US20090117819A1 - Interactive toy - Google Patents

Interactive toy Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090117819A1
US20090117819A1 US12120751 US12075108A US2009117819A1 US 20090117819 A1 US20090117819 A1 US 20090117819A1 US 12120751 US12120751 US 12120751 US 12075108 A US12075108 A US 12075108A US 2009117819 A1 US2009117819 A1 US 2009117819A1
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
interactive
toy
toys
user
accessories
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
US12120751
Inventor
Michael L. Nakamura
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Senario LLC
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Senario LLC
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H3/00Dolls
    • A63H3/28Arrangements of sound-producing means in dolls; Means in dolls for producing sounds
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/22Optical, colour, or shadow toys
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H2200/00Computerized interactive toys, e.g. dolls

Abstract

This invention relates to an interactive toy that simulates communication with a user and among other similar toys. The interactive toy interacts with the user and other similar toys. The interaction may be an auditory interaction, a physical interaction, an animated facial interaction, or other suitable interaction. The interactive toy includes a distinct personality interchangeable with a different distinct personality. The interactive toy includes a base module having a speaker, a microphone and a screen positioned within the base module. The interactive toy receives communications from the user and/or other like interactive toys and generates audible communications and/or displays graphics on the screen, which are responsive to the user and/or other like interactive toys. The interactive toy may further include lower and/or upper accessories removably attachable to the base module and creating an appearance of a human, an animal, a machine, a robot, a mythical creature, a cartoon character, a fish, or other simulateable character.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/002,234 filed on 7 Nov. 2007, and which is incorporated by reference herein and is made a part hereof, including but not limited to those portions which specifically appear in this Patent Application.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    This invention relates to an interactive toy that simulates communication with a user and/or additional interactive toys.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of Prior Art
  • [0005]
    Common electronic toys in recent years are the virtual pets which are generally small, often keychain-sized modules that are “cared for” by a user. The virtual pets often respond to inputs including virtual feedings and groomings and the relative health of the pets may be affected by the user's input or lack thereof.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, an electronic character is contemplated which permits “communication” with the user and with other electronic characters.
  • [0007]
    According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the interactive toy comprises a base module that includes one or more of a speaker, a microphone and a screen. The speaker is preferably positioned within the base module and generates one or more audible speech patterns that are responsive to a user and/or additional like interactive toys. The microphone is preferably positioned within the base module and receives communications from the user and the additional like interactive toys. The screen is preferably positioned within the base module and displays responsive graphics and/or animations to the user and the additional like interactive toys.
  • [0008]
    As a result of the described arrangement, a user may preferably obtain a distinct and/or customizable interactive toy that is capable of simulated communication with the user and/or additional interactive toys.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0009]
    The above-mentioned and other features and objects of this invention will be better understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings wherein:
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is a front view of an electronic personality, according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is a front view of an electronic personality, according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is a front view of a base module, according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of the base module shown in FIG. 3;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of the base module shown in FIG. 3;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 6 is a side view of the base module shown in FIG. 3;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the base module shown in FIG. 3;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 8 is a side cross-section view of the base module shown in FIG. 3;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing on and slave mode according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing power on mode according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing master/slave mode according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing master mode according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing master mode A/B subroutine according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing slave mode according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing voice command mode according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 16 is a front view of a base module, according to one preferred embodiment of this invention;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 17 is a side view of the base module shown in FIG. 16; and
  • [0027]
    FIG. 18 is a bottom view of the base module shown in FIG. 16.
  • DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0028]
    FIGS. 1-8 and 16-18 show various preferred embodiments of interactive toy 10. FIGS. 9-15 show preferred embodiments of flow charts demonstrating the use and operation of interactive toy 10. As described herein, interactive toy 10 is preferably customizable or otherwise personalized by a user who may then directly interact with interactive toy 10 or position two or more interactive toys in proximity to one another permitting each interactive toy 10 to interact with the other.
  • [0029]
    FIGS. 1 and 2 show two embodiments of interactive toy 10 according to a preferred embodiment of this invention. Interactive toy 10 preferably includes base module 20 and, optionally, accessories such as one or more lower accessories 100 and/or one or more upper accessories 120. Lower accessories 100 may include items like a stand, legs, arms, personal accessories (e.g., a belt, a purse, an instrument such as a guitar, a ball, a personal player device, a cell phone, a backpack, etc.), shoes, fanciful clothes, a combination thereof, and similar such items that may be removably attached to base module 20. Upper accessories 120 may include items like a head, glasses, hair, hair accessories, a combination thereof, and similar such items that may be removably attached to base module 20. Lower accessories 100 and/or upper accessories 120 may be removably attachable to base module 20. Alternatively, such accessories 100, 120 may be permanently affixed to base module 20 in a preconfigured manner.
