US20010010994A1 - Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation - Google Patents

Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation Download PDF

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Publication number
US20010010994A1
US20010010994A1 US09/811,750 US81175001A US2001010994A1 US 20010010994 A1 US20010010994 A1 US 20010010994A1 US 81175001 A US81175001 A US 81175001A US 2001010994 A1 US2001010994 A1 US 2001010994A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
coil spring
display
spring
base
rotating assembly
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.)
Abandoned
Application number
US09/811,750
Inventor
Webb Nelson
Patrick Turner
Original Assignee
Webb Nelson
Patrick Turner
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 US09/383,914 priority Critical patent/US6227929B1/en
Application filed by Webb Nelson, Patrick Turner filed Critical Webb Nelson
Priority to US09/811,750 priority patent/US20010010994A1/en
Publication of US20010010994A1 publication Critical patent/US20010010994A1/en
Priority claimed from US10/404,778 external-priority patent/US6743072B2/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F19/00Advertising or display means not otherwise provided for
    • G09F19/02Advertising or display means not otherwise provided for incorporating moving display members

Abstract

An amusement device used to move a supported display object through an erratic path. The amusement device includes a base element in which is disposed a rotating assembly. A support spring is used to interconnect a display object to the rotating assembly in the base element. The support spring has a first end and a second end. The first end of the support spring is coupled to the rotating assembly within the base element, wherein the support spring is rotated by the rotating assembly. The remainder of the support spring extends freely from the base element. The display object is coupled to the second end of the support spring. As the display object rotates, it causes the support spring to oscillate, thereby causing the display object to move erratically from point to point.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a Continuation-In-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/383,914, entitled Whirling Amusement Device And Associated Method Of Operation, filed Aug. 26, 1999. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention [0002]
  • The present invention relates to amusement devices that contains an object that spins or whirls. More particularly, the present invention relates to amusement devices that contain an object that spins, a motor for spinning that object and a flexible shaft disposed between the object and the motor. [0003]
  • 2. Description of the Prior Art [0004]
  • The prior art of toys and amusement devices is replete with many examples of objects that spin and whirl. Many such devices are powered by rotational momentum, such as tops and gyroscopes. Other devices are powered by springs, such as windup ballerina figures. Still many other devices utilize battery powered motors to create a spinning motion. [0005]
  • One variation of a battery powered amusement device is when the object being spun is connected to the battery powered motor by a flexible shaft. In such devices, the forces of inertia and centrifugal force cause the flexible shaft to oscillate at the shaft spins. The oscillation of the shaft causes the object being spun to move in an erratic manner. Such prior art devices are exemplified by U.S. Pat. No. 5,146,702 to Belokin, entitled, Display Having An Electric Motor For Simulating A Flying Object; U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,697 to Ward, entitled, Hoop Top; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,844 to Markowitz, entitled, Interactive Vibrating Toy. [0006]
  • A limitation associated with such prior art amusement devices is the fact that the length of the flexible shaft is constant. As such, the object supported by the flexible shaft is restrained by the flexible shaft should that object attempt to move away from or closer to the rotating base. [0007]
  • It has been found that an the path followed by a rotating object is far more complex and interesting to observe if the length of the shaft supporting that object is not held constant. It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an amusement device where an object is held at the end of a rotating flexible shaft that has a variable length. In this manner, the object is free to move both toward and away from its rotating base as part of its erratic movement. [0008]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is an amusement device used to move a supported display object through an erratic path. The amusement device includes a base element in which is disposed a rotating assembly. The rotating assembly can be battery powered, spring powered or manually powered. A support spring is used to interconnect a display object to the rotating assembly in the base element. The support spring has a first end and a second end. The first end of the support spring is coupled to the rotating assembly within the base element, wherein the support spring is rotated by the rotating assembly. The remainder of the support spring extends freely from the base element. [0009]
  • The display object is coupled to the second end of the support spring. As the display object rotates, it causes the support spring to at least partially elongate, thereby causing the display object to move erratically from point to point. [0010]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following description of exemplary embodiments thereof, considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which: [0011]
  • FIG. 1 is a partially fragmented front view of a first embodiment of the present invention amusement device; [0012]
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention amusement device shown in FIG. 1; [0013]
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention amusement device; and [0014]
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of third alternate embodiment of the present invention amusement device. [0015]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of the present invention device [0016] 10 is shown. The device is comprised of three primary parts, which are a base 12, a display object 14 and a support spring 16 that interconnects the display object 14 to the base 12.
  • In the shown embodiment, the base [0017] 12 is configured as a pen. However, such an embodiment is merely exemplary. The base 12 can be most any hand-held object. Alternatively, the base 12 can be a self-supporting structure that can rest on a flat surface. As such, it should be understood that the appearance of the base 12 is not important to the functioning of the overall device 10. The base 12 can be dedicated to the function of the overall device 10 or the base 12 can have a secondary purpose outside the functioning of the overall device 10, as does the pen illustrated. Alternate embodiments of the base are later described.
