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Publication numberUS3868572 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 25, 1975
Filing dateMar 16, 1973
Priority dateMar 16, 1973
Publication numberUS 3868572 A, US 3868572A, US-A-3868572, US3868572 A, US3868572A
InventorsKaufman Rubin P, Rosenfeld Jack B, Schiller Elaine
Original AssigneeUs Navy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Audio transmission and reception assembly
US 3868572 A
Abstract
An audio transmission reception assembly has a hollow tubular conduit arranged to conduct audio messages from a source within a waterproof enclosure, which may be worn by attachment to the clothing of the user, for conduction to the entrance to the ear canal of the user. The tubular conduit has a capillary portion connected adjacent to the source of the audio messages which renders the conduit virtually waterproof even when subjected to underwater conditions. An audio responsive means is contained in the waterproof enclosure and sealed from the outside environment by a protective resilient membrane, and a suitable switch supported on the waterproof enclosure provides means for controllably connecting both the audio responsive means and the source of audio messages to a transmitting and receiving radio such as may be carried on the back of the user.
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United States Patent A [191 Kaufman et al.

[111 3,868,572 Feb. 25, 1975 AUDIO TRANSMISSION AND RECEPTION ASSEMBLY [73] Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

[22] Filed: Mar. 16, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 342,104

[52] US. Cl 325/16, 325/66, 325/310,

' 325/361 [51] Int. Cl. H04b l/38 [58] Field of Search 179/1 UW, 1 ST, 107 E,

179/107 R, 107 G; 325/16, 18, 66, 310, 361, 352', 181/23; 340/5 T, 8 R

3,370,236 2/1968 Walker 325/16 3,632,902 l/l972 Wahler 179/107 R 3,720,874 3/1973 Gorcik et al. 325/16 Primary Examiner-Robert L. Griffin Assistant Examiner-Jin F. Ng

Attorney, Agent, or Firm-R. S. Sciascia; G. J. Rubens; J. W. McLaren [57] ABSTRACT An audio transmission reception assembly has a hollow tubular conduit arranged to conduct audio messages from a source within a waterproof enclosure, which may be worn by attachment to the clothing of the user, for conduction to the entrance to the ear canal of the user. The tubular conduit has a capillary portion connected adjacent to the source of the audio messages which renders the conduit virtually waterproof even when subjected to underwater conditions. An audio responsive means is contained in the waterproof enclosure and sealed from the outside environment by a protective resilient membrane, and a suitable switch supported on the waterproof enclosure provides means for controllably connecting both the audio responsive means and the source of audio messages to a transmitting and receiving radio such as may be carried on the back of the user.

4 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTED FEB 2 51975 SHILET 1 0F 3 AUDIO TRANSMISSION AND RECEPTION ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In tactical military situations it is highly desirable that radio communications be carried on with the highest degree possible of convenience to the radioman or other user of radio equipment. A prime requisite is that such equipment be conveniently and comfortably portable by the user. It is also desirable that the messages delivered be as highly intelligible as possible and also be virtually non-radiating; that is to say, that only the radioman or user be able to hear incoming messages. Another requisite is that the audio reception and transmission assemblies employed in such radio communications be aurally non-occluding for unimpaired hearing and sense of directionality.

It is also preferable that such radio communications equipment, and more particularly the audio reception and transmission assemblies used with them, be capable of being continuously used during sleep and maneuvers without discomfort or detachment from the user.

A further requisite is that the audio reception and transmission assembly employed with such radio equipments be capable of quick disconnection from the radio cables to prevent damage to attaching cables such as may result from excess stress due to sudden, violent moments of the user during tactical field use. Another requirement of the audio reception and transmission assembly is that it be inconspicuous, even under conditions where the user wears no helmet or hat.

An overall consideration is that the cost of the audio reception and transmission assembly compare favorably with present functionally equivalent means and be suitable for adaptation to electrical interface with existing portable radio equipments.

