Title:
BEDTIME TOY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy, such as a teddy bear, that projects visual images, including moving images and that outputs an audio signal to lull a child to sleep is provided. The toy can project the images and provide the sound or can transmit data to peripheral devices for providing the visual images and the audio signal. A remote control for allowing a parent to monitor the progress of the playback is also provided.



Inventors:
Klein, Peter (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
13/454816
Publication Date:
10/24/2013
Filing Date:
04/24/2012
Assignee:
KLEIN PETER
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, DOLORES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTROLENK FABER LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toy for play and for lulling a child to sleep, the toy comprising: a toy body having a huggable and soft outer cover and configured to be held by a child while lying in bed; an audio and video playing system installed inside the toy body, and configured to enable playing audio and video content; and a control system configured to project video images of said video content unto a ceiling located above or on a wall opposed to the bed of the child when the toy is actuated to play said video content.

2. The toy of claim 1, including an orientation sensor inside the toy body, the orientation sensor being coupled to the control system and being effective to enable projection of said video images only when said toy is oriented in a lying down position.

3. The toy of claim 1, wherein the toy comprises a mouth with lips and eyes and said lips and eyes are activatable to move and blink when said video content is playing.

4. The toy of claim 1, including a built in light system, which is configured to project a faint light and serves as a night light for a child to allay a fear of darkness.

5. The toy of claim 1, including a video projector built in to said toy body.

6. The toy of claim 1, wherein the toy, in a non-lying down position, is configured to emit an audio message to the child to lie down with the toy.

7. The toy of claim 1, in combination with a video playing system mounted remotely to the toy an actuated by wireless signals from the toy to project the video content.

8. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy is battery powered by a rechargeable battery.

9. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy comprises a two-way audio communication system for a child to communicate with a parent.

10. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy comprises a USB port for loading said audio and video content.

11. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy comprises a Wi-Fi facility for enabling loading of said audio and video content.

12. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy comprises a timer for turning off the playing of said audio and video content after a preset time period.

13. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy comprises an actuating sensor which requires continuous actuation by the grasping of a body portion of said toy and wherein said control system is configured to gradually turn off playing of said video content after said activating sensor has been let go by the child.

14. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy comprises a built in alarm clock.

15. The toy of claim 7, wherein said remote video play system comprises clips by which the projector can be secured to a portion of the bed.

16. The toy of claim 1, wherein said toy is configured to communicate with the child in a language which is selectable from a plurality of languages.

17. The toy of claim 9, wherein said two-way audio communication system includes a facility which enables a parent to listen to the sounds from the room where the toy is located.

18. The toy of claim 1, wherein the toy includes a facility for coupling the toy with a vehicle's video input so that the video content can be viewed via the vehicle's video monitor.

19. The toy of claim 1, wherein the toy body has a shape of a bear.

20. The toy of claim 1, wherein the toy is provided together with a wardrobe of different clothing.

21. The toy of claim 1, wherein the toy incorporates a built in flashlight configured to enable a child to use the flashlight to guide the child to a bathroom or the like.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is in the fields of animated toys and dolls, and toys that provide audio signals and visual images, including moving images projected to a wall or screen.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bedtime stories have been used for centuries to lull children to sleep. Sometimes children are also shown movies to focus their attention to soothe or calm them and to cause them to get sleepy. For example, Spector, U.S. Pat. No. 5,393,257 discloses a stuffed toy figure which houses a portable audio tape player and includes an earphone headset that can go over the ears of a child. Koenig, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0020019 discloses furniture covers, such as blankets or comforters, that also function as sleep enhancing toys. Cooper, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0174777 is directed to an interactive lamp that includes speakers and a light source that initiates audible messages. Stone, U.S. Pat. No. 5,059,149 discloses a stuffed animal with compartments for visual or audio materials to be stored inside. Noto, U.S. Pat. No. 4,878,871 discloses a toy that has a cavity that contains a cassette player and can convey personalized messages. Rivera-Weinhold, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0066443 is directed to a shaped body pillow and pillowcase that can have the appearance of a character, such as a toy animal as decorations.

DeMars, U.S. Pat. No. 5,713,741, discloses a pillow that includes a radio transmitter activated when pressure is applied to the pillow and the radio receiver located nearby that plays back recorded sound when the radio receiver in the pillow is activated, it also discloses a book with translucent leaves that include writing coordinated with the words of the broadcast from the playback device. In addition, Koenig, U.S. Pat. No. 6,434,769 discloses a dual-purpose plush that function both as headrest pillows and as toys containing storybooks or puppets inside.

