Title:
Self-propelled amusement device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-propelled amusement device comprising: a housing, a power means securely mounted within the housing, a shaft extending from the power means, the shaft rotated by the power means, a counter-balanced weight removably attached to a distal edge of the shaft, the counter-balanced weight functioning to move the self-propelled amusement device in an erratic manner, and at least one leg member removably attached to the housing, the leg members extending downwardly from the housing. The device may include at least one foot member is removably attached to a distal edge of each leg member, the foot members functioning to come in contact with a surface, and to facilitate movement of the device along the surface. In an alternative embodiment, the device may include a cover means removably attached to the device, the cover means functioning to shield the device and to provide aesthetically pleasing design elements thereon.



Inventors:
Domingues, Francisco Bicalho (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/785358
Publication Date:
09/27/2001
Filing Date:
02/16/2001
Assignee:
DOMINGUES FRANCISCO BICALHO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H11/18; (IPC1-7): A63H11/02; A63H11/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ACKUN, JACOB K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Francisco Bicalho Domingues (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A self-propelled amusement device comprising: A) a housing; B) a power means securely mounted within the housing, the power means comprising a wind up mechanism and gear box; C) a shaft extending from the power means, the shaft rotated by the power means; D) a counter-balanced weight removably attached to a distal edge of the shaft, the counter balanced iweight functioning to move the self-propelled amusement device in an erratic manner; E) at least four leg members removably attached to the housing, the leg members extending downwardly from the housing; and F) at least one foot member removably attached to a distal edge of each leg member, the foot members functioning to come in contact with a surface, and further functioning to facilitate movement of the self-propelled amusement device along said surface.

2. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein a cover means is removably attached to the self-propelled amusement device, the cover means functioning to shield the device and further functioning to provide aesthetically pleasing design elements thereon.

3. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the power means is exposed, functioning to allow a user to view the wind up mechanism and gear box.

4. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device includes indicia thereon.

5. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device comprises a wind-up key, which functions to engage the power means, the wind-up key bearing a previously determined color.

6. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the counterbalanced weight bears a previously determined color.

7. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the rubber foot members bear a previously determined color.

8. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein each leg of the device is of a reduced length, functioning to provide a self-propelled device substantially short in height.

9. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device further comprises at least one memo holding extended member, which functions to hold a previously-determined item for display purposes.

10. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 9, wherein the at least one memo holding extended member is comprised of two memo holding members extending upwardly from the housing, each with a memo grasping mechanism located upon the distal end thereof.

11. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 9, wherein the at least one memo holding extended member functions to hold and display an item selected from the group consisting of a photograph, greeting card, business card, note, and envelope.

12. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device comprises a total of eight extended leg members.

13. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device further comprises a plurality of additional leg members extending horizontally and outwardly from the housing, the additional leg members functioning to allow the device to tip over forwardly, backwardly, to a left side, and to a right side, while continuing movement along an erratic path.

14. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the additional leg members are comprised of a pair of forwardly extending legs and a pair of rearwardly extending legs.

15. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the power means is positioned in a generally sideways configuration, with the gear box oriented at a ninety degree angle from the horizontal.

16. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein each of the legs is bent at a previously determined angle and previously determined location, functioning to create an insect-like appearance.

17. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 16, wherein each of the legs extends upwardly and outwardly from the housing at a previously determined angle, with each of the legs then bent downwardly such that distal ends and foot members thereof contact the flat surface upon which the device is placed.

18. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device further comprises an illumination means.

19. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein the device further comprises an audio means.

20. The self-propelled amusement device as described in claim 1, wherein each leg member is substantially semi-rigid in nature, functioning to facilitate movement of the device in an erratic pattern across a flat surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This Application is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 08/956,969, titled “Self-Propelled Amusement Device,” filed by the present Applicant.

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a self-propelled amusement device. More particularly, the present invention relates to a self-propelled amusement device wherein the device in its preferred mode teaches the use of a wind-up powered toy including the rotation of an off-balanced weight to create erratic and unpredictable propulsion of the device along a surface.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Numerous innovations for self-propelled devices have been provided in the prior art that are described as follows. Even though these innovations may be suitable for the specific individual purposes to which they address, they differ from the present invention as hereinafter contrasted.

[0006] 1. U.S. Pat. No. 5,297,981, Self-Propelled Bouncing Ball Inventor—Maxim.

[0007] The invention by Maxim is a toy ball which includes a hollow sphere with spaced apart resilient knobs extending outwardly from the sphere and an internal mechanism that causes a random motion and bouncing of the ball. A safety switch is also provided to prevent injury to a user or damage to the toy while it is disassembled.

[0008] The present invention differs from the Maxim invention because the present invention does not describe a toy ball or spherical structure, but instead shows a device with, in its preferred mode, several extended leg members which creates a walking-type movement for the structure. Although the Maxim invention also utilizes an off-centered weight as a means to achieve erratic movement, it does so in a far more limited manner than the present invention. Unlike the Maxim patent, the present invention can utilize both an alternate power means and significantly different design elements such as a cover such as clothing or other indicia thereon.

