Title:
Toy doll system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy doll is provided including a torso having a longitudinal axis lying in a first horizontal plane and a head shell attached to the torso configured for housing at least a movable eyelid piece, a movable jaw piece and at least one motor for operating the eyelid and jaw pieces. At least one arm is provided having a longitudinal axis, and is pivotally attached to the torso and configured to be rotatable about the pivotal attachment point on a second horizontal plane substantially parallel to the first horizontal plane.



Inventors:
Friedland, Les (Oceanport, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/805138
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/22/2007
Assignee:
WINWAY CORPORATION LTD.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/330, 446/390, 446/394, 446/397, 446/268
International Classes:
A63H3/28; A63H3/00; A63H3/36; A63H3/44; A63H5/00; A63H13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TUTUNJIAN & BITETTO, P.C. (401 Broadhollow Road, Suite 402, Melville, NY, 11747, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toy doll comprising: a torso having a longitudinal axis lying in a first horizontal plane; a head shell attached to said torso and configured for housing at least a movable eyelid piece, a movable jaw piece and at least one motor for operating said eyelid and jaw pieces; and at least one arm having a longitudinal axis, said at least one arm being pivotally attached to said torso and configured to be rotatable about said pivotal attachment point on a second horizontal plane substantially parallel to the first horizontal plane.

2. The toy doll of claim 1, further comprising an arm deployment mechanism for activating rotation of said at least one arm.

3. The toy doll of claim 2, wherein the arm deployment mechanism comprises a button configured for activating a spring mechanism to cause rotation of said at least one arm.

4. The toy doll of claim 1, further comprising a controller operably connected to the motor for controlling operation of the motor.

5. The toy doll of claim 5, further comprising a speaker operably connected to the controller for generating sounds in accordance with the orientation of said at least one arm.

6. The toy doll of claim 1, further comprising hair imparted with a thermochromic substance fixedly attached to said head shell.

7. The toy doll of claim 1, wherein said at least one arm is configured to be rotatable from a first play position to a second play position.

8. The toy doll of claim 8, wherein the first play position the longitudinal axis of the arm is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the torso and in the second play position the longitudinal axis of the arm is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the torso.

9. The toy doll of claim 1, further comprising a pair of arms each having a hand, each arm being configured to rotate from a first play position to a second play position, wherein in the first play position, the hands of each arm overlap each other.

10. A toy doll comprising: a torso having a longitudinal axis lying in a first horizontal plane; and a pair of arms having a longitudinal axis, each arm being pivotally attached to said torso and configured to be rotatable about its pivotal attachment point on a second plane substantially parallel to the first horizontal plane.

11. The toy doll of claim 10, further comprising a head shell attached to said torso and configured for housing at least a movable eyelid piece, a movable jaw piece and at least one motor for operating said eyelid and jaw pieces.

12. The toy doll of claim 10, further comprising an arm deployment mechanism for activating rotation of said pair of arms.

13. The toy doll of claim 12, wherein the arm deployment mechanism comprises a button configured for activating a spring mechanism to cause rotation of said pair of arms arms.

14. The toy doll of claim 11, further comprising a power source operably connected to the motor for energizing the motor.

15. The toy doll of claim 11, further comprising a controller operably connected to the motor for controlling operation of the motor.

16. The toy doll of claim 15, further comprising a speaker operably connected to the controller for generating sounds in accordance with the orientation of said at least one arm.

17. The toy doll of claim 11, further comprising hair imparted with a thermochromic substance fixedly attached to said head shell.

18. The toy doll of claim 10, wherein each arm is configured to be rotatable from a first play position to a second play position.

19. The toy doll of claim 18, wherein the first play position the longitudinal axis of the arm is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the torso and in the second play position the longitudinal axis of the arm is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the torso.

20. The toy doll of claim 18, wherein each arm includes a hand and wherein in the first play position, the hands of each arm overlap each other.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to toy dolls, and in particular, to an interactive, multi-functional toy doll system and method for interacting with and operating same.

2. Description of Related Art

In the art, toy dolls having varied styles, shapes, features and characteristics are known. In particular, dolls that are mechanized and exhibit action features such as movement and motion such as limb/hand movements, as well as sound effects are familiar in the art.

Many mechanized dolls are switch activated, whereupon the particular action(s) or movement(s) is performed upon activation of a switch, which itself may be activated in a number of ways. Typically, in such dolls, the switch is user-activated to elicit various movements of the doll.

