Title:
Juvenile furniture electronic amusement device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An interactive amusement system for use with a variety of juvenile furniture. In one example, an amusement bar is connected to a control unit arranged at one corner of a collapsible play yard. A motion sensor controls the type of sound generated and flashing rate of an array of light on the amusement bar. The amusement system has a play and a nap mode which cooperates with the sensor to change the sound generated and the flashing rate as well as the intensity of illumination. The motion sensor may be a combination infrared (IR) transmitter and receiver. The play yard is usable as either a bassinet or play yard and the sensor is usable with either configuration. The control unit and amusement bar are removable to enable the juvenile furniture to be collapsed to a compact unit.



Inventors:
Stephen, Wood (Kutztown, PA, US)
Waldman, Kenneth C. (Reading, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/211949
Publication Date:
03/09/2006
Filing Date:
08/25/2005
Assignee:
Simplicity, Inc. (Reading, PA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63G23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VOLPE AND KOENIG, P.C. (30 SOUTH 17TH STREET, 18th Floor, PHILADELPHIA, PA, 19103, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An electronic amusement device having at least one selectively activated electronic amusement that is adapted for attachment to an article of juvenile furniture and selectively activated by an occupant of the juvenile furniture.

2. The electronic amusement device of claim 1 wherein the electronic amusement is activated by a motion detector.

3. The combination of an article of juvenile furniture and an electronic amusement device having at least one selectively activated electronic function that is attached to the article of juvenile furniture and the electronic function is selectable in response to an activity of an occupant of the juvenile furniture article.

4. The combination of claim 3 wherein activation of the electronic function is controlled by a motion detector.

5. An electronic amusement device for attachment to an article of juvenile furniture, the device comprising: a controller; at least one selectively activated electronic amusement; and an activity sensor associated with the controller and operatively connected to the at least one electronic amusement for selectively activating the electronic amusement in response to detecting presence of an occupant.

6. The electronic amusement device of claim 5 wherein the sensor is a motion detector

7. The device of claim 5, said controller further comprising: a housing for the controller having a pair of adjacent sides provided with recesses for releaseably securing said housing to a corner of the juvenile furniture comprised of a collapsible play yard.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein said play yard has at least two adjacent upper side rails and forming one corner of the play yard and hingedly connected to a vertical corner post, said housing recesses being configured to releaseably grip portions of said adjacent side rails and a top of said vertical post.

9. The device of claim 7 wherein said sensor is mounted on said housing and is configured to have a given angular range of detection for enabling detection of motion of an infant placed in said play yard.

10. The device of claim 5 wherein said play yard has a first flexible enclosure mounted upon a collapsible play yard frame.

11. The device of claim 10 further comprising: a floor mat configured to be positioned on a floor of the first flexible enclosure and comprised of a plurality of hingedly connected substantially rigid panels covered with a suitable fabric.

12. The device of claim 11, further comprising a vibration unit mounted on an underside of said floor mat for imparting vibration to said floor mat.

13. The device of claim 11 further comprising stiffening tubes mounted within sleeves provided on said floor mat.

14. The device of claim 10 further comprising: a second flexible enclosure for mounting upon said collapsible frame and said first enclosure and having a floor arranged a spaced distance above the floor of said first enclosure, said floor mat being configured to be placed upon the floor of the second enclosure.

15. The device of claim 14 further comprising a motion sensor mounted along said housing and configured to detect motion of an infant placed upon the floor mat which is placed upon the floor of one of the first and the second flexible enclosures.

16. The device of claim 7 further comprising an amusement arm selectively, mechanically and electrically coupled to said control unit and comprised of a rotatable mobile and an array of lights arranged at spaced intervals along said arm.

17. The device of claim 16 wherein said control unit is provided with a mode switch, said controller operating at least one of said array of lights and said rotatable mobile in one of a first and a second manner when said mode switch is respectively in one of a first and a second position.

18. The device of claim 17 wherein said controller is activated by said motion sensor to control one of said rotatable mobile and light array to respond to the position of said mode switch.

19. The device of claim 18, further comprising: a sound generating system and a memory for storing at least two types of sound, said controller controlling the type of sound provided to said sound generating system according to the position of the mode switch.

20. The device of claim 19 further comprising switches for respectively controlling an on/off and volume condition of the sound generating system.

21. The device of claim 7 wherein said control unit further comprises: a night light and a switch for controlling an on/off condition of the night light.

