(19)
(11)EP 3 437 984 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 18187143.5

(22)Date of filing:  02.08.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B63C 11/16  (2006.01)

(54)

MASK FOR UNDERWATER USE, IN PARTICULAR OF THE FULL FACE TYPE, PROVIDED WITH A COMMUNICATION DEVICE

MASKE ZUR VERWENDUNG UNTER WASSER, INSBESONDERE EINE VOLLGESICHTSMASKE, MIT EINER TELEKOMMUNIKATIONSVORRICHTUNG

MASQUE POUR UNE UTILISATION SOUS-MARINE, EN PARTICULIER DU TYPE INTEGRAL, EQUIPÉ DE MOYENS DE COMMUNICATION


(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
Designated Extension States:
BA

(30)Priority: 03.08.2017 IT 201700090078

(43)Date of publication of application:
06.02.2019 Bulletin 2019/06

(73)Proprietor: Mestel Safety S.r.l.
20123 Milano (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • GAMBERINI, Sergio
    16126 Genova (IT)
  • CUCCHIA, Gabriele
    16147 Genova (IT)

(74)Representative: Di Gennaro, Sergio et al
Barzano & Zanardo Milano S.p.A. Via Borgonuovo 10
20121 Milano
20121 Milano (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2016/170253
US-A1- 2016 127 716
  
      
    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 invention relates to a mask for underwater use, in particular of the full face type provided with mouthpiece to enable the wearer to breathe with his/her head under the surface of the water, provided with a communication device.

    [0002] Masks for underwater use, also known as diving masks, comprise a part or frame made of rubber or silicone that adheres to a user's face by means of at least one belt that is wound around the user's head and at least a transparent part, generally made of glass or plexiglass, able to allow underwater vision and to negate the refraction phenomenon that causes blurred vision underwater. The glass and the rubber frame isolate at least partly in a water-proof manner from the underwater environment, allowing a correct vision.

    [0003] In underwater activities, two types of mask are widely used in particular: a first one that covers eyes and nose, and a second one known as full face mask, that covers the entire face, mouth included. This second type of mask comprises a transparent visor, a frame or strapping, a seal made of rubber adapted to ensure the water-tight seal and suitable straps to fit the mask on the face. Such a face part of the mask is associated with a breathing mouthpiece that engages on the upper part of the frame and that allows the flow of air to enter into the compartment made between the frame and the visor.

    [0004] The path of the air during the breathing-in phase and that during the breathing-out phase are advantageously different from each other.

    [0005] For this purpose, inside the mask are obtained two compartments, a main upper one in the area of the eyes and cheekbones of the user and an oronasal one that is associated with the user's nose and mouth. These compartments are separated by a separating wall provided with air valves.

    [0006] The inhaled fresh air reaches, through the tube, the main compartment of the mask, flows over the transparent part or visor, traverses the wall through the aforementioned valves and reaches the oronasal compartment to be breathed.

    [0007] The air exhaled from the mouth or from the nose does not exit the oronasal compartment, because the valves on the separating wall prevent it, but reaches the tube through a peripheral exhalation duct of the mask.

    [0008] The tube itself being made with separate ducts for the air breathed in and out provided with appropriate directional valves.

    [0009] In this way, the known drawback of the fogging over of the mask, because only the fresh air coming from outside flows over the transparent part while the exhausted one exits the mask without passing in the facial area thereof.

    [0010] A mask of this type is described in the patent application EP3153400 in the name of the same applicant.

    [0011] Providing such masks with a communication device is also known, for example as described in the patent application WO2016170253. In particular, said patent application describes a full face mask whereon is installed a communication device at least partly mounted on the tube.

    [0012] The communication device comprises at least a microphone, a loudspeaker, an ultrasonic antenna and a command button panel.

    [0013] Said device is characterised in that it has a removable connector that is interposed between the strapping (or frame) of the mask and the base of the tube. On said removable connector is present at least the communication device and in particular at least one loudspeaker of the device.