Automated movement of many mechanized dolls often involves, e.g., limb movement mimicking waving, walking, etc. and/or movement of facial features. Additional doll movements would advantageously further increase user interest and vary the type of interaction between the doll and user.

Accordingly, a toy doll which improves user interest, provides a stimulating interactive experience for the user, and encourages continued play, is highly desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an interactive toy doll system for performing and displaying physical actions and/or aural effects, and in particular for automatically orienting elements of itself upon user activation to facilitate play and interaction by the user.

The doll includes an arm deployment mechanism, movable arms and movable eyelids and/or a movable mouthpiece. In a first play position, the arms are folded in a retracted position. Activation of the arm deployment mechanism causes movement and extension of the arms to a second play position. From the second play position, the arms may be pushed back into the first play position. Movement of the arms to either the first play position or second play position may further cause the doll to automatically perform facial movements (blinking eyes, moving mouth, etc.) and emit sounds (vocalizations, etc.), preferably for a pre-determined amount of time.

A toy doll system according to an aspect of the present invention may be embodied on a ‘platform’ (e.g., as depicted in the Figures herein). Alternate embodiments of a toy doll system according to aspects of the present invention may include additional features such as a complete torso with legs, etc. For example, in an exemplary alternate embodiment, a toy doll system may comprise a ‘full-bodied’ doll configured to able to be positioned to sit up, stand, walk, etc.

According to one aspect, a toy doll is provided comprising a torso having a longitudinal axis lying in a first horizontal plane, a head shell attached to said torso and configured for housing at least a movable eyelid piece, a movable jaw piece and at,; and at least one arm having a longitudinal axis, said at least one arm being pivotally attached to said torso and configured to be rotatable about said pivotal attachment point on a second horizontal plane substantially parallel to the first horizontal plane.

According to another aspect, a toy doll is provided comprising a torso having a longitudinal axis lying in a first horizontal plane and a pair of arms having a longitudinal axis, each arm being pivotally attached to said torso and configured to be rotatable about its pivotal attachment point on a second plane substantially parallel to the first horizontal plane.

These and other aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be described or become apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

This disclosure will present in detail the following description of preferred embodiments with reference to the following figures wherein:

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a doll system according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 1B is a schematic block diagram of exemplary mechanical and electrical components of a doll system according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 1C is a perspective view of an exemplary covering for a doll head according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of components of the doll system of FIG. 1A according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of an exemplary housing for a doll head according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an exemplary perspective view of an interior of a front portion of the housing of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an exemplary perspective view of an interior of a rear portion of the housing of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of an arm with pivot attachment according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the pivot attachment of FIG. 6 according to an aspect of the present invention; and

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of an arm deployment device according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of the arm deployment device of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an exemplary gear box assembly according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a partially exploded perspective view of the gear box of FIG. 10 according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is an exploded perspective view of components of the gear box of FIG. 10 according to an aspect of the present invention; and

FIG. 13 is a flow chart of an exemplary method of operation of a toy doll system according to an aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1A-FIG. 5 illustrate various views, depictions and elements of an exemplary doll system 100 according to aspects of the present invention. According to one embodiment, a doll system 100 includes a torso 105 to which a head 102 is attached comprised of a front portion 101 and rear portion 103. The head 102 preferably comprises a hollow shell and includes eye apertures 301 through which eyeballs 130 protrude and a mouth aperture 303. Head 102 is configured to house at least a gear assembly 203 for emulating eye and/or mouth movements via moveable eyelids 127 and moveable mouthpiece 129. The torso 105 includes a longitudinal axis lying on a first horizontal plane 104.

A covering 134 may be provided shaped and fitted to cover at least the head shell 102. Covering 134 may be comprised, e.g., of molded rubber or other preferably flexible materials for simulating features of e.g., an infant or doll head, etc. and may include eye and mouth apertures 136 shaped and oriented to permit protrusion therethrough of eyeballs 130 and mouthpiece 129. Any type or combination of materials, e.g., foam, rubber, plastic, polyvinylchloride, etc., may be utilized as desired to cover shell 102 and form the shape of, e.g., a human face. A rotational molding method is an exemplary shaping process that may be used for forming the face covering 134. It is to be noted that while a toy doll according to the present invention is described and depicted herein in human form, other doll types may be contemplated, including animals, cartoon characters, fictional characters, robotic devices, household appliances, vehicles, airplanes, etc.

The covering 134 may further include imitation or synthetic hair 138 affixed (“rooted”) thereon. The hair 138 may preferably be imparted with, for example, heat sensitive or thermochromic dyes/substances to impart, e.g., color-changing capabilities therein. That is, the hair 138 may be configured to change color, hue or shade in response to changes in temperature (e.g., in response to being touched by a user's hand).

