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Publication numberUS20010031602 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/836,492
Publication dateOct 18, 2001
Filing dateApr 17, 2001
Priority dateApr 17, 2000
Publication number09836492, 836492, US 2001/0031602 A1, US 2001/031602 A1, US 20010031602 A1, US 20010031602A1, US 2001031602 A1, US 2001031602A1, US-A1-20010031602, US-A1-2001031602, US2001/0031602A1, US2001/031602A1, US20010031602 A1, US20010031602A1, US2001031602 A1, US2001031602A1
InventorsAlysia Sagi-Dolev
Original AssigneeSagi-Dolev Alysia M.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interactive interface for infant activated toys
US 20010031602 A1
Abstract
An interface for an infant toy includes a processor coupled to an activity parameter sensor removably attached to a body portion of the infant as by a wrist cuff. Signals from the sensor are employed to detect an infant's arousal state and activity level. The processor registers a baseline and determines threshold values with respect to the sensed activity parameter and also establishes a threshold value for the sensed parameter with reference to stored values and patterns of the detected parameter for specific age groups. Thereafter, the sensed parameter is compared with the calculated threshold value and if the sensed parameter value exceeds the threshold value, a wireless activation signal is transmitted to actuate a toy. The interface includes both motion and audio sensors and infrared, light or RF transmitters.
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Claims(19)
Having thus described the invention there is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent:
1. An interactive interface for an infant toy, the interface comprising a processor, at least one sensor removably attached to a body portion of the infant, the sensor generating a signal representative of an infant activity parameter level, the processor receiving the signal and determining whether the sensed parameter level exceeds a threshold level associated with such parameter, the processor generating an output signal if the sensed parameter level exceeds the threshold level, the interactive interface further including at least one transmitter, the transmitter receiving the output signal and in response thereto wirelessly transmitting a corresponding signal to the toy.
2. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 1
wherein the infant activity parameter level comprises limb motion, the sensor being removably attached to a portion of the infant's limb.
3. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 2
wherein the processor and the transmitter are removably attached to a portion of the infant's limb.
4. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 3
wherein the sensor, the processor and the transmitter are carried on a band, the band being secured about a portion of the infant's limb.
5. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 1
wherein the infant activity parameter level comprises infant generated sounds, the sensor comprising a sound detector.
6. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 1
wherein the processor carries stored parameter levels categorized by infant age groupings, the processor determining the threshold level as a function of the stored parameter levels and the sensed activity parameter level.
7. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 2
further including another sensor for generating a signal representative of a different infant activity parameter level, the different infant activity parameter level comprising sounds generated by the infant, the processor determining when the sensed sound parameter level exceeds a threshold level associated with the sound parameter level and if so, generating an output signal to the transmitter, the transmitter receiving the output signal and wirelessly transmitting a corresponding signal to the toy.
8. An interactive interface for an infant toys as constructed in accordance with
claim 3
wherein the sensor, the processor and the transmitter are carried on a garment.
9. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 4
further including a plurality of transmitters carried on the band, whereby wireless transmission of the corresponding signal to the toy is assured, regardless of the position of the infant.
10. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 1
further including a toy control unit module, the module being positioned remote from the interface, the module comprising at least one receiver, a controller and at least one output device, the receiver being operatively connected to the controller and the controller being operatively connected to the output device, the receiver receiving the wirelessly transmitted signal and in response thereto generating a signal to the controller, the controller, in response to such signal, actuating the output device.
11. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 10
wherein the output device comprises an illumination device.
12. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 10
wherein the output device comprises a sound generator.
13. An interactive interface for an infant toy as constructed in accordance with
claim 10
wherein the output device comprises a motor.
14. A method of actuating an infant toy as a function of infant activity levels and arousal states, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) attaching to a body part of an infant an activity sensor which generates a signal representative of an infant activity parameter,
(b) processing an activity level parameter signal generated by the sensor to determine a baseline value,
(c) comparing the baseline value with a threshold value, and
(d) wirelessly transmitting an actuation signal to control a toy in the event the baseline value exceeds the threshold value.
