Title:
Bowling Game Machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a bowling game system that prevents a ball from falling into one of gutters with no players noticing. A bowling game system 1 is provided with a bowling ball b in which a plurality of permanent magnets are embedded with their faces along the surface of the ball b being same in polarity, an approach 2 where a player rolls the ball b down, a lane 3 on which the ball b players bowl rolls, a plurality of bowling pins 5 arranged and placed on the end of the lane 3 opposite to the approach 2, trough-like gutters 4 provided longitudinally on the both sides of the lane 3 to receive the ball b slipping off the lane 3, a plurality of electromagnets 21 embedded widthwise on the edges of the lane 3 and provided paralleling the lane 3, and a power source 22 for supplying the electromagnets 21 with electric power to magnetize them. The electromagnets 21 repel the permanent magnets in the ball b to prevent the ball b from falling into the gutters 4.



Inventors:
Ochi, Yasushi (Osaka, JP)
Application Number:
11/577501
Publication Date:
04/10/2008
Filing Date:
10/12/2005
Assignee:
BLD ORIENTAL, LTD. (Izumisano-shi, Osaka, JP)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/55
International Classes:
A63D5/00; A63D1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTERMAN, HATTORI, DANIELS & ADRIAN, LLP (8500 Leesburg Pike SUITE 7500, Tysons, VA, 22182, US)
Claims:
1. A bowling game system furnished with a ball a player bowls, an approach as an area where the player bowls the ball, a lane extending from the approach and on which the bowling ball bowled by the player rolls, a plurality of bowling pins arranged and placed on an end of the lane opposite the approach, trough-like gutters provided paralleling both sides of the lane to receive bowling balls slipping off the lane; the bowling game system characterized in being further provided with: a plurality of first permanent magnets embedded in said ball in such a way that their polarity along the surface of said ball is the same; and a travel direction-changing mechanism for exerting magnetic force on said first permanent magnets in said ball when rolling down the lane so as to attract or repel said first permanent magnets to prevent said ball from falling into the gutters.

2. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that said travel direction-changing mechanism is configured with a plurality of second permanent magnets embedded longitudinally in the midportion of the lane, with their polarity along the surface of the lane being opposite to the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball.

3. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that said travel direction-changing mechanism comprises a plurality of second permanent magnets disposed either longitudinally on both outer sides of the lane, or embedded longitudinally along both edges of the lane, with the polarity of said second permanent magnets opposing said ball being the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball.

4. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that said travel direction changing mechanism comprises: a plurality of second permanent magnets disposed facing each other on the outer sides of the lane, with the polarity of said second permanent magnets along the lane being the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; and a driving means for supporting each of said second permanent magnets and shifting them longitudinally along the lane; and therein characterized in being further provided with: a speed detecting means, more toward the approach-area end than the limit to which said second permanent magnets can be shifted, for detecting the traveling speed of said ball; and a control means for controlling said drive driving mechanism to shift said second permanent magnets, keeping pace with said ball, from along the approach area toward the bowling pins at a speed corresponding to the ball speed detected by said speed detecting means.

5. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that said travel direction-changing mechanism is comprises: a plurality of electromagnets embedded longitudinally in the midportion of the lane, with their polarity along the surface of the lane being opposite to the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; and an electric-power supplying means for supplying power to said electromagnets so as to magnetize them.

6. The bowling game system of claim 5, characterized in being further provided with: position detecting means for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise, in position-detecting locations defined respectively corresponding to, and nearer to the approach end than, said electromagnets; and a control means for checking, based on ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, whether or not said ball is positioned within preestablished lane-bordering regions, and when said ball is determined to be so positioned, for controlling said power supplying means so as to supply power to the electromagnets corresponding to the position-detecting locations to magnetize them for a fixed duration.

7. The bowling game system of claim 5, characterized in being further provided with: detecting means, more toward the approach-area end of the lane than that of said electromagnets nearest the approach area, for detecting position of said ball in the lane widthwise, and moving speed and travel direction of said ball; and a control means for predicting, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, travel path of said ball, and based on the predicted travel path, to check whether said ball will travel within preestablished lane-bordering regions and decide upon any of said electromagnets to be magnetized, and controlling said power supplying means so as supply power to the decided-upon electromagnets to magnetize them for a fixed duration timed, based on the ball speed detected by said detecting means, to when said ball passes through the region where the magnetic force of those electromagnets acts.

8. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that said travel direction-changing mechanism comprises: a plurality of electromagnets disposed either longitudinally on both outer sides of the lane, or embedded longitudinally along both edges of the lane, with the polarity of said second permanent magnets opposing said ball being the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; and an electric power supplying means for supplying power to said electromagnets so as to magnetize them.

9. The bowling game system of claim 8, characterized in being further provided with: position detecting means for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise, in position-detecting locations defined respectively corresponding to, and nearer to the approach end than, said electromagnets; and a control means for checking, based on ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, whether or not said ball is positioned within preestablished lane-bordering regions along where said electromagnets are disposed, and when said ball is determined to be so positioned, for controlling said power supplying means so as to supply power to the electromagnets to magnetize them for a fixed duration.

10. The bowling game system of claim 8, characterized in being further provided with: detecting means, more toward the approach-area end of the lane than that of said electromagnets nearest the approach area, for detecting position of said ball in the lane widthwise, and moving speed and travel direction of said ball; and a control means for predicting, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, travel path of said ball, and based on the predicted travel path, to check whether said ball will travel within preestablished lane-bordering regions and decide upon any of said electromagnets to be magnetized, and controlling said power supplying means so as supply power to the decided-upon electromagnets to magnetize them for a fixed duration timed, based on the ball speed detected by said detecting means, to when said ball passes through the region where the magnetic force of those electromagnets acts.

11. The bowling game system of claim 8, characterized in being further provided with: position detecting means for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise, in position-detecting locations defined respectively corresponding to, and nearer to the approach end than, said electromagnets; and a control means for controlling said electric power supplying means so as to guide said ball toward a predetermined part of the bowling pins, by adjusting, in accordance with ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, power supplied to said electromagnets corresponding to the position-detecting locations, to vary the magnetic force of said electromagnets.

12. The bowling game system of claim 8, characterized in being further provided with: detecting means, more toward the approach-area end of the lane than that of said electromagnets nearest the approach area, for detecting position of said ball in the lane widthwise, and moving speed and travel direction of said ball; and a control means for predicting, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, ball travel path, and based on the predicted travel path, deciding upon which said electromagnets to magnetize, and with what magnetic force, so that the actual travel path will be a path leading to a predetermined part of the pins, and controlling said power supplying means so as to supply the decided-upon electromagnets with power corresponding to the decided-upon magnetic force and timed, based on the ball speed detected by said detecting means, to when said ball passes into the area where the magnetic force of the decided-upon electromagnets acts on the ball.

13. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that said direction-changing mechanism is configured with: two electromagnets provided facing each other on either outer side of the lane, with their polarity along the lane being the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball, an electric power-supplying means for supplying power to said electromagnets so as to magnetize them, and a drive means for supporting said electromagnets and shifting each along the lane lengthwise; therein characterized in being further provided with: a speed detecting means, more toward the approach-area end than the limit to which said second electromagnets can be shifted, for detecting the traveling speed of said ball; and a control means for controlling said drive means to shift said electromagnets, keeping pace with said ball, from along the approach area toward the bowling pins at a speed corresponding to the ball speed detected by said speed detecting means, and so that the ball is positioned ahead of said discharging means in its discharging direction, and meanwhile for controlling said power supplying means so as to supply said electromagnets with electric power to magnetize them either continuously or intermittently while said electromagnets are shifting.

14. The bowling game system of claim 13, further provided with: position detecting means for detecting the widthwise position of a ball on the lane, in a plurality of position-detecting locations defined along the lane lengthwise; therein characterized in that: said control means is configured to check, based on ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, whether or not said ball is positioned within preestablished border regions on either side of the lane, and when a ball is determined to be so positioned, to control said power supplying means to supply power to at least that electromagnet along the lane-bordering region where said ball is located, so that the electromagnet is magnetized for a fixed duration.

15. The bowling game system of claim 13, further provided with: detecting means, more toward the approach-area end than the limit to which said electromagnets can be shifted, for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise and ball travel direction; therein characterized in that said control means is configured to predict, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, ball travel path, and based on the predicted travel path, to check whether said ball will travel within preestablished lane-bordering regions, to decide upon which said electromagnets to magnetize and to decide upon the interval, in the direction in which the electromagnets travel, along which to magnetize the decided-upon electromagnets, and to control said power supplying means to supply power to, so as to magnetize, the decided-upon electromagnets while passing through the decided-upon interval.

16. The bowling game system of claim 13, further provided with: position detecting means for detecting the widthwise position of a ball on the lane, in a plurality of position-detecting locations defined along the lane lengthwise; therein characterized in that: said control means is configured to control said electric power supplying means so as to guide said ball toward a predetermined part of the bowling pins, by adjusting, in accordance with ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, power supplied to said electromagnets, to vary the magnetic force of said electromagnets.

17. The bowling game system of claim 13, further provided with: detecting means, more toward the approach-area end than the limit to which said electromagnets can be shifted, for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise and ball travel direction; therein characterized in that said control means is configured to predict, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, ball travel path, and based on the predicted travel path, to decide upon which said electromagnets to magnetize, and with what magnetic force, and to decide upon the interval, in the direction in which the electromagnets travel, along which to magnetize the decided-upon electromagnets so that the actual travel path will be a path leading to a predetermined part of the pins, and to control said power supplying means to supply to the decided-upon electromagnets power corresponding to the decided-upon magnetic force, while the decided-upon electromagnets pass through the decided-upon interval.

18. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that: said travel direction-changing mechanism is composed of direction-changing means provided with a plurality of groups of magnetic force-exerting units, each group comprising a first electromagnet and a second electromagnet, the groups being either embedded in said lane running along its longitudinal orientation, or arranged outside the lane running along its longitudinal orientation, and an electric-power supplying means for supply each said electromagnet of said direction-changing means with electric power so as to magnetize said electromagnets; and said first electromagnets of said direction-changing means are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the opposite of the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball, and said second electromagnets are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; therein characterized in being further provided with: position detecting means for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise, in position-detecting locations defined respectively corresponding to, and nearer to the approach end than, said magnetic force-exerting units; and a control means for checking, based on ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, whether or not said ball is positioned within preestablished border regions on either side of the lane, and when a ball is determined to be so positioned, for controlling said power supplying means so as to supply, in response to said ball being located in a lane border region, power to either said first electromagnets or said second electromagnets of said magnetic force-exerting units corresponding to the position-detecting locations to magnetize them for a fixed duration.

19. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that: said travel direction-changing mechanism is composed of direction-changing means provided with a plurality of groups of magnetic force-exerting units, each group comprising a first electromagnet and a second electromagnet, the groups being either embedded in said lane running along its longitudinal orientation, or arranged outside the lane running along its longitudinal orientation, and an electric-power supplying means for supply each said electromagnet of said direction-changing means with electric power so as to magnetize said electromagnets; and said first electromagnets of said direction-changing means are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the opposite of the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball, and said second electromagnets are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; therein characterized in being further provided with: detecting means, more toward the approach-area end of the lane than that of said magnetic force-exerting units nearest the approach area, for detecting position of said ball in the lane widthwise, and moving speed and travel direction of said ball; and a control means for predicting, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, travel path of said ball, and based on the predicted travel path, to check whether said ball will travel within preestablished lane-bordering regions and decide upon any of said electromagnets to be magnetized, and controlling said power supplying means so as supply power to the decided-upon electromagnets to magnetize them for a fixed duration timed, based on the ball speed detected by said detecting means, to when said ball passes through the region where the magnetic force of those electromagnets acts.

20. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that: said travel direction-changing mechanism is composed of direction-changing means provided with a plurality of groups of magnetic force-exerting units, each group comprising a first electromagnet and a second electromagnet, the groups being either embedded in said lane running along its longitudinal orientation, or arranged outside the lane running along its longitudinal orientation, and an electric-power supplying means for supply each said electromagnet of said direction-changing means with electric power so as to magnetize said electromagnets; and said first electromagnets of said direction-changing means are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the opposite of the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball, and said second electromagnets are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; therein characterized in being further provided with: position detecting means for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise, in position-detecting locations defined respectively corresponding to, and nearer to the approach end than, said magnetic force-exerting units; and a control means for controlling said electric power supplying means so as to guide said ball toward a predetermined part of the bowling pins, by adjusting, in accordance with ball position in the position-detecting locations successively detected by said position detecting means, power supplied to said electromagnets of the magnetic force-exerting units corresponding to the position-detecting locations, to vary the magnetic force of said electromagnets.

21. The bowling game system of claim 1, characterized in that: said travel direction-changing mechanism is composed of direction-changing means provided with a plurality of groups of magnetic force-exerting units, each group comprising a first electromagnet and a second electromagnet, the groups being either embedded in said lane running along its longitudinal orientation, or arranged outside the lane running along its longitudinal orientation, and an electric-power supplying means for supply each said electromagnet of said direction-changing means with electric power so as to magnetize said electromagnets; and said first electromagnets of said direction-changing means are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the opposite of the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball, and said second electromagnets are configured so that their polarity where they oppose said ball is the same as the polarity of said first permanent magnets along the surface of said ball; therein characterized in being further provided with: position detecting means for detecting ball position in the lane widthwise, in position-detecting locations defined respectively corresponding to, and nearer to the approach end than, said magnetic force-exerting units; and a control means for predicting, based on the ball position and ball travel direction detected by said detecting means, ball travel path, and based on the predicted travel path, deciding upon which said electromagnets to magnetize, and with what magnetic force, so that the actual travel path will be a path leading to a predetermined part of the pins, and controlling said power supplying means so as to supply the decided-upon electromagnets with power corresponding to the decided-upon magnetic force and timed, based on the ball speed detected by said detecting means, to when said ball passes into the area where the magnetic force of the decided-upon electromagnets acts on the ball.

22. The bowling game system of claim 5, characterized in being further provided with a control means for determining, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a player's skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and for subsequently monitoring the progress of the game to supply power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

23. The bowling game system of claim 6 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

24. The bowling game system of claim 8, characterized in being further provided with a control means for determining, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a player's skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and for subsequently monitoring the progress of the game to supply power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

25. The bowling game system of claim 7 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

26. The bowling game system of claim 9 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

27. The bowling game system of claim 10 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

28. The bowling game system of claim 11 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

29. The bowling game system of claim 12 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

30. The bowling game system of claim 13 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

31. The bowling game system of claim 14 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

32. The bowling game system of claim 15 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

33. The bowling game system of claim 16 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

34. The bowling game system of claim 17 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

35. The bowling game system of claim 18 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

36. The bowling game system of claim 19 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

37. The bowling game system of claim 20 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

38. The bowling game system of claim 21 characterized in that said control means is configured to determine, based on handicaps defined in accordance with a players' skill, in which frames during a game said power supplying means is to be activated, and to then monitor the progress of the game to supply electric power from said power supplying means to said electromagnets when the game has reached an applicable frame.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a bowling game system in which for enjoyment a ball is rolled down a lane at the head of which a group of pins is arranged into place, and the pins are knocked down by the rolling ball.

BACKGROUND ART

Such bowling game systems are configured with: an approach where players roll a ball; a lane extending from the approach and on which the ball rolls; a group of pins placed on the end of the lane opposite the approach; trough-like gutters lying on either side of the lane and receiving balls slipping off the lane. Players enjoy the game by competing with each other for a higher score that depends on the number of pins they knock down.

Of course, how many pins players are able to knock down depends on the direction of in which the ball is rolled-that is, players' scores are determined by which part of the arranged pins their balls strike, and on the players' skill at controlling the ball.

Being not yet fully developed physically, children are not able to control very well the direction in which the ball rolls, and consequently cannot hope for a high score, or as is likely to happen, they are able to knock down only a few pins because the ball always falls into the gutter. In such cases, children lose interest in the bowling game, and are left unable to enjoy household bowling outings with the object of interacting as a family.

In light of such considerations, various gutter-ball prevention systemes for preventing a bowled ball from falling into the gutter have been proposed to date. One of such system is configured so that bars, which are placed along the both sides of the lane, simultaneously shift horizontally between a blocking position near the edge of the lane, where the bars prevent the ball from falling into the gutter, and a retract position near the edge of the gutters, where the bars shift from the blocking position. (Reference is made to Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. Nos. H7-155424, H9-84923 and H11-164931.)

In accordance with this gutter prevention system, the bars shift into the blocking position when players, such as young children, unable to control a ball well bowl, and shift into the retract position when physically more developed adolescent players bowl.

Therefore, even if a ball rolled by juvenile players unable to control the direction of the rolling ball well rolls toward a gutter, the bars shift into the blocking position to prevent the ball from falling into the gutters and retain it on the lane, such that the ball runs into the pins and knocks down some of them as a result. In other words, even children are able to always knock down some of the pins and score.

The bars are shifted into the retract position when non-child players bowl, so that any gutter balls they bowl will fall directly into a gutter without being blocked.

The fact that this gutter prevention system allows children to always knock down some of the pins and score encourages them to maintain interest in the game. Moreover, children are able to bowl along with adolescent and older players in the same lane, so that they are able to enjoy a household bowling outing to interact with as a family.

Additionally, the following systems have been also proposed: a system configured so that bars simultaneously shift vertically between a blocking position and a retract position lower than the blocking position (reference is made to Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. Nos. H10-151235 and 2002-65933), and a system configured so that the gutters rotate toward the lane about axes paralleling the lane lengthwise (reference is made to Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. H10-506031). Both of these play the same role as that of the system explained in the foregoing.

Patent Document 1: Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. H7-155424.

Patent Document 2: Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. H9-84923.

Patent Document 2: Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. H11-164931.

Patent Document 2: Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. H10-151235.

Patent Document 2: Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. 2002-65933.

Patent Document 2: Japanese Unexamined Pat. App. Pub. No. H10-506031.

Conventional gutter-ball prevention devices, however, are less than adequate to maintain children's interest in a bowling game to allow them to enjoy household bowling outings, because children can see a ball they have bowled being prevented from slipping into one of the gutters by the bar members, so that they recognize they were able to knock down pins owing to the gutter-ball prevention devices, not their own ability.

