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Title:
DIVING MASK WITH ANTI-FOG DEVICES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/064572
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Described herein is a diving mask (1) comprising: - at least one lens (2); and - a skirt (4) connected to said at least one lens (2) and configured for application of the mask (1) to the face of a user, wherein said skirt (4) and said at least one lens (2) define a volume of the mask (1) configured to be set against the face of a user when the mask (1) is in use. The mask (1) comprises at least one condensation device (6), said at least one condensation device (6) comprising: - a first thermally conductive element (22) set on the outside of the volume of said mask (1); - a second thermally conductive element (24) set within the volume of said mask (1); and - a thermally conductive connection (26, 28, 30; 26') between said first thermally conductive element (22) and said second thermally conductive element (24).

Inventors:
BOSIO MIRKO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/059104
Publication Date:
April 08, 2021
Filing Date:
September 29, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TECHNISUB SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B63C11/12
Foreign References:
CN108771839A2018-11-09
CN110124280A2019-08-16
US5553331A1996-09-10
US20090025125A12009-01-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DE BONIS, Paolo (Notaro & Antonielli d'OulxCorso Vittorio Emanuele I, 6 Torino, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A diving mask (1) comprising:

- at least one lens (2); and

- a skirt (4) connected to said at least one lens (2) and configured for application of the mask (1) to the face of a user, wherein said skirt (4) and said at least one lens (2) define a volume of the mask (1) configured for facing the face of a user when the mask (1) is in use, the mask (1) being characterized in that it comprises at least one condensation device (6), said at least one condensation device (6) comprising:

- a first thermally conductive element (22) set on the outside of the volume of said mask (1);

- a second thermally conductive element (24) set within the volume of said mask (1); and

- a thermally conductive connection (26, 28, 30; 26') between said first thermally conductive element (22) and said second thermally conductive element (24).

2. The mask (1) according to Claim 1, further comprising a frame (8) that houses said at least one lens (2) and connects said at least one lens (2) to said skirt (4).

3. The mask (1) according to Claim 1 or Claim 2, wherein said first thermally conductive element (22) is a thermal exchange element comprising a finning (38).

4. The mask (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said second thermally conductive element (24) is a condensation plate configured to condense in correspondence thereof the moisture of the gas present inside the volume of said mask (1).

5 . The mask (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said thermally conductive connection (26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36) comprises one or more threaded joints (26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36) between the first thermally conductive element (22) and the second thermally conductive element (24).

6. The mask (1) according to Claim 5, wherein each threaded joint (26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36) comprises a threaded pin (26, 28, 30) integral with one between said first thermally conductive element (22) and said second thermally conductive element (24), said threaded pin being configured to traverse said frame (8) and the other one between said first thermally conductive element (22) and said second thermally conductive element (24) and to be secured thereto by means of a corresponding nut (32, 34, 36).

7 . The mask (1) according to any one of Claims 1 to 4, wherein at least one between said first thermally conductive element (22) and said second thermally conductive element (24) comprises a surface (22A, 24A) provided in relief on which is an island (26')/ the island (26') of each thermally conductive element being in contact with the other thermally conductive element to define a relation of conductive heat exchange between them, and thus define said thermally conductive connection.

8. The mask (1) according to any one of Claims 1, 6 and 7, wherein the condensation device (6) is fixed straddling said frame (8).

9. The mask (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising a pair of condensation devices arranged on opposite sides of said mask (1), in particular in a lateral position with respect to a corresponding lens (2).

10 . The mask (1) according to Claim 9, wherein said frame comprises two lateral flaps (12, 14), each lateral flap (12, 14) receiving a respective condensation device (6).

Description:
"Diving mask with anti-fog devices"

★★★★

TEXT OF THE DESCRIPTION Field of the invention

The present invention relates to devices for underwater vision, in particular to diving masks. The invention has been developed with particular reference to anti-fog diving masks.