15. A method of actuating an infant toy as a function of infant activity levels and arousal states in accordance with
claim 14
further including the step of storing typical infant activity parameter values for specific infant age groups and determining the threshold value as a function of the stored age group specific values and the baseline value.
16. A method of actuating an infant toy as a function of infant activity levels and arousal states in accordance with
claim 14
wherein the infant activity parameter comprises limb movement and the sensor comprises a motion detector, the step of attaching including attaching the sensor to a part of a limb.
17. A method of actuating an infant toy as a function of infant activity levels and arousal states in accordance with
claim 14
wherein the parameter comprises infant generated sounds and the sensor comprises an audio sensor.
18. A method of actuating an infant toy as a function of infant activity levels and arousal states in accordance with
claim 14
wherein the step of attaching comprises attaching the sensor to a band and placing the band around the infant body part.
19. A method of actuating an infant toy as a function of infant activity levels and arousal states in accordance with
claim 14
wherein the step of attaching includes attaching the sensor to a garment and dressing the infant in the garment.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/197,947, filed Apr. 17, 2000.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    This invention relates generally to early childhood development toys and more specifically to an activation system for actuating amusement and pedagogic toys such as mobiles, sound, light and image toys, vehicles and software based toys.
  • [0004]
    2. Antecedents of the Invention
  • [0005]
    Crib toys, such as mobiles and crib activity panel toys with lights and sounds, provided amusement and promoted mental and physical development of children. These toys were usually mounted on or above a crib or placed near an infant seat and provided a wide variety of visual and audio stimulation including music, flashing light patterns, sounds and animation. They were either mechanically or electrically driven and conventionally required someone to activate the toy.
  • [0006]
    When the infant directly activated the toy, interactive play and learning were promoted. Prior approaches in connection with infant actuation included sound, e.g. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,207,696 to Hyman et al. and 4,640,034 to Zisholtz. Using this type of interaction, the activation of the toy was not responsive directly to the activity level and arousal state of the infant, and was subject to inadvertent actuation by sounds other than those emanating from the infant.
  • [0007]
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,984,380 to Anderson disclosed a motion activated mobile based on the use of a passive infrared sensor such as that used in security systems. The sensor could not distinguish between types and degree of infant movements, however. U.S. Pat. No. 5,083,968 to Hart disclosed a motion based interactive toy that was capable of detecting and tracking a heat source such as the human body, based on passive infrared sensors.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    An interactive interface includes a processor coupled to a limb movement sensor such as an accelerometer and/or pressure sensor as well as audio sensors. The processor detects an infant's arousal state, e.g. differences in limb movement and sounds associated with various age groups. Smaller infants exhibit reflexive limb behavior and have little motor control. During the ages of 2-6 months, actions such as swiping constitute more direct movement, indicative of the will to activate and to touch.
  • [0009]
    Each of the age groups have different types of limb movements and sounds that are associated with various wants and arousal states that are detected using an interface placed in an anklet, sock or wrist cuff. An activation signal is transmitted by wireless communication through either light, RF or acoustically, to activate a toy and increase or decrease toy activity and response mode in accordance with sensed arousal level.
  • [0010]
    From the foregoing compendium, it should be appreciated that it is an aspect of the present invention to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which is not subject to the disadvantages of the antecedents of the invention aforementioned.
  • [0011]
    A feature of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which is well suited for early developmental age infants.
  • [0012]
    A consideration of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which is simple to use.
  • [0013]
    Another aspect of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which is well-suited for unsupervised child play.
  • [0014]
    A further feature of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which fosters association of infant arousal levels and auditory senses of children.
  • [0015]
    A further consideration of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which fosters association between infant arousal levels and visual perception of toy movement.
  • [0016]
    Another aspect of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which remotely activates an infant toy as a function of limb movement.
  • [0017]
    A still further feature of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which associates infant arousal levels coordinated to infant age groupings.
  • [0018]
    Yet a further consideration of the present invention is to provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which modulates toy activation in response to variations in infant arousal levels.
