US20130005214A1 - Producing Sound and Vibration - Google Patents

Producing Sound and Vibration Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130005214A1
US20130005214A1 US13/397,843 US201213397843A US2013005214A1 US 20130005214 A1 US20130005214 A1 US 20130005214A1 US 201213397843 A US201213397843 A US 201213397843A US 2013005214 A1 US2013005214 A1 US 2013005214A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
signal
apparatus
accordance
control circuit
configured
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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
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US13/397,843
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Laura Davies
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Laura Davies
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Priority to GB1111153.1 priority Critical
Priority to GB201111153A priority patent/GB2492386B/en
Application filed by Laura Davies filed Critical Laura Davies
Publication of US20130005214A1 publication Critical patent/US20130005214A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N2/00Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles
    • B60N2/24Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles
    • B60N2/26Seats specially adapted for vehicles; Arrangement or mounting of seats in vehicles for particular purposes or particular vehicles for children
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H23/00Percussion or vibration massage, e.g. using supersonic vibration; Suction-vibration massage; Massage with moving diaphragms
    • A61H23/02Percussion or vibration massage, e.g. using supersonic vibration; Suction-vibration massage; Massage with moving diaphragms with electric or magnetic drive
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R1/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R1/02Casings; Cabinets ; Supports therefor; Mountings therein
    • H04R1/028Casings; Cabinets ; Supports therefor; Mountings therein associated with devices performing functions other than acoustics, e.g. electric candles
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R3/00Circuits for transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R3/12Circuits for transducers, loudspeakers or microphones for distributing signals to two or more loudspeakers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/01Constructive details
    • A61H2201/0119Support for the device
    • A61H2201/0138Support for the device incorporated in furniture
    • A61H2201/0149Seat or chair
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/16Physical interface with patient
    • A61H2201/1657Movement of interface, i.e. force application means
    • A61H2201/1664Movement of interface, i.e. force application means linear
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/50Control means thereof
    • A61H2201/5007Control means thereof computer controlled
    • A61H2201/501Control means thereof computer controlled connected to external computer devices or networks
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/50Control means thereof
    • A61H2201/5023Interfaces to the user
    • A61H2201/5048Audio interfaces, e.g. voice or music controlled
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/50Control means thereof
    • A61H2201/5097Control means thereof wireless
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2205/00Devices for specific parts of the body
    • A61H2205/08Trunk
    • A61H2205/081Back
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H23/00Percussion or vibration massage, e.g. using supersonic vibration; Suction-vibration massage; Massage with moving diaphragms
    • A61H23/02Percussion or vibration massage, e.g. using supersonic vibration; Suction-vibration massage; Massage with moving diaphragms with electric or magnetic drive
    • A61H23/0245Percussion or vibration massage, e.g. using supersonic vibration; Suction-vibration massage; Massage with moving diaphragms with electric or magnetic drive with ultrasonic transducers, e.g. piezo-electric
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2201/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones covered by H04R1/00 but not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2201/02Details casings, cabinets or mounting therein for transducers covered by H04R1/02 but not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2201/023Transducers incorporated in garment, rucksacks or the like
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2430/00Signal processing covered by H04R, not provided for in its groups
    • H04R2430/01Aspects of volume control, not necessarily automatic, in sound systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R5/00Stereophonic arrangements
    • H04R5/02Spatial or constructional arrangements of loudspeakers
    • H04R5/023Spatial or constructional arrangements of loudspeakers in a chair, pillow

Abstract

Apparatus for producing sound and vibration is disclosed. The apparatus comprises an outer body having a surface for positioning against a child. It further comprises a vibration unit which is configured to vibrate in response to an electric signal and a control circuit configured to process an audio input signal to generate a first signal for supplying to an audio output device. The control circuit is also configured to generate a second signal for supplying to the vibration unit. The control circuit is configured to supply said first signal in synchronisation with said second signal in response to said audio input signal.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority from United Kingdom Patent Application No. 11 11 153.1, filed Jun. 30, 2011, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to apparatus for producing sound and vibration and a method of providing the same.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • It is a legal requirement in many countries for children to be positioned safely in child vehicle seats when travelling in a vehicle. A problem arises that when travelling a child can easily become restless or distressed which can be difficult for a parent driving at the same time. Many seat covers available are configured to provide additional comfort but do not address the problems associated with restless children.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided apparatus for producing sound and vibration, comprising: an outer body having a surface for positioning against a child; a vibration unit configured to vibrate in response to an electric signal; and a control circuit configured to process an audio input signal to generate a first signal for supplying to an audio output device, and configured to generate a second signal for supplying to said vibration unit; wherein said control circuit is configured to supply said first signal in synchronisation with said second signal in response to said audio input signal.
