Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A PERSONAL WATER PROPULSION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/227776
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A personal water propulsion system has a vest body configured for releasable attachment around a user's torso in use. The vest body has rechargeable battery storage and a propeller unit attached from a mount at the front of the vest body, the propeller unit comprising a cowl concealing an electric motor driven propeller therein. The mount has an electrical connection between the battery storage of the vest body and the electric motor, and a controller operably interfacing the battery power supply and the propeller unit to control the electric motor.

Inventors:
JAFARZADEH MASOUD TAHGHIGHI (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2020/050477
Publication Date:
November 19, 2020
Filing Date:
May 15, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
JAFARZADEH MASOUD TAHGHIGHI (AU)
International Classes:
A63B35/12; B63C11/46
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004050473A12004-06-17
Foreign References:
US20090258554A12009-10-15
DE2445324A11976-01-22
US5170739A1992-12-15
US3442240A1969-05-06
US3745961A1973-07-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENTEC PATENT ATTORNEYS (AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A personal water propulsion system comprising a vest body configured for releasable attachment around a user’s torso in use, the vest body having a back and a front and encloses around the torso from a neckline to a waistline and having side arm openings through sides thereof, the front being openable by releasable connectors, the vest body comprising rechargeable battery storage and a propeller unit attached from a mount at the front of the vest body, the propeller unit comprising a cowl concealing an electric motor driven propeller therein, the propeller unit horizontally located between the neckline and the waistline and horizontally located between the sides, the propeller unit extending beneath the front of the vest body when the vest body is substantially horizontal in water in use the, cowl defining an intake and an outlet, the propeller unit orientated with the intake substantially towards the neckline and the outlet towards the waistline, the mount comprising an electrical connection between the battery storage of the vest body and the electric motor, and a controller operably interfacing the battery power supply and the propeller unit the controller comprising a drive controller to control the speed of the electric motor.

2. The system as claimed in claims 1 , wherein the drive controller further controls the rotational direction of the electric motor.

3. The system as claimed in claims 1 , further comprising a gimbal mount mounting the propeller unit to the front of the vest body and wherein the gimbal mount pivotally couples the propeller unit about a yaw axis.

4. The system as claimed in claims 3, wherein the gimbal mount is rotatable through 1 80°.

5. The system as claimed in claims 3, wherein the gimbal mount is rotatable through 360°.

6. The system as claimed in claims 3, further comprising a swivel actuator controlled by the controller and wherein the drive controller is configured for controlling the swivel actuator to control the orientation of the propeller unit about the yaw axis with respect to the vest body.

7. The system as claimed in claims 3, wherein the gimbal mount further pivotally couples the propeller unit about a pitch axis.

8. The system as claimed in claims 1 , wherein the propeller unit comprises at least one directional vane within the cowl downstream from the propeller.

9. The system as claimed in claims 8, further comprising a vane actuator controlled by the controller and wherein the vane actuator is configured for controlling the directional vanes.

10. The system as claimed in claims 8, wherein the at least one directional vane comprise a horizontal pitch vane.

1 1 . The system as claimed in claims 8, wherein the at least one directional vane comprise a vertical yaw vane.

12. The system as claimed in claims 1 , wherein the back of the vest body has interior and exterior surfaces and wherein the internal battery storage is located between the interior and exterior surfaces.

13. The system as claimed in claims 1 , further comprising photovoltaic panels located on a rear surface of the vest body, the photovoltaic panels facing upwardly when the vest body is substantially horizontal in water in use, the photovoltaic panels operably interfacing the battery storage via a power management subsystem for the solar recharging of the battery storage.

14. The system as claimed in claims 13, wherein the rear of the vest body comprises a central scuba tank indentation and wherein the photovoltaic panels are located either side of the scuba tank indentation.

15. The system as claimed in claims 14, wherein the back of the vest body has interior and exterior surfaces and wherein the internal battery storage comprises two internal battery storage packs located between the interior and exterior surfaces and either side of the indentation.

