Title:
Compressible toy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy is sized and shaped so as to move between a relaxed position and various compressed positions upon the application of force. The toy includes an urging mechanism, such as a rubber band or a coil spring, which functions to urge the toy to its relaxed position.



Inventors:
Weinshanker, Joel (Hillside, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/712821
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
02/28/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D81/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
YOUNG, SCOTT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCCARTER & ENGLISH, LLP NEWARK (NEWARK, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toy, comprising: a plurality of panels including a top panel, a bottom panel, and a plurality of side panels, each of said side panels being connected to said top panel and to said bottom panel, and at least one of said side panels including an upper half and a lower half pivotable relative to said upper half, said at least one of said side panels being movable between a relaxed position, in which said upper half is substantially co-planar with said lower half, and a compressed position, in which said upper half is not co-planar with said lower half; and urging means for urging said at least one of said side panels to its said relaxed position, said urging means being arranged within said plurality of panels.

2. The toy of claim 1, wherein said urging means includes a rubber band extending between one of said side panels and another of said side panels positioned opposite to said one of said side panels, said rubber band sized to expand when at least one of said side panels moves to its compressed position.

3. The toy of claim 2, further comprising a first loop extending from said upper half of said one of said side panels and a second loop extending from said lower half of said another of said side panels, one end of said rubber band attached to said first loop and an opposite end of said rubber band attached to said second loop.

4. The toy of claim 3, further comprising a continuous living hinge extending around the perimeter of said side panels, each of said side panels including an upper half and a lower half pivotable relative to said upper half, said continuous living hinge allowing said lower half of each of said side panels to pivot relative to said upper half thereof, thereby allowing each of said side panels to move between said relaxed and compressed positions.

5. The toy of claim 4, wherein said upper half and said lower half of each of said side panels are substantially straight when said side panels are in their relaxed position, and wherein said upper half and said lower half of each of said side panels pivot outwardly as said side panels move toward their compressed position.

6. The toy of claim 5, further comprising a plurality of first notches formed at the intersection of said upper half and said lower half of each of said side panels, and a plurality of second notches formed at the intersection of each of said side panels and said top panel, said first and second notches sized to facilitate the folding and compressing of said side panels.

7. The toy of claim 6, wherein said side panels move to their compressed position when force is applied to one of said top panel and said bottom panel.

8. The toy of claim 7, wherein said side panels move to their relaxed position upon release of force on one of said top panel and said bottom panel.

9. The toy of claim 8, further comprising an electronic circuit adapted to emit an audible sound as said side panels move toward their compressed position.

10. The toy of claim 9, further comprising an illumination source adapted to provide illumination when said side panels move toward their compressed position.

11. The toy of claim 10, further comprising restricting means for restricting said top panel from contacting said bottom panel when said side panels move to their compressed position.

12. The toy of claim 11, wherein said restricting means includes at least one pin arranged within said plurality of panels, said at least one pin projecting upwardly from said bottom panel.

13. The toy of claim 11, wherein said restricting means includes at least one pin arranged within said plurality of panels, said at least one pin projecting from one of said side panels.

14. The toy of claim 2, wherein said plurality of panels cooperate so as to form a cube when said side panels are in their relaxed position.

15. The toy of claim 1, wherein said urging means includes a coiled spring extending between said top panel and said bottom panel, said coiled spring sized to compress when said side panels move to their compressed position.

16. The toy of claim 15, further comprising a continuous living hinge extending around the perimeter of said side panels, each of said side panels including an upper half and a lower half pivotable relative to said upper half, said continuous living hinge allowing said lower half of each of said side panels to pivot relative to said upper half thereof, thereby allowing each of said side panels to move between said relaxed and compressed positions.

17. The toy of claim 16, wherein said plurality of panels cooperate to form a cube when said side panels are in their relaxed position.

18. The toy of claim 16, further comprising a plurality of first hinges formed at the intersection between one edge of each of said side panels and said top panel, said first hinges adapted to allow said side panels to pivot relative to said top panel, and a plurality of second hinges formed at the intersection between a bottom edge of each of said side panels and said bottom panel, said second hinges adapted to allow said side panels to pivot relative to said bottom panel.

19. A compressible cube, comprising: a plurality of panels cooperating to form said compressible cube, at least one of said panels being movable between a relaxed position, in which said at least one of said panels is substantially straight, and a compressed position, in which said at least one of said panels pivots outwardly; and urging means for urging said at least one of said panels to its said relaxed position, said urging means being arranged within said plurality of panels.