  • [0030]
    As shown in FIG. 1, upper accessories 120 may include hair and/or glasses. Lower accessories 100 may include clothes, arms, legs, shoes and/or similar accessories. Likewise, FIG. 2 includes upper accessories 120 such as long hair and lower accessories 100 such as arms, legs and clothes. Each of lower and upper accessories 100, 120 may include components to create a humanlike appearance in the base module 20 or alternatively may create any suitable appearance including an animal, a machine, a robot, a fish, a mythical creature, a cartoon character or any other suitable shape, configuration and/or other simulateable character that may lend itself to interactive play and/or simulation.
  • [0031]
    FIGS. 3-8 show various views of one preferred embodiment of base module 20. As shown in this preferred embodiment, base module 20 includes screen 30, speaker 40, microphone 50, and input controls 60 arranged within housing 70. Alternatively, base module 20 may include any one or more of the preceding features.
  • [0032]
    Upper accessories 120 preferably fit around screen 30 such that upper accessories 120 provide visual access or physical access to screen 30. Screen 30 may be at least partially visually and/or physically accessible. The terms “visually accessible” and “visual access” as used herein mean that animations or graphics displayed on screen 30 are at least partially visually perceivable by the user. Upper accessories 120 and/or lower accessories 100 may be arranged around base module 20 and allow access, such as, for example, physical access, to input controls 60, speaker 40 and/or microphone 50. The term “physical access” as used herein means that speaker 40, microphone 50 and/or input controls 60 are opened to the ambient environment to receive and/or transmit signals and/or be manipulated by the user.
  • [0033]
    Housing 70 is preferably molded or similarly formed to accommodate one or more of the preceding features as well as related internal components as described in more detail below. Screen 30 is preferably prominently positioned within housing 70 and may comprise an LCD or similar display permitting active display of words, graphics and similar information that may be generated by base module 20.
  • [0034]
    Base module 20 preferably additionally comprises one or more attachment mechanisms for affixing lower and/or upper accessories 100, 120. Such attachment mechanisms may comprise a contour of housing 70 or alternatively or additionally may include one or more male or female connectors, fasteners or similar features that permit affixation of lower and/or upper accessories 100, 120 to base module 20.
  • [0035]
    Interactive toy 10 may further include one or more input controls 60 positioned within base module 20. Input controls 60 may include buttons, dials, a touch screen, switches and/or any other similar input device or combination of devices that permit a user to effectively select and control the relevant options and controls within base module 20. In one embodiment, input controls 60 comprise an on/off switch and/or a motion sensor.
  • [0036]
    In one embodiment of the invention, interactive toy 10 includes a motion sensor (not shown) to detect one or more motion signals from the ambient environment. Upon detection of a motion signal, such as a movement of the user or another like interactive toy, interactive toy 10 may become activated (“wake up”) and “listen” for communications from a user or other like interactive toy, and/or may broadcast an internal communication.
  • [0037]
    According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, each base module 20 includes screen 30 that permits display of a face, for example an animated face, a portion of a face and/or similar features that enable display of character, movement, emotion and/or similar characteristics. The face is preferably animated and movement of the face is preferably synchronized with one or more audible speech and noise patterns that are emitted from or otherwise generated by interactive toy 10 as described below. The face may be further synchronized with upper accessories 120 and/or lower accessories 100. For example, in one embodiment, interactive toy 10 includes upper and lower accessories 120, 100 creating a female appearance, and the animated face preferably includes feminine features or characteristics, such as, for example, makeup. In another embodiment, interactive toy 10 includes upper and lower accessories 120, 100 creating a male appearance, and the animated face preferably includes masculine features or characteristics, for example a beard or a mustache. Upper accessories 120 and/or lower accessories 100 may be interchangeable with one or more different upper accessories 120 and/or one or more different lower accessories 100, respectively.
  • [0038]
    According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, each base module 20 includes speaker 40 or similar audio output device that emits an internally programmed “speech” or communication pattern. Such speech is preferably, though not necessarily, English or alternative comprehensible language and may or may not be understandable and in complete phrases. For instance, interactive toy 10 may be programmed to recite or emit English words in a nonsensical pattern that includes decipherable words and emphasis but without resulting in any comprehensible strings of words or thoughts. In another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 may be programmed to recite or emit understandable speech patters that include decipherable words and/or sentences. Interactive toy 10 may be programmed to “speak” English or any desirable language, including an encoded (“secret”) language.
  • [0039]
    In addition, each base module 20 preferably further includes microphone 50 or similar audio input device that permits a user or other like interactive toys to communicate to interactive toy 10. For instance, a user or another like interactive toy can command interactive toy 10 to “wake up” or otherwise turn on and activate one or more features of interactive toy 10, including observable features such as animations on screen 30. Upon such a command, screen 30 may display an awakening face that appears to look or otherwise react to a user or other like interactive toy and then respond with one or more audible communications. Depending on the profile input, selected or purchased, interactive toy 10 could react to the user in different manners, for instance, aggressively, indifferently, angrily, excitedly or with other distinct characteristics in appearance and communication.
