Title:
Robotic mobile amusement system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game playing robot which comprises first and second wheels, a frame mounted on the wheels, a drive for each of the wheels with a controller for receiving a signal from a user to thereby control the speed and the direction of the wheels, a projectile receiving area, and a projectile ejector to shoot the projectile in a desired direction.



Inventors:
Seguin, Carl (Laval, CA)
Bishop, Wayne (Saint-Lazare, CA)
Application Number:
11/710108
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
02/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eric Fincham (Lac Brome, QC, CA)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A game playing robot comprising: at least first and second wheels; a frame mounted on said wheels; propulsion means for driving said first and second wheels; a controller having receiver means for receiving a signal for controlling said propulsion means; a projectile receiving area designed to receive and retain a projectile; and means for ejecting said projectile from said projectile receiving area.

2. The game playing robot of claim 1 wherein said propulsion means comprises first and second electric motors for driving said first and second wheels respectively.

3. The game playing robot of claim 2 further including a resilient bumper about said frame.

4. The game playing robot of claim 2 wherein said projectile receiving area has a generally U-shaped configuration to receive a generally circularly shaped projectile.

5. The game playing robot of claim 4 further including a barrier across said projectile receiving area, said barrier being at a height to permit a projectile to enter said projectile receiving area while preventing other robots from entering said projectile receiving area.

6. The game playing robot of claim 2 further including a pair of rotatable bumper wheels situated at a front portion of said frame, said front portion of said frame having said projectile receiving area.

7. The game playing robot of claim 6 wherein said resilient material comprises a nylon covered foam material.

8. The game playing robot of claim 1 further including a gyroscope associated with said controller.

9. The game playing robot of claim 2 further including means for retaining a projectile in said projectile receiving area.

10. The game playing robot of claim 9 wherein said projectile retaining means comprises magnetic means.

11. An apparatus for conducting a hockey competition among robots, the apparatus comprising: a playing surface, side walls substantially enclosing said playing surface; first and second goals; at least first and second robots, each of said robots having at least first and second wheels; a frame mounted on said wheels; propulsion means for driving said first and second wheels; a controller having receiver means for receiving a signal and to control said propulsion means; a projectile receiving area designed to receive and retain a projectile; and means for ejecting said projectile from said projectile receiving area.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said playing surface is mounted on a transportable vehicle.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said apparatus includes at least four robots.

14. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said goals comprise an opening in said side walls.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present relates to robots and robot systems suitable for use in a competition.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

For the past few years, robot competitions have become very popular. They are used to entertain the participants and audience and as well, to motivate people and particularly children to become interested in math, science and engineering. Thus, some large corporations conduct and organize robot competitions for high school students. In these competitions, contestants are asked to create robots to perform a wide variety of tasks.

A different type of robot competition has been sponsored by promoters in which the contestants design relatively large robots to clash in an arena for a fight such as a boxing or wrestling match. Such competitions are relatively popular as they seem to cater to a need similar to that for some avid video game players.

Game playing robots are relatively new and not many robots exist for such a purpose. It would, however, be desirable to encourage the building of robots for reasons mentioned above and which robots could compete in a competition not based on violence.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a robot and a robot system capable of engaging in a simulated sport.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a method for organizing competitions for robots.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a transportable robot system which can easily be set up at any desired location.

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a game playing robot comprising at least first and second wheels, a frame mounted on the wheels, propulsion means for driving the first and second wheels, a controller having receiver means for receiving a signal for controlling the propulsion means, a projectile receiving area designed to receive and retain a projectile, and means for ejecting the projectile from the projectile receiving area.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for conducting a hockey competition among robots, the apparatus comprising a playing surface, side walls substantially enclosing the playing surface, first and second goals, at least first and second robots, each of the robots having at least first and second wheels, a frame mounted on the wheels, propulsion means for driving the first and second wheels, a controller having receiver means for receiving a signal and to control the propulsion means, a projectile receiving area designed to receive and retain a projectile, and means for ejecting the projectile from the projectile receiving area.

The game playing robot of the present invention is designed to be highly mobile and to manipulate a projectile. In this regard, preferably the robot is able to manoeuvre while retaining a projectile in a projectile receiving area. Furthermore, the robot will have means for “shooting” or ejecting the projectile into a net or like area in order to “score”. However, for the game to be competitive, there must be provided means for a competitive robot to remove the projectile or otherwise cause the projectile to be lost by an opposing robot.

In order to achieve the above, one may use a projectile receiving area wherein the projectile is retained therein while the robot is moving in a forward direction. However, the robot will loose the projectile when moving in a reverse direction. If it is desired to have the robot retain the projectile while being in a reverse direction, supplemental retaining means may be employed. Such retaining means could include a magnetic attraction or a mechanical attachment such as use of VELCRO® or the like. However, in all cases, the projectile could be removed when the robot would receive a hit of sufficient strength or in a specific area from a competitive robot.

