US 3524951 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 18, '1970' R. J. BERNARDI ETA!- 3,524,951
ELECTROACOUSTIC APPARATUS Filed April 19, 1968 p 23mm INVENTORS ROBERT J. BERNARDI ROBERT E. COLLIER ATTORNEY United States Patent Office 3,524,951 ELECTROACOUSTIC APPARATUS Robert J. Bernardi, Soquel, and Robert E. Collier, Santa Cruz, Calif., assignors to Pacific Plantronics, Inc., Santa Cruz, Caiifi, a corporation of California Filed Apr. 19, 1968, Ser. No. 722,670 Int. Cl. H04n1 N05 US. Cl. 179156 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A mounting structure for microphone and receiver transducers is readily convertible from a rigid hand-held device to an adjustable head-mounted device using elements which are captivated on the structure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The handset-headset structure of the present invention eliminates the muff-type earphone and uses a minature receiver which is acoustically coupled directly to the ear canal through a comically-shaped earpiece. The structure includes a stabilizing pad disposed above the receiver and earpiece for steadying the structure on the users head Without exerting unnecessary pressure on the ear of the user in the region of the entrance to the ear canal. This stabilizing pad is mounted at the upper end of a rotatably pivoted portion of the structure and is also separatable into an upper pad which is attached to a telescoping head band and a lower pad which is attached to the pivoted portion of the structure. The headband telescopes into the structure past the rotatable pivot to secure the pivot and render the structure sufliciently rigid to serve as a hand-held microphone and receiver unit. When fully extended, the headband releases the rotatable pivot to enable the lower portion of the structure including the receiver and a microphone to be rotated forward with respect to the upper portion including the headband and stabilizing pad so that the acoustic energy input port of the microphone may be conveniently positioned near the users mouth.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a front view of the handset-headset apparatus according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a lower body portion 9 and an upper body portion 11 pivotally coupled together near the earpiece 13 and receiver transducer 15. A microphone transducer 17 is mounted within the upper region of the body portion 9 and is acoustically coupled through an acoustic tube or channel 18 to the microphone input port 19 near the lower end 21 of the body portion 9. Of course, if a noise-canceling microphone transducer 17 is used, a pair of acoustic coupling tubes or channels 18 may be used to couple the acoustic inputs of such a microphone transducer to input ports on opposite sides of the lower end 21. Also, where desired, the microphone transducer 17 may be mounted near the lower end 21 of the body portion 9 to obviate the need for an acoustic coupling tube or channel 18 to couple acoustic signal from the input port 19 to the remotelydisposed microphone transducer 17.
The receiver transducer is positioned near the upper end of the body portion 9 and is disposed to be acoustically coupled through the outlet port 22 and the channel 23 in the earpiece 13 directly to the ear canal of a user. This obviates the need for a conventional, cumbersome muff-type transducer-to-ear coupling arrangement which commonly establishes a large acoustic chamber surrounding the entrance to the ear canal of a user. Thus by acoustically coupling directly to the entrance of the users ear canal through earpiece 13 in accordance with the present invention, a receiver transducer 15 of conveniently small size (approximately inch in diameter) for miniaturization may be used. The earpiece 13 has a conical shape and is formed of flexible, biologically inert material such as polyurethane or silicone rubber to be readily deformable in the lateral and peripheral directions but to be relatively rigid in the longitudinal direction. This assures that the earpiece 13 conforms to the shape of the entrance of a users ear canal for good acoustically-sealed coupling therewith with only a small amount of pressure exerted about the users ear canal. The differences between the lateral or peripheral flexibility and the longitudinal flexibility of the earpiece 13 may be provided by forming the walls 25 of the channel 23 with thicker cross section than the outer walls 27. The earpiece 13 has an inner ridge 24 which snaps onto the body portion 9 to engage the channel 23 through the earpiece 13 with the outlet port 22 of the receiver transducer. Of course, the spacing between the outlet of the channel 23 in earpiece 13 and the microphone inlet port 19 is selected to accommodate the size and shape of an average users head and is typically about 15 cm.
The region within the body 9 between the microphone and receiver transducers 15 and 17 may contain suitable electronic components and circuitry 29 for convenient use and operation of the present apparatus. In one embodiment, a minature switch is mounted in this region and is mechanically coupled to a spring-biased button 31 in the front portion of the body 9 to provide convenient push-to-talk operation with associated electronic equipment. Also, the conductors of the connecting cable 33 may be electrically connected to the transducers 15 and 17 in this region for convenience in manufacturing and servicing. The lower body portion 9 may be formed in two lengthwise (or left and right) halves 32, 34, so that the components, transducers, and the like, may be conveniently assembled and secured within the body 9.
