Patent application title: MAGNETIC ATTACHMENT FOR BOARD SPORTS
Steven B. Bianchi (Berkeley, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63C100FI
Class name: Land vehicles skates
Publication date: 2010-09-23
Patent application number: 20100237599
A magnetic device comprises a magnet adapted to suspend free-floating from
a hole in a bottom of a shoe, the magnet capable of attaching the shoe to
magnetized metal on a sports board. The magnet can be raised and lowered
in the shoe and is "on" when in a down position and "off" when in an up
position. Switching between "on" and "off" by moving the magnet up or
down in the shoe is accomplished manually. When the magnet is up or off
the space in the shoe can be occupied with a plug. The design of the
attachment system allows a rider optimal freedom of foot movement for
doing tricks while attached to the board. The small surface area of the
magnet relative to its significant strength, the round contour of the
magnet's face, the magnet's suspended free-floating configuration from
the support, the position of the magnets on the shoe, and the position of
the magnetized metal on the sports board are all factors that contribute
to increased maneuverability for the board rider using the invention.
Release of the shoe from the board is facilitated by the rider lifting or
swiveling a heel to an angle greater than that which allows the magnet to
remain attached. The magnetic device and system, provides ideal training
for any board sport, and also provides skilled board riders new
opportunities to be creative. Tricks thought to be impossible (along with
newer undiscovered tricks) become possible with the aid of the invention.
1. A magnetic device for attaching a rider to a sports board, the device
comprising:a magnet adapted to free-float through a hole in a bottom of a
shoe, the magnet capable of magnetic attraction for a magnetized surface
on a sports board when placed in contact with the surface,a support
positioned inside the shoe adapted to suspend the magnet free-floating
through the hole in the bottom of the shoe, anda shoe adapted to hold the
magnet suspended free floating from the support through a hole in the
bottom of the shoe,wherein a rider wearing a pair of the shoes attaches
the magnet in each of a right and left shoe to one of a front and a back
magnetized surface on the board, and moves each shoe in a range of motion
permitting tricks with the board without releasing either shoe from the
board, the device adapted to release from the board when the rider raises
or swivels a heel of the shoe at a release angle.
2. The magnetic device of claim 1, the magnet and support having a down (on) and an up (off) position in each shoe.
3. The magnetic device of claim 2, wherein the device further comprises a plug having at least two metal contact points on an inner surface, for attracting to and covering the magnet in the up position.
4. The magnetic device of claim 1, wherein the magnet is removable from the support and the shoe, and further comprising a plug adapted to fill the hole in the shoe upon removal of the magnet.
5. The magnetic device of claim 4, further having a storage system comprising a rubber coated metal plate for holding the magnets removed from a pair of shoes, one magnet positioned on each side of the plate.
6. A system of board riding comprising,a pair of shoes having a magnetic device in at least one shoe of the pair, the device comprising a magnet adapted to suspend free-floating through a hole in a bottom of the shoe from a support in the shoe, the magnet capable of magnetic attraction to a magnetized surface on the board when the magnet is placed in contact with the surface,a sports board having at least one plate of magnetized metal, wherein the plate is in a position on the board for a rider to attach at least one shoe and ride the board, the position of the plate adapted to maximize the rider's performance on the board.
7. The system of board riding of claim 6, wherein the magnetized metal plate is positioned at the tail of the board.
8. The system of board riding of claim 6 comprising,a pair of magnetic shoes and at least two magnetic plates, one plate in a position at a front of the board and a second plate in a position at a back of the board, the two positions adapted to maximize performance on the board.
9. The system of board riding of claim 8, wherein the position at the back of the board is the tail.
10. The system of board riding of claim 7, wherein the magnet in the at least one shoe is positioned about 2/3 of the distance from the heel to the toe of the shoe, off-center of a width of the shoe, and near a position in the shoe approximately underneath a ball of a foot.
12. The system of claim 6, wherein the magnet is a neodymium magnet, and the metal is ferrous metal.
16. A shoe for magnetized attachment, the shoe comprising:a shoe sole havinga front portion adapted for increased flexibility,a back portion also adapted for increased flexibility, anda middle portion adapted for stiffness compared to the flexible front and back portions, wherein the flexibility of the front and back portions is relative to the stiffness of the middle portion,the middle portion also adapted to retain a magnet for attachment of the shoe to a magnetized board for engaging in magnetized board sports activities.
17. The shoe of claim 16, wherein the middle portion of the shoe sole is thicker than either the front or back portions.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Board sports have been extremely popular in the last two decades. Skate boarding, snow boarding, wake boarding and surfing all provide dynamic and exciting means for individuals inclined to a sport that requires balance, strength, coordination, and a sense of adventure.
The board used in any of these board sports is often made air-born for tricks and maneuvers, and while board sports such as snowboarding and wakeboarding have required the use of bindings, others such as skateboarding have been limited in the degree to which one can acquire an extended aerial pursuit without the use of a binding system.
A skateboarder, after dedicating much practice and effort, can learn how to elevate into the air with a move called an "ollie" which has become the basis for most modern tricks in skateboarding today. An ollie maneuver is done when the rider snaps the tail of the skateboard with their back foot so that the back of the board hits the ground sharply while the front foot makes an upward motion. Learning how to perform an ollie requires great skill that only a dedicated skateboarder accomplishes. Often times this can be discouraging to a casual skater. Also the skilled skater eventually wants to extend the time in the air to make the board behave more like a snowboard, which is to capture air for a longer period of time.
