US20140274465A1 - System of Modularity for Hollow Game Balls - Google Patents

System of Modularity for Hollow Game Balls Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140274465A1
US20140274465A1 US13/798,208 US201313798208A US2014274465A1 US 20140274465 A1 US20140274465 A1 US 20140274465A1 US 201313798208 A US201313798208 A US 201313798208A US 2014274465 A1 US2014274465 A1 US 2014274465A1
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Prior art keywords
ball
plug
balls
golf
accessory
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Abandoned
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US13/798,208
Inventor
Raymond L. Francis
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Raymond L. Francis
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Priority to US13/798,208 priority Critical patent/US20140274465A1/en
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Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B43/00Balls with special arrangements
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0004Surface depressions or protrusions
    • A63B37/0005Protrusions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0023Covers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/005Cores
    • A63B37/0051Special materials other than polybutadienes; Special construction
    • A63B37/0056Hollow; Gas-filled
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/007Characteristics of the ball as a whole
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/007Characteristics of the ball as a whole
    • A63B37/0072Characteristics of the ball as a whole with a specified number of layers
    • A63B37/0073Solid, i.e. formed of a single piece
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/007Characteristics of the ball as a whole
    • A63B37/0077Physical properties
    • A63B37/0097Layers interlocking by means of protrusions or inserts, lattices or the like
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B39/00Hollow non-inflatable balls, i.e. having no valves
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B43/00Balls with special arrangements
    • A63B43/002Balls with special arrangements with special configuration, e.g. non-spherical
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B39/00Hollow non-inflatable balls, i.e. having no valves
    • A63B2039/003Hollow non-inflatable balls, i.e. having no valves substantially hollow and pressureless
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0004Surface depressions or protrusions
    • A63B37/0012Dimple profile, i.e. cross-sectional view
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49826Assembling or joining

Abstract

Friction-fit, removable plugs for holes in hollow, perforated game balls, such as Wiffle Balls and practice golf balls. Plugging the holes allows users to adjust the flight and composition of the balls in various ways, including matching the distance of balls to the available space and to the players' abilities. An adjustable golf ball is one embodiment. Plugging the holes also provides a means to attach various accessories, which creates modularity, facilitates experimentation and ball development, and permits an app-like avenue of marketing and development of balls.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates to game ball apparatus, and more particularly pertains to a new and improved system to: (i) easily and reversibly alter the composition and flight of hollow, perforated balls; (ii) attach accessories to these balls; and (iii) develop and market these balls.
  • 2. Prior Art
  • At the present time, anywhere in the golf-playing world, it would be hard to find a sporting goods store or website that did not carry plastic balls that are hollow and perforated with holes. Baseballs, golf balls, footballs and the classic Wiffle Ball are among the most popular and commercially-successful examples of this type of sports apparatus.
  • This type of ball is so popular for play and practice because of various characteristics: the balls are inexpensive, they fly over short distances, they are relatively light and safe, they realistically mimic some aspects of the balls used in professional sports, and they can be made to curve or dip or perform other tricks in the air. Various patents have been awarded for various designs of such balls.
  • And yet, for all of this popularity, ubiquity, and longevity (the Wiffle Ball was invented in 1953), the considerable and rich potential of using the holes in these balls (to adjust and modify the performance and/or physical nature of the balls) has been essentially ignored. Very few patents or products involve even the simplest blocking of the holes in any capacity; only two relevant patents were discovered (and no relevant references were found on the Internet, in sporting goods stores, or in histories of game apparatus): U.S. Pat. No. 5,158,284 to Vogl (1992) teaches a ball with a bladder on its inside and a network of tubing on its outside; plugs for holes are provided in this design, but they are ferromagnetic and serve only to stop-up the filling holes to the bladder and to produce an “uncertain trajectory when thrown.” U.S. Pat. No. 7,608,003 to Fusco et al. (2009) teaches a ball that has a separate, moveable band of material that is attached to its exterior that can be rotated to cover holes in the ball.
