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Publication numberUS3761082 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 25, 1973
Filing dateDec 5, 1972
Priority dateDec 4, 1970
Publication numberUS 3761082 A, US 3761082A, US-A-3761082, US3761082 A, US3761082A
InventorsC Barthel
Original AssigneeC Barthel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Harness assembly for exerciser and walker devices
US 3761082 A
Abstract
A harness assembly is provided for use with an exerciser and walker apparatus which is mounted on mounting means and accommodates the torso of the user disposed therein, the harness assembly including a chest strap for engagement above the upper extremity of a torso, a waist strap for engagement about the waist of the torso, head and shoulder restraint means, a plurality of suspension straps interconnecting the chest strap, waist strap and head and shoulder restraint means, the suspension straps including connecting means for extending the harness and the lower ends of the suspension straps connected to the waist strap, and a pair of leg straps interconnecting the rear and front portions respectively, of the waist strap, thereby to secure the waist about the lower extremity of the torso.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Barthel, Jr.

[ Sept. 25, 1973 HARNESS ASSEMBLY FOR EXERCISER AND WALKER DEVICES Curtis Wallace Barthel, Jr., 1 14 S. Humphrey, Oak Park, 111.

221 Filed: Dec. 5, 1972 211 Appl. No.: 312,253

Related US. Application Data [62] Division of Ser. No. 95,234, Dec. 4, 1970, Pat. No.

[76] Inventor:

521 US. Cl. ..L 272/70, 182/3, 244/151 R [51] Int. Cl A6lh 3/00 [58] Field of Search 272/70, 70.3, 70.4, 272/60, 57 R; 128/25 R, 25 B; 244/151 R, 151 A; 182/3 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 219,439 9/1879 Blend...... 272/70 539,872 5/1895 Kheiralla 272/70 2.109188 2/1938 Bajanova.... 272/57 R 2478,004 8/1949 Newell 272/70 3,154,272 10/1964 Gold 244/151R Primary ExaminerAnton O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Arnold W. Kramer Attorney-Basil Demeur [57] ABSTRACT A harness assembly is provided for use with an exerciser and walker apparatus which is mounted on mounting means and accommodates the torso of the user disposed therein, the harness assembly including a chest strap for engagement above the upper extremity of a torso, a waist strap for engagement about the waist of the torso, head and shoulder restraint means, a plurality of suspension straps interconnecting the chest strap, waist strap and head and shoulder restraint means, the suspension straps including connecting means for extending the harness and the lower ends of the suspension straps connected to the waist strap, and a pair of leg straps interconnecting the rear and front portions respectively, of the waist strap, thereby to secure the waist about the lower extremity of the torso.

4 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED 8EP25 I915 SHEET 1 OF 4 PATEN'TED SEPZS I975 saw an! 4 HARNESS ASSEMBLY FOR EXERCISER AND WALKER DEVICES This application is a division of parent application, Ser. No. 95,234, filed on Dec. 4, 1970, and now Pat.

No. 3,721,436, in the name of Curtis Wallace Barthel Jr. and entitled EXERCISER AND WALKER APPA- RATUS. 1

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a novel exerciser and walker apparatus for aiding and permitting multidirectional movement of the user thereof, and which is particularly suited for use in connection with individuals stricken with such diseases as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and the like, as well as geriatric patients, and others requiring mechanical aid to permit ambulation. I

The invention is particularly directed to an overall combination including an overhead support and guide means, such as a track or cable assembly, a moveable support means which is provided for movement along the track or guide means and which ultimately supports the user therefrom thereby to enable the user to ambulate in the area generally bounded by the track or guide means. The moveable support means ultimately support a harness assembly, which is completely adjustable circumferentially and vertically in order to accommodate the various shapes of the human torso, while at the same time providing firm support for the torso disposed therein. A principle feature of the invention is the provision of tension means, especially means such as tension springs, interposed between the moveable support means and the harness assembly which functions to counterbalance the weight of the user of the device, whereby the user thereof is suspended from the track or guide means in touching relationship with respect to the ground support surface. The invention is further related to and directed to a novel harness assembly for use in combination with a tensioned counterbalancing means having mounting means carried therefrom to support a human body in touching relationship with a lower support surface such as the ground.

