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Title:
INTERFACING DEVICE FOR THE CONNECTION OF A SKI BINDING TO A SKI
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/017573
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
An interfacing device (100) for connecting a ski binding to a ski comprising: - a first plate (1) with a lower wall (3) and an upper wall (4), substantially parallel to the plane (6) of the ski, and a pair of side walls (7), substantially perpendicular to the plane of the ski and parallel to the main longitudinal axis (8) of the ski, said first plate being integrally connectable to the ski at said lower wall; and - a second plate (2), slidingly associated with the first plate, at said upper wall and/or said side walls of said first plate; and - a locking mechanism (13), for the user to operate reversibly, moving between a locked position, in which the first plate and the second plate are integrally connected to one another in a required operative position, and a released position, in which the second plate is movable with respect to the first plate. In the interfacing device, according to the present invent ion, said locking mechanism, when it is set in said locked position, integrally connects the first plate to the second plate at least at the side walls of the first plate.

Inventors:
BRUNELLO, Renato (Via Marconi, 100, Bassano del Grappa, I-36061, IT)
Application Number:
EP2007/057337
Publication Date:
February 14, 2008
Filing Date:
July 16, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VIST S.R.L. (Via Paludi di Caldaro 15, bz Caldaro, I-39052, IT)
BRUNELLO, Renato (Via Marconi, 100, Bassano del Grappa, I-36061, IT)
International Classes:
A63C9/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002085473A12002-10-31
Foreign References:
DE2709856A11977-11-03
US3785666A1974-01-15
US5344178A1994-09-06
US4022493A1977-05-10
FR2638654A11990-05-11
US5671939A1997-09-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GIAVARINI, Francesco et al. (Via Melchiorre Gioia 64, Milano, I-20125, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. An interfacing device (100) for connecting a ski binding to a ski comprising: a first plate (1) with a lower wall (3) and an upper wall (4), substantially parallel to the plane (6) of the ski, and a pair of side walls (7), substantially perpendicular to the plane of the ski and parallel to the main longitudinal axis (8) of the ski, said first plate being integrally connectable to the ski at said lower wall; and a second plate (2), slidingly associated with said first plate, at said upper wall and/or said side walls of said first plate; and a locking mechanism (13), for the user to operate reversibly, moving between a locked position, in which said first plate and said second plate are integrally connected to one another in a required operative position, and a released position, in which said second plate is movable with respect to said first plate; characterized in that, in said locked position, said locking mechanism integrally connects said first plate to said second plate at least at said side walls of said first plate.

2. An interfacing device according to claim 1, characterized in that said locking mechanism comprises locking means (14) that can be reversibly operated by the user, said second plate comprising anchoring means (15) suitable for interacting with said locking means to integrally connect said second plate to said first plate, at said side walls of said first plate.

3. An interfacing device according to claim 2, characterized in that said anchoring means define a plurality of operating positions in which said second plate is integrally connected to said first plate, at said side walls of said first plate.

4. An interfacing device according to one or more of the claims from 2 to 3, characterized in that said locking mechanism comprises at least one kinematic element (16) that can be moved reversibly by the user to operate said locking means.

5. An interfacing device according to the claims from 2 to 4, characterized in that: a first translatory movement (17) of said kinematic element determines a second translatory movement (18) of said locking means from a first position (31), in which said locking means do not interact with said anchoring means, to a second position (32), in which said locking means do interact with said anchoring means; and/or a third translatory movement (19) of said kinematic element determines a fourth translatory movement (20) of said locking means from said second position to said first position;

said first and second positions of said locking means corresponding respectively to said released and locked positions of said locking mechanism.

6. An interfacing device according to claim 5, characterized in that said kinematic element performs said first translatory movement and said third translatory movement in a direction substantially parallel to the plane of the ski and to the main longitudinal axis of the ski.

7. An interfacing device according to one or more of the claims from 5 to 6, characterized in that said locking means perform said second translatory movement and said fourth translatory movement in a direction substantially parallel to the plane of the ski and perpendicular to the main longitudinal axis of the ski.

8. An interfacing device according to one or more of the claims from 4 to 7, characterized in that said kinematic element comprises a first end (22) that can be moved by the user and a second end (23) suitable for interacting with said locking means to move said locking means.

