Patent application title: SNORKEL
Aviel Amit (Holon, IL)
IPC8 Class: AB63C1116FI
Class name: Surgery respiratory method or device draw-type snorkel
Publication date: 2011-11-17
Patent application number: 20110277755
A snorkel including a breathing tube having an air inlet at one end and a
mouthpiece at the other end, an elastic, self refilling reservoir for
holding ambient air coupled in air flow communication to the breathing
tube, and a mechanism in the reservoir in air flow communication with the
breathing tube for permitting inflow of air from the breathing tube and
providing outflow of air to the mouthpiece only from the reservoir
1. A snorkel comprising: a breathing tube having an air inlet at one end
and a mouthpiece at the other end; a flexible reservoir for holding
ambient air coupled in air flow communication to said breathing tube and
disposed between said air inlet and said mouthpiece; and further
comprising a water drain valve for separating water from air in said
2. The snorkel according to claim 1, further comprising: a mechanism in said reservoir in air flow communication with said breathing tube for permitting inflow of air from said breathing tube and providing outflow of air to said mouthpiece only from said reservoir.
3. The snorkel according to claim 1, further comprising a used air reservoir adjacent said flexible reservoir for receiving used air from a diver when under water.
4. A method for making a snorkel, the method comprising: forming a breathing tube with an air inlet at one end; mounting a mouthpiece on said breathing tube at the other end; coupling a flexible reservoir for holding ambient air to said breathing tube for flow communication; providing inflow of air to said reservoir from said breathing tube; and providing outflow of air to said mouthpiece only from said reservoir.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to diving gear, in general and, in particular, to snorkels for use during diving.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 A conventional snorkel is a breathing device, typically including a breathing tube that is open at the top and has a mouthpiece at the other end. When diving using a conventional snorkel, a diver is constrained to swim face down near the surface of the water, so that the top of the breathing tube will be out of the water. If a diver wishes to dive with the snorkel below the surface of the water, he must hold his breath and press his tongue against the mouthpiece to prevent the influx of water. Even when a valve is used in the inlet to the breathing tube that substantially prevents water from entering the breathing tube, the only air available to the driver when the inlet is under the water will be the air in his lungs. It is often desirable to be able to extend the diver's stay underwater, but without the weight and complication of carrying fixed amount of pressurized air on the diver's back.
 Accordingly, there is a long felt need for a snorkel which could provide an additional "breath" of fresh air from the atmosphere to a diver while the snorkel inlet is under the water.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The present invention will be further understood and appreciated from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:
 FIGS. 1a and 1b are schematic plan illustrations of a snorkel constructed and operative in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the snorkel of FIG. 1a;
 FIG. 3a is a front view of the snorkel of FIG. 1a;
 FIG. 3b is a sectional view of the snorkel of FIG. 3a taken along line A-A;
 FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the snorkel of FIG. 1a;
 FIG. 5 is a schematic side view of a detail of a snorkel constructed and operative in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of a snorkel constructed and operative in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention on the back of a diver; and
 FIG. 7 is a schematic side view of a snorkel constructed and operative in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention on the back of a diver.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to snorkels permitting diving below the surface of the water for a longer period of time than is possible with conventional snorkels. This is accomplished by providing a flexible, self-refilling reservoir for holding fresh air from the atmosphere coupled in air flow communication with the breathing tube. In this way, an additional quantity of ambient air is held in the reservoir as the diver dives, until it is needed by the diver, without water entering the mouthpiece. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a mechanism is provided in the reservoir for allowing only air from the reservoir to go to the mouthpiece, and not air and water directly from the air inlet.
 Referring now to FIGS. 1a to 4, there is shown a snorkel 10 constructed and operative in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Snorkel 10 includes a breathing tube 12, which may have a J-shape, having a mouthpiece 14 at one end thereof and an air inlet 16 at the other end thereof. A flexible, preferably elastic, self-refilling reservoir 20 for holding fresh air from the atmosphere, is coupled in air flow communication with the breathing tube 12, between the air inlet 16 and the mouthpiece 14. Thus, the reservoir can be elastic, returning automatically to its original shape, or can be formed of a flexible material and have mechanical or other means for returning it to its non-expanded shape when air is removed therefrom.
 According to some embodiments of the invention, a valve 18 is provided on air inlet 16 and is designed to prevent the ingress of water into breathing tube 12 and into reservoir 20 when the tube is submerged in water. As known in the art, valve 18 may include a pivotal sealing element (not shown) which opens by gravitational force when inlet 16 is out of the water to permit ingress of ambient air, and seals inlet 16 by the force of the water when submerged. Additionally, valve 18 may be designed to open when inlet 16 is above water surface both when the reservoir is full of air and when it is free of air, whereby the vacuum in the reservoir acts against opening of the sealing element. Opening of the valve under vacuum conditions can be accomplished by configuring the sealing element to open by balancing the weight of the sealing element against the force of the vacuum or by other methods known in the art.
 Air reservoir 20 is sealingly coupled to breathing tube 12 in flow communication with the tube. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1a, air reservoir 20 is a cylindrical reservoir surrounding a portion of breathing tube 12. Air reservoir 20 is a flexible, preferably elastic, reservoir which can be expanded and collapsed, and may be formed of silicone. A one way air valve 22 is provided at the top of reservoir 20 or at the air inlet 16 or coupled with the valve 18, to permit the ingress of ambient air into reservoir 20 and prevent air from escaping from the reservoir. A one way water valve 24 is provided at the bottom of reservoir 20 to permit the outflow of water which collects in the bottom of the reservoir, while preventing the ingress of water from the bottom of the reservoir. A second one way air valve 26 is provided at the inlet to the mouthpiece 14 to prevent the return of exhaled air to the reservoir, and a second one way water valve 28 is provided in the base of the mouthpiece 14 to permit the outflow of exhaled air and of any water collected in the bottom of the mouthpiece.