The upper body portion 11 is rotatably attached to the lower body portion at the rotatable joint 35 which, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, is disposed behind the receiver transducer 15 in approximate axial alignment with the channel 23 through earpiece 13. A stabilizing pad 37 is attached to the upper body portion 11 near its upper end and is disposed to bear against the users head in a region above and to the rear of his outer ear. This provides the principal pressure point on the users head in a region thereof that is relatively insensitive to pressure as the present apparatus is positioned to seal the earpiece 13 against the entrance to the users ear canal.
In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the center of the stabilizing pad 37, the tip of earpiece 13 and the microphone inlet port 19 are all in a common plane, as shown in FIG. 1, when the apparatus is used as a hand-held unit. In this position, the upper and lower body portions 9 and 11 have elongated channels 39 and 41 near the rearward sides thereof which are lined up through the relatively rotatable surfaces 43, 45 of the two body portions 9, 11 to form a cointinuous channel that extends through the length of the upper portion 11 and for a selected distance along the length of the lower portion 9. A flexible headband 47, preferably of two-section, telescoping construction 49, 51 and formed, say, of flat spring steel to provide high lateral rigidity is disposed 3 within this channel 39, 41 past the rotatable surfaces 43, 45 of the two-body portions 9 and 11. This headband 47 when retracted into the body portions 9 and 11 thus locks the rotatable joint 35 against rotation and therefore renders the present apparatus rigid for convenient use as a hand-held unit.
The present apparatus may be converted to a headmounted unit simply by drawing the headband 47 out of the channels 39, 41 in the body portions 9 and 11. The upper half section 53 of the stabilizing pad 37 is attached by hinge pin 55 to the upper end of the section 51 of the headband. This section slides through the connector 57 that slidably connects together the two half sections 49, 51 of the headband 47. Thus, when the headband 47 is fully withdrawn from the body portions 9 and 11, as shown in FIG. 2, the rotatable joint 35 is unlocked and the pressure pads 53, 59 are disposed for positioning on opposite sides of a users head. Since the rotatable joint 35 is unlocked, the lower body portion 9 may be rotated relative to the upper body portion 11 and the plane of the headband 47. This enables a user to place the headband 47 directly over the top of his head for firm support of the present apparatus and also position the microphone inlet port 19 near or in front of his mouth and therefore forward of the plane of the headband 47. It should be noted that this pivoting action conveniently occurs about the axis of the users ear canal in the preferred embodiment of the present apparatus so that the position of the headband 47 on the users head does not have to be changed as the angle of the lower body portion 9 is changed with respect to the plane of the headband. Of course, it should be noted that the upper and lower body portions 9 and 11 may be pivotally attached together at any location along their lengths other than at or about the axis of the channel 23 in earpiece 13. Other locations of the rotatable joint may merely necessitate the repositioning of either the headband or the microphone inlet port as the other is adjusted about the head of a user.
What is claimed is:
1. Acoustic apparatus comprising:
a body including receiver means and microphone means positioned in spaced relationship on said body and having an inlet port for said microphone means disposed near the lower end of said body;
a stabilizing pad attached to said body near the upper end thereof remote from the lower end and disposed to contact the head of a user in a region thereof above the users outer ear;
an outlet port for said receiver means located on said body intermediate said inlet port and said stabilizing pad; and
a flexible, resilient headband slidably attached to said body and being selectably positionable between a first position along said body and a second position extended from said body along a substantially arcuate path for attaching the body to the head of a user.
2. Acoustic apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said body includes an upper portion and a lower portion which are pivotally attached together for relative rotation about a pivot axis located intermediate the microphone inlet and the stabilizing pad.
3. Acoustic apparatus as in claim 2 wherein said pivot axis is located in the region of the outlet port.
4. Acoustic apparatus as in claim 2 wherein the upper and lower body portions include passages along the lengths thereof for retaining said headband on the body; said passages being in substantially alignment for a selected angular position of the upper body portion relative to the lower body portion and being out of alignment for other relative angular positions of the upper and lower body portions, and said headband disposed in the passages of said upper and lower body portions retains said body portions in the selected angular position.
5. Acoustic apparatus as in claim 3 comprising a resilient contoured earpiece having an acoustic channel therethrough acoustically coupled to the electroacoustic receiver transducer through said outlet port and with an opening of said channel near the tip of the contoured earpiece being disposed to engage the entrance to the ear canal of a user at said tip.
6. Acoustic apparatus as in claim 5 wherein the stabilizing pad includes a section attached to the upper body portion and a section attached to an end of the headband whereby the headband in retracted position into the body secures the upper and lower portions against relative rotation about said pivot axis and provides a combined stabilizing pad and the headband in extended position out of the body releases the upper and lower body portions for relative rotation about said pivot axis and provides a portion of the stabilizing pad disposed to engage the side of the head of a user opposite the side thereof engaged by the portion of the stabilizing pad attached to the upper portion.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS WILLIAM C. COOPER, Primary Examiner