Title:
Talking numbers doll
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An educational doll that simulates audible counting for kids The doll has a body portion and a connected head portion. The body is shaped in a girl-like figure to simulate a little girl. Formed on the head is a face with movable lips. A cam mechanism and motor assembly is used to controllably and mechanically move the lips of the doll to simulate speech analogous to human speech. The motor is attached to the cam mechanism for driving the lips. A sound generating apparatus electrically coupled to the assembly to produce the sound of number counting from an individual's. At least one switch is connected to the sound generating apparatus for activating a voice module coincidentally with the movement of the lips.



Inventors:
Wright, Betty Anne P. (Winston-Salem, NC, US)
Application Number:
09/871939
Publication Date:
12/20/2001
Filing Date:
06/04/2001
Assignee:
WRIGHT BETTY ANNE P.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/301
International Classes:
A63H3/28; A63H3/48; (IPC1-7): A63H3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, BENA B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A doll with simulated speech and coincident lip movements comprising: a body forming the doll figure; a head having a face with lips connected to said body, said lips being movable; a power means; a cam follower means having a connecting means attached to said lips for selectively moving said lips at a first end, and constrained to said cam follower means at a second end, said second end comprising a substantially elliptical groove for movement of a portion of said connecting means therein; a motor having a transmission means for transmitting rotation motion to said cam follower means, said motor is contained in said body for driving said cam follower means; an audible counting means contained within said body for producing the sound of an individual's voice counting from one to at least twenty, said audible counting means pausing after each one of said numbers for enabling a kid to repeat each number before the next number is sounded, said pause being at least two seconds in length; at least one switch means controllably connected to the audio generating means for activation thereof; and circuitry means for activating said motor to move said lips coincidentally with said numbers.

2. The doll according to claim 1, wherein said power means being coupled to said motor and said audible counting means via said switch means.

3. The doll according to claim 2, wherein said audible counting means comprises a tape recorder.

4. The doll according to claim 2, wherein said audible counting means comprises a micro-chip recorder.

5. The doll according to claim 1, wherein said cam follower means is substantially elliptical in shape.

6. The doll according to claim 1, wherein said audible counting means comprises a tape recorder.

7. The doll according to claim 1, wherein said audible counting means comprises a micro-chip recorder.

8. A doll with simulated speech and coincident lip movements comprising, in combination with at least one article of clothing: a body forming the doll figure; a head having a face with lips connected to said body, said lips being movable; a power means; a cam follower means having a connecting means attached to said lips for selectively moving said lips at a first end, and constrained to said cam follower means at a second end, said second end comprising a substantially elliptical groove for movement of a portion of said connecting means therein; a motor having a transmission means for transmitting rotation motion to said cam follower means, said motor is contained in said body for driving said cam follower means; an audible counting means contained within said body for producing the sound of an individual's voice counting from one to at least twenty, said audible counting means pausing after each one of said numbers for enabling a kid to repeat each number before the next number is sounded, said pause being at least two seconds in length; a switch means controllably connected to the audio generating means for activation thereof; and circuitry means for activating said motor to move said lips coincidentally with said numbers.

9. The doll according to claim 8, wherein said power means being coupled to said motor and said audible counting means via said switch means.

10. The doll according to claim 9, wherein said audible counting means comprises a tape recorder.

11. The doll according to claim 9, wherein said audible counting means comprises a micro-chip recorder.

12. The doll according to claim 8, wherein said cam follower means is substantially elliptical in shape.

13. The doll according to claim 8, wherein said audible counting means comprises a tape recorder.

14. The doll according to claim 8, wherein said audible counting means comprises a micro-chip recorder.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/208,928, filed Jun. 5, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to a talking doll which may be used to teach children how to count from 1 to 10. More particularly, the invention relates to a new and improved doll capable of reciting the numbers “1” through “10” in consecutive order, pausing in between numbers to allow kids to repeat each number.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Toy telephones incorporating tape recorded messages are known in the art. For example, in one type of phone, by lifting an instrument from its socket and touching certain buttons, specific messages related to individual buttons are delivered.

