active position, no movement of the glass breaking element 20 itself is required, but only a movement of the head 14 is required with respect to the housing 10.

The glass breaking device 1 further comprises a strut 18, which is connected to the head 14 and which is arranged in the interior 11 of the housing 10. The strut 18 is a beam like element, which projects away from the head 14 and which selectively engages with a ridge of the glass breaking element 20.

In figure 2, the strut 18 is displayed in its engaging configuration. Upon movement of the head 14, from the extended position into the retracted position, the head 14 moves to the left (in figure 2). The glass breaking element 20 is, as a result of the engaging strut 18, moved along with the head 14. During this movement, the glass breaking element 20 is moved towards a tensioned position and the second spring 23 is further compressed and elastic potential energy is accumulated therein.

The strut 18 is guided in a track 19 in the interior 11 of the housing 10. The track 19 may be provided in a release handle 52 of the device 1. The track 19 is aligned such, that the strut 18 is deflected away from the glass breaking element 20 during the movement of the head 14. In the present embodiment, the track 19 is provided such, that strut 18 engages the glass breaking element 20 when the head 14 is moved from the extended position towards the retracted position. Upon further movement of the head 14, the track 19 guides the strut 18 away from the glass breaking element 20, to disengage the glass breaking element 20. After the strut 18 disengages the glass breaking element 20, the second spring 23 relaxes and the glass breaking element 20 is moved back towards the active position. The tip 21 of the glass breaking element 20 thereby protrudes out of the head 14 and will, in case the head 14 were to be pressed against a glass window, impact the glass and to break it.

The tongue pate 40 of the device 1 is, with a second portion 42 thereof, releasably connected to the housing 10. The second portion 42 of the tongue plate 40 is arranged opposite to the first portion 41 of the tongue plate 40. The tongue plate 40 is releasably connected to the housing 10 by means of a release mechanism. In figure 3A, the release mechanism of the device 1 is displayed from the front and in figure 3B, the release mechanism is displayed from the back.

The device 1 further comprises an aperture 51 in the outer wall 12 of the housing 10. The aperture 51 is arranged opposite to the slot 30 and provides access to the interior 11 of the housing 10, as is best displayed in figure 2. The tongue plate 40 is, when it is connected to the housing 10 of the device 1 , received in the interior 11 , through the aperture 51 , along an insertion direction (I).

The device 1 comprises a locking arrangement 50, which is arranged in the interior 11 of the housing 10 and which is configured to secure the second end portion 42 of the tongue plate 40 with respect to the housing 10. The locking arrangement 50 is displayed in figures 3A and 3B.

The locking arrangement 50 is biased in a locking position, in which the tongue plate 40 is secured in the housing 10. The locking arrangement 50 may be brought in a release position, in which the tongue plate 40, and in particular the second end portion 42 thereof, is released with respect to the housing 10. The device 1 comprises a release handle 52, which is configured to bring the locking arrangement 50 in the release positon, once being actuated.

The slot 30 of the device 1 is arranged in a slot plate 31 , which is partially arranged in the interior 11 of the housing 10. The slot plate 31 comprises two recesses 32, which protrude the slot plate 31 from opposite sides. The recesses 32 are aligned parallel to each other and parallel to a locking direction (L), which is perpendicular to the insertion direction (I). In each of the respective recesses 32, a pin 33 is arranged, which is configured to slide through its respective recess 32.

One end of each of the pins 33 is slidably arranged in its respective recess 32 in the slot plate 31 , whereas the other end of the pins 33 is slidably arranged in grooves 53 in the handle 52. The grooves 53 in the handle 52 are set under a 45° degree with respect to the insertion direction (I) and the locking direction (L). This angle results therein that, when the release handle 52 is moved in the insertion direction (I), the pins 33 are moved in the locking direction (L), at least when the tongue plate 40 is inserted in the housing 10.

