Title:
ANIMATRONIC FIGURINE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An animatronic figurine includes a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface, a body portion, and a head portion. A first pivoting assembly is configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion. A second pivoting assembly is configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion. One or more motor assemblies are configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion.



Inventors:
Mankes, Barnet (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/954697
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
12/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070224908Gas assisted game callSeptember, 2007Vaught
20050170744Toy with remote media sourceAugust, 2005Smith et al.
20070238387Teddy bear having sleeves for inserting human arms for huggingOctober, 2007Sutton
20060084360Smell and tell toyApril, 2006Stern
20050118924Toy pet boxJune, 2005Lin
20050066911Squeaking dog toyMarch, 2005Lubeck
20080182477CHILD'S PLAY GYM, ALSO USABLE AS A SEATJuly, 2008Catelli
20040259460Throw toy for petsDecember, 2004Stanley Sr. et al.
20040266316Combination playhouse and doll carrying caseDecember, 2004Li et al.
20050191934Easy interchangeabilty of visual and sound embellishments on wearing apparel accessories and other articles by use of mating parts which have the capability of closing an electric circuitSeptember, 2005Videnovich et al.
20080242190Novelty LED-projection message balloonOctober, 2008Hofer et al.



Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An animatronic figurine comprising: a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface; a body portion; a head portion; a first pivoting assembly configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion; a second pivoting assembly configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion; and one or more motor assemblies configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion.

2. The animatronic figurine of claim 1 further comprising: a motion detector assembly coupled to the one or more motor assemblies, wherein the motion detector assembly is configured to detect motion and provide a motion detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

3. The animatronic figurine of claim 1 further comprising: a sound detector assembly coupled to the one or more motor assemblies, wherein the sound detector assembly is configured to detect sound and provide a sound detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

4. The animatronic figurine of claim 1 wherein the one or more motor assemblies includes control circuitry for controlling the movement of the animatronic figurine.

5. The animatronic figurine of claim 1 wherein the base portion includes a bracket assembly for rigidly affixing the base portion to the surface.

6. The animatronic figurine of claim 5 wherein the bracket assembly is configured to releasably engage the base portion.

7. The animatronic figurine of claim 1 further comprising: a power supply for powering the one or more motor assemblies.

8. The animatronic figurine of claim 7 wherein the power supply includes a battery.

9. The animatronic figurine of claim 1 wherein the animatronic figurine is an animatronic owl figurine.

10. An animatronic figurine comprising: a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface; a body portion; a head portion; a first pivoting assembly configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion; a second pivoting assembly configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion; one or more motor assemblies configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion; a power supply for powering the one or more motor assemblies; and a motion detector assembly coupled to the one or more motor assemblies, wherein the motion detector assembly is configured to detect motion and provide a motion detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

11. The animatronic figurine of claim 10 wherein the one or more motor assemblies includes control circuitry for controlling the movement of the animatronic figurine.

12. The animatronic figurine of claim 10 wherein the base portion includes a bracket assembly for rigidly affixing the base portion to the surface.

13. The animatronic figurine of claim 5 wherein the bracket assembly is configured to releasably engage the base portion.

14. The animatronic figurine of claim 10 wherein the power supply includes a battery.

15. The animatronic figurine of claim 10 wherein the animatronic figurine is an animatronic owl figurine.

16. An animatronic owl figurine comprising: a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface, wherein the base portion includes a releasable bracket assembly configured to releasably engage the base portion and rigidly engage the surface; a body portion; a head portion; a first pivoting assembly configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion; a second pivoting assembly configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion; one or more motor assemblies configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion; a power supply for powering the one or more motor assemblies; and a motion detector assembly coupled to the one or more motor assemblies, wherein the motion detector assembly is configured to detect motion and provide a motion detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

17. The animatronic owl figurine of claim 16 wherein the one or more motor assemblies includes control circuitry for controlling the movement of the animatronic figurine.

