WO2015058124A1 - Modular building system - Google Patents

Modular building system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2015058124A1
WO2015058124A1 PCT/US2014/061203 US2014061203W WO2015058124A1 WO 2015058124 A1 WO2015058124 A1 WO 2015058124A1 US 2014061203 W US2014061203 W US 2014061203W WO 2015058124 A1 WO2015058124 A1 WO 2015058124A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
tube
shaped
end
connectors
shaped extensions
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2014/061203
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Richard Anthony ELAVER
Original Assignee
Elaver Richard Anthony
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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Publication date
Priority to US201361892852P priority Critical
Priority to US61/892,852 priority
Application filed by Elaver Richard Anthony filed Critical Elaver Richard Anthony
Publication of WO2015058124A1 publication Critical patent/WO2015058124A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/04Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts
    • A63H33/10Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts to be assembled by means of additional non-adhesive elements
    • A63H33/102Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts to be assembled by means of additional non-adhesive elements using elastic deformation

Abstract

An interactive building set for children composed of a collection of flexible connectors ('connectors') and members ('extenders'). The connectors are used to interconnect two or more extenders at varying angles. The connectors are flexible, while the extenders are rigid, or semi-rigid. The flexibility of the connectors allows for easy assembly and the angle between any two extenders to be changed dramatically, creating flexible dynamic structures.

Description

MODULAR BUILDING SYSTEM

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates generally to building sets and more specifically to building sets with flexible connectors appropriate for smaller children but yet still appropriate for use by users of all ages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Building and model systems for children have been produced for decades. Simple wooden building blocks predate popular building systems, such as Lego® or Tinker Toys®. Many building systems, such as those just mentioned, require a generally high level of dexterity to connect and disassemble the pieces. The building systems involve rigid components, including blocks, connectors, and joints. Because these systems require greater dexterity, smaller children or children with limited dexterity cannot play with these building systems. In addition, the rigid components prevent structures created with these systems from flexing or allowing children to construct creations in anything other than the predetermined format and angles. Further, connectors in these building systems are often complex, requiring an internal hub or other central structure into which extensions are fit or, alternatively, to which extensions are attached. Thus, what is needed is a simple building system that requires a low level of dexterity, flexibility in the manner in which the components are assembled, and a simple flexible system of connectors that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The building system should provide for many different combinations of construction and allow a child to use their imagination to build complex forms .

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The interactive building set disclosed herein is for children (intended for ages 3+) and is composed of a collection of flexible connectors ( 'connectors' ) and members ('extenders') . The connectors are used to interconnect extenders at varying angles. The connectors are flexible, while the extenders may be rigid or semi-rigid. The flexibility of the connectors allows the angle between any two extenders to be changed dramatically, creating flexible dynamic structures.

The interactive building set described herein comprises flexible elastomeric connectors having a plurality of tube-shaped extensions, the extensions each having a first end and a second end. The tube-shaped extensions have an internal taper in the bore of the tube-shaped extension where the internal diameter of the second end is narrower than the internal diameter of the first end. In one embodiment, the bore (and thus the tube) is closed at the second end. The second ends of the tube-shaped extensions radiate from a center point, the second end of each tube-shaped extension being integrally joined to one or more other second ends of tube-shaped extensions to form a connector. The plurality of tube-shaped extensions each have a longitudinal axis running through the extension and each extension can flexibly deform over a range from 0 to at least 45 degrees from said axis. Also described is a building set which has at least one connector with a plurality of tube-shaped extensions that can flexibly deform over a range from 0 to at least 90 degrees from its axis .

