Title:
Ultrasonic toy for animals
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An ultrasonic toy for animals is comprised of a noisemaker arranged to produce ultrasonic noise at about 30 to 70 dB, which is loud enough to be clearly heard by an animal but not enough to be aversive, frightening or harmful to the animal. The noisemaker is comprised of a resonance tube attached to an air bladder. The resonance tube includes a closed outer end, an axial hole open to the inner end, and a notch on a side wall communicating with the hole. An insert is positioned inside the hole. Keys in the hole and the insert align the insert radially and longitudinally within the hole. An alternative noisemaker is comprised of an electronic transducer driven by an oscillator which is activated by a pressure sensitive switch. An alternative air bladder includes a recess wherein the resonance tube is positioned to protect it from being dislodged or blocked.



Inventors:
Hall, Michael (San Francisco, CA, US)
Yau, Simon (Kowloon, HK)
Bech, Kirsten (Hampton, VA, US)
Hill, Andrew (Lake Oswego, OR, US)
Dong, Andy (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/739663
Publication Date:
06/23/2005
Filing Date:
12/18/2003
Assignee:
HALL MICHAEL
YAU SIMON
BECH KIRSTEN
HILL ANDREW
DONG ANDY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H5/00; A63H33/40; G10K5/02; (IPC1-7): A63H33/40; A63H5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090176436Toy disc and methodJuly, 2009Stark
20070252328Portable amusement apparatusNovember, 2007Mendoza et al.
20060094326Electromotive toy processor with voice synchronisationMay, 2006Chen
20090253347BIRDMANOctober, 2009Byrd
20070054587Remote control stream dispensing toyMarch, 2007Myers
20070105480Kit for making a toy gun, including instructionsMay, 2007Raviele
20080274665Building base plates assembled to build block sets in two or three dimensional configurationsNovember, 2008Cheng
20070022642Gesturing inflatable dollFebruary, 2007Hsu
20080132142Disc and a method for using sameJune, 2008Frybarger
20060079148Toy with spherical-shaped objectApril, 2006Walraven et al.
20090081918Largre hollow wooden building blocksMarch, 2009Shen Jr.



Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHARLES L. THOEMING, ESQ. (LAFAYETTE, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An ultrasonic toy for animals, comprising: a noisemaker arranged to produce ultrasonic noise at about to 30 to 70 dB when measured about 6 inches away, which is high enough to be clearly heard by a predetermined type of animal, but low enough not to be aversive to said animal when producing said ultrasonic noise close to said animal's ears.

2. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 1, wherein said noisemaker is arranged to produce acoustic frequencies of between about 20 kHz and about 50 kHz.

3. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 1, wherein said noisemaker is comprised of a resonance tube attached to an air bladder.

4. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 1, wherein said noisemaker is comprised of a resonance tube attached to an air bladder, said resonance tube is comprised of: a hollow tube with an open inner end connected to said air bladder; a closed outer end; a triangular notch on a wall of said hollow tube; an insert inside said hollow tube; and a gap between said insert and said hollow tube defining a channel between said open inner end of said hollow tube and said notch.

5. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 1, wherein said noisemaker is comprised of a transducer driven by an oscillator, and a pressure sensitive switch connected to said oscillator.

6. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 1, further including a plush covering surrounding said noisemaker.

7. An ultrasonic toy for animals, comprising: an air bladder with a recess; and a resonance tube connected to said air bladder and positioned in said recess.

8. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 7, wherein said resonance tube is arranged to produce ultrasonic noise at about to 30 to 70 dB when measured about 6 inches away, which is high enough to be clearly heard by a predetermined type of animal, but low enough not to be aversive to said animal when producing said ultrasonic noise close to said animal's ears.

9. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 7, wherein said resonance tube is arranged to produce acoustic frequencies of between about 20 kHz and about 50 kHz.

10. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 7, wherein said resonance tube is comprised of: a hollow tube with an open inner end connected to said air bladder; a closed outer end; a triangular notch on a wall of said hollow tube; an insert inside said hollow tube; a gap between said insert and said hollow tube defining a channel between said open inner end of said hollow tube and said notch.

11. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 7, further including a plush covering surrounding said air bladder and said resonance tube.

12. An ultrasonic toy for animals, comprising: an air bladder; a resonance tube attached to said air bladder, said resonance tube including an axial hole open to an inner end; a triangular notch positioned on a side of said resonance tube in communication with said hole; an insert positioned inside said hole; a first key in said hole engaged with a second key on said insert to radially align said insert within said hole; and a third key in said hole engaged with a fourth key on said insert to longitudinally position said insert within said hole.

13. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 12, wherein said resonance tube is arranged to produce ultrasonic noise at about to 30 to 70 dB when measured about 6 inches away, which is high enough to be clearly heard by a predetermined type of animal, but low enough not to be aversive to said animal when producing said ultrasonic noise close to said animal's ears.

14. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 12, wherein said resonance tube is arranged to produce acoustic frequencies of between about 20 kHz and about 50 kHz.

15. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 12, wherein said first key is comprised of a longitudinal groove in said hole, and said second key is comprised of a longitudinal rib shaped to mate with said groove, said third key in said hole is comprised of a step, and said fourth key is comprised of an oppositely shaped step mating with said third key.

16. The ultrasonic toy for animals of claim 12, further including a plush covering surrounding said resonance tube and said air bladder.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention broadly relates to sound producing toys for animals and ultrasonic sound producing devices.

2. Prior Art

Dogs need toys to keep them occupied. Some dog toys are comprised of a plush body embedded with a noise generator which produces noise when bitten as feedback for the dogs. The noise perhaps simulates the noise of a captured pray animal to stimulate the dogs.

The noise generator is typically comprised of an air bladder fitted with a reed valve which squeaks when the air bladder is squeezed. The reed valve produces noise which is audible to dogs and humans, wherein the range of human hearing is between about 20 Hz and about 20 kHz, and the range of dog hearing is up to about 50 kHz. Acoustic frequencies above 20 kHz are known as ultrasonic frequencies. However, the noise produced by squeaking dog toys can be annoying to humans.

Other acoustic devices specifically made for dogs include dog whistles or electronic ultrasonic devices which produce ultrasonic noise at high enough decibel levels to signal a dog over a large distance in the case of an ultrasonic whistle or serve as an aversive stimuli to dogs and other animals in the case of electronic ultrasonic devices. Such sound producing devices produce noise levels up to about 120 dB (decibels). Considering the logarithmic relationship between loudness and dB level, and that a whisper is about 20 dB, a normal speaking voice is about 60 dB, a car horn is about 100 dB, and a jet engine is about 130 dB, such ultrasonic devices are extremely loud—about 2-8 times louder than a car horn. Although these noises are not annoying or harmful to humans because they are inaudible, they may be frightening, harmful or otherwise aversive to a dog if used in a device which produces the noise within inches of the dog's ears.

Prior art sound producing devices found in dog toys are typically comprised of a reed valve with three parts that require more tooling, and include moving parts that require more careful and lengthy assembly. Further, they are made of different materials that must be separated for recycling.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The objects of the present ultrasonic toy for animals are:

    • to produce ultrasonic noise which is audible to animals;
    • to produce ultrasonic noise which is inaudible to humans to avoid annoying people;
    • to produce noise levels low enough to avoid being aversive, frightening or harmful to animals; and
    • to be easier to manufacture and recycle.

The ultrasonic toy for animals is comprised of a noisemaker arranged to produce ultrasonic noise which is audible to an animal, such as a dog, but not humans to avoid annoying people. The noisemaker is arranged to produce noise at about 30 to 70 dB, which is loud enough to be clearly heard by the animal but not enough to be aversive, frightening or harmful to the animal. The noisemaker is comprised of a resonance tube attached to an air bladder. The resonance tube includes a closed outer end, an axial hole open to the inner end, and a notch on a side wall communicating with the hole. An insert is positioned inside the hole. A first key in the hole is engaged with a second key on the insert to radially align the insert within the hole. A third key in the hole is engaged with a fourth key on the insert to limit the insertion of the insert to a proper depth. An alternative embodiment of the noisemaker is comprised of an electronic transducer driven by an oscillator which is activated by a pressure sensitive switch. An alternative air bladder includes a recess wherein the resonance tube is positioned to prevent the tube being blocked or inadvertently dislodged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ultrasonic toy for animals.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective exploded view of a noisemaker of the ultrasonic toy for animals.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows the noisemaker of FIG. 4 assembled.

FIG. 6 is an end view of the noisemaker of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 shows an electronic noisemaker.

FIG. 8 shows an alternative airbladder.

FIG. 9 shows an alternative air bladder.

FIG. 10 shows the noisemaker in a plush covering.