16. The system as claimed in claims 1 , further comprising a flowrate transducer operable to detect flowrate along a neck-to-waist axis, the flowrate transducer operably coupled to the controller and wherein the controller is configured for controlling the speed of the electric motor depending on the flowrate detected by the flowrate transducer.

17. The system as claimed in claims 1 , further comprising a wrist worn control interface device, the control interface device operably coupled to the controller and wherein the wrist worn control interface device comprises a propulsion control configured for causing the controller to control the propulsion of the propeller unit accordingly.

18. The system as claimed in claims 17, wherein the wrist worn control interface device is operably coupled to the vest body by an electrical lanyard.

19. The system as claimed in claims 17, wherein the propulsion control comprises a slider slidable with respect to a body of the wrist worn control interface device, the position thereof affecting the propulsion of the propeller unit.

20. The system as claimed in claims 17, wherein the propulsion comprises rotational speed and rotational direction of the electric motor.

21 . The system as claimed in claims 17, wherein the vest body comprises at least one sensor comprising at least one of a GPS location sensor, flowrate transducer and depth sensor and wherein the wrist worn control interface device comprises a digital display configured for displaying at least one of location, speed and depth

accordingly.

22. The system as claimed in claims 21 , wherein the GPS location sensor is located on a rear surface of the back of the vest body.

23. The system as claimed in claims 1 , further comprising a vocal control interface device, the vocal control interface device operably coupled to the controller and wherein the vocal control interface device comprises a frequency detector to detect vocal frequencies in use and wherein the controller comprises a vocal controller configured to control the propeller unit accordingly.

24. The system as claimed in claims 23, wherein the vocal controller is configured for controlling at least one of the speed of the electric motor and orientation of the propeller unit.

25. The system as claimed in claims 23, wherein the vocal control interface comprises a collar openable for releasable attachment around the user’s neck the collar holding the frequency detector therein against the neck of the user.

Description:
A personal water propulsion system

Field of the Invention

[0001 ] This invention relates generally to a personal water propulsion system for assisted swimming, such as when snorkelling or scuba diving.

Background of the Invention

[0002] Various forms of underwater propulsion systems exist including US 987821 1 B1 (Knowles) 30 January 2018 which has a user worn thruster powdered from a floating power source.

[0003] US8651041 B2 (Myers) 18 February 2014 discloses a handheld underwater propulsion system comprising twin battery powered motors affixed to a central body, the body having handles thereon.

[0004] US5105753A (Chih et al.) 21 April 1992 discloses a similar system but which can also be used in conjunction with a watercraft.

[0005] US5396860A (Cheng) 14 April 1985 discloses a floating plate upon which a swimmer lies and which comprises a propeller.

[0006] The present invention seeks to provide a personal water propulsion system, which will overcome or substantially ameliorate at least some of the deficiencies of the prior art, or to at least provide an alternative.

[0007] It is to be understood that, if any prior art information is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the information forms part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.

Summary of the Disclosure

[0008] A personal water propulsion system has a vest body configured for releasable attachment around a user’s torso in use

[0009] The vest body has a back and a front and encloses around the torso from a neckline to a waistline and has side arm openings through sides thereof.

[0010] The front of the vest body is openable by releasable connectors for donning.

[001 1 ] The vest body comprises battery storage and a propeller unit attached from a mount at the front of the vest body. [0012] The propeller unit has a cowl concealing an electric motor driven propeller therein. The propeller unit is located between the neckline and the waistline and between the sides and extends beneath the front of the vest body when the vest body is substantially horizontal in water in use.

[0013] The cowl forms an intake and an outlet and the propeller unit is orientated with the intake substantially towards the neckline and the outlet towards the waistline .

[0014] The mount has an electrical connection between the battery storage of the vest body and the electric motor.

[0015] A controller operably interfaces the battery power supply and the propeller unit and has a drive controller to control the speed of the electric motor.

