Title:
Kinetic sculpture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A three dimensional structure having multiple turns about a longitudinal direction retains an object so that when spun, the object and the structure appear by illusion to be moving relative to the longitudinal direction. The structure is shaped either with varying longitudinal distances between consecutive turns, varying internal latitudinal width dimensions of the individual turns, or both. An object can be retained within the structure by having a dimension of the object greater than an internal latitudinal width of one of the multiple turns of the structure. By having an internal dimension of another one of the multiple turns and/or the longitudinal distance between two consecutive turns being greater than a dimension of the object, the object can be positioned inside of the structure to be retained by the structure even though both the structure and the object are made from non-resilient materials such as metal, glass, stiff plastic, etc.



Inventors:
Thompson, David A. (Ellensburg, WA, US)
Application Number:
10/830871
Publication Date:
12/30/2004
Filing Date:
04/23/2004
Assignee:
THOMPSON DAVID A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/22; (IPC1-7): A63H29/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE, LLP/SEATTLE (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:

The invention claimed is:



1. An illusion device for rotation, the illusion device comprising: a member having a plurality of non-cylindrical, helical turns around a longitudinal axis, each turn having at least one internal latitudinal width; and an object dimensioned according to the internal latitudinal width of one of the turns so that it is supported by the member at the turn.

2. The illusion device of claim 1 wherein the illusion device comprising a base with a rotatable portion, the member affixed to the rotatable portion.

3. The illusion device of claim 1 wherein the object is dimensioned to pass through a least one of the non-cylindrical turns.

4. The illusion device of claim 1 wherein the object is a sphere.

5. The illusion device of claim 1 wherein the illusion device comprising a flexible member configured to be coupled to the member and a support to allow the member to rotate about the longitudinal axis.

6. The illusion device of claim 5 wherein the flexible member is a string.

7. The illusion device of claim 1 wherein the member is rigid and the object is rigid.

8. The illusion device of claim 7 wherein the member is constructed of metal and the object is constructed of glass.

9. An illusion device for rotation, the illusion device comprising: a member having a plurality of cylindrical, non-helical turns around a longitudinal axis, each turn having at least one internal latitudinal width; and a object dimensioned according to the internal latitudinal widths of one of the turns so that it is supported by the member at the turn.

10. The illusion device of claim 9 wherein the object is dimensioned to pass through a longitudinal spacing between two consecutive of the non-helical turns.

11. The illusion device of claim 9 wherein the member is rigid and the object is rigid.

12. An illusion device for rotation, the illusion device comprising: a member having a plurality of non-helical, non-cylindrical turns around a longitudinal axis, each turn having at least one internal latitudinal width; and a object dimensioned according to the internal latitudinal widths of one of the turns so that it is supported by the member at the turn.

13. An illusion device for rotation, the illusion device comprising: a member having a plurality of non-cylindrical, helical turns around a longitudinal axis; and an object coupled to the member.

14. The illusion device of claim 13 wherein the object is coupled to the member with rods.

15. The illusion device of claim 13 wherein the object is coupled to the member with a flexible member.

16. The illusion device of claim 15 wherein the flexible member is a string.

17. An illusion device for rotation, the illusion device comprising: a member having a plurality of non-helical, cylindrical turns around a longitudinal axis; and an object coupled to the member.

18. An illusion device for rotation, the illusion device comprising: a member having a plurality of non-helical, non-cylindrical turns around a longitudinal axis; and an object coupled to the member.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

[0001] This application claims the benefit of Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/465,726, filed Apr. 25, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention is directed generally to illusion devices and, more particularly, to illusion devices involving movement.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] By definition, a helix is a three-dimensional curve that lies on a cylinder (a cylindrical helix) or cone (a conical helix) having a longitudinal axis wherein the angle that the curve makes with respect to a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the cylinder or cone is constant. In other words, it has a constant pitch or distance between adjacent loops. Certain helical devices that rotate are conventionally used for amusement, advertising, or other purposes since they foster desirable illusions. Such conventional rotating helical devices include a cylindrical helix device known as the barber-pole, which has helical stripes painted or otherwise incorporated onto the surface of a cylinder having the longitudinal axis of the cylinder oriented vertically. As is known, a rotating cylindrical helix, such as the barber pole rotating about its vertically oriented longitudinal axis, fosters an illusion of vertical movement of its painted stripes.

[0006] Another conventional illusion device involves a structure shaped as a cylindrical helix such that the structure appears to be a slightly stretched spring, having uniformly spaced and sized turns, even though the structure may be in fact rigid. When an object, such as a ball, is positioned relative to the structure, such as inside the structure, rotation of the cylindrical helix structure creates an illusion that the object and the cylindrical helix structure are moving relative to each other along the vertical longitudinal axis of the cylindrical helix structure.

