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Publication numberUS20080263752 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/721,884
PCT numberPCT/US2005/045046
Publication dateOct 30, 2008
Filing dateDec 14, 2005
Priority dateDec 17, 2004
Also published asWO2006065805A2, WO2006065805A3
Publication number11721884, 721884, PCT/2005/45046, PCT/US/2005/045046, PCT/US/2005/45046, PCT/US/5/045046, PCT/US/5/45046, PCT/US2005/045046, PCT/US2005/45046, PCT/US2005045046, PCT/US200545046, PCT/US5/045046, PCT/US5/45046, PCT/US5045046, PCT/US545046, US 2008/0263752 A1, US 2008/263752 A1, US 20080263752 A1, US 20080263752A1, US 2008263752 A1, US 2008263752A1, US-A1-20080263752, US-A1-2008263752, US2008/0263752A1, US2008/263752A1, US20080263752 A1, US20080263752A1, US2008263752 A1, US2008263752A1
InventorsKenneth S. Solinsky, Andrew Russell
Original AssigneeInsight Technology, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and Apparatus for Mounting a Vision System
US 20080263752 A1
Abstract
A vision system for mounting an imaging assembly to a helmet through a helmet adapter and a mounting assembly. The mounting assembly includes a receiver for removably mounting an imaging assembly. The receiver is coupled to a cross-slide assembly providing fore-aft and side-to-side movement of the imaging assembly relative to the helmet. A stow pivot/slide assembly is coupled between the cross-slide assembly and the helmet adapter for moving the imaging assembly between a stowed and a deployed position. The vertical position and tilt angle of the imaging assembly is also adjustable by the stow pivot/slide assembly.
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Claims(61)
1. An attachment system for securing a mount to a helmet comprising:
a front assembly configured to be coupled to a front portion of a helmet;
a rear assembly configured to be coupled to a rear portion of a helmet;
a first elongate member having a first end coupled to said front assembly and a second end coupled to said rear assembly; and
a second elongate member coupled to said first elongate member to establish a cable channel therebetween along at least a portion of said first elongate member between said first end and said second end.
2. The attachment system of claim 1, wherein the second elongate member is an upper strap and said first elongate member is a lower strap when the attachment system is coupled to a helmet.
3. The attachment system of claim 1, wherein said first elongate member and said second elongate members comprise textile materials.
4. The attachment system of claim 1, wherein said front assembly comprises a helmet adapter plate, and a front hook coupled to said helmet adapter plate and configured for coupling to a front portion of a helmet; and wherein said rear assembly comprises a battery pack hub and buckle assembly and a rear hook coupled to said battery pack hub and buckle assembly, and configured for coupling to a rear portion of said helmet, said first elongate member extending between said adapter plate and said battery pack hub and buckle assembly.
5. The attachment system of claim 4, wherein said battery pack hub and buckle assembly is coupled to said rear hook by an adjustable strap.
6. The attachment system of claim 4, further comprising a power cable extending from said battery pack hub and buckle assembly toward said adapter plate at least partially disposed in said cable channel.
7. The attachment system of claim 4, further comprising a battery pack for retaining at least one battery, said battery pack hub and buckle assembly configured to provide a mechanical interface to said battery pack.
8. The attachment system of claim 4, wherein said rear hook comprises hook and loop fasteners on at least a portion of a front and a back surface thereof, said hook and loop fastener on said back surface configured to secure said rear hook to said helmet and said hook and loop fastener on said front surface configured to secure said rear hook to a helmet liner.
9. An attachment system for securing a vision system to a helmet comprising:
a first elongate member having a first end for coupling to a feature on a front of a helmet and a second end for coupling to a feature on a rear of the helmet; and
a second elongate member coupled to the first elongate member to establish a cable channel therebetween along at least a portion of the first elongate member between the first end and the second end.
10. The attachment system of claim 9, wherein the second elongate member is an upper strap and said first elongate member is a lower strap, the lower strap maintained in contact with a top surface of a helmet along a substantial portion of its length.
11. The attachment system of claim 9, wherein the first elongate member and the second elongate member comprise webbings that are at least partially sewn together.
12. The attachment system of claim 9, wherein said feature on a front of the helmet comprises a hook on the front of the helmet and said feature on a rear of the helmet comprises a hook on the rear of the helmet.
13. The attachment system of claim 12, wherein the first end of the first elongate member is coupled to said hook on the front of the helmet through a helmet adapter plate and the second end is coupled to said hook on the rear of said helmet through a battery pack hub and buckle assembly.
14. A helmet adapter assembly for a vision system comprising:
a helmet adapter plate;
a front hook coupled to said helmet adapter plate and configured for coupling to a front portion of a helmet;
a rear hook configured for coupling to a rear portion of said helmet;
a battery pack hub and buckle assembly coupled to said rear hook; and
a strap extending between said adapter plate and said battery pack hub and buckle assembly.
15. A helmet adapter assembly according to claim 14, wherein said battery pack hub and buckle assembly is coupled to said rear hook with an adjustable strap.
16. A helmet adapter assembly according to claim 14, further comprising a power cable extending between said battery pack hub and buckle assembly and a connector coupled to said adapter plate.
17. A helmet adapter assembly according to claim 14, wherein said strap comprises a cable channel for covering at least a portion of said power cable extending between said battery pack hub and said helmet adapter plate.
18. A helmet adapter assembly according to claim 14, further comprising a battery pack for retaining at least one battery, said battery pack hub and buckle assembly configured to provide a mechanical interface to said battery pack.
19. A helmet adapter assembly according to claim 18, wherein said battery pack hub and buckle assembly is configured to provide an electrical interface to said at least one battery.
20. A helmet adapter assembly according to claim 14, wherein said rear hook comprises hook and loop fasteners on a front and a back surface thereof, said hook and loop fasteners configured to secure said rear hook to said helmet and to a helmet liner.
21-60. (canceled)
61. A vision system mount assembly comprising:
a receiver configured to be removably coupled to an imaging assembly;
a cross-slide assembly coupled to said receiver and configured for adjusting said imaging assembly in a first plane;
a stow pivot/slide assembly configured to pivot said imaging assembly between a first position and a second position, and configured for adjusting said imaging assembly in a second plane; and
a mount arm extending between said stow pivot/slide assembly and said cross-slide assembly.
62. A vision system mount assembly according to claim 61, wherein said cross-slide assembly comprises a first set of slidably cooperating features and a first lead screw for moving said receiver in a first direction.
63. A vision system mount assembly according to claim 62, wherein said cross-slide assembly comprises a second set of slidably cooperating features and a second lead screw for moving said receiver in a second direction generally transverse to the first direction.
64. A vision system mount according to claim 61, wherein said receiver comprises a hot-shoe arrangement for electrically coupling to said imaging assembly.
65. A vision system mount according to claim 61, wherein said stow pivot/slide assembly comprises a set of slidably cooperating features for adjusting said imaging assembly in said second plane.