  • In sum, the basic drawback of the prior art is that it taps such a small portion of how the holes in perforated game balls can be used (for game uses, non-game uses, education, and marketing, among other uses). Heretofore this has largely been a wide-open, unexplored territory. It would seem that previous designers and inventors did not realize the potential that the holes presented.
  • OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
  • Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the present invention are:
  • (a) to provide an easy, simple, and reversible means to change and adjust various physical/structural features of individual game balls, including their surface texture, their shape, their hardness, their rigidity, their elasticity, their weight and momentum, the sound they make when struck, and the materials comprising them;
    (b) to provide an easy, simple, and reversible means to control various aspects of the ball flight, including distance, trajectory, movement, and stability in the air;
    (c) to provide an easy, simple, and reversible means to reversibly adjust ball distance so that: (i) this distance can match the space available for game play, and (ii) a handicapping means is provided whereby weaker players can hit balls just as far as stronger players;
    (d) to provide a means to create an adjustable golf ball (possibly the first-ever example of such an item);
    (e) to provide a simple means to reversibly attach various accessories to and within the balls;
    (f) to provide a means to experiment and develop new ball-related innovations and products;
    (g) to provide a convenient and easy means whereby customers can independently experiment on balls and develop ball-related products, and then manufacturing companies (by standard marketing procedures, based on the model of development of apps for electronic devices) can harvest/exploit useful developments that were originated outside of these companies by customers/users.
    (h) to provide means whereby balls can be used in classrooms, for various demonstrations and experiments, in various subjects; and
    (i) to simply and easily provide various other non-game uses for balls, including decorating, advertising, marketing, creating hand tools, and performing desktop tasks.
  • Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The core of the present invention comprises friction-fit, removable plugs for the apertures in hollow, perforated game balls. The use and plugging of holes allows the precise control of ball composition and flight, it allows the easy and reversible affixing of accessories to and within balls, it comprises means to create an adjustable golf ball, it provides an easy means of research and development of new ball-related products/uses, it allows common game balls to be used more widely as educational tools, and it provides opportunity whereby customers can develop their own new products (which can then be harvested by manufacturers, to the profit of both the companies and the creators).
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a hollow plastic ball with several open holes and several plugged holes.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an isolated plug.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a grommet-style plug.
  • FIG. 4 is a medial cross section view of a plug inserted into a hole in the shell of a ball.
  • FIG. 5 is a front view of an insertable accessory.
  • FIG. 6 is a front view of a ball that is affixed with four accessories.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a ball constructed of a network of struts.
  • DRAWINGS Reference Numerals
    • 1 hollow ball
    • 2 hole that is open
    • 3 hole that is plugged
    • 4 insertable portion of a plug
    • 5 outer lip of a plug, including a lateral process extending away from the body of the plug
    • 6 cavity in a plug
    • 7 inner lip of a plug
    • 8 active portion of an accessory
    • 9 insertable portion of an accessory
    • 10 accessory
    • 12 plug
    • 13 strut network forming a ball
    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The “plug” of the present invention is a body, a thing, that is removably-but-firmly pressed into holes/openings/voids/apertures/cavities of game balls. A preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1: a hollow, perforated plastic ball 1 has some of its holes open 2, and others are plugged 3. The plugs (item 12 in FIG. 2) are friction-fit, form-fit, and of common rubbery material such that they can be inserted and removed by hand, or perhaps removed via the use of a simple pry tool. While allowing simple insertion and removal of the plugs 12, the grip on the plugs 12 is such that they are held securely enough to stay in place during normal game play, when the ball collides with bats, clubs, walls, player's bodies, etc.
  • FIG. 2 shows an isolated plug 12 that includes an insertable portion 4 that is pressed into the holes 2 of balls 1. This insertable portion 4 is shown with a slight taper, so as to create a really snug grip within the holes 2. Also shown is a cap or outer lip 5 that rests on the surface of the ball 1. This cap 5 section includes a lateral process (i.e. the portion of the cap 5 that extends beyond the circumference of the insertable portion 4 of the plug 12; in FIG. 2 the lead line from the numeral 5 terminates on this lateral process). This lateral process could be variously shaped, sized, and structured; for example, it could be star-shaped or letter-shaped or shaped so as to form a handle; it could form patches of various materials that could interact with objects, such as golf clubs, that come in contact with these patches.