22. The device of claim 16 wherein said amusement arm is provided with switches for selectively turning said lights and said rotatable mobile on and off.

23. The device of claim 19 wherein said control unit controller is configured to operate said sound generating system independently of said amusement arm.

24. The device of claim 7 further comprising: a curved amusement bar having a first end releaseably electrically and mechanically coupled to said control unit and having a plurality of lights arranged at spaced intervals along said bar.

25. The device of claim 24 wherein an opposite end of said bar is provided with a resilient clip for being snap-fitted upon a play yard rail opposite and parallel to a side rail supporting said control unit.

26. The device of claim 25 further comprising: a second curved amusement bar, said first and second amusement bars having ends thereof coupled to diagonally opposite corners of a substantially rectangular-shaped play yard frame; said control unit being provided at an intersection of said amusement bars.

27. The device of claim 26 further comprising a rotatable mobile suspended from the intersection of said amusement bars.

28. A stand-alone play unit comprising: a floor unit; a pair of curved amusement bars having ends coupled to said floor unit so that intermediate portions and arranged so that said first and second bars intersect one another; a control unit arranged at said intersection and having a motion sensor; said bars each having a plurality of lights arranged at spaced intervals; said control unit for controlling pulsing of said lights responsive to detection of motion by said motion sensor.

29. The stand-alone play unit further comprising: a rotatable mobile coupled to said control unit, said bars being configured to support said mobile unit a given distance above said floor unit, said control unit controlling rotation of said rotatable mobile.

30. The device of claim 14 further comprising a wireless detector coupled to said control unit; a wireless transmitter coupled to said floor mat; said controller controlling one of said lights and said rotatable mobile responsive to detection of motion caused by an infant placed in one of said first and second enclosures and interrupting a wireless signal produced by said transmitter from reaching said wireless receiver.

31. The device of claim 30 wherein said wireless transmitter and receiver are configured to operate in an infra-red (IR) range.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from provisional application Ser. No. 60/604,231 filed on Aug. 25, 2004, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention generally relates to electronic amusement devices; it more particularly relates to electronic amusement devices adapted for use with juvenile furniture; and most particularly relates to motion activated electronic amusement devices adapted for use with juvenile furniture.

BACKGROUND

Keeping a small child engaged and amused can be challenging, but it is even more challenging when the child is restrained within the confines of juvenile furniture, such as a swing, car seat, or a crib. However, there are times when a child should be at rest in the same furniture intended to restrain the child at another time. There is in a need for providing a source of child amusement that is selectively operational.

SUMMARY

The present invention is characterized by comprising apparatus for stimulating the infant during play periods as well as selectively soothing the infant occupying the juvenile furniture during periods of rest as well as inducing restfulness. The devices are interactive in that motion detection devices are provided to activate the amusement activities responsive to detection of the infant's motion.

Lights, music and motion of attractive and decorative objects are provided. The on/off operation and selection of the activities are controlled by a manually operable control panel preferably forming a part of the juvenile furniture. The components providing the amusement and other activities are preferably arranged within a housing which is removably mounted to the juvenile furniture to facilitate the provision of a collapsible furniture design which significantly contributes to compactness and portability. The juvenile furniture, in one preferred embodiment, comprises a portable play yard capable of being selectively arranged in one of a play mode in which a bottom floor is utilized to support the infant and a nap mode in which an upper supporting surface (i.e. bassinet) is mounted within the play yard to provide a nap mode enclosure. The embodiment, having both a play and nap mode capability is preferably provided with either a single motion sensor having a range for detecting motion at either the bassinet (upper) level or the floor (lower) level, or alternatively may be provided with a receiver arranged above the play yard for detecting motion from transmitters respectively provided at the bassinet level and lower or floor level.

An amusement bar, in one embodiment, activates a micro-switch provided within an opening for receiving a support rod of the amusement bar to selectively control the micro-switch to turn off the “kick mat” amusement activities when the amusement bar is detached from the juvenile furniture and to turn on the “kick bar” amusement activities when the amusement bar is attached to the juvenile furniture. As an alternative, the amusement bar support rod may be provided with electrical contacts which cooperate with electrical contacts in the opening receiving the support rod to provide electrical connections between the control panel and the amusement bar.

The bassinet structure is detachably mounted to the play yard. The upper and lower floors are preferably each provided with a vibrating device having a timer capability, the rate of vibration being changeable as a function of the operating mode. For example, in the play mode, the amusement bar provides flashing lights and active music, while the vibrating device provides more robust vibration, while in the nap mode, the amusement device provides gradually fading lights and lullaby music, while the vibrator provides more soothing vibrations which preferably gradually fade away.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of a amusement device associated with a portable play yard.

