Title:
Ball with obstructing elements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ball has a body and a plurality of obstructors arranged on the outer surface. In addition, an assembly includes a ball and a ball cover. The ball cover has an outer surface and an interior inside which the ball is retained, with a plurality of obstructors arranged on the outer surface of the ball cover. The obstructors function to impede the rolling motion of the ball.



Inventors:
Zheng, Yu (Walnut, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/944344
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
09/17/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B43/00
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond Sun (12420 Woodhall Way, Tustin, CA, 92782, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ball, comprising: a body having an outer surface; and a plurality of obstructors arranged on the outer surface.

2. The ball of claim 1, wherein the body has a diameter, and wherein the obstructor has a height that is at least five percent of the diameter of the body.

3. The ball of claim 1, wherein the body has a diameter, and wherein each obstructor has a height that is at least ten percent of the diameter of the body.

4. The ball of claim 1, wherein at least one obstructor has a generally conical body that terminates at a flat top end.

5. The ball of claim 1, wherein the at least one obstructor has a base which has a greater diameter than the flat top end.

6. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors comprises six obstructors arranged with each pair of obstructors directly facing and opposite each other on the outer surface of the body.

7. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors are provided in one piece with the body.

8. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors are removably connected to the body.

9. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors includes obstructors having different heights.

10. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors includes obstructors having different shapes.

11. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors includes obstructors having different sizes.

12. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors are arranged in a random pattern.

13. The ball of claim 1, wherein the plurality of obstructors comprises more than three obstructors.

14. An assembly, comprising: a ball; and a ball cover having an outer surface and an interior inside which the ball is retained, with a plurality of obstructors arranged on the outer surface.

15. The assembly of claim 14, wherein the ball cover has a diameter, and wherein the obstructor has a height that is at least five percent of the diameter of the ball cover.

16. The assembly of claim 14, wherein the ball cover has an opening through which the ball can be inserted.

17. The assembly of claim 14, wherein the ball cover is a netting.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to toys, and in particular, to a ball that has its rolling motion obstructed.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Balls are one of the most commonly-available and simple toys that have ever been created. Balls can be found almost everywhere, and even adults and children can be found playing different games involving one or more balls.

It can be difficult to find fault with balls. However, notwithstanding the above, balls do suffer from one drawback. A ball that is tossed or kicked too far will continue to roll. A player must run or walk a long distance to retrieve the ball.

This drawback becomes more apparent with balls that are intended to be used by young children, babies and toddlers. For example, soft balls made of plastic or foam are commonly found indoors and used by babies, toddlers and young children for a variety of games. Adults even use these soft balls for executive toys (e.g., ball-toss games). When these balls are tossed, they tend to roll along the floor, and sometimes roll under or between furniture items. In any case, a parent playing these ball games with a toddler or infant may tire from repeatedly retrieving the ball(s) in the house.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

It is an object of the present invention to provide balls that do not roll very far.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a mechanism for impeding the rolling motion of a ball.

In order to accomplish the objects of the present invention, one embodiment of the present invention provides a ball having a body, and a plurality of obstructors arranged on the outer surface. Another embodiment of the present invention provides a ball and a ball cover. The ball cover has an outer surface and an interior inside which the ball is retained, with a plurality of obstructors arranged on the outer surface of the ball cover. The obstructors function to impede the rolling motion of the ball.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ball according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the ball of FIG. 1, the other side plan views of the ball being symmetrical.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a ball cover according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a ball cover according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating general principles of embodiments of the invention. The scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the ball 10 of the present invention has a body 100 that can be made of any known material, including but not limited to, plastic, leather, artificial materials, foam, rubber, bamboo, and other natural meterials. The ball 10 is generally spherical, although it can assume other shapes (e.g., oval like a football) as well. The ball 10 can also have any desired size, for use with any desired application.