The earliest known invention with the idea of getting a board in the air without an "ollie" type maneuver was with the use of "skyhooks" developed in the early 1980's. Sky hooks was a form of a protruding half-binding system mounted on a skate board around each foot position. To have it work you would press the outsides of your feet against the large protruding hooks and jump.
More recently, Magnatron, a company that came into the board sports business for only a year, sold magnetic shoes and boards with metal plates in them. The company filed several patent applications that published describing a magnetized skateboard and snowskate shoe-board attachment system. US Pub 2003/0075890 describes a system with large metal plates in the board, and two magnets in each shoe. US pub 2003/0094788 describes a magnetic snowboard/snowskate system fashioned along the same principles as the skateboards. Finally US Pub 2004/0104551 describes a board having magnets, and a strap-on metal plate for the shoes. However, the devices described in all these applications severely compromise a rider's freedom of movement. Two magnets are placed in each shoe and connect to a metal plate located on the board. The two magnets made the shoe stiff and unmovable once attached, therefore not allowing a rider to adjust their stance and keep balanced. Furthermore, the ferrous metal plate in the board was a large oval-ish rectangle that made the board too heavy for optimum performance.
The system described in US Pub 2004/0104551 is somewhat different than the other applications because the board has magnets, and the shoes have strap-on metal plates. This system is particularly cumbersome. If anything, a board rider would want to eliminate bulk weight as much as possible in order to balance and maneuver better on the board, and adding the metal plates with straps does the opposite. Also, the only way to mount magnets in a skateboard using a thickness of magnet that imparts sufficient magnetic strength to hold a rider to the board is to mount the magnet in between the trucks. The trucks are the bracing by which the skateboard wheels attach to the board. The magnet in this system is required to be encased in steel to utilize its full strength, and the encasement requires thickness greater than the board. So the only place to mount the magnets is in between the trucks, where a thicker piece of metal encasement can be placed. The end result of the invention is a bulky board, stiff shoes and a system that is hard for a rider to use.((and with no utilization of the tail))
As evidence that the problem has been not so easy to solve, the Magnatron system is similar to another poorly designed magnet shoe system developed in France by a company named 4Size. The 4Size system has a bulky block magnet placed in the middle of the shoe. The magnet contacts 2 rectangular plates positioned directly between the trucks on the board which is not where an experienced rider normally stands on a skateboard. The positioning required with the 4Size design makes maneuvering and trick performance nearly impossible, and forces a rider to adopt a stiff stance while riding attached to the board with no utilization of either end of the board for critical tricks. The invention (also represented in a patent is issued to Philippe Riandet in France) can be viewed in its commercial embodiment at www.4size.com.
Clearly more development has been needed to optimize the idea of magnetic attachment for board sports.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The inventor was motivated to invent the magnetic device to provide a releasable magnetic attachment system. The inventor also wanted to design a system that would enhance rather than inhibit performance on a sports board in contrast to previous attachment systems. Such a system could be a viable training tool for young board riders and a tool for optimized performance for the experienced rider. Such a system carries with it the possibility of taking any board sport to new levels of physical achievement and excitement and further opens the door to inter-combining sports techniques.
For example, the ollie, a move particular to skateboarding, is a very difficult feat for the inexperienced rider, but with the magnetized attachment system of the invention, "air" otherwise achieved using an ollie move without the attachment, can be achieved without doing the ollie.
In addition, skateboard long boards re-create a surfing experience and could easily create an experience on a "dry" board more akin to snowboarding using the magnetized attachment system of the invention. New types of board sports may also develop (such as "mag boarding") as a result of the technology embodied in this invention.
The invention described herein to an advanced magnetic attachment system was developed by a professional multi-board enthusiast. This inventor was motivated to provide a system that potentially combines more than one board sport and allows new versions of sports boarding to emerge. Especially for skateboarding, but also for the other board sports, magnetic attachment has an advantage for training purposes and allows a rider to perform and enjoy air born maneuvers (e.g. such as air born spinning maneuvers) more easily by being attached to the board.
The invention is a magnetic device capable of being inserted in a shoe for attaching the shoe to a board (e.g. a sports board such as a skate board, a long skate board, a snow skate board, a wake board, a surf board, and a long surf board). The basic idea is that a first magnetized object (optimally a magnet) is placed in shoes worn by the board rider, and a second magnetized object (optimally a plate of ferrous metal) is placed within the surface of the board. The magnetized metal plate is usually placed in both a front and a back position on the board. The two magnetized objects (typically a magnet in the shoe and a metal plate in the board) have a strong magnetic attraction between them, and allow the board rider to remain attached to the board when wearing the magnet-containing shoes. The downfall of prior versions of such a system has been that they have not been user friendly, and thus they were not commercially successful. The inventor of the present invention has meticulously developed and tested versions of his system to overcome all these prior short comings in the development of his device and system.
Optimally the system of magnetic attachment, in the simplest form, includes a sports board that has one magnetized plate in the front of the board and one magnetized plate in the back. The shoe-wearer/board rider becomes magnetically attached to the board when magnets in one or both shoes of the rider's pair of shoes align with the plates embedded in the board.
