US 3700836 A
A control device for apparatus is adapted for support on the fourth finger of an operator's hand, has a housing of contoured shape to fit in the palm of the hand. A loop extends outwardly of one end of the housing for receiving and encircling the base of the fourth finger. Switches or other control units in the housing have operating members extending upwardly of the housing for operation by third and fourth fingers. The holder is connected to the housing integrally or separably. The holder may include a wrist band and strap integrally or separably connected together. Barb and loop fastener members may adjustable connect the strap and housing. Loop members to engage the back of the hand can be integral with the strap or with the housing. The holder can have a fingerless glove-like form with integral wrist band, strap and back portion.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Rackson  HAND HELD FINGER CONTROLLED SWITCH DEVICE WITH FLEXIBLE WRIST STRAP MOUNT  inventor: Chester B. Racltson, 22 Orchard Drive, Woodbury, NY. 11797  Filed: May 10, 1971 [211 App]. No.: 141,726
[ 1 Oct. 24, 1972 3,532,344 10/1970 Mas'stab ..2/160X Primary Examiner--J. R. Scott Attorney-Polachek & Saulsbury & Hough ABSTRACT A control device for apparatus is adapted for support on the fourth finger of an operators hand, has a housing of contoured shape to fit in the palm of the hand. A loop extends outwardly of one end of the housing for receiving and encircling the base of the fourth finger. Switches or other control units in the housing have operating members extending upwardly of the housing for operation by third and fourth fingers. The holder is connected to the housing integrally or separably. The holder may include a wrist band and strap integrally or separably connected together. Barb and loop fastener members may adjustable connect the strap and housing. Loop members to engage the back of the hand can be integral with the strap or with the housing. The holder can have a fingerless glovelike form with integral wrist band, strap and back portion.
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SHEET 7 BF 7 s4 .00 i 86 'm W INVENTOR. CHESTER B. RACKSON ATTURNEYS HAND HELD FINGER CONTROLLED SWITCH DEVICE WITH FLEXIBLE WRIST STRAP MOUNT This invention concerns a finger mounting control device with holder for mounting retaining the device in nonrotatable, snugly seated position in the palm of an operators hand. The device is particularly adapted for controlling dental equipment, but is generally applicable to other fields for controlling electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic apparatus, or combinations thereof, wherever an operator must retain freedom of arm, hand and finger movement while retaining the control device in manual operating position at all times.
Finger and hand mounting control devices proposed heretofore have not proven practical in applications such as the dental fields because they were mounted on or were held by fingers which must remain free for performing other operations while the control device remains in operating position in the hand. Typical of these prior control devices or switch mountings are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 879,254 and 3,226,501.
The problem of providing a dentist or dental operator with apparatus control means which can be instantly and continuously operated while leaving the normally used fingers and hands free for performing complex operations, has been a particularly difficult one in the dental field. Generally, the expedient resorted to has been provision of a foot control switch or assembly to activate the dental drilling handpiece. This type of switch has many objections. It requires that the dental operator stand or sit in an unbalanced fashion with one foot relieved of body weight and constantly in a ready position for quick release of pressure on the foot control switch. This is a very tiring position and prevents continuous efficient operation by the dental operator. The foot control constitutes a safety hazard since it is always underfoot and is attached to electric and pneumatic lines extending outwardly from the foot control. The foot control is an unsightly, dangerous, inefficient device on an otherwise clear floor area.
The objections to the foot switch control have been recognized heretofore. One proposed remedy described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,388,472 has been provision of a mouthpiece connected via a pneumatic tube to a pneumatic control device. While this eliminates the objectionable foot switch, it replaces it with an objectionable mouthpiece.
The present invention takes a new approach to the problem by providing a new hand held and operated control device which performs all the control functions of a foot control switch, thus eliminating the need for a foot switch. The hand held control device fits comfortably in one hand, attached to the fourth finger or palm of the hand which heretofore has had only very limited or no function in normal dental procedures. The thumb and other fingers of the hand are free to hold a dental mouth mirror to retract a patients cheek and to perform other necessary functions. The control device always remains in operating position by application of andfor operation by the third and fourth fingers of the handholding the device. Only light finger pressure is required to operate switch buttons extending upwardly of the device which has a contoured housing to fit snugly in the palm of the hand. Levers can be provided on the device for applying pressure to the switch buttons by third and fourth fingers. The device enables continued use of a dental drill at variable or selected speeds with or without water coolant at the will of the dental operator. Release of pressure on a switch button immediately stops revolution of the dental drill upon completion of a particular operation of in case of sudden movement of the patient, but leaves the dentistss fingers and instruments oriented with respect to the patients mouth position to resume operations as desired.
