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Title:
MOUNT FOR DIGITALLY ENHANCED NIGHT VISION DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/105157
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A system (M) for removably mounting a device (D) that is viewable by a user (U) to an essentially rigid headgear (H) includes a removable strap assembly (10) extending about the headgear (H). The strap assembly (10) includes a strap (18) with a first end (20) having a first securing means (24) to engage a first edge (26) of the head gear (H.) A second securing means (28) secures the strap (18) to a second edge (20). A mounting assembly (32) extends from the strap assembly (10) in proximity to a first end (14) of the strap assembly (10) for controllably positioning the device (D) in an ocular axis (34) of the user (U). The mounting assembly (32) controllably adjusts the device (D) along a forward and backward axis (A1), a vertical axis (A4), and a horizontal axis (A2) of the viewer (U).

Inventors:
BOURREE, Loig (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
MURPHY, John (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
PRUET, James (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
MCMAHAN, William (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
Application Number:
US2006/011403
Publication Date:
October 05, 2006
Filing Date:
March 29, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LITTON SYSTEMS, INC. (1840 Century Park E, Los Angeles, California, 90067-2101, US)
BOURREE, Loig (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
MURPHY, John (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
PRUET, James (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
MCMAHAN, William (Northrop Grumman Electro-Optical Systems, 3414 Herrmann Dr.Garland, Texas, 75041-6188, US)
International Classes:
A61B5/04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSTELLER, Thomas (Marsteller & Associates, P.C.Po Box 80330, Dallas Texas, 75380-3302, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claim(s)

1. A system for removably mounting a device that is viewable by a user to an essentially rigid headgear worn by the user, the invention comprising:

a removable strap assembly extending about an outer surface of the headgear and having a first end and a second end; the strap assembly further including a strap having a first end and a second end, a first securing means affixed to the first end of the strap for a removably securing the first end of the strap to a first edge of the head gear, and a second securing means affixed to the second end of the strap for a removably securing the second end of the strap to an opposing second edge of the headgear; and

a mounting assembly unit extending from the strap assembly in proximity to the first end of the strap assembly for controllably positioning the device in an ocular axis of the user; the mounting assembly controllably adjusting the position of the device to be viewed along a horizontal axis of the user, along a vertical axis of the user, and along a forward and backward axis in relation to the viewer.

2. The invention of claim 1 further including pivoting means for pivoting the device about at least one of the axis of movement with the mounting assembly unit.

3. The invention of claim 1 further including adapter means for selectively positioning the device to be viewed in front of a desired eye of the user.

4. The invention of claim 3 further including means for communicating electrical signals with the device to be viewed.

5. The invention of claim 1 wherein the first securing means includes a J shaped element to engage the first edge of the head gear.

6. The invention of claim 1 wherein the second securing means includes a J shaped element to engage the second edge of the head gear.

7. The invention of claim 1 wherein the device to be viewed is movably supported by an adjustable carrier coupled to a rail system extendible substantially parallel to the ocular axis of the user.

8. The invention of claim 7 wherein the adjustable carrier includes controlling means to controllably move the device to be viewed along at least one axis substantially perpendicular to the rail system.

9. The invention of claim 7 wherein the mounting assembly unit is demountable from the removable strap assembly.

Description:

APPLICATION FOR PATENT

TITLE: MOUNT FOR DIGITALLY ENHANCED NIGHT VISION DEVICE

Cross Reference to Related Applications

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/594,339, filed March 30, 2005, entitled MOUNT FOR DIGITALLY ENHANCED NIGHT VISION DEVICE.

SPECIFICATION

Background of the Invention

1. Technical Field.

The invention relates to the field of helmet mounts for viewing devices, and more particularly to helmet mounts for night viewer devices that attached to a helmet of a user of the device.

2. Background Art.

Conventional viewing devices, such as night viewers and the like, are known which removably attach to a support structure secured to a helmet or face mask. These conventional viewer devices are relatively movable by manipulation of the support structure to align at least one eye piece of the viewer device with at least one eye of the user.

Night vision systems are commonly used by military and law enforcement personnel for conducting operations in low light or night conditions. These systems intensify the ambient light to produce an output image which is visible to the human eye. Such night vision systems either take the form of binoculars, having separate eye pieces for each eye, or monoculars, having only a single eye piece.