9. An interfacing device according to one or more of the claims from 2 to 8, characterized in that said locking means comprise at least one locking member (27) that is operatively associable with said second end of said kinematic element.

10. An interfacing device according to one or more of the claims from 2 to 9, characterized in that said anchoring means comprise at least one or more seats (29), provided at a lateral portion of said second plate, said lateral portion being slidingly associated with one of said side walls of said first plate, each of said seats being suitable for engaging with said locking member.

11. An interfacing device according to one or more of the previous claims, characterized in that it comprises at least one mechanical retainer device (40), suitable for interacting with said anchoring means to enable the user to slidingly move said second plate with respect to said first plate, into a plurality of predefined positions.

12. An interfacing device according to claim 16, characterized in that said mechanical retainer device comprises at least one second locking member (41), partially engageable in each of said seats of said anchoring means.

13. An interfacing device according to one or more of the previous claims, characterized in that it comprises an operating device (50) to enable the user to reversibly move said locking mechanism between said locked position and said released position, said operating device comprising an operating member (51), operatively connected to said kinematic element.

14. An interfacing device according to one or more of the previous claims, characterized in that it comprises a safety device (80) suitable for permanently locking said locking mechanism in said locked position.

15. An interfacing device according to one or more of the previous claims, characterized in that said second plate comprises a central portion, slidingly associated with the upper wall of said first plate, and two side portions, slidingly associated with the side walls of said first plate.

16. An interfacing device according to one or more of the previous claims, characterized in that, when in use, said second plate is integrally connected to the toe piece and/or to the heel piece of a ski binding.

Description:

INTERFACING DEVICE FOR THE CONNECTION OF A SKI BINDING TO A SKI

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an improved interfacing device for connecting a ski binding to a ski.

It is common knowledge that a ski binding generally comprises a toe piece and a heel piece for integrally attaching a ski boot to a ski, respectively at the toe and the heel of the user's foot.

It is also well known that the position of the toe piece and/or heel piece sometimes needs to be adjusted to ensure a perfect connection of the ski boot to the ski. For instance, this may be the case when users have to change their ski boots or modify their skiing position for some reason.

In the past, the toe piece and/or heel piece of a ski were generally connected directly to the ski, e.g. by means of fixing screws inserted in holes created for said purpose on the upper surface of the ski. Any need to adjust the position of the toe piece and/or heel piece entailed making a new set of holes in the ski and this could weaken the structure of the ski.

More recently, to overcome the drawbacks of such a direct connection between the ski binding and the ski, increasingly widespread use has been made of interfacing devices, that are permanently fixed to the ski and that come between the ski binding and the ski, thus serving as a support for the attachment of the ski binding.

The use of interfacing devices for connecting a ski binding to a ski offers several advantages.

These include a better control of the skiing action and, above all, the fact that such interfacing devices enable the position of the toe piece and/or heel piece to be adjusted in relation to the ski without having to make new holes in the ski, and thus keeping its structure substantially intact.

The known prior the art proposes several types of interfacing devices for connecting a ski binding to a ski.

For instance, the interfacing device described in the patent application FR2756747 comprises a first plate fixed to the ski with seats arranged along the longitudinal axis of the ski, at an an upper wall of said first plate. The ski binding is installed on a second plate with through holes, slidingly connected to the first plate. Locking means are inserted in the through holes in the second plate to engage in the seats in the first plate, when said through holes are aligned with said seats. The second plate, integrally attached to the ski binding, can thus be selectively fixed in a plurality of operating positions in relation to the first plate integrally attached to the ski.

The main drawback of interfacing devices of this type consists in that the connection between the first and the second plates occurs at the wall of the interfacing device that is most exposed, during the skiing action, to the effects of outside environmental agents (e.g. ice) or mechanical stress, e.g. impacts and bending. The buildup of ice during the skiing action has sometimes made it difficult to adjust the position of the plates of the interfacing device during the sporting activity, to improve the skiing position for instance.

It has been proven that the severe mechanical stresses involved have sometimes reduced the mechanical strength of the locking means of the interfacing device, making it difficult to guarantee that the plates remain locked in the right reciprocal position.

In fact, these mechanical stresses give rise to the onset of mechanical slacks between the two plates, which can negatively affect the user's control of his/her skiing action or even pose a hazard to the skier's safety.

Other interfacing devices of the known type enable a substantially continual adjustment of the position of the ski binding.

