Title:
SCRIPTURAL SPEAKING INSPIRATIONAL FIGURINE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A message speaking figurine having a face that simulates a current, past or historical inspirational or religious individual. The recited messages are intended to teach and empower young people. The figurine comprises a body formed of a torso, arms and legs, feet and a head, where the face thereof is simulated to resemble an individual to which the young person can relate. To hear the messages, the doll or figurine includes a tape transport, voice recordable chip, CD player, or the like, speaker, power source, such as a battery, and an ON/OFF switch.



Inventors:
Dixon, Adrienne M. (Camden, NJ, US)
Application Number:
12/201570
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
08/29/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/297, 446/390, 446/391, 446/81
International Classes:
A63H3/00; A63H3/28; A63H3/36; A63H5/00
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
GB2419827A2006-05-10
Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Blank Rome LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. An inspirational figurine comprising: a torso portion having a pair of arms and a head section, said torso portion including a storage medium, a pressure sensitive switch, and a battery; a lower body portion having a pair of legs, the lower body portion being attached to the torso portion; and a speaker mounted in said torso portion in electrical connection with said storage medium, said pressure sensitive switch and said battery, wherein the inspirational figurine is configured to receive an inspirational message from an outside source and playback the message through the speaker in response to a signal from the switch.

2. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the torso portion comprises a first, second and third layers.

3. The inspirational figurine of claim 2, wherein the first layer comprises a relatively, rigid, hard inner plastic shell, the second layer comprises a plastic foam layer and the third layer comprises an outer cloth covering.

4. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the head section includes a representation of a human face.

5. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the storage medium comprises a tape transport.

6. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the storage medium comprises a voice chip.

7. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, further comprising a pair of microphones for inputting speech or sound into said storage medium.

8. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the inspirational figurine is configured to send a text or voice recording message.

9. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the inspirational figurine is configured to receive a text recording message.

10. The inspirational figurine of claim 1, wherein the inspirational figurine is coupled to a personal computer for downloading the inspirational message.

11. A figurine comprising: a body having a pair of arms, a head section, and a pair of legs; and a sound system for recording and presenting speech, the sound system having an audio player and being physically located within said body.

12. The figurine of claim 11, wherein the sound system is one of a CD player, an Ipod, an MP3 player, a mini portable radio, a mini tape cassette player, a mini disc player or an AM/FM radio.

13. The figurine of claim 11, further comprising attachable means on a head section of the figurine.

14. The figurine of claim 13, wherein the attachable means comprises upper and lower portions of a mouth.

15. The figurine of claim 13, wherein the attachable means comprises eyebrows.

16. The figurine of claim 11, further comprising a hat on a head section of the figurine.

17. The figurine of claim 11, wherein the body constructs a representation that approximates that of a person that is known by a user.

18. A method of manufacturing a figurine comprising: forming a torso portion having a pair of arms and a head section, said torso portion being formed to include a storage medium, a pressure sensitive switch, and a battery; forming a lower body portion having a pair of legs, the formed lower body portion being attached to the torso portion; and forming a speaker in said torso portion in electrical connection with said storage medium, said pressure sensitive switch and said battery.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the formed storage medium comprises a CD player.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein the formed storage medium comprises a MP3 player.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/065,969, filed on Feb. 15, 2008 in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The embodiments described herein relate to the field of talking dolls and figurines, more particularly to an inspirational figurine for young people, where the figurines are dressed to simulate live, past or historical individuals offering scriptural and/or motivational messages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Dolls and/or figurines have long been used as play toys for children including both male and female children. Moreover, there have been dolls that are sold in kit form along with a wardrobe of clothing for that doll to enable the dress form of the doll to be changed at the will of the child.

There have also been figurines with internal sound generating mechanisms. For example, in the case of non-human toys, a sound generating mechanism can be made to generate the sound of, e.g., a cow when a portion of the cow is moved. In addition, there have been toy dolls capable of generating sounds such as a crying sound or a simple recited word sound when the doll is moved. Each of these sound generating mechanisms are limited in the sounds that can be produced or, for that matter, the words or phrases which can be produced.

In addition, there have been dolls capable of generating a sentence or perhaps two sentences when a string is pulled on the doll. This string, when pulled, causes the rotation of a drum or similar sound producing member and in conjunction with an associated mechanism causes the generation of the sound. Here again, the message is limited and cannot be changed. Moreover, the message is from an unknown person or voice that is not recognizable by the child or people in close relationship to the child.

Inspirational and religious dolls have also been known as an alternative to secular dolls. Religious dolls, and other prior art figurines are well known. None of the previous religious dolls/figurines, however, guide a child in the proper direction.

