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Publication numberUS20030069077 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/972,410
Publication dateApr 10, 2003
Filing dateOct 5, 2001
Priority dateOct 5, 2001
Publication number09972410, 972410, US 2003/0069077 A1, US 2003/069077 A1, US 20030069077 A1, US 20030069077A1, US 2003069077 A1, US 2003069077A1, US-A1-20030069077, US-A1-2003069077, US2003/0069077A1, US2003/069077A1, US20030069077 A1, US20030069077A1, US2003069077 A1, US2003069077A1
InventorsGene Korienek
Original AssigneeGene Korienek
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wave-actuated, spell-casting magic wand with sensory feedback
US 20030069077 A1
Abstract
When waved by a user, a magic wand transmits a binary spell code having a value referencing an object behavior to a receiver included within another object. The receiver decodes the code to produce control signals as inputs to components within the object controlling its behavior so that the object exhibits the behavior referenced by the transmitted code value. The wand also produces a sensory feedback pattern including light, sound and/or vibration) to the user to indicate that the code has been transmitted. The sensory feedback pattern is a function of the value of the transmitted code.
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Claims(39)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for transmitting a code via a signal when a user waves the apparatus, the apparatus comprising:
a chassis;
a transmitter mounted on the chassis for receiving the code as input data, and for then transmitting the code via the signal;
a first sensor mounted on the chassis for generating an indicating signal when the user waves the chassis; and
control means for providing the code as input data to the transmitter in response to the indicating signal.
2. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first sensor comprises an acceleration switch that generates the indicating signal when accelerated.
3. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 further comprising:
input means operable by the user for providing data as input to the control means, wherein the data indicates the code the control means is to provide as input data to the transmitter in response to the indicating signal.
4. The apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein the input means comprises a plurality of user-operable switches connected to the control means.
5. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the control means comprises a programmable controller.
6. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the signal is a radio-frequency signal.
7. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the signal is an infra-red signal.
8. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the signal is a magnetic signal.
9. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the signal is an electromagnetic signal.
10. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the control means operates on electrical power and wherein the apparatus further comprises
a power supply mounted on the chassis, and
sensor means mounted on the chassis for sensing when the user is holding the chassis and for linking the power supply to the control means so that the power supply supplies electrical power to the control means when the user is holding the chassis.
11. The apparatus in accordance with claim 10 wherein the sensor means comprises a proximity switch.
12. The apparatus in accordance with claim 10 further comprising:
sensory output means mounted on the chassis for providing sensory input to the user in response to a control signal, wherein the control means transmits the control signal to the sensory output means when the control means provides the code as input data to the transmitter in response to the indicating signal.
13. The apparatus in accordance with claim 12 wherein the sensory output means comprises means for generating a sound in response to the control signal.
14. The apparatus in accordance with claim 12 wherein the sensory output means comprises means for vibrating the chassis in response to the control signal.
15. The apparatus in accordance with claim 12 wherein the sensory output means comprises means for generating light in response to the control signal.
16. The apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the code references an action to be carried out and references an object to carry out the action.
17. The apparatus in accordance with claim 3 wherein the code references an action to be carried out and references an object to carry out the action.
18. An apparatus for enabling a user to remotely control an object, the apparatus comprising:
a wand for transmitting a code conveyed by a signal when the user waves the wand, wherein the code references an action the object is to carry out; and
a controller for receiving the signal and for causing the object to carry out the action referenced by the code conveyed via the signal.
19. The apparatus in accordance with claim 18 wherein the wand comprises:
a chassis;
a transmitter mounted on the chassis for receiving the code as input data, and for then transmitting the code via the signal;
a sensor mounted on the chassis for generating an indicating signal when the user waves the wand; and
control means for providing the code as input data to the transmitter in response to the indicating signal.
20. The apparatus in accordance with claim 19 wherein the sensor comprises an acceleration switch that generates the indicating signal when accelerated.
21. The apparatus in accordance with claim 19 wherein the wand further comprises:
a plurality of switches operated by the user for providing data as input to the control means, wherein the data references the code the control means is to provide as input data to the transmitter in response to the indicating signal.
22. The apparatus in accordance with claim 18 wherein the wand further comprises means mounted on the chassis for generating at least one of the following outputs when the wand transmits the code via the signal: sound, light, and vibration.
23. The apparatus in accordance with claim 18 wherein the wand comprises means mounted on the chassis for generating all of the following outputs when the wand transmits the code via the signal: sound, light, and vibration.
24. The apparatus in accordance with claim 23
wherein the code includes an object address, and
wherein the control means causes the object to carry out the action referenced by the code only when the object address references the object the control means controls.
25. An apparatus for enabling a user to control behavior of a plurality of objects remote from the user, the apparatus comprising:
