US 3383487 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 14, 1968 'RQ WIENER 3,383,487
THIN FLEXIBLE MAGNETIC SWITCH 5 Sheets-Sheet l Filed July 18, 1966 6 f; 5@ Vj?! f5? i 50 5g 5@ :l
Z l@3 5 a 52C 52C 742C 7% 74 May 14, 1968 R.W|ENER 3,383,487
THIN FLEXIBLE MAGNETIC SWITCH Filed July 18, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet S May 14, 1968 R. WIENER 3,383,487
THIN FLEXIBLE MAGNETIC SWITCH Filed July 18, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 United States Patent Otlce 3,33,487 Patented May 14, 1968 3,383,487 THIN FLEXIBLE MAGNETIC SWITGII Robert Wiener, 295@ Governor Drive, San Diego, Calif. 921.22 Filed July 18, 1966, Ser.. No. 565,677 22 Claims. (El. 2613-168) ABSTRACT F THE DISCIIGSURE A switch having exible insulating walls and internal flexible contacts, either printed circuit or adhesively secured, the switch being extremely thin.
This invention relates to the art of electric switches, and particularly to a switch made by printed circuit techniques.
Electric switches as heretofore manufactured have generally required a great number of separate parts, including biasing springs, and have required individual assembly of such parts. They have not been particularly Well adapted to mass production techniques. As will be appreciated, there are many installations in which switches must be sealed. The normal arcing and sparking attendant upon opening and closing electric switches cannot be tolerated in an explosive atmosphere. Conversely, the arcing and sparking of switches causes deterioration ot the contact surfaces thereof. It is known that switch life can be prolonged by sealing the switch contacts in an inert atmosphere. As will be appreciated, this also removes danger in an explosive atmosphere. However, prior art techniques for sealing switches have been relatively complicated and diliicult, and have added materially to the cost of such switches.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a simplied electric switch.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an electric switch of extremely simple and inexpensive construction, and particularly one which is well adapted to sealing from the atmosphere.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a switch of extremely versatile construction which is readily modified to effect different results and for different installations.
It is further an object of the present invention to provide a switch which is physically safe, i.e., devoid of projecting knobs, levers, etc. for actuation.
Other and further Objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. l is a bottom plan view of one part of a switch constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view of the structure of FIG. l;
FIG. 3 is a bottom View thereof;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view thereof on a somewhat enlarged and exaggerated scale;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the completed switch;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view through the switch as taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 showing the parts in a diliqerent position of operation;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing a slightly modified switch;
FIG. 9 is a side View of the switch of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along line lll-Ii, in FIG. 8;
FIG. 1l is a view similar to FIG. l0 showing the parts in a different position of operation;
FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. l1 showing a modification in structure;
FIG. 13 is a view generally similar to FIG. 1 but showing a moditied switch;
FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view of the switch of FIG. I3;
FIG. l5 is a longitudinal sectional view as taken substantially along the line I5-I5 in FIG. 14;
FIG. 16 is a plan view of the completed switch according to FIGS. l3-l5, part being brolten away for clarity of illustration;
FIG. 17 is a bottom plan view of the switch of FIG. 16;
FIG. I8 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line It- IS in FIG.
FIG. 19 is an oblique cross-sectional view as taken substantially along the line 19e-I9 in FIG. 17;
FIG. 20 is an electric wiring diagram corresponding to the switch of FIGS. 16-19;
FIG. 2l is a longitudinal sectional view through a modified form of the switch before completion of the switch, as taken substantially along the line ZI-ZI in FIG. 22;
FIG. 22 is a bottom plan View of the partial Switch of FIG. 21;
FIG. 23 is a side view ofthe switch;
FIG. 24 is a top view of the switch of FIG. 23;
FIG. 25 is a cross-sectional view of the switch of FIGS. 23 and 24, being taken substantally along the line 25--25 in FIG. 24;
FIG. 26 is a side view of the switch of FIGS. 23-25 with an electromagnetic operator there-for;
FIG. 27 is a view taken from the right side of FIG. 26;
FIG. 28 is a view similar to FIG. 27 showing a modilication adapted for manual operation;
FIG. 29 is a side View of the device of FIG. 28, being similar to FIG. 27 but reversed;
FIG. 30 is a side or sectional View such as of an auto dashboard showing a modiication or incorporation of the switch of FIGS. 23-25, etc.;
FIG. 3l is a front View of the switch arrangement of FIG. 30;
FIG. 32 is a view partly iu section showing a modification of the invention with electromagnetic operation;
FIG. 33 is a sectional View of a switch generally similar to FIG. 32, but including a flexible tube operating as a peristalic pump taken substantially along the line 33-33 of FIG. 34;
FIG. 34 is a view at right angles to FIG. 33 as taken substantially along the line 34% 34 in FIG. 33;
FIG. 35 is a plan view of a fluid logic circuit using switch constructed in accordance with the principles of my present invention;
FIG. 36 is a sectional view through the iluid logic circuit of FIG. 35 as taken substantially along the line 36--3 therein; and
FIG. 37 is a view partly in section showing switches according to the present invention built into a glove for use in a hostile environment, for example, in an astronauts glove.
