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Publication numberUS3760905 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 25, 1973
Filing dateFeb 1, 1971
Priority dateFeb 1, 1971
Publication numberUS 3760905 A, US 3760905A, US-A-3760905, US3760905 A, US3760905A
InventorsG Dower
Original AssigneeG Dower
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Human body power converter
US 3760905 A
Abstract
Apparatus by means of which the muscles of the human body are used to develop energy. This may be done in order to exercise the muscles, or to use the muscles to develop useful power. The apparatus may be an exercizer only, a device for causing a patient to perform certain exercises for patient assessment, a vehicle, or a unit for developing power for some useful purpose.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Dower l l Sept. 25, 1973 1 HUMAN BODY POWER CONVERTER 311,305 1/1885 Garland 185/40 H ux 337,975 3/1886 Morgan 185/40 H UX [76] Invent 4640 357,289 2/1887 Pfautz 185/40 H ux Marine l)r., Vancouver, British 747,860 12/1903 185/40 H UX Columbia, C n 1,150,410 8/19l5 Baldwin 185/2 [22] Filed: Feb. 1, 1971 Primary Examiner-Edgar W. Geoghegan [21] Appl. No.: 111,519

7 [57] ABSTRACT [52] US. Cl 185/2, 185/10, 185/40 H,

230/233 Apparatus by means of which the muscles of the human 51 Int. Cl. F03g 5/00 body are used to develop u This may be in [58] Field of Search 185/2, 10, 14, 37, Order to exercise the muscles, or to use the muscles to 135/39, 40 H, 44 develop useful power. The apparatus may be an exercizer only, a device for causing a patient to perform 56] References Cited certain exercises for patient assessment, a vehicle, or a 169,302 lO/l875 unit for-developing power for some useful purpose.

22 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PATENTED SEPZ 5 I973 sum 1 OF 5 mvcuron GORDON E. DOWER T RNEYS PA EN EB P 3,760,905

SHEEI 3 BF 5 Ill.v IIIIIII INVENTOR GORDON E. DOWER ATTMNEYS PATENTEB 8EP25 I975 SHEHUUFS INVEMTOR GORDON E. DOWER ATT RNEYS PATENTEDSEP25I973 3.760.905

SHEET 5 BF 5 INVENTOR GORDON E. DOWER j ATTO R NEYS HUMAN BODY POWER CONVERTER This invention relates to a power converter for the human body. The apparatus may be an exercizer for the muscles of the human body, it may be used in making certain assessments of patients, or it may be in the form of a conveyance, for example a vehicle or boat, propelled by a person carried thereby.

Muscles convert chemical energy into work and heat, and in doing so they increase the oxygen consumption of the body. The oxygen exchange rate is limited by the cardiorespiratory system but large masses of muscle must be operated if this limit is to be reached. A common exerciser, the bicycle ergometer, is somewhat unsatisfactory as a power take-off because the action of pedalling is unnatural and the muscles employed become fatigued before the cardiorespiratory exchange system is fully taxed. This is particularly true if the subject is unused ty cycling. The treadmill undoubtedly involves natural muscle movements and coordinations but it is difficult to separate the supportive and workperforming aspects of muscular activity. Besides, treadmills have not so far been developed to measure work output directly. Rowing machines are a further improvement and use the largest groups of muscles. However, they do not measure work output. In addition, the energy developed in the prior exercisers is not utilized in any way. I

in attempting to maximize the work output that can be obtained from the body it will be useful to recognize the following premises:

1. Muscles use oxygen when they contract.

2. Muscles do physical work only when they actively shorten.

3. A subject standing still is using his muscles for support but is doing no work. Neither is a subject who is running with a tail wind that exactly matches his velocity.

4. In the sense employed in this presentation, a muscle is said to perform work when work is done in a strict physical sense, i.e., the product of contractile force and distance shortened. If the contractile force is not constant over the range of the contraction, the work done is represented by the line integral of that force over the distance shortened.

5. The heat generated by the muscles will not be treated as work done, even though some of it could conceivably be converted into work by a suitable heat engine.

6. Muscles can build up an oxygen debt by anaerobic metabolism. However, muscles working under steady state conditions will mainly be considered, in which oxygen balance remains constant. Muscles not employed under steady state conditions rapidly become fatigued.