Audio sounds, text, comforters and toys can be helpful in putting children to sleep. However, a darkened room can be scary for a young child even with the presence of a stuffed animal or toy and even when a story or music is being played. In addition, it is useful to focus the eyes of a child so as to make the eyes sleepy and to lull a child's eyes to close. Also, while light can provide a sense of safety for the child, the continued presence of a bright light can detract from the effort to lull a child to sleep.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A toy that includes an audio/visual system that provides visual images, moving images, including cartoons of the like, together with an audio signal, such as music or a sound to accompany the visual image, such as a story, is provided. The visual image provided by the audio/visual system of the toy projects onto a ceiling or wall a visual image while the audio signal is provided to the child to lull the child to sleep. The audio/visual image may also be provided by peripheral devices with which the toy communicates in a wireless fashion.

In one embodiment, the invention is a toy for play and for lulling a child to sleep, the toy comprising: a toy body having a huggable and soft outer cover and configured to be held by a child while lying in bed; an audio and video playing system installed inside the toy body, and configured to enable playing audio and video content; and a control system configured to project video images of said video content unto a ceiling located above or on a wall opposed to the bed of the child when the toy is actuated to play said video content.

The toy may include an orientation sensor inside the toy body, the orientation sensor being coupled to the control system and being effective to enable projection of said video images only when the toy is oriented in a lying down position. The toy may comprise a mouth with lips and eyes and said lips and eyes are activatable to move and blink when said video content is playing.

The toy may include a built in light system, which is configured to project a faint light and serves as a night light for a child to allay a fear of darkness. It can include a video projector built into the toy body in a non-lying down position. The toy may be configured to emit an audio message to the child to lie down with the toy.

The toy may be provided in combination with a video playing system mounted remotely to the toy an actuated by wireless signals from the toy to project the video content. The toy is battery powered by a rechargeable battery. It can comprise a two-way audio communication system for a child to communicate with a parent. The toy may have a USB port for loading the audio and video content. The toy may have a Wi-Fi facility for enabling loading of the audio and video content. The toy comprises a timer for turning off the playing of the audio and video content after a preset time period. The toy comprises an actuating sensor which requires continuous actuation by the grasping of a body portion of the toy and wherein said control system is configured to gradually turn off playing of said video content after said activating sensor has been let go by the child.

In other preferred embodiments, the toy comprises a built in alarm clock and a remote video play system with clips by which the projector can be secured to a portion of the bed. Preferably, the toy is configured to communicate with the child in a language which is selectable from a plurality of languages. The two-way audio communication system includes a facility which enables a parent to listen to the sounds from the room where the toy is located.

In certain embodiments, the toy includes a facility for coupling the toy with a vehicle's video input so that the video content can be viewed via the vehicle's video monitor. The toy body has a shape of a bear.

The toy may be with a wardrobe of different clothing. Lastly, toy may incorporate a built in flashlight configured to enable a child to use the flashlight to guide the child to a bathroom or the like.

In general, the toy, which can be a bear or another animal, will have the capabilities to read stories in different languages, as well as to deliver messages, such as “it is time to get up” in the alarm clock mode. It should also be apparent that the bear can be used anytime, not only when going to sleep. It can also be taken on trips. As noted previously, the bear can download various stories and educational games in various languages including via a USB port. In accordance with a further embodiment, the invention includes a house or storage for the bear which can be named the bear cave, for storing therein the toy bear when not in use or, for example, when needed to recharge its batteries.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention, which refers to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a child holding a toy in bed, the toy producing an audio signal and a visual image show to the child.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of an audio/visual system that provides the features of the toy.

FIG. 3 illustrates a toy together with toy housing and peripheral devices.

With reference to the Drawings, the features thereof are described below.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

A child 16 lies in bed ready to go to sleep while holding a toy 10 as shown in FIG. 1, and the toy projects a visual image, such as a cartoon or a bedtime story or the like on a wall or ceiling via projector 12 and provides the audio 14 for the story via speaker 11 located in the toy's mouth, ears or in some other part of the body of toy 10.