For instance, the interfacing device described in the patent application EP729770, comprises a plate fixed to the ski with a rack on the upper wall. The heel piece has a reversible locking mechanism that can be operated by the user and that comprises a tooth removably engageable in the rack.

The interfacing device described in the patent application FR2761611 comprises a base plate, which is fixed to the ski with a flexible element that has a tooth suitable for removably engaging in a rack attached to a second plate, slidingly connected to the base plate.

In the interfacing device described in the patent application DE2246668, there is an internal rack and pinion system that enables the simultaneous adjustment of the position of the toe piece and heel piece of the ski binding, which is slidingly connected to a base plate fixed to the ski.

Similarly, in the interfacing device described in the patent application WO/2002/005909, a system of internal pulleys has been added to simultaneously move two plates (connected respectively to the toe piece and heel piece) in relation to a base integrally connected to the ski.

Though they provide the locking means with some degree of protection against the outside environment, these interfacing devices have the drawback of a relatively complex structure.

This unavoidably means an increase in the production costs and a consequently higher final price for the end user. In the presence of ice and snow, a relatively complex structure also implies a higher likelihood of malfunction and failure, with a consequent risk of the user's

injury or dissatisfaction. Such interfacing devices are often relatively difficult to use, moreover, and the user often has to enlist the help of specialized personnel equipped with suitable tools.

The technical aim of the present invention is to provide an interfacing device for connecting a ski binding to a ski that allows the above-described drawbacks of the known state of the art to be overcome.

Within the scope of said aim, one object of the present invention is to realize an interfacing device that is easy to use for connecting both the toe piece and the heel piece of a ski binding to a ski, without any substantial modification of its basic structure.

Another object of the present invention is to realize an interfacing device that is easy for the user to handle alone, without the aid of specific tools and/or without having to entail the help of specialized personnel, even in adverse weather conditions.

Another, not necessarily last object of the present invention is to realize an interfacing device of simple and sturdy construction that is relatively easy to assemble and to manufacture at a relatively limited cost.

This technical aim and these objects, as well as other objects that will emerge from the description that follows and from the attached drawings, are achieved - according to the invention - by an interfacing device according to claim 1 and the related dependent claims of the present patent application.

In the interfacing device according to the invention, the connection between a first plate fixed to the ski and a second plate, slidingly associated with the first, is operated at the side walls of the first plate.

Said lateral connection enables the locking mechanism to exert a stronger mechanical grip to keep the first and second plates in the required operating position.

At the same time, even in adverse weather conditions, the locking mechanism can be maneuvered more easily and the movement imposed on the locking mechanism by the user can be transmitted more effectively.

The lateral connection between the plates also enables the locking mechanism required to be characterized by a marked structural simplicity and sturdiness, with a corresponding reduction in the costs and an improvement in the performance of the interfacing device.

Additional features and advantages of the interfacing device according to the invention will become apparent from the description that follows and the attached drawings, which are provided purely as a non- limiting illustration, wherein: figure 1 schematically represents a view from below, a side view and a view from above

of a first embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention; and figure 2 schematically represents an exploded view of the embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention shown in figure 1 ; and figure 3 schematically represents a cross-sectional view taken along the plane AA and a view from above of a plate of the embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention shown in figure 1 , with the locking mechanism in the locked position; and figure 4 schematically represents a cross-sectional view taken along the plane AA and a view from above of a plate of the embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention shown in figure 1 , with the locking mechanism in the released position; and figure 5 schematically represents cross-sectional views of a detail of the embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention shown in figure 1, with the locking mechanism in the locked and released positions; and figure 6 schematically represents an exploded view of a second embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention; figure 7 schematically represents a cross-sectional view taken along the plane AA and a view from above of a plate of the embodiment of the interfacing device according to the invention shown in figure 6.

With reference to the above-mentioned figures, the interfacing device 100, according to the invention is suitable for connecting a ski binding to a ski (not shown). The interfacing device 100 comprises a first plate 1 and a second plate 2 that lie substantially parallel to the plane 6 of the ski (figure 3).

The plate 1 comprises a lower wall 3 and an upper wall 4, substantially parallel to the plane 6. The plate 1 also comprises a pair of side walls 7, substantially perpendicular to the plane 6 and parallel to the principal longitudinal axis 8 of the ski (or parallel to the cross-sectional plane AA).