  • [0019]
    To provide an interactive interface for infant activated toys of the general character described which is suited for economical low cost mass production fabrication is a further aspect of the present invention.
  • [0020]
    Other aspects, features and considerations of the present invention in part will be obvious and in part will be pointed out hereinafter.
  • [0021]
    With these ends in view, the invention finds embodiment in various combinations of elements, arrangements of parts and series of steps by which the said aspects, features and considerations and certain other aspects features and consideration are attained, all with reference to the accompanying drawings and the scope of which will be more particularly pointed out and indicated in the appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0022]
    In the accompanying drawings in which are shown some of the various possible exemplary embodiments of the invention:
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 1 comprises a simplified plan view of an interactive interface constructed in accordance with and embodying the invention and illustrating the interface carried within an infant wrist cuff and also depicting, in simplified block format, the activation components of a toy whose operation is controlled by the interface,
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 2 is a rear view of the wrist cuff with an inner covering removed so as to reveal, in schematized block format, the components of the interactive interface, and
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 3 is a schematized block diagram illustrating the various illustrating the various steps undertaken by a microprocessor of the interactive interface to control a toy in response to an infant's arousal state and activity level.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0026]
    Referring now in detail to the drawings, the reference numeral 10 denotes generally an interactive interface for infant activated toys constructed in accordance with and embodying the invention. In accordance with the invention, the interface 10 senses an infant's activity level and arousal state and in response thereto, actuates a remote infant toy by controlling various modes and level states of sensory perception responses generated by the toy through sound, motion and/or light or combinations thereof.
  • [0027]
    With reference to FIG. 1, it will be noted that the interactive interface 10 may be carried within a soft, appropriately padded infant wrist cuff 12 which comprises a band fastened about the infant's wrist by a conventional fastener such as a hook and loop type fastener 14 positioned at the ends of the band. Alternately, the interactive interface may be carried in a garment sleeve, an anklet band, a pant leg or a sock or may be carried in a band or other mode affixed to a different portion of the infant's limb such as an adhesive patch, it being an objective of the interface to detect and evaluate limb motion.
  • [0028]
    With reference to FIG. 2, it should be noted that the interactive interface 10 includes a printed circuit board 16 to which is mounted a processor 18. The processor 18 receives infant activity level and arousal state signals through a plurality of sensors such as a motion sensor 20, e.g. an accelerometer, a pressure sensor 22 such as a piezo crystal, double layer conductive material, etc. and an audio sensor, such as a microphone, 24.
  • [0029]
    In accordance with the invention, the processor processes signals received from the sensors and generates an output signal for control of a remote toy. The output signal is transmitted through a plurality of output devices 26. The output devices 26 may comprise any visible or infrared light source such as a light emitting diode, or may comprise an RF transmitter. If a visible light source is utilized, scattering lenses should be employed.
  • [0030]
    In FIG. 1 there is also depicted a toy control module 28 which includes a plurality of signal receivers 30 which may comprise infrared detectors, visible light detectors, such as silicone detectors, or RF receivers. The receivers 30 are coupled to a controller 32 which, in response to the particular signals received from the interactive interface 10, will generate output signals to control output devices such as colored lights 34, a micromotor 36 and a sound generator 38, for generating voice, music, animal sounds, etc.
  • [0031]
    In FIG. 3 there is depicted a typical routine of the processor 18 for interactive control of a toy. The processor 18 enters the routine as indicated in a block 40. Upon entering the routine, the processor 18 receives input signals from the sensors 20, 22 and 24 as indicated in a block 42.
  • [0032]
    Thereafter, the processor filters and processes the received motion parameter data by motion equations to extract meaningful signals which are then processed in time and frequency domain. A baseline in connection with motion parameters such as acceleration, deceleration, pressure, etc. and low frequency changes is calculated, all as indicated in a block 44. In a further block 46, the processor determines the baseline and calculates parameters in connection with the audible parameter data.
