Title:
Transformable toy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A transformable toy which has a playful aspect in that an additional movement is produced in a process of transformation, although the movement is not directly related to the transformation, as well as which has portions which can be transformed without being manually operated by the user. The transformable toy, which is reversibly transformed between a first configuration and a second configuration, includes a first member and a second member. The second member is connected to the first member in a vertically pivotable manner through a connecting member. When a lock member provided on the first member is functioning, the second member constitutes a first configuration with the first member in a fore-and-aft positional relationship. When the locking function is released, the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight and constitutes a second configuration with the first member in a vertical positional relationship.



Inventors:
Hasui, Shogo (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/382121
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
03/09/2009
Assignee:
TOMY COMPANY, LTD. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
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20030027483Controlling the position of an object in three dimensionsFebruary, 2003Rosenberg
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20020197930Stuffed toy apparatus with attached bookDecember, 2002Derraugh et al.



Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A transformable toy reversibly transformed between a first configuration and a second configuration; comprising: a first member; a second member; a connecting member for connecting the second member to the first member in a vertically pivotable manner; and a lock member provided on one of the first member and the second member, the lock member releasably locking the second member to the first member, wherein, when the lock member is functioning, the second member constitutes a first configuration with the first member in a fore-and-aft positional relationship; when the locking function of the lock member is released, the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight and constitutes a second configuration with the first member in a vertical positional relationship; and the connecting member has a rotation mechanism for rotating the second member about a predetermined axis, the rotation mechanism causing the second member to axially rotate about the predetermined axis when the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight.

2. The transformable toy according to claim 1, further comprising: a spring member provided between the connecting member and the first member, the spring member urging the second member to pivot downwardly.

3. The transformable toy according to claim 1, wherein the first configuration is a running-object configuration; the second configuration is a robot configuration; and the first member and the second member form a driver's cab and a chassis of a tractor in the running-object configuration, respectively, and form an upper body and a lower body of a robot in the robot configuration, respectively.

4. The transformable toy according to claim 2, wherein the first configuration is a running-object configuration; the second configuration is a robot configuration; and the first member and the second member form a driver's cab and a chassis of a tractor in the running-object configuration, respectively, and form an upper body and a lower body of a robot in the robot configuration, respectively.

5. The transformable toy according to claim 1, wherein the second member includes two sections, and wherein the connecting member includes a base; supporting members mounted in a forwardly and backwardly pivotable manner at both side portions of the base, respectively; and connectors for connecting the respective sections of the second member, the connectors being supported on the supporting members in a laterally pivotable manner, the two sections of the second member each being forwardly, backwardly, and laterally pivotable with respect to the base.

6. The transformable toy according to claim 2, wherein the second member includes two sections, and wherein the connecting member includes a base; supporting members mounted in a forwardly and backwardly pivotable manner at both side portions of the base, respectively; and connectors for connecting the respective sections of the second member, the connectors being supported on the supporting members in a laterally pivotable manner, the two sections of the second member each being forwardly, backwardly, and laterally pivotable with respect to the base.

7. The transformable toy according to claim 5, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a gear unit, the gear unit including: a unit case pivotably journaled on the first member; a crown gear disposed inside the unit case; a driving gear coaxial with the crown gear and disposed outside the unit case; and a pinion meshing with the crown gear, the pinion having a shaft protruding from the unit case and fixed to the base; the transformable toy further comprises a rack fixed to the first member, the rack being formed in a curved manner in a shape of an arc of a circle concentric with a center of pivoting of the unit case; and the driving gear is adapted to mesh with the rack, and, when the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight and the unit case pivots, the driving gear is rotated by meshing of the driving gear with the rack, whereby the second member is caused to axially rotate through the crown gear and the pinion.

8. The transformable toy according to claim 6, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a gear unit, the gear unit including: a unit case pivotably journaled on the first member; a crown gear disposed inside the unit case; a driving gear coaxial with the crown gear and disposed outside the unit case; and a pinion meshing with the crown gear, the pinion having a shaft protruding from the unit case and fixed to the base; the transformable toy further comprises a rack fixed to the first member, the rack being formed in a curved manner in a shape of an arc of a circle concentric with a center of pivoting of the unit case; and the driving gear is adapted to mesh with the rack, and, when the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight and the unit case pivots, the driving gear is rotated by meshing of the driving gear with the rack, whereby the second member is caused to axially rotate through the crown gear and the pinion.

