Title:
RETRACTABLE PROJECTILE DEVICE AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This application relates to a retractable device that takes the retractable leash concept and adapts it to a projectile. The tethered projectile can be advanced by the user by kicking, throwing, hitting, or any other method of advancing a projectile. When the user initially advances the projectile, for example by throwing, the momentum of the projectile overcomes the spring force and the projectile advances a certain distance relative to the force applied to it. Once the projectile' s momentum diminishes to a level below the spring force, the spring causes the spool to reverse direction and the slack is taken up and the projectile is retrieved.



Inventors:
Darville, Jean-louis (Burbank, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/946004
Publication Date:
10/08/2009
Filing Date:
11/27/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/573, 473/569
International Classes:
A63B65/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ITALIA IP (BURBANK, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A retractable projectile device comprising: a strap; a housing adapted to said strap for retaining a retracting mechanism; and a projectile functionally tethered to said retracting mechanism.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the projectile further comprises retrieving means at least on a portion thereof.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein in the retrieving means is selected from the group consisting of magnet, Velcro, a sticky semi-malleable material, and suction cup.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the projectile is spider shaped.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein the projectile is a bean bag type material.

6. The device of claim 5 wherein the projectile includes retrieving means at least on a portion thereof.

7. The device of claim 1 wherein the retracting mechanism includes: a spool that is used to hold a leash; a spring functionally adapted to said spool such that when the leash is pulled from the spool, the spring is put under tension and when the tension in the leash is below that of the spring, the tension in the spring is released and the spool is reversed and the leash is retracted back into the housing.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein the leash enters and exits the housing in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to and pointing toward the center of the spool.

9. A method of using a retractable projectile device in a game, the method comprising: strapping the retractable projectile device to an object; advancing a projectile; and retracting the projectile.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the step of advancing a projectile includes advancing a projectile toward an item of interest by some form of advancing means and knocking down the item of interest.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the advancing means is throwing.

12. The method of claim 10 further comprising awarding points if the item of interest is knocked down.

13. The method of claim 9 wherein the projectile further comprises retrieving means at least on a portion thereof.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the step of advancing a projectile includes advancing a projectile toward an item of interest by some form of advancing means and retrieving the projectile and the item of interest attached to said projectile.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising awarding points if the item of interest is retrieved.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein the projectile is a bean bag type material.

17. A retractable projectile device comprising: a strap; a housing adapted to said strap for retaining a retracting mechanism, wherein the retracting mechanism comprises a spool that is used to hold a leash; a spring functionally adapted to said spool such that when the leash is pulled from the spool, the spring is put under tension and when the tension in the leash is below that of the spring, the tension in the spring is released and the spool is reversed and the leash is retracted back into the housing, and wherein the leash enters and exits the housing in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to and pointing toward the center of the spool; and, a bean bag type projectile functionally tethered to said retracting mechanism by attachment to said leash.

18. The device of claim 17 wherein the projectile further comprises retrieving means at least on a portion thereof.

19. The device of claim 18 wherein in the retrieving means is selected from the group consisting of magnet, Velcro, a sticky semi-malleable material, and suction cup.

20. The device of claim 17 wherein the projectile is spider shaped.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 USC 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/891,401 filed Feb. 23, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated by this reference.

BACKGROUND

This application relates generally to a retractable projectile device. More specifically, this application relates to a retractable device that includes a tethered projectile that is advanced in some manner by the user and then the tethered projectile is drawn back to the device housing by a retracting mechanism. The device can be used in games for personal or competitive enjoyment.

SUMMARY

Retractable devices that include a spring adapted to a spool mechanism are well known in the art when used for the purpose of a dog leash. Such mechanisms are known for the way that they allow for the excess leash to be taken up by the leash housing when the tension in the leash is less than that of the spring. This application relates to a retractable device that takes the retractable leash concept and adapts it to a projectile. The tethered projectile can be advanced by the user by kicking, throwing, hitting, or any other method of advancing a projectile. When the user initially advances the projectile, for example by throwing, the momentum of the projectile overcomes the spring force and the projectile advances a certain distance relative to the force applied to it. Once the projectile' s momentum diminishes to a level below the spring force, the spring causes the spool to reverse direction and the slack is taken up and the projectile is retrieved.

