Title:
Dress-up activity toy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dress up activity toy is provided. The dress up activity toy generates sounds in response to motion of a portion of the dress up toy. The dress up activity toy enhances the imagination of a user of the toy.



Inventors:
Brown, Matthew Peter Devito (Berkeley, CA, US)
Shrock, Joel Aaron (Berkeley, CA, US)
Tobin, Adam Zev (Sausalito, CA, US)
Neal, Phillip (San Rafael, CA, US)
Rosenfeld, Dan (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
10/966289
Publication Date:
07/21/2005
Filing Date:
10/14/2004
Assignee:
BROWN MATTHEW P.D.
SHROCK JOEL A.
TOBIN ADAM Z.
NEAL PHILLIP
ROSENFELD DAN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/00; A41D11/00; A63H5/00; A63H33/00; A63H33/22; A63J; (IPC1-7): A63H33/22; A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A dress-up activity toy, comprising: a head portion that is capable of being placed onto the head of a child; a foot portion that is capable of being placed onto the feet of the child; the head portion and foot portion being decorated to portray the head and feet, respectively of a character; and wherein at least one of the head portion and foot portion further comprises a hardware circuit that, in response to a stimulus, generates a sound that is appropriate for the character portrayed by the head and foot portions.

2. The toy of claim 1, wherein the stimulus further comprises one of motion of the portion into which the hardware circuit is placed and a pressure applied to the hardware circuit.

3. The toy of claim 1, wherein the hardware circuit further comprises a processor with a memory containing one or more sounds to be played in response to the stimulus, a sensor, connected to the processor, that is responsive to the stimulus and a speaker, connected to the processor, that generates a sound.

4. The toy of claim 3, wherein the sensor further comprises a tilt sensor.

5. The toy of claim 3, wherein the sensor further comprises a motion sensor.

6. The toy of claim 3., wherein the sensor further comprises a pressure sensor.

7. The toy of claim 1, wherein the head portion is a dinosaur head that has a first hardware circuit that generates one or more sounds in response to a motion of the dinosaur head and the foot portion is dinosaur feet that has a second hardware circuit that generates a stomping sound in response to a pressure applied to the foot portion.

8. The toy of claim 1, wherein the head portion is a rabbit head and the foot portion is a set of rabbit paws that have the hardware circuit that generates a stepping sound in response to pressure applied to the foot portion and further comprising a tail portion having a second hardware circuit that generates a sound in response to a sideways motion of the tail portion.

9. The toy of claim 1, wherein the head portion is a tiara worn by a fairy and the foot portion is a pair of slippers worn by a fairy that have the hardware circuit that generates a walking sound in response to pressure applied to the foot portion and further comprising a wand portion having a second hardware circuit that generates a charging sound in response a depression of a button on the wand.

10. The toy of claim 1, wherein the head portion is a bear head having the hardware circuit that generates one or more sounds in response to motion of the head portion and the foot portion is a bear paw having a second hardware circuit that generates a walking sound in response to pressure applied to the foot portion and further comprising a bear paw portion.

11. The toy of claim 1, wherein the head portion is a unicorn head and the foot portion are hooves having the hardware circuit that generate a horse walking sound in response to pressure applied to the foot portion.

12. The toy of claim 3, wherein the sensor is sensitive to a particular movement of the hardware circuit so that the speaker generates a different sound depending on the particular movement of the hardware circuit.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This application claims priority under 35 USC 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/512,492 filed on Oct. 17, 2003 with the title “Dress-Up Activity Toy” which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to a toy that permits a user to fantasize about being a particular character.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various toys exist that permit a child to pretend to be a character and permits a child's imagination to expand. Without any particular toy, most children have created fantasy settings and characters. Currently, activity plush toys exist that permit a child to interact with the toy, such as the well known tickle me elmo toy. Some toy manufacturers also have created dress up cloths that permit the child to fantasize about being another person or character. Finally, costumes (such as Halloween costumes) always have been available to children. Each of these toys/devices permit the user to create a fantasy character. However, none of these provide a full user experience. Thus, it is desirable to provide a dress-up activity toy and it is to this end that the present invention is directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention, a dress-up activity toy is provided. The dress-up activity toy has many features. The dress-up activity toy is easy to put on for a child and the toy generates real life sound effects for real life characters, and fantasy sound effects related to the specific fantasy characters as described below in more detail. In addition, the toy provide great imaginary sound effects, a real-life look to plush, a very good quality plush, a quick response to sound effects and volume control. The toy enhances imagination and the design has special features that enhance the engrossing feel, such as a mane to waist, big elephant ears, fairy wings, wand and tiara.

