(19)
(11)EP 3 028 588 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.07.2018 Bulletin 2018/29

(21)Application number: 15198000.0

(22)Date of filing:  04.12.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A42B 3/04(2006.01)

(54)

HEAD AND NECK RESTRAINT DEVICE

KOPF- UND NACKENHALTEVORRICHTUNG

DISPOSITIF DE RETENUE DE LA TÊTE ET DU COU


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 05.12.2014 US 201414562295

(43)Date of publication of application:
08.06.2016 Bulletin 2016/23

(73)Proprietor: Schroth Safety Products GmbH
59757 Arnsberg (DE)

(72)Inventors:
  • Stiles, Mark Anthony
    Atlanta, GA Georgia 30319 (US)
  • Myers, Donald Thomas
    59581 Warstein (DE)

(74)Representative: Griepenstroh, Jörg 
Bockermann Ksoll Griepenstroh Osterhoff Patentanwälte Bergstrasse 159
44791 Bochum
44791 Bochum (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 374 364
WO-A1-2009/133524
WO-A1-2008/105010
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present disclosure relates to a head and neck restraint device, in particular to those systems used by race car drivers.

    [0002] Head and neck restraint systems are known and are typically mandatory in racing events to help reduce injury and death during an incident, such as a car crash. Conventional high performance restraint systems typically include a safety belt, restraint device that is generally yoke-shaped and has a rigid collar portion that fits behind and partially around a user's neck and rigid stabilizing components that either fit over the upper torso front, down the upper torso back, or both, and that is associated with the safety belt, and a helmet attached to the restraint device by a tether system that allows for some degree of movement of the user's head.

    [0003] EP2347364 A1 discloses a neck protector formed by a rear shield-shaped part, which rests on the shoulders and the upper part of the back, and two front shield-shaped parts, which rest on the upper front part of the torso, one on either side of the neck. Said front shield-shaped parts are connected to the rear shield-shaped part by articulation means, for example hinges, the rotation pins of which are oriented towards the top, towards the back and towards the centre such that the point of intersection of which is located above and below them. A deformable coating of all the described parts comprises a viscoelastic foam sensitive to the deformation speed, meant to increase user comfort and absorb energy in case of an accident, slowing down in a programmed manner the impact of the helmet against the neck protector, and that of the latter against the user's body. This reduces the biomechanical injury values, such as the rotational acceleration of the head. There is no connection between the helmet and the neck protector.
    WO2008105010 A1 describes a similar protection device having a collar member to be arranged around a wearer's neck, and a rear member extending from the collar member and to be abutted on the wearer's back. The brace comprises pivoting means for pivoting the collar member and the rear member relative to each other about a pivoting axis which, when in use, is substantially parallel to the wearer's shoulders. The neck brace is not connected with the helmet.

    [0004] WO2009/133524 A1 discloses a head and neck support according to the preamble of claim 1, including a pair of flexible shoulder straps, a stiff carrier structure and a pair of tethering systems. The shoulder straps are each configured to fit a torso and different shoulder of a person. The stiff carrier structure includes a U-shaped yoke and a high collar which is hingedly connected to the yoke. The carrier structure includes an upper attachment formation near an upper end of each front carrier portion for attachment to a different one of the shoulder straps and a lower attachment formation near a lower end of each front carrier portion for attachment to a different one of the shoulder straps. The tethering systems include tether which extend between the carrier structure and the helmet for providing a restraint between the carrier structure and the helmet.
    Conventional high performance restraint devices are constructed such that the collar portion and the stabilizing components are rigidly fixed with respect to each other to act as one monolithic structure. The rigidly fixed relationship between the collar portion and the stabilizing components is a compromise driven by fit and comfort that influences the kinematics and analytical dynamics of the system such that the optimum desirable biomechanical characteristics to protect the user during an incident may not be achieved and, therefore, the user's ultimate safety may be compromised.

    [0005] Furthermore, the rigidly fixed relationship between the collar portion and the stabilizing components of conventional high performance restraint devices inhibit a user from readily using a restraint device designed or configured for one seat and seating recline angle in other seats and seating recline angles, for example in different types of race car. This may require a user to invest in multiple different restraint devices for each different race car they operate in order to provide adequate fit and comfort such that the user's safety is not compromised. Due to the influence of body type on effective seating recline angles this may also require race teams to invest in multiple different restraint devices for users of the same race car with different body types in order to provide adequate fit and comfort for each user such that no user's safety is unnecessarily jeopardized. It also limits the opportunities for users to share a restraint device.
    In addition, mass production economics dictate that the rigid stabilizing components of conventional high performance restraint devices have to be manufactured in a limited range of body contouring shapes yet still aim to meet the needs of a wide range of a user body types. Manufacturers offer a variety of supplementary padding systems to try to help mask the resulting inherently limited fit and comfort. These padding systems have variable degrees of success in addressing comfort and fit and may introduce an additional level of instability into the systems such that a user's ultimate safety may be compromised.
    It would be desirable to have a restraint device that, by permitting a degree of relative articulating movement of the collar with respect to the stabilizing components, improves the biomechanical performance of the restraint system and allows for one restraint device to be used in a wide variety of different users in a wide variety of different seat and seat recline angles, and by the manner of construction of its stabilizing components offer enhanced standards of comfort, fit and reliability.

    [0006] Generally described, the present disclosure provides in one exemplary embodiment a head and neck restraint device for high performance race car drivers, comprising a yoke having sidewings, a collar and a pair of legs, the legs adapted to be pivotably associated with the sidewings. The collar can pivotably articulate with respect to the legs. The legs have at least a portion that can flex in response to force.
    One exemplary embodiment provides a head and neck restraint device, comprising a yoke having a base portion, a stand-up collar portion, a first sidewing portion having a first connector member, and, a second sidewing portion having a second connector member. The device further comprises first and second legs, each leg having a proximal portion, a distal portion, a front surface, a rear surface, and a connector member pivotably associated with a sidewing connector member such that each leg is capable of limited pivoting articulation with respect to the sidewing.
    In a further preferred embodiment the head and neck restraint device has a dampening mechanism which comprises a plurality of layers of compressible material.
    One exemplary embodiment provides a dampening mechanism comprises a first torsion spring associated with the first connector and a second torsion spring associated with the second connector.
    The damping mechanism may comprise means for dampening the articulation movement of the collar with respect to the first and second legs.
    Further it is possible that the dampening mechanism comprises a first dampening mechanism associated with the proximal end of the first leg and further comprises a second dampening mechanism associated with the proximal end of the first leg.
    The dampening mechanism may comprise an elastic band having a first end associated with the collar and a second end associated with a leg.

    [0007] Each sidewing connector may comprise a first and second knuckle, each knuckle having a bore extending at least partially therethrough.

    [0008] In particular, each leg connector comprises a knuckle having a bore extending at least partially therethrough and adapted to be in pivotable association with the sidewing first and second knuckle.