The second end 42 of the tongue plate 40 is adapted to be arranged in between the slot plate 31 and the release handle 52. The second end 42 of the tongue plate 40 also comprises two recesses 43, which protrude the tongue plate 40 from opposite sides. These recesses 43 are aligned parallel to each other as well and are also aligned parallel to the locking direction (L).

In figures 3A and 3B, the locking arrangement 50 is biased in the locking position by two locking springs 54, which apply a downwards spring force on the release handle 52. The pins 33 are, as a result of this downward force and of the grooves 53 in the release handle 52, pressed towards each other. The pins 33 are adapted to be arranged in the recesses 43 in the tongue plate 40, in order to interlock with the tongue plate 40 and to prevent that the tongue plate 40 can be pulled out of the housing 10 along the insertion direction (I).

In order to bring the locking arrangement 50 in the release position, and to release the connection between the tongue plate 40 and the housing 10, the release handle 52 must be pushed in the insertion direction (I), e.g. the upwards direction in figure 3A. The pins 33 are slidably arranged in the recesses 32 in the slot plate 31 and cannot move in the insertion direction (I). The pins 33 are, however, moved away from each other, in the locking direction (L), as a result of the grooves 53 in the release handle 52, being set under the 45° angle. When the pins 33 are moved away from each other, they are moved out of the recesses 43 in the tongue plate 40 and the connection between the housing 10 and the tongue plate 40 is released.

During the upwards movement of the release handle 52, the locking springs 54 are compressed and elastic potential energy is accumulated therein. When the pushing force on the release handle 52 is taken away, after the second end 42 of the tongue plate 40 has been moved out of the interior 11 of the housing 10, the compressed locking springs 54 force the release handle 52 back in the downwards direction in order to bias the locking

arrangement 50 in the locking position. This downwards movement of the release handle 52, back into a non-actuated position, is in particular convenient when the tongue plate 40 has been released unintentionally, since it allows the tongue plate 40 to be re-inserted in the housing 10, and to re-secure the connection between the tongue plate 10 and the housing 10.

In the present embodiment, as is best shown in figures 5A and 5B, the release handle 52 forms part of the outer wall 12 of the housing 10. As such, the release handle 52 may be easily accessed from the outside of the device 1 , in particular in the case of an emergency or when the seat belt has been tensioned.

In figure 4, an exploded-view is displayed on the embodiment of the glass breaking 1 , in which various parts of the device 1 are displayed in isolation. Figure 4 displays in particular that the tongue plate 40 is bent and that it is adapted to be inserted in the housing 10, through the aperture 51 , and that it is configured to be arranged in between the slot plate 31 and the release handle 52. The glass breaking element 20, and the accompanying first and second spring assemblies are arranged in between the slot plate 31 and the release handle 52 as well.

In figure 5A, the glass breaking device 1 is displayed with the tongue plate 40 being inserted in the interior 11 of the housing 10. The first end portion 41 of the tongue plate 40 is thereby arranged outside the housing 10, in order to be connected to a seat belt buckle of a seat belt assembly. The second end portion 42 of the tongue plate 40 is arranged in the interior 11 of the housing 10 and is connected to the housing 10 by means of the locking arrangement 50.

In figure 5B, the connection between the tongue plate 40 and the housing 10 is released and the first end 41 of the tongue plate 40 has been pulled out of the interior 11 of the housing 10. It is displayed in figure 5B that the release handle 52 has been pushed upwards in order to release the tongue plate 40.

In figures 6A - 6C, an embodiment of the seat belt assembly according to the present invention is displayed, generally referred to with reference numeral 100. The seat belt assembly 100 comprises a seat belt buckle 110, a seat belt 120 and the glass breaking device 1 that is described above. The seat belt 110 is guided through the slot 30 of the glass breaking device 1 , such that the glass breaking device 1 may be moved along the seat belt 110, but that the glass breaking device 1 always remains near the seat belt 110.