Prior art and general technical problem In the field of devices for underwater vision, in particular diving masks, one of the problems most felt by producers and users is that of fogging of the lenses of the mask on account of formation of condensate on the inner surface of the lenses themselves. Formation of condensate originates from the difference in temperature between the volume of the mask, i.e., the volume comprised between the surface of the lens (or lenses) and the inner surface of the skirt, and the external environment, i.e., water.

The moisture of the air exhaled from the nose of the user or that in any case transpires through the skin encounters the inner surface of the lens (or lenses), which is considerably colder than the air on account of the convective heat exchange between the water and the outer surface of the lens and of the subsequent conductive heat exchange between the outer surface and the inner surface of the lens. The interaction between the moist air and the cold inner surface of the lens hence causes condensation of the moisture on the inner surface itself of the lens in the form of droplets that hinder vision of the diver.

Traditionally, diving masks provided with measures against fogging envisage lenses with an anti-fog coating that has the aim of reducing the surface tension of the water, thus facilitating condensation of moisture on the inner surface of the lens in the form of a continuous and coherent layer (in order to preserve the properties of refraction of the lens), instead of in the form of an aggregate of droplets.

However, the above countermeasure - albeit effective in the presence of phenomena of condensate of medium degree - may prove ineffective or insufficient in the case where the fraction of condensed moisture is exceptionally high (for example, in the presence of a marked temperature variation, as in the case of diving in very cold and/or very deep water). It may moreover be ???physiologically more exposed to degradation in the case of lack of care or errors in handling the mask, with consequent reduction of the amount of moisture that can be managed effectively.

There moreover exist masks configured for confining the air at the nasal cavity by using seal strips that surround the user's nose. The performance in countering fogging are, however, extremely modest since it is practically impossible to guarantee the required tightness, with the result of a seepage of very moist air from the nasal cavity to the regions surrounding the internal volume of the mask.

Object of the invention

The object of the present invention is to overcome the technical problems mentioned previously. In particular, the object of the invention is to provide a diving mask presenting anti-fog measures that do not act exclusively on the lenses and in general are not subject to the constraints and drawbacks referred to above. Summary of the invention

The object of the present invention is achieved by a diving mask having the features forming the subject of the appended claims, which form an integral part of the technical disclosure provided herein in relation to the invention.

Brief description of the drawings The invention will now be described with reference to the annexed drawings, which are provided by way of non-limiting example and in which:

- Figure 1 is a perspective view of a diving mask according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;

- Figure 2 is a front view of the mask of Figure 1 according to the arrow II of Figure 1 itself;

- Figure 3 and Figure 4 are two exploded views of the diving mask of Figure 1, which differ as regards structure and composition of the lenses;

- Figure 5 is a partially exploded perspective view according to the arrow V of Figure 3 and of Figure 4;

- Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view according to the trace VI-VI of Figure 1;

- Figure 7 is an exploded perspective view corresponding to the detail of Figure 6;

- Figures 8A and 8B are similar to Figures 6 and 7 (Figure 8B is, however, an exploded cross-sectional view), but refer to a further embodiment of the invention; and

- Figures 9A and 9B are similar to Figures 8A and 8B, but refer to yet a further embodiment of the invention.

Detailed description

The reference number 1 in Figures 1 to 4 designates as a whole a diving mask according to a preferred embodiment of the invention. With reference to Figures 1 and 2, the diving mask 1 comprises at least one lens 2 and a skirt 4 connected to the at least one lens 2 and configured for application of the mask 1 to the face of a user. In the embodiment illustrated herein the mask 1 comprises two separate lenses 2, but provision of a mask with two separate glasses is possible where the two lenses 2 are joined to form a single refractive surface (which is also transparent to light).

The lenses 2 and the skirt 4 define an (internal) volume of the mask, of which the lenses 2 form substantially a front surface (especially the inner surface thereof), whereas the inner surface of the skirt forms a lateral surface of the volume itself, thus substantially to define a sac of air trapped in front of the eyes and nose of the user. In other words, the volume of the mask 1 faces the face of the user when the mask 1 is in use.