The building set also contains extenders which may comprise rods or tubes which connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions. The extenders connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions through force-fit attachment by pushing the extender into the opening in the first end of the tube-shaped extension. In one embodiment, the extenders are rigid. In another embodiment, the extenders are semi-rigid. The extenders may constitute dowels or other rods of equal diameters. In an exemplary embodiment, the extenders are in lengths of at least 3, 5, and 8". Returning to the connectors, the number of tube-shaped extensions on each connector may range from 2 to 8 in one embodiment, and from 2 to 14 in another embodiment. The connectors may be of varying geometries, including without limitation: one or more connectors having two tube-shaped extensions arranged in an approximate 180-degree angle; one or more connectors having three tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 120-degree angles; one or more connectors having four tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 109-degree angles; one or more connectors having five tube-shaped extensions arranged with two tube-shaped extensions having an approximately 180-degree relationship, and wherein those two extensions have an approximately 90-degree angle relationship with the remaining three tube-shaped extensions which are co- planer and have a 120-degree angle relationship between each other. In one embodiment, the connectors are color-coded based on the number of tube-shaped extensions.

Preferably, the connectors are constructed of in ection-molded thermo-plastic-elastomer material (TPE) . In one embodiment, the connectors have a hardness of approximately Shore 50A.

The building set may also include elastomeric terminations to be placed on the extenders. The terminations may include, without limitation, at least one elastomeric termination having a first end comprising a tube-shaped extension and a second end comprising a suction cup. Another elastomeric termination has a first end comprising a tube-shaped extension and a second end comprising a spherical structure on which a plurality of raised facets is located.

The building set's tube-shaped extensions have an internal taper of from approximately 0.8 degrees to approximately 1 degree towards the longitudinal axis so that the inner diameter of the tube-shaped extensions narrows at its second end. The tube- shaped extensions have an external taper of from approximately 1.75 degrees to approximately 3 degrees away from the longitudinal axis so that the external diameter of the tube- shaped extension broadens at its second end.

The building set may also include a variety of unique connectors. These may take the form of a tube-shaped extension on a first end and a C-shaped extension on the opposing end.

The C-shaped extension has an interior diameter smaller than the diameter of the extenders such that the C-shaped end attaches to extenders through a force-fit connection. They may also take the form of a flexible elastomeric connector having a first tube-shaped extension and a second tube-shaped extension, wherein the first and second tube-shaped extensions are joined by at least two independent segments of elastomeric material thereby forming an aperture between the first tube-shaped extension, the at least two independent segments of elastomeric material, and the second tube-shaped extension. The unique connectors may also take the form of a flexible elastomeric connector having a tube-shaped extension on a first end and a corkscrew-shaped extension on a second end. They may also take the form of a flexible elastomeric connector having a tube- shaped extension on a first end and a second end comprising a flattened portion extending away from the first end thereby forming a paddle- or propeller-shaped extension. The building set may also comprise a hub located at the intersection of a plurality of tube-shaped extensions having a first end and a second end, wherein the second ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions are integrally connected to form a cavity in which the hub is located. The hub preferably is a cylinder with external flanges on each end.

An exemplary building set comprises flexible elastomeric connectors consisting of a plurality of tube-shaped extensions having a first end and a second end, an internal taper in each tube-shaped extension where the internal diameter of the second end is narrower than the internal diameter of the first end, the second ends radiating from a center point, each second end of each tube-shaped extension integrally joined to one or more other second ends of tube-shaped extensions to form a connector, wherein the plurality of tube-shaped extensions each have a longitudinal axis running through the extension and each extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least 45 degrees from said axis; wherein a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having two tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 180-degree angles, a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having three tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 120-degree angles, and a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having four tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 109-degree angles; and extenders comprising rigid rods, which connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions.

Another exemplary example of the building set comprises flexible elastomeric connectors consisting of a plurality of tube-shaped extensions having a first end and a second end, an internal taper in each tube-shaped extension where the internal diameter of the second end is narrower than the internal diameter of the first end, the second ends radiating from a center point, each second end of each tube-shaped extension integrally joined to one or more other second ends of tube-shaped extensions to form a connector, wherein the plurality of tube-shaped extensions each have a longitudinal axis running through the extension and each extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least 45 degrees from said axis; wherein a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having two tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 180-degree angles, a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having three tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 120-degree angles, a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having four tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 109-degree angles, and a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having five tube-shaped extensions arranged with two tube-shaped extensions having an approximately 180-degree relationship and wherein those two extensions have an approximately 90-degree angle relationship with the remaining three tube-shaped extensions which are co- planer and have a 120-degree angle relationship between each other; and extenders comprising rigid rods which connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions through force-fit attachment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING.

