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Publication numberUS3694600 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 26, 1972
Filing dateApr 5, 1971
Priority dateApr 5, 1971
Publication numberUS 3694600 A, US 3694600A, US-A-3694600, US3694600 A, US3694600A
InventorsKoenig Robert H
Original AssigneeTapeswitch Corp Of America
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cushion switch means
US 3694600 A
Abstract
A ribbon switch is provided for operating on soft surfaces such as cushioned seats; for instance, automobile seats. First and second flexible conductive strips are normally separated by a plurality of insulating members sandwiched between them. The insulating members are spaced so as to hold the conductive strips separated unless the conductive strips are flexed or bowed; as for instance, into a soft cushion by someone sitting on them. The spacing of the insulatng members and the flexibility of the strips is chosen so that after a predetermined amount of flexing, the conductive strips will snap together forming a good electrical contact.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1151 3,694,600 Koenig 1 t 1451 Sept. 26, 1972 CUSHION SWITCH MEANS Primary Examiner-David Smith, Jr. [72] Inventor: Robert H. Koenig, Cambria Heights, Am-mey james Pix- 1 .1. V 57 ABSTRACT 73] Assignee: Tapeswitch Corporation of America, 1

m a aleN-Y .5

April 5, 1971 [21] Appl.No.: 131,083

521 Us. c1. ...,.,200/86 R, 340/278 ,[511 IIILCI. ..H01h'l3/16 581 Field 6! Search...307/l05 13; 200/86 R; 340/228 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,728,827 12/1955 Towle "200/8611 2,790,873 4/1957 Fleming ..200/86R 2,938,977 5/1960 Koenig ..200/86R 2,163,960 6/1939 Paver .....200/86 R A ribbon switch is provided for operating on soft surfaces such as cushioned seats; for instance, automobile seats. First and second flexible conductive strips are normally separated by a plurality of insulating members sandwichedbetween them. The insulating members are spaced so as to hold the conductive strips separated unless the conductive strips are flexed or bowed; as for instance, into a soft cushion by someone sitting on them. The spacing of the insulatng members and the flexibility of the strips is chosen so that after a predetermined amount of flexing, the conductive strips will snap together forming a good electrical contact.

6 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEnsms I972 3.694.600

9 I I s n ,FIG 8 m INVENTOR. N

2 ROBERT H. KOENIG ture. It uses simple conductor contact strips and has a narrow width dimension. This design achieves reliable results without requiring one conductor to be stamped out.

Accordingly, the principal object of the invention is to provide new and improved ribbon switch means for operation on soft, yielding surfaces, for example seats and safety cushions.

Another object of the invention is to provide new and improved snap-action ribbon switch means.

Another object of the invention is to provide new and improved ribbon switch means for detecting a person sitting in a seat.

Another object of the invention is to provide new and improved ribbon switch means which will operated at very low temperature.

Another object of the invention is to provide new and improved safety cushion switch means.

Another object of the invention is to provide new and improved ribbon switch means for mounting on soft, yielding surfaces comprising a first flexible conductive strip, a second flexible conductive strip, a plurality of insulating members connected between first and second strips, said insulating members being spaced along the axes of said strips so that said strips will be held in non-contact, separated position unless said strips are flexedabout the axes perpendicular to their longitudinalaxes whereby when said strips are mounted on a soft surface and a force is applied on top of them, they will flex, and after a predetermined amount of flexing, the strips will snap together to provide a good electrical contact.

These and other objects of the invention will be apparent in the following specifications and drawings, of which,

FIG. 1 is a perspective exploded view, partially cut away, and an embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 1A and 1B are perspective views showing the invention mounted in the padding on a soft seat.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of an embodiment of FIG. 1, shown in relaxed open position.

FIG. 2A shows the embodiment of FIG. 2, in closed position due to flexing.

FIGS. 3 t 5 and 8 are sectional views of modifications of the invention.

FIGS. 6 and 7 are side detail views of a modification of the invention.

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1A illustrates one use of the invention and shows a ribbon switch 10 mounted on a cushioned seat 11, which may be an automobiletype seat, for the purpose of detecting when a person is sitting in a seat. There may be many reasons for detecting a person sitting in a particular seat and this information may be used for safety purposes and other monitoring purpose.

Conventional ribbon switches are generally not acceptable for mounting on a soft surface such as seat cushions since the force is not concentrated as is the weight of a person applied on one foot. In the seat application, the persons weight is spread over a considerable area so that the ribbon switch must be designed to flex considerably and it must be designed so that it is sensitive to the surprisingly small force per unit area applied by a person sitting down.

The present switch is designed so as to flex to conform to the shape of the persons body sitting on a soft cushioned seat. The switch is also designed so that when there is sufficient flexing, the contact members will undergo a snap action and provide a good electrical contact.

FIG. 1B shows a ribbon switch 10' mounted perpendicular to the switch 10 of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of the invention comprising a first flexible conductive strip 1 and a second flexible conductive strip 2, which are separated by insulating member 3 and 4. Strips 1 and 2 may be connected to external electrical circuits by means of leads 5 and 6 in conventional manner. Strips l and 2 have a transverse curvature.

FIG. 1 shows an exploded view, and FIG. 2 shows a sectional view with the members 1 and 2 in normal open, non-contacting position wherein they are separated by the insulating members 3, 4, etc., and the assembly is enclosed by a flexible insulating jacket 7.

FIG. 2A shows a side view of FIG. 2 with the cover removed, showing a flexing snap action. This figure illustrates that after the switch has been flexed by a predetermined amount of force, it will tend to snap into a closed position at the point 3.

