US 3614414 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Kenneth W. Gores Bellevue, Wash.
Apr. 3, 1970 Oct. 19, 197 1 Kirkman Laboratories, Inc. Portland, Oreg.
lnventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee WORK AREA ILLUMINATOR 6 Claims, 10 Drawing Figs.
us. Cl 240 2,
lnt.Cl F2lv 33/00 Field of Search 240/1 El, 2, 2 E, 2 F, 6.46, 2.18; 32/27, DIG. 7; 350/96;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,376,448 5/1945 Neugass 1. 240/646 X 2,407,106 9/1946 Shelly 240/646 2,539,828 1/1951 G01disetal.... 240/218 3,397,457 8/1968 Gosselin 32/27 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,186,602 4/1970 Great Britain 240/646 Primary ExaminerLouis .l Capozi Att0rneyFord E. Smith ABSTRACT: A bifurcated illuminator supplies practically shadowless light to a work area in close proximity to a working tool. From a light source remote with respect to the tool, light rays are gathered and transmitted by fiber optic rods in bundles which extend along the tool shank and divide close to the tool. The bundles are shaped near their emitting ends to emit light directed at the work area of the tool.
WORK AREA ILLUMINATOR SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Proper illumination of a work area, particularly where it is small or only accessible by following a tortuous path, has long been a problem. In the practice of dentistry, the problem has been particularly bothersome and prior attempts to solve it leave much to be desired. The most common illuminating practice in dentistry has been use of the well-knwn hand-held mouth mirror where light from an external source is reflected on a shadowed, hard to view, or inaccessible area. This involves a compromise between the best reflected light illumination and the best vision. Even today, this procedure is all that is taught the dentist. He knows no other. And he more or less automatically accepts this compromise without question.
The problem has been aggravated by the advent of the highspeed air-driven drill which requires superior vision since the tactile sense is eliminated with this instrument. Patients have been placed in the supine position to enhance the possibility of direct vision particularly in the remote posterior areas of the mouth. Such solved the problem of delivering adequate illumination as desired.
This application discloses a practical apparatus for solving 'the illumination problem. A light source of miniature size is associated with the dental handpiece remote from its operating end. A fiber optic light transmission system is disposed longitudinally, preferably in the dorsal aspect, with the handpiece to extend from the light source to proximity with the work tool and the work area. The fiber optic system is bifurcated to divide the transmitted light so that it is delivered as two portions located oppositely with respect to the working tool. The bifurcated portions of the system straddle the handpiece and are curved and directed that two beams of light are emitted at the work area.
A very practical use of this invention is found in dentistry, therefore, the disclosure will refer to such use. However, it will be recognized that practical applications of the invention may be made in other fields. It is not intended that this invention be restricted to its application in dentistry.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dental handpiece equipped with a work area illuminator according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a view partially in cross section on line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3 and 4 are cross-sectional views taken oppositely in lines 3-3 and 4-4 respectively of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view of the light source;
FIG. 6 is a cross section of the fiber optic transmitter used in the invention;
FIG. 7 is a cross section of an alternate fiber optic transmitter;
FIG. 8 details construction of the bifurcated fiber optic transmitter;
FIG. 9 is a cross section of a combined conduit for air; water and electricity to serve the handpiece and its illuminator; and
FIG. 10 shows the light-receiving end of the transmitter.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION A dental handpiece typical of those with which this invention finds particular utility is shown in FIG. I. It comprises a body 10, barrel I2, shank 1 4, and turbine head ,16 in which a burr 18 or other rotatable tools are mounted. Shank 14 is angularly and nonaxially related to barrel 14 as shown. It supports head I6 normal to the axis of barrel 14. The handpiece here illustrated includes a high-speed turbo-rotor driven by air admitted thru fitting 22 and served with water thru fitting 24. Air and water is conducted the length of the handpiece by means of longitudinal passages extending through the body, barrel and shank to the rotor in head 16. A dual passage hose 90 is provided with female fitting (not shown) adapted to couple with body 10 and to mate the passages 23 and 25 with male fittings 22, 24 respectively.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that there are other tools with which the present invention may be used. Such may be a dental mirror, an ultrasonic tooth cleaner of well-known construction and utility, or other hand tools dental or otherwise.