An object of the present invention, brought about in consideration of the circumstances discussed above, is to make available a bowling game system that prevents without being noticed by the players, a bowled ball from slipping into one of the gutters.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The present invention for achieving the above-stated object involves a bowling ball players bowl, a bowling game system furnished with an approach where the players roll the ball, a lane extending from the approach and on which the ball bowled by the players rolls, a plurality of bowling pins arranged on the end of the lane opposite the approach, trough-like gutters lying on the both sides of the lane and receiving the ball slipping off the lane, and the bowling game system characterized in that a plurality of first permanent magnets are implanted in the ball with their faces being along the surface of the ball being same in polarity, and characterized in being further provided with a travel direction-changing mechanism for preventing the ball from falling into one of the gutters by the action of magnetic force on the first magnets in the ball rolling down the lane to produce force of magnetic attraction or repulsion.

In accordance with this bowling game system, when the players bowl the ball in which the plurality of first permanent magnets are implanted, magnetic force of the travel direction-changing mechanism acts on the first permanent magnets, which is attracted or repelled, so that the ball continues to roll down the lane toward the pins, while being prevented from falling into one of the gutters.

Additionally, because the magnetic force of the travel direction-changing mechanism is invisible, the players do not recognize that the magnetic force prevents the ball from falling into the gutters, so that the players are made to believe that they could roll the ball at the pins to knock them down, on their own.

In this way, a bowling game system involving the present invention enables even children not good at controlling the direction of rolling a ball to keep on scoring by assuredly knocking down some of the pins, and to give the children the impression that their bowling skills have gotten better, so that they can enjoy family bowling outings without losing interest in the game.

It is to be noted that the moving-way changing mechanism may be configured with a plurality of second permanent magnets embedded longitudinally in the center of the lane so that their faces along the lane surface are opposite in polarity to the first magnets faces along the ball surface, or be configured with a plurality of electromagnets provided in place of the second permanent magnets so that likewise the electromagnets faces along the lane surface are opposite in polarity to the first magnets' faces along the ball surface, and an electric power supplying means for feeding the electromagnets with electric power so as to magnetize them.

In such a configuration, the plurality of second permanent magnets or electromagnets embedded in the lane attract the first permanent magnets in the ball, whereby the ball is moved toward the center of the lane, so that the ball rolls toward the pins without falling into the gutters.

Furthermore, the bowling game system may have a configuration further provided with position detecting means for detecting the widthwise position of the ball on the lane in position detecting locations arranged so as to be in one-to-one corresponding with the electromagnets, and be nearer to the approach end than the corresponding electromagnets, and with a control means for controlling the power supplying means so as to feed the electromagnets with electric power to magnetize them for a fixed duration, depending on in which of position detecting locations the ball position has been detected, when the ball is determine to be in predetermined lane-bordering regions by confirming whether or not the ball is present in the regions, from position of the ball in the position-detecting locations, the position being detected by the position detecting means in turn.

In this configuration, whether or not the ball is in the lane-bordering regions (that is, whether or not the ball is rolling in the regions) is confirmed from the ball position in the position-detecting locations, the ball position being detected by the position detecting means in turn, and the electromagnets are magnetized when the ball is determined to be in the regions, so that the travel direction of the ball, for example, rolling on the center of the lane is efficaciously prevented from being inexpediently changed by magnetic force of the electromagnets.

Also feasible is a configuration in which the bowling game system is further provided with detecting means for detecting the widthwise position, moving speed and travel direction of the ball on the lane, in proximity to the approach end, apart from a closest one to the approach end among the electromagnet, and with a control means for controlling the gas supplying means so as to time, based on the ball speed detected by the detecting means, electric power feeding to when the ball passes through where magnetic force of the electromagnets act on the ball to feed the electromagnets with electric power so that they are magnetized for a fixed duration, depending on determination as to which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, by predicting based on the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means, the moving path of the ball to confirming based on the predicted moving path, whether or not the ball will move into the predetermined lane-bordering regions.

In this configuration, the widthwise position, moving speed, and travel direction of a ball rolling down the lane are detected by the detecting means, and the power supplying means is controlled by the control means, based on the detected ball position, travel direction and moving speed. It will be appreciated that performing ball position detection in two locations, for example, allows the ball travel direction to be detected based on the detected ball positions and the distance between the two locations.

That is, the moving path of the ball is predicted based on the detected ball position and travel direction, and whether or not the ball will be move into the lane-bordering regions is confirmed from the predicted moving path to determine which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized, timed to the ball passing, based on the detected ball speed.

For example, given that the ball is confirmed from the predicted moving path to move into (enters) the lane-bordering regions in proximity to one of the electromagnets, disposed third from the approach end, the third one is magnetized, and as needed the second and fourth ones are also magnetized, whereby the ball is prevented from moving into (entering) the lane-bordering regions. Therefore, also in this way, as described in the foregoing, the electric power of the electromagnets is exerted on the first magnets in the ball only when needed.

In addition, the travel direction-changing mechanism may be configured with a plurality of second permanent magnets disposed longitudinally on the outer sides of, or embedded longitudinally in, the edges of the lane so that the second permanent magnets' faces opposed to the ball (that is, the faces along the lane or its surface) are same in polarity with the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, or be configured with a plurality of electromagnets provided in place of the second magnets so that likewise the electromagnets' faces opposed to the ball (that is, the faces along the lane or its surface) are same in polarity with the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, and an electric power supplying means for feeding the electromagnets with electric power to magnetize them.

If such a configuration is taken, the second permanent magnets or electromagnets disposed on the outer sides of, or in the edges of the lane respectively repel the first permanent magnets in the ball to move the ball toward the center of the lane, resulting in that the ball is prevented from falling into the gutters. It is to be noted that, for example, advantageously the second permanent magnets or electromagnets are disposed longitudinally in a configuration staggered on either side of the lane, or are disposed facing each other along the lane as pair, with a plurality of such pairs being arranged longitudinally.

The bowling game system may also have a configuration further provided with position detecting means for detecting the widthwise ball position on the lane, in position-detecting locations arranged so as to be in one-to-one correspondence with the electromagnets, and be nearer to the approach end then the corresponding electromagnets, and with a control means for controlling the power supplying means so as to feed the electromagnets with electric power to magnetize them for a fixed period of time, when the ball is determined to be in the predetermined lane-bordering regions along where electromagnets corresponding to position-detecting locations are disposed, by confirming whether or not the ball is present in the regions, from the ball position in the position-detecting locations, the ball position being detected by the position detecting means in turn.

If such a configuration is adopted, whether or not the ball is in the lane-bordering regions along where the electromagnets are disposed is confirmed from the ball position in the position-detecting locations, the ball position being detected by the position detecting means in turn, and the electromagnets are magnetized when the ball is determined to be in the regions, so that the ball is efficaciously prevented from being inexpediently moved toward the gutters by the magnetic force of the electromagnets.

Furthermore, a feasible is a configuration in which the control means controls the power supplying means so as to adjust, depending on in which of the position-detecting locations the ball position is detected by the position detecting means in turn, electric power fed to the electromagnets corresponding to the position-detecting locations to vary the magnetic force of the electromagnets so that the ball is guided toward a predetermines part of the pins.

In this configuration, depending on in which position-detecting locations the ball position is detected by the position detecting means in turn, electric power fed to the electromagnets corresponding to the position-detecting locations is adjusted to vary the magnetic force of the electromagnets, so that the ball rolling down the lane is guided toward the predetermined part of the pins with its widthwise position on the lane being controlled by the adjusted magnetic force of the electromagnets (that is, at the first attempt, the ball is guided toward the center of the pins, and at second attempt, the ball is guided toward the pins left upright after the first attempt).

For example, when a ball is rolling down a first edge of the lane, the ball is moved toward the center of the lane by raising electric power supplied to some of the electromagnets, disposed along the first edge, and the ball is continued to roll down the first edge of the lane by reducing the electric power of the some electromagnets disposed along the first edge to zero (that is, discharging electric power is stopped), or when the ball is rolling down the center of the lane, the ball is moved toward the first edge of the lane by raising electric power supplied to some of the electromagnets, opposite to the way in which the ball is moved to create more magnetic force of these electromagnets, and the ball is continued to roll down the center of the lane by reducing electric power supplied to the electromagnets to zero.

Guiding a ball in such a way enables children to always knock down many of the pins, and to sometimes get a spare or a strike. Moreover, even if they bowl with non-child players on the same lane, children are able to get a high score that favorably compares with the non-child players, so that they are able to enjoy family bowling outings competing with each other as players at the same level without losing interest in the game.

Moreover, the bowling game system may have a configuration further provided with detecting means for detecting the widthwise position, moving speed and travel direction of the ball on the lane, in proximity to the approach, apart from that of a closest one to the approach end among the electromagnets, and with a control means for controlling the power supplying means so as to time, based on the ball speed detected by the detecting means electric power feeding to when the ball passes through the magnetic force of the electromagnets acts on the ball to feed electric power to the electromagnet so that they are magnetized for a fixed duration, depending on determination as to which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, the determination being made by predicting, from the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means, the moving path of the ball to confirm, from the predicted moving path, whether or not the ball will move into one of the predetermined lane-bordering regions.

If such a configuration is taken, the widthwise position, moving speed and travel direction of the ball rolling down the lane are detected by the detecting means, and the power supplying means is controlled by the control means-that is to say, the moving path of the ball is predicted from the detected ball position and travel direction, and whether or not the ball will move into the lane-bordering regions is confirmed from the predicted moving path to determine which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized, timed to the ball passing, based on the detected ball speed. Therefore, as described in the foregoing, magnetization is carried out only when needed.

