Title:
Foot-actuated mat with flashing indicators for video game console
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided is a mat for a video game console. The mat includes a zone including weight sensitive pads having a mark on the top surface; an LCD; indicators around a track surrounding the zone and bordering the LCD; a light controller; a transceiver; and an MCU. In response to stepping on one pad corresponding to a mark shown on a TV associated with the console, the pad is activated to enable the MCU to generate a signal representing which pad the foot is stepping on, and the signal is transmitted from the MCU to the TV to display an updated score. Also, the MCU can activate the light controller to flash the indicators in a sequence. At the same time, operating a wireless controller to activate the console will transmit another signal either from the MCU to the console via the transceiver and the wireless controller or vice versa.



Inventors:
Hsu, Kent T. J. (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
11/957513
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
12/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
D'AGOSTINO, PAUL ANTHONY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sam, Chen (7F-1, 293, ROOSEVELT ROAD, SEC 3, TAIPEI, TW)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mat for use with a video game console, a TV, and a wireless controller, comprising: a foot-actuated zone including a plurality of weight sensitive pads disposed on the top surface, the pads having a mark thereon; a plurality of indicators disposed around a track surrounding the foot-actuated zone; a light controller; transceiver means; and a MCU (micro control unit) for communicating signals with the transceiver means, wherein in response to stepping on one of the pads having a mark corresponding to a mark shown on the TV within a predetermined period of time, the pad is activated to enable the MCU to generate a first signal representing which pad the foot is stepping on, and the first signal is transmitted from the MCU to the TV to display an updated score; wherein the MCU is adapted to activate the light controller for controlling brightness of each indicator and a lighting sequence of the indicators; and wherein in response to operating the wireless controller to activate the video game console while stepping on the pad, a second signal is transmitted either from the MCU to the video game console via the transceiver means and the wireless controller or from the video game console to the MCU via the wireless controller and the transceiver means by wireless.

2. The mat of claim 1, wherein the light controller comprises a brightness control unit and a lighting sequence control unit.

3. The mat of claim 1, further comprising a rechargeable battery for supplying power to the indicators, the light controller, the transceiver means, and the MCU.

4. The mat of claim 2, further comprising an LCD (liquid crystal display) disposed on the track and spaced from the indicators, an audio sensor for sensing environmental sound and sending a sound level signal to the MCU, a thermometer for measuring temperatures and sending a temperature signal to the MCU, and a weight scale for measuring weight of a person standing on the mat and sending a weight signal to the MCU, and wherein the MCU is adapted to convert the weight signal, the temperature signal, and the sound level signal into digital representations to be shown the LCD, and wherein the MCU is adapted to activate the brightness control unit to control brightness of each indicator and activate the lighting sequence control unit to control the lighting sequence of the indicators in response to the weight signal, the temperature signal, and the sound level signal.

5. The mat of claim 1, wherein the mark of the pad is an arrow.

6. The mat of claim 5, wherein the arrow is an up, a down, a left, or a right arrow.

7. The mat for use with a video game console, a TV, and a wireless controller of claim 1, wherein the video game console is PS3 (PlayStation 3).

8. The mat for use with a video game console, a TV, and a wireless controller of claim 1, wherein the video game console is Wii.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The invention relates to video game consoles and more particularly to a foot-actuated mat for use with a video game console, the mat having flashing indicators so that a person plays the mat in cooperation with the video game console can be very excited.

2. Description of Related Art

A conventional video game apparatus is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The apparatus comprises a foot-actuated padded mat A including a plurality of direction pads (e.g., up, down, left, and right arrow pads) A1 on the top surface which is divided into nine rectangular zones including the four direction pads A1, a MCU (micro control unit) A2 mounted in an internal printed circuit board (PCB) (not shown), and a transmission unit A3 electrically connected to the MCU A2; and a video game console B electrically connected to the transmission unit A3 by a wire (not numbered), the video game console B including a receiver unit B1.