Present state of the art audio reception and transmission assemblies include hand-held, walk-talk radio units, hand-held receiving and transmitting transducers, as well as transducers which depend upon physical contact with the user, such as throat microphones or bone conduction transducers. Though these state of the art devices possess some desirable characteristics, none has as yet been devised to meet all the requisites as hereinbefore enumerated. Therefore, it is highly desirable that an audio reception and transmission assembly be devised which will meet all the foregoing requirements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprises an audio transmission and reception assembly which includes a source of radio messages contained within a waterproof enclosure and a hollow tubular conduit arranged to receive the emanating audio messages for conduction to the entrance of the ear canal of the user, the conduit having a capillary portion connected adjacent to the source of audio messages. The capillary portion of the hollow tubular conduit renders the conduit virtually impervious to the passage of water even when the entire assembly is subjected to underwater conditions.

Audio responsive means is contained within the waterproof enclosure and sealed from the outside environment by a protective resilient membrane which performs the function of admitting the passage of audio energy, while at the same time sealing the internal audio responsive means against water or other undesirable contaminants.

In a preferred embodiment, the protective, resilient membrane is molded into pliable, shock absorbent material formed to fit around the audio responsive means, thus providing shock proof protection.

A suitable switch means is supported on the waterproof enclosure and used to controllably make connection of the audio responsive means to a transmitting and receiving radio equipment such as may be conveniently and comfortably carried on the back of the user by a suitable backpack or harness arrangement.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention a breakaway connector is employed for convenient disconnection of multiple electrical conductors connected between the waterproof enclosure and the cables from a back-carried radio equipment, for example. This provides an automatic disconnect which will function to avoid damage to multiple electrical conductors should they be inadvertently subjected to undue mechanical stress.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the hollow tubular conduit which is adapted and arranged to receive audio messages for conduction to the entrance to the ear canal of the user, may comprise multiple sections in addition to the capillary portion connected adjacent to the source of audio messages. A first flexible section may be connected to the capillary portion to accommodate and compensate for normal body movement of the user, when, for example, the waterproof enclosure including the switch means is attached to his clothing such as a blouse or shirt.

The first flexible section, may in turn be connected to a semi-rigid section of the hollow tubular conduit which is formed to fit the pinna of the ear of a user so as to be conveniently and comfortably supportable thereon. A soft, second flexible section may be connected from the semi-rigid section to complete the hollow tubular conduit to the entrance to the ear canal of the user.

Such multiple sections of the hollow tubular conduit of the present invention may comprise clear plastic which renders the assembly inconspicuous, relatively inexpensive, and comfortable for the user.

Additionally, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention a suitable, slidably adjustable means on the hollow conduit may be employed for securing the conduit to the ear of the user. This latter element may also be made of clear plastic material shaped to clip on the lower portion of the ear of a user while being slidably adjustable to accommodate different configurations and sizes as may be required by different users of the assembly.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention a suitable means is included for supportably attaching the waterprooof enclosure to the clothing of the user, such as a shirt or blouse, for example, and may comprise a hollow wedge portion molded as an integral part of the waterproof enclosure, which hollow wedge portion is employed together with a co-acting wedgeshaped means to provide attachment to the clothing of the user.

Accordingly, it is an important object of the present invention to provide an audio reception and transmission assembly which conducts radio received audio messages to the ear of a user as intelligibly as possible.

Another important object of the present'invention is to provide such an audio assembly which is essentially non-radiating in the sense that only the user may hear incoming messages.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such an audio reception and transmission assembly which is aurally non-occluding for unimpaired hearing and sense of directionality to the user.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such an audio assembly which is as inconspicuous as possible.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide an audio reception and transmission assembly which is comfortable to the user and is capable of being worn continuously, even during sleep and maneuvers without undue discomfort or requiring detachment by the user.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an audio reception and transmission assembly which is adapted to quickly disconnect from the user and backpacked radio equipment, as well as being adaptable to universal connection with any of a number of different portable radio equipments.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to devise an audio reception and transmission assembly which incorporates the foregoing desired objectives and at the same time compares favorably in cost to functionally equivalent state of the art equipment.