    [0009] It is also possible that each sidewing connector comprises a knuckle having a bore extending at least partially therethrough.

    [0010] It is also possible that each leg connector comprises a first and second knuckle, each knuckle having a bore extending at least partially therethrough and adapted to be in pivotable association with the sidewing knuckle.

    [0011] Further, each sidewing connector can comprise a pin extending through the leg knuckle bore and at least partially through each sidewing knuckle bore.

    [0012] The first and second sidewings each further include a guide for a portion of a safety belt, wherein the guide comprises at least one wall portion extending generally perpendicularly from the sidewing.

    [0013] In an alternative embodiment the guide comprises a channel formed in at least a portion of the sidewing.

    [0014] Other features will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description of certain exemplary embodiments, when taken in conjunction with the appended claims.

    [0015] The drawings disclose exemplary embodiments in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the figures of which:
    Fig. 1
    is a schematic view of a user wearing a head and neck restraint device and helmet.
    Fig. 2
    is a front perspective view of a head and neck restraint device according to one exemplary embodiment, as shown in the nonarticulated position.
    Fig. 3
    is a left side elevational view of the device of Fig. 2.
    Fig. 4
    is a rear elevational view of the device of Fig. 2.
    Fig. 5
    is a front perspective detail view of the yoke and collar of the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 2.
    Fig. 6
    is a perspective view of a leg having different areas of flexibility and rigidity according to one exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 7
    is a schematic view of a portion of a leg comprising several links, according to one alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 8
    is schematic view of a detail of the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 7.
    Fig. 9
    is a side elevational cutaway view of a leg-yoke connection mechanism according to one alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 10
    is a side elevational detailed cutaway view of the leg-yoke connection mechanism of Fig. 9 showing an option, according to an exemplary embodiment in which a portion of the leg extends under the collar.
    Fig. 11
    is a side elevational cutaway view of the leg-yoke connection mechanism of Fig. 9 and including an optional dampener
    Fig. 12
    is a top plan view of the connection mechanism of Fig. 11.
    Fig. 13
    is a perspective view of a connector mechanism according to one alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 14
    is side elevational cutaway view of a connector mechanism according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 15
    is a perspective view of a portion of a leg and sidewing showing the connector mechanism of the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 14.
    Fig. 16
    is a side elevational cutaway view of a leg and sidewing configuration according to another exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 17
    is a top plan view of the embodiment of Fig. 16 showing a configuration according to one exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 18
    is a side elevational cutaway view of a connector mechanism according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 19
    is a perspective partial exploded/dissembled view of a leg and sidewing connection mechanism according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 20
    is a perspective view of an assembled device of the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 19.
    Fig. 21
    is a right side elevational view of a leg and sidewing connection mechanism featuring a modified lap joint, according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 22
    is a right side perspective view of a leg and sidewing connection mechanism featuring a bridge member, according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 22A
    is a perspective view of a connection mechanism according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 23
    is a right side elevational view of a leg and sidewing connection mechanism featuring a flexible connection member, according to another alternative exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 24A
    is a left side schematic view of a portion of a leg and sidewing illustrating a dampener mechanism using a block of material according to one exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 24B
    is a schematic view showing the dampener of Fig. 24A in greater detail.
    Fig. 25A
    is a perspective view of a device showing a dampener mechanism using a ribbed or accordion-type construction, according to a second exemplary embodiment in which the damper mechanism is associated with the yoke.
    Fig. 25B
    is a detail view of a portion of the device and dampening mechanism of Fig. 25A
    Fig. 25C
    is a detail view of the dampener mechanism of Fig. 25A.
    Fig. 25D
    is a left side elevational view of the damper mechanism of Fig. 25A.
    Fig. 26
    is a detail perspective view of a dampener according to a third exemplary embodiment in which a block dampener has a portion that extends underneath part of the sidewing and part of the leg.
    Fig. 27
    is a perspective view of a dampener mechanism according to a fourth exemplary embodiment in which a ribbed dampener has a portion that extends underneath part of the sidewing and part of the leg.
    Fig. 28
    is a perspective view of a dampener mechanism featuring a torsion spring, according to a fifth exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 29
    is a perspective view of a dampener mechanism featuring an elastic band, according to a sixth exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 30
    is an exploded perspective view of a device having legs detachable from a collar, according to one exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 31
    is an exploded perspective view of the device of Fig. 30 showing the pins detached.
    Fig. 32
    is a perspective view of the device of Fig. 30.
    Fig. 33
    is an exploded perspective view of a device having integrated yoke and legs that are detachable from a collar, according to one exemplary embodiment.
    Fig. 34
    is an exploded perspective view of the device of Fig. 33 showing the pins detached.
    Fig. 35
    is a perspective view of the device of Fig. 33.
    Fig. 36
    is a perspective view of the device of Fig. 2 with the collar in a partially articulated position.
    Fig. 37
    is a left side view of the device of Fig. 36.
    Fig. 38
    is a perspective view of the device of Fig. 2 with the collar in a substantially fully articulated position.
    Fig. 39
    is a left side view of the device of Fig. 38.
    Fig. 40
    is a left side schematic view of a user fitted with a helmet, safety belt and a device according to one exemplary embodiment, in which the user's head, neck and upper torso are in a "resting" position, i.e., not being subject to a traumatic incident.
    Fig. 41
    is a left side schematic view of a user wearing the device as shown in Fig. 40, but having been subjected to a car crash incident.
    Fig. 42
    is a left side schematic view of a user not wearing a device of the present disclosure, and having been subjected to a car crash incident, showing the movement forward and angling down of the head and neck.


    [0016] Unless otherwise indicated, the drawings are intended to be read (for example, cross-hatching, arrangement of parts, proportion, degree, or the like) together with the specification, and are to be considered a portion of the entire written description of this invention. As used in the following description, the terms "horizontal", "vertical", "left", "right", "up" and "down", as well as adjectival and adverbial derivatives thereof (for example, "horizontally", "upwardly", or the like), simply refer to the orientation of the illustrated structure as the particular drawing figure faces the reader. Similarly, the terms "inwardly" and "outwardly" generally refer to the orientation of a surface relative to its axis of elongation, or axis of rotation, as appropriate.

