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Publication numberUS3516723 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 23, 1970
Filing dateOct 20, 1966
Priority dateOct 20, 1966
Publication numberUS 3516723 A, US 3516723A, US-A-3516723, US3516723 A, US3516723A
InventorsWilliam Guier
Original AssigneeWilliam Guier
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Means for establishing visual communication in fluids resistant to light penetration
US 3516723 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 23, 1970 w. GUIER 3,516,723


Int. Cl. G02b US. Cl. 350-63 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An attachment for a subsea viewplate is connected to a source of clear fluid which is discharged by the passages of the attachment in a column having a core which readily transmits light for viewing, the core being provided an incapsulating curtain of the fluid to give definition to the core shape.

The present invention relates to visual communication through fluids which have a high resistance to light transmission. More specifically, the present invention provides a relatively clear column of liquid between two points in liquids through which visual contact cannot otherwise be established between the two points.

Off-shore drilling and production operations have increasing requirements for the services of personnel working in diving gear of some type. Skin diving is practiced in some areas. A helmet and complete suit must be used at greater depths and longer periods. Submersible vessels are developed for still greater depths.

Regardless of the type of diving gear employed, a common problem descends when the work is in waters filled with material in suspension. In many instances the water cannot be penetrated by light, rendering visual contact impossible. The diving personnel find themselves in a sea of ink and are restricted to working on submerged oil well equipment by feel. Obviously this limitation slows any work and raises the hazards to the submerged, working personnel.

The murky waters off the coast of Louisiana are well known for their obstruction to light. Perhaps the most recent and dramatic of these problems are found in Cook Inlet of Alaska. Here intense cold combines with heavy suspensions of vegetable matter to marke the working conditions for the diver some of the most demanding in the history of submarine oil production.

By and large, the Cook Inlet diver has given up all attempts to use sight. To avoid breakage, he wears a metal plate over his helmet window and limits himself to working by feel. Timing his working periods to the ebband flow of the swift tides and his endurance to the cold of these waters, he fumbles blindly in the few minutes available for his tasks. Obviously some degree of sight would increase the amount of work he could accomplish in the work periods.

A principal object of the invention is to establish a column of fluid between a submarine viewpoint and an object to be viewed which will transmit light from the object.

Another object is to main the view plate at a submarine viewpoint transparent while the light-transmitting fluid column is established.

Another object is to provide access to a source of relatively clear fluid which is formed into a view-column States Patent O Patented June 23, 1970 through the first part of a fluid body obstructing the passage of light, the source being a second portion of the fluid body.

Another object is to provide a jetted stream of fluid as a view-column and at least a partially reactive, or force compensating, counter jet of fluid.

The present invention contemplates forming a column of relatively clear fluid and flowing it from a view point in a lighter-resistive body of fluid to an object to be viewed.

Further, the invention contemplates flowing relatively clear fluid, from a source, over the surface of a viewing window at a submarine view point so as to wash the surface of the window to keep it clear. The wash fluid is then combined with other clear fluid from the source to form a column of the fluid to transmit light for viewing.

Further, the invention contemplates a conduit and piping system to draw relatively clear fluid from a first part of a body of fluid and from it into a view-column through a relatively murky second portion of the fluid body.

Further, the invention contemplates the view-column being formed by jetting it forceably from a fixture mounted on the view plate of apparatus which receives light for visual communication. The jetting force is then counter-balanced, at least in part, by a jet of fluid from structure which is also mounted on the receiving apparatus and directed in a direction to oppose to the force of the jetted view-column.

Other objects, advantages and features of this invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art upon consideration of the written specification, appended claims, and attached drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an elevation of a camera suspended in a body of light-resistive fluid with a fixture mounted there on with which a view-column of clear water is established in accordance with the invention to a portion of submerged structure of which a picture is required;

FIG. 2 is an elevation of a hard hat, or helmet, of a diving suit to which a fixture is attached to employ the invention in obtaining a view through a window of the helmet;

FIG. 3 is an elevation of a portion of a submarine vessel at the view point with a conduit suspended from the surface to draw clear water from a layer close to the surface for use in a view-colurrm at a lower layer;

FIG. 4 is a partially sectioned elevation of the housing of FIG. 1 in which the invention is embodied; and

FIG. 5 is a section of FIG. 4 taken along lines 44.

GENERAL PLAN Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is disclosed two pieces of diving equipment which employ the present invention. In FIG. 1 a closed circuit television camera 10 is depicted, lowered on a support member 11 and further positioned by a hydraulic piston 12. A view of an object 13 is desired by camera 10. Inspection of equipment, represented by 13, is possible with receiving equipment at the surface of fluid body 14. Preparation for service, or modification, is thereby possible. However, if fluid body 14 has solid matter dispersed and suspended in it, very little reflected light may reach camera 10 at the view point. The present invention provides a column .15 of relatively clear fluid between the camera and object. Reflected light from the object will then reach the camera to provide the desired view.

Column 15 is formed by relatively clear fluid discharged, in the desired pattern, from housing 16. The

fluid is brought from a source, not shown in this FIG. 1, through conduit 17 and formed into column 15 which extends from the viewing window of camera to object 13. Visual communication is thereby established.

FIG. 2 discloses a modified version of housing 16. Housing 20 is adapted and arranged to be mounted over the view part of hardhat, or helmet, 21 of a diver submerged in a fluid body 14. Fluid which will transmit light is conducted to housing 20 through conduit 22. A column 23 is formed, extending from the view plate of helmet 21 to the length the column of fluid will be maintained in body 14. The aid of visual contact is thereby available to the diver to support his work on equipment represented by object 13 of FIG. 1.