These and other features, objects, and advantages of the present invention will be better appreciated from an understanding of the operative principles of a preferred embodiment as described hereinafter and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates a typical embodiment of the present invention as it may be worn and employed by a user;

FIG. 2 illustrates the hollow tubular conduit of the present invention in an enlarged view;

FIG. 3a is a cross sectional view of a waterproof enclosure including a switch means as may be employed in the present invention;

FIG. 3b is a sectional view through plane BB of FIG. 30 including the slide guide of the back cover member of the waterproof enclosure;

FIGS. 4a and 4b are front and side views, respectively, of the back cover member of the waterproof enclosure illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 3a; and

FIGS. 5a and 5b are front and side views, respectively, of a wedge configured element which fits into the hollow wedge slider guide of the back cover illustrated in FIG. 40.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention as employed by a typical user. A waterproof enclosure includes a source of audio messages in the form of a suitable electro-audio transducer. A hollow I tubular conduit 11 is arranged to receive the audio messages from the source within the water-proof enclosure 10 for conduction to the entrance of the ear canal of the user at 12.

The waterproof enclosure 10 also includes an audio responsive means 13, usually in the form ofa miniature microphone, which is selectively and controllably connectable through the operation of the actuator button of a switch means 14 to a transmitting and receiving radio equipment 15 carried on the back of a user as illustrated in FIG. 1. A breakaway connector 16 is also preferably provided for quick disconnection of the multiple electrical conductors 17 connected between the waterproof enclosure 10 and the radio 15 to avoid damage to the multiple electrical conductors 17 when they are subjected to a predetermined amount of stress. A clip 18 or equivalent means may also be provided. if desired, for the purpose of restricting movement of the multiple electrical conductors 17.

FIG. 2 illustrates the major portion of a typical hollow tubular conduit as conceived by the present invention for conducting messages from the audio source within the waterproof enclosure 10 illustrated in FIG. I to the entrance of the ear canal ofa user. The hollow tubular conduit illustrated in FIG. 2 includes a first flexible section extending from the point 20 to point 21 where it is attached to a semi-rigid section extending from point 21 to point 22.

The semi-rigid section of the hollow tubular conduit is formed to fit the .pinna of the ear of a user so that it is configured to loop over the ear and be supported thereby. A second soft flexible section extends from the end of the semi-rigid section at point 22 to point 23 and is preformed in a substantially right angular configuration, turning into the plane of the drawing of FIG. 2, so as to fit into the entrance of the ear canal of a user as illustrated in FIG. I.

A suitable means 24 is shaped and configured for supportably securing the hollow conduit to the ear of a user. Preferably, the securing element 24 is slidably adjustable having a friction fit to the outside of the hollow tubular conduit. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention the entire extent of the hollow tubular conduit illustrated in FIG. 2 may be fabricated of a clear plastic so as to be as inconspicuous as possible and at the same time relatively inexpensive to fabricate.

FIG. 3a is a cross-sectional view of the preferred form of the waterproof enclosure 10 illustrated in FIG. 1. The waterproof enclosure comprises a body member 10 which contains a switch 31 having an external actuator 14. The switch is connected to multiple electrical conductors contained within the cable 33 connecting to the back-supported transmitting and receiving radio equipment. Also connected to the switch 31 is a source of audio messages in the form of an electro-audio transducer 34.

Additionally, a microphone, usually of subminiature form, or an equivalent transducer 13 is connected in circuit with the switch 31. The body member 10 includes a plurality of holes 36 therein for the purpose of admitting audio energy to the microphone 13. The tube 37 connects the transducer 34 with a tube adapter 38. The tube adapter 38 forms part of the hollow tubular conduit connecting the source of audio messages 34 with the entrance to the ear canal of the user and it should be noted that it comprises a capillary section 39.

This capillary section may be a small bore of the dimension of the order of twenty-five thousandths of an inch in diameter or less and provides an important feature of the present invention which renders the hollow tubular conduit virtually impervious to submersion in water, preventing water from reaching the interior of the waterproof enclosure 10. However, it has been found that the capillary section 39 is capable of good transmission of audio frequencies and adequate fidelity for full understanding of voice communications when connected to a radio under normal operating conditions.

The tube adapter 38 is connected to the end 40 of the flexible section of the hollow tubular conduit as illustrated in FIG. 2 which is held in place by a suitable threaded ferrule 41.