The control device may be arranged to convey signal impulses to controlled apparatus via a flexible, insu lated cable. However, the device can be operated without external wires by enclosing a miniature supersonic or electromagnetic transmitter. The miniature size of the device enables rapid, more accurate on-off control of external circuitry and apparatus. Use of the control device results in lessened operator fatigue, and prevents body disabilities heretofore caused by continued use of foot control devices. General health improvement results because backaches, foot problems, neck strains, restricted breathing, shoulder misalignment, and other difficulties directly traceable to use of foot control devices are avoided.
Any desired number of independent or interconnected switches can be incorporated in the control device. Other and further features, objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken together with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a top view of first assembly including a first control device and first holder embodying the invention, with a circuit plug shown in perspective.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the first assembly of control device and holder band.
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the first control device per se.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the first holder per se.
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a plan view of the first holder shown in place on the hand and wrist of an operator.
FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing the first assembly of control device and holder in hand held position.
FIG. 9 is a side view of a modified second control device according to the invention.
FIG. 10 is an end view of the second control device I taken on line l010 of FIG. 9.
FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a second holder adapted for use in a second assembly with the second control device.
FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view taken on line 12 12 of FIG. 11.
FIG. 13 is a plan view of a third holder shown in place on the hand and wrist of an operator.
FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the third holder per se.
FIG. 15 is an end view of the third holder taken on line 15--15 of FIG 14. a
FIG. 16 is a perspective view showing a third assembly including the third holder and first control device in hand held position.
FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a fourth holder per se.
FIG. 18 is an end view of the fourth holder taken on line 18-18 of FIG. 17.
FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a fifth holder.
FIG. 20 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view taken on line 20-20 of FIG. 19.
FIG. 21 is a perspective view of part of a sixth holder.
FIG. 22 is an enlarged fragmentary cross sectional view taken on line 2222 of FIG. 21.
FIG. 23 is a top plan view of a fourth assembly including a fourth control device with holder comprising an integral wrist strap and separate wrist band.
FIG. 24 is a side view of the fourth control device and holder of FIG. 23.
FIG. 25 is an end view of the fourth control device taken on line 25-15 of FIG. 24.
FIG. 26 is a side view of a fifth assembly including fifth control device with holder comprising an integral wrist strap and wrist band.
FIG. 27 is a perspective view of part of the wrist strap and wrist band of the holder of FIG. 26.
FIG. 28 is a top plan view of a sixth control device with holder comprising an integral hand strap.
FIG. 29 and FIG. 30 are opposite side views taken on line 29-29 and 30-30 of FIG. 28.
FIG. 31 is an end view taken on line 3131 of FIG. 28.
Referring first to FIGS. 1-4 and 8, there is shown a first control device S1 comprising a closed housing 20, including a hollow base 21 and cover plate 22. The base has a contoured shape to fit snugly in the palm of an operators hand H. Vertical end wall 24 of the base is substantially flat with rounded corners 25 merging smoothly into flat side wall 26 and curved angularly disposed opposite side wall 28. The flat bottom 30 of the base has an upwardly extending angular portion 32 tapering to wedge shaped end 34. The top rim 36 of the open top of the base is flat. Cover plate 22 overlays rim 36 and is removably secured by screws 38. The chamber 40 inside the housing is effectively closed and sealed off from the external contaminents. The cover plate can be removed to provide access to internal parts in chamber 40.
The cover plate is provided with a lateral outer recess 42 and an inner groove 44 in both of which are slidably engaged respectively opposite sides 46, 48 of a U-shaped finger engaging loop 50. The cover plate is formed with an arcuate edge 54 facing the inner side of loop 50 to define therewith a ring to receive the little or fourth finger F4 of hand H. Loop 50 is a flexible or rigid member and is adjustably held by screw 51 in the side of plate 22. Screw 51 extends through slot 53 in side 46 of the loop.
Mounted under the cover plate is a switch 56 having a sleeve 58 secured in an aperture in the cover plate.
