US 3675259 A
An aquatic vehicle for use by human beings for movement on the surface of the water. The vehicle is spherical in shape and formed from a plurality of buoyant regularly shaped panels which are joined together at the edges thereof. The panels are transparent to permit visibility from the vehicle and have means to permit flow of air into the vehicle. The panels are firm and weight supporting to permit the user of the vehicle to walk on the panels to rotate the vehicle, thereby moving the vehicle over the surface of the water. In certain embodiments, the edges of the panels extend outwardly forming paddles or water treads.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Gilchrist 1 July 11, 1972  AQUATIC VEHICLE  Inventor: David W. Gilchrist, 2l5 W. Water, Elmira,
N.Y. [490i  Filed: Jim. 18, I971 211 Appl. No.: 107,348
 (1.5. CL ..9/3l0 G, 272/1 B [Sl I Int. Cl ..A63c 15/04 [SKI FieidolSeerch ..9/3|l,3l0R,3l0G;llS/lR; 272/1 B I56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,838,022 6/l958 Wilson ..9/3l0 G $000,022 9/l96l Cathey et al ..9/3 l0 6 Primary Examiner-Milton Buchler Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Sauberer AHorney-John E. McGarry ABSTRACT An aquatic vehicle for use by human beings for movement on the surface of the water. 'lhe vehicle is spherical in shape and formed from a plurality of buoyant regularly shaped panels which are joined together at the edges thereof. The panels are transparent to permit visibility from the vehicle and have means to permit flow of air into the vehicle. The panels are finn and weight supporting to permit the user of the vehicle to walk on the panels to rotate the vehicle, thereby moving the vehicle over the surface of the water in certain embodiments, the edges of the panels extend outwardly forming paddles or water treads ZiCllimlSDnwingHgures PATENTEDJUL 1 T [912 3, s75 259 sum 1 or e I NVEN TOR.
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AQUATIC VEHICLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l Field of the Invention This invention relates to aquatic vehicles adapted for use by human beings for walking on the surface of water.
2. Description of the Prior Art Since the time of Christ, man has sought to travel on water much in the same manner as he does on land, i.e., by walking. Most of the prior efforts have been directed towards spiritual implementation of this activity and little attention has been directed to supplementing this concept with structural embellishments.
Previous structures which permit ambulation on the surface of water are disclosed in US. Pat, Nos. 2 838 022 and 3 423 015. Both of these structures are constructed in a manner to permit rather linear movement over the surface of water and provide limited visibility for the users.
It is also been proposed to use a large inflated plastic balloon in which the occupant would walk. Aside from the dangerous aspects of the structure, the occupant's foot would sink into the water each time he took a step. The walking would therefore be quite fatiguing for the user.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION By various aspects of this invention, one or more of the following, or other, objects can be obtained.
It is an object of this invention to provide a safe vehicle for walking on the surface of water.
It is another object of this invention to provide an aquatic vehicle for use by human beings in walking over the surface of water, the vehicle providing good visibility for the occupant in all directions while being adapted to rotate about any of its own axes to travel in any given direction.
It is another object of this invention to provide an aquatic vehicle which firmly supports the occupant for walking, running and the like over the surface of water.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide an aquatic vehicle which is easily disassembled for compact transportation and storage, and is easily reassembled at point of use.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide a knockdown aquatic vehicle with separable parts which are nestable and stackable for economy of transportation and storage.