    [0017] A race car driver typically will have a helmet 1, tether 2 and safety belt 4 (an example of which is shown in Fig. 1) that is part of a safety restraint system. The driver is illustrated as having a neck 5 and upper torso 6. In exemplary embodiments, a head and neck restraint device 10, as shown in Figs. 2-5, for use with a helmet 5, tether 2 and safety belt 4 generally includes a yoke 20, collar 30, and a pair of legs, 40, 50. In exemplary embodiments, the yoke 20 may be constructed of one or more materials, such as, but not limited to, carbon-reinforced nylon so as to provide a generally rigid structure. In exemplary embodiments, the legs 40, 50 may be constructed of one or more materials, such as, but not limited to, a thermoplastic elastomer. In exemplary embodiments, the legs may comprise polyurethane, polypropylene, or the like.
    In exemplary embodiments, the yoke 20 includes a base member 52 having a first sidewing portion 54 and a second sidewing portion 56 and a middle portion 58. The yoke further includes a collar 60 extending upward from generally the middle portion 58 of the base member 52. The collar 60 may be formed as part of the base member 52, or may be a separate component that is associated with the base member 52 (as described further hereinbelow). The collar 30 may have at least one opening 62 that can receive a tether 2 from a helmet tether system. In exemplary embodiments, a collar 60 has two openings 62, as shown in Fig. 1 such that the tether 2 can pass through both openings. In exemplary embodiments, a collar 30 may have a single opening, or other features such as, but not limited to, loops, clips, straps, or the like to retain, guide or secure the tether 2. The tether system is described in greater detail hereinbelow.
    In exemplary embodiments, the collar 30 has a helmet tether system 70 comprising a tether 2, tether anchor 72, tether clip 74 and a means for attaching the tether 2 to the collar 30. In exemplary embodiments, the attachment means comprises a tether anchor fastener 76. The fastener 76 may be a bolt or screw, grommet or other fastener known to those skilled in the art that attaches the tether anchor 72 to the collar 30. In exemplary embodiments, the collar 30 has an opening 80, which may be a slot, channel, groove, recessed area 134 or the like, in which a tether or tethers 2 may be inserted and held in place by the fastener 76 such that the tether anchor 72 is capable of limited pivoting movement. The tether 2 passes through an opening in a tether clip 82. The tether clip 82 is adapted to attach to the helmet 1. According to the invention, the first and second sidewings 54, 56 each include a safety belt guide 90. In exemplary embodiments, the guide 90 may be formed by a base surface 92 and a first sidewall portion 94 extending upward from the base surface or from the side of the sidewing 54, 56. In exemplary embodiments, a second sidewall portion may be included. The sidewing has a front edge 96 and a rear edge. The guide 90 is adapted to receive a portion of a safety belt 4. The guide 90 maintains the safety belt 4 in alignment with (i.e., generally passing over) the legs 40, 50 when worn by a user. According to the invention the base surface 92 is curved from front edge 96 to back edge 98 so as to provide a cammed surface.
    In exemplary embodiments, the length from the front edge 96 to the rear edge 98 of the sidewings 54, 56 can be designed to optimize the biomechanics of the device 10. The front-to-rear length can also be considered in design of the device 10 so that the pivot point where each sidewing and leg connects (as described in detail hereinbelow) can be moved forward or rearward (toward the front or the rear edge, respectively, of the sidewing) to optimize biomechanical performance.
    In exemplary embodiments, each sidewing 54, 56 also includes a connector member 100 adapted to be connected to a leg 40 or 50, as described in further detail hereinbelow.
    Each leg 40, 50 comprises a distal portion 110, a proximal portion 112, proximal end 114, a top surface 116, a bottom surface 118, and a connector portion 120. In exemplary embodiments, the proximal portion 112 is generally rigid. In exemplary embodiments, the legs 40, 50 may be made of a thermoplastic elastomeric material, such as, but not limited to, polyurethane, polypropylene, and the like. In exemplary embodiments, at least a portion of the distal portion 110 has a degree of flexion, which may be achieved in any of several different ways, as described in greater detail hereinbelow. The legs 40, 50 may be constructed of a single material, different materials, layers of materials, segments of materials, combinations of the foregoing or the like. In exemplary embodiments, as viewed from the side (see Fig. 3) the leg curves to generally conform to a portion of a user's torso. In exemplary embodiments, the bottom surface 118 may be cushioned or have a degree of deformability to improve fit, wearing comfort and biomechanical performance, e.g., to absorb force during an incident. A degree of flexion also improves conformity with the proximate bone structure beneath the legs 40, 50 and improves stability. In exemplary embodiments, the cushioning may be a layer of compressible material. In exemplary embodiments, the cushioning may be achieved by a rubber or rubber-like material layer having ribs or other patterning on the surface that is deformable or compressible.
    In exemplary embodiments, selected portions of the bottom surface 118 may be deformable or cushioned while other portions may not be. In exemplary embodiments, selected portions of the bottom surface 118 may have more cushioning or deformability than other portions. In exemplary embodiments, the bottom surface 118 may include a gradient of cushioning or deformability either widthwise or lengthwise.
    In exemplary embodiments, the top surface 116 may optionally incorporate one or more grooves or channels that are adapted to mate with mating grooves or channels on the underside of the seat belt strap. Such mating groove system is commercially available under the brand SlipStop™ by Schroth Safety Products GmbH (Germany), and is disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 7,017,194. In exemplary embodiments, selected portions of the leg proximal portion are flexible while others are rigid. In exemplary embodiments, as shown in Fig. 6 the legs may have at least one zone 122 that is rigid and at least one zone 124 that is flexible.
    In exemplary embodiments, portions of the leg may be generally rigid or of lower flexibility than other portions so that the leg overall maintains proximity of the pivot area close to the safety belt, which spreads the force load on the safety belt out over the user's body and maintains the device kinematics.
    In exemplary embodiments, the area or region dividing the distal portion 110 (generally rigid) from the proximal portion 112 (at least a portion being flexible) may be positioned along the leg 40, 50 either closer to or farther from the connector portion 120 to achieve desired fitting and biomechanical performance criteria.
    In exemplary embodiments, the leg top surface and bottom surface materials can be modified to have desirable smoothness and coefficient of friction characteristics. The coefficient of friction on the top surface 116 can be important as it can increase or decrease the drag on the safety belt 4 and on the bottom surface 118 it can be important to increase or decrease the drag on the user's clothing.
    In one alternative exemplary embodiment of the legs 40, 50, shown in Figs. 7-8, a leg 140 may be constructed having a proximal segment 142, and a plurality of links 144, each link being pivotably connected to adjacent links, such as, but not limited to, by a pin 146 passing through a bore in the link. The proximal segment 142 is pivotably connected to a sidewing 148 by a pin 149 or other pivotable means. Each link pivot area is capable of a limited degree of pivoting or bending with respect to its adjacent neighbor as illustrated by leg 150 in Fig. 8, resulting in at least a portion of the legs 140, 150 having limited flexion.
    In exemplary embodiments, as shown in Fig. 2, a connector mechanism is generally noted as 130. In exemplary embodiments, a connector mechanism 130 may comprise a hinge system that includes first and second hinge knuckles 131 associated with each sidewing 54, 56. Each knuckle 131 has a bore 132 extending at least partially therethrough. Each knuckle 131 has a knuckle face 133. Between the knuckles 131 is a recessed area 134. In exemplary embodiments, the connector mechanism 130 also includes a knuckle 135 extending from the proximal portion end 136 of the leg. The leg knuckle 135 has a bore 137 extending at least partially therethrough. A portion of the leg knuckle 135 is sized to fit within a portion of the sidewing recessed area 134. In exemplary embodiments, a pin 138 extends through the first sidewing knuckle bore 132 and at least a portion of the second sidewing knuckle bore and through the leg knuckle bore 137 so as to hingedly connect the sidewing 54 and the leg 40.
    In an alternative exemplary embodiment, the connector mechanism 130 may comprise more than two knuckles associated with the sidewing and more than one leg knuckle, with the leg knuckles being interposed between adjacent sidewing knuckles, similar to a door hinge in general construction.

