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Title:
INTERCONNECTED FLUID-FILLED CELLS AND CELL ARRAYS FOR IMPACT ATTENUATION IN PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/080838
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure includes apparatuses, devices, and systems for use in protective equipment (100). Some of the apparatuses may include a first cell body (18) defining a first chamber (38), the first cell body having a first end (42), a second end (46) and a deformable wall (38) between the first and second ends, and defining a first channel (80) through the second end; and a second cell body (22) having a first end (68) and a second end (72) and defining a second chamber (64), the second cell body coupled to the first cell body such that the second chamber is connected with the first chamber via the first channel.

Inventors:
WIJESUNDARA MUTHU B J (US)
LINDSAY ALEXANDRA R (US)
HAGHSHENAS-JARYANI MAHDI (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/055656
Publication Date:
April 29, 2021
Filing Date:
October 15, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNIV TEXAS (US)
International Classes:
A42B3/12; A41D13/015; A42B3/00; A42B3/04; A42B3/06; A42B3/10; A63B71/08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TIEFF, Michael et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An apparatus comprising: a first cell body defining a first chamber, the first cell body having a first end, a second end and a wall between the first and second ends, the first cell body defining a first channel through the second end; and a second cell body having a first end and a second end and defining a second chamber, the second cell body coupled to the first cell body via the first channel, wherein the apparatus is configured such that upon deformation of the wall of the first cell body, a material will move between the first and second chambers via the first channel.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material is one of a gas, a Newtonian fluid, or a non- Newtonian fluid.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the wall is moveable between: a compressed position; and an inflated or neutral position, wherein a volume of the first chamber in the inflated or neutral position is greater than a volume of the first chamber in the compressed position.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the second cell body is moveable between: a first position; and a second position, wherein a volume of the second chamber in the second position is greater than a volume of the second chamber in the first position, and further wherein movement of the first cell body between the inflated or neutral position and the compressed position moves the second cell body between the first position and the second position.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a helmet or protective article that includes an external shell and defines a cavity configured to be positioned on a head or body part of a user; and wherein the first cell and second cell bodies are configured to be positioned within the cavity of the helmet or protective article between the external shell and the head or body part of a user.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first chamber, the second chamber, and the first channel are sealed to the atmosphere, with or without valves

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising one or more valves configured to introduce the material into the first or second chamber.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the wall comprises a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges to deform the wall.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second cell body comprises a plurality of ridges.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first cell body and the second cell body are constructed from one of silicone, polyurethane, or any other hyperelastic material.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first channel has a diameter of between 1 and 10 mm.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first cell body and the second cell body lie on a same or a different plane.

13. An impact absorbing system comprising: a plurality of impact dispersing elements, each element comprising: a first cell body that is deformable and defines: a first chamber; and a channel; a second cell body coupled to the first cell body and surrounding the channel, the second cell body defining a second chamber that cooperates with the first chamber to define a cavity filled with a material; and a plurality of channels, each channel connecting at least two elements of the plurality of impact dispersing elements and defining a passage that fills the cavity of the at least two elements with the material.

14. The impact absorbing system of claim 13, wherein the first cell body includes: a first surface; a second surface opposite the first surface, the second surface defining a channel; and a wall extending between the first and second surfaces to define the first chamber.

15. The impact absorbing system of claim 14, wherein the wall comprises a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges to deform the wall.

16. The impact absorbing system of claim 13, wherein: the at least two elements comprise a first element and a second element; and the at least two elements are configured such that upon deformation of the first cell body of the first element, the material will move between the first chamber of the first element and the first chamber of the second element via the passage.

17. The impact absorbing system of claim 13, wherein each of the plurality of impact dispersing elements comprise an enclosure shell surrounding at least a portion of the second cell body.

18. The impact absorbing system of claim 13, wherein a geometric shape of the first cell body and a geometric shape of the second cell body has an effect on impact reduction characteristics of the impact absorbing system.

19. The impact absorbing system of claim 13, wherein at least one of the impact dispersing elements comprises a valve in communication with the cavity of the at least one of the impact dispersing element and configured to introduce the material into the cavity.

20. A protective article for absorbing forces, the article comprising: a liner configured to be wearable by a user; a plurality of impact dispersing elements coupled to the liner, each element comprising: a first cell body defining a first chamber, the first cell body having a first end, a second end, and a wall between the first and second ends, the first cell body defining a first channel through the second end; and a second cell body defining a second chamber, the second cell body coupled to the first cell body such that the second chamber is connected to the first chamber via the first channel; wherein each impact dispersing element is configured such that upon deformation of the wall of the first cell body, a material will move between the first and second chambers via the first channel.

Description:
INTERCONNECTED FLUID-FILLED CELLS AND CELL ARRAYS FOR IMPACT ATTENUATION IN PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This claims the benefit of priority to, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/923.592, filed on October 20, 2019, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Individuals may be exposed to forceful head impacts while performing all manner of activities, such as, contact sports, cycling, racing, driving, carpentry, mining or other hobbies and professional occupations. For example, approximately 3.8 million sports-related concussions are reported each year in the United States. There is a strong association between linear and rotational accelerations of the head and concussion events. Though both of these phenomena can lead to concussion, recent studies found that rotational acceleration has a more damaging effect on the brain. When the linear and rotational skull accelerations exceed certain thresholds, pressure gradient and stresses result in brain tissue damage leading to the concussion. Although concussions are not life-threatening in most instances, swelling, pain, and other injury to the brain may contribute to lifelong neurological consequences due to these concussions or other head trauma.

[0003] To alleviate both short-term and long-term injury associated with head injuries, individuals may choose to wear protective equipment, such as a helmet. Typically, the protective equipment consists of polymeric energy-absorbent soft liners and a rigid non-deformable polymeric, composite, or metallic outer shell. While current equipment is capable of preventing many catastrophic injuries such as skull and bone fractures, the incident rates of soft tissue trauma, such as contusions and concussion, still occur with high frequency regardless of the soft liners currently used.

