Device for shortening brake activation reaction time

Inactive Publication Date: 2008-03-27
ANIKIN SERGEY
21 Cites 3 Cited by

AI-Extracted Technical Summary

Problems solved by technology

It took several decades to install seatbelts in cars.
The auto industry at the time believed that safety would not sell and that emphasis on safety features would scare the public.
In reality, the aforementioned movements are more complicated and may comprise a combination of both movements simultaneously.
How...
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Method used

[0025]A three-dimensional view of the device made in accordance with one embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 3. It can be seen that this device comprises an under-thigh support pillow 30 that is intended for use in combination with a seat cushion of a car seat (not shown in FIG. 3) in order to support the driver's leg and preferably to restrain the driver's leg in a position most optimal from the viewpoint of shortening the brake activation reaction time.
[0028]It is understood that strips 44, 46, and 48 are not suitable for seat cushions covered by leather or a similar material having a low coefficient of friction. In order to use the under-thigh pillow 32 on leather seats, the triangular pillow can be used in combination with a seat cushion case 54 of the type shown in FIG. 5. The seat cushion case 54 can be made from a material that can be easily engaged with the Velcro strip 56, or a Velcro strip 56 can be permanently attached to the area of the seat pillow case that corresponds to the position of the pillow 30. The seat cushion case 54 ma...
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Benefits of technology

[0017]It is an object of the invention to provide a combination of a car seat with an under-thigh support for shortening brake activation reaction time and for reducing the driver's fatigue. It is another object to provide an under-thigh pillow for a driver of a vehicle that can be placed in the position most optimal for shortening brake activation rea...
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Abstract

The invention provides an under-thigh support and restrainer for use in combination with a driver's car seat. The device is made in the form of a triangular pillow that is attached to the car seat cushion and supports the driver's leg in a position required for the minimal time needed to move the driver's foot from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal at the moment of danger. The pillow is provided with straps that can be wrapped around the driver's right thigh to restrain the driver's leg in the aforementioned position to allow minimal time for reaching the brake pedal.

Application Domain

Vehicle seatsStools +1

Technology Topic

Driver/operatorCushion +5

Image

  • Device for shortening brake activation reaction time
  • Device for shortening brake activation reaction time
  • Device for shortening brake activation reaction time

Examples

  • Experimental program(1)