66. A vision system mount according to claim 65, wherein said stow pivot/slide assembly comprises a pawl and at least one cooperating slot for releasably maintaining said imaging assembly in a first position in said second plane.
67. A vision system mount according to claim 61, wherein said stow pivot/slide assembly comprises a pivot drum and a detent for pivotally moving said imaging assembly between said first position and said second position.
68. A vision system mount according to claim 61, wherein said cross-slide assembly is coupled to said mount arm to provide an adjustable tilt angle of said imaging assembly relative to said mount arm.
69. A vision system mount according to claim 61, further comprising a retainer configured to removably retain said imaging assembly to said receiver.
70. A vision system mount according to claim 61, wherein said receiver is configured to selectively dispose said imaging assembly in front of one of a left and a right eye when the vision system mount assembly is coupled to a helmet.
71. A receiver for mounting an imaging assembly comprising:
a body portion;
first and second mounting features capable of removably coupling an imaging assembly to said body portion; and
a retainer configured to releasably retain said imaging assembly to said body portion, said retainer biased toward an engaged position.
72. A receiver according to claim 71, further comprising a plurality of electrical contacts capable of electrically coupling to corresponding contacts of said imaging assembly when said imaging assembly is coupled to said receiver.
73. A receiver according to claim 72, wherein said plurality of electrical contacts are disposed on said first and second mounting features.
74. A receiver according to claim 71, wherein said first and second mounting features are symmetrically opposed on said body portion for alternatively coupling said imaging assembly on either a first or a second side of said receiver.
75. A receiver according to claim 71, wherein said first and second mounting features comprise dovetail slots configured to mate with cooperating dovetail features on said imaging assembly.
76. A receiver according to claim 71, wherein said retainer comprises a lever pivotally coupled to said body portion.
77. A receiver according to claim 76, wherein said lever comprises a detent configured to engage a detent opening defined in said imaging system.
78. A receiver according to claim 76, wherein said lever comprises first and second arms associated with said first and second mounting features.
79. A cross-slide assembly for coupling a vision system to a helmet, comprising:
a fore-aft slide configured to be coupled to the helmet;
a fore-aft shuttle slidably coupled to said fore-aft slide and comprising at least one rail; and
a side-side shuttle slidably coupled to said rail, said side-side shuttle configured to be coupled to an imaging assembly.
80. The cross-slide assembly of claim 79, wherein the fore-aft shuttle is configured to provide movement of the imaging assembly toward and away from the helmet and said side-side shuttle is configured to provide movement of the imaging assembly to the left and right of the helmet.
81. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, wherein said fore-aft slide and said fore-aft shuttle comprise nested dovetail features slidably coupling said fore-aft shuttle to said fore-aft slide.
82. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, wherein said side-side shuttle comprises a guide and wherein said rail and said guide comprise nested dovetail features slidably coupling said side-side shuttle to said rail.
83. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, further comprising a fore-aft lead screw coupled between said fore-aft slide and said fore-aft shuttle, rotation of said fore-aft lead screw slidably moving said fore-aft shuttle relative to said fore-aft slide.
84. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, further comprising a forward stop and an aft stop disposed adjacent to opposed ends of said fore-aft slide, said forward stop and said aft stop limiting sliding movement of said fore-aft shuttle relative to said fore-aft slide.
85. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, further comprising an interpupillary lead screw coupled between said fore-aft shuttle and said side-side shuttle, rotation of said interpupillary screw slidably moving said side-side shuttle relative to said rail.
86. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, further comprising first and second stops disposed adjacent to opposed ends of said fore-aft shuttle, said first and second stops limiting sliding movement of said side-side shuttle relative to said rail.
87. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, wherein said fore-aft slide is configured to be coupled to a helmet via a stow pivot/slide.
88. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 87, wherein said fore-aft slide is configured to be coupled to said stow pivot/slide by an eccentric cam, said eccentric cam configured to tilt said fore-aft slide relative to said stow pivot/slide.
89. A cross-slide assembly according to claim 79, wherein said side-side shuttle is configured to be coupled to said imaging assembly via a receiver.
90. A stow pivot/slide assembly comprising:
a slide assembly coupled to a helmet; and
a pivot assembly comprising a pivot housing slidably coupled to said slide assembly and a pivot drum, said pivot assembly further comprising a detent configured to releasably secure said pivot drum in at least a first and a second position relative to said pivot housing.
91. A stow pivot/slide assembly according to claim 90, wherein said detent comprises a biased member coupled between said pivot housing and said pivot drum, said member configured to releasably engage a lateral groove in said pivot drum.
92. A stow pivot/slide assembly according to claim 91, wherein said biased member is a ball biased by a spring.
93. A stow pivot/slide assembly according to claim 90, wherein said detent is configured to releasably secure an imaging assembly coupled to said pivot drum in one of a stowed and a deployed position.
94. A stow pivot/slide assembly according to claim 90, wherein said slide assembly and said pivot assembly comprise cooperating dovetail profiles slidably engaged to one another.
95. A stow pivot/slide assembly according to claim 90, further comprising a slide release assembly coupled between said pivot housing and said slide, said slide release assembly configured to releasably secure said pivot assembly in at least one of a first and second position relative to said slide assembly.
96. A stow pivot/slide assembly according to claim 95, wherein said slide release assembly comprises a release tab coupled to said pivot housing, said release tab having a pawl configured to releasably engage at least one slot in said slide assembly for releasably maintaining a position of said pivot assembly relative to said slide assembly.
97. A system for attaching a vision system to a helmet comprising:
a helmet interface coupled to said helmet; and
a mount assembly coupled to an imaging system, said mount assembly comprising a latch plate, said latch plate releasably coupled to said helmet interface.
98. A system according to claim 97, wherein said helmet interface comprises an adapter plate of a helmet adapter assembly.
99. A system according to claim 97, wherein said latch plate comprises a stationary tab and a spring loaded latch for releasably engaging cooperating features of said helmet interface.
100. A system according to claim 97, further comprising an elastomeric member between said helmet interface and said latch plate, said elastomeric member providing a preload.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/637,097, filed Dec. 17, 2004, and also claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/646,110, filed Jan. 21, 2005. The entire disclosure of both applications are incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention is generally related to vision systems and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for mounting a vision system to, for example, a helmet.

