FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to the field of objects that are propelled by humans, and more particularly to recreation devices that may be thrown.
A variety of devices that are capable of being projected or propelled are known in the prior art. Many of these devices may be used for recreation, for example to throw or to throw back and forth between two or more people. Many varieties of balls or discs that may be projected or thrown are well known. One such example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,893,811 to Stover at al., discloses a football with a tail that may be provided in a variety of shapes and configurations. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 3,826,179 and RE34,032 to Callaghan discloses a projectile toy with a weighted nose and a segmented fabric tail attached thereto. Additionally, U.S. Pat. No. 5,310,194 to Scheel discloses a centrifugally launched projectile recreational device with a weighted particulate-filled nose and a narrow aerodynamic cloth body for gripping.
Other devices, such as U.S. Pat. No. 4,088,319 to Clarke and U.S. Pat. No. 4,239,337 to Davis disclose aerial toys. In particular, the '319 patent discloses a ball with a flexible plastic foam tail and the '447 discloses an aerial amusement projectile with multicolor streamer tails.
There exists, therefore, a need and desire to improve upon the known prior art to provide a better projectile device.
In one exemplary embodiment, a projectile device is disclosed. The projectile device may be formed such as there is a front portion, a body, a tail portion and an opening. The front portion of the projectile device may be such that a substance may be added to it, allowing the front portion to act as a ballast. The projectile device may then be thrown or projected in any of a variety of manner.
In another exemplary embodiment, a method for forming a throwing device is disclosed. The throwing device may be formed by joining four components, such as sheets, together so as to provide a substantially bulbous portion, a substantially flared portion and an open portion. The four components may then be sealed against the environment. A material may then be removably inserted into the substantially bulbous portion of the device and a seal, cover or external force may be used to prevent the escape of material disposed inside the throwing device.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In yet another exemplary embodiment, a method of throwing a device is disclosed. The method can include means for forming an elongated body having a substantially spherical portion, a substantially funnel-shaped portion and an opening disposed in the center of the substantially funnel-shaped portion. The method may also include means for disposing ballast in the substantially spherical portion of the elongated device. Additionally, the method for throwing a device may include means for rotating the elongated body to generate centrifugal force and releasing the device.
Advantages of embodiments of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments thereof, which description should be considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 shows an exemplary view of a projectile device.
FIG. 2 shows an exemplary view of various portions of a tail end of a projectile device.
FIG. 3 shows an exemplary top-down view of a proximate end of a projectile device.
FIG. 4 shows an exemplary aerial view of a distal end of a projectile device.
FIG. 5 shows an exemplary view of a nose section of a projectile device
FIG. 6 shows another exemplary view of a nose section of a projectile device.
Aspects of the invention are disclosed in the following description and related drawings directed to specific embodiments of the invention. Alternate embodiments may be devised without departing from the spirit or the scope of the invention. Additionally, well-known elements of exemplary embodiments of the invention will not be described in detail or will be omitted so as not to obscure the relevant details of the invention. Further, to facilitate an understanding of the description discussion of several terms used herein follows.
The word “exemplary” is used herein to mean “serving as an example, instance, or illustration.” Any embodiment described herein as “exemplary” is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments. Likewise, the term “embodiments of the invention” does not require that all embodiments of the invention include the discussed feature, advantage or mode of operation.
In on exemplary embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, a projectile device is shown. Projectile device 100 may have front portion 102, body 104, tail 106 and opening 108. Projectile device 102 may be formed out of any material, for example rip-stop nylon, and may the characteristics of being formed in such a manner as to have high strength and durability. Front portion 102 may be any shape, for example elliptical, substantially elliptical, oval or circular, when projectile device 100 is in collapsed form. When expanded, front portion 102 may be substantially bulbous, substantially egg-shaped or substantially spherical. Front portion 102 may be used as a carrier for a substance that acts as ballast, for example, by filling front portion 102 with another substance. Front portion 102 may be filled with any material, such as sand or any type of plastic or any other suitable material. Additionally, projectile device 100 may be formed out of a liquid-tight material, allowing liquid to be used as ballast through the pouring of liquid into front portion 102. Front portion 102 may be filled with any amount of an outside substance and may expand beyond the volume it has when front portion 102 is collapsed or flattened. Additionally, front portion 102 may be filled to any level, for example fill line 103. Further, any other substance disposed in projectile device 100 may serve to act as ballast.
