Title:
Multi-axis gaming chair assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An assembly structured to movably support a video game or video simulation participant comprising a chair movably connected to and supported by a frame. A driver assembly includes a plurality of driver members collectively structured to concurrently or independently move the chair about any one or all of a plurality of substantially transversely oriented axes. A control assembly includes a manually operable control member operatively connected to the driver assembly to accomplish substantially corresponding movement of the chair with that of the control member. A display assembly including a monitor disposed to be viewable from the chair and a processing assembly is operatively associated with the monitor to determine the video content displayed thereon. The control assembly and the driver assembly are operatively interconnected to determine movement of the chair independently of the content of the video.



Inventors:
Hernandez, Homar (Boca Raton, FL, US)
Henry, Nigel (Pembroke Pines, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/074149
Publication Date:
09/03/2009
Filing Date:
02/29/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/311
International Classes:
A47C31/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MCPARTLIN, SARAH BURNHAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLOY & MALLOY, P.A. (Miami, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An assembly structured to movably support a video game participant, said assembly comprising: a support frame including a base, a chair movably connected to said support frame and structured to support the participant thereon, a driver assembly movably interconnected between said support frame and said chair and structured to concurrently move said chair about a plurality of transversely oriented axes, a control assembly operable by the participant and structured to be at least partially determinative of the movement of said chair, a display assembly including a monitor, said monitor interconnected to said chair and movable therewith relative to at least a portion of said support frame, a processing assembly operatively associated with said display assembly and structured to be at least partially determinative of video content of said monitor, and said control assembly and said driver assembly operatively interconnected and cooperatively structured to determine movement of said chair independently of the video content.

2. An assembly as recited in claim 1 wherein said driver assembly comprises a fluid supply connected in fluid communication with a plurality of driver members, each of at least two of said plurality of driver members disposed and structured to move said chair about a different one of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

3. An assembly as recited in claim 2 wherein said plurality of driver members further comprises at least a third driver member disposed and structured to move said chair about a third of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

4. An assembly as recited in claim 3 wherein said third driver member is interconnected between said base and a movable portion of said support frame in driving relation to said chair.

5. An assembly as recited in claim 3 wherein said two driver members are interconnected between said support frame and said chair in driving relation to said chair.

6. An assembly as recited in claim 1 further comprising a footrest adjustably connected to said chair and extending outwardly therefrom a variable distance in at least partially aligned relation to said monitor.

7. An assembly as recited in claim 1 further comprising a monitor mount interconnected to said chair and having an elongated configuration extending outwardly from a frontal portion of the chair, said monitor mount including a platform disposed and structured to support said monitor thereon in facing relation to said chair.

8. An assembly as recited in claim 7 further comprising a footrest assembly adjustably connected to said chair and extending outwardly therefrom in a corresponding direction as said monitor mount and substantially beneath said monitor.

9. An assembly as recited in claim 1 further comprising a control mount adjustably interconnected to said chair and disposed a variably spaced distance from a frontal portion thereof.

10. An assembly as recited in claim 1 wherein said control assembly comprises a manually positionable control member cooperatively structured with said driver assembly to control movement of said chair.

11. An assembly as recited in claim 10 wherein said control member is operatively interconnected to said driver assembly and is structured to accomplish corresponding movement between said chair and said control member by substantially corresponding manual movement of said control member.

12. An assembly as recited in claim 11 wherein said chair is independently and concurrently movable about each of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

13. An assembly as recited in claim 1 further comprising a user interface operatively connected to said processor assembly, said user interface adjustably disposable in accessible relation to said chair and in a vicinity of a manually operable control member associated with said control assembly.

14. An assembly as recited in claim 1 further comprising a monitor mount interconnected to said chair and movable therewith, said monitor mount comprising an elongated configuration extending above and in overlying relation to said chair and into supporting, suspending relation to said monitor.