  • [0040]
    Interactive toy 10 may interact with at least one additional like interactive toy and/or at least one user. The interaction between interactive toy 10 and at least one additional like interactive toy 10 and/or the user may be an auditory interaction, a physical interaction, an animated facial interaction, or a combination thereof. According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 is preferably programmed to react and/or interact with other interactive toys 10 such that when two or more toys are placed in proximity, they would appear to converse and interact, facially and/or verbally. Such interaction could be triggered audibly, through the use of internal microphones and/or sensors or wirelessly, through the use of bluetooth or similar wireless conventions.
  • [0041]
    According to one preferred embodiment of this invention, interactive toys 10 recognize a hierarchy among a group of interactive toys and/or one or more users. For example, certain characters are “masters” to certain other “slave” characters. As such, masters may dominate the “discussion” or interaction through a higher frequency of communications, louder volumes of communications, a greater degree of animation on screen 30 or similar characteristics indicative of a dominant personality.
  • [0042]
    According to one preferred embodiment, such characteristics and/or distinct personality of interactive toy 10 may be programmed into a chip, circuit board or similarly “hardwired” into base module 20. Alternatively, base module 20 may include a flashable memory, such as an SD card, that may be downloaded or otherwise customized through a USB port, SIMM card, or similar arrangement known to those having ordinary skill in the art. Characteristics and/or the distinct personality of interactive toy 10 may be interchangeable with different characteristics and/or a different distinct personality through, for example, wireless means, exchanging a memory device, a universal serial bus interface, or a combination thereof.
  • [0043]
    According to one preferred embodiment of this invention, upper and lower accessories 120, 100 may include chips or other devices including customized programming that may impact the appearance and communication of interactive toy 10 when engaged with base module 20.
  • [0044]
    FIGS. 9-15 include flow charts demonstrating various preferred embodiments of programming logic for various arrangements of one or more interactive toys 10.
  • [0045]
    For instance, FIG. 9 shows a flowchart for one preferred embodiment of interactive toy 10. Specifically, interactive toy 10 may be turned on, either audibly or through one or more of input controls 60, such as an on/off switch. Once on, interactive toy 10 preferably plays or displays an animation or similar graphic on screen 30 and waits for a command, such as, for example, an audible command and/or a motion signal from either a user or an additional interactive toy 10, specifically a dominant or master interactive toy 10. Likewise, FIG. 10 includes a flowchart for one preferred embodiment of the invention whereby interactive toy 10 is switched on and listens for additional interactive toys 10 and/or a user to join in a conversation.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 11 includes a flowchart showing one preferred mode whereby a master command is received from an additional interactive toy 10 in communication with a first interactive toy 10 resulting in a slave mode enacted for the first interactive toy 10. FIG. 12 shows a flowchart of one preferred mode whereby a hierarchy of discussion inputs is created based upon the number of interactive toys 10 in the discussion and the status of one or more interactive toys 10 as the master in the group.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 13 shows a flowchart of one preferred mode whereby a discussion among various interactive toys 10 is modified and/or truncated based upon a preset number of participants being exceeded, in this case three distinct interactive toys 10. FIG. 14 shows a flowchart of one preferred mode of operation. FIG. 15 includes a flowchart of one preferred mode whereby a user may input a particular audible password that may be thereinafter recognized by the interactive toy 10.
  • [0048]
    In one embodiment, the present invention may include a collection of interactive toys 10. Each interactive toy 10 may include a distinct personality and/or characteristics that distinguish each interactive toy 10 from other interactive toys 10 in a series or collection. The distinct personality of interactive toy 10 may be manifested through responsive graphics displayed on screen 30 and/or audible speech patterns generated by interactive toy 10. The distinct personality of interactive toy 10 may be synchronized with upper accessories 120 and/or lower accessories 100. In one embodiment of this invention, the distinct personality is programmed into one or more upper accessories 120 and/or one or more lower accessories 100, and may be interchangeable with another, different distinct personality by interchanging the one or more upper accessories 120 and/or the one or more lower accessories 100.
  • [0049]
    The collection of interactive toys 10 may include at least one master interactive toy 10. Master interactive toy 10 may dominate interaction among the collection of interactive toys 10 by, for example, a higher frequency of communications, a higher volume of communications, a greater degree of animation, or a combination thereof. Master interactive toy 10 may further dominate interaction among the collection of interactive toys 10 by prompting one or more other like interactive toys 10 to broadcast a communication, selecting one or more other like interactive toys 10 to participate in an interaction, commanding one or more other like interactive toys 10 to perform an action and/or assigning unique electronic identifiers to other like interactive toys 10, for example slave interactive toys 10. The collection of interactive toys 10 may include one or more slave interactive toys 10, where each slave interactive toy 10 receives and responds to communications from master interactive toy 10 and/or the user.