[0009] 2. U.S. Pat. No. 5,439,408, Remote Controlled Movable Ball Amusement Device, Inventor—Wilkinson.

[0010] The invention by Wilkinson is a remote controlled movable ball amusement device includes a hollow sphere having a propulsion mechanism within the sphere. The propulsion mechanism includes a receiver and a drive unit. The drive unit causes the sphere to move when actuated by the receiver. A remote transmitter sends signals to the receiver for causing the actuation of the drive unit.

[0011] The present invention differs from the Wilkinson invention much in the same way that it differs from the above-described Maxim invention. Wilkinson, like Maxim, describes the use of an -erratic moving spherical structure. The most notable difference in the Wilkinson invention is a remote-controlled powering capability. The present invention is substantially different in its design and construction but can also include remote control capability.

[0012] 3. U.S. Pat. No. 3,667,156. Motor-Driven Rolling Toy, Inventor—Tomivama.

[0013] The invention by Tomiyama is a rolling toy which comprises a substantially wheel-shaped housing and a motivating unit housed therein. The motivating unit is carried by a shaft extending axially along the central axis of the housing and is arranged to be rotated about the central axis. Also, the unit includes power means and other elements which are disposed in eccentric relation to the shaft, whereby when the unit is rotated by the power means, rolling movement is imparted to the housing to cause the same to roll along a surface. The toy can return to its rolling position automatically when overturned.

[0014] The present invention differs from the Tomiyama invention because the present invention does not feature a rolling-type movement, but instead uses the aforementioned walking-type movement created by the several leg members that extend downwardly from the shaft and off-center weight in the preferred mode. Although Tomiyama shows a power means and other elements which are disposed in eccentric relation to the shaft, the present invention accomplishes a significantly different result than Tomiyama, and creates an amusement device that moves more erratically and more unpredictably than that described above.

[0015] 4. U.S. Pat. No. 5,413,551, Spherical Massage Device—Wu.

[0016] The invention by Wu is a spherical massage device includes a hollow spherical body of a size suitable to be held in hands, having a spherical outer surface on which a plurality of projections are uniformly distributed. The hollow spherical body defines an interior space inside which a vibration generator is disposed. The vibration generator is controlled by a switch accessible by a user.

[0017] The present invention differs from the Wu invention because the present invention, although creating significant vibration, does not teach the use of a massaging device or product aiming to achieve such a result. As previously noted, the patented invention is spherical in nature and does not include at least one erratically moving extended member as described in the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0018] The present invention is an amusement article consisting of a power means which spins a shaft that in turn mobilizes an off-centered weight. The power means and off-center weight are attached to at least one extended leg member, each of which preferably has a rubber-type boot attachment at the far end thereof, for contact with a hard, flat surface. As the device is powered, which can be either by wind-up device or by a variety of alternate power means, the off-center weight momentum causes the extended members to tremble in an erratic manner.

[0019] The embodiment above-described creates a result in which the entire device shakes or trembles as the counter-balanced weight rotates upon its axis. The device then moves across a hard surface in this spastic-type dance movement in an unpredictable path upon the rubber foot members attached to the distal edges of the leg members, serving to entertain and amuse the user thereof.

[0020] In keeping with these objects, and with others which will become apparent hereinafter, one feature of the present invention resides, briefly stated, in that the device moves in an erratic and unpredictable manner providing entertainment and amusement to the observer.

[0021] An additional feature is that the present invention may include additional horizontally extending leg members, which function to allow the device to tip over forwardly or backwardly while continuing movement along an erratic path.

[0022] Another feature of the present invention is that the device may be powered by wind-up means, for ease in operation and reduction of manufacturing costs.

[0023] In addition to the above, the wind-up gear box of the invention may exposed to intentionally display the mechanism for aesthetic purposes and uniqueness.

[0024] Alternatively, the present invention may include a cover means which may be removably attached to the self-propelled amusement device over the power means of same.

[0025] Moreover, varying embodiments of the present invention may feature legs of variety lengths to provide greater versatility in design and manufacture.

[0026] An additional feature described herein is that the device may include indicia or a variety of graphics thereon.

[0027] The present invention may also comprise components of varying colors, to add to the aesthetically pleasing appearance and to distinguish like items from one another.

[0028] Another feature of the present invention is that the same may feature an illumination means to enhance the overall appearance of the item, and provide additional entertainment.

[0029] An additional feature of the present invention is that the device may comprise an audio means to provide additional entertainment to the user.

[0030] The present invention may also comprise at least one memo holding extended member, to allow the device to hold and display photographs, business cards, and a variety of other papers and cards atop a desk or other flat surface.

[0031] The novel features which are considered characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of the specific embodiments when read and understood in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0032] FIG. 1 is a three-quarter perspective view of the self-propelled amusement device.