Referring now in greater particularity to the drawings, and first to FIGS. 1--', there will be seen a square or rectangular plastic sheet or film designated generally by the numeral 5h. The plastic material may be any of several flexible plastics of high strength and substantial flexibiiity, Mylar, Teflon, Kel-films and the like being preferred examples, ranging from about l mil to l mils in thickness. A metal strip 52 is fixed on one face of the plastic sheet or film 50, extending to one margin thereof at 5st, and terminating short of the opposite margin thereof at S5. In the present embodiment of the invention, the strip lies along the longitudinal center line of the plastic sheet or film. The metal strip can be adhesively or otherwise secured to the plastic sheet, but preferably it is attached or affixed to the sheet by known printed circuit techniques. In any event, the metal strip 52 is in mest instances no thicker than foil, and is readily flexible, as is the plastic sheet.
A rectangular section of the plastic sheet 5u is depressed from the plane thereof as shown at 53 in FIG. 4. 'Ibis is shown in FIG. 4 as being a rather definite rectangular shape, but as will appear presently, this is not essential, and is not necessarily typical. It is shown this way for convenience in drawing. A section of the conductive strip or foil 52 is displaced with the rectangular section. Typically, the conductive strip or foil is of copper, but other non-ferrous or ferrous metals or other conductive materials are within the purview of the present invention.
As will be seen, the offset section 58 leaves a narrow margin on two sides at 6h and 62 and one end at 64, a larger margin 66 being left on the other end.
The structure as heretofore shown and described, particularly with `regard to FIG. 4, comprises a half-switch, hereinafter identified by the numeral 68. Two of the halfswitches 68 are relatively turned end-to-end, and are inverted relative to one another, having the concavities formed by the depressed or displaced sections 58 confronting one another and aligned with one another. For the sake of showing the parts as brought together, the numerals heretofore used are applied in FIGS. 5-7 with suffixes -1 or -2 to distinguish one half-switch from the other half-switch. The conductive strips SZ-l and 52-2 are longitudinally aligned with one another, and overlap one another end to end. The margins dll-1 and 62-2 lie face-toface, as do the margins 6ft-2 and 62-1- Similarly, the margin 64-2 overlies the margin 66-1, while the margin 64-1 underlies the margin 66-2. All of these margins are secured together, preferably by heat sealing, although a cement or other adhesive is contemplated. As will be appreciated, nitrogen or some other suitable inert gas can be introduced into the space it) between the two halfswitches, thereby producing a pillow type of switch with the contacts in an inert atmosphere. The shaping of the plastic material and the gas trapped therein holds the surfaces or displaced portions 53-1 and SS-Z normally apart from one another as in FIG. 6. This produces a normally open switch 72 shown both physically and electrically in FIG. 6. If a force is exerted on the opposite surfaces of this switch, such as by pinching between the thumb and forefinge-r, or otherwise, as indicated by the large arrows in FIG. 7, then the overlapping ends of the conductive strips SZ-l and 52-2 are brought into engagement, thus closing the switch. When the pressure is removed, the resiliency of the plastic material and the restoring effect of the gas trapped within the confines of the switch moves the strips out of engagement with one another, thereby reopening the switch.
It is contemplated that the plastic material would not necessarily have to he shaped to produce the depression or offset at SS before assembly of the sheets. Rather, the sheets simply could be sealed together at the edges, with gas or air under somewhat greater than atmospheric pressure being introduced between the sheets prior to completion of the sealing thereof. As will be seen in FIG. 5 the end portions of the conductive strip 51l and 551-2 are exposed on the surface, and lead wires 74; are soldered or otherwise suitably fixed to the conductive strip for incorporation of the switch 72 in a circuit.
A modification of the switch is shown in FIGS. 9-11.