Additionally, the control means may be configured so as to control the power supplying means to time, based on the ball speed detected by the detecting means, electric power feeding to when the ball passes through where the magnetic force of the electromagnets acts on the ball so that the electric power by which the magnetic force required is obtained is fed to the electromagnets, depending on determination as to which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized and how much magnetic force is required for it in order to alter the actual moving path so as to lead to a predetermined part of the pins, the determination being made by predicting, from the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means, a moving path of the ball so as to be based on the predicted moving path.

In this configuration, the moving path of the ball is predicted from the detected ball position and travel direction, and it is determined based on the predicted moving path, which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized and how much magnetic force is required for it in order to alter the actual moving path so as to lead to the predetermined part of the pins, before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized, timed to when the ball passing where the determined magnetic force acts on the first permanent magnets in the ball, based on the detected ball speed, so that the same effect as described in the forgoing is achieved in this way.

Moreover, the travel direction-changing mechanism may be configured with two second permanent magnets disposed facing each other on the outer sides of the lane with the second permanent magnets' faces along the lane being same in polarity with the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, and drive means for shifting the second permanent magnets along the lane, while supporting them, and the bowling game system may have a configuration further provided with speed detecting means for detecting the moving speed of the ball, in proximity to the approach end, apart from fields in which the second permanent magnets are able to slide, and with a control means for controlling the drive means to shift the second permanent magnets so as to keep pace with the ball from the vicinity of the approach end toward the pins at a speed corresponding to the ball speed detected by the speed detecting means.

In these configurations, when players rolls the ball down the lane and the ball runs on the lane toward the pins, the moving speed of the ball is detected by the speed detecting means and the drive means are controlled by the control means, so that the permanent magnets are slid from the vicinity of the approach end toward the pins so as to keep pace with the ball at a speed corresponding to the detected ball moving speed.

In this way, the magnetic force (force of magnetic repulsion) of the second permanent magnets is always exerted on the first permanent magnets in the ball to guide the ball toward the center of the lane, so that the ball is more securely prevented from falling into the gutters.

It is to be noted that the travel direction-changing mechanism may be configured with two electromagnets provided in place of the two second permanent magnets, with the electromagnets' faces along the lane being same in polarity with the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, an electric power supplying means for feeding the electromagnets with electric power so as to magnetize them, and drive means for shifting the electromagnets along the lane, while supporting them, and the control means is configured so as to control the drive means to shift the electromagnets from the vicinity of the approach end toward the pins so that the electromagnets keep pace with the ball at a speed corresponding to the ball speed detected by the speed detecting means, and meanwhile is configured so as to control the power supplying means so as to feed the two electromagnets with electric power to magnetize them.

In these configurations, under control of the control means, electric power is fed from the power supplying means to the electromagnets to magnetize the electromagnets continuously or intermittently so as to repel the first permanent magnets, while the electromagnets are shifting. Therefore the ball on the lane is prevented from falling into the gutters. It is to be noted that continuous magnetization is more preferable because it prevents the ball from falling into one of the gutters more securely compared with continue one.

Furthermore, the bowling game system may be further provided with position detecting means for detecting the widthwise position of the ball on the lane, in a plurality of position-detecting locations arranged paralleling the lane, and the control means may be configured so as to control the power supplying means to feed at least either of the electromagnets so that it is magnetized for a fixed duration, depending on along which of the predetermined lane-bordering regions the ball position is detected, when the ball is determined to be in the predetermined lane-bordering regions by confirming whether or not the ball is present in the regions, from the ball position in the position-detecting locations, the ball position being detected by the position detecting means in turn.

In this case, at least either of the electromagnet is magnetized depending on in which of the lane-bordering regions the ball position is detected, when the ball is determined to be in the lane-bordering regions by confirming whether or not the ball is present in the regions, from the ball position in the position-detecting locations, the ball position being detected by the position detecting means in turn, so that, as explained in the foregoing, the ball rolling down the center of the lane is efficiently prevented from being guided inexpediently toward the gutters by the magnetic force of the electromagnets.

Besides, the control means may be configured so as to adjust, depending on the ball position in the position-detecting locations, detected by the position detecting means in turn, the electric power fed to the electromagnets to vary their magnetic force so that the ball is guided toward a predetermined part of the pins.

In such a configuration, depending on the ball position in the position-detecting locations, detected by the position detecting means in turn, the electric power fed to the electromagnets is adjusted to vary the magnetic force of the electromagnets, so that the ball rolling down the lane continues to roll, while guided toward the predetermined part of the pins by the adjusted magnetic force.

For example, when the ball is rolling down a first edge of the lane, the ball is moved toward the center of the lane by feeding more electric power to one of the electromagnet, being along the first edge to create more magnetic force and simultaneously by reducing electric power fed one of electromagnet, being along a second edge to zero (that is, feeding electric power is stopped) to cease magnetic force generation, and the ball is continued to roll down the first edge of the lane by reducing electric power fed to the electromagnets to zero to cease magnetic force generation, or when the ball is rolling down the center of the lane, the ball is moved toward the first edge of the lane by feeding more electric power to one of electromagnets, being along the second edge opposite to the way in which the ball is moved to create more magnetic force and simultaneously by reducing electric power fed to one of electromagnet, being along the first edge to zero to cease magnetic force generation, and the ball is continued to roll down the center of the lane by reducing electric poser fed to the electromagnets to zero to cease magnetic force generation. Therefore, also in this way, the same effect as described in the foregoing is obtained.

Additionally, the bowling game system may be further provided with detecting means for detecting the widthwise position and travel direction of the ball on the lane, in proximity to the approach end, apart from fields in which the electromagnets are able to slide, and the control means may be configured so as to control the power supplying means to feed the electromagnets with electric power so that they are magnetized while the electromagnets are shifting, depending on determination as to across how long an interval with respect to the orientation in which the electromagnets shift magnetization is to be carried out and which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, the determination being made by predicting from the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means, the moving path of the ball to confirm from the predicted moving path whether or not the ball will move into the predetermined lane-bordering regions.

In this case, the widthwise position, moving speed and travel direction of the ball rolling down the lane are detected by the detecting means, and the power supplying means is controlled by the control means to adjust the electric power fed to the electromagnets.

That is, the moving path of the ball is predicted from the detected ball position and travel direction, and whether or not the ball will move into the lane-bordering regions is confirmed from the predicted moving path to determine across how long an interval magnetization is to be carried out and which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized (that is, along which of the edges either of the electromagnets is to be magnetized), before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized while it is shifting in the determined interval. This brings the same effect as described in the foregoing.

Furthermore, the control means may be configured so as to control the power supplying means to feed the electric power by which magnetic force required is obtained to the electromagnets, while the electromagnets are shifting in a predetermined interval, depending on determination as to across how long an interval with respect to the orientation in which the electromagnets shift magnetization is to be carried out, which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, and how much magnetic force is required for it in order to alter the actual moving path so as to read to the predetermined part of the pins, by predicting, from the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means, the moving path of the ball to be based on the predicted pathway.

If the control means is configured in this way, the moving path of the ball is predicted from the detected ball position and travel direction, and across how long an interval magnetization is to be carried out, which of the electromagnets is to magnetized and how much magnetic force is required for it in order to alter the actual moving path so as to lead to the predetermined part of the pins, before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized while it is shifting in the determined interval, and the required magnetic force acts on the first permanent magnets in the ball, so that the same effect as described in the forgoing is obtained.

Moreover, the travel direction-changing mechanism is configured with travel direction-changing means provided with a plurality of magnetic force-exerting portions comprising first and second electromagnets as a pair, and embedded longitudinally in the lane or disposed longitudinally outside the lane, and an electric power supplying means for feeding electromagnets of the travel direction-changing means with electric power, the first electromagnets of the travel direction-changing means are configured so that their faces opposed to the ball (faces along the lane surface or the lane) are opposite in polarity to the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, the second electromagnets are configured so that their faces opposed to the ball (faces along the lane surface or the lane) are same in polarity with the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, and the bowling game system may have a configuration further provided with position detecting means for detecting the widthwise ball position on the lane, in position-detecting locations arranged so as to be in one-to-one corresponding with the magnetic power-exerting portions, and be nearer to the approach end than the corresponding magnetic force-exerting portions, and a control means for controlling the power supplying means so as to feed electric power to either of the first and second electromagnets of the magnetic force-exerting portions corresponding to the position-detecting locations to magnetize it for a fixed duration, depending on in which of the lane-bordering regions the ball position is detected, when the ball is determined to be in the lane-bordering regions by confirming whether or not the ball is present in the regions, from the ball position in the position-detecting locations, the ball position being detected by the position detecting means in turn.

In these configurations, when the players rolls the ball down the lane and the ball runs on the lane, the ball position in the position-detecting locations is detected by the position detecting means in turn, and the gas supplying means is controlled by the control means, based on the ball position in the position-detecting locations, so that electric power is fed to either of the first and second electromagnets corresponding to the position-detecting locations.

Specifically, either of the first and second electromagnets of the magnetic force-exerting portions is magnetized to prevent the ball from falling into the gutters, depending on in which of the lane-bordering regions the ball position is detected, when the ball is determined to be in the lane-bordering regions by confirming from the detected ball position whether or not the ball is present in the regions.

For example, when the ball rolling down the lane is moved (drawn up) toward the magnetic force-exerting portions, the first electromagnets are fed with electric power to attract the first permanent magnets in the ball, and when the ball rolling down the lane is moved apart from (distanced from) the magnetic force-exerting portions, the second electromagnets are fed with electric power to repel the first permanent magnets in the ball.

