Title:
Sound-emitting wallet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sound emitting wallet comprises a sound module installed in a wallet. The sound module comprises a switch, an activation tab attached to part of the wallet and to the switch, a sound controller, a sound emitter, a battery, and optionally a microphone. In some embodiments, sound is emitted when part of the wallet is unfolded. Sound may optionally be emitted when a pocket in the wallet is opened. Different sounds may optionally be emitted for opening and closing parts of a wallet. Sounds to be emitted may be predetermined at the time the wallet is manufactured or may be loaded into a sound module and saved in a memory device. In some embodiments, a sound module may be adapted to record sound, retain a representation of the sound in a memory device, and later emit the sound.



Inventors:
Martinez, Johnny C. (Hayward, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/215586
Publication Date:
12/31/2009
Filing Date:
06/27/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C1/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050247659Insulated bottle holderNovember, 2005Passman et al.
20080264534Cover for sports equipmentOctober, 2008Carey
20080073007Verifiable HandbagMarch, 2008Zuesi-kreuzer
20090114320PERSONAL SECURITY WALLET AND METHOD OF USE THEREOFMay, 2009Flood
20090320978Sound-emitting walletDecember, 2009Martinez
20080202960Disposable toothbrush cover and method of usingAugust, 2008Donohue
20080314483WalletDecember, 2008Armstong et al.
20090183807MORE VERSATILE FLEXIBLE COVER AND METHOD OF MANUFACTUREJuly, 2009Sadlier
20080135142MODULAR HAND BAGJune, 2008Ellis
20070158005Expandable bag cross-reference to related applicationsJuly, 2007Mangano
20080128058Safety purseJune, 2008Bodine



Primary Examiner:
LU, SHIRLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREGORY SMITH & ASSOCIATES (NEWARK, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sound emitting wallet, comprising: a wallet having a compartment, a first fold boundary, and a second fold boundary; and a first sound module installed in said compartment, said first sound module comprising: a means of activation comprising a switch, wherein said switch comprises a first state and a second state; a sound controller electrically connected to said means of activation; and a sound emitter electrically connected to said sound controller, wherein a relative motion between said first fold boundary and said second fold boundary causes said switch to change from said first state to said second state and causes said sound emitter to emit sound.

2. The sound emitting wallet of claim 1, wherein said first sound module further comprises a memory device for saving a plurality of representations of sounds to be emitted.

3. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, further comprising at least two electrical terminals electrically connected to said sound controller, wherein said sound controller is adapted to receive through said electrical terminals a representation of sound to be emitted by said first sound module.

4. The sound emitting wallet of claim 3, wherein said terminals are adapted to be compatible with an input/output interface on a personal computer.

5. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, wherein said sound controller is adapted to randomly select a representation of a sound to be emitted from among a plurality of representations of sounds saved in said memory device.

6. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, wherein said sound controller is adapted to sequentially select a representation of a sound to be emitted from a plurality of representations of sounds saved in said memory device.

7. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, further comprising: said wallet further comprising a third folding boundary and a fourth folding boundary; and a second sound module adapted to emit sound when a fold is formed between said third folding boundary and said fourth folding boundary, wherein said first sound module and said second sound module do not emit the same sound.

8. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, further comprising: a pocket having a flap for closing said pocket; and a second sound module adapted to emit sound when said pocket is opened.

9. The sound emitting wallet of claim 8, wherein said first sound module emits a sound for identifying said compartment and said second module emits a different sound for identifying said pocket.

10. The sound emitting wallet of claim 8, wherein said second module emits a sound corresponding to an amount of a transit fare.

11. The sound emitting wallet of claim 8, wherein at least one of said sound modules emits an alarm when a part of the wallet is opened.

12. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, wherein said sound module further comprises a microphone electrically connected to said sound controller, and said microphone and said sound controller cooperate to record a sound to be emitted and save the sound to be emitted in said memory.

13. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, wherein said sound module is removably attached to the wallet.

14. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, wherein said memory device is removably attached to the sound module and said memory device is adapted for connection to an input/output port on a personal computer.

15. The sound emitting wallet of claim 2, wherein the wallet has a visual appearance related to a subject, said visual theme comprising a selected size of the wallet, a selected shape of the wallet, and a selected color scheme for the wallet, and the wallet emits sound related to the same subject.