According to the invention, the mask 1 comprises at least one condensation device 6, which constitutes the main anti-fog measure of the mask 1, as will be described in brief.

The lenses 2 are connected to the skirt 4 by means of a frame 8, which provides a perimetral mounting seat for the lenses 2 that is configured for being joined to the material of the skirt 4.

The frame 8 is of a bilobed shape so as to leave space for a nose pocket 10 and comprises a first lateral flap 12 and a second lateral flap 14, where a respective condensation device 6 is installed. Hence, in the preferred embodiment forming the subject of the figures, the mask 1 comprises two condensation devices 6 arranged on opposite sides of the mask 1, and in particular in a position set alongside a respective lens 2. For this purpose, the lateral flaps 12, 14 are traversed by one or more through holes 16 for fixing the condensation devices.

Optionally, the frame 8 is completed by a pair of frames 18, 20 that fix the lenses 2 on the frame 8 itself (in this case, the lenses 2 are pinched between the respective frame 18, 20 and a seat on the frame 8).

With reference to Figures 3 to 7, the structure of each condensation device 6 and assembly of this on the mask 1 will now be described. Each condensation device 6 comprises:

- a first thermally conductive element 22 set on the outside of the volume of the mask and hence set on an outer surface of the flaps 12, 14;

- a second thermally conductive element 24 set within the volume of the mask 1 and hence set on an inner surface of the flaps 12, 14; the second thermally conductive element comprises a condensation surface 25 facing the inside of the volume of the mask 1; and

- a thermally conductive connection 26 between the first thermally conductive element 22 and the second thermally conductive element 24.

The first and second thermally conductive elements 22, 24, and the thermal connection 26 are moreover preferably provided with a system of gaskets (integral with the skirt 4 or added thereon) to render the connection between the thermally conductive elements themselves watertight.

The thermally conductive elements 22, 24 and the thermally conductive connection between them are made of thermally conductive material, preferably metal material (for example, aluminium, 7075 aluminium alloy, steel, brass, bronze, etc.).

Mounting of the condensation device 6 on the mask 1 may be seen in the cross-sectional view of Figure 6, where there may be appreciated the relative position of the various components, as well as the arrangement thereof on the flaps 12, 14.

In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 1 to 7, the thermally conductive connection comprises a plurality of threaded pins (and respective nuts) for fastening the thermally conductive elements 22, 24 on opposite sides of the corresponding flap 12, 14. In the preferred embodiment illustrated herein, the thermally conductive connection comprises a first threaded pin 26, a second threaded pin 28, and a third threaded pin 30 made integrally with the second thermally conductive element 24. Each pin 26, 28, 30 traverses the holes 16 and homologous through holes 31 made in the thermally conductive element 22 in such a way as to enable application of the thermally conductive element 24 on the inner surface of the flap 12, 14 and of the thermally conductive element 22 on the outer surface of the flap 12, 14 and fastening of the element 22 to the element 24 on the flap 12, 14 by means of nuts 32, 34, 36 that fit on the pins 26, 28, 30, respectively.

Of course, the number and arrangement of the pins that define the thermally conductive connection may vary according to the requirements. There may be provided - for example - two pins, in the limit a single pin, or even more than three pins. Also the arrangement of the pins may differ from the aligned one that characterizes the pins 26, 28, 30 (visible in the figures).