Furthermore, all too often, young people are exposed to mediums of entertainment that promote inappropriate behavior, promiscuity, and powers that they will never possess. For example, young people are taught that “Superman” is able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound; that he can bend steel and lift ill-fated planes out of the sky, none of which are true. These misconceptions or false beliefs can impede a child's mental and/or spiritual growth. Redirecting a child's thought process in a positive manner can be quite beneficial to the child and to the world.

It is highly desirable to have a figurine in which a communication path can be established between a recognizable adult figure and a child via the figurine and in which the facial expressions, clothing and voice of that figurine can be changed to match an identifiable adult figure in a child's life. In this way, the child, or an adult for that matter, can adapt the figurine to conform to any desired known or unknown person.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment described herein.

FIG. 2A illustrates a component of an embodiment described herein.

FIG. 2B illustrates a component of an embodiment described herein.

FIG. 2C illustrates a component of an embodiment described herein.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an embodiment described herein.

FIG. 4A illustrates a schematic configuration of an embodiment described herein.

FIG. 4B illustrates a system of the schematic configuration of the embodiment described herein.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a figurine according to an embodiment described herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A doll or figurine having a face that emulates a current, past or historical religious and/or inspirational individual is described herein. Messages are recited by the figurine and are intended to teach and empower children and young people. The doll or figurine comprises a body formed of a torso, arms and legs, feet and a head, where the face thereof resembles a familiar religious or inspirational individual to which the young person can relate. The respective legs and arms are hinged to allow the young person to manipulate the doll or figurine. Further, the doll or figurine is dressed appropriately to be consistent with the individual's role, e.g., pastor, evangelist, etc. To hear the messages, the doll or figurine includes a tape transport, voice recordable chip, CD player, or the like, speaker, power source, such as a battery, and an ON/OFF switch.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments described herein relate to a scripture reciting doll or figurine, where the face of the doll or figurine simulates a current, past, religious or inspirational person. Messages can be recited that will inspire children to achieve great accomplishments and more effectively express themselves. The doll or figurine can recite a number of positive messages, e.g., messages drawn from scriptures. The lessons to be learned by children can be highly beneficial to parents, especially when the parents participate in the process.

FIG. 5 illustrates a figurine 500 configured as a past, current or historical figure to help children to relate to inspirational persons such as clergy. Children can understand from the figurine 500 that the individual has a spiritual and/or devine assignment by God to help them to understand God's word and his doctrines. The figurine 500 includes movable arms to selectively pose the figurine, i.e., arms unpraised, stretched out, crossed in front, etc. Further, the figurine 500 may contain a tape transport or voice chip for storing inspirational, scriptural or other messages, a speaker to play the messages, and a switch (e.g., push button switch, ON/OFF switch) to activate the figurine. Alternately, the figurine may be positioned on and removably fixed to a pedestal/base which may be a CD, MP3 or other audio player to easily change among different messages.

Referring to FIG. 1, an example figurine 100 comprises a head section 110 and a torso section 120 along with a pair of arms 150 thereon. The figurine 100, as illustrated, may also include a lower body section 130 having legs 160 and may include a belt 170 at a waist portion thereof. The configuration of the figurine 100 can vary such that a larger lower body section could be provided with differently formed legs.

The head section 110 of the figurine 100 includes the representation of a human face 140. The representation of the human face 140, in one embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2B and 2C, includes a pair of eyes 230, a nose 240, a mouth 250, and projections representing ears 270.

The mouth 250 may include an opening 290 and may also include features 260 on the upper and lower portions of the mouth 250. The features 260 may be in the form of lips. Similarly, features 220 can be located above each one of the eyes 230 in the form of eyebrows.

Located on the top portion of the head section 110 is a body of hair 210 (FIG. 2A). The body of hair 210 can be permanently affixed to the head section 110 or removably secured to the head section 110. In a preferred embodiment, the body of hair 210 is removable so that another differently styled body of hair may be attached. For this purpose, a number of fixing mechanisms can be used such as fiber strips, tape-like materials, holes and pins, or any other fixing device. It is also possible to use other forms of fixing mechanisms that are commercially available. For example, the head section 110 of the figurine 100 could be formed of a smooth soft material, such as a nylon cloth like material, which contains Micro-sized loops adapted for releasable attachment to a fiber containing strip (on the body of hair 210).

The figurine 100 can also include other portions of the head section 110 that are removable and replaceable by similar sections. For example, cheek portions 280 of the head section 110 could be removed and replaced with other cheek portions so as to provide a facial contour matching/resembling the current/past/historical/religious figure.