16. A sound emitting wallet, comprising: a wallet able to be folded and unfolded along a first fold and a compartment accessible by unfolding said first fold; and a first sound module adapted to emit sound when said first fold is unfolded.

17. The sound emitting wallet of claim 16, said sound module further comprising means for recording sound.

18. The sound emitting wallet of claim 16, further comprising a pocket having a flap secured with a fastener.

19. The sound emitting wallet of claim 18, further comprising a second sound module adapted to emit sound when said pocket is opened.

20. The sound emitting wallet of claim 16, further comprising: said wallet further able to be folded and unfolded along a second fold, wherein said compartment is accessible by unfolding said first fold and said second fold; and a second sound module adapted to emit sound when said second fold is unfolded.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a wallet for carrying money and more specifically to a wallet adapted to emit sound when the wallet is opened.

BACKGROUND

Wallets, pocketbooks, and billfolds, referred to herein as wallets, came into widespread use with the general acceptance of paper money. Wallets are generally made from a combination of materials such as leather, plastic, and fabric, but may also be made from composites, wood, metal, and other materials. Wallets with a single fold, also called bifolds, and wallets with two folds, also known as trifolds, are among the most common designs, but a wallet may be as simple as a flat pouch with a flap or fastener to close the pouch and secure the contents. Wallets are often made small enough to fit into a trousers or jacket pocket.

Some people select a wallet for utilitarian reasons such as size, shape, durability, security, or suitability of storage compartments for holding items such as checks, credit cards, paper money, coins, identification, membership cards, notes, and so on. Some people select a wallet according to personal preferences for style, color, materials, or brand name. Others may select a particular wallet because they find the wallet amusing or unusual, because it has value as a souvenir, or because they enjoy other people's reactions to the wallet.

Enhancements to a wallet which make it more amusing or unusual, enhance security, or help the owner differentiate one compartment from another may make a wallet more useful or more appealing. Wallets having unusual shapes, sizes, colors, or made from unusual materials are well known. It would also be interesting to make a wallet more amusing, useful, or unusual or by having it emit sound.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the invention comprise a sound emitting wallet. In some embodiments, sound is emitted when the wallet is unfolded. Optionally, a sound may be emitted when a compartment in the wallet is opened. Some embodiments are adapted to record a sound and play it back. A sound emitting wallet may optionally be adapted to emit more than one sound, emit different sounds according to which wallet compartment is opened, and emit different sounds for opening and closing. Sound emission may optionally be stopped immediately or continue for a selected amount of time after the wallet is refolded or a compartment in the wallet is closed. Emitted sounds may include, for example, music, alarms, tones, words, phrases, and sound effects having novelty or amusement value.

Some embodiments comprise a wallet having at least one compartment accessed by unfolding the wallet and secured by refolding the wallet. Some embodiments have one or more compartments accessed by opening a flap for each compartment and secured by closing the flap. Other embodiments may have both kinds of compartments. A bifold wallet, a trifold wallet, a checkbook, a combination wallet and checkbook, and a combination wallet and personal planner are well suited for use in an embodiment of a sound emitting wallet.

The sound emitting wallet includes at least one sound module that generates electrical signals representative of sound to be emitted. Some embodiments comprise a wallet and a sound module attached to the wallet. The sound module may optionally be removably attached to the wallet. Other embodiments comprise a sound module adapted for retrofitting into a wallet selected and purchased separately from the sound module. The sound module includes a sound controller, a means of activation, one or more batteries, and a sound emitter. The means of activation comprises a switch that changes state when the wallet or optionally a compartment in the wallet is unfolded or opened. Operating the means of activation correspondingly causes the sound controller to output (or alternately cease outputting, depending on the state of the switch) a signal representative of a sound to be emitted. A sound emitter, for example a speaker or a buzzer, may optionally be mounted on a circuit card assembly that includes the sound controller, or the sound emitter may be attached to the wallet separately. The sound emitter converts the sound controller output signal to an audible sound. In some embodiments, a sound module includes a microphone and a memory device for storing a signal representative of a sound to be recorded. A sound module may optionally include input terminals for connecting an external signal representative of a sound to be saved and later emitted by the sound module.

