Title:
Gyroscopic wrist exerciser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gyroscopic wrist exerciser having a rotor on a shaft having two shaft ends; a guide ring accepting shaft ends in diametrically spaced notches formed within the inner periphery of the rotor, a housing made of a plastic upper shell and a plastic lower shell. The upper shell has an upper stepped joint engagable with a lower stepped joint of a lower shell to form a stepped joint union that forms an internal circumferential groove upon the internal periphery of the housing and an external circumferential groove upon the external equatorial periphery of the housing. The internal circumferential groove receives a guide ring. A rubber annular grip has an inner protrusion that is smaller than the external circumferential groove to allow a clearance. The rubber annular grip protects a stepped joint union located along the internal circumferential groove and the external circumferential groove from external impact. The rubber annular grip protects a user's hand.



Inventors:
Smith, Floyd Thomas (Yarba Linda, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/971393
Publication Date:
06/06/2002
Filing Date:
10/04/2001
Assignee:
SMITH FLOYD THOMAS
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/110
International Classes:
A63B21/22; A63B23/14; (IPC1-7): A63B23/14; A63B21/22
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CROW, STEPHEN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEWHOPE LAW, PC (CLEMENT CHENG, ESQ. 4522 Katella Avenue #200, Los Alamitos, CA, 90720, US)
Claims:
1. Apparatus for gripping a gyroscopic wrist exerciser, comprising: a rigid housing and a gripping band mounted circumferentially on the housing and formed to provide a gripping surface that enables a user to hold the housing securely.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the gripping band is formed of a closed rubber loop.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing has a circumferential groove formed therein and the gripping band has an inwardly extending projection arranging to fit within the circumferential groove to retain the gripping band in a selected position on the housing.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the gripping band is formed of a closed rubber loop.

5. the apparatus of claim 1 wherein a magnetized rotor is mounted in the housing:

6. A gyroscopic wrist exerciser comprising: a) a rotor secured to a shaft capable of spinning about a first axis; b) said rotor secured to a straight shaft extending diametrically across said rotor, said straight shaft having two shaft ends; c) a guide ring accepting shaft ends in diametrically spaced notches formed within the inner periphery of said rotor, said rotor secured to a shaft with its ends received in the race said guide ring fitting around said rotor and maintaining said shaft ends in a race; d) a housing made from a plastic upper shell and a plastic lower shell, said housing enclosing said rotor, said upper shell having an opening allowing a user to provide an initial spin to said rotor, said lower shell having a flat bottom to allow it to remain stable when placed on a table; e) said upper shell having an upper stepped joint engagable with a lower stepped joint of a lower shell to form a stepped joint union that forms an internal circumferential groove upon the internal periphery of the housing and an external circumferential groove upon the external equatorial periphery of the housing, wherein said internal circumferential groove receives and retains said guide ring allowing rotable motion of said guide ring, wherein an axis of rotation of said guide ring comprises a second axis of rotation perpendicular and intersecting the first axis about which the rotor spins, whereby said second axis is vertical when said gyroscopic wrist exerciser is placed on a table resting upon said flat bottom of said lower shell, and whereby said first axis is horizontal when said gyroscopic wrist exerciser is placed on a table resting upon said flat bottom of said lower shell, f) a rubber annular grip having an inner protrusion, said inner protrusion smaller than said external circumferential groove to allow a clearance on the top or bottom side of the external circumferential groove when said rubber annular grip is mounted upon an exterior surface of the housing, wherein said rubber annular grip protects said stepped joint union located along said internal circumferential groove and said external circumferential groove from external impact, and wherein said rubber annular grip protects a user's hand, whereby a user grasping a rubber annular grip can provide the rotor an initial spin and then holding its housing in the hand and manually applying a torque to the support at a third axis at right angles to both the first spin axis and the second axes can cause the rotor to precess about the second axis and by manually gyrating the axis of the applied torque about the second axis at the same rate and in the same direction as the precession of the rotor, wherein the opposite ends of the rotor shaft are continuously pressed against the opposite sides of the internal circumferential groove, whereby the precession is continuous and causes the ends of the rotor shaft to roll on the upper and lower surfaces of the internal circumferential groove in a manner which increases or decreases the rate of rotor spin in proportion to the amount of torque applied by a user, whereby a skillful user can cause the rotor to attain high speeds of rotation about its first spin axis.

7. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein an interface formed at the stepped joint union between the upper shell and the lower shell can be hidden in the external circumferential groove, wherein flashing or malformed plastic created during plastic molding and sonic welding can be hidden in said external circumferential groove and covered with a rubber annular grip to protect a user's hand.

8. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said plastic upper shell and said plastic lower shell are made of metal instead of plastic.

9. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip is made of a silicone rubber.

10. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip is translucent.

11. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip is made of a silicone rubber composition that can be printed upon.

12. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip is made of a rubber composition that can be printed upon.

13. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein printing upon a translucent silicone rubber annular grip can be illuminated from a light source mounted inside the shell on the rotor, whereby advertising printed upon the annular grip is illuminated and can be seen in dim light.

14. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip having an inner protrusion smaller than said external circumferential groove to allow a clearance on the top or bottom side of the external circumferential groove when said rubber annular grip is mounted upon an exterior surface of the housing, can move slightly with successive motions of a user's hand to allow more comfortable custom fit.

15. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip is composed of a silicone shock and vibration absorbing material that can absorb shock and vibration emanating from the equatorial portion along the internal circumferential groove, whereby the dampened shock and vibration allow a more comfortable user experience.

16. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip is composed of a heat insulative material that can insulate a user's hand from heat emanating from the equatorial portion along the internal circumferential groove, whereby decreased heat concentration allows a more comfortable user experience.

17. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 6, wherein said rubber annular grip has a cross sectional profile that is thicker in the middle and tapering at the top and bottom edges.

18. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 17, wherein said rubber annular grip has a plurality of protrusions to improve gripping surface.

19. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser of claim 17, wherein said rubber annular grip has a cross sectional profile calculated to allow uniform heat distribution emanating from an equatorial portion of said gyroscopic wrist exerciser.

Description:

CONTINUATION IN PART APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a CIP of app No. 09/507,537, filed Feb. 18, 2001 assigned to examiner Stephen Crow, Art Unit 3764. Applicant claims priority in part, and Incorporation by Ref of 09/507,537.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

BACKGROUND OF GYROSCOPIC WRIST EXERCISERS

[0002] The gyroscopic wrist exerciser device has been known and used in the industry since the early 1970's. The gyroscopic wrist exerciser device strengthens the muscles of the hand and forearm. A user grasps the outside housing containing a rotor that can spin. The rotational inertia of a gyroscope inside the housing provides variable resistance strength training. The principle of the gyroscopic wrist exerciser device has been stated in prior patents and is well known in the gyroscopic wrist exerciser industry.

[0003] Mischler U.S. Pat. No. 5,150,625 Provides a Background of the Operation of a Gyroscopic Wrist Exerciser

[0004] “Gyroscopic novelty devices have heretofore been provided. One such device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,726,146. Such prior device employs a rotor positioned in a support having an internal circular portion provided with an internal race or groove. The rotor is secured to a shaft extending diametrically across the circular portion with its ends received in the race. A guide ring is positioned in the race so as to be rotatable circumferentially of the race. The guide ring has diametrically spaced notches in its inner periphery that receive the ends of the rotor shaft for maintaining them centered and 180 degrees apart in the race. The rotor can thus rotate about the axis of the rotor shaft as a first or spin axis and also about the axis of rotation of the ring which comprises a second axis at right angles to and intersecting the spin axis. By giving the rotor an initial spin and then holding its support in the hand and manually applying a torque to the support at a third axis at right angles to both the spin and second axes, the rotor will precess about the second axis. By manually gyrating the axis of the applied torque about the second axis at the same rate and in the same direction as the precession of the rotor, the opposite ends of the rotor shaft are continuously pressed against the opposite sides of the race. The precession is continuous and causes the ends of the rotor shaft to roll on the upper and lower surfaces of the race in a manner which increases or decreases the rate of rotor spin in proportion to the amount of torque applied by the operator. A skillful operator can cause the rotor to attain high speeds of rotation about its spin axis.”

