Title:
Radio-controlled toy skateboard
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A radio-controlled toy skateboard comprises a deck and front and rear trucks. The individual wheels of the rear truck can be controlled separately responsive to radio signals from a remote transmitter for rotation in either direction, while the front wheels rotate freely. Also responsive to radio control signals, the rear truck is controllably pivoted with respect to the deck about a kingpin axis that is inclined rearwardly, while the front truck pivots freely about a forwardly inclined kingpin axis. When the rear truck is thus pivoted, the deck tilts about its longitudinal centerline, causing the front truck to pivot correspondingly, steering the skateboard. A pair of modeled shoes are mounted for free pivoting about pivot axes. As the board tilts toward one side or the other, the shoes pivot from a toes-in to a toes-out position, mimicing the foot movements of a live “skater”. The forward shoe is mounted on a trolley sliding freely on an inclined ramp. When the board rests on a horizontal surface, the trolley slides forward, so that the forward shoe moves toward the forward end of the board; if the front end of the board is tilted upwardly, as in a “wheelie” manuever, the forward shoe slides rearwardly, as would that of a skater doing such a trick.



Inventors:
Clark Jr., Leonard R. (Oreland, PA, US)
Greene Jr., Peter H. (Boyertown, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/987967
Publication Date:
06/11/2009
Filing Date:
12/06/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
180/181, 446/460, 446/468
International Classes:
A63H17/385
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090111354Beanie objectsApril, 2009Zheng
20100035510DOLL HAVING A FLEXIBLE, POSITIONABLE INTERNAL STRUCTUREFebruary, 2010Joubert Nogueroles
20090284553METHOD OF DEFINING A GAME ZONE FOR A VIDEO GAME SYSTEMNovember, 2009Seydoux
20030040255Charging system for easily recharging batteries for toysFebruary, 2003Hauptner et al.
20050075045Audio device for luring wildlifeApril, 2005Williamson III
20080020672Programmable baby mobiles and baby soothing devicesJanuary, 2008Osborn
20100062680TOUCH SENSITIVE TOY SYSTEMMarch, 2010Giraldez et al.
20090093185Voice puppet with manipulatable oral cavity to form widely varied vocal soundsApril, 2009Maxim
20020102908Interactive toy vehicle adapted to hold doll or characterAugust, 2002Chan
20050121553Toy radio-controlled helicopterJune, 2005Isawa et al.
20100041308HEADLAMP-EQUIPPED MODEL AND HEADLAMP LIGHT-GUIDING MECHANISM THEREOFFebruary, 2010Kumegawa



Primary Examiner:
YOUNG, SCOTT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael de Angeli (JAMESTOWN, RI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A radio-controlled toy skateboard, comprising: a generally planar deck, having a forward end and a rearward end, and defining a longitudinal centerline, front and rear truck assemblies, each comprising a pair of wheels mounted on an axle, the front truck assembly comprising a pair of wheels each mounted for free rotation on a forward transverse axle, said forward transverse axle being supported for free pivoting about a forward kingpin axis aligned with said centerline and inclined forwardly with respect to the vertical, the rear truck assembly comprising a pair of wheels with first and second separately controllable drive motor assemblies such that each of said rear wheels can be independently driven in either direction of rotation about a rearward transverse axle, said rearward transverse axle being supported for controllable pivoting about a rearward kingpin axis aligned with said centerline and inclined rearwardly with respect to the vertical, a remotely-controlled receiver and power supply assembly responsive to control signals from a remote transmitter and operable to provide power to said first and second separately controllable drive motor assemblies for independently driving said rear wheels in either direction with respect to said rearward axle, and to a further motor operable to pivot said rear truck assembly in either direction with respect to said rearward kingpin axis, whereby said skateboard can be steered in either direction by pivoting said rear truck assembly with respect to said rearward kingpin axis, such that said deck is tilted about said longitudinal axis, by differential driving of the wheels of said rear truck, or by combinations thereof.

2. The toy skateboard of claim 1, further comprising a pair of model shoes mounted on said deck such that said shoes pivot with respect to the longitudinal axis of said deck as said deck is inclined with respect to said axis responsive to pivoting of said rear truck about its kingpin axis.