 According to some embodiments of the invention, a mechanism 30 is provided in the reservoir in air flow communication with the breathing tube for permitting inflow of air from the breathing tube to the reservoir and providing outflow of air to the mouthpiece only from the reservoir. In this embodiment, mechanism 30 is a partition unit. A partition unit 30 is provided inside breathing tube 12 within reservoir 20. Partition unit 30 includes a partition plate 32 extending substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the breathing tube 12. A plurality of partition inlet apertures 34 are provided in partition unit 30 to permit the inflow of air into the reservoir. Any water which inadvertently enters the breathing tube through inlet 16 will flow out through partition inlet apertures 34 over partition plate 32 and fall to the bottom of the reservoir. This water will leave the reservoir through water outlet valve 24. A plurality of partition outlet apertures 36 are provided in partition unit 30 to permit the outflow of air from the reservoir through breathing tube 12 to the mouthpiece, when the diver inhales.
 When the diver is above the water, he breathes in through the breathing tube 12. At the same time, atmospheric air fills the reservoir 20 through apertures 34. Reservoir 20 may retain its original shape or may expand when air enters the reservoir, depending on the flexibility of the material of which the reservoir is formed. When the diver submerges, the inlet valve 18 closes, preventing water and air from entering the breathing tube. As the diver exhales, the used air flows through air outlet valve 28 into the water. The diver can now inhale, and air from reservoir 20 will flow through apertures 36 through valve 26 to mouthpiece 14. As air empties from reservoir 20, the flexible material permits the reservoir to collapse due to the vacuum created in the reservoir. When the diver rises again to the surface after consuming the air in the reservoir, valve 18 opens the inlet and the vacuum inside reservoir 20 will pull fresh air into the reservoir, which will expand accordingly. In this way, a dry snorkel is provided and the reservoir is automatically refilled with fresh air.
 Instead of a partition unit, the mechanism in the breathing tube may include a two piece breathing tube, or two separate air pipes, as shown schematically in FIG. 5. In this case, an inlet air pipe 40 is provided which extends from the air inlet 42 into the reservoir 44, and an air outlet pipe 46 extends from reservoir 44 to the mouthpiece 48. Preferably, the air inlet pipe 40 through which air flows into the reservoir extends below the air outlet pipe 46 to mouthpiece. As can be seen, this arrangement also permits water which flowed in through air inlet pipe 40 to collect and drain through the bottom of reservoir 44, while permitting only air to go to the mouthpiece.
 FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of a snorkel 50 constructed and operative in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention on the back of a diver. Snorkel 50 includes a rigid box 52 containing an elastic fresh (ambient) air reservoir 54 and a used air chamber 56 mounted adjacent reservoir 54. A one-way air valve 60 is provided in the air inlet 63 to permit air to enter but not exit from the reservoir 54. Similarly, a one-way water valve 62 is provided in snorkel 50 as a drain out valve, to permit water to exit from but not enter reservoir 54. A one way water valve 64 is provided to prevent water from entering the air reservoir 54 when inlet 63 is under the water. Fresh, ambient air is inhaled by the diver through a breath tube 66 coupled to a mouthpiece (not shown) and used air is exhaled through an exhale tube 68 coupled to the mouthpiece (not shown) into used air chamber 56. Used air chamber may further include a one way air and water valve 58 to permit water or used air to leave chamber 56 and prevent water from entering it. Since rigid box 52 limits the total volume of the ambient air reservoir and the used air chamber, the used air chamber shrinks when the ambient air reservoir expands. According to this embodiment buoyancy/weight balance is maintained, since there is no loss of air.
 FIG. 7 is a schematic side view of a snorkel 70 constructed and operative in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention on the back or front of a diver. Snorkel 70 also includes an elastic fresh air reservoir 72 having self-refilling capabilities, but disposed within a flexible used air chamber 74. When the diver is underwater, reservoir 72 shrinks and the fresh air inside it is compressed, which provides for easier movement of the air into the diver's lungs. When the fresh air reservoir 72 shrinks, used air chamber 74 shrinks, as well. When the diver exhales used air to the used air chamber 74, the used air chamber 74 expands and, since the total amount of fresh air and used air remain the same, the buoyancy/weight balance remain. When the air inlet is above the water surface, fresh air reservoir 72 expands and causes used air chamber 74 to squeeze out the used air. In other words, the total capacity of the fresh air reservoir+the used air chamber+the air in the diver's lungs remains the same, minus the oxygen that is used by the diver. It will be appreciated that fresh air reservoir 72 and used air chamber 74 can be fitted on the diver's back.
 Alternatively, the reservoir used according to the present invention may be disposed within the used air chamber.
 It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the valves used according to the present invention may be adapted and configured to open only upon a prearranged threshold of pressure or manually.
 It will also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the used air chamber used according to the present invention may have stretch or elastic capabilities. In this case, the used air chamber will be configured to expand when the diver exhales and automatically collapse when the outlet valve opens, based on its stretch or elastic capabilities.
 While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, it will be appreciated that many variations, modifications and other applications of the invention may be made. It will further be appreciated that the invention is not limited to what has been described hereinabove merely by way of example. Rather, the invention is limited solely by the claims which follow.
Patent applications by Aviel Amit, Holon IL
Patent applications in class Draw-type snorkel
Patent applications in all subclasses Draw-type snorkel