15. An assembly structured to movably support a video gaming participant, said assembly comprising: a support frame including a base and a stanchion assembly connected to said base, a chair movably interconnected in supported relation to said stanchion assembly, said chair structured to movably support the participant on said support frame, a driver assembly including a plurality of driver members collectively structured to concurrently and independently move said chair about each of a plurality of transversely oriented axes, a control assembly including a manually operable control member cooperatively structured with said plurality of driver members to determine corresponding movement of said chair and said control member about said plurality of transversely oriented axes, a display assembly including a monitor disposed in observable relation to the participant when on said chair, a processing assembly operatively associated with said display assembly and structured to be at least partially determinative of video content on said monitor, and said control assembly and said driver assembly operatively interconnected and cooperatively structured to determine movement of said chair independently of the video content.

16. An assembly as recited in claim 15 wherein said plurality of said driver members comprise at least a first driver member and a second driver member each disposed and structured to move said chair about a different one of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

17. An assembly as recited in claim 16 wherein said plurality of driver members comprise a third driver member disposed and structured to move said chair about a third of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

18. An assembly as recited in claim 17 wherein said stanchion assembly is rotationally connected to said base, said third driver member interconnected between said base and said stanchion assembly and in driving relation to said stanchion assembly.

19. An assembly as recited in claim 15 further comprising a monitor mount interconnected to said chair and movable therewith, said monitor mount comprising an elongated configuration extending above and in overlying relation to said chair and into supporting, suspending relation to said monitor.

20. An assembly as recited in claim 15 further comprising a monitor mount including an elongated configuration connected to and extending outwardly from said base in supporting relation to said monitor, and said monitor mount disposed and structured to fixedly position said monitor relative to said base.

21. An assembly as recited in claim 15 wherein said processing assembly is structured to include communication capabilities with at least one communication network.

22. An assembly as recited in claim 21 wherein said at least one communication network includes the Internet.

23. An assembly structured to movably support a video gaming participant, said assembly comprising: a support frame including a base and a stanchion assembly connected to said base, a chair movably interconnected in supported relation to said stanchion assembly, said chair structured to movably support the participant on said support frame, a driver assembly including a plurality of driver members each disposed and structured to movably position said chair about a different one of a plurality of substantially transversely oriented axes, a control assembly including a manually operable control structure operatively connected to said driver assembly, a display assembly including a monitor disposed in spaced relation to the participant when on said chair, a processing assembly operatively associated with said display assembly and structured to be partially determinative of video content of said monitor, and said control assembly and said driver assembly cooperatively structured to operatively interconnect said manually operable control member and said plurality of driver members to facilitate corresponding movement of said chair and said manually operable control member, as said chair moves about said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

24. An assembly as recited in claim 23 wherein said plurality of said driver members include at least a first driver member and a second driver member each comprising an air cylinder, each of said first and second driver members disposed and structured to move said chair about a different one of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

25. An assembly as recited in claim 24 wherein said plurality of driver members comprises a third driver member comprising an air cylinder disposed and structured to move said chair about a third of said plurality of transversely oriented axes.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a support assembly in the form of a chair movable by a participant based on his/her reaction to an observed video game or video simulation. A driver assembly and control assembly are cooperatively structured to accomplish movement of the chair about any one or all of a plurality of substantially transversely oriented axes in reaction to the participant's manipulation of a portion of the control assembly. A processor assembly includes Internet or other network communication capabilities operatively connected to the display monitor for determining the video content observed by the participant.

2. Description of the Related Art

With the major advancements in computer technology over the past few years, the popularity of video games has increased dramatically resulting in a multi-million dollar per year industry. Many commercially available video game platforms are used primarily on personal computers or game box in a home or other non-commercial environment. However, the expansion of the video game market has increased to the extent that public venues including competitions are also enjoying increased popularity. Traditionally, depending upon the environment in which a video game is played or demonstrated, an individual stands or sits at a stationary computer or gaming machine. Operation or participation in the content of the video game involves observing a video display as well as operating various control features. Such control features may include joysticks, levers, pedals, etc. In addition, motion directed video games involving the traveling of a vehicle also may include appropriately corresponding control mechanisms, such as steering wheels, steering yokes, etc. which are used to simulate the driving or operation of the vehicle being displayed.

In order to enhance the experience of a video game player, “gaming chairs” have been introduced which are structured to attempt to simulate movements of the vehicle involved in the video content being displayed. Similarly, movable seats or participant supporting devices are also structured to provide movement, feel, and other features which simulate the overall environment of the video content being displayed.