    [0014] In this way, removing the connector by separating the tube from the frame, it is possible fully to remove the device from the mask, or it is possible to equip a standard mask of the full face type with a communication device through said removable connector.

    [0015] The applicant has observed that this assembly procedure can be laborious and complicated, and in that case the connector may damage both the tube and the frame of the mask.

    [0016] With the present invention, the applicant proposes an improvement of the positioning of the communication device which simplifies also the manufacture and the assembly of the mask.

    [0017] These and other purposes according to the present invention are achieved by a diving mask as set forth in claim 1.

    [0018] Further features of the diving mask are the subjects of the dependent claims.

    [0019] The features and advantages of a diving mask according to the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following exemplifying and non-limiting description, referred to the schematic accompanying drawings, wherein:
    • figure 1 is a perspective view of a diving mask according to the present invention, in particular of the full face type;
    • figure 2 is a lateral view of a diving mask according to the present invention, in particular of the full face type;
    • figure 3 is a perspective view of the communication device of the mask according to the present invention.


    [0020] With reference to the aforementioned figures, a diving mask of the so-called full face type is shown which comprises a transparent visor 2, a frame or strapping 3, a seal preferably made of rubber able to ensure the water-tight seal and suitable straps 4 to fit the mask on the face.

    [0021] Said face part of the mask is associated with a breathing tube 5 that engages on the upper part of the mask and that allows the flow of air to enter into the compartment made between the frame and the visor.

    [0022] The path of the air during the breathing-in phase and that during the breathing-out phase both in the mask and in the tube are advantageously different from each other.

    [0023] The tube for this purpose is made with separate ducts for the air breathed in and out.

    [0024] Preferably, the inhalation duct is placed in a central position and there are two exhalation ducts positioned to the side of the central inhalation duct.

    [0025] Substantially on the top of these ducts are positioned one-way valves (not shown) that allow the passage of air only in the desired direction.

    [0026] Also for the purpose of creating differentiated paths inside the mask are obtained two compartments, a main upper one 6 in the area of the eyes and cheekbones of the user and an oronasal one 7 that is associated with the user's nose and mouth.

    [0027] Said compartments are separated by a separating wall 41, made in association with the seal and provided with at least one housing for at least one one-way valve for the passage of air from the main compartment to the oronasal compartment. Advantageously, there are two valves arranged laterally in symmetrical position with respect to a vertical centreline plane which traverses the mask.

    [0028] On said centreline plane in a lower portion of the oronasal compartment is obtained a valve 41 for the outflow of liquid from the aforesaid compartment if water were inadvertently penetrated inside the mask.

    [0029] The inhaled fresh air reaches, through the tube, the main compartment of the mask, flows over the transparent part or visor, traverses the wall through the aforementioned valves and reaches the oronasal compartment to be breathed.

    [0030] The air exhaled from the mouth or from the nose does not exit the oronasal compartment, because the valves on the separating wall prevent it, but reaches the tube according to the present invention through a peripheral exhalation duct of the mask.

    [0031] Said path comprises a pair of peripheral channels 21 and 22 obtained on the edge of the visor, preferably substantially "U" shaped which, when the visor is associated to the seal, are closed by a flat annular edge of the seal, forming as many peripheral ducts for the exhaled air. These channels extend from the top of the visor where coupling means are present for coupling the mask to the tube, made in the form of a housing 23 for the engagement of said tube, to beyond the position in which the separating wall 41 between the two compartment joins the visor itself. This is to prevent the exhalation ducts from communicating with the first compartment.

    [0032] The means for coupling the mask with the tube also determine the coupling of the respective exhalation ducts of the tube and of the mask. The inhalation duct of the tube ends directly in the main upper compartment 6.

    [0033] The channel obtained in the visor and closed by the seal is a substantially non-deformable channel; this ensures an optimal outflow of the exhaled air in any condition and regardless of the size of the user's face.

