Title:
Sound responsive doll apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sound responsive doll apparatus includes an outer doll covering, a base supporting the outer doll covering, base-to-support attachment means for attaching the base to an underlying support such as a dashboard, sound-signal receiver means for receiving real-time electrical signals representing sounds, and sound-signal-to-visible response means housed by the outer doll covering and electrically connected to the sound-signal receiver means for converting electrical signals representing sound from the sound-signal receiver means into visible motion of the outer doll covering. The sound-signal receiver means can be in a form of a wire and plug that are electrically connected to a sound producing device, such as a stereo system, in the underlying support. The sound-signal receiver means include a signal processor, and the sound-signal-to-visible response means include sound-signal-to-visible motion means, such as arm servos and leg servos.



Inventors:
Spear, Darlene K. (Adrian, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/499169
Publication Date:
02/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/03/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/175
International Classes:
A63H3/20; A63H13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Darlene K. Spear (Adrian, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed as being new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent of the United States is as follows:

1. A sound responsive doll apparatus, comprising: an outer doll covering, a base supporting said outer doll covering, base-to-support attachment means for attaching said base to an underlying support, sound-signal receiver means for receiving electrical signals representing sounds, and sound-signal-to-visible response means housed by said outer doll covering and electrically connected to said sound-signal receiver means for converting electrical signals representing sound from said sound-signal receiver means into visible motion of said outer doll covering.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said sound-signal receiver means is in a form of a wire and plug electrically connected to a sound producing device in a underlying support.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further including: sound-to-electrical-signal transducer means for converting sounds in the air to electrical signals received by said sound-signal receiver means.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, further including: a source of battery power electrically connected to said sound-signal receiver means and said sound-signal-to-visible response means.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: said sound-signal receiver means include a signal processor, and said sound-signal-to-visible response means include sound-signal-to-visible motion means.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said sound-signal-to-visible motion means include servo units.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said servo units include arm servos and leg servos.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said outer doll covering is a simulated animal.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said simulated animal is a bear.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the underlying support is a dashboard of a motor vehicle.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said base-to-support attachment means include first hook-or-loop material for connection with complementary second hook-or-loop material attached to the underlying support.

12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said sound-signal-to-visible response means include sources of illumination.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said sources of illumination are located in eye positions of a simulated animal.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority based upon my copending Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/707,111; filed Aug. 11, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to toys or dolls or other simulations of living creatures, and, more particularly, to toys or dolls or other simulations of living creatures that provide movement in response to sound.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Toys or dolls or other simulations of living creatures that provide movement are well known in the art. In this respect, throughout the years, a number of innovations have been developed relating to moving toys, and the following U.S. patents are representative of some of those innovations: U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,603,027, 5,356,326, 5,846,115, 6,582,273, and 6,782,308.

More specifically, U.S. Pat. No. 3,603,027 discloses a moving toy doll that is moved by a stream of air from a manually operated air pump. The motion of the doll is dependent upon the stream of air from the air pump. If a driver of an automotive vehicle were to use this device, the driver would have to take one hand off of the steering wheel to operate the device. Moreover, when the driver ceased manually operating the air pump, the motion of the doll would stop. In this respect, it would be desirable if a movable doll were provided which does not require a driver of an automotive vehicle to continuously and manually operate an air pump.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,356,326 discloses a shaking toy which is movable in responsive to sound that is sensed. The toy is a simulated monkey. With this toy, a motor is contained in the torso of the monkey, and the motor creates vibrations. The vibrations cause a rocking of a cage, and the monkey hangs from an overhead bar of the cage. With this device, monkey swings in the cage. The swinging action of the monkey and the rocking of the cage are entertaining, but the entertainment is quite limited. For example, the limbs, such as arms and legs, do not respond individually to the sound that is sensed. Response of arms and legs to sound would add considerably to entertainment value in a toy that exhibits motion in response to sound.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,846,115 discloses an animated stuffed toy that is responsive to a voice, and motion of the toy resemble sleepiness or drowsiness. As with the toy disclosed in above-mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 5,356,326, this animated toy does not have arms and legs which respond individually to sounds.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,582,273 discloses a music box that has dancing characters that move in response to a rotating asymmetric wavy track. As a result the dancing action of the characters is totally responsive to the physical shape of the rotating asymmetric wavy track. There is no variety in the dancing action, and the arms and legs of the dancing characters do not respond individually to the sound that is sensed. To increase entertainment value in a sound responsive toy device, it would be desirable if the toy device exhibited variety in dancing action.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,782,308 discloses a robot that moves in accordance with a program that is stored in the robot. The stored program can be music. Although pre-stored music can cause the robot to perform a variety of movement actions, having the robot pre-programmed severely limits the music that can be employed to cause the robot to move. Rather than employing a pre-programmed device that is responsive to pre-programmed music, it would be desirable if a sound responsive device that moves were provided that responds to a real-time stream of audio signals. In this respect, such a desirable device could respond to live audio broadcasts or real-time playing of recorded music from a tape, CD, DVD, or the like.

