Title:
System for creating customized stuffed toys
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stuffed toy and a system for creating customized stuffed toys are presented. A system for creating customized stuffed toys includes a first area in which a toy skin is selected, a second area in which an attribute is selected for the toy skin, a third area in which the toy skin is filled with stuffing to produce a stuffed toy, a fourth area in which the stuffed toy is outfitted with apparel and accessories, and a fifth area in which the stuffed toy is registered and weighed. The system may also be implemented using a computer to create a virtual stuffed toy.



Inventors:
Rubin, Michael (Ridgewood, NJ, US)
Fine, Jocelyn (New York, NY, US)
Abrahams, Jennifer (New York, NY, US)
Kiefer-dineen, Kelly (Jersey City, NJ, US)
Gildea, Ann (Charlestown, MA, US)
Hunter, Stuart (Columbus, OH, US)
Teeples, Paul (Columbus, OH, US)
Reischman, Garrick (Columbus, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/859613
Publication Date:
12/15/2005
Filing Date:
06/01/2004
Assignee:
Geoffrey, Inc. (Toys "R" Us, In
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/02; A63H3/28; A63H3/36; A63H9/00; A63H30/00; (IPC1-7): A63H30/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DARBY & DARBY P.C. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A system for creating customized stuffed toys, comprising: a first area in which a toy skin is selected; a second area in which an attribute is selected for the toy skin; a third area in which the toy skin is filled with stuffing to produce a stuffed toy; a fourth area in which the stuffed toy is outfitted with apparel and accessories; and a fifth area in which the stuffed toy is registered and weighed.

2. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a fixture for displaying representative stuffed toys corresponding to various toy skins.

3. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a fixture for holding sound chips and allowing one of the sound chips to be provided for the selected toy skin.

4. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a spinning wheel for selecting a personality trait for the selected toy skin.

5. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a plurality of color-coded felt-shapes, which denote different personality traits of stuffed toys.

6. The system according to claim 4, further comprising: a plurality of color-coded felt-shapes, which denote different personality traits of stuffed toys, said felt-shapes disposed around the spinning wheel.

7. The system according to claim 5, wherein the felt-shapes have letters or words thereon.

8. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a stuffing machine for stuffing the toy skin, said stuffing machine also having a foot pedal, wherein said foot pedal controls the stuffing of the toy skin or is a dummy pedal.

9. The system according to claim 1, wherein the stuffed toy is fastened after the toy is stuffed.

10. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a fixture for displaying clothes and accessories for the stuffed toy for one or more of the clothes and accessories to be chosen for the stuffed toy.

11. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a board with one or more holes in which the face of the stuffed toy may be placed, the board having an outfit detachably attached below each hole.

12. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a bin with brushes for grooming the stuffed toy or for applying stickers to the stuffed toy.

13. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a weighing device with a scale to determine the extent to which the stuffed toy is stuffed.

14. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a computer for registering the stuffed toy, said computer generating a birth certificate when the registration is complete.

15. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a name book to suggest a name for the stuffed toy.

16. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: icons on a floor leading from the first area to the second area, the second area to the third area, the third area to the fourth area, and the fourth area to the fifth area.

17. The system according to claim 16, wherein said icons are in the shape of footprints or arrows.

18. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a cartoon map of the first to fifth areas.

19. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a stuffing machine for stuffing the toy skin; and transparent pipes running along a ceiling of the system, said pipes carrying at least electrical power supply and/or stuffing material for the stuffing machine.

20. The system according to claim 1, further comprising: a music system for playing toy theme music.

21. A method for creating customized stuffed toys, comprising: allowing a customer to select a toy skin; allowing an attribute to be selected for the toy skin; allowing the selected toy skin to be stuffed to produce a stuffed toy; allowing the stuffed toy to be outfitted with apparel and accessories; and allowing the stuffed toy to be weighed and registered.

22. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: displaying representative stuffed toys corresponding to various toy skins to be selected.

23. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: displaying sound chips for sampling and allowing one of the sound chips to be provided for the selected toy skin.

24. The method according to claim 21, wherein allowing the attributes to be selected comprises allowing the customer to spin a wheel that selects a personality trait for the selected toy skin.

25. The method according to claim 21, wherein allowing the attributers to be selected comprises allowing the customer to select a felt-shape that is colored coded to denote different personality traits.