The foregoing may. be summarized by saying that the The requirements for the exerciser are that a maximum amount of electricity could be generated over, say, half an hour period, or possibly much longer. The body muscles must not be used for support; large muscle groups should be used and the work load on the various groups should be flexibly variable so as to avoid muscle fatigue.

The following large muscle groups lend themselves to the performance of physical work:

a. The lower limb extensors which include the but tock, anterior thigh, and calf muscles.

b. The upper limb flexors and shoulder retractors which'include the posterior shoulder girdle muscles, the biceps, brachialis and long flexors of the fingers.

c. The upper limb extensors and shoulder protractors which include the anterior shoulder girdle muscles, the deltoid, and triceps.

d. The extensors of the spine, not including those of the neck. Groups (a), (b), and (d) are used in rowing, group (a) in running upstairs, group (0) in doing pushups.

It is recognized that between individuals these groups will show great variation in relative capacity for work and fatiguability. The power take-off device to be described makes it possible for the subject to bring any or all these groups into action to any extent and to vary continuously their rate of doing work.

When this apparatus is used as an exerciser, it consists of a supporting chair or frame which completely supports the subject at all times. The movements that he executes are:

l. flexion of the lower limbs, including the hips 2. extension of the above 3. flexion of the trunk 4. extension of the trunk 5. retraction and flexion of the shoulder and upper limbs 6. protraction and extension of the shoulder and upper limbs Actions 1 and 3 are unrestricted and no physical work is performed when they are executed. They may be assisted by energy stored in a spring during 2 and 4. The reason these are not used in the power take-off is that the muscle groups employed are relatively small and easily fatigued.

subject is considered as, say, a potential generator of Actions can occur quite independently. Thus the legs, arms and trunk may be used together as in rowing or the legs may be used alone or together, alternately or individually; the same applies to the arms.

The speed, forcefulness and repetition rate may also be varied. If an arm, for example, is tired but can be operated at a gentler pace its contribution to the total power output is still fully utilized even though other muscle groups may be working much harder.

A basic power converter in accordance with the present invention comprises a rotatably mounted output shaft, a ratchet, manual orpedal operating means for the ratchet, and resilient energy-storing means operatively interconnecting the shaft and ratchet. Energy is applied to the storing means when the ratchet is being operated. The unit includes means for applying load to the shaft. The load is varied in accordance with what is required of the apparatus. The ratchet and the energy-storing means form a motor for rotating the shaft when the manual or pedal means for the ratchet is being operated.

In actual practice, the converter preferably comprises a plurality of these motors connected to a common shaft to rotate it in the same direction. With this arrangement, there preferably is a motor for each leg, and two motors for each arm, one motor for each arm being operated when a lever is swung in one direction, and the other motor of said arm being operated when the lever is swung in the opposite direction. When the power converter is to be used as an exerciser or as a vehicle, it comprises an output shaft, means for applying load to the shaft, a plurality of motors each connected to the shaft through a ratchet and energy-storing means to rotate the shaft in the same direction, pedal means operatively connected to the ratchet of at least one of the motors, and manual means for operating at least one of the other of the motors. If the unit is an exerciser, the load may be any adjustable means for resisting the rotation of the shaft, and when it is used as a vehicle, the load is the vehicle itself mounted on wheels.

Examples of apparatus in accordance with this invention are illustrated, by way of example, in the accompanying drawings, in which 7 FIGS. 1 and 2 are diagrams illustrating how the energies of the leg and arm muscles are accumulated in this apparatus,

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of a power converter in the form of a vehicle,

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the vehicle of FIG. 4,

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal section taken on the line 5-5 of FIG. 3,

FIG. 6 illustrates one form of motor used in the power converter,

FIG. 7 is an alternative form of motor for use in this apparatus,

FIG. 8 is still another alternative form of motor,

FIG. 9 diagrammatically illustrates a load-measuring arrangement that can be used with power converters, and

FIG. 10 illustrates yet another alternative form of motor for this power converter,

FIG. 11 is a plan view of the motor of FIG. 10, and

FIG. 12 is an enlarged isometric view of part of the motor of FIG. 10.

The body power converter is described herein as an exerciser and/or vehicle. The vehicle functions as an exerciser, but the prime purpose may be to take advantage of the power or energy a person can develop without undue fatigue. Both legs and both armsof the person are used in this apparatus.