a plurality of object controllers, each for controlling behavior of a corresponding one of the objects, each controller being identified by a unique address, each controller responding to a first signal conveying spell data referencing an object behavior by causing the controller's corresponding object to exhibit the object behavior referenced by the spell data when the first signal also conveys that controller's identifying address; and
a wand for receiving user input selecting one of the objects and a behavior that object is to exhibit, and for thereafter responding to being waved by the user by transmitting the first signal to the objects, wherein the first signal conveys spell data referencing the behavior selected by the user input and conveys the address of the object controller controlling the behavior of the object selected by the user input.
26. The apparatus in accordance with claim 25 wherein the first signal is any one of the following: an electromagnetic signal, a radio-frequency signal, a light signal, an infra-red signal, and a magnetic flux signal.
27. The apparatus in accordance with claim 25 wherein the wand supplies sensory input to the user to indicate when it transmits the first signal, the sensory input including at least one of the following: sound, light, and vibration.
28. The apparatus in accordance with claim 25 wherein a nature of the sensory input the wand supplies to the user is a function of a value of the spell data conveyed by the first signal.
29. The apparatus in accordance with claim 28 wherein the wand supplies all of the following sensory inputs to the user when it transmits the first signal: sound, light, and vibration.
30. The apparatus in accordance with claim 25
wherein when the spell data conveyed by the first signal is of a particular value, each object controller that receives the first signal transmits a data stream via a second signal, and
wherein the wand includes receiving means for reading the data stream conveyed by the second signal.
31. The apparatus in accordance with claim 30 wherein the data stream conveyed by the second signal transmitted by each object controller includes the address of the object controller that transmitted the second signal.
32. The apparatus in accordance with claim 25 wherein the wand comprises:
a chassis;
a transmitter mounted on the chassis for receiving as input the spell data and address to be conveyed by the first signal, and for then transmitting the first signal conveying the spell data and the address;
a sensor mounted on the chassis for generating an indicating signal when the user waves the chassis; and
control means for providing the spell data and address as input to the transmitter in response to the indicating signal.
33. The apparatus in accordance with claim 32 wherein the sensor comprises an acceleration switch that generates the indicating signal when accelerated.
34. The apparatus in accordance with claim 33 wherein the wand further comprises:
user input means mounted on the chassis and operated by the user for the supplying user input to the control means selecting said one of the objects and selecting the behavior said one of the objects is to exhibit.
35. The apparatus in accordance with claim 34
wherein when the spell data conveyed by the first signal is of a particular value, each object controller that receives the first signal transmits a data stream to the wand via a second signal, wherein the data stream includes the address of the object controller's corresponding object,
wherein the wand includes a receiver for receiving the second signal, for reading the address included in the data steam conveyed by the second signal, and for providing the address to the wand controller, and
wherein the wand controller stores each address provided by the receiver and provides one of its stored addresses as the address input to the transmitter in response to the object selection data provided by the user input means.
36. The apparatus in accordance with claim 35 wherein the first and second signals are any of the following types of signals: electro-magnetic signals, radio signals, light signals, infra-red signals, and magnetic flux signals.
37. In a wand including a sensor for generating an indicating signal when a user waves the wand, user input means for generating an object selection code and a spell selection code, a transmitter for transmitting a signal conveying an object address and spell data, sensory output means for generating signals that can be sensed by the user, and control means for receiving the indicating signal, the object selection code and the spell selection code and for controlling the transmitter and sensory output means, a method of operation for the control means comprising the steps of:
a. selecting the object address to be conveyed by the signal in response to the object selection code generated by the user input means;
b. selecting the spell data to be conveyed by the signal in response to the spell selection code generated by the user input means;
c. responding to the indicating signal produced by the sensor when the user waves the wand by supplying the object address selected at step a and the spell data selected at step b to the transmitter and then causing the transmitter to transmit the signal conveying the object address and spell data.
38. The method in accordance with claim 37 further comprising the step of:
d. causing the sensory output means to provide sensory input to the user upon carrying out step c.
39. The method in accordance with claim 38 wherein a nature of the sensory input provided to the user at step d is a function of the spell data conveyed by the signal.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates in general to magic wands and in particular to a wand which apparently casts a spell on a remote object when waved and which provides sensory feedback to a user upon casting the spell.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Magic relates to the use of supernatural forces to affect the behavior of objects of the natural world, and the magic wand has long been an important and highly regarded tool for those skilled in the art of magic. Legions of wand-wielding fairies, witches, sorcerers, sorcerer's apprentices, and other types of magicians have appeared (and disappeared) in both contemporary and ancient mythology. Magicians frequently utter incantations invoking spells intended to compel people, animals or other objects to behave in various ways. However an incantation often merely selects a spell to be cast; it neither casts (activates) the spell nor selects the object to be bound by the spell. To cast some spells, the magician must wave a magic wand, preferably in the direction of the object that is to be spell-bound. Normally it is not sufficient for the magician to merely touch, hold or point the wand; he or she must wave the wand in the proper direction and with the proper flourish.

