Title:
Table tennis wireless scoring system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wireless scoring system for a game, such as table tennis. The scoring system is mounted to or adjacent the table tennis table. The scoring system includes a casing with a first display showing the first team's score and a second display showing the second team's score. The first and second displays are connected to a controller and a signal receiver configured to receive a first scoring signal and a second scoring signal. Each team is provided with a transmitter for sending a first signal or second signal. Upon activation, the transmitter sends a signal to the scoring signal receiver and controller to add one point to the corresponding score. After each five serves, the scoring system produces a signal to indicate a change of service. When one team reaches twenty-one or higher with a lead of two, the scoring system generates a game over signal.



Inventors:
Allshouse, James R. (Newburgh, IN, US)
Dadbeh, Bermanali H. (Encinitas, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/900571
Publication Date:
01/09/2003
Filing Date:
07/06/2001
Assignee:
ALLSHOUSE JAMES R.
DADBEH BERMANALI H.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/04; A63B71/04; A63B71/06; (IPC1-7): A63B67/04; A63B71/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DOLINAR, ANDREW M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas Q. Henry (Indianapolis, IN, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A wireless scoring system for a table tennis game, comprising: a) a first score display displaying a first score; b) a second score display displaying a second score; c) a scoring signal receiver; d) a first scoring signal transmitter selectively operable to wirelessly transmit a first scoring signal; e) a second scoring signal transmitter selectively operable to wirelessly transmit a second scoring signal; and, f) a controller coupled to said scoring signal receiver, said first score display and said second score display, wherein said scoring signal receiver is configured to receive said first scoring signal and said second scoring signal and communicate each received signal to said controller, and wherein said controller raises the score on said first score display upon receiving said first scoring signal and wherein said controller raises the score displayed on said second score display upon receiving said second score signal.

2. The scoring system of claim 1 further comprising a reset mechanism coupled to said controller for resetting said first score and said second score to zero.

3. The scoring system of claim 2 further comprising a mechanism coupled to said controller for selectively adjusting said first score or said second score.

4. The scoring system of claim 3 wherein said mechanism for selectively adjusting the score comprises a score reset button operable to delete the score from most recent scoring signal received.

5. The scoring system of claim 1 wherein said scoring signal receiver is a radio frequency receiver configured to receive said first scoring signal on a first radio frequency and said second scoring signal on a second radio frequency.

6. The scoring system of claim 5 wherein said first scoring signal transmitter comprises a radio frequency transmitter configured to transmit on said first radio frequency and a signal activator to activate said radio frequency transmitter.

7. The scoring system of claim 6 wherein said signal activator is a push button.

8. The scoring system of claim 6 further comprising a change of serve indicator coupled to said controller, wherein said controller defines a score tally variable, initially equal to zero, which is raised by one each time said controller receives a first scoring signal or a second scoring signal, and wherein said change of serve indicator is activated and said score tally is reset to zero each time said score tally equals five.

9. The scoring system of claim 8 wherein said change of serve indicator comprises a speaker or buzzer.

10. The scoring system of claim 8 further comprising an end of game indicator coupled to said controller wherein said end of game indicator is activated upon the first of said first score or second score totaling 21 or greater with the difference between said first score and said second score equal to 2 or greater.

11. The scoring system of claim 10 wherein said end of game indicator comprises a speaker or buzzer.

12. The scoring system of claim 1 wherein said first score display and said second score display are digital.

13. A wireless scoring system for a game, comprising: a) a first score display displaying a first score; b) a second score display displaying a second score; c) a first scoring signal transmitter selectively operable to transmit a first scoring signal; d) a second scoring signal transmitter selectively operable to transmit a second scoring signal; e) a scoring signal receiver wherein said scoring receiver is configured to receive at least a first scoring signal and a second scoring signal; and, f) a controller coupled to said scoring signal receiver, said first score display and said second score display, wherein said scoring signal receiver communicates each received scoring signal to said controller, and wherein said controller raises the score on said first score display upon receiving said first scoring signal and wherein said controller raises the score displayed on said second score display upon receiving said second score signal.

14. The scoring system of claim 13 wherein said scoring signal receiver is a radio frequency receiver configured to receive said first scoring signal on a first radio frequency and said second scoring signal on a second radio frequency.

15. The scoring system of claim 14 wherein said first scoring signal transmitter comprises a radio frequency transmitter configured to transmit on said first radio frequency, and a signal activator to activate said radio frequency transmitter.

16. The scoring system of claim 13 further comprising a change of serve indicator coupled to said controller.

17. The scoring system of claim 13 further comprising an end of game indicator coupled to said controller.

18. A table tennis game system including a wireless scoring system, comprising: a) a table tennis table; b) a first score display displaying a first score mounted adjacent said table tennis table; c) a second score display displaying a second score mounted adjacent said table tennis table; d) a controller mounted adjacent said table tennis table and operably connected to said first score display and said second score display; e) a first scoring radio signal transmitter selectively operable to transmit a first scoring radio signal; and, f) a second scoring radio signal transmitter selectively operable to transmit a second scoring radio signal; and, g) a radio receiver coupled to said controller, wherein said radio receiver is configured to receive said first scoring radio signal and said second scoring radio signal and communicate each signal to said controller, and wherein said controller raises the score on said first score display upon receiving said first scoring signal and wherein said controller raises the score displayed on said second score display upon receiving said second score signal.