[0016] As such, the present personal water propulsion system comprises more ergonomically worn and compact configuration as compared to the prior art devices which comprise separate flotation devices, separately attachable thrusters and the like.

[0017] Furthermore, unlike the configuration of Cheng supra, the present vest body may compactly hold the heavier and bulkier battery storage on the user’s body away from the propeller unit held distal ly from the mount. As such, the present propeller unit may be light and compact.

[0018] This configuration also allows for the directional control of the propeller unit wherein the propeller unit can swivel with respect to the vest body via a gimbal mount swivlabe through 180° for forward and side to side thrust and, in embodiments, through 360° for reverse thrust also.

[0019] The gimbal mount may be biaxial in embodiments to further allow for pitch control.

[0020] In embodiments, the propeller unit comprises at least one directional vane within the cowl downstream of the propeller for controlling the direction of water thrust from the propeller unit. The directional vanes may comprise vertical yaw vanes and/or horizontal pitch vanes.

[0021 ] The vest body may compactly conceal the battery storage therein between interior and exterior surfaces thereof. For scuba diving, a rear of the base may comprise a scuba tank indentation and wherein the battery storage comprises twin battery packs concealed between front and rear surfaces of the vest either side of the indentation.

[0022] Embodiments of the system has photovoltaic panels located on a rear surface of the vest body for recharging the battery storage. The photovoltaic panels are suitably located for facing upwardly when the vest body a substantially horizontal in use. In embodiments, the photovoltaic panels may locate either side of the scuba tank indentation.

[0023] Embodiments of the system allow for an autonomous assisted swim mode of operation wherein the system comprises a flowrate transducer operable to detect flowrate and wherein the controller controls the speed of the electric motor proportionately. As such, the user may remain stationary in water and take advantage of swim assistance propulsion when kicking with fins.

[0024] The system may comprise a wrist worn control interface device for controlling the operation of the propulsion unit and displaying various information thereon.

[0025] In further embodiments, the system may allow for hands-free verbal control of the propeller unit wherein the system comprises a vocal control interface device having a frequency detector to detect vocal frequencies and to control the propeller unit accordingly.

[0026] Other aspects of the invention are also disclosed.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0027] Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, preferred embodiments of the disclosure will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which :

[0028] Figure 1 shows a side view of a swimmer wearing a personal water propulsion system in accordance with an embodiment;

[0029] Figure 2 shows a front view of a swimmer wearing a personal water propulsion system in accordance with an embodiment;

[0030] Figure 3 shows an exemplary control system in accordance with an embodiment; [0031 ] Figure 4 shows a side cross-sectional view of a propeller unit of the system in accordance with an embodiment;

[0032] Figure 5 shows a top view of the personal water propulsion system in accordance with an embodiment;

[0033] Figure 6 shows a wrist worn control interface device in accordance an embodiment;

[0034] Figure 7 shows a vocal control interface device in accordance an embodiment ; and

[0035] Figure 8 illustrates gimbal mounting of the propeller unit in accordance with an embodiment.

Description of Embodiments

[0036] A personal water propulsion system 100 comprises a vest body 101 configured for releasable attachment around a user’s torso in use in the manner shown in figure 1 . The vest body 1 01 has a back 1 02 a front 103 and encloses around the torso from a neckline 104 to a waistline 1 05. The vest body 101 comprises side arm openings 106 through sides 1 07 thereof.

[0037] The vest body 101 may be configured for flotation assistance, such as when used for snorkelling such as by comprising buoyant padding, air pockets and or the like. In embodiments, the vest body 101 may be weighted such as for use when scuba diving.

[0038] The front 1 03 is openable by releasable connectors 108 for donning the vest body 1 01 . In embodiments, the vest body 101 comprises straps which connected in front of the torso. Flowever, in a preferred embodiment, the vest body 101 comprises integral front portions which connect together.

[0039] The vest body 101 comprises battery storage 109.