In thepast, therapists have experienced several problems in connection with rendering therapy to individuals with such diseases as cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis, or geriatric patients, wherein the individuals are not capable of unsupported ambulatory movement. In many cases, the individuals stricken with such diseases have little or no muscular control over their limbs in order to sustain themselves in any walking movement. Various types of therapeutic devices have been designed in the past in order to aid the patient in learning to walk or to otherwise gain control over their ina voluntary muscular reactions. Devices of this type are generally shown in several U. S. Pats. including U. S. Pat. No. 2,719,568 issued to N. E. Webb on Oct. 4, 1955, which shows a cage structure having a harness assembly suspended therefrom, the cage assembly being supported on casters whereby the patient is suspended from the harness assembly and grasps the side bars of the cage which is therefore moveably responsive to the movements of the patient. However, such devices present a danger in that if the patient should have uncontrollable muscle spasms or should be incapable of supporting himself by grasping the cage, the patient could conceivably injure himself by colliding with some portion of the cage assembly. In addition, devices such as those disclosed in the aforementioned patent require that the patient, more or less, aid in their own support by physically grasping the side bars of the cage assembly. Other similar devices of the type disclosed in the aforementioned patent are shown in U. S.

Pat. No. 1,661,807 issued to M. Bergh on Dec'. 21, 1926-, the walker assembly for invalids disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 2,625,202 issued to L. Richardson et al on Jan. 13, 1953, which shows still another form of a cage or frame assembly on casters in which a patient is supported; a walker mechanism for invalids as shown in U. S. Pat. No. 2,327,671 issued to J. A. Rupprecht on. Aug. 24, 1943, which again shows a cage or frame assembly supported on casters and including a hip truss for supporting the patient therefrom. Another similar device is disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 3,252,704 issued to C. L. Wilson on May 24, 1966, which again shows a frame assembly having a harness assembly supported therefrom, and which requires that the patient ambulate within the cage assembly in order to gain movement. Another such device which shows a track supported walker is shown in U. S. Pat. No. 3,204,954 is sued to T. D. Scannell on Sept. 7, 1965, which generally discloses an overhead track and supported by a pair of four legs and a dolly assembly disposed for lateral movement within the track and supporting therefrom a cage assembly wherein the patient may be suspended and which enables the patient to move in two directions, back and forth, along the restricted path encompassed by the overhead track member.

I-Ience, while the art has made several attempts to develop a device which will aid the patient in increasing the patients muscular control over his limbs and to gain confidence and ambulatory movement, the devices noted above have presented many problems. One problem is that none of the devices proposed to date can provide a patient with multi-directional movement. For example, the devices which generally utilize cages or frames supported on casters, while appearing to provide a patient with multi-directional movement, nevertheless, because the patient must support himself within the cage assembly, and because such devices are cumbersome, such devices have not proved to be very successful. This is especially true where the patient is a child suffering from a disease SUlCh as cerebral palsy which necessarily means that the child patient would have very little control over his muscular movements, and therefore, the danger of an involuntary collision between the patient and the frame or cage assembly is not only possible but quite probable. Another problem imposed by the devices developed. to date is that such devices cannot be conveniently used in a hospital or other similar facility where several patients are being given therapeutic treatment. For example, it would be quite cumbersome, and dangerous as well, if two or more patients were allowed to'utilize a cage or frame assembly supported on casters in the same room. The danger of collision between apatient and a frame or cage assembly would be greatly enhanced and therefore, it would not be likely that more than one such device would be used at a time.

The present invention obviates the above as well as many other problems by providing an exerciser and walker apparatus which permits multi-directional movement by thepatient utilizing the same.

It is therefore one of the important objects of this invention to provide an exerciser and walker apparatus for aiding and permitting multi-directional movement of the user thereof which includes guide means for guiding the movement of the apparatus, moveable support means carried by the guide means to provide movement along the length of the guide means, mounting means supported and spaced from the moveable support means for supporting the user therefrom, a harness assembly mounted on the mounting means for accommodating the torso of the user disposed therein, and tension means interposed between the moveable support means and the mounting means for counterbalancing the weight of the user carried by the harness assembly, whereby a user positioned within the harness assembly is supported in touching relationship with respect to the ground support surface and is permitted to ambulate in the area generally encompassed by the guide means.