Also feasible is a configuration in which the control means controls the power supplying means so as to adjusting, depending on in which of the position-detecting locations the ball position is detected by the position detecting means in turn, the electric power fed to the electromagnets of magnetic force-exerting portions corresponding to the position-detecting locations to vary the magnetic force of the electromagnet so that the ball is guided toward the predetermined part of the pins.

In such a configuration, the ball continues to roll, while guided toward the predetermined part of the pins by magnetic force varied by adjusting, depending on in which of the position-detecting locations the ball position is detected by the position detecting means in turn, electric power supplied to the first and second electromagnets of the magnetic force-exerting portions, so that the same effect explained in the foregoing is achieved.

Moreover, the travel direction-changing mechanism is configured with travel direction-changing means provided with a plurality of magnetic force-exerting portions comprising first and second electromagnets as a pair, and embedded longitudinally in the lane or disposed longitudinally outside the lane, and an electric power supplying means for feeding electromagnets of the travel direction-changing means with electric power, the first electromagnets of the travel direction-changing means are configured so that their faces opposed to the ball (faces along the lane surface or the lane) is opposite in polarity to the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, the second electromagnets are configures so that their faces opposed to the ball (faces along the lane surface or the lane) are same in polarity with the first permanent magnets' faces along the ball surface, and the bowling game system may have a configuration further provided with detecting means for detecting in proximity to the approach apart from that of electromagnet that is closest to the approach end, the widthwise, moving speed and travel direction of the ball on the lane, and with a control means for controlling the gas supplying means so as to time, based on the ball speed detected by the detecting means, electric power feeding to when the ball passes through where the magnetic force of the electromagnets acts on the ball to feed the electromagnets with electric power so that they are magnetized for a fixed duration, depending on determination as to which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, the determination being made by predicting, from the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means, the moving path of the ball to confirming from the predicted moving path whether or not the ball will move into the predetermined lane-bordering regions.

In these configurations, the widthwise position, moving speed and travel direction of the ball rolling down the lane are detected by the detecting means, and the gas supplying means is controlled by the control means-that is to say, the moving path of the ball is predicted from the detected ball position and travel direction, and whether of not the ball will move into the lane-bordering regions is confirmed from the predicted moving path to determine which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized, timed to the ball passing, based on the detected ball speed. Therefore, the same effect as described in the foregoing is obtained.

Furthermore, the control means may be configured so as to control the power supplying means to time, based on the ball speed detected by the detecting means, electric power feeding to when the ball passes through where the magnetic force of the electromagnets act on the ball so that the electric power by which magnetic force required is obtained is fed to the electromagnets, depending on determination as to which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, and how much magnetic force is required for it in order to alter the actual moving path so as to lead to the predetermined part of the pins, the determination being made by predicting a moving path of the ball from the ball position and travel direction detected by the detecting means so as to be based on the predicted pathway.

In such a configuration, a moving path of the ball is predicted from the widthwise position and travel direction of the ball on the lane, detected by the detecting means, and it is determined based on the predicted moving path which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized, and how much magnetic force is required for it in order to alter the actual moving path so as to lead to the predetermined part of the pins, before the determined one of the electromagnets is magnetized timed to the ball passing, based on the ball moving speed detected by the detecting means, and the determined magnetic force acts on the first permanent magnets in the ball, so that the same effect as explained in the foregoing is achieved.

In addition, for magnetizing the electromagnets, the control means is preferably provided and configured so that in which frames the power supplying means is activated during the game is determined based on the handicaps determined depending on players' skill, before the progress of the game is monitored to allow the power supplying means to feed the electromagnets with electric power when players bowl in the frames.

Always preventing the ball from falling into the gutters and always guiding the ball enable the players to get always a high score regardless of their skill. This may have the opposite effect to what is intended, resulting in their loss of interest in the game. Therefore, if in which frames the power supplying means is actuated are determined based on the handicaps that depend on players' skill and electric power is fed from the power supplying means to the electromagnets only in the determined frames, players' real abilities are handicapped to make them apparently equal in their skill, allowing them to enjoy a so-called fight with real swords during the game.

In a bowling game, the score rises depending on how many times players get a strike consecutively and how many pins they knock down on their first attempt subsequent to the frame in which they get a spare, as well as on the total number of pins they knock down in each frame. Therefore, even if the players get a strike or a spare owing to the operation of the assisting system in an assist frame, their scores do not always rise depending on the results (strike, spare or open frame) prior to and subsequent to the assist frame. That is, even if the ball is prevented from falling into the gutter and guided, players' score has variability, which keeps the bowling game enjoyable to prevent the players from losing interest in the game.

Problem Invention is to Solve

In accordance with the present invention provided with the configuration explained in the foregoing, magnetic force of the permanent magnets and electromagnets prevent a ball from falling into one of the gutters with giving players no recognition, so that players are able to enjoy household bowling game outings without losing interest in bowling games.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating an outlined configuration of a bowling game system involving a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the bowling game system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a plain view illustrating the bowling game system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an outlined configuration including control system of the bowling game system involving a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a front view illustrating an outlined configuration of a section through a ball involving the first embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a data table stored in an execution data storage involving the first embodiment of the present invention, the data table in which a correlation between handicap and a number of assist frames is determined.

FIG. 7 is a plain view illustrating a moving path of a ball rolling down a lane.

FIG. 8 is a plain view illustrating an outlined configuration of the bowling game system involving a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a plain view illustrating an outlined configuration of the bowling game system involving a third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a plain view illustrating an outlined configuration of the bowling game system involving a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a plain view illustrating an outlined configuration of the bowling game system involving a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a sectional side view illustrating the bowling game system of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a plain view illustrating an outlined configuration of the bowling game system involving a sixth embodiment of the present invention.

LEGEND

1: bowling game system; 2: approach; 3: lane; 4: gutters; 5: bowling pins; 20: guides; 21: electromagnets; 22: power source; 23: position detecting mechanism, 24: position detecting sensors; 40:controller ; 41: machine controller; 45: guide-executing processor; 46: player data storage; 47: execution data storage b: bowling ball; b1: permanent magnets

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

A specified embodiment of the present invention is explained hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings. FIG. 1 shows a perspective view, FIG. 2 shows a sectional side view and FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the configuration outline of a bowling game system involving in the embodiment. FIG. 4 shows a block diagram of the configuration outline including a control system of the bowling game system involving in the embodiment. And FIG. 5 is a front view illustrating an outlined configuration of a section through a ball involving the first embodiment.

As illustrated in FIG. 1 to FIG. 3, a bowling game system 1 of this embodiment comprises a bowling ball b that players roll, an approach 2 as an area where the players roll the bowling ball b down, a lane 3 extending form the approach 2 and on which the ball b rolls, ten bowling pins 5 arranged on the end of the lane 3 opposite the approach 2, trough-like gutters 4, 4 provided paralleling the both sides of the lane 3 and guides 20 for leading the ball b rolling down the lane 3 toward a predetermined part of the pins 5, the bowling game system 1 is configured with adjacently placed plural sets of them, and a plurality of permanent magnets b1 are radially embedded in the ball b with their faces same in polarity aligned along the surface of the ball b.

A separator 6, which is provided between adjacent the gutters 4, 4, separates play zones configured with the lane 3 and the gutters 4, 4. A partition wall 7, which is provided between the adjacent gutters 4, 4 near where the pins 5 are placed, also separates the play zones. A front-cover 8 is provided over the lane 3 between the walls 7, 7 and the pins 5 are placed on the lane 3 in the space partitioned by the front-cover 8 and the walls 7, 7.

In each area partitioned by the walls 7, 7 and the front-cover 8, a bowling pin distributor 10 and a bowling pin ejector 11 are provided, and the lane 3 extends to where a collecting/returning unit 9 is disposed to collect the ball b that comes rolling down the lane 3 or the gutter 4 and the pins 5 ejected from the lane 3 and to return them to the approach 2 and the pin distributor 10 respectively.

The pin distributor 10 is a device moving up and down to place the pins 5 upright on the lane 3, and the pin ejector 11 is a device for sending out the pins 5 left on the lane 3 or in the gutter 4 toward the collecting/returning unit 9. The pin distributor 10 and the pin ejector 11 are controlled by a controller 40 to operate in synchronization with each other.

Specifically, with the 10 pins 5 placed upright on the lane 3, players roll a ball on their first attempt and the ball reaches the collecting/returning unit 9, when the pin distributor 10 moves down to grasp the pins 5 left upright on the lane 3, and then moves up with the pins 5 grasped. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the pin distributor 10 is furnished with a pin sensor 30, which detects how many pins are grasped (the number of pins left upright) and what number pins are left upright (the locations of pins left upright).

Next, if the pin distributor 10 grasps some of the pins 5, the pin ejector 11 activates to eject all of pins 5 left knocked down on the lane 3 and in gutters 4 toward the collecting/returning unit 9, and then the pin distributor 10 moves down to place the grasping pins 5 on the lane 3, before the pin distributor moves up to complete the pin distribution after players' first attempt.

When players roll the ball b on their second attempt and it reaches the collecting/returning unit 9, the pin ejector 11 activates to eject all of pins 5 left on the lane 3 and in the gutters 4 toward the collecting/returning unit 9, subsequently the pin distributor 10 moves down to place the 10 pins 5 on the lane 3, before the pin distributor moves up to complete the pin distribution after players' second attempt (before their first attempt).