To avoid multiplicity of description and confusing numbering, the same numerals are used herein with the addition of the suffix o. The difference in this instance is that the plastic material is so shaped that the contact strips Sla-I and 52a-2 initially are in contact, as shown in FIG. l0, thus producing a normally closed switch 72a. It will be apparent that internal pressure slightly less than atmospheric may be used to help hold the contacts in engagement. Lateral pressure as indicated by the larger arrows in FIG. ll momentarily opens the switch.
The modification of the invention as illustrated in FIG. l2 is similar to that in FIGS. 5-7, similar numerals being used with the addition of the suffix b. The only difference is that the switch is not sealed, and a small throttling oritice or hole 76 is provided in one of the offset portions 535-2 of the plastic material. The interior of the switch obviously has air in it rather than an inert gas. When the switch is closed, some or most of the air is expelled through the orifice '76. When the pressure is released from the switch, air must enter through the orifice to allow the contact strips to move apart, and this delays the reopening of the switch. The time delay can be pre-determined in accordance with the resiliency of the plastic and the size of the orifice.
The invention as heretofore shown and described has been in the nature of a single-pole, single-throw switch. The invention also contemplates the provision of a multipie-pole, single-throw switch, with the various poles closeable one at a time, or in any desired combination. Such a modification of the switch is shown in FIGS. 13-20. Prolixity of description again is avoided by duplicating numerals, this time with the addition of the suffix c. Thus, in FIGS. 13-l5, there will be seen three strips 52e of conductive material deposited on the plastic film or sheet Stic. Apertures 8l? are provided in the plastic film immediately opposite the enlargements 73 at the ends of the strips 52C for the attachment of lead wires as will be apparent shortly.
Turning to FIGS. 16-20, the switch formed from the half-switches @8c of FIGS. 13-15 is shown. The two switch halves are in concave, face-to-face relation, as with the previous switches, but the two halves are turned relative to one another, rather than Thus, the conductive strips 52c-1 and S20-2 cross one another, rather than being in overlapping alignment with one another. Accordingly, there is a total of nine single-pole, singlethrow switches. Each of the conductive strips 52c-1 is selectively engageable with any of the three conductive strips SEC-2. As is shown in FIG. 19, pressure is exerted on the opposite faces of the switch to bring only two of the overlapped positions together, as indicated by the large arrows. As will be understood, others of the overlapped contacts could be brought together, and this can be done selectively in single engagements or in multiple engagements, as the occasion may demand.
The embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 21-25 is generally similar to those heretofore shown and described, and similar numerals again are used in many instances, this time with the addition of the suffix d. Rather than having two like switch sections assembled in confronting relation, in the present embodiment there is only one plastic sheet 50d. This comprises, in the position shown in FIGS. 2l and 22, a left-hand section 82 and a right-hand section S4, lying on either side of a transverse axis or center line 86. The right-hand side or section 84 is provided with a longitudinally extending strip 8d having at the left end thereof a depending enlargement 9d. In mirror image relation thereto about the longitudinal center line of the plastic film 50d there is a longitudinally extending strip 92 having an upper projection or enlargement 94, the two enlargements 99 and 94 extending toward one another in spaced relation, and lying completely to the right of the center line S6.
The left-hand plastic section 82 is provided with an enlargement or displaced section 58d of circular nature.
faces of spaced plastic sheets in accordance with the previous descriptions set forth herein. Wires 162 are connected to the contacts 156. As will be understood, when fluid is diverted to one or the other of the outlets 148, 150, the condition of the switch 72h is reversed. For example, the switch 72h can be of the type which is normally closed. With an unrestricted outlet 150, when iiuid is diverted to this outlet, the lateral pressure due to Bernouli action will be decreased, and the switch will be opened. Conversely, the normally opened switch could be used with an odutlet 150 having a restricting orifice connecting it to atmosphere or to exhaust. When fluid is diverted to the outlet 1.5i?, a slight external pressure on the switch 72h will cause it to close.
Turning now to FIG. 37, there will be seen a human hand 164 in an air-tight glove 166 for use in a hostile environment, such as in outer space, or beneath the surface of a body of water. Switches '721' in accordance with any of the previous teachings herein, such as the normally opened single-pole, single-throw switches of FlGS. -7 are incorporated adjacent the tips of the lingers and thumb of the glove, and are connected to a wiring harness 166. The fingers can be pressed together in various manners to close selected ones of the switches, or the fingers can be pressed against the body or some other part of the enviromnent to close the switches selectively.