[0040] The system 1 00 further comprises a propeller unit 1 10 attached from a mount 1 1 1 at the front of the vest body 101 providing thrust 1 1 7. In the manner shown in Figure 5, the releasable connectors 1 08 may be to one side to allow for central propeller unit 1 10. [0041 ] The propeller unit 1 10 extends beneath the front of the vest body 101 when the vest body 101 is substantially horizontal in water in use in the manner shown in figure 1. The propeller unit 1 10 is located between the neckline 104 and the waistline 105 and in between the sides 107 of the vest body 101. Furthermore, the propeller unit 1 10 comprises an intake 1 15 and an outlet 1 16 and, with reference to figure 2, the inlet 1 15 is orientated towards the neckline 104 and the outlet 1 16 is orientated towards the waistline 105 to thereby propel the user forwardly in the manner shown in figure 1 .

[0042] With reference to figure 4, the propeller unit 1 10 comprises a cowl 1 12 concealing an electric motor 1 13 turning a propeller 1 14 therein.

[0043] The mount 1 1 1 comprises an electrical connection to power the electric motor 1 13 from the battery storage 109.

[0044] With reference to Figure 3, the system 100 further comprises a controller 1 18. The controller 1 18 interfaces the battery storage 109 and the propeller unit 1 10 to control the propulsion thereof.

[0045] In embodiment shown, the controller 1 18 takes the form of a dig ital controller comprising a microprocessor 1 19 for processing digital data. In operable communication with the processor 1 19 across a system bus 120 is a memory device 121. The memory device 121 is configured for storing digital data including computer program code instructions. The computer program code instructions may be logically divided into various computer program code controllers including a drive controller

122 for controlling the operation of the propeller unit 1 10, a user interface controller

123 for controlling a user interface of the system 100 and a voice controller 124 for voice control of the system in an embodiment described in further detail below.

[0046] As such, in use, the processor 1 19 fetches these computer program code instructions and associated data for interpretation and execution in implementing the control functionality described herein.

[0047] The controller 1 18 may comprise an I/O interface 125 interfacing the propeller unit 1 10. For example, the I/O interface 125 may control power transistors which supply power from the battery storage 1 19 to the electric motor 1 13. The battery storage 109 may comprise lithium ion batteries.

[0048] In an embodiment, the mount 1 1 1 is a gimbal mount which mounts the propeller unit 1 1 0 to the front of the vest body 101 for directional control.

[0049] With reference to Figure 8, the gimbal mount 1 1 1 may pivotally coupled the propeller unit 1 1 0 about a yaw axis 1 27 substantially perpendicular with the front 1 03 of the vest body 1 01 such that the propeller unit 1 10 can turn side to side in the manner illustrated in Figure 8.

[0050] In embodiments, the gimbal mount 1 1 1 can turn through 180° for side to side thrust. In embodiments, the gimbal mount 1 1 1 in turn through a full 360° such that the propeller unit 1 10 can also provide reverse thrust when orientated backwardly.

[0051 ] The system 1 00 may comprise a swivel actuator 1 28 controlled by the I/O interface 1 25 of the controller 1 1 8 to control the gimbal mount 1 1 1 to turn the propeller unit 1 1 0 side-to-side.

[0052] Additionally, or alternatively, the propeller unit 1 10 comprises directional vanes 129 within the cowl 1 1 2 downstream of the propeller 1 14 which may be controlled by a vane actuator 126 to control the orientation of the water thrust from the outl et 1 16 of the propeller unit.

[0053] As is illustrated in Figure 4, the vanes 1 29 may comprise a pair of vertically orientated yaw vanes 129A which control side-to-side thrust and a pair of horizontal pitch vanes 129B which control up-and-down thrust.

[0054] With reference to Figure 5, the vest body 101 may comprise an inner surface surface 130 and an outer surface 131 and wherein the battery storage 1 09 is internally stored between the interior and outer surfaces 130, 131 .

