Title:
Water balloon catching toy shield
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy shield device is disclosed that provides an easy and effective way to catch water balloons. For example, the toy shield device may comprise a flexible first plane and a flexible second plane. Thus, a user may catch a water balloon between the two flexible planes through an opening in the first plane, thereby preventing the balloon from breaking.



Inventors:
Cuisinier, Jarret P. (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/074962
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/510, 446/26
International Classes:
A63B65/12; A63H33/30; F41F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICONOVICH, ALEXANDER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JARRET CUISINIER (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A toy shield device comprising: a housing, a first plane, a second plane, wherein said first plane and said second plane are substantially flexible and wherein said first plane further comprises an opening.

2. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said second plane comprises a substantially elastic material.

3. The toy shield device of claim 2, wherein said first plane comprises a substantially elastic material.

4. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said toy shield further comprises a handle.

5. The toy shield device of claim 4, wherein said handle is configured to be worn on a forearm of an individual.

6. The toy shield device of claim 4, wherein said handle comprises a protruding position.

7. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises an orifice.

8. The toy shield device of claim 7, wherein said housing supports a water balloon during a launch of said water balloon.

9. The toy shield device of claim 7, wherein said toy shield further comprises an antechamber.

10. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said first plane and said second plane are substantially parallel.

11. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein a first distance between said first plane and said second plane at a top of said housing is less than a second distance between said first plane and said second plane at a bottom of said housing.

12. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said toy shield further comprises a panel.

13. The toy shield device of claim 12, wherein said panel supports a water balloon during a launch of said water balloon.

14. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said housing supports a water balloon during a launch of said water balloon.

15. The toy shield device of claim 14, wherein said housing supports a water balloon during a launch of said water balloon in a direction parallel to said first plane.

16. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said opening is sealable.

17. The toy shield device of claim 1, wherein said opening is proximate a top of said toy shield device and said toy shield device is configured to launch a water balloon through said opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/905,511 entitled “Water Balloon Catching Toy Shield” and filed on Mar. 7, 2007 which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to children entertainment devices, and more particularly, to children entertainment devices such as toy shields.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of toy water balloons has long been known to the prior art. Typically, water balloons are used to launch a small amount of water towards a remote target. Most often, children are the primary users of water balloons; however, water balloons are also frequently used by both young adults and adults in a variety of games and activities. For example, water balloons are often used with launchers or thrown back and forth by people in a balloon “toss” game.

As balloons risk “popping,” they are often difficult to catch. This presents a problem for users as they often cannot catch a water balloon that is thrown at them, causing the balloon to rupture. While this is often part of balloon toss games, it is usually desirable to not get yourself wet while failing to catch a balloon and preferable to get an opponent wet.

Accordingly, a water balloon shield that provides and easy and effective way to catch water balloons with out breaking them is desirable. Additionally, a water balloon shield that lets a user easily re-launch a caught water balloon is also desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a water balloon catching toy shield device that is an easy and effective means for catching a water balloon. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a toy shield is configured to comprise a substantially flexible first plane and a substantially flexible second plane. Thus, a balloon may be caught by the toy shield. For example, the toy shield may comprise an elastic first plane and an elastic second plane, where the first plane further comprises an opening. Thus, a user may catch a water balloon through the opening in the first plane so that the water balloon impacts the elastic second plane and is trapped between the two elastic planes without breaking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional aspects of the present invention will become evident upon reviewing the non-limiting embodiments described in the specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, wherein like numerals designate like elements, and:

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

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

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment comprising a protruding handle and an orifice;

FIG. 3a is a front view of an embodiment comprising an antechamber; and,

FIG. 3b is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment comprising an antechamber.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following descriptions are of preferred exemplary embodiments only, and are not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration of the invention in any way. Rather the following description provides a convenient illustration for implementing a preferred embodiment of the invention. Various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements described in the preferred embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth herein.

Generally, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a water balloon catching toy shield device is provided comprising two substantially flexible planes, one plane further comprising an opening. The toy shield is suitably configured to make the catching of water balloons easier by means of the two flexible planes. For example, a user may catch a water balloon through the opening so that energy from the water balloon impact is absorbed and the water balloon is trapped between the two flexible planes without breaking.

In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the toy shield may also be suitably configured to launch a water balloon. For example, the toy shield may comprise an orifice for releasing a water balloon.