26. The method according to claim 24, wherein allowing the attributers to be selected comprises allowing the customer to select a felt-shape from those disposed around the spinning wheel.

27. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: providing a stuffing machine for stuffing the toy skin, said stuffing machine also having a foot pedal, wherein said foot pedal controls the stuffing of the toy skin or is a dummy pedal.

28. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: allowing the customer to fasten the stuffed toy to close the stuffed toy.

29. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: displaying clothes and accessories for the stuffed toy, and allowing the customer to choose one or more of the clothes and accessories for the stuffed toy.

30. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: providing a board with one or more holes in which the face of the stuffed toy is placed, the board having an outfit detachably attached below each hole.

31. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: providing a bin with brushes for grooming the stuffed toy or for applying stickers to the stuffed toy.

32. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: providing a weighing device with a scale to determine the extent to which the toy is stuffed.

33. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: providing a computer for registering the stuffed toy, said computer generating a birth certificate when the registration is complete.

34. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: providing a name book for the customer to assist the customer in selecting a name for the stuffed toy.

35. The method according to claim 21, further comprising: allowing the customer to make a pledge to the stuffed toy.

36. The method according to claim 21, wherein the creation of the customized stuffed toys is executed using a computer monitor.

37. A method for creating customized stuffed toys, comprising: providing a first area in which a toy skin is selected; providing a second area in which an attribute is selected for the toy skin; providing a third area in which the selected toy skin is filled with stuffing to produce a stuffed toy; providing a fourth area in which the stuffed toy is outfitted with apparel and accessories; and providing a fifth area in which the stuffed toy is registered and weighed.

38. The method according to claim 37, further comprising: displaying representative stuffed toys corresponding to various toy skins.

39. The method according to claim 37, further comprising: providing a fixture for holding sound chips and allowing one of the sound chips to be provided for the selected toy skin.

40. The method according to claim 37, wherein the attribute is selected by spinning a wheel that selects a personality trait for the selected toy skin.

41. The method according to claim 37, wherein the attribute is selected by selecting a felt-shape, which is colored coded to denote a particular different personality trait.

42. The method according to claim 40, wherein the attribute is selected by selecting a felt-shape from those disposed around the spinning wheel.

43. The method according to claim 37, further comprising: providing a stuffing machine for stuffing the toy skin, said stuffing machine also having a foot pedal, wherein said foot pedal controls the stuffing of the toy skin or is a dummy pedal.

44. The method according to claim 37, further comprising: allowing the stuffed toy to be fastened after the toy is stuffed.

45. The method according to claim 37, further comprising: providing a fixture for displaying clothes and accessories for the stuffed toy, and choosing one or more of the clothes and accessories for the stuffed toy.

46. The method according to claim 37, further comprising: providing a board with one or more holes in which the face of the stuffed toy is placed, the board having an outfit detachably attached below each hole.

47. A method for creating customized stuffed toys, comprising: providing choices for selecting a virtual toy skin on a computer monitor; providing choices on attributes for the virtual toy skin; allowing the virtual toy skin to be stuffed to produce a virtual stuffed toy; allowing the virtual stuffed toy to be outfitted with apparel and accessories; and allowing the virtual stuffed toy to be measured, weighed and registered.

48. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: displaying virtual stuffed toys corresponding to various toy skins to be selected.

49. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: displaying virtual sound chips for sampling and allowing one of the virtual sound chips to be provided for the selected virtual toy skin.

50. The method according to claim 47, wherein providing the choices on attributes comprises allowing the customer to spin a virtual wheel that selects a personality trait for the selected virtual toy skin.

51. The method according to claim 47, wherein providing the choices on attributes comprises allowing the customer to select a virtual felt-shape that is colored coded to denote a particular different personality trait.

52. The method according to claim 47, wherein providing the choices on attributes comprises allowing the customer to select a virtual felt-shape that has letters or words thereon.

53. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: displaying virtual clothes and accessories for the virtual stuffed toy, and allowing the customer to choose one or more of the virtual clothes and accessories for the virtual stuffed toy.

54. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: providing choices to select an amount of stuffing for the virtual toy skin.

55. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: providing choices to select a size of the virtual stuffed toy.

56. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: providing a birth certificate or a data sheet based on the type and size of the virtual stuffed toy selected.

57. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: displaying names for the customer to suggest a name for the stuffed toy.

