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Publication numberUS3892234 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 1, 1975
Filing dateNov 18, 1974
Priority dateJun 6, 1973
Publication numberUS 3892234 A, US 3892234A, US-A-3892234, US3892234 A, US3892234A
InventorsRichard F Jones
Original AssigneeGen Aquadyne Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Diver{3 s pressurized equipment housings
US 3892234 A
Abstract
A diver has a gaseous life support system that delivers breathing air to the diver's face that automatically is maintained at approximately the hydrostatic pressure of the water depth in which he is situated. Secured to the diver's body, for example, to his helmet, are equipment housings for cameras, electric lights, magnetometers, or other instruments. Conduits connect these instrument housings to the atmosphere breathed by the diver so that they are pressurized at approximately the hydrostatic pressure, that would otherwise crush them. Not only can the housings be lightly constructed, because of this absence of crushing forces, but the conduit connections are short and close to the diver's body so that they will not become entangled as the diver works. Electric control wires may pass through the pressurizing conduits.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Jones 1 1 DIVERS PRESSURIZED EQUIPMENT HOUSINGS [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 367,586, June 6, 1973, and a continuation of Ser. No. 456,204, March [52] US. Cl. 128/142 [51] Int. Cl? A62B 7/04 [58] Field of Search 128/142, 141 R, 141 A,

128/1422, 142.3, 142.4, 142.7, 146, 146.3, 146.7; 2/l7l.3, 173, 2.1 R; 95/11, 86; 352/131; 61/71 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,096,607 5/1914 Deray 128/1423 2,990,765 7/1961 WinzenburgW. 95/86 3,387,606 6/1968 Crafts et al. 128/141 R 14 1 July 1,1975

3/1969 Pinto 128/1422 OTHER PUBLICATIONS Cousteau, Skindiver, August, 1967, pp. 28 & 29.

[57] ABSTRACT A diver has a gaseous life support system that delivers breathing air to the divers face that automatically is maintained at approximately the hydrostatic pressure of the water depth in which he is situated. Secured to the divers body, for example, to his helmet, are equipment housings for cameras, electric lights, magnetometers, or other instruments. Conduits connect these instrument housings to the atmosphere breathed by the diver so that they are pressurized at approximately the hydrostatic pressure, that would otherwise crush them. Not only can the housings be lightly constructed, because of this absence of crushing forces, but the conduit connections are short and close to the diver's body so that they will not become entangled as the diver works. Electric control wires may pass through the pressurizing conduits.

8 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures ml mrmuu 1915 1.892234 SHEET 2 I DIVERS PRESSURIZED EQUIPMENT HOUSINGS This is a continuation in-part of my co-pending application. Ser. No. 367.586. filed June 6. 1973. and a continuation of my co-pending application, Ser. No. 456.204. filed Mar. 29. 1974.

This invention relates to housings carried on the body of an underwater diver which are pressurized by the atmosphere which the diver breathes.

Waterproof housings are used by divers for various purposes: for still and motion picture cameras. lights and batteries for illuminating photographic subjects. television cameras. and the like. Commercial divers also have a need for television cameras so that an expert on the surface can inspect the equipment under water being worked upon and to monitor and supervise the work of the divers. Heretofore. these compartments have had to be strongly constructed to withstand the large pressures encountered. especially below 100 feet in depth. These housings have usually been in the form of very strong tanks constructed to withstand these pressures and open on one end and fitted with equally strong windows on the open ends for cameras. lights. BIC.

An attempt has been made to reduce this structural strength by pressurizing the housings with the supply air of the diver.

These pressurized housings have had to have hoses connected to them. causing an ever present safety hazard of entanglement to the diver. Furthermore. they have had to be held manually as with self-sufficient underwater housings. impeding the work of the diver. For these reasons they have never been commercially successful.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION I have discovered that cameras. lights and other devices may be mounted on the diver's helmet in low strength housing and that the proximity to the divers breathing air makes possible very short connections by which these compartments may be pressurized. By mounting the compartment on the diver's head. or other part of his body. his hands are free to perform any desired task. There is little danger of entanglement because the hoses and conduits are short and close to the diver's body. No separate air pressure regulator is necessary because the air breathed by the diver is always at the right pressure to balance against the hydrostatic pressure to which the housing is subjected. The housing can be weakly constructed because the divers breathing atmosphere is always within a pound or two of the hydrostatic pressure. There is no need to make the compartment walls flexible and the compartment may be fixedly attached to the diver. For scuba diving where helmets are not used. the compartment may be strapped directly to the divers head.

