US 3422787 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 21, 1969 s. K. RUSH PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR SWIMMERS Filed May 31, 1967.
INVENTOR. Stephen K. Rush BY 7 ,Wpw
Attorneys United States Patent 3,422,787 PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR SWIMMERS Stephen K. Rush, 2290 St. Francis Drive, Palo Alto, Calif. 94303 Filed May 31, 1967, Ser. No. 642,566 US. Cl. 1156.1 Int. Cl. B631) 21/56 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention pertains to a propulsion system for swimmers and more particularly to a system wherein guidance of the swimmer is obtained merely by articulation of the legs from below the knees.
Various propulsion systems have been employed for swimmers heretofore, and many of these systems have been characterized by units mounted on the back of the swimmer. Mostly, the prior systems have been held in the hands of the swimmer in order to achieve proper guidance. Other devices heretofore have been characterized by apparatus which prevents the swimmer from swimming slowly on the surface of the water with his face submerged (snorkling) while maintaining a propeller submerged at such times. Such units, therefore, have required total submersion of the swimmer in order to be effective.
It has been found that apparatus of the above type provides a number of limitations in the utility of such constructions. Thus, by mounting apparatus on the back of the swimmer, the weight of such apparatus tends to throw the swimmer off balance. Where structure must be manipulated by the hands of the swimmer in order to obtain guidance (or otherwise), it will be readily obvious that the hands of the swimmer are fully occupied whereby no other activity can be undertaken.
Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved apparatus for propelling swimmers.
Another object of the invention is to provide a swimmers propulsion system of a type overcoming the foregoing and other problems of the prior art.
These and other objects of the invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment, according to the invention, when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 shows a propulsion system, according to the invention, as worn by a swimmer;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of the apparatus as shown in FIGURE 1, more clearly disclosing the propelling unit of the system.
In general, a propulsion system as disclosed herein comprises a power source carried by a belt around the waist of a swimmer. A motor within a housing is operably coupled to the power source and is formed and adapted to be carried by the legs of the swimmer. Propelling means, preferably in the form of a three-bladed propeller, is driven by the motor. The propeller is supported by means forming a framework which is adapted to be engaged by the swimmer so as to vary the orientation of the axis of propulsion of the propelling means in response to articulation of the lower limb portions of the swimmers legs.
More particularly, a propulsion system as shown in 3,422,787 Patented Jan. 21, 1969 FIGURES 1 and 2 comprises, in general, a power pack assembly 11 carried apart from an electrical drive assembly 17. Power pack assembly 11 comprises a belt 12 disposed about the waist of a swimmer 13 and several wet cell storage batteries 14 attached to belt 12. Coverings on each battery 14 provide waterproof protection and each of the bateries 14 is connected to the next, either in a series or in a parallel electrical relationship depending upon the size of the batteries and power desired.
By means of a waterproof cable 16, power from batteries 14 is operably coupled to operate an electrical drive assembly 17. Assembly 17 includes an electric motor 18 shown in invisible lines within a waterproof housing 19. The opposite sides of housing 19 include axially extending concave depressions 21 adapted to conform to the inner calf portion of a swimmers legs. Housing 19 is held between the calves of a swimmers legs by means of a strap 22 which serves to position the lower limb portions of the legs to the sides of housing 19. The swimmer can, however, free himself quickly if the need arises.
It is to be observed that the power pack assembly 11 and the electrical drive assembly 17 are separably carried by the body of the swimmer whereby only the small, skeletal drive assembly is required to be manipulated by the legs of the swimmer.
Further, this severance of the two assemblies comprising the system serves to provide a highly desirable distribution of balance of the overall weight of the system whereby, essentially, on the order of half the weight of the system is carried about the waist of the swimmer while the other half is carried by the legs of the swimmer.
The remainder of the system is arranged whereby mere articulation of the lower limb portions (i.e. below the knee) of the swimmer provides all guidance to the swimmer as he is propelled through the water by bladed propeller 32. Propeller 23 is coupled by a drive shaft 24 to the output of motor 18. Thus, frame means supporting the propeller may be engaged by the swimmer so as to vary the orientation of the axis of rotation of propeller 23. This frame means comprises the tubular journal housing 26 attached to electric motor housing 19. A pair of foot rests 27 extend laterally to each side of housing 26 and the ends of foot rests 27 carry a cylindrically shaped propeller guard 28 by means of the elongated bails 29.
In operation, a swimmer 13 can swim along the surface of the water while comfortably maintaining propeller 23 submerged. When swimming submerged, the swimmer may vary his orientation merely by varying the orientation of the axis of propulsion of the propelling means. This may be accomplished merely by articulation of the lower limb portions of the swimmers legs. Thus, movement in any direction can be accomplished.
From the foregoing, it will be readily apparent that there has been provided an improved propulsion system for a swimmer, such as a scuba diver, and that such a system provides means whereby the hands of the swimmer remain totally unoccupied while all manner of manipulation may be accomplished merely by articulating the lower limbs of the legs. In addition, the weight of the system is well distributed by carrying approximately half the weight around the waist of the swimmer and the balance of the weight is carried by the lower legs. No apparatus, other than the conventional and usual air tank, is required to be carried on the back of the swimmer and thus a swimmer can maintain good balance.
Furthermore, the foregoing system provides a relatively inexpensive and lightweight propulsion system wherein previous propulsion systems for swimmers have been characterized by large and bulky apparatus.
What is claimed is:
1. A propulsion system for a swimmer comprising an electric motor, a housing enclosing said motor and formed to include axially extending relatively wide concave depressions formed to be adapted to conform to the inner calf portions of both of a swimmers legs, means for holding the motor between said calves, a drive shaft coupled to said motor and extending therefrom to a point adapted to be disposed below the feet of the swimmer, a propeller adapted to be disposed below the swimmers feet and operably driven by said shaft, a source of electric power adapted to be carried about the waist of the swimmer, and cable means coupling said source to said motor to operate said propeller so as to propel the swimmer, all the foregoing being adapted to be carried by the swimmer While permitting at the swimmers knees substantially all natural articulated movements of said calves to provide substantially all navigational guidance for the swimmer.
2. A propulsion system for a swimmer comprising means forming a source of electric power adapted to be carried about the waist of the swimmer, electric motor means formed and adapted to be carried by, and between the calves of, the swimmers legs and operably coupled to said source, means for securing said motor to and between the calves of the legs of the swimmer, a propeller at a positon trailing the motor and driven about its axis of rotation by the motor, and means forming a framework supporting said propeller and formed and adapted to be manipulated by conjoint articulation of both the lower limb portions of the legs of the swimmer to vary the orientation of said axis of rotation for guidance in propelling the swimmer.
3. A propulsion system for a swimmer comprising a belt adapted to be worn about the waist of a swimmer, a power source carried by said belt and forming diving weights attached thereto, motor means operably coupled to said source and formed to be carried by, and between, the legs of the swimmer, means for securing the motor to and between the legs of the swimmer, the last named means serving to permit substantially all natural articulated movements of the swimmers legs at the knees thereof to provide substantially all guidance to the swimmer, propelling means driven by said motor, means supporting the last named means and adapted to be engaged by the swimmer to vary the orientation of the axis of propulsion of the propelling means in response to articulation of the lower limb portions of the swimmers legs.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,063,394 11/1962 Rebikoff 114-16 3,063,394- 11/1962 Rebikoff 11416 FOREIGN PATENTS 826,629 1/1938 France.
TRYGVE M. BLIX, Primary Examiner.