18. The animatronic owl figurine of claim 16 wherein the power supply includes a battery.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to figurines and, more particularly, to animatronic figurines.

BACKGROUND

Animatronics allow figurines to move in a manner that replicates the way the figurine would move if it was alive. Such figurines may be configured to look like human beings or animals. Generally speaking, an animatronic figurine is a mechanized figurine that is program to move in a manner that replicates the movements of the real-life object that the animatronic figurine is modeled after.

While extremely high end animatronic figurines are used in motion pictures (e.g. Jurassic Park) and at amusement parks (e.g. Disney World), the quality and realism of the animatronic figurines available to the general consuming public leaves much to be desired. For example, a typical consumer-level animatronic figurine of an animal may only be configured to allow for the head to rotate. As would be expected, such limited movement of the animatronic figurine provides little with respect to realism.

SUMMARY OF DISCLOSURE

In a first implementation, an animatronic figurine includes a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface, a body portion, and a head portion. A first pivoting assembly is configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion. A second pivoting assembly is configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion. One or more motor assemblies are configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion.

One or more of the following features may be included. A motion detector assembly may be coupled to the one or more motor assemblies. The motion detector assembly may be configured to detect motion and provide a motion detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

A sound detector assembly may be coupled to the one or more motor assemblies. The sound detector assembly may be configured to detect sound and provide a sound detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

The one or more motor assemblies may include control circuitry for controlling the movement of the animatronic figurine. The base portion may include a bracket assembly for rigidly affixing the base portion to the surface. The bracket assembly may be configured to releasably engage the base portion.

A power supply may power the one or more motor assemblies. The power supply may include a battery. The animatronic figurine may be an animatronic owl figurine.

In another implementation, an animatronic figurine includes a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface, a body portion, and a head portion. A first pivoting assembly is configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion. A second pivoting assembly is configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion. One or more motor assemblies are configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion. A power supply powers the one or more motor assemblies. A motion detector assembly is coupled to the one or more motor assemblies. The motion detector assembly is configured to detect motion and provide a motion detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

One or more of the following features may be included. The one or more motor assemblies may include control circuitry for controlling the movement of the animatronic figurine. The base portion may include a bracket assembly for rigidly affixing the base portion to the surface. The bracket assembly may be configured to releasably engage the base portion. The power supply may include a battery. The animatronic figurine may be an animatronic owl figurine.

In another implementation, an animatronic owl figurine includes a base portion configured to be placed upon a surface, a body portion, and a head portion. The base portion includes a releasable bracket assembly configured to releasably engage the base portion and rigidly engage the surface. A first pivoting assembly is configured to allow the body portion to pivot about a first axis and a second axis with respect to the base portion. A second pivoting assembly is configured to allow the head portion to pivot about at least a third axis with respect to the body portion. One or more motor assemblies are configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion. A power supply powers the one or more motor assemblies. A motion detector assembly is coupled to the one or more motor assemblies. The motion detector assembly is configured to detect motion and provide a motion detection signal to the one or more motor assemblies.

One or more of the following features may be included. The one or more motor assemblies may include control circuitry for controlling the movement of the animatronic figurine. The power supply may include a battery.

The details of one or more implementations are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features and advantages will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a front elevation view of an animatronic owl figurine;

FIG. 1B is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 with a head portion pointed in a clockwise rotation position;

FIG. 1C is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 with the head portion pointed in a counterclockwise rotation position;

FIG. 2A is a side elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in an “upright” position;

FIG. 2B is a side elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “partial” lunge position;

FIG. 2C is a side elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “full” lunge position;

FIG. 3A is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “full” lunge position with a body portion in a non-rotated position;

FIG. 3B is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “full” lunge position with the body portion in partial counterclockwise rotation position;

FIG. 3C is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “full” lunge position with the body portion in full counterclockwise rotation position;

FIG. 3D is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “full” lunge position with the body portion in partial clockwise rotation position;

FIG. 3E is a front elevation view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1 in a “full” lunge position with the body portion in full clockwise rotation position; and

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of the animatronic owl figurine of FIG. 1.

Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1A, there is shown a front elevation view of animatronic owl figurine 10. Animatronic owl figurine 10 may include a base portion 12, body portion 14 and head portion 16. Animatronic owl figurine 10 may be constructed of various types of materials such as plastic (e.g. polyvinyl chloride) and metal (e.g. steel). Additionally, although it is not shown in the figures, animatronic owl figurine 10 may be textured and colored to make it look more like a living owl. For example, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include a flexible rubber-like membrane that is textured to give the appearance of e.g. feathers and may be colored to replicate the look of the feathers of an owl. Additionally, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include a frame-like substructure (not shown) that may be made out of e.g. metal or plastic to which the above described flexible rubber-like membrane may be attached. Alternatively, the various portions of animatronic owl figurine 10 may be molded of a rigid foamcore-like material, thus eliminating the need for a frame-like substructure (not shown).

Base portion 12, body portion 14 and head portion 16 may be separate and distinct portions that may be capable of various levels of movement with respect to each other. For example, base portion 12 may be pivotally attached to body portion 14 and body portion 14 may be pivotally attached to head portion 16, thus allowing head portion 16 to move with respect to body portion 14 and body portion 14 to move with respect to base portion 12.

Referring also to FIG. 1B & FIG. 1C, there are shown two additional front elevation views of animatronic owl figurine 10. As discussed above, head portion 16 may be pivotally attached to body portion 14, thus allowing head portion 16 to move with respect to body portion 14. Specifically, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include pivoting assembly 18 that allows head portion 16 to pivot about one or more axes with respect to body portion 14.

In this embodiment, pivoting assembly 18 is shown to allow head portion 16 to pivot about the z-axis with respect to body portion 14. As shown in FIG. 1B, pivoting assembly 18 may be configured to allow head portion 16 to rotate about the z-axis with respect to body portion 14 in a clockwise direction (as indicated by arrow 20). Further, as shown in FIG. 1C, pivoting assembly 18 may be configured to allow head portion 16 to rotate about the z-axis with respect to body portion 14 in a counterclockwise direction (as indicated by arrow 22).

While in FIG. 1B and FIG. 1C are shown to indicate approximately a 180° sweep angle of head portion 16 with respect to body portion 14 (about the z-axis), this is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a limitation of this disclosure. For example, the sweep angle may be increased or decreased based upon various design criteria. Additionally, head portion 16 may alternatively be configured to fully rotate (about the z-axis) with respect to body portion 14.

Referring also to FIG. 2A, there is shown a side elevation view of animatronic owl figurine 10 in the “upright” position. As discussed above, body portion 14 may be pivotally attached to base portion 12, thus allowing body portion 14 to move with respect to base portion 12. Specifically, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include pivoting assembly 24 that allows body portion 14 to pivot about one or more axes with respect to base portion 12.

In this embodiment, pivoting assembly 24 is shown to allow body portion 14 to pivot about the x-axis with respect to base portion 12. Referring also to FIG. 2B & FIG. 2C, there are shown additional side elevation views of animatronic owl figurine 10. Specifically, FIG. 2B shows animatronic owl figurine 10 “partially” lunging forward by pivoting about the x-axis (via pivoting assembly 24). Additionally, FIG. 2C shows animatronic owl figurine 10 “fully” lunging forward by pivoting about the x-axis (via pivoting assembly 24).

As discussed above, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include pivoting assembly 18 that allows head portion 16 to pivot about one or more axes with respect to body portion 14. Accordingly, pivoting assembly 18 may be configured to allow head portion 16 to rotate about the x-axis (with respect to body portion 14), thus allowing line of sight 26 to be maintained constant, whether animatronic owl figurine 10 is in the “upright” position (as shown in FIG. 2A), is in the “partial” lunging position (as shown in FIG. 2B) or is in the “fully” lunging position (as shown in FIG. 2C).