As discussed above, having a sound responsive toy device in an automotive vehicle may be desirable. In this respect, it would be desirable to provide a convenient and practical way to support the sound responsive toy device in the automotive vehicle.

All of the prior art discussed above relate to sound responsive toy devices which respond directly to sound. That is, they respond to sound vibrations in the air. Musical sound vibrations in the air may be accompanied by a lot of background sound noise. To curtail such background noise, it would be desirable if a sound responsive toy device were provided which responds in real-time to electrical signals representing sounds. Such electrical signals representing sounds could come to the sound responsive toy device through an electrical cable or other electrical conductor interconnected between the sound responsive toy device and the device which provides electrical signals representing sounds.

Thus, while the foregoing body of prior art indicates it to be well known to use moving toys, the prior art described above does not teach or suggest a sound responsive doll apparatus which has the following combination of desirable features: (1) does not require a driver of an automotive vehicle to continuously and manually operate an air pump; (2) has arms and legs which can respond individually to the sound that is sensed; (3) exhibit variety in dancing action; (4) can respond to live audio broadcasts or real-time playing of recorded music from a tape, CD, DVD, or the like; (5) provides a convenient and practical way to support the sound responsive toy device in an automotive vehicle; (6) responds in real-time to electrical signals representing sounds; and (7) can employ an electrical cable or other electrical conductor interconnected between the sound responsive doll apparatus and the device which provides electrical signals representing sounds. The foregoing desired characteristics are provided by the unique sound responsive doll apparatus of the present invention as will be made apparent from the following description thereof. Other advantages of the present invention over the prior art also will be rendered evident.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To achieve the foregoing and other advantages, the present invention, briefly described, provides a sound responsive doll apparatus which includes an outer doll covering, a base supporting the outer doll covering, base-to-support attachment means for attaching the base to an underlying support, sound-signal receiver means for receiving electrical signals representing sounds, and sound-signal-to-visible response means housed by the outer doll covering and electrically connected to the sound-signal receiver means for converting electrical signals representing sound from the sound-signal receiver means into visible motion of the outer doll covering. The sound responsive doll apparatus of the invention can be used to receive electrical signals representing sound in real-time from a device playing broadcasted or recorded music.

The sound-signal receiver means can be in a form of a wire and plug that are electrically connected to a sound producing device in an underlying support.

With an alternate embodiment of the invention, sound-to-electrical-signal transducer means are provided for converting sounds in the air to electrical signals received by the sound-signal receiver means. A source of battery power can be electrically connected to the sound-signal receiver means and the sound-signal-to-visible response means for powering one or both of them. The sound-signal receiver means include a signal processor, and the sound-signal-to-visible response means include sound-signal-to-visible motion means.

Preferably, the sound-signal-to-visible motion means include servo units. The servo units include arm servos and leg servos.

Preferably, the outer doll covering is a simulated animal. The simulated animal can be a bear. Preferably, the underlying support is a dashboard of a motor vehicle.

The base-to-support attachment means can include first hook-or-loop material for connection with complementary second hook-or-loop material attached to the underlying support.

Preferably, the sound-signal-to-visible response means include sources of illumination. The sources of illumination can be located in eye positions of a simulated animal.

The above brief description sets forth rather broadly the more important features of the present invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contributions to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will be for the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining a preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood, that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which is of durable and reliable construction.

An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such sound responsive doll apparatus available to the buying public.

Still yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which does not require a driver of an automotive vehicle to continuously and manually operate an air pump.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus that has arms and legs which can respond individually to the sound that is sensed.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which exhibit variety in dancing action.

Even another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus that can respond to live audio broadcasts or real-time playing of recorded music from a tape, CD, DVD, or the like.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which provides a convenient and practical way to support the sound responsive toy device in an automotive vehicle.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus that responds in real-time to electrical signals representing sounds.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus which can employ an electrical cable or other electrical conductor interconnected between the sound responsive doll apparatus and the device which provides electrical signals representing sounds.

These together with still other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood and the above objects as well as objects other than those set forth above will become more apparent after a study of the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view showing a preferred embodiment of the sound responsive doll apparatus of the invention installed on a dashboard of a motor vehicle and connected to a stereo system.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged front view of the embodiment of the sound responsive doll apparatus shown in FIG. 1, in a condition responding to sound from the radio.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side view of the embodiment of the sound responsive doll apparatus of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3 thereof.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, broken away view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 2 contained in circled area 4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of functional units of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-4.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to the drawings, a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described.

With reference to the drawings, a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described.