In this way, the light of the visual image 13 can focus a child's attention and the child's eyes on the image so as to make him or her drowsy and can provide a degree of feeling of safety for the child in the darkened room. In addition, by hugging and feeling the familiar and friendly toy 10, which may in the form of a stuffed doll, including a teddy bear or other such dolls, animals, children's characters or the like, or other types of toys, enhances the feeling of security for the child in the darkened room and can tend to facilitate the child relaxing, being comforted and going to sleep.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of an audio/visual system 20 for toy 10. Display control 21 is a module that directs projector 12 to display still pictures or video images 13. Each of these modules 21-29 of audio visual system 20 may be provided as software, hardware, firmware or as a combination of the foregoing.

Projector 12 may be positioned inside the head of toy 10 or in other portions of toy 10. Alternatively, display control 21 may control a projector that is located outside of toy 10 but communicates wirelessly with remote projector 12. In a preferred embodiment, the projector is oriented to project the image at the ceiling when laid flat on its back, partially on a pillow, to induce the client to assume a similar body position.

As shown in FIG. 3 a remote projector unit 50 may be provided and may include clips 52 or other such attachment modules and may be positioned at or near the bed to project the images. Alternatively, projector 12 may be a video screen 55, such as an LED, LCD, CRT, plasma or other type of display housed outside of toy 10 that is controlled by display control 21. A headphone 58 also is shown in FIG. 3, and the headphone may provide privacy for playback of the audio signal and, when more than one child is sleeping in the same room, headphone 58 can eliminate or control interference with the sleeping of the other children. Thus, audio/visual system 20 may be positioned inside toy 10 and/or can transmit the visual and audio signals to remote devices 50, 55 and 58 illustrated in FIG. 3.

The visual and audio content may be downloaded to toy 10 via USB cable 59 from a computer terminal connected to the Internet or from an entertainment system that includes video disks or a hard drive that stores the information. USB interface 25 provided as part of the audio/visual system 20 can handle such communication and drive the communication. In the alternative, wireless interface 26, e.g. a Wi-Fi system, also provided as part of the audio/visual system 20 can receive the audio and/or visual content from such external devices. The visual image 13 may be a bedside story, including a cartoon or other type of animation, or a more traditional motion picture or may be still cartoons or photos either purchased off the shelf or provided by the user. In the latter case, the photos may be photos of the child's family, the child's toys or recent family vacation or the like.

The audio/visual system 20 also includes audio player 22 that controls speaker 11 that provides the audio that accompanies visual image 13 provided by projector 12 or that may provide a separate music track selected by user. An alarm clock 23 may also be included in audio/visual system 20 which may serve both to wake up the child at a certain time by providing an alarm, an audio signal, such as music or a story or a visual image 13, such as a photograph, or story, or a combination of visual image or audio. In addition, alarm clock 23 can also be set to sleep mode to gradually decrease volume and to decrease brightness level of visual image 13 projected by projector 12 so as to lull the child 16 to sleep after a previously set period of time. This gradual dimming of the visual image 13 and reducing a volume of audio 14 may be over a period of time set by the user or set in a default mode, such as over a 5 minute or a 2 minute interval.

In addition, grasp sensor 29 can also be provided and used to enter the mode for dimming visual image 13 and/or audio output level 14 and eventually turn off of playback based on the detection that a grasp of the child 16 has been loosened and thus determining that the child has fallen asleep. Grasp sensor 29 may detect the strength of the grip of child 16 around an arm or leg of toy 12 or around the torso of toy 10 to enter the dimming mode controlled by control module 40.

Orientation sensor 28 can also be included and may sense when an orientation of toy 10 is no longer horizontal or near horizontal and can interrupt the playing of the story by projector 12 and speaker 11 or by the peripheral devices to provide an audio signal 14 or original image 13 to child 16 such as “let's lie down” or “time to go to sleep” or the like and to continue the interrupt until the child lays down toy 10 to near horizontal position. Alternatively, orientation sensor can detect a change in orientation of toy so that when it is determined that the child is playing with toy 10 rather than playback is interrupted. For example, when a change or orientation of more than 30 degrees or the like is detected or when multiple changes of orientation within a predetermined interval, such as ten seconds or the like, are detected, then the playback can be interrupted.