FIGS. 6-9 depict exemplary views of an arm 107 with a base pivot attachment 601 and an arm deployment mechanism 801 according to aspects of the present invention. At least one but preferably two arms 107 are provided, each having an arm base 601 configured for pivotal attachment to the torso 105 via a torso base plate 201. Rotational movement of each or both arms 107 may be effectuated via an arm deployment device 109. For example, deployment device 109 may comprise a button that when pressed, activates a mechanism 111 (e.g., a spring loaded mechanism) to release arms 107 from a retracted position (e.g., as shown in FIG. 1A) to an extended position with arms 107 outstretched and preferably substantially parallel to each other (e.g., as shown in FIG. 1B).

In the retracted position (i.e., a ‘first play position’), a longitudinal axis of each arm 107 is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis 104 of the torso 105. A hand 110 may be attached to each arm 107. According to one exemplary embodiment, in the first play position, the hands 110 may be caused to overlap one another (e.g., as shown in FIG. 1A).

In the extended position (i.e., a ‘second play position’), a longitudinal axis 108 of each arm 107 is preferably substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 104 of the torso 105. Each arm 107 may be rotated to varying degrees between the first and second play positions.

The pivotal attachment of the arm 107 to the torso 105 may comprise, e.g., a series of nested cylindrical components 701, 703, 707 configured to permit rotational movement of the arm 107 with respect to the torso 105 and may further include a spring element 705 to which a torsional force may be applied when the arms 107 are in a retracted position (FIG. 1A). Namely, each arm 107 is configured to be rotatable about the pivot point 601 on a plane 106 which is substantially parallel to the horizontal plane 104 of the torso 105. In one exemplary embodiment, each arm 107 is configured to be rotatable from a first play position (e.g., a retracted position as shown in FIG. 1A) and a second play position (e.g., an extended position as shown in FIG. 1B).

The arms 107, e.g., may be retracted manually by a user pushing them closed. The retracted arm position may be maintained via mechanical/frictional engagement between each pivotal attachment 601 with one of the sliding members 801, which are in an extended position. Each sliding member 801 may be caused to achieve and maintain an extended position via longitudinal compression of coil 903 so as to cause each member 801 to slide away from each other in direction 907.

When the deployment mechanism 109 is depressed, the torsional force in coil 705 may ultimately be caused to be released, (e.g., via compression of coil 901, thus releasing and causing retraction of sliding elements 801 towards each other in direction 905, which releases the pivotal attachment 601 from its secured position and in turn releases the torsion stored in spring coil 705). Thus, each arm 107 is caused to be rotated to an extended position (e.g., as shown in FIG. 1B).

Advantageously, the extended position of arms 107 provide an alternate play position to facilitate user interaction with the doll during activities such as fingernail polish application, manicuring, etc. The arms 107 may be pushed back into a retracted (folded) position when the user is finished playing such activities.

The doll system 100 may include a first control center 121 functionally connected to a second control center 113. First control center 121 includes a motor 123 operably connected to a controller or circuit board 125. Motor 123 may drive, e.g., mechanical movements of the doll's eyelids 127 and mouth piece 129 via e.g., a system of gears, pulleys, etc., which are controlled by the circuit board 125. The first control center 121 may comprise, e.g., a gear box assembly, described further below with respect to FIGS. 10-12. The second control center 113 may include a power source 115 for energizing one or both control centers 121, 113, and a speaker 117 for generating sounds in accordance with, e.g., the positioning/movement of the arms 107 and/or activation of the arm deployment mechanism 109. Sounds may include e.g., giggling noises, talking, laughing, or any other sounds.

Arm deployment device 109 may be operably connected to the second control center 113 and/or first control center 121 such that when the device 109 is activated, a signal may be transmitted to the first control center 121 to tell the circuit board 125 to rotate the motor 123, thus providing eye and mouth movement. Sound may also be generated and emitted from speaker 117. In addition, upon deployment of the device 109 the spring mechanism 111 will be activated (e.g., as described above) to cause movement of arms 107 to an extended position. The arms 107 may be returned to their original retracted position manually (e.g., by pushing them back to a folded position until each arm is locked in place).

FIGS. 10-12 depict a gear box assembly 203 and exemplary components thereof. The assembly 203 may include a motor 123 functionally connected to gears 1101, 1102, 1103, 1105, 1107, 1109. Movements/sound performed by the doll may be elicited via activation of the arm deployment device 109, which may be located anywhere on the doll.