The main elements of this illuminator are the light source 30, current supply 32, transmitter 34, and emitters 36, 38.
The light source 30 comprises casing 40 having a receptor 42, and expansion spring 44 mounted therein. Casing 40 has opposed bosses 46, 46, which are engaged by bayonet fitting type slots 48 of socket case 50 in which is mounted socket 52 supporting bulb 54. Spring 44 bears on and presses the bulb rearward in socket, and socket case to maintain the coupling tensed. Low-voltage current, i.e., 12 volts, is delivered via conductor 56, jack 58, and its pin 60 in conventional manner.
Extending forward from casing 40 along the dorsal aspect of the handpiece is a pair of tubes 61, 62. Each tube receives and encases a bundle 64 of fiber optic rods. The rear ends of the bundles extend into case 40 into close proximity to the aperture 41 of receptor 42. As shown in FIG. 10, the rear ends of tubes 61, 62 are notched at 63, and the remaining crescentshaped portions 65 are flared slightly and squeezed together to form a snub-nosed casing having sufficient capacity to receive and contain the rods of the two bundles 64, 64 as a unitary light-receiving end, at that point not separated into two bundles. Light rays from bulb 54 pass thru aperture 41 and enter the rods of the entry bundle for transmission forwardly.
Adjacent the juncture of barrel I2 and the angularly disposed shank l4, tubes 61,62 separate or bifurcate with slight angularity to pass from atop the handpiece to along the sides of shank 14. Their forward ends 66,68 curve downward and are directed at a work area closely surrounding the burr 18. The fiber optic rod bundles 64, each encased as described, extend to the ends of the tubes where their terminii are exposed to emit transmitted light for illuminating the work area in a practically shadowless manner.
The transmitter 34 is secured to the handpiece by means of helical springs 70,70 shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. The springs are thin and wrap tightly about the transmitter and handpiece. This mode of securing the illuminator permits easy attachment or detachment as well as longitudinal movement for its advancement into or its withdrawal of the light emitters from the operating area or work area. As constructed and secured to the handpiece, it will be recognized that the illuminator and it parts may be sanitized with the handpiece, or separate therefrom without deleterious effect on the rod bundles, the encasing tubes, or the light source case 30.
In FIG. 7, a single fiber optic rod bundle in flattened tube 82 extends from case 30 to the point of bifurcation proximate the work area where it divides into tubes 84,84. The rods of bundle 80 likewise divide into bundles 86,86.
In FIG. 9 is shown a hose having air and water passages 23 and 25 which serve fittings 22 and 24 respectively. The wires 56 conducting current to jack 58 are integrally molded and made a part of the air-water supply conduit.
It will be seen that this illuminator is compact, light in weight, simple in construction and operation, and that it provides the dentist with illumination of a work area by means of emitters delivering the light close to the burrs or other cutters or polishers or the like. By dividing the rays from the light source and delivering them in separate bundles, the resulting illumination from two sides practically eliminates shadow of the burr shank. Location of the light source as shown removes it from contact by the operator. Thus the operator, e.g., a dentist, is ordinarily not exposed to heat generated by the bulb 54 which upon prolonged burning can materially heat the easing 30.
What is claimed is:
I. A work area illuminator for tools of the nature of dental handpieces and the like, comprising:
an elongated fiber optic light transmission system disposed longitudinally of a dental tool and having appreciable slimness relative the manually grasped portion thereof;
a light source operable to activate said system and associated therewith remote from the working end of such dental tool;
said light system fiber optics being bifurcated proximate the working end of the tool to divide transmitted light into two terminal emitter portions; and
said two portions being extended in straddle relation to the working end of the dental tool and curved to direct two beams of light at a working area of such tool.
2. The structure of claim 1 in which the fiber optic system is slidably secured to the dental tool.
3. The structure of claim 2 in which the fiber optic system is slidably secured to the dental tool by helical retainers.
47 The structure of claim 3 in which the helical retainers are formed of flat spring straps.
5. The structure of claim 1 in which the fiber optic system is protectively encased throughout its length.
' 6. The structure of claim 5 in which the fiber optic system is divided into two paths of light transmission from the light source to the emitting terminii.