Another object of this invention is to provide an exerciser and walker apparatus of the type set forth above, wherein the guide means comprises an I-beam track and the moveable support means comprises a moveable dolly assembly stratling the base of the I-beam and disposed in rolling engagement therein, the dolly assembly supporting the harness assembly therefrom whereby the user disposed in the harness assembly is permitted multi-directional movement in the area generally encompassed by the l-beam track.

Still another object of this invention is to provide an exerciser and walker apparatus of the type set forth which eliminates the need for cumbersome mechanical cages or frames disposed about and around the user thereof thereby to eliminate the danger of injury to the user through collision with the cage or frame.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an exerciser and walker apparatus of the type set forth above wherein the guide means consists of a pair of track members mounted on sidewall support surfaces, such as indoor walls, the track members disposed in horizontal alignment with respect to one another and each of the track members having moveable means car- .ried thereby, such moveable means being disposed thereon for movement along the length of the track member, a support member having the opposed ends mounted on corresponding ones of the moveable means whereby the support member is moveably responsive to the movement of the moveable means, moveable support means carried by the support member, the moveable support means being moveable along the length of the support member, a harness assembly being supported by the moveable support means, and tension means interposed between the harness assembly and the moveable support means whereby the user thereof is capable of multi-directional movement throughout 360 in any given area encompassed by the pair of track members.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a harness assembly for use in combination with tensioned counterbalancing means having mounting means carried therefrom to support a human body in touching relationship with a lower support surface, the harness assembly including an adjustable chest strap for engagement about the upper extremity of the torso, an adjustable waist strap for engagement about the waist of the torso, head and shoulder restraint means, a plurality of suspension straps interconnecting the chest strap, the

waist strap, and the head and shoulder restraint means, the upper ends of the suspension straps including connecting means for suspending the harness assembly and the lower ends of the suspension straps connected to the waist strap, and a pair of leg straps interconnecting the rear and front portions respectively of the waist strap thereby securing the waist strap about the lower extremity of the torso.

In connection with the foregoing object, it is still another object of this invention to provide a harness assembly of the type set forth wherein all of the straps are completely adjustable in order to accommodate any shape and size human torso.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an exerciser and walker apparatus of the type set forth hereinabove wherein the height of the harness assembly in relation to the ground support surface is completely adjustable in order to accommodate the varying heights of individuals utilizing the apparatus.

Further features of the invention pertain to the particular arrangement of the parts whereby the aboveoutlined and additional operating features thereof are obtained,

The invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will best be understood by reference to the following specification taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational plan view showing the harness assembly suspended from an overhead support, indicating a patient disposed therein in phantom;

FIG. 2 is a front cross-sectional view of one embodiment of a track and dolly assembly;

FIG. 3 is a side party cross-sectional view showing the embodiment of a track and dolly assembly for supporting a harness assembly therefrom of the type illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view showing an I-beam track structure which is mounted from an overhead support surface and includes a dolly assembly provided for rolling movement along the base of the I-beam track;

FIG. 5 is an exploded plan view showing the details of the novel harness assembly;

FIG. 6 is a plan view showing another form of a track and pulley assembly in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a plan view showing a track assembly similar to the track illustrated in FIG. 4, but including curve sections particularly suited for indoor use;

FIG. 8 illustrates still another embodiment of a track assembly which is particularly adapted for mounting on opposed sidewall support surfaces and which enables the patient to have complete 360 multi-directional movement;