I have also discovered that the same conduit by which air pressure is supplied to the housing can be used to supply energizing or control electric current, or both. Further. the use of a self-sealing disconnect coupling connecting the clivers breathing atmosphere and the compartment assures perfect safety for the diver in case the pressurizing tube or conduit is cut or punctured. The diver then merely disconnects the disconnect coupling and the coupling seals off outside water.

It is therefore a general object to provide pressurized compartments for a diver that are fastened directly to his body.

Other objects. advantages and features of the invention will be apparent in the following description and claims. considered together with the drawings forming an integral part of this specification in which FIG. I is an elevation side view of a full face mask and wet helmet for a diver wherein there is incorporated on the top of the wet helmet a pressurized compartment or housing embodying the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the device of FIG. I, but with the helmet in full section to show the compartment and the method by which the compartment is pressurized and electrical energy delivered to it.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view along the line IIIIII of FIG. 1, showing the construction of the self-sealing disconnect coupling in a schematic manner. and showing also the electrical conductor which is connected and disconnected as the disconnect coupling is operated.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the full face mask of FIG. I and its accompanying helmet having an equipment housing in the top and showing further a four-wire communication and power supply cable.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view along a horizontal section of a housing similar to that of FIG. 2 wherein a television or video camera is disposed and in addition to an electrical supply and/or control conductor there is a co-axial cable which leads a video or television signal to the surface.

FIG. 6 is a front view of a diver using a scuba or upper half face mask wherein a pressure conduit leads to a housing strapped to his head.

FIG. 7 is a front view of a waterproof diver's helmet having a face window and an upper view window and having a waterproof housing secured to the top thereof embodying the invention.

FIG. 8 is a side view ofthe waterproof helmet of FIG. 7 showing the housing in full section.

FIG. 9 is an elevation view ofa diver's face mask having removably mounted thereon a wet type of protective divers helmet having an instrument compartment pressurized and valved by breathing gas in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 10 is a front view ofthe diving head gear of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is an elevation view of a modified form of the invention wherein a helmet compartment is pressurized directly from a source of gas rather than indirectly through the nose mouth area.

FIG. 12 is an elevation view of a submarine having secured thereto a lightly constructed instrument con tainer having its own source of gas under pressure to equalize the compartment with the hydrostatic pressure.

A full face mask 10 has secured thereto a wet helmet II by any suitable means. such as headed pins 12 projecting from the face mask 10 and being engaged by a keyhole slot member 13 at the top and notch members 14 at the side. An elastic strap 16 may engage the lower back of the helmet II and be secured to another pair of projecting pins 12. The wet helmet Il may have a plurality of apertures 17 therein to prevent the helmet from being buoyant.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 4, there is provided in accordance with the invention a watertight compartment 18 in the top of the helmet 11, and this compartment is provided with a waterproof window 19. Disposed within the compartment 18 is any suitable piece of apparatus. and for illustrative purposes there is shown a light bulb 2I surrounded by a reflector 22 to direct light outwardly from the window. The reflector and light may be so positioned as to cast light directly in front of the diver to illuminate any subject matter upon which he may be working. The compartment I8 is formed by the walls ofthe wet helmet II and the front window I9, and these form a housing for the light and reflector. This housing is pressurized by a tube or conduit 23 leading from a lower part of the face mask I to the housing forming the compartment I8 to thereby pressurize the housing so that it is subjected to practically no exterior pressure.

The face mask and housing are designed to accommodate only one or two pounds per square inch. and when the usual factors of safety are used this is multi plied by three or four. The term lightly constructed describes in this specification apparatus designed only to accommodate this differential in normal working pressure between the face mask and the ambient hydrostatic pressure.