  • According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of providing sound and vibration to entertain a child comprising the steps of: positioning a child against a surface of an outer body of apparatus producing sound and vibration; receiving an audio input signal via a control circuit; processing said audio input signal; generating a first signal; generating a second signal and supplying said second signal to a vibration unit configured to vibrate in response to an electrical signal; and supplying said first signal to an audio output device in synchronisation with said second signal in response to said audio input signal.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 shows a child positioned in a child vehicle seat;
  • FIG. 2 shows the apparatus in isolation and in further detail;
  • FIG. 3 shows a detailed view of the control panel;
  • FIG. 4 shows a rear view of apparatus 102;
  • FIG. 5 shows an internal view of apparatus 102;
  • FIG. 6 shows a side cross sectional view of apparatus 102;
  • FIG. 7 shows simplified block diagram indicating the main components of apparatus 102;
  • FIG. 8 shows the internal components of the control circuit in an embodiment;
  • FIG. 9 shows an alternative embodiment of the internal components of the control circuit;
  • FIG. 10 shows a graphical representation of the signal processing of the second signal for supplying to the vibration unit;
  • FIG. 11 shows a process by which the buttons on the control panel are activated;
  • FIG. 12 shows the process followed at step 1105 relating to the audio function of apparatus 102;
  • FIG. 13 shows the process followed at step 1107 relating to the movement function of apparatus 102; and
  • FIG. 14 shows the process followed at step 1109 relating to the timer function of the apparatus.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1
  • FIG. 1 shows a child positioned in child vehicle seat 101. Apparatus 102 is shown positioned behind the child to provide comfort to the child. Apparatus 102 is configured to produce sound and vibration in order to calm and sooth a child when travelling in a vehicle.
  • Apparatus 102 is further shown fitted to child vehicle seat such that it does not move around when a child is in a vehicle. Seat belts 103 and 104 are shown fitted through slot 105 and slot 106 to hold apparatus 102 in position.
  • While apparatus 102 is shown positioned in car vehicle seat 101 by way of example, it is appreciated that the apparatus is also suitable for use on other items such as bouncy chairs, high chairs, prams or similar items of furniture suitable for children. It is noted therefore that apparatus 102 is flexible for use in a number of applications.
  • FIG. 2
  • Apparatus 102 is shown in further detail and in isolation in FIG. 2. Apparatus 102 comprises an outer body 201 having a surface 202 for positioning against a child, as shown in the example in FIG. 1.
  • Apparatus 102 is further configured to be attached to a child vehicle seat by means of slot 105 and slot 106, as previously explained in FIG. 1. In use, a seat belt can be passed through slot 105 and slot 106 to simultaneously secure both a child and the apparatus in position. Apparatus 102 is configured to be positioned behind a child such that the child's head is lined up with the apparatus in the manner shown in FIG. 1.
  • Apparatus 102 is flexible for use with a child as it grows. With age the seat belts on a child vehicle seat become longer and move higher from the bottom of the seat with the child's height. With larger children apparatus 102 can still be used effectively as slot 105 and slot 106 are not specific to the height of a child such that the apparatus merely moves higher in line with the seat belts.
  • Apparatus 102 further comprises a water repellent material. This allows outer body 202 to be cleaned as required. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, apparatus 102 forms the shape of an animal character to appeal to children.
  • Apparatus 102 further comprises a control panel 203 for receiving input data from a user. Control panel 203 comprises a plurality of buttons, such as buttons 204A, 204B, 204C, 204D which are pressed in order to activate a plurality of functions. Control panel 203 further provides a connector 205 for connecting apparatus 102 to a portable media player.
  • Apparatus 102 further comprises an audio output device 206 such as speaker 206A and speaker 206B. Speakers 206A and speaker 206B are, in this embodiment, designed to form part of the character of apparatus 102. Speaker 206A and speaker 206B are activated in response to the input data received from the plurality of buttons 204 on control panel 203, as described further in the proceeding Figures.