  • FIG. 3 shows a grommet-style of plug 12 that contains a cavity 6, and a cap or outer lip 5, and an inner lip 7 that would strengthen the seating of the plug within the ball 1. The cavity 6 serves as a docking station or insertion site of various objects and accessories (item 10 in FIG. 5). These accessories 10 are gripped in a friction-fit fashion in the same way that the ball 1 grips the plug 12. The accessories 10 themselves can act as plugs. Cavity 6 can also be used to insert a simple hook tool to assist with the removal of plugs that might be gripped especially strongly by the holes 2 of the balls 1. In the embodiments above cavity 6 is a through-hole extending from top to bottom of plug 12; however, cavity 6 can also be a compartment or “blind alley” that extends only part of the way through the plug 12.
  • FIG. 4 shows a medial cross section of a plug 12 that is pushed through a hole in the wall of a ball 1. Here, the plug 12 is seen with a cavity 6 and an outer lip 5. FIG. 5 shows a complete accessory 10 that comprises an insertable portion 9 and an effective or active portion 8 that defines or “does the work” of the accessory. (In this document, “accessory” can refer simply to the active portion 8 of the accessory or to the complete ensemble of the active and the insertable portions.) In FIGS. 5 and 6 the accessory 8 is the letter “A”. FIG. 6 shows a schematic front view of a ball 1 (here without holes shown) with four accessories 8 attached.
  • FIG. 7 shows a design of ball in which the shell is constructed of interconnected struts 13 only, with large amounts of empty space that plugs (in the form of removable panels) could then fill. The plugs are not shown here, but each consists largely of a replaceable sheet or panel of material that fits into the empty space and is gripped by the struts 13. In this case, the nature of the plug largely defines the nature of the ball.
  • ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS
  • The accessory in FIG. 6 is shown to be held on the outside of the ball 1. However, other embodiments are possible and sometimes preferable. For example, an accessory 8 can also be held inside the ball 1 or embedded in the wall of the ball 1. Alternatively, the accessory 8 itself can form a plug or have a portion that mimics a plug, and thereby be friction-fit directly into an aperture in the shell of the ball 1. Thus, for the sake of this document and for an understanding of the full nature of the present invention, “plug”, “accessory” and “panel” can be used synonymously to mean an object to be inserted into an aperture or hole 2 in a hollow game ball 1.
  • The dimensions, shape, and composition of the plug and its features can be changed or tailored to specific needs. The lateral process on the cap 5 of a plug can be extended to occupy quite a large area, and its composition can thereby largely determine the nature of the surface of the ball. The size and shape of the cavity 6 can be small or wide (perhaps almost as wide as the hole in the ball), or the cavity can be absent or it can be closed at one end (only going part-way through the plug, thereby forming a “blind alley” or compartment, as recited above). The plugs drawn herein are all round when seen from the top, but they also can be other shapes, such as squares, triangles, and oblongs (to precisely fit the well-known elongated apertures in Wiffle Balls). The engineering and materials involved in such constructions would largely seem to be of a standard nature for those skilled in the art, without the need for extensive, undue or unusual experimentation.
  • While plugs can easily and profitably be produced for the holes of existing balls, plugs could also be co-designed in concert with the design of the balls themselves. FIG. 7 illustrates such a case, where the open spaces for plugs/panels are of unique shape and size, and could serve special purposes, including providing a ball with whatever dominant structure or texture or firmness that is required. This flexibility of design, coupled with the ease of changing-out various parts of balls, gives the hole-and-plug system described herein a modular nature, wherein various components can be selected and replaced in almost unlimited fashion. This flexibility of design, combined with the friction-fitting capability that is described and pictured herein, makes the balls fit for, and useful in, many and varied applications.
  • Operation and Uses of Plugs: (A) Control of Ball Flight, Reactivity, and Structure
  • The flight of a ball and its reaction to being hit or thrown is effected by the presence of inserted plugs, in relation to the size, weight, density, elasticity, and positioning of the plugs. In general, other things being equal, the more the plugs, the faster and further the ball will travel. This effect occurs because plugs add weight (and therefore momentum), and they decrease drag caused by open spaces in the external shell of the ball.
