Title:
Construction unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A construction unit is disclosed as including a head, two legs with a space therebetween, a first arm and a second arm, in which the first arm includes a female end, the second arm includes a male end receivable within a female end of a first arm of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging the construction unit with the adjacent construction unit, and the head is receivable within a space between leg members of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging the construction unit with the adjacent construction unit.



Inventors:
Chu, Kwong Wing (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
10/834279
Publication Date:
11/03/2005
Filing Date:
04/29/2004
Assignee:
Sinolink Plastic & Metal Products Ltd. (Hong Kong, CN)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/08; E04B2/00; (IPC1-7): E04B2/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BUCHANAN, INGERSOLL & ROONEY PC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A construction unit including: a head member; at least two leg members with a space therebetween; at least a first arm member and a second arm member; wherein said first arm member includes a female end member; wherein said second arm member includes a male end member receivable within a female end member of a first arm member of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit; and wherein said head member is receivable within a space between leg members of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit.

2. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said head member is generally circular in shape.

3. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said space between said two leg members includes a part which is generally circular in shape.

4. A construction unit according to claim 2 wherein said part of said space between said two leg members which is generally circular in shape is of a diameter substantially the same as a diameter of said head member.

5. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said male end member of said second arm member is receivable within said female end member of said first arm member of said adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit in a first configuration wherein a major surface of said construction unit is substantially parallel with a major surface of said adjacent construction unit, and a second configuration wherein said major surface of said construction unit is substantially perpendicular to said major surface of said adjacent construction unit.

6. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said male member of said second arm member is generally hexagonal in shape.

7. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said female member of said first arm member includes a generally hexagonal space.

8. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said head member is joined with said first and second arm members via a neck member.

9. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said first and second arm members are joined with said leg members via a trunk member.

10. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein each of said arm members is of a width substantially the same as the thickness of said construction unit.

11. A construction unit according to claim 8 wherein said neck member is substantially as wide as said first arm member.

12. A construction unit according to claim 9 wherein said trunk member is substantially as wide as said first arm member.

13. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein an extremity of one said leg member is substantially as wide as said first arm member.

14. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein the distance between an extremity of each respective leg member is substantially as wide as said first arm member.

15. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said head member is generally hexagonal in shape.

16. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said space between said two leg members includes a part which is generally hexagonal in shape.

17. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said head member is generally pentagonal in shape.

18. A construction unit according to claim 1 wherein said space between said two leg members includes a part which is generally pentagonal in shape.

19. A toy set including a plurality of construction units according to claim 1.

20. A toy set according to claim 19 comprising a chessboard and chess pieces constructed of a plurality of said construction units.

21. An article constructed of a plurality of construction units according to claim 1.

22. An article according to claim 21 wherein said article comprises a stationery item.

23. An article according to claim 22 wherein said stationery item comprises a pen holder.

24. An article according to claim 21 wherein said article comprises a figurine animal.

25. An article according to claim 24 wherein said figurine animal comprises a figurine dog.

26. An article according to claim 21 wherein said article comprises a coaster.

27. An article according to claim 21 wherein said article comprises a floor mat.

Description:

This invention relates to a construction unit and, in particular such units which are releasably inter-engageable to form articles of various shapes and configurations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are in existence a large variety of construction units which may be engaged with one another according to the wish of the users. However, most such units are limited in the ways in which they may be inter-engaged with one another, thus limiting the use of such construction units.

It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a construction unit in which the aforesaid shortcomings are mitigated, or at least to provide a useful alternative to the public.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a construction unit including a head member; at least two leg members with a space therebetween; at least a first arm member and a second arm member; wherein said first arm member includes a female end member; wherein said second arm member includes a male end member receivable within a female end member of a first arm member of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit; and wherein said head member is receivable within a space between leg members of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toy set including a plurality of construction units, wherein each said construction unit includes a head member; at least two leg members with a space therebetween; at least a first arm member and a second arm member; wherein said first arm member includes a female end member; wherein said second arm member includes a male end member receivable within a female end member of a first arm member of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit; and wherein said head member is receivable within a space between leg members of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided an article constructed of a plurality of construction units, wherein each said construction unit includes a head member; at least two leg members with a space therebetween; at least a first arm member and a second arm member; wherein said first arm member includes a female end member; wherein said second arm member includes a male end member receivable within a female end member of a first arm member of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit; and wherein said head member is receivable within a space between leg members of an adjacent construction unit for releasably engaging said construction unit with said adjacent construction unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a construction unit according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