[0006] Also, toy dolls with talking capabilities are known in the art. U.S. Pat. No. 4,775,352 issued on Oct. 4, 1988 to K. J. Curran et al. describes an animated audio doll whose mouth can be driven by replaceable tape cartridges is provided. U.S. Pat. No. 4,808,142 issued on Feb. 28, 1989 to William Berliner describes a doll with controlled mouth actuation in simulated speech. U.S. Pat. No. 4,923,423 issued on May 8, 1990 to Kenneth J. Curran describes an interactive, articulated talking toy talks and moves certain of its body parts under microprocessor control on the basis of the program material selected from a tape storage device incorporated in the body of the toy. U.S. Pat. No. 5,413,516 issued on May 9, 1995 to Wing F. Lam describes a toll doll with lips that move as speech sounds are produced from a speaker. U.S. Pat. No. 5,474,484 issued on Dec. 12, 1995 to Julie A. Lemelle; describes a doll used to teach children to use emergency 911 telephone numbers. U.S. Pat. No. 5,607,336 issued on Mar. 4, 1997 to Steven Lebensfeld et al. describes a subject specific, word/phrase selectable message delivering doll or action figure.

[0007] However, none of the aforementioned inventions describe a doll that verbally counts in consecutive order for teaching kids how to count. Moreover, none of the aforementioned inventions describe an interactive doll that counts for interactively teaching kids how to count. None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention is a doll that counts for audibly teaching kids how to count. The doll has a body and a connected head portion. The body is shaped in a girl-like figure to simulate a little girl. Formed on the head is a face with movable lips. A miniature motor and mechanical cam apparatus are used to controllably move the lips to simulate speech by an human. The motor is attached to the mechanical cam apparatus for driving the movement of the cam apparatus interconnected with a lip portion of the doll. A sound generating apparatus serves to produce the sound of an individual's voice to count from one to twenty or a predetermined number for teaching kids how to count. The sound generating apparatus is configured to produce a pause after each number for enabling children to repeat each number recited before another number is sounded. A switch apparatus is connected to the sound generating apparatus for activation thereof. A circuitry apparatus is used for activating the motor to move the lips coincidentally with the audible recitation of the numbers.

[0009] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a talking doll that can count to facilitate teaching kids how to count a particular number sequence.

[0010] It is another object of the invention to provide interactive talking doll to facilitate active learning in kids.

[0011] It is a further object of the invention to providing a talking doll having coordinated lip movement.

[0012] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

[0013] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is an environmental, elevation view of a talking numbers doll according to the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 2A is a cut-away view of the talking doll according to the invention, illustrating interiorly mounted circuit elements.

[0016] FIG. 2B is a partial diagrammatic and schematic depiction of the talking numbers doll audio circuit with mechanical connections.

[0017] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] The present invention is directed to a doll capable of audibly counting a sequence of numbers to facilitate or audibly instruct a child B to repeat a particular number sequence for learning how to count. The preferred embodiment of the invention is depicted in FIGS. 1-2B, and is generally referenced by numeral 10.

[0019] As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 1, the doll 10 is shown in the vicinity of a child B and atop of a table T at or near eye level of the child B for interactively learning how to count a particular number sequence (eg. 1-10, 1-20, etc.). The ellipsis “. . . ” designated in the number sequence spoken by the doll 10 of FIG. 1, represent pauses in which a child B is inherently given time to repeat or respond to the doll 10 in like fashion by reciting each number in the respective sequence. As more clearly seen in FIG. 2A, the doll 10 is shown having a body 12, and a head portion 14. The head portion 14 has a human-like face with electro-mechanically operated lips 16. A sound generating element is preferably strategically placed within a rear portion of the mouth 16a to create or simulate realistic voice modulations or sounds emanating therefrom. As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 2A, the lips 16 of the doll 10 are actuated via a cam mechanism 19 having associated circuitry 24. These particular elemental features 19,24 are integrated and mounted within an interior portion of the body 12 by conventional fastening techniques (eg. rivets, screw fasteners, etc.). Since such fastening features are well known to one having ordinary skill in the relevant art, these particular features are not discussed in any detail.