This automatically retrievable projectile can be used alone or it can be used in combination with various skill challenges whereby the projectile is adapted to potentially retrieve items that it comes in contact or knock over items that it comes in contact with.

The application discloses a retractable projectile device comprising: a strap; a housing adapted to said strap for retaining a retracting mechanism; and a projectile functionally tethered to said retracting mechanism.

The application also discloses a retractable projectile device that comprises strap means; retracting means adapted to said strap means; and projectile means functionally tethered to said retracting means and whereby the projectile means includes retrieving means such that the projectile means is able to retrieve an object that the projectile means comes in contact with.

The application further discloses a method of using a retractable projectile device, the method comprising: strapping the retractable projectile device to an object; advancing a projectile; and retracting the projectile.

The application further discloses a method of using a retractable device to retrieve an item of interest, the method comprising: strapping the retractable projectile device to the user; advancing a projectile toward an item of interest by some form of advancing means; and retrieving the projectile and the item of interest.

The application further discloses a method of using a retractable projectile device in a game, the method comprising: strapping the retractable projectile device to an object; advancing a projectile; and retracting the projectile.

The application further discloses a retractable projectile device comprising: a strap; a housing adapted to said strap for retaining a retracting mechanism, wherein the retracting mechanism comprises a spool that is used to hold a leash; a spring functionally adapted to said spool such that when the leash is pulled from the spool, the spring is put under tension and when the tension in the leash is below that of the spring, the tension in the spring is released and the spool is reversed and the leash is retracted back into the housing, and wherein the leash enters and exits the housing in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to and pointing toward the center of the spool; and, a bean bag type projectile functionally tethered to said retracting mechanism by attachment to said leash.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings, when considered in connection with the following description, are presented for the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a the preferred embodiment of the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the device in FIG. 1 showing the retracting mechanism of the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 which includes subparts A-E, is a multi-figure progression showing a preferred embodiment of the retractable projectile device being used to retrieve an item of interest;

FIG. 4 is perspective view of a first embodiment of the projectile that can be used with the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure;

FIG. 5 is perspective view of a second embodiment of the projectile that can be used with the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 is perspective view of a third embodiment of the projectile that can be used with the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure;

FIG. 7 is perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the projectile that can be used with the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 8 is perspective view of a fifth embodiment of the projectile that can be used with the retractable projectile device of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, shown therein and generally designated by the reference character 10 is a preferred embodiment of the retractable projectile device constructed in accordance with the following description. The device 10 includes a strap 11, a housing 20, a leash 30, and a projectile 40.

As may be seen more clearly in FIG. 2, the housing 20 includes a generally tear shaped body 21 that includes a longitudinal bore 22 that runs though the pointed portion 23 of the housing 20 for the leash 30 to pass through. The housing 20 includes the retracting mechanism that is common in the prior art and includes a spool 24 that is used to hold the leash 30. The spool 20 is functionally adapted to a spring 25 such that when the leash 30 is pulled from the spool 24 the spring 25 is put under tension. When the tension in the leash is below that of the spring 25, the tension in the spring 25 is released and the spool 24 is reversed and the leash 30 is retracted back into the housing 20 through the bore 22. Adapted to this common retracting mechanism is a pulley 26, which partially engages the leash 30 and allows the leash 30 to enter and exit the housing 20 through the bore 22 in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to and pointing toward the center of the spool 24 rather than in a direction that is more tangential. This substantially perpendicular association allows the leash 30 to pass more freely through the bore 22. The pulley 26 is mounted to the housing by use of a pin 27, which allows the pulley 26 to freely rotate about its axis.

The strap 11 can be made of a variety of materials such as elastic, Velcro™, rubber, plastic, or any other material that allows a user to securely attach the device 10 to the user ( e.g. wrist or shin) or some other object.