An operating spring biased pushbutton 62 extends upwardly into slot 64 formed in the underside of operating lever 66. Lever 66 is aligned with loop 50 longitudinally of the housing so the lever can be depressed by finger F4. The lever is pivotally held by a bolt 68 engaged in a slot 70 formed in the lever near one end thereof. The bolt is secured into the threaded hole 71 in the cover plate. The pushbutton 62 holds the free other end of the lever in an elevated position. A U-shaped leaf spring 72 can be provided at bolt 68 to operate as a hinge, and to additionally assist in holding the lever in elevated position for preventing inadvertent downward movement of the lever against the pushbutton.
Another switch 74 is disposed laterally of switch 56 and is provided with a sleeve 75 secured in aperture 78 in the cover plate. A spring biased operating pushbutton 80 in sleeve 75 extends upwardly of the cover plate for operating switch 74 by the third finger F3 of the operators hand.
A further switch 82 is mounted inside of end wall 24. Switch 82 has a block 84 set in a rectangular aperture 85 in wall 24. A plurality of operating pushbuttons 86 are provided for operating independent sections of switch 82. These pushbuttons extend outwardly of end wall 24 and can be operated by the other hand of the operator for circuitry variations.
The several switches have leads 88 in chamber 40. These leads can be interconnected in various ways depending on the external circuitry to be controlled by the switches. Alternatively each lead can form one wire of a flexible cable 90 shown in FIG. 1 terminating at a plug 92 having individual prongs 94 for the respective wires from the switches. This plug can be engaged in a suitable socket or receptacle of an external circuit controlled by the switches.
In order to maintain the control device in a stable position on the hand H of an operator, there is provided a holder including flexible wrist band 151 integral with a flexible wrist strap 152 shown in FIGS. I3 and 5-8. The free ends of the wrist band 151 are provided with pads 154, 156 having mating barbed hooks and loops 157, 158 thereon. These constitute a Velcro" type of adjustable fastener for holding the wrist band snugly around the wrist W of the operator. The flexible wrist strap 152 extends longitudinally forward and terminates in a wide portion 160 having a convex bottom 162 to fit snugly in the palm P of the hand H. The flat top of strap portion 160 is covered with a fastener pad 164 having barbs 166 thereon. These engage loops 168 on pad 170 secured to the flat bottom 30 of base 21 of the control device. By this arrangement the control device and wrist strap are detachably and adjustably secured to each other.
FIG. 8 shows the control device S1 held in the left hand H of an operator. The wrist band 151 encircles the wrist W and is secured thereat by the hook and loop fasteners. The fourth or little finger F4 extends through loop 50 while the housing 20 nestles snugly on strap 152 in the palm P near the right or outer edge of the hand. This leaves the thumb T and first three fingers, F1, F2 and F3, free for manipulating and operating other instruments. When necessary, the third finger F3 can be depressed to contact switch button 80 for operating switch 74, shown in FIG. 1.
It will be apparent by the arrangement described, that the operator has complete freedom of movement of hand H. Cable 90 is flexible and can be extended up alongside the operators arm or disposed in any other way to permit freedom of hand and arm movement. Furthermore, the thumb and forefinger F1 and second finger F2 which are the most essential ones used in performing operations, are completely free. The third finger F3 is also free and need only occasionally be used in operating pushbutton 80. The little finger F4 normally rests on lever 66. However, it will be understood that it is possible to raise this finger from the lever to assist the other fingers in some operation, while the control device will be retained on the hand by the engagement of the loop 50 at the base of the fourth finger, and attached to the pad 166.
The housing 20 is preferably made of plastic or light weight metal which can be sterilized. The tightly closed cover plate 22 will exclude sterilizing fluids from chamber 40 where the electrical or control components are located.
The holder 150 is made of sterilizable plastic material which is flexible to confonn readily to the curvature of the wrist and palm of the hand.