[0020] Accordingly, the particular configuration of the cam mechanism 19 and circuitry 24 is shown in block diagram form, and shown disposed within an interior body portion of the body 12 for simple illustrative purposes. As depicted in FIG. 2A, the body portion 12 of the doll 10 is shown configured with a cam mechanism or apparatus 19 including connector arm 18 having first and second respective ends 18a and 18b, a motor 22, a sound generating apparatus or micro-chip recorder 28a, a direct current (dc) power source 30, at least one on/off switch 26 (eg. flip switch, push button switch, etc.) and an audio circuit 28 with a speaker and/or voice amplifying means 28b. The switch 26 is selectively position adjacent to one of the pockets of the doll 10 for hand manipulation by a child B and/or other user, such as a parent or guardian. An, implied psychological effect of this doll configuration is the hands of the doll 10 appear to be fixed or unmovable from within its pockets. This serves to initiate or invoke a child's motor and/or sensory skills directed to assist the doll 10 by pressing the start switch 26 for activating the doll's voice modulation features. The switch 26 design can include any number of configurations which would allow voice and mechanical lip activation to start as electrically coupled or electrically decoupled system features, as a matter of intended use by one having ordinary skill in the art.

[0021] In either case, the body 12 of the doll 10 is preferably a conventional doll body formed in the shape of a doll figure, such as the girl shown in FIG. 1, or any other custom body feature which would readily or psychologically invoke the motor skills of a particular child B (as known by the parent or guardian) to activate the doll 10 via the on/off switch 26. One particular common feature for invoking the interest of a child B can include similar dress apparel, which can include gender neutral attire for psychologically invoking in a child a desire to subsequently activate the doll 10 without parental intervention. Thus, the body 12 may be made of any conventional doll making material. With regard to skin features the material of the doll can include an elastomeric or similar material to produce a realistic feel of skin in any number of desired pigments as well.

[0022] As recited above, the on/off switch 26 is preferably attached to the outside of the body 12 for enabling a kid or child B to easily turn on the doll 10 when the kid desires to make the doll 10 operational. The lips 16 are movable either as a single or coupled lip feature for enabling the simulation of speech. As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 2B, an exemplary configuration of the speech simulation is shown with a single lip 16 as a movable feature. As shown therein, the operative voice features are shown in a partial diagrammatic view of the mechanical features illustrated by the movable lip 16, cam apparatus 19 and motor 22 which are electrically coupled to the voice circuit module 24.

[0023] The cam apparatus 19 is attached to the lip portion 16 in a conventional fashion via a connecting rod 18 having first and second ends 18a and 18b, respectively, except that the cam 19 includes a recessed grove 19a in which the first end 18a of the rod is retained or constrained to move within a substantially elliptical pattern, and the second end 18b of the connecting rod 18 is fixed to a threaded lip connector 16b via fastener element 17. This connection serves to simulate speech via lip 16 movement thereby. The first end 18a of the rod 18 is preferably of cylindrical proportion, and the second end 18b of the rod 18 is substantially shaped to form a circular disc with a central aperture.

[0024] When the switch 16 is on, a pre-recorded voice is synchronized with the movement of lip 16 driven by the motor 22 and interconnect cam 19 via rotating rod 22a. The motor 22 and cam 19 assembly form a single integrated rotary connection with the lip 16. As recited above, the motor and voice module 24 can be configured to run as a coupled (synchronous) or decoupled (non-synchronous) system by a single switch or plurality of switches, respectively.

[0025] Operatively, the connecting rod 18 is used to attach the cam apparatus 19 to an interior portion of the lips 16 from a position located inside the head 14 for enabling movement of the lips to be controlled by the cam apparatus 19. The motor 22 is a conventional miniature motor which drives the cam 19 via rotating shaft 22a. The speed and power specifications of the motor are calibrated in relation with the voice modulation rate of the recorded message by the manufacturer or skilled artisan. The length of the shaft 22a is predetermined depending on the mounting placement of the motor within an interior portion of the body 12. However, it is preferred to have the cam 19 positioned slightly off center of a central axis X-X of the doll 10 or directly aligned with the connecting rod 16b in order to produce pure rotational motion on the ellipse of the cam 19. Accordingly, the motor 22 when activated moves the lips 16 via the cam apparatus 19 coincidentally with sound from the sound generating apparatus or module 28.

[0026] The sound generating apparatus 28 is a conventional means for generating sound. More specifically, the sound generating apparatus incorporates conventional technology, like a tape recorder or preferably a micro-chip recorder, for producing the sound of a number sequence from an individual's voice . The sound generating apparatus 28 preferably produces the sound of a girl's voice counting from one to twenty, and preferably includes a pause after each number for enabling a kid B to repeat each number recited by the voice.

[0027] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the sole embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.





 
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