US 3628262 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Elite tates Patent Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson Attorney-Richard M. Rabkin ABSTRACT: Low gravity is simulated in toy space boots by provision of a cushion attachment for a shoe that includes a reservoir that gives way slowly as the weight of the wearer is placed thereon so that a sinking sensation is produced with each step of the wearer. The cushion attachment is provided with a leveling feature so that the foot of the wearer is substantially level at the end of a step although the wearer has a normal heel and toe stride. The maximum collapse of the reservoir is controlled by internal means. Sound effects associated with the steps of the user are produced by further means incorporated in the attachment.
PATENTED 05021 m 3; 628;; 262
SHEET 2 UF 2 I N'VEN T OR.
BY BENJAMIN STOPEK A T TORNE Y CUSHION ATTACHMENT FOR SHOES This invention relates to a cushion attachment for a shoe and more particularly to an air cushion attachment which is intended to simulate the effects of an abnormal gravity situation.
With mans recent landing on the Moon the world has been exposed to the effects of other than normal gravity on what are considered to be Earth normal movements such as walking. The change in mans normal walking gait produced by the Moon s gravity, which is one-sixth the gravity of the Earth, is a particular effect that was widely observed in first person, on television, by many people.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to simulate on Earth, the effect of low gravity on mans normal walking mode. It is yet another object of this invention to provide a simulated space boot for producing footprints having treadmarks similar to those left on the Moon by the Astronauts. Yet another object of this invention is to provide toy space boots having a high play value. A further object is the provision of a low cost readily produced air cushion attachment for shoes.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION For many years various forms of cushion attachments for shoes have been provided both as working devices and as toys and novelties. In the known prior construction, where the cushion was inflated or utilized fixed fluid pressure, the inflation of the cushion was carefully maintained at a predetermined level by the provision of one form or another of a valve designed to retain the fluid within the cushion while in use. Another, nonpneumatic, construction, suggested by the prior art, used a spring or springs. The known cushions all had the property of returning to the user the energy stored therein by the weight of the wearer so that a springy step was provided. In the present invention that energy return is deliberately avoided so that a sinking" step is provided to simulate the effect of walking in a low gravity environment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, which may be fabricated from resilient plastic materials or the like, there is provided a cushion attachment for a shoe that include a semirigid air reservoir. A shoe attaching platform is secured to the reservoir so that the cushion attachment may be worn as an adjunct to or replacement for the users shoes. The reservoir is partially collapsible by the weight of the wearer. Means are provided for controlled venting of the reservoir so as to control its rate of collapse when the weight of the wearer is placed on the reservoir as in walkmg.
The above and other objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will become apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. I is a side view of a cushion attachment having portions omitted in the interest of clarity;
FIG. 2 is a plan view ofthe cushion attachment on FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the under side of the cushion attachment of FIG. 2; and
FIG. Sis a perspective view of a cushion.
Briefly, the illustrated embodiment of the invention, which are referred to hereinafter as space boots," include an air cushion attachment for a shoe including a semirigid air reservoir. A platform is secured to the reservoir for attaching a shoe to the reservoir. The reservoir is compressible by the weight of the wearer and is provided with means for venting the reservoir when the weight of the wearer is on the reservoir.
In the following description reference will be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate one air cushion attachment or space boot for a shoe. It will be understood that in actual use a pair of space boots are secured to the wearer's shoes. FIG. 5 illustrates an air cushion attachment 10, before a shoe, not shown, is attached thereto. The attachment lit) includes a reservoir 12 on which is mounted shoe receiving plat form 14. The shoes of the wearer is secured in position on the platform M by strap 16 and lace 113 that cooperate with paired extensions 20 and 22 respectively, of the platform 14. The shoe fits beneath the front extensions 20 with the medial portion ll6a of the strap 16 beneath the shoe arch. The shoe heel is received against the upwardly extending rear wall 24 of the platform and the sole engages sole plate 26 of the platform 14.
Referring to FIG. I, reservoir 12 is an oblate spheroid of resilient plastic material, such as polyethylene, blow-molded to provide a continuous body. The lower face 28 or the reservoir has a plurality of treadmarks 30 molded therein which are most clearly seen in FIG. 4. The treadmarks 30, 32 are provided as part of the novelty of the device to form distinctive space boot footprints in a mud, dust or sand surface that the wearer walks on. On the upper face 34 of the reservoir 112 are molded screw receptors 36 for receiving screws 42, 44, respectively, to secure the platform 14 to the reservoir 12. The upper face 34 and lower face of the reservoir are connected by flexible sidewalls 35. Additionally, and significantly, the upper surface 34 of the reservoir is molded to provide depending wells 46, 48, 50. Wells 46 and 50 are identical being provided with inwardly inclined walls 46a and 50a and a pair of rigidizing formations 46b, 5011 respectively. The inclined walls 46a, 50a and the projections 46b, 50b terminate in a substantially flat bottom wall 460, 50c so that it engages the inner surface of the bottom wall 28 of the reservoir when it is collapsed as indicated by the phantom lines in FIG. 3. Center well 48 is provided with inclined walls 48a which terminate in a bottom wall 4230. Wells 46, 48 and 50 are overlaid by the sole plate portion 26 of the platform 14. The purpose of the wells 46, 48, 50 will be explained in detail below.