[0004] Additionally, most current liners in protective equipment are designed to mitigate the direct force transfer and linear acceleration aspects that result from impact. Currently, the liners are typically made with foam padding inserts or other absorbent material. However, some of these liners reach their maximum compression length even before the impact has fully attenuated and, on the other hand, some liners are too hard to compress. Either case may allow the transfer of high impact forces to the head or body through the protective liner. Thus, there exists a need for protective equipment that can attenuate both normal and tangential forces to reduce concussion and contusion.

SUMMARY

[0005] In an embodiment, an apparatus is provided. The apparatus includes: a first cell body defining a first chamber, the first cell body having a first end, a second end and a wall between the first and second ends, the first cell body defining a first channel through the second end; and a second cell body having a first end and a second end and defining a second chamber, the second cell body coupled to the first cell body via the first channel, wherein the apparatus is configured such that upon deformation of the wall of the first cell body, a material will move between the first and second chambers via the first channel.

[0006] Embodiments may have some or all of the following features. The material may be one of a gas, a Newtonian fluid, or a non-Newtonian fluid. The wall may be moveable between: a compressed position; and an inflated or neutral position. The volume of the first chamber in the inflated or neutral position may be greater than a volume of the first chamber in the compressed position. The second cell body may be moveable between: a first position; and a second position. The volume of the second chamber in the second position may be greater than a volume of the second chamber in the first position. Movement of the first cell body between the inflated or neutral position and the compressed position may move the second cell body between the first position and the second position. The apparatus may further include: a helmet or protective article that includes an external shell and defines a cavity configured to be positioned on a head or body part of a user. The first cell and second cell bodies may be configured to be positioned within the cavity of the helmet or protective article between the external shell and the head or body part of a user. The first chamber, the second chamber, and the first channel may be sealed to the atmosphere, with or without valves. The apparatus may further include one or more valves configured to introduce the material into the first or second chamber. The wall may include a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges to deform the wall. The second cell body may include a plurality of ridges. The first cell body and the second cell body may be constructed from one of silicone, polyurethane, or any other hyperelastic material. The first channel may have a diameter of between 1 and 10 mm. The first cell body and the second cell body may lie on a same or a different plane.

[0007] In an embodiment, an impact absorbing system is provided. The system includes: a plurality of impact dispersing elements, each element including: a first cell body that is deformable and defines: a first chamber; and a channel; a second cell body coupled to the first cell body and surrounding the channel, the second cell body defining a second chamber that cooperates with the first chamber to define a cavity filled with a material; and a plurality of channels, each channel connecting at least two elements of the plurality of impact dispersing elements and defining a passage that fills the cavity of the at least two elements with the material.

[0008] Embodiment may include some or all of the following features. The first cell body may include: a first surface; a second surface opposite the first surface, the second surface defining a channel; and a wall extending between the first and second surfaces to define the first chamber. The wall may include a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges to deform the wall. The at least two elements may include a first element and a second element; and the at least two elements may be configured such that upon deformation of the first cell body of the first element, the material will move between the first chamber of the first element and the first chamber of the second element via the passage. Each of the plurality of impact dispersing elements may include an enclosure shell surrounding at least a portion of the second cell body. A geometric shape of the first cell body and a geometric shape of the second cell body has an effect on impact reduction characteristics of the impact absorbing system. At least one of the impact dispersing elements includes a valve in communication with the cavity of the at least one of the impact dispersing element and configured to introduce the material into the cavity.

[0009] In an embodiment, a protective article for absorbing forces is provided. The article includes: a liner configured to be wearable by a user; a plurality of impact dispersing elements coupled to the liner, each element comprising: a first cell body defining a first chamber, the first cell body having a first end, a second end, and a wall between the first and second ends, the first cell body defining a first channel through the second end; and a second cell body defining a second chamber, the second cell body coupled to the first cell body such that the second chamber is connected to the first chamber via the first channel; wherein each impact dispersing element is configured such that upon deformation of the wall of the first cell body, a material will move between the first and second chambers via the first channel.

[0010] The term “coupled” is defined as connected, although not necessarily directly, and not necessarily mechanically; two items that are “coupled” may be unitary with each other. The terms “a” and “an” are defined as one or more unless this disclosure explicitly requires otherwise. The term “substantially” is defined as largely but not necessarily wholly what is specified (and includes what is specified; e.g., substantially 90 degrees includes 90 degrees and substantially parallel includes parallel), as understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art. In any disclosed configuration, the term “substantially” may be substituted with “within [a percentage] of’ what is specified, where the percentage includes .1, 1, 5, and 10 percent.

[0011] Further, an apparatus or system that is configured in a certain way is configured in at least that way, but it can also be configured in other ways than those specifically described.

[0012] The terms “comprise” (and any form of comprise, such as “comprises” and “comprising”), “have” (and any form of have, such as “has” and “having”), and “include” (and any form of include, such as “includes” and “including”) are open-ended linking verbs. As a result, an apparatus that “comprises,” “has,” or “includes” one or more elements possesses those one or more elements, but is not limited to possessing only those elements. Likewise, a method that “comprises,” “has,” or “includes” one or more steps possesses those one or more steps, but is not limited to possessing only those one or more steps.

[0013] Any configuration of any of the apparatuses, systems, and methods can consist of or consist essentially of - rather than comprise/include/have - any of the described steps, elements, and/or features. Thus, in any of the claims, the term “consisting of’ or “consisting essentially of’ can be substituted for any of the open-ended linking verbs recited above, in order to change the scope of a given claim from what it would otherwise be using the open-ended linking verb.

[0014] The feature or features of one configuration may be applied to other configurations, even though not described or illustrated, unless expressly prohibited by this disclosure or the nature of the configurations.

[0015] Some details associated with the configurations described above and others are described below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0016] The following drawings illustrate by way of example and not limitation. For the sake of brevity and clarity, every feature of a given structure is not always labeled in every figure in which that structure appears. Identical reference numbers do not necessarily indicate an identical structure. Rather, the same reference number may be used to indicate a similar feature or a feature with similar functionality, as may non-identical reference numbers. The figures are drawn to scale (unless otherwise noted), meaning the sizes of the depicted elements are accurate relative to each other for at least the configuration depicted in the figures.