The light 21 may be energized by means of a conductor 24 passing through the conduit 23 and leading from the rear of the compartment 18 may be a second conductor 26 which is connected to the keyhole plate 13. which makes contact with the metallic pin 12, which. in turn. is connected by a flat conductor 27 to a terminal or binding post 28 on the face plate. The conductor 24 passing through the conduit 23 may be connected to a binding post or terminal 29. The conduit 23 may be of transparent plastic. for example. and for this reason the conductor 24 is shown as a solid line.

The housing enclosing the light 21 is subjected to very little pressure. inasmuch as an automatic air pres sure regulator 31 on the face plate adjusts pressure that the diver breathes to that of the hydrostatic pressure of the water in which the diver is working. This pressure is present in the conduit 23 to pressurize the interior of the housing I8, despite the fact that the entire housing 18 is surrounded by water of great pressure, depending upon the depth at which the diver is working.

The full face mask of FIGS. 1 through 4 may be of any desired construction and may include a rigid shell 32 of metal or plastic to which is secured a soft cushion seal 33 that engages the divers face. The diver looks through a transparent window 34. Various types of internal controls for the air flow may be employed. including a cup that goes over the nose and mouth of the diver if this is desired.

Provided particularly in accordance with the invention is the means by which the pressure tube or conduit 23 is connected to the face mask 10. As shown in more detail in FIG. 3. the flexible conduit 23 may be connected to a rigid elbow 35, which. in turn. is inserted in a disconnect coupling 36. These disconnect couplings are standard hardware in the hydraulic industry and the type preferred is of the self-sealing type having a seal 37 which closes off the opening through the mask wall 32 when the elbow 34 is removed from the disconnect coupling. Also shown in FIG. 3 is the structure by which the conductor 24 is energized in the disconnect coupling. A web 38 supports a pin 39 which engages a cup shape 4I upon which the seal 37 is mounted. and this cup is connected to a wire 24 on the interior of the face plate. A compression spring 41 urges the seal 37 to the right in FIG. 3 when the pin 39 and the elbow 34 are removed from the disconnect coupling.

Referring to FIG. 5. there is illustrated a modified form of the housing 18 of FIGS. I, 2 and 4, wherein a housing 42. including a window 43, encloses a television camera or video camera 44. This camera may be energized and/or controlled by a conductor 44 passing through a pressurizing conduit 46 and the signal from the video camera 44 may pass out through a coaxial cable 47. This coaxial cable is preferably lashed to the air hose of the diver. along with the communications cable. and hence leads to the surface where an expert on a ship may watch the work of the diver and direct him by telephone. and further may survey equipment at the bottom of the water by means of this video camera while the diver is working.

The control of a light, camera, or both. or any other equipment disposed in the waterproof housing may be accomplished by various methods. and there is illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 a manual switch 48 and 49 respectively which may be located at the hand of the diver by passing through his diving suit. or may be located on his body immediately adjacent his head, wherein a manual pressing by the diver will close or open the switches.

Also illustrated in FIG. 4 is a communications and energy cable 51 which is standard in the diving industry. Three-conductor and four-conductor cables are common. and cables with any number of conductors can be supplied. There is illustrated a wire 27 in this cable which is connected to a battery or other source of electric current. and a second wire 24 which may be variously connected as by ground or otherwise to the source of electricity. These two wires complete a circuit through the binding posts 28 and 29 and the switch 48 to energize the particular piece of equipment 21 located in the housing I8.

