EP1441822A1 - Toy vehicle wireless control system - Google Patents

Toy vehicle wireless control system

Info

Publication number
EP1441822A1
EP1441822A1 EP20020773938 EP02773938A EP1441822A1 EP 1441822 A1 EP1441822 A1 EP 1441822A1 EP 20020773938 EP20020773938 EP 20020773938 EP 02773938 A EP02773938 A EP 02773938A EP 1441822 A1 EP1441822 A1 EP 1441822A1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
microprocessor
toy vehicle
remote control
transmitter unit
configured
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP20020773938
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
James M. Dickinson
David V. Helmlinger
Charles S. Mccall
Joseph T. Moll
Stephen N. Weiss
Frank W. Winkler
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Mattel Inc
Original Assignee
Mattel Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US34059101P priority Critical
Priority to US340591P priority
Application filed by Mattel Inc filed Critical Mattel Inc
Priority to PCT/US2002/034635 priority patent/WO2003037468A1/en
Publication of EP1441822A1 publication Critical patent/EP1441822A1/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H30/00Remote-control arrangements specially adapted for toys, e.g. for toy vehicles
    • A63H30/02Electrical arrangements
    • A63H30/04Electrical arrangements using wireless transmission

Abstract

A toy vehicle remote control transmitter unit (100) wirelessly controls the movements of a programmable toy vehicle (20). The toy vehicle (20) includes a motive chassis (22) having a plurality of steering positions. A microprocessor (4U1) in the transmitter unit emulates manual transmission operation of the toy vehicle (20) by being in any one of a plurality of different gear states selected by manually operating a plurality of manual input elements (110 and 115) mounted on the housing of the transmitter unit. Forward propulsion control signals representing different toy vehicle speed ratios associated with each of the gear states are transmitted from the transmitter unit to the toy vehicle (20). The motive chassis (22) has a plurality of defined steering positions. The speed of changing from a current steering position of the motive chassis to a new steering position is dependent upon the physical relationship between the current and new steering positions.

Description

TITLE OF THE INVENTION [0001] Toy Vehicle Wireless Control System

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0002] This invention relates to toy vehicles and, in particular, to remotely controlled, motorized toy vehicles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0003] The invention is in a toy vehicle remote control transmitter unit including a housing, a plurality of manual input elements mounted on the housing for manual movement, a microprocessor in the housing operably coupled with each manual input element on the housing, and a signal transmitter operably coupled with the microprocessor to transmit wireless control signals generated by the microprocessor. The invention is characterized in the microprocessor being configured for at least two different modes of operation. One of the at least two different modes of operation emulates manual transmission operation of the toy vehicle by being in any of a plurality of different gear states and transmitting through the transmitter forward propulsion control signals representing different toy vehicle speed ratios for each of the plurality of different gear states. The microprocessor is further configured to be at least advanced through the plurality of different consecutive gear states by successive manual operations of at least one of the manual input devices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS [0004] The following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings: [0005] Fig. 1 A is a top plan view of an examplary remote control/transmitter used in accordance with the present invention;

[0006] Fig. IB is an exemplary toy vehicle remotely controlled by the remote control/transmitter of Fig. 1A; [0007] Fig. 2 is a timing diagram showing an analog output of the vehicle control circuit used to drive different motor speeds of a toy vehicle in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0008] Fig. 3 is a diagram showing a trapezoidal velocity profile used to control a steering function of a toy vehicle;

[0009] Figs. 4 is a schematic diagram of a control circuit in a toy remotely controlled vehicle, which is directly responsive to steering commands received in accordance with the present invention; [0010] Fig. 5 is a schematic diagram of a speed shifter transmitter circuit which sends steering commands to the vehicle control circuit of Fig. 4;

[0011] Figs. 6A, 6B, 6C and 6D taken together, are a flow chart illustrating the operation of the vehicle control circuit of Fig. 4; and