FIG. 1A is a bottom view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the play yard fully erected.

FIGS. 2A and 2B are schematic elevation and top plan views of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2C is a sectional view of the electrical coupling between the amusement bar and control unit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second embodiment of the amusement device associated with a portable play yard.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are schematic elevation and top plan views of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3.

FIG. 4C is a schematic view showing the electrical coupling between the control unit and mobile arm of FIG. 3.

FIG. 4D is a bottom plan view of a floor unit used in the embodiment of FIG. 3.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate a third embodiment of the amusement device associated with a portable play yard and employing an interactive sensor.

FIGS. 6A and 6B are schematic elevation and top plan views of the embodiment of FIG. 5.

FIG. 6C is a schematic view of the electrical coupling between the control unit and mobile arm of FIG. 5.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are elevation and top plan views of a fourth embodiment of the amusement device associated with a portable play yard (also illustrating a play mat).

FIG. 7C is a schematic view of a play mat usable without a play yard.

FIGS. 8A and 8B are schematic elevation and top plan views of a fifth embodiment of the amusement device associated with a portable play yard.

FIGS. 9A and 9D through 9G are perspective views of a corner structure of the play yard configured for containing controls for the amusement device.

FIG. 9B is an elevational view showing a portion of the mobile arm of FIG. 3, for example, and is useful for explaining the releaseable mechanical/electrical coupling between the mobile arm and the control unit.

FIG. 9C shows a cover unit for covering the receptacle in the control unit for receiving the amusement bar/arm when the amusement bar/arm is removed from the receptacle.

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of the system electronics for the amusement device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The electronic amusement devices disclosed herein provide features such as motion detection that is activated by the infant, a night light that may fade to allow sleep, music with selection of the music as well as volume control, timed gentle or robust vibration, nap and play modes, twinkling lights and mobile activation are shown in the Figures for use with various items of juvenile furniture. Although the amusement devices described herein are described as either stand-alone or for use with a collapsible play yard, the amusement devices may also be configured to be mounted on a crib, a child's bed, a car seat, a chair, a highchair, a bouncy seat, a stroller, a swing, activity centers (such as jumpers), walkers, and other child care items. There is also provided a stand-alone gym.

FIG. 1 shows a portable, combined play yard and bassinet provided with an electronic amusement bar 50. The play yard assembly 10 is comprised of four upright corner members, 12, 14, 16 and 18. The lower ends of members 12 and 14 are provided with stationary legs 12a, 14a while the uprights 16 and 18 are each provided with wheel assemblies, such as the wheel assembly 20 shown in FIG. 1 and provided with a free wheeling wheel 20a and a locking mechanism having an operating member 20b which, in the upper position permits wheel 20a to freely rotate about a horizontal central axis and for locking wheel 20a when in the down position, as is conventional. It should be understood that the wheel coupled to upright 18 functions in substantially the same manner.

Play yard assembly 10 has a substantially X-shaped support assembly shown FIG. 1A and comprised of four (4) arms 11, 13, 15 and 17 collectively forming an x-shaped configuration with the outer ends of the arms each being pivotally coupled to uprights 12 through 18, respectively. A latch mechanism 19 is pivotally coupled to the inner ends of the arms arranged in the aforesaid x-shaped configuration and is provided with a selectively lockable locking mechanism for locking the play yard apparatus 10 in the fully assembled position shown in FIG. 1 and having a releasing mechanism for releasing the latching mechanism and enabling the X-shaped support members to be pulled upwardly to collapse the portable play yard and bring the uprights 12, 14, 16 and 18 toward one another and toward a central vertical axis. A leg 21 cooperates with legs 14a, 12a and wheels 20a, 18a to maintain the cross pieces at a constant height when placed upon a flat, horizontal surface. The flexible enclosure is preferably a rugged fabric or textile-like webbing.

The upper side rails 22, 24, 26 and 28 have latchable, collapsible locking mechanisms at their central portions 22a through 28a, respectively, enabling these members to be folded in half about their centrally located latching mechanisms to facilitate the provision of a collapsible portable play yard which is highly compact in its collapsed state.