    [0034] Moreover, both the channel and the engagement for the tube are obtained in the visor, this determines an ease of construction of the strapping which becomes a simple loop, provided only with clasps 31 for the belts 4 which maintains the assembly of the mask. The only complex element to be manufactured in the mask remains the visor, which however can conventionally be moulded, avoiding the gas insufflation procedure which in known masks was used to manufacture the channel in the seal.

    [0035] According to the present invention this mask and full face masks in general having similar characteristics can be associated with a communication device 100 which comprises a main body 101 provided with electronic board and preferably with a command button panel 102. The main body has clamping means at the top of the tube 6 comprising an open sleeve 103 which clamps in a snap-fit manner on said tube. On the main body is present a microphone that is advantageously positioned in proximity of the exhalation duct of the tube, in particular in proximity to its upper end. In this way, it is easier for the microphone itself to detect the voice vibrations coming from the exhalation duct. Moreover, the microphone is advantageously encapsulated into the body 100 and protected by a speech diaphragm which allows to capture the sound wave coming from the tube (from the lateral exhalation segments of the tube) through a conveyor 106 obtained laterally on the body. The diaphragm isolates from the water the electronics present in the body and is concurrently able to capture with its vibration the audio and to transfer it inside, where the microphone is present

    [0036] On this body is also provided an antenna adapted to communicate with devices of the same type mounted on other masks.

    [0037] Preferably, four communication channels are provided with as many frequencies that can be selectively operated.

    [0038] An earpiece 104 is connected to said main body through a flexible tube 105, so as to be able to position the earpiece itself indifferently on the right or on the left ear. The tube 105 is flexible but semi-rigid and hence it can be modelled to be positioned in the most suitable point without creating inconveniences with attachments that would act on the auricle.

    [0039] Inside the main body is also present a rechargeable battery. The flexible tube of the earpiece is connected to the main body in a removable manner (for example through a bayonet coupling and micro USB plug), so as to be able to charge the battery of the main unit, for example through the same micro USB plug.

    [0040] The button panel preferably comprises three buttons, respectively on/off button, volume increase button V+ and volume decrease button V-.

    [0041] Moreover, on the body are provided a plurality of light indicators 106, for example four LEDs which can indicate, respectively, the channel selected when the unit is on.

    [0042] For example, they can flash in series three times when the unit is turned on, indicate the level of the listening volume only for the duration of the pressure on the button.

    [0043] They also indicate the charging status of the battery when the V+ and V- buttons are pressed simultaneously when the unit is on. Lastly, they flash in series continuously when the unit is being charged and they turn off when the charging is completed.


    Claims

    1. Diving mask of the so-called full face type comprising a transparent visor (2), a frame or strapping (3), a seal preferably made of rubber adapted to ensure the water-tight seal and suitable straps (4) to fit the mask on the face, such a face part of the mask being associated with a breathing tube (5) that engages on the upper part of the mask and that allows the flow of air to enter into the compartment made between the frame and the visor, the path of the air during the breathing-in phase and that during the breathing-out phase both in the mask and in the tube being different from each other, the tube being made with separate ducts for the air breathed in and out and the inside of the mask being made with two compartments, an upper front one (6) and a lower oronasal one (7), separated by a separating wall, the path inside the mask provides for the air breathed in to be introduced from the tube into the front compartment and then into the oronasal one and the air breathed out from the oronasal compartment travels up to the tube, wherein the diving mask comprises

    • a microphone which is advantageously positioned in proximity of the exhalation duct of the tube,

    • an earpiece (104) connected to such main body through a flexible tube (105),

    • an antenna adapted to communicate with devices of the same type mounted on other masks,

    characterised in that it comprises a communication device including a main body (101) equipped with an electronic board and having clamping means (103) to clamp at the top of the tube (5).
     
    2. Mask according to claim 1, in which such clamping means comprise an open sleeve (103) that clamps in a snap-fit manner on such tube.
     
    3. Mask according to claim 1, in which the microphone is positioned in proximity of the upper end of the exhalation duct.
     
    4. Mask according to claim 1, in which the microphone is advantageously encapsulated into the body and protected by a speech diaphragm which allows to capture the sound wave coming from the tube through a conveyor (106) obtained laterally on the body itself.
     