FIGS. 1 and 2 diagramatically illustrate the way the energy developed by the operator is gathered, and how that energy is applied to a working element. In FIG. 1, l0 and 1 1 represent motors which are energized by the operator through use of his right arm in a reciprocating manner, while 12 and 13 are motors energized by the use of the operators left arm. Similarly, Hand 16 represent motors energized by the operators left and right legs, these being utilized in one direction only, that is in an outwardly moving direction only. The operator can sit upright, but preferably is in a reclining position. In FIG. 2, the motors 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 are indi-. vidually coupled to a common shaft 18 so as to drive the latter in the same direction. The torques of each of the motors are proportional to the energy stored and add to give a final torque proportional to the total en-' ergy stored. It is not necessary that the torques of the motors be equal for this addition to occur. A load is applied to the shaft 18 to provide the exercise or motion, or for any other desired purpose.

Referring to FIGS. 3 to 8, 25 is a vehicle which is adapted to be propelled by an operator 26. This vehicle comprises a frame preferably made of tubular material, and which carries a flexible support 31 made of canvas or other suitable material. This support is generally inclined, and there is a seat 33 at its lower end, and a head rest 34 at its upper end. The operator reclines on support 31.

Vehicle 25 can have any desired wheel arrangement. In this example, there are a pair of front wheels 37 and a single rear wheel or driving wheel 38. The front wheels are spaced apart, and frame 30 includes a 'substantially U-shaped front section 40 having substantially parallel side members 42 and 43 inside the front wheels. A pair of pedals 45 and 46 are mounted for fore and aft movement on side members 42 and 43. Vehicle 25 can be steered in any desired manner. For example, the front wheels can be mounted so that when the operator shifts his weight to one side or the other of the vehicle, the latter steers towards that side, somewhat the same as some roller skates.

An output shaft 49 is carried by frame 30 centrally thereof and extends transversely of the frame, this shaft being located so that it is positioned generally below -the middle of the person on support 31.

FIG. 4 shows motors 10, ll, 15, 16, 12 and 13 mounted side by side on shaft 49, said shaft extending centrally through these motors. A hand lever 52 is swingably mounted on the shaft between motors 10 and l l and is adapted to supply energy to these motors. Another hand lever 53 is swingably mounted on the shaft 49 between motors 12 and 13 and is adapted to supply energy thereto. Motors 15 and 16 are energized by cables 56 and 57, respectively, which extendforwardly and are secured to pedals 46 and 45. A suitable driving connection is provided between shaft 49 and wheel 38. In this example, a sprocket 60 is fixedly mounted on shaft 49 between motors 15 and 16, and a chain 61 extends around this sprocket and another sprocket 62 mounted on a shaft 63 carried by frame 30 between shaft 49 and wheel 38. Another large sprocket 65 is fixedly mounted on shaft 63 and is in driving connection by a chain 66 to another sprocket 67 which is operatively connected to wheel 38. Thus, when shaft 49 is rotated, wheel 38 also is rotated. In this way, vehicle 25 and the weight of the operator 26 provide a load for the common output shaft 49.

FIG. 6 illustrates one of the energy motors of shaft 49, for example, motor 15. This is a very simple motor, and it consists of a ratchet 72 swingably mounted on shaft 49, a coil spring 73 surrounding the shaft and connected at one end to the ratchet and its opposite end to the shaft in any suitable manner. In this example, the end 74 of the spring is fixedly connected to a disc 75 which is mounted on and keyed to shaft 49. Ratchet 72 is made up of a drum 77 rotatably mounted on shaft 49, and a ratchet disc 78 rotatably mounted on the shaft beside the drum. A pawl 79 is mounted on the side of the drum and engages the teeth of disc 78 so as to rotate the latter in one direction with the drum, while permitting the drum to move in the opposite direction without moving the disc. Another pawl 81 mounted on a rod,82 which is common to all of the motors and is carried by frame 30, is positioned to engage the teeth of disc 78 so as to prevent it from rotating opposite to the direction indicated by arrow 83. End 85 of spring 73 is fixedly secured to disc 78.

Cable 56 is wound around ratchet drum 77 and may have its end secured thereto, but as it is desirably to bias the drum opposite to the pull of cable 56, the latter may be wound around the drum one or two times, and its end 88 connected to a spring 89, the opposite end of which is secured to frame 30. With this arrangement, when pedal 46 is moved outwardly along frame 30 by the operator, cable 56 causes drum 77 to turn disc 78 so as to increase the tension of spring 73. This, in face, applies energy to the spring, if shaft 49 is stationary or moving relatively slowly, the energy of some of it is stored in the spring.