FIG. 3 shows a modification of the invention having a stabilizing member 9, which may be flat or have a transverse curvature opposite to that of the first and second strips. The strip 9 is preferably made of a springy material, such as,spring steel. 7

FIGS. 4, 5, 6 and 7 show the switch with stabilizing strips with periodic mechanical bumps or elevations 11,, 12. When the switch is curved, thse bumps cause an additional force to bring conductor strips 1 and 2 together, as shown in FIG. 7. Notice that in rest position raised bump 11 does not cause contact. This relaxed, out-of-touch condition. is also shown in the cross sections FIGS. 4 and 5.

In FIG. 5 the supplementary strip 13 is flat. This adds little to the stability but does give improved action on curvature, as described.

FIG; 8 shows a modification with flat strips 1' and 2'.

DESCRIPTION OF OPERATION Operation of this detector switch is such that contact is made by either of two ways. One is simple downward pressure, squeezing contacts 1 and 2 together at intervals where no insulator is placed. This action is analagous to pushing down on a switch while it is lying on a table.

The other mode of contacting takes place by bending or forming a longitudinal curvature as when pressed into a soft padding, FIGS. 2A and 7. This is important in very low temperature operation because economical jacketing materials tend to become partially rigid at these very low temperatures, and this would make the Detector Switch inoperative in the flat mode described above. This design will operate, however, at minus 35 F. or below by closing with the longitudinal flex action described. This invention will respond even at the extremely low temperatures to the small forces present in an automobile seat by means of its longitudinal flexclosing mode.

In use, this switch could be installed in the padding of the seat at any active location to be sensed. Altemately, it may be fastened to the spring structure where it will operate by flexing and/or squeezing.

I claim:

1. Ribbon switch means for mounting on soft, yielding surfaces comprising,

a first flexible conductive strip, having transverse curvature, a second flexible conductive strip, having transverse V curvature,

a plurality of insulating members connected between first and second strips, said insulating members position unless said strips are flexed about an axis perpendicular to their longitudinal axes,

whereby when said strip assemblies are mounted on a soft surface and a force is applied on top of them, they will flex, and after a predetermined amount of flexing, the strips will snap together to provide a good electrical contact.

2. Apparatus as in claim 1, having a third strip mounted parallel and adjacent to one of said first and second strips.

3. Apparatus as in claim 2 wherein said third strip has a transverse curvature.

4. Apparatus as in claim 2 wherein said third strip has raised projections extending towards one of said first and second strips.

5. Apparatus as in claim 1 having a flexible insulating jacket enclosing said first and second strips.

6. Apparatus as in claim 3 whereinsaid third strip have a transverse curvature opposite to that of one of being spaced along the axes of said strips so that Said Stripssaid strips will be held in non-contact, separated

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2163960 *Dec 7, 1936Jun 27, 1939Paver John MRoad strip
US2728827 *Mar 23, 1953Dec 27, 1955Specialties Dev CorpDeformable switch
US2790873 *May 8, 1953Apr 30, 1957Specialties Dev CorpDeformation switch
US2938977 *Sep 2, 1958May 31, 1960Tapeswitch Corp Of AmericaElectric switching mat
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3727211 *Feb 28, 1972Apr 10, 1973Guy CBackseat object detector for police vehicle
US3751615 *Mar 10, 1972Aug 7, 1973Torrix Sa EtsPressure-operated tape switch
US3825707 *Jun 8, 1973Jul 23, 1974Rau Swf AutozubehoerSwitching device for indicating the loading of a vehicle seat
US4678058 *Apr 7, 1986Jul 7, 1987Outboard Marine CorporationVehicle seat switch
US4828361 *Aug 26, 1987May 9, 1989Siegel-Robert, Inc.Semi-automatic rear view mirror assembly
US4845323 *Aug 28, 1987Jul 4, 1989Tactilitics, Inc.Flexible tactile switch
US5239148 *May 15, 1991Aug 24, 1993Progressive Engineering Technologies Corp.Lane discriminating traffic counting device
US5360953 *Jul 12, 1993Nov 1, 1994Progressive Engineering Technologies Corp.Lane discriminating traffic counting device
US5510586 *Jan 11, 1995Apr 23, 1996Tapeswitch Corporation Of AmericaSwitch joint for electrical switching mats
US6009970 *Dec 19, 1994Jan 4, 2000Automotive Technologies Int'l., Inc.Tape switch crush sensor
US6054658 *Jun 1, 1998Apr 25, 2000Tapeswitch CorporationElectrical switch mat
US6744354Sep 23, 2002Jun 1, 2004Ford Global Technologies, LlcSystem for sensing whether an object struck in a collision is a pedestrian
DE8908041U1 *Jun 29, 1989Aug 17, 1989Nettelhorst, Frhr. Von, Herwig, Dr.-Ing., 1000 Berlin, DeTitle not available
DE10326770B4 *Jun 13, 2003May 16, 2007Ford Global Tech LlcSensorsystem zum Bestimmen der Breite eines Objekts
EP0529926A1 *Aug 19, 1992Mar 3, 1993Ian E. KibblewhiteRemote sensor for monitoring departure from bed
WO1993001071A1 *Jul 9, 1992Jan 21, 1993Automotive Tech IntImproved tape switch crush sensor
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/86.00R, 200/85.00A
International ClassificationH01H3/14, H01H3/02
Cooperative ClassificationH01H3/142
European ClassificationH01H3/14B2