On the other hand, when the pin distribution after players' first attempt is carried out, if the pin distributor 10 grasps no pins 5—that is, if a strike is scored, the pin ejector 11 activates to eject pins 5 left knocked down on the lane 3 and found in the gutter 4 toward the collecting/returning unit 9, and then the pin distributor 10 moves down to place ten pins 5 on the lane 3, before the pin distributor 10 moves up to complete the pin distribution.

The guides 20 are configured with a plurality of electromagnets 21 embedded widthwise in edges of the lane 3, a power source 22 for feeding the plurality of electromagnets 21 with electric power, and whose activation is controlled by the controller 40 and a position detecting mechanism 23 for detecting in a plurality of locations along the lane 3 a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3. It is to be noted that the plurality of electromagnets 21 and the power source 22 function as a travel direction changing mechanism recited in scope of claim for patent.

The electromagnets 21, which arranged facing each other on the edges of the lane as a pair, with a plurality of the pairs being disposed paralleling the lane 3, are configured so that the magnet faces along the surface of the lane 3 are same in polarity with the permanent magnets b1 faces along the surface of the ball b—that is, the electromagnets are configured so as to repel the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b when fed with electric power to be magnetized. The pairs of the electromagnets 21 are called first electromagnets 21a, second electromagnets 21b, third electromagnets 21c, fourth electromagnets 21d and fifth electromagnets 21 e from a pair closest to the approach 2.

The position detecting mechanism 23 is provided with a plurality of position detecting sensors 24 embedded widthwise in the lane 3, and comprising a proximity switch as a set, with a plurality of such sets being disposed so as to be nearer to the approach 2 correspondingly than the pairs of the electromagnets 21. In addition, one of the sets of position detecting sensors 24 is disposed between that of set that corresponds to that of electromagnet 21 closest to the approach 2 and the approach 2.

The sets of the position sensors 24 are called a first sensor row 24a, a second sensor row 24b, a third sensor row 24c, a fourth sensor row 24d, a fifth sensor row 24e and a sixth sensor row 24f from a sensor row closest to the approach 2, and the second sensor row 24b, the third sensor row 24c, the fourth sensor row 24d, the fifth sensor row 24e and the sixth sensor row 24f correspond to the first nozzles 21a, the second nozzles 21b, the third nozzles 21c, the fourth nozzles 21d and the fifth nozzles 21e respectively.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the controller 40 is provided with a machine controller 41, a score calculator 42, a score storage 43, a score indicator 44, a guide-executing processor 45, a player data storage 46 and an execution data storage 47, and the machine controller 41 controls the activations of the bowling pins distributor 10, the bowling pin ejector 11, the collecting/returning unit 9 and the guides 20 (the power source 22).

The player data storage 46 is a functional part for storing players' data input from an external input unit 32, such as name, sex, age, handicap and personal data of and the bowling order of players who bowl on the given lane.

The score calculator 42 reads out players' data from the player data storage 46 to recognize their personal data and bowling order, receives control data from the machine controller 41 to recognize progress of the game, receives data on the pins 5 each player knock down to calculate individual scores, and stores data on the calculated scores and the players' data in the score storage 43.

The score indicator 44 reads out the players' individual scores and personal data stored in the score storage 43 to indicate them on a display unit 31 such as screen. The display unit 31 is installed in the location where players can see the indication from an area as waiting position for players near the approach 2 (for example, the location over the waiting position) so that players check the indication on the display unit 31 to know the progress of the game and their scores.

The guide-executing processor 45 recognizes players' handicaps stored in the player data storage 46 to determine, based on the recognized handicaps, in which frames the guides 20 (the power source 22) are activated during the game, and subsequently monitors the progress of the game to perform the processing in which the ball b is guided, when the players bowl in the determined frames.

Specifically, player's handicap and bowling order are recognized first, and then the recognized handicap is compared with a data table, in which correlation between the handicap and the number of guide frames is defined as illustrated in FIG. 6, stored in the execution data storage 47, to obtain the number of guide frames, and in which frames the ball b is guided for players is determined based on the obtained number.

The data table shown in FIG. 6 is entered through the input unit 32 to be stored in the execution data storage 47. The guide-executed frames in which guiding is performed may be determined, for example, by previously creating several patterns relating to combination of guide frames so that one is randomly selected from the patterns, or by using random numbers.

Subsequently, instructions to start a game are output to the machine controller 41 to permit players to start the game. After that, control data, which is received any time from the machine controller 41, is put together with the bowling order information stored in the player data storage 46 to monitor the progress of the game for players until the game is over.

In the guide-executed frames determined as described in the foregoing, guiding the ball b is carried out based on a detection signal sequentially received from the first sensor row 24a, the second sensor row 24b, the third sensor row 24c, the fourth sensor row 24d, the fifth sensor row 24e and the sixth sensor row 24f. It is to be noted that on players' first attempt, the ball b is guided toward the center of the pins 5, and on their second attempt, the ball b is guided toward the pins 5 left upright after their first attempt.

First, the process on players' first attempt will be explained. As a result of the rolling of the ball b, the detection signal is received from the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b, and then a widthwise position of the ball b rolling down the lane 3 is recognized, based on which of the position detecting sensors 24 included in the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b detects the ball b, to recognizes which of electromagnets 21 included in the first electromagnets 21 a is closer to the ball b. Additionally, the amount of ball position change is calculated from the ball positions detected by the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b to work out a travel direction of the ball b, based on the calculated amount of ball position change and a longitudinal distance on the lane 3 between the first and second sensor rows, and meanwhile a moving speed of the ball b is calculated from a difference of times when the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b perform the detections, and from a distance between the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b.

Then, on the basis of the recognized position and the calculated travel direction and speed, a control signal is sent to the machine controller 41 so that the magnetic force corresponding to such a recognition is exerted on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b by that of electromagnet 21 (the first electromagnets 21a) closest to the ball b, so that under the control of the machine controller 41, the closest electromagnet 21 is supplied with electric power adjusted as appropriate and magnetized.

It is to be noted that electric power is designed to be supplied after the ball b passes though where the first electromagnets 21 a is embedded along the lane 3, and when the ball b passes though the first electromagnets 21 a is embedded is calculated from the detected moving speed of the ball b.

Subsequently, as a result of the rolling of the ball b, a detection signal is received from the third sensor row 24c, and then a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3 is recognized based on the signal received from the third sensor row 24c to determine which of the electromagnets 21 included in the second electromagnets 21 b is closer to the ball b, as described in the foregoing. Additionally, a travel direction is worked out by the ball positions detected in the second and third sensor rows 24b, 24c, and a moving speed of the ball b is calculated from a difference of times when the second and third sensor rows 24b, 24c perform the detection.

As in the case of the first electromagnets 21, a control signal is sent, based on the recognized position, travel direction worked out and calculated moving speed, to the machine controller 41 so that electric poser corresponding to such recognitions is exerted on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b by that of electromagnet 21 (the second electromagnets 21b) closest to the ball b, and the closest electromagnet 21 is supplied with adjusted electric power from the power source 22 and be magnetized.

After that, likewise, whenever a detection signal is received from the sensor rows, a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3 is recognized, based on the signal from the fourth sensor row 24d (or the fifth and sixth sensor rows 24e, 24f) , a travel direction and speed of the ball b are calculated, and that of electromagnet 21 that is included in the third electromagnets 21c (or the fourth, fifth electromagnets 21d, 21e) and is closest to the ball b is supplied with electric power and be magnetized so that magnetic force corresponding to the widthwise position, travel direction and speed is exerted on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b by that electromagnet 21.

The electromagnets 21 are magnetized after the ball b passes through where the electromagnets are embedded along the lane 3 in this way, so that magnetic force that repels the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b is acts on the ball b from behind with respect to the travel direction of the ball b, whereby the ball b moves as illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 7, while being guided so as to resultantly roll toward the center of the lane 3 (that is, so as to strike the center of the pins 5) with widthwise position on the lane 3 being controlled. Moreover the moving speed of the ball b is raised.

It is to be noted that if a ball position detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f is in the center of the lane 3, magnetizing the electromagnets 21a, 21b, 21c, 21d and 21e is not required.

Next, the process on players' second attempt will be explained. The ball b is guided toward the pins 5 left upright by adjusting, based on a widthwise position, travel direction and moving speed of the ball b on the lane 3 as well as data on what number pins are left upright, electric power supplied from the power source to the electromagnets 21 to control magnetic force acting on the permanent magnets bl in the ball b.

For example, the ball b rolling down a first edge of the lane 3 is moved toward the center of the lane 3 under the control in which magnetic force of that of electromagnet 21 beside the first edge acts on the ball b, and the ball b rolling down the center of the lane 3 is moved toward one of the gutters 4 under the control in which magnetic force of that of electromagnet 21 beside another gutter 4, opposite to a way in which the ball b is moved, and in addition, the ball b is kept rolling with its position unchanged, under the control in which magnetic force of the electromagnets 21 do not the ball b.

It is to be noted that, as described in the foregoing, the position detecting mechanism 23 and the controller 40 function as the position detecting means recited in scope of claim for patent.