The projectile itself must be capable of moving smoothly on the playing surface. To this end, one could employ a projectile formed of a suitable low friction material (i.e. some plastics) or alternatively, the projectile may be placed on small ball bearings or the like.

The propulsion of the robot on the plane surface may be accomplished by electric motors driving the wheels. The robot preferably has either two or four wheels, the four wheels being located in sets of two on either side. Each wheel and/or set of wheels is preferably independently driven by suitable means such as an electric motor so that the robot can turn extremely rapidly and in a tight radius.

In the embodiment wherein the robot has two wheels, a support for the robot is required. Conveniently, this may be accomplished by three support wheels which function to give the robot its stability.

The robot will have an on-board controller, such controllers being well known in the art. The controller is designed to receive a signal from a radio carried by the operator. Again, such devices are well known in the art. The controller would be able to receive the signal from the operator and would control the speed and direction of the robot as well as the use of an ejector to fire the projectile in a desired direction.

The controller also will preferably have a gyroscope incorporated thereon to provide a smoother operating action. Thus, instead of every minute movement by the operator being translated into a motion for the robot, a stabilization occurs.

The means for ejecting the projectile from the projectile receiving area preferably comprises a piston moveable from a retracted to a play position wherein it will strike or move the projectile at a desired speed. The ejector may be powered either electrically or pneumatically.

Surrounding the periphery of the robot is a cushioning material as the robots are intended to “hit” or “check” an opposing robot. Any suitable material such as foam which may be covered with a plastic such as urethane.

The robot preferably includes bumper wheels located at either corner of the front. These wheels help ensure that the robot does not get hung up on the walls of the playing field. However, it is also important to ensure that the wheels do not enter the projectile receiving area of an opposing robot and to this end, a suitable barrier may be provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Having thus generally described the invention, reference will be made to the accompanying drawings illustrating an embodiment thereof, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a robot according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view thereof (without the mannequin);

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view thereof;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view thereof;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view with the cover portion removed;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a projectile;

FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view thereof;

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of an apparatus for conducting a hockey competition; and

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings in greater detail and by reference characters thereto, there is illustrated a robot which is generally designated by reference numeral 10.

Robot 10 includes a generally U-shaped frame 12, a front 14 and a rear 16. A cover member 18 protects the internal components of robot 10. A base 20 is provided for mounting the various components.

Robot 10 includes first and second drive wheels 22, 24 respectively, each drive wheel 22, 24 having a respective wheel protector structure 26, 28. Located at the corners of front 14, are front bumper wheels 30 and 32. Bumper wheels 30 and 32 are mounted in position by means of respective mounting members 34, 36. Associated with each wheel 22, 24 is a gear box 38, 40. Wheels 22, 24 are driven by means of respective electric motors 42, 44. Mounted on base 20 are respective motor speed controls 46 and 48.

Extending downwardly from base 20 are three support wheels 50.

Mounted on base 20 is a controller which will include a modem for receiving radio signals from an operator. A lithium battery 54 provides the necessary power through power switch 56.

Located at front 14 of robot 10 are a pair of guide plates 62, 64 between which there is defined a projectile recess 66. Mounted in operative relationship to projectile recess 66 is a pneumatic cylinder 58 having an ejector piston 60.

Robot 10 is preferably provided with a foam bumper 68 which may be covered with a suitable plastic.

At front 14, a pair of struts 70, 72 extend forwardly and a front guard 74 extends therebetween. Front guard 74 is spaced from the plane surface such that a projectile (as discussed hereinbelow) can enter thereunder, but prevents bumper wheels 30, 32 of an opposing robot from entering into projectile recess 66.

As shown in FIG. 1, a suitable mannequin 76 may be provided to resemble a sport being played.

One form of a projectile as shown in FIGS. 6 to 8, includes a base 80 having a center member 82 extending upwardly therefrom. A metal band 84 is provided on center member 82 and is designed to act with a magnet (not shown) located at projectile recess 66 such that the projectile will be retained therein. On the under side of base 80, there are provided a number of circular members 86 such that the projectile 78 may move along the playing surface. Naturally, it will be understood that a projectile may not require the use of such wheels if the projectile and the playing surface are of low friction materials.

As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, the apparatus may be moveable from one location to another. Thus, there is provided a playing surface generally designated by reference numeral 88 and which, as shown in FIG. 10, is foldable onto itself. Playing surface 88 may be towed using a hitch 90. A plurality of robots 10 are provided with the object being to score in the goals 92.

It will be understood that the above described embodiment is for purposes of illustration only and that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.