20. The compressible cube of claim 19, wherein said panels include a top panel, a front panel, a bottom panel, a plurality of side panels, each of said side panels being connected to said top panel and to said bottom panel, each of said side panels being substantially planar along the entire diameter thereof when said at least one of said side panels is in its said relaxed position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/777,591 filed Feb. 28, 2006, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a toy, and, more particularly, to a toy that is compressible and expandable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Children are fond of toys that have an element of surprise. Children especially love toys in the shape of a box, such as cubes having illuminated sides. Other types of toy cubes play music while rotating. Although such toy cubes are fun for their intended use, it would be desirable to provide a toy cube that has an element of surprise.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A compressible toy is provided which has a plurality of panels including a top panel, a bottom panel, and a plurality of side panels. Each of the side panels is connected to the top panel and to the bottom panel. At least one side panel includes an upper half and a lower half pivotable relative to the upper half. The side panel is movable between a relaxed position, in which its upper half is substantially co-planar with its lower half, and a compressed position, in which its upper half is not co-planar with its lower half. An urging mechanism is provided for urging the side panel to its relaxed position, and is arranged within the panels.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description of various exemplary embodiments of the present invention considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a toy constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the toy in its relaxed position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 1, except that the toy is in one of its compressed positions;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the toy shown in FIG. 1, taken along section lines 3-3 and looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the toy shown in FIG. 2, taken along section lines 4-4 and looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 5 is a front view of the toy shown in FIG. 2, the toy including loops and a rubber band being shown in phantom;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 5, except that the toy is in its fully compressed position and that two pins are shown in phantom;

FIG. 7 is a top view of the toy shown in FIG. 2, the loops, the rubber band, and the pins being shown in phantom;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a toy which has been constructed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a toy which has been constructed in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a toy which has been constructed in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the toy in its relaxed position;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 10, except that the toy is in one of its compressed positions;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the toy shown in FIG. 10, taken along section lines 12-12 and looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of the toy shown in FIG. 11, taken along section lines 13-13 and looking in the direction of the arrows; and

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a toy which has been constructed in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a toy 10 in accordance with the present invention. With particular reference to FIG. 2, the toy 10 has the shape of a cube and includes top, bottom, and four side panels 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, respectively. Each of the side panels 16, 18, 20, 22 is connected to the top panel 12 at one edge of the respective side panel and to the bottom panel 14 along an opposite edge of the respective side panel. A continuous living hinge 24 extends around the perimeter of the side panels 16, 18, 20, and 22 so as to allow each of the side panels 16, 18, 20, and 22 to resiliently bend outwardly for purposes to be described hereinafter.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, the side panel 16 is composed of an upper half 16a and a lower half 16b, while the side panel 18 is composed of an upper half 18a and a lower half 18b. The side panel 20 is composed of an upper half 20a and a lower half 20b, while the side panel 22 is composed of an upper half 22a and a lower half 22b. The living hinge 24 connects the two halves of each side panel 16, 18, 20, 22 so that they are pivotable which allows the toy 10 to move between a relaxed position depicted in FIG. 1 and compressed positions, such as the compressed position illustrated in FIG. 2. In the relaxed position, the toy 10 assumes its original, cubic shape. The two halves of each side panel 16, 18, 20, and 22 are substantially straight when the toy 10 is in its relaxed position, while the two halves of each side panel 16, 18, 20, and 22 bend outwardly as the toy 10 compresses.

Referring to FIGS. 3-6, an opposed pair of loops 26, 28 is arranged within the toy 10 for reasons to be described hereinafter. More particularly, the loop 26 extends from the upper half 16a of the side panel 16, and the loop 28 extends from the lower half 20b of the side panel 20. The loops 26, 28 are positioned at an angle relative to the side panels 16, 20, respectively, so as to allow the toy 10 to compress as much as possible.

Urging means, such as a rubber band 30 (see FIGS. 3-6), is arranged within the toy 10 and extends between the side panel 16 and the side panel 20. One end 32 of the rubber band 30 is wrapped around the loop 26, while an opposite end 34 of the rubber band 30 is wrapped around the loop 28. The rubber band 32 is sized and shaped so as to urge the toy 10 to its relaxed, original position (see FIGS. 1 and 3). The rubber band 32 expands when the toy 10 compresses, such as when the toy 10 is in the compressed position shown in FIGS. 2 and 4.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, notches 36 are formed in the inner edge between each upper half of the side panels 16, 18, 20, 22 and each lower half of the side panels 16, 18, 20, 22. Notches 38 are also formed in the inner edge between each of the side panels 16, 18, 20, 22 and the top panel 12, and in the inner edge between each of the side panels 16, 18, 20, 22 and the bottom panel 14. The notches 36, 38 facilitate the folding and compressing of the toy 10.

With reference to FIGS. 3-7, a plurality of pins 40 is arranged within the toy 10. More particularly, the pins 40 project upwardly from the bottom panel 14 of the toy 10. The pins 40 are sized and shaped so as to prevent the toy 10 from being completely compressed. FIG. 7 shows the relative position of the rubber band 30, the loops 26, 28, and the pins 40 when the toy 10 is in its compressed position.