Illustrated in FIG. 6 is the application of the invention to scuba diving equipment. In scuba diving the mouth of the diver is not covered with a mask, and instead a diver 52 may have a demand regulator 53 held in his teeth or by his lips supplied by an air tube 54. The diver may wear a half face mask 56 which covers his nose and his eyes. The pressure present in the divers mouth will be present inside of the half face mask 56 by virtue of the communication from the divers mouth to his nose through his internal passages. Leading from the half face mask 56 is a conduit 57 connected to a housing 58 held to the divers head in any suitable fashion. as by straps 59. The housing 58 may contain any desired piece of equipment. for example. a camera 61 which may be controlled manually or electrically and there is illustrated an external switch 62 which may be manually pressed by the diver to either manually operate the camera 61 or close a switch which will energize the particular camera or light by means of its own internal batteries or by means of electric power located elsewhere. To assist the diver 52 in making photographs with the equipment 61. a registration mark 63 may be placed on the window of the half face mask 56. The housing 58 will be pressurized at the same pressure as the hydrostatic pressure to which the diver is subjected because of the automatic pressure control device 53. Illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 is the application of the invention to a waterproof divers helmet or a so-called hard-hat" helmet which generally is light in weight and made of plastic. Buoyancy is a particular problem with such waterproof helmets. and any air inside of the helmet more than that occupied by the divers head will cause the entire diving suit to become buoyant. requiring additional weights to be carried by the diver. Accordingly. the hard-hat helmet is made as small as possible, consistent with comfort and operation of the diver.

Referring still to FIGS. 7 and 8. a hard shell helmet 63 may have a front face plate 64 and an upper window 66 which enables the diver to have a full field of vision by moving his head without moving the helmet. The in side of the helmet 63 is maintained by automatic pres sure devices (not shown) and this pressure may be passed by a conduit 67 to a housing 68 secured to the top of the helmet 63. The housing 68 may have an internal partition 69 to make the usable compartment as small as possible to reduce buoyancy and an aperture 71 is provided in the remaining portion of the housing 68 so that air will not be trapped therein. A window 72 is provided in the front of the housing. and projecting downwardly therefrom are a pair of pins 73 which fit into mating holes in the helmet 63. A screw or other fastener 74 may hold the rear of the housing 68 to the top of the helmet. Any suitable equipment or mechanism may be placed in the waterproof compartment. and there is illustrated a lightbulb 76 energized by a conductor 77 passing through the conduit 67. The right portion ofthe housing 68, as viewed in FIG. 8, is maintained to streamline the compartment 68 to the helmet so that it will not catch in any equipment upon which the diver is working.

OPERATION The invention is useful, not only for sports divers, but commercial divers as well. The invention makes it possible to illuminate the work of the diver which generally is necessary for dives over 50 feet in depth, by installing a light in the housing. A video camera disposed in the housing will enable an expert located on a boat on the surface to monitor the work of a diver and. in addition. inspect the equipment. This is especially desirable in oil equipment work on the ocean bottom where opening the wrong valve or removing the wrong fitting might result in injury to the diver, or injury to the equipment. or result in a pollution hazard.

Referring to FIGS. I through 5, while above water. the diver first places over his face the full face mask 10 and then hitches on his helmet II by having the keyhole slot in plate 13 engage the mask pin 12. The tension band 16 is then hooked over its pins 12 pulling the notch plates 14 against their pins 12. The pressure conduit 23 is next connected to the face mask air supply by inserting the elbow (FIG. 3) into the disconnect coupling 36. This not only communicates the interior of the face mask with the instrument housing 18, but also connects the electric wire 24 inside the conduit 23 (which may be clear plastic) to the electrical supply of the face mask by wire pin 39 contacting socket 41.

Referring to FIG. I, the diver then connects his fourwire cable 51 to the cable which leads from his tender boat, then connects his air supply, and the diver steps into the water. When it is desired to illuminate the light 21, the diver manually closes switch 48 which closes the circuit from the two wires 24 and 27 in the fourwire cable 51. As the diver descends in depth in the water. the hydrostatic pressure increases to which he is subjected. This is offset by a corresponding increase in the pressure of the air (or oxygen-gas mixture) which he breathes. This gas pressure is automatically controlled by the regulator 31 or other regulator. This pressure is transmitted through the disconnect coupling 36 to the conduit 23 and the interior 18 of the housing is pressurized to the same pressure as the face mask I0. Since the divers air pressure is always within a pound or two of the hydrostatic pressure, the housing 18 may be lightly constructed.