    [0018] In another exemplary embodiment of the legs and connection to the yoke, as shown in Figs. 9-12, a connection mechanism includes a leg 200 having a proximal portion 202 having a socket 204 and a sidewing 206 having a ball 208 whereby the ball 208 is receivable within the socket 204 and is capable of limited articulation movement. In an alternative of this exemplary embodiment (not shown), the ball and socket are switched, i.e., the leg proximal portion includes a socket and the sidewing includes a ball. Optionally, as shown in Figs. 11-12, the leg proximal portion 202 includes at least one wedge-shaped recess 210 or a recess of a different shape that can act as a dampener (as discussed in greater detail hereinbelow). In an exemplary embodiment, one or more wedge-shaped recesses 210 may have inserted therein or associated therewith a dampener, such as a solid or other construction of deformable or compressible material, as described hereinbelow.

    [0019] In an alternative exemplary embodiment, as shown in Fig. 13, a connector mechanism 300 may comprise a leg 302 having a proximal end 304 including a slot 306 and a sidewing 308 having a tab 310 having at least one engaging portion 312 that can be received in the slot 306. The slot may include a release lock mechanism 300, such as, but not limited to, one of the types commonly used in occupant restraint systems employed in passenger vehicles or airplanes that can extend to engage the tab engaging portion. In exemplary embodiments, the engaging portion may be one or more barbs. In exemplary embodiments, the engaging portion may be a complementary aperture in the tab to engage with a release lock mechanism 300, for example, a prong, post or other structure which engages with the tab to releasably lock the leg and the sidewing. The proximal portion 314 of the leg 302 may include a plurality of accordion-like rib portions 316 that can act as a dampener (as further discussed hereinbelow). In this embodiment the leg 302 is releasable from the sidewing 308 by actuating or deactuating the release lock mechanism 300.

    [0020] In an alternative exemplary embodiment, as shown in Figs. 14-15, a connector mechanism 400 is shown which comprises an insert 402 that has a generally dumbbell-shaped cross-section (when viewed from the side, as in Fig. 14) and a generally rectangular, sheet-shape (when viewed from the top, as shown in Fig. 15) that has a first portion 404 received within a groove or channel 406 in a leg 407 and a second portion 408 that is received within a groove or channel 410 in the sidewing 412. In exemplary embodiments, the insert 402 may be made of a material having a degree of flexibility or elasticity. In exemplary embodiments, the insert 402 may be made of a thermoplastic elastomeric material. In exemplary embodiments, the leg 407 may be made of a semi-rigid material.
    In an alternative exemplary embodiment, as shown in Figs. 16-20, a device may have a sidewing 500, leg 502 and connector mechanism 504, whereby a leg 502 comprises a proximal portion 506 including or made at least partially of a fabric (woven or nonwoven), plastic, rubber, mesh or other semi-rigid or flexible material. In one exemplary embodiment, the proximal portion has at least two layers. In one exemplary embodiment, the proximal portion has a top layer 508 and a bottom layer 510. Sandwiched between the layers is at least one segment 512 of a generally rigid or semi-rigid material, each segment 512 being disposed in a discrete pocket or recess between the layers. In exemplary embodiments, the proximal portion 506 of the leg 502 has a pocket or recess with an opening in the side and is connected to a sidewing 500 by sliding the pocket over the sidewing 500 and fastening the two parts together with one or more fasteners 518, such as, but not limited to, screws, bolts, staples, clips, or the like. Fig. 16 shows one embodiment in which two segments 512A and 512B having adjacent ends that are in a butt joint relationship (i.e., the ends are parallel to each other). Fig. 17 shows an exemplary embodiment featuring a segment 512 having a wedge shape. According to the invention, a segment 520 and sidewing 522, as shown in Fig. 18, has a lap joint area in which the segment 520 has a notch 524 and the sidewing 522 has a notch 526, with the notches overlapping.
    In another alternative exemplary embodiment, shown in Figs. 19-20, a device 600 is provided having a yoke 602 with a collar 604 and sidewings 606, 608. Each sidewing has a tongue portion 610 having an aperture 612, and, in exemplary embodiments, two or more, apertures 612, that can receive a fastener 616. The device 600 has a pair of legs 618, 620 each leg having a distal portion 622 and a proximal portion 624. At least a portion of the legs 618, 620 comprises a top layer 626 and a bottom layer 628 (and, optionally, additional inner layers, not shown) made of or incorporating a flexible material, such as the material described hereinabove with respect to the proximal portion 506 flexible material. The proximal portion 624 of the legs 618, 620 includes a first slot 630. A sidewall 632 may be generally L-shaped and may comprise an engaging portion 634 and a sidewall portion 636. The engaging portion 634 can be received in the first slot 630 of the leg. In exemplary embodiments, the engaging portion 634 may further include a lip 638 along one edge. The leg proximal portion 624 further includes a second slot 640 that can receive at least a portion of the sidewing tongue 610. Each leg 618, 620 is connected to the respective sidewing 606, 608 by a generally L-shaped mount 642 that has an engaging portion 644 having at least one, and in exemplary embodiments, two, apertures 646 through which can be inserted a fastener 648, such as, but not limited to, a screw or bolt. The fastener 648 is threaded into the mount apertures 646 and also into the sidewing apertures 612, and tightened. The unit thus formed provides a sidewall that forms part of the safety belt guide, as described hereinabove. Each leg 618, 620 has a flexible or pivot zone 650 generally between, around and/or proximate to the first and second slot areas 630, 640 that permits articulation of a portion of the legs 618, 620 with respect to the yoke 602. This embodiment has the feature of not requiring a pivot pin. In various exemplary embodiments shown in Figs. 16-20, the flexible material of the proximal portion can flex and/or deform to permit the relative movement of the segment, sidewing and/or distal portion to permit overall articulating movement of the leg.

    [0021] In another embodiment of the invention as shown in Fig. 21, a device 700 has a leg 702, a sidewing 704 that connect at an overlap joint area may and include a modified lap joint in which a first piece 706 has a rounded male end 708 and a second piece 710 has a mating recessed or grooved female end 712. In the exemplary embodiments illustrated in Figs. 16-18 and 21, the construction permits the collar to articulate around the proximal leg joint while providing a high resistance in shear in an area where high shear capacity is desirable. Additionally, the construction permits the proximal and distal leg components to articulate/conform to the user's torso where the issue is providing a mechanism that stabilizes the collar and proximal leg components by "pinching" the distal leg component to conform to the user's torso in a comfortable manner.