All of the motors on shaft 49 are essentially the same, although the springs may be of different strengths. Motors 15 and 16 are operated by cables 56 and 57 when the operator moves pedals 46 and 45, respectively, outwardly or forwardly relative to the vehicle. Motors and 11 are respectively operated indirectly and directly by hand lever 52, and the portion 91 of this lever rotatably mounted on shaft 49 is the equivalent of drum 77 for motor 11. When lever 52 is swung forwardly, its ratchet 79 turns ratchet disc 78 in the same direction, while the adjacent pawl 81 prevents said disc from rotating in the opposite direction. As drum 77 of motor 10 is rotated when lever 52 is swung rearwardly, it is necessary to reverse the direction of power movement of cable 56a, This is done by training cable 56a under and over an idler pulley 92 carried by frame 30 ahead of shaft 49. This cable extends back to lever 52, see FIG. 5, to lever 52, to which it is connected. The opposite end of cable 56a is connected to a spring 89a anchored to the frame. When lever 52 is swung rearwardly, pawl 79 of drum 77 of motor 10 rotates shaft 49 in the same direction as the other motors.

Lever 53 as it is swung forwardly and rearwardly directly rotates motor 12 and indirectly rotates motor 13 to cause shaft 49 to turn in the required direction. This lever rotates motor 13 through a cable 56b which is trained around an idler outlay 93.

Operator 26 causes vehicle 25 to move forwardly by reciprocating one or both of the pedals 45 and 46, and- /or by oscillating one or both of the levers 52 and 53. It is obvious that usually both pedals and both levers will be used. The operator supplies energy to motors 15 and 16 by moving pedals 46 and 45 outwardly. The energy is stored in the springs 73 of these motors and is applied by these springs to shaft 49. The oscillatory action of levers 52 and 53 applies energy to the springs of motors 10, 11, 12 and 13 which is stored in these springs and then applied to the shaft. Either leg or arm can be used alone, or any combination of these can be used. The energy developed by the operators muscles is not applied directly to shaft 49 but is stored in the energy springs of the motors. The torque applied to the shaft by each motor is proportional to the energy stored in the spring of that motor.

The fact that each muscle group charges its own energy the legs and arms may work in unison as in rowing, one arm and one leg may alternate with the other arm and leg, the legs or arms may act alone or at different rates, or a single limb may be used. The stroke length can be varied continuously since the pedals and levers do not need to reach the ends of their ranges before returning. The output shaft is geared to the load, that is, the drive wheel of the vehicle, and the net energy stored in the motor springs preferably will be approximately half the total capacity of the operator when he is working at a rate which is comfortable for him. The gear ratio of the output to the vehicle wheels is adjusted so that the operator exerts a comfortable amount of force against the pedals and levers when he works them at a comfortable speed. This comfortableness" represents approximately optimum conditions for extracting physical work from the muscles. If the resistance felt is insufficient, the tendency will be to move the arms and legs too rapidly. Above a certain optimum speed, muscle viscosity effects begin to reduce efficiency. On the other hand, if the resistance is too great, the subject will find himself straining against stiff pedals and levers and the function of the muscles will tend towards a supportive role. If the resistance is so great that he cannot move them, his muscles will convert all chemical energy consumed into heat. By suitably choosing or adjusting the springs of the motors, the exerciser is made to feel compatible with the subjects muscular development and capacity for sustained work.

During operation of the machine, if, for example, the operator's right arm flexors and retractors fatigue, he will pull back on the right lever with less vigor. This will produce an imbalance between energy input and energy release from the corresponding motor spring. As a result, there will be a diminution of output torque from this motor since the torque is proportional to the quantity of energy stored. This will in turn reduce the spring tension in the motor and hence the resistance of the lever to flexion and retraction of the right arm. In other words, as the operator works less hard against this movement, the resistance will falluntil he can maintain the rate at a lower work level. However, as long as he maintains the vigor of extension and retraction of the right arm, there will be no reduction in the energy stored in the spring motor that serves this action. As a result he will be able to push just as strongly as ever, only pulling will be eased, and the amount of easing will be continuously variable and self-adjusting to the operator's need. He will hardly be aware of this, since the muscles are working against springs, and the feel of the exerciser is one of resilience, elasticity and flexibility.