The mechanism which may be employed to provide the collapsible capability of play yard apparatus 10 may be of the type described in pending application Ser. No. 10/918,893 filed Aug. 16, 2004 (SIM2-PT013.1) and the description therein is incorporated herein by reference thereto. The X-shaped support members serve as the supporting structure for the lower floor 40 which supports a floor F (FIG. 4D) comprising a plurality of rigid, fabric covered panels, adjacent sides of which are hingedly joined to one another to serve as a substantially rigid floor when opened and also capable of being folded into a substantially rectangular shape to serve as an outer housing for the collapsed play yard, to facilitate handling and transportation.

The upper (i.e., bassinet) floor 30 is supported by a plurality of elongated straps 32 joined at their upper ends to a pair of members 34, 36 which are fitted over the collapsible support arm 22, 26. Mesh-like sides 38, 40, 42 and 44 are each joined with strips of rugged, flexible fabric SF along their left and right vertical sides to provide vertical side walls which serve to enclose the play yard about the vertical posts 12, 14, 16 and 18. The mesh material is sufficiently flexible to facilitate collapsing of the play yard to a compact structure. For example, noting mesh side 38, it is joined at its lower end to flexible strip 11, at its upper end to strip 28 and at its left and right hand ends to the strips SF, which are provided with “pockets” for receiving the corner posts 12, 14, as is conventional. The mesh side walls 40, 42 and 44 are joined to adjacent members in a similar fashion.

The electronic amusement bar 50 is an arcuate-shaped bar having rods 50a, 50b at its opposite ends. Rod 50b is removably mountable within an opening in control panel 60, which is arranged at one corner of the play yard and rests upon upright 14 and snap-fits over the adjacent ends of arms 22 and 28. Rod 50a has a flexible C-shaped clip 50d which is snap-fitted onto rail 26.

Protective coverings, such as lenses 50c are arranged along spaced intervals of arcuate-shaped member 50. Amusement bar 50 is preferably covered with a soft cloth or fabric. Decorative and aesthetically pleasing members are suspended from bar 50, such as, for example, the star-shaped members 52. The control panel 60 is provided with an array of control buttons 62 to be more fully described.

FIGS. 2A and 2B respectively show elevational and top plan views of play yard assembly 10 in schematic fashion and FIG. 2C is a sectional view showing the manner in which the rod 50b of FIG. 1 is releaseably mounted to the control panel 60. Rod 50b is provided with a plurality of electrical contacts 50b-1 which are configured to cooperate with a plurality of electrical contacts 54b provided along the wall of an opening 54 for receiving rod 50b. When rod 50b is properly seated within opening 54 so that its lower end 50b-2 engages the bottom 54c of opening 54, contacts 50b-1 are in proper alignment and engagement with the cooperating contacts 54b. Rod 50b and opening 54 are preferably of a non-round shape to facilitate proper alignment of the contract arrays 50b-1 and 54b.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 2C, the control unit 60 is provided with operating buttons to respectively operate the amusement device in a play mode in which the lights behind lenses 50c flash and a suitable active musical sound is generated. When operating in the nap mode, the lights behind lenses 50c fade from on to off and a lullaby music selection is played. Another operating button provides off/on operation of a night light. Opposite edges of a sliding cover 55 are held between a pair of grooves (not shown) in control unit 60 to cover opening 54 when the amusement bar is not being used. It should be understood that the lights and sound generating system within control unit 60 may be operated independently of amusement bar 50.

FIG. 3 shows another embodiment 10′ of the present invention in which like elements have been designated by like numerals. The major distinction of the embodiment 10′ resides in the fact that the curved electronic amusement bar 50 of FIGS. 1-2C is replaced by electronic mobile arm 50′ having a lower end slidably inserted into an opening in the housing forming part of the control unit 60′. The upper end of arm 50′ supports and rotates a mobile 70 having a plurality of decorative and aesthetically pleasing objects 71, each suspended from one of the arms 72. The control panel control buttons selectively provide music (in control unit 60′) and flashing lights (in mobile arm 50′) provided during a play period as well as the rotation of the mobile arms 72 and softer music and lighting which fades to dark during the nap or rest mode. FIGS. 4A and 4B respectively show schematic side elevational and top plan views of the embodiment 10′, FIG. 4C showing the manner in which the removable mobile arm 50′ is inserted into opening 54′ whereby the portion 50b′, when properly seated with an opening 54′ has its electrical contacts aligned with and respectively electrically engaging associated electrical contacts 54b′ arranged with an opening 54′. The mobile arm 50′ is designed to pivot over a ninety degree range as shown in FIG. 4B.

