Title:
Construction with Telescoping Jointed Arms
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A construction such as a toy or geometric sculpture for use by children or adults. The construction has a plurality of telescoping arms, at least three arms preferably being provided, the arms being connected without use of an intermediate torso. Further preferably, one or more arms includes jointed segments. The construction allows variation of the length of the arms via extension and retraction, and manipulation of the configuration of the arms via bending and rotation, allowing adjustment of the construction into a large number of shapes, providing significant entertainment and artistic value.



Inventors:
Bookstein, Ezra (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/665842
Publication Date:
12/27/2007
Filing Date:
10/20/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
STANCZAK, MATTHEW BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz LLP (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A method, comprising: (a) providing a construction for use for entertainment purposes; (b) said construction comprising three arms, said three arms comprising a first arm, a second arm, and a third arm; (c) wherein said construction lacks a torso; (d) each of said three arms being telescoping, such that a user can vary the length of each of said three arms; (e) and wherein said first arm comprises a joint, such that a user can rotate said first arm about said joint.

2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein said arm can be rotated two dimensionally about said joint by the user.

3. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein said arm can be rotated three dimensionally about said joint by the user.

4. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein said second arm comprises a joint, and said third arm also comprises a joint.

5. A method, comprising: (a) providing a construction for use as a toy or sculpture; (b) said construction comprising three arms, said three arms comprising a first arm, a second arm, and a third arm; (c) wherein said construction lacks a torso; (d) each of said three arms being telescoping, such that a user can vary the length of each of said three arms; (e) and wherein said first arm comprises at least two joints, a first joint and a second joint.

6. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the user can bend said first arm at said first joint.

7. A method as claimed in 6, wherein the user can rotate said first arm about said second joint.

8. A method, comprising: (a) providing a construction for use as a toy or sculpture; (b) said construction comprising three arms, said three arms comprising a first arm, a second arm, and a third arm; (c) wherein said construction lacks a torso; (d) each of said three arms being telescoping, such that a user can vary the length of each of said three arms; (e) wherein each of said three arms comprises at least two joints.

9. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the user can bend each of said three arms using at least one of said two joints of said arm.

10. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the user can rotate each of said three arms using at least one of said two joints of said arm.

11. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the user can bend each of said three arms using at least one of two joints of said arm, and can rotate each of said three arms using the other of said two joints of said arm.

12. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein each of said arms comprises a distal end, and wherein said construction is self-standing such that said construction can stand on a surface by resting on said distal ends.

13. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein each of said three arms further comprises an end cap.

14. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein said end cap is configured for connection of one of said end caps to another of said end caps.

15. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein said construction comprises at least four arms.

16. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein said construction comprises at least two layers, at least one of said layers comprising at least two arms.

17. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein said construction is provided for use as a toy.

18. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein said construction is provided for use as a sculpture.

19. 19-20. (canceled)

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the priority of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/620,174 filed Oct. 20, 2004, which is fully incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a construction with telescoping jointed arms, preferably for use as a toy or geometric sculpture.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various toys and other constructions having variable length arms extending off of a torso have been previously provided in the art. For example, U. S. Pat. No. 6,461,217 B1 of Pestonji, assigned to Mattel Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., discloses a talking doll having extendible appendages. U.S. Pat. No. 3,986,295 of Heller (also assigned to Mattel, Inc.), likewise discloses a toy figure having a telescoping arm. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,181,727 to Fukumura also discloses a toy with a vertically extendable appendage.

Other telescoping toys and constructions have further been provided in the art, as well. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,919,079, Coleman et al. disclose a play sword lollipop holder having a series of plastic telescoping sleeves, ending with a plastic lollipop at the device's tip. U.S. Pat. No. 6,755,715 B2 issued to Wong also discloses a dynamic toy device, wherein the device can extend and shrink vertically.

As shown by these references, such constructions are widely appreciated for their entertainment value, and can provide significant enjoyment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention, an improved construction is provided for use by children or adults, the construction having a plurality of telescoping arms. In a preferred embodiment, at least three arms are provided, with one or more of the arms including jointed segments that allow manipulation of the overall structure of the construction into a large number of desired shapes. Further preferably, the series of arms are attached together without use of an intermediate doll torso.

Accordingly, the construction allows both variation of the length of the arms via extension and retraction, and manipulation of the configuration of the arms via bending and rotation. In this manner, the construction serves as a toy and/or geometric sculpture, providing significant entertainment and/or artistic value, and/or serving for any other suitable use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a and 1b are front views of a telescoping arm 20 of the toy of the present invention, with FIG. 1a being a view of the arm in the fully retracted position, and FIG. 1b being a view of the arm in the fully extended position.