  • FIG. 3
  • FIG. 3 shows a more detailed view of control panel 203 introduced in FIG. 2. The view is taken from the top of the apparatus as shown in FIG. 2. In this example embodiment, control panel 203 is positioned on the top of apparatus 102; however, the control panel could alternatively be positioned on a different part of the apparatus as required. In this embodiment, the positioning of control panel 203 on the top of apparatus 102 allows for easy access to buttons 204 when a child is positioned in a vehicle seat as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 1.
  • Control panel 203 is configured to receive input data from a user by the manual pressing of buttons 204. In an example, button 204A is configured to activate an internal control circuit to play audio output via an audio output device such as speaker 206A and/or speaker 206B. Button 204A is provided with an operation indicator 301A. In this embodiment, the operation indicator 301A is in the form of an LED which is configured to activate when button 204A is activated.
  • In this example, button 204B is configured to activate an internal control circuit to provide vibrations to apparatus 102. Button 204B is provided with an operation indicator 301B. The operation indicator 301B is also in the form of an LED which is configured to activate when button 204B is activated.
  • Button 204C is similarly configured to activate an internal control circuit to provide a synchronisation of audio output to audio output device 206 with the output to a vibration unit. Button 204C is provided with an operation indicator 301C. The operation indicator 301C is in the form of an LED which is configured to activate when button 204C is activated.
  • Button 204D is configured to activate an internal control circuit to provide a timer function which allows any of the previous functions to run for a specified period of time. For example, a single push of button 204D will set a function to run for a period of five minutes. Operation indicator 301D will activate to indicate the timer function has been activated. A second push of the button will set the function to run for a period of ten minutes, for example, and will activate operation indicator 301E but deactivate operation indication 301D. A further push of button 204D will signal the internal control circuit to provide a timer function for fifteen minutes and activate both operation indication 301D and operation indicator 301E. A further press of button 204D will deactivate both operation indicators and the timer function itself. Operation indicator 301D and operation 301E are both in the form of LEDs in this embodiment.
  • Control panel 203 further comprises an electrical connector 205 for connecting apparatus 102 to a portable media player. The portable media player could be an MP3 player, mobile telephone or similar device capable of providing audio data via a suitable connector. In an embodiment, connector 205 is in the form of a USB connector.
  • In one embodiment (in which the apparatus is arranged to generate audio output from received analogue audio signals) connector 205 is a 3.5 mm phono socket. In an embodiment, apparatus 102 is supplied with a suitable cable for connecting a portable media player to apparatus 102. Other embodiments are envisaged in which wireless communication means are provided within the apparatus for receiving audio data, such as by Bluetooth.
  • When the portable media player is connected to auxiliary connector 205, operation indicator 301F is activated. The connection activates an internal control circuit to automatically switch to receiving audio input data from the portable media player.
  • FIG. 4
  • A rear view of apparatus 102 is shown in FIG. 4. The reverse view as shown is the opposite of that indicated in FIG. 2. Apparatus 102 further comprises straps 401 which are suitable for a child to use when carrying apparatus 102. Straps 401 are attached to back surface 402 such that apparatus 102 may be easily moved around. In the illustrated embodiment, back strap 401 further comprises adjustment mechanism 403 to enable the straps to be adjusted to suit a child. Apparatus 102 can therefore also be carried around by a child even as they grow as the straps can be adjusted accordingly.
  • Back surface 402 has an opening 404. In an embodiment, opening 404 is defined within a cover 405 which may take the form of a character as indicated in FIG. 2. Opening 404 allows access into the internal workings which are shown in FIG. 5. Opening 404 is sealed by a closure means, which takes the form of a hook and loop fastening such as Velcro® or a zip. It is appreciated that other suitable fastenings may be used in alternative embodiments.
  • FIG. 5
  • An internal view of apparatus 102 is shown in FIG. 5. Opening 404, as shown in FIG. 4, is provided in order to allow access to the internal workings as shown in FIG. 5. This includes control unit 501 which is connected to audio output device 206 (speaker 206A and speaker 206B) and vibration unit 502. Vibration unit 502, speaker 206A and speaker 206B are all connected to control unit 501 by suitable wiring.
  • Control unit 501 comprises a control circuit, memory and a power supply, which will be explained in further detail in FIG. 7. Opening 404 allows for access to control unit 501 such that the control unit 501 may be removed via the opening for maintenance.
  • Vibration unit 502 is configured to vibrate in response to an electric signal and, in an example, comprises a shaftless motor. In the pictured embodiment a single shaftless motor is used, however, in alternative embodiments a plurality of motors can be used depending on the level of vibration required. In an alternative embodiment, the vibration unit is a piezoceramic disc or a plurality of piezoceramic discs.