  • This effect/control on ball distance allows plugs to create an adjustable golf ball. (“Golf ball” in this document means any ball that is commonly hit with golf clubs or that is intended to be hit with golf clubs.) The user simply adds more plugs to add more distance; the user can provide plugs of greater weight and density and springiness to enhance this effect. (Plugs of the present invention can also be means to allow the filling of balls with various substances to various extents; the greater weight of a filled ball would, again, tend to increase the distance of the ball.) This means that balls can be tailored for the size of a user's backyard or other playing field, and it further allows a handicapping system such that a weaker or younger player could compete in various games on equal footing with, theoretically, a professional golfer; a child of six could hit the ball as far as Tiger Woods. Foreseen is a design such that when a ball is in its most naked form (i.e. without any plugs) the hardest hit with any club will send the ball a relatively short distance; however, when this ball is loaded with plugs it will be stiffened and weighted and fly much further. FIG. 7 offers a vision of what the ball in its shortest-flight condition might look like. I foresee, and indeed have built preliminary prototypes for, a “5-50” golf ball for practice and backyard play; in its lightest form the ball will have a maximum distance of about five yards, regardless of how hard it is hit; in its heaviest form the same ball can fly 50 or more yards.
  • A second effect of plugs is on the trajectory of a ball in flight. Holes in hollow balls increase drag, and therefore cause the balls to curve in the direction of the most holes; blocking or closing the holes with plugs reduces the drag and therefore reduces the tendency of the ball to curve in that direction. Using very light plugs of minimal density will further reduce the drag in the areas where plugs are installed. Balls can also be given erratic/wobbly flight by altering the location of the center of mass of the ball, via the pattern of weighted attachments.
  • Plugs of various designs can increase a player's hand “grip” on a ball in several ways, such as making the ball's surface lumpy or corrugated or textured or tacky or abrasive or roughened or ribbed or granular. With any of these conditions, a thrower would have an increased grip and therefore an increased ability to impart extra spin on thrown balls, which is the chief determiner of how a ball moves or curves in the air after it is thrown. Likewise, roughened/abrasive/sandpaper-like surfaces or rubberized/non-slip surfaces can easily be made into form-fitting patches and then be attached to balls (via the plug-in method of the present invention), whereby these balls could attain great spin and thereby great curvature in the air after they had been struck with a golf club.
  • The hardness of plug caps or removable panels can also affect batted or clubbed balls: other things being equal, harder ball surfaces will produce a larger sound and longer flight than a more spongy surface.
  • Operation and Uses of Plugs: (B) Affixing of Accessories to/on/within Balls
  • There would seem to be no end to the variety and functions of accessories/materials that could be attached to game balls via the use of plugs as docking stations (or endowing the accessories themselves with plug-like features so that the accessories can be directly inserted into the holes in the balls). Depending on their design, such accessories could also have separate functions when not attached to game balls. The list of accessories that could be attached to game balls includes:
      • Tails, flags, feathers and wings
      • Helium balloons
      • Score-keeping means and event-counters
      • Handles and other means to assist the holding and throwing of balls
      • Surface materials that change the ball's elasticity, to make it more or less “lively”
      • Timers
      • Tethers
      • Devices for babies, infants, and the elderly
        Devices for Those Who are Blind and/or Otherwise Physically/Emotionally-Disadvantaged
      • Lasers, lights, illuminators
      • Noise/sound/vocalization-makers
      • Explosive devices, smoke emitters, and other devices possessing special effects
      • Sacks, envelopes, and boxes containing various substances
      • Stands, golfing tees, and other ball-holding means
      • Sensors of various kinds
      • Computers and cameras
      • GPS and other means to precisely locate the position of the ball in the playing area
      • Arrowheads, points, suction cups, Velcro, magnets and other means to stick the balls to targets, walls, etc.