The dress-up activity toy may be, for example, a dinosaur, a rabbit, a fairy, a bear, a unicorn or a horse. In each example, the toy may generate one or more sounds appropriate for the particular toy and have one or more portions that are appropriate for the particular toy. In accordance with the invention, one or more portions of each toy may include a hardware circuit that, in response to pressure or a motion, generates one or more sounds appropriate for the particular toy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a first example of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 1B illustrates another embodiment of the first example of the dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIGS. 2A-2C are block diagrams illustrating examples of the hardware circuits within the elements of the dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3 is a second example of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4A is a third example of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4B illustrates another embodiment of the third example of the dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 5 is a fourth example of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 6 is a fifth example of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 7 is a sixth example of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The invention is particularly applicable to a dress-up activity toy described below and it is in this context that the invention will be described. It will be appreciated, however, that the dress-up activity toy in accordance with the invention has greater utility as the toy may be any variety of different characters and shapes and the invention is not limited to any particular shape or character shown and described below.

FIG. 1A is a first example of a dress up activity toy 10 in accordance with the invention. In this first example, the toy 10 further comprises a head portion 12, a hand portion 14 and a feet portion 16 wherein each portion is worn by a user 18 as shown. The combination of the portions shown provide the user, such as a child, with a fantasy experience as one or more of the portions may generate a sound that is appropriate for the particular dress up activity toy. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the dress up toy 10 is a dinosaur so that the sounds generated by the toy are appropriate for a dinosaur. In this example, the head portion resembles the head of a dinosaur, the hand portion resembles the claws/hands of a dinosaur and the feet portion resemble the feet of a dinosaur. The head portion may generate a roar sound and the feet portion may generate a “boom” stepping/stomping sound as the user walks around while wearing the feet portion. In more detail, the head portion may generate a dinosaur grunt sound when the head portion is tilted forward and may generate a big dinosaur roar when the head portion is tilted backwards. The invention, however is not limited to any particular motion of the head portion that activates the sound so that, for example, the sounds from the head portion may be generated when the head portion is swung from side to side. In accordance with the invention, each dress up activity toy may include a idle sound that plays when the toy is activated, but the user is not moving in the manner that activates the sound. For example, the head portion of the dinosaur may generate a breathing idle sound.

FIG. 1B illustrates another embodiment of the first example of the dress up activity toy 12 which is also a dinosaur character. In this embodiment, the dinosaur character has the same head portion 12 (with the same hardware circuit that generates sounds in response to a stimulus) and the same feet portion 16 that contains a hardware circuit and generates stomping sounds. In this embodiment, the dinosaur does not include the hard portion. Thus, each of the examples shown herein may include more or less portions and be within the scope of the invention. In accordance with the invention, each dress up activity toy has at least one portion and that portion has a hardware circuit that generates one or more sounds in response to a stimulus that may be movement of the portion or pressure applied to the portion. Now, the circuitry in each portion of a dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention will be described in more detail.