[0012] Figs. 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E, 7F, 7G, 7H, 71 and 7J, taken together, are a flow chart illustrating the operation of the remote control/transmitter circuit of Fig. 5;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0013] The present invention is a toy vehicle wireless control system which includes a remote control/transmitter 100 (Fig. 1A) with a speed shifter, remote control/transmitter circuit 500 (see Fig. 5), and a remotely controlled toy vehicle 20 (Fig. IB) with a receiver/microprocessor based toy vehicle control circuit 400, also hereinafter referred to as a speed shifter receiver circuit (see Fig. 4). The remote control/transmitter 100 depicted in Fig. 1 A includes a housing 105 and a plurality of manual input elements 110, 115 mounted on housing 105 and used for controlling the manual movement of a toy vehicle 20. The input elements 110, 115 are conventionally used to supply propulsion or movement commands and steering commands, respectively. They also enable selection among three different modes of operation or usage (hereinafter referred to as "Mode 1," "Mode 2," and "Mode 3"), each having a different play pattern. Power is selectively provided to circuitry in the remote control/transmitter 100 via ON/OFF switch 135 (in phantom in Fig. 1 A). Car 20 is shown in Fig. IB and includes a chassis 22, body 24, rear drive wheels 26 operably coupled to drive/propulsion motor 420 (phantom)and front free rotating wheels 28 operably coupled with steering motor 410 (phantom). An antenna 30 receives command signals from remote control transmitter 10 and carries those signals to the vehicle control circuit 400 (phantom). An on-off switch 450 turns the circuit 400 on and off and a battery power supply 435 provides power to the circuit 400 and motors 410, 420.

[0014] Fig. 4 shows a schematic diagram of a vehicle control circuit 400 in the toy vehicle 20. The speed shifter receiver circuit includes a steering motor control circuit 405 which controls steering motor 410 and a propulsion motor control circuit 415 which controls drive motor 420. Microprocessor 4U1 is in communication with steering motor and drive motor control circuits 405, 415 and controls all other functions executed within the toy vehicle 20. A vehicle receiver circuit 430 receives control signals sent by remote control/transmitter 100 and amplifies and sends the control signals to microprocessor 4U1 for processing. A power supply circuit 440 powers the vehicle control circuit 400 in toy vehicle 20 and the steering and propulsion motors 410, 420, respectively.