The rigid floor F is selectively placed upon either the bassinet or play yard floors. The floor F, shown in FIG. 4D, is comprised of four (4) substantially rigid panels covered with a suitable fabric and hingedly connected along sew lines 51-53. FIG. 4D shows the bottom of the floor. Floor F has four (4) pockets P1-P4 which receive a pair of rigid tubes T1, T2 to rigidify the floor F. If desired, the tubes T1, T2 may each be a pair of tubes telescoped together to make one long tube, the telescoping tubes facilitating their insertion into the pockets P1-P4.

A battery operated vibration V is releasably secured by Velcro straps Vs to the underside of floor F. A control panel Vc provides on/off, hard/soft vibration and timing control. The vibration and timing control may be of the type described in copending application Ser. No. 10/752,171 filed Jan. 6, 2004 (SIM2-PT005).

The embodiment 10′ further distinguishes from the embodiment 10 of FIG. 1 in that it includes a portable changing table 80 comprised of a curved convex support 80a and two rigid side walls 80b, 80c which are arranged on the outer sides of upper rails 22′, 26′ which table may be used as a changing table and simply be lifted off when not in use. Also, embodiment 10′ has a storage pocket PS along one sidewall.

The embodiment 10″ of FIG. 5 distinguishes from the embodiment 10′ of FIG. 3 in that a motion sensor is provided. The other elements of embodiment 10″ are substantially identical to those shown in FIG. 3 except that the embodiment 10″ is provided with an interactive motion sensor. Embodiment 10″ is also further provided with a changing table TC which may be supported upon side rails 22″ and 26″ and is easily disassembled to facilitate packing for travel. Side pocket PS provides end panel storage. Making reference to FIGS. 6A and 6B respectively showing schematic side elevation and top plan views of the embodiment of 10″, the electronic control 60″ is provided with a motion sensor 62 having an operating range defined by dotted lines 63a, 63b. The other features of the embodiment 10″ are substantially the same as the electronic features in the embodiment 10′ shown in FIG. 3. The manner in which the rod 50b″ is arranged with an opening 54″ and has its contacts 50c″ aligned with and in electrical contact with cooperating contacts 54b″ an opening 54′ is substantially identical to that shown in FIG. 4C, the difference being that the motion sensor causes the mobile lights and music to be activated when in the play mode while providing softer music and fading lights and deactivating the mobile when no motion is sensed.

As was set forth here and above, the opening 54″ may be sealed by sliding door 55 to prevent ingress into opening 54″ when the mobile arm is not being used.

FIGS. 7A and 7B show still another play yard embodiment 10′″ having a supporting structure 90 comprised of four (4) curved members 90a through 90d arranged in an X-shaped pattern as shown in FIG. 7B for supporting a battery-operated wireless receiver 92 which may, for example, be an infrared (IR) receiver coupled to a battery-operated integrated circuit provided in housing 94. The integrated circuit within housing 94 is electrically connected to the control unit 60′″ through 90b. A wireless transmitter such as an infrared (IR) transmitter 96 is provided at one corner of the floor F, which may be placed either on the bassinet floor 30′″ or the play yard floor 40′″. When the transmitted infrared signal detects motion of the infant (due to interruption of the IR signal), this causes the control unit 60′″ to select the operating mode to provide flashing lights which may be provided along one or more of the members 90a through 90d as well as controlling the type of music which is produced, soft music being produced during a sleep or rest mode and more lively music being produced during a play mode. It should be understood that only one of the arms 90b is coupled to control unit 60′″, the outer ends of the remaining arms 90a, 90c and 90d being provided with clip-on members as was described in connection with FIG. 1.

FIG. 7C shows an optional play mat embodiment which may be erected from the floor F and curved support members 90a-90d taken from the embodiment of FIGS. 7A, 7B, wherein the unit 90 has its arms 90a through 90d are arranged adjacent to or, if desired, joined to the four corners of floor mat F. An IR transmitter 96 cooperates with IR receiver 92 to selectively initiate either the rest or sleep mode or the play mode controlled by detection of movement of the infant. The unit 94′ is modified in that a control unit is integrated into housing 94′. The floor F may be of the type described and shown in FIG. 4D and may include a vibration unit V. When the unit 90 is disconnected from the play yard for use in the arrangement of FIG. 7C, the control unit 60′″ is provided with a microswitch to prevent the music and lights from being generated by the control unit 60′″.