Figure 6A depicts the seat belt buckle 120 of the seat belt assembly 100, which is configured to receive the first end 41 of the tongue plate 40 of the device 1. In figure 6B, the first end 41 of the tongue plate 40 of the glass breaking device 1 has been inserted in the seat belt buckle 120, such that the glass breaking device 1 has been connected to the seat belt buckle 120 and that the seat belt 110 has been fastened.

In figure 6C, the tongue plate 40 of the glass breaking device 1 has been disconnected from the glass breaking device 1 , in order to disconnect the glass breaking device 1 from the seat belt buckle 120. In this case, which may, for example, take place when a conventional release mechanism of the seat belt buckle 120 would malfunction, the first end 41 of the tongue plate 40 of the glass breaking device 1 can remain connected to the seat belt buckle 120, while the glass breaking device 1 is disconnected in order to unfasten the seat belt 110.

Figures 7 A - 7C schematically depict an alternative embodiment of the release mechanism of the glass breaking device. The release mechanism comprises a slot plate 231 , in which recesses 232 are provided, which extend along the locking direction (L). A pin 233 is arranged in each of the recesses 232 and each of the pins 233 is configured to slide through its respective recess 232. The release mechanism further comprises a locking spring 254 for each of the pins 233, each of which is arranged in between the housing and is configured to apply a spring force between the housing and its respective pin 233 in order to move the pins 233 towards each other.

The release mechanism further comprises a release handle 252, which is configured to move along the insertion direction (I) and which comprises two grooves 253, being provided as edges and which are configured to move the pins 233 upon movement of the release handle 252. The edges 253 are aligned parallel to a direction that is under a 45° angle with respect to the insertion direction (I) and the locking direction (L). It is thereby achieved that a movement of the release handle 252 in the insertion direction (I) is translated into a movement of the pins 233 that is parallel to the locking direction (L).

In figure 7A, the tongue plate 240 is not arranged in the housing and the pins 233 are moved towards each other, under the influence of the locking springs 254. The release handle 252 is moved downwards in the insertion direction (I), under the influence of the pins 233 that act on the edges 253.

In figure 7B, the release handle 252 has been moved upwards in the insertion direction (I) and the pins 233 are moved away from each other, in order to allow for the entry of the tongue plate 240. The locking springs 254 are thereby further compressed in order to accumulate elastic potential energy therein.

In figure 7C, the tongue plate 240 has been inserted in the housing and the force on the release handle 252 has been taken away. The locking springs 254 have relaxed, compared to their state in figure 7B, and have moved the pins 233 towards each other and into the recesses 243 in the tongue plate 240 in order to secure the connection between the tongue plate 240 and the slot plate 231.

In figures 8A - 8C, an alternative embodiment of the seat belt assembly is displayed, referred to with reference numeral 300. The seat belt assembly 300 comprises a seat belt 310, a seat belt buckle 320 and a seat belt tongue 330. The seat belt assembly 300 further comprises a glass breaking device 301 with a tongue plate 340. The glass breaking device 301 further comprises a device buckle 302, which is configured to receive a tongue plate, and comprises a buckle release handle 303, which is configured to release a connection between the glass breaking device 301 and a tongue plate that may be inserted in the device buckle 302.

The seat belt 310 is guided through a slot in the seat belt tongue 330, as is displayed in figure 8A. The seat belt tongue 330 is, with a tongue plate 331 thereof, inserted in the device buckle 302 of the glass breaking 301. The tongue plate 340 of the glass breaking device 301 is, in turn, inserted into the seat belt buckle 320, such that a connection is formed between the seat belt 310 and the seat belt buckle 320 and that the seat belt is fastened.

In figure 8B, the buckle release handle 303 has been pushed downwards in order to release the connection between the glass breaking device 301 and the tongue plate 331 of the seat belt tongue 330. In figure 8C, the seat belt tongue 330 has been pulled out of the device buckle 302 in order to un-fasten the seat belt.