BACKGROUND

Vision systems, such as night or low light vision systems, include image intensification, thermal imaging, and fusion monoculars, binoculars, bioculars, and goggles, whether hand-held, weapon mounted, or helmet mounted. In a helmet mounted configuration, the helmet may include a helmet mount fixed thereto for removably receiving an associated mount affixed to the vision system. Both the helmet mount and the vision system mount may be configured to allow for fit and location adjustment of the vision system. For example, the helmet and vision system mounts combined may allow vertical adjustment, fore and aft adjustment, interpupilary distance adjustment, tilt adjustment, and may allow rotation of the vision system to a stowed area adjacent a top surface of the helmet.

Facile orientation of the vision system to a user's fit and location preferences is a desirable feature in a vision system. One difficulty associated with providing these features has been the limited physical space available for mounting. This difficulty has been exacerbated by the advancement of fusion systems. Fusion vision systems are typically used by military and law enforcement personnel and include image intensification tubes, focal plane arrays, and displays that take up space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, together with other objects, features and advantages, reference should be made to the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the following figures wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a vision system consistent with one embodiment of the present invention mounted to a helmet;

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2A is a front exploded view of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B is an isometric exploded view of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a partial exploded view of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of a portion of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a portion of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a portion of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the receiver of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a rear isometric view of the dovetail of the imaging assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a front isometric view of the dovetail of the imaging assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is side view of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is an isometric exploded view of a portion of the cross-slide assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 13 is a side view illustrating an in-sight/deployed position of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 14 is a side view illustrating an out-of-sight position of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 15 is an exploded isometric view illustrating details of the stow pivot of the mount assembly of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 16 is an exploded isometric view of the stow pivot and slide assembly of the mount assembly the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 17 is a rear isometric view of the mounting interface of the vision system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 18 is an isometric view showing the attachment of the mounting interface of the vision system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 19 is an isometric view of the vision system shown in FIG. 1, not including the helmet;

FIG. 20 is a front-side isometric view of the helmet adaptor assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 21 is a rear-side isometric view of the helmet adaptor assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 22 is an exploded view of a portion of the helmet adaptor plate assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 23 is an exploded view of the helmet adaptor plate and front hook assembly of the helmet adaptor plate assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 24 is an exploded view of a rear hook assembly of the helmet adaptor assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 25 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a power cable and a strap assembly consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 26 is a plan view of the strap assembly of FIG. 25;

FIG. 27 is side elevation view of the strap assembly of FIG. 26;

FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view of the strap assembly of FIG. 26;

FIG. 29 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a battery pack hub and buckle consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 30 is a plan view of the battery pack hub and buckle of FIG. 29;

FIG. 31, is a cross-sectional view of the battery pack hub and buckle of FIG. 29;

FIG. 32 is an exploded rear view of the battery pack hub and buckle of FIG. 29;

FIG. 33 is a rear view of the battery pack hub and buckle of FIG. 29;

FIG. 34 is a partial exploded rear view of the battery pack hub and buckle of FIG. 29;

FIG. 35 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a battery pack hub and buckle and strap assembly consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 36 is a rear, partial exploded view of the battery pack hub and buckle of FIG. 29;