The leash 30 can be made of a variety of materials such as common rope, string, chord.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the projectile 40 is fixedly attached to the leash 30 by means common in the art, such as a clip, loop, sewn or any other means whereby the projectile can be fixedly attached to the leash but also where the projectile can be switched from one form to another by the user based on the type of game to be played. In the first embodiment, as also shown in FIG. 4, the projectile is substantially ball shaped and includes a front surface 41 and rear surface 42 for attachment to the leash 30. The front surface 41 may include retrieving means such as a magnet or Velcro™ so that when the projectile comes in contact with a receptive surface on an item of interest, the item will attach to the projectile and the item 51 will be retrieved with the projectile. See FIG. 2, for an example and below for further discussion of the operation of the device 10. Preferably, the projectile is comprised of a been-bag type material so that it can partially absorb the impact when a user advances the projectile toward the item of interest 51. The partial absorption allows for the improved attachment of the projectile to the item of interest 51, and lessens the chance that the projectile merely bounces off the item 51.

Projectiles 40 of other forms are contemplated and include a projectile 40 with suction cups 43 about its front 41 and rear surface 42. See FIG. 5. The projectile 40 may also be formed in different shapes, such as the spider shown in FIG. 6. Another retrieving means is shown in FIG. 7. Here the projectile 40 is made of a sticky semi-malleable material such as TPR that is common in the art and adheres to a broad range of materials. The projectile 40 does not have to include retrieving means and an example of such a projectile is shown in FIG. 8.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a method of using the projectile in a retrieving game is shown. In this example, a board 50 is used in conjunction with the retractable projectile device 10. The board may include various items 51 that are shaped or colored in different ways. The items 51 detachably adhere to the board using various attachment means such as, magnets, Velcro™, suction cups, hooks or any other similar mechanism that allows the items 51 to be detachably attached to the board 50. A user or player would strap the device to the wrist, just above the hand, and in a way so that the body 21 would be adjacent to the under surface of the wrist (opposite the way a conventional wristwatch is worn). In this orientation the user would be able hold the projectile in the palm of the hand. The user would then select the item of interest 51 that it wished to retrieve. The user would then advance the projectile 40 preferably in an underhand motion toward the item 51. FIG. 3B. The force of the throw would overcome the spring 25 and the leash 30 would unwind from the spool 24 and exit through the bore 22. In this example, the front surface 41 of the projectile 40 would include retrieving means such as the loop portion of a Velcro™ hook and loop assembly; the item 51 would then have the hooked surface 52, or vice versa.

Once, the projectile 40 makes contact with the item 51, the front surface 41 engages the surface 52 of the item and the two surfaces detachably bind to one another. FIG. 3C. After contact with the item 51, the projectile's forward motion is stopped and the tension in the leash is now lower than the tension created in the spring 25 causing the spool 24 to reverse direction and the leash 30 is drawn back into the housing 20. FIG. 3D. As the projectile returns the user attempts to catch the projectile 40 and the attached item 51 in the palm of its hand. FIG. 3E. The item is removed and either the player goes again until he or she fails, or the other player gets a chance. If, however, the player engages the wrong item, point may be taken away. The player that successfully removes their items first is deemed the winner. It should be appreciated that the actual method of how the game is played could be varied and yet not fall outside the scope of the present disclosure. Further, the retrieving mechanism in the above-described game could be a projectile 40 with a magnetized, suction cup, sticky, or any other surface that would allow for the detachable attachment to the item of interest 51.

In a further embodiment, the projectile 40 does not have to include retrieving means and the user instead may use the projectile to knock specific targets down with retractable projectile device 10. In this embodiment, a cluster of objects are arranged and a player then picks and possibly announces the target in the cluster that he or she is electing to knock over. The cluster of objects would be so arranged so that certain targets would have a greater point value because the level of skill required to knock them down would be higher than others. If the player fails to knock down the intended target he or she would receive no points. If the player instead knocks down a different target or targets, the player would lose points.

The retractable projectile device 10 may also be used as a practice device for certain sports such as golf, tennis, baseball, or any other sport where the instant retraction of the projectile, in this case the ball associated with the given sport, would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a given practice session. For example with golf, the projectile could be an actual golf ball that is fixedly attached to the leash 30. The user would then secure the device 10 to an object such as a grounded stake by the strap 11 or other means. The user would then hit the ball with a golf club and would thereby receive feedback on the quality of the shot based on the height, distance and direction of the ball. Once the leash 30 and ball retracted back to the housing 20, the user would be ready for the next shot.

While the present disclosure has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this disclosure is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.





 
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