Only the direction pads A1 are weight sensitive pads. A person may stand on the central zone of the mat A prior to using the apparatus. Score is set to zero when the apparatus is activated. In use, a direction arrow may appear on a display of the video game console B for a predetermined period of time (e.g., one or two seconds). The person has to lift his or her foot and immediately step on one of the direction pads A1 corresponding to the direction arrow within the time period. If so, the actuated direction pad A1 will enable the MCU A2 to generate a signal representing which direction pad the foot is stepping on. Also, the signal is transmitted from the MCU A2 to the transmission unit A3. And in turn, the signal is transmitted from the transmission unit A3 to the receiver unit B1 by wire. As an end, score is increased. The person may continue the above step until he or she does not want to use the apparatus or a desired high score is reached. This apparatus has the features of both a game machine and an exerciser.

However, the well known video game apparatus suffers from several disadvantages. For example, it is relatively monotonous. Also, the track between the peripheral edge of the mat A and the zones thereof is inoperative (i.e., wasted). Further, the foot and the wire may get tangled if sufficient care is not taken during use. Hence, the prior art apparatus have had little market acceptance. Thus, the need for improvement still exists.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore one object of the invention to provide a foot-actuated mat for a video game console, the mat having a plurality of flashing indicators so that a person plays the mat in cooperation with the video game console can be very excited.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional video game apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of the components of the foot-actuated mat and the video game console shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a foot-actuated mat according to the invention for use with a video game console;

FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of the components of the foot-actuated mat according to the invention and connections to a power supply, the video game console, and a remote control all cooperating with the foot-actuated mat; and

FIG. 5 is an environmental view of the foot-actuated mat according to the invention and the video game console being operated by a person in a second operation mode.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, a foot-actuated, padded mat 1 according to the invention for use with a video game console 3 is shown. The mat 1 comprises the following components to be discussed in detail below.

A top surface of the rectangular mat 1 is divided into a central square including square zones in which four weight sensitive direction pads (e.g., up, down, left, and right arrow pads) 11 are formed on centers of four sides respectively, a weight sensor (not shown) being provided in each direction pad 11 for sensing the weight of a person standing upon the mat 1 when a game is played as detailed later, a rectangular LCD (liquid crystal display) 16 adjacent the front end, and a track surrounding the central square of the mat 1 and bordering the LCD 16 in which a plurality of spaced indicators 15 shaped as a double-headed arrow are formed on four sides of the mat 1 (i.e., the track).

The following components are provided within the mat 1.

An MCU (micro control unit) 12 functions as a master controller. An audio sensor 17 is adapted to sense environmental sound and send a sound level signal to the MCU 12. A thermometer 18 functions to measure temperatures and is adapted to send a temperature signal to the MCU 12. A weight scale 19 is adapted to measure weight of a person standing on the mat 1 and send a weight signal to the MCU 12.

A light controller 14 comprises a brightness control unit 141 and a lighting sequence control unit 142. The MCU 12 can transmit signals to a transceiver unit 13 and the transceiver unit 13 also can transmit signals to the MCU 12. A rechargeable battery based power supply 2 is adapted to supply required power to the mat 1 in operation.

Referring to FIG. 5, an operation of the invention will be described in detail below. An arrow appears on a TV (not numbered) associated with the video game console 3 for a predetermined period of time (e.g., one or two seconds) after starting a video game. A person has to lift his or her foot and immediately step on one of the direction pads 11 corresponding to the arrow within the time period. If so, the actuated direction pad 11 will enable the MCU 12 to generate a signal representing which direction pad the foot is stepping on (i.e., scoring). Also, the signal is transmitted from the MCU 12 to the TV to display the updated score. The MCU 12 converts the weight, temperature, and sound level signals into digital representations to be shown the LCD 16. Moreover, the MCU 12 activates the brightness control unit 141 to control brightness of each indicator 15, and the lighting sequence control unit 142 to control a lighting sequence of the indicators 15 in response to the weight, temperature, and sound level signals (i.e., similar to running lights with flashing effect). The arrow appearing process will continue throughout the game. As a result, a very interesting game is played.

At the same time, the person holds a wireless controller 4 to operate the video game console 3 while operating the mat 1. In this interactive operation mode, signals can be transmitted either from the MCU 12 to the video game console 3 via the transceiver unit 13 and the wireless controller 4 or from the video game console 3 to the MCU 12 via the wireless controller 4 and the transceiver unit 13 by wireless. This operation mode is more exciting. For example, the video game console 3 is PS3 (PlayStation 3) and the wireless controller 4 is an accessory thereof. In another example, the video game console 3 is Wii and the remote control 4 is Wii Remote.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention set forth in the claims.