3. The toy skateboard of claim 2, wherein said shoes are modeled to define forward toe portions, after heel portions, and intervening shapes so as to resemble wearable shoes, and are mounted to said deck by support assemblies that define nominal orientations, such that said shoes have a nominal rest position wherein the toe portions are aligned toward a first lateral side of said deck, said mounting assemblies permitting pivoting of said shoes about axes substantially perpendicular to the plane of said deck, and said shoes being weighted so that they pivot between approximately defined positions under the influence of gravity alone as the deck is tilted or inclined with respect to the horizontal responsive to control signals from said transmitter.

4. The toy skateboard of claim 3, wherein said shoes are balanced in the fore and aft direction about a central pivot point, and are weighted side to side about said pivot point such that they pivot so that their toe portions turn away from one another as the deck is tilted to the side toward which the toe portions of the shoes are nominally aligned, and pivot in the opposite direction as the deck is tilted to the opposite side.

5. The toy skateboard of claim 4, wherein said shoes comprise molded plastic members that are nominally balanced in the fore and aft and side to side directions, and are provided with weights inserted in their insteps, opposite the respective pivot points, so as to pivot in the desired manner responsive to tilting of said deck.

6. The toy skateboard of claim 4, wherein the central pivot point as to which the forward shoe is pivoted is mounted on a trolley sliding freely on a ramp that is inclined such that the trolley and shoe move toward the forward end of said deck when said skateboard rests on a horizontal surface, and move rearwardly when the skateboard is operated so as to lift the forward end upwardly.

7. The toy skateboard of claim 6, wherein said trolley comprises a car riding on freely-rotating spaced rollers fitting into tracks comprised by said ramp.

8. The toy skateboard of claim 7, wherein said ramp is mounted under said deck, and said pivot point is defined by a mast extending upwardly through a slot in said deck.

9. The toy skateboard of claim 1, wherein the wheels of said rear truck have a high-friction surface and the wheels of said front truck have a low-friction surface.

10. The toy skateboard of claim 1, wherein a rear skid plate is mounted to the underside of the rear portion of said deck, said skid plate comprising a surface located with respect to the wheels of the rear truck such that said surface and said wheels can simultaneously contact a planar support surface, and wherein the disposition of mass of the components of the skateboard is such that the skateboard can be stably balanced on the wheels of the rear truck and said skid plate.

11. The toy skateboard of claim 10, wherein said skid plate defines a radiused surface.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a radio-controlled toy skateboard which is capable of being controlled by radio signals to perform various complex manuevers. A pair of model shoes are mounted for movement with respect to the deck of the skateboard so as to mimic the manner in which a “live” skateboarder (or “skater”) moves his or her feet in performing similar manuevers. An amusing and entertaining simulation is thus provided.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The most pertinent art known to the present inventors is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 6,726,523 to Baker et al, naming one of the present inventors as co-inventor. Baker et al also pertains to a radio-controlled toy skateboard. There are numerous significant differences between the toy skateboards shown in Baker et al and that disclosed herein, as well as some similarities. These similarities and differences are discussed in detail below after a description of the present invention.

The skateboards of Baker et al and that of the present invention can both perform various manuevers responsive to commands sent by a remote transmitter. Among other differences, the realism and much of the “play value” of Baker et al rely upon an animated figure that responds to these commands in a manner intended to mimic the motions of a “skater”, again, that is, a live skateboarder riding a full-sized skateboard. By comparison, the toy skateboard of the present invention comprises a pair of shoes on the deck of the skateboard that move, under the influence of gravity, momentum, and inertia, and without elaborate and costly mechanisms, in a manner mimicing the way in which a skater's feet move in performance of similar manuevers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The toy skateboard of the invention comprises a deck and front and rear trucks. The individual wheels of the rear truck can be controlled separately for rotation in either direction, while the front wheels rotate freely. Responsive to radio signals from a remote transmitter, the rear truck is controllably pivoted with respect to the deck about a kingpin axis that is inclined rearwardly, while the front truck pivots freely about a forwardly inclined kingpin axis. When the rear truck is thus pivoted, the deck tilts about its longitudinal centerline, causing the front truck to pivot correspondingly, steering the skateboard. The skateboard can be driven forward or rearward by control signals operating the rear wheels, and can be steered by differential control thereof, by controllably pivoting the truck about the kingpin axis, or both. Various tricks and manuevers can be performed.

