Title:
Game controller with cord take up reel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game controller with a retractable cord is disclosed. The game controller can be a universal game controller that is compatible with many different gaming platforms and have many different physical shapes and user inputs. Game controller can have a connector at the end of a cord that can be plugged into the desired game platform. The game controller can include a housing with handles or a gripping surface such that a user can securely grip or hold the game controller. A spring loaded spool or reel can be integrated into the housing of the game controller such that the cord can be coiled by the reel when the entire cord length is not required or when the game controller is to be stored when it is not in use. The reel can also include a crank handle and a latching mechanism to reel in the cord and lock the reel into a desired position.



Inventors:
Cotner, John Matthew (St. Louis, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/356645
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
02/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/47, 463/36
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THOMAS, ERIC M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Galasso & Associates, LP (Austin, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game controller comprising: a housing; at least one switch integrated into the housing and configured to accept user input; a cord coupled to the at least one switch for delivering the user input to a gaming platform; a cylindrical reel integrated into the housing, the cylindrical reel rotatable in relation to the housing and having a spring force configured to wind the cord; and a latching mechanism configured to lock the cylindrical reel in a position where the cord is extended from the housing.

2. The game controller of claim 1 further comprising an orifice configured to guide the cord into and out of the housing.

3. The game controller of claim 1 further comprising a spring integrated with the reel.

4. The game controller of claim 1 further comprising a gripping surface on the housing.

5. The game controller of claim 1 wherein the reel further comprises a constant force spring.

6. The game controller of claim 1 wherein the latching mechanism is configured to locking the cylindrical reel in a plurality of positions.

7. The game controller of claim 1 further comprising a bearing positioned between the cylindrical reel and the housing.

8. The game controller as in claim 1 wherein the at least one switch further includes a joystick switch.

9. A game controller comprising: a housing configured to mount a plurality of switches; a cord coupleable to the plurality of switches; and a spool rotatable in relation to the housing and configured to wind the cord around the spool.

10. The game controller of claim 9 wherein the spool further comprises a re-coil spring coupled to the spool and configured to rotate the spool in relation to the housing.

11. The game controller of claim 9 further comprising a latching mechanism coupled to the spool to latch the spool in a desired position.

12. The game controller of claim 9 further comprising a crank handle for manually winding the cord around the spool.

13. The game controller of claim 9 further comprising a constant force spring mounted concentrically with the spool.

14. The game controller of claim 9 further comprising a latching mechanism controllable by a speed of release of the cord.

15. A method comprising: holding a game controller; pulling a cord from an opening in a housing of the game controller; spinning a reel in the housing as the cord is pulled from the opening; and latching the reel when a desired cord length has been pulled from the housing.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising unlatching the reel.

17. The method of claim 15 wherein latching the reel further comprises activating a reel latch mechanism.

18. The method of claim 15 wherein activating the latch further comprises releasing the cord at a specific rate.

19. The method of claim 15 further comprising resisting a pulling force on the cord as the cord is pulled from the game controller.

20. The method of claim 15 further comprising retracting the cord by pulling the cord from the controller and slowly releasing the cord.

Description:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure is generally related to video games and more particularly to a game controller with a cord take-up reel.

