Illuminated Helmet with Programmable Lamps and Proximity Sensor

The lucky few do triathlon as their livelihood.  I am not one of those lucky few!  And more likely than not, you aren’t either!

If this is true, inevitably you find yourself riding at the crack of dawn or getting caught too far away from the car as the sun goes down – all for the sake of getting those few extra miles in while juggling day-to-day responsibilities.

Today’s invention provides another way for you to be seen by vehicle drivers when visibility is low, as you try to get in those extra miles.  The invention includes at least two implementations using multiple LEDs (or light-emitting diodes) to alert drivers to your presence.

The first implementation has multiple LEDs within the recesses (106) of the helmet in the “impact area(s)” (or the primary area designed to absorb impact during a collision).  Of course, as styles of helmets vary, so also may the arrangement of LEDs.

The second implementation locates the LEDs in the “non-impact area” of the helmet (112).

In both implementations, the LEDs may light or flash in a conspicuous manner and the patent describes specific flashing patterns.

In addition, the helmet may include a proximity sensor which actuates the LEDs automatically when you place the helmet on your head.  For users who desire a tactile switch, a switch may also be provided that enables you to turn ON the LEDs while riding.  And you will know that the lights are ON because the helmet will beep or vibrate when the switch is flipped (i.e., you will not need to remove the helmet to determine whether the LEDs actually turned ON)!

This invention was granted a patent on April 17, 2012 and may be found here (last visited April 22, 2012).

 

I write this blog without taking a position as to the usefulness, desirability, novelty, aesthetics, functionality, etc. of the products or processes discussed in my posts.  Naturally, readers are free to take any position they prefer and comment accordingly, provided it is in good taste.  However, if I am silent with respect to your comment, such silence should not be construed as any agreement or disagreement to the comment; I hope you can appreciate that I simply prefer to remain neutral in such matters and merely report Patent Office news.  Thanks!  🙂

Posted in Cycling, Helmet, Training, Triathlon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Relief from Cycling Hot Spots

When I was newer to triathlon, I used to experience numbness and discomfort in my feet when I went for a bike ride for anything over a couple hours.  This numbness/discomfort always originated at the hot spot – the region on the bottom of the foot which is directly over the pedal cleat (using clipless cycling shoes).

As today’s patent application explains, “long or medium distance cycling exposes the foot to continuous pressure and vibration in the hot spot.”

The application goes on to remedy this issue by providing an innersole for a cycling shoe that has a gel or gel-like insert in the problem region 20 (FIG. 1).

This insert 20 may have multiple polymeric layers such as a polyurethane gel.  The application discloses examples of the thicknesses of the layers and their respective durometry (e.g., their hardness).  The figure below illustrates a cross-section of the insert in the insole showing these layers.  You may notice the grooves in the upper layer – according to the disclosure, these grooves may enhance vibrational dampening and improve air circulation.

This patent application was published on April 19, 2012. The full text may be found here (last visited April 21, 2012).

The application is assigned to G-Form.  It appears that at least one implementation of this technology is already being sold – bike shoe insole.

 

 

 

I write this blog without taking a position as to the usefulness, desirability, novelty, aesthetics, functionality, etc. of the products or processes discussed in my posts.  Naturally, readers are free to take any position they prefer and comment accordingly, provided it is in good taste.  However, if I am silent with respect to your comment, such silence should not be construed as any agreement or disagreement to the comment; I hope you can appreciate that I simply prefer to remain neutral in such matters and merely report Patent Office news.  Thanks!  🙂

Posted in Cycling, Discomfort, Shoes, Triathlon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Swim Paddles to Minimize Shoulder Strain

I had just finished my swim sets a couple days ago at the pool (doing freestyle) when the young man who was sharing my lane told me that he was training for his first triathlon.  Naturally, this spawned additional conversation.  Before we were finished, he told me how much he’d been swimming and asked: “Can you help me figure out why my shoulders are killing me?”

At some point in your triathlon training, you are likely to increase your swim volume.  In many cases, this increase in volume combined with defects in your form may lead to shoulder impingement and pain.  Furthermore, this strain may be exacerbated by the use of swim paddles.

However, today’s invention implies that even if the swimmer’s form is good and healthy, the use of conventional swim paddles impairs that form and stresses the swimmer’s shoulder.  According to the disclosure, this stress occurs because conventional paddles act as an extension of the hand and require the swimmer to exert substantial pressure on the paddle with both the fingers and the palm of the hand – wherein the natural stroke disproportionately uses the palm.  Thus, the force applied by the extended fingers on the paddle impairs the swimmer’s technique.