The attachment plates for any given board can be two small round plates of ferrous metal one each at the front and back end of the board (e.g. about 2 inch diameter spheres, see FIG. 1A and 1D). A note here is warranted about these plates, and their size, shape and placement. The size of the plate is optimally as small as possible to provide the necessary contact but so as to not to add significant weight to the board, and thus based on geometric principles, the most economical shape for the plates is generally a sphere. However, through iteration and experimentation, the inventor found that an optimal shape for the front plate can be an oval or oval-like shape. Unlike the sphere which is attached to the bottom of the board with a single bolt in the center of the sphere, the oval is attached using 2 bolts (or other attachment means such as a rivet or pin, or other attachment member) to the bottom of the board, see FIGS. 6B and 6C.
For the back of the board, the inventor determined that the most significant choice affecting the use and comfort of the board is the position selected for the plate. Optimally, the plate is placed in the tail of the board, rather than right at the trucks. (The tail is a particular section of the back of the board where the board begins to curve up). If properly placed at the tail, the plate can be the minimum size, which is a sphere of about 2 inches diameter (held by a single bolt in the center of the sphere, see FIG. 6A). Unlike previous board attachment systems, the inventor has determined that placing the metal plate at the tail (and not between the back trucks as others have done) significantly optimizes control and balance for the rider. An oval shaped plate can be placed at the tail of the board, but the oval is a larger surface area and adds more weight to the board. A single sphere properly placed at the tail will generally suffice and provides the rider all the attachment surface area required at the back of the board for good foot placement there.
In contrast, the front of the board benefits from the increased surface area for attachment because optimal front foot placement is more varied from rider to rider, and from trick to trick. The slight increase of surface area with the oval is well worth the compromise of some additional weight to the board because the rider is provided the needed flexibility of more options for front foot placement. This goes to ultimate flexibility and optimization of the system for the rider (see FIGS. 6D and 6E). Accordingly, the front plate can be a slender horizontal oval shape to cover a wider area with minimized addition of weight.
In addition to plate size and placement, other elements of the system have been configured together to produce a device and system that goes beyond simply attaching the rider to the board. Over years of riding and testing, the inventor has optimized the configuration of the elements to make magnetic attachment to the board feel like a natural progression in the development of board sports generally, with particular attention to skate boarding and snow boarding. The device is optimized from previous magnetic shoe devices by having the magnet hang, free-float, or dangle from a support in the shoe. Previously magnets in shoes have been fixed rigidly in the shoe on the theory that it was important that the magnet remain in the shoe in an immovable position. However, the rigid design actually had a counter productive effect on the prior systems because it did not allow use of the magnet's full sticking potential. With the feet flatly positioned over the metal plates, no leeway of foot movement (up and down) was possible because all the attachment elements were solidly aligned. Any slight movement upward with the rider's heel would cause the stiff magnetic configuration of the magnets to break loose. The use of a double magnet (Magnatron) made this negative result not as bad by applying a stronger attachment power, yet more impractical because it was even more limiting than a single magnet in the shoe. But the double magnet system required more effort for the rider to break free from the board when needed, which could have disastrous effects at moments of emergency.
The new invention adopts a single free floating type of a hanging magnet. The inventor likens the hanging, free-floating magnet attachment to the role joints and tendons play around bones within the human body. The magnet's relationship to the support in the shoe incorporates the essential needs of desired flex and offers controllability within the range of motion required. With the invention, the rider now has some ability to adjust the foot position: up and down with heel movement, right and left with rotation of the magnet, and generally from side to side as needed in response to the ride. The support in the shoe is generally a straight support member, depicted in the figures going straight across the width of the shoe. The support member can and may however, be positioned in the shoe extending at an angle from the side of the shoe in order to place the magnet in the proper position under the ball of the foot, or for other logistical reasons having to do with shoe size, and shoe design, and other factors. Accordingly, the support is not required to be positioned exactly horizontal in the shoe (or exactly perpendicular to the side of the shoe), but can be at an oblique or acute angle relative to the side of the shoe.
The magnet, optimally with a round flat face, and strong neodymium characteristics, (e.g. a magnet having a strength in a range from about n38 to about n42 with a pull force of up to about 75 lbs. For example, the magnet should have a pull force in a range from about 30 lbs for small riders to about 50 lbs for mid-sized riders and at least about 75 lbs for larger riders, and in some cases reaching a pull force of 90 lbs when necessary to retain an even larger rider, or a rider requiring a tighter attachment to the board for the moves they want to do. Though relatively small in contact surface area (e.g. in a range of about 0.5 inches to about 2.5 inches diameter, optimally about 1.0 inches diameter) is positioned in an optimal spot on the bottom of the shoe, approximately under the ball of the foot. The optimal position is a position where the shoe wearer retains some flexibility of movement with his foot and shoe, and can also move the shoe somewhat around the magnet which stays fixed to the metal plate on the board. Upon lifting the heel of the shoe beyond the "attachment range" the magnet detaches from the board, and the rider is released. By having a relatively strong magnet but a small surface area of the magnet face, the magnetic device allows the rider to remain attached to the shoe while performing a greater range of foot and shoe movements.
Risk of unintended detachment from the board is minimized by the relatively high magnet strength, the position of the magnet at the bottom of the shoe, and the position of the magnetized metal plates on the board. The present invention provides a greater range of movement to the foot before risking detachment from the board than previously designed or envisioned by other board sports designers and inventors.