However, disadvantage and problems associated with the manufacture, operation and cost of known or conventional gaming seats are well recognized in the video game industry. Typically, the movement involved in such support assemblies is somewhat limited and frequently is not sufficiently versatile to provide a realistic simulation which corresponds to the content of the video game being observed. Also, conventional gaming chairs and like support assemblies may be structured to directly correspond to a specific video game or category of games thereby lacking sufficient versatility to be readily adapted to a variety of different categories of video content. Other problems and disadvantages associated with known gaming chairs involve the mechanical and operative components which serve to accomplish the intended simulated movement. Such components may be slow to respond to manipulation of a joystick or other controlling structure by the participant. Therefore, with such limited versatility of the type set forth above, gaming chairs, seats and like individual support assemblies do not adequately simulate movement of vehicles or other video content associated with many, if not a majority of the video games or like displayed video simulations.

Accordingly, there is a need in the video gaming industry for a support assembly including a chair capable of being concurrently moved throughout a plurality of predetermined axes in direct and immediate response to corresponding movement of any one of a plurality of different type of control members including the aforementioned joystick, steering wheel, etc. Further, such an improved and proposed support assembly should be structured to provide a completely realistic “feel” to the participant involved in the video game or like simulated video display in order to increase the enjoyment of the participant. Moreover, such an improved support assembly should be relatively light in weight, efficiently constructed and operationally sound so as to be capable of repeated use over a long operable life and be readily adaptable to a variety of different video games or vide displays.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an assembly in the form of a chair and more commonly known as a “gaming chair” which is used to movably support a participant when viewing a video game or video simulation. As used herein the terms “video game” or “video simulation” are to be interpreted in the broadest sense. As such these terms are used herein to describe any type of video presentation or content, wherein an individual views and is expected to participate in the “action” of the displayed content by manipulating a control member. The operation of the control member thereby serves to move and/or position the chair in a manner which corresponds to the video content.

By way of example only, the video content may comprise travel of a vehicle, such as an airplane, automobile, boat, etc. wherein the participant manually operates a control member so as to coordinate movement of the support assembly or chair to the travel of the vehicle or other object represented in the video content. As such, the various operative components of the preferred embodiments of the present invention accomplish movements and/or positioning of the chair and a participant present thereon about any one or all of a plurality of axes. Moreover, the movement or positioning of the chair and supported participant about multiple axes will result in a more “real life” experience thereby allowing the participant to more closely realize or “feel” the action of the video content being displayed.

As will be explained in greater detail hereinafter, one or more preferred embodiments of the support assembly and/or gaming chair of the present invention may also include a processor assembly comprising an appropriate computer or processor facility. The processor assembly has capability of communicating over the internet and/or other communication network, wherein the processor assembly is operatively interconnected to the display assembly, including the aforementioned monitor so as to control or at least determine the video content display thereon. Further, the processor assembly has the capability, through interactive, operational circuitry associated with both the processor assembly and the display assembly, to operate a variety of different console game systems which are well known and widely available on the commercial market. Also, additional software can be maintained within the processor facility or alternatively accessed over the Internet or other predetermined communication network to support the operation of the various embodiments of the present invention and/or the performance and operational characteristics of the video content being displayed. Further, at least one preferred embodiment of the present invention incorporates a Windows-based control software which requires only Ethernet and updates which are available online.

Accordingly, at least one or more preferred embodiments of the support assembly of the present invention include a chair being movably supported on a support frame, wherein the support frame may include a base disposed on a supporting surface as well as a stanchion assembly serving to interconnect the base to the support frame and therefore to the chair. The chair, in order to provide control, comfort and overall operational efficiency to the participant, further includes additional structural features such as an adjustable foot assembly extending outwardly from the chair a variably spaced distance. Also, the display assembly includes a monitor as well as a monitor mount. In the various preferred embodiments of the present invention, the monitor amount includes an elongated configuration interconnected to the chair or to the base. When the monitor mount is connected to the chair, the monitor supported thereby is movable with the chair about a plurality of preferably transversely oriented axes. Alternatively, the elongated monitor mount may be secured to the base or other fixed portion of the assembly such that the position of the monitor and the monitor mount on which it is supported are disposed in a substantially fixed position relative to the multi-axis travel or positioning of the chair.