[0017] FIG. 1 A is a partially transparent perspective view of a first configuration of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0018] FIG. IB is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 1A. [0019] FIG. 2A is side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 1A, shown in a first state.

[0020] FIG. 2B is a side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 1 A, shown in a second state.

[0021] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an example of the present protective equipment for use in a protective helmet liner having a plurality of impact attenuating elements.

[0022] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another example of the present protective equipment for use in a protective chest liner having a plurality of impact attenuating elements.

[0023] FIG. 5A is a partially transparent perspective view of an example configuration of the present impact attenuating elements, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0024] FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating elements of FIG. 5 A.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an example of the present protective equipment for use in a protective helmet liner having a plurality of impact attenuating elements.

[0026] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an example of the present protective equipment for use in a protective chest liner having a plurality of impact attenuating elements. [0027] FIG. 8A is a partially transparent perspective view of an example of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0028] FIG. 8B is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 8 A.

[0029] FIG. 9A is a partially transparent perspective view of an example of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0030] FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 9A. [0031] FIG. 10A is a partially transparent perspective view of an example of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0032] FIG. 10B is a top view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 10A.

[0033] FIG. IOC is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 10A.

[0034] FIG. 11 A is a partially transparent perspective view of an example of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0035] FIG. 1 IB is a top view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 11 A.

[0036] FIG. 11C is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 11 A.

[0037] FIG. 12A is a cross-sectional side view of an example of an impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0038] FIG. 12B is a cross-sectional side view of another example of the seventh configurations of the impact attenuating element.

[0039] FIG. 12C is a cross-sectional side view of an example configuration of the impact attenuating element. [0040] FIG. 13 A is a partially transparent perspective view of an example of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

[0041] FIG. 13B is a cross-sectional side view of the impact attenuating element of FIG. 13 A. [0042] FIG. 14 is a side view of an example of the present impact attenuating element, which may be suitable for use in some configurations of the present protective equipment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0043] Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1A, shown therein and designated by the reference numeral 10 is a configuration of the present impact attenuating systems. System 10 is configured to attenuate one or more forces acting on the system to prevent injury (e.g., concussion, contusion, or other injury) to a user or wearer. In the configuration depicted in FIG. 1 A, system 10 includes an impact attenuating element 14, which may be suitable for use alone and/or included with other components of the present impact attenuating system 10. [0044] As shown, impact attenuating element 14 includes a plurality of cell bodies, such as a first cell body 18 and a second cell body 22. Each cell body (e.g., 18, 22) may be in communication with at least one other cell body. In some implementations, the cell bodies (e.g., 18, 22) are flexible or semi-rigid (e.g., solid and resistant to bending, but not necessarily inflexible) and can comprise any suitable material such as, for example, a polymer (e.g., a plastic, a natural rubber, silicone, rubber, polyurethane, polychloroprene, neoprene, silicone, and/or the like), a composite (e.g., a composite polyurethane, and/or the like), and/or the like, whether semi-rigid and/or flexible. [0045] Each cell body (e.g., 18, 22) may can have any suitable dimensions (e.g., whether or not identical to others of the respective cells), such as, for example, a first transverse dimensions (e.g., widths 26a and 26b) that are greater than or equal to any one of, or between any two of the following: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140 or 150 millimeters (mm); and heights (e.g., heights 34a and 34b) greater than or equal to any one of, or between any two of the following: 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 75 (mm) (e.g., width 26, and height 34 of each cell body may be measured when an internal pressure of the elastomeric cell is substantially equal or greater than to an ambient pressure, or a pressure in an environment external to and adjacent impact attenuating element 14). Although the impact attenuating element 14 of system 10 is described as having two cell bodies (e.g., 18, 22), any suitable number of cell bodies may be utilized to attenuate an impact force as described herein.

[0046] Referring now to FIG. IB, the first cell body 18 defines a chamber 38 configured to contain any suitable material such as, gas (e.g., air), liquid (e.g., water or lotion), gel, and/or the like. To illustrate, in the depicted configuration, the first cell body 18 includes a first end 42, a second end 46, and a wall 50 between the first and second ends that at least partially defines a chamber 38. In some configurations, the first end 42 and the second end 46 may be substantially parallel and the wall 50 may extend from the first end to the second end to define the chamber 38. For example, in the depicted configurations, the first cell body 18 comprises a circular cylindrical body; however, in other configurations, the first cell body may be any suitable shape or size. [0047] The wall 50 may be deformable such that the first end 42 is configured to move relative to the second end 46. For example, the wall 50 may be movable between an inflated or neutral position and a compressed position such that height 34a of the first cell body 18 in the inflated or neutral position is greater than the height 34a of the first cell body 18 in the compressed position. In some embodiments, the wall 50 includes a ridged or corrugated portion 54 that is configured to deform (e.g., expand or contract) such that the first end 42 and the second end 46 may be axially displaced relative to each other. The corrugated portion 54 may define a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges. In this way, one or more of the plurality of ridges may move to deform the wall 50. In other embodiments, the wall 50, and the first cell body 38 may be substantially straight and may not have ridges or corrugated portions, as is shown and described in further detail with respect to FIG. 14. [0048] As shown, the first cell body 18 has an internal width which varies along the first cell body 18 (e.g., due, at least in part, to a corrugated portion 54 of the wall 50 that at least partially defines the chamber 38). For example, the first cell body 18, defined at least in part by the wall 50 having a corrugated portion 54, has a maximum internal width 58 (e.g., at a center of a ridge) that is from 1.1 to 10.1 times larger than a minimum internal width 60 (e.g., at an end of a ridge). Maximum internal width 58 and minimum internal width 60 may be measured without an external load acting on the plurality of cells (e.g., 18, 22) and along a same lateral plane as the width 26a. [0049] In the depicted configuration, the second cell body 22 defines a chamber 64 configured to contain any suitable material such as, gas (e.g., air), liquid (e.g., water and lotion), gel, and/or the like. For example, the second cell body 22 may include a first end 68, a second end 72, and a wall 76 that extends between the first and second ends to partially define the chamber 64. In some configurations, the second end 72 and/or the wall 76 may be, but need not be, deformable such that a height of second cell body may be varied.