FIG. 37 depicts an embodiment of a connector suitable for use in connection with a battery pack hub consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 38 depicts an embodiment of wiring detail between a cable and a connector consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 39 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a battery pack hub and buckle and strap assembly coupled to a rear hook assembly consistent with the present invention; and

FIG. 40 illustrates an embodiment of a battery pack consistent with the present invention mounted to a helmet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a side view of a vision system 100 consistent with one embodiment of the invention mounted to a helmet 101 through a helmet adapter assembly 2000. FIGS. 2, 2A, and 2B are assembly and exploded views of the vision system 100. The vision system 100 may include a mount assembly 102 and an imaging assembly 104 removably affixed to the mount assembly 102. A receiver 106 may provide a mechanical and electrical interface between the mount assembly 102 and the imaging assembly 104. As described in greater detail herein, the receiver 106 may include surfaces defining first 108 and second 110 slots, e.g. dovetail slots, for receiving associated dovetails 114, 112, respectively, associated with, and/or coupled to, the imaging assembly 104 for removably securing the imaging assembly 104 to the mount assembly 102.

As depicted, the imaging assembly 104 may be configured as a monocular, including an image intensification channel 116 and a thermal channel 118. Processing electronics associated with the image intensification channel 116 and the thermal channel 118 may be disposed within a housing 120, which may be sealed/waterproof to protect the electronics from contaminants and water.

The system 100 may be powered by one or more batteries disposed in a removable battery pack 103 coupled to the helmet 101. Power from the batteries may be provided to the imaging assembly 104 through an electrical connection extending through the mount assembly 102 and to the imaging assembly 104. The electrical connection may be established, at least in part, through one or more cables 140, extending to hot shoes 122, 124 associated with each of the slots 108, 110, as shown in FIGS. 3-8. The hot shoes 122, 124 may provide an interface for providing connection to the imaging assembly 104 through corresponding hot shoes 126 associated with each of the dovetails 112, 114, shown in FIG. 10. Information from the image intensification (I2) channel 116 may be fused with the information from the thermal channel 118 and may be presented for viewing through the eyepiece 130. The eyepiece 130 may include one or more ocular lenses.

FIGS. 3-7 illustrate an exemplary mount assembly 102. The illustrated exemplary embodiment includes a cross-slide assembly 400 coupled to a stow pivot and slide (SPS) assembly 406 through a mount arm 404. As described in greater detail herein, the mount assembly 102 may allow adjustment of the fore, aft, tilt, and vertical position of the imaging assembly 104 relative to the helmet 101. In addition, the SPS assembly 406 may facilitate pivoting of mount arm 404 to move the cross-slide assembly 400 and the imaging assembly 104 affixed thereto between a stowed, or out-of-sight, position adjacent a top surface of the helmet, as shown in FIG. 14, and an operable, or insight, position, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 13.

According to one aspect, the power to the imaging assembly 104 may be disconnected when the imaging assembly 104 is in the stowed position. According to this aspect, the mount assembly 102 may include a magnet and a Hall Effect switch package 602, as shown in FIG. 6, a Reed switch, etc. When the imaging assembly 104 is in the stowed position, the magnet may cause a change in the magnetic flux imparted to the Hall Effect switch 602, thereby placing the Hall Effect switch 602 in a state (open/closed) to turn off the imaging assembly electronics, or put the imaging assembly in a lower power consumption mode. When the imaging assembly 104 is moved into the operable position, the flux imparted to the Hall Effect switch 602 may place the Hall Effect switch 602 in a state to enable the imaging assembly electronics.

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the receiver 106 of FIG. 1. The illustrated exemplary receiver 106 includes a body portion 800, a lever 802, a lever receiver 804, first 122 and second 124 hot shoes, a release pin 806, and a torsion spring 808. In one embodiment, the receiver 106 may be constructed from a 7075 T6 aluminum alloy to provide a high elastic modulus and high bearing strength.

The hot shoes 122, 124 may be received within an opening 810 in the body portion 800 and may be fixed within the body portion 800 to extend from associated openings 812, 814 to expose contacts 816 to associated contacts 1000 on the hot shoes 126 of dovetails 112, 114. The hot shoe contacts 816 may provide power and ground connections from the batteries, as well as power and ground connections from the Hall Effect switch 602. The contacts 816 may be constructed from a brass 360 alloy with a plating system of copper, electroless nickel and gold to provide low electrical contact resistance and corrosion and wear capability. In one embodiment, the gold layer may by about 2.5 micrometers in thickness. Molded plastic inserts may be used to support the hot shoes/contacts. The inserts may be bonded to an aluminum receiver using 3M 2216 epoxy, and may be constructed from a 20% glass fiber reinforced polyetherimide (PEI) plastic, such as ULTEM available from GE Plastics, to provide tolerance to thermal stress and corrosion and wear capability.

Electrical connections from the batteries and the Hall Effect switch 602 may be made through the conductors of cable 140, which may extend through an opening 818 in the body portion 800 for connection to associated pins 820 on the back of the hot shoes 122, 124. The receiver hot shoes 122, 124 and the dovetail hot shoes 126 may be configured to provide appropriate electrical connection to the imaging assembly 104 through the dovetails 112, 114 and corresponding slots 108, 110 on either side of the receiver 106, i.e., with the dovetail 114 received within slot 108 or with the dovetail 112 received within slot 110.

