Nek: where are the Cyberian cordlocks installed on your underarmor jacket, with what type of cord (elastic or static?) and do they work for one-hand operation?
I've received 5 free cyberian cordlock from ITW Nexus. The message could not have been any clearer: “WE DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING. You'll get the same number of free samples we would give anyone with a half-legitimate reason for requesting them”. And the more I look at them, the more I think that they may be right and that I probably should have waited to test the samples before I titled this thread as I did.
The design does combine several of the concepts I explained in the test paper on one-hand operated springlocks (1, 2 & 3 below) and in subsequent messages to ITW Nexus (4). However I'm actually wondering if it might have incorporated these concepts accidentally because it seems to have done it while preventing them from working properly.
1) making sure that a pull on the cord does not force it against a fixed part of the barrel;
2) instead, make sure that such a pull will help release the spring-mounted piston;
3) place the bail bar so as to avoid point 1 and facilitate point 2
4) tethering cordlocks to achieve an ease of use similar to top-tethered (or caged) springlocks but with much stronger resistance to slippage.
The Cyberian "cordlock" also helps get the terminology more muddled up because it is in fact a springlock (toggle) but with a cordlock-like grip and a few design inversions. As with springlocks, the cord goes through a hole in the piston. A major difference is that a strong spring pushes that piston inward (instead of the weaker spring that pushes it outward in springlocks). On springlocks, there is a hole matching that of the piston on the barrel. It is the upper edge of that barrel hole that grabs the cord and prevents it from sliding when you pull on it in a typical bottom-tethered/one-hand-use situation (point 1 above & Figure 6a on my test report). On the Cyberian, they did away with that barrel hole. The barrel simply stops at the cord. The spring retracts the piston and squeezes the cord against the edges on the barrel (http://www.itwnexus.com/catalog/index.php/dw/op/a/7/c/15/p/155
A pull on the cord does help to release the piston (point 2) but on my samples you have to pull pretty hard to counter the force of the spring if you want to tighten the cord one-handed. Similarly, you have to pull quite hard on the piston to release the cord, which is why I am quite keen to get Nek's take on his. This strong squeeze puts the Cyberian's cord-grabbing capability within cordlock territory (hence the name) but with no “off” switch. On cordlocks, you get a very tight lock on the cord but a simple pull on the release button or ring releases it, allowing the unit to slide easily along the cord. Not so with the Cyberian. The strong spring is always fighting the release of the cord.
Because of this, it seems that the Cyberian would be OK for shoe applications and for larger/heavier backpacks (though I still think that simple tethered cordlocks would work better for those applications). But, I really don’t see how it could work for one-hand uses on garments, especially with elastic, instead of static cords or for smaller backpacks. With an elastic cord, in particular, I really felt that I was overstretching the cord when trying to tighten and loosen it one-handed through one of my samples.
When using one-handed springlocks to close skirt closures on small backpacks by just yanking on the cord, you need a one-handed system that does not require a heavy load to effect its release. I'm pretty sure that a tethered classic cordlock would work well for that and I know that my "caged" springlocks work well too, even with almost empty and very light daypacks. But with the Cyberians I got, yanking the cord would just lift a light pack without releasing the cord.
The Cyberian could probably work well for garment and light pack applications if it were fitted with a significantly weaker spring. I actually suggested to them that they might consider fitting Cyberians with springs of different strength to allow one-hand operation in different applications.
On the samples I got, the strength of the spring also means that you need a fairly long, grippy and strong pull tab or loop to operate it with bare hands and an even longer/fatter/grippier one to do it with gloves or mitts.
My first look at the Cyberian on the iF conference website suggested that they had understood and applied the principles I keep going on about. However, my enthusiasm has somewhat cooled off now. The text description on their company web page even describes the operation of the Cyberian as a two-handed affair facilitated by the flared shape and knobbly sides and makes no reference to one-hand use capability! So the "message" I spoke of in my opening paragraph may actually be entirely appropriate. The Cyberians may indeed owe nothing at all to my paper and suggestions!
Regardless, I will keep an eye out for Cyberians installed on commercial garments and equipment and look forward to any comments you might have on them.
To be continued...