US 2794166 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1957 w. s. FERDON EI'AL 2,794,166
WALKING sTIcKs FOR THE BLIND Filed May 4, 1954 FIG. 2.
INVENTORS WILLIAM S. FERDON WILLIAM V FERDON United States Patent WALKING STICKS FOR THE BLIND William S. Ferdon and William V. Ferdon, Birmingham, Ala.
Application May 4, 1954, Serial No. 427,491
2 Claims. (Cl. 324-41) This invention relates to walking sticks or the like.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a walking stick for the blind which contains a built in alarm circuit which will advise the user that he is following prescribed path.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a walking stick for the blind of the above type which is particularly useful for blind people until such time as they have obtained and trained a seeing eye dog.
Other objects of the invention are to provide a walking stick for the blind bearing the above objects in mind which is of simple construction, inexpensive to manufacture, has a minimum number of parts, is easy to use and efficient in operation.
For other objects and a better understanding of the invention, reference may be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which:
Figure l is a view partly in section and partly in elevation of a walking stick embodying the features of the invention; and
Fig. 2 is a circuit diagram of the device.
Referring now more in detail to the drawing, a hollow walking stick is provided with an externally threaded open lower end 11 onto which an internally threaded plastic tip 12 is screwed. A push button switch 13 is mounted in the walking stick adjacent the upper handle portion thereof while a battery 14 is also mounted in the walking stick 10 intermediate the switch 13 and tip 12. A buzzer, or other sounding or vibrating device 15 is mounted in the walking stick 10 intermediate battery 14 and tip 12. A plate 16 having a central opening 17 is mounted in the stick 10 intermediate the buzzer 15 and tip 12 and slidably receives therethrough a rod 18 to the lower end of which is secured a permanent magnet 19, the upper end of the rod 18 being laterally bent as at 20 and adapted to come in contact with the contacts 21 and 22 mounted in the plate 16 of insulated material. The laterally bent portion 20 is of conductive material and is adapted to close the contacts 21, 22. A spring 23 sleeves the rod 18 and has its upper end connected in suitable manner to plate 16, the lower end thereof being connected to the permanent magnet 19 and serving to retain the magnet in the raised position [shown in Fig. 1, with the contacts 21, 22 open.
One terminal of switch 13 is connected to one terminal of battery 14 (Fig. 2) by means of a wire 24 while the other terminal of battery 14 is connected to contact 22 by a wire 25. The contact 21 is connected to one terminal of buzzer 15 by wire 26 while the other terminal of buzzer 15 is grounded by means of a wire 27. The other terminal of switch 13 is grounded by means of a wire 28 to complete the circuit.
Metallic strips, not shown, are placed upon the floor and extend from the various rooms, for example from the bed to the bath or from a chair in the living room to the kitchen and through the halls and are adapted to be contacted by the tip 12 when the user is employing the cane or walking stick. The strips will draw the permanent magnet 19 downwardly against the action of spring 23 to Patented May 28, 1957 move the laterally extending portion 26 into the operative position to bridge the contacts 21, 22 and to thus sound the buzzer 15 to advise the user that he is following the path prescribed and that the tip 12 is in contact with the metal strips. By means of the switch 13, the device may be easily and readily rendered inoperative so as to turn off the buzzer 15 regardless of whether or not the contacts 21, 22 are closed.
The stick 10 may be formed of plastic, wood or any other suitable material. It will be noted that when the stick is held in a horizontal position, the contacts 21, 22 will be open.
Metal strips may also be provided along steps, doors, and in a large open air yard.
The permanent magnet 19 may, of course, be replaced by a non-magnetized, magnetically permeable material adapted to be drawn downwardly by an external electromagnet, not shown. Such a magnet could be provided at curb stones and at intersections and be energized when a traffic light is red for the blind person to sound a buzzer and advise him of the color of the traflic light. When the light is green, of course, the electro-magnet would not be actuated.
The battery 14 may, of course, be replaced by other sources of power, for example the recently developed atomic reactor batteries. The buzzer 15 may also be located within the handle portion of the walking stick 10, to advise the user by vibration through the hand. Also, while the invention has been described in connection with a walking stick, it will be readily apparent that it is equally applicable to crutches and similar devices.
While various changes may be made in the detail construction, it shall be understood that such changes shall be within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
Having thus set forth and disclosed the nature of our invention, what is claimed is:
1. A walking stick for the blind comprising a hollow tubular portion having a curved handle portion at the upper end thereof, a removable insulative closure of magnetically, non-permeable material at the lower end of said tubular portion remote from said handle adapted to contact magnetically permeable strips forming a prescribed path, a transverse plate mounted within said tubular member, a rod slidable longitudinally through said plate, a permanent magnet connected to the lower end of said rod and adapted to be drawn downwardly by said magnetically permeable strips, spring means sleeving said rod intermediate said plate and magnet normally urging said permanent magnet into a raised position, a laterally extending contact arm connected to the upper end of said rod, a pair of contacts mounted on said plate adapted to be closed by said contact arm upon downward movement of said magnet, vibratory signalling means within said tubular member, and a battery mounted within said tubular member, said battery signal means and contacts being connected in series whereby to actuate said signalling means when said contacts are closed.
2. A walking stick for the blind according to claim 1, said signalling means comprising a buzzer, and an externally operable switch mounted in said tubular mem her and connected in series therewith, said switch being mounted near the handle portion of said tubular portion.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,129,058 Hedden Sept. 6, 1938 2,543,570 Eder Feb. 27, 1951 2,579,404 Stevenson Dec. 18, 1951 2,637,115 Watson May 5, 1953 2,673,404 Abrahamson Mar. 30, 1954