Fig. 1 is a side view of a connector having two tube-shaped extensions .

Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a connector having three tube- shaped extensions.

Fig. 3 is a perspective view of a connector having four tube- shaped extensions.

Fig. 4 is a perspective view of a connector having five tube- shaped extensions.

Fig. 5 is a perspective view of a connector having ten tube- shaped extensions and a hub.

Fig. 6 is a perspective view of a connector having twelve tube- shaped extensions.

Fig. 7 is an exploded view of a connector having four tube- shaped extensions and a partial view of four extenders showing how the extenders are to be inserted into the tube-shaped extensions .

Fig. 8 is a perspective view of a termination consisting of a textured ball with a plurality of raised facets.

Fig. 9 is a perspective view of a termination consisting of a suction cup.

Fig. 10 is a cross-section view of a side-clip or ^C-shaped' connector . Fig. 11 is a perspective view of the side-clip or AC-shaped' connector of Fig. 10 attached to an extender.

Fig. 12 is a perspective view of an O-ring connector in a relaxed state.

Fig. 13 is a perspective view of the O-ring connector of Fig. 12 in a stretched state.

Fig. 14 is a perspective view of a corkscrew-shaped connector. Fig. 15 is a side view of a paddle-shaped connector.

Fig. 16 is a perspective view of the paddle-shaped connector of Fig. 15.

Fig. 17 is a perspective view of a connector having five tube- shaped extensions that form a central cavity and a hub having an external flange on each end.

Fig. 18 is a perspective view of the connector of Fig. 17, with the hub in the cavity.

Fig. 19 is a perspective view of the connector of Fig. 18, with an extender extending axially through the hub.

Fig. 20 is cross-section view of a connector in Fig.2 having three tube-shaped extensions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention are described below and illustrated in the accompanying figures. The embodiments described are for purposes of illustrating the present invention and should not be interpreted as limiting the scope of the invention, which of course is limited only by the claims below. Other embodiments of the invention, and certain modifications and improvements of the described embodiments, will occur to those skilled in the art, and all such alternate embodiments, modifications, and improvements are within the scope of the present invention. The interactive building set disclosed herein is for children (intended for ages 3+) composed of a collection of flexible connectors and extenders. The extenders may be flexible, rigid, or semi-rigid. The connectors are used to interconnect extenders at varying angles. In an exemplary embodiment, the connectors are flexible, while the extenders are rigid. The flexibility of the connectors allows the angle between any two extenders to be changed dramatically, creating flexible dynamic structures.

Flexible Building:

The connectors are made of a flexible elastomeric material, such as silicone or urethane. The flexibility of the connectors allows for a broad range of angular connections and dynamic motions. While a connector may initially interconnect two extenders at a specific angle, the flexible deformation of the connector allows that angle to increase an additional 45 degrees and, in some configurations, more than an additional 90 degrees. With no force on the connector, the elastomeric material will return to the original angle.

This flexibility allows for ease of construction. When a child is connecting two extenders with a connector, if the angles do not exactly align, then the entire structure can be flexed in order to make them align. This simplifies building and expands the range of possible structures. The building system disclosed herein provides a broad range of educational opportunities for the study of geometry, molecular models, and structural concepts. In addition, it provides a set of parts with which to play and navigate spatial relationships, coming up with new options and structures. With this set, children can create dynamic, flexible forms to suit their imaginative whims .

