Title:
Ball return game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ball return game where a player is to throw a ball at a backboard. The game is to utilize a plurality of backboards located spaced apart but proximate. There is to be a single player on a single team for each backboard. Each player is to align himself or herself with a player determining location from a plurality of such locations. Depending upon the particular location the player is aligned with, the level of difficulty for the play will then be determined. Each backboard includes a plurality of spaced apart target areas with each target area to include a shock or vibration sensitive sensor. There is to be utilized a scoring display for each backboard with all scoring displays to be readily observed by all players therefore imparting a competitive environment between the players. Each target area is to include specific indicia which can function to be educational to the player.



Inventors:
Lamberti, Catherine B. (Santa Barbara, CA, US)
Osbaldeston, Timothy J. (Carpinteria, CA, US)
Wittmer-grant, Frauke (Santa Barbara, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/403033
Publication Date:
08/02/2007
Filing Date:
04/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41J5/00; A63B69/00; F41J5/056; A63B63/00; A63B
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Sandy Lipkin (Ventura, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A method of playing a competitive game for individual or team players designed to promote physical fitness comprising: utilizing a plurality of ball return backboards with said backboards located spaced apart but proximate; designing within each said backboard a plurality of shock sensitive targets with said targets being spread out across each said backboard; utilizing a common time clock for each of said players; and connecting electrically said targets to a score displaying structure where each score for each backboard is displayed where the score of said backboard is increased upon a ball striking a shock sensitive target so a competitive environment is produced between players of said backboards.

2. canceled

3. The method of playing a game as defined in claim 1 wherein the designing step also includes placing on each said backboard a shape indicia with each said target having different shape indicia wherein said players of said backboards are directed to hit a particular shape by said game defining positive scoring as the number of times the correct target is successfully hit.

4. The method of playing a game as defined in claim 3 wherein the designing step also includes placing on each said backboard a numerical value in conjunction with each said target with each said target having a different numerical value wherein said players of said backboards are directed to hit a particular numerical value by said game defining positive scoring as the number of times the correct numerical value is successfully hit.

Description:

REFERENCE TO PRIOR APPLICATION

This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/407,691, filed Apr. 4, 2003, entitled BALL RETURN GAME by Catherine B. Lamberti, et al.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The subject matter of this invention is directed to the using of a plurality of ball return backboards each of which is to rebound a ball to a player that is propelling a ball into a backboard.

2. Description of the Related Art

Backboards or rebound walls for ball sports have long been known. Particularly, such walls have been used within the game of tennis. However, usage of a wall that is activated electronically is a relatively new innovation. Such a wall is shown and described within this inventor's U.S. patent application 09/643,394, filed Aug. 22, 2000, by the title of REBOUND WALL FOR BALL SPORTS. Electronic activation permits the wall to be used to record a scoring value.

Children exercise best when they play, where fitness arises from entertainment rather than discipline. Arcade and play-station type games have been instrumental in motivating children to achieve new levels of hand-eye coordination. Unfortunately, these games promote a sedentary lifestyle. It would be desirable to design a game that involves the use of the child's hand, feet, eyes and ears to achieve a total body workout. It would also be desirable to design a game that was entertaining to the children while at the same time producing fitness.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A first basic embodiment of ball return game that utilizes a plurality of backboards located in a spaced apart and proximate arrangement. Each backboard has a plurality of target areas with the target areas being spread out in a spaced apart manner across each backboard. Each target area has a vibration sensitive sensor. Each backboard is adapted to have propelled against it a ball by a player with there being a plurality of players with there being a single player or team of players per backboard. Upon a ball striking a target area, an electrical pulse is transmitted to a microprocessor and a scoring value accumulated and displayed on each backboard with the scoring value of all the backboards being displayed with a competitive environment between the players being obtained.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the first basic embodiment is modified by the backboards being identical.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where included within each backboard is indicia and specifically differentiating indicia.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the just previous embodiment is modified by the indicia taking the form of different shapes.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the indicia embodiment is modified by the indicia comprising different numerals within each backboard.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the first basic embodiment is modified by there being defined player determining locations located directly adjacent each backboard which determines the position of the player or players for that particular backboard. Depending upon which player determining location is selected, the level of difficulty in playing of the game is altered.

A second basic embodiment of the present invention comprises a method of playing a game which utilizes a plurality of ball return backboards with the backboards located spaced apart but proximate. Designed within each backboard is a plurality of shock sensitive targets with the targets being spread out across each backboard. The targets are connected electrically to a score display structure where each score for each backboard is displayed where the score for the backboards is increased upon a ball striking a shock sensitive target so a competitive environment is produced between the players of the different backboards.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the second basic embodiment is modified by placing a series of player determining locations in front of each backboard so players have an option of selecting a level of difficulty of play depending upon the particular player determining location that is selected.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the second basic embodiment is modified by the designing step also includes placing on each backboard a shape indicia associated with each target with each target having a different shape indicia. The player or players are to be audibly told to propel a ball to a particular shape target, and if that target is then struck by the ball, a predetermined scoring value is then scored.

