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Publication numberUS3041021 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 26, 1962
Filing dateJun 23, 1958
Priority dateJun 23, 1958
Publication numberUS 3041021 A, US 3041021A, US-A-3041021, US3041021 A, US3041021A
InventorsLawrence Jaffe David
Original AssigneePolarad Electronics Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic survival device actuation system
US 3041021 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 26, 1962 Filed June 23, 1958 D. JAFFE 3,041,021]

AUTOMATIC SURVIVAL DEVICE ACTUATION SYSTEM 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR D. LAWRENCE JAFFE ATTORMEY-S.

June 26, 1962 o. JAFFE 3,041,021

AUTOMATIC SURVIVAL DEVICE. ACTUATION SYSTEM Filed June 25, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Iii-$2 INVENTOR.

D. LAWRENCE JAFFE ATTORNEYS United States Patent Qfifice 3,041,321 Patented June 26, 1962 3,041,021 AUTOMATIC SURVIVAL DEVICE ACTUATION SYSTEM David Lawrence Jatie, Great Neck, N.Y., assignor to Polar-ad Electronics Corporation, Long Island City, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed June 23, 1958, Ser. No. 743,821 14 Claims. (Cl. 244147) The present invention relates to a system for rendering survival devices operative and particularly to a radio system for automatically actuating survival devices, such as life preservers, parachutes, life rafts and the like.

Survival devices are needed in times of emergency or disaster, which obviously is a period of great stress and when each second of time can be the difference between life or death. There can be no time wasted fumbling with latches, pulling pins or cords or the like in order to make a survival device operative. Instructions that would be ordinarily remembered and followed in normal times are forgotten or confused in times of stress. In order to avoid the possibility of mistakes or errors in emergencies, a great deal of time and effort has been spent attempting to make survival devices ready for immediate use but with limited success. As an example, life jackets of the type normally used on large vessels are filled with cork, kapok, or other light buoyant material to provide a lift jacket that is ready for immediate use, but this type of filling makes the jacket bulky and awkward when worn. Because of the inherent awkwardness of such a life jacket, there is a tendency not to wear it until an actual need arises. However, the great majority of survival devices in use today require some acts of the user or wearer to actuate them. There are inflatable type life jackets available which avoid the bulkiness and awkwardness of the ready-to-use jacket, but these require some acts be performed by the wearer to inflate them, such as connecting the life jacket to a source of compressed air or carbon dioxide. Similarly to operate conventional parachutes a ripcord must 'be manually pulled after a certain length of time upon leaving the airplane. In times of stress the operator might pull the ripcord too early thus possibly getting the shroud of the parachute caught on the planes fuselage. Since the parachute acts as a survival device only if the ripcord is pulled, if the wearer is unconscious on the downward descent or otherwise unable to pull the ripcord, the survival device is of little use.

With larger numbers of privately owned boats and airplanes being used throughout the United States as a source of family recreation and means of transportation, safety authorities have urged as a matter of safety that a survival device should always be worn by those on the craft, especially the smaller children.

Accordingly a need exists for a survival device that will be rendered operative automatically when the need arises without requiring any further acts of the wearer.

It is an object of the present invention to provide means for automatically rendering operative a survival device upon the separation of the survival device from a craft.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an actuator unit for attachment to the standard types of survival devices which is free from any physical attachment to any outside source;

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a system for positively actuating a large number of survival devices requiring no further action of the wearers upon removal from a vessel or craft.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a system for automatically inflating a life jacket when the wearer falls overboard or otherwise removes himself from the vessel.

A still further object is to provide positive actuation of a parachute after a suitable time interval upon leaving an airplane.

Still another object is to provide a survival device actuating system that accomplishes all of the above and yet is simple, relatively inexpensive and reliable in operation.

Other objects and features of the invention will be more apparent when the following description is considered in connection with the annexed drawings in which,

FIGURE 1 is a perspective drawing of a standard type life jacket showing an actuator unit according to the present invention attached thereto;

FIGURE 2 is a schematic diagram showing one form of actuator unit;

FIGURE 3 is a schematic diagram showing one form of connection of a loop antenna mounted on a vessel;

FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of a parachute showing an actuating unit attached thereto; and

FIGURE 5 is a schematic diagram showing another form of the actuator unit adapted for use on the parachute.