[0007] If no dimensions of the object are larger than the inside diameter of the cylindrical helix structure, then in order to position the object inside the cylindrical helix structure, the object must be somehow affixed to the cylindrical helix structure with a support such as a string or translucent rod. If a dimension of the object is larger than the inside diameter of the cylindrical helix structure, then in order to position the object inside the cylindrical helix structure, the object, the cylindrical helix structure or both the object and the cylindrical helix structure need to be resilient rather than rigid in order to accommodate placement. As an unfortunate consequence of this requirement for rigidity, limitations exist for construction of such a conventional illusion device.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention resides in a illusion device. Aspects include a member having a plurality of non-cylindrical, helical turns around a longitudinal axis, each turn having at least one internal latitudinal width and an object dimensioned according to the internal latitudinal width of one of the turns so that it is supported by the member at the turn. Other aspects include wherein the illusion device comprising a base with a rotatable portion, the member affixed to the rotatable portion. Other aspects include wherein the object is dimensioned to pass through a least one of the non-cylindrical turns. Other aspects include wherein the object is a sphere. Other aspects include wherein the illusion device comprising a flexible member configured to be coupled to the member and a support to allow the member to rotate about the longitudinal axis. Other aspects include wherein the flexible member is a string. Other aspects include wherein the member is rigid and the object is rigid. Other aspects include wherein the member is constructed of metal and the object is constructed of glass.

[0009] Other aspects include a member having a plurality of cylindrical, non-helical turns around a longitudinal axis, each turn having at least one internal latitudinal width and a object dimensioned according to the internal latitudinal widths of one of the turns so that it is supported by the member at the turn. Other aspects include wherein the object is dimensioned to pass through a longitudinal spacing between two consecutive of the non-helical turns. Other aspects include wherein the member is rigid and the object is rigid.

[0010] Other aspects include a member having a plurality of non-helical, non-cylindrical turns around a longitudinal axis, each turn having at least one internal latitudinal width and a object dimensioned according to the internal latitudinal widths of one of the turns so that it is supported by the member at the turn.

[0011] Other aspects include a member having a plurality of non-cylindrical, helical turns around a longitudinal axis and an object coupled to the member. Other aspects include wherein the object is coupled to the member with rods. Other aspects include wherein the object is coupled to the member with a flexible member. Other aspects include wherein the flexible member is a string.

[0012] Other aspects include a member having a plurality of non-helical, cylindrical turns around a longitudinal axis and an object coupled to the member.

[0013] Other aspects include a member having a plurality of non-helical, non-cylindrical turns around a longitudinal axis and an object coupled to the member.

[0014] Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

[0015] FIG. 1A is an elevational view of a first implementation of an illusion device.

[0016] FIG. 1B is an elevational view of the first implementation of the illusion device rotated 90° from the elevational view of FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 1C is an elevational view of the first implementation of the illusion device rotated 90° from the elevational view of FIG. 2.

[0018] FIG. 1D is an elevational view of the first implementation of the illusion device rotated 90° from the elevational view of FIG. 3.

[0019] FIG. 2 is an elevational view of a second implementation of the illusion device with a portion of the device having a constant internal latitudinal width and a gradual change in longitudinal spacing of turns.

[0020] FIG. 3 is an elevational view of a third implementation of the illusion device with a portion of the device having a constant internal latitudinal width and a more dramatic change in longitudinal spacing of turns compare with that of the second implementation depicted in FIG. 2.

[0021] FIG. 4 is an elevational view of a fourth implementation of the illusion device with a portion of the device having a gradual change in internal latitudinal width and a constant longitudinal spacing of turns.

[0022] FIG. 5 is an elevational view of a fifth implementation of the illusion device with a portion of the device having a more dramatic change in internal latitudinal width compared with that of the fourth implementation depicted in FIG. 4 and a constant longitudinal spacing of turns.

[0023] FIG. 6 is an elevational view of a sixth implementation of the illusion device with a portion of the device having a more dramatic change internal latitudinal width and a gradual change in longitudinal spacing of turns.

[0024] FIG. 7 is an elevational view of a seventh implementation of the illusion device with a first portion of the device having a dramatic decrease in internal latitudinal width and a gradual decrease in longitudinal spacing of turns and a second portion of the device having a dramatic increase in internal latitudinal width and a gradual increase in longitudinal spacing of turns.

[0025] FIG. 8 is an elevational view of an eighth implementation of the illusion device holding two objects.

[0026] FIG. 9 is an elevational view of a ninth implementation of the illusion device being supported by a base and having a non-spheroid object.

[0027] FIG. 10 is an elevational view of a tenth implementation of the illusion device having an object supported by a string.