Example

[0019]FIG. 1 is a side view on the driver's leg as a biomechanical system.
[0020]FIG. 2 is a view in the direction of arrow A in FIG. 1.
[0021]FIG. 3 is a three-dimensional view of an under-thigh pillow in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.
[0022]FIG. 4 is a three-dimensional view of the under-thigh support pillow of FIG. 3 installed in a working position on the car seat cushion without the use of restraining strips.
[0023]FIG. 5 is a three-dimensional view of the under-thigh support pillow of FIG. 3 installed in a working position on the car seat cushion with the use of a car seat cushion case.
[0024]FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the car seat with a built-in under-thigh support pillow of the invention and with a mechanism of the invention for adjusting positions of the under-thigh support pillow.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
[0025]A three-dimensional view of the device made in accordance with one embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 3. It can be seen that this device comprises an under-thigh support pillow 30 that is intended for use in combination with a seat cushion of a car seat (not shown in FIG. 3) in order to support the driver's leg and preferably to restrain the driver's leg in a position most optimal from the viewpoint of shortening the brake activation reaction time.
[0026]A pillow body 32 has a flat contact surface 34 that during use of the device is maintained in contact with the surface of the seat cushion 36 (a three-dimensional view of a car seat 38 shown in FIG. 4) and an upper thigh-supporting surface 40, which in the working position of the device, is tapered in the direction from the edge 42 (FIG. 4) of the seat cushion 36 toward the driver (not shown) and is used for supporting the driver's thigh and hence the driver's leg in a position required for minimal braking time.
[0027]In the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4, means for securing the thigh-supporting pillow 30 to the seat cushion are made in the form of friction strips 44, 46, and 48. These strips comprise hook-and-loop fasteners which are commercially available under the trademark Velcro (hereinafter referred to as fasteners). Such fasteners are suitable for securing the pillow body 30 only when the car seat cushion is made from a material with a high coefficient of friction such as a rough fabric, which can be engaged with fasteners. A pair of Velcro straps 50 and 52 with mutually engageable surfaces on their ends are intended for wrapping around the driver's thigh in order to fix it in the aforementioned, optimal thigh-supporting position.
[0028]It is understood that strips 44, 46, and 48 are not suitable for seat cushions covered by leather or a similar material having a low coefficient of friction. In order to use the under-thigh pillow 32 on leather seats, the triangular pillow can be used in combination with a seat cushion case 54 of the type shown in FIG. 5. The seat cushion case 54 can be made from a material that can be easily engaged with the Velcro strip 56, or a Velcro strip 56 can be permanently attached to the area of the seat pillow case that corresponds to the position of the pillow 30. The seat cushion case 54 may have back straps 58 and 60 that go behind the seat cushion 36 to secure the seat cushion case 54, and the ends of the back straps can be tightened and tied, e.g., with Velcro fasteners 58a and 60a or snaps, etc. The lower edge of the cushion case 54 can be trimmed with a rubber cord 62 to secure the lower end of the cushion case 54 on the seat and to tightly embrace the surface of the entire seat cushion with the material of the cushion case 54.
[0029]According to another embodiment of the invention, the under-thigh support pillow can be built into the structure of the car seat to mechanically raise the pillow to the working position. For example, a simple mechanism 64 shown in FIG. 6 in a cross-sectional view of the car seat 66 can be used for shifting an under-thigh support pillow 68 between the position withdrawn into the seat cushion 70 shown in FIG. 6 by solid lines and the raised position of the pillow 68 shown in FIG. 6 by broken lines. In this embodiment, the upper surface 68a of the pillow 68 faces outward and is maintained substantially in the plane of the seat cushion 70 when the pillow 68 is in the withdrawn position. The pillow 68 may have any appropriate shape but preferably should have a triangular cross section where in the withdrawn position of the pillow the aforementioned upper surface 68a of the pillow 68 functions as a support surface for the thigh. The pillow is pivotally supported on an axle 72 that is installed in the innermost apex of the triangular cross section of the pillow so that the pillow 68 can be raised and lowered by rotating on the axle 72. These rotary motions are carried out with the use of a mechanism formed by a link 74, one end of which is pivotally attached to the pillow 68 by means of a pin 76, while the other end thereof is pivotally attached to a nut 78. The latter engages a screw 80 which is rotatingly supported in frame 82 of the car seat 66. The outer end of the screw that projects from the car seat supports a handle or a knob 84 located in the position easily reachable by the driver's hand.
[0030]By rotating the knob 84, it is possible to raise the under-thigh pillow 68 from the position shown in FIG. 5 by solid lines to the position shown by broken lines.
[0031]The pillow may have any suitable shape provided that the upper surface thereof can be arranged at an angle to the upper surface of the seat cushion tapering down from the door side to the central part of the seat cushion. The interior of the under-thigh support pillow can be stuffed with a sponged plastic or fabric, or the interior may contain an inflatable structure. The pillow body can be stuffed with the same foam plastic that is used for filling conventional car seat cushions.
[0032]The outer surface of the pillow of the invention is coated with a non-slip material, such as, e.g., one known under the trade name “Snugtex” (NFA Corporation, MA) which will work on all sorts of fabric and leather materials without slippage of the pillow when a person is driving without use of the aforementioned Velcro strips.
[0033]Investigations show that the total stopping distance of a vehicle is made up of four components: human perception time, human reaction time, vehicle reaction time, and vehicle braking capability.
[0034]Human perception time is the time it takes for the driver to see the hazard and for the brain to realize it is a hazard requiring immediate reaction. This component of stopping distance is a human factor and, as such, can be affected by age, tiredness, alcohol, fatigue, and concentration levels. Once the brain realizes danger, the human reaction time is the time it takes to move the foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal and then to depress the pedal. The movement time from the accelerator to the brake is approximately 500 ms (according to the University of Iowa).
[0035]When the under-thigh pillow 30 or 68 of the invention is placed onto the car seat cushion or raised into the working position, which is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 and by broken lines in FIG. 6, and in which the driver's right leg assumes the above-described position and is fixed in the position that ensures the shortest brake activation time, then during driving the aforementioned brake response and activation time can be reduced by 50 to 150 ms, i.e., by 10% to 30% of the overall braking response time. For example, if a person is driving a car at 55 mph (88 km/hr), i.e., about 80.67 feet/sec. (27 m/sec.), the pillow saves 4 to 12 feet (1.3 to 4 m) before the brakes are even applied because it changes the geometry of the foot movement. More specifically, the pillow shortens the momentum required for the driver's foot to reach the brake pedal.
[0036]Here is another numerical example. A vehicle traveling at 65 mph (104 km/hr) covers 96 feet/sec. (32 m/sec.). Once the brain has recognized the need to brake, it still takes another half second or 48 feet (16 m), in some cases 650 ms or 62.4 feet (20.8 m), to initiate the braking action (essentially, to move the foot from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal and to push on the brake pedal). The under-thigh pillow decreases stopping distance up to 30%, or up to 21 feet (about 7 meters), before the brakes are even applied (in some cases during testing the inventor herein got up to 41% between the results with and without pillow, especially for senior drivers). Moreover, the pillow reduces stress that is exerted on the lower back and right leg muscles.
[0037]It is understood that although, in general, the optimal position of the under-thigh support pillow will be common to various drivers of normal build, strictly speaking it may be individualized, especially for very slim or overweight people as well as for male and female drivers. Furthermore, the optimal position of the pillow should be relocated and readjusted when the driver wears different clothes, e.g., in winter and summer, etc.
[0038]Thus, it has been shown that the invention provides a combination of a car seat with an under-thigh support for shortening the brake activation reaction time and for reducing the driver's fatigue. The pillow can be placed into the position most optimal for shortening the brake activation reaction time. The pillow of the invention is provided with means for securing the pillow in an appropriate position on the driver's seat and for securing the driver's leg in the position required for minimal braking time. The invention also provides an adjustable under-thigh support that is built into the driver's seat.
[0039]Although the invention has been shown and described with reference to specific embodiments, it is understood that these embodiments should not be construed as limiting the areas of application of the invention and that any changes and modifications are possible, provided that these changes and modifications do not depart from the scope of the attached patent claims. For example, the pillow of the invention can be replaced by a raised portion of the car seat cushion. The pillow may have an inflatable structure. The principle of the invention for locating the driver's leg in the optimal position for shortening the brake reaction time is applicable for positions of the driver in vehicles for left-hand traffic as well as in vehicles with a non-automatic transmission, i.e., with a stick-shift control of speeds. In FIG. 6 the knob 84 is shown on the left side of the seat. However, depending on the construction of the seat, the knob 84 and the screw 80 may be located on the opposite side of the seat.

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Description & Claims & Application Information

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