  • [0050]
    To maximize the variations in conversation and mood, each of the characters is preferably different from the others, and each interactive toy 10 preferably includes a distinct personality different from personalities of other like interactive toys 10 in the collection. For example, one set of characters and/or characteristics that may be assigned to a collection of one or more of the characters is described below.
  • [0051]
    According to one embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes an “emo guy” character. The “emo guy” character may have an appropriate name. The “emo guy” character may include moody, artistic, and/or emotional personality. The physical attributes of the “emo guy” character may include, for example, hair positioned over one eye, tight pants, a vintage tee-shirt and sneakers. The “emo guy” character may include characteristics and/or personality of a rock star “wanna be”, a poet, and/or a counter culture maven.
  • [0052]
    According to another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “goth/emo/punk girl” character. The “goth/emo/punk girl” character may have a name appropriate to the character. The “goth/emo/punk girl” character may include an artistic personality and physical attributes such as very dark eyeliner, raven black hair with magenta highlights, vintage clothing with black lace arm sleeves and leggings, piercing and tattoos. The “goth/emo/punk girl” character may be a counterpart to the “emo guy” character.
  • [0053]
    According to yet another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “mean girl” character. The “mean girl” character may have a suitable name and include selfish, vain and/or materialistic personality and overbearing and condescending attitude. The “mean girl” character may include flirty and manipulative personality of a privileged and popular girl.
  • [0054]
    According to still another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “super jock” character. The “super jock” character may have a name suitable to the character and be an all-American, “red-white-and-blue” character and a sports enthusiast who has energy to spare. The jock character may include physical attributes such as a square-jaw, a crew cut and may be good looking. The jock character may be the captain of every sports team, and his motto may be “Win the big game and then party on.” The jock character may utter statements, such as, for example, “We are number one, dude.” The jock character is preferably not a bully, but may be a counterpart character to the “mean girl” character.
  • [0055]
    According to another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes an “urban guy” character. The “urban guy” character may have an appropriate name and may include physical attributes such as name-brand, hip clothes and/or flashy jewelry (“bling”/“ice”). The “urban guy” character may use street slang, be a rap music enthusiast and display characteristics of a gangster and/or a cool guy.
  • [0056]
    According to yet another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes an “urban girl” character. The “urban girl” character may have a name appropriate to the character. The “urban girl” may be the counterpart of the “urban guy” character and, likewise, may use street slang, display characteristics of a typical hip-hop girl and/or wear flashy jewelry.
  • [0057]
    According to still another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “redneck guy” character. The “redneck guy” character may have an appropriate name. The “redneck guy” character's interests may include hunting, fishing, four-wheel driving and/or outdoor activities. The physical attributes of the “redneck guy” character may include camouflage pants, a quilted vest, a trucker's hat with logos and a mullet haircut. His interests may include car racing, monster truck rallies, demolition derby and off-road sport vehicles. The “redneck guy” character may feel out of place in the city.
  • [0058]
    According to another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “country gal” character. The “country gal” character may have an appropriate name and may display characteristics of a person who is down-to-earth, loves animals, and who is a rough and tumble sweetheart of the rodeo. The physical attributes of the “country gal” character may include big hair, painted-on jeans, a cowboy hat, boots and a big belt buckle. The “country gal” character may be a loose counterpart of the redneck guy character.
  • [0059]
    According to yet another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes an “extreme sports guy” character. The “extreme sports guy” character may have an appropriate name. The “extreme sports guy” character may be a snowboarding, surfing, and/or skateboarding enthusiast and may display characteristics of someone who is all about the ride, a risk-taker, a trick-rider, and has self-powered energy on any board. The physical attributes of the “extreme sports guy” character may include long hair, long hair with dreads, or a shaved head.
  • [0060]
    According to another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “nature girl” character. The “nature girl” character may have an appropriate name and may display characteristics of an earthy, pure granola, bleeding-heart, save-the-planet, save-the-animals, naturalist, green, vegan, artistic and poetry-writing personality. The physical characteristics of the “nature girl” character may include hemp clothes, sandals, flowers in the hair and/or a few braids in a wild and/or slightly unkempt hair. The “nature girl” character may be a counterpart to the “extreme sports guy” character.
  • [0061]
    According to still another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “sporty girl” character. The “sporty girl” character may have an appropriate name. The “sporty girl” character may include the personality of someone who is all about sports, a girl who is self-conscious and shy about being feminine, a “tom-boy” who would rather wear a sports cap than fix her hair. The physical attributes of the “sporty girl” character may include sports apparel and no makeup.