In an alternative and preferred embodiment illustrated in Figures 8A and 8B, the thermally conductive connection comprises an island 26' formed in relief on a surface 22A, 24A of one of the thermally conductive elements 22 and 24 (for example, the thermally conductive element 22 and the surface 22A) that faces the skirt 4. The island 26' is set, at the moment of assembly of the thermally conductive elements 22, 24 on the skirt 4, in contact with the surface 22A, 24A of the other element 22, 24 (for example, the thermally conductive element 24 and the surface 24A) so as to set the thermally conductive elements 22, 24 in a relation of conductive heat exchange. It should be borne in mind that the island 26' may be in direct contact with the surface of the other thermally conductive element, or else may be in contact by interposition of a layer of thermally conductive material (for example, a thermally conductive paste similar to the one used for heat sinks of microprocessors) . The elements 22 and 24 are fastened to one another, by fastening also the contact of the island 26', by means of threaded joints comprising - for example - a bolt S and a nut N (in the figures the joints are two in number). Each nut N is conveniently housed in a slot having a hexagonal shape sunk into the surface of the element 24 (or 22 in the case where assembly is reversed) so as to be blocked in rotation at the moment of tightening of the bolt S.

In yet a further embodiment represented in Figures 9A and 9B, both of the surfaces 22A, 24A (hence both of the elements 22, 24) may be provided with a respective island 26' so that the contact will be obtained at the islands themselves (the free front surfaces of which may be in direct contact or in contact via interposition of a thermally conductive layer, as described previously). The connection is once again obtained by means of threaded joints comprising, for example, a bolt S and a nut N (in the figures, the joints are two in number). Once again, each nut N is conveniently housed in a slot having a hexagonal shape sunk into the surface of the element 24 (or 22 in the case of where assembly is reversed) so as to be blocked in rotation at the moment of tightening of the bolt S.

In the embodiments of Figures 8A, 8B, 9A, 9B, there is moreover illustrated mounting of the elements 22, 24 such that the lateral flaps 12, 14 are pinched between the skirt 4 and the (external) element 22.

With reference to the figures as a whole, in the various embodiments the thermally conductive element 22 comprises a finning 38 configured to increase the surface heat-exchange with the surrounding water when the mask 1 is in use.

Functionally, each condensation device 6 comprises a condensation plate corresponding to the element 24 (where the surface 25 constitutes a condensation surface), and a heat exchanger corresponding to the thermally conductive element 22, which are both in relation of (conductive) heat exchange through the thermally conductive connection between them.

The two (outer/inner) sides of the condensation device 6 are thus rendered thermally connected (in particular, with respect to conductive heat exchange) by prearrangement of a thermally conductive connection constituted by the pins 26 to 30 or by the island/islands 26'.

The thermally conductive connection between the element 22 and the element 24 may moreover be obtained in other ways, amongst which:

- by forming the elements 22, 24 in a way integral with one another, hence with the threaded pins 26 to 30 replaced by one or more thermally conductive bridges integral with the elements 22, 24; in this case, the frame 8 (made of plastic material) is co-moulded around the condensation devices 6;

- by reversing the position of pins and nuts on the elements 22, 24, i.e., by providing the pins 26 to

30 (contemplating also all the variants in the number and/or position referred to above) integral with the element 22, which results in the nuts 32 to 36 (once again, contemplating also all the variants in number and/or position referred to above) being positioned on the inside of the mask and not on the outside.

With the sole exception of co-moulding of the skirt 4 with elements 22 and 24 integral with one another, in the other embodiments (which all envisage assembly of the elements 22, 24 on the skirt 4) the skirt 4 envisages at least one toroidal relief on at least one side thereof - the inner side and/or the outer side - which functions as gasket at the moment of fastening of the elements 22 and 24. In the embodiments provided with the pins 26, 28, 30 (see, for example,

Figure 6), as in the embodiments of Figures 8A, 8B, 9A,

9B there is preferably provided a toroidal relief GS on at least one side of the skirt 4 at each of the pins themselves, set around the respective pin. In the case of the embodiments of the type illustrated in Figures 8A, 8B, 9A, and 9B there is preferably provided a single toroidal relief GS on at least one side of the skirt 4 set surrounding the island/islands 26'.

Finally, with reference to Figures 3 and 4, according to a further advantageous aspect of the invention, the lenses 2 have a layered structure. In the case of the embodiment of Figure 3, the lenses 2 comprise an inner lens 40, an outer lens 42, set between which is a multi-layered insulating sheet 46, comprising two or more layers of heat-insulating material, such as polycarbonate, acrylic materials, cellulose acetate, cellulose propionate or in general transparent heat-insulating plastic materials.