Turning to FIGS. 1-5, there is shown a preferred embodiment of the sound responsive doll apparatus of the invention generally designated by reference numeral 10. In the preferred embodiment, a sound responsive doll apparatus 10 includes an outer doll covering 12, a base 14 supporting the outer doll covering 12, base-to-support attachment means for attaching the base 14 to an underlying support, sound-signal receiver means for receiving electrical signals representing sounds, and sound-signal-to-visible response means housed by the outer doll covering 12 and electrically connected to the sound-signal receiver means for converting electrical signals representing sound from the sound-signal receiver means into visible motion of the outer doll covering 12.

The sound-signal receiver means can be in a form of a wire and plug 28 that are electrically connected to a sound producing device in an underlying support. The sound producing device can be a radio, CD player, tape player, or other sound producing device. More specifically, the sound producing device can be a stereo system 13.

Alternatively, sound-to-electrical-signal transducer means are provided for converting sounds in the air to electrical signals received by the sound-signal receiver means. The sound-to-electrical-signal transducer means can be in a form of a microphone (not shown). source of battery power 20 can be electrically connected to the sound-signal receiver means and the sound-signal-to-visible response means for powering one or both of them. The sound-signal receiver means include a signal processor 22, and the sound-signal-to-visible response means include sound-signal-to-visible motion means.

Preferably, the sound-signal-to-visible motion means include servo units. The servo units include arm servos 24 and leg servos 26.

Preferably, the outer doll covering 12 is a simulated animal. The simulated animal can be a bear, such as a teddy bear. Preferably, the underlying support is a dashboard 11 of a motor vehicle.

The preferred base-to-support attachment means can include first hook-or-loop material 16 for connection with complementary second hook-or-loop material attached to the underlying support. The first hook-or-loop material 16 and the complementary second hook-or-loop material can be made from well-known VELCRO(™) material. Alternatively, other well-known attachment means may be used instead on the underside of base 14 such as, for example, suction cups, or a double-sided adhesive layer.

Preferably, the sound-signal-to-visible response means include sources of illumination 18. The sources of illumination 18 can be located in eye positions of a simulated animal.

To use the embodiment of the sound responsive doll apparatus 10 of the invention shown in the figures, the base 14 is attached to the top of the dashboard 11. To do this, first hook-or-loop material 16 on the bottom of the base 14 is attached to second hook-or-loop material (unlabeled) suitably located on the top of the dashboard 11.

The sound that is received by the sound responsive doll apparatus 10 can be from the stereo system 13 of the underlying support. Either the sound responsive doll apparatus 10 can be plugged into the stereo system 13 to receive electrical signals therefrom, or the sound responsive doll apparatus 10 can include a microphone (not shown) that receives sound from the air.

The sound responsive doll apparatus can respond to the sound by having portions of the doll move in response to the sound. For example, the arms, legs, mouth, and eyes of the doll can move in response to the sound. Also, the lights can respond to the sound. When the sound, such as music, is fast, the movements and light flashes can be fast. When the music is slow, the movements and light flashes can be slow.

More specifically, with reference to FIG. 5, sound signals from the stereo system 13 are sent to the signal processor 22. From the signal processor 22, control signals are directed to the arm servos 24, the leg servos 26, and the sources of illumination 18 in a predetermined or programmed sequence to cause desired visible motion of the outer doll covering 12 and to cause desired flashing of the sources of illumination 18.

The components of the sound responsive doll apparatus of the invention can be made from inexpensive and durable metal, plastic, and cloth materials.

As to the manner of usage and operation of the instant invention, the same is apparent from the above disclosure, and accordingly, no further discussion relative to the manner of usage and operation need be provided.

It is apparent from the above that the present invention accomplishes all of the objects set forth by providing a new and improved sound responsive doll apparatus that is low in cost, relatively simple in design and operation, and which does not require a driver of an automotive vehicle to continuously and manually operate an air pump. With the invention, a sound responsive doll apparatus is provided which has arms and legs which can respond individually to the sound that is sensed. With the invention, a sound responsive doll apparatus is provided which exhibit variety in dancing action. With the invention, a sound responsive doll apparatus is provided which can respond to live audio broadcasts or real-time playing of recorded music from a tape, CD, DVD, or the like. With the invention, a sound responsive doll apparatus is provided which provide a convenient and practical way to support the sound responsive toy device in an automotive vehicle. With the invention, a sound responsive doll apparatus is provided which responds in real-time to electrical signals representing sounds. With the invention, a sound responsive doll apparatus is provided which can employ an electrical cable or other electrical conductor interconnected between the sound responsive doll apparatus and the device which provides electrical signals representing sounds.

Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and fully described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiment(s) of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications thereof may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use.

Hence, the proper scope of the present invention should be determined only by the broadest interpretation of the appended claims so as to encompass all such modifications as well as all relationships equivalent to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification.

Finally, it will be appreciated that the purpose of the annexed Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. Accordingly, the Abstract is neither intended to define the invention or the application, which only is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.