19. The scoring system of claim 18 further comprising a reset mechanism coupled to said scoring signal receiver for resetting said first score and said second score to zero.

20. The scoring system of claim 19 further comprising a mechanism coupled to said scoring signal receiver for selectively adjusting said first score or said second score.

21. The scoring system of claim 20 further comprising a battery coupled to said scoring signal radio receiver.

22. The scoring system of claim 21 further comprising a change of serve indicator coupled to said scoring signal receiver.

23. The scoring system of claim 22 further comprising an end of game indicator coupled to said scoring signal receiver

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention deals with scoring of games, such as table tennis, and more particularly, provides a wireless transmitter and receiver system for conveniently tracking a game's score.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The game of table tennis has been popular in the U.S. and internationally for over a hundred years. When typically played by two teams of one or two players each, the game involves a table with two sides, a net, a hollow ball and one paddle or racquet per player. A typical game is scored until one player reaches 21 or higher with a lead of at least 2, and the serve typically switches teams after every five serves. Often, when played at an amateur level, the score from point to point is merely remembered by each player along with the number of serves before service is changed. Although usually a reliable system, if a player is distracted or the player's concentration is broken, it may lead to the player misremembering the score or forgetting to change service. Conversely, if a player is concentrating on the score, it may distract the player's attention from the game in progress. Accordingly, there is a need for an improved method of keeping score for a table tennis game and to indicate when to change service.

[0003] Various people have suggested methods for keeping track of a game's score. Often such methods have included score sheets, score card arrangements, dials or similar manual counters. Further alternatives such as U.S. Pat. No. 4,491,954 or U.S. Pat. No. 5,733,210 have suggested electronic score keeping methods, for example, where each player presses a button mounted on the table upon scoring a point. Although reducing the risk for confusion, such mechanisms have involved extra effort, potentially bulky and obstructive equipment and have disrupted the flow of the game while a player moves to the appropriate location to record the change in score.

[0004] The present invention addresses these concerns.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] A preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a wireless scoring system for a game, such as table tennis. The scoring system preferably is mounted to or adjacent the table tennis table. The scoring system includes a casing with a first display showing the first team's score and a second display showing the second team's score. Both the first and the second display are connected to a controller and a scoring signal receiver configured to receive a first scoring signal and a second scoring signal.

[0006] During play of the game, each team is provided with a scoring transmitter capable of transmitting a corresponding first signal or second signal. Each scoring signal transmitter preferably includes a small transmitter, a power supply such as a battery and an activating mechanism such as a button or switch. At the completion of each point, the winning team activates its transmitter.

[0007] When activated, the transmitter sends a signal which the scoring signal receiver receives and the controller processes to add one point to the corresponding displayed score. After each five serves, the scoring system produces a signal, such as audible tones, to indicate it is time for change of service. When one team reaches twenty-one or higher with a lead of a least two, the scoring system generates a game over signal.

[0008] Upon the completion of a game or a choice to restart a game, a game reset mechanism is included which resets each team's score to zero. In case of accidental activation, the scoring system includes a score adjustment mechanism which cancels the last scoring signal received by the system and deletes the most recently credited score. In a preferred embodiment, the scoring system transmitter and receiver use low powered radio frequency signals to communicate.

[0009] It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved game scoring system.

[0010] It is a preferred object of the present invention to provide an improved table tennis game scoring system.

[0011] A further preferred object of the present invention is to provide an improved wireless scoring system to efficiently record and monitor a game's score without disrupting the game.

[0012] Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention shall become apparent from the detailed drawings and descriptions provided herein.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is an illustration of a table tennis table according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 is an alternate view of the table tennis table illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0015] FIG. 3 is an illustration of a pedestal of the table tennis table illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a detail view of one side of the scoring system casing mounted on the pedestal illustrated in FIG. 3.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a detail view of the opposite side of the scoring system casing illustrated in FIG. 4.

[0018] FIG. 6A is an illustration of a wireless transmitter according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 6B is a cut-away illustration of the wireless transmitter illustrated in FIG. 6A.

[0020] FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a scoring system according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 8 is a logic diagram illustrating the logical rules stored in the controller for a game of table tennis according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0022] For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations, modifications, and further applications of the principles of the invention being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

[0023] According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, an improved scoring system is provided for use during a game such as table tennis. The system includes a wireless transmitter or remote provided to each team at the beginning of the game and a wireless receiver and controller operatively connected to a point display for each team. At the end of each point, the winning team activates its remote to record a point on the corresponding score display. The system includes change of team and end of game signals.