58. The method according to claim 47, further comprising: providing a physical stuffed toy that corresponds to the virtual stuffed toy to the customer.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to a customized stuffed toy and a system for creating a customized stuffed toy. The invention is also directed to a method for creating a customized stuffed toy.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Stuffed animals include an outer soft fabric skin often with simulated fur. The skin is filled with soft inner material or stuffing and closed. Typically, the outer fabric is made to resemble an animal such as a dog, a cat, or a bear having a body, legs, and a head. The stuffed animals are often given to children as presents or collected by adults as collectibles.

In recent times, toy stores across America sell a wide variety of mass produced stuffed toys based on not only cute animals but also imaginary characters shown in movies and on TV. In those stores and others like them, customers are able to pick and choose from a wide range of different mass produced stuffed toys. However, what the customers cannot do is to customize the stuffed toys to fit their preferences.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a customized stuffed toy and a system for creating a customized stuffed toy having an outer skin, which is filled with stuffing. A system is provided to place a customer in an environment that allows him or her to customize a stuffed toy. The stuffed toy may resemble any animal or thing having any shape or form, real or imagined.

One implementation of the present invention is directed to a system for creating customized stuffed toys, which includes a first area in which a toy skin is selected, a second area in which an attribute (or attributes) is selected for the toy, a third area in which the toy skin is filled with stuffing to produce a stuffed toy, a fourth area in which the stuffed toy may be outfitted with apparel and accessories, and a fifth area in which the stuffed toy is registered and weighed. A birth certificate may also be distributed at this point.

A fixture may be provided for displaying representative stuffed toys corresponding to various toy skins. The system may further include a fixture for holding sound chips and allowing the customer to select one of the sound chips for the selected toy skin. A spinning wheel may also be provided for selecting a personality trait for the selected toy skin. One or more user-selected felt-shapes, which may be color-coded, may be added to the toy to denote, for example, particular personality traits of the stuffed toy.

A stuffing machine may be used to stuff the toy skin. The stuffing machine may also have a foot pedal by which the customer may participate in stuffing the toy skin.

The system may also include multiple tables and chairs provided with writing materials such as crayons or marker pens where the customers can draw their stuffed toys or write stories or descriptions about their stuffed toys based on, for example, the personality traits determined by spinning the wheel.

The system may also have a fixture for displaying clothes and accessories for the stuffed toy for one or more of the clothes and accessories being chosen by the customer for the stuffed toy. The system may further have a board with one or more holes in which the face of the stuffed toy can be placed. Outfits may be attached below the holes so that when the face of the stuffed toy is placed in the hole, the customer can see how the stuffed toy would look like with the selected outfit. A bin with brushes may be provided for selecting a brush to groom the stuffed toy or for selecting and applying stickers to the stuffed toy.

The system may further include a weighing device with a scale to determine how much the animal weighs. The scale may indicate, for example, “stuffed,” “medium stuffed,” or “over stuffed.”

It may further include a computer for registering the stuffed toy. The computer may be configured to generate a birth certificate when the registration is complete. The data entry may be performed by the customer or by a representative associated with the system. A name book may be further used to suggest a name for the stuffed toy.

Icons may be placed on the floor leading from the first area to the second area, the second area to the third area, the third area to the fourth area, and the fourth area to the fifth area. The icons may be, for example, footprints or arrows to give directions to the customer.

A map of at least the first to fifth areas may be provided to inform the customer about the general layout of the system. A map may also show how the system is laid out within a store.

The system may further have transparent pipes running along a ceiling of the system. The pipes may carry at least electrical power supply and/or “fluff” to the stuffing machine.

A music system may be provided for playing, for example, toy theme music to enhance the creation process of the stuffed toy.

In another implementation of the present invention, a method for creating customized stuffed toys is presented. The implementation includes allowing a customer to select a toy skin, allowing an attribute to be selected for the toy, allowing the selected toy skin to be stuffed to produce a stuffed toy, allowing the stuffed toy to be outfitted with apparel and accessories, and allowing the stuffed toy to be weighed and registered. The method above may be carried out physically or by way of an interactive monitor or a computer.

In still another implementation of the present invention, a method for providing areas/stations for creating customized stuffed toys is presented. This includes providing a first area in which a toy skin is selected, providing a second area in which an attribute is selected for the toy, providing a third area in which the selected toy skin is filled with stuffing to produce a stuffed toy, providing a fourth area in which the stuffed toy is outfitted with apparel and accessories, and providing a fifth area in which the stuffed toy is registered and weighed.