FIGS. 8A and 8B show an embodiment 10″″ which is modified from the embodiment 10′″ shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B and comprising a supporting unit 90 which is substantially identical in design and function to the assembly 90 shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, the distinction being the provision of a motion sensor 62 incorporated in the control unit 60″″ in a manner similar to that shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. The supports members 90a-90d support a motorized mobile unit provided with lights 98a and a mobile 70 substantially identical in design and function to the mobile 70 shown in FIG. 3. Control unit 60′″ is provided with an on/off button for the lights and includes an on/off button for rotating the motorized mobile 70. The motion sensor 62 has a detection range which falls with the dotted line 63a, 63b.

FIGS. 9A and 9D through 9G show detailed perspective views of a preferred embodiment of the control unit 60, which has a top surface 110 provided with a circular operating button 112 slidable within an elongated slot 110a between the solid line position, hereinafter referred to as a play position and a dotted line position 112′ hereinafter designated as the nap position. An additional cluster 114 of operating controls is arranged within a circular recess and is comprised of an operating button 116 for turning the music on or off and a “plus” button 118 and a “minus” button 120 for controlling the volume at which the music is played. A push-button 122 turns the motion sensor on and off. Pressing push-button 122 down turns the motion sensor on and pressing push-button 122 down a second time turns the motion sensor off. An LED 122a is provided at the center of push button 122 and, when the motion sensor is turned on, LED 122a blinks for 20 seconds during start-up and then remains constantly lit. An on/off switch 124 is slidably mounted within an elongated slot 110b in top surface 110 and is movable between a solid line position indicating that the unit is on and a dotted line position 124′ which indicates that the unit is turned off.

Top surface 110 is further provided with a receiving slot 110c having a female type receptacle 126 mounted therein. A movable locking projection 128 extends upwardly from the floor of recess 110c and is configured to fit within a recess provided along the bottom surface of the mobile arm 50′, the lower portion thereof being shown in greater detail in FIG. 9B and comprising the mobile arm 50′ having a lower coupling portion 50a′ rotatably mounted to the main body 50′, enabling rotation through the aforementioned 90° angle as was described above. The bottom end of end portion 58′ has a projection 132 extending downwardly there from and provided with a pair of shoulders 132a, 132b on opposite parallel sides of the projection 132. The bottom curved surface 132c has a recess 132d which receives projection 128 when the bottom portion 132 of the mobile arm 50′ is slidably inserted into the receiving recess 110c. The male electrical coupling 134 is inserted into the cooperating female electrical coupling 126 arranged at the rear of recess 110c. In order to remove the projection 132 from recess 126 a finger-operated lever member 130 is pressed downwardly, removing projection 128 from recess 132d, thereby enabling the mobile arm unit 50′ to be removed from the recess 110c in control unit 60.

It should be understood that the play yard and control unit 60 may be utilized without the mobile arm, enabling the control unit to be utilized independently of the mobile unit and the flashing lights. In such applications, it is preferable to close recess 110c through the use of the member 132′, shown in FIG. 9C and which has a configuration similar to the member 132 shown in FIG. 9B but in which the mobile arm 50′ and the swivel coupling 50a′ are omitted. In addition, the male type electrical connector 134 is omitted and a recess is provided to receive the female type electrical connector 126 provided within recess 110c. The recess 132d′ along the bottom surface of member 132′ receives latching projection 128 when slidably inserted into recess 110c. The cover member 132′ may be removed by pressing down lever 130 to remove projection 128 from recess 132d′.

Making reference to FIG. 9B, when the mobile arm 50′ is mounted upon the control unit 60, operating buttons 136 and 138 are provided for selectively turning on and turning off the lights and the rotatable mobile 70.

When mobile arm 50′ is mounted to the control unit 60, the lights 50c′ along the mobile arm may be controlled by the motion detector and controller CP to blink when in the play mode and the mobile may be rotated when the control unit is in the play mode, both of these operations occurring when the motion sensor detects movement of the infant.

Likewise, the music may be selectively controlled to provide lullaby music (or a soothing voice or other sound) when in the rest or sleep mode and to play a more lively musical selection (or a more animated voice or sound) when in the play mode.