The lever receiver 804 may be at least partially received within the opening 810 and may be secured to the body portion 800. The lever 802 may include first 830 and second 832 arms having first 831 and second 833 detents, respectively, and an actuating tab 834. The lever 802 may be positioned over the lever receiver 804 with openings 836, 838 in the arms 830, 832 aligned with corresponding openings 840, 842, respectively, in projections provided on the lever receiver 804. The release pin 806 may extend through openings 836, 838, 840, 842 and through a central opening 844 in the torsion spring 808 to secure the lever 802 to the lever receiver 804, e.g. as shown in FIG. 6. One end 846 of the torsion spring 808 may extend into an opening 848 in the lever receiver 804 and the other end 850 of the torsion spring 808 may be positioned against an inside surface of the actuating tab 834. The lever 802 may thereby be pivotally coupled to the body portion 800, via the lever receiver 804, about the release pin 806 against a bias of the torsion spring 808. When the lever 802 is in a rest position, the detents 831, 833 may extend into the slots 108, 110, respectively, of the receiver 106.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate the dovetail 112. Since both dovetails 112, 114 may be similar in construction, for clarity only the dovetail 112 is shown. The dovetails 112, 114 may be constructed of a high strength material such as a 7075 T6 aluminum alloy, and may be mounted directly to side surfaces of the imaging assembly 104, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Electrical connections from contacts 1000 of the dovetail hot shoe 126 may be provided to the imaging assembly 104 through associated conductors 900 and a connector interface 902.

As shown, the dovetail 112 may include a configuration for mating with the slot 110 of the receiver 106. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the dovetail 112 has a generally tapered and dovetailed configuration. The tapered geometry along the length of the dovetails may allow for initial misalignment during insertion of the dovetail 112 into a corresponding slot 110, and may also allow for manufacturing variances between imaging assemblies and/or mounting assemblies, while still permitting the dovetails 112, 114 to mate tightly with the mating slots 108, 110 of the receiver 106, thereby establishing a rigid connection. Other mating configurations may also, and/or alternatively, be provided.

As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, a top surface of the dovetail 112 may include a detent opening 904 therein. When the dovetail 112 is mated with the slot 110, the actuating tab 834 of the mount may be depressed to rotate the detents 831, 833 of the lever 802 out of the slots 108, 110. Once the dovetail 112 is fully engaged with the slot 110, the actuating tab 834 may be released to allow the detent 833 to at least partially extend into the detent opening 904 of the dovetail 112. Positioning of the detent 833 within the detent opening 904 may secure the imaging assembly 104 to the mount assembly 102. The imaging assembly 104 may be removed from the mount assembly 102 by depressing the actuating tab 834 to remove the detent 833 from the detent opening 904. The imaging assembly 104 may then be separated from the receiver 106 of the mount assembly 102 by sliding the dovetail 112 out of the slot 110. The detent and detent opening may cooperate to provide a latch and/or retainer configured to releasably or removably retain the imaging assembly 104 to the body portion 800 of the receiver 106.

Advantageously, in a vision system 100 consistent with the present invention, the imaging assembly 104 may be positioned on either side of the receiver 106 via cooperating dovetails 112, 114 and slots 108, 110. Positioning the imaging assembly on either side of the receiver 106 may allow the imaging assembly to be selectively disposed in front of either the right eye or the left eye of a user. Furthermore, attachment and removal of the imaging assembly 104 from the mount assembly 102 may be accomplished with one hand.

Turning now to FIG. 6 and FIGS. 11-12, a cross-slide assembly 400 consistent with the present invention may provide the capability to precisely locate the imaging assembly 104 in a plane. The cross-slide assembly may be used to position the imaging assembly 104 at the proper eye relief for a range of users in front of either the right or left eye. Fore and aft travel of the cross slide assembly 400 may be configured to accommodate the eye relief distances of the imaging assembly 104 required for any particular application, e.g. for use with general purpose protective masks, laser protective eyewear and/or wind, sand and dust goggles.

The illustrated cross-slide assembly 400 may include a nested dovetail set, as shown in FIG. 6, and may be constructed from 7075 T6 aluminum alloy members. Adjustment of the cross-slide assembly 400 may be accomplished by two lead screws 604, 606. Lead screw 604 may provide fore-aft adjustment of the cross-slide assembly 400, and lead screw 606 may provide adjustment of the interpupillary (lateral) position of an imaging assembly 104 coupled to the cross-slide assembly 400. Thumb wheels 608, 610, 611 may be associated with respective lead screws 604, 606, and may facilitate turning of the lead screws 604, 606. In particular, the fore-aft lead screw 604 may drive a fore-aft shuttle 1202 along a fore-aft slide 1204 between forward and aft stops 1206, 1208. A side-side shuttle, including and/or provided by guides 621 coupled to the receiver 106, may be slidably positioned in associated rails 622 on the fore-aft shuttle 1202. The interpupillary lead screw 606 may extend through a threaded portion 614 on the receiver 106 and may be supported on the fore-aft shuttle 1202 for driving the side-side shuttle, including the receiver 106, across the fore-aft shuttle 1202 between left 616 and right 618 stops. In one embodiment, the lead screws 604, 606 may drive associated slides with a 4 start, 32 pitch thread. This may provide the accuracy required to locate the eyepiece at an appropriate rate of travel.

Tolerances and surface finishes of the cross-slide assembly 400 may be established to create a smooth motion. Mechanical play between fore-aft shuttle 1202 and the fore-aft slide 1204 may be minimized during the assembly process by providing Actel glides 1210 disposed between the fore-aft shuttle 1202 and the fore-aft slide 1204. The glides 1210 may be nested within pockets 1212 of the fore-aft shuttle and may be shimmed to provide a maximum clearance of, for example, 0.001 of an inch. Similar glides 620 may be disposed between the guides 621 coupled to the receiver 106 and the associated rails 622 and/or the fore-aft shuttle 1202.

