Title:
Amusement device for an infant crib or the like
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An amusement device advantageous for use with an infant crib or the like. An arm slideably engages a mounting bracket which is formed to rigidly attach to a top rail of the infant crib. The arm includes a drive motor configured to rotate a snap fitting which releasably secures a support member having one or more novelty items connected thereto. The arm also houses a speaker, a light array, a night light, a processor and an array of switches. A platform, serving as a support for an infant, has a vibration device mounted on it. The switches are selectively activated to control the processor to selectively operate the speaker, the light array, the drive motor, the night light, or the vibration motor. The processor controls the light array and speaker to synchronize pulsation of the light array with a melody played by the speaker. The various functions are preferably programmed to turn off after an adjustable time interval.



Inventors:
Drobinski, Jerry (Reading, PA, US)
Waldman, Kenneth (Reading, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/752171
Publication Date:
07/07/2005
Filing Date:
01/06/2004
Assignee:
Simplicity, Inc. (Reading, PA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/00; (IPC1-7): A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JERRY DROBINSKI (READING, PA, US)
Claims:
1. An amusement device, comprising: an arm having a rotatable member at one end thereof; a support member driven by said rotatable member; a drive motor housed in said arm for driving the rotatable member; an array of lights arranged along said arm and means for selectively energizing said lights in a predetermined pattern; a speaker mounted along said arm; a controller for selectively operating at least one of said speaker, light array, and drive motor; and a mounting bracket for securing said arm to a fixed member.

2. The amusement device according to claim 1, wherein said controller simultaneously respectively couples first and second signals to said speaker and said light array, whereby the speaker converts to the first signals to sound and the light array is illuminated in a predetermined pattern responsive to said second signals.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein the controller produces said first signals responsive to data stored in a memory.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein said data represents music.

5. The amusement device according to claim 1, wherein the mounting bracket slideably engages the arm to removably secure the arm to the mounting bracket.

6. The amusement device according to claim 5, wherein the mounting bracket includes at least one alignment slot for positioning the arm relative to the bracket.

7. The amusement device according to claim 6, wherein the mounting bracket includes at least one indicator arrow for facilitating alignment of the alignment slot with a cooperating portion of the arm.

8. The amusement device according to claim 5, wherein the mounting bracket includes a recess for receiving a rail of a mounting structure, at least one mounting hole communicating with said recess, and at least one mounting screw, extending through said mounting hole and threadedly engaging said rail.

9. The amusement device according to claim 1, further comprising a plurality of switches for selectively providing switching signals to the controller for operating the at least one of said speaker, light array, and drive motor.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein at least one of said switches is a push button switch.

11. The device of claim 10, wherein the push button switch has two states respectively providing an open state wherein the at least one of the speaker, light array, and drive motor are not activated, and a closed state, wherein power is supplied to the at least one of said speaker, light array, and drive motor.

12. The amusement device according to claim 9, further comprising: a platform for supporting a child; a vibration device mounted on an underside of the platform for imparting vibration to the platform; and said controller being configured for selectively transmitting control signals to the vibration device over a control cable.

13. The device of claim 12 wherein the vibration device is a motor driven vibrator.

14. The amusement device according to claim 12, wherein the plurality of switches includes at least one switch for providing a switching signal to the controller to activate the vibration device.

15. The amusement device according to claim 12, further comprising a power supply including a battery compartment mounted on the underside of the platform.

16. The amusement device according to claim 15, wherein the vibration device and battery compartment are integrally contained within a common housing.

17. The amusement device according to claim 15, further comprising a power cable coupling the controller to the power supply, wherein the power and control cables are bundled together, and a connector connects the ends of the power and control cable to releasably connect the controller to the power source and the controller to the vibration device.

18. The amusement device according to claim 17, wherein the controller is housed in the arm, whereby one end of the power and control cable extends into the arms.

19. The amusement device according to claim 12, further comprising a light mounted along the arm, and wherein a light switch provided along said arm is configured to control the light.

20. The amusement device according to claim 1, further comprising: a power supply located remotely from the controller; a cable which couples the power supply to the controller; and a wire clip, that carries the cable, and attaches to a second fixed member.

21. The amusement device according to claim 20, wherein the fixed member is a rail and the second fixed member is a rail post associated with the rail, whereby the mounting bracket is configured to attach to the rail and the wire clip is configured to attach to the rail post.

22. The amusement device according to claim 1, further comprising: a vibration device located remotely from the controller; a cable which couples the vibration device to the controller; and a wire clip, which carries the cable, for attachment to a second fixed member at a distance from the mounting bracket.

23. The amusement device according to claim 22, wherein the fixed member is a rail and the second fixed member is a rail post associated with the rail, whereby the mounting bracket is configured to attach to the rail and the wire clip is configured to attach to the rail post.