Although the described apparatus includes six motors, one for each leg and two for each arm, it is to be understood that there may be fewer motors, for example, one motor for both legs, and one motor for each arm or one motor for both arms. In order to do this it would only be necessary to provide suitable ratchet arrangements for the motors.

FIG. 7 illustrates an alternative form of energy motor 15a. In this example, the portion of shaft 49 within the motor is provided with threads 105. For minimal friction the angle of the screw threads is inclined at about 45 to the axis of the shaft. A'support 107 is mounted near and for longitudinal movement relative to shaft 49. In this example, the support is in the form of a collar 109 which extends around but is clear of the shaft, and this collar carries rider means which ride in threads 105. This rider means is preferably in the form of a plurality of rollers 111 mounted on shafts 112 projecting inwardly from collar 109 towards the center of shaft 49. These rollers are mounted so that they extend into spiral paths 113 between the threads and bear against the sides of the threads. Shafts 112 radiate outwardly from collar 109, and there is a spring 115 for each of these shafts, said spring having one end connected to the shaft thereof and its opposite end connected to the adjacent ratchet disc 78. As shown, there are preferably two of the rollers 111, shafts 112 and springs 115, these sets being diametrically opposite each other, as clearly shown in FIG. 7. Guide bars 118 and 1 19 extend between disc 120, which is rotatably mounted on shaft 49, and ratchet disc 78, said bars being connected to these discs.

When ratchet disc 78 is rotated in the direction of arrow 122, seen in FIG. 7, by drum 77, disc 120 is rotated by bars 118 and 119, and this causes the support collar 109 to rotate around shaft 49. As rollers 111 are in engagement with threads 105, this causes support 107 to move outwardly away from ratchet 72, extending springs 115 and thereby storing energy in the latter. When the energy of these springs tends to shorten them, the inward movement of support 107 causes rollers 111 to engage shaft threads 105 to cause shaft 49 to rotate.

The spring motors of vehicle 25 can be motors similar to motor a, the only difference being that some of the motors are operated by levers 52 and 53, and others by cables 56 and 57.

FIG. 8 illustrates another alternative energy or spring motor 130 that may be substituted for the motors shown in vehicle 25. Motor 130 has been illustrated as being operated or energized by hand lever 52, but a cable and drum arrangement can be substituted for this lever. Motor 130 is shown in association with a common output shaft 132. Motor 130 has a ratchet shaft 135 mounted for rotational and longitudinal movement in supporting collars 136. This shaft has threads 138 therein, and a pair of ratchet discs 139 and 140 are rotatably mounted side by side on said ratchet shaft and have internal teeth (not shown) riding in the grooves 138 of said shaft. Hand lever 52 is rotatably mounted on shaft 138 beside disc 139, and carries a pawl 142 which is adapted to engage ratchet disc 139 to rotate the latter in the direction of arrow 143 when lever 52 is moved in that direction. Another pawl 145 is swingably mounted adjacent disc 139 and engages the latter to prevent it from rotating in the direction opposite to that shown by arrow 143. A gear 148 is rotatably mounted on shaft 138 and is fixedly secured to disc 140 to rotate therewith, said gear meshing with a larger gear 149 keyed to output shaft 132. Load is applied to shaft 132 through a sprocket 151 fixedly secured to the shaft. If this motor is used in vehicle 10, sprocket 151 is drivingly connected to sprocket 62 by a chain 152.

The energy for motor 130 is stored in a spring 155 which surrounds shaft 135 and is fixed at its outer end 153 to said shaft, the opposite end of the spring bearing against a support or stop means 157 through which the ratchet shaft extends.

When lever 52 is swung in the direction of arrow 143, pawl 142 engages disc 139 and causes it to move in the same direction. As the internal teeth of this disc ride in grooves 138 of the shaft, the latter is rotated, and it moves longitudinally inwardly in the direction of arrow 159. This compresses spring 155. As the reciprocation of arm 52 continues, energy is continuously stored in spring 155 until it is sufficient to overcome the load on shaft 132, at which time the spring reasserts itself or starts to extend, thereby moving shaft 135 outwardly or, in the direction opposite to arrow 159. As the internal teeth of disc 140 are riding in grooves 138 of the shaft, this disc and gear 148 start to turn and this causes shaft 132 to turn through gear 149. In other words, the energy applied by lever 52 is stored in spring 155, and this spring applies the energy to rotating shaft 132 against the load thereon. If the operator oscillates lever 52 in a gentle manner, after he has built up sufficient energy in spring to cause the output shaft to rotate, he will just be putting in enough energy to keep the shaft rotating. The compression of spring 155 would not be very great at this time. On the other hand, if the operator vigorously oscillates the lever arm, spring 155 will be highly compressed and thereby will be applying a relatively great amount of energy to the rotation of the output shaft.