With reference to FIGS. 1-4, the toy 10 is compressed as follows. In order to compress the toy 10, force is applied to the top panel 12 and/or the bottom panel 14 of the toy 10 in the direction of the arrows shown in FIG. 2, thereby causing the two halves of each side panel 16, 18, 20, 22 to pivot outwardly and the rubber band 30 to expand. FIG. 2 shows the toy 10 in a semi-compressed position. When additional force is applied, the rubber band 30 continues to expand and the two halves of each side panel 16, 18, 20, and 22 pivot further outwardly until the top panel 12 comes into contact with the pins 40. In the foregoing manner, the toy 10 is placed in its fully compressed position (see FIG. 6). When force is removed, the rubber band 30 contracts, thereby urging the two halves of each side panel 16, 18, 20, 22 to pivot inwardly so as to place the toy 10 back into its relaxed position as shown in FIG. 1.

Referring to FIG. 8, the toy 10 can be illuminated when compressed by having an illumination source, such as a light bulb 42 (shown schematically), stored within the toy 10. The light bulb 42 may be connected to various electrical/electronic components, such as a light switch and a power source (e.g., batteries). The toy 10 may employ other illumination sources, such as an array of light emitting diodes (not shown). The panels 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 of the toy 10 can be decorated with indicia, pictures, symbols, etc., such as a face 44 illustrated on the top panel 12, as shown in FIG. 8. The face 44 could appear only when the toy 10 is illuminated.

With reference to FIG. 9, the toy 10 can also be configured to emit a sound when the toy 10 is compressed. For instance, the toy 10 can include an electronic circuit unit or assembly 46. The circuit unit 46 includes various conventional electrical/electronic components, such as a speaker, a circuit board, a preprogrammed memory chip, and a power source (e.g., a battery). These components are electrically connected in a conventional manner so as to produce audible sounds and/or other special effects upon compression of the toy 10. In such circumstances, the circuit unit 46 can be equipped with any conventional circuitry adapted for generating audible sounds and/or other special effects, such as that disclosed in music greeting cards and other novelty items.

Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 10-13. Elements illustrated in FIGS. 10-13 which correspond substantially to the elements described above with reference to FIGS. 1-9 have been designated by corresponding reference numerals increased by one hundred. In addition, elements illustrated in FIGS. 10-13 which do not correspond substantially to the elements described above with reference to FIGS. 1-9 have been designated by odd numbered reference numerals starting with reference number 111. The embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 10-13 operates and is constructed in manners consistent with the foregoing description of the toy 10 shown in FIGS. 1-9, unless it is stated otherwise.

FIGS. 10 and 11 illustrate a toy 110, which includes top, bottom, and four side panels 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, respectively. A continuous living hinge 124 extends around the perimeter of the side panels 116, 118, 120, and 122. Hinges 111 are formed between one edge of each side panel 116, 118, 120, 122 and the top panel 112, and between an opposite edge of each side panel 116, 118, 120, 122 and the bottom panel 114. The hinges 111 facilitate the folding and compressing of the toy 110. Like the toy 10, notches 136, 138 are also included in the toy 110. The toy 110 also includes a face 113 appearing on the side panel 116.

Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, the toy 110 includes a coil spring 115, replacing the rubber band 30 (see FIGS. 3-5 and 7) of the toy 10. The coil spring 115 is arranged within the toy 110 and extends between the top panel 112 and the bottom panel 114. The coil spring 115 is sized and shaped so as to urge the toy 110 to its relaxed, original position see FIGS. 10 and 12). The coil spring 115 compresses when the toy 110 compresses, such as when the toy 110 is in the compressed position shown in FIGS. 11 and 13.

With continued reference to FIGS. 12 and 13, a plurality of pins 140 is arranged within the toy 110 and projects from the side panels 116, 120 of the toy 110. The pins 140 are sized and shaped so as to prevent the toy 110 from being completely compressed.

With reference to FIGS. 10-13, the toy 110 is compressed as follows. In order to compress the toy 110, force is applied to the top panel 112 and/or the bottom panel 114 of the toy 110 in the direction of the arrows shown in FIG. 11, thereby causing the two halves of each side panel 116, 118, 120, 122 to pivot outwardly and the coil spring 115 to compress. FIG. 11 shows the toy 110 in a semi-compressed position. When additional force is applied, the coil spring 115 continues to compress and the two halves of each side panel 116, 118, 120, and 122 pivot further outwardly until the pins 140 come into contact with each other. When force is removed, the coil spring 115 expands, thereby urging the two halves of each side panel 116, 118, 120, 122 to pivot inwardly so as to place the toy 110 back into its relaxed position as shown in FIG. 10. As the toy 110 moves toward a compressed position, such as the one illustrated in FIG. 11, the face 113 shown in FIG. 10 changes shape to the face 117 shown in FIG. 11.

It will be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art may make variations and modifications without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, although the toys 10, 110 are described herein and illustrated in the drawings as a cube, it is understood that the toys 10, 110 can be any rectangular polyhedron. Although the toys 10, 110 are described herein and illustrated in the drawings as having the top, bottom, and four side panels, the toys 10, 110 can have any number of sides. For example, the toy 210 can include top, bottom, and six side panels 212, 214, 211, 213, 216, 218, 220, and 222 as shown in FIG. 14. All such variations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.