|Publication number||US20080263752 A1|
|Application number||US 11/721,884|
|Publication date||Oct 30, 2008|
|Filing date||Dec 14, 2005|
|Priority date||Dec 17, 2004|
|Also published as||WO2006065805A2, WO2006065805A3|
|Publication number||11721884, 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|
|Inventors||Kenneth S. Solinsky, Andrew Russell|
|Original Assignee||Insight Technology, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (18), Classifications (6), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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
The illustrated cross-slide assembly 400 may include a nested dovetail set, as shown in
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
As shown in
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
As shown in
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.
With reference now to
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
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
As shown in
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
The battery pack hub and buckle 2008, as shown in
An exemplary embodiment of a battery pack 103 is shown in
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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|Cooperative Classification||A42B3/042, G02B23/125|
|European Classification||A42B3/04B4, G02B23/12H|
|Feb 4, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY, INC., NEW HAMPSHIRE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SOLINSKY, KENNETH S;RUSSELL, ANDREW;REEL/FRAME:020459/0293;SIGNING DATES FROM 20071017 TO 20071117
|Aug 4, 2010||AS||Assignment|
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
|Oct 12, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: L-3 COMMUNICATIONS INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:L-3 INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:027052/0397
Effective date: 20110929