  • Regardless of the appearance of the base [0018] 12, contained within the base is rotating assembly 20. Preferably, the rotating assembly 20 includes a motor 22, a battery 24 for powering the motor 22 and an on/off switch 26 for controlling the operation of the motor 22, as is shown in FIG. 1. However, in alternate embodiments, the rotating assembly 20 can be a spring wound assembly, a flywheel assembly, a manual crank assemble or any other known means for providing rotational movement at a predetermined point in an amusement device. The rotating assembly 20 rotates the support spring 16 that extends from the base 12.
  • The motor rotates at a speed that is sufficient to cause visible oscillations in the support spring [0019] 16. It is these oscillations that cause the display object 14 to move in an erratic pattern.
  • In the shown embodiment of the rotating assembly, the motor [0020] 22 turns a drive shaft 28. The drive shaft 28 terminates with a connector coupling 30 that can be accessed externally from the base 12. As is shown, the motor 22 directly turns the connector coupling 30, via the drive shaft 28. However, it will be understood that gearing can be present between the motor 22 and the connector coupling 30 that alters the rotation rate of the connector coupling 30 with respect to the motor 22. Such gearing is well known and used in the field of motorized toys.
  • The support spring [0021] 16 is coil spring having a relatively low spring constant. The spring constant is selected so that the support spring 16 is just capable of maintaining full compression when stacked vertically with the weight of the display object 14 aligned vertically at its top. Once the support spring 16 is turned away from a vertical alignment, the weight of the display object 14 bends the support spring 16 and pulls the support spring 16 away from full compression.
  • The support spring [0022] 16 has two ends. One end of coupled to the base 12 and the other end is coupled to the display object 14. The support spring 16 preferably contains at least ten full revolution between its two ends. The support spring 16, when laid straight, is symmetrically coiled around a mid-line M. The spring constant of the support spring 16 is selected so that when the base 12 is held in a vertical orientation, such as is shown in FIG. 1, the weight of the display object 14 will cause the mid-line M of the support spring 16 to bend between 90 degrees and 180 degrees with respect the vertical. As such, the support spring 16 enables the display object 14 to droop to the side when the base 12 is held in a vertical orientation.
  • As has been stated above, the support spring [0023] 16 has two ends. One end of the support spring 16 attaches to the connector coupling 30 on the base 12. A connector may be present at the end of the support spring 16 to facilitate attachment between the support spring 16 and the connector coupling 30.
  • The opposite end of the support spring [0024] 16 terminates with the display object 14. The display object 14 can be either permanently affixed to the support spring 16 or detachable from the support spring 16. A detachable configuration can be used in assemblies where multiple display objects are available and a person selects which of the display objects is placed upon the support spring 16.
  • The display object [0025] 14 can be any item desired. However, since the display object 14 will whirl around in an erratic pattern, it is desired that the display object 14 have no sharp points and be light in weight, so as to prevent injuries if the display object were to inadvertently contact a person's face. An exception to this general design parameter is when a propeller is attached to the support spring as the display object. As a propeller is rotated, the propeller creates thrust that acts upon the support spring an adds additional movement to the already erratic path of the display object.
  • However, in the shown embodiment, the display object [0026] 14 is an eyeball made from photoluminescent plastic that enables the eyeball to be viewed in the dark. It will be understood that the display object 14 can be any object, such as an airplane, an insect, a cartoon character or the like. The display object 14 can also be a confection such as a hard candy.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, it can be seen that the support spring [0027] 16 is rotated by the motor 22 (FIG. 1) in the base 12. During rotation, the inertia and centrifugal force created by the combined mass of the support spring 16 and the display object 14, causes the support spring 16 to elongate and the display object 14 to move erratically. As the display object 14 moves, the support spring 16 stretches and retracts, thereby altering the length of the support spring 16. The forces created by the deformed support spring 16 combine with the inertial and centrifugal forces to rapidly vary the movements of the display object 14.
  • The display object [0028] 14 erratically moves to different points throughout a possible range, which is shown by the circle in FIG. 2. The possible range is spherical in shape and is has a radius equal to the stretched length of the support spring 16. If the forces experienced by the support spring 16 are insufficient to fully extend the support spring 16, the radius of the possible range will decrease to the maximum length at which the support spring is stretched.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a variation of the present invention device [0029] 40 is shown. In this embodiment, the base 42 is a self-contained hand-held unit. The base 40 may even be a pre-existing assembly, such as battery operated lollipop holder. Battery operated lollipop holders are exemplified by U.S. Pat. No. 5,209,692 to Coleman, entitled, Combination Novelty Toy And A Candy Holding Device, the disclosure of which is incorporated into this specification by reference.
  • However, from FIG. 3, it can be seen that multiple support springs [0030] 44 and multiple display objects 46 can be supplied. The different support springs 44 can have different lengths, coil diameters and spring constants. As such, each type of support spring 44 will move in its own unique manner.
  • The display objects [0031] 46 also can be come in a variety of sizes and weights. Since size and weight effect the path followed by the display object 46, each type of display object 46 will have its own unique movement characteristics.
  • Referring lastly, to FIG. 4, another embodiment of the present invention device [0032] 50 is disclosed. In this embodiment, the base 52 is a self-supporting assembly that can rest on a flat surface and does not need to be hand-held. As such, the display object 54 will whirl around the base 52 as the base 52 is left on a surface. Such a configuration can be used as an advertizement promotion to attract the attention of customers. Such a configuration is also useful as part of a game, wherein a whirling display object 54 is used to knock down objects or is used to combat other whirling objects.
  • It will be understood that the various figures described above illustrate only preferred embodiments of the present invention. Features from the different embodiments can be mixed to produce yet further embodiments. A person skilled in the art can therefore make numerous alterations and modifications to the shown embodiments utilizing functionally equivalent components to those shown and described. All such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims. [0033]