  • Audio output devices 206 are also connected to control unit 501 to enable an audio output. In an embodiment audio output devices 206 are a plurality of 3 amp speakers.
  • FIG. 6
  • FIG. 6 shows a side cross sectional view of apparatus 102. Outer body 201 is shown having a front surface 202 and a back surface 402. Outer body 201 comprises a first section 601 and a second section 602. First section 601 includes a cavity 603 which is configured to house control unit 501. In the example shown in FIG. 6, cavity 603 further houses vibration unit 502 and wire 604 which connects vibration unit 502 to control unit 501. In alternative embodiments, first section 601 comprises a plurality of cavities suitable for storing vibration unit 502, control unit 501 and any other activation devices.
  • In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, outer body 201 further comprises cover 405 which is configured to fit around first section 601 and second section 602. First section 601 and second section 602 are sandwiched together and cover 405 is fastened around the two sections to form outer body 201 such that vibration unit 502 and control unit 501 is contained within outer body 201. Cover 405 may be fastened around the sections by fastening means such as a zip or Velcro™. In this way, cover 405 can also be removed for cleaning or for interchanging with alternative covers. In an embodiment, first section 601 and second section 602 are manufactured from a foam material which provides cushioning to a child. It is appreciated that other suitable materials may be used that provide cushioning and/or are capable of supporting the internal components.
  • FIG. 7
  • FIG. 7 shows a simplified block diagram indicating the main components of apparatus 102. Control unit 501 is shown within a dotted outline and comprises memory 701, a power supply 702 and control circuit 703. The memory 701 stores audio data files as well as program data defining process steps for a processor within the control circuit 703. Control circuit 703 is electrically connected to memory 701 and power supply 702 within control unit 501. In an embodiment, power supply 702 is provided in the form of a single or plurality of batteries, such as AA batteries. It is to be appreciated that suitable alternative power sources may be used.
  • The control circuit 703 is configured to receive audio data contain within memory 701, and process the audio data to produce an audio signal output and thereby produce audio output, such as music, from audio output device 206. In an example, the audio data is provided in a suitable file format such as mp3 or midi files.
  • Control circuit 703 is further connected to input control panel 203, as previously described in FIG. 3. Control panel 203 allows a user to determine which functions are activated through apparatus 102 by receiving input data. As previously discussed, control panel 203 further comprises a connector for connecting apparatus 102 to a portable media player 704. When connected to control panel 203, portable media player 704 forms a connection with control circuit 703 such that an audio input signal is provided via portable media player 704 to control circuit 703.
  • Control circuit 703 is further connected to audio output device 206 and vibration unit 502. As previously discussed, in an embodiment, audio output device 206 is in the form of a pair of speakers. In an embodiment, vibration unit 502 comprises a shaftless motor.
  • Control circuit 703 is configured to process an audio input signal to generate a first signal for supplying to audio output device 206 and is further configured to generate a second signal for supplying to vibration unit 502. The means by which this is achieved within control circuit 703 is further explained in the examples shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.
  • Control circuit 703 is also configured to supply the first signal in synchronisation with the second signal in response to the audio input signal. The audio input signal may be provided via portable media player 704 to control circuit 703. Alternatively, the audio input signal is provided by memory 701 to control circuit 703. The connection of portable media player 704 to input control panel 203 prevents the audio input signal from being provided to control circuit 703 via memory 701 as described in FIG. 12.
  • In the present embodiment, digital audio files are downloaded from the portable media player and processed by a processor in the control circuit when required to generate output signals. However, in an alternative embodiment, the portable media player is arranged to provide analogue audio signals to the control circuit which amplifies the signals as required for supply to the audio output device 206, and, when synchronised vibration by the vibration unit is required, further processes the received audio signals to generate a second signal which is supplied to the vibration unit to cause it to vibrate.
  • FIG. 8
  • FIG. 8 shows the internal components of control circuit 703 in one embodiment of the invention. An audio source 801 is supplied which has been provided from either portable media player 704 or memory 701. Audio source 801 comprises an audio input signal from the selected device, which is activated by the input from a user into control panel 203. The audio input signal is processed by a processor 802 which decodes the audio input signal as required and converts the resulting digital signal to an analogue signal. The analogue signal is then supplied to an amplifier 802 such that a first signal is generated by the amplifier which is supplied to audio output device 206. A second signal is also generated which in turn is supplied to the vibration unit 502.