Referring now to FIGURE 1 an inflatable life jacket 11 is provided with an actuator unit 12 which is fastened in any known or suitable manner to the life jacket 11, preferably in close proximity to the connection for the intake valve 13 on the life jacket 11. Attached to valve 13 is a hose 14- with the other end of the hose 14% connected to a container 16 at 17 as shown in FIG. 2.. The bottom portion of container 16 is pivoted about a hinge 18 and has holding clamps 20 attached therein for holding a standard type carbon dioxide capsule or cartridge 19 fixedly in place. On the side of container 16 opposite the hinge 18 is attached a clasp 25 which fits over a projection 35 on the hinged bottom portion of container 16 for holding the top and bottom sections together for making a tight seal. It will be understood that container 16 is one way for channeling the escaping gas from the carbon dioxide capsule 16 to the life jacket 11 and that any other devised way of accomplishing the same purpose may be employed. Located within the upper portion of the container 16 is a piercing mechanism 21 having a sharp pointed prong 23 which is poised above the exposed end of the carbon dioxide capsule 19. The piercing mechanism 21 has a spring 22 normally keeping the sharp pointed prong 23 away from the carbon dioxide capsule 19. A solenoid 24 has an armature contiguous to the remote end of the sharp pointed prong 23. Solenoid 24 is connected to a battery 26 through a relay 27. Relay 27 is connected to a simple battery-operated radio receiver 28 having a predetermined threshold sensitivity so that when radio signals above a certain intensity are re ceived by the receiving antenna 29 the output of receiver 28 energizes relay 27 keeping open the solenoid circuit and thus preventing puncturing of the carbon dioxide container 19. By threshold sensitivity is meant the lowest intensity of input signal received necessary to produce an output signal sufficient to operate the relay attached to the receiver. Radio receiver 28 may be small in size and light in weight by using transistors which require but a small battery.

As shown in FIG. 3, attached to the perimeter of a vessel 32, which vessel could be of any size or shape, is a transmitting antenna wire 31 in such a manner as to form a loop antenna 33 having a highly selective transmitting pattern. Antenna 33 is connected to a low-powered radio transmitter 34, preferably of a low frequency type in the 1 to kc. range. The radiated field intensity within the antenna loop 33 is relatively constant. over the entire space encompassed by the loop, and decreases rapidly upon leaving that space, particularly in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the loop.

A person wearing the life jacket 11 anywhere on board the vessel is within the antenna loop 33 and thus within the field of the transmittin antenna. As long as the life jacket 11, with the actuator 12, is within the excited transmitting antenna loop 33, a signal above the threshold sensitivity of the receiver 28 is continuously received by receiving antenna 29 which is utilized by radio receiver 28 to produce an output which energizes relay 27 to keep open the circuit for solenoid 24. Spring 22 is of sufficient strength to keep the sharp pointed prong 23 in its rest position removed from the carbon dioxide capsule 19. When the person wearing life jacket 11 is separated from the vessel 32 by any means, such as accidentally falling overboard, the receiver 28 which he carries is removed outside the plane of the loop and the strength of the transmitting field is substantially reduced due to the selectivity of the loop and the low power of the transmitter. Even a few feet outside the antenna, the receiver 28, with its selected threshold of sensitivity, is no longer Within the effective range of the low power transmitter 34, so as to produce an output sufficient to energize relay 27. Relay 27 is accordingly deenengized, completing the circuit between battery 26 and solenoid 24, thus supplying power from battery 26 to operate solenoid 24. Solenoid 24, upon being energized, is of such design as to overcome the restraining force of spring 22 and forces the sharp pointed prong 23 to pierce the carbon dioxide capsule '19 allowing the carbon dioxide gas to escape into the gas tight container 16 and out through hose 14 into life jacket 11 causing life jacket 11 to be inflated.

An on-oif switch 30, located between the battery 26 and the solenoid 24, prevents the actuator unit 12 from operating when the switch 30 is open. Therefore, to store the present invention for extended periods, or whenever the transmitter 34 is not transmitting signals, the switch 30 is opened to prevent the solenoid 24 being operated by the battery 26.

