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Methods and devices for rescuing a distressed diver

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Methods and devices for rescuing a distressed diver


The invention discloses devices and methods for identifying a diver in distress and initiating a rescue response. Specifically, embodiments of the present invention allow for identification of a diver who is not breathing properly and in response giving local stimuli to allow the diver to response. Should he/she not respond, the instant invention will initiate steps to bring the diver back to the water surface and alert others as to his/her need of assistance.

Inventor: NETANEL RAISCH
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120274471 - Class: 340626 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 340 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120274471, Methods and devices for rescuing a distressed diver.

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FIELD AND

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, relates to methods for automatically aiding a distressed diver and, more particularly, but not exclusively, to methods for rapidly bringing a diver to the surface. The present application is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/791,021 of similar inventorship. Examiner of said application applied a restriction, which was accepted with traverse, and the enclosed application includes claims that have not been subject to examination.

Diving is an inherently dangerous activity. Divers typically go down meters into ocean or fresh water and rely solely on air tanks and breathing devices for continued oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide removal. Diving is a popular recreation sport and is a required activity in diverse fields such as warfare, shipping, and tourism.

A diver typically has an air tank with associated regulators and tubing for delivery of compressed air at an appropriate pressure to a mouth-based breathing device. As divers can be tens of meters under the water surface and are often out of communication with others for extended periods of time, risks of air tank failure are potentially fatal. Divers, like all humans, have a small window during which they can survive without oxygen or air being delivered to the lungs. A diver in distress suffers from his watery surroundings as well as his disconnection from other divers and/or those in a boat from which he was delivered to the water.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,176,418 to Scott describes an apparatus for automatic inflation of a diver flotation device in response to cessation of breathing by the diver, or in response to pressure reduction of the air source to a predetermined reserve pressure. The apparatus includes high and low pressure systems, the low pressure system being coupled to the diver flotation device and to the diver breathing device. A pair of valves interposed between the high and low pressure systems are responsive to termination of diver breathing and reduction of the source pressure to a predetermined reserve pressure, respectively, to open and allow air from the high pressure system to pass into the low pressure system. This inflates the flotation device and brings the diver to the surface

U.S. Pat. No. 5,156,145 to Flood et al. teaches a self-contained breathing apparatus for use in a noxious or oxygen-deficient atmosphere with redundant first stage pressure reducers and redundant second stage demand regulators which together serve as an automatic by-pass control in the event of a failure in the closed position of a first stage pressure reducer or a second stage demand regulator. A helmet with a face mask and inflatable helmet adjusting device for sizing the helmet to the user\'s head, provided impact protection and applying pressure to the back of the head causing the face to come into contact with the face mask resulting in the air-tight enclosure of the user\'s face in the oral-nasal area of the helmet. An integral pump and valve mechanism located in the helmet and operated by pushing on a bulb with the thumb or forefinger compresses air into a bladder thereby sizing the helmet and forming the air-tight seal of the face mask to the user\'s face. A combination manually operated pump, suction valve and relief valve permit ambient air to be compressed into the helmet bladder without leakage while excess pressure is discharged by depressing the relief valve on the helmet exterior.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,516,233 to Courtney teaches a water safety and survival system that provides a multi-chambered personal flotation device that operates on minimal volume to create a single heads up righting moment that reliably stabilizes an unconscious victim with his airway out of the water. This is accomplished with a minimal amount of lift, less deflated bulk, improved cosmetic appeal and reduced cost. These combined advances result in a safety vest conducive to actually being worn, a key feature for a safety vest. The system also provides for incorporation of a separating second inflatable life ring, rescue board, artificial respiration assist platform and ultimately a raft for removal of the victim from the water to protect him from hypothermia. This sequentially inflated, multi-chambered, multifaceted inflatable rescue product is incorporated within the body of the safety vest. The incorporation of a wide range of rescue products into the body of the personal flotation device will reduce the incidence of that dual tragedy that occurs when the rescuer becomes the second victim. This water survival system when adapted to the special needs of the scuba diver requires the incorporation of a tank compensating keel to offset the deleterious effects of a buoyant empty tank whose buoyancy can force the diver\'s airway under the water. Further adaptation for use underwater also includes a system to adjust the volume of the primary buoyancy compensation chamber and variable valve for segregation and reliable regulation of one or more additional surface flotation chambers underwater. The design of the separating chambers coincides with responsibilities and goals of the diver. These and more modifications for the safe underwater use of the heads up safety vest are critical in order to mitigate the risk of rapid ascent and its consequences, arterial gas embolism and decompression sickness.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,645,465 also to Courtney describes scuba gear for use by divers and the like for carrying a compressed air tank to provide an underwater source of oxygen, a backpack being adapted for securing the tank to the diver and including quick release components for permitting the diver to rapidly free himself of the tank, an inflatable transport raft being secured to the tank and held in compact and gathered form by releasable fasteners in order to permit the raft to open in response to internal inflation pressure, the backpack being adapted for connection to the diver\'s upper torso together with a separate vest type buoyancy compensator, the backpack being adapted to permit inflation of the buoyancy compensator if desired and also permitting separation of the tank with the buoyancy compensator remaining in place on the diver, the transport raft providing flotation for the tank when the tank is freed from the diver, the raft also providing transport for the diver on the surface of the water.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,800,228 to Hernandez teaches a permanently wearable self-rescue system for free divers and others engaged in aquatic pursuits to recover to the surface of the water if they should become disabled for any reason. Prior to or during ascent from a dive, if the free-diver has any feeling of insecurity or danger or just wants to insure a totally safe ascent, he or she arms a trigger mechanism that is preferably held in the armed position by the diver\'s hand grip. If the free-diver should lose consciousness or otherwise be incapacitated, his or her hand grip is released and the trigger mechanism is actuated which results in a resiliently biased puncture pin being propelled to puncture a gas cartridge. Pressurized gas from the cartridge is then directed to an economically designed inflatable bladder garment. The bladder garment is especially designed so that it offers little hydrodynamic resistance when underwater and thus is compatible with the frequent dives taken by free-divers during a typical outing. Further, a locking pin is provided so that the puncture pin can be maintained in a locked or standby position when the free diver does not require or does not want activation of the self-rescue system such as would be the case during normal dives, surface intervals, temporary storage, etc. This locking pin can be either manually or automatically disengaged at any time by the user.