[0005] When a wand casts a spell, the power invested in the spell often noticeably affects the behavior of wand itself. For example the tips of some wands glow eerily when casting spells. Other wands may shake or emit strange sounds. Often wand behavior will vary with the nature or power of spell being cast. For example, stronger spells may cause a wand's tip to glow more brightly or cause the wand to shake more violently. The magician may find such “wandish” behavior helpful as a verification that the desired spell has been successfully cast with the proper intensity.

[0006] While magic wands frequently appear in fictional worlds, attempts to introduce magic wands into the real world have met with only limited success. U.S. Pat. No. 5,356,343 issued Oct. 18, 1994, to Christopher J. Lovetere, describes a wand having a strobe lamp built into its tip. In one version of the wand, the strobe lamp flashes when the magician presses a push- button switch mounted on the body of the wand; the switch connects the strobe lamp to a flash circuit hidden inside the wand. In another version of the wand, a mercury switch within the wand connects the strobe lamp to the flash circuit when the magician tips or waves the wand. While Lovetere's wands look like magic wands and provide a type of sensory input to the magician, in neither wand does the flashing of the strobe lamp indicate the type of spell that has been cast, or even that a spell of any sort has been successfully cast. Since neither version of the wand provides any mechanism for casting magic spells, or for transmitting anything that might appear to have the effect of a magic spell, the flashing of the strobe lamp signifies nothing more than the fact that the magician has successfully pressed a push-button or activated a mercury switch.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,533,921 issued Jul. 9, 1996 to William T. Wilkinson describes a hand-held device that apparently casts spells on a ball, causing the ball to move in various directions. The device includes a transmitter which “casts spells” in the form of electromagnetic signals conveying codes to a receiver mounted within the ball. The receiver decodes each transmission to supply control signals to motors within the ball which can cause the ball to move in various directions. While the device uses natural forces rather than supernatural forces to cast spells on the ball, the device does provide a reasonably convincing approximation of the spell-casting capability of a magic wand insofar as it causes a ball to appear to move as if by magic. However, rather than waving the transmitter like a wand to initiate code transmissions, the operator manipulates a large joy-stick forming a prominent part of the transmitting device. The joy-stick tends to detract somewhat from any illusion one might have that the device might be a magic wand one waves to cast spells. Also the device does not provide the operator with the kind of “wandish”, spell-verifying sensory feedback one might expect from a proper magic wand.

[0008] Hand-held transmitters have been used to remotely control objects such as televisions and garage door openers, however they do so only because an operator presses a push-button on the transmitter unit and not because the operator waives the transmitter unit at the garage door or television being controlled. A remote control unit may include a light-emitting diode that flashes whenever the operator presses a button, thereby providing some sensory feedback that a code was sent. However the diode flashes in the same way regardless of the nature of the code being sent and therefore provides no feedback as to the nature of the code being sent.

[0009] What is needed is hand-held wand that looks like a magic wand and which apparently casts a spell on an object, thereby affecting the object's behavior, as if by magic. The wand should enable the user to select the particular object to receive a spell, to select the spell to be cast on that object, and to indicate when the spell is to be cast by waving the wand. And the wand should provide wandish sensory feedback to the magician when casting a spell, the nature of which varies with the nature of the spell being cast.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] A wand in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention includes an elongate chassis containing a transmitter for sending a code to remote objects conveyed by a signal not apparent to a human. The code includes an “object address” field addressing one or more of the objects and a “spell data” field indicating an action that object is to carry out. The signal conveying the code may, for example, be an infrared signal, a radio frequency signal, an ultrasonic signal, or any other type of magnetic or electromagnetic field. When an object receives the code it determines whether it is being addressed by the object address field and if so, the object carries out the action indicated by the spell data field.

[0011] The wand also includes a set of user-operable push-buttons or other input devices mounted on the chassis enabling a user to send input signals to a microcontroller mounted within the chassis.

[0012] A proximity switch mounted within the wand chassis connects a power supply to the microcontroller when a magician picks up the wand. The magician may thereafter press the push-buttons in a pattern that selects the object address and spell data fields of the code to be sent to the remote objects.

[0013] An acceleration sensor mounted within the chassis sends a signal to the microcontroller whenever the user waves the wand with a sufficiently vigorous flourish, and the microcontroller responds to that signal by sending the most recently selected code to the transmitter. The transmitter then forwards the code to the objects.

