Title:
Toy water balloon
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a water balloon with a quick, easy, and low-cost means for sealing the balloon orifice. For example, the water balloon may comprise a liquid-activated closure mechanism along the inside of the balloon neck. A user then activates the closure mechanism while filling the balloon with water and may then seal the balloon orifice by pinching the balloon neck.



Inventors:
Cuisinier, Jarret P. (Atherton, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/050206
Publication Date:
08/11/2005
Filing Date:
02/03/2005
Assignee:
CUISINIER JARRET P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/06; A63H27/10; (IPC1-7): A63H3/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jarret Cuisinier (San Francisco, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A toy water balloon, wherein said balloon comprises an orifice, a neck, a volume, and a liquid-activated closure mechanism proximate said neck.

2. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism is activated by filling said volume with liquid.

3. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism comprises a liquid-activated adhesive.

4. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism comprises a liquid-revealed adhesive.

5. The toy water balloon of claim l, wherein said closure mechanism comprises a liquid-revealed latex surface.

6. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein when said closure mechanism is activated and when said neck is manipulated said closure mechanism seals said orifice.

7. The toy water balloon of claim 6, wherein said neck is manipulated by collapsing said neck upon itself.

8. The toy water balloon of claim 6, wherein said neck is manipulated by twisting said neck.

9. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism is inset from said orifice.

10. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism is proximate an inner surface of said neck.

11. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism is proximate an inner circumference of said neck.

12. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said closure mechanism comprises patterns.

13. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said neck comprises a bump for reception by a slit water balloon launcher.

14. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said neck comprises a texture for improved grip during sealing.

15. The toy water balloon of claim 1, wherein said water balloon volume comprises a texture for improved grip during throwing.

16. The toy water balloon of claim 1, where said neck proximate said closure mechanism comprises a differentiating color.

17. A toy water balloon, wherein said balloon comprises an orifice, a neck, a volume, and a liquid-activated closure mechanism proximate said neck, and wherein when said neck is manipulated, said closure mechanism seals said neck.

18. The toy water balloon of claim 17, wherein said closure mechanism is activated by filling said volume with liquid.

19. The toy water balloon of claim 17, wherein said closure mechanism is inset from said orifice.

20. The toy water balloon of claim 17, wherein said closure mechanism is proximate an inner surface of said neck of said water balloon.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/542,457 entitled “Toy Water Balloon” and filed on Feb. 6, 2004 which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to entertainment devices, and more particularly, to entertainment devices such as toy water balloons.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of toy water balloons has long been known to the prior art. Typically, water balloons are used to launch a small amount of water towards a remote target. Most often, children are the primary users of water balloons; however, water balloons are also frequently used by both young adults and adults in a variety of games and activities.

In general, a water balloon consists of a volume, a neck, and an orifice. Typically, a water balloon is filled at a faucet or by another filling device by stretching the balloon orifice over the faucet or device's nozzle. After the balloon is filled to a satisfactory size, the water balloon is detached from the filling nozzle and the orifice is sealed—typically via tying the balloon neck in a knot. This tying and tying process, however, has several considerable shortcomings.

First, tying a “knot” closure can be a tedious and manually difficult task to perform and characteristically detracts from the overall enjoyment of the user. In fact, tying a plurality of water balloons can even become painful because of its repeated, pinching movement. Second, the tying process can be so troublesome for some customers that it curtails their use of water balloons. In fact, some users are unable to use water balloons as they are unable to tie them. For example, many children do not possess the manual dexterity or hand size required to tie a water balloon properly—an issue that is especially problematic since children are the most common users of water balloons. This issue is further compounded during times when water balloons are wet (as they often are during use), making them even more difficult to tie. At such times, even an adult can experience great difficulty in tying a water balloon. Third, as a result of the great difficulty in tying water balloons, children (and adults alike) waste most of their time at the water faucet trying to seal balloons instead of enjoying the water balloons as they were intended.

Finally, the tying motion places a great deal of stress on the balloon neck and frequently creates tears and ruptures in the balloon lining—destroying the balloon's usefulness. Furthermore, the knot tie requires a significant amount of the balloon material, leaving less space available for water and thereby decreasing the overall effectiveness of the device. In addition, this added material reduces the overall efficiency of the device and, in so doing, increases manufacturing costs through supplementary material costs.