FIG. 9 illustrates still another embodiment of the present invention wherein the harness assembly, as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings, may be utilized in connection with a cage or frame assembly.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 1 of the drawings, there is shown an exerciser and walker apparatus generally referred to by the numeral 10 which is shown to be supported from an overhead support structure 11 in which is mounted a hook 12 for suspending the apparatus 10 for purposes of illustration. The exerciser and walker apparatus 10 is suspended by means of a first length of chain 13 which engages the hook 12 at its upper end and the tension means at its lower end. The first length of chain 13 is adjustable thereby to either raise or lower the exerciser-walker apparatus 10. A second length of chain 16 extends from the lower portion of the tension means 15 and is connected thereto at its upper end, and extends downwardly therefrom. Once again, the second length of chain 16 is adjustable in order to vary the positioning of the remainder of the apparatus 10 with respect to the ground support surface. The lower end of the second length of chain 16 is connected to a hanger bar 18, which generally consists of an upper support bar 19 and a lower support bar 20. The upper support bar includes an inverted U-shaped section 21 whereat the lower end of the second length of chain 16 is connected. The chains 13 and 16 are connected to their respective elements as indicated above by means of safety hooks 17, if desired, whereby the chains 13 and 16 are disengagably connected with the elements as indicated. The outer ends of the hanger bar 18 are up-turned to form hook ends 22 for supporting the remainder of the apparatus. The remainder of the apparatus comprises a harness assembly generally referred'to by the numeral 25 which is suspended from the hanger bar 18 at the up-turned hook ends 22 by means of suspension straps 75 and 85 as will be more fully described hereinafter. The support straps 75 and 85 are suspended from the hook ends 22 by means of snap hooks 77, 87 which are disengagably connected to the hook ends 22. The details of the harness assembly 25 are more particularly shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings, and will now be described.

The harness assembly 25 consists of a chest strap 26, which is formed of a heavy fabric material and is adjustable circumferentially by means of a buckle 27 through which a portion of the strap 26 is overlapped. The strap 26 is fastened about the upper extremity of the torso by means of snap'fasteners 28, although other fastening means may similarly be utilized. The strap 26 is also provided with a series of four hook receivers 29, 30, 31, 32 which are permanently affixed to the strap 26. Hook receivers 29 and 30 are carried by the chest strap 26 adjacent one end thereof, while hook receivers 31 and 32 are carried adjacent the opposed end of the strap 26, and are disposed so that in use, the hook receivers 29, 30, 31 and 32 are disposedalong the front of the torso, hook receivers 29 and 31 being carried along the upper edge of the strap 26, and hook receivers 30 and 32 being carried along the lower edge thereof. As shown in FIG. 5, the strap 26 is formed in three sections 33, 34, and 35 which are held together by means of two connectors 36 and 37. This construction renders the strap 26 more conformable to the circumferential positioning about the torso. The central section 34 of the chest strap 26 is formed of an elastic material thereby to render the chest strap 26 more adjustable and conformable to the torso of the user.

waist portion by snap fasteners 47 positioned to engage one another in the known manner. The waist strap 40 carries a series of eight hook receivers 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 and 55, whereby in use, and as worn by the user, hook receivers 48, 54 are disposed along the upper front portion of the strap 40, hook receivers 49, being disposed along the lower front portion of the strap 40, hook receivers 51, 52 being disposed along the upper rear portion of the strap 40, and hook receivers 51, 53 being disposed along the lower rear portion of the strap 40.

The harness assembly 25 also includes a head and shoulder restraint which, in use, is positioned substantially between the hanger bar 18 and the chest strap 26. The restraint 60 consists of a single thickness of heavy fabric and functions to help support the head and shoulders of the patient when positioned in the harness 25. The lateral edges 61, 62 of the restraint 60 are each folded over upon themselves for a short distance and secured to the restraint, such as by sewing, to form a pair of channels 63, 64 for a purpose to be described more clearly hereinafter. A pair of grommets 65 are provided adjacent the upper edge of the restraint 60 through which attachment cords or hooks (not shown) may be inserted and connected to the lower support bar 20 of the hanger bar 18 to provide additional support for the harness assembly 25. j

The harness assembly also includes a pair of leg straps 70, each strap formed, once again,-of a heavy fabric material. Each strap70 is provided with a buckle 71 through which a portion of the strap 70 is overlapped to allow the straps 70 to be adjustable. Each end of each of the straps 70 is provided with a snap hook 72 for a purpose to be more fully described hereinafter.