Actuator unit 12 may be enclosed in a watertight case so as to be reusable after immersion in water. Also the used carbon dioxide capsule can be easily replaced and the actuator unit is ready for use immediately. In like manner as above unit 12 may be attached to an inflatable type life raft. In times of emergency a deflated raft may be tossed into the water and automatically be inflated for immediate use.

As a modification of the above described system, transmitter 34 can be of still lower frequency and receiver 28 can be a magnetic induction receiver.

A further modification is shown in FIGURE 4 where the actuator device 49' is attached directly to the back of a parachute 42. Actuator 40 differs slightly from actuator '12 as described hereinabove. It is necessary in operating the parachute that a predetermined period of time elapse from the time the wearer leaves the airplane until the opening of the parachute in order to be certain that the wearer is entirely clear of the airplane before the parachute opens. As shown in FIG. actuator unit 40 has a slidably mounted ejector bar 43 connected to the ripcord 41 of parachute 42 which operates the parachute release when pulled. Bar 43 is the actuating arm of a solenoid 44 which is operated by a battery 46. Battery 46 is connected to solenoid 44 through a timer 47 when the relay 48 is deenergized. Timer 47 may be any suitable electrical or mechanical means of delaying the dos ing of the solenoid circuit after relay 27 has been deenergized and may be incorporated in the relay itself or be separate as shown in FIG. 5. Relay 48 is connected to a battery-operated simple receiver 49 having a predetermined threshold sensitivity so that when radio signals above a certain intensity are received by the receiving antenna 51, relay 48 is energized by the output of radio receiver 49. Switch 52 is located in the solenoid circuit and prevents the actuator unit 40 from operating when the switch 52 is open. In a fashion similar to the form of the invention described above relative to FIG. 3, the perimeter of the craft is wired so that a loop antenna 33 is formed which is connected to a transmitter 34. .When the person wearing the parachute 42 is within the loop antenna 33 (i.e. in the craft) the receiving antenna 51 and the transmitting antenna 33 are electromagnetically coupled allowing receiver 49 to produce an output which energizes relay 48, preventing solenoid 44 from being powered by battery 46. When the wearer of the parachute is separated from the craft, such as by jumping from the plane, receiver 499 of the actuator unit is no longer within the plane of the field and thus no longer within the effective range of the transmitter 34 and relay 48 is accordingly deenergized. After a suitable time delay, determined by the timer 47, battery 46 energizes solenoid 44 to move bar 42. which pulls rip cord 41 operating the parachute release. This automatic parachute release device will not interfere with the normal manual operation of the parachute by the pulling of the rip cord 41 by hand.

While the present invention has been described in the above embodiments as using a loop antenna for the transmitting field, exactly the same principle may be applied to other type antennas utilizing the radiated or induction field of the alternating current.

Since many apparently differing structures may be readily devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention, it is understood that the foregoing description is illustrative only, the scope of the invention being defined solely by the claims granted to me.

What is claimed is: I

1. A safety system for automatically inflating a survival device having an inflatable member, comprising a directional transmitting loop, means coupled to said loop for exciting said loop with low power electromagnetic fields, and an actuating unit attached to said inflatable member including receiving means having an output circuit for picking up said field and producing an output signal solely in response to said field, relay means in the output circuit of said receiving means energized by said output signal, a source of gas connected to said inflatable member for inflating said inflatable member, and solenoid means operatively connected to said relay means for releasing said gas to said inflatable member in response to the deenergization of said relay means.

2. A system for automatically inflating a survival device having an inflatable member, comprising a transmitting antenna having a directional wave pattern, means exciting said antenna for producing an electromagnetic field of low power, receiving means attached to said inflatable member for picking up said field and producing an output signal solely in response to said field being above a predetermined intensity, a source of gas connected to said inflatable member for inflating said inflatable member, and means operatively connected to said receiving means and adapted to release said gas to said inflatable member in response to the termination of said output signal, whereby said inflatable member is automaticaly inflated when said receiving means is outside the pattern of said transmitting antenna.