[0005] Historically speaking, the gyroscopic wrist exerciser was invented by Mr. Archie Mischer (U.S. Pat. No. 3,726,146). Since then, the device has allowed countless people to experience improved wrist function, and better wrist exercise. Gyroscopic wrist exercisers have been improved upon for many years. As the RPM of the rotor has increased, more torque and force is applied to a user's hand. As gyros are better balanced and manufactured, they can produce up to 30 pounds of torque, and spin at about 9600 RPM.

[0006] Chuang U.S. Pat. No. 5,800,311 adds an electrical generator to light a plurality of LEDs to generate and emit light from the rotor portion of the gyroscopic wrist exerciser. Chuang also added a counter means to determine the number and rate of rotations of the rotor inside the gyroscopic wrist exerciser housing.

[0007] Although the years have provided superior advances, the construction of the housing and rotor have not changed much. The housing has a rigid and smooth outer surface. Such housings can be uncomfortable to hold and are susceptible to slipping out of the user's hand, particularly at higher angular rates for inexperienced users. As a user starts the gyro by moving a wrist from right to left, the gyro becomes more difficult to hold and control.

[0008] The most prevalent construction of the gyroscopic wrist exerciser housing has been comprised of an upper shell and a lower shell. The shells are usually made of a polycarbonate plastic material that is hard and brittle. The upper and lower portion of the gyro are usually welded together sonically; creating localized thermal variation that can cause localized cracking of the shell at the circumferential periphery. Thus, the potential sharp edges of the gyro can damage or be uncomfortable to a hand. The interface between the two shells is also sometimes weak and susceptible to breakage if a unit is struck or dropped. The shaft's rolling contact with the upper and lower surfaces of the race, also called an internal circumferential groove, can create vibration and heat at high RPM.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The improved gyroscopic wrist exerciser includes all the standard parts of the prior art such as a housing, a rotor with a shaft, an internal race, and a guide ring. The improved gyroscopic wrist exerciser also uses a plastic shell such as a polycarbonate shell. The shell is comprised of two parts, an upper shell and a lower shell, that can fit together and can be permanently joined by a sonic weld at the equatorial interface.

[0010] Either the lower shell or the upper shell can feature a stepped joint between the housing sections. A stepped joint includes a horizontal circular race or groove between the sections that receives a guide ring with sufficient clearance so that the ring can rotate circumferentially within the race.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] An appreciation of the objectives of the present intention and a more complete understanding of its structure and a method of operation may be obtained by studying the following description of the preferred embodiment and by referring to the accompanying drawings.

[0012] FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of the joining area of the gyroscopic exerciser housing showing a stepped joint configuration.

[0013] FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the joining area of the gyroscopic exerciser housing showing a recessed stepped joint configuration.

[0014] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the joining area of the gyroscopic exerciser housing showing a recessed stepped joint configuration with a gripping band and a guide ring.

[0015] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the joining area of the gyroscopic exerciser housing showing a stepped joint configuration with a gripping band.

[0016] FIG. 5 is a partial cut away view of a gyroscopic wrist exerciser showing the geometric relationship of some main operative elements.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0017] The preferred embodiment encompasses an improved gyroscopic wrist exerciser having a superior housing allowing sturdier grip and sturdier construction using the same amount of materials.

[0018] As with the traditional construction of the gyroscopic wrist exerciser, the gyroscopic wrist exerciser is formed from a hollow housing FIG. 5., 510 and structure with a pair of shells. A top shell and a lower shell enclose a spinning rotor 501. The device assumes an overall shape of a sphere. The housing supports a rotor mounted on a shaft. The rotor spin axis referred to herein has traditionally been called the first axis.

[0019] The upper shell has an opening 510 at the top to allow a user to engage the rotor and start its rotation about the first axis 563. A user can put a thumb on the rotor 501 and spin the rotor with the thumb. A user can also spin the rotor with a string pulled means. A user can also engage the rotor, through the opening at the top, with a separate motorized spinning wheel starter.