Connectors :

The connectors are constructed from tube-shaped extensions having a first end, a second end, the extensions having a longitudinal axis. The tube-shaped extensions have an internal taper and may have an external taper. The internal taper forms the interior wall of the tube-shaped extensions. The external taper forms the exterior wall of the tube-shaped extensions. Each tube-shaped extension has a longitudinal axis running from the first end to the second end. The internal taper runs from the narrower second end to the broader first end. In other words, the internal diameter of the tube-shaped extension decreases along the axis running from the first end to the second end. The internal taper on the tube-shaped extensions may have a taper of from approximately 0.8 degrees to approximately 1 degree towards the longitudinal axis. This causes the internal diameter of the second end of the tube-shaped extension to be narrower than the internal diameter of the first end. The second end may then be integrally joined with other second ends of other connectors. The external taper of the tube-shaped extensions, if there is one, may have a taper of from approximately 1.75 degrees to approximately 3 degrees away from the longitudinal axis so that the external diameter of the tube- shaped extension broadens at its second end. Connectors follow a consistent format. Each is made of a cluster of tapered tube-shape extensions integrally joined at the center. Each tube-shape extension radiates out from the center point and provides a connection for a single extender at its first end. The second ends of the tube-shaped extensions are integrally joined to each other so that the tube-shaped extensions form a connector having two or more tube-shaped extensions. The center, or location where the tube-shaped extensions connect, may be solid material. In an alternative embodiment, the center is hollow and open to the surrounding environment so that it may receive a hub (described further below) . Regardless of whether the center is solid material or hollow, the tube-shaped extensions radiate outward and form an external surface. See, e.g., Figs. 1-7. A connector may have from two up to 14 tube-shaped connectors and any number of extensions in between. See, e.g., Fig. 20, showing a cross- section of a connector 160 having three tube-shaped extensions integrally connected, a solid center, apertures or bores for insertion of extenders, and an internal and external taper to the respective internal and external diameters of the tube- shaped extensions.

All standard connectors follow established geometric relationships. For example, the standard connectors may be as follows :

• A 2-connector links 2 extenders with a 180 degree, or inline relationship. See, e.g., Fig. 1, wherein a connector 10 is shown with a first first-end 20, a first second-end

30, a second first-end 40, and a second second-end 50. A 3-connector links 3 extenders coplanar at 120-degree angles, creating 3 points of an equilateral triangle. See, e.g., Fig. 2, wherein a connector 60 is shown.

A 4-connector links 4 extenders in a tetrahedral pattern, each extender is approximately 109 degrees (and preferably 109.47 degrees) to all adjoining extenders, and may be used to create the points of the first Platonic Solid: a Tetrahedron with 4 triangular faces. See, e.g., Fig. 3, wherein a connector 70 is shown.

A 5-connector is a combination of the 2 and 3-connector, providing an in-line relationship between 2 connections, and a 120-degree radial pattern of the other three. See, e.g., Fig. 4, wherein a connector 80 is shown. This geometry is based on molecular models, known as trigonal bipyramidal molecular geometry.

A 10-connector links ten extenders. See, e.g., Fig. 5, wherein a connector 90 is shown. Also shown in Fig. 5 is a hub 100 located at the intersection of a plurality of tube- shaped extensions that form a cavity in which the hub is located .

A 12-connector links up to 12 extenders. See, e.g., Fig. 6, wherein a connector 110 is shown. One configuration of the tube-shaped extensions is depicted in Fig. 6, namely the angle of relation between the various tube-shaped extensions . While the number of connections for each connector is limited by the number of tube-shaped extensions that can be integrally joined, the flexibility of the connectors provides an infinite range of possible angles for connections. Each tube-shaped extension has an axis running longitudinally through the extension and each extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least approximately 45 degrees from the longitudinal axis. In a preferred embodiment, the extensions flexibly deform over a range from 0 to at least approximately 90 degrees. For example, a 3-connector starts out co-planar with 120-degree angles, though it can also be flexed to 90-degree angles and used to make the corners of a cube.

Connectors may be color-coded based on the number of connections. For example, a 2-connector may be blue, while a 3- connector may be green. This creates an easy identification and separation of parts, as well as a dynamic visual element when building structures .