As at least generally set forth above, the control assembly includes both the operational circuitry serving to interconnect it to the processing assembly and/or a driver assembly as well as at least one control member. In somewhat typical fashion, the control member may assume a variety of structural characteristics such as those represented by a joystick, steering wheel, etc. Moreover, the control member is hand manipulated by the participant and is adjustably disposed in easily accessible relation to the participant when in the chair. The aforementioned control circuitry is operational, in addition to the cooperative structuring between the control assembly and the drive assembly, to determine the movement of the chair independent of the video content. More specifically, cooperative structuring and operative interconnection between the control assembly and the driver assembly accomplishes substantially corresponding movement of the chair to that of the movement of the control member of the control assembly. By way of example only, the participant may move the control member in a forward direction which will automatically and substantially concurrently move the chair in the corresponding forward direction. Similarly, movement of the control member by the participant along a somewhat complex path of travel will result in a chair being substantially concurrently moved about the plurality of transversely oriented axes so as to facilitate a substantially corresponding movement of the chair to that of the control member, as manipulated by the participant.

Further, it is recognized that the participant will attempt manual manipulation or movement of the control member based on the video content being viewed on the video display or the monitor. However, the video content per se does not control or regulate movement of the chair other than the participant's reaction to the displayed video content and his/her responsive manipulation of the control member. Further by way of example, if the video content comprises an automobile, race car, etc. traveling along a path of travel and encountering various turns, straight-a-ways, obstacles, etc., the chair will move into various positions which corresponds to the movement of the control member operated by the participant while viewing the video content. However, if the participant did not move the control member, the chair in turn will not move regardless of the simulated travel of the vehicle in the video content.

Movement of the chair about each of the plurality of transversely oriented axes is accomplished by interaction of the control member with a driver assembly comprising a plurality of driver members. The driver members are preferably in the form of air cylinders connected in fluid connection with a fluid or air source by appropriate conduits. In addition, operative control circuitry associated with the control assembly and/or control member will serve to facilitate operation of the fluid communication of the air issuing from the fluid source so as to accurately operate each of the driver members in a manner which will accomplish corresponding movement between the chair, about the plurality of axes as determined by the manipulation of the control member by the participant.

Additional structural and operative features of the support assembly of the present invention will be explained in greater detail hereinafter and include a speaker assembly mounted on or otherwise disposed relative to the chair so as to provide clear audio content to the participant. Also, adequate padding or cushioning material may be connected to various portions of the support frame and/or chair so as to facilitate comfort and safety of the participant during operation of the chair. In association therewith, an appropriate restraining assembly in the form of a lap belt or other more sophisticated torso harness may be connected to the chair to facilitate containment and comfort of the participant. In addition, various siding panels or enclosure components may be mounted on the support frame and/or chair structure so as to adequately enclose the chair during the multi-axis movement as well as provide an operationally realistic environment to the participant when disposed on the chair.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more clear when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one preferred embodiment of a participant supporting chair of the present invention and operative components associated therewith.

FIG. 1A is a detailed perspective view in partial cutaway of a display monitor and control member associated at least with the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 1B is a perspective view in partial cutaway of a different embodiment of a control member and a user interface both associated at least with the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation in block diagram form of interactive operative components of at least one preferred embodiment of the present invention, such as represented in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation representing a multi-axis display of movement about which the gaming chair assembly of the present invention may be positioned.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the opposite side the preferred embodiment of FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7A is a front view of a portion of the embodiment of FIG. 7.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9A is a detailed view of an operative component associated with the display assembly and the display monitor associated therewith.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view in partial schematic of a multi-device controller assembly associated with one or more of the embodiments of FIGS. 1 through 12.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view in partial schematic representing a modification of the multi-device controller assembly of the embodiment of FIG. 13 and further incorporating an axis selection assembly.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view in partial schematic representing yet another modification of the multi-device controller assembly of the embodiment of FIGS. 13 and 14.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in the accompanying drawings, the present invention is directed to a support assembly generally indicated as 10 including a chair or “gaming chair” 12 movably supported on a support frame generally indicated as 14. The support frame 14 includes a base 16 fixedly or securely connected to or mounted on an appropriate support surface and a stanchion assembly 18. The stanchion assembly 18 includes at least one stanchion member extending upwardly and somewhat outwardly from the base 16 into supporting interconnection with one or more portions such as at 20 of the support frame 14. In addition, the chair 12 is movably connected to the support frame 14, 20 by a chair mount generally indicated as 22. It is emphasized that the specific structural features of the support frame 14, 20 as well as the chair mount 22 may assume a variety of different structures and/or configurations which are appropriate to facilitate movement of the chair 12 about a “multi-axis” path of travel.

