|Publication number||US20070004296 A1|
|Application number||US 11/352,896|
|Publication date||Jan 4, 2007|
|Filing date||Feb 13, 2006|
|Priority date||Jul 2, 2005|
|Publication number||11352896, 352896, US 2007/0004296 A1, US 2007/004296 A1, US 20070004296 A1, US 20070004296A1, US 2007004296 A1, US 2007004296A1, US-A1-20070004296, US-A1-2007004296, US2007/0004296A1, US2007/004296A1, US20070004296 A1, US20070004296A1, US2007004296 A1, US2007004296A1|
|Original Assignee||Herring Bert W|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/172,762, with a filing date of Jul. 2, 2005, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates generally to field of non-powered swimming and swim training aids, and more particularly to such devices that are referred to as kickboards or swim boards.
A kickboard is a non-powered floating device that is used by swimmers as an exercise or a training aid, the kickboard being designed to be held by the swimmer with both hands and in a forward extended position. The buoyancy of the kickboard assists in maintaining the body of the swimmer at or near the surface of the water, and forward movement is accomplished by kicking movement of the legs and feet. A kickboard may be used recreationally for floatation purposes or as a toy, may be used as an exercise accessory to allow the swimmer to swim longer and to cover a much greater distance than can be accomplished without the kickboard, or may be used as a training accessory for competitive swimmers to improve their kicking technique, efficiency and speed.
A kickboard typically comprises a relatively thin, somewhat rectangular, main body, often with a rounded nose portion, and may be provided with handles or similar gripping means disposed to each side of the main body. The upper and lower surfaces may be flat or contoured, and the kickboard may be structured to have good aerodynamics so that water resistance is minimized as the swimmer advances through the water. Conversely, for exercise and training purposes a relatively non-aerodynamic configuration or features may be employed to increase drag and resistance. Examples of kickboards in known prior art include U.S. Pat. No. 4,781,638 to Winters, U.S. Pat. No. 5,158,034 to Hsu, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,694,911 to Gallagher et al.
The known kickboards lack any means to provide information to the swimmer as to his or her speed through the water. Such information may be purely of amusement interest, such as when the kickboard is used by children to determine who can swim the fastest. However, for exercise and training purposes information as to the speed of the swimmer can be highly useful, enabling for example an exercise swimmer to vary swim rates during a long swim with periods of sprinting followed by relatively slower periods, or to provide feedback as to the maintenance of predetermined swimming rates. For competitive athletes, having immediate and continual information on swim speed is vital to determine whether the most optimum kicking technique is being employed, and to allow various kicking techniques to be employed to determine the optimum.
It is an object of this invention therefore, to provide swimmer's kickboard having a speed sensing means and a means to display such information to the user in real time, whether for amusement, exercise or training purposes.
The invention comprises in its most general sense a swimmer's kickboard having a speedometer, i.e., a speed measuring and display device, incorporated therein, such that the speed of the kickboard through the water is determined and displayed to the user. Thus, the invention comprises a kickboard composed of a buoyant, relatively rigid material, such as a polymer foam, having a speed measuring means and a speed display means. The speed measuring means may be of any known type suitable for sensing the rate of passage of the kickboard through the water, and the speed display means may be of any suitable type for displaying speed information to the user that is suitable for use in a wet environment.
In a preferred embodiment, the speed measuring means comprises a propeller mounted to the underside of the kickboard, such that passage of the kickboard through the water causes rotation of the propeller. A housing or guard means generally enclosing or protecting the propeller is preferably provided. Most preferably, the propeller is mounted to the kickboard in a pivoting manner such that the propeller's axis can pivot relative to the board when the user angles the kickboard relative to the water's surface, i.e., out of horizontal.
In an alternative embodiment, the propeller may be mounted such that it is visible to the user.
With reference to the drawings, the invention will now be described in detail with regard for the best mode and the preferred embodiment. In general, the invention is a swimmer's kickboard that incorporates a speedometer such that the rate of travel through the water can be conveyed to the user.
As shown in
The kickboard 10 is provided with a speed measuring means 20 and a speed display means 30. Speed measuring means 20 may be of any suitable type capable of determining the rate of passage of an object through the water, but preferably comprises a non-powered, free-spinning propeller 21 mounted onto a rotating shaft 22, which is connected to the lower surface 15 of the kickboard 10 by brace members 23. The propeller shaft 22 is mounted roughly in parallel to the lower surface 15 such that it will be disposed generally horizontally in the water when the kickboard 10 is in use. In known manner and through known communication and calculation means, rotation of the propeller 21 is translated into revolutions per time and then into distance over time, such as miles per hour, using suitable calculations. For example, a magnet within an armature could be rotated by the shaft 22, creating an electrical circuit whose voltage can be translated into rotational speed.
The resultant speed information is displayed upon a speed display means 30, such as for example a liquid crystal display, light emitting diodes, an analog meter or the like, which is mounted on the upper surface 14 of the kickboard 10 so as to be visible to the user. As shown, the speed display means 30 extends upward from the upper surface 14, but it is contemplated that the speed display means could also be partially or completely disposed in a recess within the upper surface. The speed display means 30 may be comprised of any suitable display device suitable for use in a water environment, and preferably provides numerical information on a display screen 31 mounted in a protective housing 32.
Preferably, the speed measuring means 20 is protected by a housing or guard member 24, the guard member 24 being designed such that it does not interfere with passage of water past the propeller 21. Guard member 24 may comprise, for example, a wire or screen material, or may be provided with solid lateral walls with openings in the front and rear.
In a most preferred embodiment, as best seen in
In an alternative embodiment, as shown in
It is contemplated that equivalents and substitutions to certain elements set forth above may be obvious to those skilled in the art, and therefore the true scope and definition of the invention is to be as set forth in the following claims.
|Cooperative Classification||B63B49/00, B63B35/7933|
|European Classification||B63B35/79E, B63B49/00|