Title:
GAME, FITNESS, STRENGTHENING AND REHABILITATION, COORDINATION IMPROVEMENT DEVICE, SHUTTLECOCK, AND CUSTOMIZABLE COLLECTIBLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a multi-use product. Products in accordance with the present invention may be used in entertainment and physical conditioning. Devices in accordance with the present invention may also be collected and traded.



Inventors:
Hart, Molson Laurent (Greenwich, CT, US)
Application Number:
13/296230
Publication Date:
05/17/2012
Filing Date:
11/14/2011
Assignee:
Hart, Molson (Greenwich, CT, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/315.1, 473/580, 473/613
International Classes:
A63B67/18; A63B43/06; A63B65/00; B65D79/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Molson Hart (Greenwich, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device comprising: a base; at least one annulus; and a means for creating drag.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the means for creating drag comprises feathers.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein the feathers have been shaped to minimize variation in their size, sealed or glued to prevent expansion in humidity, or coated to increase their coefficient of friction.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the means for creating drag comprises fins.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the transition between the top of the base bottom and the shaft is smooth and gradual to resist physical trauma.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the base includes a hollow shaft.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein the top of the shaft prevents the annuli from elevating above the top of the shaft after assembly, but does not prevent assembly.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein one annulus includes a small inner hole and prevents the other annuli from elevating above the shaft after assembly.

9. The device of claim 6 wherein the shaft further comprises a divider, creating separate receptacles for the means for creating drag.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein the receptacles created narrow near the top of the base bottom to create a snugger fit for the means of drag and strengthen the joint where the shaft meets the base by thickening the material.

11. The device of claim 9, wherein the joint where the shaft meets the base is shaped for resilience to physical trauma and easier mold removal. In some embodiments of the device, the latter entails a smooth transition between the shaft and the top of the base bottom or a widening of the shaft near the top of the base bottom.

12. The device of claim 9, wherein the interior of the receptacles are comprised of nubs, filaments, or other such textures and uneven surfaces to maximize the coefficient of friction between the means of creating drag and the receptacles, at all times or just after assembly.

13. The device of claim 1, further comprising an electronic device.

14. The device of claim 1, further comprising a means for emitting light.

15. The device of claim 13, wherein the electronic device is a counter.

16. The device of claim 1, wherein materials are selected so as to allow for compliance with the CPSIA 2008, its forefathers, descendants, and similar laws of other countries.

17. Packaging for the device in claim 1, wherein the packaging includes a high-capacity barcode and, by inverting every other package, allows for more compact packing.

18. The device of claim 1, wherein materials and components are selected to as to allow the device to function as a customizable collectible.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to devices for use in entertainment, and physical conditioning. Devices in accordance with the present invention may also be collected and traded.

Reference materials of Interest to the Reader

U.S. Pat. No. 3,834,705

U.S. Pat. No. 5,265,886

PPA No. 61456995 (Nov. 16, 2010 filing—same inventor)

Products referred to as “Jianzi” or “Da Cau”

http://www.kikbo.com, website and marketing material for one embodiment of the device described above. Owned by the inventor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Coordination, athleticism, and fitness are generally desirable. Devices which improve these traits in an individual at minimum cost, be it financial or otherwise, are therefore valuable, those which can infuse the improvement of said traits with fun, even more so.

Improving one's fitness and/or losing weight are held to be desirable but may require considerable effort, often in the form of strenuous exercise. Many people spend time strengthening, toning, and training their muscles. Devices which accomplish this task, in a way thought to be fun, making the task less onerous are valuable. For example, there is a reason why health clubs accept the cost of installing televisions on their treadmills.

People, and in particular, children enjoy trading for and collecting things of perceived value. Further, perceived scarcity, variety, and customizability of a device or set of devices tend to be positively correlated with the desire to trade for and collect said devices. A device, which not only facilitates and lessens the burden of exercise, but also is durable, portable, and customizable with tradable components, and even further is associated with activities held to be fun surely would be an interesting proposition, especially to children.

Of course, in order for a product to achieve the aforementioned goals, it must be widely available and sufficiently sellable. The distribution growth of many tradable low-cost objects of perceived value and scarcity are often powered by self-replicating purchases. The Consumer Product Safety Act of 2008 (CPSIA), its forefathers, similar laws in other countries, and perhaps their descendants limit the breadth of products available to children—the very audience to whom exercise devices and trading low-cost objects of perceived value and scarcity often appeals the most. Compliance with the aforementioned laws would therefore greatly increase the distribution of such a device.