Referring also to FIG. 3A, there is shown a front elevation view of animatronic owl figurine 10 in the “fully” lunged position (as shown in FIG. 2C). As discussed above, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include pivoting assembly 24 that allows body portion 14 to pivot about one or more axes with respect to base portion 12. Accordingly, pivoting assembly 24 may be configured to allow body portion 14 to rotate about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12), thus allowing body portion 14 to swing in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Specifically, FIG. 3B shows body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10 “partially” rotated about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12) in a counterclockwise direction (via pivoting assembly 24) and FIG. 3C shows body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10 “fully” rotated about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12) in a counterclockwise direction (via pivoting assembly 24). Additionally, FIG. 3D shows body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10 “partially” rotated about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12) in a clockwise direction (via pivoting assembly 24) and FIG. 3E shows body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10 “fully” rotated about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12) in a clockwise direction (via pivoting assembly 24).

As discussed above, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include pivoting assembly 18 that allows head portion 16 to pivot about one or more axes with respect to body portion 14. Accordingly, pivoting assembly 18 of animatronic owl figurine 10 may be configured so that while body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10 is rotated about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12), head portion 16 of animatronic owl figurine 10 may be rotated along the z-axis (with respect to body portion 14) to maintain line of site 26 in a forward-looking direction (as shown in FIG. 2A, FIG. 2B & FIG. 2C). Additionally, pivoting assembly 18 of animatronic owl figurine 10 may be configured so that while body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10 is rotated about the z-axis (with respect to base portion 12), head portion 16 of animatronic owl figurine 10 may be rotated along the y-axis (with respect to body portion 14) to maintain eyes 28, 30 of animatronic owl figurine 10 in a horizontal position (as defined by horizontal line 32).

Base portion 12 of animatronic owl figurine 10 may be configured to be placed upon a flat (or essentially flat) surface 34, such as a roof surface or the top of a fence post. Base portion 12 may include bracket assembly 36 for rigidly affixing base portion 12 to surface 34. For example, bracket assembly 36 may include a plurality of holes (not shown) configured to receive one or more screws 38 that allow bracket assembly 36 to be rigidly affixed to surface 34. Bracket assembly 36 may be configured to releasably engage base portion 12. For example, base portion 12 may include one or more slots (not shown) configured to releasably engage one or more tabs (not shown) incorporated into bracket assembly 36.

Referring also to FIG. 4, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include one or more motor assemblies 40 configured to facilitate one or more of: the pivoting of the body portion about the first axis with respect to the base portion, the pivoting of the body portion about the second axis with respect to the base portion, and the pivoting of the head portion about the third axis with respect to the body portion. Motor assembly 40 may be powered by power supply 42, an example of which is a battery pack. For example, base portion 12 of animatronic owl figurine 10 may include power supply 42, which may be configured to receive one or more batteries.

Accordingly, motor assembly 40 may be configured to control pivoting assembly 18 and pivoting assembly 24. As discussed above, pivoting assembly 18 may be configured to allow for multi-axial movement of head portion 16 with respect to body portion 14. Further, pivoting assembly 24 may be configured to allow for multi-axial movement of body portion 14 with respect to base portion 12. Accordingly, motor assembly 40 may be configured to provide mechanical energy to pivoting assembly 18 via linkage assembly 44, thus controlling the multi-axial movement of pivoting assembly 18 and, therefore, the movement of head portion 16 with respect to body portion 14. Further, motor assembly 40 may be configured to provide mechanical energy to pivoting assembly 24 via linkage assembly 46, thus controlling the multi-axial movement of pivoting assembly 24 and, therefore, the movement of body portion 14 with respect to base portion 12.