FIGS. 2a through 2d are views of the telescoping arm of FIG. 1, with FIG. 2a being a front view of the arm in a straight configuration; FIGS. 2b and 2c being front views of the same arm in increasingly bent configurations, when the arms bent at a first joint; and FIG. 2d being a side view of the arm of FIG. 2a.

FIGS. 3a through 3e are views of the telescoping arm of FIG. 1, with FIG. 3a being a front view of the telescoping arm of FIG. 2c; FIG. 3b being a view of the arm of FIG. 3a after rotation of the arm about a second joint, such that the arm extends out of the plane of the page; and with FIG. 3c being a view of the arm of FIG. 3b after rotation of the arm at a first joint such that the arm extends out of and perpendicular to the plane of the page. FIGS. 3c and 3e are top views of the telescoping arm showing ninety (90) degree rotation of the arm from the position in FIG. 3d to the position in FIG. 3e.

FIGS. 4a through 4b are front views of multiple telescoping arms of FIG. 1 joined together; with FIG. 4a being a front view of two arms joined together at a one hundred eighty (180) degree angle; and with FIG. 4b being a view of three telescoping arms joined together at one hundred twenty (120) degree angles to each other.

FIG. 5a is a front view of four telescoping arms of FIG. 1 joined together in a cruciform (or plus sign) shape.

FIG. 5b is a front view of eight telescoping arms of FIG. 1 joined together, the eight arms being provided in approximately two layers of approximately 4 arms each.

FIG. 5c is a side view of twelve telescoping arms of FIG. 1 joined together, the twelve arms being provided in approximately three layers of approximately 4 arms each.

FIG. 5d is an alternate side view of the embodiment of FIG. 5c, wherein the arms have been positioned more closely together for a more compact profile.

FIGS. 6a and 6b are perspective views of various embodiments of the invention, wherein the arms have been manipulated to create desired shapes.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in the attached figures, in accordance with the invention, a construction 10 is provided having a plurality of telescoping arms 20. Construction 10 is preferably provided for use as a toy, whether by children or adults; or it can be used as a geometric sculpture. Alternatively, construction 10 could be used for any other suitable application. As discussed below, construction 10 can be manipulated for entertainment or artistic purposes to achieve any desired shape available consistent with the structure of the device.

In the preferred embodiment, each arm 20 includes a plurality of segments or sleeves 22a, 22b, 22c, 22d, 22e, and so forth, as shown, for example, in FIGS. 1a and 1b. Arms 20, and any other component of the construction 10, can be made from any desired material, whether plastics, metals, alloys or composites, or so forth, and can be any size, shape or color desired, consistent with the functional requirements of the device set forth herein. Thus, while five segments 22a through 22e are shown, it will be understood that the features of the figures are merely provided for illustrative purposes and are not intended to serve as a limitation on the scope of the invention as described or claimed herein. More or less segments can, of course, be provided as desired.

As shown in FIGS. 1a and 1b, in a preferred embodiment, each segment or sleeve 22 is nested within the preceding one. Thus, segment 22e is nested within segment 22d, which is nested within segment 22c, and so forth. Preferably, the lower segments of arm 20 are of greater diameter, with the diameter of each consecutive upper segment being of successively decreased diameter, such that the diameter of segment 22a is greater than of segment 22b, which is greater than that of segment 22c, and so forth. Alternatively, the configuration can be reversed, such that arm 20 has the lowest diameter segment positioned on the bottom, with each consecutive upper segment being of successively greater diameter than the one below it.

As a result of the nested configuration of the segments in arm 20, a telescoping arm structure is provided, as shown for example in FIGS. 1a and 1b. Some or all of the segments 22a through 22e can be fully or partially retracted into its adjacent segment; or, conversely, segments 22a through 22e can each be partially or fully pulled out of the adjacent segment it is nested in. As a result, the overall length for the telescoping arm 20 can be shortened or lengthened as desired. In other words, by pulling segments apart or pushing them together, the total length of telescoping arm 20 can be increased or decreased as desired. Preferably, all of the segments are nested together, although, alternatively, construction 10 can be formed such that only some segments are nested and not others.

Preferably, each arm 20 includes an end cap 40 at its tip (i.e. on its distal end). Although a small spherical end cap 40 is shown for illustration purposes, end cap 40 can be any size, shape or color desired. It can also be constructed of any desired material. For example, end cap 40 can be magnetic, to allow attachment of other magnets or metallic items to the toy, attachment of desired articles to the end cap, attachment of the toy to a metallic surface, attachment of two toys together, or so forth.

Alternatively or additionally, end cap 40 can include hooks, or hook and pile tape (also known under the trademark Velcro®), likewise to attach items to the toy, or to attach the toy to desired items or surfaces, or to attach two toys to each other.