A pair of modeled shoes are mounted to the top of the deck, with their toes pointing to one side of the skateboard, resembling the typical foot position of a skater. The shoes are balanced fore and aft (that is, with respect to the toe and heel portions of the shoes) and ride on masts on which the shoes pivot freely. In the side to side plane, the shoes are weighted so as to be slightly biased toward their insteps. As the board tilts toward one side or the other, the shoes pivot about their respective pivot axes, e.g., from a toe-in to a toe-out position, mimicing the foot movements of a skater.

The forward shoe is mounted on a trolley sliding freely with respect to an inclined ramp mounted under the deck, with a mast defining the pivot axis of the forward shoe extending upwardly through a slot in the deck. When the board rests on a horizontal surface, the trolley slides forward, so that the forward shoe moves toward the forward end of the board; if the front end of the board is tilted upwardly, as in a “wheelie” manuever, the forward shoe slides rearwardly, as would that of a live skater doing such a trick.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood if reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a side elevational view, partly in cross-section, of the toy skateboard of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a view along line 2-2 of FIG. 1, comprising in part an enlarged view of part of FIG. 1, and partially a cross-sectional view through the forward shoe;

FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view orthogonal to that of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are plan views illustrating the motion of the shoes in response to lateral tilting of the skateboard, and show the orientation of the wheels of the front and rear trucks that cause the tilting to occur; and

FIG. 6 shows the skateboard of the the invention in a “wheelie” position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 1, the toy skateboard of the invention (or simply “board”) comprises a deck 10 and front and rear truck assemblies 12 and 14 respectively. The front truck assembly 12 comprises a pair of wheels 16 mounted on an axle 18, in turn supported such that the axle and wheels pivot freely about a forward kingpin centerline 20. Correspondingly, the rear truck assembly 14 comprises a pair of wheels 22 mounted on an axle 24, in turn supported such that the axle and wheels pivot about a rear kingpin centerline 26. As shown, the forward kingpin centerline 20 is inclined forwardly, while the rear kingpin centerline is inclined rearwardly; both are also aligned with the longitudinal centerline of the deck 10. Accordingly, if the deck 10 is tilted to one side, that is, about its longitudinal centerline, the wheels of the forward and rear trucks on that side will approach one another, while the wheels on the other side will be spaced further apart, causing the skateboard to be steered to the side to which it is tilted. The same is true, of course, of “real” skateboards, intended to be ridden by live “skaters”, who steer the skateboard by tilting the deck to one side or the other as desired.

The wheels 16 of the front truck assembly 12 are journaled for free rotation about axle 18, and the front axle 18 is free to pivot about forward kingpin centerline 20, between stops (not shown) preventing the truck from turning too far. By comparison, the wheels 22 of the rear truck assembly 14 are individually driven, as to both direction and speed, by separate motors 28 responsive to a conventional radio receiver 30, powered by batteries 31, and responsive to control signals from a conventional radio transmitter indicated schematically at 33. A servo motor 32 is also provided, also responsive to radio control signals in a generally conventional and well-understood fashion, to controllably pivot rear axle 24 about rear kingpin centerline 26. (Those of skill in the art will be aware of numerous commercially available components capable of being employed as described, and accordingly further details are not provided here. A generally similar kingpin pivoting mechanism responsive to radio control signals is employed in the toy skateboard shown in the Baker et al patent.) By thus pivoting rear axle 24 about rear kingpin centerline 26,:the deck 10 will tilt, as above, and this in turn will cause the freely-pivoted forward truck assembly to pivot correspondingly; if moving, the skateboard will turn in the corresponding direction. FIGS. 4 and 5, discussed in detail below, show this steering feature clearly.

Steering of the skateboard according to the invention may also be accomplished by differentially driving the rear wheels with respect to one another; for example, if one rear wheel is driven in the forward direction while the other is driven in the reverse direction, the skateboard will turn sharply. The capability of differential driving of the rear wheels has other advantages, as detailed further below.