In some embodiments, a memory device is removably attached to the sound module, thereby enabling removal of the memory device. The memory device may optionally have a mechanical and electrical interface that is compatible with an input/output port on a personal computer, so that a signal representative of a preferred sound may be downloaded from the personal computer into the memory device by a user of the sound emitting wallet. In some embodiments, a memory device is supplied already containing one or more representations of sound to be emitted.

This section summarizes some features of the embodiments of the invention. These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the embodiments of the invention will become better understood with regard to the following description and upon reference to the following drawings, wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a sound emitting wallet in accord with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a simplified block diagram of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a bifold wallet adapted to emit a sound when a bill compartment is unfolded. The wallet in FIG. 3 is shown partially unfolded with the bill compartment partially opened, and further illustrates an example of a mounting location for a sound module.

FIG. 4 is sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 3. The location and viewing direction for the sectional view in FIG. 4 is shown by a line A-A in FIG. 3. FIG. 4 shows some of the features of a sound module. The sound emitter in the embodiment of FIG. 4 is mounted to the wallet separately from the sound module's circuit card assembly.

FIG. 5 is front view of a bifold wallet having a pocket with a flap and a sound module adapted to emit a sound when the flap is opened. The sound emitter in the embodiment of FIG. 5 is attached to the circuit card assembly for the sound module.

FIG. 6 is a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 5, showing the pocket flap opened and a means of activation comprising a switch having an activation tab in position to cause a sound to be emitted from the sound module.

FIG. 7 is a front view of an embodiment having more than one sound module, each sound module emitting a sound when part of the wallet is opened. Two examples of locations for sound modules are shown, including a sound module that emits sound when a pocket with a flap is opened and another sound module that emits sound when a bill compartment is opened. FIG. 7 further illustrates two optional means of activation, one comprising a switch having an activation tab and one comprising a switch having an activation lever.

FIG. 8 is a front view of an embodiment having a trifold wallet, showing a first sound module for emitting sound when part of the wallet is unfolded and an optional second sound module for emitting sound when a second part of the wallet is unfolded. FIG. 8 further illustrates two optional means of activation, one comprising a switch having an activation tab and one comprising a proximity switch and a proximity target. Alternatively, FIG. 8 illustrates two examples of a position for a single sound module in a trifold wallet.

FIG. 9 is a pictorial view of an embodiment having a visual theme addressing a subject and an emitted sound related to the same subject.

DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of a sound emitting wallet comprise a sound module attached to a wallet. The sound module is adapted to emit a sound when the wallet is unfolded. Optionally, the sound module may emit a sound when the wallet is refolded, or when a compartment in the wallet is opened or closed. Some embodiments comprise a sound module and a wallet assembled together. Other embodiments comprise a sound module adapted to be mounted in a wallet selected and purchased separately from the sound module. Sound may optionally be emitted from the wallet for a selected amount of time after the wallet is closed. Some embodiments are configured at the time of manufacture to emit a selected sound. Some embodiments are configured to accept as an input an electrical signal representative of a sound to be emitted, save the signal, and emit the corresponding sound. Some embodiments are adapted for recording sound and playing it back.

A sound emitting wallet built in accord with an embodiment of the invention may have value as a novelty item. For example, the subject matter of a visual aspect such as a shape of the wallet, a color scheme, an image on the wallet, and the subject matter of emitted sound, for example a team song, an anthem, words spoken in a famous person's voice, words comprising a popular expression or a quotation, a sound made by an object in an image on the wallet, and so on, could optionally be coordinated to commemorate a sports team, provide a souvenir of a place or event, represent an animal, car, airplane, or motorcycle, and so on. Or, a sound emitting wallet may provide amusement by emitting, for example, humorous sounds, jokes, and so on.