    5. Mask according to claim 1, in which the main body is equipped with a command button panel (102).
     
    6. Mask according to claim 1, in which a rechargeable battery is contained inside the main body.
     
    7. Mask according to claim 1, in which the flexible tube of the earpiece is connected to the main body in a removable manner through a bayonet coupling and micro USB plug, so as to be able to charge the battery of the main unit through the same micro USB plug.
     
    8. Mask according to claim 1, in which the button panel comprises three buttons, on/off button, volume increase button V+ and volume decrease button V-, respectively.
     
    9. Mask according to claim 1, in which a plurality of light indicators (106) are provided on the main body.
     
    10. Mask according to claim 9, in which such light indicators are four LEDs which can indicate, respectively, the channel selected when the unit is on.
     
    11. Mask according to claim 1, in which four selectively operable channels for communicating with the same number of frequencies are provided.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Tauchermaske des sogenannten Vollgesichtstyps, umfassend ein durchsichtiges Visier (2), einen Rahmen oder einen Streifen (3), eine vorzugsweise aus Gummi hergestellte Dichtung, die angepasst ist um die wasserdichte Abdichtung zu gewährleisten, und geeignete Bänder (4), um die Maske auf dem Gesicht anzupassen, wobei ein solcher Gesichtsteil der Maske mit einem Atmungsrohr (5) verbunden ist, der in den oberen Teil der Maske eingreift und der den Luftstrom in den zwischen dem Rahmen und dem Visier gebildeten Raum eindringen lässt, wobei der Weg der Luft während der Einatmungsphase und während der Ausatmungsphase sowohl in der Maske als auch im Rohr voneinander unterschiedlich ist, wobei das Rohr mit getrennten Kanälen für die ein- und ausgeatmete Luft hergestellt ist und wobei das Innere der Maske aus zwei Fächern besteht, einem oberen vorderen (6) und einem unteren oronasalen (7), die durch eine Trennwand getrennt sind, wobei der Weg innerhalb der Maske dafür sorgt, dass die eingeatmete Luft aus dem Rohr in das vordere Fach und dann in das oronasale Fach eingeleitet wird und die aus dem oronasalen Fach ausgeatmete Luft nach oben zum Rohr gelangt,
    wobei die Tauchermaske Folgendes umfasst:

    • ein Mikrofon, das vorteilhaft in der Nähe des Exhalationskanals des Rohres positioniert ist,

    • ein Hörer (104), das durch einen Schlauch (105) mit einem solchen Hauptkörper verbunden ist,

    • eine Antenne, die zur Kommunikation mit Geräten desselben Typs, die auf anderen Masken montiert sind, geeignet ist,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sie eine Kommunikationsvorrichtung umfasst, die einen Hauptkörper (101) beinhaltet, der mit einer elektronischen Platine ausgestattet ist und Klemmmittel (103) zum Festklemmen am oberen Ende des Rohrs (5) aufweist.
     
    2. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der solche Klemmmittel eine offene Hülse (103) umfassen, die auf einem solchen Rohr schnappend aufgeklemmt wird.
     
    3. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der das Mikrofon in der Nähe des oberen Endes des Exhalationskanals positioniert ist.
     
    4. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der das Mikrofon vorteilhaft in den Körper eingekapselt und durch eine Sprechmembran geschützt ist, die es ermöglicht, die aus dem Rohr kommende Schallwelle durch einen seitlich am Körper selbst angebrachten Überträger (106) abzufangen.
     
    5. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der der Hauptkörper mit einer Befehlstastentafel (102) ausgestattet ist.
     
    6. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der sich eine wiederaufladbare Batterie im Inneren des Hauptkörpers befindet.
     
    7. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der der Schlauch des Hörers über eine Bajonettkupplung und einen Mikro-USB-Stecker abnehmbar mit dem Hauptkörper verbunden ist, so dass die Batterie der Haupteinheit über denselben Mikro-USB-Stecker aufgeladen werden kann.
     