      • Hooks, hangers, grippers, clamps, and pushpins
      • Advertisements and marketing means
      • Ornamentation
      • Dog/pet-related items
      • Means to attach balls to each other, forming clusters
      • Educational and experimental devices (allowing balls to be used in physics demonstrations and experiments, as molecules in chemical models, etc.)
      • Connectors (allowing balls to be made into figurines or other objects, or to be attached to toys and other objects)
      • Letters, numbers, and other indicia
  • As a side note (but of relevance to the attachment of letters, numbers, and other things to hollow game balls), during work on this project I discovered an interesting nexus of coincidences involving the number 26. 26 is exactly the number (or exactly half the number) of: (i) letters in the English alphabet, (ii) cards in a standard deck of playing cards, and (iii) weeks in a year. It is also exactly the number of holes in the most commonly-available perforated golf balls and perforated baseballs. (Each hemisphere in both these ball species contains 13 holes (a row of eight holes, a row of four, and a single hole), providing 26 holes in each ball). It would thus seem that perforated golf balls and perforated baseballs are custom-made to be fitted (via the plugging system of the present invention) with letters of the alphabet, with representations of playing cards, and with representations of Earth's movement around the sun. For example, the 26 letters of the alphabet could be removably inserted into the 26 holes in a perforated baseball to create various new things, such as: (i) a random letter-selector device, or (ii) a fun and unusual presentation of the alphabet, or (iii) a device for alphabet games in which letters are gathered or dispersed, or (iv) a vehicle to combine ball games with alphabet and reading lessons. Furthermore, these letter pieces could easily be designed so as to be useful in other applications when they were not pushed into baseballs. A final aspect of this nexus around the number 26 is that the number 13 (exactly half of 26) is infamous for its association with bad luck, another quirk that might be fit into games designed around the present invention.
  • Operation and Uses of Plugs: (C) App-Like Exploitation of the Hole-and-Plug System
  • As described in the previous section, many things can be attached to hollow game balls via the use the hole-and-plug system of the present invention. It seems highly likely that users will come up with their own ideas and their own games and their own objects that can be usefully attached to such balls. The present invention provides an excellent means for easy affixation of things to balls; this presents a unique opportunity for manufacturers of plugs and balls to invite and incentivize users and the general public to develop and present their own innovations (much in the same way that manufacturers of electronic devices encourage and reward outside developers/designers of apps), and to sell versions of these outside creations to the public, to the mutual profit of the creator, the manufacturer, and the citizen user.
  • ADVANTAGES
  • From the descriptions above, a number of advantages of a heretofore unseen, unexpected, and completely novel nature become evident, including:
  • A) The use of friction-fit, removable plugs allow users to easily and reversibly change various physical and functional characteristics of game balls, including the distance they travel and the trajectory they take.
    B) One of the manifestations of the present invention is an adjustable golf ball.
    C) Balls can be adjusted to playing conditions and to players' abilities; in effect, this creates a “level playing field”, which can enhance fun, excitement, camaraderie, and effective use of balls as teaching, learning, and practice devices.
    D) Users can attach various accessories to the balls, affixing them to the external shell of the ball or holding them within the interior of the ball.
    E) The invention comprises a convenient way to experiment, to invent, and to develop new forms and functions for balls, including educational/classroom uses.
    F) The invention offers a means for ball manufacturers and marketers to solicit and recruit customers to develop and submit their own ideas and innovations related to balls and their uses. This could help boost sales, develop a brand image, and produce new and useful accessories for the balls.
  • CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE
  • The benefits and advantages of the present invention that are identifiable have been recited variously above. The invention also contains benefits and advantages that are as yet not identifiable, stemming from the invention's potential as a tool of research, development, and education. As envisioned and described herein, this invention has the potential as a creator and generator of new and as yet unidentified things. To facilitate this potential of the present invention as a generator of new things, a method is described herein whereby the ideas and experiences of users and the general public can be solicited, encouraged and harvested by marketers and manufacturers of hollow game balls, and possibly by others.