As shown in FIG. 11, the mount arm 404 may support the cross-slide assembly 400 and may provide the load path to the stow pivot and slide (SPS) assembly 406. In one embodiment, the mount arm 404 may be constructed from a 7075 T6 aluminum alloy. As shown, for example, in FIGS. 3-4 and 11, the mount arm 404 may be coupled to the pivot housing 402 of the SPS assembly 406 by two 3/32 stainless steel spring pins 420, 422 and two flat head fasteners 424, 426, e.g., as shown in FIG. 4. The pins 420, 422 may create a line fit between the mating parts with minimized mechanical play. The flat head screws 424, 426 give rotational strength to actuate the pivot mechanics.

As shown in FIGS. 6-7, the cross-slide assembly 400 may be coupled to the mount arm 404 by two shoulder screws 640, 642. Assembly play may be managed at this interface by o-rings 650, 654, which may apply a preload to the mating surfaces. This technique may maintain the stability of the mount assembly 102 and imaging assembly 104. The cross-slide assembly 400 may be tightened against the mount arm 404 by a tilt adjustment lever 644 that rotates about a pin or screw 646. Rotation of the lever 644 may present an eccentric cam surface 656 for reliably tightening and releasing the connection between the mount arm 404 and the cross-slide assembly 400 to allow pivoting of the cross-slide assembly 400 relative to the mount arm 404 about the shoulder screws 640, 642.

In the foregoing manner, a pivot connection may thus be made to the cross-slide assembly 400 to allow the user to adjust the tilt of the mount assembly 102. In the prone position, tilt adjustment may aid the user by reducing the required rotation of the head to perform surveillance. This capability may significantly reduce head and neck fatigue.

The stow pivot and slide (SPS) assembly 406, as shown for example in FIGS. 3-4 and 11, may allow the user to pivot the mount assembly 102 into a stow position and to make vertical adjustments of the imaging assembly 104 to optimize the location of the eyepiece 130 for the user's individual requirements. It also completes the load path of the imaging assembly 104 and mount assembly 102 by attaching to the helmet adaptor assembly 2000.

As shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, the illustrated exemplary system 100 is configured to latch in both out-of-sight and in-sight positions without the need for user to push, pull or twist any button, lever or knob. This function is provided by the pivot assembly 1500 of the SPS assembly 406 shown in FIG. 15. Biased members, such as ball detents 1502 in the pivot assembly 1500 may engage associated features, such as lateral grooves 1504, in a pivot drum 1506, which may be coupled to the mount arm 404, to hold the mount arm 404 and imaging assembly 104 latched in place without the need for additional mechanics. Each ball detent 1502 may be preloaded with 25 lb of force, e.g. by springs 1508 which acts on the pivot drum 1506. In either the out-of-sight or the in-sight position, the ball detents 1502 may engage in one of the lateral grooves 1504 to hold the imaging assembly 104 securely in place.

When the user pulls the mounting arm 404 to place the mount assembly 102 in the alternative position, the ball detents 1502 may retract from the lateral groove 1504. The ball detents 1502 may run in a raceway around the pivot drum 1506 until they engage in a second lateral groove. This action may latch the imaging assembly 104 in the alternative position. According to one embodiment, the ball detents 1502 may thus be configured to break free if the user pulls the imaging assembly 104 and/or the mount assembly 102 out of either fixed position. According to one embodiment, the lateral grooves 1504 may be angularly spaced approximately 135 degrees apart on the pivot drum 1506.

Correspondingly, the angular separation between the out-of-sight position and the in-sight position may also be approximately 135 degrees. Once the ball detents 1502 break free of the first lateral groove 1504, the mount may rotate 135 degrees and latch in place when the ball detents 1502 engage the second lateral groove. FIG. 13 shows the mount in an in-sight position, and FIG. 14 shows the mount in an out-of-sight position. Various other suitable angles may also be employed.

With reference now to FIGS. 15-16, a slide assembly 1600 of the SPS assembly 406 may allow the mount assembly 102, via the pivot housing 402, to translate up and down to facilitate the positioning of the imaging assembly 104. In the illustrated embodiment, the slide action of the slide assembly 1600 is established by a cooperating dovetail profiles between the pivot housing 402 and the slide 1604.

The pivot housing 402 may be fixed in a plurality of alternative heights relative to the slide 1604 by a release assembly 1605. A pawl 1510 on a release tab 1608 may engage an array of slots, e.g., horizontal slots 1606, to maintain the pivot housing 402 at one of a plurality of alternative heights. The release tab 1608 may be fixed to the pivot housing 402 by a pin 1512 and a mounting frame 1514. The release tab 1608 may be depressed to rotate about the pin 1512 releasing the pawl 1510 from the horizontal slots 1606 to free the pivot hosing 402 for vertical adjustment relative to the slide 1604.

With reference also to FIGS. 16, 17 and 18, a latch plate 1612 of the SPS assembly 406 may attach the mount assembly 102 to a helmet interface. Consistent with one embodiment, the helmet interface may be an adaptor plate 1800 of the helmet adaptor assembly (HAA) 2000, shown particularly in FIGS. 1 and 19-21. The latch plate 1612 may be supported by a fastener through an existing mounting hole in the front of the helmet 101. Additional stability may be provided by a front hook 2002 of the adaptor plate 1800 which may anchor the helmet adaptor assembly 2000 to the brim of the helmet 101. The mount assembly 102 may lock into the adaptor plate 1800.