This patent application describes a device which endeavors to address the aforementioned observations. Further, it endeavors to describe a device which addresses the, in many respects, inadequacy, with regard to the aforementioned aims, of U.S. Pat. No. 3,834,705, as well as the products known as “jianzi” or “da cau” available on today's market. It is founded on a provisional patent application No. 61/456,995, filed on Nov. 16, 2010. Many aspects of the device can be seen in Kikbo Kick Shuttlecocks™ (http://(www.kikbocom)—a product designed and manufactured by the inventor, which, at the time of writing is experience commercial success, no doubt in part owing to the increased distribution afforded by innovation implicit in the forthcoming device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Here follows, an apparatus which is a game device, sporting good, fitness device, coordination improvement device, strengthening and rehabilitation device, and customizable collectible comprising of a means for creating drag, annuli, and a base including a shaft. In one embodiment of the invention, one means for creating drag is in the form of feathers. The product is not limited to the use of natural feathers—any material, or collection of materials, synthetic or natural, which create drag and therefore slow the product during its airborne trajectory is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Further, when the author of this patent application uses the term “feather” or “feathers”, he is, where it is reasonable, referring not only to natural feathers, but the reasonable substitutes for natural feathers defined by the characteristics in the foregoing sentence. Each part may be interchanged for another like part of a different style, shape, material or color, with the purpose of creating a customizable collectible, altering the user's experience with the product in a sporting capacity, or simply replacing a broken component. The product may be hit with various parts of the body to keep it afloat. It may be used to perform tricks and other feats of skill and talent. It also may be used exclusively as a customizable collectible, or even a paper-weight or fashion accessory that expresses the interests and preferences of the user. Using the product can be a form of extremely vigorous aerobic exercise and thus a fitness tool. Further, depending on which limbs are used to make contact with the product and the product's customizable weight, it can be used to target, strengthen and rehabilitate particular muscles. Again, depending on which limbs are used to make contact with the product, it can be used to improve coordination (This use may be of extra significance to soccer players who wish to improve their juggling or general footwork and play). The product may be used as the game ball for a sport that is very similar to volleyball, perhaps with the prohibition of the use of hands. The product can be used as the focus of games like “horse” and “monkey in the middle”. Similarly, it can be used in competitions of repeated juggling or greatest height attained.

Annuli sit on the base and the base houses the feathers. The feathers create drag, slowing the product's descent, thereby allowing the user more time to intercept it and perform tricks, vs. similar devices (for example: soccer ball or footbag). The number and type of annuli can be altered to allow the user to customize the appearance of the product, its speed of descent, the noise generated by collision between annuli when the product is struck, or the strength required to keep it afloat; fewer/lighter annuli to increase ease of use, more/heavier annuli to increase speed of play and muscular resistance. Should a feather (or any other component part) break, the user may replace it with another. The product is easily assembled and disassembled (but does not fall apart during use), allowing what might otherwise be a bulky, clumsy, and fragile device to become portable and durable. The product may be manufactured so as to comply with toy regulations such as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and its future descendants with the intention of selling the product to children, to whom many of the product's characteristics appeal.

The product may be packaged with spare feathers, annuli, or even bases, all of which may come in different styles, colors, shapes, materials, weights, and adorned with various graphics and expressions. The types and quantities of each component may be concealed from the purchaser and/or inserted randomly (or with consideration) into the package to increase the entertainment derived from the pursuit of collecting or assembling one's preferred customization. Further, each type of component may occur in the package with a different frequency, suggesting different scarcities and thus perceived values.

Still further advantages will become apparent from a study of the following description and accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a manner in which the product may be used.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the product after it has been assembled by the user.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the feather.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a partial assembly of one embodiment of the product. The part of FIG. 5 that is drawn with dashed lines resides inside another element and would otherwise not be visible.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the product with the feathers all oriented in the same direction.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the feather.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a combination of the two elements which form the embodiment in FIG. 7. The part of FIG. 8 that is drawn with dashed lines resides in another element and would otherwise not be visible.

FIG. 9 is a magnified perspective view of part of two embodiments of the feather.

FIG. 10 is a magnified perspective view of part of two embodiments of the feather.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the annulus.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base with annuli from FIG. 11 resting on it.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base with annuli from FIG. 11 after being struck upward at its bottom.

FIG. 14 is a CAD drawing of two embodiments of the base.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of two embodiments of the base.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a receptacle with filaments and nubs on its interior walls. The part of FIG. 16 that is drawn with dashed lines would otherwise not be visible.