In still another implementation of the present invention, a method for creating customized stuffed toys is presented that includes providing choices to select a virtual toy skin on a computer monitor, providing choices on attributes for the virtual toy skin, allowing the virtual toy skin to be stuffed to produce a virtual stuffed toy, allowing the virtual stuffed toy to be outfitted with virtual apparel and accessories, and allowing the virtual stuffed toy to be measured, weighed and registered.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGS.

FIG. 1A shows a general layout of a system according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1B shows an example of a personality wheel;

FIG. 1C shows an example of a board with holes punched out;

FIG. 1D shows an example of a weighing device with a scale;

FIG. 2 shows a flowchart of the customized creation process of a stuffed toy according to another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 3 shows a flowchart of the customized creation process of a stuffed toy according to still another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1A illustrates an example of a system 10 for creating customized stuffed toys. The layout of the illustrated system corresponds to only one embodiment of the invention, and the invention is not limited to the particular configuration shown. The system 10 includes areas 1 to 5. Each area allows a customer to engage or participate in the creation of a customized stuffed toy of his or her choosing. Music of some animal, toy, or cartoon theme, for example, may be played as part of the system to enhance the experience of customizing the stuffed toys. A map may be displayed in a prominent position so that the customer can easily orient him or herself with the system. The map may be a relatively accurate rendition of the system or may be a stylized cartoon-like representation of the system. Furthermore, icons such as footprints or arrows may be placed on the floor or on the wall between the different areas to inform the customer about the general directional flow of the process of creating the stuffed toy.

At area 1, representative stuffed toys may be displayed on a fixture 50 for the customer to touch and feel them. Optionally, virtual versions of the various stuffed toys may be shown on interactive monitors. Corresponding toy skins without the stuffing, which may resemble, for example, animal skins, cartoon characters, or some inanimate things, may be provided in bins 52 for the customer to pick and choose. The toy skins may be, for example, a soft fabric with simulated furs, a leathery material, or some synthetic fabric having a soft touch to the skin. The customer can select a particular skin and proceed to area 2.

At area 2, the customer may spin a personality wheel 54 to randomly select a specific personality trait for the selected toy. An example of the personality wheel 54 is shown in FIG. 1B. The personality traits displayed on the wheel may be, for example, goofy, funny, happy, bashfuil, grumpy, dopey, etc. Felt shapes may be retrieved from the wheel that represent the personality traits.

Furthermore, referring back to FIG. 1A, the customer may choose from a fixture 56 a sound chip that may be placed inside the selected toy skin. The sound chips may generate, for example, certain phrases, sentences, songs, laughter, roar, or any sounds associated with animals or things. The sound chip has a mechanism by which the sound is generated when the chip is activated such as by pressing from outside the skin.

A felt-shape may also be selected by the customer. The color and/or shape of the felt-shape may represent certain characteristics such as courage, love, friendliness etc. The felt-shape may have a shape of a star, a diamond, a shell or may spell out a word such as “LOVE.” The felt-shape may have letters or words, such as “LOVE” or the name of the customer, written or embossed on it.

The felt-shapes may be appropriately disposed around the spinning personality wheel 54 in bins 55 in association with the personality traits so designated on the wheel. Alternatively, the felt-shapes may be provided separately from the spinning wheel 54.

The felt-shape may also be included inside the toy skin before it is closed and fastened. The customer can then proceed to area 3.

At area 3, stuffing material is provided so that the selected toy skin can be manually stuffed. Alternatively, a stuffing machine 58 may be provided so that the toy skin is filled with stuffing. The selected color-coded felt-shape and the sound chip are also inserted into the toy skin in the presence of the customer, and the toy skin is closed and fastened, for example, by lacing or buttoning.

The stuffing machine 58 may have a foot pedal by which the customer can participate in stuffing the selected toy skin. For example, by pressing the foot pedal, the customer can increase the rate at which the stuffing is inserted by the machine into the toy skin. There may be a “dummy” foot pedal for the customer/child to pretend to help in the stuffing process.

The system 10 may further have transparent pipes running along a ceiling of the system and coming down to the stuffing machine 58. The pipes may at least carry electrical power supply and/or “fluff” to the stuffing machine 58.

Multiple tables and chairs may be provided with writing materials such as crayons or marker pens where the customers can draw their stuffed toys or write stories or describe about their stuffed toys based on, for example, the personality traits determined by spinning the wheel.