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

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line B-B in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of the construction unit shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of the construction unit shown in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 6 to 43 show various manners in which two construction units as shown in FIG. 1 may be releasably engaged with each other;

FIG. 44 is a front view of a construct unit according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 45 is a sectional view taken along the line C-C in FIG. 45;

FIG. 46 is a front perspective view of the construction unit shown in FIG. 45;

FIG. 47 is a rear perspective view of the construction unit shown in FIG. 45;

FIG. 48 is a front view of a construction unit according to a third preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 49 is a sectional view taken along the line D-D in FIG. 48;

FIG. 50 is a front perspective view of the construction unit shown in FIG. 48;

FIG. 51 is a coaster constructed of a number of the construction units as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 52 is a floor mat constructed of a number of the construction units as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 53 is a pen holder constructed of a number of the construction units as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 54 is a figurine dog constructed of a number of the construction units as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 55 is a chessboard and chess pieces constructed of a number of the construction units as shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 56 is an alternative configuration of the chessboard and chess pieces shown in FIG. 55.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A construction unit according to a first preferred embodiment of this is shown in FIGS. 1 to 5, and generally designated as 100. The construction unit 100 may be made of a plastics material, to allow flexibility and resilience during manipulation. The construction unit 100 is roughly in the shape of a human being, having a head 102, a pair of arms 104, 106 joined with the head 102 via a neck 108, and a pair of legs 110, 112 joined with the arms 104, 106 via a trunk 114. Each of the legs 110 ends with a respective extremity portion 116 which is substantially square in cross-section, as shown in FIG. 3.

Referring in particular to FIGS. 1 to 3, it can be seen that the head 102 is of a generally circular shape with a centre S, and a diameter d. Between the legs 110, 112 is a space 118 having a circular part with a centre T, and a diameter d. By way of such an arrangement, the head 102 of a construction unit may be fitted into the space 118 of another construction unit to allow the two construction units to be releasably engaged with each other.

To allow for more ways in which a plurality of construction units 100 may be releasably inter-engaged with one another, the thickness of the construction unit 100, k, is equal to (a) the width, k, of the extremity portion 116, (b) the distance, k, between the two extremity portions 116, (c) the width, k, of the trunk 114, (d) the width, k, of the neck 108, (e) the width, k, of the arm 104, and (f) the width, k, of the arm 106.

The arm 104 has an end 120 which is a part regular hexagon, with a centre R. The arm 106 has an end 122 with an part circular outer periphery 124 and an inner part regular hexagonal space 126, both with a centre at R. The diameter, d, of the circular periphery 124 of the end 122 is the same as the diameter, d, of the head 102. The end 120 of the arm 104 is sized and configured to be fitted within the space 126 of the arm 106. The width, k, of the entrance of the space 126 is also the same as the thickness, k, of the construction unit 100.

The line ST and the line PR intersect at the point Q at 90°, and the length of QT equals the length of SQ, and the length of RQ equals the length of QP.

With such an arrangement, two and more construction units 100 may be releasably inter-engaged with one another in a large variety of manners, as shown in FIGS. 6 to 43 and briefly discussed below.

In FIG. 6, the trunk 114 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 7, the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the two extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 8, the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 9, the end 122 of the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are parallel to and co-planar with each other.

In FIG. 10, the end 122 of the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is also shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, whereas in this arrangement, the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 11, the end 120 of the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 12, the two extremity portions 116 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 13, the end 120 of the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 14, an extremity portion 116 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 15, the end 122 of the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being inter-engaged with the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 16, the neck 108 of a construction unit construction unit 100 is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 17, the end 120 of the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100 in an upside-down manner, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are parallel to and co-planar with each other.

In FIG. 18, the end 120 of the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are parallel to and co-planar with each other.