The body 100 has a plurality of obstructors 15 provided on its spherical surface 20. The obstructors 15 function to impede the rolling motion of the ball 10, so that the ball 10 cannot roll very far after it has been kicked or thrown. The obstructors 15 can be made from any of the materials as the body 100, and can be provided in one piece with the body 100 so that they can be inflated together with the body 100. Alternatively, the obstructors 15 can be solid elements (e.g., made of plastic) that are fixedly or removably (e.g., by VELCROâ„¢ pads 35) attached to the surface 20 of the body 100.

The obstructors 15 are illustrated as having a frusto-conical configuration, having a generally conical body that terminates at a flat top end 25. The base 30 of the obstructors 15 has a greater diameter than the flat top end 25. The height H of each obstructor 15 can be any value, but in one embodiment, the height H is at least five percent of the diameter D of the body 100, and is preferably more than ten percent of the diameter D of the body 100.

The number, size, shape and arrangement of the obstructors 15 can be varied depending on the desired results. As a general rule, the number, size, shape and arrangement of the obstructors 15 all relate to how much impediment is imparted on a rolling ball. For example, a symmetrical or consistent pattern of a greater number of obstructors 15 impart lesser obstruction to the rolling motion of the ball 10 than an inconsistent or random pattern of a fewer number of the obstructors 15. As another example, a random pattern of obstructors 15 (e.g., more obstructors 15 on one side of the ball 10) will create more impediment than a consistent pattern of obstructors 15. As further examples, a fewer number of obstructors 15 with a greater height H, or providing the obstructors 15 with different heights H, will all create greater impediment.

In FIGS. 1 and 2, the ball 10 has six obstructors 15 arranged in a manner where two obstructors 15 are directly facing (i.e., opposite) each other, as best shown in FIG. 2. For example, FIG. 2 illustrates five of the six obstructors 15, with one other obstructor (not shown) facing into the page on the other side of the ball 10, and being opposite to the obstructor 15 shown in the spherical center of the ball 10 (and facing out of the page).

Although the obstructors 15 are shown as having the same shape and sizes, the obstructors 15 can be provided with different shapes and sizes, depending on the desired use and results. For example, FIG. 3 illustrates obstructors 60 having different shapes (e.g., circular, triangular, conical, etc.) and different sizes.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cover 50 that can be used with a conventional inflatable ball 55. The cover 50 has a size and shape that conforms to the size and shape of the ball 55. The cover 50 can be made of any flexible material (e.g., fabrics, PVC, plastics, etc.), and can have a plurality of obstructors 60 attached (e.g., by glue, fusing, stitching, etc.) to the outer surface 65 thereof. The obstructors 60 can be same in construction as the obstructors 15. As shown in FIG. 4, the obstructors 60 can have different shapes (e.g., circular, triangular, conical, etc.) and different sizes. An opening 70 is provided in the cover 50 which provides access to the interior space of the cover 50.

In use, a conventional inflatable ball 55 can be inserted through the opening 70 into the interior of the cover 50 while the ball 55 is in its deflated form. The ball 55 can then be inflated via its valve 75 until the ball 55 is fully inflated, and fits snugly, inside the cover 50. When the ball 55 is fully inflated, the combined ball 55 and cover 50 will form a unitary object which is in essence the same as the ball 10. Thus, the combined ball 55 and cover 50 can be rolled or kicked as a unitary object, with the obstructors 60 functioning to impede the rolling motion of the ball 55.

FIG. 4 illustrates another cover 50a that is similar to the cover 50 of FIG. 3, except that the cover 50a is made of a netting or meshed material. The cover 50a is used with a conventional ball 55 in the same manner as described above in FIG. 3, and has obstructors 60a that are attached to the surface of the netting material. An opening 70a is also provided in the cover 50a through which the ball 55 can be inserted. Thus, the combined ball 55 and cover 50a can be rolled or kicked as a unitary object, with the obstructors 60a functioning to impede the rolling motion of the ball 55.

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The accompanying claims are intended to cover such modifications as would fall within the true scope and spirit of the present invention.





 
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