9. The transformable toy according to claim 7, wherein the rack is formed so that meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released when the second member has pivoted into a vertical state; and the second member is freely rotatable with respect to the first member when the meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released.

10. The transformable toy according to claim 8, wherein the rack is formed so that meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released when the second member has pivoted into a vertical state; and the second member is freely rotatable with respect to the first member when the meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released.

11. The transformable toy according to claim 5, wherein the lock member includes a latching claw and is pivotably journaled on the first member; and the base has a latching recess with which the latching claw of the lock member engageably and disengageably meshes.

12. The transformable toy according to claim 6, wherein the lock member includes a latching claw and is pivotably journaled on the first member; and the base has a latching recess with which the latching claw of the lock member engageably and disengageably meshes.

13. A transformable toy reversibly transformed between a first configuration and a second configuration; comprising: a first member; a second member; a connecting member for movably connecting the second member to the first member; and a lock member provided on one of the first member and the second member, the lock member releasably locking the second member and the first member to each other, wherein, when the lock member is engaged, the second member constitutes a first positional configuration with the first member; when the lock member is released, the second member moves relative to the first member to constitute a second positional configuration with the first member; and the connecting member has a rotation mechanism for rotating the second member about a predetermined axis, the rotation mechanism causing the second member to axially rotate about the predetermined axis when the second member moves.

14. The transformable toy according to claim 1, further comprising: a spring member provided between the connecting member and the first member, the spring member urging the second member to move.

15. The transformable toy according to claim 13, wherein the second member includes two sections, and wherein the connecting member includes a base; supporting members mounted in a pivotable manner at side portions of the base, respectively; and connectors for connecting the respective sections of the second member, the connectors being supported on the supporting members in a pivotable manner.

16. The transformable toy according to claim 13, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a gear unit including a unit case pivotably journaled on the first member; a crown gear disposed inside the unit case; a driving gear coaxial with the crown gear and disposed outside the unit case; and a pinion meshing with the crown gear, the pinion having a shaft protruding from the unit case and fixed to the base; wherein the transformable toy further includes a rack fixed to the first member, the rack being formed in a curved manner; and the driving gear is adapted to mesh with the rack, and, wherein, when the second member pivots and the unit case pivots, the driving gear is rotated by meshing of the driving gear with the rack, whereby the second member is caused to axially rotate through the crown gear and the pinion.

17. The transformable toy according to claim 16, wherein the rack is formed so that meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released when the second member has moved into the second positional configuration; and the second member is freely rotatable with respect to the first member when the meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released.

18. The transformable toy according to claim 13, wherein the lock member includes a latching claw and is pivotably journaled on the first member; and the base has a latching recess with which the latching claw of the lock member engageably and disengageably meshes.

19. A transformable toy reversibly transformed between a first configuration and a second configuration; comprising: a first member; a second member; a connecting member for movably connecting the second member to the first member; and a lock member provided on one of the first member and the second member, the lock member releasably locking the second member and the first member to each other, wherein, when the lock member is engaged, the second member constitutes a first positional configuration with the first member; when the lock member is released, the second member moves relative to the first member to constitute a second positional configuration with the first member; and the connecting member has a rotation mechanism for rotating the second member about a predetermined axis, the rotation mechanism causing the second member to axially rotate about the predetermined axis when the second member moves, wherein the rotation mechanism includes a gear unit including a unit case pivotably journaled on the first member; a crown gear disposed inside the unit case; a driving gear coaxial with the crown gear and disposed outside the unit case; and a pinion meshing with the crown gear, the pinion having a shaft protruding from the unit case and fixed to the base, wherein the transformable toy further includes a rack fixed to the first member, the rack being formed in a curved manner; and the driving gear is adapted to mesh with the rack, and, wherein, when the second member pivots and the unit case pivots, the driving gear is rotated by meshing of the driving gear with the rack, whereby the second member is caused to axially rotate through the crown gear and the pinion.

20. The transformable toy according to claim 19, further comprising: a spring member provided between the connecting member and the first member, the spring member urging the second member to move.