Other aspects, objects, and the several advantages of this invention are apparent to one skilled in the art from a study of this disclosure, the drawings and the appended claims.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention provides an aquatic vehicle for use by human beings. The vehicle is formed from a plurality of firm buoyant panels joined together at the edges thereof forming a generally closed spherical shape so as to permit movement of the vehicle in any direction on the surface of water by rotation of the vehicle about any of its axes. At least some of the panels have at least a transparent portion to permit visibility from the vehicle in all directions. Means provide open spaces for passage of air into the vehicle. The buoyancy of the panels are sufficient to support a human being inside of the vehicle. Means provide a door for ingress and egress to the vehicle.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will now be described with reference to the drawings in which:
FIG. I is a perspective view of one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a partial sectional view taken along lines Il-II of FIG. I and illustrating the joining of the triangular sections;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a connector element used in joining the sections to form the embodiment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of one triangular section having a door, permitting ingess and egress to the vehicle, said view being taken from within the vehicle;
FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view between an edge of the door section illustrated in FIG. 4 and an edge of a section adjacent thereto;
FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view through lines VI-- VI of FIG. 1 and illustrating another means of joining the triangular sections;
FIG. 7 is a view of the disassembled triangular sections of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. I, said sections being in nested and stacked condition;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view through lines IX--IX of FIG. 8;
FIG. 9A is a partial cross-sectional view ofa modified triangular section of the second embodiment;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view ofa third embodiment of the invention;
FIG. II is a partial cross-sectional view through lines Xl- XI of FIG. 10;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 13 is a partial cross-sectional view along lines XIII- XII] of FIG. 12;
FIG. 14 is a plan view of a net of the fourth embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS First Embodiment Referring now to the drawings, and to FIGS. 1 through 6 in particular, there is illustrated an aquatic vehicle 12 formed from a plurality of triangular base, frustro-pyramidal shape sections 14 joined by connectors I6. Twenty such sections form the closed spherical shape vehicle. Each of the sections has a frame 18 formed by L-shaped channels 20 having holes 22 spaced along a depending leg thereof. The bshaped channels 20 are joined at their ends to form the triangular frame 18 which supports a screen 24 formed of intersecting wires which are welded to the top of the channels 20. In FIG. I, the screen 24 is shown only schematically so that the interior of the vehicle can be more clearly illustrated. In actual practice, screening 24 covers each of the triangular base sections I4. An occupant 26 within the aquatic vehicle walks on the screen 24 to rotate the vehicle, thereby moving the vehicle through the water by a rolling motion. Necessarily, the screen has a strength to support a human being. A 2 inch x 4 inch fence material would be suitable for this purpose. As seen in FIG. 1. the bottom portion of the vehicle extends slightly below the surface of the water 13.
Each of the triangular sections I4 further comprise foamed plastic walls 28 formed of a well known material such as styrofoam or foamed polyurethane. The foamed plastic walls 28 are joined together in a triangular base frustro-pyramidal shape with the walls extending downwardly and outwardly from the upper portion at which they are secured to the frame The connectors 16 comprise an upper plate 30 having five triangular portions 32 with triangular lugs 34 on the bottom portions thereof. At the apex of the upper plate 30, a hole 36 is provided.
A base plate 38 is formed of triangular sections 40 having raised triangular lugs 42 on the upper faces thereof. A rod 44 is secured at its bottom portion to the base plate 38 and has a threaded upper end 46 which extends through the hole 36 in the upper plate. A nut 48 threadably engages the upper end 46 of the rod 44 to retain the upper plate 30 thereon.
The upper plate 30 of the connector abuts against the bottom comer edges of the foamed walls 28, with the raised triangular lugs 34 extending into the upper and inner corners between adjacent walls 28 of each triangular section. The base plate 38 abuts against the frame 18 of each section with the raised triangular lugs 42 tilting into the corners of frame 18. Tightening of the nut 48 on rod 44 pulls the upper plate 30 toward the base plate 38 with the triangular sections therebetween. The tightening of the plates against the comers of the triangular sections holds such sections together.
Reference is now made specifically to FIGS. 4 and which illustrate a portion of a triangular section having a door to permit ingress and egress to the vehicle. In FIG. 4, portions of the triangular sections adjacent the door are shown without screening material for purposes of simplicity. As stated above, these sections would contain screening material. In the doorcontaining triangular section, the screen 24 which is welded to the frame 18 extends to a central portion of the sides toward one of the comers from the other two corners. At the termination of the frame screen, one leaf 54a of a piano hinge 54 is welded on top of this screen and to the frame channels 20. A door is formed by the other leaf 54b of the piano hinge 54, two modified frame members 56 and cross-brace 57. The frame has a truncated shape so that the top portion thereof will seat on the frame 18 adjacent the plate 38 of connector 16. The modified member 56 has a flat portion 58 and a slanted portion 60 which extends upwardly along the top of an adjacent section so that when the door is closed, the frame of the door rests on the screen of the adjacent L-shaped members (see FIG. 5). A screen 24 in the door is welded to the bottom of the flat portion 58, to the bottom of cross'member 57 and to the underside of leaf 54b. A spring clip 62 on a chain 63 secured to the end of the laterally extending portion 60 clamps on to the edge of portion 60 of frame member 56 and the edge of frame 20 of the adjacent section to hold the door in the closed position. For this purpose a small cavity 64 is provided in the top of the wall 28 beneath a portion of frame 20. The spring clip is removed for opening the door. Other means for latching the door can be used in lieu of or in addition to the mechanisms described above.
For example, a spring clip 62 can also be secured between the cross-member 57 and the plate 38 of connector 16.
It will be appreciated that each of the sections has outwardly and downwardly sloping side walls 28 to pitch each section with respect to the adjacent section. For example, in the case of the icosahedronal structure illustrated in these figures, the angle between the plane of the frame 18 and the side walls is about l 1 1. Because of this construction, the sections, when disassembled, nest when stacked vertically as illustrated in FIG. 7. This feature compacts the plurality of the sections for economy of transportation and storage when the vehicle is not in use. With any given angular relationship between the side walls and the plane of frame 18, the height and thickness of the side walls can be adjusted to maximize nesting.