A further embodiment of the present invention is where the second basic embodiment is modified by the designing step also includes placing on each backboard a numerical value in conjunction with each target with each target having a different numerical value. This permits the player or players to be audibly directed to propel a ball to a particular numerical value, and if that numerical value is struck, a certain scoring value will be displayed.

The structure of the present invention is directed to a multi-station and structure led fitness program with emphasis on neurological efficiency, cardiovascular and sport skill training. The structure of the present invention is designed principally to be used by schools, health clubs, YMCAs, churches and camps. Scoring values are obtained by throwing a ball to a target, and the more accurate the throwing of the ball, the more points are earned. Children can play as individuals or in teams to achieve the highest possible score. Each player or players plays against their own backboard which records its own score and provides its own audible directives. All backboards will play the same timed game concurrently which is controlled with a remote control by an instructor. The playing of the game is timed by a central time clock. Brain and body fitness for the players takes place naturally and easily in a fun, exciting and motivating environment.

General game sounds, voice animation and music are normally played through the central computer that is utilized in conjunction with the game of the present invention. Specific sounds directed individually to a particular backboard are supplied audibly, such as good and bad feedback.

The advantage of the present invention is that particularly with children the game of the present invention requires cooperation between the hands, feet, eyes and ears which increases mental agility, brain and body fitness, cardiovascular fitness, ball handling skills for any ball sport as well as sensory integration training. The game of the present invention focuses on neurological efficiency, cardio fitness and skills training. The game of the present invention improves kinesthetic senses in young children. The game of the present invention promotes interconnectivity between the hemispheres of the brain in young children when the young child's brain is thinking and developing. The game of the present invention is the fastest way to develop sports related skills, such as motor skills, reaction skills, quick hands and fast feet and eye/hand coordination. The playing of the game of the present invention takes place in a play format which produces a positive experience and healthy attitude toward fitness. The game of the present invention is highly motivating since the scoring value delivers instant feedback on the pace of learning and improves self esteem in children. The game of the present invention has been proved to be helpful for children who have difficulty with reading, physical coordination, and autism as well as other medical problems.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is to be made to the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the precise arrangement shown in the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a schematic view depicting a plurality of backboards which are interconnected together with various games being capable of being played in conjunction with the backboards by a multitude of players;

FIG. 2 is a front view of a single backboard used in conjunction with this invention;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a remote that is used in conjunction with the backboards of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the electrical circuitry that is used to affect operation of the backboards of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring particularly to FIG. 2, there is shown a rebound wall or ball return backboard 10 that is included within this invention. The backboard 10 has a front planar surface 12. Typically, the backboard 10 will have a thickness of approximately four to six inches. The size of the backboard 10 would normally be four feet wide and eight feet high but any size could be used.

Formed within the front planar surface 12 are target areas 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26. Each of the target areas 14-26 basically include a shock or vibration sensitive sensor, which is shown generally as block 28 in FIG. 4 of the drawings. Upon a target area 14-26 getting a direct hit with a ball 30 which has been propelled by a human player, a signal is produced. The electrical signal that is produced is read by a microprocessor 32. The microprocessor 32 is to produce a scoring value which is to be displayed within a display window 62 of the particular backboard 10 that received the contact by the ball 30. The microprocessor 32 is to be programmable to include various games that can be played using of the backboard 10 of this invention. The timer housing 36 is to display within window 34 the time of play when playing of a particular game. Also, scoring values can be displayed within the window 34. Also, it is possible there could be displayed instructions that the player is to follow in order to achieve a certain score.

Each target area 14-26 is to include some type of indicia. The indicia could comprise a particular shape, such as is clearly shown in FIG. 2. Typical shapes would be a parallelogram for target area 14, a pentagon for target area 16, a triangle for target area 18, a circle for target area 20, a square for target area 22, a diamond for target area 24 and a hexagon for target area 26. Also, each target area 14-26 may be assigned a particular numerical indicia which again is shown in FIG. 2. Number one is assigned to target area 22, number two is assigned to target area 14, number three is assigned to target area 26, number four is assigned to target area 20, number five is assigned to target area 24, number six is assigned to target area 18, and number seven is assigned to target area 16. Instructions, besides being displayed in the display window 34, can be produced audibly from the audio speaker 38 which is to direct the player to propel the ball to a particular target area. There may be a separate audio speaker (not shown) for each backboard 10 and there may be a general speaker associated with the timer housing 36. When the player contacts that particular target area, a particular score is then obtained and will then be displayed within the display area 34. The player that hits the correct target the greatest number of times will achieve the greatest score. The player could be directed to select a particular shape or could be directed to hit a certain numerical value which would be educational to a child by training the child the different shapes or numbers. It is to be understood that the backboard 10 could include a greater or lesser number of target areas. Also, the pattern or arrangement of the different target areas is deemed to be a matter of choice.