In FIG. 19, the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 20, a portion of the leg 110 of a construction unit 100, which is near the trunk 114, is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 21, a portion of the leg 110 of a construction unit 100, which is near the extremity portion 116, is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 22, the trunk 114 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged with the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 23, the neck 108 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 24, the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged with the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 25, the head 102 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are parallel to and co-planar with each other. It can also be seen that the extremity portions 116 of the legs 110, 112 of the construction unit 100 are in abutment with the arms 104, 106 of the adjacent construction unit 100.

In FIG. 26, the end 122 of the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 27, the leg 112 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged with the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 28, the end 120 of the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 29, the part where the arms 104, 106 of a construction unit 100 join each other is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, and vice versa, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 30, the neck 108 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are at an obtuse angle between each other.

In FIG. 31, the head 102 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are parallel to and co-planar with each other.

In FIG. 32, the neck 108 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 33, the neck 108 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 34, the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 35, the end 122 of the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged with the trunk 114 of an adjacent construction unit 100, and the trunk 114 of the adjacent construction unit 100 is engaged between the extremity portions 116 of the construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 36, the trunk 114 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 37, the arm 106 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 38, an extremity portion 116 of a leg 112 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged with the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 39, the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 40, the end 120 of the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are parallel to and co-planar with each other.

In FIG. 41, the head 102 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 118 between the legs 110, 112 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 42, the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being received within the space 126 of the end 122 of the arm 106 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

In FIG. 43, the arm 104 of a construction unit 100 is shown as being engaged between the extremity portions 116 of an adjacent construction unit 100, in which the major surfaces of the two construction units 100 are perpendicular to each other.

A construction unit according to a second preferred embodiment of this is shown in FIGS. 44 to 47, and generally designated as 200. As compared with the construction unit 100 discussed, the construction unit 200 differs in the following respects:

  • a. a head 202 of the construction unit 200 is of a generally regular hexagonal shape;
  • b. a space 218 between legs 210, 212 of the construction unit 200 is of a generally regular hexagonal shape; and
  • c. an end 222 of an arm 206 has a part hexagonal outer periphery 224.

By way of such an arrangement, a number of construction units 200 may also be releasably inter-engaged with one another in a large variety of ways.

A construction unit according to a third preferred embodiment of this is shown in FIGS. 48 to 50, and generally designated as 300. As compared with the construction units 100, 200 discussed, the construction unit 300 differs in the following respects:

  • d. a head 302 of the construction unit 300 is of a generally regular pentagonal shape;
  • e. a space 318 between legs 310, 312 of the construction unit 300 is of a generally regular pentagonal shape; and
  • f. an end 322 of an arm 306 has a part pentagonal outer periphery 324.

Again, by way of such an arrangement, a number of construction units 300 may also be releasably inter-engaged with one another in a large variety of ways.

A number of construction units 100 may be provided as toy pieces, allowing a player, e.g. a child, to build various toys by inter-engaging the construction units with one another other in various manners and ways. The same also applies to the construction units 200 and 300.

As shown in FIG. 51, a generally square coaster 400 is shown as being constructed of sixteen construction units 100. In a larger scale, and as shown in FIG. 52, a floor mat 500 is shown as being constructed of a larger number of construction units 100.

While the coast 400 shown in FIG. 51 and the floor mat 500 in FIG. 52 are generally speaking two-dimensional articles, the construction units 100 may be inter-engaged with one another to form three-dimensional articles, e.g. a stationery item such as a pen holder 600 as shown in FIG. 53, and a figurine animal, such as a figurine dog 700 as shown in FIG. 54.

The construction units 100 may be inter-engaged with each other, as shown in FIGS. 55 and 56, to form a chessboard 902. The same construction units 100 may also act as the chess pieces 904 movable by a user on the chessboard 902 to occupy different positions, for playing a chess game. A distinct advantage of such an arrangement is that even in cases where a chess piece is lost, a construction unit 100 may be disengaged from the chessboard 902 to replace the missing chess piece 904. On the other hand, when a chess piece 902 is captured, the winning player does not have to look for space for storing the chess piece 902, but only has to engage the captured chess piece 904 with the chessboard 902 for storage.

It should be understood that the above only illustrates examples whereby the present invention may be carried out, and that various modifications and/or alterations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention.

It should also be understood that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any appropriate sub-combinations.





 
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