FIGS. 2A-2C are block diagrams illustrating examples of the hardware circuits within the elements of the dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention. In particular, these figures illustrate the different hardware circuit configurations that may be located within each portion of the dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention. Each hardware circuit may include a power source (not shown) such as a battery. In general, each hardware circuit may generate a sound in response to a stimulus wherein the stimulus may be a particular motion of the portion into which the hardware circuit is embedded or the stimulus may be a pressure applied to the hardware circuit. Each hardware circuit may include a stimulus sensor that senses the applied stimulus and sends the signal to a processor. FIG. 2A illustrates a first hardware circuit 30 that may be located in a portion of the dress up activity toy in which a motion of the portion generates a sound and the portion may be turned on/off in accordance with the invention. For example, the hardware circuit 30 may be located in a head portion 12 of the dress up activity toy 10 shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. The hardware circuit may include a processor 32 (that may be, for example, a microcontroller with internal memory that stores microcode/instructions), a speaker 34, a tilt switch 36 that generates a signal when the switch is tilted by some predetermined angle as is well known (similar to a light switch) and a pressure switch 38 that may function as an ON/OFF switch, that are all electrically connected to each other as shown. In accordance with the invention, the processor controls the operation of the hardware circuit based on the instructions/microcode contained in its memory. For example, the processor may wake up in response to the activation of the pressure switch 38 and generate a particular sound in response to a signal from the tilt switch 36. The memory of the processor may further store one or more sound files/sound data that permits the speaker 34 to generate the appropriate sounds for a corresponding appropriate motion or pressure. For the dinosaur example, the sounds stored in the processor may include a roaring sound, a grunt sound and an idle breathing sound. In accordance with the invention, the processor may time out and go into a sleep state after a predetermined amount of time, such as 5 minutes that may be adjusted in accordance with the invention. The hardware circuit shown may perform a “Try Me!” sound each time that it is awakened from the sleep state or turned on. In all of the hardware circuits shown in FIGS. 2A-2C, the processor may include instructions so that the volume of the sound generated by the speaker may be at a first level and a second level, such as an indoor sound level and an outdoor sound level. The hardware circuit shown in FIG. 2A may also be used for a head portion shown in FIGS. 5-7 that will be described in more detail below.

FIG. 2B illustrates a second example of a hardware circuit 40 that may be installed in a portion in which pressure on a pressure switch may cause a sound to be generated. For example, the hardware circuit 40 may be installed in a feet portion of the dinosaur shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. This hardware circuit 40 may include the processor 32, the speaker 34 and a pressure switch 42. If the hardware circuit 40 is located in the feet portion of the toy, the pressure switch 42 may be located underneath the heel of the foot of the user so that the pressure switch senses each step of the user. In response to each step of the user, the processor then generates a signal (based on the instructions and sounds data contained within the processor) to generate a stepping sound each time the user steps in the example shown in FIG. 1A and 1B. The hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B may also be used for the feet portion shown in FIGS. 3-7 as described below in more detail or a wand portion shown in FIG. 4A.

FIG. 2C illustrates a third example of a hardware circuit 50 that may be installed, for example, in a portion of a dress up activity toy in which a motion of that portion may generate a particular noise. For example, this circuit 50 may be located in a tail portion of the toy shown in FIG. 3. This hardware circuit 50 may include the processor 32, the speaker 34 and a motion switch 52. In a preferred embodiment, the motion switch may sense a side to side motion such as by a spring sliding into an electrical contact when the motion occurs, so that the processor may generate a sound is response to the motion.

In an alternate embodiment, the hardware circuits shown may be designed as master-slave circuits. For example, in a dress up activity toy that has a head portion and a feet portion, the head portion may contain a hardware circuit with the microprocessor, a speaker, a stimulus sensor and a wireless communications circuit, such as a RF communications circuit or a Bluetooth circuit, that connects the head portion to the feet portion. The head portion is this example is the master circuit. Then, the feet portion in this example contains a stimulus sensor and a wireless communications circuit so that it can communicate with the microprocessor in the head portion. The feet portion are slave circuit and, when a stimulus is applied to the feet portion, the stimulus sensor senses the stimulus and sends the detection signal to the processor in the head portion over the wireless communications link. The head portion then generates the sounds appropriate for the feet portion based on the detected stimulus by the feet portion. In this master-slave embodiment, the feet portion does not require a processor or speaker.

The hardware circuits described above may also be placed into a portion so that the dress up activity toy may be moved without the hardware circuit generating any sound. For example, the hardware circuit in the feet portion of FIG. 1A may be located in the heel area of the feet portion so that a child may “sneak up” on an unsuspecting person without any sound by tip-toeing up to the person. Now, other examples of the dress up activity toy in accordance with the invention will be described.

FIG. 3 is a second example of a dress up activity toy 60 in accordance with the invention. In this example, the dress up activity toy may be a bunny. The toy 60 may include a head portion 62, a tail portion 64 and a feet portion 66 wherein the head portion resembles the ears of a bunny, the tail portion resembles the tail of a bunny and the feet portion resemble the feet of a bunny. In this example, the head portion does not generate a sound and therefore does not contain a hardware circuit. The tail portion 64 includes the hardware circuit 50 shown in FIG. 2C that generates, for example, a twanging sound, when the tail portion is flicked by the user. The feet portion 66 may include the hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B and may generate a “boing” sound as the user walks around.