Another key feature of the device and system of the invention is the way the magnet is held in the shoe. The magnet is held by a support placed within the shoe sole. The interconnection between the magnet and the support facilitates a free floating/hanging configuration of the magnet from the support, which contributes to both the versatility of movement for the rider, and the safety of the system. The free-floating/hanging aspect of this feature allows foot flexibility during attachment to the board. Continued near full-range use of the shoe when magnetically attached to the sports board is critical to facilitating the improvement provided by the attachment system of this invention. The freedom of movement allows the rider's heel to extend upward to its maximum height before releasing the magnetized shoe from the magnetized metal plate in the board. The smaller surface area of a single magnet also contributes to this feature as it results in an easier release when rider executes the forced heel movement, or quick swivel action of the foot, both of which cause the shoe to release from the board.
The magnet releasibility contributes to the safety of the system. Increased safety is provided by the invention, because flexibility is allowed in the foot movements (without premature release), and releasibility can be quickly and specifically achieved once it is desired. Note that this is also a learned process the rider takes note of while practicing on a soft surface such as grass or carpet and with the desired safety gear like wrist guards, knee pads, and helmets.
The magnet is optimally placed on the bottom of the shoe about 2/3 of the way from the heel of the shoe, or about 1/3 the way from the toe of the shoe in a long axis from heel to toe, and approximately slightly below the ball of the foot. Position adjustments of the magnetic device in the shoes may be needed for different size shoes. Adult and child systems might be designed with slightly different specifications regarding slight adjustments of where the magnet is placed on the bottom of the shoe, the strength of the magnets, and also possibly where the magnetized metal plate is placed on the board.
In addition, the configuration of a single magnet in the shoe, rather than two magnets, frees-up movement, allowing more rotation with feet (and shoes) in maneuvers to perform tricks while the rider remains stuck to the board.
The invention makes the best use of a single magnet situated in the best possible location in a shoe. The importance of positioning goes the same for the board in using a minimal magnetized metal attachment area where one would need it, in this case slightly off center or centered depending on the width of the board for the front position, or slightly off center and at the tail for the back position. Prior boards have positioned the metal almost directly over the trucks and centered, which is suboptimal for performance and riding in an enjoyable surf stance position.
The system can have the following alternative embodiments: only one attachment position (i.e. either in the front of the back of the board, and only one corresponding magnetized shoe), also, the magnet can be in the board and the metal in the shoe or shoes, or the magnetic attraction can be with two magnets (i.e. a magnet in the shoe and a magnet in the board).
The magnetic shoe and magnetized metal board system of this invention trains an already familiar rider to further enhance their riding skills along with their enjoyment. By combining this new way of attachment and the already established techniques and tricks from various board sports, enjoyment and achievement in any board sport will be increased and pushed to new levels.
Another feature of the system is that the magnet can be removed from the shoe and replaced by a plug to return the shoes to normal use. By removing the magnet and replacing the hole in the shoe where the magnet was with a plug, the shoe no longer attaches to magnetized metal. The removed magnet can be stored by attaching it to a shield or guard of some kind, such as a rubberized metal plate to which two magnets (i.e., one from each shoe) can be attached (one each on each side of the plate). This protects the magnets from random attachment to unwanted magnetized objects.
In a particularly useful embodiment, rather than remove the magnet from the shoe, the magnet is left in the shoe and within the shoe can be raised up (for "off") or lowered down (for "on") by the use of a manual raising and lowering system. This can be accomplished by, for example, the magnet hung or free-floating from a bar that spans the width of the shoe. The bar can have a kink or bend in it such that upon turning of a lever connected to the bar the magnet is raised or lowered within a space in the shoe sole provided for the magnet. When "on" in the down position, the magnet is flush with the bottom of the shoe. When up in the "off" position, the magnet is recessed in the shoe. A rubberized plug or shield having a very thin ferrous (i.e. magnetized) metal plate can be placed in the recess of the shoe near the magnet when it is raised, to make the shoe surface flush, and to protect the shoe from attaching randomly to unwanted magnetized objects (e.g., metallic debris such as nails or screws found on walking paths or any other miscellaneous iron containing objects.). Lost plugs can be replaced easily as an accessory to the shoe system at a shoe store or online source that sells the magnetized shoes.
Being able to turn the magnetization on and off, provides the rider with a convenient and versatile "dual-use" shoe, a tremendous advantage for the active board sports aficionado who might use their board to get to school or work, and then prefer not to change shoes once at their destination. The dual use also gives the rider the option to ride their board without the use of the magnets when they want to.
The board configuration with the magnetized metal plates (i.e. ferrous metal plates, e.g., metal plates having iron as a component in the alloy or metal) is configured in two key spots in accordance to a surf stance riding position. One spot is in relative center on the tail section, while the other is centered between the front truck bolt assembly of the skateboard deck (typically of a standard width of about 7.5 inches or smaller). Wider boards of any sport may need to compensate with a variation of placing the metal slightly off center or having a slender oval shaped metal in a horizontal position to keep foot positioning in a preferred desired stance. Thus, the industry can determine with routine experimentation optimal placement of the metal plates in the boards of various sports, along the principles introduced with this invention.
For example, skateboards and snowboards (and also long skateboards and surf boards) can be designed asymmetrically so that the nose (front) and tail (back) are either a different shape, or extend out more or less than the other from a reference point (such as the trucks in a skateboard). Thus in all cases consideration of the shape of the nose and the shape of the tail need to be taken into account when placing the plates in the boards.
