Title:
Interactive motion apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An interactive apparatus has a base and a motion unit. The base has a first curved surface with a concave facing. The motion unit is located on the first curved surface and has a second curved surface with a convex facing contacting the first curved surface. In addition, the second curved surface has a curvature greater than that of the first curved surface. As the motion unit is steady on the first curved surface, a gravity center of the motion unit is located below a curvature center of the second curved surface.



Inventors:
Chou, Chung-cheng (Taoyuan County, TW)
Wang, Wai (Taoyuan City, TW)
Application Number:
12/068069
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
02/01/2008
Assignee:
Qisda Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An interactive apparatus comprising: a base, having a first curved surface with a concave facing; and a motion unit, located on the first curved surface, having a second curved surface with a convex facing contacting the first curved surface, the second curved surface having a curvature greater than that of the first curved surface, and, as the motion unit becoming steady on the first curved surface, a gravity center of the motion unit located below a curvature center of the second curved surface.

2. The interactive apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least an actuating device on the base for rolling the motion unit when sensing a preset signal.

3. The interactive apparatus of claim 2, wherein the actuating device is a coil.

4. The interactive apparatus of claim 2, wherein the number of the actuating device is four and the actuating devices are located around the motion unit with identical intervals.

5. The interactive apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a liquid injected in the first curved surface

6. The interactive apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first curved surface is a spherical surface.

7. The interactive apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second curved surface is a spherical surface.

8. The interactive apparatus of claim 2, wherein a preset distance between the actuating device and a lowest point of the first curved surface defines a rolling range of the motion unit.

9. The interactive apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a conductive plate on the second curved surface; two electrodes on the first curved surface, when the motion unit rolling to a preset location, the conductive plate electrically connecting the two electrodes; and a reacting unit, connected to the two electrodes, when the two electrodes electrically connected by the conductive plate, the reacting unit presenting a preset action.

10. The interactive apparatus of claim 9, wherein the two electrodes are two circular electrodes.

11. The interactive apparatus of claim 10, wherein the two circular electrodes are centered at a lowest point of the first curved surface.

12. A motion structure of robot pets, comprising: a base, having a first curved surface with a concave facing; and a motion unit, located on the first curved surface, having a second curved surface with a convex facing contacting the first curved surface, the second curved surface having a curvature greater than that of the first curved surface, when the motion unit becoming steady on the first curved surface, a gravity center of the motion unit located below a curvature center of the second curved surface; a frame, fixed on the motion unit and waved with the rolling of the motion unit; and a covering layer, covering the frame to show an exterior of the motion structure.

13. The motion structure of claim 12, further comprising at least an actuating device, formed on the base for rolling the motion unit when sensing a preset signal.

14. The motion structure of claim 13, wherein the actuating device is a coil.

15. The motion structure of claim 13, wherein a number of said at least an actuating device is four and the actuating devices are located by the motion unit with identical intervals.

16. The motion structure of claim 12, further comprising a liquid injected in the first curved surface.

17. The motion structure of claim 12, wherein the first curved surface is a spherical surface.

18. The motion structure of claim 12, wherein the second curved surface is a spherical surface.

19. The motion structure of claim 12, wherein a preset distance between the actuating device and a lowest point of the first curved surface defines a rolling range of the ears or the tails.

20. The motion structure of claim 12, further comprising: a conductive plate, located on the first curved surface; two electrodes, formed on the second curved surface, and, as the motion unit rolling to a preset location, the conductive plate electrically connecting the two electrodes; and a reacting unit, connected to the two electrodes, and as the two electrodes electrically connected by the conductive plate, the reacting unit presenting a preset action.

21. The motion structure of claim 20, wherein the two electrodes are two circular electrodes.

22. The motion structure of claim 21, wherein the two circular electrodes are centered at a lowest point of the first curved surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an interactive motion apparatus, and more particularly relates to the interactive apparatus applying the pendulum theory.

(2) Description of the Prior Art

To attract users' attention, consumer electronics and computer peripherals are equipped with intellectual interactive apparatus. Emotional expressing ability especially becomes an important feature for robot or robot pet's. The interactive emotional expressing devices, such as eyes, ears, and mouth, traditionally are composed of motors, gear sets, bar linkages, cams, etc. Such mechanism not only increases the cost as well as the size and weight, but also restricts the applicability of the interactive apparatus design. An interactive apparatus is thus provided in the present invention without the usage of the actuating mechanism composed of motors, gear sets, bar linkages, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a main object of the present invention to provide an interactive apparatus, which is operated by using the pendulum theory instead of the mechanically actuating mechanism composed of motors, bar linkages, gear sets, etc, so as to reduce the cost and the complication of the apparatus.