Furthermore, the customer may be encouraged to recite a pledge of friendship or loyalty to increase and promote a bond between the stuffed toy and the customer. The customer can then proceed to area 4.

At area 4, another fixture 60 may be provided where clothes for the stuffed toy are displayed. A board 62 may be provided with one or more holes punched out for inserting the faces of stuffed toys. FIG. 1C shows an example of the board 62 with holes 63. Underneath each of the holes, clothes 64 may be detachably hung so that when the customer places the face of the stuffed toy in the hole, the customer can view how the stuffed toy would look with the selected clothes. The customer can then select the clothes displayed on the fixture to dress the stuffed toy.

Referring back to FIG. 1A, an oversized mirror 65 may also be provided so that the customer can view him or herself with the stuffed toy. Accessories may also be provided, which may be, for example, identity tags or key chains with personalized names for the stuffed toys. The customer can then proceed to area 5.

At area 5, a bin 66 with brushes for grooming the stuffed toy is provided. Stickers, such as band-aids, may also be provided to the customer so that the stickers can be applied to the stuffed toy. Computers 68 are provided so that the customer can enter the name, birth date, weight, length, and other relevant information for generating a personalized birth certificate. A name book may be provided in the area or within the computer for the customer to look up possible names for the stuffed toy. A wheel 70 of names may also be provided so that the customer can spin the wheel and randomly select a name for the stuffed toy. A weighing device 72 may be provided to weigh the stuffed toy. An example of the weighing device 72 is shown in FIG. 1D. The scale of the weighing device can be calibrated for a particular type of stuffed toy to indicate whether the stuffed toy is, for example, under stuffed, medium stuffed, or overstuffed. Optionally, the type and the size of the selected stuffed toy may be registered into a computer 73 connected to the weighing device 72 to accurately calibrate the weight.

A measuring stick or tape may also be provided to measure the length of the stuffed toy. Referring back to FIG. 1A, a photo kiosk 74 may be provided so that a picture can be taken of the stuffed toy and the customer together.

An activity booklet may be given to the customer to enhance the process of creating the customized stuffed toy. The activity booklet may include specific activities to be carried out at each of areas 1 to 5.

Another embodiment of the present invention relates to a method of creating customized stuffed toys. FIG. 2 shows a schematic example of the method. A customer is allowed to select a toy skin based on the representative samples of the stuffed toys (100). The selection of the skin may be performed by selecting a particular skin from a bin.

The customer is allowed to select certain attributes or characteristics for the selected toy skin (110). This may be performed by spinning a personality wheel, which has various personality traits displayed on the wheel.

The personality traits may also be selected by choosing color-coded felt-shapes to be inserted into the toy skin. The color and/or shape of the felt-shape may represent certain personality traits such as love, courage, friendliness, etc.

The felt-shapes may be provided around the spinning wheel in bins in association with the personality traits so designated on the wheel.

The selected toy skin may also be provided a sound chip to impart sound to the toy. The sound chips may generate, for example, certain phrases or sentences, songs, laughter, roar, or any sounds associated with animals or things. The sound chip has a mechanism by which the sound is generated when the chip is activated such as by pressing from outside the skin.

The selected toy skin then may be stuffed (120). The toy skin may be stuffed manually, semi-automatically, or automatically by a stuffing machine. When the stuffing machine is used, the customer may participate in the stuffing process by pressing a pedal attached to the machine to activate or control the stuffing process. Alternatively, the customer may pretend to help stuff the toy by pressing on a dummy pedal attached to the stuffing machine.

The customer is allowed to use the multiple tables and chairs provided with writing materials such as crayons or marker pens. The customers can draw their stuffed toys or write stories or descriptions about their stuffed toys based on, for example, the personality traits determined by spinning the wheel.

The customer is allowed to outfit the stuffed toy with apparel and accessories (130). A fixture may be used to display clothes and accessories to be selected for the stuffed toy. A board with holes punched out may be provided so that the customer can place the face of the selected stuffed toy into one of the holes. Clothes may be detachably placed below the holes so that when the face is inserted into the hole, the customer can view how the stuffed toy would look like with the clothes on. The clothes below the hole can be changed easily by replacing the detachably attached clothes. Accessories such as a name tag, a key chain, and pieces of jewelry may also be placed on the stuffed toy.