There is little danger of breaking or entangling the conduit 23 because it is close to the divers body and short in length. If through any accident the helmet is torn off, or the tube 23 punctured or broken. the flow of water into the face mask may be immediately stopped. The diver does this by manually disconnecting the elbow 34 (FIG. 3) from the disconnect coupling 36, whereupon the seal 37 seals off the face mask 10.

The video camera of FIG. 5 may be operated by the diver closing the manual switch 49. The video signal from the camera travels over cable 47 to the surface where it may be viewed on a television monitor. or may be recorded for future use. or both.

The scuba face mask of FIG. 6 receives the breathing air pressure from the regulator 53 via the divers nasal passages. This pressure is transmitted by the conduit 57 to the instrument housing 58 held to his head by the straps 59. To operate the camera 6], the diver merely presses on the control button 62 which may be mechanical or electrical. The registration mark 63 on the window of the half face mask 56 makes it possible to align the camera lens by the diver tilting his head until the mark 63 aligns with the desired subject matter.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8. the housing 68 is first attached to any convenient part of the helmet, for example. the top, by the screw 74 and the pins 73. The pressurizing conduit 67 is next connected to the helmet. This hard hat helmet is next connected to the divers suit to make the suit watertight. the air hose is connected. and the diver enters the water. A suitable switch (not shown) may be located inside the helmet to be operated by striking the divers head against it, or internal wires may lead to any convenient spot under the diving suit (including the divers gloves) to be manually operated by the diver. In this fashion any desired instrument 76 located in the housing 68 may be energized or operated.

Some instruments, however, generate gasses that are noxious and frequently poisonous to the diver. With free communication of gas between the instrument compartment and the breathing supply. contamination results under working conditions at constant hydrostatic pressure and during times of decreasing hydrostatic pressure, as during an ascent. For example, when the diver ascends from the bottom to the surface. he must constantly decrease his breathing gas pressure as the hydrostatic water pressure decreases with decreasing depth. This is done automatically by venting gas from his helmet or face mask. However, the instrument compartment must also decrease its pressure or else it will explode. Heretofore, there has been communication to the breathing supply and gas from the instrument compartment flows back into the divers helmet or face mask for venting. In this fashion contamination occurs and poisoning of the diver results.

I have discovered and devised a valving system so that this back flow will not occur. In summary. I provide an independent vent to the water for the instrument housing. Further. I provide a one-way flow from the breathing gas supply to the compartment. I protect the compartment vent so that water cannot flow into the compartment. In this fashion the compartment is fully vented. yet safe from water intrusion that would damage the instruments.

Referring to FIGSv 9 and 10, there is illustrated a divers face mask 110 having secured thereto a protective helmet 111 of the wet type and the mechanical connection between them may include a hinge 112 and a shock cord 113 which pulls the lower part of the helmet 111 against stop pins 114. To place the face mask 110 over the face of a diver. the shock cords 113 are manually unhooked from their pins 115, whereupon the helmet 111 is swung counter-clockwise about its hinge 112, as viewed in FIG. 9.

The electrical connections to the head gear of FIGS. 9 and may be by means of a multi-pronged connector 116 to which is connected a cable 117 which passes to the interior of the face mask 110, whereupon the wires in the cable 117 are divided and one part goes to earphones connected by a cable 118 and another part passes through an external cable 119 to a compartment 121 provided particularly in accordance with the in vention. Any suitable instruments or other devices may be placed in the compartment or housing 121, including an illumination light 122 and a television camera 123. The front of the compartment 121 may be formed of clear glass or clear plastic 124, or the front plate 124 may be opaque and suitable lenses or cover plates may be mounted in this front plate 124 for the various instruments in the compartment. The cover plate 124 may be secured to the compartment or housing 121 by screws 125.