A sound emitting wallet may have practical value. For example, a sound emitting wallet could announce its owner's name, give an audible indication of which part of the wallet has been opened, emit inspirational or motivational messages, provide an audible reminder of a transit fare when a coin pocket is opened, give an audible caption for a photograph carried in the wallet, emit sound to help locate the wallet if the wallet has not been opened for a selected amount of time, and so on.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example embodiment of a sound emitting wallet 100. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, a sound module 300 mounted inside a wallet 200 emits a sound when the wallet 200 is unfolded. The embodiment 100 may optionally emit a sound when the wallet is refolded. The wallet 200 of FIG. 1 is a bifold wallet. Embodiments of a sound emitting wallet 100 may include, but are not limited to, a trifold wallet, a pocketbook, a billfold, a check book, a key wallet, a combination checkbook and billfold, or a billfold combined with a personal planner, any of which will be referred to herein as a wallet. One will appreciate that embodiments of the invention could optionally include almost any combination of a wallet and another reasonably flat item that a person may wish to carry in a pocket.

The sound module 300 in FIG. 1 controls sounds emitted by a sound emitting wallet 100. A block diagram of an example sound module appears in FIG. 2. A sound module 300 comprises a sound controller 312 mechanically and electrically connected to a circuit card assembly 302. Connections between the sound controller 312 and circuit card assembly 302 may be made with chip-on-board manufacturing methods or packaged integrated circuits may be used. Conductors on the circuit card assembly 302 provide electrical connections between components mounted on the circuit card assembly. A battery 304 attached to the circuit card assembly 302 provides electrical power to the sound controller 312 and other components. A sound module 300 may optionally have more than one battery 304, which may be permanently attached to the circuit card assembly 302. Alternatively, one or more batteries 304 may be removably attached to the circuit card assembly 302.

The sound controller 312 outputs an electrical signal representative of a sound to be emitted. The output of the sound controller 312 is input to a sound emitter 306A attached to the circuit card assembly 302. The sound emitter 306A may optionally be omitted from the circuit card assembly 302 and be replaced with a sound emitter 306B attached to a sound emitting wallet separately from the circuit card assembly 302. A separate sound emitter 306B is electrically connected to the circuit card assembly 302 with wires. Examples of a sound emitter (306A, 306B) include, but are not limited to, a speaker, a piezoelectric transducer, a buzzer, an electric horn, and an electromechanical vibrator.

In some embodiments, sounds emitted by a sound module 300 are selected at the time of manufacture of the circuit card assembly 302. For example, a sound controller 312 may be configured to emit a specific tone or group of tones. Or, the sound controller may include an internal memory which is programmed with signals that may be either analog or digital and that are representative of sounds to be emitted. The sound module 300 may include an optional memory device 314 for retaining signals representative of sounds to be emitted. An optional memory device 314 may operate with the sound controller 312 to expand the number or duration of sounds that can be emitted by a sound module 300. In some embodiments, the memory device 314 has an electrical and a mechanical interface compatible with memory devices intended to be attached externally to a personal computer through an input/output port on the computer.

In some embodiments, the sound module 300 emits the same sound each time the wallet is opened. Alternatively, representations of different sounds may be stored in memory. The sound controller 312 may optionally be configured to randomly select a sound to be emitted from among the sound representations in memory. The sound controller may optionally be configured to select from memory the next in a sequence of different sound representations with each subsequent opening of the wallet.

A sound controller 312 may optionally have electrical connections to one or more terminals for programming inputs 310 on the circuit card assembly 302. Signals representative of sounds to be emitted may be input to the sound controller 312 from an external signal source, for example a computer, a music playback device, or a microphone, and saved in memory within the sound controller 312 or in an optional memory device 314. In some embodiments, programming inputs 310 represent a conventional computer input/output interface, for example a serial interface. The memory device 314 may optionally be removably attached to the sound module 300 so that a person may remove the memory device and connect it to a personal computer or other source of a signal representative of a sound to be emitted and download the signal into the memory device. Such a removable memory device may optionally hold many different, separately playable sounds selectable by a person using a sound emitting wallet. A sound controller 312 may optionally be adapted to read from the memory device 314 data representative of a sound to be emitted, and the data in the memory device may optionally be in a format compatible with a data format for sound to be played on a personal computer, for example, but not limited to, an “mp3” file or a “wav” file. A memory device may optionally be provided preloaded with data representing one or more sounds to be emitted by the wallet.