Alternatively or additionally, each end cap 40 can include a ring with a movable sliding segment which is used to expose or close a gap in the ring (as is commonly used, for example, as clasps for necklaces). In this manner, the ring of end cap 40 can be opened and closed to secure it to another end cap of the toy 10, or to an end cap of one or more other toys to secure the toys together in a linked configuration. Or, the ring of the end cap can be opened and closed to secure it to any other suitably sized ring.

In further alternative embodiments, different types of end caps 40 can be provided at the ends (i.e. tips) of different arms. For example, male and female types of end caps can be provided, allowing interlocking or linking of end caps in the same toy or between toys. While the end caps are preferably fixed in place, alternatively, they can be removable. For example, removable tips can be used to provide a different appearance at the end of the arm, or to change the type of end caps on the tip of a given arm.

Further in accordance with the invention, one or more of the telescoping arms 20 are provided with one or more joints therein. Preferably, the majority of the arms or all of the arms are provided with joints.

Preferably, two or more joints are provided on one or more arms. Any type of joint can be used. By choice of the type of joint (ball and socket, pivot or so forth), portions of arm 20 can be rotated in a desired fashion relative to other portions of that same arm, and relative to the overall construction 10 itself. Thus, one or more portions of arm 20 can be rotated either in a two-dimensional plane or can be rotated in three dimensions depending on the type of joint utilized. Any combination of number of joints on an arm and/or types of joints and/or number of arms containing joints can be used consistent with the invention.

In one embodiment, telescoping arm 20 includes a first joint 50 below the lowest segment 22a. In one preferred version of this embodiment, joint 50 pivots, allowing two-dimensional rotation about the joint, as shown in FIG. 2. For example, joint 50 can consist of a segment 46 having a hole therein, through which is secured an axis 44 such as a bar or screw. In this preferred embodiment, joint 50 allows bending of arm 20 (i.e. flexing or rotation within a hypothetical plane 52 represented by the plane of the paper in FIGS. 2a-2c). Thus, arm 20 can rotate approximately 180 or more degrees around axis 44. In the embodiment shown, arm 20 can rotate about approximately a 270 degree arc, although an arc of fewer or greater degrees can be provided depending upon configuration of the joint and the structure below it.

In an alternate or additional embodiment, telescoping arm 20 includes a second joint 60 below joint 50, as shown in FIG. 3. In a preferred embodiment, joint 60 is formed by the nesting of cylindrical segment 46 within a cylindrical segment or sleeve 56. Joint 60 allows for rotation of segment 46 of arm 20 into and out of hypothetical plane 52. Preferably, the arm rotates in a full circle (360 degrees) at this joint. Joint 60, therefore, allows two-dimensional rotation in a plane perpendicular to that of plane 52. As a result, the combination of joint 50 and joint 60 allows three-dimensional rotation or portions of arm 20.

For example, FIG. 3a shows arm 20 in a first position wherein the arm is within plane 50, with arm 20 being bent downward at an angle of approximately 75 degrees. FIG. 3b subsequently illustrates the construction of FIG. 3a after arm 20 has been rotated via joint 60, such that arm 20 is no longer within plane 52. Rather, arm 20 now extends up out of the plane with the end cap 40 pointing toward the viewer. FIG. 3c subsequently illustrates the further bending of arm 20 downward at joint 50, such that the arm is now bent at an angle of 90 degrees at joint 50. In FIG. 3c, arm 20 now extends perpendicularly out of the plane of the drawing sheet, and toward the viewer.

As noted, arm 20 rotates three hundred and sixty (360) degrees at joint 60. Therefore, if desired, arm 20 could be rotated from the position of FIG. 3c back into the plane of the page. This rotation could then be continued until arm 20 is 180 degrees opposed from the position in FIG. 3c, such that it extends down out of the plane, perpendicular to the page, and away from the viewer. It could likewise be continued to form a complete circle.

Thus, in one preferred embodiment, each of the arms 20 is constructed similar to a VHF antenna for use with a television set, or the antenna of a radio, or similar in some ways to the telescoping arm of a doll. However, in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, the arm 20 is not in communication with wire for attachment to a television or radio, unlike an electronic antenna. Rather, a plurality of telescoping arms 20 are joined together for entertainment, the term entertainment being intended to include toys for play purposes and sculptures for artistic or aesthetic purposes. Likewise, unlike telescoping arms of other toy dolls, arms 20 are preferably joined together without the use of an intermediate torso. As shown, for example in FIG. 4a, a right arm 20 can be directly affixed to a left arm 20 with no torso in between. Larger numbers of arms can also be connected to each other, as discussed below.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, three or more arms 20 are joined together to form the construction 10. Preferably, by use of three or more arms a construction is provided which is self-standing. In other words, construction 10 can be balanced solely on end caps 40 of arms 20, with the end caps 40 being positioned against a desired surface. Thus, the construction can independently stand on a table or other surface (whether flat or otherwise), without being mounted to a base or using other supports.