21. The transformable toy according to claim 19, wherein the second member includes two sections, and wherein the connecting member includes a base; supporting members mounted in a pivotable manner at side portions of the base, respectively; and connectors for connecting the respective sections of the second member, the connectors being supported on the supporting members in a pivotable manner.

22. The transformable toy according to claim 19, wherein the rack is formed so that meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released when the second member has moved into the second positional configuration; and the second member is freely rotatable with respect to the first member when the meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released.

23. The transformable toy according to claim 19, wherein the lock member includes a latching claw and is pivotably journaled on the first member; and the base has a latching recess with which the latching claw of the lock member engageably and disengageably meshes.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a transformable toy which can be reversibly transformed between two configurations, from a first configuration to a second configuration, or vice versa, and more particularly to a transformable toy, based on a new idea, in which a movement is produced in a process of transformation.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventionally, when a transformable toy is transformed during play, it has been required that each constituent part be manually operated and operating procedures have been complicated. Therefore, a transformable toy which can be transformed by a simple operation has been proposed (see, for example, Japanese Utility Model Registration No. 3068216). In this transformable toy, two foldable connecting links are pivotably journaled at both ends thereof on a base member and a movable member, respectively, the movable member having a front member and a rear member pivotably journaled at a front and a rear thereof. The front member and the rear member are adapted to constitute a first configuration in a continuous manner, when the two connecting links are folded, and constitute a second configuration while sandwiching the two connecting links when the two connecting links are extended.

Although the above-described transformable toy can be transformed at a single touch, it has a problem that users may get bored with it because they cannot enjoy the process of transforming it by moving its constituent parts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been made in order to solve the above problem. An object of the present invention is to provide a transformable toy, based on a new idea, which has a playful aspect in that an additional movement is produced in a process of transformation, although the movement is not directly related to the transformation, as well as having portions which can be transformed without being manually operated by the user, while also being transformable as in conventional transformable toys.

In order to solve the foregoing problem, according to the present invention, there is provided a transformable toy reversibly transformed between a first configuration and a second configuration. The transformable toy includes a first member; a second member; a connecting member for connecting the second member to the first member in a vertically pivotable manner; and a lock member provided on one of the first member and the second member, the lock member releasably locking the second member to the first member. When the lock member is functioning, the second member constitutes a first configuration with the first member in a fore-and-aft positional relationship; when the locking function of the lock member is released, the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight and constitutes a second configuration with the first member in a vertical positional relationship; and the connecting member has a rotation mechanism for rotating the second member about a predetermined axis, the rotation mechanism causing the second member to axially rotate about the predetermined axis when the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight.

Preferably, a spring member is provided between the connecting member and the first member, the spring member urging the second member to pivot downwardly, the second member being forced to move downwardly by an elastic force of the spring member in addition to its own weight.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the first configuration is a running-object configuration; the second configuration is a robot configuration; and the first member and the second member form a driver's cab and a chassis of a tractor in the running-object configuration, respectively, and form an upper body and a lower body of a robot in the robot configuration, respectively.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the second member includes two sections, and the connecting member includes a base; supporting members mounted in a forwardly and backwardly pivotable manner at both side portions of the base, respectively; and connectors for connecting the respective sections of the second member, the connectors being supported on the supporting members in a laterally pivotable manner, the two sections of the second member each being forwardly, backwardly, and laterally pivotable with respect to the base.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the rotation mechanism includes a gear unit, the gear unit including: a unit case pivotably journaled on the first member; a crown gear disposed inside the unit case; a driving gear coaxial with the crown gear and disposed outside the unit case; and a pinion meshing with the crown gear, the pinion having a shaft protruding from the unit case and fixed to the base; the transformable toy further includes a rack fixed to the first member, the rack being formed in a curved manner in a shape of an arc of a circle concentric with a center of pivoting of the unit case; and the driving gear is adapted to mesh with the rack, and, when the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight and the unit case pivots, the driving gear is rotated by meshing of the driving gear with the rack, whereby the second member is caused to axially rotate through the crown gear and the pinion.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the rack is formed so that meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released when the second member has pivoted into a vertical state; and the second member is freely rotatable with respect to the first member when the meshing between the driving gear and the rack is released.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the lock member includes a latching claw and is pivotably journaled on the first member; and the base has a latching recess with which the latching claw of the lock member engageably and disengageably meshes.