There are several generalizations appropriate to the general plan of view-column establishment. Obviously a source of relatively clear fluid must be provided. The source may require some form of chemical treatment to give it the proper clarity for use in this application.

The force required to discharge this clear fluid may develop a reactive force on the camera, or helmet, which will tend to move these pieces of equipment from the desired view point. Nozzle 24 may be used to discharge a portion of the clear fluid in a direction to oppose the force of the view-column discharge and stabilize the equipment at the view point.

The object 13 is seen because it reflects light from an original source. If natural light will not reach object 13 through body 14, an artificial source must be provided. This source can be located within the camera, or helmet, at the view point. The source can also be mounted independently and near enough to object 13 to provide the required amount of reflected light. The source could even be provided with a separate column of clear fluid to place enough light on object 13 for the required reflection along the length of columns and 23 to their view points.

At least two features of the invention are disclosed in FIG. 3. First, it is demonstrated how a source of clear fluid for column 27 can be drawn from a suitable portion of body 28. The suitable portion could be an upper layer of the fluid of body 28. Conduit 29 is shown elevated by float 30 to withdraw the the clear fluid down to housing 26. A pump 31 is indicated as included in a conduit system to force the clear fluid downward and through housing 26 to form view-column 27.

Secondly, the light reflected from the object to be viewed may be supplied from a source within housing 26. This source of light may have its light directed down viewcolumn 28 and on the object to be viewed. This light, reflected back up the view-column, will then be visible from the view point behind housing 26.

Light source 32 is indicated, mounted to one side of the view point. A shield represents means for directing and focusing the light down column 27. Also, the light source is shown against the window of housing 26 to ilustrate that the heat generated with light may be exchanged with the fluid passing through the housing and flowing over the viewing window. Thus, the invention provides for directing the fluid into useful heat exchange with light source 32 and subsequently formed into view-column 27.

HOUSING 16 FIGS. 4 and 5 disclose the details of housing 16 which generate view-column 15. It is recognized that evolvement of the actual reduction to practice may change the shape and arrangement of many features of housing 16. However, the concept of the invention should be a common denominator of all such structure.

Basically, housing 16 is a cylindrical tube with a first "passage 40 extending axially therethrough. The viewing FIG. 4.

The housing 16 includes a manifold 42 which is con- 4 nected and communicated to conduit 17 to receive the clear fluid from its source. This clear fluid must be distributed about first passage 40 to be flowed out in forming column 15. Second passages 43 are arranged to illustrate a structure to make the required distribution.

FIG. 5 shows passages 43 as cylindrical in configuration. Of course they may be other shapes that will provide the distribution which will form the outer surface of the column 15 to give continuity to the view-column as a transmitting media of light.

More specifically, the clear fluid discharge from passages 43 are to form a curtain of the fluid about the interior of the view-column. The interior of the column is made up of clear fluid discharged down first passage 40.

Clear fluid flows from manifold 42 through openings 44 which communicate manifold 42 with passage 40 near window 41. One or more openings 44 may also be arranged as desired about the edge of window 41 to flow the clear fluid in a cleansing action over the surface of the window. The openings 44 may be sized, as will provide the desired view-column extending down passage 40 and out to the viewed object.

Obviously there is going to be a systematic proportioning of the volumes of fluid passing from manifold 42 out passages 43 and passage 40. Possibly the passages 43 will generate a stream of fluid which moves a finite rate faster than the stream from passage 40. This incapsulating curtain of fluid on the outside of the column 15 will tend to give sharper definition to the shape of column 15. The view-column, formed of the composite streams of fluids will extend farther in body 14 before being dissipated.

Additionally, if required, counter-jet conduit 24 is connected into manifold 42 to provide any needed stabilization by providing a counter-force to the reaction force of the view-column.

CONCLUSION Although I have utilized the broader term fluid in disclosing the invention, there is an immediate use for the invention in off-shore oil production. Note that my broad claim does not limit the invention to either the specific nature of the submerging fluid or the specific nature of the view-column fluid.

In the immediate application of the invention in the salt water of most offshore installations there is usually an adequate source of clear water and any powering equipment required to force it down and to my novel structure. There is no question but what the increased view provided submarine work will save valuable time in oil production problems.

From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the method and apparatus.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and sub-combinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claim.

As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

I claim:

1. A structure with which to establish a view path through a water layer having solid material suspended in the layer in such quantities as to obstruct the passage of light, including,

a housing of generally cylindrical form with an axial first passage aligned with the view path and adapted to be attached to a viewing window,

a source of relatively clear water with which a column is established from the axial housing first passage to any object which is to be viewed in the murky water layer,

at least one second passage in the housing arranged to discharge water in the form of an incapsulating curtain of water on the outside of the column established from the axial housing first passage,

conduits formed in the housing to connect the source to the first and second passages to direct clear water in the form of an incapsulated column along the line References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4/1917 Steinmetz 35063 9/1949 Barna 61-70 PAUL R. GILLIAM, Primary Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1222156 *Oct 4, 1916Apr 10, 1917Joseph A SteinmetzCleaning periscope-glasses.
US2481808 *Dec 15, 1944Sep 13, 1949Andrew BarnaViewing and illuminating device for divers' helmets
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4240691 *May 8, 1979Dec 23, 1980Aga AktiebolagProtective device for optical elements
US4561776 *Mar 25, 1981Dec 31, 1985Diffracto Ltd.Electro-optical sensors for tool and robotic inspection
US5563737 *Feb 16, 1995Oct 8, 1996Janesko OyArrangement for cleaning an optical window in a process
U.S. Classification359/509
International ClassificationG03B17/08, G02B23/22
Cooperative ClassificationG03B17/08, G02B23/22
European ClassificationG02B23/22, G03B17/08