The plate 1, made of a plastic material for instance, can be integrally connected to the ski (not shown) on a level with the lower wall 3. The first plate 1 is preferably fixed by means of fixing screws inserted in holes 5 prepared in the plate 1.

The plate 2 is slidingly associated with the first plate 1, preferably on a level with its upper wall 4 and/or side walls 7. In particular, the plate 2 can slide, with respect to the plate 1, in a direction substantially parallel to the plane 6 and to the axis 8.

The plate 2, made of aluminum for instance, advantageously has an upside-down "C"-shaped design. In particular, it comprises a substantially flat central portion 9, slidingly associated with the upper wall 4 of the plate 1, and two side portions 10 and 11, substantially

perpendicular to the central portion 9 and slidingly associated with the side walls 7 of the plate 1.

The plate 2 is advantageously integrally connected to the toe piece and/or heel piece of a ski binding (not shown), by means of suitable fixing screws inserted in holes 12 provided in the plate 2.

The interfacing device 100 also comprises a locking mechanism 13 (figure 2), that can be reversibly operated by the user.

In the locked position of the mechanism 13 (figures 1 and 3), the two plates 1 and 2 are integrally connected to one another in a given operating position, combining to form an assembly that integrally connects the ski binding, and the toe piece and/or the heel piece in particular, to the ski.

From the locked position, the locking mechanism 13 can be reversibly moved by the user into a released position (figure 4), according to which the plates 1 and 2 are slidingly separable from one another. In this case, the ski binding is movable with respect to the ski and the position of the toe piece and/or of the heel piece can be adjusted as necessary in relation to the ski.

Since the locking mechanism 13 can be moved reversibly by the user, it can naturally perform the above-described movement in reverse, thus switching from the released position to the locked position.

The particular feature of the interfacing device 100 according to the invention consists in that, in the above-mentioned locked position, the locking mechanism 13 integrally connects the plates 1 and 2 at least on a level with the side walls 7 of the first plate 1.

In other words, in the interfacing device 100, the plates 1 and 2 are mechanically connected laterally to the main body of the interfacing device 100. In particular, said mechanical connection is provided at least at the side walls 7 of the plate 1 and the side portions 10 and

11 ofthe plate 2.

Clearly, the action of the locking mechanism 13 thus comes to bear at the walls of the interfacing device 100, which are less liable to mechanical stress and less exposed to the effects of outside environmental agents.

The locking device 13 preferably comprises locking means 14, which can be reversibly operated by the user.

The locking means 14 are operatively associable with anchoring means 15 on the plate 2, and suitable for interacting with the latter to integrally connect the plates 1 and 2 at the side walls

7 of the plate 1.

The anchoring means 15 advantageously define a plurality of operating positions for integrally connecting the second plate 2 to the first plate 1.

The locking mechanism 13 advantageously comprises at least one kinematic element 16, reversibly movable by the user and operatively associable with the locking means 14 in order to operate the latter to integrally connect the plates 1 and 2.

In practical terms, the kinematic element 16 transmits the movement imparted by the user to the locking means 14.

In fact, a first translatory movement 17 of the kinematic element 16 (figure 4) preferably determines a second translatory movement 18 of the locking means 14 from a first position 31 (figure 4), where the locking means 14 do not interact with the anchoring means 15, to a second position 32 (figure 3), where the locking means 14 do interact with the anchoring means 15.

Vice versa, a third translatory movement 19 (figure 3), in the opposite direction to the first movement 17 of the kinematic element 16, determines a fourth translatory movement 20 of the locking means 14 from the second position 32 (figure 3) to the first position 31 (figure 4), and thus in the opposite direction to the second movement 18.

In the light of the above, it is clear that the first and second positions 31 and 32 of the locking means 14 correspond to the released and locked positions of the locking mechanism 13. As shown in the above-mentioned figures, the movement imparted by the user to the locking means 14 is advantageously transmitted along the same plane (6) but in two directions substantially perpendicular to one another. In fact, the above-described first and third translatory movements 17 and 19 occur in a direction substantially parallel both to the plane 6 and to the axis 8, whereas the above-described second and fourth translatory movements 18 and 20 advantageously occur in a direction substantially parallel to the plane 6 but perpendicular to the axis 8.