Breathing atmosphere is supplied to the face mask 110 by a hose (not shown) connected to a supply valve 126. which in turn delivers breathing gas to a tube 127 connected to a demand regulator 128 on the front of the face mask. Connected to the interior of the face mask 110 is a conduit 129 which leads to the instrument compartment 121. By referring particularly to FIG. 9, it will be noted that the compartment 121 has a lower wall 131 in which is located a check valve 132 to which the conduit 129 is connected. Accordingly, air can flow only in one direction through the conduit 129, namely, from the face mask to the compartment 121. Also disposed in this same lower wall 131 is a check valve 133 which allows air to flow in one direction only from the compartment to the interior of the wet helmet 111. The wet helmet 111 contains a number of holes or perforations 134, and the gas escaping from the check valve 133 reaches one of these openings 134 and exhausts to the exterior of the helmet into the water in which the diver is operating.

OPERATION OF FIGS. 9 and 10 The operation of the apparatus of FIGS. 9 and 10 is as follows: when the diver is on the surface the screws [25 may be removed from the cover plate 124 on the compartment or housing 121 to gain access to the interior thereof. Any suitable instruments may be placed in this compartment. and there is illustrated the illuminating light 122 and the video camera 123. These are connected up to suitable electrical controls which lead from the housing 121 through the cable 119 to the interior of the face plate 110. They could. of course, lead directly to a control cable without going through the face mask 110. When the cover plate 124 is replaced and the housing 121 made watertight, then the shock cord 113 is disconnected from its retaining pins and the protective helmet 111 is swung counterclockwise in FIG. 9 about its hinge 112. Thereafter. the face mask 110 is placed over the face of the diver, the helmet 111 swung clockwise until it strikes the stop pins 114 and the shock cord 113 is then hooked about its pins 115. Suitable electrical connections are made by the connector 116 and a source of breathing gas is obtained by connecting the hose to the valve 126.

The diver then descends and as he descends the various valving for the face mask 110 automatically delivers breathing gas to the interior of the face mask at a pressure which equals the hydrostatic pressures that are present at different portions of the descent. This pressure is conducted by the tube 129 to the interior of the housing 121. Accordingly, the housing 121 is automatically equalized in pressure also so that there is very little or no compression present on the housing 121 due to hydrostatic pressure. Inasmuch as the valving is usually designed to regulate pressure on the interior of the face mask at one to two pounds per square inch above the prevailing hydrostatic pressure, the stress on any part of the equipment is extremely low.

Divers now commercially operate at depths of l .000 feet, at which the hydrostatic pressure of the water would be about 600 pounds per square inch. The face mask and housing 121 are designed to accommodate only I or 2 pounds per square inch, and when the usual factors of safety are used, this is multiplied by three or four. The term lightly constructed describes in this specification apparatus designed only to accommodate this differential in normal working pressure between the face mask and the ambient hydrostatic pressure. This is in contrast to the 600 pounds per square inch which. if it were resisted, would call for massive construction of the compartment 121 with its consequent expense, bulk, and weight, particularly when the diver is out of the water.

When the diver reaches his operating depth, the air will cease to flow through the conduit 129 to the housing 121. However, operation of some instruments gives rise to noxious gasses and television cameras, for example, give rise to ozone, which can be poisonous if it is returned to the face mask. The check valve 132 prevents any such ozone from going backward in the conduit 129 to the face mask and, hence, protects the breathing atmosphere of the diver. This breathing atmosphere is usually made up of exotic gasses. particularly for the greater depth, and may for example be a mixture of oxygen and helium. For this reason the gas breathed by the diver is not referred to as air." but instead as gas. If the ozone or other gasses generated in the housing 121 exceed the usual differential of l to 2 pounds per square inch. then the check valve 133 will open and allow this gas to be vented to the interior of the wet helmet 111 where it exits through apertures 134 to the water in which the diver is operating.

When the diver ascends. it is necessary to vent off the air in his face mask to the water to reduce the gas pressure as the ambient hydrostatic pressure reduces with increasing heights. While the divers face mask could be vented to water through the tube 129 and the check valve 133, it is presently preferred to have the normal face mask air exhaust valve operate for the diver's face mask 110. Accordingly, the check valve 133 will vent gas in the interior of the housing 121 as the cheek 133 opens in response to its designed release pressure of l to 2 pounds per square inch.