FIGS. 9 and 10 show a second control device S2, which is used with holder 150A of FIGS. 11, 12. Device S2 is similar to device S1 and corresponding parts are identically numbered. In device S2, base 21a is formed with a contoured concave recess 100 in the upwardly extending angular portion 32a of the bottom of the base. In this recess is a pad 180 having Velcro fastener loops 182 thereon. The wider end of housing 21a is formedwith a convex bottom portion 103 and is contoured at edge 105 to fit a correspondingly shaped end portion 184 of flexible wrist strap 152a shown in FIGS. 11 and 12. Recess100 receives the curved end portion 184 of strap 152a, which is covered with pad 186 having fastener barbs 186' thereon to engage loops 182 on pad 180. The underside of end portion 184 of the wrist strap is concave to receive the fleshy part of the palm and first joint of finger F4 (FIG. 8) so that the device is held more comfortably in the hand. Strap 152a is integral with wrist band 151. Lever 66a is formed with a concave recess 102 at its upper side in which the fourth finger F4 seats comfortably. This assembly of control device, and holder 150A enables the operator to hold the control device comfortably for an extended period of time without feeling fatigue and without interference with operation of instruments by the free thumb and forefingers. Furthermore, the operator can raise his fingers F3 and F4 from the control device which will remain in stable position and will not turn around finger F4 nor will it become displaced from the palm of the hand. Thus, it is always ready for operation.
FIGS. 13-16 show a flexible holder 200 for a control device including a wrist band 201 integral with a wrist strap 202 which terminates in a fingerless glove-like end portion 204. Ends of the wrist band are engageable by snap fasteners 206, 207. End portion 204 has two loops 208, 210 which receive fingers F3 and F4 and engage at the base or root of the fingers. Fingers F1 and F2 extend through wide loop 211. Strap 202 overlays palm P and is provided with a pad 212 having barbs 214 thereon for engaging loops 168 of pad 170 on control device 81 (see FIG. 4). FIG. 16 shows control device S1 engaged on holder 200 with finger F4 extending through loop 50 to operate lever 66. The holder has a back portion 216 integral with the wrist band 201 and end portion 204 of the strap 202. The control device will remain in place even though the fingers F3 and F4 release the control device, so that it is always ready for operation.
FIGS. 17 and 18 show a flexible holder 250 including a wrist band 252 integral with wrist strap 254. The strap is formed at its forward end with an integral loop 256 which partially encircles the back of the hand. Pad 260 has barbs 262 thereon for engaging loops 168 on pad 170 of the control device. Pad 260 is mounted at the forward end of strap 254 to overlay the palm of the operators hand. The control device will seat securely on the holder and will not become detached accidentally, nor will it turn around finger F4 (FIG. 8) when the fingers F3 and F4 release the control device. Pads 154, 156 on the wrist band have mutually engaging barbs and loops for adjustably engaging the wrist as explained above in connection with holder in FIGS. 1-8.
Holder 275 shown in FIGS. 19 and 20 has a separate flexible wrist band 276 engaged in a turned up loop 278 formed in the rear end of plastic, flexible wrist strap 280. The strap terminates in an end portion 282 having a convex bottom surface 284 to fit snugly in the palm of the hand of the operator. On end portion 282 is a pad 286 provided with barbs 288 to engage loops 168 of pad on control device S1 (FIG. 4).
Holder 275a shown in FIGS. 21, 22 is similar to holder 275 except that mating snap fastener members 290, 292 are provided on the flexible wrist band 276a and rear end of flexible strap 280a for detachably engaging these parts together.
Holder 300 shown in FIGS. 23-25 includes a flexible wrist strap 302 which is integral with the rear wall 24 of base 21b of control device S3. The strap extends rearwardly and terminates in an upwardly turned loop 304 which engages a separate wrist band 276. Ends of the wrist band are adjustably secured together by barbs and loops on pads 154, 156 such as shown in'FlG. 19. The base 21b of the control device has a concave bottom recess 100 similar to that shown in device S2 of FIG. 10 to fit the contour of the palm of the hand. The fastener pad employed in device S2 is here omitted.
Holder 300A shown in FIGS. 26 and 27 is similar to holder 300 with the modification that flexible wrist band 310 is integral with the flexible wrist strap 302a. Strap 302 in turn is integral with the rear wall 24 of control device S3 in the same manner as explained in connection with FIGS. 22-25.
Holder 300B shown in FIGS. 28-31 comprises a flexible loop 320 which is integrally formed with side wall 26 of base 21d in control device S4; other parts corresponding to those of device S2 shown in FIGS. 9, 10.
The loop 320 engages the back of the hand and cooperates with loop 50 in holding the control device in place on the operators hand. The loop is quickly disengageable when removal of the control device is desired.
The control devices and holders described above are particularly well adapted for use in dental operations. The devices will fit comfortably in the hand engaged with the fourth finger which heretofore has had limited usage in dental procedures. However, this finger is still available to operate when necessary simply by lifting it from the operating lever while the device remains in place held by the holder engaged around the back of the hand and/or around the wrist.