The kinematic element 16 preferably consists of a shaped bar, as shown in the above- mentioned figures. Alternatively, the kinematic element 16 may consist of several components integrally connected to one another. The bar 16 can be made of either a metal (e.g. steel) or a plastic material.

The bar 16 advantageously comprises a first end 22, movable by the user, and a second end 23, operatively associated/associable with the locking means 14 to enable their movement. With reference to the first embodiment of the interfacing device 100 (figures 1-5), the second end 23 is associable with the locking means 14 on a level with at least one shaped lateral edge 24 of the second end 23 of the bar 16.

The lateral edge 24 comprises a substantially straight portion 242, running parallel to the axis

8 and a portion 241, substantially slanting in a direction so as to form an acute angle with the axis 8.

The portion 241 is oriented so that, starting from the portion 242, it determines a progressive reduction in the width of the bar 16 towards the end 23 of the bar 16.

As explained in more detail later on, during the passage of the locking mechanism 13 from the released position to the locked position (movement 17 of the bar 16), the slanting portion

241 of the edge 24 interacts with the locking means 14 to induce the latter's movement.

When the above-mentioned locked position is reached, the straight portion 242 of the edge 24 retains the locking means 14 in position.

The second end 23 of the bar 16 preferably comprises several shaped edges 24 arranged symmetrically with respect to the axis 8. Each of these preferably has a slanting portion 241 and a straight portion 242. In this case, the end 23 can have a substantially tapered form, like an "arrow" or "double arrow", pointing in the direction of the end 23 of the bar 16, as shown in the above-mentioned figures.

In the second embodiment of the interfacing device 100 (shown in figures 6-7), the second end 23 is permanently associated with the locking means 14 at least one (blind or through) hole 231, provided in the second end 23 of the bar 16. The connection between the second end 23 and the locking means 14 is by means of a cam 232, one end 233 of which engages in the hole 231.

The cam 232 is clearly able to convert the translatory movement of the bar 16 in a direction parallel to the axis 8 into a corresponding translatory movement of the locking means 14 in a direction perpendicular to the axis 8. Having reached the locked or released positions of the locking mechanism 13, the cam 232 retains the locking means 14 in said position.

The second end 23 of the bar 16 preferably comprises several holes 231, arranged symmetrically with respect to the axis 8, and several cams 232, each of which engages in a corresponding hole 231.

The bar 16 is preferably contained inside a recess 21, provided in the plate 1. The recess 21 is advantageously provided on a level with the two walls 3 and 4 of the plate 1. In particular, at the end 22 of the bar 16, the recess 21 preferably lies on a level with the lower wall 3 of the plate 1 (figures 3-4). Conversely, at the end 23 of the kinematic element 16, the recess 21 preferably lies on a level with the upper wall 4 of the plate 1. The proper positioning of the bar 16 inside the recess 21 is assured by connection means 30, consisting, for instance, of connection screws (figures 1-4). Said connection screws 30 can slidingly associate the bar 16

with the plate 1, enabling its necessary translatory movement along the axis 8.

The locking means 14 advantageously comprise at least one locking member 27, consisting, for instance, of a shaped pin. The pin 27 comprises a third end 26, operatively associable/associated with the second end 23 of the bar 16.

With reference to the first embodiment of figures 1-5, the third end 26 of the pin 27 is operatively associable with the shaped edge 24 of the second end 23. There are preferably elastic means 28, such as a spring, operatively associated with the pin 27. The spring 28 is advantageously positioned coaxially to the pin 27.

With reference to the second embodiment shown in figures 6-7, the third end 26 of the pin 27 is permanently connected to one end 234 of the cam 232.

The pin 27 also comprises a fourth end 25, suitable for interacting with the anchoring means

15 in order to integrally connect the plates 1 and 2.

The pin 27 can be at least partially contained inside a seat 29, provided in the first plate 1, e.g. with a through hole in the side wall 7 of the plate 1. Inside said seat 29, the pin 27 is positioned substantially parallel to the plane 6 and perpendicular to the axis 8.

The pin 27 is thus free to move without restriction in a direction perpendicular to the axis 8, but it is attached to the plate 1 in the sense of the axis 8.