    8. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der die Tastentafel drei Tasten umfasst, jeweils die Ein/Aus-Taste, die Taste zur Erhöhung der Lautstärke V+ und die Taste zur Verringerung der Lautstärke V-.
     
    9. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, bei der eine Vielzahl von Leuchtanzeigen (106) auf dem Hauptkörper vorgesehen sind.
     
    10. Maske gemäß Anspruch 9, bei der solche Leuchtanzeigen aus vier LEDs bestehen, die jeweils den gewählten Kanal anzeigen können, wenn das Gerät eingeschaltet ist.
     
    11. Maske gemäß Anspruch 1, in der vier selektiv bedienbare Kanäle zur Kommunikation mit der gleichen Anzahl von Frequenzen vorgesehen sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Masque de plongée du type dit intégral comprenant un écran facial transparent (2), une monture ou un cerclage (3), un joint de préférence constitué de caoutchouc conçu pour assurer l'étanchéité à l'eau et des sangles appropriées (4) pour adapter le masque sur le visage, ladite partie de visage du masque étant associée à un tube respiratoire (5) qui vient en prise sur la partie supérieure du masque et qui permet au flux d'air d'entrer dans le compartiment formé entre la monture et l'écran facial, le trajet de l'air pendant la phase d'inspiration et celui pendant la phase d'expiration, à la fois dans le masque et dans le tube, étant différents l'un de l'autre, le tube étant constitué avec des conduits séparés pour l'air inspiré et expiré et l'intérieur du masque étant constitué avec deux compartiments, un compartiment supérieur avant (6) et un compartiment inférieur bucco-nasal (7), séparés par une paroi de séparation, le trajet à l'intérieur du masque permet à l'air inspiré d'être introduit à partir du tube dans le compartiment avant et ensuite dans le compartiment bucco-nasal et l'air expiré à partir du compartiment bucco-nasal monte jusqu'au tube,
    dans lequel le masque de plongée comprend

    • un microphone qui est avantageusement positionné à proximité du conduit d'expiration du tube,

    • un écouteur (104) relié audit corps principal par l'intermédiaire d'un tube flexible (105),

    • une antenne conçue pour communiquer avec des dispositifs du même type montés sur d'autres masques,

    caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend un dispositif de communication incluant un corps principal (101) équipé d'une carte électronique et ayant des moyens de serrage (103) pour un serrage sur le haut du tube (5).
     
    2. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdits moyens de serrage comprennent un manchon ouvert (103) qui se serre d'une manière par encliquetage sur ledit tube.
     
    3. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le microphone est positionné à proximité de l'extrémité supérieure du conduit d'expiration.
     
    4. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le microphone est avantageusement incorporé dans le corps et protégé par un diaphragme vocal qui permet de capter l'onde sonore provenant du tube à travers un convoyeur (106) obtenu latéralement sur le corps lui-même.
     
    5. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le corps principal est équipé d'un panneau de boutons de commande (102).
     
    6. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une batterie rechargeable est contenue à l'intérieur du corps principal.
     
    7. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le tube flexible de l'écouteur est relié au corps principal d'une manière amovible par l'intermédiaire d'un accouplement à baïonnette et d'une prise micro USB, de manière à être apte à charger la batterie de l'unité principale par l'intermédiaire de la même prise micro USB.
     
    8. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le panneau de boutons comprend trois boutons, un bouton marche/arrêt, un bouton d'augmentation du volume V+ et un bouton de diminution du volume V-, respectivement.
     
    9. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une pluralité d'indicateurs lumineux (106) sont fournis sur le corps principal.
     
    10. Masque selon la revendication 9, dans lequel lesdits indicateurs lumineux sont quatre diodes électroluminescentes, DEL, qui peuvent indiquer, respectivement, le canal sélectionné lorsque l'unité est en marche.
     
    11. Masque selon la revendication 1, dans lequel quatre canaux sélectivement utilisables pour communiquer avec le même nombre de fréquences sont fournis.
     




    Drawing












    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description