Also, as all the board sports have different board shapes, placement of the metal plates on the boards for different board sports will likely be slightly different for each board sport, but all the placements can apply the stated objectives articulated here with regard to the placement. Understanding this, and because a given principle of the present invention is that the location of the plates at the nose and the tail should be different for each (even where the nose and tail shape are symmetrically or identically), an option for use of the magnetized board as a non-magnetized system is to simply flip the board around and make the nose the back and the tail the front. This way, even wearing magnetized shoes, the rider can remain unattached to the board. Thus, the system design can further contribute to the use of the board and shoes together in a non-magnetized system when desired, by simply reversing the way one stands on a symmetrically shaped board and using the non-magnetized nose section of the board as a tail. This adjustment however may not be desirable when the front and the back of the board are significantly different as in an "old school" shaped board which is not symmetrical.
The figures and the description that follows further explain the invention and through this detail, objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent. The invention is not limited however to specific examples and drawings presented.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1A-1D illustrates several views of the shoe or a pair of shoes magnetically attached to a skate board.
FIG. 2A-FIG. 2E illustrate the magnetic attachment system having the ability to move the magnet down (on) and up (off) in the shoe. The up (off) position is shown with a plug.
FIG. 3A-FIG. 3F illustrates details of magnetic device of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4A-FIG. 4D illustrates the removable magnet attachment system.
FIG. 5A-FIG. 5C illustrates a component for storing the removable magnets.
FIG. 6A-6C depict two different metal plates for affixation to the board and FIG. 6D-6F depict different nose/tail combinations of these plates.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 1A depicts board 4 with a rider magnetically attached. Shoes 8 with magnets 2 are attached at metal plate 6 on board 4. Front of board 56 and back of board 58 are also shown. Tail 18 is a region within back of board 58. FIG. 1B shows board 4 and front of board 56 with left foot of rider. Left shoe 8 having bottom of shoe 28 and magnet on board 4. The angle shown gives the viewer a sense of the range of motion with regard to heel height that is typical in the system. FIG. 1C shows the bottom 28 of shoe 8 as the back heel lifts off board 4; magnet 2 is attached to metal plate 6 at tail 18 of board 4. FIG. 1D shows board 4 with both shoes 8 attached to the front 56 and back 58 of board 4. Tail 18 retains right shoe 8. Magnet 2 is shown coming out of hole 38 from bottom of shoe 28 to contact plate 6 on board 4. Left shoe 8 having bottom 28 also contacts plate 6 at front of board 56. A typical ride standing stance for the rider is shown in FIG. 1D where both heels are raised in a maximum angle position before magnets 2 in shoes would detach from board 4, and shoes 8 are rotated slightly to optimize balance during the ride.
FIG. 2A-2E depict device 10, that provides the "on" and "off" option for the magnetized system by controlling whether the magnet is down ("on") or up ("off") in the shoe. FIG. 2A shows shoe 8 cut away to reveal magnet device 10 with support rod 14 allowing magnet 2 to be in the down or "on" position 24.
FIG. 2B shows magnet device 10 (the embodiment capable of up (off) and down (on) positions) with magnet 2 held by support rod 14 in shoe sole 18 from a top to inward look into the bottom 28 with the toe section being in the forefront. Magnet 2 is held by support rod 14 at magnet hanging member 12. Here hanging member is part of the magnet casing 32. Magnet 2 is in up position 22 so that magnet 2 is recessed into the bottom of shoe 28 in an up or "off" position 22. Screw head 42 on side of magnet device 10 this embodiment is accessible outside the bottom 28 of shoe 8 to manually turn use of magnet device 10 on 24 and off 22. Plug 44 is shown below the raised magnet 2, plug 44 flush with the bottom 28 of shoe 8.
FIG. 2C shows device 10 inside bottom of shoe 28 in a front toe cutaway diagram. Device 10 is turned on by magnet 2, which hangs from support rod 14. Magnet 2 hangs from a hanging member 12 that is attached to the magnet casing 32 between bends in support rod 16. Magnet 2 is shown in a down position 24. Screw head 42 is on the left and would be accessible from the outside of the bottom of shoe 28 for adjustment of the magnet up or down.
FIG. 2D shows a slightly off side view of device 10 in bottom of shoe 28 in the down "on" position 24. Magnet 2 is flush with the bottom of shoe 8. Magnet 2 hangs from support rod 14 at hanging member 12. Screw head 42 is shown on the left side of the shoe for controlling the magnet position.
FIG. 2E shows bottom of bottom of shoe 28 with device 10 in a down "on" position 24. Bottom surface of magnet 48 is level with bottom of shoe 28.
FIG. 3A shows just device 10 itself in an up position 22 the way it would look if the magnet were to be manually turned "off" by a turn of the screw head 42 on the right. Note that the screw head feature is exemplary, and can be any feature that allows control of the support rod, such as a pin that rotates, etc. Magnet 2 hangs from support rod 14 by a hanging member 12 that is attached to the magnet casing 32 between bends in support rod 16. Magnet 2 is shown in an up position 22. Screw head 42 is on the right for adjustment of the magnet up or down. Tubular encasement 26 holds the support rod 14.