As shown in the figure, the locking means 14 preferably comprise one or more pairs of pins

27, positioned laterally (and symmetrically) to the bar 16, so as to provide a (symmetrically arranged) plurality of points of mechanical connection between the plates 1 and 2, when the locking mechanism 13 is in the locked position.

The anchoring means 15 advantageously comprise at least one or more seats 33, provided at least one of the side portions 10 and 11 of the plate 2. Each of the seats 33 is suitable for engaging the end 25 of one of the pins 27, when the locking mechanism 13 is in the locked position.

The anchoring means 15 preferably comprise several seats 33, obtained on both the side portions 10 and 11 of the plate 2.

As shown in the figures, said seats 33 thus define a plurality of possible operating positions for locking the plate 2 in relation to the plate 1.

The seats 33 can consist of through holes obtained on the side portions 10 and 11, as shown in the above-mentioned figures. Alternatively, the seats 33 could consist of blind holes obtained on a level with the inner surface 34 of the side portions 10 and 11.

The interfacing device 100 preferably comprises at least one mechanical retainer device 40, suitable for interacting with the anchoring means 15 to enable the user to slidingly move the

plate 2 with respect to the plate 1, occupying a plurality of predefined positions. The device

40 comprises at least a second locking member 41, such as a ball, operatively associated with elastic means 42, such as a spring.

The ball 41 is advantageously partially engageable in each of the second seats 33 of the anchoring means 15.

The device 40, particularly the spring 42 and part of the ball 41, are at least partially contained inside a seat 43 provided in the plate 1.

The purpose of the device 40 is to provide a sort of sliding contact between the plates 1 and 2.

The spring 42 is positioned inside the seat 43 so that it constantly pushes the ball 41 against the inner surface 34 of the side portion 10 or 11 of the plate 2.

The ball 41 is thus capable of engaging mechanically with each of the seats 33, enabling a readily changeable mechanical connection between the plates 1 and 2.

The mechanical retainer of said connection can advantageously be designed so that its force can easily be overcome by users wishing to adjust the position of the plate 2.

On the one hand, said connection prevents the plate 2 from sliding uncontrollably along the plate 1 while, on the other, it enables the user to move the plate 2 discretely (i.e. in successive steps).

Thus, even a non-expert user can easily fine adjust the position of the ski binding, being able to hear a sound with any minimal displacement of the plate 2 (a displacement that corresponds, in this case, to the gap between two consecutive seats 33).

In the above-mentioned figures, the interfacing device 100 comprises only one device 40, on a level with one of the side walls 7 of the plate 1. Of course, the interfacing device 100 could comprise several such devices 40 positioned on a level with both the walls 7 of the plate 1.

The interfacing device 100 preferably comprises an operating device 50 that enables the user to reversibly move the locking mechanism 13 between the aforesaid locked and released positions.

The device 50 comprises an operating member 51, e.g. a handle for the user to move, that is operatively connected to the bar 16 on a level with its end 22. The handle 51 can be advantageously connected to the kinematic element 16 by means of a stud 52 passing through a hole 53, provided in the second end 22, and then screwed down in line with the lower wall

55 of the handle 51. The upper wall 54 of the handle 51 is advantageously shaped to make it easy for users to hold, preferably even when they are wearing ski gloves.

In the first embodiment shown in figures 1-5, an additional function of the handle 51 is to interact with at least one wall of the plate 1 to permanently hold the locking mechanism 13 in

its locked position.

For this purpose, the lower wall of the handle 51 advantageously has an undercut 56 suitable for engaging with the wall 59 of a seat 58, provided in the plate 1 and suitable for containing the device 50. The engagement of the undercut 56 with the wall 59 prevents any type of translatory movement of the bar 16 and consequently of each pin 27, thus hindering any accidental operation of the locking mechanism 13.

Elastic means 57, such as a spring, can be operatively associated with the stud 52 and the handle 51, to ensure a rotation with an elastic return of the handle 51, around the stud 52. In particular, the spring 57 is preferably positioned coaxially to the stud 52, between the kinematic element 16 and the handle 51, inside the seat 58.

The interfacing device 100 preferably comprises a safety device 80, the purpose of which is to permanently hold the locking mechanism 13 in its locked position (figures 5,6).

The locking action of the safety device 80 can be accompanied by any locking action exerted by the handle 51, as explained above.

This is on the understanding that there may also be a safety device 80 in the first embodiment of the interfacing device 100, shown in figures 1-5.