[0050] In some configurations, the second end 72 and/or the wall 76 may be ridged or corrugated, as described in further detail with reference to FIG. 12A-C. As shown, the first end 68 and the second end 72 may be substantially parallel and the wall 76 may extend from the first end 68 to the second end 72 to define the chamber 64. For example, in the depicted configurations, the second cell body 22 comprises a circular cylindrical body; however, in other configurations, the second cell body 22 may be any suitable shape or size. For example, the second cell body 22 may comprises any suitable shape that defines a chamber 64, such as a cylindrical body or otherwise enclosed body having a triangular, rectangular, square, hexagonal, or otherwise polygonal, circular, elliptical, or otherwise rounded cross-sectional shape.

[0051] The second cell body 22 may be sized and shaped independently of first cell body 18. For example, the width 26a and/or the height 34a of first cell body 18 is greater than or equal to the width 26b or the height 34b, respectively of the second cell body 22 such that a volume of the chamber 38 of the first cell body 18 is greater than a volume of the chamber 64 of the second cell body 22. In some configurations, a volume of the chamber 38 may be from 1.1 to 10.1 times larger than the volume of chamber 64. However in other configurations, the second cell body 22 (e.g., the volume of chamber 64) may be greater than or equal to the first cell body 18 (e.g., the volume of the chamber 38). In some configurations, the first and second ends 68, 72 of the second cell body 22 may be substantially parallel to the first and second ends 42, 46 of the first cell body 18. [0052] In the depicted configurations, the second cell body 22 is coupled to the first cell body 18 such that the chamber 64 of the second cell body is connected with the chamber 38 of the first cell body 18 via a channel 80. The chamber 38, the chamber 64, and the channel 80 may cooperate to define a larger chamber (e.g., cavity) of the impact attenuating element 14 that is sealed to the environment. In this way, when the first cell body 18 is subjected to an external force (e.g., impact), the first cell body 18 compresses, which results in a decrease in the volume of the chamber 38 and an increase of pressure of a material within the chamber 38. Such pressure changes of the first cell body 18 can cause the material in the chamber 38 to be displaced to the chamber 64 of the second cell body 22 via the channel 80 to mitigate the transfer of the external force though the impact attenuating element 14 (as explained further with reference to FIGS. 2A-2B). The material in the chamber may include gas (e.g., air), non-Newtonian fluids (e.g., lotion), and Newtonian fluids (e.g., water). Other materials may be used.

[0053] In the depicted configuration, the first cell body 18 defines a portion of the channel 80 (e.g., at the second end 46) and the second cell body 22 defines one other portion of the channel (e.g., at first end 68). For example, a first portion of the channel 80 may extend through the second end 46 of the first cell body 18 and a second portion of the channel 80 may extend through the first end 68 of the second cell body 22 such that the first portion and the second portion cooperate to define the channel 80. In other configurations, the channel 80 may be defined entirely by the first cell body 18 and, in yet another configuration, the channel 80 may be defined entirely by the second cell body 22. In some configurations, the chamber 38 and the chamber 64 may be in connected though a plurality of channels (e.g., the channel 80) that may be defined by the first cell body 18 and/or the second cell body 22.

[0054] In some configurations, the impact attenuating element 14 includes a shell 84 coupled to at least one of the plurality of cells (e.g., 18, 22). The shell 84 may be rigid and can comprise any suitable material having a relatively high hardness such as, for example, a hardened polymer, a metal, a composite, or other suitable material. In some configurations, the shell 84 may comprise a shatter-resistant and lightweight polymer (e.g., polycarbonate, polyethylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), Polydicyclopentadiene (pDCPD) or the like. Accordingly, some configurations of the present impact attenuating elements 14 and/or apparatuses may be characterized as hybrid systems, composed of ‘soft’ components, such as cells (e.g., 18, 22), as well as ‘rigid’ components, such as the shell 84.

[0055] In the depicted configuration, the shell 84 includes a base 88 and a wall 92 that at least partially define a cavity 96. In some configurations, the base 88 may comprise a substantially planar portion of the shell 84 and the wall 92 may project outwardly (e.g., vertically) from and surrounds at least a portion of base 88 to define cavity 96. As shown, the shell 84 surrounds at least a portion of one of the plurality of cells (e.g., 22) to protect the cell from damage due to external objects. For example, the shell 84 may be coupled to the first cell body 18 and/or the second cell body 22 such that the second cell body 22 is positioned within the cavity 96. For example, the base 88 may be interposed between the second end 46 of the first cell body 18 and the first end 68 of the second cell body 22. In this way, the shell 84 may prevent an external object from contacting (e.g., penetrating) at least a portion of the first or the second cell bodies (18, 22). [0056] In some configurations, the base 88 may include an aperture 89 such that the channel 80 may extend through the aperture 89 while the second cell body 22 is disposed within the cavity 96. As a result, the shell 84 may provide maximum protection to the second cell body 22 while enabling material movement between the first cell body 18 and the second cell body 22 (i.e., movement of a material between the first cell body 18 and the second cell body 22 through the channel 80).

[0057] The base 88 may be sized and shaped to correspond to the second end 46 of the first cell body 18. For example, in some configurations, the base 88 may be sized to cover at least a majority (e.g., greater than 60%) of the second end 46 of the first cell body 18 to evenly distribute an external load to the first cell body 18 while minimizing the pressure acting on the second end 46. Accordingly, the transfer of forces between the shell 84 and the first cell body 18 without significant risk of rupturing the first cell body 18.