BACKGROUND

The video game industry continues to grow at a robust pace and there are many vendors that produce many different gaming products. For example, large companies such as Sony™ and Microsoft™ have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in their proprietary game platforms. More particularly, Sony produces multiple versions of a Play Station™ and Microsoft produces multiple versions of an X-box™. Other vendors such as Nintendo™ also provide various gaming platforms such as a Game Cube™. In addition many games can be purchased that operate on a personal computer. Further, many game accessories can be purchased such as custom user interfaces or game controllers. Gaming controllers such as joysticks, steering wheels, gas pedals, guns and proprietary controllers that can be operated by a “gamer” are also readily available. Game controller can be purchased for personal computers and for many of the custom game platforms mentioned above. Most of these game platforms have multiple connectors that can accommodate at least four detachable game controllers. Thus, a typical controller has a housing and a connector at the end of a relatively long cord wherein the connector can be plugged into the processing unit or gaming platform. Multiple connectors or ports can be provided by the gaming platform that allows for multiple players to simultaneously play the game. Thus, in a typically household many controllers are often lying on the floor by the television and create an unsightly presence when video games are not being played. A common way to “clean the house” would be to unplug the controllers and wraps the cords around the controllers and store them away. Accordingly, it would be desirable to have an improved system and method for storing game controller cords.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cut away orthogonal view of a game controller with a cord take up reel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Video games that allow for multiple players are very popular. Typically, each player or “gamer” has his or her own controller wherein each controller has a relatively long cord. Some gamers take their personal controller with them when they play competitively with others away from home. The long cords can be bulky and awkward particularly when the controller is to be stored or transported. These cords are typically lying on the floor of a residence and create an unpleasant sight and a tripping hazard. When “cleaning up” individuals often pick up the controller and wrap the cord around the controller then place the “wrapped controller” out of sight. Such a process can reduce the longevity of a cord.

Referring to FIG. 1, a game controller 2 with a retractable cord 4 integrated into the game controller 2 is illustrated. Game controller 2 can be a universal game controller that is compatible with many different gaming platforms. For example game controller 2 may be a controller that can be utilized to control an X-box, a Game Cube, a Play Station, or a personal computer based game. Further, the game controller 2 can take on many different physical configurations such as a joystick, a steering wheel, a gun, a gas pedal or any other configuration as the physical shape.

Thus, the shape of game controller 2 in FIG. 1 is merely illustrative and not to be considered limiting the scope of this teaching. Additionally, the game controller 2 described could be configured such that it can be utilized with all known gaming platforms. In a specific embodiment, based on the gaming platform that the game controller 2 will be manufactured for, a specific connector 6 can be placed on the cord 4 of the controller 2.

In other embodiments the game controller 2 can have a connector 6 that can plug into different adaptors (not shown) such that the game controller 2, with the appropriate adapter, can be “plugged” into the desired game platform. Game controller 2 can include a housing 24 with handles 18 or a gripping surface wherein a user can securely grip or hold the game controller 2. The housing 24 can mount switches or buttons 12, 14 and 16. Buttons may be momentary switches, on off switches, multidirectional switches such as joystick, or any other type of switch that can accept user input.

A spool or reel 8 can be integrated into, or configured as, a portion of the housing 24 such that the reel 8 can coil the cord 4 when the entire cord length is not required or when the game controller 2 is to be stored when it is not in use. Reel 8 can include a bearing 22, a re-coil spring 10, and a latching mechanism 26. The recoil spring 10 can be a thin constant force spring or a coil spring mounted on the interior of the reel 8. In a specific embodiment the latching mechanism 26 can include a star gear, dogs, at least one spring and a one-way clutch. In other embodiments a crank handle can be provided for the real such that a user can crank the reel 8 thereby retracting the cord 4 into the housing 24.

As with other reels that can retract a cord or a hose, a latching mechanism 26 can be implemented. In a specific embodiment when the cord 4 is pulled out to a desired distance from the housing 24 then released quickly, the latching mechanism 26 can engage the reel 8 and lock the reel 8 into a position wherein the cord 4 is extended. Many other latching configurations could also be utilized to secure the reel in many different positions without parting from the scope of the present disclosure.

In a specific embodiment, a user could pull on the cord 4 until the desired length is reached and then a mechanical latch can be activated to lock the position of the reel 8. The housing 24 can have a fairlead or orifice 20 that provides a smooth transition of the cord 4 from a central location as it is pulled from, and retracted into the housing 24 of game controller 2.

The above-disclosed subject matter is to be considered illustrative, and not restrictive, and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications, enhancements, and other embodiments, which fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention. Thus, to the maximum extent allowed by law, the scope of the present invention is to be determined by the broadest permissible interpretation of the following claims and their equivalents, and shall not be restricted or limited by the foregoing detailed description.