Accordingly, a water balloon that is easy, painless, and quick to seal for both children and adults is desirable. Additionally, a water balloon that is less likely to be damaged during sealing and is more efficient and cost-effective is also desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a water balloon with an easy, painless, and quick means for sealing the balloon orifice. Furthermore, the present invention provides a more efficient and cost-effective design for water balloons. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a water balloon is configured such that a liquid-activated closure mechanism located on the inner surface of the balloon neck may be activated while filling the balloon with water. Subsequently, the balloon orifice can be sealed via the activated closure mechanism. For example, the water balloon may comprise a liquid-activated adhesive along the inside of the balloon neck. Thus, a user may activate the adhesive while filling the balloon with water and may then seal the balloon orifice by pinching the balloon neck, thereby collapsing the neck onto the activated adhesive and creating a water-tight seal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional aspects of the present invention will become evident upon reviewing the non-limiting embodiments described in the specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, wherein like numerals designate like elements, and:

FIG. 1a is an exterior side view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1b is a cross-sectional side view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exterior side view of an exemplary embodiment illustrating how a user may seal the device; and,

FIG. 3 is an exterior side view of a preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following descriptions are of preferred exemplary embodiments only, and are not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration of the invention in any way. Rather the following description provides a convenient illustration for implementing a preferred embodiment of the invention. Various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements described in the preferred embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth herein.

Generally, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a water balloon is provided comprising a liquid-activated closure mechanism for sealing the balloon orifice. The water balloon is suitably configured to make the sealing of the water balloon easier and quicker by means of the liquid-activated closure mechanism. For example, a water balloon may comprise a liquid-activated adhesive along the inside of the neck of the balloon. A user activates the adhesive while filling the balloon with water and then pinches the neck and thereby seals the orifice by means of the activated adhesive. Thus, it should be appreciated that any number of motions that collapse the balloon neck can be used while still falling within the scope of the present invention. For example, twisting, grinding, and flattening motions may similarly be used.

In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the liquid-activated closure mechanism may also be suitably configured to comprise a latex surface that is exposable by water. For example, opposing areas of the inner surface of the balloon neck may have a water-soluble covering over the exposed latex. During filling of the water balloon with water, this covering washes away, revealing the exposed latex of the neck. This latex may then be collapsed, in a similar manner, to create a latex-latex bond and seal the orifice of the water balloon.

Thus, with reference to FIG. 1a, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a water balloon 10 is shown comprising a volume 20, a neck 30, and an orifice 40. In accordance with the present exemplary embodiment, water balloon 10 is a standard latex water balloon. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments, balloon 10 may be substituted with alternative materials and combinations of materials including plastics, rubbers, composites, biodegradable “latexes”, and the like. In accordance with one aspect of the present exemplary embodiment, neck 30 is shortened relative to standard water balloons given that no tying is necessary and in order to reduce overall materials costs. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments, the position, size, shape, and number of volume 20, neck 30, and orifice 40 may vary. Moreover, water balloon 10 may be any of those water balloon configurations known or not yet known to the prior art.

Now with reference to FIG. 1b, and in accordance with the present exemplary embodiment, a liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 is shown on the inner surface of neck 30. Closure mechanism 50 is preferably located one half inch inset from orifice 40 along neck 30. With this positioning, liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 is unlikely to come into contact with a faucet or nozzle mouth during filling and is less likely to be unintentionally activated through random contact with moisture. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the invention, Closure mechanism 50 may be located anywhere along neck 30.

With continuing reference to FIG. 1a and FIG. 1b, liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 preferably comprises a liquid-activated adhesive. In addition to being liquid-activated, adhesive closure mechanism 50 is preferably suitably strong and fast-acting enough in order to effectively and quickly seal orifice 40. Moreover, closure mechanism 50 preferably creates an active and robust seal so that balloon volume 20 may rupture under a high pressure with orifice 40 still remaining sealed. Furthermore, adhesive closure mechanism 50 is preferably a thick and “gummy” adhesive upon activation so as to further enhance the seal quality of orifice 40. Additionally, adhesive closure mechanism 50 is preferably non-toxic and eye-sensitive so as to improve the safety of water balloon 10.