FIG. ll

Illustrated in FIG. 11 is a modified form of the invention wherein the instrument housing and the diver's face mask obtain their gas supply from independent hoses. A pair of scuba tanks 140 may be strapped to the diver by any suitable means. such as straps 141, and a gas outlet 142 may lead to a Y 143 from which one hose 144 leads to an instrument housing 146 and a second hose 1 47 leads to a face mask 148. The face mask may have the usual diver's exhaust valve 149.

The conduit 144 is connected at the housing 146 to a check valve 151, which permits air to flow only into the housing 146. Provided on the top of the housing 146 at 152 is an exhaust check valve which is designed to release pressure only when the differential inside of the compartment or housing 146 exceeds the design pressure of one to three pounds per square inch, for example. The instrument housing 146 may be mounted on any suitable strap or support and is illustrated as being secured to a protective divers helmet 153.

The operation of the device of FIG. 11 is as follows: gas from the tanks 140 passes through the conduit 144 through check valve 151 into the housing 146. If gas is generated by any instruments or upon ascent. gas will escape through the check valve 152 without going backward down the hose 144 to contaminate the divers breathing supply which passes through the hose 147 to the face mask 148. In this connection. the tanks 140 may have suitable regulators 145 for delivering gas at a pressure just slightly above the ambient hydrostatic pressure.

FIG. 12

Illustrated in FIG. 12 is an exploration type of submarine 160 propelled by a protected propeller 161 and trailing from the rear thereof may be a cable 162 to which is connected a lightly constructed instrument package 163. This instrument housing 163 has its own pressure container and built-in regulator 164 which maintains pressure inside the housing 163 at a few pounds per square inch above the ambient hydrostatic pressure. Gas pressure inside the instrument housing that exceeds a predetermined differential may be vented to the water by a relief valve 165 set at any desired predetermined pressure.

The instrument package of FIG. 12 permits the housing to be very lightly constructed and, for example, may be made of plastic so that sensitive instruments therein, such as magnetometers, will not be influenced by any metal of the housing as the instrument package is moved with respect to the ocean bottom 166.

While the invention has been described with respect to several presently preferred embodiments thereof, as required by the Rules. it is not limited to these embodiments. which are purely illustrative. Accordingly, there is included within the scope of the appended claims all variations and modifications that fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the invention is applicable to scuba gear wherein breathing gas is delivered by a tube directly to a divers mouth and the instrument housing may be connected to the tube. Or the instrument housing could be connected to the scuba face mask which communicates with the divers gas supply through the diver's nose.

I claim:

1. Diving equipment of the type where the gas pressure breathed by the diver is substantially the same as the hydrostatic pressure of the water depth at which he operates. comprising:

a. means for providing an air space for the face of a diver at the region of at least one of his mouth and nose;

b. an air supply means connected to the air space means. said air supply means including pressure regulating means for regulating the pressure delivered to the air space means to be always within about I or 2 pounds of the hydrostatic pressure;

0. a windowed watertight housing lightly constructed to withstand only about said I or 2 pounds per square inch pressure;

(1. means for securing the housing to the divers body;

e. a conduit connecting the interior of the housing to the interior of the air space means; and

f. a light utilizing apparatus disposed in the windowed housing, whereby said lightly constructed housing is subject only to the differential pressure determined by the difference between the hydrostatic pressure and the internal pressure on the housing. and whereby the diver's hands are free and relieved of the necessity to hold the housing.

2.Diving equipment as set forth in claim 1 wherein the air space means is a watertight helmet enclosing the diver's head.

3. Diving equipment of the type wherein the gas pressure breathed by the diver is substantially the same as the hydrostatic pressure of the water depth at which the diver is operating. comprising:

a. a face mask;

b. an air supply means connected to the interior of the face mask, said air supply means including regulating means for regulating the pressure delivered to the mask to within about one or two pounds of the hydrostatic pressure;

c. a helmet for placing over the head of the diver;

d. a windowed watertight housing lightly constructed to withstand pressures only about l to 2 pounds per square inch and secured to the helmet with the window facing forward;

e. a conduit connecting the interior of the face mask to the interior of the housing; and

f. light utilizing apparatus disposed in the windowed housing whereby the housing may be lightly constructed because it is subjected only to the differential pressure determined by the difference between the hydrostatic pressure and the internal pressure in the face mask and whereby the diver's hands are free.