    [0022] In an alternative exemplary embodiment, shown in Fig. 22, a device 800 may have a leg 802 and sidewing 804. The leg proximal portion (i.e., proximal to the sidewing) comprises a bottom portion 805 of the leg 802 extends at least partially under the sidewing 804. The device 800 has a connector construction whereby the leg 802 has a proximal portion 806 having a bore (not shown) extending therethrough. A bridge member 808 has a first end 810 and a second end 812. The bridge member 808 sits on top of the leg bottom portion 805. The first end 810 attaches to the leg 802 via a pair of knuckles 814, 816, each knuckle having a bore 818, 820 extending at least partially therethrough, with a pin 822, 824 pivotably connecting the bridge member 808 and leg 802. The second end 812 of the bridge member 808 may similarly have a pair of knuckles 826, 828 with bores 830, 832. A yoke 834 may have a sidewing 804 having a knuckle 836 with at least one bore (not shown) extending at least partially therethrough. The bridge second end 812 is attached to the sidewing knuckle 836 by a pin 838. In exemplary embodiments, the bridge member 808 may optionally include one or more springs 840 (not shown), such as, but not limited to, torsion springs, with one spring 840 being associated with the pivot region between the leg 802 and the bridge member 808, and, optionally, a second spring 840 associated with the pivot region between the bridge member 808 and the sidewing 804. The spring(s) can serve to dampen articulation, as described in greater detail hereinbelow.

    [0023] Fig. 22A shows an exemplary embodiment that is a variation of the exemplary embodiment shown in Fig. 22. The device of Fig. 22A has a leg 850 having a proximal portion 860 that does not extend under a bridge member 808 or a sidewing 804. Rather, the leg proximal portion 860 abuts the bridge knuckles 814, 816.

    [0024] Alternatively, the leg proximal portion end may have a bore in each side of the leg and extending partially through the leg, and the knuckles may each have a post extending therefrom that can be inserted into the bores in the leg.

    [0025] When the device is worn by a user, in various exemplary embodiments the yoke can articulate by pivoting about the pivot point up to the point where the knuckle face abuts the leg end face and the dampener.

    [0026] In exemplary embodiments, various embodiments of the device can be constructed with the pivot point (between the leg and sidewing) moved forward or rearward (with respect to the front edge of the sidewing) for optimization of biomechanical performance.

    [0027] In an alternative exemplary embodiment, shown in Fig. 23, a device 900 includes a leg 902 and sidewing 904 that are pivotably connected by a flexible connection member 906 that permits articulation about an axis or pivot point or area. In exemplary embodiments, the flexible connection member 906 may be made of a flexible rubber or plastic material.

    [0028] In exemplary embodiments of devices described herein, a mechanism may be included for dampening, slowing and/or limiting articulating movement of the legs with respect to the yoke. In exemplary embodiments, a dampener mechanism is able to absorb energy of the pivoting movement of the device during an incident. In exemplary embodiments, such as the device shown in Fig. 2, the energy is the force movement of the yoke sidewing knuckle face as it approaches the leg end face. See the discussion hereinbelow and, for example, Figs. 36-42, with respect to the operation and movement of exemplary embodiments of the device. One exemplary embodiment of a dampener mechanism, is a deformable or compressible block 1000 of material 1100 associated with the leg, as shown in Figs. 24A and 24B. Alternatively, the dampener mechanism may be two pieces of material, one associated with the leg and the other associated with the sidewing. In exemplary embodiments, the dampener may be a solid block of material, such as rubber. In other exemplary embodiments, the dampener may be made of layers of different density or deformability material, or may be made of different materials. In another alternative exemplary embodiment, the dampener material may be made of a foam or a fabric material. In another alternative exemplary embodiment, the dampener may be a hollow member having chamber or container filled with air, fluid, gel, particles, mixtures of the foregoing or the like, that can be deformed and/or compressed. In one exemplary embodiment, the dampener may be formed as a portion of the leg material, whereby the dampener portion has the desired deformability and/or compressibility characteristics.

    [0029] In one exemplary embodiment, as shown in Fig. 25, a dampener 1010 may be made of ribs, segments or have accordion-like material or construction that is deformable and/or compressible. In exemplary embodiments, the dampener may be square, parallelepiped or wedge-shaped. In exemplary embodiments, as shown in Figs. 25B-D, the dampener may be associated with the yoke or the sidewings. In exemplary embodiments, as shown in Figs. 26-27, a dampener 1020 or 1030, respectively, may be formed as part of one layer of the bottom surface of the leg and which extends beyond the proximal portion end of the leg and extends at least partially underneath the sidewing, with the dampener 1020 or 1030 being a portion of such layer and extending upward into the gap between the sidewing knucle face and the leg end face.

    [0030] In another alternative exemplary embodiment, shown in Fig. 28, the dampener may be a torsion spring 1040, as shown in Fig. 28, whereby the torsion spring 1040 is wrapped around a pin 1050 and one end 1060 of the spring 1040 abuts a leg 1070 and the other end 1080 of the spring abuts a sidewing 1090 such that the torsion spring 1040 is biased to urge the collar (not shown) in the (nonarticulated) position.

    [0031] In another alternative exemplary embodiment, as shown in Fig. 29a dampener may comprise an elastic band or piece of elastic material 1100 attached at one end to the sidewing and at the other end to the leg.

    [0032] In the alternative exemplary embodiments illustrated in Figs. 30-35 the sidewings are either eliminated or are incorporated in the legs. Figs. 30-32 illustrate an exemplary embodiment in which the leg and sidewing are formed as one material and there is no articulating movement between the two. In Figs. 33-35, the legs and yolk are formed as a single piece, which also has no articulation movement between the legs and yoke. The articulation in the exemplary embodiments shown in Figs. 30-35 is provided by the hinged collar.

    [0033] In a first exemplary embodiment of a device without sidewings or where the sidewings are incorporated in the legs, as shown in Figs. 30-32, a device 1200 has a collar 1210 and legs 1220, 1230. The collar 1210 has first and second side attachment sections 1240, 1250, each of which are each pivotably attachable to the first leg 1220 or second leg 1230, respectively. Each side attachment section 1240, 1250 may have a pin 1260 associated with and extending laterally therefrom. The pin 1260 may be formed as part of the side attachment section 1240, 1250 or attached thereto. Each leg 1220, 1230 may have a boss 1270 associated with a proximal end 1280 of the leg 1220, 1230. The boss 1270 has a bore 1290 extending at least partially therethrough, in which the pin 1260 can be inserted. The collar 1210 can pivot about the pin 1260 to provide the articulated movement with respect to the legs 1220, 1230.