Additionally, the support structure and viewer device are possibly provided with cooperating structural features which insure that the viewer device may be electrically deactivated when it is removed from the support structure.

Helmet mounting assemblies for viewer devices are available for securing viewing devices to an operator's helmet. Helmet mounting assemblies of this kind are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,446,585, issued 29 August 1995, to Roland M. Morley, et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,471,678, issued 5 December 1995, to Amotz Dor; and, U.S. Pat. No. 5,506,730, issued 9 April 1996, to Roland M. Morley et al., among others.

It frequently becomes necessary for the operator of a night vision system or other viewing device to adjust its operational position in order that the operator can optimize the position of the viewing device along an ocular axis of the user. Thus, it would be desirable to provide a mount for a night vision system or other viewing device that enables the system to be easily adjustable in a plurality of axis relative to the user.

While the above cited references introduce and disclose a number of noteworthy advances and technological improvements within the art, none completely fulfills the specific objectives achieved by this invention.

Summary of Invention

In accordance with the present invention, a system for removably mounting a device that is viewable by a user to an essentially rigid headgear worn by the user includes a removable strap assembly that extends about an outer surface of the headgear. The strap assembly has a first end and a second end. The strap assembly further includes a strap with a first end and a second end. A first means for securing is affixed to the first end of the strap for removably securing the first end of the strap to a first edge of the head gear. A second securing means is affixed to the second end of the strap for removably securing the second end of the strap to an opposing second edge of the headgear. A mounting assembly unit extends from the strap assembly in proximity

to the first end of the strap assembly for controllably positioning the device in an ocular axis of the user. The mounting assembly controllably adjusts the position of the device to be viewed generally along a horizontal axis of the user, along a vertical axis of the user, and along a forward and backward axis in relation to the viewer.

The present mounting system optionally includes a pivot point about which the user may pivot the device about at least one of the axis of movement with the mounting assembly unit.

These and other objects, advantages and features of this invention will be apparent from the following description taken with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein is shown the preferred embodiments of the invention.

Brief Description of Drawings

A more particular description of the invention briefly summarized above is available from the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the drawings and discussed in further detail below. Through this reference, it can be seen how the above cited features, as well as others that will become apparent, are obtained and can be understood in detail. The drawings nevertheless illustrate only typical, preferred - embodiments of the invention and are not to be considered limiting of its scope as the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

Figure 1 is a right side elevational view of the mount of the present invention affixed to a ballistic type helmet with a multi-spectral viewing device attached and positioned in a normal viewing position for a user.

Figure 2 is a right front isomeric view of the present invention affixed to a ballistic type helmet with the multi-spectral viewing device in a stowed position.

Figure 3 is a left front isomeric view of the multi-spectral viewing device in a stowed position over a user's right eye.

Figure 4 is a lower right front isomeric view of the rail unit of the mount.

Figure 5 is a left side elevational view of the rail unit of the present invention.

Figure 6 is a frontal view of the rail unit.

Figure 7 is a top plan view of the rail unit.

Figure 8 is a right side elevational view of the rail unit.

Figure 9a is a frontal view of the transfer bar assembly adapted to mount the multi-spectral viewing device over a user's left eye.

Figure 9b is a frontal view of the transfer bar assembly adapted to mount the multi-spectral viewing device over a user's right eye.

Figure 10 is a perspective view of the strap assembly of the present invention.

Detailed Description

So that the manner in which the above recited features, advantages, and objects of the present invention are attained can be understood in detail, more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to the embodiment thereof that is illustrated in the appended drawings. In all the drawings, identical numbers represent the same elements.

A system M for removably mounting a device D that is viewable by a user U to an essentially rigid headgear H worn by the user U includes a removable strap assembly 10 that extends about an outer surface 12 of the headgear H. The strap assembly 10 has a first end 14 and a second end 16. The strap assembly 10 further includes a strap 18 with a first end 20 and a second end 22. A first means 24 for securing is affixed to the first end 20 of the strap 18 for removably securing the first end 20 of the strap 18 to a first edge 26 of the head gear H. A second securing means 28 is affixed to the second end 22 of the strap 18 for removably securing the second end 22 of the strap 18 to an opposing second edge 20 of the headgear H.