Projectile device 102 may also have body 104. Body 104 may be substantially cylindrical or substantially tubular. Body 104 may be connected to front portion 102 by any of a variety of manners, for example sewing. Body 104 may be any of a variety of lengths, for example 6″ to 36″, depending on the length that is desired. Additionally, body 104 may be formed in such a manner and out of such a material that allows it to expand and contract depending on whether or not it is housing a substance or based upon an external force, such as centrifugal force. Body 104 may also be formed of a variety of different components, such as materials that prevent the leakage or exposure of solids or liquids to the environment outside projectile device 100.
In one exemplary embodiment, shown in FIG. 2, body 104 may be formed out of four components. These components may be joined by sewing, gluing, heat sealing or by any other alternative manner as known to one skilled in the art. For example, component 200 may be joined with component 300. Component 400 may be joined to component 500. Component 400 may then also be joined to component 300 and component 500 may be joined to component 200. Any additional manner of joining the components shown in FIG. 2 may be utilized and the components shown in FIG. 2 may be joined to one another in any other manner. Additionally, the components shown in FIG. 2 may incorporate another piece of material to couple two or more components together. This additional material may be added to an interior portion of body 104 so as to allow an exterior portion of body 104 to have a substantially smooth surface. Additionally, the materials used and the coupling of the components shown in FIG. 2 may be such that substances housed in body 104 and front portion 102 could not escape through body 104 or front portion 102. In other exemplary embodiments, front portion 102 and body 104 could form solid-tight, gas-tight or liquid-tight seals between projectile device 100 and an outside environment.
In further exemplary embodiments, the components shown in FIG. 2 may be formed in any of a variety of lengths, depending on the desired needs or use of projectile device 100. For example, components 200, 300, 400 and 500 may be formed in any length from six inches to thirty six inches.
Tail 106 may be formed of the distal ends of components 200, 300, 400 and 500. Tail 106 may be formed in any of a variety of sizes and shapes, and may be substantially flared out from body 104. Tail 104 may serve to improve the aerodynamics of projectile device 100 and may improve the stability of projectile device 100 while projectile device 100 is in the air. Additionally, tail 106 may be formed so as to form opening 108. Opening 108 may be substantially elliptical, substantially circular or any other shape, and may be used in a manner similar to a funnel. Also, any outside substance, for example sand or a soft plastic, may be poured into or inserted into projectile device 100 through opening 108. The outside substance may then flow, fall or be placed into front portion 102 and may allow front portion 102 to act as a ballast.
An exemplary top-down view of a distal end of projectile device 100 is shown in FIG. 3. In this view, it may be seen that front portion 102 of projectile device 100 may be formed in a variety of segments. For example, front portion may be formed of a combination of fabric components 200, 300, 400 and 500. These four components may be joined through sewing, gluing, heat sealing or any other manner of joining known to one having ordinary skill in the art. In another exemplary embodiment, the parts constituting front portion 102 of components 200, 300, 400 and 500 may be formed of a separate material than that used in the body portion 104 of components 200, 300, 400 and 500. For example, the top portion 102 elements of components 200, 300, 400 and 500 can be made out of various types of fabric, plastic, leather, synthetic leather, rubber or any other material known to one having ordinary skill in the art. Additionally, the material used in the construction of top portion 102 may be water-proof, liquid-tight, gas-tight or otherwise act to prevent the release of a solid, such as sand, into the environment outside of projectile device 100.
FIG. 4 shows an exemplary aerial view of a distal end of a projectile device. In this exemplary view, tail section 106 of projectile device 100 is shown as forming a substantially funnel-like area having opening 108. Opening 108 may be formed through the connection of components 200, 300, 400 and 500. Additionally, opening 108 may be formed in any shape, such as circular, substantially circular, elliptical, substantially elliptical, oval or any other shape known to one having ordinary skill in the art. Thus, any substance, for example sand, may be poured into projectile device 100 through opening 108, and falling through body 104 into front portion 102. Additionally, a seal or cover, discussed in further detail later, may be disposed inside body 104 or inserted over opening 108 to prevent the loss of any material inserted into projectile device 100.