FIG. 3B shows the same magnet device 10 as shown in FIG. 3A, but in a down "on" position 24. Screw head 42 is shown on the right for manual adjustment of up or down positioning to turn device on and off. Again, the screw head is only one example of a feature to move the magnet up and down. The feature should be relatively flush with the side of the shoe, but can be any feature that allows manual control of the raising and lowering of the magnet inside the shoe, such as a small handle, a wire protrusion extending from the support rod and adapted to turn clockwise or counter clockwise to raise or lower the magnet. Preferably the feature is flush or nearly flush with the side of the shoe. The slit in the screw head can be large enough for a dime to act as the screw driver in moving the rod and so the magnet one way or another.
FIG. 3C shows device 10 by itself with the parts exploded. Tubular encasement 26 which is two pieces on the top of the exploded diagram receives the support rod 14 in the middle of the diagram. Between bends 16 in the support rod 14 is the section that the magnet is suspended from which is shown in the bottom of the diagram. Hanging eyelet 12 is integral with casing 32 that surrounds all but the face of magnet 2. As such, magnet 2 suspends from support rod 14 at the eyelet 12. The eyelet shape allows magnet 2 to hang and move freely in the shoe. Hanging eyelet 12 is optimally designed to make the lowest clearance for the support rod 14 and thus a preferred shape of the eyelet is more of an arch-like shape than depicted in this diagram.
FIG. 3D shows three different angle views of device 10 with plug 54 hanging from support rod 14. Plug 54 has a some ferrous metal on its inside surface to magnetically attach the plug to the magnet. The metal placed on the inside of the plug can be a unitary thin metal plate, but more optimally is two or more pieces of metal spaced apart on the circumference of the inside portion of the plug. Two or more pieces placed at the edge of the plug sphere counteracts the magnetic pole effect that the attraction of magnet 2 for the metal creates. With a single unitary piece, the magnet may attach slightly askew on the plug, but with two or more metal pieces spaced apart on the inside surface of the plug this effect does not occur and the magnet can attach squarely to the plug. Effecting a square placement is important because the hole in the shoe should be a tight fit with the magnet and the plug, and so there is not a lot of room for misalignment in their connection.
It is also important to determine the thickness of the metal attached to the plug so that the relative force to remove the plug from the magnet is about the force of a finger pull. The force between the magnet and the metal attached to the plug can also be optimized by coating or covering the metal plate with rubber to reduce the potential attraction of the magnet for the metal. Optimal operation of the shoe system requires the user to first elevate the magnet to the "off" or up position 22 and then manually place plug 54 in the hole of the shoe. Magnetic attachment occurs once the plug is in the hole close to the magnet. The shoe can then be worn like a normal, non-magnetic shoe. To return the shoe to use with the magnet, plug 54 is manually removed and the magnet lowered to the on position flush with the bottom of shoe.
FIG. 3E shows a slight angle change from FIG. 3A. FIG. 3C depicts the bottom surface of plug 54. FIG. 3D shows plug 54 alone near support bar 14. Normally magnet 2 is attached to support bar 14 at all times. FIG. 3E shows plug 54 in a side view as it appears when removed from the shoe. It is important to note that the plug and metal can be very thin. FIG. 3F shows the bottom surface of plug 54.
FIG. 4A is a view of device 20 (removable magnet embodiment) in bottom of shoe 28, and shows bottom surface of magnet 48. Magnet 2 is shown in the down or on position 24. Support rod 14 is shown transparently inside bottom 28 of shoe. The plug can be substituted for magnet 2. Support rod 14 is stationary when screwed securely by screw head 42 outside the shoe. FIG. 4B shows magnet 2 and/or plug 44 flush with the bottom of shoe 28.
FIG. 4C shows device 20 from an off side view of inside shoe 8. Support rod 14 is ready to be inserted in bottom of shoe 28 or completely removed. In the middle of bottom of shoe 28, either magnet 2 or plug 44 can hang from support rod 14. At far right end support rod 14 makes connection with threaded receptacle 52. Tubular encasement 26 holds support rod 14 in shoe, and can be made from any durable material, such as, for example, rubber or metal, or other substantially durable materials in order to hold support rod 14 stationary in shoe. FIG. 4D shows device 20 transparently in bottom of shoe 28, with plug 44 inserted. Threaded receptacle 52 and screw head 42 at opposite ends of rod 14. Rod 14 housed in tubular encasements 26 within shoe sole.
FIGS. 5A and 5B depicts magnets 2 stored on a rubberized metal plate storage unit 46 that holds magnets safely outside shoe.
FIG. 5C shows several pictures of magnet 2 being magnetically held with storage unit for mags 46. Storage unit for mags 46 consist of a thin piece of steel sandwiched by 2 rubber pieces. Magnets 2 are held in place when not in use on this storage unit 46 by having one magnet 2 magnetically attached to each side. Eyelets 12 for dangling magnets 2 from rod in shoe also shown.
FIG. 6A shows a 2'' steel plate (6) that is approx 1/8 ''thick or 12 gauge. The plate has a countersunk hole 36 for screw to be screwed into a slightly recessed board surface shaped to receive the plate. FIG. 6B shows a side view of the screw locations 36 for metal plate 6 which has an oval shape that is shown in FIG. 6C. FIGS. 6D, 6E, and 6F each show a different combination of plates in the nose 56 (front) and tail 18 (in back 58). FIG. 6C has round plates 6 in the front and tail. FIG. 6D has oval plates 6 in the nose and tail, and FIG. 6E has an oval plate 6 in the nose and an round plate 6 in the tail 18 (preferred).