  • Concerning the patentability of the present invention, among the arguments for patentability are: (i) It would seem that the article of manufacture that is most crucial to the present invention (i.e. a plug for game balls) has not been seen before. It would seem to be unique, new, and original. (ii) It has been shown herein to produce results and functions that are novel, unexpected, unanticipated, and beneficial. (iii) It can be a useful tool in education, research, and business. (iv) It has the potential to create jobs and bolster businesses. Such benefits quite possibly will be killed and buried if the invention is judged to be unpatentable. (v) This article of manufacture was conceived after a prolonged period of specialized research and prototyping into the problem of how to create an adjustable golf ball. The idea was conceived in a sudden flash of insight while I was in the golf section of a sporting goods store. Again, this followed a period of research and the building of various experimental prototypes. (vi) The fact that it has been 60 years since the Wiffle Ball appeared, while plugs for such balls have not yet appeared, suggests that either other inventors have not seen the idea or its potential, or the prior art has taught away from the present invention.
  • Although the present invention has been described in terms of certain embodiments, other embodiments will become apparent to those of skill in the art with reference to the disclosure herein. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is intended not to be limited by the disclosed embodiments, but to be coextensive with the full scope of the attached claims.

Claims (20)

I claim:
1. A plug comprising a body that seats removably into a hole in a game ball that comprises a shell that is hollow, substantially empty, and perforated,
whereby the flight and composition of said ball can be controlled in various ways, and various accessories can be affixed to said ball with sufficient force so as to stay in place during game play.
2. The plug of claim 1 wherein said plug is of a construction that permits a friction grip within said hole.
3. The plug of claim 1 wherein said plug may be endowed with at least one process that extends laterally from said plug.
4. The plug of claim 1 wherein said plug constitutes an accessory that comprises means to perform any of various functions other than the closing of said hole.
5. The plug of claim 1 wherein said plug may be endowed with at least one cavity.
6. The plug of claim 5 wherein said cavity can removably hold an accessory that comprises means to perform any of various functions other than the closing of said hole.
7. The plug of claim 6 wherein said accessory is held by friction.
8. A method for appending an accessory to a hollow game ball, comprising the steps of:
a) providing said ball with at least one aperture,
b) providing a plug for said aperture wherein said plug is held by friction in said aperture, and said plug is endowed with a cavity,
c) providing said accessory with a portion that can be inserted into said cavity and held therein by friction,
d) removably inserting said plug into said aperture and removably inserting said portion of said accessory into said cavity,
whereby said ball is endowed with at least one new function that said accessory enables.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein said plug is eliminated, and said portion of said accessory is removably inserted into said aperture of said ball and held therein by friction.
10. A golf ball that is adjustable, comprising:
a golf ball with at least one opening in its outer surface, and
an object that is reversibly inserted into said opening and held therein with sufficient force so as to stay in place when said ball is struck with a golf club,
whereby the responsiveness of said golf ball to being struck with a golf club is altered.
11. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said ball comprises a hollow shell.
12. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said ball is substantially empty prior to the insertion of said object.
13. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said object is a plug that can be pushed into said opening.
14. The golf ball of claim 13 wherein said plug is flexible.
15. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said force is friction.
16. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said responsiveness is the distance that said ball will travel following a strike by a golf club with a predetermined force and angle of impact.
17. The golf ball of claim 16 wherein said object is of sufficient weight and/or elasticity so as to alter the distance that said ball will travel following a strike by a golf club with a predetermined force and angle of impact.
18. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said responsiveness is the tendency of said ball to spin after being struck with a golf club.
19. The golf ball of claim 10 wherein said object has a particular surface such that when hit with a golf club said ball will have an enhanced tendency to spin.
20. The golf ball of claim 19 wherein said particular surface is rubber and/or is roughened.
US13/798,208 2013-03-13 2013-03-13 System of Modularity for Hollow Game Balls Abandoned US20140274465A1 (en)

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US20140336021A1 (en) * 2013-05-13 2014-11-13 Coulter Ventures Llc D/B/A Rogue Fitness Exercise device
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US20140336021A1 (en) * 2013-05-13 2014-11-13 Coulter Ventures Llc D/B/A Rogue Fitness Exercise device
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