The mount assembly 102 may be locked into the helmet adaptor plate 1800 by a stationary tab 1700 and spring loaded latch 1702 of the latch plate 1612. The tab 1700 may be engaged into a pocket at the top of the adapter plate 1800 and then the mount assembly 102 may be rotated downward to catch the latch 1702 in a latch receiver 2004. Precision tolerancing between the helmet adaptor plate 1800 and the latch plate may minimize the mechanical play at the interface. Remaining mechanical play may be reduced and/or eliminated by a light preloaded applied by a compliant pressure pad disposed between the adaptor plate 1800 and the latch plate 1612. According to one embodiment, the compliant pressure pad may be a 60 durometer SANTOPRENE thermoplastic elastomer pressure pad. The mount assembly 102 may be released from the adaptor plate 1800 by depressing the release lever 1704 of the latch plate 1612 to release the latch 1702 from the latch receiver 2004 and pulling the mount assembly 102 free.

The SPS assembly 406 may be constructed from materials selected to balance the system weight and the stiffness and strength requirements for the specific component. In one embodiment, the pivot housing 402, pivot drum 1506, and latch plate 1612 may be constructed from 7075 T6 aluminum.

Turning again to FIG. 1 and also to FIGS. 19-21, the helmet adapter assembly 2000 may include a helmet adapter plate 1800 coupled to the front hook 2002, a cable strap assembly 2006 extending from the adapter plate 1800 to a battery pack hub and buckle 2008, and a rear hook 2010 coupled to the battery pack hub 2008. FIGS. 22-23 show the adapter plate 1800 and front hook 2002 assembly and FIG. 24 shows the rear hook 2010 assembly. The front and rear hooks 2002, 2010 may be configured to engage the front and rear rims of the helmet 101. The cable strap assembly 2006 may be tightened against the battery pack hub and buckle 2008 to tighten the helmet adaptor assembly 2000 against the helmet 101. As shown in FIG. 24, the rear hook 2010 may be provided with a hook and loop fastener 2400, such as a VELCRO brand fastener, on front 2402 and back 2404 surfaces thereof for fastening the back surface 2404 against a corresponding hook and loop fastener affixed to the inside surface of the helmet 101 and for fastening the front surface 2402 against a helmet liner or padding (not shown).

As shown in FIG. 25 a power cable 2500 may extend from the battery pack hub and buckle 2008 through the strap assembly 2006 and to a connector 2502 coupled to the cable 2500 as shown, for example, in FIGS. 37-38. The connector 2502 may be coupled to the helmet adapter 1800, e.g. as shown in FIGS. 19-23, to provide an interface for an electrical connection from the battery pack 103 to the vision system 100 through corresponding contacts 1620 coupled to the SPS 406, e.g., such as shown in FIGS. 16 and 17. The contacts 1620 may be constructed from a brass 360 alloy with a plating system of copper, electroless nickel and gold.

The cable 2500 may be secured to the helmet 101. In one embodiment consistent with the present invention, the cable 2500 may be secured to the helmet 101 in such a manner as to avoid risk of the cable snagging on elements that may contact the helmet 101. According to one such embodiment, the strap assembly 2006 may be configured to provide a cable channel 2801 for covering at least a portion of the cable 2500. As shown, for example, in FIGS. 26-28, the strap assembly 2006 may include a first elongate member, such as an upper webbing 2800, and a second elongate member, such as a lower webbing 2802. The upper webbing 2800 may be wider than the lower webbing 2802. The edges of the upper webbing 2800 may be stitched to the edges of the lower webbing 2802 to establish a cable channel 2801 between the upper and lower webbings 2800, 2802. The edges of the upper and lower webbings 2800, 2802 may be continuously and/or intermittently stitched together. Alternative techniques may also be employed for continuously and/or intermittently coupling the upper and lower webbings 2800, 2802 together along at least a portion of the expanse thereof. As shown for example in FIGS. 20-21 and 25, the cable 2500 may be passed through this channel 2801 from the battery pack hub and buckle 2008 and may be terminated by the connector 2502.

The battery pack hub and buckle 2008, as shown in FIGS. 30-39, may provide a mechanical interface to a battery pack 103 and an electrical interface between one or more batteries in the battery pack 103 and the cable 2500. As shown for example, in FIGS. 33-36 the cable 2500 may be terminated in the battery pack hub 2008 by electrically connecting conductors 3300 of the cable 2500 to associated contacts 3200 exposed at a front surface 3202 of the battery pack hub and buckle 2008. The contacts 3200 may be positioned to electrically connect to associated contacts on a battery pack 103. As shown in FIG. 39, the battery pack hub and buckle 2008 may include a buckle portion 3900 for receiving a strap 3902 to adjustably couple the rear hook 2010 to the battery pack hub and buckle 2008.

An exemplary embodiment of a battery pack 103 is shown in FIGS. 1, 19, and 40. As shown, the battery pack 103 may be contoured to the helmet 101, and may be waterproof as well as sand and dust proof. The battery pack 103 may removably attach to the battery pack hub and buckle 2008. In one embodiment, the battery pack 103 may hold four “AA” size batteries. According to one embodiment, all of the batteries may be installed in the same orientation, e.g. with a plus (+) end up to provide ease of installation. Symbols on the outside of the housing as well as (+) plus marks inside the top housing may clearly indicate correct battery orientation.