Also shown in FIG. 1 are forward and rearward shoes 40 and 42 respectively. Both shoes are molded components intended to resemble the sneakers which a live skater might wear; furthermore, according to an important aspect of the invention, shoes 40 and 42 move with respect to deck 10 in a manner realistically mimicing the motions of a skater's feet as the skateboard performs various manuevers responsive to control signals received from remote transmitter 33.

More specifically, as discussed in detail below, the shoes 40 and 42 pivot about axes 60, 62 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) generally perpendicular to deck 10 as the deck is tilted responsive to pivoting of rear truck assembly about kingpin axis 26, as might a live skater's feet, and the forward shoe moves longitudinally along deck 10 as deck 10 is pitched upwardly and downwardly, again as might a live skater's. Still more significantly, as detailed below, the motion of shoes 40 and 42 is accomplished passively, that is, without complicated servomechanisms, being responsive to the influence of gravity, momentum, and inertia alone, so that complex and expensive mechanisms are not required in order to achieve very entertaining effects.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate the manner in which the shoes 40 and 42 pivot as the deck 10 is tilted about its longitudinal axis responsive to pivoting of the rear truck. The shoes 40 and 42 are sculpted generally to resemble a pair of skater's shoes; in the embodiment shown, where the toes of the shoes are nominally aligned to the left side of the deck (toward the top of FIGS. 4 and 5), the rear shoe 40 is the left and the forward shoe 40 the right. Shoes 40 and 42 rest on masts 50 and 52, respectively, and pivot freely with respect to pivot points 60 and 62, respectively. FIGS. 2 and 3 (discussed in detail below) show details of one possible design for a suitable pivot assembly. Shoes 40 and 42 are balanced in the fore and aft (that is, toe to heel) direction, but are ballasted toward their insteps by weights 64. Weights 64 are located on the shoes opposite the pivot points 60 and 62. Accordingly, when the rear truck 14 is pivoted as shown in FIG. 4 (with the front truck following passively, as shown), deck 10 is tilted so that its left side is lowered, and weights 64 cause the shoes 40, 42 to take the “toes-out” position shown. If the rear wheels are driven, the skateboard turns to the left, as indicated by arrow 66. Correspondingly, when the rear truck is operated in the opposite direction, as shown in FIG. 5, the deck tilts toward the right, the shoes 40, 42 pivot to the “toes-in” position illustrated, and, if driven, the skateboard turns right as indicated by arrow 68. This movement of the shoes corresponds to typical motion of a skater's feet and provides a very entertaining animation.

As mentioned above, the forward shoe 40 is mounted so as to move forward when the deck is level, as shown in FIG. 1, and rearward when the front of the deck is raised, as shown in FIG. 6. As shown by FIG. 2, a view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 (partially a side view, and partially in cross-section), and by FIG. 3, a cross-section taken transverse to the long axis of the skateboard, the mast 50 on which the forward shoe 40 is pivoted extends through a slot 10a in deck 10, and is fixed to a trolley 78, comprising a car 70. Car 70 comprises two pairs of rollers 72 freely journaled on two axles 73; rollers 72 are received within opposed U-shaped sections 74 of track 76 fixed to the underside of deck 10, so that trolley 78, with mast 50 and shoe 40, moves freely back and forth along track 76. Track 76 is mounted at an angle, typically ten degrees, with respect to deck 10, with the forward end of the track lower than the rearward end, as illustrated.

Mast 50 is mounted to car 70 at a corresponding angle, 100 degrees in the preferred embodiment, so as to be perpendicular to deck 10.

Thus, when the deck 10 is level, as in FIG. 1, trolley 78 rolls forward under the influence of gravity, carrying shoe 40 to the forward end of the deck 10; when the forward end of the deck is lifted (see FIG. 6), trolley 78 rolls rearwardly, so that shoe 40 is moved toward the after end of the deck. The motion of the shoe 40 is also responsive to inertia and momentum. For example, if the shoe 40 is disposed to the front of the deck 10 and the board is accelerated sharply forward, the assembly of shoe 40 and trolley 78 will effectively slide rearwardly responsive to its inertia; if the board is then stopped sharply, the shoe assembly will slide forwardly under the influence of its momentum. This action of the forward shoe 40 corresponds to the motion of a skater's forward foot in doing comparable tricks and again provides a very entertaining animation. Again, it will be appreciated that the motion of the shoes takes place passively, responsive to gravity, momentum, and inertia, and without, e.g., complicated motor-driven mechanisms.