The customer is then allowed to weigh and measure the stuffed toy (140). A weighing device may be provided so that the customer can weigh the stuffed toy. The scale of the weighing device may not only indicate the actual weight of the stuffed toy, but also be calibrated for each type of stuffed toy to denote whether the selected stuffed toy is under stuffed, medium stuffed, or over stuffed. The dimension of the stuffed toy (length, width, foot size, arm length etc.) may be measured by the customer using, for example, a measuring stick or a tape measure. The name of the stuffed toy may be selected from a name book provided or the customer may select a favorite name for the stuffed toy. Alternatively, the names can be listed on a computer for the customer to choose.

The characteristics of the stuffed toy may then be registered (140) into a computer to generate a birth certificate or a fact data sheet to be included as a gift. The data sheet may be tied to an anniversary, a birthday card, a get well card, or a congratulatory note such as a graduation card or a wedding gift card or any of a number of holidays or events. A photo may be taken of the customer with the stuffed toy to be presented to the customer.

The customer is then allowed to proceed to a checkout stand to purchase the selected stuffed toy (150).

Another embodiment relates to a method of creating customized stuffed toys on a computer monitor. FIG. 3 illustrates a flowchart for this method. A customer is allowed to select a toy from a plurality of virtual stuffed toys shown on the computer monitor (200). The selection of the virtual stuffed toy may be performed by clicking or touching one of the icons representing stuffed toys, thereby selecting a particular toy skin. The selected virtual stuffed toy may be displayed, for example, in a deflated state to be filled with virtual stuffmg later.

The customer is allowed to select certain attributes or characteristics for the selected virtual stuffed toy (210). The attributes may be selected by spinning a virtual personality wheel on the computer monitor.

The personality traits may be chosen for the virtual stuffed toy by selecting an icon or icons such as a heart icon or a diamond icon on the computer monitor. After the icons have been selected, the icon may be inserted into the virtual stuffed toy.

Furthermore, the virtual stuffed toy may be provided with a virtual sound chip to impart sound to the toy. The virtual sound chips may generate, for example, certain phrases or sentences, songs, laughter, roar, or any sounds associated with animals or things. The virtual sound chips may be represented as icons on the computer monitor. Clicking the sound chip icon reproduces the sound. The sound chip icon may be, for example, dragged to the virtual stuffed toy, clicked, or touched to incorporate the sound into the virtual stuffed toy.

The virtual stuffed toy may then be stuffed (220). Stuffing can be executed, for example, by allowing the customer to drag the virtual stuffing into the virtual stuffed toy skin and watch it incrementally become full. As an example, the appearance of the virtual stuffed toy skin may be designed to change from under stuffed to medium stuffed to over stuffed by dragging the virtual stuffing to the virtual stuffing toy or clicking the virtual stuffing a number of times.

The customer is allowed to outfit the virtual stuffed toy with virtual apparel and accessories (230). Virtual clothes may be tried on by clicking or touching apparel icons on the computer to outfit the virtual stuffed toy. Accessory icons such as a name tag icon, a key chain icon, and jewelry icons, may also be clicked or touched to outfit the virtual stuffed toy.

The customer may select a specific size and a name for the virtual stuffed toy on the computer (240). The names for the virtual stuffed toy can be listed on a computer for the customer to choose. The size choices may be, for example, small, medium, or large. The virtual stuffed toy may be displayed in various sizes on the computer along with corresponding dimensions. The length, width, and weight of the virtual stuffed toy may be calculated based on the amount of stuffing (under, medium, or over stuffed), the selected size, and the type of the virtual stuffed toy selected. These various data may be presented as a birth certificate or a fact data sheet to be included as a gift. The data sheet may be tied to, for example, an anniversary, a birthday card, a get well card, or a congratulatory note such as a graduation card or a wedding gift card.

The customer is then allowed to proceed to a virtual checkout stand to purchase the virtual stuffed toy (250). In the virtual checkout stand, the customer is requested to input relevant and required information so that an actual stuffed toy corresponding to the virtual stuffed toy can be delivered to the intended recipient.

During the creation of the virtual stuffed toy, music such as animal, toy, or cartoon character themes may be played on the computer to enhance the creation process. An interactive virtual map may be presented to give an overview of the creation process of the customized stuffed toy.

Although the preferred embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described in detail, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made, such as changing some of the order of the creation processes or relocating some of the machines, devices, and fixtures elsewhere in the areas, without departing from the spirit of the invention or from the scope of the appended claims.