It should also be understood that various other elements could be provided with the figurine for attachment to other areas or the representation of the face 140. For example, a beard (not shown), mustache (not shown), sideburns (not shown), and glasses (not shown) can be attached via any fixing mechanism to the head and/or face section. In addition, the fixing mechanism could be located on the forehead of the face 140 to attach a hat (not shown), yamaka (not shown), or similar article. In this way, the facial characteristics of the representation of the face 140 can be altered. In accordance with this construction, it is possible for the user of the figurine to construct a facial representation that approximates that of a person that may be known or, for that matter, a person which is unknown. The user can also dress the figurine in clothes, gloves for the hands and/or shoes for the feet which approximate that of the figure. It should be appreciated that this is not an exhaustive list of examples and should not be interpreted as such.

It should also be appreciated that holograms can be used on the surface of the figurine body and particularly the head section 110. In this way, some of the features of the figurine can present a three-dimensional appearance.

Referring to FIG. 3, the entire body of the figurine is preferably constructed of three layers. The first layer includes a relatively rigid, hard inner plastic shell 310. The second layer is a plastic foam layer 320 disposed over the plastic shell 310. The plastic foam layer 320 can be comprised of a material such as urethane foam. The third layer, which covers the plastic foam layer 320 is an outer cloth covering 330. The urethane foam may be secured to the exterior surface of the rigid plastic shell 310 by a suitable adhesive or other means for conventionally securing the foam to the plastic shell. Similarly, the outer cloth covering 330 can be secured to the interior urethane foam layer 320 by an adhesive coating, stitching, or by any other conventional means. This construction has been found to provide a very soft and yieldable skin-like softness and one which is easy for a younger person to hold and, in effect to hug, or “cuddle.”

It should be appreciated, however, that the body of the figurine could be formed of other substances and could be formed of other materials. For example, various known plastics may be used in construction of the shell and various foam materials may be employed as an inner layer. Similarly, various known plastics could also be used in place of the cloth covering. It should also be appreciated that various other combinations of components could be used in order to create a body structure which was yieldable and convenient for touch and holding and hugging by a human child.

Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, the figurine also includes a system for recording speech or other sounds of persons and for presenting those sounds or speech. In one embodiment, as illustrated, the figurine comprises a transport, such as a tape transport 400, which is generally of conventional construction and includes a tape supply spool 410 with a take-up spool 412 and a recordable tape 414, which extends between the two spools. The tape transport 400 conventionally includes at least a write head 416, a read head 418 and an erase head 460, which may be included in a single bank of heads. In some cases, the write head 416 and read head 418 can be combined as a single tape head.

The tape transport 400 should also include motors such as servo motors and the like, (not shown) and other circuitry of the type normally included with tape transports. The tape transport 400 may also be provided with a tape counter. For this purpose, the tape counter could be located close to the surface of the figurine body and slightly hidden so as to be viewable only upon close observation. In addition, a message-waiting light or similar signal device could also be incorporated into the tape transport 400. Inasmuch as these transports are conventional in construction, they will be neither illustrated nor described in any further detail herein.

The tape transport 400 is shown as being connected to conventional electrical circuitry 470, which may form part of and may be included in the tape transport itself. Moreover, an ON/OFF switch such as a switch 488 may be located on the body of the figurine. In this embodiment described, the switch 488 is capable of being actuated by manually pressing such that one manual actuation will turn the switch on and a subsequent actuation will turn the switch off. In addition, this switch 488 may be located behind a button 480, which may be affixed to the surface of the figurine at any location, using any method, or to the outer clothing of the figurine. It should be appreciated that any type of patch or other mechanism can be used to denote the location of the switch.

The tape transport 400 including the associated electrical circuitry 470 can be conveniently mounted within the body of the figurine in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 4A. For this purpose, the figurine can be provided with a first somewhat rectangular shaped casing 408 located within the torso section 120 of the figurine body. A hinged, mounted door 450 can provide access to this compartment or casing 408 for purposes of servicing the tape transport or the tape which may be mounted thereon. Moreover, the transport can be conveniently retained in this casing by means of brackets or the like, as may be required.

The tape transport 400 including the circuitry 470 can be conveniently powered by conventional batteries, such as C-cell 1.5 volt batteries. Similarly, the conventional transistor radio volt battery can also be employed if desired. A bank of these batteries 420 is located within another rectangular shaped compartment or casing 430 formed in the torso section 120 of the figurine body near the rearward portion thereof. Again, access may be obtained to the casing 430 and to the bank of batteries 420 by means of an openable door 440, also in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 4A. In this way, the batteries can be changed as may be required. Moreover, the batteries located in the figurine could be recharged with a conventional battery recharging circuit (not shown). It should be appreciated, however, that the tape transport 400 can be substituted with a voice chip, flash memory, digital recorder, etc.