Some embodiments of a sound module 300 are able to record sound. In FIG. 2, an optional microphone 308 senses sound to be recorded and converts the sound to an electrical signal which is sent to the sound controller 312. The sound controller 312 saves values related to the electrical signal from the microphone 308, either in a memory in the sound controller 312 or in an optional memory device 314. The sound controller 312 may later retrieve the values and convert them to an output signal corresponding to a sound to be emitted, the output signal then being sent to the sound emitter (306A, 306B) where it is converted into a sound to be emitted. Examples of sounds that may be recorded include, but are not limited to, voice memos, vocalizations from family, friends, or pets, sounds recorded from events or activities, music, songs, sounds considered by the owner of the wallet to be amusing, and so on.

The sound controller 312 of FIG. 2 senses the state of a means of activation comprising a switch and causes a sound to be emitted or causes the emission of a sound to cease depending on the state of the switch. A means of activation includes, but is not limited to, a switch activated by moving an activation tab slidably connected to the switch, a switch activated by moving a lever arm, a switch activated by depressing a button on the switch, or a proximity switch. Furthermore, a proximity switch may be, but is not limited to, a Hall effect switch that changes state when a metallic target is moved relative to the switch, or a reed switch that changes state when a magnet is moved relative to the switch.

In some embodiments, the switch in the means of activation is normally open and opening part of a sound emitting wallet causes the switch to close and correspondingly causes the sound controller 312 of FIG. 2 to emit sound. Closing the wallet correspondingly causes the switch to open and causes the emitted sound to cease. In an alternative embodiment, the switch is a normally closed switch and opening a part of the wallet causes the switch to open, thereby causing the sound controller 312 to emit sound. One skilled in the art of circuit design will appreciate that embodiments of a sound controller 312 may be configured to operate with one or more normally open switches, one or more normally closed switches, or a combination of normally open and normally closed switches.

FIG. 2 illustrates a means of activation comprising an activation tab 316 slidably coupled to a switch 322. The activation tab 316 converts a relative motion between two separated parts of a wallet into a motion that causes the switch 322 to change state. The activation tab 316 is made from an electrically insulating material. Opening the wallet causes the activation tab 316 to slide away from between opposing switch contacts, thereby allowing the switch 322 to close. Closing the wallet forces the activation tab 316 to slide between opposing switch contacts, forcing the contacts apart and thereby opening the switch 322.

In some embodiments, the means of activation comprises a switch activated by a lever arm. Applying a force to the lever arm causes the switch to close. Removing the force causes the switch to open. An example of means of activation comprising a switch activated by a lever arm is shown in FIG. 7. In FIG. 7, a sound module 300A includes a lever arm 338 attached at one end to a switch 336. A pocket flap 212 on a pocket 210 presses against the lever arm 338 when the pocket flap is closed, causing the switch 336 to change state. Opening the pocket flap 212 releases pressure from the lever arm 338 and causes the switch 336 to change state.

In some embodiments, the means of activation comprises a proximity switch that activates when a proximity target is sufficiently close and deactivates when the proximity target is separate from the proximity switch by a selected distance. An example of a means of activation comprising a proximity switch and a proximity target is shown in FIG. 8. In FIG. 8, a sound module 300 having a proximity switch 332 is positioned to one side of a fold in the wallet 200. The approximate edges of a fold are indicated in FIG. 8 by a first fold boundary 204 and a second fold boundary 206. A proximity target 334 is on an opposite side of the fold from the proximity switch 332. Folding the wallet 200 moves the proximity target 334 and the proximity switch 332 close enough to each other to change the state of the switch. Unfolding the wallet 200 causes a separation between the proximity target 334 and the proximity switch 332 and changes the state of the switch.

In some embodiments, the means of activation comprises a switch activated by pressing a button on the switch. The button may be pressed by, for example, a surface of the wallet coming into contact with the button when the wallet is folded. Or, the button may be pressed directly by a person to make the wallet emit sound.

A person skilled in the art will appreciate that, although each of the figures described herein shows an example of one or two different embodiments of a means of activation, any of the means of activation may be adapted to any of the embodiments of a sound module in a sound emitting wallet.