FIG. 17 is four perspective views of one embodiment of packaging for the product.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The product is a device comprised of a plurality of feathers or any other potentially interchangeable object or material which creates drag, annuli, and a base, into which the feathers or drag-creating members may be inserted and about which the annuli may be placed. The product may be struck (by any part of the body) by one player or passed between more than one player for entertainment. Further, this use of the product may improve the personal fitness of the players and may improve their coordination.

The product may be used for decorative purposes or as a collectible. Some embodiments of the product allow for interchangeable feathers (or other drag-creating members), annuli, and bases. Users of the product may collect and trade these interchangeable parts to create a product that suits them best. The interchangeable parts which comprise the product may be switched in and out should the user wish to change the characteristics of his product or should one of the parts become broken.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a manner in which the product 10 may be employed. The product 10 is being juggled (using the foot) by the person in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the product 10 in its entirety, consisting of the base 13, the annuli 12, and the feathers 11. In this embodiment of the product 10, the annuli 12 rest on the base 13 which houses the feathers 11 which create drag and slow the product's 10 trajectory. The means by which the feathers 11 remain attached to the base 13 are explained in the following figures and their corresponding descriptions.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base 13. The shaft 33 is hollow except for the divider 32 which extends from the top of the base 13 to the top of the foundation 34 of the base 13. The divider 32 quadrisects (in this embodiment, it quadrisects, but the divider could create any number of receptacles 31) the shaft 33 into four receptacles 31 of equal size (in this embodiment) into which the feathers 11 may be inserted. U.S. Pat. No. 3,834,705 does not specify a separate receptacle 31 for each feather 11. In embodiments which use elasticity and friction, providing a separate receptacle 31 for each feather 11, decreases the likelihood of feathers 11 becoming detached during use of the product 10. The inside of the shaft 33 (the receptacles 31) may be lined with separate material which increases the friction between the feathers 11 and the base 13. The bottom 35 is one place where the base 13 may be struck. The base 13 may be made of a single continuous material so as to encourage ease of production. The base 13 may come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and materials to allow for product 10 customization. It may be furnished in various ways and places with different designs, graphics, and expressions. Further, it may be fashioned out of or covered in glow-in-the-dark material. The thickness of the base bottom 35 may be increased or its material chosen so as to alter the elasticity and bounciness of the base 13 and by extension the product 10, depending on where the product 10 is struck. Both glow-in-the-dark material and increased bounciness may further contribute to the variety, customizability, and collectability of the product 10 (the same could be said for many other changes which increase the variety of any component part). So as to create the widest possible audience for the product 10, the components may be made to comply with laws regulating the breadth of products available to children (2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, its descendants, forefathers, and other such rules in other countries). Accordingly, the base 13 may be made with less than 100 ppm lead. Further, the base 13 may be made with less than 1000 ppm of the following chemicals (phthalate plasticizers): DEHP (C24H38O4), DBP (C16H22O4), BBP (C19H20O4), DINP (C26H42O4), DIDP (C28H46O4), and DnOP (C24H38O4).

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the feather 11. The rachis 21 may be angled a variety of ways. The barb 23 is the principal creator of drag. It may be furnished with a stamp 24 (the word stamp 24 is a placeholder for a distinguishing mark, be it actually stamped on, or painted, sprayed, created in any other reasonable manner) and/or be cut and colored in a variety of ways to encourage customization and collectability of the product 10. Similarly, it may be fashioned out of or covered in glow-in-the-dark material. The hollow shaft or calamus 22 is the part of the feather 11 which is inserted into the base 13.