The invention remedies this impediment by providing a new swim paddle that does not permit the swimmer to use extended finger pressure.  In fact, the swimmer may fold the fingers around the leading edge of the paddle and grip it.

Another feature of this invention includes a means to increase the overall weight of the swim paddle – presumably realized by the user when the arm is in the recovery phase of the freestyle stroke.  This weight is an additional pad of material which may be added to the primary plate shown above.  In one instance, this weight pad may include wool felt material which absorbs water to add weight.

This patent application published on April 19, 2012.  The full text may be found here:  (last visited April 21, 2012).

The application is assigned to Aquavolo.  According to the website, the “AquaVolo Team is an international group of competitive swimmers collaborating to create cutting-edge training gear for swimmers.”

 

I write this blog without taking a position as to the usefulness, desirability, novelty, aesthetics, functionality, etc. of the products or processes discussed in my posts.  Naturally, readers are free to take any position they prefer and comment accordingly, provided it is in good taste.  However, if I am silent with respect to your comment, such silence should not be construed as any agreement or disagreement to the comment; I hope you can appreciate that I simply prefer to remain neutral in such matters and merely report Patent Office news.  Thanks!  🙂

Posted in Equipment, Paddles, Swimming, Triathlon, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Exchangeable Hub Cartridges

Today’s invention pertains to hub systems, and more particularly to a hub gearing system contained within a cartridge which may be swapped with another hub gearing system within another cartridge of the same shape and size.

First, a bit of background . . .

As triathletes or road cyclists, we often use derailleur systems rather than hub systems (i.e., having a gear system within the hub of our rear wheels).  Despite this fact, some of us enjoy the training or leisure benefits of using different types of cycles.  One example of a training bike that may be used by triathletes and cyclists is a fixed-gear bike (or fixie).  Still others among us thoroughly enjoy a variety of cycling technology which may include hub systems having planetary gearing or continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) with stepless gearing.

When racing, derailleur systems provide athletes a traditionally lighter and simpler system (than a hub system).  However, for other uses, hub systems may be better.  For example, they are more robust and have greater gearing range.  In addition, gearing steps are commonly larger – and whether this is desirable may be a matter of preference and terrain.

Compare two examples of the systems below . . . derailleur systems vs. hub systems (more on hub systems):

Rear Hub (red) with Freehub for a Derailleur System (in blue)

Planetary Gears for a Hub System

The Invention . . .

As disclosed in US Patent Application 2011/ 0068618, two savvy inventors from Norway,  discovered how to allow a user to swap out the hub system without:

        1. Disconnecting the hub shell from the rim and spokes (what a pain!) and then moving it to the other bike (and performing all the reconnections); or
        2. Removing the internal gear system (e.g., all the planetary gears above) from one hub shell, which exposes the internal mechanisms, and moving it to another hub shell.
Exchanging one hub system for another using a cartridge may allow you to quickly and safely regear the cycle.  It may even enable you to exchange one gearing system (e.g., a planetary gearing system) to another (e.g, a fixie)!
The present invention resolves these issues by using a cartridge which can be easily inserted into and removed from a hub shell, as shown below.  The cartridge does not require spoke removal nor does it expose any internal components.
Furthermore, one cartridge can be removed and replaced with another of common shape and size.  According to the disclosure, the system  may work with the cartridge containing planetary gearing or CVT (continuously variable transmission system) stepless gearing or single-speed gearing or fixed-gearing or even derailleur solutions!

                         

The full application is available here (last visited 4/16/12).

I write this blog without taking a position as to the usefulness, desirability, novelty, aesthetics, functionality, etc. of the products or processes discussed in my posts.  Naturally, readers are free to take any position they prefer and comment accordingly, provided it is in good taste.  However, if I am silent with respect to your comment, such silence should not be construed as any agreement or disagreement to the comment; I hope you can appreciate that I simply prefer to remain neutral in such matters and merely report Patent Office news.  Thanks!  🙂

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Stability Shoe Design

This gallery contains 2 photos.

If you’re like me, at least some of the time you run, you train with stability shoes.  I’m partial to them when increasing mileage or recovering from an injury; of course, sometimes I just mix them into my running routine … Continue reading

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