24. A child amusement device comprising: a support arm having a first end for securing the arm to a stationary object and an opposite free end for attachment to a mobile; a drive motor in the support arm for rotating the mobile; a vibrator member separate from the support arm and electrically connected to the support arm; and a power supply for providing power to the amusement device.

25. The amusement device according to claim 24, further comprising: at least one cable for electrically connecting at least one of the vibrator member and the power supply to the support arm; and a wire clip, which carries the at least one cable, for securement to a portion of the stationary object at a distance from the support arm.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Amusement devices for use with infant cribs or the like that provide light, music, and rotating articles are well known. Such devices are frequently modular, and can be mounted on various different styles of infant cribs.

Typically, devices of this type include a mechanism for rotating articles that are chosen to stimulate the interest of, and are typically arranged to be readily viewed by, an infant. The articles may be of varying size, color, or shape and often look like animals, clowns, cartoon characters, geometric figures etc. The infant views the rotating articles, but for safety reasons, the articles may be located out of reach of a curious child's hands. Such devices often provide additional features such as lights, music, or sounds in conjunction with the mechanism for rotation of the articles.

SUMMARY

The amusement device is advantageous for use with an infant crib or the like. The device selectively plays music, projects timed light pulses, and rotates one or more novelty items in the vicinity of an infant placement area. The device also includes structure for providing vibration to the infant placement area.

In a preferred embodiment the amusement device includes an arm having a rotatable member positioned at one end and a support member, which is driven by the rotatable member. A mounting bracket is provided for mounting the arm to a fixed member. A drive motor is housed in the arm for driving the rotatable member. An array of lights is arranged along the arm, and provisions for energizing the lights in a predetermined pattern are provided. The amusement device also includes a speaker. A controller is included for selectively operating at least one of the speaker, light array, and drive motor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an amusement device mounted on an infant crib.

FIG. 2 is a detailed view of the device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a support arm for the amusement device of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show an alternative support arm to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 6 is an exploded assembly view of an attachment bracket shown along the line 6-6 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a rear plan view of the amusement device's support arm of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a snap-on fitting for the support arm.

FIG. 9 is a cross-section through the section 9-9 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 10 shows a vibrating device attached to a mattress or mattress support.

FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram of the amusement device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 12 shows an alternative embodiment for an attachment bracket with an associated wire clip attached to and extending down an upright rail.

FIG. 13 is a cross-section through 13-13 of FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a cross-section through 14-14 of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

FIG. 1 shows an infant crib 10. The infant crib 10 includes an amusement device 12 having various cooperating features for amusing and soothing an infant placed in crib 10.

The amusement device 12 includes a support arm 16 mounted to a top rail 14 of a child support, such as the infant crib 10. An attachment bracket 18 comprises two bracket halves 18a, 18b which together receive the top rail 14 in a notch 90, see FIG. 6. Screws 20 extend through mounting holes 22 of both halves of the attachment bracket 18 as well as holes 24 in top rail 14 to securely attach the bracket 18 halves 18a, 18b to the top rail 14. Other methods for securing the bracket to the top rail 14 that do not include making holes in the top rail may be valuable to prevent damage to the rail. A female portion 26 of the arm 16 slideably and removably receives a mating male portion 28 of the attachment bracket 18 such that the arm 16 need only be slid over the attachment bracket 18 for installation and removal. Alignment slots 30 on the male portion 28 receive protrusions 32 on the female portion 28 which align arm 16 with bracket 18. Slot locations are indicated by respective alignment indicator indicia such as arrows 34 on an outer surface of the attachment bracket 18. Detachable connectors 38 removably connect the end leads of a power/control cable 36 to allow easy removal of the arm 16 from the attachment bracket 18.

At the other end of the arm 16, a snap-on fitting 40 rotates. The snap-on fitting 40 is rotatably driven by a drive motor 42 and is releasably coupled to support member 44. More particularly, the fitting is inserted into an opening 46 in support member 44 and locks in place when hooks 40b (best seen in FIG. 8) move past the perimeter of opening 46. The support member 44 in the preferred embodiment, is a multi-lobed member, however any suitable shape may be used. Member 44 is removed from the snap-on fitting 40 by squeezing together opposed arms 40a causing them to elastically flex to allow aperture 46 to pass by retaining hooks 40b. Member 44 includes resilient biased snap hangers 48 each having an anchored end 48a connected to an associated lobe of member 44 and a free end 48b. The free end 48b elastically flexes and pivots slightly about the anchored end 48a to allow a hanger loop 50 to be removably suspended therefrom. The loop 50 may only be removed from its hanger 48 by again flexing the free end 48b to allow clearance sufficient to remove the loop 50. A suitable novelty item 52 is permanently attached to the loop 50 by a flexible wire. Alternatively, any suitable structural member may be used to secure the novelty item 52 to the loop 50, and connecting members other than loop 50 may be employed. When the amusement device(s) 12 is installed within reach of an infant, the features described above discourage an infant from removing the novelty item 52 or the support member 44. Alternatively, the novelty item 52 may be formed integral with the member 44 and permanently attached thereto.