Connectors may be manufactured through in ection-molding of thermo-plastic-elastomer material (TPE) , of preferably approximately Shore 50A hardness. The material may be food- grade (such as that used for baby bottle nipples), as well as tear-resistant, in order to insure safety for children.

Connectors attach to extenders by inserting an extender into a tapered hole or bore in the tube-shaped extension of a connector, creating a force-fit. The elastomeric material of the connector flexes and grips the extender to hold it in place, while allowing them to be pulled apart by hand. More complex connectors may be made by following similar geometric rules. For example, a 6-connector with all 90-degree relationships would create the vertices of a cube lattice, or the center of an octahedron. The array of connectors listed above can be used to create a broad range of simple to complex structures .

Connectors may also include specialty connectors that have a tube-shaped extension on a first end, and a unique shape on the other. For example, specialty connectors may take the following forms :

A side-clip or AC-shaped' connector comprising a tube- shaped extension on one end a C-shape termination on the other end. See, e.g., Fig. 10, showing a cross-section of a C-shaped connector. The C-shaped connector connects to extenders by way of the tube-shaped extension (as described with the standard connectors above) and by also clipping to an extender wherein the C-shaped portion of the connector is approximately perpendicular to the axis of the extender to which it is connected. See, e.g., Fig. 11. The C-shaped portion of the connector has an interior diameter smaller than that diameter of the extenders such that the C-shaped end attaches to extenders through a force-fit connection.

An ^O-ring' connector comprising a flexible elastomeric connector having a first tube-shaped extension into which extenders are inserted (as described with the standard connectors above) , a second tube-shaped extension into which extenders are inserted (as described with the standard connectors above) , wherein the first tube-shaped extension and second tube-shaped extension are joined by at least two independent segments of elastomeric material thereby forming an aperture between the first tube-shaped extension, the at least two independent segments of elastomeric material, and the second tube-shaped extension.

See, e.g., Fig. 12, showing an O-ring connector in a relaxed state, and Fig. 13, showing an O-ring connector in a stretched state. The aperture may be used to go over or around various items, e.g., bed posts, bottles, etc.

• A corkscrew-shaped connector comprising a flexible elastomeric connector having a first tube-shaped extension on a first end and a corkscrew-shaped extension on the second end. See, e.g., Fig. 14.

• A paddle-shaped' connector comprising a flexible elastomeric connector having a first tube-shaped extension on a first end and a second end comprising a flattened portion extending away from the first end. See, e.g., Figs. 15 & 16.

• A hub connector comprising a cylindrical, hollow hub located at the intersection of a plurality of tube-shaped extensions each having a first end and a second end, wherein the second ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions are integrally connected to form a cavity in which the hub 140 is located. The hub consists of a cylinder with external flanges 150 on each end. See, e.g., Figs. 17 & 18. An extender 141 may be inserted axially and extended through the hub with the hub connector rotating on or about the extender. The elastomeric portions of the connector and hub are free to rotate around the extender 141, which is acting as an axle. The tube-shaped extensions extend from the hub like spokes on a wheel. See, e.g., Fig. 19. Extenders :

Extenders connect with connectors via a simple force-fit, by inserting the extender into a tapered hole or bore, i.e., the first end, in the connector. See, e.g., Fig. 7. The elastomeric connector 120 stretches to grip the extenders 130. The length of the extenders varies, while the diameter is preferably constant within any single building set. This allows any extender to connect to any connector in a set, while providing variable distances between connectors .

In an exemplary embodiment, all extenders in a building set are all of equal diameters. In an exemplary embodiment, the extenders are rigid. However, the extenders may also be semirigid, e.g., plastic tubing extenders that can flex. In a preferred embodiment, the extenders are 5/16" diameter wooden dowels, and come in lengths of 3", 5", and 8". These numbers are part of the Fibonacci Sequence (a mathematical series of numbers based on the Golden Ratio) , and provide an additive relationship, 3+5=8.