[0015] Fig. 5 shows a circuit in the remote control/transmitter 100 that is powered by a battery 505 in communication with a two-position switch 135 that is used to turn the device 100 on and off and for selecting one of the modes. The remote/control transmitter 500 also includes a microprocessor 5U1 within the housing 105. The microprocessor 5U1 is operably coupled with each of the manual input elements 110, 115. The remote control/transmitter 100 must first be turned off via switch 135 to change the mode used. Manual input element 110 is a preferably a center biased rocker button operating momentary contact switches 1 10a and 110b in Fig. 5 When pressed, the rocker button 110 causes one or the other of the switches 110a or 1 10b to change states. This is sensed by the microprocessor 5U1 of the circuitry 500 of the remote control/transmitter 100 to transmit a signal via antenna 120 to cause remotely controlled toy vehicle 20, which includes receiver/microprocessor 4U1, to move forward or backward. Manual input element 115 is a also a center biased rocker button operating momentary contact switches 115a and 115b in Fig. 5 which, when pressed, causes the remote control/transmitter 100 to transmit via antenna 120 a command to receiver/microprocessor 4U1 causing the toy vehicle 20 to steer to the left or to the right. When manual input element 1 15 is not pressed (i.e. in center position), the toy vehicle 20 travels in a straight path. When the manual input element 110 is not pressed, the vehicle 20 stops. [0016] Mode 1, a first mode of operation or usage, is the default mode achieved when the remote control/transmitter 100 is activated from a deactivated state by moving on-off switch 135 in Fig. 5 from an "off position to an "on" position. This mode has a multiple-speed (3- speed in the present embodiment) manual gear-shifting play pattern in which the microprocessor 5U1 emulates a manual transmission operation of the toy vehicle 20 and in which corresponding sounds are generated by the microprocessor 5U1 and played on a speaker 125 in the remote control/transmitter 100. Mode 1 has the following features and characteristics: [0017] (1) The motionless toy vehicle 20 is put into motion by pressing manual input element 110 to a "forward" button position closing or otherwise changing the nominal state of switch 110a on the remote control/transmitter 100. The microprocessor 5U1 is configured (i.e. programmed) to respond to the depressions of manual input element 110 by entering a first gear state of operation and generating a first forward movement command transmitted to the toy vehicle 20. Initially, the toy vehicle 20 responds to the first signal and moves forward at a first top speed which is less than a maximum speed the vehicle 10 is capable of running. The microprocessor 5U1 generates a first sound, which is outputted by speaker 125, to simulate first gear operation of the toy vehicle 20. [0018] (2) Once the toy vehicle 20 is moving forward for a while in a first gear state (as timed by microprocessor 5U1), a visual indication (e.g., red flashing LED 130) and/or an audible sound (e.g., single horn beep) can be outputted by the microprocessor 5U1 from the remote control/transmitter 100 to signal to a user that it is OK to shift to the second gear. Shifting into a higher gear is performed by momentarily releasing and re-engaging the forward button position of manual input element 1 10 closing switch 110a within a predetermined time window. If the time window elapses, the toy vehicle 20 will return to first gear state when the forward button position 110 is activated (i.e. switch 110a closed). Once in the second gear state, the microprocessor 4U1 commands the vehicle 20 to move forward at a second top speed that is faster than the first top speed but less than maximum speed, and preferably the microprocessor 5U1 generates a second sound which is outputted by speaker 125 to simulate second gear operation of the vehicle 20. Once the toy vehicle 20 is moving forward for a while in a second gear state, a visual indication (e.g., red flashing LED 130) and/or an audible sound (e.g., single horn beep) can be outputted by microprocessor 5U1 from speaker 125 of the remote control/transmitter 100 to signal to a user that it is OK to shift to the third gear. The forward button position of input element 110 closing switch 110a is again momentarily released and re-engaged within a predetermined time window. If the time window elapses, the toy vehicle 20 will return to first gear when the forward button position 110 is activated. Once in the third gear state, the toy vehicle 20 moves forward at a third top speed that is faster than the second top speed, and preferably the microprocessor 5U1 generates a third sound that is outputted by speaker 125 to simulate third gear operation of the toy vehicle 20. The movement of the toy vehicle 20 is terminated by releasing the forward button position of element 1 10 closing switch 1 10a or by pressing and then releasing reverse button position of element 1 10 closing switch 110b.

[0019] (3) In the three-speed embodiment, preferably the top speed of the toy vehicle 20 might be 62.5% of maximum speed when in the first gear state, 75% of maximum speed when in the second gear state, and 100% of maximum speed when in the third gear state. Other ratios and/or additional ratios to provide four, five, six or more speeds can be used to simulate other car and truck shifting.

[0020] (4) If the gear state of the toy vehicle 20 is changed before the toy vehicle 20 reaches its top speed for the previous gear by momentarily releasing and re-engaging the forward button position of element 110, before the microprocessor 5U1 opens the predetermined time window to shift, the microprocessor 5U1 generates a different audible sound (e.g., grinding noise), which is preferably outputted by the speaker 125 of the remote control/transmitter 100, to signal that the user shifted too early. Top speed is not increased. [0021] (5) Various audible sounds (e.g., peel out, squealing tire, hard braking, accelerating motor, etc.) are preferably outputted by the remote control/transmitter 100 in response to activating the manual input elements 110, 115 on the transmitter 100. For example, transmitting a steering command by pressing steering button input element 115 to close switches 115a while the toy vehicle 20 is moving (e.g., forward position of button 1 10 being pressed changing the state of switch 110a) causes the microprocessor 5U1 to output an audible sound (e.g., the squealing of tires) through speaker 125. There is a small delay in producing the audible sound so that small steering corrections do not cause the audible sound to be outputted by speaker 125. Releasing either the forward and reverse position of manual input element 110 preferably causes the microprocessor 5U1 output an audible sound (e.g., hard breaking, tire screeching) through speaker 125. An "idling" sound is then preferably outputted microprocessor 5U1 through speaker 125 until a next propulsion/drive command is transmitted. [0022] (6) Speed of the toy vehicle 20 is controlled by the remote control/transmitter 100 outputting propulsion control signals having PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) characteristics with duty cycles approximate for the speed ratios selected, e.g., 56%, 75%, and 100% (see Fig. 2). Preferably, the remote control/transmitter 100 outputs a binary signal with two or more values allocated to propulsion commands. Two binary bits can be used to identify stop and three forward speed values (e.g. first, second and third speeds). The vehicle microprocessor 4U1 is preferably programmed to power each motor 410, 420 according to a duty cycle identified by the binary bits. Referring to Fig. 2, a fixed time period (e.g. sixteen milliseconds) can be broken up into fractions (e.g. sixteen, one millisecond parts) and power (V hi) supplied to the motor for the fraction of the time period (e.g. 0/16, 10/16, 12/16, 16/16) commanded by the two binary bits. An 8/16 duty cycle is depicted, with V hi provided for eight parts and V low (i.e. 0 Volts) provided for the remaining eight parts of the period constituting the cycle. If three bits are allocated to propulsion commands, a stop command and seven different forward and reverse speed commands can be encoded. Preferably reverse speed is at a ratio of less than 100%) for ease of vehicle control and realism.