However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the present invention, liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 may comprise any other liquid-activated closure mechanism known or not yet know to the prior art. For example, liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 may comprise a liquid-revealed adhesive. More specifically, closure mechanism 50 may comprise an adhesive covered by a water soluble layer that washes away during contact with water, thereby exposing the underlying adhesive. Alternatively, in accordance with various alternate embodiments, liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 may comprise an area of latex covered by a water-soluble layer. Thus, during contact with water this water-soluble layer washes away, thereby exposing the underlying latex. This exposed latex may then be used as a closure mechanism via a latex-latex bond. However, regardless of the configuration, closure mechanism 50 may be activated via contact with water and is of sufficient strength to suitably seal orifice 40.

With continuing reference to FIG. 1a and FIG. 1b, in accordance with one aspect of the present exemplary embodiment, liquid-activated closure mechanism 50 preferably completely covers an inner circumference of neck 30 and, thereby, may create a stronger adhesive-adhesive bond upon sealing. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments, closure mechanism 50 may comprise various other configurations and patterns including one-sided and two-sided arrangements, horizontal lines, “treads”, and other configurations known or not yet known to the prior art. In addition, liquid-activated adhesive closure mechanism 50 is preferably applied “wet” to water balloon 10 via a brush or spray technique and then sets or “dries” until activation during later use. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the present invention, liquid-activated adhesive closure mechanism 50 may be applied to the balloon through any of those methods and processes known or not yet known to the prior art.

Thus, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and now in reference to FIG. 2, water balloon 10 is suitably closed and sealed by liquid-activated closure mechanism 50. In use, a user can fill water balloon 10 by stretching orifice 40 about a filling nozzle. As water enters through orifice 40 and travels down neck 30 to volume 20 it comes in contact with liquid-activated closure mechanism 50. In so doing, closure mechanism 50 is activated with no added effort by the user. Once volume 20 is of sufficient size, water insertion is stopped, preferably with water balloon 10 still attached to the filling nozzle. Water balloon 10 may then be sealed by simply grasping neck 30 and compressing the sides of neck 30 to each other and onto activated closure mechanism 50. Sealed water balloon 10 may then be detached from the filling nozzle. However, many alternate methods of use may as well be used to seal water balloon 10 via closure mechanism 50. For example, a user may also detach water balloon 10 from the filling nozzle before sealing orifice 40. Furthermore, a variety of motions may be used to collapse balloon neck 30 upon closure mechanism 50. For example, twisting, grinding, flattening and like motions may similarly be used to compress neck 30.

Now with reference to FIG. 3, a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown and various additional optional aspects are described below. These embodiments incorporate various supplementary features intended to optimize the overall use of the invention for the user. However, as above, various alternate embodiments of the present invention may omit some or all of these features, utilize another combination of these features, or utilize these and additional features not here described.

In accordance with one aspect of a preferred embodiment of the invention, neck 30 comprises a bump 31. Bump 31 comprises a greater diameter than the rest of neck 30 and is also preferably composed of a thicker section of material. Bump 31 is further preferably configured to be suitably used with various configurations of slit water balloon launchers. Additionally, neck 30 may further comprise a texture 32 to help a user in gripping neck 30 during the sealing process or during transport. Likewise, all of water balloon 10 may comprise texture 32 to help a user in gripping water balloon 10 during a throwing motion. Furthermore, neck 30 may be accented by a differentiating color to highlight the area with underlying closure mechanism 50. Likewise, entire neck 30 of water balloon 10 may have a differentiating color, letting the user know an integrated closure mechanism 50 lies beneath. In addition, closure mechanism 50 may have a temporary cover to ensure activation does not occur before desirable.

Thus, while the principles of the invention have been described in illustrative embodiments, many combinations and modifications of the above-described structures, arrangements, proportions, the elements, materials, and components, used in the practice of the invention in addition to those not specifically described may be varied and particularly adapted for a specific environment and operating requirement without departing from those principles.