In one embodiment, a rotatable eyelid piece 127 and/or a movable jaw piece 129 may be provided which are functionally connected to control centers 121 and/or 113 and gears 1101, 1102, 1103, 1105, 1107, 1109. Movement of the pieces 127, 129 may be facilitated via a pulley system 1115, 1117, 1119 and the gears 1101, 1102, 1103, 1105, 1107, 1109. The gears may be prompted to reverse direction of rotation, which in turn reverses the direction of movement (e.g., up or down) of pieces 127 and 129. Such gear reversal capability may be facilitated via, e.g., a system of contact switches 1113 which may be physically activated (e.g., during operation of the doll) so as to complete/close certain circuits, one of which may direct the rotation of the gears in a first direction, and another which may direct the gear rotation in the opposite direction. Accordingly, the effect of eyelid and mouth movements (opening and closing) may be simulated. Other motor-driven or movable pieces may be provided and situated on the doll system 100 in any location for facilitating, e.g., other body movements and actions.

The eyelid piece 127 is positioned over the eyeballs 130, and movement of eyelid 127 is effectuated via e.g., the pulley system 1115, 1117, 1119, the system of gears and a rotating guide 313 powered by motor 103. The visual effect of eyes which are ‘opening and closing’ may be simulated via movement of the eyelid piece 117 rotating about a pivot point 132.

As the eyelid 127 and jaw piece 129 movements are performed, they cause corresponding areas of the external flexible covering layer (e.g., rubber face) which lie over the eyelid/jaw pieces to move accordingly, thus simulating facial features, such as sucking, talking, blinking, etc. Movement of other parts of the face such as cheeks, eyebrows, etc., may be facilitated by altering the location/configuration of the mechanical parts accordingly. Facial expressions and movement configuration may be accompanied by appropriate sounds and body movements as controlled by the controller 121. For example, a sleepy or sleeping expression may be accompanied by speaker sounds of snoring.

The first controller 121 is preferably employed to control operations of the doll in response to the internal and external inputs. In one embodiment, controller 121 may include a printed wiring board 125, which may include one or more integrated circuits, transistors and/or logic circuits to perform the tasks as described herein. Controller 121 drives motor 123 using a power source 115 (e.g., a battery/batteries or other portable energy source). Power may be switched on and off via a switch (not shown). Motor 123 may include, e.g., simple DC powered motors that rotate in accordance with the voltage polarity applied thereto. For example, motors may turn clockwise in accordance with a +3 volt signal and counterclockwise in accordance with a −3 volt signals. Other voltages may be employed depending on the available battery power.

Motor 123 may be activated in accordance with a plurality of different signals. In one embodiment, motor 123 is activated in accordance with a sensor/switch (not shown). Sensor/switch may include a normally open switch located in any area of the doll (e.g., a hand, torso, head, etc.). More than one switch may be provided on the doll, at any location thereon.

When closed, the sensor/switch may prompt controller 121 to activate e.g., one or more action modes (e.g., a ‘sleep’ mode, an ‘awake’ mode, etc.). For example, the controller 121 may turn on one or more motors 123 and/or a sound chip (not shown) and the speaker 117 to perform one or more tasks for simulating, e.g., a particular action mode. These tasks may include, for example, moving the dolls eye lids and/or mouth, causing a crying effect, causing a sleeping effect/simulating deep breathing, playing sounds or any other mechanical movements or sounds to further simulate the action mode that has been activated.

FIG. 13 depicts an exemplary flow chart of a method of interacting with a doll according to one embodiment of the present invention. Upon activation of an arm deployment mechanism (step 1301), arms of the doll are moved to an extended position (step 1303). That is, the arms are extended so as to be substantially parallel to each other. Concurrently, a first movement and/or sound mode may be activated (step 1305) in which the doll performs eyelid movements, mouth movements and/or sound effects.

When the arms are returned to a retracted position (step 1307) a second movement and/or sound mode may be activated (step 1309). The second movement/sound mode may be similar to or different from the first movement/sound mode. Either the first or second movement/sound modes may be pre-programmed to emit any series of movements/sounds as desired.

Having described preferred embodiments for an interactive toy doll system (which are intended to be illustrative and not limiting), it is noted that modifications and variations can be made by persons skilled in the art in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that changes may be made in the particular embodiments of the invention disclosed which are within the scope and spirit of the invention as outlined by the appended claims. Having thus described the invention with the details and particularity required by the patent laws, what is claimed and desired protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.