[0023] Mode 2 is achieved by turning on the remote control/transmitter 100 at 135 while holding button 110 in a "forward" movement position (changing state of switch 1 10a) on the remote control/transmitter 100 until the microprocessor 5U1 acknowledges the command by causing the speaker 125 to output an audible sound (e.g., horn beeps) and/or the red LED 130 to flash. This mode allows the user to maneuver the toy vehicle 20 in the usual manner with sounds being generated but no gear shifting operation. The microprocessor 5U1 is preferably preprogrammed for a desired default speed, e.g., 100% forward and 50%> or 100% reverse. [0024] Mode 3 is achieved by turning on the remote control/transmitter 100 at 135 while holding button 110 in a "reverse" movement position (i.e. changing state of switch 110b ) on the remote control/transmitter 100 until the microprocessor Ul causes speaker 125 to output an audible sound (e.g., horn beeps) and/or the red LED 130 to flash. This mode allows the user to maneuver the toy vehicle 20 in the usual manner with no sound generation by controller 5U1 or gear shifting operation. The microprocessor 5U1 is preprogrammed for a desired default speed, e.g., 100% forward and 50% or 100% reverse.

[0025] Figs 7A-7J depict the various steps of an operating program 700 contained by the remote control/transmitter circuitry 500, such as by firmware or software in the microprocessor 5U1, to operate the remote control/transmitter 100 in the multiple modes of operation and in the different shift states in the first mode of operation. Again, the microprocessor 5U1 is preferably configured to transmit commands in binary form with propulsion and/or steering commands encoded as binary bits or sets of such bits. [0026] Figs. 6A-6C depict the various steps of an operating program 600 contained by the vehicle control circuitry 400, such as by firmware or software in the microprocessor 4U1 , to operate the toy vehicle 20 in the multiple modes and in the different shift states in the first mode of operation. Fig. 6D depicts the steps of a subroutine 604' which is entered four different times at steps 604 in the main program 600 (Figs. 6A-6C) to increment and test the state of a pulse width modulator (PWM) timer (i.e. counter) to power or turn off power to either motor 410, 420. The operating program 600 must be cycled through four times to increment the PWM counter a total of sixteen times to complete one PWM power cycle (sixteen parts) for either motor 410, 420. Steering may also be controlled by a PWM duty cycle to prevent overshoot of the steering system. For example, the steering motor 410 may be driven by microprocessor 4U1 at a higher duty cycle when going from a left or right turn to a turn in the other direction and at a lesser duty cycle when going from a center position to right or left and vice versa. [0027] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Claims