[0058] Referring now to FIGS. 2A and 2B, the impact attenuating element 14 may be configured to mitigate the resulting forces from an external impact by adjusting the internal pressures of the plurality of cells (e.g., 18, 22). For example, in the configurations shown, application of a force 98 in a first direction causes displacement (e.g., compression of the corrugated portion 54 of the wall 50) of the second end 46 of the first cell body 18 in the first direction relative to the first end 42 of the first cell body 18 resulting in movement of the first cell body 18 between a first state (e.g., ambient state), shown in FIG. 2A, to a second state (e.g., compressed state), shown in FIG. 2B. In some configurations, the inflated or neutral position of wall 50 corresponds to the first state and the compressed position of the wall 50 corresponds to the second state. In such configurations, the volume of material within chamber 38 is greater in the first state (e.g., ambient state) than in the second state (e.g., compressed state). As a result, an internal pressure of material within the chamber 38 is increased and the material within the chamber 38 of the first cell body 18 is transported (e.g., in a direction that is opposite of the first direction) to the chamber 64 of the second cell body 22. In this manner, the transfer of material between the cell bodies may act to normalize the force 98 acting on the impact attenuating element 14 such that only a fraction of the force 98 is transferred through the impact attenuating element 14 in the first direction.

[0059] Likewise, in the depicted configuration, the application of the force 98 in the first direction and compression of the first cell body 18 causes displacement of the second cell body 22 resulting in movement of the second cell body 22 between a first state (e.g., neutral state), shown in FIG. 2 A, to a second state (e.g., inflated state), shown in FIG. 2B. In such configurations, the volume of the material within the chamber 64 may be greater in the second state (e.g., inflated state) than in the first state (e.g., neutral state). Accordingly, the movement of the first cell body 18 between the neutral or inflated state, shown in FIG. 2A, and the compressed state, shown in FIG. 2B, moves the second cell body 22 between the first state and the second state.

[0060] In other configurations, the second cell body 22 may not be movable (e.g., deformable) between the first and second state and instead may rely on compressibility of the material to disperse the force 98. In the configuration shown, when shell 84 is subjected to an impact (e.g., mechanical force), the force will transfer to the first cell body 18 (e.g., impact-receiving cell), which pushes against a user and, consequently, the impact-receiving cell is compressed and deformed resulting in material within the system to move into the second cell body 22 (e.g., impact-absorbing cell). The material motion and the expansion of the impact-absorbing cell as described herein may be incorporated into a helmet in order to protect a user or a wearer from an impact to the head.

[0061] In some configurations, the shell 84 may be sized to accommodate the second cell body 22 while in the second state (e.g., inflated state), shown in FIG. 2B. For example, the cavity 96 of the shell 84 may be large enough such that the second cell body 22 does not contact the wall 92 of the shell 84. In this way, the second cell body 22 may move freely between the first state (e.g., ambient state), and the second state (e.g., inflated state) without hindrance from external forces. Accordingly, the second cell body 22 may expand to a maximum volume for optimal force attenuation of the impact attenuating element 14.

[0062] For the first cell body 18, the portion(s) (e.g., 54) of the wall 50 may expand and/or contract to a larger degree based on application of an external force 98 to one or more components of the impact attenuating element 14. The corrugated portion 54 of the wall 50 can be configured to exhibit particular expansion and/or compression characteristics to accommodate particular application needs (e.g., based on common impacts associated with a particular activity, such as, contact sports, cycling, racing, driving, carpentry, mining or other hobbies). Such expansion and/or compression characteristics include total displacement (e.g., of the first end 42 from the second end 46 in an axial direction), a magnitude of volume change (e.g., of the chamber 38 and/or the chamber 64), rate of volume change (e.g., of the chamber 38 and the chamber 64 of the cell bodies), the length and width of the channel 80, damping characteristics, stiffness characteristics, characteristics of the material in the chambers 38 and 64 (e.g., shear-thinning or shear-thickening liquids) and/or the like. Design parameters that at least partially determine the expansion and/or compression characteristics of each impact attenuating element 14 can include geometrical features (e.g., dimensions, shape, and/or the like), properties of the materials used to construct the first cell body 18 and/or the second cell body 22 (modulus of rigidity, modulus of elasticity, hardness, and/or the like), and the presence or absence of ridges in the first cell body 18 and/or the second cell body 22.

[0063] Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, various configurations of protective equipment 100 are shown. The protective equipment 100 includes a plurality of impact attenuating elements 14 coupled to a liner 104 (e.g., wearable article). The protective equipment 100 is configured to be worn by a user to provide protection from external forces (e.g., impacts). For example, FIG. 3 depicts a configuration of the protective equipment 100 configured for use as a helmet liner and FIG. 4 depicts a configuration of the protective equipment 100 configured for use a chest liner. [0064] In the depicted configuration, the first end 42 of the first cell body 18 is configured to face a user’s body (e.g., head, chest, back, or the like) and the second end 46 of the the first cell body 18 is configured to face away from a user. For example, the first cell body 18 (e.g., impact receiving cell) may be contact with a user (e.g., head or body part) while the shell 84 is in contact with the inner surface of the helmet or the body armor structure. In this way, the impact attenuating elements 14 may operate to direct a portion of an impact applied to the elements away from the user to mitigate the resultant forces experienced by the user (e.g., lateral or rotational acceleration). To illustrate, the corrugated portion 54 of first cell body 18 will aid in the relative motion of the helmet with respect to liner 104, which further reduces the rotational acceleration transfer to the user (e.g., head or body). In addition, the motion of the material and the expansion of the cells (e.g., 18, 22) will attenuate the direct force and acceleration transfer from the impact to the user. [0065] A liner 104 may be coupled to the first cell body 18, the second cell body 22, and/or the shell 84. As shown, the liner 104 is coupled to the second end 46 of the first cell body 18 such that a portion of the impact attenuating element 14 (e.g., the shell 84) is disposed on a first side of the liner 104 and one other portion of the impact attenuating element (e.g., first cell body 18) is disposed on a second side of the liner 104. In some configurations, the liner 104 may be used to distribute a force across the protective equipment. For example, the liner 104 may be coupled to each impact attenuating element 14 such that deformation of one impact attenuating element (e.g., 14) causes the liner 104 to deform one or more adjacent impact attenuating elements 14.