The harness assembly 25 is completed with a series of four suspension straps 75 which function to support and suspend the harness assembly 25 from the hanger bar 18. Each of the straps 75, 80, and is provided with adjustment buckles 76, 81, 86 and 91, respectively, through which a portion of the straps are overlapped in order to render each of the straps adjustable depending upon the size of the user thereof. Each of the straps 75, 80, 85, 90 is provided with a snap hook 77,82, 87 and 92 respectively at each end thereof, and in addition, the two outer straps75, 85 (as viewed in FIG. 5) are each provided with a third snap hook 78 I and 88 respectively, disposed adjacent to the lower Disposed below the chest strap 26 is a waist strap 40 which is similarly formed of a heavy fabric material. Once again, as shown in FIG. 5, the waist strap 40 is formed in three sections 41, 42 and 43 which are held together by two connectors 44 and 45 to render the strap more easily conformable to circumferential positioning about the waist portion of the torso. The strap 40 similarly is circumferentially adjustable by means of a pair of buckles 46 carried by the second section 42 of the strap 40 through which a portion of the strap 40 is overlapped, and the strap 40 is fastened about the passed through the corresponding channels 63 and 64 respectively of the head restraint 60, after which the lower snap hooks 82 and 92 are connected to hook receivers 50 and 52 respectively. The lower ends of each of the two outer straps 75 and 85 are passed through hook receivers 29, 30 and 31, 32 respectively, and connected to hook receivers 48 and 54 respectively. The third snap hooks 78 and 88 are each then connected to hook receivers 29 and 31 respectively. The leg straps 70 each have upper snap books 72 connected to hook receivers 51 and 53 respectively, and the lower snap hooks 72 connected to hook receivers 49 and 55 respectively.

Hence, when the patient is inserted in the harness assembly 25, the chest strap 26 is snapped about the upper extremity of his torso by interconnecting snap fasters 28 and the waist strap 40 is snapped about the lower extremity of his torso by interconnecting snap fasteners 47. The third snap hooks 78 and 88 of the outer suspension straps 75 and 85 are connected to hook receivers 29 and 31 respectively, while the lower snap hooks 77 and 87 are passed through hook receivers 29, 30 and 31, 32 respectively and connected to hook receivers 48 and 54 respectively, thereby supporting the front of the harness assembly 25 on the patient. The lower ends of the two inner straps 80 and 90 are passed through the channels 63 and 64 respectively of head restraint 60 and connected to hook receivers 50 and 52 respectively to support the rear of the harness assembly 25 on the patient. The leg straps 70 have the upper snap hooks 72 connected to hook receivers 51 and 53 respectively, the lower ends of the leg straps 70 then being passed between the legs of the patient and having the lower snap hooks 72 connected to hook receivers 49 and 55 respectively to support and position the front and rear portions of the waist strap 40 in place on the patient. The upper snap hooks 77, 82, 87 and 92 are each connected to and suspended from the hook ends 22 of hanger bar 18 to support and suspend the harness assembly 25 from an overhead support.

As shown in FIG. 1, prior to positioning the patient within the harness assembly, a cushioning pad 23 is provided which is worn about the patients torso in order to prevent the various straps of the harness assembly 25 from cutting into the patients body. The pad 23 is fastened about the patients torso by means of a suitable connector 24, which may be in the form of a buckle, or snap fastener, or other suitable fastening means.

The tension means 15 is also particularly illustrated in FIG. and is shown to include an upper support plate 95 having an opening 96 disposed adjacent the upper edge thereof, and a series of three spring receiving openings 97 disposed adjacent the lower edge thereof, a lower support plate 98 having an opening 99 disposed adjacent the lower-edge thereof, and a series of three spring receiving openings 100 disposed adjacent the upper edge thereof, and a series of three tension springs 101 having hooked ends 102 at both ends of each of the springs 101. The upper hooked ends 102 are received in and carried by spring receiving opening 97 and the lower hooked ends 102 are received in and carried by spring receiving openings 100. The tension means 15 is connected to the assembly by inserting a safety hook 17 through the upper opening 96 and through one link in chain 13, and by another safety hook 17 which is passed through the lower opening 99 and either through the U-shaped section 21 of hanger bar 18 (as shown in FIG. 5), or through one link of another length of chain 16 (as shown in FIG 1).