[0033] FIG. 2 is a close-up frontal view of the self-propelled amusement device, exhibiting rotation of a counter-balanced weight.

[0034] FIG. 3 is a profile view of the self-propelled amusement device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0035] Firstly, referring to FIG. 1, which is a three-quarter perspective view of the self-propelled amusement device: A self-propelled amusement device (10) comprises a housing (12), with a power means (14) securely mounted within the housing (12). In the preferred mode, the power means is a wind-up gear box, which provides both ease in operation and reduction of manufacturing costs. As such, the assembly may include a wind-up key, which may be colored to enhance the overall appearance of the device. A shaft (16) extends from the power means (14), with the shaft (16) rotated by the power means (14). In the preferred mode of production, at least four leg members (20) are attached to the housing (12), the leg members (20) extending downwardly from the housing (12) to a flat surface. Each leg member may be substantially semi-rigid in nature, functioning to facilitate movement of the device in an erratic pattern across a flat surface.

[0036] Importantly, a counter-balanced weight (18) is removably attached to a distal edge of the shaft (16). The counter-balanced weight (18) functions to move the self-propelled amusement device (10) in an erratic manner, as the constant shifting of the weight from side to side will prevent the self-propelled device from moving in a straight linear pattern Such is illustrated in FIG. 2, which is a close-up frontal view of the self-propelled amusement device, exhibiting rotation of a counterbalanced weight. A particular emphasis is placed on the counter-balanced weight, as it is the element that functions to produce the unpredictable, entertaining movement of the device.

[0037] Next, referring to FIG. 3, which is a profile view of the self-propelled amusement device: in addition to the embodiment described above, the device also includes at least one foot member (22) which is removably attached to a distal edge of each leg member (20). The foot members (22) function to come in contact with a preferably flat and hard surface, and further function to facilitate movement of the self-propelled amusement device (10) along said surface.

[0038] As noted, the wind-up gear box of the invention may exposed to intentionally display the mechanism for aesthetic purposes and uniqueness. Furthermore, it should be noted that a cover means may be removably attached to the self-propelled amusement device (10), such cover means functioning to shield the device and further functioning to provide aesthetically pleasing design elements thereon. For instance, the cover means may either be a solid shell-type structure which encases the housing and thus encases the power means, or such cover can simply be design elements such as clothing, signs, or other indicia.

[0039] In an enhanced embodiment, the present invention may also include additional horizontally extending leg members, which function to allow the device to tip over forwardly or backwardly while continuing movement along an erratic path. Such additional legs may be in the form of a pair of front legs and a pair of back legs, each extending outwardly from the housing and power means.

[0040] Furthermore, varying embodiments of the present invention may feature the four standard legs of a variety of lengths, to provide greater versatility in design and manufacture. Thus, a generally shorter device than that illustrated in FIG. 1 may be produced according to the same concept and function as the embodiment described above.

[0041] In an additional embodiment of the present invention, each of the legs is bent at a previously determined angle and previously determined location, functioning to create an insect-like appearance. Specifically, each of the four legs may extend upwardly and outwardly from the housing and power means at a previously determined angle, and then bend downwardly such that the distal ends and foot members come in contact with the flat surface upon which the device is placed.

[0042] Furthermore, in additional embodiments, the power means is positioned in a generally sideways configuration, with the gear box oriented at a ninety degree angle from the horizontal. In such embodiments, a wind-up key extends outwardly from the side of the device, or generally horizontal to the flat surface upon which the device is placed.

[0043] Moreover, regarding the appearance of the device, the present invention may include indicia or a variety of graphics thereon. The invention may also comprise components of varying colors, to add to the aesthetically pleasing appearance and to distinguish like items from one another. For the purposes of example, a wind-up key for the device may be manufactured of a particular color, to aid in the design. Similarly, the foot members may be manufactured of previously-determined colors, as can the counter-balanced weight, legs, or housing.

[0044] In further enhanced embodiments of the self-propelled amusement device, the item features an illumination means to enhance the overall appearance and provide additional entertainment. In addition, the device may comprise an audio means to provide additional entertainment to the user.

[0045] Finally, the present invention may also comprise at least one memo holding extended member, to allow the device to hold and display photographs, business cards, and a variety of other papers and cards atop a desk or other flat surface. In the preferred mode, this embodiment utilizes two memo holding members extending upwardly from the housing, each with a memo grasping mechanism on the distal or upper end. The members may be constructed of the same material as the legs of the device, and may be manufactured in a variety of lengths. Thus, this embodiment of the present invention provides a unique means for the user to display previously-determined items, as such items may then move across a flat surface in the entertaining, erratic manner described herein.

[0046] It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the type described above.

[0047] While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a self-propelled amusement device, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since it will be understood that various omissions, modifications, substitutions and changes in the forms and details of the device illustrated and in its operation can be made by those skilled in the art without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

[0048] Without further analysis, the foregoing will so filly reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention.

[0049] What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.