    [0034] In another exemplary embodiment, shown in Fig. 33-35, a device 1300 is provided having a yoke 1310 that includes a pair of legs 1320, 1330. The legs 1320, 1330 are fixed in position with respect to the yoke 1310. A collar 1340 is pivotably attached to the yoke 1310. The collar 1340 has a first end 1350 and second end 1360, each end having a bore 1370 passing at least partially therethrough. A pin 1380 is inserted through a bore 1390 in a boss 1400 in the first leg 1320 and another pin 1380 is inserted through a bore 1390 in a boss 1400 in the second leg 1330. The collar 1340 can pivot about the pins 1380 to provide articulated movement in the event of an incidents.

    [0035] In the exemplary embodiments illustrated in Figs. 30-35, the safety belt 4 does not form part of the system that limits the rate and amount of collar articulation. For example, the rate of articulation could be managed by a spring (such as, but not limited to, a torsion spring) or the amount by limited stops in the hinge/pivot mechanism, such as by detents in the pin that interact with one or more protrusions in the bore in which the pin pivots. Alternatively, the pin may have one or more protrusions that interact with detents or recesses in the bore so as to create "stops".

    [0036] In the alternative exemplary embodiments described hereinabove illustrated in Figs. 30-35, a dampener mechanism as described hereinabove may be incorporated proximate to the pivot areas and, in exemplary embodiments, at least partially between the collar's first and second ends and the leg bosses.

    [0037] The basic operational movement of the device will now be described. In exemplary embodiments, as shown in Figs. 40 and 41, a device 10 (or the other exemplary embodiments of devices) fits within free space between the user's helmet 1, neck 5 and upper torso 6. The legs 40, 50 ensure optimal fit and comfort.

    [0038] Fig. 40 shows how in normal vehicle operations the helmet tethers 2 may be slack and the collar 60 and sidewings 54, 56 at least partially free of the safety belt system 3. The device 10 is in a nonarticulated position, for example as shown in Fig. 2. This permits the user an unconstrained range of head/helmet motions even if, to provide for the optimal biomechanical performance of the restraint device, the tethering systems may be relatively short.

    [0039] As shown in Fig. 41, in a car crash incident with a frontal force component the user tends to move forward as the safety belt system 4 yields in tension and the user's torso 6 compresses under increased load until such time as compliance in both is taken up. As this head/helmet excursion occurs any slack in the tethering system is taken up and the collar 60/sidewings 54, 56 pivots (as shown in Fig. 36-37 in mid-articulation, ending up fully articulated as shown in Figs. 38-39), a portion of the safety belt 4 is positioned within the sidewings guide channels 99 and the sidewings base surface 92 acts with the safety belt 4 to decelerate the user's head such that differential loads and moments between the user's head and torso transmitted through the upper neck are managed to within desirable magnitudes. Management of these loads and moments is further enhanced by limiting the absolute relative motion of the collar 60, to which the sidewings 54, 56 are attached, and the legs 40, 50, which are clamped to the user's torso 6 by loads imparted through the safety belt system 4, and optionally also by incorporating a dampening block 1000 (or other dampening mechanism described hereinabove) regulating the rate at which the absolute relative motion is stopped. In embodiments described herein where the sidewings are not part of the articulating collar mechanism, decelerating the user's head such that differential loads and moments between the user's head and torso transmitted through the upper neck are managed to within desirable magnitudes may be wholly managed by various exemplary embodiments of the dampening mechanisms described hereinabove. These features may combine to allow a compact design using shorter length tethering systems which inherently accommodate a wide range of user body types and seating configurations in one simple device yet providing the desired or improved biomechanical performance characteristics.

    [0040] Without a restraint system in a car crash incident with a frontal force component the user, as shown in Fig. 42, tends to move forward as the safety belt system tensions and the user's torso compresses under increased load until such time as compliance in both is taken up. As this occurs, as the user's head/helmet is not restrained it may continue to accelerate, rotate and/or translate. The resulting differential loads and moments between the user's head and torso transmitted through the upper neck may rise to undesirable, and even lethal, magnitudes. In an incident with a user using a device as presently disclosed, the head movement is shown by arrow A in Fig. 41. The head movement of a user not wearing a device as presently disclosed may have head movement shown by arrow B in Fig. 42. The angle of arrow A is nearly parallel to the ground, whereas the angle of arrow B is at a more declined angle, indicating more head and neck movement forward and angling downward, which can cause trauma to the spine and neck. Additionally, Figs. 41 and 42 illustrate the relative amount of forward movement of the head; there is less forward movement of the user's head in Fig. 41, wearing a device, than of the user's head in Fig. 42, not wearing a device.

    [0041] When the yoke pivots during an incident, as the yoke pivots (shown partially rotated in Figs. 36-37 and substantially fully rotated in Fig. 38-39) the sidewing knuckle faces approach the corresponding leg end face. A dampener block associated, for example, with the leg end face (such as, for example, by being attached or adhered to the leg end face or within a recess in the leg end face), is contacted by the approaching sidewing knuckle faces and, upon further articulation of the yoke, is compressed. The compression force resistance dampens or decelerates the rotational movement of the yoke until such movement stops. The dampener effectively reduces the abruptness of the termination of the yoke's movement, thereby absorbing some of the force and reducing trauma to the user's head, neck, spine and other areas. According to the invention at least a portion of the sidewings base surface is curved (from front to back), such as the embodiment illustrated in Figs. 2-3, when the yoke pivots during an incident, a portion of the safety belt is positioned within the sidewings guide and the cammed base surface acts to decelerate the user's head such that differential loads and moments between the user's head and upper neck are managed to within desirable magnitudes. A cammed base surface may also permit use of a shorter tether, yet providing the same biomechanical performance characteristics. By controlling the rate at which the user experiences the differential loads and moments that are applied to the user's head and upper neck it may also provide greater energy management during an incident.
    A feature of the device is that in various exemplary embodiments, the device can be fitted for different height or body types. Another feature is that the device can accommodate a user who is angled or reclined at different angles, depending on the seat design, user's preferences, or the like. Another feature of various exemplary embodiments of the device is that the flexible legs provide improved comfort to a user. Another feature of various exemplary embodiments of the device is that the dampener mechanism can reduce traumatic cessation of movement by providing graduated or gradual completion of the articulation movement of the collar with respect to the legs. A feature of various exemplary embodiments of the device (such as, but not limited to, Figs. 30-32) is that the legs may be selectively detachable. The legs may be of different sizes, lengths, colors, widths, materials or other configurations or designs can be used with the same yoke and/or collar.
    Although only a number of exemplary embodiments have been described in detail above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible in the exemplary embodiments without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this disclosure as defined in the following claims.