Means 52 are provided for venting the reservoir 12 or allowing the contained air in the reservoir to escape when the wearer steps on the attachment 10. The venting means 52 includes an aperture 54 formed in the rear end wall 56 of the reservoir 12. A suitable reed whistle 5 8 is positioned in the aperture 54 to allow passage of the air through the whistle and out of the reservoir when it is pressurized by the weight of the wearer. The reed whistle allows quick return of air into the reservoir 12 when the weight of the wearer is removed from the attachment 10. The air is returned by the return of the reservoir to its original shape by the inherent resilience of the blow-molded reservoir.
In actual use, the space boots are attached to each foot of the wearer with the heel of the wearers shoe being received on platform 14. Buckle 60 on the strap 16 is utilized to secure the strap about the shoe and ankle so as to fasten the space boot to the wearers foot. The initial as molded" position of the extensions 20, 22 of the platform is horizontally extended as shown in FIG. 2 so that a minimal amount of tension is maintained in the laces and the strap to assist in maintaining the space boot in place while in use.
The space boots are designed to give the sensation of walking in a low gravity field. As the wearer steps out onto the cushion his weight is sufficient to cause, with a purposeful time delay, the walls of the reservoir 12 to bulge outwardly from the solid line position to the phantom line positions as shown in FIG. 3 until the well bottoms 46c, 48c, and 500 engage the bottom wall of the reservoir. During the delayed descent of the upper surface under the weight of the wearer the air contained in the reservoir is allowed to escape through the venting means 52. The rate of air leakage is, of course, proportional to the weight of the wearer. The size of the aperture in the whistle provides a restriction to the rapid air movement so that controlled compression or collapse of the reservoir is provided as well as providing a noticeable sound effect.
When the wells bottom" against wall 28 the descent stops. This stopping of descent provides the sensation of the completion of the step at a time separated from the first contact of the space boot with the ground surface. If the wearer walks with a normal heel and toe gait it will be seen that the boot flexes so that first well 46, then well 48, then well 50 will bottom in succession against the bottom wall of the reservoir, so as to provide a fairly level position of the platform with respect to the bottom surface 28 of the reservoir of the end of a step. It will be understood of course that if the wearer steps on a rock or the like this will be transmitted into an inward bulge of the reservoir and thus limit the downward descent of the corresponding position of the upper surface represented by the well closest thereto to thereby give some feel to the wearer's foot of the surface on which he is walking. This aids in the simulation intended of walking on the surface of a celestial body such as the Moon under the influence oflow gravity.
As the wearers weight is removed from the reservoir, in taking the next step, the resilience of the walls of the reservoir drives the lower surface away from the upper surface so as to increase the internal volume of the reservoir and draw air through the aperture 54 back into the reservoir. The reed in the whistle does not significantly impede the return air. The above described stepping action is repeated with the venting and inflating of each of the reservoirs with each step of the wearer. It will be noted that the vent 52 provides a restricted air flow path for the air contained and pressurized in the reservoir by the weight of the wearer so that a gradual descent is imparted to the foot of the wearer as he steps out onto the cushion. [t is this controlled descent and venting that is believed to be responsible for the simulated effect of lower gravity.
While only one embodiment of the invention has been shown and described in detail it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An air cushion attachment for a shoe including an air reservoir, a platform secured to said reservoir for attaching a shoe to said reservoir, said reservoir being compressible by the weight of the wearer, and means providing venting of said reservoir when the weight of the wearer is on said reservoir.
2. An air cushion attachment according to claim 1 wherein means are provided for limiting the compression of said reservoir when the weight of the wearer is one said reservoir.
3. An air cushion attachment according to claim 1 wherein means are provided for restoring said reservoir to its initial condition when the weight of the wearer is removed from said reservoir.
4. An air cushion attachment according to claim 3 wherein said reservoir has resilient portions for restoring said reservoir to its initial condition when the weight of the wearer is removed.
5. An air cushion attachment according to claim 4 wherein said reservoir is fabricated from resilient material for restoring said reservoir to its initial condition when the weight of the wearer is removed.
6. An air cushion attachment according to claim 1 wherein said venting means provides delayed collapse of said reservoir after the weight of the wearer is placed thereon.
7. An air cushion attachment according to claim 6 wherein said venting means includes a whistle.
8. An air cushion attachment according to claim 2 wherein said reservoir has an upper surface and a bottom surface and said means for limiting the compressibility of said reservoir includes means depending from said upper surface of said reservoir partially toward said bottom surface, compression of said reservoir being limited by the engagement of said limiting means and said bottom surface.
9. An air cushion attachment according to claim 8 wherein said reservoir has a front end and a rear end and wherein at least two of said limiting means are provided, said limiting means being located adjacent said front and rear ends respectively to provide limitation of compressibility of said reservoir at said locations.
10. An air cushion according to claim 9 wherein said reservoir is provided with means for restoring said reservoir to its initial condition when the weight of the wearer is removed from said reservoir and wherein said venting means includes a whistle.