  • [0062]
    According to yet another embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a “gamer/geek” character. The “gamer/geek” character may have an appropriate name. The “gamer/geek” character may display characteristics of someone who is a late-night, caffeine-soda-swilling, video game junkie, a geek, a nerd, hyper and buzzed from energy drinks and junk food. The “gamer/geek” character's interests may include computer programming, blogging, science fiction movies and role playing and/or video games.
  • [0063]
    As discussed above in connection with FIGS. 9-15, interactive toy 10 may include one or more modes of operation. The term “mode of operation” as used herein means programming logic, actions, interactions and/or operation of the interactive toy of this invention. Interactive toy 10 preferably includes one or more modes of operation. The one or more modes of operation may be programmed into interactive toy 10, and may be interchangeable with one or more different modes of operation. For example, in one embodiment of this invention, interactive toy 10 includes a first plurality of programmed modes of operation. The first plurality of programmed modes of operation is interchangeable with a second plurality of programmed modes of operation, for example, by replacing a chip, a circuit board or a similar “hardwired” storage device positioned within base module 20, or by downloading the second plurality of modes of operation onto a flashable memory, or exchanging the memory card positioned within base module 20.
  • [0064]
    In one embodiment, the subject invention includes a collection of interactive toys 10. Each interactive toy 10 preferably has a unique identifier such as an electronic identifier. The electronic identifier (ID) may be a slave ID or a master ID. Interactive toy 10 having a master ID is a master interactive toy 10, and interactive toy 10 having a slave ID is a slave interactive toy 10. The master interactive toy may dominate communications and/or interactions between the group of interactive toys by selecting chat topics, selecting chat limit numbers, selecting the maximum number of chat participants, assigning slave IDs to other interactive toys, selecting a slave interactive toy to respond next in a chat session and/or prompting an interactive toy to respond and or otherwise interact with the other interactive toys. A master interactive toy may switch to a slave interactive toy. For example, if a new master interactive toy joins a chat session, the old master interactive toy may switch to a slave interactive toy.
  • [0065]
    Interactive toys 10 preferably recognize a hierarchy among participants, such as the user and other interactive toys, including master and slave interactive toys. Interactive toy 10 may prioritize communications received from other interactive toys and the user in the following order of descending importance: user communications, master interactive toy communications, slave interactive toys communications. For example, a communication from a user takes precedence over communications from a master interactive toy or other slave interactive toys. A communication from a master interactive toy takes precedence over communications from other slave interactive toys. The interactive toy preferably prioritizes a communication received from a user over communications received from other like interactive toys. The interactive toy preferably further prioritizes a communication received from a master interactive toy over communications received from slave interactive toys, and still further prioritizes a communication received from a user over communications received from a master interactive toy and communications received from slave interactive toys.
  • [0066]
    Interactive toy 10 may accept a communication (external communication) from additional like interactive toys or the user and may broadcast a responsive communication (internal communication). The term “external communication” as used herein means any electronic, wireless, audio, motion and/or other signal that is received and recognized by the interactive toy of this invention. The term “internal communication” as used herein means any electronic, wireless, audio, motion and/or other signal that is broadcasted, generated, or otherwise communicated by the interactive toy of this invention. The term “communication” as used herein means any electronic, electrical, wireless, verbal, non-verbal, auditory, motion, visual and/or radio signal or signals and/or other similar signal or signals. The term “communication” as used herein may be interchanged with the terms “message”, “information” and/or “response”, which have the same meaning.
  • [0067]
    As discussed above, interactive toy 10 may include one or more programmed modes of operation. The one or more programmed modes of operation may include a power-on mode (also referred to as an “on” mode), a sleep mode, a power-off mode, a chat mode, a master check mode, a slave chat mode, an attention getting mode, a “let's chat” mode, a voice command mode, a “play a game” mode, an “entertain me” mode, a “you decide” mode and/or other programmed modes of operation.
  • [0068]
    The power-off mode may be activated by powering off interactive toy 10, for example by pressing the on/off power switch of interactive toy 10 to an off position.
  • [0069]
    The power-on mode may be activated by powering on interactive toy 10, for example by pressing the on/off power switch of interactive toy 10 to an on position. While in the power-on mode, interactive toy 10 is preferably idle for at least a period of time (e.g., 5 minutes), or until powered off, and “listening” for an external stimulus, e.g., a ping message, a motion signal, a voice command, a voice message, a communication, or a combination thereof, from one or more like interactive toys or the user. During the power-on mode, interactive toy 10 is preferably open to receive and recognize a stimulus and/or a communication from one or more like interactive toys or the user. The interactive toy 10 is also preferably open to broadcast internal communications to the ambient environment. Upon powering on, the interactive toy may broadcast a random speech pattern indicating the status of the interactive toy as active. While in the power-on mode, the interactive toy preferably scans for voice commands from a user and/or communications from other like interactive toys. Upon detection of a voice command, a voice command mode may be activated. Upon detection of a communication from another like interactive toy, a master check mode may be activated. If the interactive toy detects no voice commands and no communications from other like interactive toys, an attention getting mode may be activated. The interactive toy may also check the power level and self-power down if a low power level is detected.