The multi-axis movement of the chair 12 will be described in greater detail with primary reference to the schematic representations of FIGS. 2 and 3. Accordingly, the various structural components of the assembly 10 facilitate selective and controlled movement of the chair 12 as well as a participant supported thereon preferably about a plurality of axes, which are preferably transversely oriented, as schematically represented in FIG. 3.

Other structural features associated with the embodiment of FIG. 1, as well as others of the plurality of preferred embodiments set forth in the additional figures, include a display assembly 24 including a monitor 26 supported by a monitor mount 28. The monitor 26 may include a flat screen, LCD display or other appropriate monitor facility connected to or otherwise supported on a platform 27 connected to an outer or distal end of the monitor mount 28. Further, in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the monitor mount 28 includes an elongated configuration interconnected to the chair 12 or the chair mount 22 in a manner which accomplishes movement of the monitor 26 along with the chair 12, as the chair 12 travels through its multi-axis path of travel. Therefore, the monitor mount 28 extends outwardly from a frontal portion of the chair 12 a predetermined distance such that the monitor 26 is disposed in facing relation to the frontal portion of the chair 12 in a readily observable location relative to a participant on or within the chair 12.

With primary reference to the embodiments of FIGS. 5 and 6, additional structural features associated with these embodiments include the monitor mount, generally indicated as 28′, having an elongated configuration. The monitor 26 is connected to and/or supported in a suspended relation at the distal end of the monitor mount 28′ as clearly represented. The opposite end or other appropriate portion of the monitor mount 28′ is interconnected to the chair mount 22 or other structure associated with the chair 12. As such, the monitor 26 will be disposed in overlying relation to the chair 12 and move with the chair 12, as it travels about one or all of the plurality of preferably transversely oriented axes.

Yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention is represented in FIG. 6 wherein the monitor mount 28″ also has an elongated configuration with the platform 27 or other appropriate support structure secured to an outer or distal end thereof in supporting relation to the monitor 26. However, in this embodiment the proximal or inner end of the monitor mount 28″ is secured to the base 16. As such, this embodiment of the monitor mount 28″ disposes or supports the monitor 26 in a substantially fixed position, wherein the monitor 26 does not travel or move with the chair 12.

Further with regards to the embodiment of FIG. 1, as well as other embodiments of the assembly 10 shown throughout the accompanying Figures, the assembly 10 also includes a footrest assembly generally indicated as 30. The footrest 30 also includes an elongated configuration including at least a single elongated arm or bar member 32 having a foot engaging portion 34 at an outer or distal end thereof. Further, the footrest assembly 30 is adjustably connected to the arm 32 at a distal end thereof. Accordingly, the foot engaging portion 34 may be adjustably positioned and therefore variably spaced relative to the chair 12 so as to accommodate participants of various sizes, ages, etc. The adjustable structure associated with the arm 32 and the foot engaging portion 34 may comprise a plurality of apertures 32′ formed in the bar 32 and a locking pin or like structure associated with the footrest assembly 34. The foot engaging portion will thereby be removably locked or maintained in a preferred and variable spaced distance from the chair 12.