[0028] FIG. 11 is an elevational view of an eleventh implementation of the illusion device having an object supported by rods.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0029] As will be discussed in greater detail herein, a three dimensional structure having multiple circular or non-circular turns about a longitudinal axis and extending in the longitudinal direction retains one or more objects so that when spun about the longitudinal axis, the one or more objects and the structure appear, according to an illusion, to be moving relative to the longitudinal axis and/or each other. The structure is shaped either with varying pitch or longitudinal distances between consecutive turns (wherein the structure is other than a helix even if it has circular turns), with varying internal latitudinal width, or transverse, dimensions of the individual turns (wherein if the structure has circular turns with some implementations it may be a conical helix if the longitudinal distances between consecutive turns is constant and in other implementations it is other than a helix), or with both varying pitch or longitudinal distances between consecutive turns and varying latitudinal width dimensions of the individual turns (wherein the structure is other than a helix even if it has circular turns). The various shapes of the structure found in the implementations is different that conventional illusion devices including conventional cylindrical helixes. Consequently, when rotated, the structure and the one or more objects allow for an illusionary presentation that is also different than the conventional illusion devices.

[0030] Retention of an object placed within the structure is accomplished in some implementations by having a dimension of the object (such as the diameter, if the object is a sphere) being greater than an internal latitudinal width of one of the multiple turns of the structure (such as the internal diameter if one of the multiple turns is circular). By having an internal dimension of another one of the multiple turns and/or the longitudinal distance between two consecutive turns being greater than a dimension of the object, the object can be positioned inside of the structure to be retained by the structure as described even though both the structure and the object are made from non-resilient materials such as metal, glass, stiff plastic, etc.

[0031] An implementation of an illusion device 10 is shown in FIG. 1A as having a three-dimensional member 12 with a series of turns 14 about a longitudinal axis 16 shown as being generally vertically oriented. The implementation of the member 12 is shown as having a suspension portion 18 (such as a hook shaped portion as depicted) to which is affixed a string 20, or other flexible member, used in this implementation to suspend the member for rotation from a relatively stationary (i.e., sharing the same translational movement, if any, as the member) mass (e.g., a ceiling, a stand, an affixed arm mechanism, an earlobe, or any other support appropriate for suspension of the member). Other implementations are considered that use other ways of suspending the member 12 including those involving swiveling mechanisms, which do not require the hook shape of the member, or other ways to allow the member to be suspended while having freedom of motion to rotate about the longitudinal axis 16 as shown by rotation arrows 22. Propulsion for rotation of the member 12 includes a simple twisting of the string 20, a propeller or other device coupled to the member to catch air current or a mechanized device such as a motor coupled to the member. Other methods of propulsion are considered as long as sufficient and sustained force is imparted to the member 12 to cause rotation of the member for a desired amount of time for an illusion to be observed.

[0032] In the implementation shown in FIG. 1A, the member 12 holds an object 24 (the object in this implementation being a sphere) at a cradle portion 26 on the member 12. The cradle portion 26 has one or more of the turns 14 with internal dimensions sufficiently small relative to one or more dimensions of the object (the diameter of the sphere in this implementation) such that the object is retained by the one or more turns at the cradle portion. FIGS. 1A-1D show the member 12 holding the object 24 in four successive 90° rotational positions about the longitudinal axis 16 as indicated by rotational position indicator 27 in an attempt to portray an illusory quality of the object appearing to move with respect to the member along the longitudinal axis and each appearing to move up or down with respect to the longitudinal axis, depending on the direction of rotation and whether the spiral is clockwise or counterclockwise when viewed from above.

[0033] A second implementation of member 12 is depicted in FIG. 2 as having progressively smaller pitch or longitudinal spacing, G, between turns 14 in a direction descending along the longitudinal axis 16 such that the longitudinal spacing G12 between turn 14-1 and turn 14-2 is greater than the longitudinal spacing G23 between turn 14-2 and turn 14-3, and so on. Consequently, the turns 14 of the second implementation can be described as being non-helical. In this second implementation, the internal latitudinal width, W, for all of the turns 14 of the member 12 remains constant. Consequently, the turns 14 of the second implementation can be described as being cylindrical as well as being non-helical. The turns 14 are depicted in this second implementation as being circular so that the internal latitudinal width is the diameter of the circular turns less the thickness of the member 12. Here the longitudinal pitch or spacing G12 between turn 14-1 and turn 14-2 is sufficiently large to allow the object 24, being a sphere with a diameter Ds larger than the inner internal latitudinal width, W, to be inserted in the member 12 to be retained by turn 14-2 even though both the member and the object may be made out of a non-resilient material such as metal, glass, stiff plastic, etc.

[0034] A third implementation of member 12, shown in FIG. 3, is similar to the second implementation, in that the turns 14 are cylindrical and non-helical, although there exists a more dramatic change in the pitch or longitudinal spacing of the turns 14. Also, in the third implementation, the longitudinal spacing G23 is sufficiently large to allow the object 24 to be retained by turn 14-3, which does not have a subsequent turn 14-4.