According to the bowling game system 1 of this embodiment configured as explained above, guide-executed frames in which the ball b is to be guided are determined for each player in the guide-executing processor 45, based on players' handicaps entered through the input unit 32 and stored in players' data storage 46, and after that, the players are permitted to start a bowling game.

Subsequently, the guide-executing processor 45 monitors the progress of the game for each player to distinguish whether or not a frame in which each player bowls is one of the guide executed frames, and then activates the guides 20 (the power source 22), magnetizes the electromagnets 21 so that magnetic force of the electromagnets 21 act on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b.

Therefore, even if the ball b bowled on the lane 3 rolls toward one of the gutters 4, the ball b is prevented from falling into one of the gutters 4 because the compressed gas discharged from the nozzles 21 changes the travel direction of the ball b is changed by magnetic force acting on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball, of the electromagnets 21, before it falling into one of the gutters 4, and meanwhile the ball b is guided so as to move toward the widthwise center of the lane 3 (so as to direct toward the center of the pins 5), striking the center of the pins 5, and guided so as to move toward pins 5 left upright after players' first attempt, striking the pins 5. Furthermore, the moving speed of the ball b is raised, so that collision energy generated when the ball b collides with pins 5 increases.

Additionally, because magnetic force exerted by electromagnets 21 on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b is invisible, players do not recognize that the ball b is guided by compressed gas, so that they are made to believe that they could control the ball b to roll it down at the pins 5 in their own, so that the pins 5 are knocked down.

In this way, according to the bowling game system 1 of the present invention, as well as guiding the ball b, magnetic force of the electromagnets 21 raises the moving speed of the ball b to increase the collision energy generated when the ball b collides with the pins 5, so that children unable to control the direction of rolling a ball or bowl at a high speed can always knock down many of the pins 5, and sometimes get strikes and spares. Therefore, the children are made to believe that they have made progress in bowling, and are allowed to get high score even if they bowl on the same lane with non-child players, so that the children are able to enjoy household bowling outings by competing with each other as players on the same level as non-child players without losing interest in games.

Furthermore, in which frames the guides 20 is activated is determined on the basis of handicaps determined depending on players' skill and the guides 20 are activated only in the determined frames, so that players' real ability is handicapped to make the players apparently equal in their skill, allowing them to enjoy a so-called fight with real swords during the game.

In a bowling game, the score rises depending on how many times players get a strike consecutively and how many pins they knock down on their first attempt subsequent to the frame in which they get a spare, as well as on the total number of pins they knock down in each frame. Therefore, even if the players get a strike or a spare owing to the guides 20 in the guide frames, their scores do not always rise depending on the results (strike, spare or open frame) prior to and subsequent to the guide frames. That is, even if the ball b is guided, players' score has variability, which keeps a bowling game enjoyable to prevent the players from losing interest in the game.

Moreover, varying magnetic force of the electromagnets 21 ,depending on a widthwise position, travel direction and speed of the ball b on the lane 3 makes it possible to efficaciously guide the ball b and raise the moving speed of the ball b.

While one embodiment of the present invention has been explained in the foregoing, specific modes by which the present invention can be adopted are not in any way limited to the above example.

Although an example of the configuration in which the ball b is guided so as to roll toward the pins 5 is explained in the foregoing, it is not limited to this example, so that another configuration can be made, in which players roll the ball b down the lane 3 with all the electromagnets 21 being magnetized.

Such a configuration, in which the ball b is not guided, but at least prevented from slipping into one of the gutters 4, enables even children unable to control the direction of rolling a ball to always knock down some of the pins 5 and keep on scoring. Additionally, it is the same advantage with the example in the foregoing that the children are made to believe that they improve themselves in bowling, so that they are able to enjoy household bowling outings without losing interest in games. It is to be noted that providing in place of the electromagnets 21 permanent magnets whose faces along the lane 3 is same in polarity with the faces of the electromagnets b1 in the ball b, along the surface of the ball b.

The power source 22 may be controlled via the machine controller 41 so that electric power is supplied the electromagnets 21a, 21b, 21c, 21d and 21e corresponding to sensor rows 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f respectively, when the guide-executing processor 45, which confirms whether or not the ball b is in one of predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3 (whether or not the ball b is rolling in one of the regions on the edges of the lane 3), determines that the ball b is in position.

This prevents the ball b rolling down the center of the lane 3 from being inexpediently guided toward one of the gutters 4 by magnetic force of the electromagnets 21.

In this case, for confirming whether or not the ball b is in one of the regions on the edges of the lane 3, the guide-executing processor 45 may further confirm beside where of the gutters 4 the ball b is in position so that only that of electromagnet 21 beside one of gutters 4, along where the ball b is confirmed to be in position.

Also feasible is a configuration in which the third, fourth, fifth and sixth sensor rows 24c, 24d, 24e, 24f are omitted, and the guide-executing processor 45 calculates a travel direction and speed of the ball b from a ball b position detected by the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b to predict a moving path of the ball b, based on the position and travel direction and speed of the ball b, confirms based on the predicted moving path, whether or not the ball b will move into one of the predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3 to determine which of the electromagnets is to be magnetized based on the predicted moving path, and controlling the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 based on the moving speed of the ball b so that that of electromagnet 21 that has been determined is supplied with electric power and be magnetized for a fixed duration, timed to when the ball b passes through where the determined electromagnet 21 is disposed along the lane 3.

For example, given that the guide-executing processor 45 confirms, based on the predicted moving path, that the ball b enters one of the regions on the edges of the lane 3 in a vicinity of the electromagnets 21 c disposed third from the approach 2, the third electromagnets 21c, and if needed, the second electromagnets 21 b and the fourth electromagnets 21 d are magnetized to prevent the ball b from moving into (entering) one of the regions on the edges of the lane 3.

Additionally, another configuration may be also taken, in which the guide-executing processor 45 determines which of the electromagnets 21 is to be magnetized and how much magnetic force is required for that of electromagnet 21 that has been determined in order to change the current moving path to that leading to the predetermined part of the pins 5, and the determined electromagnet 21 is supplied with electric power corresponding to the determined magnetic force and be magnetized, timed to when the ball b passes through where the determined electromagnet 21 is disposed along the lane 3.

Although, in the example above, the electromagnets 21 are disposed widthwise facing each other on the edged of the lane 3 as a pair, with a plurality of such pairs being disposed paralleling the lane 3, the configuration is not limited to this example, so that electromagnets 51 (the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth nozzles 51a, 51b, 51c, 51d, 51e 51f) whose faces along the surface of the lane 3 is same in polarity with the faces of the permanent magnets b1 along the surface of the ball b may be disposed paralleling the lane 3 in a configuration staggered on either side, as illustrated in FIG. 8. Furthermore, permanent magnet whose faces along the surface of the lane 3 is same in polarity with the faces of the permanent magnets b1 along the surface of the ball b may be disposed in place of the electromagnets 51.

Furthermore, as illustrated in FIG. 9, electromagnets 52 whose faces along the surface of the lane 3 is same in polarity with the permanent magnets bl faces along the surface of the ball b may be embedded in the widthwise center of the lane 3 so as to be parallel the electromagnets 21, wherein magnetic force of the electromagnets 51, 52 is controlled by adjusting, based on a ball b position detected by sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, electric power supplied from the power source 22 to the electromagnets 51, 52.

If the electromagnets 52 are embedded in such a way, the distance between the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b rolling down the lane 3 and the electromagnets 21, 52 is shortened, so that magnetic force of the electromagnets 21, 52 is efficaciously exerted on the ball b, which is guided more effectively.

Moreover, as illustrated in FIG. 10, a plurality of magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53 provided with a pair of electromagnets (the first, second, thirds, fourth and fifth magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d, 53e from the vicinity of the approach 2) may be embedded paralleling the lane 3.

The magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d and 53e are furnished with electromagnets 54a provided so as to be longitudinally nearer to the pins 5 correspondingly than the second, third, fourth and fifth sensor rows 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e, 24f, disposed so as to be nearer to the approach 2 than electromagnets 54b, and whose faces along the surface of the lane 3 is same in polarity with the permanent magnets b1 faces along the surface of the ball b, and the electromagnets 54b disposed so as to be nearer to the pins 5 than the electromagnets 54 a, and whose faces along the surface of the lane 3 is opposite in polarity with the permanent magnets b1 faces along the surface of the ball b—that is, the electromagnets 54b is magnetized by electric power fed from the power source 22 to attract the ball b.

And then, the guide-executing processor 45 controls the activation of the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 to adjust, depending on a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3, detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, a ball b travel direction and moving speed calculated from the position of the ball b, electric power fed from the power source 22 to the magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d and 53e.

Specifically, the ball b rolling down the center of the lane 3 is moved toward first edge of the lane 3 by feeding the electromagnets 54 a with electric power that depends on the detected position of the ball b so that the electromagnets 54a are magnetized for a fixed duration to repel the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b, and the ball b rolling down the first edge of the lane 3 is moved toward the center of the lane 3 by feeding the electromagnets 54b with electric power that depends on the detected position of the ball b so that the electromagnets 54b are magnetized for a fixed duration to attract the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b.

At this time, for magnetizing the electromagnets 54a is magnetized, after the ball b passes through where the electromagnets 54a are embedded, the magnetization is carried out so that magnetic force is exerted on the ball b from behind with respect to the travel direction of the ball b, and for magnetizing the electromagnets 54 b, before the ball b passes through where the electromagnets 54b are embedded, the magnetization is carried out so that magnetic force is exerted on the ball b from front with respect to the travel direction of the ball b. Therefore, a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane is controlled, and meanwhile a moving speed of the ball b is accelerated.