  • [0070]
    The sleep mode of operation may be activated by a period of inactivity and/or the absence of external stimuli, e.g., the absence of voice commands, audible communications, or motion signals from other interactive toys or the user. During the sleep mode, interactive toy 10 may be open to receive and recognize external stimuli from one or more like interactive toys or the user. Such stimuli may include a specific “wake up” command generated by the user or a master interactive toy. In one embodiment of this invention, while interactive toy 10 is open to receive and recognize external stimuli, interactive toy 10 is not open to broadcast internal communications to the ambient environment during the sleep mode.
  • [0071]
    The chat mode is preferably dominated by master interactive toy 10. Master interactive toy 10 may randomly determine the chat limit number. During the chat mode of operation, interactive toys 10 chat, whereby each interactive toy, in sequence, may broadcasts a communication relevant to the chat topic until the chat topic changes. If a new interactive toy joins the chat session, all interactive toys, except the new interactive toy, in sequence, may broadcast a greeting communication, for example a handshake greeting and/or a welcome audible communication. Once the chat counter limit is reached, and no new interactive toy joins the chat session, all interactive toys, in sequence, may broadcast a communication indicating that they leave the chat session. Subsequently, all units may go into a sleep mode of operation.
  • [0072]
    Chats among interactive toys 10 may include traits, volume, pitch, speech patterns, and/or phrases that are characteristic or indicative of the respective identity of interactive toy 10. The distinct personality of interactive toy 10 may be manifested through one or more audible speech patterns and/or noises generated by interactive toy 10. For example, interactive toy 10 may utter audible communications that are louder than audible communications of at least one other like interactive toy 10. Interactive toy 10 may utter audible communications that have a higher pitch than audible communications of at least one other like interactive toy 10. Interactive toy 10 may assume a specific tone of communications, such as angry communications, sad communications, happy communications and/or any other suitable tone of communications. Interactive toy 10 may include feminine speech patterns or masculine speech patterns which may correspond with feminine physical attributes or masculine physical attributes, respectively, of interactive toy 10. Each interactive toy 10 may communicate one or more phrases appropriate to the distinct personality of interactive toy 10. For example, the “super jock” character may utter the statement “We are number one, dude.” with one or more communications broadcasted by the “super jock” character. Other phrases may include, for example, phrases such as “cool,” “sweet,” “groovy,” “this is hot,” “dude,” and/or any other similar phrase or phrases which may be specific to one or more interactive toys 10. Interactive toy 10 may communicate accented speech pattern, for example, interactive toy may have a southern American accent or a foreign accent. Communications generated by interactive toys 10 may have other suitable attributes and traits, for example, slow speech patterns, fast and/or high energy speech patterns and/or other suitable speech patterns and/or communications traits.
  • [0073]
    During the master check mode, a first interactive toy 10 broadcasts a communication, e.g., a ping message, into the ambient environment. A second interactive toy 10 receives and recognizes the communication from first interactive toy 10. If second interactive toy is a master interactive toy, second interactive toy 10 assigns a slave identifier to first interactive toy 10. If second interactive toy 10 is not a master interactive toy, first interactive toy 10 preferably assigns slave identifier to second interactive toy 10, and first interactive toy 10 assumes the role of a master interactive toy.
  • [0074]
    Upon activation of a master chat mode, a master interactive toy preferably randomly selects a chat topic, selects a slave interactive toy to contribute to the chat session next and sends a communication, such as a token communication, to the selected slave interactive toy. The selected slave interactive toy receives and recognizes the communication from the master interactive toy and generates a responsive communication. For example, the selected slave interactive toy may generate a random response relevant to the chat topic from preprogrammed responses. The master interactive toy “listens” for and recognizes the response from the slave interactive toy. The master interactive toy may select another interactive toy to contribute to the chat session next. If the master interactive toy does not receive a response from the selected slave interactive toy during a period of time, or after a number of prompts, the master interactive toy assumes that the slave interactive toy has left the chat session and may send a token communication to another slave interactive toy. A response received by the master interactive toy may prompt the master interactive toy to switch to a slave mode, end the chat session with the sender of the response, or change the chat topic.
  • [0075]
    While in a slave chat mode, the interactive toy of this invention “listens” for external communications from other like interactive toys and/or a master interactive toy. Communication broadcasted from the master interactive toy may include a unique identifier. In one preferred embodiment of this invention, only the interactive toy having a unique electronic identifier matching the unique identifier of the communication may respond to the communication, for example, by broadcasting a responsive message. The responsive message may also include a unique identifier, which may be used by the master interactive toy to recognize that a selected slave interactive toy has responded.