[0020] The first axis 563, the rotor and the shaft that the rotor is mounted upon are substantially horizontal as seen in FIG. 5 and all precess about the second axis 564 that is substantially vertical as seen in FIG. 5. The exercise device can require strenuous physical activity. The rotation of the rotor and the precession of the rotor create a substantial amount of energy that requires a sturdy shell joining configuration.

[0021] The improved shell joining configuration can best be seen by reference to drawings. The sides of the housing adjacent to the middle of the housing are thickened and include a stepped joint between the housing sections. FIG. 1 shows a cross sectional view of the interface area 112 of the upper shell 122 and the lower shell 121. The lower shell, FIG. 1 is formed of a protrusion 111 that is capable of receiving a double stepped joint 115 formed in said upper shell 122, to create an inner groove 113 and an outer groove 116. The inner groove 113 is called a circular race or guide.

[0022] The inner groove 113 accepts a guide ring, which in turn holds the rotor. This guide ring is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,726,146 where a rotor is positioned in a support having an internal circular portion provided with an internal race or groove. The rotor is secured to a shaft extending diametrically across the circular portion with its ends received in the race. A guide ring is positioned in the race so as to be rotatable circumferentially of the race.

[0023] Consistent with historical terminology the circumferential rotation of the race and the precession of the rotor revolve about and share a second axis of rotation. The second axis is the axis that the race and guide ring rotates about. The second axis of rotation is always perpendicular to the first axis of rotation. The inner circumferential groove accepts the guide ring. The inner circumferential groove can be improved in performance by coating it with a durable plastic surface, or (as taught by Mishler U.S. Pat. No. 5,150,625) by use of opposed lining rings adhesively secured to the inside surface of the race.

[0024] The stepped joint 112 includes a horizontal circular race 113 or groove 113 between the sections 121, 122 that receive a guide ring with sufficient clearance to allow the rotor to rotate circumferentially in the race 113. Diametrically opposed notches in the guide ring receive reduced ends of the rotor shaft in free fit to allow a shaft's rolling contact with the upper and lower surfaces of the race.

[0025] Once assembled, the interface between the upper shell 122 and the lower shell 121 is hidden in the outer groove 116. Flashing or excess plastic malformed during the plastic molding process can be hidden in said outer groove 116 to protect a user's hand from the plastic flashing. The outer groove 116 can be covered with a soft gripping strip mounted circumferentially around said outer groove 116. The soft gripping strip can also include an annular protrusion to be inserted into the outer groove. A recessed stepped joint and a stepped joint are both encompassed under the term stepped joint.

[0026] FIG. 2 shows a cross section of a simplified configuration including a recessed stepped joint 215 in the upper shell 222 capable of receiving a protrusion from a lower shell 221. The recessed stepped joint is equivalently similar to the stepped joint 115 previously described. The joint region along the equatorial portion 212 of the housing allows an external groove 226 capable of receiving a protrusion from an annular rubber or silicone rubber grip. The internal race 213 or groove retains a shaft of a rotor.

[0027] FIG. 3 shows the inclusion of a silicone rubber grip 325 and a cross sectional view of a guide ring 385, held between the upper shell 322 and the lower shell 321. FIG. 4 shows the same cross sectional view as FIG. 3 wherein the stepped joint holds an annular rubber or silicone rubber grip 425.

[0028] As a user works against the resistance of the outer shell, the fingers, such as the index, middle and thumb area, can blister.

[0029] The gyroscopic exerciser housing and according to the present invention has a soft gripping strip mounted around its circumference. The gripping strip may be made of rubber or the like. The underside of the gyroscopic wrist exerciser preferably has an inwardly extended projection, that extends into a circumferential groove in the housing and peered ahead in the projection engaged in degree in retaining to keeping strict in the desired location on housing.

[0030] A band such as a translucent silicone rubber annular ring tapered at the upper and lower ends can be wound upon the housing in a snug fit. The band interfaces with the smooth surface of the housing to create an airtight seal. A user can remove the band for cleaning. The gyro band can be printed upon either in the inner or outer surface to create promotional items or specialty sales.

