Title:
Finger tethered toy assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A finger tethered toy assembly that falls from and then rebounds into a user's hand in the manner of a yo-yo. The finger tethered toy assembly has a plurality of graspable objects that includes a first graspable object and a last graspable object. An elastic tether is provided in between each of the graspable objects that link the graspable objects together in a chain. The elastic tethers interconnect the graspable objects so that all the graspable objects and the elastic tethers lay along a common linear axis. A finger loop is used to connect the chain of graspable objects and elastic tethers to a user's hand so that the graspable objects and elastic tethers dangle below the hand in the position traditionally used with a yo-yo.



Inventors:
Chernick, Mark J. (Woodinville, WA, US)
Nelson, Webb T. (Woodinville, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/606857
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
12/01/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAMORTE & ASSOCIATES P.C. (YARDLEY, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tethered toy assembly, comprising: a finger loop; a first graspable object; a second graspable object; a first elastic tether section connecting said first graspable object to said finger loop; and a second elastic tether section connecting said first graspable object to said second graspable object.

2. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein said first graspable object, said second graspable object, said first elastic tether section and said second elastic tether section are all symmetrically disposed along a common linear axis.

3. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein said first graspable object, said second graspable object, said first elastic tether and said second elastic tether are unistructurally molded as a single piece.

4. The assembly according to claim 3, wherein said single piece is comprised of elastomeric gel.

5. The assembly according to claim 2, further including flexible projections that extend from said first graspable object and said second graspable object.

6. The assembly according to claim 5, wherein said flexible projections are symmetrically disposed about said common linear axis.

7. The assembly according to claim 3, wherein said finger loop is unistructurally molded as part of said single piece.

8. The assembly according to claim 3, further including a third graspable object and a third elastic tether section that connects said third graspable object to said second graspable object.

9. The assembly according to claim 8, wherein said third graspable object and said third elastic tether section are unistructurally molded as part of said single piece.

10. A toy assembly, comprising: a plurality of graspable objects that includes a first graspable object and a last graspable object; at least one elastic tether section that interconnects said plurality of graspable objects, wherein said at least one elastic tether and said plurality of graspable objects are all disposed along a common linear axis; and a finger loop coupled to said first graspable object.

11. The assembly according to claim 10, wherein said finger loop is coupled to said first graspable object by an elastic tether.

12. The assembly according to claim 10, wherein said plurality of graspable objects and said at least one elastic tether section are unistructurally molded as a single piece.

13. The assembly according to claim 12, wherein said single piece is comprised of elastomeric gel.

14. The assembly according to claim 10, further including flexible projections that extend from each of said plurality of graspable objects.

15. The assembly according to claim 14, wherein said flexible projections are symmetrically disposed about said common linear axis.

16. The assembly according to claim 12, wherein said finger loop is unistructurally molded as part of said single piece.

17. A novelty elastic yo-yo assembly, comprising: a plurality of discs that include a first disc and a last disc, wherein each of said plurality of discs have flexible projections radially extending therefrom; a finger loop; a first elastic tether joining said finger loop to said first disc; at least one subsequent elastic tether that connects said plurality of discs; wherein said plurality of discs are each disposed along a common linear axis.

18. The assembly according to claim 17, wherein said plurality of discs and said at least one subsequent elastic tether are unistructurally molded as a single piece.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

In general, the present invention relates to finger tethered toys, such as yo-yos. More particularly, the present invention relates to finger tethered toys that rely upon elastic tethers to create a rebounding effect.

2. Prior Art Description

Yo-yos, in various forms, have been in existence for thousands of years. Yo-yos made from ivory disks and silk tethers are known to have existed in China since at least 1000 B.C. A classic yo-yo has a tether that is wound around a spool. The tether is tied to the finger. When the spool is dropped, the tether unwinds and causes the spool to spin. When the end of the tether is reached, the spool reaches its maximum spinning momentum. The impetus of the spinning momentum causes the tether to again wind around the spool. The spool, therefore, rewinds up the tether toward the user's hand.

For those who have tried a classic yo-yo, it quickly becomes clear that some skill is required to make the yo-yo consistently return to the user's hand. If the spool of the yo-yo is not released correctly, it may wobble. The wobble in the spool prevents the tether from unwinding and rewinding cleanly, therein preventing the yo-yo from rebounding. Considering the skill and the hand/eye coordination needed to successfully operate a yo-yo, yo-yos are seldom used by young children. Rather classic yo-yos tend to be used by older children who possess the physical skills needed to operate the yo-yo.

Recognizing the skill constraints of a classic yo-yo, toy manufacturers have developed elastic finger tethered toys. Elastic finger tethered toys use an elastic tether. A finger loop is provided at one end of the elastic tether, therein enabling the tether to dangle from a user's finger. A weighed object, such as a toy or a water balloon, is attached to the opposite side of the tether. As a user moves their hand up and down, the tether stretches and relaxes. Using the elastic properties of the tether, a user can drop the weighted object and cause the weighted object to return to the user's hand. Since the tether does not wind around any thing, little skill is required to cause the object to rebound back into the user's hand.

The present invention is a new type of finger tethered toy that uses an elastic tether. However, the present invention finger tethered toy has multiple objects that are tethered together. A more interesting and challenging game is therefore created as a user attempts to drop and recapture more than one object simultaneously. The details of the present invention finger tethered toy are described and claimed below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a finger tethered toy assembly that falls from and then rebounds into a user's hand in the manner of a yo-yo. The finger tethered toy assembly has a plurality of graspable objects that includes a first graspable object and a last graspable object. An elastic tether is provided in between each of the graspable objects that link the graspable objects together in a chain. The elastic tethers interconnect the graspable objects so that all the graspable objects and the elastic tethers lay along a common linear axis.