[0066] In the depicted configurations, certain aspects of impact attenuating elements 14 (e.g., the first cell body 18, the second cell body 22, and/or the shell 84) may be sized and shaped based on the application of the protective equipment 100. For example, the first cell body 18 may be enlarged to cover a greater area of the liner 104. In other configurations, the first cell body 18 may be smaller. Accordingly, the impact attenuating elements 14 may be distributed across the liner 104 to optimize protection and minimize weight of the protective equipment 100. (e.g., smaller and highly concentrated in area where risk of injury is highest and larger and dispersed in areas where risk of injury is low). Additionally, or alternatively the liner 104 may be sized and shaped based on the application of the protective equipment 100. In some configurations, the liner 104 is flexible and may comprise one or more layers of any suitable material such as, for example, a polymer, a composite, a textile, a foam, and/or the like. In the depicted configurations, the protective equipment 100 can be coupled to a user (e.g., human body part), a separate article (e.g., helmet), or any other component in any suitable manner known in the art (e.g., strap, fastener, tape, adhesive, and/or the like). In some configurations, the system 10 may include one or more other protective components (not shown) coupled to, or associated with, the protective equipment 100. For example, in the configuration depicted in FIG 3, the system 10 may include an external layer, a foam layer, a comfort liner, one or more straps, fasteners or other coupling device, and/or the like.

[0067] In the configuration shown in FIGS. 5A-5B, 6 and 7, shown therein and designated by the reference numeral 10a is another configuration of the present impact attenuating systems. In this configuration, components that are similar (e.g., in structure and/or function) to components discussed with reference to FIGS. 1-4 are labeled with the same reference numerals and a suffix “a.” Impact attenuating system 10a includes a plurality of impact attenuating elements 14a which may be suitable for use alone and/or included with other components of the present impact attenuating systems.

[0068] As shown in FIGS. 5 A and 5B, the impact attenuating system 10a may include one or more channels 108 extending between at least two of the plurality of impact attenuating elements 14a. Each channel 108 may include a body (e.g., channel body) that defines a passage 116 that is configured to convey material through the channel body. In this configuration, at least one channel 108 defines a passage 116 connecting at least two of the plurality of impact attenuating elements 14a. For example, each channel 108 connects two elements 14a of the plurality of impact dispersing elements 14a and defines a passage 116 that connects the cavity (e.g., the chamber 38a, the chamber 64a, and/or the channel 80a) of the at least two elements 14a.

[0069] In the configurations depicted in FIG. 5 A and 5B, channel 108 may be coupled to the first cell body 18a such that passage 116 connects to the chamber 38a of the first cell body 18a via the channel 80a. To illustrate, a first end of channel 108 may be coupled to the second end 46a of the first cell body 18a and a second end of the channel 108 may be coupled to the second end 46a of the second cell body 18a to convey a material from the first cell body 18a to the second cell body 14a via the passage 116. In some configurations, the passage 116 of one channel 108 may be connected with at least one other passage 116 of the one or more channels to allow material (e.g., gas or liquid) to move between a group (e.g., three or more) of elements of the impact attenuating elements 14a. As shown, other first cell bodies 18a may replace the second cell body 22 such that compression of first cell body 18a causes the material to be transported into passage 116 and to one or more other first cell bodies 18a resulting in expansion of those first cell bodies 18a. To illustrate, in the foregoing configurations, when one or more of the impact attenuating elements 14a experiences impact, the first cell bodies 18a of the impacted elements will compress, pushing the material from chamber 38a to other chambers 38a causing an expansion of the respective first cell bodies 18a. I n this configuration, the first cell body 18a may act as both an impact-receiving and impact-absorbing cell. This lateral fluid motion and cell expansion absorbs the impact energy, thereby reducing both force and acceleration transfer to a user.

[0070] In other configurations, the channel 108 may be coupled to the second cell body 22 such that the passage 116 is connected to the chamber 64. As a result, compression of the first cell body 18a causes material in the chamber 38a to be transported to the chamber 64 of the second cell body 22 and the passage 116 of the channel 80a.

[0071] In some configurations, the impact attenuating system 10a may include a cover 120 that extends between the shells 84 of adjacent impact attenuating elements 14a. As shown, the cover 120 may extend from an aperture defined by the wall 92a of a first shell 84a to an aperture defined by the wall 92a of a second shell 84. The cover 120 may be configured to protect (e.g., from rupturing) the channel 108 from external objects. In the depicted configuration, the cover 120 surrounds at least a portion of the channel 180 and, in some configurations, the cover 120 and the liner 104a may at least partially define a chamber through which the channel 180 extends. The cover 120 may be rigid and can comprise any suitable material having a relatively high hardness such as, for example, a hardened polymer, a metal, a composite, or other suitable material. The cover 120 may, but need not, comprise the same material as shell 84. In the depicted configuration, the cover 120 and the shell 84 may be unitary, while in other configurations, the cover 120 may be coupled in any suitable manner.

[0072] In some configurations, the channel 108 and/or the plurality of impact attenuating elements 14a are configured to be coupled to a material source such as, for example, a pump, such that the material source can communicate material (e.g., air, liquids, or gels) to at least one first cell body 18a of the system 10a and, some configurations of the present systems may comprise such a material source (not shown). The present system 10a can be used with any suitable material, including gasses (e.g., air), liquids (e.g., water), gels, and/or the like. Respective material source(s) may include associated components such as for example, manifolds, regulators, valves, and/or the like.