  • In this embodiment, the control circuit 703 comprises an amplifier 802 which is configured to vary the amplitude of the second signal in dependence upon the amplitude of the audio input signal. This allows for the first signal to be in synchronisation with the second signal resulting in the effect that the audio output through audio output device 206 is played in synchronisation with the vibrations transmitted through the outer body 201 of apparatus 102.
  • Although a single amplifier 802 is shown in FIG. 8, it will be understood that separate amplification means may be provided to amplify the signal to generate the first signal for the audio output device 206 and to amplify the signal to generate the second signal for the vibration unit 502. Thus suitable signals may be provided for driving each of the audio output device 206 and the vibration unit 502.
  • FIG. 9
  • FIG. 9 illustrates an alternative embodiment having different internal components within the control circuit 703.
  • As with the example shown in FIG. 8, an audio source 801 is supplied which has been provided from either portable media player 704 or memory 701. Audio source 801 comprises an audio input signal from the selected device, which is activated by the input from a user into control panel 203.
  • In the present embodiment, the received audio input signal is processed by a processor 901 so that it is converted from a digital signal (such as an mp3 file) to an analogue signal as required. On receiving an audio signal, a first signal is generated for supplying to audio output device 206. The first signal is amplified by an amplifier 903 as necessary and output at audio output device 206.
  • A second signal to be supplied to vibration unit 502 is processed by a series of components in order to provide a synchronised signal. In this embodiment, the control circuit 703 is configured to vary the amplitude of the second signal in dependence on an averaged amplitude of the audio input signal. Following the processing of the audio input signal to produce an appropriate analogue signal, the analogue signal is processed further through a buffer amplifier 904. Buffer amplifier 904 is configured to receive the processed signal which varies with the first signal and to provide an output signal for supplying to vibration unit 502.
  • The output signal from buffer amplifier 904 is further processed by a rectifier 905 which rectifies the processed signal from buffer amplifier 904, the effects of which are shown in FIG. 10.
  • In the present embodiment, once the signal has been rectified, it is filtered by means of a low pass filter 906 or suitable smoothing circuit. The output signal from filter 906 is further processed by means of a comparator 907 which is configured to receive this filtered signal. The comparator compares the filtered signal to a threshold level and provides an output signal for supplying to vibration unit 502. It is to be appreciated that in some embodiments, further processing and/or amplification may be required before transmitting the fully processed second signal to vibration unit 502.
  • In an embodiment, comparator 907 takes the form of a Schmitt Trigger and in an alternative embodiment, the comparator is replaced by a voltage follower configured to process the signal from filter 906.
  • FIG. 10
  • Graphical representation of the signal processing of the second signal for supplying to vibration unit 502 is shown in FIG. 10.
  • Graph 1001 indicates the analogue signal received via the buffer amplifier following conversion (if required) to an analogue signal. This signal is processed through rectifier 905 to produce the signal shown in graph 1002. Processing from filter 906 provides a smoothed signal 1003 from which the amplitude of the signal at given points in time has been averaged for simplification. The comparator 907 compares signal 1003 with a predetermined threshold value 1004 which enables the comparator 907 to output a final signal 1005 comprising pulses indicating whether the vibration unit should be activated or not.
  • The vibration unit 502 therefore, vibrates when the audio input is above the threshold value and does not vibrate when the audio input is below this point, thus synchronising the first signal output supplied to audio output device 206 with the second signal supplied to the vibration unit 502.
  • It should be noted that, in the arrangement of FIG. 9, the rectification, filtering and comparison of the audio signal are shown separate to the processor 901. However, it will be appreciated that such functions may be performed within a processor using known techniques to process the digital audio data in order to produce a second signal similar to signal 1005.
  • FIG. 11
  • FIG. 11 shows a process 1101 by which the apparatus 102 is activated by means of the buttons 204 on control panel 203. In a first instance 1102, when apparatus 102 is effectively in stand by mode, all functions are set to off. That is, apparatus 102 is not configured to output audio through audio output device 206 or vibrate the vibration unit 502 until instructed by means of a users input through the input control panel 203. At this point, step 1103 ensures that the timer function is set to off and that the target time for the timer is set to zero.