    [0042] While the methods, equipment and systems have been described in connection with specific embodiments, it is not intended that the scope be limited to the particular embodiments set forth, as the embodiments herein are intended in all respects to be illustrative rather than restrictive.
    As used in the specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a," "an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. "Optional" or "optionally" means that the subsequently described event or circumstance may or may not occur, and that the description includes instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not. Throughout the description and claims of this specification, the word "comprise" and variations of the word, such as "comprising" and "comprises," means "including but not limited to," and is not intended to exclude, for example, other additives, components, integers or steps. "Exemplary" means "an example of" and is not intended to convey an indication of a preferred or ideal embodiment. "Such as" is not used in a restrictive sense, but for explanatory purposes.
    Disclosed are components that can be used to perform the disclosed methods, equipment and systems. These and other components are disclosed herein, and it is understood that when combinations, subsets, interactions, groups, etc., of these components are disclosed that while specific reference of each various individual and collective combinations and permutation of these may not be explicitly disclosed, each is specifically contemplated and described herein, for all methods, equipment and systems. This applies to all aspects of this application including, but not limited to, steps in disclosed methods. Thus, if there are a variety of additional steps that can be performed it is understood that each of these additional steps can be performed with any specific embodiment or combination of embodiments of the disclosed methods.


    Claims

    1. A head and neck restraint device, comprising:

    a) a yoke (20) having

    i) a base portion,

    ii) a stand-up collar (30, 60) portion,

    iii) a first sidewing portion (54) having a first connector member (100), and,

    iv) a second sidewing portion (56) having a second connector member (100) wherein the first and second sidewings (54, 56) each further include a guide (90) for a portion of a safety belt (4, 9);

    b) first and second legs, each leg (40, 50) having

    i) a proximal portion (112),

    ii) a distal portion (110),

    iii) a front surface (116),

    iv) a rear surface (118) and

    v) a connector member (100) pivotably associated with a sidewing connector member such that each leg (40, 50) is capable of limited pivoting articulation with respect to the sidewing (54, 56) wherein the stand-up collar (30, 60) comprises a tether (2) or a plurality of tethers, characterized in that

    the sidewing connector comprises a lap joint (520, 526, 708, 712) wherein at least a portion of a surface of a base of the sidewings (54, 56) is curved from front to back so as to provide a cammed surface, such that when the yoke (20) pivots during the load of a crash incident with a frontal force component, a portion of the safety belt (4, 9) is positioned within the sidewings guide (90) wherein the cammed surface of the base of the sidewings (54, 56) acts to decelerate the user's head during the incident.


     
    2. The head and neck restraint device of Claim 1, characterized in that at least a portion of each of the first and second leg (40, 50) distal portions (110) are adapted to flex.
     
    3. The head and neck restraint device of Claim 1 or 2, further comprising a dampening mechanism adapted to reduce to zero the articulation movement of the collar (30, 60) with respect to the first and second legs (40, 50).
     
    4. The head and neck restraint device of Claim 3, characterized in that the dampening mechanism comprises a block (1000) of an elastomeric compressible material (1100).
     
    5. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the first and second leg (40, 50) distal portions (110) are each constructed of a single material.
     
    6. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the first and second leg (40, 50, 140) distal portions (110) each comprise a plurality of links (144) connected to each other by a pivotable connecting mechanism.
     
    7. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 6, characterized in that the first and second legs (40, 50) each comprise at least one piece of flexible material to which is associated a plurality of links.
     
    8. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the distal portion (110) of the leg (40, 50) comprises at least two zones, each zone having a degree of flexion.
     
    9. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 8, characterized in that the collar (30, 60) further comprises a tether anchor (72) for maintaining the tether (2) or tethers (2) in association with the collar (30, 60).
     
    10. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 9, further comprising a pin (138) adapted to connect the sidewing connector member and the leg (40, 50) connector member such that the leg (40, 50) is capable of limited pivoting articulation about the pin (138).
     
    11. The head and neck restraint device according to one of Claims 1 to 10, further comprising a first post extending outward from a first side of the sidewing connector and a second post extending outward from an opposing second side of the sidewing connector, and wherein the leg connector has a first side having a first recess defined therein and a second side having a second recess defined therein, whereby the first post pivotably fits in the first recess and the second post pivotably fits in the second recess such that the leg (40, 50) is capable of limited pivoting articulation.
     
    12. The head and neck restraint device according to one of the Claims 1 to 9, wherein each leg connector comprises a ball (208) and each sidewing connector comprise a socket (204) adapted to receive the ball (208), whereby the ball (208) is adapted to permit limited articulating movement of the sidewing (206) with respect to the legs (200).
     
    13. The head and neck restraint device according to one of the Claims 1 to 12, wherein the first and second connectors each comprise a plurality of articulating segments (512, 522) pivotably connected to each other.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung, umfassend

    a) einen Bügel (20) mit

    i) einem Basisabschnitt,

    ii) einem Stehkragenabschnitt (30, 60),

    iii) einem ersten Seitenflügelabschnitt (54) mit einem ersten Verbinderglied (100) und

    iv) einem zweiten Seitenflügelabschnitt (56) mit einem zweiten Verbinderglied (100)

    wobei der erste und zweite Seitenflügel (54, 56) jeweils weiter eine Führung (90) für einen Abschnitt eines Sicherheitsgurts (4, 9) aufweist;

    b) erste und zweite Schenkel (40, 50) mit

    i) einem nahe gelegenen Abschnitt (112),

    ii) einen entfernt gelegenen Abschnitt (110),

    iii) einer vorderen Oberfläche (116),

    iv) einer hinteren Oberfläche (118) und

    v) einem Verbinderglied (100), das schwenkbar mit einem Seitenflügelverbinderglied verknüpft ist, sodass jeder Schenkel (40, 50) zu einer begrenzten Schwenkgelenkverbindung in Bezug auf den Seitenflügel (54, 56) in der Lage ist,

    wobei der Stehkragen (30, 60) einen Haltegurt (2) oder eine Vielzahl von Haltegurten umfasst, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Seitenflügelverbinder eine Überlappungsverbindung (520, 526, 708, 712) umfasst, wobei mindestens ein Abschnitt einer Oberfläche einer Basis der Seitenflügel (54, 56) von vorne bis hinten gekrümmt ist, um eine Nockenoberfläche vorzusehen, sodass, wenn der Bügel (20) während der Last eines Unfallereignisses mit einer frontalen Kraftkomponente schwenkt, ein Abschnitt des Sicherheitsgurts (4, 9) innerhalb der Seitenflügelführung (90) positioniert wird, wobei die Nockenoberfläche der Basis des Seitenflügel (54, 56) wirkt, um die Hand des Benutzers während des Ereignisses abzubremsen.


     
    2. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass mindestens ein Abschnitt jedes der entfernt gelegenen Abschnitte (110) des ersten und zweiten Schenkels (40, 50) so ausgelegt ist, sich zu biegen.
     
    3. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, weiter umfassend einen Dämpfungsmechanismus, der so ausgelegt ist, die Gelenkverbindungsbewegung des Kragens (30, 60) in Bezug auf den ersten und zweiten Schenkel (40, 50) auf null zu reduzieren.
     
    4. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Dämpfungsmechanismus einen Block (1000) aus einem elastomeren komprimierbaren Material (1100) umfasst.
     
    5. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die entfernt gelegenen Abschnitte (110) des ersten und zweiten Schenkels (40, 50) jeweils aus einen einzigem Material konstruiert sind.
     