An alternate or auxiliary form of connector is illustrated in FIG. 6. A hole 50 extends through adjacent walls 28 and is aligned with holes 22 in downwardly extending portions of channels 20. A bolt 52 extends through the holes 50 and 22, and threadably engages a nut 53 to secure the adjacent triangular sections together. One or two of such bolts can be used between all adjacent sections so that all sections are secured with such bolts.
Second Embodiment Reference is now made to FIGS. 8 and 9 which illustrate a second embodiment of the invention. The modified aquatic vehicle 66 is formed from a plurality of triangular base, frustro-pyramidal members formed from rigid clear plastic truncated pyramids 68 and 70. Here again, 20 such members form the closed spherical shape vehicle. The pyramid 68 fits within the pyramid 70 and has a larger base portion so that a trapped air space 72 is provided between the bases of pyramids 68 and 70. The pyramids are adhesively bonded by welding or heat sealing the sides together so that the air space 72 is sealed. At each of the comers of the bottom truncated pyramid 70, a bolt 74 having a threaded and extends inwardly through the bottom of pyramid 60. A connector member 76, formed from a five-sided yramidal plate, has holes extending therethrough to receive the bolts 74. Nuts 75 threadably engage the bolts to secure the connector 76 to each of the comers of the truncated pyramids 70. This structure provides for lateral openings 68 between each of the triangular shaped sections so that air can freely pass in and out of the vehicle. The clear plastic nature of the truncated pyramidal members 68 and 70 provide visibility from the vehicle in all directions.
In FIG. 9A, a modified form of the second embodiment is shown. A section like FIG. 9 is taken through a modified trian gular section. In this modified form, an air space 72' is formed by truncated pyramids 68' and 70' such that the air space extends into the walls of the triangular section thus formed. A closure wall 71 extends between the truncated pyramids 68' and 70' to seal air space 72'.
The thickness of the air space 72' in the floor and walls of the triangular sections illustrated in H6. 9A can be adjusted to maximize nesting of disassembled sections for storage and shipping. in addition, the walls of the truncated pyramids can be extended to provide additional buoyancy.
Third Embodiment Reference is now made to FIGS. 10 and 11 which illustrate a third embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the vehicle 80 is formed from triangular sections 82. Each of the sections 82 has a clear, flexible plastic floor member 84 having a plurality of holes 86 extending therethrough. Inflated bags 88 are secured at the upper portions to the floor members 84 and extend downwardly thereof forming side walls for each of the triangular sections. The inflated bags provide buoyancy for the vehicle. Zippers 90 at the upper or inner edges of the bag mechanically secure the triangular sections 82 together to form the dome shaped structure. Valves 94 are provided in each of the bags 88 to inflate and deflate the bags. The clear floor members 84 provide visibility in all directions while the holes 86 permit air to freely pass into the vehicle. Tension on the floor 84 is provided when the bags 88 are inflated. The tension is reinforced by assembling the bags into the dome shaped structure.
Fourth Embodiment Reference is now made to FIGS. 12, 13 and 14 which illustrate a fourth embodiment of the invention. The aquatic vehicle is formed from a plurality of inflated triangular sections. Holes 108 in the heat sealed areas 104 permit air to freely pass into the vehicle. The buoyancy for this embodiment is provided by the pillow-like inflated triangular sections 102. These areas are fim't to stand on and are made from a clear plastic such as vinyl providing visibility in all directions from the vehicle. The pillows are firm enough to give structural rigidity to the dome structure formed by securing the triangular sections together. The structure is formed in a net pattern illustrated in FIG. 14 and secured together at binding edges 110 through a rope 114 which is drawn through eyelets 1 l2. Passages 106 are provided between each of the triangular sections so that all of the triangular secu'ons can be blown up simultaneously through a valve I16.
In this fourth embodiment, the user climbs in and out through an apex 118 where all of the sections are joined together in a point. The rope is untied and loosened to permit the user to pass through the apex 118.
In operation of each of the embodiments, the user climbs into the vehicle which is placed on the surface of water. The buoyancy of the panels supports the vehicle substantially on the top of the water, although the very bottom of the vehicle may be slightly submerged beneath the surface of the water. The occupant then closes the door and proceeds to walk within the vehicle. This walking will cause the vehicle to rotate on the surface of water in such a way that the spherical structure rolls across the surface of the water in much the same manner as a ball rolls along the surface of the ground. In the first three embodiments, the side walls of the triangular sections provides water treds or paddles such as the paddles of a paddle wheel to assist in movement over the surface of the water. In this manner, one can easily and enjoyably walk across the surface of water in a manner similar to walking on land. lf desirable, one can even run within the vehicle causing faster motion across the water. In addition, various vehicles such as bicycles, motorcycles, and the like can be placed inside the spherical shape for added speed of transportation across the water. Races, games and even professional sports can be envisioned with a plurality of such aqueous vehicles.