4. An underwater video system comprising;

a. a divers helmet;

b. a lightly constructed watertight windowed housing secured to the helmet designed to withstand pressures only about 1 to 2 pounds per square inch;

c. a gas supply means for delivering a breathing gas to at least one of nose and mouth of the diver at a pressure within about l or 2 pounds of the ambient hydrostatic pressure;

d. a video camera disposed in the housing and having an electric supply and an electric output;

e. electric conductors connected through the housing to the camera with a watertight joint;

1 1 12 f. and a pressure conduit connecting the gas supply permitting unidirectional gas flow to the instrusystem to the housing, so that the housing is subment housing; jected Only to the difference et e n hydr stati ft and a check valve vent disposed in the housing and pressure and breathing pressure. venting directly to the water, whereby gasses gen- 5. Diving equipment as state in l im 1 h r n a 5 erated in the instrument housing will be vented check valve is disposed in conduit for one-way gas flow rather h fl m h di face, into the housing and the housing has a check valve vent 8' The Combination of diving gear and instrument to the water. whereby noxious gasses generated in the housing Comprising: housing be prevented from flowing to Said air Space a. breathing means for at least one of a diver's nose means and instead will be vented to the water. it and mouth;

6. Diving equipment as set forth in claim 5, wherein the breathing space means also has a vent directly to the water.

7. The combination of diving gear and an instrument housing comprising: 1 a. means defining a breathing space for at least one of a divers nose and mouth;

b. a lightly constructed waterproof instrument housing adapted to be secured to the divers body; instrument means in the instrument housing that produces an obnoxious gas;

b a lightly constructed waterproof instrument housing; instrument means in the instrument housing that produces an obnoxious gas a breathing gas supply means supplying gas at approximately hydrostatic pressure including conduit means connecting the breathing gas supply means to said breathing means and to said instrument housing;

d. a valve means in said conduit means and connected to the instrument housing to allow gas to c. a breathing gas system supplying gas at approxiflow one y into the g;

mately hydrostatic pressure and connected to the and "163115 said housing for Venting gases from breathing space means; said housing directly to the water, whereby the d. a gas connection between the breathing space diver is not exposed to any gasses that may be genmeans and the instrument housing; erated in the instrument housing.

6. a first check valve disposed in said gas connection

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4172455 *Sep 2, 1977Oct 30, 1979IntertechniqueBreathing equipment for high altitude flights
US4676236 *Dec 23, 1985Jun 30, 1987Gentex CorporationHelmet airflow system
US4823786 *Mar 31, 1988Apr 25, 1989Societe De Fabrication D'instruments De Mesure (S.F.I.M.)Breathing equipment for providing protection against drowning, in particular for the driver of a motorized water vessel
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US5553606 *Nov 6, 1995Sep 10, 1996Chen; JohsonSnorkel face mask having a light device
US6008780 *Apr 14, 1994Dec 28, 1999Bg PlcDiver communication equipment
US6308707 *Feb 10, 1999Oct 30, 2001Li-Chow LuVacuum equipment for medical tables
US6889390 *Nov 25, 2003May 10, 2005Kirby Morgan Dive Systems, Inc.Face mask retaining system
US6977671 *Nov 10, 2001Dec 20, 2005Hewlett-Packard Development Company, Lp.Underwater wireless imaging method and system
US7621267 *Aug 30, 2004Nov 24, 2009Adams Phillip MScuba mask purging apparatus and method
WO1995028661A1 *Apr 14, 1994Oct 26, 1995British Gas PlcDiver communication equipment
Classifications
U.S. Classification128/201.27, 128/202.13
International ClassificationB63C11/12
Cooperative ClassificationB63C11/12, B63C2011/123
European ClassificationB63C11/12