[0073] Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, various configurations of the protective equipment 100a are shown. The protective equipment 100a includes a plurality of impact attenuating elements 14a connected by the channels 108 coupled to the liner 104a (e.g., wearable article). The protective equipment 100a is configured to be worn by a user to provide protection from external forces (e.g., impacts). For example, FIG. 6 depicts a configuration of the protective equipment 100a configured for use as a helmet liner and FIG. 7 depicts a configuration of the protective equipment 100a configured for use as a chest liner. [0074] In some configurations, the first end 42a of the first cell body 18a is configured to face a user’s body (e.g., head, chest, back, or the like) and the second end 46a of the first cell body 18a is configured to face away from a user. As shown, the liner 104a is coupled to the second end 46a of each first cell body 18a such that a portion of the impact attenuating element 14 (e.g., the cover 120, the channel 108, the shell 84) is disposed on a first side of liner 104a and one other portion of the impact attenuating element (e.g., the wall 50a, the first end 42a) is disposed on a second side of the liner 104a. In this way, the liner 104 may be used to distribute a force across the protective equipment. In such configurations, when one side of the protective equipment 100a experiences impact, the first cells 18a corresponding to that area of impact will compress, pushing the material from the compressed cells 18a to the adjacent cells 18a causing an expansion of those cells. This lateral, or longitudinal, material motion and cell expansion absorbs the impact energy, thereby reducing both force and acceleration transfer to the user (i.e. wearer). The protective equipment 100a may maintain the fit of the protective equipment (e.g., helmet) during an impacting event. For example, some configurations of the protective equipment 100a provide a volume change to one or more impact attenuating elements 14a not directly impacted, due to compression of the impacted first cells 18a, that will compensate for displacement between a body part of the user (e.g., head) and the liner 104a by the expansion of the rest of the cells, thereby maintaining the fit during impact.

[0075] In the depicted configurations, certain aspects of the impact attenuating elements 14a may be sized and shaped based on the application of the protective equipment 100a. Similarly, fluid communication between the plurality of impact attenuating elements 14a may be customized to accommodate particular application needs (e.g., based on common impacts associated with a particular activity, such as, contact sports, cycling, racing, driving, carpentry, mining or other hobbies). [0076] For example, in some configurations, as shown in FIG. 7, all impact attenuating elements 14a are connected to each other so that material can flow between the elements 14a, while in other configurations, as shown in FIG. 6, elements 14a of the protective equipment 100a may comprise a groups of impact attenuating elements 14a that are not connected to each other. [0077] The geometrical shape of both elements 14a of the first cell body 18a and elements 14a of the second cell body 22 can be designed to optimize impact reduction characteristics as well as accommodate anatomical features and space constraints within the helmet or elements 14a body armor. FIGS. 8A-12B display some possible configurations of the impact attenuating elements for use the present impact attenuating systems, but the impact attenuating elements 14 are not limited to the configurations shown in the figures. In these configurations, components that are similar (e.g., in structure and/or function) to components discussed with reference to preceding figures (e.g., FIGS. 1-7) are labeled with the same reference numerals and a new numeral suffix (e.g., “c”). Impact attenuating elements (e.g., 14c, 14d, 14e, 14f) may be suitable for use alone and/or included with other components (e.g., liners 104, 104a, channel 108, etc.) of the present impact attenuating systems.

[0078] As shown in FIG. 8A and 8B, the impact attenuating element 14b includes a first cell body 18b (e.g., having a first end 42b, a second end 46b, and a wall 50b), a second cell body 22b (e.g., having a first end 68b, a second end 72b, and a wall 76b), a channel 80b, a shell 84b (e.g., having a base 88b, and a wall 92b) and a valve 150. The valve 150 may be configured to introduce a material (e.g., air, liquid, gel, or the like) into a chamber (e.g., 38b, 64b) of the impact attenuating element 14b. In some configurations, the valve 150 is moveable between an open state in which the chamber(s) (e.g., 38b, 64b) of the impact attenuating element 14b is in communication with the ambient environment, and a closed state in which the chamber(s) are sealed to the ambient environment. [0079] In this manner, fluid characteristics of the material (e.g., volume, pressure, composition, or the like) may be controlled for each individual impact attenuating element 14b (e.g., based on the location of the impact attenuating element on the protective equipment). As shown, the valve 150 is coupled to the second cell body 22b. For example, the valve 150 may extend from the second end 72b of the second cell body 22b to the shell 84b such that the material may be forced into the chamber 64b without removing the shell 84b. The valve 150 may be used with any other configurations described herein (e.g., 14, 14a, 14c, 14d, 14e, 14f, or the like).

[0080] As shown in FIG. 9A and 9B, the impact attenuating element 14c includes a first cell body 18c, a second cell body 22c, a channel 80c, and a shell 84c. In the depicted configuration, first cell body 18c comprises a hexagonal cylindrical body. In other configurations, the first cell body 18c may comprises any suitable shape that defines a chamber 38c. For example, such configurations may include, but are not limited to, chamber having a triangular, rectangular, square, hexagonal, or otherwise polygonal, circular, elliptical, or otherwise rounded cross- sectional shape. The first cell body 18c may be used with any other configurations described herein (e.g., 14, 14a, 14b, 14d, 14e, 14f, or the like).

[0081] As shown in FIG. 10A-10C, the impact attenuating element 14d includes a first cell body 18d, a second cell body 22d, channels 80d and 132, and a shell 84d. In the depicted configuration, the second cell body 22d includes a first channel body 130 that defines a channel (e.g., second chamber) 132 and a second chamber body 134 that defines a chamber (e.g., third chamber) 136. The first channel body 130 and the second chamber body 134 may be unitary, or coupled together, such that the channel 132 is connected to the chamber 136. In some configurations, the channel 132 and the chamber 136 cooperate to define the second cell chamber 64d of the second cell body 22d. For example, the first channel body 130 may include a central portion 140 and one or more extended channels 144 that connect the third chamber 132 to the fourth chamber 136. [0082] To illustrate, the first channel body 130 (e.g., central portion 140) is positioned over the channel 80d and in some configurations, the first channel body 130 may, but need not, define a portion of the channel 80d. In the configuration depicted, the first channel body 130 includes two extended channels 144, however in other configurations, the first channel body 18d may include a single extended channel 80d, or more than three extended channels (e.g., 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, or more). The second cell body 22d may be used with any other configurations of systems (e.g., 10, 10a) described herein.

[0083] As shown in FIG. 11A-11C, the impact attenuating element 14e includes a first cell body 18e, a second cell body 22e, a channels 80e and 132e, and a shell 84e. In the depicted configuration, the second cell body 22e includes a first channel body 130e and a plurality of second chamber bodies 134e. As shown, the first channel body 130e includes a plurality of extended portions 144e, such that at least one extended portion is coupled to a respective second chamber body 134e. In the configuration depicted, the second cell body 22e includes four second chamber bodies 134e, however in other configurations, the second cell body may include 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, or more second chamber bodies. The second cell body 22e may be used with any other configurations of systems (e.g., 10, 10a) described herein.