Thus, with reference to FIG. 1, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a toy shield 10 is shown comprising a first plane 20, an opening 21, a second plane 30, a housing 40, and a handle 50. In accordance with the present preferred embodiment, first plane 20 and second plane 30 are composed of a material that is suitably flexible and preferably elastic so as to well absorb impacts. For example, first plane 20 and second plane 30 may be composed of a trampoline-like material, rubber, synthetic, or other flexible materials known or not yet known to the prior art. Additionally, and still in accordance with the present exemplary embodiment, housing 40 and handle 50 are integrated into one consolidated piece, composed of the same polymer material. However, in accordance with alternate embodiments, housing 40 and handle 50 may be separate parts and composed of different materials, including foams, metals, cloths, composites, rubbers, and the like. Moreover, in accordance with various alternate embodiments, the size, shape, and number of first plane 20, an opening 21, a second plane 30, a housing 40, and a handle 50 may as well vary. Additionally, complete toy shield 10 may be integrated and used in combination with any number of identical or different toy shield and other toy configurations. For example, toy shield 10 may comprise an integrated water gun system or a holster for connecting with a separate water balloon launcher.

With continuing reference to FIG. 1a and FIG. 1b and in accordance with the present exemplary embodiment, first plane 20 and second plane 30 are configured to have circular shapes and suitably parallel structures. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the present invention, first plane 20 and second plane 30 may be configured to have different shapes or unparallel structures. Additionally, first plane 20 may be configured to have a different shape, material, color, pattern, or elasticity than second plane 30. For example, first plane 20 may be made of a less elastic material than second plane 30 or a flexible, non-elastic material, such as a cloth.

First plane 20 and second plane 30 are securely connected to housing 40. Furthermore, housing 40 positions first plane 20 and second plane 30 so that they are several inches apart. Preferably, first plane 20 and second plane 30 are about three inches apart. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments, first plane 20 and second plane 30 may be closer or farther than three inches apart. Additionally, housing 30 preferably suitably encloses a water balloon when caught between first plane 20 and second plane 30.

Opening 21 is located proximate first plane 20. In accordance with one aspect of the present embodiment, opening 21 is configured to be a horizontal slit in first plane 20. However, in accordance with other embodiments, opening 21 may be configured to be a vertical slit or comprise other shapes, sizes, or positions. For example, opening 21 may be configured to comprise an elliptical shape. Additionally, opening 21 may be configured to be sealable so as to provide secure storage for multiple water balloons within housing 40. For example, opening 21 may comprise a zipper or button closure.

In accordance with another aspect of the present embodiment, toy shield 10 preferably comprises handle 50. In the present embodiment, handle 50 is configured so that a user may wear toy shield 10 on his or her forearm like a classic, medieval shield. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the present invention handle 50 may be configured in other positions on toy shield 10. For example, handle 50 may be configured to comprise a protruding position so that toy shield 10 may be grasped. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the present invention, handle 50 may not comprise a protruding position and may be configured to be a grip or other handle configuration known or not yet known for making the grasping or holding of toy shield 10 easier. Furthermore, handle 50 may be absent entirely from toy shield 10. Additionally, in accordance with the present embodiment of the invention, handle 50 is centered on housing 40. However, in accordance with alternate embodiments, handle 50 may be configured to have off-center positions in order to allow elastic second plane 30 to stretch backward with a water balloon impact.

In use, a user may wear toy shield 10 with handle 50 about his or her forearm. Then, when a water balloon is thrown at the user, the user may position opening 21 directly in front of the path of the water balloon in order to intercept the balloon. The water balloon will then enter housing 40 via opening 21 and strike elastic second plane 30. Elastic second plane 30 will stretch to absorb the impact of the water balloon without breaking the balloon. The water balloon will then reverse directions as the elastic shape of second plane 30 rebounds. The water balloon will then launch forward, but will descend with gravity to strike first plane 20 below opening 21. After the motion and energy of the water balloon has been fully absorbed, the balloon will settle in housing 40 to be stored or used by the user. Alternatively, the user may intercept a water balloon with first plane 20 in an area away from opening 21. In this manner, the user may launch the water balloon back towards its source via the elastic material of first plane 20.