FIG. 9D shows an elevational view of the control unit 60 looking toward the inside corner of the play yard when the control unit is mounted to an inside corner of the play yard. The curved convex surface 110d (known also as FIG. 9A) has a substantially circular recess 110e for receiving a motion sensor 137. The speaker 139 is housed within the housing of the control unit 60 adjacent convex surface 110d. A plurality of openings arranged in a substantially circular-shaped area 140 facilitate passage of the sound waves to the exterior of the housing. A night light 142 is arranged behind a transparent cover 144. Recess 110c containing the female electrical leads 134 are positioned at the rear of the recess 110c. Finger operated lever 132 is coupled to projection 128 (see FIG. 9A) by supporting post 132a.

Control unit 60 is configured to fit into an inside corner of the play yard and has two perpendicular surface 110e, 110f shown, for example, in FIG. 9G. Projections 110g, 110h respectively extending outwardly from perpendicular surfaces 110e, 110f cooperate with downwardly depending locking portions 110i, 110j to be snap-fitted upon the intersecting rails such as, for example, intersecting rails 28 and 22 which intersect at corner post 14 shown, for example, in FIG. 1. The hollow, rounded recesses 110k, 110l conform to and receive the upper surfaces of the rod-shaped rails 22 and 28 and snap fit onto the corner of the play yard, inwardly extending integral projections 110m, 110n further serving to grip the intersecting rails 22 and 28. The curved portion 110p conforms to and receives the top outer surface portion of vertical post 14, shown in FIG. 1. This arrangement firmly grips the control unit 60 to the play yard when in use. However, the portions 110i, 110j are sufficiently flexible so as to be capable of being pulled outwardly from the exterior surface of the play yard by gripping portions 110m, 110n to lift the control unit 60 away the play yard in order to facilitate movement of the play yard to the fully collapsed position. As is conventional, each side rail assembly 22 through 28 is provided with an operating button which, when depressed, enables each of the side rails to be collapsed initially to a V-shaped configuration and ultimately to a position in which the rail portions making up each side rail are substantially parallel to one another. This structure is conventional and is provided with an operating button such as, for example, the operating button B for collapsing the side rail 22, it being understood that each of the other side rails is provided with a like operating button as is likewise conventional.

In the embodiment 60 shown in FIGS. 9A and 9D through 9G, the top of gripping portion 110i extends in a diagonally upward direction in order to receive a curved, upper side rail such as, for example, the curved side rail 28′ shown, for example, in FIG. 3. Alternatively, the side of the control unit 60 which is adapted to snap-fit to a horizontally aligned side rail such as side rail 28 shown in FIG. 1, has a shape which extends horizontally as shown by dotted line 110i′ in FIG. 9F. FIG. 9F further shows the side surface 110f as provided with a cover 110q covering a battery compartment containing portable batteries (not shown) providing the electrical energy for operating the control unit 60. The cover 110q is preferably maintained in place by threaded fasteners such as, for example, the threaded fasteners 152.

A coupling similar in design and function to the coupling 132 shown in FIG. 9D, provided at that lower end of the mobile arm 50′ is also utilized at the end 50b of the curved amusement bar 50 shown in FIG. 1, the only difference being that there is no need for a rotatable coupling between amusement bar 50 and coupling 132. As was described above, when employing the control unit 60, the amusement bar 50 or alternatively the mobile arm 50′ has two operating activity modes namely the play mode when the lights along either of the amusement bar or mobile arm flash at the time that active music is generated or, in the nap mode the lights fade to dark and soft music such as a lullaby is generated. With respect to the mobile bar, the mobile 70 may be selectively controlled to rotate at a gentle speed or a higher speed by controller CP.

The vibration unit V is battery operated and has a compartment (not shown) for receiving portable batteries. The vibration unit is slidably received within a base member secured to one panel of the floor member, Vibration unit V is slidably received therein and removable for replacement of portable batteries (not shown). The vibration unit V, when controlled independently of controller CP, has an amplitude control extending to one side thereof for adjusting amplitude. A push button BP is arranged on the surface of the vibration unit V which faces the floor F enabling the button to be pushed from the top surface of the floor. Although not shown, it should be understood that appropriate indicia such as a circle and a designation such as “vibrator push button” adjacent to the circle serves to accurately locate the push button for operating the vibration unit V. The push button preferably operates in such a way that pressing it once turns the vibration unit V on and pressing it a second time turns the vibration unit V off.

Although the embodiments shown in FIG. 4D provide sleeves or pockets for the reinforcing tubes T1 and T2, it should be understood that these sleeves may be provided along the top surface of the floor 30 of the bassinette and the tubes may be inserted in the sleeves provided in the bassinet floor similar to the sleeves provided along the bottom of floor F, shown in FIG. 4D.