3. A safety system for automatically actuating a parachute upon removal from a craft comprising a transmitting loop defined by the perimeter of said craft, means to excite said loop with electromagnetic fields of low power, and an actuating unit attached to said parachute including receiving means having an output circuit for picking up said field upon said actuating unit being situated within said craft and producing an output signal in response to said field, relay means in the output circuit of said receiving means energized by said output signal, and solenoid means operatively connected to said relay means for actuating said parachute after a predetermined time in response to the deenergization of said relay means.

4. A safety system for automatically actuating a parachute which is released from a craft comprising a transmitting loop defined by the perimeter of said craft, means to excite said loop with electromagnetic fields of low power, and an actuating unit attached to said parachute including receiving means for picking up said field and producing an output signal in response to said receiving means being within said loop, and means operatively connected to said receiving means for actuating said parachute after a predetermined time interval in response to the termination of said output signal of said receiving means.

5. A safety system for enabling a survival device to be actuated upon its removal from a predetermined volume comprising, in combination, a survival device, a trans mitting loop defining said volume, means to excite said loop with low power signals for producing an electromagnetic field that is constant within the said volume, receiving means attached to said survival device for picl ing up said field when in said volume and producing an output signal solely in response to said field being above a predetermined intensity, said output signal terminating in response to said receiving means being outside said volume, and means operatively connected to said receiving means for receiving said output signal and rendering said survival device operative in response to said termination of said output signal of said receiving means.

6. A safety system for enabling a survival device to be automatically actuated upon its removal from a predetermined space comprising, in combination, a survival device, a transmitting antenna defining said space, means exciting said antenna with signals for producing an electromagnetic field of predetermined intensity, said field being of less intensity outside said space, receiving means attached to said survival device and picking up said field and producing an output signal in response to being within said space and said field being at least of said predetermined intensity, said output signal terminating in response to said receiving means being removed from said space, and means operatively connected to said receiving means and rendering said survival device operative in response to said termination of said output signal of said receiving means, whereby said survival device is automatically actuated upon removal of said receiving means from said space and the effective influence of said transmitting antenna.

7. A system for automatically actuating a survival device upon removal of the device from a predetermined space energized above a predetermined intensity by an electromagnetic field of localized transmitting pattern of a loop antenna, said space being defined by said antenna, comprising receiving means adapted to be attached to said survival device for picking up said field upon being situated in said space and producing an output signal in response thereto, said receiving means having a predetermined threshold sensitivity for producing said output signal only upon said field being above a predetermined intensity and terminating said signal in response to said receiving means moving from said space, and means coupled to said receiving means for receiving said output signal, said means connected to said survival device for placing said device in operative condition in response to said termination of said output signal of said receiving means whereby the survival device is rendered operative in response to said receiving means being removed from the predetermined space.

8. A safety system for automatically actuating a parachute having a release cord upon removal from a craft, comprising a source of electromagnetic radiation of predetermined intensity throughout said craft, said radiation being of less intensity outside said craft and an actuating unit attached to said parachute including receiving means for picking up said radiation and producing an output signal solely in response to being within said craft and said radiation being above said predetermined intensity, and means connected to said release cord of said parachute for pulling said cord and thereby actuating said parachute, said means being operatively connected to said receiving means for pulling said release cord after a predetermined time interval in response to a decrease in said output signal of said receiving means by removal from said craft.

9. A system for automatically actuating a survival device having an inflatable member upon removal of the device from a predetermined space defined and energized by an electromagnetic field of localized transmitting pattern, comprising receiving means adapted to be attached to said inflatable member for picking up said field upon being situated in said space and producing an output signal in response thereto, said receiving means having a predetermined threshold sensitivity for producing an output signal only upon said field being above a predetermined intensity, a source of inflating medium connected to said inflatable member for inflating said inflatable member, and means coupled to said receiving means for receiving said output signal, said means adapted to release said inflating medium to said inflatable member for placing said inflatable member in condition in response to termination of said output signal of said receiving means whereby the inflatable member is automatically inflated in response to said receiving means being removed irom the predetermined space.