The interactive apparatus provided in the present invention has a base and a motion unit. The base has a first curved surface with a concave facing. The motion unit is located on the first curved surface and has a second curved surface with a convex facing contacting the first curved surface. In addition, the second curved surface has a curvature greater than that of the first curved surface. As the motion unit is steady on the first curved surface, a gravity center of the motion unit is located below a curvature center of the second curved surface.

In an embodiment of the present invention, the interactive apparatus has at least one actuating device and a control unit. The non-mechanical actuating device is located on the base for rolling the motion unit. The control unit is electrically connected to the actuating device to control the rolling of the motion unit according to a preset environmental signal.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the interactive apparatus has a conductive plate, a sensing device, and a reacting unit. The conductive plate is located on the second curved surface. The sensing device is located on the first curved surface. As the motion unit rolls to a preset location, the sensing device senses the rolling of the motion unit with the help of the conductive plate and notifies the reacting unit to present a preset action.

With the interactive apparatus provided above, a movable structure for ears or tails of robot pets is also provided in the present invention. The movable structure has a base, a motion unit, a frame, and a covering layer. Wherein, the base has a first curved surface with a concave facing. The motion unit is located on the first curved surface and has a second curved surface with a convex facing contacting the first curved surface. The second curved surface has a curvature greater than that of the first curved surface. As the motion unit is steady on the first curved surface, a gravity center of the motion unit is located below a curvature center of the second curved surface. The frame is fixed on the motion unit and shakes as the motion unit rolls. The covering layer covers the frame to show a appearance of the ear or the tail.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will now be specified with reference to its preferred embodiment illustrated in the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a schematic view depicting the operation theory of the interactive apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a schematic view of a first preferred embodiment of the interactive apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a schematic view of a second preferred embodiment of the interactive apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a schematic front view and a respective top view of a third preferred embodiment of the interactive apparatus of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 shows a schematic front view a respective top view of a fourth preferred embodiment of the interactive apparatus of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view describing the operation of the interactive apparatus 100 applying the pendulum theory provided in the present invention. As shown, the interactive apparatus 100 has a base 120 and a motion unit 140. The base 120 has a first curved surface 122 with a concave facing. The motion unit 140 is located on the first curved surface 122 and has a second curved surface 142 with a convex facing. The second curved surface 142 contacts the first curved surface 122. Preferably, the first curved surface 122 and the second curved surface 142 may be spherical surfaces. The second curved surface 142 has a curvature greater than that of the first curved surface 122. The motion unit 140 with the second curved surface 142 can be rolled on the base 120.

As the motion unit 140 is steady on the first curved surface 122, a gravity center G of the motion unit 140 is located below a curvature center C of the second curved surface 142. When the motion unit 140 is rolled on the base 120, the gravity center G′ of the motion unit 140 applies a torque with respect to the contacting point of the first curved surface 122 and the second curved surface 142 to show a pendulum motion. By introducing the motion unit 140, the interactive apparatus 100 can then waive a complicate driving device. In addition, with an appropriate design, the interactive apparatus 100 may feed back some responses while sensing specific signals. Basically, the motion unit 140 may be made of a metal, a glass, a polymer, a wood, etc., and the base 120 may be made of the same material.

FIG. 2 shows a first preferred embodiment of the interactive apparatus 100 of the present invention. The interactive apparatus 100 is utilized for composing the movable structure of ears or tails of robot pet. As shown, a cover 200 is assembled on the motion unit 140 of the interactive apparatus 100 to show the appearance of the mimicked organs. For example, the cover 200 in the figure shows the appearance of ears. The motion unit 140 has a shape of semi-spherical. The spherical surface (second curved surface 142) thereof contacts the first curved surface 122 of the base 120.