The safety device 80 advantageously comprises at least one retainer element 83 suitable for interacting with the bar 16 for locking the locking mechanism 13. The device 80 preferably comprises a stud 81 , with a button 82 at one end that can be operated by the user. At the other end of the stud 81, there is the retainer 83, engageable with the bar 16, advantageously on a level with a seat 161, provided in the corresponding lateral edge 162 of the bar 16. Elastic means, such as a spring 84, are associated with the stud 81 and/or with the retainer 83 to ensure an elastic return of the retainer 83 inside the seat 161. The stud 81, the retainer 83 and the spring 84 can preferably be contained in a seat 85 provided in the plate 1. The button 82 advantageously projects from one of the side walls 7 of the plate 1.

With reference to the first embodiment of the interfacing device 100, shown in figures 1-5, the operative function of the locking mechanism 13 between the two locked and released positions is described in greater detail.

Starting from the locked position shown in figure 3, the user rotates the handle 51 in the direction of the arrow 70 (figures 3 and 5). In doing so, the user disengages the undercut 56 from the wall 59 of the seat 58. The handle 51 and the bar 16 are thus free to move along the axis 8. By keeping the handle rotated (possibly only until it emerges from the seat 58), the user can thus make the bar 16 perform a translatory movement in the direction of the arrow

19. The translatory movement of the bar 16 coincides with a corresponding translatory

movement in the same direction of each of the shaped edges 24 on the end 23 of the bar 16. Each pin 27 becomes disengaged from the portion straight 242 of each shaped edge 24 and is thus free to move in the direction of the arrow 20, thanks to the elastic force exerted by the spring 28. Following the profile of the slanting portion 241 of the shaped edge 24, each pin moves towards the inside of the plate 1, sliding inside the seat 29, until it comes to rest on a level with the bottom of the aforesaid slanting portion 241 of the shaped profile 24. The trans latory movement of the pins 27 disengages them from the seats 33 of the anchoring means 15. When they are completely disengaged, the second plate 2 is held in position simply by the retaining force exerted by the mechanical retainer device 40. Since the plates 1 and 2 are no longer integrally connected to one another, the user is free to move the plate 2 with respect to the plate 1, thereby adjusting the position of the ski binding in relation to the ski. As explained earlier, during said adjustment, the device 40 enables even a non-expert user to achieve a fine adjustment of the position of the ski binding, because the user can hear a sound for even a minimal displacement of one plate in relation to the other. When the required position for the ski binding has been found, the user operates the locking mechanism 13 again to integrally connect the two plates 1 and 2 in the chosen operative position. Using the handle 51, the user can make the bar 16 perform a translatory movement in the direction of the arrow 17 (figure 4). The corresponding translatory movement of each shaped edge 24 on the end 23 of the bar 16 makes the corresponding slanting portion 242 come to bear on the end 26 of each pin 27. Each slanting portion 242 thus exerts a force on each pin 27 directed towards the outside of the plate 1. Said force determines the translatory movement of each pin 27 in the direction of the arrow 18, and also the loading of the corresponding spring 28. The end 25 of each pin 27 can thus engage in a corresponding seat 33 of the anchoring means 15, mechanically retaining the plates 1 and 2 in the position chosen by the user. At the end of the translatory movement of the bar 16 (and of each pin 27), the straight portion 241 of each shaped edge 24 abuts against the end 26 of the corresponding pin 27, exerting a constant force that maintains the locking action. At this point, the locking mechanism 13 is again in the locked position. The user can then release the handle 51 that spontaneously rotates, due to the effect of the spring 57, in the opposite direction to the arrow 70, bringing the undercut 56 to abut once again against the wall 59 of the seat 58. This prevents any further unwanted translatory movement of the bar 16 and the locking mechanism 13 is kept permanently in the locked position, thus preventing any slipping of the plate 2, despite the mechanical stress transmitted during the sporting activity. In the second embodiment of the interfacing device 100 (figures 6-7), the operative

displacement of the locking mechanism 13 between the locked and the released positions is similar to the one described above.