  • [0033]
    Thereafter, the processor calculates activation and excitation thresholds with reference to stored values and patterns of the detected parameters for specific age groups as indicated in a block 48.
  • [0034]
    In calculating the motion parameters, the processor 18 renders a determination as to whether or not the detected motion constitutes a purposeful command as opposed to motion detected from limb movement of an infant without willful motor control utilizing swipe force parameters and movement frequency changes. Such determination is made when assessing and calculating activation and excitation thresholds by comparison with the stored age specific parameters. With respect to audible parameter data, crying levels are distinguished.
  • [0035]
    After the activation and excitation thresholds have been determined, the processor routine enters an inquiry block 50 wherein it is determined whether or not the sensed calculated parameters exceed the threshold values for both audible and motion parameters. If the sensed parameters do not exceed the threshold values, the routine returns to block 42 and awaits further input signals.
  • [0036]
    If the sensed and calculated motion and/or voice parameters exceed the excitation thresholds, appropriate activation output signals are generated by the processor and are fed to the output devices 26 for wireless transmission to the toy control module 28.
  • [0037]
    It should also be noted that in accordance with the invention, the output signals define specific modes, e.g. light, motion, sound, of toy operation in both function and intensity levels, for example, the output signal of the processor may be coded such that the toy generates a low volume soft lullaby sound upon sensing that the infant is about to sleep without generating light patterns or motion.
  • [0038]
    It is also significant that infant feedback in response to the toy activation mode is resampled after a specified time period as indicated in a block 54 such that a new baseline is established and a new or modified toy activation level and mode will result in the event the infant's excitation level or activity level has changed upon resampling. For example, if the infant falls asleep, on resampling, the processor may deactivate all outputs of the toy and, should the processor sense the infant crying, appropriate soothing responses will be generated by the toy. The processor 18 thus adapts toy activation level and mode in response to changes in infant activity levels.
  • [0039]
    Thus it will be seen that there is provided an interactive interface for infant activated toys which achieves the various aspects, features and considerations of the present invention and which is well-suited to meet the conditions of practical usage.
  • [0040]
    Since various possible embodiments might be made of the present invention and since various changes might be mentioned in the exemplary embodiment as shown herein without departing from the spirit of the invention, it should be understood that all matter herein described or shown in the accompanying drawings should be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7120257Sep 18, 2003Oct 10, 2006Mattel, Inc.Audible sound detection control circuits for toys and other amusement devices
US7171680Jul 24, 2003Jan 30, 2007Idesia Ltd.Method and apparatus for electro-biometric identity recognition
US7637794 *Sep 10, 2003Dec 29, 2009Mattel, Inc.Breath-sensitive toy
US7689833Nov 9, 2004Mar 30, 2010Idesia Ltd.Method and apparatus for electro-biometric identity recognition
US7762866 *Mar 12, 2008Jul 27, 2010Man Kit HuiInteractive rocking cradle and doll
US8461468Oct 28, 2010Jun 11, 2013Mattel, Inc.Multidirectional switch and toy including a multidirectional switch
US20040141620 *Sep 18, 2003Jul 22, 2004Mattel, Inc.Audible sound detection control circuits for toys and other amusement devices
US20040180603 *Sep 10, 2003Sep 16, 2004Darin BarriBreath-sensitive toy
US20050281439 *Nov 9, 2004Dec 22, 2005Lange Daniel HMethod and apparatus for electro-biometric identity recognition
US20060013445 *Jul 24, 2003Jan 19, 2006Lange Daniel HMethod and apparatus for electro-biometric identiy recognition
US20090233517 *Mar 12, 2008Sep 17, 2009Man Kit HuiInteractive Rocking Cradle and Doll
US20120314044 *Jun 12, 2012Dec 13, 2012Satoru OgawaImaging device
WO2009085836A2 *Dec 17, 2008Jul 9, 2009Think/ThingSystem and method for operating and powering an electronic device
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/227, 446/484
International ClassificationA63H3/28
Cooperative ClassificationA63H3/28, A63H2200/00
European ClassificationA63H3/28