Design variations may include different lengths and different materials, though the principle of attachment will be the same.

For example, an extender may be made from rigid or semi-rigid plastic tubing or bamboo. In an exemplary embodiment, the extenders are made from wooden dowels, as these provide a slightly rough surface for gripping the connector, and provide a natural and non-toxic material that may be appealing to parents . Dowels are simply cut to length, and the ends are sanded and chamfered .

Terminations :

In addition to the elastomeric connectors, there are many other possibilities for adding onto the extenders. For example, and without limitation, two types of elastomeric terminations are: · Suction cup. The suction cup provides a dynamic way to attach the building set to diverse surfaces, from windows to other toys. This allows the structures made to become a part of the built environment, rather than being isolated forms on a tabletop. See, e.g., Fig. 9.

• Textured Ball. The textured ball-end provides a foot for structures to stand on, and a safe visual termination for extenders. It provides an end to a line of connections. With many small facets, the ball-end provides a range of orientations to rest on a flat surface, and also mimics the geometric forms of the connectors. Also, if the structure is to be thrown or dropped, etc., ball terminations provide a safe and bouncy point of contact. See, e.g., Fig. 8. The suction cup and textured ball may be made of the same elastomeric material as the connectors, and each has a tube- shaped extension for attaching it to an extender by using a tapered hole or bore in the tube-shaped extension for a forced fit. Additional termination pieces may be added to the set, and can connect to the extenders using the same method. This could include hooks, different feet shapes, attachments to other everyday objects like flashlights, etc.

Types of structures that can be built with the modular building set :

A variety of regular geometries may be built with the modular building set. Some examples of regular/symmetrical geometries that can be constructed with the modular building set include, without limitation:

• Using twenty 4-connectors and thirty uniform extenders, one can create a Dodecahedron: a Platonic Solid (sphere) with

12 pentagonal faces .

• With eight 3-connectors and twelve uniform extenders, one can create a cube .

• With sixty 3-connectors (or a combination of 3-, 4-, and 5- connectors using only 3-connections each) , one can create a C6o sphere, or Bucky Ball, a.k.a. Fullerene. This requires 90 uniform extenders.

• Combining a single 4-connector, four uniform extenders, and four ball terminations, one can create a molecular model of CH4, or methane. The 4-connector represents the carbon atom, and the ball-ends represent the hydrogen atoms. A variety of irregular forms/structures may also be created using the modular building set. The known geometries above provide a good starting point. However, one of the unique attributes of the modular building set is the flexibility of the connectors. One can start with a uniform Dodecahedron, and then stretch and pull into new directions; change the lengths of the extenders or the number of connections; switch a 3-connector for a 4-connector and link to other forms; add a suction cup and attach it to the wall; etc. The whole structure will flex and morph with such changes, providing an infinite range of angles and construction possibilities.

Toy Set: A complete modular building set may include multiple connectors and extenders. Different building sets may be configured depending on the target user. For example, the number and variety will vary depending on: price point, age of child, complexity desired, and structural outcomes.

The foregoing descriptions of modular building systems and components thereof illustrate and describe various embodiments. As various changes can be made in the above embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed and claimed herein, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying figures shall be interpreted as illustrative and not limiting. Furthermore, the scope of the invention covers various modifications, combinations, alterations, etc., of the above-described embodiments that all are within the scope of the claims.

Additionally, the disclosure shows and describes only selected embodiments of the invention, but the invention is capable of use in various other combinations, modifications, and environments and is capable of changes or modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed herein, commensurate with the above teachings, and/or within the skill or knowledge of artisans in the relevant art. Furthermore, certain features and characteristics of each embodiment may be selectively interchanged and applied to other illustrated and non-illustrated embodiments of the invention without departing from the scope of the invention.