A finger loop is used to connect the chain of graspable objects and elastic tethers to a user's hand so that the graspable objects and elastic tethers dangle below the hand in the position traditionally used with a yo-yo.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 being used and shown in a fully extended position;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 being used and shown in a mostly retracted position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to FIG. 1, a first exemplary embodiment of a finger tethered toy assembly 10 is shown. The finger tethered toy assembly 10 has a top end 12. A finger loop 14 is present at the top end 12 that enables the finger tethered toy assembly 10 to be affixed to a finger on a user's hand. This enables the finger tethered toy assembly 10 to dangle below a user's hand.

A plurality of grasping objects 16 are provided. In the shown embodiment, three grasping objects 16 are provided. However, it should be understood that any plurality of grasping objects can be used that includes a first grasping object and a last grasping object. As will later be explained in more detail, the grasping objects 16 can have many shapes. It is preferred that the grasping objects 16 have a plurality of protrusions 20 that symmetrically extends away from the grasping objects 16. This helps the grasping objects 16 “catch air” as they move up and down. The increased air resistance provided by the plurality of protrusions 20 helps increase the resistance of the graspable objects 16 to movement through the air.

The plurality of protrusions 20 also increases the catchability of the grasping objects 16. A grasping object 16 with protrusions 20 is far more easily caught than a smooth object of the same size, since the protrusions 20 tend to pass between the fingers of the hand when grasped.

In the shown embodiment, each of the graspable objects 16 is shaped as a disc 22, wherein the plurality of protrusions 20 radially extend outwardly from the periphery of the disc 22. The use of a disc shape greatly increases the ability of the grasping objects 16 to catch air and resist movement through the air when the finger tethered toy assembly 10 is in use.

The first grasping object 17 is connected to the finger loop 14 by a first tether section 24. The first tethered section 24 is highly elastic. The first grasping object 17 is connected to the second grasping object 18 by a second tether section 26. The second tether section 26 is highly elastic. Finally, the second tether section 26 is coupled to the third grasping object 19 by a third tether section 28. The third tether section 28 is also highly elastic.

The first tether section 24, the second tether section 26, and the third tether section 28 are linearly aligned along a common imaginary axis 30. The finger loop 14, first grasping object 17, second grasping object 18, and third grasping object 19 are also symmetrically disposed around the same common imaginary axis 30.

In the preferred method of fabrication for the finger tethered toy assembly 10, the finger loop 14, the plurality of grasping objects 16, and the three tether sections 24, 26, 28 are all created together as a single piece in an injection mold. As such, the entire finger tethered toy assembly 10 is complete and ready for use the moment it exits an injection molding machine. The preferred material for the finger tethered toy assembly 10 is an elastomeric gel made from a tri-block copolymer that is mixed with a plasticizing oil. Several compositions of elastomeric gels are in wide use in the fabrication of elastic toys. Any such composition can be used in the construction of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 2, it can be seen that to utilize the present invention finger tethered toy assembly 10, the finger loop 14 is placed around the finger of a hand. The grasping objects 16 are initially bunched together in the hand and are thrown down in the traditional manner of a yo-yo. As the grasping objects 16 move away from the hand, the three tether sections 24, 26, 28 stretch. The first tether section 24 stretches the most since it resists the movement of all three grasping objects 16. The second and third tether sections 26, 28 stretch less because they resist only two and one grasping objects, respectively.

Referring to FIG. 3 in conjunction with FIG. 2, it will understood that the tether sections 24, 28, 30 stretch until they compensate for the weight and kinetic energy of the grasping objects 16. At this point, the tethered sections 24, 26, 28 begin to contract. As the tether sections 24, 26, 28 contract, the grasping objects 16 reverse direction and begin to move back toward the user's hand. The first tether section 24 is stretched the most, therefore it contracts the fastest. Consequently, the first grasping object 17 recoils into the user's hand the fastest. However, the user must resist grabbing the first grasping object 17 because the second and third grasping objects 18, 19 have not yet arrived.

The second and third grasping objects 18, 19 arrive at the hand at different times. The times of arrival are determined both by the stretching of the second and third tether section 26, 28 and the air resistance embodied by the structure of the grasping objects 16. A user therefore must time his/her hand closure in order to retrieve all of the rebounding grasping objects 16. The toss/rebound cycle is repeated during play. A user may want to vary the play by attempting to grasp only one, two or all three of the grasping objects 16 during the rebounding stroke.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an alternate embodiment of the present invention finger tethered toy assembly 40 is shown. In this embodiment, only two grasping objects 42 are used. This is to exemplify the fact that the present invention can be practiced with any number of grasping objects.

In the shown embodiment, the grasping objects 42 are balls 44. A plurality of projections 46 radially extends from the exterior of the balls 44. As has been previously explained, the projections make the grasping objects 42 easier to catch and provide air resistance. The finger tethered toy assembly 40 again has a finger loop 48 and tether sections 50, 52 that interconnect the grasping objects 42 and the finger loop 48. Again, the entire finger tethered toy assembly is unistructurally molded as a single piece and is symmetrically disposed around a common imaginary axis 54.

It will be understood that the embodiments of the present invention finger tethered toy assembly that are illustrated are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art can make many variations to those embodiments. For example, the length of the tether sections can be altered. The shape of the grasping objects can be changed. Furthermore, the number of grasping objects can be varied to any plurality. All such variations, modifications and alternate embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention as defined by the claims.