[0014] The wand also includes one or more sensory feedback devices mounted within the chassis and controlled by the microcontroller for generating sound, light and/or vibration signals that can be sensed by the magician. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the devices include several light-emitting diodes, a speaker and a vibrator. When the microcontroller sends a code to the transmitter in response to a wave of the wand, it activates one or more of the sensory feedback devices, thereby causing the wand to exhibit a combination of flashing, vibrating and/or sound-making to indicate that a code has been sent. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the microcontroller causes the sensory feedback devices to produce a pattern of user-detectable signals that is a function of the code being sent.

[0015] Thus the wand resembles a magic wand in both appearance and behavior, apparently casting spells on selected remote objects when waved, and exhibiting various “wandish” behaviors such as flashing, vibrating and making noises, depending on the nature of the spells being cast,

[0016] The claims appended to this specification particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter of the invention. However those skilled in the art will best understand both the organization and method of operation of what the applicant(s) consider to be the best mode(s) of practicing the invention, together with further advantages and objects of the invention, by reading the remaining portions of the specification in view of the accompanying drawing(s) wherein like reference characters refer to like elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

[0017]FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a magic wand in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention for casting magic spells on receptive objects,

[0018]FIG. 2 is a rear elevation view of the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0019]FIG. 3 is a left side elevation view of the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0020]FIG. 4 is a right side elevation view of the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0021]FIG. 5 illustrates a manner in which a magician holds and waves the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0022]FIG. 6 illustrates in flow chart form logic carried out by the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0023]FIG. 7 is a sectional elevation view of the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0024]FIG. 8 is a sectional elevation view of the acceleration sensor switch of FIG. 7,

[0025]FIG. 9 illustrates in block diagram form a circuit included within the magic wand of FIG. 1,

[0026]FIG. 10 illustrates a signal receiving and processing system suitable for use in an object controlled by spells cast by the magic wand circuit of FIG. 10,

[0027]FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating a main program executed by the programmable interrupt controller of FIG. 10.

[0028]FIG. 12 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a circuit included within the magic wand of FIG. 1, and

[0029]FIG. 13 illustrates an embodiment of a signal transmitting, receiving and processing system suitable for use in an object controlled by spells cast by the magic wand circuit of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0030] The present invention is directed to a wave-actuated magic wand, and this specification describes one or more exemplary embodiments and/or applications of the invention considered by the applicant(s) to be the best modes of practicing the invention. Various terms used in this specification are defined as follows:

[0031] A “spell” is an instruction which, when received by a receptive object, irresistibly compels the object to engage in the behavior referenced by the instruction.

[0032] An object is deemed “spell-bound” while engaging in behavior compelled by a spell.

[0033] A spell is “cast” when it is transmitted to a receptive object.

[0034] A “magic spell” is any spell cast in a form that cannot be directly sensed by a human.

[0035] A “magician” is a being that initiates the casting of magic spells to receptive objects.

[0036] Wand Appearance and Behavior

[0037] FIGS. 1-4 are front, rear, left side, and right side, elevation views, respectively, of a wand 13 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention for casting magic spells on receptive objects. Wand 13 includes an elongate chassis 1 having a proximal end 2 in the shape of an owl's head 3 having a left eye 4 and a right eye 5. The wand's distal end 6 is in the shape of a translucent orb 7 grasped by a set of three talons 8. A set of four push-buttons 9-12 reside on the front side of wand 13 near proximal end 2.

[0038] As illustrated in FIG. 5 a magician wields wand 13 by holding it near its proximal end 2 with each of four fingers 15 contacting a separate one of push-buttons 9-12. Wand 13 automatically energizes when the magician holds it, and the wand verifies that it is energized by causing owl's eyes 4 and 5 to glow. A magician wielding wand 13 may select an object to be spell-bound by pressing one or more of push-buttons 9-12 in a pattern associated with that particular object. Wand 13 verifies that the magician has successfully selected an object to be spell-bound by causing owl's eyes 4 and 5 to alternately flash. While chanting a suitable incantation, the magician identifies a spell to be cast by again pressing one or more of push-buttons 9-12 in a pattern the wand associates with that particular spell. Wand 13 then confirms that the magician has successfully selected a spell by causing orb 7 to begin flashing.

[0039] At this point, with owl eyes 4 and 5 and orb 7 flashing ominously, wand 13 signifies that it is “armed” and ready to cast a spell. The magician may then signal wand 13 to cast the spell upon the selected object by simply waving wand 13 with a vigorous flourish causing orb 7 to travel in a sweeping arc about owl's head 3. Wand 13 responds to being waved by casting the spell.