  • [0076]
    The attention getting mode may be initiated by the lack of communications from other like interactive toys or the user. While in the attention getting mode, the interactive toy may broadcast an attention getting comment, such as, “I am bored” comment, and “listen” for input, if any, from other like interactive toys or the user. If the interactive toy detects input from another like interactive toy or the user, the interactive toy may generate a response based upon the input received. If, however, the interactive toy receives no input from another like interactive toy or the user during a period of time, the interactive toy may play a random attention getting file, a random “let's do something” file, or a random “shut down” message before powering off.
  • [0077]
    In the “let's chat” mode, the interactive toy awaits user input and/or a communication from another interactive toy. Upon receipt of the user input and/or a communication from another like interactive toy, the interactive toy receives and recognizes the input and/or communication and generates an appropriate response based on the input and/or communication. For example, a user or another like interactive toy may prompt the interactive toy to generate a random response from a preprogrammed selection of responses to the following questions/requests: “How do you feel?”, “What are you into?”, What turns you off?”, “Tell me your story”, or “You decide”. The interactive toy of this invention preferably recognizes the prompt and generates an appropriate response.
  • [0078]
    Upon detection of a voice command from a user, the interactive toy of this invention may disable the detection of other units, broadcast a random “What do you want to do?” comment and “listen” for user input. User input may prompt the interactive toy to activate a “let's chat” mode, a “play a game” mode, an “entertain me” mode, a “you decide” mode, or a sleep mode. The attention getting mode may be activated if, upon activation of the voice command mode, the interactive toy of this invention detects no further user input.
  • [0079]
    Upon activation of the “entertain me” mode, interactive toy may broadcast a random joke (e.g., a random “knock, knock” joke), a random funny comment, or the interactive toy may perform a dance, sing a song, and/or display a random funny face, depending on the user input and/or the input from other like interactive toys.
  • [0080]
    Upon activation of the play a game mode, the interactive toy scans for user input and, based on the user input, plays a selected game. In one embodiment of this invention, a game can be selected from a staring contest game, a guess the number game and/or make funny faces game.
  • [0081]
    Upon activation of the staring contest game, such as by user input, a voice command and/or a communication from another like interactive toy, the interactive toy of this invention randomly selects a period of time (e.g., 10 seconds), and displays a staring face animation on screen 30 for the selected period of time. During the selected period of time, the interactive toy “listens” for a “you win” comment from the user and/or other like interactive toy. Upon detection of a “you win” comment, the interactive toy may display a happy face animation on screen 30. If no “you win” comment is detected during the selected period of time, the interactive toy may broadcast an internal “you win” comment after the selected period of time has ended and may display a sad face animation on screen 30.
  • [0082]
    Upon activation of the guess the number game, interactive toy “listens” for a start signal from the user and/or other interactive toy. Upon detection of a start signal, the interactive toy randomly selects a number, for example a random number between 1 and 100, plays a comment “guess”, and “listens’ for the user and/or other like interactive toy to respond with a guessed number. If the response is a number lower than the selected number, the interactive toy may display a thinking face animation on screen 30 and play a random “lower” comment. If the response is a number higher than the selected number, the interactive toy may display a thinking face animation on screen 30 and play a random “higher” comment. If the response is the correct number, the interactive toy may play a happy face animation on screen 30 and play a random “correct” comment.
  • [0083]
    Upon activation of the funny faces game, the interactive toy “listens” for a start signal from a user and/or other like interactive toys. Upon detection of a start signal, the interactive toy may play a sequence of funny faces, such as frowning, smiling, sleepy, winking, and/or goofy faces, and may play a “your turn” comment at the end of the sequence.
  • [0084]
    Upon activation of the face fight game mode, the interactive toy “listens” for a start signal from a user and/or another like interactive toy. Upon detection of a start signal, the interactive toy plays a “1-2-3 Go!” comment and randomly displays a face animation such as a smile, a frown, a tongue face, and/or any other suitable animation. Interactive toy may play a comment associated with the selected face animation and wait for a communication from the other interactive toy indicating the face animation selected by the other interactive toy. The winner may be determined based on a preprogrammed results matrix. For example, if both interactive toys display a smile face animation, the interactive toys tie. A smile face animation may win over a frown face animation. The winning interactive toy may display a happy face animation on screen 30 and/or broadcast a “winner” comment.
  • [0085]
    Interactive toy may also include a play again subroutine, which allows the interactive toy to repeat the previously played game or sequence. For example, after completion of a game or a sequence, the interactive toy may broadcast a “play again” comment and “listen” for input from the user or other like interactive toys. Upon detection of a “yes” response, interactive toy may play happy face animation and activate the selected game mode again.