Of course, depending upon the weight of the patient positioned in the harness assembly 25 and the resulting weight to be counter-balanced as a result, more or fewer springs 101 may be utilized. Similarly, tension springs 101 of various tension grades may be employed merely by removing and replacing springs as indicated above. In this manner, as a patient improves his muscular strength and coordination, springs having a lesser tension grade may be used to thereby counterbalance less of the patients weight requiring the patient to support and carry more of his own weight as he uses this apparatus.

The complete apparatus envisions the use of a guide means having disposed thereon' moveable support means from which is supported the tension means 15 and the harness assembly 25. Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 and 8 of the drawings, there is shown one embodiment of a guide means and moveable support member which is particularly useful in connection with the present invention. In FIG. 2, there is shown a box channel 105 which is in the form of an inverted U-shaped structure having lateral flanges 106 extending inwardly toward the center thereof from the lower edges of the channel 105, thereby to form an open slot 107 between the inner edges of the respective flanges 106. The box channel 105 may be affixed to any suitable surface 108 such as by means of a clamp 109 afiixed to the surface 108 by means of a bolt 1 10. A dolly assembly 1 11 is disposed within the box channel 105 and generally consists of a pair of wheels 1 12 mounted on a common axle 113 with a support plate 114 similarly mounted on the axle l 13 and extending downwardly therefrom through the slot 107. The lateral flanges 106 are of sufficient width in order to provide a track for the wheels 112 to ride upon. If desired, a box channel 105 of the type described may be used individually with a dolly assembly 111 from which would be supported a length of chain (13 of FIG. 1) which in turn would support and carry the tension means 15 and the harness assembly 25, as illustrated in FIG. 3. However, a preferred embodiment of this invention is more clearly shown in FIG. 8 of the drawings wherein there is shown a pair of box channels 105 of similar construction and mounted to a pair of side support surfaces (not shown) such as for example, opposed walls in an interior room. A support rod 115 is shown to have the opposed ends thereof mounted on respective ones of the dolly assemblies 111 carried in each of the box channels 105, the opposed ends of the support rod 115 being mounted on and carried by the support plate 114 of opposed dolly assemblies 111. A pulley assembly, generally indicated by the numeral 116, is disposed upon the support rod 115, the pulley assembly generally consisting of a U-shaped clamp 1 17 carrying a pulley wheel 118 above the support rod 1 15, the pulley wheel 118 being disposed for rolling movement along the support rod 115. A suspension plate- 119 is provided adjacen the lower end of the U-shaped clamp 117 from which is suspended the remainder of the apparatus. It will be seen therefore that when a patient is inserted in a harness assembly 25 and suspended from the suspension plate -119 of the pulley assembly 116, the patient is capable of 360 multi-directional movement throughout a complete room since the support rod 115 is moveably responsive to the movement of the dolly assemblies 111 in each of the box channels 105 and the pulley assembly may be moved along the length of the support rod 115. If a sufficiently large room is provided, such as for example, a clinic or therapuetic institution, several dolly assemblies and corresponding support rods could be supported by a pair of box channels 105 mounted along the side walls of the room. In addition, if the dimensions of the room are sufficiently large, additional pulley assemblies 116 could be mounted on each of the support rods 115 in order to enable the institution or clinic to render therapuetic treatment to several patients at the same time.

With reference to FIGS. 4 and 7 of the drawings, there is illustrated still another preferred embodiment of the present invention which, once again, enables a patient to have multi-directional movement when supported by a harness assembly 25 in the manner indicated hereinabove. With reference to FIG. 4, there is shown an lbeam, generally referred to by the numeral 120, and which consists of an upper horizontal plate 121, a lower horizontal plate 122, and interconnecting vertical plate 123 interconnecting the upper horizontal plate 121 with the lower horizontal plate 122. The I- beam 120 may be supported from an overhead surface, such as a ceiling structure, by means of a clamp assem bly 124 bolted to the ceiling by bolts 125. The clamp assembly 124 consists of a central rib 126 having an opening (not shown) disposed therethrough and a pair of oppositely extending arms 127 having inwardly turned edges 128 thereby to provide a space between the inwardly turned edge 128 and the under portion of the arm 127. The arms 127 are designed to engage the opposed edges of the upper horizontal plate 121 of the l-beam 120 and bolted in place on the rib 126 by means of a bolt and nut assembly 129. As many clamp assemblies 124 may be utilized as will sufficiently support the I-beam 120 from an overhead support structure.