DRAWING REFERENCE NUMERALS

10. Noisemaker11. Resonance Tube
12. Air Bladder13. Outer End
14. Hole15. Inner End
16. Notch17. Insert
18. First Key19. Second Key
20. Third Key21. Fourth Key
22. Flat Portion23. Channel
24. Transducer25. Oscillator
26. Switch27. Air Bladder
28. Recess29. Plush Covering
30. Recess

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-2:

A preferred embodiment of an ultrasonic toy for animals shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is comprised of a noisemaker 10 arranged to produce ultrasonic noise of preferably between about 20 kHz to 30 kHz, which is clearly audible to animals, such as dogs, but not humans to avoid annoying people. Noisemaker 10 is arranged to produce ultrasonic noise levels at about 30 to 70 dB, which is loud enough to be clearly heard by the dog, but not enough to be aversive, frightening or harmful to the dog. The low noise level is important since the toy produces noise close to the dog's ears when the dog bites on it. Such a noise level is neutral or even positive to the dog or other animal, especially when paired with the positive experience of playing with the toy.

In this example, noisemaker 10 is comprised of a resonance tube 11 attached to a hollow resilient air bladder 12, which may be of any shape. When a dog bites on air bladder 12, air is forced out through resonance tube 11 to produce ultrasonic noise. The desired noise level of about 30 to 70 dB is measured at about 6 inches from resonance tube 11. Noisemaker 10 may be used alone, or it may be positioned inside a covering, such as a plush toy.

FIGS. 3-6:

An exploded view of resonance tube 11 is shown in FIGS. 3-4. It includes a closed outer end 13, and an axial hole 14 open to an inner end 15. A noise emitting triangular notch 16 is positioned on a side of resonance tube 11 in communication with hole 14, so that the inner end of hole 14 is open to the outside through notch 16.

An insert 17 is for being positioned inside hole 14. A first key 18 in hole 14 is engaged with a second key 19 on insert 17 to radially align insert 17 within hole 14. In this example, first key 18 is comprised of a longitudinal groove in hole 14, and second key 19 is comprised of a longitudinal rib shaped to mate with groove 18. Alternatively, first key 18 may be a rib and second key 19 may be a groove.

A third key 20 in hole 14 comprising a step is engaged with a fourth key 21 on insert 17 comprising an oppositely shaped step to limit the insertion of insert 17 to a proper depth, as shown in FIG. 5. The keys enable resonance tube 11 to be easily assembled.

The relative positions of the keys may vary. For example, fourth key 21 on insert 17 may be flush with its inner end, and third key 20 may be at the innermost position of insert 17.

An end view of the assembled resonance tube 11 is shown in FIG. 6. Insert 17 includes a flat longitudinal portion 22 which is spaced from a wall of hole 14 to define a channel 23 for passing air between the outer end of hole 14 and notch 16.

The acoustic frequency is determined by the angle of notch 16, and the length of the resonance chamber defined between the inner end of insert 17 and the inner end of hole 14. The frequency is also determined by the hardness of the material of which resonance tube 11 is made, wherein higher hardness provides higher frequencies.

Resonance tube 11 has only two parts for simpler manufacturing, and the two parts are preferably made of the same recyclable material for easier recycling.

FIG. 7:

An alternative embodiment of the noisemaker is comprised of an electronic transducer 24 driven by an oscillator 25, which is activated by a pressure sensitive switch 26, such as a spring loaded push button switch, which responds when bitten by the dog.

FIG. 8:

An alternative air bladder 27 is shown in FIG. 8. It includes a recess 28 wherein resonance tube 11 is positioned to prevent resonance tube 11 from being dislodged. Recess 28 is comprised of a notch in air bladder 27 in this example. Resonance tube 11 is positioned with notch 16 facing but spaced away from a wall of recess 28 to prevent it from being blocked.

FIG. 9:

An alternative air bladder 38 is shown in FIG. 9. It includes a recess 30 wherein resonance tube 11 is positioned to prevent resonance tube 11 from being dislodged or the notch in resonance tube 11 from being blocked. Recess 30 is comprised of a hole which is wider than resonance tube 11. The open inner end of resonance tube 11 is communicably connected to air bladder 38.

FIG. 10:

Noisemaker 10 is shown in FIG. 10 embedded in a plush covering 29.

Although the foregoing description is specific, it should not be considered as a limitation on the scope of the invention, but only as an example of the preferred embodiment. Many variations are possible within the teachings of the invention. For example, different attachment methods, fasteners, materials, dimensions, etc. can be used unless specifically indicated otherwise. The relative positions of the elements can vary, and the shapes of the elements can vary. Therefore, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, not by the examples given.