The basic idea of this body power converter is the utilization of one or more energy-storing motors for driving against a load, this load being in accordance with the purpose of the apparatus. The operator is preferably placed in theapparatus so that he is using up a minimum of energy in keeping himself in place, and most of the energy he is capable of developing is applied to the load. The spring or energy motors used enable the operator to work at a pleasant rate while maintaining maximum results for his efforts.

If the apparatus is an exerciser, the output shaft thereof may be coupled to a load-measuring device which indicates the instantaneous power output in watts, horsepower, or other suitable units. By taking the output from a strain gauge measuring twisting of the output shaft (hence torque) and the output from a tachometer (giving revolutions per minute), and feeding these to a multiplier it would be possible to measure instantaneous power output without adding to the load. Thus, a wattmeter could be incorporated in the vehicle to tell the rider how hard is is working, regardless of the wind speed or the slope of the road. For training purposes it would be useful to integrate the input to the wattmeter so that the total work done in any training session could be prescribed.

FIG. 9 diagrammatically illustrates, by way of example, a load-measuring arrangement that can be used in this exerciser. An output shaft is driven by energystoring motors (not shown) as described above, and is connected to a suitable load through a drive illustrated at 166. A strain gauge 169 includes commutator rings 171 on the output shaft and commutator contacts 172. This apparatus also includes a differential strain gauge amplifier 175, an electromechanical tachometer 177, eg. a DC generator, rotated by the output shaft, an electronic multiplier 178, and a meter 179.

The resistance of the strain gauge 169 is proportional to the torque, t, of the output shaft 165 which is proportional to the load. The output voltage, vz, of the differential strain gauge amplifier 175 is proportional to the resistance of the strain gauge and therefore the load. The output voltage, vr, is proportional to the rate, i.e., revolutions per minute, of theoutput shaft. The output voltage, vtr, of the electronic multiplier 175 is proportional to the product of vr and vi and is displayed on the meter 179, which is calibrated to readin watts of power transferred by the output shaft.

An electrocardiograph with a small computer may be combined with the exerciser so that the subject may be warned if potentially dangerous irregularities of the heart beat, such a multiple ventricular ectopic beats, are developing and would indicate a need to slow down or stop.

While the energy-storing units of the various motors used in this apparatus may consist of springs, as shown, it is to be understood that any other suitable energystoring means may be used, such as, for example, elastics, pneumatic accumulators and the like.

FIG. illustrates still another alternative energystoring motor 185. This motor has a stub shaft 187 journalled in a suitable support 188 projecting upwardly from a base 189. A lever 192 is rotatably mounted on shaft 187, and has an arm 193 radiating from the lower end thereof. This arm carries a pawl 194 which rides on a ratchet wheel 195 rotatably mounted on shaft 187 and-fixed to a sprocket 197 on said shaft. Pawl 194 is arranged so that it will turn ratchet wheel 195 in the direction of arrow 200, see FIG. 10, and another pawl 201 carried by support 188 engages sprocket 197 so as to prevent it from moving in the opposite direction to that indicated by arrow 203. Lever 192 operates the ratchet to rotate sprocket 197. A chain 206 extends around sprocket 197 and successively around sprockets 207, 208 and 209. Sprocket 207 is carried by a slide 212 mounted on a rail 213 which extends between support 188 and another support 214 projecting upwardly from base 189. Sprocket 208 is fixedly mounted on an output shaft 216 which is common to all motors of the power unit, if more than one motor is used. Sprocket 209 is carried by a second slide 218 mounted on a rail 219 extending between supports 188 and 214. First sprocket 197 is operated by the ratchet to rotate second sprocket 208 on output shaft 216. Third sprocket 207 is located between sprockets 197 and 208 on one side of the latter, while fourth sprocket 209 is located on the opposite side of said sprocket 208 and between it and sprocket 197. It is preferred to include sprocket 209, but it can be omitted, in which case the chain would just hang down from sprockets 197 and 208.