As mentioned in the description of FIG. 3, the feather 11 may be produced in accordance with current or future regulations applying to the product 10, perhaps with the use of lead-free dye and natural bird feathers.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a partial assembly of one embodiment of the product 10. The calamus 22 of the feather 11 is drawn with dashed lines to represent that it resides inside one of the receptacles 31 of the base 13 and would otherwise not be visible. The feathers 11 may be glue-bonded or heat-sealed (or held in position using any other reasonable method) to the base 13 or they may be held in the receptacles 31 by friction and elasticity. The latter method of feather 11 retention allows for the replacement of each feather 11 should it become broken and also allows for greater customizability and collectability. Note that there is a receptacle 31 for each feather 11, so as to, in some embodiments, maximize the force, frictional and elastic, applied to the feathers 11, holding them in place. In one embodiment, the feather 11 does not leave the receptacle 31 during use of the product 10, but nonetheless can be removed manually for replacement, customization, or portability.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the product 10 with the feathers 11, after insertion, angled such that the smallest parallel-piped in which the product 10 fits is minimized. In other words, the feathers 11 may be rotated in their receptacles 31, such that each rachis 21 points in the same direction to make the product 10 easier to package and to allow the product 10 to be packed more compactly and thus numerously. In one embodiment of the invention, the calami 22 are larger than the receptacles 31. In this embodiment, the elasticity of the base 13, in conjunction with friction, hold the feathers 11 in place during play. Storing the feathers 11 in the receptacles 31 for packaging and consumption, perhaps as displayed in FIG. 6 or FIG. 2, may allow for easier assembly, as the elastic receptacles 31 will be more receptive to reversible deformation (since the calami 22, in some embodiments, are larger than the receptacles 31) than they would be had the feathers 11 not been stored in the receptacles 31.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the feather 11. In this embodiment, the calamus 22 has an opening 25 into which the calamus 26 of the smaller feather 27 can be inserted.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a combination of the two elements (feather 11 and smaller feather 27) which form the embodiment in FIG. 4. The calamus of the smaller feather 26 is drawn with dashed lines to demonstrate that it resides in the calamus 22 of the feather 11 and would otherwise not be visible. The smaller feather 27 may be fastened to the larger feather 11 by glue (or other suitable adhesive/method) or simply held in its position by the friction between the two elements. The smaller feather 27 may come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and materials and allows for further product 10 customization and collectability.

FIG. 9 is a magnified perspective view which compares the calami 22 of two embodiments of the feather 11. Despite the apparent differences in barb 23, the feathers 11 were more or less identical prior to the changes made at the crease 28 and terminus 29. In order to ensure that each feather 11 fits snugly into the base 13, the feather 11 may be cut at the terminus 29 and then shaped, in some embodiments, resulting in the crease 28.

FIG. 10 is a magnified perspective view which compares the calami 22 of two embodiments of the feather 11. The calamus 22 at right has been shaped such that it fits snugly into the base 13. The calamus 22 at left, after having been shaped, was exposed to humidity and moisture and expanded, resulting in the expanded terminus 30. In order to ensure a snug fit of the calami 22 into the receptacles 31 of the base 13, the feathers 11 may be stored in the air-tight receptacles 31, sealed with a material that forms an air-tight bond and/or come in air-tight packaging. This seal may also increase the calamus's 22 coefficient of friction. After shaping, the calamus 22 can also be glued to prevent expansion in humidity.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the annulus 12. The annulus 12 may come in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials, and colors. The annulus 12 may also be made or covered in glow-in- the-dark material. Further, the maker of the annulus 12 may furnish the top and bottom 42 with designs that are raised or of a different color or both. The same is true for the side 43. The inner radius 41 rests circumferentially about the base 13. Instead of simple annuli 12, the maker of the product 10 could fasten an electronic counter (perhaps one that functions in a manner similar to that of a pedometer) which displays the number of hits (so as to make juggling, solo or with a partner, easier to keep track of), a form of electronic incandescence or chemical luminescence, or even a device which plays music while the product 10 stays in the air. So as to create the widest possible audience for the product 10, the annuli 12 may be made to comply with current and future regulations mandated by congress (CPSIA 2008, its forefathers, descendants, and similar laws of other countries). Accordingly, the annulus 12 may be made with less than 100 ppm lead. Further, the annulus 12 may be made with less than 1000 ppm of the following chemicals (phthalate plasticizers): DEHP (C24H38O4), DBP (C16H22O4), BBP (C19H20O4), DINP (C26H42O4), DIDP (C28H46O4), and DnOP (C24H38O4).

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base 13 with annuli 12 resting on it. The weight of the product 10 moderates the drag created by the feathers 11 and thus the speed of descent. The weight of the product 10 therefore also changes the speed of play and can determine the muscular strength needed to keep the product 10 afloat. The number of annuli 12 and their weights, as determined by their material, can alter the total weight of the product 10. Making the annulus 12 in various colors, shapes, sizes, and materials grants great customizability in function and appearance. By using annuli 12 with great elasticity, the user may increase the overall elasticity of the product 10, potentially resulting in a greater bounce.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base 13 and annuli 12 shortly after being struck upward at its bottom. At the end of the product's 10 descent the annuli 12, return to their normal positions in FIG. 12 and, depending on the material used, making a clicking sound. This clicking sound is particularly pronounced if the annuli 12 are multiple and made of metal. An annulus 12 with a smaller hole 41 (relative to the other annuli 12), to ensure that the annuli 12 do not rise above the shaft 33 during play. Since the insertion of the feathers 11, in some embodiments, makes the shaft 33 expand, the aforementioned innovation does not prevent annuli 12 from being stacked about the shaft 33, but still prevents the annuli 12 from rising above the shaft 33 after the feathers 11 have been inserted.