Additional exemplary embodiments are shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. FIGS. 5 and 6 show an exemplary top-down view of two projectile devices of different sizes. From this embodiment, it can be shown the top portions 102 of projectile devices 100 may be formed in any of a variety of sizes. Additionally, projectile devices may be formed to be malleable or pliable, and may have any different amount of substance poured into or incorporated into the projectile device. The different sizes of projectile devices 100 may allow for different throwing techniques to be utilized and may allow for different flying characteristics of projectile device 100.
Generally referring to FIGS. 1-6, a user may throw projectile device 100. In this embodiment, sand or any other substance known to one having ordinary skill in the art may be poured into or placed into opening 108 of projectile device 100. The sand or other substance may then be positioned in front portion 102, for example up to fill line 103, in any manner known to one having ordinary skill in the art, such as pouring the substance into projectile device through opening 108. When the substance is positioned in front portion of projectile device 100, front portion 102, as previously discussed, may act as a ballast for projectile device 100. Additionally, the amount of any substance inserted into front portion 102 may be varied depending on the desired use. The variation of the amount of substance in front portion 102 may vary the weight of projectile device 100 and may therefore affect the height, speed and distance that projectile device 100 may be thrown or otherwise projected. Further, in this exemplary embodiment, a user may grasp any section of projectile device 100, for example front portion 102, body 104 or tail 106, and throw the device. In one a different exemplary embodiment, a user may grasp body 104 or tail 106 and swing projectile device 100 in a substantially circular manner, thus generating centrifugal force. The centrifugal force may be amplified through the use of sand or any other substance in front portion 102. The user may then release projectile device 100, allowing it to fly through the air. The ballast of front portion 102 may act to provide stability and/or accuracy of direction for projectile device 100 as device 100 flies through the air. Additionally, tail section 106 may act to stabilize the flight of projectile device 100 and increase the ability of projectile device 100 to fly in a desired direction. In a further embodiment, the ballast of front portion 102 and tail section 106 may allow a user to throw projectile device 100 with great accuracy and at any of a variety of speeds and altitudes.
In another exemplary embodiment, projectile device 100 may be formed out of any desired material or any combination of desired materials. The material used to construct projectile device 100 may be such that the device has great strength and durability, allowing projectile device to be, for example, thrown, caught, bounced, dragged, dropped or otherwise used on any surface without rips or tears being formed on the exterior or surface of projectile device 100. For example, rip-stop nylon fabric may be utilized or any other fabric or plastic might be used as well as seamless and stretch sock fabric.
In another exemplary embodiment, the substance or material used as ballast in front portion 102 of projectile device 100 may be inserted and removed by a user at any time. Therefore, projectile device 100 may be folded, rolled up, or otherwise compacted, allowing for the easy packaging, storage and transport of projectile device 100. In a further exemplary embodiment, tail section 106 or opening 108 of projectile device may have an adjustable seal or cover, which may prevent any substance inserted into projectile device, for example sand, from falling out or otherwise exiting opening 108 of projectile device 100. In one exemplary embodiment, an adjustable cover may be inserted over opening 108 and be secured in any manner known to one having ordinary skill in the art, such as through the use of latches, clips or Velcro®, for example.
In another exemplary embodiment, an adjustable or retractable seal or cover may be disposed inside tail section 106. The adjustable or retractable seal may be manually secured prior to the use of projectile device 100. Alternatively, an adjustable seal may be positioned so as to provide a seal and cover opening 108 through the use of centrifugal force. For example, the adjustable seal may move into a position that seals opening 108 to prevent the loss of material disposed inside projectile device 100 when centrifugal forces are applied to device 100, for example when projectile device 100 is being rotated prior to being thrown. In another exemplary embodiment, centrifugal force generated by the rotation or throwing of projectile device 100 may prevent any substance inserted into projectile device 100 from falling out or otherwise exiting projectile device 100. For example, the centrifugal force generated while the device is being rotated and ultimately thrown may cause any material disposed in projectile device 100 to be forced into front portion 102 of projectile device 100.
The foregoing description and accompanying drawings illustrate the principles, preferred embodiments and modes of operation of the invention. However, the invention should not be construed as being limited to the particular embodiments discussed above. Additional variations of the embodiments discussed above will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.
Therefore, the above-described embodiments should be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive. Accordingly, it should be appreciated that variations to those embodiments can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.