The control devices and holders described have utility in other than dental operating fields, wherever a hand held control device is required which will not interfere 'with arm, hand or finger movements of an operator. It is possible to install a miniature supersonic or electromagnetic wave transmitter in the housing of the device. The transmitter will be operable by one or more of the outwardly extending switch buttons. In this arrangement the external cable 90 can be omitted.
The control devices for electrical apparatus can be converted by exchanging the disclosed electrical components to parts for controlling or actuating lines of fluid mechanisms such as pneumatic or hydraulic devices. The control devices can be constructed to control apparatus combining any two or more electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic equipment, units or devices.
While a limited number of embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be understood that many other modifications are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A control device and holder therefor, adapted for support in the palm of the hand of an operator, said control device comprising a housing having a contoured shape to fit snugly in the outer side of the palm of the hand while extending longitudinally thereof and of a size spanning but third and fourth fingers thereof; a loop-like structure extending outwardly of one end of the housing for receiving and engaging at least one of these fingers of the hand over the outer finger joints and adjacent to the knuckle joint with the hand; and at least one control unit in the housing having an operating member extending upwardly from the housing and in longitudinal axial alignment with the loop-like structure and at a location for engagement of and for operation by at least one of these fingers, whereby the thumb and the other fingers of the hand are left completely free for operating other operations; said holder comprising means independent of said loop-like structure and connected to said housing to hold the control device in non-rotatable snugly seated position in the palm of the hand.
2. A control device and holder, as defined in claim 1, wherein said holder comprises a wrist band; and a strap connected at one end thereof to the wrist band, and connected at its other end to the housing.
3. A control device and holder as defined in claim 2, wherein the holder further comprises quickly detachable mutually engageable fastening means on the other end of the strap and on the underside of the housing disengageably connecting the housing and strap.
4. A control device and holder as defined in claim 3, wherein the fastening means, comprises pads having mutually engageable barbs and loops.
5. A control device and holder as defined in claim 2, wherein said wrist band and strap are integrally joined together.
6. A control device and holder as defined in claim 3, wherein said wrist band has free ends; and further quickly detachable mutually engageable fastening means on said free ends of the wrist band for adjustably holding the wrist band around the operators wrist.
7. A control device and holder as defined in claim 3, wherein said housing has a flat bottom portion, and wherein said strap has a flat portion arranged to abut said bottom portion of the housing with said fastening means disposed therebetween for connecting the housing and strap.
8. A control device and holder as defined in claim 3, wherein said housing has a recessed bottom portion contoured to fit the palm of the operators hand, and wherein said strap has a curved end portion arranged to engage in said recess with said fastening means disposed therebetween for connecting the housing and EPA control device and holder as defined in claim 3, wherein said holder further comprises a back portion integral with said wrist band and strap and connected to the strap by open loops receiving fingers of the hand.
10. A control device and holder as defined in claim 9, wherein said wrist band has free ends; and further quickly detachable mutually engageable fastening means on said free ends of the wrist band for adjustably holding the wrist band around the operators wrist.
11. A control device and holder as defined in claim 3, wherein said holder further comprises a loop integral with said one end of the strap and extending laterally to engage the back of the hand.
12. A control device and holder as defined in claim 2, wherein said wrist band and strap are separate members, and means for detachably connecting the wrist band and strap.
13. A control device and holder as defined in claim 2, wherein said strap is integral with housing and extends rearwardly from the other end of the housing.
14. A control device and holder as defined in claim 13, wherein said wrist band and strap are separate members; and means for detachably connecting the wrist band and strap.
15. A control device and holder as defined in claim 14, wherein said wrist band has free ends; and further quickly detachable mutually engageable fastening means on said free ends of the wrist band for adjustably holding the wrist band around the operators wrist.
16. A control device and holder as defined in claim 13, wherein said wrist band and strap are integrally joined together at the other end of the strap.
17. A control device and holder as defined in claim 2, wherein said holder is a flexible loop integral with a side of the housing and extending laterally thereof to engage the back of the operators hand.
18. A control device and holder as defined in claim 6, wherein said further fastening means comprises pads having mutually engageable barbs and loops.
19. A control device and holder as defined in claim 12, wherein the last named means comprises a turned back loop formed at the other end of said strap.
20. A control device and holder as defined in claim 14, wherein the last named means comprises snap fastener members.