In addition to being contoured to fit the helmet 101, the sides and edges of the battery pack 103 may be tapered. By contouring the battery pack 103 to closely follow the shape of the helmet 101, the battery pack 103 may benefit from the structural integrity of the helmet 101 for support. The unique shape of the battery pack 103 may minimize any snag hazards. According to an embodiment consistent with the present invention, the battery pack cover may attach to the battery pack body by means of one or more thumbscrews 4002. In an embodiment herein, the one or more thumbscrews 4000 may be shrouded to minimize any snag hazard while at the same time permitting easy manipulation and/or opening of the battery pack 103 by users wearing gloves of any kind. In one embodiment, the battery pack may be constructed from a 20% glass filled polyetherimide, such as ULTEM. A thumbscrew 4000 may releasable secure the battery pack 103 to the battery pack hub and buckle 2008, e.g. by operating a threaded, bayonet, etc., securement feature which may engage opening 3901. Various alternative configurations may also be employed for releasably engaging the battery pack to the battery pack hub and buckle assembly.

According to an aspect, the present disclosure may provide an attachment system for securing a mount to a helmet. The system may include a front assembly configured to be coupled to a front portion of a helmet and a rear assembly configured to be coupled to a rear portion of a helmet. The system may also include a first elongate member having a first end coupled to the front assembly and a second end coupled to the rear assembly. A second elongate member may be coupled to the first elongate member to establish a cable channel therebetween along at least a portion of the first elongate member between the first and second ends.

According to an aspect, the present disclosure may provide an attachment system for securing a vision system to a helmet. The attachment system may include a first elongate member having a first end for coupling to a feature on a front of a helmet and a second end for coupling to a feature on a rear of the helmet. The attachment system may additionally include a second elongate member coupled to the first elongate member to establish a cable channel therebetween along at least a portion of the first elongate member between the first end and the second eng.

According to one aspect, the present disclosure may provide a vision system mount assembly including a receiver configured to be removably coupled to an imaging assembly. The vision system mount assembly may further include a cross-slide assembly coupled to the receiver, in which the cross-slide assembly may be configured to move the imaging assembly in a first plane. A stow pivot/slide assembly may be configured to pivot the imaging assembly between a first position and a second position, and may further be configured to move the imaging assembly in a second plane. The vision system mount assembly may also include a mount arm extending between the stow pivot/slide assembly and the cross-slide assembly.

According to another aspect, a receiver for mounting an imaging assembly may be provided including a body portion, and first and second mounting features capable of removably coupling an imaging assembly to the body portion. The receiver may also include a retainer configured to releasably retain the imaging assembly to the body portion. The retainer may be biased toward an engaged position.

According to yet another aspect, a cross-slide assembly for coupling a vision system to a helmet may be provided. The cross-slide assembly may include a fore-aft slide configured to be coupled to the helmet. A fore-aft shuttle may be slidably coupled to the fore-aft slide and may include at least one rail. The cross-slide assembly may also include a side-side shuffle that may be slidably coupled to the rail. The side-side shuttle may be configured to be coupled to an imaging assembly.

According to a further aspect, a stow pivot/slide assembly may be provided including a slide assembly coupled to a helmet. The stow pivot/slide assembly may also include a pivot assembly having a pivot housing that may be slidably coupled to the slide assembly, and a pivot drum. The pivot assembly may further include a detent configured to releasably secure the pivot drum in at least a first and a second position relative to the pivot housing.

According to still another aspect, a helmet adapter assembly for a vision system may be provided. The helmet adapter assembly may include a helmet adapter plate, a front hook coupled to the helmet adapter plate and configured for coupling to a front portion of a helmet. The helmet adapter assembly may also include a rear hook configured for coupling to a rear portion of the helmet. A battery pack hub and buckle assembly may be coupled to the rear hook. The helmet adapter assembly may also include a strap extending between the adapter plate and the battery pack hub and buckle assembly.

According to yet another aspect, the present disclosure may relate to a system for attaching a vision system to a helmet. The system may include a helmet interface coupled to the helmet, and a mount assembly coupled to an imaging system. The mount assembly may include a latch plate, in which the latch plate may be releasably coupled to the helmet interface.

According to yet another aspect, a strap assembly may be provided. The strap assembly may include an upper webbing and a lower webbing coupled together to establish a cable channel therebetween at least along a portion of the lower webbing. The strap assembly securing a battery pack to a helmet between a front rim and a rear rim.

Although several embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail herein, the invention is not limited hereto. It will be appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the art that various modifications can be made without materially departing from the novel and advantageous teachings of the invention. Accordingly, the embodiments disclosed herein are by way of example. It is to be understood that the scope of the invention is not to be limited thereby.

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Referenced by
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US7963426 *Mar 10, 2006Jun 21, 2011Vetronix AGReceptacle which can be fixed to a head covering and is intended for attachments for sighting devices
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US20110239354 *Feb 2, 2011Oct 6, 2011Wilcox Industries Corp.Helmet mounting system and mounting shoe interface
US20130191976 *Jul 26, 2012Aug 1, 2013Vladimiro PizziHelmet with flush aligned shield when closed
US20140139407 *Feb 29, 2012May 22, 2014Recon Instruments Inc.Modular heads-up display systems
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Classifications
U.S. Classification2/422
International ClassificationA42B1/24
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/042, G02B23/125
European ClassificationA42B3/04B4, G02B23/12H
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 4, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY, INC., NEW HAMPSHIRE
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Aug 4, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: L-3 INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:024786/0351
Effective date: 20100415
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Owner name: L-3 COMMUNICATIONS INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED
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Effective date: 20110929