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. An amusement device, comprising:
a base element having a rotating assembly therein;
a coil spring having a first end, a second end and at least ten spring revolutions between said first end and said second end, said first end of said support spring being coupled to said rotating assembly within said base element, wherein and said support spring extends freely from said base element and is rotated by said rotating assembly;
a display object coupled to said second end of said support spring.
2. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said rotating assembly includes an electric motor.
3. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said rotating assembly is selected from a group consisting of spring wound assemblies, flywheel assemblies and hand cranked assemblies.
4. The device according to
claim 2
, further including an on/off switch accessible on said base element for selectively activating and deactivating said electric motor.
5. The device according to
claim 1
, said display object has a weight sufficient to bend said coil spring by at least 90 degrees when said coil spring is supported in a vertical orientation.
6. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said first end of said support spring is selectively detachable from said rotating assembly within said base element.
7. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said second end of said support spring is selectively detachable from said display object.
8. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said display object is photoluminescent.
9. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said display object is a confection.
10. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said display object has a mass sufficent to fully compress said coil spring when said coil spring os placed in a vertical orientation and said coil spring is placed atop said coil spring.
11. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said base element is a hand-held object.
12. The device according to
claim 1
, wherein said base element has a flat bottom surface and is free standing on said flat bottom surface.
13. A method of imparting erratic movement to an object, comprising the steps of:
providing a coil spring having a first end and a second end;
attaching said object to said first end of said coil spring, wherein said object has a weight sufficient to fully compress said coil spring;
attaching said second end of said coil spring to a rotating assembly;
rotating said coil spring and said object at a speed sufficient to cause oscillations in said coil spring.
14. The method according to
claim 13
, wherein said coil spring has at least ten spring revolutions between said first end and said second end.
15. The method according to
claim 13
, wherein said object has a mass sufficient to completely compress said coil spring.
16. The method according to
claim 13
, wherein said rotating assembly is selected from a group consisting of electric motors, spring wound assemblies, flywheel assemblies and hand cranked assemblies.
17. The method according to
claim 13
, wherein said display object has a mass sufficient to bend said spring at least 90 degrees from a vertical orientation.
18. The method according to
claim 17
, wherein said rotating assembly is contained within a hand-held object.
19. An amusement device, comprising:
a battery powered motor:
a coil spring having a first end an a second end, wherein said first end of said coil spring is attached to said battery powered motor;
a display object coupled to said second end of said coil spring, said display objects having a mass sufficient enough to bend said coil spring at least 90 degrees from a vertical orientation, wherein said battery powered motor causes said coil spring and said display object to turn with enough speed to cause oscillations in said coil spring.
20. The device according to
claim 19
, wherein said battery operated motor is encased in a hand-held object.
US09/811,750 1999-08-26 2001-03-19 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation Abandoned US20010010994A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US09/383,914 US6227929B1 (en) 1999-08-26 1999-08-26 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation
US09/811,750 US20010010994A1 (en) 1999-08-26 2001-03-19 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US09/811,750 US20010010994A1 (en) 1999-08-26 2001-03-19 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation
US10/404,778 US6743072B2 (en) 1999-08-26 2003-03-31 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation

Related Parent Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US09/383,914 Continuation-In-Part US6227929B1 (en) 1999-08-26 1999-08-26 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation

Related Child Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US10/404,778 Continuation-In-Part US6743072B2 (en) 1999-08-26 2003-03-31 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation

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US20010010994A1 true US20010010994A1 (en) 2001-08-02

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US09/383,914 Expired - Fee Related US6227929B1 (en) 1999-08-26 1999-08-26 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation
US09/811,750 Abandoned US20010010994A1 (en) 1999-08-26 2001-03-19 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation
US09/811,751 Abandoned US20010010995A1 (en) 1999-08-26 2001-03-19 Whirling amusement device with a vibrating drive and its associated method of operation

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US09/383,914 Expired - Fee Related US6227929B1 (en) 1999-08-26 1999-08-26 Whirling amusement device and associated method of operation

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US09/811,751 Abandoned US20010010995A1 (en) 1999-08-26 2001-03-19 Whirling amusement device with a vibrating drive and its associated method of operation

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AU (1) AU6940600A (en)
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US6227929B1 (en) 2001-05-08
WO2001015125A1 (en) 2001-03-01
AU6940600A (en) 2001-03-19
US20010010995A1 (en) 2001-08-02

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