The prior art does include methods and devices for aiding a distressed diver. Most of the systems rely on mechanical means for aiding a diver who has either stopped breathing or is no longer receiving oxygen in a proper manner.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore a purpose of the present invention, in some embodiments, to describe methods and devices for rescuing a diver in distress, wherein changes in breathing behavior or gas pressure generate a response that brings a diver quickly to the water surface.

The invention provides a device for rescuing a diver in distress, including: an air pressure sensor for determining air pressure in the diver\'s breathing system; an electronic controller; a power source with an on/off switch; and, at least one response element.

In one aspect of the device, the sensor is placed in a high pressure environment

In another aspect of the device, the sensor is placed in a medium pressure environment.

In another aspect of the device, the sensor is placed in a low pressure environment.

In another aspect of the device, the sensor and the electronic controller are realized as a single element.

In another aspect of the device, the power source is realized as rechargeable batteries.

In another aspect of the device, the at least one response element includes an inflatable vest.

In another aspect of the device, the at least one response element includes an inflatable balloon.

In another aspect of the device the at least one response element includes a belt having a plurality of weights.

The invention additionally includes a method for rescuing a distressed diver, including: providing a sensor for measuring air pressure in the diver\'s breathing system, wherein the sensor is in electric communication with an electronic controller; measuring air pressure patterns of the diver over periods of time with the controller; determining a change in the air pressure pattern is present wherein the change exceeds a predetermined value; and, activating a response element in response to the change in the air pressure pattern.

In one aspect of the method, there is an additional step of training the sensor as to the breathing patterns of the diver.

In another aspect of the method, there is an additional step of alerting an authority as to the distress state of the diver.

In another aspect of the method, the response element includes any of the following features: lights, sounds, voice, and vibration.

In another aspect of the method, the response element includes a buoyancy component.

In another aspect of the method, there is an additional step of modifying the diving depth of the diver.

In another aspect of the method, the periods of time are predetermined

In another aspect of the method, the periods of time are determined by the controller.

The invention also provides a method for rescuing a distressed diver, including: providing a sensor for air measuring air pressure in said diver\'s breathing system, wherein the sensor is in electronic communication with an electronic controller device; determining that the diver is not breathing; activating an alarm; and, changing the buoyancy of the diver.

In one aspect of the method, the alarm may be turned off by the diver.

In another aspect of the method, the changing of the buoyancy is accomplished automatically through diverting some of the diver\'s air via a valve to the diver\'s inflator.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and/or scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains. One term, “diver rescue element” may mean a device, element, or unit that aids in bringing a diver to the water surface. A diver rescue element generally may include a gas pressure or breathing monitor as well as a control element. The control element can both monitor gas pressure or diver breathing, as well as invoke a plurality of appropriate responses to any anomalies recorded with respect to gas pressure or diver breathing. A diver rescue element may include additional elements such as transponders, GPS chips, WiFi elements, and more. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of embodiments of the invention, exemplary methods and/or materials are described below. In case of conflict, the patent specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and are not intended to be necessarily limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some embodiments of the invention are herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of embodiments of the invention. In this regard, the description taken with the drawings makes apparent to those skilled in the art how embodiments of the invention may be practiced. It is noted that similar elements in various drawings will have the same number, advanced by the appropriate multiple of 100.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of diver in water;

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of components of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 7A & B are schematic representations of a ballast belt as it may be used in the present invention;

FIGS. 8A & B are schematic representations of an inflation vest as it may be used in the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a flowchart for a method associated with the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of the present invention as related to diver rescue;

FIG. 11 is a schematic representation of an alternative embodiment of the present invention as related to diver rescue; and,

FIG. 12 is a schematic drawing of a prototype of the present invention as described in the Examples.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, relates to a diver rescue system and, more particularly, but not exclusively, to methods and devices for determining that a diver is not breathing or receiving air and then automatically taking appropriate action so as to either revive the diver and/or get him/her to the water surface for rescue.

For purposes of better understanding some embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-11 of the drawings, reference is first made to the construction and operation of a localized drug release system as illustrated in FIG. 1.

Before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited in its application to the details set forth in the following description or exemplified by the Examples. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120274471 A1
Publish Date
11/01/2012
Document #
13549470
File Date
07/15/2012
USPTO Class
340626
Other USPTO Classes
441 90, 441 88, 405186
International Class
/
Drawings
15



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