In the case of the embodiment of Figure 4, set between the inner lens 40 and the outer lens 42 is a layer of heat-insulating gel 48, which is also transparent.

Operation of the mask 1 is described in what follows.

When in use the mask 1 is applied by a user on his face by applying the skirt 4 around the ocular area of his face and by inserting his nose in the pocket 10.

The principle behind the mask forming the subject of the invention 1 and the condensation devices 6 is to encourage formation of condensate by suitably guiding it, in particular moving it as far as possible away from the position against the lenses.

In greater detail, the condensation devices 6 facilitate formation of the condensate in a guided and controlled way by condensing the moisture of the air in a position remote from the lenses.

This means that during diving, albeit having the lenses in a relation of heat exchange with the surrounding water and potentially subject to formation of condensate on their inner surface, the condensation plates 24 of the condensation devices 6 create a preferential area of condensation on account of the high degree of conductive heat exchange that occurs between the outer side of each condensation device 6, which comprises the element 22 with surface heat- exchange increased thanks to the finning 38 (which is in turn involved in a convective heat exchange with the surrounding water), and the inner side of the condensation device 6, which comprises the condensation plate 24, where the conductive heat exchange occurs by way of the thermally conductive connection provided by the pins 26 to 30 (or any of the variants referred to above).

This favours removal of heat from the internal volume of the mask 1 (to be precise, through the condensation plate 24) causing condensation of the moisture on the plate 24 itself, in particular on the condensation surface 25. Hence, it is the position of the plate 24 that determines the position where the condensate will be formed during use of the mask.

On account of the position of the condensation devices 6 with respect to the mask 1, the condensate is collected in a lateral area with respect to the lenses 2, preventing formation thereof on the lenses themselves.

It should moreover be noted that the position of the plates 24 causes formation of the condensate in a position that is not troublesome for the diver, nor does it jeopardize conduct and outcome of the diving activity.

Furthermore, even though the mask 1 can function autonomously with just the condensation devices 6, the combination thereof with the lenses 2 that have a layered structure (lenses 40, 42 and layers 46 or 48) provides a synergy with results that cannot be achieved by masks of a known type. In fact, if on the one hand the condensation devices 6 modify the point of formation of condensate as compared to known masks, displacing this point onto the condensation plates 24, on the other hand the layered structure of the lenses 2 - which forms an effective insulating layer between the cold water and the warm, humid, internal environment - further counters any residual onset of formation of condensate on the inner surface of the lenses 2 themselves.

Further synergy is obtained if to the condensation devices 6, possibly already in combination with layered lenses 2, prearrangement of an internal anti-fog layer is combined. In this case, the amount of moisture that involves the anti-fog layer is infinitely lower than in known masks so that it is very difficult to arrive at saturation of the layer itself. Moreover, any possible damage to the anti-fog layer would have negligible effects in so far as disposal of the majority fraction of condensate is performed by one or more condensation devices 6.

It will hence be appreciated that, as compared to masks of a known type, it is possible to have available a system for control of condensation that is extremely simple and easy to maintain, as well as being far from sensitive to wear.

Of course, the details of construction and the embodiments may vary widely with respect to what has been described and illustrated herein, without thereby departing from the scope of the present invention, as defined by the annexed claims.

For instance, in an alternative embodiment, it is possible to provide a single condensation device 6 fixed in a middle position and on the top portion of the frame 8, in a position opposite to the nose pocket 10. The structure of the device 6 is identical to what has been described and illustrated herein, but the dimensions may possibly be increased so as to guarantee the same area of heat exchange (as well as the same condensation surface 25) as in the solution with two condensation devices described above. There may moreover be provided embodiments in which three condensation devices are present, two in a lateral position as shown in the figures, and one in a middle position, as has just been described.