In this case, also applicable is that the guide-executing processor 45 confirms from a ball b position sequentially detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, whether or not the ball b is in one of the predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3, and when the ball b is determined to be in position, controls the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 so that depending on that of lane-bordering region where ball b is in position, one of electromagnets 54a, 54b of the magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d and 53e corresponding to sensor rows 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f respectively is fed with electric power and be magnetized for a fixed period of time.

Also feasible is a configuration in which the third, fourth, fifth and sixth sensor rows 24c, 24d, 24e, 24f of the position detecting mechanism 23 are omitted, and the guide-executing processor 45 calculates from a ball b position detected by the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b a travel directions and speed of the ball b to predict a moving path of the ball b on the basis of the ball b position, travel direction and speed, confirms from the predicted moving path whether or not the ball b will move into one of the predetermined edges of the lane 3 to determine which of electromagnets 54 a, 54b of the magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d and 53e is to be magnetized, and controls the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 so that the compressed gas is supplied to that of nozzle 60 that has been determined, and is discharged while the determined nozzle 60 shifts in the determined interval.

Furthermore, the guide-executing processor 45 may be configured so as to determine based on the predicted moving path, which of the electromagnets 54a, 54b of the magnetic force exerting mechanisms 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d and 53e is to be magnetized and how much magnetic force is required for that of electromagnets 53a, 53b that has been determined in order to change the current moving path to that leading to the predetermined part of the pins 5, and feed electric power that depends on the determined magnetic force to the determined electromagnet 54a, 54b that the determined electromagnets 54 a, 54b is magnetized, timed to when the ball b passes in proximity to the determined electromagnets 54 a, 54b.

In addition, the magnetic force exerting mechanism 53a, 53b, 53c, 53d and 53e may be embedded in the edged of or outside the lane 3, not in the center of the lane 3.

Also feasible is a configuration in which a plurality of electromagnets and permanent magnets in place of the electromagnets 21 are embedded longitudinally in the center of the lane 3 so that their faces along the surface of the lane 3 is opposite in polarity to the permanent magnets b1 faces along the surface of the ball b, so that the ball b is prevented from falling into one of the gutters 4 by the magnetic force attracting the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b, though such a configuration is not illustrated in particular.

In this case, the guide-executing processor 45 may be configured so as to confirm from a ball b position sequentially detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, whether or not the ball b is in one of the predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3, and when the ball b is determined to be in position, feeding the electromagnets corresponding to sensor rows 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f with electric power so that the electromagnets are magnetized to attract the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b.

Additionally, acceptable is a configuration in which the third, fourth, fifth and sixth sensor rows 24c, 24d, 24e, 24f of the position detecting mechanism 23 are omitted, and the guide-executing processor 45 calculates from a ball b position detected by the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b a travel directions and speed of the ball b to predict a moving path of the ball b on the basis of the ball b position, travel direction and speed, confirms from the predicted moving path whether or not the ball b will move into one of the predetermined edges of the lane 3 to determine which of electromagnets is to be magnetized, and feeding that of electromagnet that has been determined with electric power so that the determined electromagnet is magnetized for a fixed duration to attract the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b, timed to when the ball b passes in proximity to the determined electromagnet.

Besides, as illustrated in FIG. 11 and 12, a plurality of pairs of electromagnets 60 (60a, 60b, 60c, 60d and 60e) disposed facing each other across the lane 3 and gutters 4, 4 over the separators so that their faces along the lane 3 is same in polarity with the permanent magnets b1 faces along the surface of the ball b may be provided paralleling the lane 3.

The electromagnets 60 (60a, 60b, 60c, 60d and 60e) are supported supporting member planted on the separators 6, and are disposed so as to be longitudinally nearer to the pins 5 correspondingly than the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sensor rows 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e, 24f. And, for controlling the magnetic force of the electromagnets 60, as in the case of the electromagnets 21, electric power is fed from the power source 22 to the electromagnets 60 by controlling the power source 22.

It will be appreciated that permanent magnets whose faces along the lane 3 have the same polarity as the permanent magnets b1 of the ball b may be provided in place of the electromagnets 60; alternatively, electromagnets 60 and permanent magnets disposed facing each other may be arranged longitudinally in a staggered configuration on either side of the lane 3.

Moreover, a configuration in which electromagnets 70 disposed facing each other across the lane 3 and gutters 4, 4, and whose faces along the lane 3 is same in polarity with the permanent magnets b1 along the surface of the ball b may be slid by driving mechanisms 71 may be taken. The driving mechanisms 71 is provided with guide rails 72 disposed paralleling the lane 3 over the separators 6, slidable members 73 for supporting the electromagnets 70, configured so as to be engaged slidably with the guide rails 72, axially rotatable ball screws 74 provided on the separators 6 so as to parallel the guide rails 72, nuts (not illustrated) screwed onto the ball screws 74 and anchored on the shifting members 73, and driving motors 75 for rotating axially the ball screws 74, wherein the ball screws 74 are rotated by the driving motors 75 to shift the nuts-that is, shifting members 73 along the guide rails 72.

In this configuration, the guide-executing processor 45 calculates a moving speed of the ball b from a widthwise ball b position detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, on the lane 3, and controls via the machine controller 41, based on the calculated speed, the activation of the drive motor 75 to shift the shifting members 73 from the vicinity of the approach 2 toward the pins 5 in synchronization with the movement of the ball b at a speed depending on the calculated speed.

Furthermore, whenever the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f detect a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3, magnetic force of and a shifting speed of the electromagnets 70 are adjusted depending on the widthwise position, travel direction and moving speed of the ball b.

In this way, shifting the electromagnets 70 along the lane 3 allows magnetic force of the electromagnets 70 to act on the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b any time as needed, so that the ball b is guided more efficaciously and its moving speed is raised.

Also in this case, the electromagnets 70 may be slid by the driving mechanisms 71 toward the pins 5, while magnetized continuously or intermittently, which at least prevents the ball b rolling down the lane 3 from falling into one of the gutters 4. It is to be noted that continuously magnetization is preferable because it prevents the ball b from falling into one of the gutters 4 more securely than continue magnetization.

Besides, the guide-executing processor 45 may recognize based on a position of the ball b, sequentially detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, whether or not the ball b is in one of the predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3 to control the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 so that electromagnets 70 is fed with electric power and be magnetized for a fixed period of time, when the ball b is determined to be in position.

In this case, a configuration in which the guide-executing processor 45 recognizes beside which of gutters 4 the ball b is in position, and only that of electromagnet 70 along that of gutter 4 beside where the ball b is recognized to be in position is magnetized may be also taken.

Also feasible is a configuration in which the third, fourth, fifth and sixth sensor rows 24c, 24d, 24e, 24f of the position detecting mechanism 26 are omitted, and the guide-executing processor 45 calculates a travel directions and speed of the ball b from a ball b position detected by the first and second sensor rows 24a, 24b to predict a moving path of the ball b on the basis of the ball b position, travel direction and speed, confirms from the predicted moving path whether of not the ball b will move into the one of the predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3 to determine along which of an interval with respect to the orientation in which the electromagnets 70 shift magnetization is to be carried out and which of the electromagnets 70 is to be magnetized, and controls the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 so that that of electromagnet 70 that has been determined is fed with electric power and be magnetized while the determined electromagnet 70 is shifting in the determined interval.

Additionally, acceptable is that the guide-executing processor 45 confirms from a ball b position sequentially detected by the sensor rows 24a, 24b, 24c, 24d, 24e and 24f, whether or not the ball b is in one of the predetermined regions on the edges of the lane 3 to control the power source 22 via the machine controller 41 so that the electromagnets 70 are fed with electric power and are magnetized for a fixed duration, when the ball b is determined to be in position.

As describe in the foregoing, when one electromagnet repels the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b, the electromagnet is fed with electric power, timed to after the ball b passes through where the electromagnet is longitudinally disposed, and when one electromagnet attracts the permanent magnets b1 in the ball b, the electromagnet is fed with electric power, timed to before the ball b passes through where the electromagnet is longitudinally disposed. When electric power is fed, however, is not limited to this example, so that electric power may be fed when the ball b passes through the electromagnet is disposed. In this case, although the moving speed of the ball b is not accelerated, the widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3 is controlled.

In addition, magnetic force of the electromagnets 21, 51, 52, 54a, 54b and 70 (electric power supplied to the electromagnets 21, 51, 52, 54a, 54b and 70) may be adjusted depending on only a widthwise position of the ball b on the lane 3, or on a position, travel direction and speed of the ball b. The travel direction of the ball b is an example, so that it is not limited to the example.

Also another configuration may be taken, in which data on the mass of the ball b players use is stored in the player data storage 46, and the guide-executing processor 45 recognizes the mass of ball b, stored in the player data storage 46 to determine magnetic force of the electromagnets 21, 51, 52, 54a, 54b and 70 (electric power supplied to the electromagnets 21, 51, 52, 54a, 54b and 70), and to predict the moving path of the ball b.

As a sensor for detecting a position, speed and travel direction of the ball b, any sensor may be adapted if it can detect the position, speed and travel direction.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

As described in the foregoing, the present invention is preferably adapted to the bowling game system for a game in which a ball is rolled down the lane to enjoy knocking down the pins arranged on the lane.