According to the present invention, it is possible to provide a transformable toy which has a playful aspect in that an additional movement, which is axial rotation, is produced, although the movement is not directly related to transformation, and which can be automatically transformed, because, when the lock member is functioning, the first member and the second member constitute a first configuration while maintaining a fore-and-aft positional relationship; and, when the lock is released, the second member pivots downwardly under its own weight, the first member and the second member constitute a second configuration in a vertical positional relationship, and the second member axially rotates while pivoting.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, since the second member is forced by a spring member to pivot downwardly, the second member can be surely pivoted to a position below the first member, allowing a vertical positional relationship therebetween to be quickly and surely constructed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a first configuration of a transformable toy according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view showing the first configuration of the transformable toy;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view showing a construction of a connecting member;

FIG. 4 is a side view showing relationships between the connecting member and a first member as well as a second member;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the transformable toy at a preparation stage for transformation;

FIGS. 6A to 6C are side views showing movements of the second member and the connecting member when a lock member is released;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the transformable toy at a stage prior to completion of transformation into a second configuration; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a state of the transformable toy which has been transformed into the second configuration.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 1 and 2 are, respectively, a perspective view and a side view showing one example of a running object, which is a first configuration of a transformable toy A according to the present invention, in which the transformable toy A is constructed to be reversibly transformable from a running object, which is a first configuration, to a robot configuration, which is a second configuration, shown in FIG. 8. The running object is formed to simulate a tractor for towing a trailer and includes a first member 1 formed to simulate a driver's cab (constituting an upper body in the robot configuration) of the tractor and a second member 2 formed to simulate a chassis (constituting a lower body in the robot configuration). The first member 1 and the second member 2 are connected by a connecting member 3 and connected so that the second member 2 can pivot in vertical directions with respect to the first member 1 through the connecting member 3.

The first member 1 has an accommodating recess 5 formed at an upper portion thereof for accommodating a head portion 4 of a robot in an erectable and retractable manner, a roof member 6 provided in an openable and closable manner for covering the accommodating recess 5, and arm portions 7 in the robot configuration pivotably provided at both side portions thereof. The second member 2 includes two sections or leg portions 8 in the robot configuration. Each of the leg portions 8 has a rear wheel 9 and a pivoting plate 10 provided at a side surface thereof, the pivoting plate 10 being pivotably mounted to the leg portion 8 by a shaft 11, and has a supporting plate 13 mounted at an end of the leg portion 8 for supporting the front wheel 12. The supporting plate 13 has a bumper 14 pivotably mounted at an end thereof.

The connecting member 3 includes a base 15 and a rotation mechanism (gear unit) 16, as shown in FIG. 3. The base 15 constitutes a waist portion of a robot in the robot configuration. The base 15 has supporting members 18 mounted in a forwardly and backwardly pivotable manner at both side portions thereof, respectively. Connectors 17 for connecting the respective sections of the second member 2, which sections constitute the leg portions 8 in the robot configuration, are supported on the supporting member in a laterally pivotable manner. The leg portions 8 are pivotably supported on the supporting members 18 through the connectors 17, so that the leg portions 8 can pivot forwardly, backwardly, and laterally with respect to the base 15.

Moreover, the base 15 has a latching recess 21 formed in a front surface thereof. Meshing with the latching recess 21 is a latching claw 20a of a lock member 20, which is pivotably journaled at a shaft hole 20b thereof on a supporting shaft (not shown) formed on the first member 1. A connecting plate 23 formed at an end of a shaft 22 protruding downwardly from a bottom portion of the gear unit 16 is fixed to an upper surface of the base 15 by suitable means.

The gear unit 16 includes a unit case 25, a crown gear 26 disposed inside the unit case 25, a driving gear 27 coaxial with the crown gear 26 and disposed outside the unit case 25, and a pinion 28 meshing with the crown gear 26. The above-described connecting plate 23 is formed integrally with the shaft 22 of the pinion 28.

The unit case 25 has supporting shafts 29 formed protruding on both side surfaces thereof. The supporting shafts 29 are journaled in bearings (not shown) formed on the first member 1, and the gear unit 16 is disposed so as to be pivotable in the first member 1 about the supporting shafts 29.

Moreover, the driving gear 27 is adapted to mesh with a rack 30 formed in a curved manner in a shape of an arc of a circle concentric with the supporting shafts 29 of the unit case 25. The rack 30 is fixed at a mating hole 30a thereof mating with a mating shaft (not shown) provided in the first member 1.