[0040] When it casts the spell, wand 13 provides sensory feedback to the magician verifying that the spell was cast. Depending on the nature of the spell being cast, the wand may vibrate, emit various sounds and/or may flash or vary the glow intensity of owl's eyes 4 and 5 or orb 7 to verify that it has cast the spell.

[0041] After casting the spell, wand 13 returns to its armed state, with owl's glowing eyes 5 and 6 and orb 7 flashing to signify that the wand is ready to again cast the same spell to the same object should the magician choose to again wave the wand. The magician is therefore able to repeatedly cast the same spell to the same object simply by waving wand 13 several times in succession. To select a next spell to be cast to the same object, the magician presses push-buttons 9-12 in a pattern associated with the next spell. Wand 13 briefly stops and then resumes flashing orb 7 to verify that the magician has successfully selected a new spell. The magician may then signal wand 13 to cast the new spell by again waving the wand.

[0042] When the magician wishes to cast a spell on another object, the magician first presses all of push-buttons 9-12 at the same time to tell wand 13 that the magician no longer wants to cast spells on the last-selected object. Wand 13 responds by causing owl's eyes 4 and 5 and orb 7 to stop flashing and to glow steadily to indicate that the object and spell are no longer selected. The magician may then again concurrently press one or more of push-buttons 9-12 once to select the next object to be spell-bound and once more to select the spell to be cast to that object. Wand 13 resumes flashing owls eyes 4 and 5 and orb 7 to indicate that it is once again armed and ready to cast a spell. The magician may thereafter wave wand 13 to cast the newly- selected spell on the newly-selected object. When the magician tires of casting spells and puts wand 13 away, wand 13 automatically de-energizes itself and signifies that it no longer energized by stopping owls eyes 4 and 5 and orb 7 from glowing or flashing.

[0043] Wand Logic

[0044]FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating the wand's decision process after the magician has initially energized the wand 13 by grasping it. At step 20, wand 13 first “turns on” owl's eyes 4 and 5 and orb 7 (i.e. makes them glow) and then waits (step 22) for the magician to press one or more of push-buttons 9-12, thereby selecting an object to be spell-bound. When the magician selects the object, wand 13 remembers the object selected (step 24) and then begins flashing owl's eyes 4 and 5 (step 26). The wand then waits (steps 28 and 29) for the magician to again press one or more of push-buttons 9-12, thereby to either select a spell to be cast (step 28) or to de-select the currently selected object (step 29).

[0045] The four push-buttons 9-12 each provide a separate bit of a four bit code as input to wand 13. The code has value 0000 when the magician does not press any push-button 9-12. The magician selects one of 14 spells as step 28 by concurrently pressing any combination of one to three of push-buttons 9-12 so that the push-buttons produce a code having a value from 0001 through 1110. The magician may de-select the last-selected object at step 29 by concurrently pressing all four buttons 9-12 so that they supply a code of value 1111.

[0046] When the magician de-selects the object at step 29, wand 13 returns to step 20, where it causes eyes 4 and 5 and orb 7 to glow steadily and then moves again to step 22 to wait for the magician to select another object. When the magician selects a spell at step 28, wand 13 remembers the spell that was selected (step 32) and causes orb 7 to begin flashing (step 34). Wand 13 then waits until the magician waves the wand (step 36), presses any of push-buttons 9-12 to select another spell (step 37), or to de-select the currently selected object (step 38).

[0047] When the magician de-selects the object at step 38, wand 13 returns to step 20. When the magician selects a new spell at step 37, wand 13 briefly turns off orb 7 (i.e. makes it stop flashing or glowing) at step 40, remembers the newly selected spell (step 32), causes orb 7 to begin flashing again (step 34), and then returns to the wait loop of steps 36-38.

[0048] When wand 13 detects at step 36 that it is being waved, it casts the spell (step 41), exhibits verifying behavior (e.g. produces a pattern of light, vibration and/or sound) that is a function of the spell being cast (step 42), and then returns to the wait loop of steps 36-38. As may be seen from FIG. 6, having selected an object and a spell, the magician may repeatedly cast the spell to that object simply by repeatedly waving the wand. This causes wand 13 to repeatedly loop through steps 36, 41 and 42.