A preferred embodiment of the invention is a drop down magnet. See FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 illustrating the drop down magnet device and system. The main features of the illustrated embodiment are a bent metal rod with a dangling magnet suspended on a loop (eyelet) 12, an outside screw head 42 manually controls movement from an on to an off position (i.e. a down to an up position) and visa versa.
An alternate embodiment is one in which the magnet is removable (system and device 20), such as the design having a straight screw rod (i.e., Steel Screw Out Pin with Interchangeable Shoe Plug), depicted in FIG. 4. It should be noted that the screw feature is an example of an element to control the removal of the support rod, and the end depicted with a screw head feature, could be replaced with any other feature for releasing the support rod to remove the rod and the magnet (which is underneath the shoe). Optimum placement in the shoe for any of the magnet designs is approximately 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up from the heel towards the toe, just slightly off center and slightly under the ball of the foot.
Advantages of the approximate 2/3 placement is advanced trick performance, allowing freedom of movement and usability of the heel. A horizontal position of the support also gives the greatest angling of foot movement while still being held stuck for the longest period of time before breaking free by raising the heel all the way up of an attached foot.
The quality of the shoe sole and the exact character of the materials that make up the sole are important to the final system. Through extensive prototyping and experimental riding, the inventor determined that the shoe sole must be thick enough to house the magnetic devices described herein, yet flexible and elastic enough to provide the necessary feel and function of a sports shoe. In skateboarding one often "feels" the board more thru the toe and heel section of the shoe. The ideal magnetized skate shoe will probably have more feeling in the toe and heel section, and may not be as thick in those areas or may implement a less dense polymeric material. Ultimately, after much experimentation, the inventor has determined that the type of rubbery sole chosen for the shoe, in the end will have a great impact on how the final magnetized board attachment system will work and feel. Accordingly, the invention includes a shoe that shoe sole with a flexible front and back portion, and a relatively stiffer middle section, where the magnet is placed. The middle section can also be thicker than the front or the back sections to provide a cushion to prevent discomfort on account of the magnet in the shoe. The flexibility in the front and back portions and the stiffness in the middle portion can be provided by varying the quality or character of the polymer material that is used in fabricating the shoe sole. If the device were to be placed in a vertical position within the shoe, the angle of foot movement required for release of the magnetic attachment is less, and therefore that configuration will inhibit the rider from staying on as long as when the support bar is horizontal (across the width) in the shoe. Contact would therefore be broken more frequently during a session. Features such as removal of the magnet and raising or lowering the magnet into position become more difficult to achieve as well.
A possible advantage of placing the magnet device within the middle of a shoe and having the support in a vertical alignment running from heel to toe in the shoe would be to allow compensation for much younger youthful rider to ride magnetized but release easier. Also with a smaller shoe the working area within the shoe sole is reduced and a vertical mounting position becomes more practical, this taking in the consideration as well that a powerful magnet may be too much for a smaller rider.
Optimal magnet placement within the shoe and metal placement within the board for these systems has been discovered through experimentation and extensive test riding by a professional skateboard rider.
The magnets are preferably of neodymium material, which are some of the strongest magnets in the world. The magnets can also be made of more expensive rare earth elements in the same family of compounds such as samarium cobalt. The magnets used in the systems prototyped here are encased neodymium or the equivalent of that magnetic element with the grade range of N38 to N42. The encasement for the magnet is typically metal. The neodymium magnets of this strength generally provide a strength pull factor of approx 75 lbs. each, and at least in a range of pull factor from about 60 lbs to about 90 lbs.
The optimum range for the diameter of the magnet face is from about 0.5 inches to about 2.5 inches. Preferably, the magnet face has about a 1 inch diameter. The stronger the magnet's pull force is, the more likely the magnet face can be smaller and still work effectively in the system. The combination of specified magnet strength and surface area of the contact face of the magnet allows the shoe to adhere strongly to a magnetized metal plate.
The magnetized metal plate or component is generally a ferrous metal, e.g. a metal having some iron in it. Any metal capable of being magnetized will work for the function, but ferrous metals are preferred because of the strength of their attraction to magnets.
All the magnetic systems require the magnetized metal surface to be bare for maximum strength and holding power. Grip-tape and the like, commonly used on boards to eliminate slippage should not be covering the surface of the metal. An exception would be if one wants to weaken the magnetic attachment, then by covering the metal with a thin layer of sticker type tape the attraction to the magnet is reduced.
The Drop Down Magnet (Bent Steel Rod with Dangling Magnet Suspended on a Loop)
See FIG. 2A-2E and 3A-3F for visual explanation of the following. Device 10 having support rod 14 of 3/16'' equivalent steel rod is fashioned with a bent configuration in the middle. Although the support rod is shown in these figures here exactly perpendicular to the side of the shoe, and horizontal within the shoe, the support rod can be positioned at an acute or oblique angle relative to the side of the shoe (running from heel to toe). In fact for all devices depicted, although they are shown mounted exactly horizontal in shoe diagrams, in actuality they may be at slight angles within the shoe, for example to accommodate a particular shoe size or shoe design, or the feature that operates the raising and lowering of the magnet within the shoe.