[0084] As shown in FIG. 12A-12C, the impact attenuating element 14f includes a first cell body 18f, a second cell body 22f, a channel 80f, and a shell 84f. In the depicted configuration, the second cell body 22f includes a first end 68f, a second end 72f, and a wall 76f that extends between the first and second ends to partially define the chamber 64f. In some configurations, the second end 72f and/or the wall 76f may be, but need not be, deformable such that a height of the second cell body 22 may be varied. For example, in the depicted embodiment, the second end 72f may (or may not) include a ridged or corrugated portion 150 that is configured to deform (e.g., expand or contract). The corrugated portion 150 may define a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges. Additionally, or alternatively, the wall 76f may (or may not) include a ridged or corrugated portion 154 that is configured to deform (e.g., expand or contract). The corrugated portion 154 may define a plurality of ridges, each ridge movable relative to at least one other ridge of the plurality of ridges. In some configurations, the corrugated portion 154 is structured and functions similar to corrugated portion 54 described above. In the configuration depicted in FIG. 12A, the wall 76f and the second end 72f comprise a corrugated portion 154, and 150, respectively, however, in other configurations only the second end 72f of second cell body includes a corrugated portion (e.g., FIG. 12C). In yet other configurations, only the wall 76f of second cell body includes a corrugated portion (e.g., FIG. 12B).

[0085] As shown in FIG. 13A and 13B, the impact attenuating element 14g includes a first cell body 18g, a second cell body 22g, channels 80g, and 132g, and a shell 84g. In the depicted configuration, the second cell body 22g includes a first channel body 130g and one or more second chamber bodies 134g. In the depicted configuration, the first channel body 130g extends outside of the shell 84g. In such configurations, the second chamber body 134g is positioned outside the shell 84g and the first channel body 130g laterally extends from the second end 46g of the first cell body 18g to the second chamber body 134g such that the second chamber 136g is connected to the chamber 38g via the second channel 132g and the channel 80g. In the depicted configuration, at least a portion of the second cell body 22g (e.g., the second chamber body 134g) surrounds the first cell body 18g. In this way, at least a portion of the second cell body 22g may lie in the same lateral (e.g., horizontal) plane as the first cell body 18g (e.g., the portion of second cell body is not positioned above the first cell body). In this manner, volume of material within the impact attenuating element 14g (e.g., in the chambers 38g, 132g) of the first cell body 18g may be maximized without increasing the height of the impact attenuating element. Accordingly, protective equipment (e.g., 100, 100a) may be less bulky and have increased aesthetic appearance. For example, the first cell body 18f, and the second cell body 22g may be positioned on the same side as a liner (e.g., 104, 104a). The second cell body 22g may be used with any other configurations of systems (e.g., 10, 10a) described herein.

[0086] As shown in FIG. 14, an impact attenuating element 14h includes a first cell body 18h, a second cell body 22h, communication channel 80h, and a shell 84h (e.g., having a base 88h and a wall 92h). The first cell body 18h includes walls 50h, a first end 42h and a second end 46h. The second cell body 22h includes walls 76h, a first end 68h, and a second end 72h.

[0087] As shown, the walls 50h of the first cell body 18h are smooth and are without any ridges or corrugated portions. Depending on the embodiment, the walls 50h may still deform in the presence of an applied force even without the ridges or corrugated portions. In addition, the second end 72h of the second cell body 22h includes several ridges.

[0088] Note that the presence or absence of ridges (e.g., corrugated portions) in the second cell body 22 and the first cell body 18 may affect an amount of reactive force that is passed on from the impact actuating element 14 into the body of a wearer in response to a force 96. For example, in one embodiment, the first cell body 18 may include one or more ridges, and the second cell body 22 may include no ridges. In another example, the first cell body 18 may include no ridges, and the second cell body 22 may include one or more ridges. In another example, both of the first cell body 18 and second cell body 22 may or may not include ridges.

[0089] Other factors may also affect an amount of reactive force that is passed on from the impact attenuating element 14 into the body of a wearer in response to a force 96. These may include the size of the channel 80, the materials used to construct the cell bodies (e.g., silicone, polyurethane, or other hyperelastic materials), the fluid materials within the chambers 64 and 38 (e.g., air, water, or lotion), and whether or not the first cell body 18 and the second cell body 18 are on the same plane. For example, FIGS. 1 A and IB show the cell bodies on different planes, while FIGS. 13A and 13B show the cell bodies on the same planes. [0090] The above specification and examples provide a complete description of the structure and use of illustrative configurations. Although certain configurations have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, or with reference to one or more individual configurations, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed configurations without departing from the scope of this invention. As such, the various illustrative configurations of the methods and systems are not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, they include all modifications and alternatives falling within the scope of the claims, and configurations other than the one shown may include some or all of the features of the depicted configurations. For example, elements may be omitted or combined as a unitary structure, connections may be substituted, or both. Further, where appropriate, aspects of any of the examples described above may be combined with aspects of any of the other examples described to form further examples having comparable or different properties and/or functions, and addressing the same or different problems. Similarly, it will be understood that the benefits and advantages described above may relate to one configuration or may relate to several configurations. Accordingly, no single implementation described herein should be construed as limiting and implementations of the disclosure may be suitably combined without departing from the teachings of the disclosure. [0091] The previous description of the disclosed implementations is provided to enable a person skilled in the art to make or use the disclosed implementations. Various modifications to these implementations will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the principles defined herein may be applied to other implementations without departing from the scope of the disclosure. Thus, the present disclosure is not intended to be limited to the implementations shown herein but is to be accorded the widest scope possible consistent with the principles and novel features as defined by the following claims. The claims are not intended to include, and should not be interpreted to include, means-plus- or step-plus-function limitations, unless such a limitation is explicitly recited in a given claim using the phrase(s) “means for” or “step for,” respectively.