[0049] Wand Components

[0050]FIG. 7 is a sectional elevation view of wand 13 of FIG. 1 depicting wand components mounted within its molded hollow chassis 1 including a printed circuit board (PCB 49). A set of momentary switches 50-53 operated by push-buttons 9-12 of FIG. 1, a proximity switch 54, and a power switch 55 are mounted on PCB 49. PCB 49 also holds a pair of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) 56 and 58 within chassis 1 adjacent to owl's eyes 4 and 5 of FIG. 1. Owl's eyes 4 and 5 are formed from translucent plastic lenses set in apertures in chassis 1 so that light from LEDs 56 and 58 may shine through the owl's eyes. A pair of LEDs 62, mounted on an end of PCB 49 within the translucent plastic orb 7, cause the orb to glow or flash when continuously or periodically energized. PCB 49 also holds a speaker 64 for producing sounds, a vibrator motor 66 for shaking wand 13, an acceleration switch 68 for sensing when the wand 13 is being waved, an infra-red transmitter 70 for transmitting infrared signals to remote objects through orb 62, an oscillator 71 for generating a clock signal, a programmable interrupt controller (PIC) 72 for controlling wand behavior, and a battery 74 for supplying power. Battery 74 is accessible through a battery hatch 75 on the rear of chassis 1 (FIG. 2). Though not shown in FIG. 7, PCB 49 also holds some resistors and a capacitor and provides microstrip traces forming signal paths between the various components mounted thereon.

[0051]FIG. 8 is a sectional elevation view of acceleration switch 68 of FIG. 7. Switch 68 includes a cylindrical conductive weight 76 slideably fitting within a conductive cylindrical housing 78, a conductive contact 80 mounted on an insulator 82 within chassis 78. A wire lead 84 linked to contact 80 and passing through an aperture in cylinder 78 is soldered to a trace on PCB 49 (FIG. 7) leading to an input terminal of PIC 72. Housing 78 is tied to a ground plane of PCB 49. A spring 86 normally holds weight 76 away from contact 80, but when the magician waves wand 13 by moving distal end 6 in an arc about proximal end 2, the centripetal force applied by spring 86 on weight 76 is insufficient to prevent weight 76 from moving into contact with contact 80. Weight 76 thus completes a conductive path between chassis 78 and lead 84. When the magician stop waving the wand, spring 86 again pulls weight 76 away from contact 80. Switch 68 is suitably mounted on PCB 49 as near as possible to the distal end 6 of wand 13 (FIG. 1) to maximize the angular momentum of weight 76 when the magician waves wand 13 as illustrated in FIG. 5.

[0052]FIG. 9 is a block diagram depicting the circuit formed by the various devices mounted on PCB 49 of FIG. 7. PIC 72 includes a set of input/output ports P1-P14 through which it communicates with various devices mounted on PCB 49. An oscillator 71 connected to a pair of clock input terminals of PIC 72 provides a clock signal input to PIC 72 that the PIC uses as a timing reference.

[0053] Power switch 55 and a pair of resistors R1 and R2 link battery 74 to a power supply input terminal of PIC 72. A capacitor C1 connected between resistors R1 and R2 regulates the power supply voltage. A proximity switch 54 on chassis 1 transmits a CLOSE signal pulse to power switch 55 whenever it detects wand 13 is moving to tell switch 55 to connect battery 74 to resistor R1, thereby supplying power to PIC 72. Proximity switch 54 will assert the CLOSE signal as long as the magician holds wand 13. PIC 72 monitors the CLOSE signal and when at any time it fails to detect that the CLOSE signal is asserted during any 30 second interval, PIC 72 transmits an OPEN signal to power switch 55 telling it to disconnect battery 74 from resistor R1, thereby turning off the PIC's power supply.

[0054] Push-button switches 50-53 respectively link ports P3-P6 to ground. Lead 84 of acceleration switch 68 (FIG. 8) is connected to port P7 while its chassis 78 is grounded. PIC 72 detects when any of switches 50-53 or 68 is closed by detecting when the corresponding port P3-P7 is grounded. Port P8 drives vibrator motor 66. A set of resistors R3-R5 link LEDs 56, 56, and 63 to ports P9, P10 and P12, respectively, and a resistor R6 links speaker 64 to port P12. Port P13 monitors the CLOSE signal and port P4 generates the OPEN signal.

[0055] PIC 72 is suitably programmed to implement the wand logic illustrated in FIG. 6 when it receives power after switch 55 is closed. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 9, PIC 72 may make owl's eyes 4 and 5 glow by turning on LEDs 56 and 58 continuously and may make them flash by turning them on and off repeatedly. When the magician presses one or more of push-buttons 9-12, one or more of switches 50-53 close to produce a four-bit binary code at ports P4-P6. The appearance of a code other than value “0000” (indicating no switches are closed) at ports 34-P6 tells PIC 72 that the magician is selecting or de-selecting an object or selecting a spell at one of steps 22, 28, 29, 37 or 38. PIC 72 carries out step 24 by storing the 4-bit object selection code currently appearing at ports P3-P6 as an “object address” in an internal register. PIC 72 carries out step 32 by storing the 4-bit spell selection code currently appearing at ports P3-P6 as “spell data” in another internal register. A “1111” code at ports P3-P6 at step 29 tells PIC 72 that the user is de-selecting the currently selected object.