The lower horizontal plate 122 of the I-beam 120 carries a dolly assembly generally referred to by the numeral 130. The dolly assembly 130 generally consists of a pair of side plates 131 and 132, each of which has a wheel assembly 133 mounted thereon adjacent the upper edge thereof, each wheel being mounted thereon for rotational movement. A mounting bar 134 is carried adjacent the lower edges of the plates 131 and 132, the bar 134 being disposed through openings (not shown) provided in each of the plates 131 and 132 and held in place by means of nuts 135 threadedly secured thereon. A groove 136 is provided in the mounting rod 134, the groove 136 being centrally disposed therein. Hence, the lower horizontal plate 122 of the I-beam 120 provides a convenient track upon which the wheels 133 of the dolly assembly 130 ride upon. Once a patient has been inserted in the harness assembly 25, the upper length of chain may be connected to the mounting rod 134 by inserting a safety hook in the groove 136 thereof. In this manner, the hook'is prevented from moving laterally thereby insuring that the patient is supported in the central portion of the mounting rod 134.

FIG. 7 is intended to illustrate that the I-beam track 120 may be provided in terms of a straight section 140 and a curved section 141, the respective section being provided either separately and joined together by a suitable clamp structure, or the I-beam track 120 may be formed as an integral piece having both curved and straight section. The advantages of providing the lbeam track 120 in both straight sections 140 and curved sections 141 is that this particular embodiment may be adaptable for use in homes by installing the appropriate straight sections 140 and curved sections 141 whereby the patient would be able to ambulate from room to room without requiring any additional apparatus, or having to use any apparatus which would hinder movement through doorways and the like.

FIG. 6 of the drawings illustrates still another emdobiment of the guide means which may be utilized in connection with the present invention. In FIG. 6, there is shown a pair of stationery support posts 150 suitably mounted in a ground support surface. A cable 151 is stretched across the opposed stationery support posts 150 and is kept in tensioned position by means of tension clamps 152 provided on each of the support posts 150. A pulley assembly 155 is mounted upon and carried by the cable 151, the pulley assembly generally consisting of an inverted U-shaped clamp 156, which carries a pulley wheel (not shown) disposed for rolling movement along the cable 151. The lower edge of the U-shaped clamp 156 carries a hook 157 from which the harness assembly 25 is supported. The embodiment as shown in FIG. 6 of the drawings is particularly suitable for outdoor use and it will be appreciated that by having the support posts 150 disposed a substantial distance from one another, and having the cables stretched and tensioned therebetween, the patient is provided with multi-directional movement in the outdoors.

In FIG. 9 of the drawings, there is illustrated still another embodiment of the present invention which is intended to show the usefullness of the harness assembly in connection with a cage assembly where desireable. Hence, there is shown a cage assembly generally referred to by the numeral 160 which is formed of a tubular metallic material, such as tubular steel or tubular aluminum. The cage assembly is mounted and sup ported on a series of four casters 161, which thereby render the cage 160 moveably responsive to the movement of the patient disposed and supported therein. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, it will be noted that each of the four corner legs 162 have a caster support leg 163 telescopically disposed therein. Suitable stops may be provided whereby the relative height of the cage assembly 160 from the ground support surface may be adjusted to accommodate patients of varying heights by adjusting the caster support legs 163 to the height desired and tripping the stops to hold the legs 163 in place. The cage 160 is provided with a support hook 164 mounted in the central portion of the roof assembly 165. Each of the sides of the cage assembly 160 includes a lateral support bar 166, one of the lateral support bars carrying a master pulley assembly 167 mounted upon a pulley mount 168. The roof assembly 165 of the cage 160 is provided with a second pulley assembly 169, which is disposed in vertical alignment with the master pulley assembly 167. The master pulley assembly 167 is of course provided with a cable which in use extends upwardly and around the second pulley 169 and is supported and carried by the support hook 164 in the central portion of the cage assembly 160. In this manner, the positioning of the patient within the cage assembly 160 is adjustable by means of the master pulley assembly 167. Hence, in this embodiment, both the cage assembly 160 is adjustable by means of the caster support legs 163 and the height relationship of the patient with respect to the ground support surface adjustable by means of the master pulley assembly 167. I i