[0024] In one preferred embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 1-2, a table tennis table 10 is provided with scoring system 20. Scoring system 20 includes a casing 21 mounted to or adjacent pedestal 12 of table tennis table 10. Inside casing 21 are an antenna and controller (see below) configured to receive a first scoring signal from the first team's remote/transmitter 50 and/or a second scoring signal from the second team's remote/transmitter 50. As shown in FIGS. 3-5, on symmetric sides of electronic casing 21 are first display 24 and second display 28 arranged to display the respective scores of team one and team two. First display 24 and second display 28 are preferably digital number read outs such as LEDs, LCDs, fiber optics or similar displays which can be easily read from a distance. First display 24 and second display 28 are operatively coupled to the controller.

[0025] Also illustrated in detail in FIGS. 4 and 5, mounted on casing 21 are a game reset button 32 which can be used to reset both team's scores to zero, and a score adjustment mechanism, preferably a score reset button 34. In a preferred embodiment, a signaling device 30 such as a speaker, beeper, buzzer or light is located in or adjacent to casing 21. Preferred signals include audible tones with one or more notes and/or flashing lights with sufficient volume and/or brightness to attract the player's attention when the signal is given, but without breaking a player's concentration. In an alternate embodiment, a volume control can be used to select the desired sound volume.

[0026] Illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, in a complete and a cut-away view, is one embodiment of a wireless scoring signal transmitter/remote 50 according to the present invention. Two physically identical remotes 50 are included with the scoring system 20. One remote 50 is provided to each team or its designated scorekeeper. Each remote 50 includes an activating mechanism such as a button or switch 52, a power supply such as a battery 54 and a low powered wireless radio frequency transmitter 56. The first remote 50 is configured to send a first signal on the first team's frequency, and the second remote 50 is configured to send a second signal on the second team's frequency. In alternate embodiments, wireless signals can be sent using other signal types such as infrared or ultrasonic signals.

[0027] A block diagram of a preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 7, and the system scoring logic, stored in controller 22, is illustrated in FIG. 8. Before play, the system is powered on, block 100, and each team's score variable and the serve tally are set to zero, block 105. Upon activation of remote 50, radio frequency transmitter 56 sends a wireless signal, which is detected and received by antenna 23, step 110. Antenna/receiver 23 communicates the signal to controller 22, which determines whether it is the first team's signal, step 120, or alternately that it is the second team's signal. Controller 22 then operates to add one point to the corresponding first team's score, block 122, or the second team's score, block 132. The new score is shown on the corresponding display panel 24 or 28. When controller 22 raises a team's score, the serve variable is also raised by one, block 122 or 132.

[0028] After recording a raise in a team's score, controller 22 checks whether that team's score is over twenty-one with a lead of a least two, steps 124 and 134. If the team's score is not over twenty-one with a lead of at least two, the controller checks whether the serve variable equals five, step 140. If the serve variable does not equal five, the system returns to await a scoring signal, block 110. If the serve variable equals five, controller 22 sends a change of serve signal through signaling device 30, and resets the serve variable to zero, step 150. The system then returns to await a scoring signal, block 110.

[0029] After one team reaches a score of 21 or higher with a lead of at least two, block 124 or 134, the scoring system sends a game over signal, step 160, to signaling device 30. The game is then over, block 170, and the final scores are shown on displays 24 and 28. To prepare for the next game, game reset button 34 may be pressed. Game reset button 34 returns controller 22 to step 105, to reset each team's score and the serve tally to zero. Preferably, after a period of inactivity, such as ten minutes, the system automatically powers off.

[0030] In case of accidental activation of a wireless transmitter 50, score reset button 32 can be pressed. Score reset button 32 instructs controller 22 to remove the most recent point added to the scoring displays and correspondingly reduces the serve variable. Although a simple one-button mechanism is sufficient, score adjustment mechanism 32 can include multiple buttons or a keypad for various adjustment functions. The score reset and game reset functions override the normal scoring logic of FIG. 8.

[0031] Scoring system 20 further includes a power supply 35 which powers antenna 23, controller 22 and score displays 24 and 28. Power supply 35 is preferably a battery supply and could use, for example, a standard 9-volt battery or several standard 1.5-volt C or D batteries. Alternatively, power supply 35 could be a transformer connected to an electrical socket.

[0032] The transmitter and receiver of the present invention are preferably low powered radio frequency devices transmitting in a frequency range near 916.5 Mhz, with a range extending generally a few feet or yards, such as 15 meters, to encompass the table tennis table area and a team's normal range of motion while playing and/or retrieving a ball. The transmitters preferably have a voltage of 6 volts or less, preferably using replaceable 3 volt lithium batteries.

[0033] Although not illustrated, in alternate embodiments, the present invention could be used on various types of games where two teams need to record their scores. Examples of such games include tennis, basketball, table hockey, table soccer or foosball and similar games. In such games, the scoring displays can be mounted adjacent the game playing area, with the corresponding logic stored in the controller and appropriate signals generated for scoring, end of game, change of team, as appropriate may be included.

[0034] While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiment has been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.