The doors 440, 450 which can be opened and closed with respect to the respective casing 408, 430 may be provided with some convenient locking mechanisms, for example, a latch that can rotate through the turning of a handle on the door. Moreover, the doors would also be provided with padding so as to conform to the remainder of the exterior portion of the figurine.

A speaker 494 may be connected to the electrical circuitry 470 and should be located immediately behind the opening in the representation of the mouth 290. In this way, when a sound is generated through movement of the tape on the tape transport, that sound will emanate from the speaker 494 at the mouth portion of the figurine to provide a characterization of the figurine talking. In addition, a pair of microphones 490 are provided and each is located immediately inwardly of the representation of an ear 270 on the opposite sides of the head section 110. In this way, the user can speak into either one of the microphones 490 for purposes of recording on the recordable tape 414.

It should be understood that the microphones and for that matter, the speaker could be located elsewhere on the figurine. However, to give a more realistic representation of a live figure, the speaker should preferably be located behind the opening in the mouth and the microphone should preferably be located behind openings in the representations of the ears.

The figurine could be provided with various other switches of the type normally found directly on the tape transport, such as a record switch 472, a replay switch 474 and a fast forward and fast reverse switch 476. These switches could be located in various convenient places on the body of the figurine. In the embodiment, as illustrated, they have been shown on the representation of the belt 170. It should also be understood that other switches of this type could be included on the figurine to provide other functions to the tape transport.

The switches 472, 474 and 476 could be located in other regions of the figurine, as for example, on hands thereof so that manual pressing will place the tape transport in a record mode or a replay mode or the like. The switches which are preferably push button switches may also be located in other portions of the body including the legs, feet, torso, or back of the body of the figurine. These switches would all be operatively coupled to the tape transport through electrical conductors which extend through the figurine body.

The figurine could alternatively include a system, other than a tape transport, for recording speech or other sounds of persons and for presenting those sounds or speech. The system could have an audio player selected from a group consisting of a CD player, an Ipod, an MP3 player, a mini portable radio, a mini tape cassette player, a mini disc player and/or an AM/FM radio. The figurine could include a plug receptacle within one of the speakers for receiving and electrically connecting via an electrical wire to an outlet plug of the audio player. The audio player could fit into the compartment 408 similar to the tape transport 400. In addition, the figurine could be coupled to a personal computer (PC) for downloading speech or other sounds (either from the PC or from a network such as the Internet). Furthermore, in this regard, the figurine could include a storage device that could be embodied in the form of a CD, other diskette, memory or any other storage mechanism for storing downloaded speech or other sounds of persons.

It can be understood that the figurine is highly effective in that someone may record messages, as for example, messages of religious nature on the tape for later replay by the user. As an example, a parent, pastor, or other religious role model can record messages for a child located in a hospital environment to replay when the person is not present. In this way, the child can listen to the message of the person by turning the transport on by pressing the switch behind a representation of the heart and the message will appear as though it is emanating from the mouth of the figurine. The child user can also record his or her own message for later replay by the adult and this also has an effect on the adults who may not be able to be with the child.

The figurine also has a variety of other modes of use, as for example, in a child therapy or counseling setting. In many cases, it is difficult for a child to express his or her feelings to a therapist although the child may be more readily capable of expressing such feelings directly to a figurine, such as the figurine described herein. In this way, the child can talk into the ear of the figurine and the information recorded on the tape can then later be played by the therapist.

The above are only a few examples of a large number of uses of the figurine. It should be appreciated that this figurine can find effective employment in a variety of situations. For example, embodiments of the figurine also can be used to help the child memorize the books of the old and new testaments. The figurine can repeat favorite scriptures for memorization purposes. The figurine can include the capability to send a text or voice recording message from one figurine to another. The figurine can also be compatible with a computer and receive downloads of messages. The figurine, in a preferred embodiment, speaks in the English-language, however, the figurine is capable of speaking in any language such as Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, French, German, etc. It should be appreciated that this is not an exhaustive list and should not be interpreted as such.

As indicated above, the figurine can have its facial expression and features changed. Here again, these features can be changed so as to represent some known or unknown person. The embodiments described herein include only a few of the features which can be added to or removed from the face of the figurine. It should be appreciated that a larger number of components can be provided for attachment to and removal from the representation of the face in order to achieve a desired appearance and facial expression.

Thus, there has been illustrated and described a unique and novel figurine which is capable of having messages recorded therein and being replayed and which also is capable of having facial expressions changed to generally represent a known or unknown person. The figurine can also play pre-recorded messages, bible passages, psalms, etc. The figurine therefore fulfills all of the advantages which have been sought. It should be appreciated that many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications will become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification and the accompanying drawings. Therefore, any and all such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention is covered by the embodiments.