FIG. 4A is a third example of a dress up activity toy 70 in accordance with the invention. In this example, the dress up activity toy may be a fairy. The toy 70 may include a head portion 72, a wand portion 74, a feet portion 76 and a wings portion 78 wherein the head portion is a tiara that might be worn by a fairy, the wand portion is a wand that might be used by a fairy, the feet portion are slippers that might be worn by a fairy and the wings resembles wings of a fairy. In this example, the head portion does not generate a sound and therefore does not contain a hardware circuit. The wand portion 64 includes the hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B that generates, for example, sound when the wand is pressed by the user. In a preferred embodiment, the user may press the switch in the wand and hold it to charge up the wand. For example, the user may hold the button for 0-1 second and get a small charging sound, for 1-2 seconds to generate a longer charging sound and for greater than 2 seconds to generate a yet longer charging sound. The wings portion 78 may include the hardware circuit 30 in FIG. 2A and may be turned on and then, in response to movement of the wings that are sensed by a switch, generate a wing sound. The feet portion 76 may include the hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B and may generate a “tinkerbell” sound as the user walks around. FIG. 4B illustrates another embodiment of the third example of the dress up activity toy 70 wherein the head portion 72 and feet portion 76 are slightly different than the embodiment shown in FIG. 4A. Thus, the portions of each dress up activity toy may be significantly altered without departing from the scope of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a fourth example of a dress up activity toy 80 in accordance with the invention. In this example, the dress up activity toy may be a bear. The toy 80 may include a head portion 82, a hand paw portion 84, and a bear paw feet portion 86 wherein the head portion resembles the head of a bear, the hands portion resembles the front paws of a bear and the feet portion resembles the back paws of a bear. In this example, the hand portion 84 does not generate a sound and therefore does not contain a hardware circuit. The head portion 82 may include the hardware circuit 30 in FIG. 2A and may be turned ON/OFF and may generate a sound as the head portion is moved. In a preferred embodiment, the head portion may be tilted forwards and generate a growling sound and it may be tilted backwards and generate a big bear roar. The feet portion 86 may include the hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B and may generate a “grunt” sound as the user walks around.

FIG. 6 is a fifth example of a dress up activity toy 90 in accordance with the invention. In this example, the dress up activity toy may be a unicorn. The toy 90 may include a head portion 92 and a feet portion 94 wherein the head portion resembles a plush unicorn head with a flowing rainbow mane and the feet portion resembles the feet of a unicorn. In this example, the head portion does not generate a sound and therefore does not contain a hardware circuit. The feet portion 94 may include the hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B and may generate various sounds including a neighing sound, a breathing sound and a real-time “clip clop” sound as the user walks around.

FIG. 7 is a sixth example of a dress up activity toy 100 in accordance with the invention. In this example, the dress up activity toy may be a horse. The toy 100 may include a head portion 102 and a feet portion 104 wherein the head portion resembles the head of a horse with a mane and the feet portion resemble the feet of a horse. In this example, the head portion may include the hardware circuit 30 shown in FIG. 2A and may generate a sound when the head portion is moved, such as neighing or whinnying, and may generate an idle sound, such as breathing. The head portion 102 may also generate a different sound depending on the particular type of movement of the head portion. The feet portion 104 may include the hardware circuit 40 shown in FIG. 2B and may generate a “clip-clop” sound as the user walks around. Thus, in each of these examples, the portions accurately resemble the character being fantasized about and the sounds accurately resemble the sounds may by that character to provide the user with a better, more realistic experience.

In accordance with the invention, other examples of the dress up activity toy having portions not shown above are within the scope of the invention. For example, the dress up activity toy may include other animals, such as a dog, cat lion, gorilla, elephant, etc., or a vehicle, such as an airplane, train, car, truck, etc. The dress up activity toy may further include a licensed character, such as Mickey Mouse, Marvin the Martian, etc. While the foregoing has been with reference to a particular embodiment of the invention, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes in this embodiment may be made without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention as set forth in the claims.