It will be apparent from the foregoing that l have disclosed a superior switch which is inexpensive and rugged, and which is readily sealed against the atmosphere or other external environment. The switch is made quite inexpensively by the use of known printed circuit techniques. It is contemplated that the switches need not be made one at a time, but that a great many could be made simultaneously from large sheets of plastic and the switches could then be cut apart by dies.
The specific embodiments of the invention as herein shown and described are for illustrative purposes. Various changes will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art, and will be understood as forming a part of the present invention insofar as they fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. An electric switch comprising a pair of single-thickness sections of insulating material at least one of which is resilient and of substantially uniform thickness, said sections being joined together substantially peripherally and having spaced interior areas each of predetermined contours, and at least one conductive element on the internal area of each insulating material section and conforming to the corresponding predetermined contour, said conductive elements being substantially no thicker than the thickness of said resilient insulating material and being flexible therewith, said conductive elements being selectively engageable and non-engageable with one another upon selective deflection of said resilient section of insulating material.
2. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein the sections of insulating material comprise plastic sheets, and wherein the conductive elements comprise printed circuit conductive elements.
3. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein both sections of insulating material are flexible, and wherein said conductive elements are strips which partially overlap.
4. An electric switch as set forth in claim 3 wherein the strips are alined and overlap in end-to-end relation, extending in opposite directions.
5. An electric switch as set forth in claim 3 wherein a strip on one section of insulating material is disposed transversely of an insulating strip on the other section of insulating material.
6. An electric switch as set forth in claim 3 wherein there is a plurality of conductive strips on each section of insulating material.
7. An electric switch as set forth in claim 6 wherein the strips on one section of insulating material are -disposed transverse of the strips on the other section of insulating material, each strip thereby being capable of engaging any of a plurality of opposite strips.
8. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein the sections are peripherally sealed together with gas trapped therebetween.
9. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein the two sections of insulating material are subsantially sealed together peripherally, there being a restricted aperture in one of said sections throttling air flow in and out of the switch and controlling the movement of said resilient section.
10. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein both sections of insulating material are resilient, said switch being of pillow-like construction having relatively large opposite faces, said conductive elements being normally spaced apart and brought into engagement by pressure on said faces.
11. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein both of said sections of insulating material are resilient, the switch being of pillow-like construction having opposite faces and peripheral edges, said conductive elements normally being in engagement with one another and moved out of engagement by opposing pressure on said peripheral edges.
12. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein both of said sections comprise an integral sheet of plastic material folded over on itself.
13. An electric switch as set forth in claim 12 wherein there are two conductive elements on the internal area of one insulating material section and one conductive element on the other insulating material section serving as a shorting bar for the two conductive elements on the other section.
14. An electric switch as set forth in claim 13 wherein the two sections of insulating material comprise a single sheet of plastic folded over on itself.
15. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 and further including electromagnetic means for operating said switch.
16. An electric switch as set forth in claim 15 wherein the electromagnetic operating means includes an external plunger engageable with one of said sections of insulating material.
17. An electric switch as set forth in claim 15, wherein one of the conductive elements comprises magnetic material, and further including external magnetic means acting thereon.
18. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 wherein each section has a plurality of like conductive elements, the conductive elements comprising a plurality of separately actuable poles, said sections of insulating material being pellucid, and a plurality of lights therebehind corresponding to the respective poles.
19. An electric switch as set forth in claim 1 in combination with a uid logic circuit having various passageways including discharge passageways, said switch being located in one of said discharge passages and actuated by pressure differential relative to ambient.
20. A plurality of similar switches as set forth in claim 1 in combination with a glove, said switches being mounted adjacent finger positions inside said glove for respective actuation by finger pressure.
21. An electric switch comprising a pair of sections of insulating material, said sections of said insulating material being peripherally joined together, at least one of said sections having an outwardly offset central portion providing spaced, confronting first and second interior areas on said pair of sections, a iirst electric contact lying on one internal area, a second contact lying between said first contact and said second internal area, said second contact being of magnetic material, and external electromagnetic means acting on said second con- Q tact to vary the condition of engagement with said lirst contact.
22. An electric switch as set forth in claim 21 and further including a loop of resilient tubing having a pair of legs lying on opposite sides of said second contact and alternately compressed between said second contact and said first and second internal areas to produce a pumping action.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,138,549 11/1938 La Bell 200-86 Horton 200-86 Gleisen 200-83 Beck et al 200-153 Marasco et al 200-168 Greene 200-83 Miller et al 335--131 Pridham et al. 200-166 Russo 335-131 10 ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Primary Examiner.
H. O. I ONES, Assistant Examiner.