[0056] PIC 72 determines when the magician is waving wand 13 at step 36 by detecting whether acceleration switch 68 is currently grounding port P7. Wand 13 employs transmitter 70 mounted on PCB 49 and connected to ports P1 and P2, to cast a spell at step 41 by encoding an 8-bit code into a infrared signal sent out to a remote object to be spell-bound. The infrared signal passes through translucent orb 7. When transmitter 70 is to cast a spell, PIC 72 supplies power to transmitter 70 via port P1 and supplies the 8-bit code to be transmitted as binary data in serial form as input to transmitter 70 via port P2. The 8-bit code includes the currently stored 4-bit object address and spell data as separate 4-bit fields.

[0057] PIC 72 includes an internal memory for storing program instructions including a set of fourteen “behavior” subroutines, one for each of the 14 possible 4-bit spell data values other than 0000 and 1111. The subroutine for each spell data values defines a sequence of substeps PIC 72 is to carry out at step 42 to verify that a spell was cast at step 40. For example PIC 72 may pulse-width modulate a signal at port P12 to cause speaker 64 to emit sounds such as musical tones or speech, may pulse-width modulate any of ports P10-P12 to cause any of LEDs 56, 58 or 62 to flash or vary their emitted light intensity, and/or may pulse width modulate port P8 to cause vibrator 66 to vibrate with a desired frequency. Since PIC 72 executes a different subroutine for each spell data value, the wands behavior can vary with the spell being cast.

[0058] In an alternative embodiment of the invention, where PIC 72 has sufficient memory resources, a separate behavior subroutine may be provided for each possible combination of selected object and spell data so that wand behavior upon casting a spell is a function of both the select object address and spell data fields of the code being transmitted. Thus the PIC 72 program would include a total of 210 separate behavior subroutines, one for each combination of the 15 possible object selection codes and 14 possible spell selection codes. The size of the memory needed to store PIC instructions specifying wand behavior limits the complexity and range of the spell verification behaviors wand 13 may exhibit. For example those of skill in the art will appreciate that when a sufficiently large amount of memory is available, PIC 72 can be programmed to produce complex sounds in speaker 64, including speech.

[0059] Spell-Receptive Objects

[0060]FIG. 10 illustrates in block diagram form an object control system 90 suitable for controlling an object's behavior in response to transmissions sent by transmitter 70 of FIG. 9 and received by an infrared receiver 94. A battery 91 supplies power through a switch 92 and a network formed by resistors R7 and R8 and capacitor C2 to a power input terminal of a PIC 93 (suitably similar to PIC 72 of FIG. 9). An oscillator 95 supplies a reference clock signal input to PIC 93. Switch 92 is suitably a motion detector switch that closes when the object is moved and opens in response to a signal at port P12 that PIC 93 generates after a time of inactivity. Alterative switch 92 may be manually operated or may be omitted when PIC 93 is to be energized continuously. Some PICs have a sleep mode that uses little power. Such a PIC enters the sleep mode after carrying out its spell and awakes from the sleep mode upon detection of an incoming signal from receiver 94 via port P1.

[0061] When receiver 94 receives an infrared signal transmission from transmitter 70 (FIG. 9), it extracts the 8-bit code from the transmission and transmits it in serial form to PIC 93. PIC 93 is programmed to look at the object address field included in the code arriving at port P1 to determine whether it references the object in which object control system 90 is mounted. If not, PIC 93 ignores the code and takes no further action. PIC 93 stores a separate subroutine in its internal memory for each of the 14 possible values of spell data fields that may be included in the code arriving at port P1. When the object data addresses the object, PIC 93 executes the subroutine associated with the accompanying spell data field. When the spell data field value corresponds to a spell that is to have no effect on the object, then the subroutine called for that spell data field value tells PIC 93 to do nothing. However if the spell data field value references a spell that is affect the behavior of the object, then the subroutine for that spell data field value tells PIC 93 to generate a desired pattern of signals at any one or more of its output ports P2-P11. These ports may be connected to devices within the object that cause it to behave in various ways. For example such devices may include speakers, motor controllers, LEDs, solenoids and the like.

[0062]FIG. 11 illustrates a main program executed by PIC 93 when turned on by switch 92. PIC 93 monitors its P1 input (step 96) until it receives a code from receiver 94. It then checks the object address field of the code (step 97) to determine whether the code is addressing the object in which PIC 93 resides. If not, program flow returns to step 96. If the object address field is selecting the object, PIC 93 executes the subroutine identified by the spell data field (step 98) and then returns to step 96.