A mounting assembly unit 32 extends from the strap assembly 10 in proximity to the first end 14 of the strap assembly 10 for controllably positioning the device D in an ocular axis 34 of the user U. The mounting assembly 32 controllably adjusts the position of the device D to be viewed generally along a forward and backward axis Alrelative to the user U, along a vertical axis A4 of the user, and along a horizontal axis A2 in relation to the viewer U.

The strap assembly 10 may be secured to the ballistic type helmet H by using a screw system 23 to increase the tension extending between the first end 14 and the second end 16 of the strap 18.

The first securing means 24 optionally includes a J shaped element to engage the first edge 26 of the head gear H. Similarly, the second securing means 28 also optionally may include a J shaped element to engage the second edge 30 of the head gear H.

In a preferred embodiment the device D to be viewed is movably supported by the mounting assembly 32 that includes an adjustable carrier unit 40 coupled to a rail unit R having a system of at least one rod or rail 60 extendible substantially parallel to the ocular axis 34 of the user U. The adjustable carrier unit 40 includes at least one controlling element 62 to controllably move the device D to be viewed along at least one axis substantially perpendicular to the rail system 60.

The viewing device D may be secured to the carrier unit 40 using holes 90 formed in bottom mounting plate or surface 88 of the carrier 40.

The present mounting system M optionally includes a pivot point 36 in a pivot block 46 about which the user U may pivot the device D about at least one of the axis A3 of movement with the mounting assembly unit 32.

The mounting assembly unit 32 may be removable from the strap assembly unit 10 by detaching the mount base plate 68 from the strap assembly 10.

The rail unit 32 may include one or more housing rails 54 along which the carrier unit 40 slides or moves fore or aft along the axis Al. The housing rails 54 are supported by one or more frame rails 52 that are attached to the base plate 68 through the pivot block 46.

The carrier unit 40 may optionally include an adjustment member or screw control 78 to permit lateral movement or adjustment of the device D along a horizontal axis A2. The adjustment screw 78 may be used to adjust for the inter-pupilary distance of the user U.

A tilt or pivot rod 76 extends through the carrier unit 40 to permit the tilt or pivot of the device mounting plate 88 relative to the housing rails 54. A tilt plate 72 cooperates with tilt housing 56 and the tilt or pivot rod 76 of the carrier unit 40 to permit fine adjustment of the axis for viewing the device D about at least one axis Al through A4 as desired. Likewise, a tilt cam 50 may be used in the adjustment of the tilt of the device D. A pivot locking pin 58 may be used for tilting or stowing of the device D.

One or more optional controls 60 may be included with the carrier unit 40. Such controls 60 may include an assembly lock button 42 to lock the elements of the carrier assembly 40 in a selected location for optimal viewing of the device D. An assembly lock button 44 is desirably included to secure the carrier unit against additional fore and aft adjustment or movements along the rail 54. A hinge button 48

may be used to release the rail assembly R to be pivoted into or out of position in front of the user's desired eye 38.

The mounting assembly 32 of the mounting system M preferably includes an adapter unit for selectively positioning the device D to be viewed in front of a desired eye 38 of the user U.

Referring particularly to Figures 9a and 9b, the mounting assembly 32 of the mounting system M optionally includes a transfer bar assembly T adapted to extend from the first end 14 of the strap assembly 10 and with a T shaped transfer bar 84 for the mount may extend from the first end 14 of the strap assembly 10. A mount base plate 68 of the mounting assembly 32 is adapted to be secured or attached to the transfer bar 84. Alignment points or protrusions 92 (Figure 5) may be formed with an outer face of the base plate 68 to align the mounting assembly in front of one eye 38 of the user U at complementary secure points or holes 94a formed in transfer bar 84, or alignment points 92 may be mated with an alternative set of secure points 92b to align the device D in front of the other eye 38 of the user U.

A "J" shaped transfer connector bar 80 with an electrical connector 82 for communicating electrical signals with the device D to be viewed and an optional electronics interface module or package E may be secured to the mounting system M. A known electrical ribbon cable 86 may be used to communicate the electrical signals and extend between the connector 82 and the device D. The optional electronics interface module may include one or more exposed control knobs 96 to adjust the operation or control of the device D.

The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape and materials, as well as in the details of the illustrated construction may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.