FIG. 14 is a CAD drawing comparing two bases 13. Where the base meets the shaft 38, on the base 13 at right, the shaft 33 is thicker and the receptacles 31 are narrower, relative to the base 13 on the left. This difference expedites removal of the base 13 from, in some embodiments, compression or injection molds (of course that is not to say that the base 13 must be molded using compression or injection molding techniques). It also improves the resilience of the base 13 to damage from people stepping on it during play and other conceivable trauma. Lastly, the calami 22, in some embodiments, are narrower at the terminus 29. To maximize the force of retention created by the elasticity of the base, it may be wise to narrow the receptacles 31 where the calamus 22 is narrow.

FIG. 15 is a comparison of two bases 13. Where the base meets the shaft 38, the base 13 at right has a right angle joint, while the base 13 at left has a smoother transition between the shaft 33 and the top of the base-bottom 34. My testing has shown that the latter configuration greatly improves the resilience of the base to physical injury.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the base 13 with filaments 37 and nubs 36. In some embodiments, the feathers 11 are held into place with a combination of elasticity and friction. In FIG. 16, we see use of filaments 37 and nubs 36 to increase the coefficient of friction between the base and feathers' 11 calami 22, which, depending on the material used, may be of variable thickness. This method is not limited to the use of filaments 37 and nubs 36, and could conceivably use separate material on either the feathers' 11 or receptacles 31 to increase friction. Since some embodiments of the product require assembly, the filaments 37 or nubs 36 could conceivably be configured to readily accept the feathers 11, but nonetheless hold the feathers 11 in place during play.

FIG. 17 consists of four perspective views of one embodiment of packaging for the product 10. The embodiment pictured is a blister pack. One purpose of the packaging pictured is to allow the maker of the product 10 to pack the product 10 more numerously in boxes. The first view 91, shows the annuli 12 stacked on the base 13 with the bottom of the base 35 furnished with a logo, facing out. It also features stacked feathers 11 and a high capacity barcode 81. The high capacity barcode 81 could be linked to a video of how the product 10 can be used, which could be very useful as the product 10 is new. The second view 92 is the same packaging viewed from the side at an angle. The third view 93 and fourth view 94 are views (from the side and top, respectively) of two packages stacked on top of each other such that they take up less space. The base 13, annuli 12, and feathers 11 are drawn with dashed lines to indicate that without the dashed lines they would not be visible.

REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 Product
  • 11 Feathers
  • 12 Annuli
  • 13 Base
  • 14 System
  • 21 Rachis
  • 22 Calamus
  • 23 Barb
  • 24 Stamp
  • 25 Opening into which another feather may be inserted
  • 26 Calamus of the smaller feather
  • 27 Smaller feather
  • 28 Crease made to shape and size feather for insertion into the base
  • 29 Terminus
  • 30 Expanded terminus
  • 31 Receptacles of the base
  • 32 Divider
  • 33 Shaft
  • 34 Top of base bottom
  • 35 Base bottom
  • 36 Receptacle Nubs
  • 37 Receptacle Filaments
  • 38 Where the shaft meets the base bottom
  • 41 The inside of the annulus
  • 42 Top and bottom of the annulus
  • 43 Side of the annulus
  • 81 High Capacity Barcode
  • 91 View from the top of one package
  • 92 View from the side of one package
  • 93 View from the side of two packages stacked
  • 94 View from the top of two packages stacked, dashed lines to indicate the location of relevant components that would otherwise not be visible.

EXAMPLES

The user of the product 10 first determines his or her desired use for the product 10 and then accordingly chooses annuli 12, a base 13, and feathers 11 that suit.

For vigorous aerobic exercise, the user of the product 10 may choose medium-weighted annuli 12 that are not too numerous. By keeping the product 10 afloat without a partner, the user will burn more calories in the same amount of time.

For muscle strengthening, the user may choose heavy annuli 12 that are numerous.

To increase the ease of use (by slowing the speed of descent), the user may choose light annuli 12 that are not too numerous, as weight counteracts the drag and slowing-effect of the feathers 11.