In the example embodiment of FIG. 2, the activation tab 316 has a fixed end 318 attached to a surface of the wallet and a movable end 320 slidably attached to the switch 322. The activation tab 316 is also visible in the top view of an embodiment of a sound emitting wallet in FIG. 3, a top view of a wallet 200 that is partially unfolded and has a partially opened bill compartment 202. FIG. 3 shows that the fixed end 318 of the activation tab 316 is on one side of a first fold boundary 204 and the movable end 320 of the activation tab 316 is slidably connected to a circuit card assembly 302 on the opposite side of a second fold boundary 206. Unfolding the sound emitting wallet of FIG. 3 causes the movable end 320 of the activation tab 316 to pull away from between switch contacts on the circuit assembly 320, thereby causing the switch to close and correspondingly causing a sound to be emitted. Refolding the wallet causes the sound emission to cease. The sound may optionally cease a selected amount of time after the wallet is refolded or another sound may be emitted and then cease, as previously discussed.

A sound card having a slidable activation tab is adaptable to a part of a wallet having two fold boundaries separated from each other by a distance, as suggested in FIG. 3. FIG. 4 shows another view of the embodiment of FIG. 3, illustrating an attachment area 330 where the fixed end 318 of the activation tab 316 attaches to the wallet 200 and the movable end 320 is slidably connected to the circuit card assembly 302. FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 3. The viewing direction and location for the sectional view in FIG. 4 is shown by a line marked A-A in FIG. 3. A battery 304 attached to the circuit card assembly 302 and a sound emitter 305 attached to a surface of the wallet 200 are also visible in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4.

FIG. 4 shows an example of an arrangement of the fixed end 318 of the activation tab 316, the first fold boundary 204, the second fold boundary 206, and the movable end 320 of the activation tab coupled to the circuit card assembly 302. FIG. 4 also illustrates an example of optional positions for two batteries 304, an optional microphone 308, a sound controller 312, an optional memory 314, a first switch contact 324, and a second switch contact 326. A sound emitter 306 is electrically connected to the circuit card assembly 302 by wires 328. The sound emitter 306 is illustrated in position over an optional group of holes 208 formed in a surface of the wallet 200 to aid in increasing a volume of sound emitted from the wallet. FIG. 4 also shows an example of how an aperture near the movable end 320 of the activation tab 316 allows the first switch contact 324 and the second switch contact 326 to come into contact with each other when the wallet is opened, corresponding to a closed switch state, and correspondingly causing a sound to be emitted. One skilled in the art will appreciate that there are many alternative embodiments of the sound module 300 of FIG. 4, wherein sizes, shapes, and locations for the activation tab, switch components, and other parts on the circuit card assembly are varied according to the needs of a particular wallet design.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of a sound emitting wallet having a pocket, wherein a sound is emitted when a pocket having a flap is opened. The pocket may be, for example but not limited to, a coin pocket, a key pocket, a pocket containing an accordion-fold strip for holding a plurality of credit cards or photographs, or a pocket holding a plurality of pockets for credit cards or photographs, bound together along one edge in a manner comparable to the binding of pages in a book. A common attribute among these various pockets is that a flap is unfolded to open the pocket and refolded to close the pocket.

In FIG. 5, a sound module 300 is attached to a back surface of a pocket 210 having a pocket flap 212 secured with a fastener 214. The sound module 300 of FIG. 5 has a sound emitter 306 mounted directly on the sound module. The activation tab 316 has one end coupled to the sound module 300 and another end having an attachment area 330 on the underside of the pocket flap 212. In FIG. 5, the location shown for the attachment area 330 emphasizes that the activation tab 316 is bent within the inside corner formed by the back surface of the pocket 210 and the underside of the pocket flap 212 when the pocket flap is closed. FIG. 6 shows the embodiment of FIG. 5, with the pocket flap 212 unfolded to open the pocket. Unfolding the pocket flap 212 causes a displacement of the activation tab 316 and correspondingly causes the sound emitting wallet 100 to emit a sound. The disposition of the activation tab 316 relative to a first fold boundary 204 and a second fold boundary 206 is also shown in FIG. 6.

An example of a sound emitting wallet having more than one sound module is shown in FIG. 7. The view in FIG. 7 is toward the inside of an unfolded bifold wallet. The approximate location of a fold is suggested by the positions of a first fold boundary 204 and a second fold boundary 206. A first sound module 300 has a means of activation comprising a switch with an activation tab that crosses the first and second fold boundaries, although other means of activation may also be used. A second sound module 300A is installed in a pocket and may optionally include a means of activation comprising a switch 336 activated by a lever 338, as shown in the figure, or any of the other means of activation described herein. The embodiment of FIG. 7 emits a sound when the wallet is unfolded and may optionally emit a different sound when the pocket is opened. For example, a sound emitting wallet having one or more sound modules may emit a message identifying which compartment has been opened or emit an alarm to indicate a particular compartment has been opened.