An energy storing unit, such as a spring 222 extends between and is connected at its opposite ends to slide 212 and support 214. Another spring 223, which is considerably weaker than spring 222, extends between and is connected at its opposite ends to slide 218 and support 214. As indicated, sprocket 207 is connected to the energy-storing unit or spring 222, sprocket 208 is fixed on the output shaft 216, and sprocket 209 acts as a chain tightener.

While lever 192 has been illustrated for operating ratchet 194, 195, it is obvious that a pulley similar to those shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 can be substituted for this lever so that motor 185 can be operated by foot power as described above in connection with the apparatus of FIG. 3.

I claim 1. A human body power converter comprising a rotatably mounted output shaft, a ratchet, manual or pedal operating means for the ratchet, resilient energystoring means operatively interconnecting the shaft and ratchet, energy being applied to said energy-storing means when the ratchet is operated, and means for applying load to the shaft, whereby operation of the ratchet causes the shaft to rotate when the energy in the storing means exceeds the resistance of the load connected to the shaft, said energy storing means comprising a support mounted near the shaft for relative movement longitudinally therebetween, thread means on the shaft, and rider means mounted on the support and riding in said thread means, said energy-storing means being adapted to cause relative movement between the shaft and the support thereby to rotate the shaft.

2. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 1 including means connected to said shaft for measuring and indicating the output torque of the shaft.

3. A human body power converter comprising a rotatably mounted output shaft, a ratchet, manual or pedal operating means for the ratchet, resilient energystoring means operatively interconnecting the shaft and ratchet, energy being applied to said energy-storing means when the ratchet is operated, and means for applying load to the shaft, whereby operation of the ratchet'causes the shaft to rotate when the energy in the storing means exceeds the resistance of the load connected to the shaft, said energy-storing means comprising a support mounted near said shaft for movement longitudinally thereof, thread means on the shaft, and rider means mounted on the support and riding in said thread means, said energy-storing means being adapted to move the support relative to the shaft thereby to rotate said shaft.

4. A human body power converter comprising a common shaft, a plurality of motors connected to the shaft to rotate said shaft in the same direction, a rotatably Motor 185 is operated or energized when handle or lever 192 is oscillated about shaft 187. This turns ratchet wheel 195 and sprocket 197 in the direction of arrows 200 and 203 and causes chain 206 to move around sprockets 197, 207, 208 and 209. The operation of handle 192 causes sprocket 207 to be drawn towards sprocket 197, thereby extending spring 222 and storing energy in the latter. As sprocket 207 moves towards sprocket 197, sprocket 209 is moved away therefrom by spring 223 to take up the resulting slack portion of the chain. When the energy is stored in spring 222 is sufficient to overcome the resistance of all the operating elements and of the load on shaft 216, sprocket 207 is drawn away from sprocket 197, causing chain 206 to move and rotate sprocket 208 and the output shaft. The more spring 222 is extended, the greater the energy stored, and the faster will shaft 216 be turned. Thus, the person operating lever 192 is working against the resilient load provided by energy-storing unit 222.

of said person and operatively connected to the ratchet of each of two others of said motors, operation of said motor ratchets causing power to be applied to the shaft through each of said motors when the energy in the storing means of said each motor exceeds the resistance to the turning of the shaft, whereby said person can selectively apply the same or differing amounts of energy to the shaft by means of his legs and his arms.

5. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 4 including a supporting frame for holding said person in reclined position, said pedal operating means being mounted on the frame for reciprocation longitudinally thereof, and said manual operating means comprising lever means swingably mounted on the frame.

6. A human body power converter comprising asupporting frame for holding a person in reclined position, an output shaft mounted on the frame and extending transversely thereof, a plurality of motors individually connected to the shaft to rotate said shaft in the same direction; each of said motors comprising a ratchet, manual or pedal operating means for the ratchet, resilient energy-storing means operatively interconnecting the shaft and ratchet, energy being applied to said energy-storing means when the ratchet is operated; and means for applying load to the shaft, whereby operation of the ratchet causes the shaft to rotate when the energy in the storing means exceeds the resistance of the load connected to the shaft, the ratchet operating means for at least one of said motors comprising pedal means mounted for sliding movement along the frame longitudinally thereof, and the operating means of two others of said motors comprising a common hand lever swingably mounted on the shaft between said two motors, the ratchets of said two motors operating in the same direction but alternately as the lever is swung back and forth.