The operation of each backboard 10 is to be accomplished by means of a remote control 40. The remote control 40 is to have a series of buttons 42, 44, 46 and 48. Pressing of button 42 will select a particular game, and if that particular game is not the desired game that is to be played, the instructor will again press button 42 which will bring up another game. There may be five to ten or more of different games programmed into the microprocessor 32 and each time button 42 is pressed, a new game is brought up until all games have been brought up where further pressing of the button 42 will repeat the series of games. The difficulty of the play of the game can also be selected by pressing button 44. Various levels can be selected by pressing of button 44 from an easy level of play to a more difficult level of play. There may be three or four different levels of play. Additionally, the amount of time the game is to be played is to be selected by pressing of button 46. The volume of the audio from the speaker 38 can-also be selected by pushing of button 48. The signals from the remote 40 are transmitted from antenna 50 to an antenna 52 that is mounted on the timer housing 36. The signal input from the antenna 52 is to be transmitted into the microprocessor 32. Power is to be supplied to the microprocessor 32 by a power supply 54 which typically will be normal household electrical current.

Referring particularly to FIG. 1, four of the panels 10 are located in a side-by-side, spaced apart but proximate relationship. These panels are electrically interconnected by means of conduits 56, 58 and 60. Each backboard 10 is connected to the timer housing 34 and the player that is playing the backboard 10 that has the highest score, after a set period of time, can be “selected to be the winner”. The particular score that is achieved for a particular backboard 10 will be displayed directly on the backboard in window 62. Window 34 is for the purpose of only displaying information that is desired to be received by all the players.

Typically, each of the backboards 10 is to be mounted on a vertical wall 66. Normally, the timer housing 36 will include a key lock 64. The instructor, who holds the remote control 40, is to also have a key which when inserted within the key lock 64 and turning of that key will activate the overall game system of the present invention.

In front of each backboard 10 and inscribed on a floor 68 are a series of horizontal lines 70, 72 and 74. With a player locating himself or herself at horizontal line 70, that player gets to enjoy the easiest level of play with the backboard 10. With the player locating himself or herself in alignment with the horizontal line 72, a greater level of difficulty of play will be encountered by the player. With the player locating himself or herself in conjunction with line 74, a still again greater level of difficulty can be achieved in playing of the game. The greatest level of difficulty is to obtained when the player aligns himself or herself with the back line 76.

The ball 30 will normally be in the form of a small sized soccer ball. It is desirable for the ball 30 to be able to bounce so that after striking of the backboard 10 that it will pretty much return to the player in about the same general area of the player. This requires that the player catch the returned ball and again propel again it to the backboard 10 to obtain another score.

Each of the vibration or shock sensors included within each target area 14-26 would generally be in the form of a piezoelectric transducer. The function of the piezoelectric transducer is to pick up the acoustic/vibrational wave which is created by the ball when striking the rebound backboard 10. The microprocessor 32 will pick up the wave and know from what precise location the wave was generated. The information is then immediately supplied to the display area 62 for the particular backboard 10. It has been found to be desirable that when using of a game arrangement as shown in FIG. 1, that where there is four of the backboards 10 used, only one timer housing 36 is required. If a greater number of the backboards 10 are used, then possibly two or more in number of the timer housings 36 will be required. For the system shown in FIG. 1, the desirable space that would be required would be twelve feet distance from each backboard 10 to a back line 76 and a width of about twenty feet.

Typically, the horizontal lines 72-74 will be different colors. Line 70 could be yellow, line 72 could be blue and line 74 could be red. The back line 76 may be black.

Generally, there is to be an instructor, which is not shown, when operating of the game of the present invention. That instructor is to make all the decisions during the playing of the game and is to establish the type of game that is to be played.

One particular type of game that can by played is called “Rallywall”. All of the targets 14-26 are active and a hit anywhere is counted so along as it is thrown with enough energy. The children have to throw a ball 30 at their respective backboard 10 as many times as the player can do so within an allotted time period. The player with the highest score will be declared to be the winner.

Another game that can be played is called “Chase”. The target areas 14-26 may be illuminated and only a score will be scored when a ball hits a particular target that is illuminated. The illuminating of the different targets 14-26 can be accomplished in a sequential pattern. From the time that a particular target is illuminated, the player may have a limited amount of time in order to strike that target, such as between five to ten seconds. The player with the highest score is the player who has hit the greatest number of illuminated targets within the allotted time period.

Another game that can be played is called “Play Tune”. A target or a group of targets 14-26 is lit. The children have to throw balls at a lit target to play a tune. Each target or group of targets light up in a memorizable sequential order and will emit parts of a tune. The tune will be emitted from the audio speaker 38. The aforementioned games are merely exemplary of the different types of games that can be played as there could be numerous different types of games.