Reference numeral 31 indicates a spring member. The spring member 31 has one end 31a inserted into a hole 32 formed in a side surface of the unit case 25 and the other end 31b mounted in a supporting hole (not shown) formed in the first member 1. The second member 2 (leg portions 8) is urged to pivot downwardly by an elastic force of the spring member 31, in addition to its own weight.

When the latching claw 20a of the lock member 20 is in mesh with the latching recess 21 of the base 15, and the second member 2 is locked so as not to pivot downwardly, as shown in FIG. 4, the first member 1 and the second member 2 maintain a fore-and-aft positional relationship, and the transformable toy A is in a running-object configuration, as shown in FIG. 2.

Next, a description will be made of a case in which the transformable toy A having the above construction is transformed from the running-object configuration, which is the first configuration, to the robot configuration, which is the second configuration. First, the pivoting plates 10 mounted on the second member 2 are folded backwardly on the shafts 11, as the supporting points, the front wheels 12 are moved so as to be juxtaposed in contact with side surfaces of the leg portions 8, and the arm portions 7 are pivoted outwardly away from the first member 1 (see FIG. 5). Next, the toy A as a whole is lifted by holding the first member 1 by one hand. In this state, an operating portion 20c of the lock member 20 is pressed down by the other hand, thereby releasing the meshing of the latching claw 20a with the latching recess 21 and releasing the locked state of the base 15 (see FIG. 6A).

Since the base 15 has the second member 2 (leg portions 8) mounted thereon through the connectors 17, the base 15 is forced to pivot downwardly (in a clockwise direction in FIG. 6A) about the supporting shafts 29 by being urged by an elastic force of the spring member 31, in addition to the weight of the leg portions 8 themselves.

Moreover, since the second member 2 is connected to the first member 1 through the base 15 and the gear unit 16 of the connecting member 3, the gear unit 16 pivots in a clockwise direction about the supporting shafts 29 integrally with the second member 2. At this time, since the driving gear 27 of the gear unit 16 is in mesh with the rack 30, the driving gear 27 is rotated, the crown gear 26, which is coaxial with the driving gear 27, is rotated, and therefore the pinion 28 in mesh with the crown gear 26 is rotated.

When the pinion 28 rotates, the connecting plate 23 rotates. Since the connecting plate 23 is fixed to the base 15, the base 15, which is integral with the connecting plate 23, rotates. As a result, the second member 2 (leg portions 8), which is connected to the base 15 through the connectors 17, axially rotates about an axis of rotation of the pinion 28 while pivoting downwardly about the supporting shafts 29 (see FIG. 6B).

When the second member 2 has pivoted into a vertical state by being urged by the spring member 31, in addition to its own weight, since the meshing between the driving gear 27 and the rack 30 has been released and the driving gear 27 is in a free state, the second member 2 is freely rotatable about the supporting shafts 29 and the axis of rotation of the pinion 28 with respect to the first member 1 (see FIG. 6C).

In this state, since the positional relationship between the first member 1 and the second member 2 has been changed from a fore-and-aft positional relationship to a vertical positional relationship, the transformable toy A has been transformed into a robot configuration in a standing state, in which the second member 2 is a lower body and the first member 1 is an upper body, as shown in FIG. 7. In order to attain a robot configuration closer to a perfect robot, the roof member 6 covering part of an upper surface of the first member 1 may be tilted backwardly, the head portion 4 accommodated in the accommodating recess 5 may be erected, and hand portions 33, which are folded, may be pulled up. By doing so, the transformable toy can be transformed into a second configuration which is a robot configuration in a complete state, as shown in FIG. 8.

As described above, it is possible to achieve a transformable toy which has a playful aspect not present in conventional transformable toys in that the user can enjoy a movement of the second member 2, which is axial rotation during downward pivoting, in a process of transformation, although the movement is not directly related to transformation, and which can be transformed from the first configuration to the second configuration, by releasing the locked state of the second member 2 due to the lock member 20, pivoting the second member 2 downwardly with respect to the first member 1 by using the elastic force of the spring member 31, in addition to its own weight, and changing the positional relationship between the first member and the second member from the fore-and-aft positional relationship to a vertical positional relationship.