Title:
Collapsible toy hoop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible toy hoop having a circular open position that may be whirled about ones body for entertainment and exercise activities. The flexible hoop may be collapsed down from the open position into 3 smaller concentric sub-hoops to facilitate ease of storage and transportability.



Inventors:
Campbell, Phillip John (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/346469
Publication Date:
08/07/2003
Filing Date:
01/17/2003
Assignee:
CAMPBELL PHILLIP JOHN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B19/00; (IPC1-7): A63H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FRANCIS, FAYE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PHILLIP JOHN COMPBELL (Raleigh, NC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A collapsible toy hoop for whirling about ones body for entertainment and exercise activities, comprising: a hoop member formed of a flexible material having a periphery defining a normal circular open position, the hoop member having a prestressing establishing said open position so as to permit collapsing of said hoop into three concentric subhoops to permit compact storage and transportability.

2. A collapsible toy hoop for whirling about ones body for entertainment and exercise activities, comprising; a one piece elongated nylon tube having an elliptical cross section having opposite ends joined by the insertion and mechanical fastening of a friction fitted bridging member to provide a circular hoop and a stressed condition therein to maintain a circular shape.

3. The toy hoop as recited in claim 2 wherein said cross section has a height to width aspect ratio in the range of 2:1 to 3:1.

4. The collapsible toy hoop as recited in claim 2 wherein said nylon material is nylon 6/6.

Description:

[0001] This Non-Provisional Application is referenced by Provisional Application No. 60/350,832 Filing Date Jan. 22, 2002 by Phillip John Campbell titled Collapsible Toy Hoop.

BACKGROUND AND FIELD OF INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to hoops that are used as toys and exercise equipment. Historically hoops of this nature have been constructed from a rigid linear hollow circular plastic tubing of a specified length. The length of tubing is formed into a circle and the two ends are fasted together to make a rigid ring or hoop that can whirled about one hips for entertainment or exercise purposes. These types of hoops are not designed to collapse, are large and difficult to store and tote about when not in use. U.S. Pat. No. 5,569,134 by Nordanger shows a collapsible hoop that is constructed of a series of short tubes joined together and positively held in place by an elastic chord (shock chord) that is threaded through each tube section. The series of tubes may be assemble to form a hoop or dismantled to facilitate compactness. This type of hoop takes time to assemble and disassemble and can occupy a relatively voluminous space when in the collapsed condition. This type of hoop may also spring partially open if not contained. U.S. Pat. No. 5,490,806 issued to Spector shows a flying toy that can be used as a toy hoop when deployed from a collapsed condition. This type of hoop is constructed of spring steel that can be collapsed down into three concentric subhoops such as a band saw blade when packaged. The hoop is covered with a fabric material that acts as an airfoil to lend flying disc like properties to the toy when collapsed. This type of device may rust if rained upon and the deployment of the collapsed hoop (because of the inherent characteristics of spring steel) may be sudden.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0003] Accordingly, it is the object of the present invention to provide a collapsible toy hoop that alleviates the problems discussed above. It is another object of the present invention to provide a collapsible toy hoop that:

[0004] a. Is inexpensive to make,

[0005] b. is light and easy to deploy,

[0006] c. is easy to collapse,

[0007] d. can be readily toted about in the collapsed condition,

[0008] e. can be made of a single piece of material,

[0009] f provides great weather ability without corrosion,

[0010] g. provides an improvement over existing toy hoops and more particularly a toy hoop that is constructed of a plastic material having memory retaining characteristics whereby the hoop maintains a stable at rest condition in the open and collapsed condition.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 2 is a plan view of the toy hoop of the present invention after assembly in the open or deployed condition;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a dowel used in assembly of the hoop;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a plan view of the present invention in the partially collapsed condition;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the present invention in the collapsed condition;

[0015] FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 show the hoop of the present invention being collapsed from an open condition to a closed condition.

