Title:
Collapsible hoop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hoop for play and exersise activities is provided that may be collapsed for easy transport and storage.



Inventors:
Campbell, Phillip John (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/711976
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
02/28/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNG, SCOTT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Phillip Campbell (Raleigh, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A collapsible toy hoop for whirling about ones body for exercise and play activities comprising; a tube of semi flexible material fixedly connected at both ends by a rigid linear coupling, said coupling permitting forcible rotation of said tube about said coupling.

2. The collapsible hoop of claim 1, wherein said rigid coupling has one or more annular rings.

3. The collapsible hoop of claim 2, wherein said annular rings of said coupling provide frictional interference between said tube and said coupling.

4. A collapsible toy hoop for whirling about ones body for exercise and play activities comprising; two tubes of equal length of semi flexible material fixedly connected at both ends by two rigid linear couplings, said couplings permitting forcible rotation of said tube about said coupling.

Description:

This Non-Provisional application is referenced to Provisional patent application #60/858,984 filed Nov. 14, 2006 by Phillip Campbell titled “Collapsible Hoop”. Other references are Provisional patent application #60/350,832 titled “Collapsible Toy Hoop”, filing date Jan. 22, 2002 by Phillip John Campbell and Non-Provisional application Ser. No. 10/346,469 titled “Collapsible Toy Hoop”, filing date Jan. 17, 2003 by Phillip John Campbell now abandoned.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to hoops that may be used as toys and exercise equipment for whirling about ones body.

2. Description of Prior Art

Historically hoops of this nature have been constructed from rigid linear hollow circular plastic tubing of a specified length. The length of tubing is formed into a circle and the two ends are mechanically fastened together to make a rigid ring or hoop that can be whirled about ones hips for entertainment or for exercise purposes. The length of the linear tubing determines the final radius of the assembled hoop. Hoops of this type are large and are not designed to be compactable for travel and storage (typically hoops of this type are 28-30 inches in diameter for use by children and 34-36 inches in diameter for larger individuals) and can be difficult to store and tote about when not in use so they are not convenient to bring along when one goes from place to place. U.S. Pat. No. 5,569,134 by Nordanger shows a collapsible hoop that is constructed of a series of short tubes that are joined together and positively held in place by an elastic chord (shock chord) that is threaded through each tube section. This type of hoop takes time to assemble and disassemble. U.S. Pat. No. 5,490,806 issued to Spector shows a collapsible flying disc toy that can be used as a toy hoop when deployed from a collapsed condition. This type of hoop is constructed from a spring type of steel hoop that is then covered with a fabric material that acts as an air-foil to lend flying disc like properties to the toy when collapsed. Prior art shows that the deployment of some types of pre-stressed hoops can be sudden and uncontrollable.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly, it is the objective of the present invention to provide an improved collapsible hoop that:

    • a. is inexpensive to make
    • b. is lightweight and easy to deploy
    • c. is easy to collapse
    • d. can be readily toted about in the collapsed condition
    • e. can be made of one or two lengths of tubing material
    • f. is not subject to negative effects caused by weather if left outdoors
    • g. provides for an improvement over existing toy hoops and more particularly a hoop that is constructed of a lightweight semi flexible tubing material that provides suitable rigidity for effective twirling about ones body yet may be collapsed and deployed in a controlled, non- sudden fashion, for safe easy storage and transport.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a collapsible hoop in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a collapsible hoop shown in FIG. I having been twisted into a figure eight configuration;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a collapsible hoop shown in FIG. 1 having been collapsed into two concentric connected sub-hoops;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a tube in linear condition prior to assembly of the hoop shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a side view of a tube showing a connecting member in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a sectional side view of tube ends connected together with a connecting member in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