[0031] Exposure to excess plastic flashing and malformation due to processes such as sonic welding can be minimized by the current invention. The gripping band covers malformation or excess plastic flashing. Also, the malformation can be located inside the external circumferential groove. The potential sharp edges of the gyro can damage or be uncomfortable to a hand.

[0032] The upper and lower portion of the gyro are welded together sonically. The sonic welder creates thermal variations that disrupt the plastic, causing localized cracking of the housing shell at one equatorial position along the circumferential periphery. In transparent polycarbonate, the localized weld produces a moire ring pattern in the plastic after cooling. The polycarbonate ring pattern showing damage can be unsightly and is usually about one inch in diameter. Thus, the

[0033] The ring is retained within the upper and lower shell. The ring in turn retains the rotor between diametrically spaced notches. The rotor exerts a substantial amount of force on the shell at the circumferential sonic weld creating heat and vibration. A union of an upper shell and lower shell preferably forms the circumferential groove.

[0034] A gyro housing without a band can become slippery when wet with perspiration. The Perspiration from a hand can interact with rubber to create an undesirable stench. Silicone rubber having a higher inert and plastic content is superior to prevent odor buildup. The taper can retard band slippage.

[0035] The inside of the band conforms to the shape of the gyro housing. The translucent silicone rubber material allows emission of light generated inside the gyro housing to translucently illuminate text or graphics such as a logo that can be printed on the band.

[0036] Annular Protrusion

[0037] The band preferably has an annular protrusion capable of fitting inside the circumferential groove. Ideally, it is smaller than the circumferential groove formed in the housing such that only the upper or lower surface of the annular protrusion touches the upper or lower surface of the band. The gap allows the band to move slightly to conform to the forces presented by the unique shape of a hand. The gap is scaled to allow minor movements over successive gyrations while allowing a user a firm grip. The snug fit and conformable silicone rubber annular ring preferably allow a semi airtight interface between the rubber annular ring and the gyroscopic housing. An air gap formed between the upper and lower gap allow suction to maintain adherence of the band with the smooth housing shell.

[0038] Heat Insulation

[0039] The band is located in the equatorial region herein defined as close to the race to allow heat insulation. Most work done by a person on the improved gyroscopic wrist exerciser is converted into motion. All work is eventually converted into heat energy that must be dissipated. The heat energy is localized along the race where the friction is the greatest. The opposite ends of the rotor shaft are continuously pressed against the opposite sides of the race and the ends of the rotor shaft roll on the upper and lower surfaces of the race. The polycarbonate shell has an internal circumferential grove retaining the race. The internal circumferential grove acquires heat from friction. The profile of the band can be shaped to output uniform heat distribution across its outer surface. The profile can be calculated from standard heat transfer formulas found in heat transfer engineering textbooks.

[0040] As gyroscopic wrist exercisers are built with higher rotor mass and rotor speed, the annular circumferential portion of the housing will heat and uncomfortably affect a user's hand. Thus, a silicone rubber annular ring placed around the heated area can provide thermal insulation for a user's hand. The heated area is approximately a one-inch equatorial band around the housing of the gyroscopic wrist exerciser. The silicone rubber annular ring is shaped such that it is thicker in the middle, tapering to less thickness at the edges. The tapered profile provides a uniform heat distribution for human comfort.

[0041] Vibration Dampening

[0042] The band covers the outside of the race. Close to the race is limited herein so that the band is interposed between the race and the user's hand. At high RPM, the vibration of the rotor affects a user's grip. The silicone rubber annular ring tapered at both ends must also have vibration absorbency to allow mechanical dampening at the vibration transmission site localized along the race where the friction is the greatest. Silicone rubber and natural rubber both allow for a reduction in vibration transmission. The slack in the groove due to a smaller protrusion also decreases vibration transmission.

[0043] Impact Resistance

[0044] The band is located in the equatorial region herein defined as close to the race. Close to the race is defined herein as a reasonable distance to also maintain coverage of the exterior portion of the race. The race is an annular groove formed on the inside of the housing. The impact resistant band must protect the plastic area immediately outside of the race. Otherwise a user dropping a gyro during use will break the gyro housing if the impact of the housing against the ground is localized at the race. The stress and strain localization occurs at the race where the sonic welded interface is the thinnest and weakest.