CLAIMS What is claimed:
1. A toy vehicle remote control transmitter unit comprising:
a housing;
a plurality of manual input elements mounted on the housing for manual movement;
a microprocessor in the housing operably coupled with each manual input element on the housing;
a signal transmitter operably coupled with the microprocessor to transmit wireless control signals generated by the microprocessor; and
wherein the microprocessor is configured for at least two different modes of operation, the microprocessor being configured in one of the at least two different modes of operation to emulate manual transmission operation of the toy vehicle by being in any of a plurality of different gear states and to transmit through the transmitter forward propulsion control signals representing different toy vehicle speed ratios for each of the plurality of different gear states, the microprocessor further being configured to be at least advanced through the plurality of different consecutive gear states by successive manual operations of at least one of the manual input devices.
2. The remote control transmitter unit of claim 1 wherein the microprocessor is configured to further generate the forward propulsion control signals for the toy vehicle in response to manual operations of the one manual input device.
3. The remote control transmitter unit of claim 2 wherein the microprocessor is further configured to respond to two successive changes of state of the one manual input element within a predetermined period of time to change a current gear state of the microprocessor to a next consecutive gear state.
4. The remote control transmitter unit of claim 1 further comprising a sound generation circuit with a speaker controlled by the microprocessor and wherein the microprocessor is programmed to generate sound effects controlled at least in part by the current gear state of the microprocessor.
5. The remote control transmitter unit of claim 1 wherein the microprocessor is configured to respond to a propulsion input element of the plurality of manual input elements to generate the forward propulsion control signals for the toy vehicle and wherein the microprocessor is configured for at least a second mode of operation wherein the microprocessor responds to the propulsion input element to generate only a single forward propulsion control signal with a maximum forward speed ratio of the toy vehicle under any mode of operation of the remote control transmitter unit.
6. The remote control transmitter unit of claim 14 wherein the forward propulsion control signals generated by the microprocessor include at least a variable duty cycle component, each transmitted duty cycle component corresponding to one of a plurality of predetermined speed ratios of the toy vehicle.
7. The remote control transmitter unit of claim 6 in combination with the toy vehicle, the toy vehicle including a receiver circuit, a toy vehicle microprocessor coupled with the receiver circuit, a variable speed steering motor and a variable speed propulsion motor, each motor being operably coupled with the vehicle microprocessor, and the vehicle microprocessor being configured to operate the variable speed propulsion motor at a duty cycle corresponding to the variable duty cycle component of the propulsion control signals.
8. The combination of claim 7 wherein the remote control unit microprocessor is configured to generate and transmit steering control signals to the toy vehicle and wherein the toy vehicle microprocessor is configured to control the steering motor in response to the steering command signals and to a current steering position of the toy vehicle.
9. The combination of claim 8 wherein the microprocessor is further configured to control the steering motor at a first speed where a new steering position in a steering control signal is adjacent to a current steering position of the toy vehicle and at second speed greater than the first speed where the new steering position is other than adjacent to the current steering position.
EP20020773938 2001-10-30 2002-10-29 Toy vehicle wireless control system Withdrawn EP1441822A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US34059101P true 2001-10-30 2001-10-30
US340591P 2001-10-30
PCT/US2002/034635 WO2003037468A1 (en) 2001-10-30 2002-10-29 Toy vehicle wireless control system

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP1441822A1 true EP1441822A1 (en) 2004-08-04

Family

ID=23334057

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
EP20020773938 Withdrawn EP1441822A1 (en) 2001-10-30 2002-10-29 Toy vehicle wireless control system

Country Status (9)

Country Link
US (1) US20030114075A1 (en)
EP (1) EP1441822A1 (en)
KR (1) KR20040060949A (en)
CN (1) CN100393383C (en)
CA (1) CA2464017A1 (en)
HK (1) HK1074180A1 (en)
MX (1) MXPA04004054A (en)
TW (1) TW200304847A (en)
WO (1) WO2003037468A1 (en)

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
HK1074180A1 (en) 2009-01-23
MXPA04004054A (en) 2004-09-06
CN1578695A (en) 2005-02-09
CA2464017A1 (en) 2003-05-08
TW200304847A (en) 2003-10-16
CN100393383C (en) 2008-06-11
WO2003037468A1 (en) 2003-05-08
US20030114075A1 (en) 2003-06-19
KR20040060949A (en) 2004-07-06

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