The cover 200 is composed of a frame 220 and a covering layer 240. The frame 220 is fixed on the motion unit 140 and is waved as the motion unit 140 rolls. The covering layer 240 extends from the edge of the first curved surface 122 to the top of the frame 220 so as to show the looking of the ears and to provide sufficient space for the frame 220 to shake. It is noted that the gravity center of the moving portion, which includes the motion unit 140 and the cover 200, may be shifted to above the curvature center of the second curved surface 142 due to the existence of the cover 200 to hinder the back-and-forth movement of the motion unit 140. Thus, the weight of the motion unit 140 should be much greater than that of the cover 200.

Basically, the cover 200 may be made of a metal, a polymer, a glass, a fiber, a wood, etc. As shown, the cover 200 is composed of the inside elastic frame 220 and the outside covering layer 240 to show the looking of the ears of robot pet. The two elements 220 and 240 may be made of different materials.

As a preferred embodiment, when the robot pet senses some environmental signals, such as noises, lights, physical shaking, temperature or moisture variation, the above mentioned motion unit 140 may generate some respective movement. For example, when the interactive apparatus 100 is applied to the ear structure of robot pets, when the robot pet is shook by the user, the motion unit 140 may roll back and forth to mimic an action of waved ears.

FIG. 3 shows a second preferred embodiment of the interactive apparatus 100 of the present invention. In contrast with the first embodiment, the present embodiment injects some liquid 150 into a spacing formed on the first curved surface 122. The liquid 150 may increase damping to the rolling of the motion unit 140 on the first curved surface 122 so as to reduce the cycle time for settling the motion unit 140.

FIG. 4 shows a third embodiment of the interactive apparatus 100 in the present invention. This embodiment describes the detail of a control unit 190 and an actuating device 180, not shown in the first and second embodiments, to control the rolling of the motion unit 140 according to some preset signals, such as noises, lights, temperature or moisture change, etc. As shown, the interactive apparatus 100 has at least an actuating device 180 (four actuating devices 180 as shown in the figure), and a control unit 190. The actuating device 180 is located on the base 120 for rolling the motion unit 140. The control unit 190 senses some preset environmental signals, such as noises, lights, temperature or moisture change, etc., generates a control signal according to these environmental signals, and sends the control signal to the actuating device 180 to have the actuating device 180 roll the motion unit 140. For example, the motion unit 140 may be made of a metal material, and coils may be assembled on the first curved surface 122 to be utilized as the actuating device 180. These coils are controlled by the control unit 190 to generate electronic magnetic force to roll the metallic motion unit 140. In addition, the rolling range of the motion unit 140 may be decided by adjusting the distance between the actuating device 180 and the lowest point of the first curved surface 122.

FIG. 5 shows a fifth embodiment of the interactive apparatus 100 in the present invention. This embodiment describes the detail about the generation of a feedback signal to have the interactive apparatus 100 do some further actions after the motion unit 140 starting to roll. As shown, a conductive plate 144 is located on the second curved surface 142. A conductive pot or the like may be used to replace the conductive plate 144. The sensing device is formed of two electrodes 160 located on the first curved surface 122. The sensing device is connected to a reacting unit 170. As the motion unit 140 rolls to a preset location, the conductive plate 144 on the second curved surface 142 contacts the two electrodes 160 on the first curved surface 122 at the same time to conduct the two electrodes 160 so as to form a loop. In this preferred embodiment, the two electrodes 160 may be circular electrodes 160 for sensing the rolling of the motion unit 140 at every direction. In addition, the circular electrodes 160 may be centered at the lowest point of the first curved surface 122.

In addition, as the two electrodes 160 are conducted to form a loop, the reacting unit 170 may present different actions according to different conducting events, such as different potentials between the two electrodes. For example, as the rolling of the motion unit 140 is smaller than a preset range, the reacting unit 170 presents a first emotional action, such as crying, eye rolling, etc., and as the rolling exceeds the preset range, the reacting unit 170 presents a second emotional action, such as waving tail, ear upwards or downwards, etc.

As mentioned, the interactive apparatus provided in the present invention may interact with environmental stimulation without the need of the motor, the bar linkage, the gear set, etc. In addition, as the sensing device, the reacting unit, and the actuating device are used, the interactive apparatus in the present invention may provide abundant interacting reactions. In addition, with proper appearance design, the interactive apparatus in the present invention may be applied to ears, tails of robot pet or other mechanical design with interaction demand.

While the embodiments of the present invention have been set forth for the purpose of disclosure, modifications of the disclosed embodiments of the present invention as well as other embodiments thereof may occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to cover all embodiments which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.