7. A human body power converter comprising a rotatably mounted output shaft, a ratchet, manual or pedal operating means for the ratchet, resilient energystoring means operatively interconnecting the shaft and ratchet, energy being applied to said energy-storing means when the ratchet is operated, and means for applying load to the shaft, whereby operation of the ratchet causes the shaft to rotate when the energy in the storing means exceeds the resistance of the load connected to the shaft, said energy-storing means comprising a first sprocket rotatable by said ratchet, a second sprocket mounted on said output shaft, a third sprocket mounted for movement towards and away from the first sprocket, a chain trained around said sprockets, and resilient energy-storing means connected to said third sprocket biasing the third sprocket away from the first sprocket.

8. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 4 in which each of said manual operating means is operatively connected to the ratchets of each of two others of said motors, the ratchets and energy storing means of said two others of the motors being arranged so that when the two ratchets are rotated in opposite directions energy is applied to rotate the common shaft in said same direction.

9. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 3 in which said support surrounds the shaft, and said rider means comprises a plurality of rollers carried by the support and riding in said thread means.

10. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 1 in which said energy-storing means comprises spring means connected to the ratchet and to said support so as to store energy when the ratchet is operated to cause relative movement between the support and the shaft to apply torque thereto through said rider means and thread means.

11. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 3 in which said energy-storing means comprises spring means connected to the ratchet and to said support so as to store energy when the ratchet is operated to move the support along the shaft to apply torque thereto through said rider means and thread means.

12. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 11 in which said support surrounds the shaft and said spring means comprises a plurality of springs connected at opposite ends to the ratchet and-support.

13. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 12 in which said rider means comprises a plurality of rollers carried by the support and riding in said thread means.

14. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 1 in which said ratchet comprises a drum rotatably mounted on said shaft, said operating means being adapted to oscillate the drum on the shaft, a ratchet disc rotatably mounted on the shaft, and pawl means associated with the drum and disc to cause said disc to rotate with the drum when the latter is rotated in one direction, and means connecting the disc to said support to cause the support to rotate with the disc around the shaft; and said energy-storing means comprises spring means connected to said disc and said support, said spring means being tensioned when the support is rotated around the shaft by said disc.

15. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 14 in which said support surrounds the shaft, and said rider means comprises a plurality of rollers carried by the support and riding in said thread means.

16. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 15 in which said spring means comprises a plurality of springs.

17. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 14 including means connected to said shaft for measuring and indicating the output torque of the shaft.

18. A human body power converter as claimed in claim'4 in which each ratchet comprises a drum rotatably mounted on said shaft, said pedal or manual operating means being adapted to oscillate the drum on the shaft, a ratchet disc rotatably on the shaft, and pawl means associated with the ratchet disc to cause the shaft to rotate in one direction during oscillating action of the drum.

19. A human body power converter as claimed in claim 18 in which said energy-storing means comprises a coil spring surrounding said shaft and having one end connected to said ratchet disc and an opposite end connected to the shaft.

20. A human body power converter comprising a ratchet shaft mounted for longitudinal and rotational movement and having spiral grooves extending longitudinally thereof, a first ratchet disc rotatably mounted on said shaft and having inner teeth riding in said grooves, manual orpedal operating means rotatable on the shaft adjacent said disc, pawl means on said operating means and engaging the disc when said operating means is rotated in one direction, additional pawl means engaging the disc to prevent rotation of said disc in the opposite direction, said ratchet shaft being rotated and moved longitudinally-in one direction when the first disc is rotated, spring means connected to the ratchet shaft so as to store energy when the shaft is moved in said one direction, a second ratchet disc rotatably mounted on said shaft and having inner teeth riding in said grooves and being rotated when the ratchet shaft is moved in the opposite direction by said spring means, an output shaft, and driving means interconnecting said second ratchet disc and said output shaft.

latter and the first sprocket, and including a forth sprocket entrained by the chain on the opposite side of said second sprocket between the first and second sprockets, and resilient means connected to the forth sprocket so as to cause said forth sprocket to take up slack in the chain.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification185/2, 185/40.00H, 185/10, 280/233
International ClassificationF03G5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF03G5/00, F03G2730/05
European ClassificationF03G5/00