    6. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die entfernt gelegenen Abschnitte (110) des ersten und zweiten Schenkels (40, 50, 140) jeweils eine Vielzahl von Bindegliedern (144) umfassen, die durch einen schwenkbaren Verbindungsmechanismus miteinander verbunden sind.
     
    7. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste und zweite Schenkel (40, 50) jeweils mindestens ein Stück aus biegsamen Material umfasst, mit dem eine Vielzahl von Bindegliedern verknüpft ist.
     
    8. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der entfernt gelegene Abschnitt (110) des Schenkels (40, 50) mindestens zwei Zonen umfasst, wobei jede Zone einen Biegegrad hat.
     
    9. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Kragen (30, 60) weiter einen Haltegurtanker (72) umfasst, um den Haltegurt (2) oder die Haltegurte (2) in Verknüpfung mit dem Kragen (30, 60) zu halten.
     
    10. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, weiter umfassend einen Stift (138), der so ausgelegt ist, das Seitenflügelverbinderglied und das Verbinderglied des Schenkels (40, 50) so zu verbinden, sodass der Schenkel (40, 50) zu einer begrenzten Schwenkgelenkverbindung um den Stift (138) in der Lage ist.
     
    11. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, weiter umfassend eine erste Stange, die sich von einer ersten Seite des Seitenflügelverbinders nach außen erstreckt, und eine zweite Stange, die sich von einer gegenüberliegenden zweiten Seite des Seitenflügelverbinders nach außen erstreckt, und wobei der Schenkelverbinder eine erste Seite mit einer darin definierten ersten Aussparung und eine zweite Seite mit einer darin definierten zweiten Aussparung hat, wobei die erste Stange schwenkbar in die erste Aussparung passt und die zweite Stange schwenkbar in die zweite Aussparung passt, sodass der Schenkel (40, 50) zu einer begrenzten Schwenkgelenkverbindung in der Lage ist.
     
    12. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei jeder Schenkelverbinder eine Kugel (208) umfasst und jeder Seitenflügelverbinder eine Buchse (204) umfasst, die zum Aufnehmen der Kugel (208) ausgelegt ist, wobei die Kugel (208) so ausgelegt ist, eine begrenzte Gelenkverbindungsbewegung des Seitenflügels (206) in Bezug auf die Schenkel (200) zu erlauben.
     
    13. Kopf- und Nackenstützvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei der erste und zweite Verbinder jeweils eine Vielzahl von gelenkigen Segmenten (512, 522) umfasst, die schwenkbar miteinander verbunden sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou, comprenant :

    a) un étrier (20) ayant

    i) une partie de base,

    ii) une partie de col montant (30, 60),

    iii) une première partie d'aile latérale (54) ayant un premier élément de raccord (100), et,

    iv) une seconde partie d'aile latérale (56) ayant un second élément de raccord (100)

    dans lequel les première et seconde ailes latérales (54, 56) comprennent chacune en outre un guide (90) pour une partie d'une ceinture de sécurité (4, 9) ;

    b) des première et seconde branches, chaque branche (40, 50) ayant

    i) une partie proximale (112),

    ii) une partie distale (110),

    iii) une surface avant (116),

    iv) une surface arrière (118) et

    v) un élément de raccord (100) associé de manière pivotante à un élément de raccord d'aile latérale de sorte que chaque branche (40, 50) est capable d'une articulation pivotante limitée par rapport à l'aile latérale (54, 56) ;

    dans lequel le col montant (30, 60) comprend une sangle d'attache (2) ou une pluralité de sangles d'attache,
    caractérisé en ce que le raccord d'aile latérale comprend un joint à recouvrement (520, 526, 708, 712) dans lequel au moins une partie d'une surface d'une base des ailes latérales (54, 56) est courbée de l'avant vers l'arrière de façon à ménager une surface cambrée, de sorte que lorsque l'étrier (20) pivote pendant la charge d'un accident par collision avec une composante de force frontale, une partie de la ceinture de sécurité (4, 9) est positionnée à l'intérieur du guide d'aile latérale (90), la surface cambrée de la base des ailes latérales (54, 56) agissant pour ralentir la tête de l'utilisateur pendant l'accident.


     
    2. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce qu'au moins une partie de chaque partie distale (40, 50) des première et seconde branches (110) est adaptée à fléchir.
     
    3. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant en outre un mécanisme d'amortissement adapté à réduire à zéro le mouvement d'articulation du col (30, 60) par rapport aux première et seconde branches (40, 50).
     
    4. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon la revendication 3, caractérisé en ce que le mécanisme d'amortissement comprend un bloc (1000) en un matériau compressible élastomère (1100).
     
    5. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 4, caractérisé en ce que les parties distales (40, 50) des première et seconde branches (110) sont constituées chacune d'un seul matériau.
     
    6. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 5, caractérisé en ce que les parties distales (40, 50, 140) des première et seconde branches (110) comprennent chacune une pluralité de liens (144) reliés entre eux par un mécanisme de liaison pivotant.
     
    7. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 6, caractérisé en ce que les première et seconde branches (40, 50) comportent chacune au moins une pièce de matériau souple à laquelle est associée une pluralité de liens.
     
    8. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 7, caractérisé en ce que la partie distale (110) de la branche (40, 50) comprend au moins deux zones, chaque zone présentant un degré de flexion.
     
    9. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 8, caractérisé en ce que le col (30, 60) comprend en outre un ancrage de sangle d'attache (72) pour maintenir la sangle d'attache (2) ou les sangles d'attaches (2) en association avec le col (30, 60).
     
    10. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 9, comprenant une broche (138) adaptée à relier l'élément de raccord d'aile latérale et l'élément de raccord de branche (40, 50) de sorte que la branche (40, 50) soit capable d'une articulation pivotante limitée autour de la broche (138).
     
    11. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 10, comprenant en outre un premier tenon s'étendant vers l'extérieur depuis un premier côté du raccord d'aile latérale et un second tenon s'étendant vers l'extérieur depuis un second côté opposé du raccord d'aile latérale, et dans lequel le raccord de branche a un premier côté dans lequel est présent un premier évidement et un second côté dans lequel est présent un second évidement, ce qui permet au premier tenon de s'adapter de manière pivotante dans le premier évidement et au second tenon de s'adapter de manière pivotante dans le second évidement de sorte que la branche (40, 50) est capable d'une articulation pivotante limitée.
     
    12. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 9, dans lequel chaque raccord de branche comprend une rotule (208) et chaque raccord d'aile latérale comprend un logement de rotule (204) adaptée à recevoir la rotule (208), la rotule (208) étant ainsi adaptée à permettre un mouvement articulé limité de l'aile latérale (206) par rapport aux branches (200).
     
    13. Dispositif de retenue de tête et de cou selon l'une des revendications 1 à 12, dans lequel les premier et second raccords comprennent chacun une pluralité de segments d'articulation (512, 522) reliés de manière pivotante les uns aux autres.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description