FIG. 8 illustrates a trifold wallet 200 having a first sound module 300 and a second sound module 300A. The first sound module 300 comprises a means of activation including a proximity switch and a proximity target on opposite sides of a fold marked by a first fold boundary 204 and a second fold boundary 206, although other means of activation may optionally be used in this location. The second sound module 300A has a means of activation comprising a switch with an activation tab 316 that spans a third fold boundary 204A and a fourth fold boundary 206A. Other means of activation may also be used in the second sound module 300A. The embodiment of FIG. 8 may emit a sound when the first part of the wallet 200 is unfolded and a different sound when the second part of the wallet 200 is unfolded. FIG. 8 alternatively represents two different mounting locations for one sound module.

An embodiment of a sound emitting wallet having a visual theme coordinated with an emitted sound is shown in FIG. 9. The visual theme may comprise, for example but not limited to, a size of the wallet, a shape of the wallet, a color scheme for the wallet, an image on a surface of the wallet, materials of construction, or a combination of these elements. An emitted sound may optionally be related to the visual theme, for example a sound made by an object or person in an image on the wallet or a sound made by an object suggested by a shape of the wallet. In the embodiment of FIG. 9, the wallet 200 has an image 400 on a surface of the wallet. The image may be formed by, for example, printing, cutting, embossing, laminating, inscribing, scorching, melting, embroidering, or by any other means adaptable to the material of the wallet. In the example of FIG. 9, an emitted sound related to the visual theme may comprise, for example but not limited to, the sound of an operating motorcycle engine, music related to a motorcycle, a quotation from a famous motorcycle rider, or a quotation from a book or movie about motorcycles. In other embodiments related to the embodiment of FIG. 9, the shape of the wallet may have the shape of a part of a motorcycle, for example a fuel tank, a wheel, or a manufacturer's logo.

The arrangement of a sound module having an activation tab according to an embodiment of the invention is in some ways functionally comparable to, but differs in important ways from, a sound module known from another application, a greeting card that emits a sound when opened. Folded cards that emit a sound when opened may also have an activation tab connected to a switch module. However, a card is generally intended to produce a sound upon opening only a few times before the mechanism fails or the battery is drained. Accordingly, the sound producing mechanism in such a card is built with disposable materials that are likely to withstand only a small number of operational cycles before failing.

In contrast to a limited use application such as a greeting card, a sound emitting wallet may employ materials and components intended to remain operational over a wide range of temperature, humidity, shock, vibration, and during exposure to various contaminants and abrasives. For example, a switch in a sound emitting wallet may be required to operate many thousands of times without failure. Parts which flex and move repeatedly, for example the activation tab, may be made from materials such as polycarbonate, polyimide, silicon rubber, or composite materials to resist cracking. The circuit card assembly may be coated with a passivating layer to protect it from dirt, moisture, corrosion, and abrasion. Circuit card substrate materials, composition of exposed electrical terminals, and materials for other parts of the sound module may be selected for resistance to moisture and chemicals. Furthermore, parts may be made thicker and heavier, compared to corresponding parts in a greeting card, to withstand mechanical stresses encountered in regular use.

The present disclosure is to be taken as illustrative rather than as limiting the scope, nature, or spirit of the subject matter claimed below. Numerous modifications and variations will become apparent to those skilled in the art after studying the disclosure, including use of equivalent functional and/or structural substitutes for elements described herein, use of equivalent functional couplings for couplings described herein, or use of equivalent functional steps for steps described herein. Such insubstantial variations are to be considered within the scope of what is contemplated here. Moreover, if plural examples are given for specific means, or steps, and extrapolation between or beyond such given examples is obvious in view of the present disclosure, then the disclosure is to be deemed as effectively disclosing and thus covering at least such extrapolations.

Unless expressly stated otherwise herein, ordinary terms have their corresponding ordinary meanings within the respective contexts of their presentations, and ordinary terms of art have their corresponding regular meanings.