DESCRIPTION FIGS. 1-8

[0016] A typical embodiment of a toy hoop of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6. Referring to FIG. 1. FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a hollow linear 30 degree elliptical tube extrusion of flexible memory retaining plastic material 22 such as nylon that is 96 inches in total over all length. A 96 inch tube will form a ring of 30 inches in diameter. The preferred ellipse profile will prevent crimping of the tube 22 during the collapsing effort .The preferred profile has a height to width aspect ratio of approximately 2:1 to aid in the collapsing of the device. This aspect ratio prevents the material from twisting or turning about its axis of the profile during the collapsing effort. The dimensions of the ellipse are 1 ⅜ in height by {fraction (11/16)} in width with a wall thickness of {fraction (1/16)} of an inch. Referring to FIG. 2. FIG. 2 shows a plan view of linear extrusion 22 formed into a 30 inch hoop 20 by bringing the opposite ends of linear extrusion 22 together and suitable connecting thereat 24. The connection 24 may be accomplished using a variety of means.

[0017] Referring to FIG. 3. FIG. 3 shows a downsized dowel rod 27 as one means used to connect the two ends of tube 22 together. This method may be accomplished by inserting an elliptical friction fitting downsized dowel rod 27 of approximately 2 inches in length half way into one end of tube 22 and mechanically fastening the dowel thereat with a staple 32 at location 26 then by inserting the remaining exposed half of dowel rod 27 into the opposing tube end 29 and fastening with a staple 32 thereat. The inserted dowel is indicated by hidden object hash lines on FIG. 2 at connection point 24. Referring to FIG. 4. FIG. 4 show the hoop 20 in a partially collapsed condition forming a figure eight shape. FIG. 5. shows hoop 20 in the completely collapsed condition having three concentric sub-hoop loops. FIG. 6, FIG. 7, and FIG. 8 show the hoop being collapsed.

[0018] Operation and Use

[0019] Referring to FIG. 2. assembled hoop 20 may now be whirled about ones hips for play or exercise purposes or any number of other uses such as a pet training device. After use hoop 20 may be collapsed by grasping opposite sides of hoop 20 and diametrically twisting hoop 20 to form a figure eight condition and further collapsing said figure eight condition down into 3 concentric sub-hoops for compact toting and storage see FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The present invention relies on the flexible and memory retaining characteristics of certain types of spring like materials such as spring steel, polycarbonate or other thermoplastic materials such as nylon. The preferred material for use in the construction of the collapsible toy hoop of the present embodiment of the present invention is Nylon. And more specifically Nylon Type 6/6. Nylon 6/6 has resilient spring like characteristics that make it suitable for the use in the construction of the present invention in that this material succumbs to the forces of creep when the hoop is in the open and closed condition. That is to say that the hoop reaches a stable condition in the open position and maintains this open characteristic memory. The hoop also attains a stable condition in the collapsed condition and maintains this collapsed characteristic memory. The stable condition which occurs in both the open and closed condition prevents an explosive uncontrollable deployment of the device when one is opening the toy for play. The creep memory that prevails in the closed condition holds the device in the collapsed condition without the need of a retaining device or carrying case. When deploying the toy for use the user may grasp two opposite sides of the collapsed hoop and reversibly rotate the sections until the restoring force memory of the hoop in the open condition takes over. This is termed the deployment or collapsing threshold. The deployment or collapsing threshold will be experience at near the half way point of either the collapsing or deployment articulation. Nylon 6/6 also has a relatively high melt point and will not become overly limber or limp when heated under normal atmospheric conditions. Heating of some materials may cause a hoop made from a different type of plastic material such as polypropylene to anneal in the closed condition making it nearly impossible to deploy or cause the material to hold an unusable serpentine or wavy shape when deployment is finally accomplished. The preferred material Nylon 6/6 is also rigid to the degree that it will provide satisfactory performance without excessive deformation caused by centrifugal forces during the whirling of the device around ones body.

Summary, Ramifications and Scope

[0021] It is to be understood that the hoop of the present invention may be constructed from numerous profiles such as rectangular, oval, square, circular, egg shape, teardrop, crescent, reversed crescent, figure eight, diamond etc. or with any number of crimp preventative features designed into the hoop as might be neccessary depending on the desired characteristics of the hoop. The hoop may be constructed as a solid extrusion as well in the shape of a rod or bar configuration. In conjunction a resilient foam like material may be sleeved over the hoop material to lend softening or floatation characteristics to the toy of the present invention. It will be noted that variations in the design and construction of the present invention will not effect the true spirit and scope of the present invention. The reader will see that the collapsible toy hoop of the present invention can be used for a variety of activites and that because of the compact nature of the device that it may be easily stored and transported. The hoop of the present invention collapses down to approximately ⅓ its open size and may be easily transported in a child's backpack