FIG. 10 is a schematic of the electronics embodied, for example, in the play yard 10″ of FIG. 5. Making reference to FIGS. 4D, 5, 9A and 9B as well as FIG. 10, the amusement device is comprised of a combination power supply/vibration unit V (FIG. 4D) mounted to the underside of floor F, which is provided with reinforcing tubes T1, T2 arranged along the underside thereof to enhance the structural integrity of the floor. If desired, the tubes T1 and T2 may each be first and second tubes which are telescoping joined together to provide a design which is easier to assemble/disassemble. The combination power/supply vibration unit V has a vibration motor MV for imparting vibration to floor F. The combination unit V also includes a battery compartment (not shown) for supplying power.

The vibration unit V having the battery compartment may be releaseably mounted to floor F or be provided separately and independently of the floor, if desired. Providing the battery compartment and vibration motor MV in one housing mounted to floor F reduces the size, weight and complexity of the unit V. Alternatively, one common battery compartment portion may be provided in control unit 60 (FIG. 9F) and power may be provided to the vibration unit V through electrical leads coupled between the power supply (i.e., batteries) in control unit 60 and motor MV.

The power to motor MV, in one alternative embodiment, is coupled to the vibration motor MV through central processor CP.

In a preferred embodiment, the mobile arm 50′ includes light switch 136 and mobile switch 138 which operate to selectively turn on/off these devices, while the control unit processor CP controls the performance of these devices. A power switch 124 (FIG. 9A) selectively couples power from the power supply in control unit 60 to all of the electronic components in mobile arm 50′ through suitable electrical connections including the connectors 126 and 134 as well as internal connections contained within control unit 60. The slide switch 112 provides a control signal to processor CP which controls the lights 50c′ (FIG. 3) to flash according to the selected operating mode. Processor CP provides power pulses to each light 50c′ in the light array. Any suitable light pattern such as sequential, random, two-on, two-off, etc. can be provided by the processor. Each push button 122, 124, 143 has two stable states, pushing the push button once turns the switch on and pushing the push button again turns the associated function off. In addition, processor CP is preferably programmed to turn off any function in operation after a given time interval.

In a preferred embodiment, music push button switch 80 provides a control signal to processor CP which activates speaker 138, and pulses lights 50c′. Mobile drive motor MM may also have its rotation rate varied according to the position of mode switch 112. Preferably, an analog music signal is sent to the speaker 138, and the lights 50c′ pulse with the rhythm of the music. Processor CP preferably stores a plurality of tunes (in a memory) which may be selected by continually depressing the music push button switch 116. Alternatively, the music switch 116, when activated, may provide only music, and the drive motor MM and lights 50c′ may be activated concurrently. A volume adjustment controls 118, 120, respectively raise or lower the volume by controlling the amplitude of a speaker amplifier (not shown) to respectively raise or lower the volume of the sound produced by the speaker. Alternatively, instead of music, the processor may provide any other suitable signals to the speaker, including a human voice recording.

A separate vibration switch VS may be provided to control processor CP to energize the vibrator motor MV to impart vibration to floor F. A vibration rate adjustment switch SR, which is preferably a rotatable member, is configured to raise or lower the current supplied to the vibration motor 60 and thereby raise or lower the amplitude/frequency of vibration imparted to floor F. By mounting the vibration unit V beneath the floor F, floor F, and thus the infant, are vibrated.

A night light pushbutton switch 143 provides a signal to processor CP to energize the night light. The LED which forms part of the night light pushbutton serves as a means to monitor the condition of the night light 142, whereby, if the LED is on and the night light is off, this indicates that the night light needs to be replaced. The motion detector, for example the motion detector 137, provides a signal to processor CP, which, according to the position of mode selection switch 112, controls the type of music coupled to speaker 139 and controls the flashing (and fading) of lights 50c′, and if desired, the rotating speed of the mobile motor MM. Alternatively, a switch VS, for controlling the speed and time period of the vibration motor MV, may be provided at a suitable location on control unit 60.

The operating push buttons/slide switches may be arranged in any suitable pattern other than that shown in FIG. 9A. Also, the push buttons may be replaced by other suitable switches without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention. Although the mobile are 50′ has been described above, it should be understood that the amusement bar 50, containing lights 50c, is also preferably provided with an on/off pushbutton similar in design and function to pushbutton 136 provided on mobile are 50′. This is also true of the unit 94′ forming part of the stand-alone play mat shown in FIG. 7C.