In the practice of the present invention, a patient is positioned within the harness assembly 25 in the manner indicated hereinabove. After thevarious straps of the harness assembly 25 have been appropriately adjusted in order to comfortably accommodate the patient, the harness assembly 25 is mounted on and supported by the hanger bar 18. The hanger bar 18 is in ings, the tension means would have a length of chain 13 connected to the upper end thereof, and the upper length of the chain length 13 is mounted upon the support plate 114 of the dolly assembly 111. Since the dolly assembly 111 is disposed for rolling movement in the box channel 105, as the patient moves his legs, he will move in an area generally encompassed by the box channel 105. Similar ambulatory movement is provided by using the I-beam track and dolly assembly as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7 of the drawings, wherein the length of chain 13 which carries the tension means 15 would have its upper end mounted in the groove 136 of the mounting rod 134. As the patient moves his legs, the movement of his body causes the dolly assembly 130 to move along the lower horizontal plate 122 of the I- beam track 120. Similarly, as discussed with reference to FIG. 9 of the drawings, once the patient has been adequately secured to the cable 170 carried by the cage assembly 160, and the caster support legs 163 and master pulley assembly 167 has been appropriately adjusted to accommodate the patient, the movement by the patient along the ground support surface will cause the cage assembly 160 to move in response to his movements by way of the casters 161.

Hence, there has been provided by virtue of this invention, a novel exerciser and walker apparatus for aiding and permitting multi-directional movement of the user thereof which generally consists of a guide means, a moveable support means disposed for movement along the guide means, a harness assembly for supporting the user therein, and tension means for counterbalancing the load carried by the harness assembly with respect to the ground support surface. There has further been provided as a subcombination herein, a novel harness assembly which is substantially completely adjustable in order to accommodate the various shapes and sizes of different patients or users thereof.

While there has been .described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be understood that various modifications may be made therein, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications as fall 12 within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

1 claim:

1. A harness assembly to support a human body in touching relationship with respect to a lower support surface comprising a chest strap for engagement about the upper extremity of a torso, a waist strap for engagement about the waist of the torso, head and shoulder restraint means, a plurality of front and rear suspension straps interconnecting said chest strap said waist strap and said head and shoulder restraint means, said front suspension straps interconnecting said chest and waist straps, and said rear suspension straps interconnecting said head and shoulder restraint means with said waist strap such that said front and rear suspension straps cooperate to mutually interconnect said chest and waist straps with said head and shoulder restraint means, the upper ends of said suspension straps including connecting means for suspending the harness and the lower ends of said suspension straps being connected to said waist strap, and a pair of leg straps interconnecting the rear and front portions respectively of said waist strap thereby securing said waist strap about the lower extremity of the torso.

2. The harness assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein each of said chest straps, waist straps, suspension straps and leg straps are adjustable to accommodate variously shaped torsos.

3. The harness assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein the lower ends of said suspension straps are disengagably connected to said waist strap and the opposed ends of each of said leg straps are disengageably connected to the rear and front portions respectively of said waist strapthereby to facilitate the insertion and removal of the harness assembly from the torso.

4. The harness assembly as set forth in claim 1, which further includes a resilient pad removably fastened about the torso and interposed between the torso and said chest strap and said waist strap thereby to prevent the respective straps from applying direct pressure against the torso.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/69, 244/151.00R, 182/3
International ClassificationA61H3/04, A61H3/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61H2201/1652, A61H2201/0192, A61H2201/163, A61H3/04, A61H2201/1621, A61H2201/1616, A61H2201/1607, A61H3/008
European ClassificationA61H3/04, A61H3/00H