With primary reference to FIGS. 1, 1A and 1B, additional structural and operative features associated with the embodiment of FIG. 1 and other preferred embodiments as represented in accompanying figures include a control assembly 38. The control assembly 38 includes a control member 40 in the form of a joystick, as at 40′, a steering wheel as at 40″ or other appropriately structured control members. Regardless of the specific structural features of the control member 40, it is connected to a support platform 42 which is adjustably and/or movably connected to a monitor mount or otherwise interconnected to the chair 12. The control member is movable with the chair through the aforementioned multi-axis range of movement. In addition, the platform 42 is further structured to contain or support a user interface 44 as represented in FIG. 1B in the form of a keyboard or other operative component. The user interface 44 facilitates interaction between the participant and the control assembly 38 and/or a processing assembly generally indicated as 60 schematically represented in FIG. 2 and described in greater detail hereinafter. As such, the platform 42 includes provisions for securing both the control member 40 associated with the control assembly 38 as well as the interface 44 so that the position of either or both can be adjustable relative to the position of the participant within the chair 12. Also, activation, adjustment or operation may be controlled through manipulation of the interface 44 by the participant or other personnel which may be in charge of operation of the assembly 10, such as when it is used in a commercial environment.

Yet additional structural and operative features of the assembly 10 include the provision of a driver assembly generally and schematically represented as 50 in FIG. 2. More specifically, the driver assembly 50 comprises a plurality of driver members such as, but not limited to, 52 and 53 and in certain additional embodiments a third driver member 54, as represented in FIGS. 4 and 4A. Each of the driver members 52, 53 and 54 are preferably in the form of an air cylinder as represented throughout the Figures, wherein each of the plurality of air cylinders, defining the driver members 52, 53 and 54 are connected in fluid communication with an air or fluid source generally indicated as 56.

The fluid source 56 may be an air compressor, air pump or other appropriate facility which generates a sufficient pressure and quantity of air so as to accurately and responsively operate the plurality of driver members 52 through 54. Fluid communication between the fluid supply or source 56 and each of the air cylinders defining the driver members 52 through 54 are not shown in detail. However, with primary reference to FIG. 8, flexible tubing 55 in supported relation on the frame 14 and/or portions of the monitor mount 28 and/or chair mount 22 are provided. The flexible tubing 55 serve to house and interconnect the needed air containing conduits between each of the driver members 52 through 54 and the fluid source 56. In addition, an inlet or connection module 57 should be connected to or be considered a part of a housing assembly generally indicated as 58 serving to contain the fluid source 56. The housing 58 and the inlet module 57 connected thereto may be associated with a stand or like supporting structure associated with the base 16 as also represented in FIG. 7.

As represented, the driver members 52 and 53 are disposed in interconnecting relation between the support frame 14, 20 and the chair 12 and/or chair mount 22. As such, each of at least two of the driver members 52 and 53 are disposed and structured to selectively move and/or position the chair 12 about different ones of a plurality of preferably transversely oriented axes. As represented in FIG. 2, driver member 52 is disposed and structured to rotate or otherwise move the chair 12 about transverse axis 52′. In cooperation therewith, driver member 53 is disposed and structured to rotate or otherwise move the chair 12 about the transverse axis 53′ as schematically represented in FIG. 3. With reference to FIG. 4, a third driver member 54 may be interconnected between the base 16 and a stanchion assembly 18 which defines part of the support frame 14.

More specifically, structural features represented in FIG. 4 include the stanchion assembly 18 being rotatbly or otherwise movably connected to the base 16 such that the stanchion assembly 18 is movable about yet a third axis 54′ also schematically represented in FIG. 3. The movable interconnection 19 serving to connect the base 16 and the stanchion assembly 18 may include a bearing assembly (not shown for purposes of clarity) or other appropriate movable interconnection or joint structure. Moreover, the movable joint or interconnection 19 serves to facilitate effective rotation in opposite directions, as indicated by directional arrows 19′ and 19″ about the transverse axis 54′ defining at least one of the plurality of transversely oriented axes 52′, 53′, 54′. As such, the driver member 54 is interconnected between the base 16 and the support frame 14 and more specifically, the stanchion assembly 18. Accordingly, the third driver member 54 can be said to be disposed in driving relation to the chair 12 by virtue of the driver member 54 being connected in driving relation to the stanchion assembly 18 of the support frame 14.