  • At a step 1104, a question is asked if an audio function has been indicated. The audio function could be either a request via control panel 203 for audio to be output from the memory, or alternatively from the connection of a portable media player. If the question is answered in the positive, the state of the indicated function is changed at step 1105 in line with the process shown in FIG. 12.
  • If the question is answered in the negative, step 1105 is avoided and the system moves directly to step 1106. At step 1106, a question is asked if a movement function has been indicated. The movement function could be either the vibration control function which activates vibration unit 502 independently or the synchronisation function which activates both the vibration unit 502 and an output via the audio output device 206. If the question is answered in the positive, the state of the indicated function is changed at step 1107 in line with the process shown in FIG. 13.
  • If the question is answered in the negative, step 1107 is avoided and the system moves directly to step 1108. At step 1108 a question is asked if a timer input has been received via the timer button on the control panel 203. If the question is answered in the positive, the timer status is determined and the target time is set at step 1109 in line with the process shown in FIG. 14. If the question is answered in the negative, step 1109 is avoided and the system moves directly to step 1110.
  • At step 1110, if the control circuit 703 has received a signal indicating that the timer is switched off, then the question is answered in the positive and the process is returned to step 1104 to continuously monitor any further inputs from control panel 203. If the timer has been activated, however, a further question is asked at step 1111 to determine whether the target time, as determined by the process in FIG. 14, has been reached. If the target time has been reached, the question is answered in the positive and the process returns to step 1102 resulting in the system being reset, such that all functions are set to off and the target time is reset. If the question is answered in the negative, the process returns to step 1104 and continues to monitor any further inputs via control panel 203.
  • FIG. 12
  • FIG. 12 indicates the process followed at step 1105 relating to the audio function of apparatus 102. Having received an indication that an audio function is desired, as shown at step 1104 of FIG. 11, a question is asked at step 1201 to determine if the indicated function is internal audio as supplied by memory 701. If the question is answered in the positive, a question is asked at step 1202 to determine if the internal audio is already running. If this question is answered in the positive the internal audio is turned off at step 1203 as the indication is that the audio button on control panel 203 has been pressed twice and should be turned off. Following step 1203, the process continues to step 1106 shown in FIG. 11.
  • If the question at step 1202 is answered in the negative and the internal audio is not currently activated, then, at step 1204, a question is asked if the external audio is connected. The external audio is that provided by portable media player 704 which takes priority over the internal audio function. That is, if an external audio source is connected, it continues to be processed and the internal audio cannot be played. Therefore, if step 1204 is answered in the negative, the internal audio is switched on at step 1205, and if step 1204 is answered in the positive, then the internal audio is not switched on and the process proceeds to step 1106 shown in FIG. 11.
  • If the question at step 1201 is answered in the negative, that is, that the internal audio function has not been requested via control panel 203, then a question is asked at step 1206 if the external audio has been connected. If the question is answered in the positive, then the internal audio is switched off at stage 1207 if it is already on. Once the external audio status has been switched to on, then the process proceeds to step 1106 of FIG. 11.
  • If the question at step 1206 is answered in the negative and the external audio is not connected, the external audio status is set to off at step 1209 and the process continues with step 1106 shown in FIG. 11.
  • FIG. 13
  • FIG. 13 indicates the process followed at step 1107 relating to the movement function of apparatus 102. Having received an indication that a movement function is desired, as shown at step 1106 of FIG. 11, a question is asked at step 1301 to determine if the indicated function is the synchronisation function. If the question is answered in the positive a question is asked to determine if the synchronisation function is currently on at step 1302. If the synchronisation function is not already on, the question is answered in the negative and step 1303 is processed and the synchronisation function is switched on. If the vibration function is currently on at this stage, the process also switches the vibration function off.
  • At step 1302, if the question is answered in the positive, the synchronisation function is switched off at step 1304 indicating the button on control panel 203 has been pressed twice and is no longer required. The process then returns to the next step in FIG. 11.
  • If the step at 1301 is answered in the negative and the synchronisation function has not been activated, the process asks a further question at step 1305 to determine if the vibration function is switched on. If the vibration function is not switched on, the vibration function is switched on at step 1306. If the synchronisation function is switched on this is also switched off so that only one movement function is running.
  • If the question at step 1305 is answered in the positive and the vibration function is determined as currently on, then the status of the vibration function is changed. The vibration function is configured to run at low vibration on receipt of a first input, high vibration on receipt of a second input and deactivates on a third input. Therefore, step 1307 determines the incremental setting of the vibration function. Once this has been determined, the process returns to the next step as indicated in FIG. 11.