FIG. 3b is a cross-sectional view taken through section 8-8 of FIG. 3a and illustrates the electro-audio transducer 34 which is the source of audio messages as well as the audio responsive means 13, usually in the form of a miniature microphone. It should be noted that the audio responsive means 13 which is enclosed within the body member of the waterproof enclosure is sealed from the outside environment by a protective resilient membrane 42 which operates to transmit audio energy as received through the multiple holes 36 but prevents moisture, water or other contaminants from entering the interior of the body member 10 of the waterproof enclosure.

FIG. 3b also illustrates a preferred type of back cover 43 which is suitably attached and sealed to the body member 10 of the waterproof enclosure. It should be noted from the illustration of FIG. 3a that the back cover 43 is configured substantially in a hollow wedge shape at its sides. This particular aspect of the configuration of a preferred form of back cover 43 is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 40 and 4b.

FIG. 4a illustrates an end view of the same back cover 43 shown in cross-sectional view as part of the waterproof enclosure illustrated in FIG. 31). It will be noted that the sides 44 and 45 of the back cover 43, extend upwardly from it as may be seen from FIG. 3b and also slope toward each other to form a hollow wedge configuration. This configuration of the sides 44 and 45 coacts in use with a wedge element 46 illustrated in front and side views in FIGS. 5a and 5b, respectively. The wedge member 46 has sloping sides 47 and 48 which are shaped and dimensioned to fit within the hollow wedge shaped edges 44 and 45 of the back cover 43 in compressive frictional engagement.

In use the back cover 43 of the waterproof enclosure 10 is placed against the clothing of the user while the wedge 46 is inserted from the opposite side of the clothing so as to frictionally engage the material of the clothing between the wedge 46 and the hollow wedge shaped sides 44 and 45 of the back cover member 43, thus supporting the waterproof enclosure 10 conveniently on the clothing of the user and at the same time being readily removable without damage to such clothmg.

USE AND OPERATION In use the present invention is first connected to a transmitting and receiving radio as illustrated in FIG. 1 by means of the breakaway connector 16 which completes electrically conductive paths from the multiple conductors 17 to the radio equipment 15. The clip 18 may then be attached to the belt or other suitable portion ofthe users clothing or equipment, and the waterproof enclosure 10 is attached or secured to an appropriate part of the users clothing as previously described in connection with the disclosure of the function of the back cover 43 as illustrated in FIGS. 4a, 4b, and FIGS. 51: and 5h.

The semi-rigid portion of the hollow tubular conduit 11 is then fitted about the ear of the user, the soft flexible portion 12 being inserted at the entrance of the ear canal of the user, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The securing means 24, as illustrated in FIG. 2, which is slidably adjustable on the semi-rigid portion of the hollow tubular conduit is slidably adjusted so as to supportably secure the hollow tubular conduit in its desired placement relative to the ear of the user. The user then will receive all audio messages from the source of incoming audio messages which may take the form of a suitable electroaudio transducer as indicated at 34 in the illustration of FIG. 3.

When the user desires to transmit a message, he dcpresses the actuator portion of the switch 14, as illustrated in FIG. 1, which connects the subminiature microphone or equivalent transducer 13 to the backcarried radio equipment 15. His speech is then transmitted through the multiple conductors l7 and the breakaway connector 16 to the radio equipment 15 for radio transmission on the air. When the actuator of the switch 14 is released, the switch 31, as illustrated in FIG. 3, operates to disconnect the microphone 13 from the radio 15. Thus, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention the electrical connections are preferably arranged so that the radio equipment is always in a condition to receive messages, but is only in a condition to transmit messages upon the actuation of the external actuator of the switch 14.

Those skilled and knowledgeable in the art will readily appreciate the advantages and high desirability of the capillary portion of the hollow tubular conduit of the present invention which renders the conduit virtually impervious to the penetration of water, but is nonetheless a configuration fully capable of transmitting voice communications with wholly adequate fidelity for easy comprehension.