Further with regard to the schematic representation of FIG. 3, the plurality of substantially transversely oriented axes 52′, 53′ and 54′ collectively define a multi-axis range of movement of the chair 54 upon activation of the plurality of driver members 52 through 54. While the plurality of transversely oriented axes 52′ through 54′ are indicated as intersecting in perpendicular relation to one another, this schematic representation is presented for purposes of clarity only. More specifically, the actual multi-axis of rotation or movement about which the driver members 52 through 54 move or position the chair 12 may in fact not be intersecting as schematically represented in 53. However, such axes 52′ through 54′ can be accurately described as being substantially transversely oriented while still not intersecting with one another as schematically represented in FIG. 3.

With further regard to the schematic representation of FIG. 2, the processing assembly 60 may be defined by a personal computer or other appropriate computer facilities which may also be structured to include communication capabilities with one or more predetermined communication networks such as, but not limited to, the Internet as at 62. Further, the processing assembly 60 may be interconnected to the control assembly 38 for operative interaction therewith through interface 34. Further, the processing assembly 60 is electronically connected either through hardwire or wireless connection to the display assembly 24 as well as the monitor 26. Such operative interconnection may be further facilitated by the inclusion of the user interface 44 operable by a participant to further regulate operational control of the display assembly 24 and monitor assembly 26.

The Internet or other communication network 62 is accessible through the processing assembly 60 by means of the personal computer or other processor facility associated therewith. By virtue of such access, downloading of appropriate software applications is facilitated in order to further accomplish the intended operation and control. Also, the processing assembly 60 through its interconnection with the Internet or other communication network 62 is adapted for direct operative interconnection with a plurality of gaming platforms or applications which are commercially available.

With further reference to the schematic representation of FIG. 2, the control assembly 38 is operatively connected to the driver assembly 50 so as to accurately and substantially concurrently control the activation of the various driver members 52, 53, 54. Instantaneous or concurrent movement of the chair 12 about the plurality of preferably transversely oriented axes 52′ through 54′ is thereby efficiently accomplished. As such, the control assembly 38 includes the aforementioned control member 40 in the form of joystick 40′, steering wheel 40″ or appropriate structure serving to activate and operate the driver members 52 through 54 of the driver assembly 50. As such, control circuitry 49 serves to interconnect operative components of the control assembly 38, including the control member 40 with the operative components of the driver assembly 50 so as to actuate the fluid supply or source 56. Activation of the fluid source 56 serves to activate each of the driver members 52, 53, 54, etc. concurrently or independently and thereby accomplish the almost universal movement of the chair 12 about any one or concurrently all of the substantially transversely oriented axes 52′ through 54′.

Yet additional structural features of one or more of the preferred embodiments of the assembly 10 of the present invention included in FIGS. 9 and 9A through 12. More specifically, with primary reference to FIGS. 9 and 9A, an input port or like module 70 is mounted in spaced but accessible relation to the frontal portion of the chair 12, such as on the support platform 27 of the monitor mount 24. As such, this device is used as a storage and input facility for connecting cables or conductors serving to interconnect the various components of the assembly 10. Such input facilities include, but may not be limited to, a USB port, audio port, s-video port, VGA, card reader and interconnection to the control member 40. As with the flexible tubing 55 represented in the embodiment of FIG. 8, an equivalent flexible tubing 55 may be utilized to house interconnecting cables, electrical conductors or the like between the intended operative device and the input module 70.

As shown in FIG. 10, yet additional structural features associated with one or more of the preferred embodiments of the assembly 10 may include a restraining assembly generally indicated as 74. The restraining assembly 74 is mounted on or connected to the chair 12 in an appropriate fashion so as to comfortably secure a participant in or on the chair 12. The restraining assembly 74 may take the form of an upper chest or torso harness as indicated and/or a lap strap, not shown for purposes of clarity.

FIG. 11 represents yet another structural modification and embodiment associated with the assembly 10 and more specifically associated with and/or in surrounding relation to the chair 12. Such modification includes side and/or other enclosure panels 76 mounted on the support frame 14, 20 and/or the chair mount 22. FIG. 12 represents yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention comprising a plurality of cushioning members 78 disposed on a plurality of the parts associated with the frame 14, foot assembly 30, monitor mount 28 and/or other structural members associated with the seat 12. As such, the cushioning or protective member 78 may be in the form of sleeves or like structures which at least partially surround or cover exposed portions of the aforementioned components in order to protect the participant supported on the chair 12 from injury. The cushioning members 78 may comprise various resilient and/or cushioning type materials in order to prevent any direct contact by the participant.