DESCRIPTION OF FIGS. 1-6

A typical embodiment of the present invention is best described and illustrated in FIGS. 1-6. Referring to FIG. I an assembled hoop 15 in the open or deployed condition is show comprising hoop material 20 and a splicing connection 25 where the ends of tube 20 are connected together to form a hoop. Referring to FIG. 2. FIG. 2 shows assembled hoop 15 in a partially collapsed figure eight condition. The figure eight condition is achieved by diametric twisting of hoop 15. Referring to FIG. 3. FIG. 3 shows hoop 15 further collapsed into two concentric sub loops of hoop material 20. This condition is achieved by continued diametric twisting of hoop 15 and pressing over one sub loop on top of the other. Referring to FIG. 4. FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of tube 20 showing a circular tube shape roughly ¾ of an inch in diameter with a wall thickness of 1/16- 3/16. FIG. 5 shows a threaded connecting member 12 having sharp apposing helical threads on either end. Connecting member 12 in this embodiment would ideally be fabricated from a lightweight non-electric conductive metal such as aluminum. Arrows 38 are shown to indicate rotation of hoop material 20 around tube connector 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-6. Referring to FIG. 2 a pre-coiled linear length of plastic tubing is shown that may have an over-all length of approximately 96 inches. A 96 inch tube will form a hoop roughly 30 inches in diameter. FIG. 5 shows a tube mating union or coupling 12 that is designed to be forcibly inserted or threaded inside the ends of tube 20. That is to say that the outside diameter of the threading 34 is a larger diameter than the inside diameter of tube 20. The sharp metal threads of coupler 12 will cut into and seat in the softer plastic material of the tube 20 preventing the coupling from being pulled out after assembly yet allowing for rotation of the tube around the threaded metal coupling. Referring to FIG. 4. When tube 20 is manufactured as in an extrusion process the material, while still hot, can be formed into a continuous coil with an approximate diameter of 14 to 20 inches and allowed to cool in that condition. A collapsed hoop can then be assembled from this pre-annealed or memory induced condition by cutting a length of coiled tubing and threading or inserting a coupling 12 into the tube ends. Incorporating a pre-oiled tube will alleviate the pre-stressed condition in the open position of forming a hoop from a linear piece of material. During manufacturing coupling 12 may be temporarily fitted with a central stop 32 that is designed to halt coupling 12 from being pushed into or threaded into tube 20 more than half the length of coupling 12 and to keep tube ends 21 from touching or coming into contact with each other. A distance of separation is required at this point to allow the tube material to advance or thread forward when being twisted about coupling 12. Coupling 12 also shows tapered ends 36 which aid in the accurate locating of inserting coupling into tube ends 21. FIG. 2 shows the hoop having been forcibly, diametrically twisted to the point where the frictional resistance intentionally provided by coupling 12 inside tube 20 is overcome by tortional forces on tube 20 and hoop 10 twists into a FIG. 8 as tube 20 is forcibly turned about insert coupling 12. Continued forcible twisting of hoop 15 further opens hoop 15 up into a fully opened or deployed hoop as shown in FIG. 3. Once opened or deployed the hoop may be collapsed by reverse forcible twisting of the hoop thereby exerting sufficient tortional force on tube 20 to overcome frictional resistance of coupling 12 and allow hoop 15 to attain a collapsed condition. Referring to FIG. 5. FIG. 5 shows the hoop of the present invention in the collapsed condition. In this condition during play or transport the sub loops of tube 20 may become entangled or interchanged from the original collapsed order. At this point the hoop may be difficult to deploy as one sub loop interferes with another sub loop during the deployment effort. Therefore a second joint 25 may be employed in the hoop directly opposite the first joint 25 to alleviate this condition. With two joints in place the collapsed hoop can be deployed with ease no matter what order the sub loops are in. Referring to FIG. 6. FIG. 6 shows coupling 12 inserted or threaded into tube ends 21 and arrows 38 showing that tube 20 may be forcibly turned about coupling 12. Coupling 12 is designed to provide substantial frictional resistance to arrest the deployment of the hoop at any angle during deployment to aid in the “lining up” of the hoop to alleviate any surpentine like waves in the material once deployed.

OPERATION AND USE

Referring to drawings 1-6 FIG. 1. Shows a rigid lightweight flexible hoop that may be whirled about ones hips for play or exercise purposes or any number of other uses such as a pet training devise. After use the hoop 15 may be collapsed by grasping opposite sides of the hoop with pivot joint 25 facing up and diametrically twisting the hoop until the frictional resistance forces provided by coupling 12 are overcome. At this point tube 20 will pivot about coupling 12 and hoop 15 will take on the shape of a figure eight. Further twisting will force hoop 20 down into a collapsed condition of two concentric sub loops roughly one half of its open size for easy toting and storage. The collapsed hoop may now be stowed in a backpack, sport bag or swimming pool bag and safely be carried about conveniently. If using a large enough radius the hoop may yet again be twisted down even further into three concentric sub loops.

SUMMARY, RAMIFICATIONS AND SCOPE

Accordingly the reader will see that the collapsible hoop of the present invention can be constructed in a variety of sizes and used for a variety of applications. The hoop may be constructed with two separate sections of tubing and joined by two separate rigid linear couplings. The invention may be used as a collapsible pet training device, a tossing ring or collapsible target ring. The reader will see that the collapsible hoop of the present invention provides for a hoop with the necessary rigidity to allow for whirling about ones body without detrimental centrifugal deformation yet may be collapsed and deployed in a safe and controllable manner.