The spherical shape of the vehicle permits movement in any direction and permits a change of direction rapidly.
Each of the vehicles has a means to permit air to flow into the central portion so that the occupant can breathe freely. Further, the transparent nature of each of the panels gives good visibility to the user in all directions from the vehicle.
The vehicle has been designed primarily as an aquatic vehicle for water travel. However, the same vehicle can be used for travel or games on land, over the snow, etc.
It will be appreciated that each of the aquatic vehicles described hereinbefore is easily assembled and disassembled for use. Further, the components of each of these vehicles form compact units for transportation and storage. Whereas the sections of the first and second embodiments are nestable and stackable, portions of the sections of the third embodiment are deflatable for reducing bulk.
Whereas the invention has been described with reference to a spherical shape vehicle formed of triangular sections, other regular geometric forms as well as irregular geometric forms can be used. For example, the structure can be formed from eight triangular shape sections or from 12 pentagon shape sections. Other geometric shapes are well known to those skilled in the art.
Reasonable variation and modification are possible within the scope of the foregoing disclosure and drawings without departing from the spirit of the invention.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An aquatic vehicle for use by human beings, said aquatic vehicle comprising:
a plurality of firm, buoyant panels joined together at the edges thereof forming a generally closed spherical shape so as to permit movement of said vehicle in any direction on the surface of water by rotation of said vehicle about any of its axes;
at least some of said panels having at least a transparent portion thereof to permit visibility from said vehicle in all directions;
means providing open spaces for passage of air into said aquatic vehicle;
the buoyancy of said panels being sufficient to support a human being inside said vehicle; and
one of said panels forming a door for ingress and egress.
2. An aquatic vehicle according to claim I wherein each of the said panels is formed in the same regular planar geometric shape.
3. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 2 wherein each of said panels is formed by downwardly and outwardly sloping side walls of a highly buoyant, foamed plastic material and having a recessed central portion joining the tops of said side walls, whereby said panels are nestable and stackable when said vehicle is in disassembled form, the side walls of said panels providing paddles for said vehicle.
4. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 3 wherein said recessed central portion is formed of a heavy screen material.
5. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 3 wherein said recessed central portion has a plurality of holes therein to permit passage of air therethrough.
6. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 2 wherein each of said panels is triangularly shaped and there are twenty such triangularly shaped panels fonning said vehicle.
7. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 1 wherein each of said panels comprises hollow air-containing tubular members forming an outer wall structure, and a recessed central portion formed from a clear plastic material secured at the edges thereof to said tubular members. I
aquatic vehicle according to claim 7 wherein said clear plastic material has holes to permit passage of air therethrough into said vehicle.
9. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 7 wherein said tubular members are inflatable.
10. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 1 wherein said panels are detachably secured together for disassembly and transportation in disassembled form.
I]. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said panels are formed from a pair of open top, nonporous box members, each of the said box members having a regular geometric base joined to diverging side walls, one of said box members nesting within the other of said box members, leaving a trapped air space between the bases of said box members, and means sealing said pair of box members together at said side walls, to thereby seal said trapped air space.
12. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 11 wherein the base ofthe said one box member is larger than the base of said other box member.
13. An aquatic vehicle according to claim It wherein said panels are joined together so as to leave said open spaces there between.
14. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 11 wherein each of said box members is formed from a clear plastic sheet.
l5. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 1 and further comprising means detachably joining said panels together at the comers thereof to permit disassembly of said panels for ease of transportation and storage.
16. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said panels are formed of inflated pillows joined together at edge portions thereof.
17. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 16 wherein at least a portion of said pillows are joined together through heat sealed areas, said heat sealed areas having openings to permit air to pass into said vehicle but not into said pillows.
18. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 17 and further comprising passages through said heat sealed areas between the interior of adjacent pillows.
19. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 16 wherein a portion of said pillows are placed together at edge portions.
20. An aquatic vehicle for use by human beings, said aquatic vehicle comprising:
a plurality of firm, weight-supporting panels of regular. generally planar geometric shapes joined together at the sides thereof substantially in a spherical shape, said panels having sufiicient buoyancy to support a human being Within said vehicle;
means permitting visibility out of said vehicle in all directions; means permitting flow of air into and out of said vehicle; and
means pennitting ingress and egress to the interior of said vehicle.
21. An aquatic vehicle according to claim 20 wherein each of said geometric shapes is generally triangular and there are 20 such triangular shapes forming said spherical shape.
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