[0035] A fourth implementation of member 12 is depicted in FIG. 4 as having the longitudinal spacing, G, between each pair of consecutive turns 14, such as the longitudinal spacing G12 between turns 14-1 and 14-2 and the longitudinal spacing G23 between turns 14-2 and 14-3 remains constant and smaller than the largest dimension of the object 24 (in this case diameter Ds since the depicted object is a sphere). Consequently, the turns 14 of the fourth implementation can be described as being helical. On the other hand, the member 12 of the fourth implementation has a progressively smaller internal latitudinal width, W, of the turns 14 in a direction descending along the longitudinal axis 16 such that the internal latitudinal width, W1, of turn 14-1 is greater than the diameter Ds of the object 24, but the internal latitudinal width, W2, of turn 14-2 is smaller than the diameter Ds. Consequently, the object 24 can be inserted into the member 12 and retained by the turn 14-2 of the member even though both the member and the object may be made out of a non-resilient material such as metal, glass, stiff plastic, etc. Also, the turns 14 of the fourth implementation can be described as being non-cylindrical as well as being helical.

[0036] A fifth implementation of member 12, shown in FIG. 5, is similar to the fourth implementation in that the turns 14 can be described as being helical and non-cylindrical although there exists a more dramatic change in internal latitudinal width of various of the turns.

[0037] A sixth implementation of member 12, shown in FIG. 6, has a similar non-helical nature of the varying longitudinal spacing of the turns 14 of the second and third implementations and has a similar non-cylindrical nature of the varying internal latitudinal width of the turns of the second and third implementations. The object 24 generally can be inserted into the member 12 either where the longitudinal spacing between two successive of the turns 14 is larger than the object or where one or more of the internal latitudinal widths of the turns closest to the suspension portion 18 of the member are larger than the object. The object 24 will be generally retained on a first one of the turns 14 (in the depicted sixth implementation, turn 14-3) having an internal latitudinal width smaller than a dimension of the object (in the depicted sixth implementation, the diameter Ds since the object is a sphere) and where the longitudinal spacing between this first turn (in the depicted sixth implementation, the turn 14-3) and the adjacent turn immediately above (in the depicted sixth implementation, the turn 14-2) is also smaller than a dimension of the object (in the depicted sixth implementation, the diameter Ds) as positioned.

[0038] A seventh implementation of the member 12, shown in FIG. 7, has a similarly non-helical varying longitudinal spacing and similarly non-cylindrical varying latitudinal width of the turns 14 as the sixth implementation generally from the suspension portion 18 down at least to where the object 24 is being held (in this depicted seventh implementation, the turn 14-3) and down past approximately another one of the turns (in this depicted seventh implementation, the turn 14-4). A portion of the member 12 extending further from the turn 14-4 away from the suspension portion 18 then progressively increases in both longitudinal spacing between the turns 14 and the internal latitudinal widths of the individual turns for another illusory effect.

[0039] An eighth implementation of the member 12, shown in FIG. 8, has the object 24 and a second smaller object 28 that is consequently held a turn farther from the suspension portion 18 to produce another illusory effect. This eighth implementation exemplifies a concept that a multitude of objects may be held by various implementations of the member 12 depending upon dimensioning of the objects and the member.

[0040] As mentioned, not all implementations of the member 12 suspend the member from the suspension portion. Other implementations such as found in the ninth implementation, shown in FIG. 9, support the member 12 from a base 30 having a rotatable portion 32 being affixed generally to a portion of the member at or near an end of the member opposite the suspension portion 18. The rotatable portion 32 generally is turned by mechanized devices, such as a motor, spring driven mechanism, or other means of propulsion. Also depicted by the ninth implementation, the object 24 need not be a sphere, but can be of any shape that is dimensioned to allow support by the member 12 or other support as described below.

[0041] In a tenth implementation, shown in FIG. 10, the object 24 has dimensions of insufficient size to be held directly by the member 12. In this tenth implementation, the object 24 is held by a string 34 affixed to and extending downward through the turns 14 from the suspension portion 18.

[0042] In an eleventh implementation, shown in FIG. 11, the object 24 also has dimensions of insufficient size to be held directly by the member 12. In this eleventh implementation, the object 24 is held by translucent supports 36 that are affixed directly to the member 12.

[0043] In the above discussion, it has been mentioned that the member 12 and the object 24 can both be made of out non-resilient material. On the other hand, one or both of the member 12 and the object 24 can be made out of resilient material. The novel shapes of implementations of the member 12 contribute to illusionary presentations that are not the same as those produced by conventional devices, such as conventional cylindrical helixes. Consequently, the illusion device 10 involves both unique aspects regarding materials allowable for construction and also allows for unique presentations having illusory qualities in addition to aspects regarding types of materials used.

[0044] From the foregoing it will be appreciated that, although specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.