10. A system for automatically actuating an inflatable member upon the removal of the member from an electro magnetic field of a transmitting loop antenna encompassing a predetermined space said space being defined by the loop of said antenna, comprising receiving means having an output circuit and adapted to be carried by said inflatable member, said receiving means being responsive to being Within said space and said field being at a predetermined intensity for producing an output signal, said signal terminating in response to said receiving means being outside said space, relay means operatively connected to the output circuit of said receiving means and energized by said output signal and deenergized in response to said signal terminating, solenoid means operatively connected to said relay means and energized upon the deenergization of said relay means, and means operativeiy connected to said solenoid means for inflating said member in response to the energization of said solenoid, whereby said inflatable member is inflated automatically in response to the removal of said receiving means from said space.

11. A safety system for automatically actuating a parachute which is released from a craft comprising a transmitting loop defined by the perimeter of said craft, means to excite said loop with electromagnetic field of low power for producing an electromagnetic field of predetermined intensity within said craft, and parachute opening control means for causing opening of said parachute when outside the craft, said parachute opening control means including means responsive to said field Within said craft being of said predetermined intensity for producing an output signal, said output signal terminating in response to said field being below said predetermined intensity, and supplemental timer means responsive to the expiration of a predetermined time after the termination of said output signal of said receiving means to open said parachute.

12. A safety system for enabling a survival device to be actuated upon removal from a predetermined space comprising, in combination, a survival device, a transmitting loop defining the perimeter of said space, means to excite said loop with low power signals for producing an electro magnetic field of a predetermined intensity within said loop and of less intensity without said loop, means carried by said survival device and responsive to said field situated within said loop for producing an output signal, said output signal being terminated in response to movement of said receiver means without said loop, and means responsive to said termination of said output signal for actuating said survival device and rendering it operative.

13. A safety system for automatically actuating a parachute which is released from a craft comprising a transmitting loop carried by said craft, means to excite said loop with electro magnetic field of low power for providing a field Within said craft of predetermined intensity and without said craft of less intensity, and an actuating unit carried by said parachute for opening said parachute outside of said craft, said actuating unit including receiving means normally disposed within said loop and responsive to said field for producing an output signal, and timer means responsive to expiration of a predetermined time after the termination of said output signal for actuating said parachute, said output signal terminating in response to movement of said receiving means without said craft.

14. A safety system for actuating a survival device upon removal from a predetermined space comprising a survival device, a transmitting loop defining said space, means to excite said loop with low power signals for producing an electro-magnetic field of predetermined intensity within said loop and of less intensity without said loop,

\ means is removed from said space.

References fitted in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,040,616 Mapes May 12, 1936 2,122,145 Kear et al. June 28, 1938 2,257,277 Richter et a1 Sept. 30, 1941 2,508,303 Sturtevant May 16, 1950 2,719,685 Bender et =al Oct. 4, 1955 2,721,896 Foot Oct. 25, 1955 2,853,557 Lehman et al. Sept. 23, 1958

Patent Citations
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US2040616 *Apr 8, 1933May 12, 1936Kidde & Co WalterInflatable flotation device
US2122145 *Aug 3, 1933Jun 28, 1938Washington Inst Of TechnologyRadio communication system
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US2508303 *Nov 20, 1944May 16, 1950Wingfoot CorpPneumatic structure
US2719685 *Jan 25, 1950Oct 4, 1955Glenn L Martin CoParachute recovery system for aircraft
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4781649 *Oct 7, 1986Nov 1, 1988Shinsei Kogyo Co., Ltd.Toy car with a parachute
US4823325 *May 6, 1985Apr 18, 1989Syntrieve, Inc.Streamer retrieval system and method
US5404339 *Feb 25, 1994Apr 4, 1995Concord Technologies Inc.Retriever for a seismic streamer cable
US6953173 *Mar 5, 2003Oct 11, 2005Jan LukavecAutomatic releasing device for a parachute
US7920059Jan 6, 2009Apr 5, 2011Global Trek Xploration Corp.Footwear with embedded tracking device and method of manufacture
US8077030Aug 8, 2008Dec 13, 2011Global Trek Xploration Corp.Tracking system with separated tracking device
WO2006053196A2 *Nov 9, 2005May 18, 2006Atair Aerospace IncMagnetic closing method for parachutes
Classifications
U.S. Classification244/147, 244/149, 455/41.1, 441/93
International ClassificationB63C9/00, H04B1/02, B63C9/20, H04B1/034
Cooperative ClassificationH04B1/0343, B63C9/20
European ClassificationB63C9/20, H04B1/034B