[0055] In embodiments, the system 100 further comprises photovoltaic panels 132 located on a rear surface of the back 102 of the vest body 1 01 , the photovoltaic panels 132 facing upwardly when the vest body 101 is substantially horizontal in the water in use in the manner shown in Figure 1 .

[0056] The photovoltaic panels 132 operably interface the battery storage 109 via power management 133 for the solar recharging thereof in use. [0057] In embodiment shown in Figure 5, the rear surface of the back 1 02 of the vest body 1 01 may comprise a scuba tank indentation 134 for accommodating a scuba tank 135 therein. In accordance with this embodiment, the photovoltaic panels 132 may locate either side of the central scuba tank indentation 134.

[0058] In embodiments, the system 100 is configured for an autonomous assisted swim mode of operation wherein the system 100 comprises a flowrate transducer 136 operable to detect flowrate along a neck-to-waist axis. The flowrate transducer 136 may be operably coupled to the controller 1 18, such that the controller 1 1 8 controls the propulsion of the propeller unit 1 10 substantially proportionately. With reference to Figure 5, the flowrate transducer 126 may be located on a surface of the cowl 1 1 2 of the propeller unit 1 1 0.

[0059] In embodiments, the system 1 00 comprises a wrist worn control interface device 137 which may be connected to the vest body 101 via an electrical lanyard 138.

[0060] The control interface device 137 is coupled to the controller 1 18 and comprises a propulsion control configured for causing the controller 1 1 8 to control the propulsion of the propeller unit 1 10 accordingly. With reference to Figure 6, the propulsion control may comprise up-and-down pushbuttons 139 for increasing and decreasing the speed of the electric motor 1 13. Alternatively, the propulsion control may comprise a slider 140, the position of which is adjustable to control the speed of the electric motor 1 13. In embodiments, the slider 140 may be positioned between forward and reverse thrust positions to control the rotational direction of the electric motor 1 13.

[0061 ] The control interface device 137 may comprise a digital display 141 for displaying various information thereon. In this regard, the controller 1 18 may interface a plurality of sensors 142 including a GPS location sensor 143 depth sensor 144 and temperature sensor 145. With reference to Figure 5, the GPS sensor 143 may locate on a rear surface of the back of the vest body 101 to reduce water signal attenuation.

[0062] As such, the digital display may display position, speed and depth accordingly. Furthermore, the digital display 141 may display speed as measured by the flowrate transducer 136. The digital display 141 may further display information obtained from the power management subsystem 133, such as battery level indication, remaining operational time and the like.

[0063] In embodiments, the system 1 00 may be controlled vocally by a vocal control interface device 146. With reference figures 5 and 7, the vocal control interface device may comprise a collar 147 openable by clasps (such as magnetic clasps) and which comprises a frequency transducer 149 to detect vocal cues issued by the user during use. The collar 147 may hold the frequency transducer 149 against the neck of the user in use. As such, the user may control the propulsion of the propeller unit by issuing vocal cues, such as humming at differing frequencies. The voice controller 124 may interpret these frequencies and control the operation of the propeller unit accordingly, including the speed of the electric motor 1 13 and the position of the gimbal mount 1 1 1 for both speed and directional control.

[0064] With reference to Figure 2, the vest 101 may comprise a torch 150 which may be a high-powered LED light to project a beam of light forwardly to assist in low light environments. In further embodiments, vest body 101 and/or the wrist worn control interface device 137 may comprise visibility beacon lights 151 which, in embodiments, may strobe.

[0065] In embodiments, the system 100 may comprise a retractable reel comprising a line of approximately 20 m of line which may be released in an emergency.

[0066] The foregoing description, for purposes of explanation, used specific nomenclature to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that specific details are not required in order to practise the invention. Thus, the foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the invention are presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed as obviously many modifications and variations are possible in view of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical applications, thereby enabling others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the following claims and their equivalents define the scope of the invention.

[0067] The term“approximately” or similar as used herein should be construed as being within 10% of the value stated unless otherwise indicated.