Yet additional structural and operative features which could be incorporated in the present invention are represented in FIGS. 13 through 15 and include a controller assembly generally indicated as 100. The controller assembly 100 is used for the purpose of controlling console game systems 102, while substantially concurrently being able to control one or more additional devices. Such additional devices include, but are not limited to, a game chair 12 as represented in FIGS. 1 through 12, the control board 108 associated therewith or a computer system 110. As such the computer system 110 can control the game chair 12 or any one or more additional devices.

As represented in FIG. 13, two connecting cables 104 and 106 are connected to the control assembly 100, wherein cable 104 represents a USB or other cable type that interconnects the controller assembly 100 and the game system 102. The other of the two cables, 106, connects to an auxiliary device such as the game chair control board 108 or alternatively to the computer assembly 110. As set forth above, the computer assembly 110 may be operative to control one or more additional devices, such as the game chair 12. The other end of the cable 106 is connected inside the controller assembly 100 to operating circuitry associated therewith (not shown for purposes of clarity). Moreover, the wires are attached to the pointmeter leads on any of the controls of the various joysticks 112 associated with the operative electronic circuitry inside the controller assembly 100. Further, the cable 106 can also be wired to controller button leads, as at 114.

Accordingly, by accomplishing such electrical interconnections, the resistance of the joystick 112, etc. or the state of the control buttons, as at 114, can be transferred to other devices such as the game control board 108, computer assembly 110, etc. As a result, the input from the joystick(s) 112 and/or controls can be used to mimic the motion appearing on the console game screen 26 as represented in FIGS. 1 through 12 with corresponding motions to the game chair 12. Further, all of the above can be accomplished without having to run or apply specific software applications on the game console, which in most cases is not possible from third parties without a lengthy approval process.

With primary reference to FIG. 14, a variation of the control assembly as represented in FIG. 13 is disclosed in FIG. 14 and is operatively structured to perform in substantially the same manner. However, in the modified embodiment of FIG. 14, a switch box controller 116 is disposed between the game controller and any other device that is being controlled. This switch box assembly 116 has a series of buttons for each access that the game chair 12 or other controlled device will be associated with. This will allow an individual or a user to select joystick 112, 112′, 112″, etc. to be used to correspond to the movement of the chair 12 about a selected axis. By way of example only, if the user presses or otherwise activates the first button (1) under the X axis on the switch box controller 16, as well as button (3) under the Y axis of the switch box controller 116, the result will be a side to side motion of the game chair 12, which can be controlled by a selected one of the joysticks, as at 112. Further, the up and down motion of the chair 12 could be controlled by the joystick, as at 112″. As such, the controller assembly 100 will make it easy and efficient for a user to customize the control of the chair 12 to a specific or selected performance characteristic.

With primary reference to FIG. 15, another alternate embodiment and operative configuration of the controller assembly 100 represents the addition of an electronic control repeater board 120. Accordingly, instead of adding an additional cable, as at 106 to the controller assembly 100, as represented in FIGS. 13 and 14. The existing or other single cable 104 is plugged into the electronic control repeater board 120. The signal is then split and sent to both the game console 102 and the other devices, such as the game chair control board 108, computer assembly 110, etc. Accordingly, the concurrent splitting of the signal creates a simultaneous and equivalent input to the receiving components as clearly represented. Further, this interconnection does not have to be limited to two devices, as indicated in FIG. 15, but can be expanded to associate a larger number of devices concurrently. This solution and operable configuration of FIG. 14 is electronically controlled by the same switch box device 116 described. Alternatively, it may be integrated into the repeater board 120 thereby rendering the X, Y axis selectively available to the user. This solution works efficiently since it does not require the game controller assembly 100 to be opened and manipulated in any way in that all operative signaling and circuitry performance takes place on the electronic board associated with the control assembly 100.

Since many modifications, variations and changes in detail can be made to the described preferred embodiment of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Now that the invention has been described,