Claims

1. A building set comprising: flexible elastomeric connectors comprising a plurality of tube-shaped extensions, each having a first end and a second end, an internal taper in each tube-shaped extension where the internal diameter of the second end is narrower than the internal diameter of the first end, the second ends radiating from a center point, each second end of each tube-shaped extension integrally joined to one or more other second ends of tube-shaped extensions to form a connector, wherein the plurality of tube-shaped extensions each have a longitudinal axis running through the extension and each extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least 45 degrees from said axis; and
extenders, which connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions.
2. The building set of claim 1 wherein at least one extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least 90 degrees from its axis.
3. The building set of claim 1 wherein the extenders connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions through force-fit attachment.
4. The building set of claim 1 comprising rigid extenders .
5. The building set of claim 1 comprising semi-rigid extenders .
6. The building set of claim 1 wherein the extenders comprise rods.
7. The building set of claim wherein the extenders comprise dowels.
8. The building set of claim 1 wherein the number of tube-shaped extensions on each connector ranges from 2 to 8.
9. The building set of claim 1 wherein the number of tube-shaped extensions on each connector ranges from 2 to 14.
10. The building set of claim 1 comprising one or more connectors having two tube-shaped extensions arranged in an approximate 180-degree angle.
11. The building set of claim 1 comprising one or more connectors having three tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 120-degree angles.
12. The building set of claim 1 comprising one or more connectors having four tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 109-degree angles.
13. The building set of claim 1 comprising one or more connectors having five tube-shaped extensions arranged with two tube-shaped extensions having an approximately 180-degree relationship and wherein those two extensions have an approximately 90-degree angle relationship with the remaining three tube-shaped extensions which are co-planer and have a 120- degree angle relationship between each other.
14. The building set of claim 1 wherein the connectors are color-coded based on the number of tube-shaped extensions.
15. The building set of claim 1 wherein the connectors are constructed of in ection-molded thermo-plastic-elastomer material (TPE) .
16. The building set of claim 1 wherein the connectors have a hardness of approximately Shore 50A.
17. The building set of claim 1 further comprising elastomeric terminations.
18. The building set of claim 16 wherein at least one elastomeric termination has a first end comprising a tube-shaped extension and a second end comprising a suction cup.
19. The building set of claim 16 wherein at least one elastomeric termination has a first end comprising a tube-shaped extension and a second end comprising a spherical structure on which a plurality of facets are located.
20. The building set of claim 1 wherein the tube-shaped extensions have an internal taper of from approximately 0.8 degrees to approximately 1 degree towards the longitudinal axis so that the internal diameters of the tube-shaped extensions narrow at their second ends.
21. The building set of claim 1 wherein the tube-shaped extensions have an external taper of from approximately 1.75 degrees to approximately 3 degrees away from the longitudinal axis so that the external diameters of tube-shaped extensions broaden at their second end.
22. The building set of claim 1 wherein the extenders have equal diameters.
23. The building set of claim 1 wherein the extenders are in lengths of at least 3, 5, and 8".
24. The building set of claim 1 further comprising a tube- shaped extension having an aperture on a first end and a (re¬ shaped extension on the opposing end.
25. The extension of claim 24 wherein the C-shaped extension has an interior diameter smaller than the diameter of the extenders such that the C-shaped end attaches to extenders through a force-fit connection.
26. The building set of claim 1 further comprising a flexible elastomeric connector having a first tube-shaped extension, a second tube-shaped extension, wherein the first and second tube-shaped extensions are joined by at least two independent segments of elastomeric material thereby forming an aperture between the first tube-shaped extension, the at least two independent segments of elastomeric material, and the second tube-shaped extension.
27. The building set of claim 1 further comprising a flexible elastomeric connector having a first tube-shaped extension on a first end and a corkscrew-shaped extension on a second end.
28. The building set of claim 1 further comprising a flexible elastomeric connector having a tube-shaped extension on a first end and a second end comprising a flattened portion extending away from the first end.
29. The building set of claim 1 further comprising a hub located at the intersection of a plurality of tube-shaped extensions having a first end and a second end, wherein the second ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions are integrally connected to form a cavity in which the hub is located .
30. The building set of claim 29 wherein the hub comprises a cylinder with external flanges on each end.
31. A building set comprising: flexible elastomeric connectors comprising a plurality of tube-shaped extensions, each having a first end and a second end, an internal taper in each tube-shaped extension where the internal diameter of the second end is narrower than the internal diameter of the first end, the second ends radiating from a center point, each second end of each tube-shaped extension integrally joined to one or more other second ends of tube-shaped extensions to form a connector, wherein the plurality of tube-shaped extensions each have a longitudinal axis running through the extension and each extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least 45 degrees from said axis; wherein a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having two tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 180-degree angles, a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having three tube- shaped extensions arranged in approximately 120-degree angles, and a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having four tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 109-degree angles; and extenders comprising rigid rods, which connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions.
A building set comprising: flexible elastomeric connectors comprising a plurality of tube-shaped extensions, each having a first end and a second end, an internal taper in each tube-shaped extension where the internal diameter of the second end is narrower than the internal diameter of the first end, the second ends radiating from a center point, each second end of each tube-shaped extension integrally joined to one or more other second ends of tube-shaped extensions to form a connector, wherein the plurality of tube-shaped extensions each have a longitudinal axis running through the extension and each extension flexibly deforms over a range from 0 to at least 45 degrees from said axis; wherein a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having two tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 180-degree angles, a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having three tube- shaped extensions arranged in approximately 120-degree angles, a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having four tube-shaped extensions arranged in approximately 109-degree angles, and a portion of the connectors comprise connectors having five tube- shaped extensions arranged with two tube-shaped extensions having an approximately 180-degree relationship and wherein those two extensions have an approximately 90-degree angle relationship with the remaining three tube-shaped extensions which are co- planer and have a 120-degree angle relationship between each other; and extenders comprising rigid rods which connect to the first ends of the plurality of tube-shaped extensions through force-fit attachment.
PCT/US2014/061203 2013-10-18 2014-10-17 Modular building system WO2015058124A1 (en)