Additionally, the hollow wedge shaped configuration of the back cover of the waterproof enclosure as conceived by the present invention, when employed together with a suitably dimensioned wedge member, provides a highly desirable method and means of securing the waterproof enclosure to the clothing of the user in any convenient position. Additionally, it renders the waterproof enclosure of the present invention readily removable to have its position changed or to transfer the equipment to another user without damage or any other desirable effects from the clothing of the user.

It will be readily appreciated by those knowledgeable in the pertinent arts that the concept and the embodiment of the present invention with its manifold desirable aspects and advantages overcomes the more serious disadvantages of prior art equipments having comparable functions.

From the foregoing disclosure and description it should be evident that the present invention provides a convenient means of interfacing electrically with existing portable radio equipments, such as the AN/PRC- 25 and the AN/PRC-77, for example, and at the same time provides a breakaway disconnect means which may be quickly used to disconnect the audio transmitting and receiving assembly from the radio. Moreover, since the principal portions of the hollow tubular conduit which conducts audio messages to the entrance of the ear canal of the user may be fabricated of colorless, transparent plastic tubing, it is most inconspicuous and thus highly desirable for tactical field use.

The cost of implementation of the present invention is highly favorable as compared with present-handsets and similar equipments having equivalent functions. Moreover, as may readily be seen from the illustrations the typical embodiment of the present invention is capable of being used continuously during sleep and/or maneuvers without undue discomfort or requiring detachment from the user. It is also found to be nonradiating in the sense that only the radioman or user hears the incoming messages and has the advantage of being aurally non-occluding for unimpaired hearing and sense of directionality.

These and other advantages as disclosed hereinbefore render the concept, teaching, and preferred embodiment of the present invention most desirable.

Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

What is claimed is:

1. An audio transmission and reception assembly comprising:

a cable including multiple electrical conductors;

a breakaway connector at one end of said cable for connecting said multiple electrical conductors to a transmitting and receiving radio;

a waterproof enclosure at the other end of said cable for receiving said multiple electrical conductors;

an electro-audio transducer supported within said waterproof enclosure for converting signals received from said electrical conductors into audio messages;

a hollow tubular conduit connected to conduct said audio messages to the entrance of the ear canal of the user;

said conduit having a capillary portion connected adjacent said electro-audio transducer;

audio responsive means contained within said waterproof enclosure and sealed from the outside environment by a protective resilient membrane for converting audio energy received through said resilient membrane into commensurate electrical signals; and

switch means supported on said waterproof enclosure for selectively connecting the electrical signals developed by said audio responsive means to said transmitting and receiving radio through said multiple electrical connectors.

2. An audio transmission and reception assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said hollow tubular conduit includes a first flexible section connected to said capillary portion, a semi-rigid section formed to fit the pinna of the ear of a user, and a soft, second flexible section connecting said semi-rigid section with the entrance to the ear canal of the user.

3. An audio transmission and reception assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said waterproof enclosure has a hollow wedge shaped exterior portion to receive a wedge shaped co-acting member for frictionally engaging flexible material therebetween and supportably attaching said waterproof enclosure to a selectable position on the clothing of the user.

4. An audio transmission and reception assembly as claimed in claim 1 and including slidably adjustable means on said conduit for securing said conduit to the earofauser.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4334315 *May 5, 1980Jun 8, 1982Gen Engineering, Ltd.Wireless transmitting and receiving systems including ear microphones
US4791673 *Dec 4, 1986Dec 13, 1988Schreiber Simeon BBone conduction audio listening device and method
US5677948 *Aug 9, 1995Oct 14, 1997Eta Sa Fabriques D'ebauchesCordless portable hands-free telephone
US6453044Oct 26, 2000Sep 17, 2002Orrin KlitznerUser interface for a portable communication device
US20090229083 *Mar 11, 2008Sep 17, 2009Plantronics, Inc.Headset Clip System
US20090311928 *May 1, 2007Dec 17, 2009Thje Coleman Company, Inc.Life vest with two-way radio
CN1092465C *Aug 3, 1998Oct 9, 2002固昌有限公司Adapter for earphone and microphone
Classifications
U.S. Classification455/575.6, 455/78
International ClassificationH04M1/05, H04M1/04
Cooperative ClassificationH04M1/05
European ClassificationH04M1/05