Arm 16 also includes a light array 66, seen in FIG. 7. The light array is preferably an array of light emitting diodes, although any suitable light source may be used. A speaker 68 and a night light (not shown) arranged behind a translucent cover 70 are also provided.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 10 and 11, the amusement device 12 is further comprised of a combination power supply/vibration unit 58 mounted to a support platform 56. The platform 56 is provided with orthogonally aligned reinforcing ribs 56a, 56b arranged in a grid-like pattern along the underside thereof to enhance the structural integrity of the platform. An infant receiving mattress 64 is supported by platform 56. The combination power/supply vibration unit 58 has a vibration motor 60 for imparting vibration to the platform 56. The combination unit 58 also includes a battery containment portion 62 for supplying power for the amusement device 12.

The vibration motor 60 and the battery containment portion 62 may be integrally joined to platform 56 or be provided separately and independently of the platform 56. Providing the battery containment portion 62 and vibration motor 60 in a housing mounted beneath the platform reduces the size weight and complexity of the unit mounted to the rail 14. The battery containment portion may also be provided integrally with the arm 16, or omitted completely, and power would be provided to the amusement device 12 with a power supply cord which receives external low-voltage DC power that is safe for use around infants.

The cable 36 connects the power supply/vibration unit to the arm 16. The cable 36 carries power to the processor 72 from the battery containment portion 62. The cable 36 also carries power from the processor 72 to the vibration motor 60.

In a preferred embodiment, the arm 16 includes a plurality of conveniently arranged switches/controls and a processor 72 for controlling the various functions of the amusement device 12. A power switch 74 selectively couples power from the power supply/vibration unit 58 to all of the electronic components in arm 16 through cable 36. A mobile rotation push button switch 76 provides a switching signal to the processor to supply power to the drive motor 42 to rotate member 44. A pulsing light array push button switch 78 provides a switching signal to the processor 72 to energize the pulsing light array 66. The processor provides power pulses to each light in the light array 66 to produce a predetermined light pattern. Any suitable light pattern such as sequential, random, two-on, two-off, etc. can be provided by the processor. Each push button switch has two stable states, pushing the push button once turns the switch on and pushing the push button again turns the associated function off. In addition, the processor is preferably programmed to turn off any function in operation after a given time interval.

In a preferred embodiment, a music push button switch 80 provides a switching signal to the processor 72 which simultaneously activates the speaker 68, the pulsing light array 66, and the drive motor 42. Preferably, a music signal is sent to the speaker 68, and the light array 66 pulses with a rhythm of the music signal. The processor 72 preferably provides a plurality of tunes (stored in a memory) which may be selected by continually depressing the music push button switch 80. Alternatively, the music switch 80, when activated, may provide only music, and the drive motor 42 and pulsing light array 66 may be activated concurrently by pressing their respective associated switches 76,78. A volume adjustment control 82, is preferably a rotatable member to raise or lower the amplitude of a speaker amplifier (not shown) to respectively raise or lower the volume of the sound produced by the speaker. Alternatively, instead of music, the processor may provide any other suitable signals to the speaker, including a human voice recording.

A vibration switch 84 provides a switching signal to the processor 72 to energize the vibration motor 60 to impart vibration to the reinforced platform 56. A vibration rate adjustment switch 86, which is preferably a rotatable member, is configured to raise or lower the current supplied to the vibration motor 60 and thereby raise or lower the frequency of vibration imparted to the reinforced platform 56. By mounting the vibration unit beneath the platform 56, the platform 56, and thus the infant are vibrated.

A night light switch 88 provides a switching signal to the processor 72 to energize the night light. The arrangement of the operating push buttons may be arranged in any suitable pattern from that shown in FIG. 3. For example, the operating buttons shown in FIG. 4 are arranged in a different pattern. Also, the push buttons may be replaced by other suitable switches without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 12 through 14, an alternative attachment bracket 118 comprising two bracket halves 118a and 118b mounted to a top rail 114 of a crib 110. A variety of fasteners (not shown) may be provided to draw the bracket halves 118a, 118b together to clamp the bracket 118 to the rail 114. The fasteners need not pass through rail 114 since the geometry of the rail 114 is conducive to statically positioning the bracket 118. A mating male portion 128 is formed to connect with the female portion 26 of the support arm 16 shown in FIG. 3. A power/control cable 136 protrudes through an aperture (not shown) in a bottom portion of the bracket 118. Preferably, a retaining clasp 192 secures the cable 136 to the bracket 118. A wire clip 194 secures the cable 136 to a rail post 196 of the crib 110 opposite a mattress 164 for placing an infant. In this manner, the wire concealed from the view of an infant placed on the mattress. The cable 136, couples the power supply/vibration unit 58 and the electronic components in the arm 16 in the same manner as described above with reference to the cable 36.