Starting from the locked position, the user presses the button 82 in the direction of the arrow 71. In doing so, the user disengages the retainer 83 from the seat 161, loading the spring 84. The handle 51 and the bar 16 are thus free to move along the axis 8. Keeping the button pressed (possibly only until the retainer 83 emerges from the seat 161), the user can thus make the bar 16 perform a translatory movement in the direction of the arrow 19 (figure 7). The translatory movement of the bar 16 coincides with a corresponding translatory movement in the same direction of the end 233 of the cams 232. Each cam 232 entrains the corresponding pin 27 in the direction of the arrow 20. Each pin 27 thus moves towards the inside of the plate 1, sliding inside the seat 29, until it comes to rest. The translatory movement of the pins 27 disengages them from the seats 33 of the anchoring means 15. When they have been completely disengaged, the second plate 2 is kept in position simply by the retaining force of the device 40. Since the plates 1 and 2 are no longer integrally connected to one another, the user can move the plate 2 freely in relation to the plate 1 , thereby adjusting the position of the ski binding in relation to the ski. Once the required position has been found for the ski binding, the user operates the locking mechanism 13 again to integrally connect the two plates 1 and 2, in the chosen operative position. By taking action on the handle 51, the user can make the bar 16 perform a translatory movement in the direction of the arrow 17 (figure 7). The corresponding roto -translatory movement of each cam 232 pushes each pin 27 towards the outside of the plate 1. Said force determines a translatory movement of each pin 27 in the direction of the arrow 18. The end 25 of each pin 27 can thus engage in a corresponding seat 33 of the anchoring means 15, mechanically retaining the plates 1 and 2 in the position chosen by the user. At the end of the translatory movement of the bar 16 (and of each pin 27), each cam 232 exerts a constant force that keeps the pin 27 in the locking position. At this point, the locking mechanism 13 is once again in the locked position. At the end of the translatory movement of the bar 16, moreover, the retainer 83 returns spontaneously to engage in the seat 161 due to the action of the spring 84, thus preventing any further accidental translatory movement of the bar 16 and the locking mechanism 13 is kept permanently in the locked position. This prevents any slipping of the plate 2, despite the mechanical stress transmitted during the sporting action. The user can then release the handle 51.

The operation of the locking device 13 has been described with specific reference to the embodiments shown in figures 1-7. In some alternative embodiments (not shown), the bar 16

can comprise both cams 232 and shaped edges 24 for moving the pins 27. In other embodiments (not shown) the permanent locking of the bar 16 can be achieved simultaneously by the handle 51 and the safety device 80. In all such embodiments, the resulting operation of the locking device will vary correspondingly, depending on which of the possible variants is involved.

As stated previously, the interfacing device 1 can be used for connecting a toe piece and/or of a heel piece of a ski binding to a ski. For said purpose, according to an alternative embodiment (not shown), the interfacing device 100 can comprise two pairs of plates 1 and 2, each pair being used respectively for connecting the toe piece or the heel piece of the ski binding to the ski.

In another alternative embodiment (not shown), the interfacing device 100 can comprise a single pair of plates 1 and 2 to connect both the toe piece and the heel piece to the ski. This can be done by suitably modifying the shape of the plates 1 and 2. In this case, the interfacing device 100 can comprise one or more locking mechanisms 13, to enable the simultaneous adjustment of the position of the toe piece and heel piece on the ski. For instance, the interfacing device 100 can comprise two locking mechanisms 13 moving in opposite directions along the axis 8. Said mechanisms can be moved by means of a single operating device 50, designed to move both the locking mechanisms 13 at the same time. Practical experimentation has shown that the interfacing device 100 according to the invention solves the problems of the known state of the art and offers several advantages over the latter.

In the interfacing device 100, the first and second plates are mechanically connected laterally, i.e. on a level with the walls less exposed to mechanical stresses or to the effects of outside environmental agents. The mechanical retaining action of the plates 1 and 2 is consequently more effective for the same degree of force applied.

The interfacing device 100 can be used, without any substantial variations to its basic structure, for connecting both the toe piece and the heel piece of the ski binding to the ski. This enables a marked degree of standardization of its component parts, which - combined with the fact that the structure is clearly easy to assemble - enables production costs to be kept relatively low.

The interfacing device 100 is easy to use, even for the skier, without the aid of specific tools and without help from specialized personnel, even in adverse weather conditions. It also facilitates the fine adjustment of the ski binding's position in relation to the ski. The interfacing device 100 also has a particularly straightforward and sturdy structure easily able

to withstand the mechanical stress deriving from the sporting activity.