Shoes 40 and 42 are mounted-on their respective masts 50 and 52 by similar mechanisms. As illustrated by FIGS. 2 and 3, shoe 40 is molded to comprise a transverse interior bulkhead 40a. A bearing block 84 is fixed to bulkhead 40a by screws 86. A transverse groove 84a is formed in the underside of bearing block 84. A transverse pin 88 extending through a bore in mast 50 fits within groove 84a, and supports shoe 40; the width of groove 84a cooperates with pin 88 to limit the angular motion of shoe 40. A washer 85 may be disposed between pin 88 and groove 84a.

The shoe is retained on the mast 50 by a cotter pin 90 extending though a bore in mast 50; again, a washer 92 may be provided. As noted above, the shoe 40 is balanced in the fore and aft direction (left to right in FIG. 3), while weight 64, disposed opposite mast 50, causes shoe 40 to pivot freely about mast 50, between limits established by the fit of pin 88 within groove 84a, as the deck is tilted to one side or the other.

The forward end of the deck 10 can be lifted into the “wheelie” position shown in FIG. 6 responsive to radio signals from transmitter 33. More particularly, if the operator provides an abrupt command to drive rear wheels 22 in the forward direction, the torque provided by motors 28 is adequate to lift the forward end of the deck as shown. In order to facilitate this, and so that the board balances stably in the “wheelie” position of FIG. 6, the distribution of the masses of the various components is arranged such that the center of mass of the board is just forward of the rear axle 24 when the deck is horizontal, and is just behind axle 24 in the wheelie position of FIG. 6. In the wheelie position, the board rests stably on the rear wheels 22 and on a skid plate 80. (A forward protective skid fin 82 may also be provided.) The skid plate 80 is radiused to provide an approximately part-spherical surface, so that when in the wheelie position on a suitable surface, the board can be caused to “teeter”, that is, pivot from side to side, rolling on skid plate 80, by operation of the steering servo pivoting the rear axle, providing a further entertaining simulation. By applying torque in the reverse direction to both rear wheels 22 the board will drop back down to the horizontal position of FIG. 1.

It will happen from time to time that the board will tip over, so that one longitudinal edge of the deck lies on the ground. Where the traction provided is sufficient, the board can be self-righted, i.e., responsive to a radio signal, by operating the rear truck steering control so that it is fully pivoted and applying torque to the rear wheel in contact with the ground. In order to facilitate this and other manuevers, the rear wheels 22 are made of a high-friction material; the front wheels 16 should be made of a lower-friction material, so as to slide freely. (The same is true of the wheels of the Baker et al toy skateboard.)

It will thus be appreciated that the toy skateboard of the invention is capable of performing a number of very entertaining manuevers, and that the shoes move as in response in a manner suggestive of a “ghost rider”. The fact that the shoes do so under the influence of gravity, inertia, and momentum alone, without the necessity of mechanisms and control apparatus, allows the toy to be manufactured at a reasonable cost and to remain reliable in service.

The toy skateboard of the present invention has several novel and unobvious distinctions with respect to the toy shown in the Baker et al patent. In Baker et al, a complete skater is modeled, requiring a complex mechanism to perform various manuevers; for example, in Baker et al, if the board is tipped over, it can be righted by the action of the skater. Further, in Baker, the rear wheels are driven together; steering is accomplished solely by pivoting of the rear truck about its kingpin axis. As noted, in the present invention, steering can be accomplished in this way, but also by driving the rear wheels at different speeds and directions.

Given the above disclosure of the invention, one of ordinary skill in the art would be capable of practice of the invention.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed in detail, those of skill in the art will be aware of further modifications and improvements that might be made without departure from its essential spirit and scope. Therefore, the above disclosure is to be considered exemplary of the invention and not as a limitation thereon.