Now with reference to FIG. 2, an alternate embodiment of the invention is shown. In accordance with one aspect of the present embodiment, opening 21 is configured to be a large, approximately semi-circular cutout of front plane 20. Additionally, in accordance with another aspect of the present embodiment, toy shield 10 comprises a handle 50 configured to comprise protruding position from housing 40. With this configuration, toy shield 10 may be held and either first plane 20 or second plane 30 may be used to intercept a water balloon by rotating toy shield 10 about a vertical axis of handle 50. In this way, a user may switch to and from “catching” and “bounce back” positions.

With continuing reference to FIG. 2, toy shield 10 further comprises an orifice 70. Orifice 70 is configured to be able to allow a water balloon to suitably pass through it. Thus, a user may launch a water balloon from within housing 40 via a swinging motion, thereby creating a centrifugal force. However, in accordance with an alternate embodiment of the present invention, toy shield 10 may comprise other configurations for launching water balloons from housing 40 through orifice 70. For example, toy shield 10 may comprise a third elastic plane at the base of housing 40 for launching a water balloon.

Additionally, housing 40 may be configured to better launch a water balloon. For example and in continuing reference to FIG. 2, a user may rotate toy shield 10 ninety degrees about a vertical axis of protruding handle 50 and launch a water balloon with a swinging motion. Thus, curved housing 40 suitably supports, accelerates, and flings the balloon through orifice 70 and in a direction parallel with first plane 20 and second plane 30. However, in accordance with various alternate embodiments of the present invention, toy shield 10 may be configured to comprise other configurations known or not yet known to the prior art for launching a water balloon.

In accordance with another alternate embodiment of the present invention, orifice 70 may be configured to comprise a forward angle to provide a better launching angle. Additionally, orifice 70 may be absent and toy shield 10 may be configured to launch a water balloon through opening 21. For example, opening 21 may be configured to be near the top of toy shield 10 and toy shield 10 may be configured so that a water balloon may be propelled via centrifugal motion towards and through opening 21.

In accordance with another aspect of the present embodiment, first plane 20 is configured to be at an unparallel angle relative to second plane 30. In this configuration, the distance between the top of first plane 20 and the top of second plane 30 is less than that of the distance between the bottom of first plane 20 and the bottom of second plane 30. This downward angle of second plane 30 helps to ensure that an intercepted water balloon will stay in housing 40 after impacting second plane 30. Additionally, this angled configuration gives a launched water balloon a forward angle upon release through orifice 70 or opening 21.

Referring now to FIG. 3a and 3b, in accordance with another alternative embodiment of the present invention, an embodiment comprising an antechamber 80 is shown. Antechamber 80 further comprises a holding area 81 and a second orifice 82 and is configured to make the launching of water balloons from toy shield 10 easier and more effective. In use, a user would angle toy shield 10 so that a water balloon in housing 40 would roll through orifice 70 into antechamber 80. Preferably, antechamber 80 is transparent or has holes so that the user may easily see the water balloon within it. Within antechamber 80, the user may then position the water balloon to rest in holding area 81. Thus, a user may launch a water balloon from antechamber 80 and through second orifice 82 via a swinging motion, thereby creating a centrifugal force. In accordance with another aspect of the present embodiment, antechamber 80 comprises an angle 83 and angle 83 is configured to give a water balloon a forward release angle through second orifice 82. Additionally, antechamber 80 may be configured to hold and launch multiple water balloons or comprise other configurations known and not yet known.

In accordance with another aspect of the present embodiment, toy shield 10 comprises a second handle 51 and a panel 90. Second handle 51 is configured to give a user extra support for holding toy shield 10 while intercepting a water balloon. Additionally, panel 90 is preferably configured to shield a user in case a water balloon accidentally ruptures while impacting second plane 30. In accordance with one aspect of the current embodiment of the present invention, panel 90 fully enclosed second plane 30. However, in accordance with alternate embodiments of the present invention, panel 90 may partially cover plane 30 or may comprise holes. Additionally, panel 90 may be configured to support a water balloon during a launching motion. For example, panel 90 may be configured to support a water balloon as second plane 30 stretches during a throwing motion, thereby helping to better accelerate and launch a water balloon. Furthermore, panel 90 may comprise a forward angle and may be configured to give a launched water balloon a preferred launch angle through orifice 70 or opening 21.

Thus, while the principles of the invention have been described in illustrative embodiments, many combinations and modifications of the above-described structures, arrangements, proportions, the elements, materials, and components, used in the practice of the invention in addition to those not specifically described may be varied and particularly adapted for a specific environment and operating requirement without departing from those principles.