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US61/892,852 2013-10-18

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Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3830011A (en) * 1973-04-09 1974-08-20 S Ochrymowich Deformable tubular rods with deformable sheet material connectors
US3998003A (en) * 1975-12-22 1976-12-21 Sheldon Rosenbaum Construction toy device
US4271628A (en) * 1979-08-06 1981-06-09 Barlow John V Geometric construction toy apparatus
US4274222A (en) * 1979-04-13 1981-06-23 Zahn David C Construction element and throwing toy made therefrom
US5897417A (en) * 1995-12-11 1999-04-27 Primordial, Llc Construction system
US6641453B1 (en) * 2000-01-28 2003-11-04 Academy Of Applied Science Construction set for building structures
US7316598B1 (en) * 2005-08-17 2008-01-08 Lock Keith S Toy construction set
US20130165012A1 (en) * 2010-05-13 2013-06-27 Robert D. Klauber Versatile Robust Construction Toy

Patent Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3830011A (en) * 1973-04-09 1974-08-20 S Ochrymowich Deformable tubular rods with deformable sheet material connectors
US3998003A (en) * 1975-12-22 1976-12-21 Sheldon Rosenbaum Construction toy device
US4274222A (en) * 1979-04-13 1981-06-23 Zahn David C Construction element and throwing toy made therefrom
US4271628A (en) * 1979-08-06 1981-06-09 Barlow John V Geometric construction toy apparatus
US5897417A (en) * 1995-12-11 1999-04-27 Primordial, Llc Construction system
US6641453B1 (en) * 2000-01-28 2003-11-04 Academy Of Applied Science Construction set for building structures
US7316598B1 (en) * 2005-08-17 2008-01-08 Lock Keith S Toy construction set
US20130165012A1 (en) * 2010-05-13 2013-06-27 Robert D. Klauber Versatile Robust Construction Toy

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