  • [0086]
    While in the foregoing specification this invention has been described in relation to certain preferred embodiments thereof, and many details have been set forth for purpose of illustration, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that interactive toy 10 and the related method of use, operation and manufacture are susceptible to additional embodiments and that certain of the details described herein can be varied considerably without departing from the basic principles of the invention.

Claims (22)

  1. 1. An interactive toy comprising:
    a base module;
    a speaker positioned within the base module and generating one or more audible speech patterns that are responsive to a user and additional like interactive toys;
    a microphone positioned within the base module and receiving communications from the user and the additional like interactive toys;
    a screen positioned within the base module and displaying responsive graphics to the user and the additional like interactive toys;
    one or more lower accessories removably attachable to the base module; and
    one or more upper accessories removably attachable to the base module.
  2. 2. The interactive toy of claim 1, wherein the one or more lower accessories comprise a stand, shoes, clothes, legs, arms, personal accessories, or a combination thereof.
  3. 3. The interactive toy of claim 1, wherein the one or more upper accessories comprise a head, glasses, hair, hair accessories, or a combination thereof.
  4. 4. The interactive toy of claim 1, wherein the one or more upper accessories provide one of a visual access or a physical access to the screen.
  5. 5. The interactive toy of claim 1, further comprising one or more input controls positioned within the base module.
  6. 6. The interactive toy of claim 5, wherein the one or more upper accessories or the one or more lower accessories are arranged around the base module and allowing physical access to the one or more input controls.
  7. 7. The interactive toy of claim 1, wherein the one or more upper accessories or the one or more lower accessories are arranged around the base module and allowing access to the microphone and the speaker.
  8. 8. The interactive toy of claim 1, wherein the one or more lower accessories and the one or more upper accessories create an appearance of a human, an animal, a machine, a robot, a mythical creature, a cartoon character, a fish, or other simulateable character.
  9. 9. The interactive toy of claim 1, further comprising a distinct personality
  10. 10. The interactive toy of claim 9, wherein the distinct personality is synchronized with the one or more upper accessories and the one or more lower accessories.
  11. 11. The interactive toy of claim 9, wherein the distinct personality is programmed into the one or more upper accessories and the one or more lower accessories.
  12. 12. The interactive toy of claim 11, wherein the distinct personality is interchangeable with another different distinct personality by interchanging the one or more lower accessories or the one or more upper accessories.
  13. 13. An interactive toy comprising:
    a base module;
    a speaker positioned within the base module and generating one or more audible speech patterns that are responsive to a user and additional like interactive toys;
    a microphone positioned within the base module and receiving communications from the user and the additional like interactive toys;
    a screen positioned within the base module and displaying responsive graphics to the user and the additional like interactive toys;
    one or more lower accessories removably attachable to the base module; and
    one or more upper accessories removably attachable to the base module,
    wherein the one or more lower accessories and the one or more upper accessories create a physical appearance of a human; and
    wherein the interactive toy includes a distinct personality.
  14. 14. The interactive toy of claim 13, wherein the distinct personality is interchangeable with a different distinct personality.
  15. 15. The interactive toy of claim 13, wherein the distinct personality is programmed into the one or more upper accessories.
  16. 16. The interactive toy of claim 13, wherein the distinct personality is programmed into the one or more lower accessories.
  17. 17. The interactive toy of claim 13, wherein the one or more lower accessories are interchangeable with one or more different lower accessories.
  18. 18. The interactive toy of claim 13, wherein the one or more upper accessories are interchangeable with one or more different upper accessories.
  19. 19. The interactive toy of claim 13, wherein the distinct personality is interchangeable with a different distinct personality through wireless means, a memory device, a universal serial bus interface, or a combination thereof.
  20. 20. An interactive toy comprising:
    a base module;
    a speaker positioned within the base module and generating one or more audible speech patterns that are responsive to a user and additional like interactive toys;
    a microphone positioned within the base module and receiving communications from the user and the additional like interactive toys;
    a screen positioned within the base module and displaying responsive graphics to the user and the additional like interactive toys;
    one or more lower accessories interference fit with the base module; and
    one or more upper accessories interference fit with the base module,
    wherein the one or more lower accessories and the one or more upper accessories create a physical appearance of a human; and
    wherein the interactive toy includes a distinct personality interchangeable with a different distinct personality.
  21. 21. The interactive toy of claim 20, wherein the distinct personality is manifested through the one or more audible speech patterns.
  22. 22. The interactive toy of claim 20, wherein the distinct personality is manifested through the responsive graphics.
US12120751 2007-11-07 2008-05-15 Interactive toy Abandoned US20090117819A1 (en)

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PCT/US2008/070512 WO2009061530A1 (en) 2007-11-07 2008-07-18 Interactive toy

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WO2009061530A1 (en) 2009-05-14 application
US20090117816A1 (en) 2009-05-07 application

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