For example, in one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 4b, three (or more) arms 20 can be joined at a central point 70 to form toy 10. Alternatively or additionally, the arms can be connected sequentially. In one such embodiment, the arms can be stacked as illustrated in FIG. 5c. For example, pairs or triplets or groups of four or more arms can share or be joined at a central point, with several central points being riveted or attached together.

As shown in FIG. 4b, each arm can be provided at any desired angle to the other two. In the preferred version of the three arm embodiment, the angles are all equal, with each arm forming a one hundred twenty (120) degree angle to the others. Through use of a three or more arm configuration, a stable self-standing construction is provided. In such a self-standing embodiment, construction 10 can stand on its own without need for a base, torso, or other support, by resting the end caps 40 against a surface.

It may be noted that in this embodiment, and in the other embodiments below utilizing a plurality of arms, the arms are labeled sequentially 20-1, 20-2, etc., to distinguish each arm from prior or successive arms. It may also be noted that in each of these embodiments, while the structure of each arm is preferably identical to the arm before and after it, this need not be the case. Thus, the arms may be of different maximum lengths, may have different numbers of segments, different numbers or types of joints, or so forth. In one preferred embodiment, each arm includes a first joint 50 and a second joint 60, as described herein, although this is not mandatory to be consistent with the invention.

In a further preferred embodiment, four arms 20 are joined at a central point 70, as shown, for example, in FIG. 5a. Central point 70 can be a fixed point, such as a rivet, or can be a further joint of any type, if desired.

In FIG. 5a, each arm 20 can be provided at any desired angle to its two adjacent arms. In the preferred version of the four arm embodiment, the angles between the arms are all equal, with each arm forming a ninety (90) degree angle to the arms adjacent to it. Any further number of arms (whether five, six or more) can likewise be used consistent with the invention.

In a further preferred embodiment of the invention, an array of telescoping arms 20 is stacked three dimensionally in a series of layers, as shown for example in FIGS. 5b and 5c. FIG. 5b, for example, illustrates a variation on the embodiment of FIG. 5a wherein two layers of arms are utilized, for a total of eight arms, with a second arm being located beneath each of the four arms of the top layer. In FIG. 5b, the bottom arms are each bent at approximately a 45 degree angle for illustration purposes, to visibly distinguish them from the top arms. Thus, arm 20-5 is located beneath arm 20-1, arm 20-6 is located beneath arm 20-2, arm 20-7 is located beneath arm 20-3, and arm 20-8 is located beneath arm 20-4.

Further layers can be provided as well. FIG. 5c, for example, illustrates a side view of an twelve arm, multiple layer structure. In the figure, an upper three arms and lower three arms are visible in the plane of the page; a middle three arms are shown extending out of the plane of the page toward the viewer; and the bases of the remaining three arms are shown as well, those last three arms being arms that extend out of the plane of the page and away from the viewer. The structure of FIG. 5c is similar to that shown in FIG. 5b, in that a four arm configuration is provided for each layer, except that each arm is straight in FIG. 5c. (In other words, in FIG. 5c, the lower levels of the arms are not bent, unlike the illustration in FIG. 5b). By varying the size and thickness of individual components, the layers can be spaced from each other as desired. In a preferred embodiment, the layers are nestled together relatively compactly, as shown, for example, in FIG. 5d. Any number of layers can be used, with any number of total arms and number of arms per layer, and any desired variation or combination of number of joints per arm, types of joints per arm, and so forth.

Accordingly, using the principles of the invention, a construction 10 is provided which can be manipulated into a wide variety of entertaining and artistic shapes. The construction can be initially of any size, color, appearance, or configuration desired, consistent with the construction techniques described herein.

Several examples of some of the unusual shapes which can be created using the invention are shown, for example, in FIGS. 6a and 6b. As shown therein, the construction can be manipulated into any shape desired by the imagination, limited only by the configuration of arms and joints provided. Using the telescoping arms and joints provided in the structure, a child or adult can repeatedly extend, retract, bend and/or rotate the arms of the invention, resulting in entertainment for a prolonged period. The construction can be used as a toy or as a geometric sculpture, for a child or adult to play with, or to hang (as a mobile, for example, or on a wall). Preferably, it is designed to stand on its own (e.g. using three or more arms), although, alternatively it can be mounted or connected to a base.

Having described this invention with regard to specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the description is not meant as a limitation since further embodiments, modifications and variations may be apparent or may suggest themselves to those skilled in the art, or may fall within the scope of the appended claims, whether literally or via equivalents. It is intended that the present application cover all such embodiments, modifications and variations.