  • FIG. 14
  • FIG. 14 indicates the process followed at step 1109 relating to the timer function of apparatus 102. Having received an indication that timer function has been received, as shown at step 1108 of FIG. 11, a question is asked at step 1401 to add a period of time to the target time. In this example embodiment, manual input by means of button 204D will activate the timer for 5 minutes on a single press, 10 minutes on receipt of two presses, 15 minutes when the button is pressed 3 times and turn the timer off when the button is pressed four times. It is to be appreciated that the same principle may be used for different time periods in line with the process used in the example shown.
  • In the example, at step 1401 a period of five minutes is added to the overall target time. At step 1402, a question is asked if the target time has reached the maximum fifteen minutes. If the question at 1402 has been answered in the positive, at step 1403 the timer is switched off and the target time is set to zero to allow the timer to be reactivated. If the question at 1402 is answered in the negative and the maximum target time has not been reached and is less than fifteen minutes in total, then the timer starts or continues to run at step 1404. Once the target time and timer status have been determined, as per step 1109, the process is free to continue in line with the steps indicated in FIG. 11.

Claims (18)

1. Apparatus for producing sound and vibration, comprising:
an outer body having a surface for positioning against a child;
a vibration unit configured to vibrate in response to an electric signal; and
a control circuit configured to process an audio input signal to generate a first signal for supplying to an audio output device, and configured to generate a second signal for supplying to said vibration unit; wherein
said control circuit is configured to supply said first signal in synchronisation with said second signal in response to said audio input signal.
2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein said control circuit is configured to vary the amplitude of said second signal in dependence upon the amplitude of said audio input signal.
3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein said control circuit is configured to vary the amplitude of said second signal in dependence upon an averaged amplitude of said audio input signal.
4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said control circuit further comprises a comparator configured to receive a processed signal which varies with said first signal, to compare said processed signal to a threshold level, and to provide an output signal for supply to said vibration unit.
5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4, wherein said output signal is further processed to generate said second signal.
6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said control circuit further comprises a buffer amplifier configured to receive a processed signal which varies with said first signal and to provide an output signal for supply to said vibration unit.
7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said control circuit further comprises a rectifier configured to rectify an audio signal.
8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said vibration unit comprises a shaftless motor.
9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said control circuit is contained within said outer body.
10. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said apparatus further comprises a control panel for receiving input data from a user.
11. Apparatus in accordance with claim 10, wherein said control panel provides a connector for connecting said apparatus to a portable media player.
12. Apparatus in accordance with claim 11, wherein said audio input signal is provided via said portable media player to said control circuit.
13. Apparatus in accordance with claim 12, wherein said audio input signal is provided via memory to said control circuit.
14. Apparatus in accordance with claim 11, wherein connection of said portable media player to said control panel prevents said audio input signal from being provided via said memory.
15. A method of providing sound and vibration to entertain a child comprising the steps of:
positioning a child against a surface of an outer body of apparatus producing sound and vibration;
receiving an audio input signal via a control circuit;
processing said audio input signal;
generating a first signal;
generating a second signal and supplying said second signal to a vibration unit configured to vibrate in response to an electrical signal; and
supplying said first signal to an audio output device in synchronisation with said second signal in response to said audio input signal.
16. A method in accordance with claim 15 further comprising the step of varying the amplitude of said second signal in dependence upon the amplitude of said audio input signal.
17. A method in accordance with claim 15 further comprising the step of varying the amplitude of said second signal in dependence upon an averaged amplitude of said audio input signal.
18. A method in accordance with claim 15, further comprising the steps of:
receiving a processed signal which varies with said first signal;
comparing said processed signal to a threshold level; and
providing an output signal for supply to said vibration unit.
US13/397,843 2011-06-30 2012-02-16 Producing Sound and Vibration Abandoned US20130005214A1 (en)

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US20150063606A1 (en) * 2013-08-28 2015-03-05 StudioFeed USA, LLC Multistage tactile sound device
CN105723735A (en) * 2013-08-28 2016-06-29 低音炮公司 Multistage tactile sound device
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US20170164116A1 (en) * 2013-08-28 2017-06-08 Subpac, Inc. Multistage Tactile Sound Device
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US10272350B2 (en) 2017-06-14 2019-04-30 Dynacraft Bsc, Inc. Pulsating imitation speaker

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GB2492386A (en) 2013-01-02
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