Motor assembly 40 may include control circuitry 48 for controlling the movement of animatronic owl figurine 10. Specifically, control circuitry 48 may store one or more programs (i.e. sequences of movement) that may control the movement of pivoting assembly 18 and/or pivoting assembly 24 to allow animatronic owl figurine 10 to move in a controlled fashion that replicates the movements of a living owl. For example, control circuitry 48 and motor assembly 40 may provide the appropriate mechanical energy (via linkage assembly 44) to allow head portion 16 of animatronic owl figurine 10 to rotate about the z-axis with respect to body portion 14 (as shown in FIG. 1A, FIG. 1B & FIG. 1C). Further, control circuitry 48 and motor assembly 40 may provide the appropriate mechanical energy (via linkage assemblies 44, 46) to allow head portion 16 of animatronic owl figurine 10 to rotate about multiple axes with respect to body portion 14, and body portion 14 to rotate about multiple axes with respect to base portion 12 (as shown in FIG. 3A, FIG. 3B, FIG. 3C, FIG. 3D & FIG. 3E).

As discussed above, control circuitry 48 may store one or more programs (i.e. sequences of movement) that may control the movement of pivoting assembly 18 and/or pivoting assembly 24. The execution of these programs may be initiated by receiving an input signal from one or more devices. For example, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include motion detector assembly 50 coupled to motor assembly 40. Upon motion detector assembly 50 detecting motion proximate animatronic owl figurine 10, motion detector assembly 50 may provide a motion detection signal on signal line 52 to motor assembly 40. Upon receiving the motion detection signal on signal line 52, control circuitry 48 may initiate the execution of one of the above-described programs (i.e. sequences of movement) stored within control circuitry 48. Accordingly, animatronic owl figurine 10 may be used to scare off rodents that wander into a vegetable garden.

Additionally, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include sound detector assembly 54 coupled to motor assembly 40. Upon sound detector assembly 54 detecting a sound of a sufficient level proximate animatronic owl figurine 10, sound detector assembly 54 may provide a sound detection signal on signal line 56 to motor assembly 40. Upon receiving the sound detection signal on signal line 56, control circuitry 48 may initiate the execution of one of the above-described programs (i.e. sequences of movement) stored within control circuitry 48.

Additionally, animatronic owl figurine 10 may include switch assembly 58 couple to motor assembly 40. For example, switch assembly 58 may be a pushbutton switch that, when depressed, generates a manual start signal that is provided on signal line 60 to motor assembly 40. Upon receiving the manual start signal on signal line 60, control circuitry 48 may initiate the execution of one of the above-described programs (i.e. sequences of movement) stored within control circuitry 48.

Motion detector assembly 50 may be positioned within head portion 16 of animatronic owl figurine 10. Accordingly, detected motion within line of sight 26 (see FIG. 2A) may result in control circuitry 48 executing one of the above-described programs. Additionally, sound detector assembly 54 may be positioned within head portion 16 of animatronic owl figurine 10. Further, switch assembly 58 may be positioned on an inconspicuous portion of animatronic owl figurine 10, such as on the lower surface of base portion 12.

While motor assembly 40 (and control circuitry 48) are shown to be positioned within body portion 14 of animatronic owl figurine 10, this is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a limitation of this disclosure. For example and as discussed above, a plurality of motor assemblies may be included within animatronic owl figurine 10. Specifically, a first motor assembly (not shown) may be rigidly coupled to pivoting assembly 18 (thus eliminating the need for linkage assembly 44) and a second motor assembly (not shown) may be rigidly coupled to pivoting assembly 24 (thus eliminating the need for linkage assembly 46). When multiple motor assemblies are used, each motor assembly may include its own control circuitry. Alternatively, centralized control circuitry (not shown) may control the operation of each of the discrete motor assemblies (and therefore each of the discrete pivoting assemblies 18, 24).

While the figurine is described above as being an animatronic owl figurine, this is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a limitation of this disclosure. Specifically, the above-described figurine may be configured to look like any creature that includes a head portion, a body portion, and a base portion, such as human beings and other animals.

A number of implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.