The dimming mode can also be entered automatically when the end of the story is near, such as five minutes or two minutes before the end of the story, or can be entered via parent via a remote control unit 60 which can communicate with audio/visual system 20 via wireless interface 26. Thus, parents or other caretakers can monitor the child and can shut off playback directly or can cause audio/visual system 20 to enter dimming mode in which visual image 13 is gradually dimmed and the volume of speaker 11 is gradually diminished over a set period such as over a three minute or five minute or two minute period.

A flashlight 15 controlled by flashlight module 24 of the audio/visual system 20 may also be built in, such as, for example, inside the nose of the toy so that the child can turn on the light in the middle of the night if he or she needs to go to the bathroom. In alternative, the flashlight may be provided elsewhere in the body such as in one or both of its eyes and that the flashlight by manually pressing a portion of the toy's body, such as the nose. A manual user interface 27 may be provided to control the toy, such as to turn it on or off, to turn on flashlight 15, to control volume, display brightness, and other functions.

Power control 31 controls the recharging of rechargeable battery or batteries 32 when toy 10 is plugged into a wall outlet, USB port, or other type of charging station onboard a vehicle or the like.

Audio messages 14 can be selected from a range of preset messages in a variety of languages or may be recorded by the parent via USB port controlled by USB interface 25. For example, whether the alarm clock 23 plays “good morning” or “good morning it's time to get up” or a random or pseudo random combination of such sayings or, whether the toy 10 says or sings such or other greetings in other languages can be set in advance by the parents or the alarm clock 23 can be set so that preset music is played. In addition, a range of stories, music, and educational content can be uploaded to memory 41 of audio/visual system 20 via a USB port or other type of data interface, such as HDMI cable, disc, firmware or card via USB interface 25, or such content can be uploaded to toy via wireless interface 26, which may be a Bluetooth interface or may communicate with wireless router or other type of wireless device providing content.

Also, an automobile's video input can provide such content to toy 10 via USB interface 25 or via wireless interface 26. A recharging station with a themed decorative housing, such as “bear cave” 19 for when toy 10 is provided in a shape of a teddy bear. Thus, the toy may be housed in this theme-coordinated unit 19, where the toy can be recharged by setting it on an electric outlet position such that when toy 10 is seated in the housing electric outlet mates with corresponding portion of toy 10.

In addition, various clothing or apparel may also be provided for toy, so that the child can dress the toy according to the style of toy provided. For example, the toy is provided as a teddy bear, then the attire provided may vary from a country bear style clothing to a sleepy time bear costume with a tasseled sleeping cap.

Projector 50, controlled by display control 21, may be provided as projector unit that clips onto the headboard of the bed or onto another stationary object so as a stable picture viewing for visual image 13 can be provided. Thus, projector unit can be controlled by display control 21 in a wireless mode via wireless interface 26. Speaker 11 can be provided as stereo speakers and may be provided in the ears of toy 10.

Manual user interface 64 may control manual controls that are provided as a touch screen and the buttons as “soft” buttons and may be provided on various portions of the toy's anatomy such as on the toy's stomach. Touch screen may be used to select the different types of content stores on memory 41 that have been previously stored in toy 10.

Similarly, speakers 56 may also be provided outside of toy 10 and thus audio player 22 may communicate with speaker 11 via a wireless connection. In this configuration, the speakers may be the speakers of any device located in the room, such as a handheld device, tablet, telephone, computer, radio or television, that is the same device as the device providing the visual image 13 or may be a different device. In addition, the speakers may be a separately provided device sold and configured specifically for toy 10 and positioned near or in the vicinity of toy 10.

A remote control held by a parent can also be provided with a screen 61 so as to allow the parent to monitor how far along playback of the story has progressed. In the same vein, the toy may act as one half of a walkie-talkie, i.e. an audio communication system which enables the parent to hear and communicate with the child, to allay fears of being left alone.

In general, the toy, which can be a bear or another animal, will have the capabilities to read stories in different languages, as well as to deliver messages, such as “it is time to get up” in the alarm clock mode. It should also be apparent that the bear can be used anytime, not only when going to sleep. It can also be taken on trips. As noted previously, the bear can download various stories and educational games in various languages including via a USB port. In accordance with a further embodiment, the invention includes a house or storage for the bear which can be named the bear cave, for storing therein the toy bear when not in use or, for example, when needed to recharge its batteries.

Although the present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations, combinations of features and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is preferred, therefore, that the present invention be limited not by the specific disclosure herein, but only by the appended claims.