A 1'' encased magnet 2 with a looping attachment 12 is placed in the middle and allowed to swing from it. The steel rod is loosely encased in metal tubing on each side 26 of the magnet and fixed to the sides of the shoe with a screw head 42 on one end that is accessible on the outside of the shoe. When the screw head is turned it allows the magnet to be up or down, i.e. on or off. In the up position the magnet is off. A rubber plug 54 is provided that can be inserted when magnet 2 is in the up position. The rubber plug 54 has a thin metal ring on one side that makes it stick into the shoe by attaching to the recessed magnet. A turning of the screw makes the rubber plug insert 54 drop back down with the magnet for easy removal of the plug.
Because magnet 2 can be manually switched from on to off positions, the design offers the flexibility of a dual purpose shoe. Another dual purpose shoe that is possible though less convenient, is shown in the removable magnet embodiment, device 20 (FIG. 4). The removed magnet can be replaced with a plug 44 in the shoe, and the removed magnet safely stored until needed again.
Straight Steel Screw Pin Rod (Removable Magnet System--Screw Out Pin with Interchangeable Shoe Plug)
A straight 3/16'' equivalent type of screw rod 14 (FIG. 4A-4D) can be taken in and out of the shoe side by screwing/unscrewing the outside screw head 42. This system would require a shoe plug 44 to fill the hole left in the shoe after removal of the magnet. The system would also require a rubber backed metal disk 46 of approximately 2 inches in diameter (e.g. where the magnets are about 1 inch in diameter) for placing separated magnets on each side of the disk for safe storage.
The straight rod pin 14 works well for imparting maximum holding power from a dangling magnet held on a rod inserted through the enclosed loop 12 on the magnet casing, while also the rod is floating within the arm couplings 26. This allows the greatest foot angle before releasing during rider operation. The slot of screw head 42 of this embodiment can be made big enough for a coin to work as a screwdriver.
For all the described embodiments, support 14 that holds magnet 2 is generally adapted to fit within a shoe 8 having the magnet free-float from the support into a hole 38 in the bottom of the shoe 28 from which the magnet can contact a ferrous metal plate 6 on a board 4. As described earlier, because of the position of the metal plates on the board, and the position (and size) of the magnet in the shoe, a rider can train, learn and perform tricks on the board. A feature of the system is that the support can be adapted to raise and lower the magnet from within the shoe. The invention also provides a safer magnetized board because while providing increased flexibility for the rider to maneuver when attached to the board, it also provides a safe and easy release by not having the shoe heel magnetized. This allows raising of the heel to an angle just greater than the angle of motion that is allowed for the rider to stay on the board. And because of the ease a non-magnetic heel provides, it also helps to achieve and maintain a more comfortable and balanced stance for riding while turning and performing certain tricks. Other manufactured shoes with double magnets were bulkier and heavier and prohibited ease of foot movements while also making release more difficult deeming the system unsafe.
The plugs 54 used to guard or cover the magnet surface in the up position can have a thin ferrous metal plate with rubber shields on both sides. A magnet from each shoe of a pair of shoes attaches to a rubber covered plate 54 placed in the hole 38 left after the magnet 2 is recessed. Thus the shoe is converted to normal use when the rider is finished boarding or perhaps wants to ride un-magnetized.
In addition to providing a magnetized attachment device for board riding, the invention also provides a system of riding a board with the magnetic features described. The system incorporates the attachment of the shoes and the board together to facilitate a new way of engaging in and enjoying board sports.
A use of the magnetic attachment system is to cross-train in both skateboarding and snowboarding where aerial spins and airborne maneuvers are similarly performed. A snowboarder may want to advance his skills off the snow with a magnetized skateboard and would want to be able to simulate all the tricks a snowboard could do in the snow. An advanced rider would also take note of the ease in which many "stall" type tricks can now be performed on ledges where one may have struggled before to get to the top of the ledge. Now that one is in the air or on a ledge more easily by using the magnet attached system, the rider can start to focus on the feeling of body positioning and balance it would take to do the moves without the use of the magnets. The need for a training tool that provides at least a temporary attachment to the board has been poorly demonstrated by the frequent instances one might see young skateboarders wrapping their feet to the skateboard with duct tape or bicycle inner tubes in order to learn a maneuver.
Most broadly, the invention is to a system of attaching a rider to a sports board with a magnetized element exposed from the bottom of a rider's shoe, and a magnetized element in a board available for contact on a top surface of the board. Optimally, the magnetized element is at least at a tail of the board (in the back of the board), and if there are two attachment positions, then also at the front of the board.
These systems can also have various combinations such as: either a magnet in the shoe and metal in the board, a magnet in the shoe and a magnet in the board or metal in the shoe and a magnet in the board. Of these embodiments, the presently preferred embodiment is the combination where the metal is in the board and the magnet is in the shoe.
The invention is not limited however, to the specific features and combinations of features described herein, but only by the breadth of the claims. The key features in all the systems is the positioning of the magnetized element in the shoe, (i.e., the way it is positioned in the shoe to allow the foot to still move enough to provide the rider with flexibility and balance) and not only where it is placed on the bottom of the shoe, but also how the magnetized element is dangled or loosely configured to hang inside the shoe, and how the shoe can lift away from the magnetized element after the magnetized element has attached to the magnetized element on the board.
Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail by way of illustration and example, for purposes of clarity of understanding, it will be obvious that various alternatives, modifications and equivalents may be used and the above description should not be taken as limiting in scope of the invention which is defined by the appended claims. All cited references are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
Patent applications in class SKATES
Patent applications in all subclasses SKATES