[0063] Thus a magic wand 13 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention can enable a magician to cast any of up to 14 different spells on any of up to 15 different objects. The wand enables the magician to select an object to receive a spell and to select the spell to be cast, and enables the magician to then cast the selected spell by waving the wand. Wand 13 also provides sensory feedback to the magician when casting a spell, the nature of which varies with the nature of the spell being cast

[0064] Interrogation Spells

[0065] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the PIC 93 within each object is pre-programmed to respond to transmissions containing a particular one of the 15 possible 4-bit object data values that the magician keys into PIC 72. Thus wand 13 may independently cast spells to a maximum of 15 objects. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the object data field that wand 13 transmits to the objects may be much larger, for example 12 bits. That permits the wand to distinguish from among 4096 objects. However since it would be difficult for the magician to remember and key a 12-bit selection code into wand 13, in the alternative embodiment of the wand, the wand's internal PIC encodes the 4-bit object data keyed in by the magician into a 12-bit object address code that is transmitted to the objects to be addressed by the 12-bit code. As described below, the wand's internal PIC includes a programmable lookup table that translates between the 4-bit input code supplied by the magician and the 12-bit object address code the wand transmits to the objects. Thus in the alternative embodiment of the invention in which wand 13 transmits a 12-bit object data, it can control up to 4096 different objects, each responding to a different object address code value. However the wand allows the magician to select from among only 15 objects at any given time without reprogramming its internal lookup table.

[0066]FIG. 12 illustrates the circuit included in the alternative embodiment of wand 13 of FIG. 1. That circuitry is generally similar to the circuit of FIG. 9 except that it includes a receiver 102 in addition to transmitter 70. FIG. 13 illustrates an object control system 104 topologically similar to object control system 90 of FIG. 10 except that system 104 includes a transmitter 106 in addition to receiver 94.

[0067] In a wand/object system implemented in accordance with FIGS. 12 and 13, one of the 4-bit spell codes that the magician may key in (suitably code 1110) references an “interrogation” spell. Any object that receives a transmission containing the interrogation spell code in its spell data field executes a subroutine associated with that spell code regardless of whether the 12-bit object address field of the transmission addresses that object. The interrogation subroutine tells PIC 93 to send a data stream to wand 13, and upon sending an interrogation spell to an object, PIC 72 of FIG. 12 energies its receiver 102 so that it can receive the data stream from the object and forward it to PIC 72. Before casting an interrogation spell, the magician should ensure that only one object is able to receive the spell so only that object returns a data steam in response to the spell.

[0068] Each object is programmed to respond to a particular value of the 12-bit object address code and the data stream an object returns to wand 13 in response to the interrogation spell includes that particular 12-bit object data. When it receives the data stream, PIC 72 waits for the magician to key in a 4-bit object data that the magician wants to use to select that object. PIC 72 then updates its object data lookup table to relate the selected 4-bit object selection code to the object's 12-bit address data. Thereafter wand 13 includes that 12-bit address data in any spell sent out after the magician has keyed in that 4-bit object data.

[0069] When wand 13 executes a behavior subroutine that is a function of the combination of object and spell, the PIC program stores several different behavior routines and includes another “behavior” lookup table relating each combination of object selection code and spell selection code to one of its stored behavior routines. In such case, the data stream an object returns to wand 13 in response to an interrogation code also includes data indicating which of the stored behavior routines wand 13 is to execute in response to each of the set of 15 possible spells the wand may cast on the object. When it updates its object selection code lookup table after receiving a data stream from an object, PIC 72 also updates its behavior lookup table so that it thereafter executes an appropriate one of those behavior subroutines whenever sending a spell addressed to that object. Thus the interrogation spell enables wand 13 not only to learn an object's address, it also enables wand 13 to learn how to behave when thereafter sending any spell to that object.

[0070] Other Alternative Embodiments

[0071] The preferred embodiments of the invention as described herein above transmit and receive infrared signals. However those of skill in the art will appreciate that alternative embodiments of the invention may use other types of encoded signals for conveying spells between objects and wands including, for example, light frequency signals other than infrared, radio frequency and other types of electromagnetic or magnetic signals, and ultrasonic or other types of sound wave signals.

[0072] Thus those of skill in the art will appreciate that the preferred embodiments of the invention described herein above can be adapted for employing other than infrared signaling by replacing their infrared signal transmitters and receivers with transmitters and receivers that communicate with any of those other types of signals.

[0073] While in the preferred embodiment of the invention the magician communicates with PIC 72 via a set of push-button switches 50-53, those of skill in the art will appreciate that other devices could be employed to enable the magician to supply input codes to PIC 72. For example push-button switches 50-53 could be replaced with a set of proximity switches mounted inside chassis 1 that sense the presence of each of the magician fingers on chassis 1 to produce input codes to PIC 72. A speech recognition system mounted in chassis may convert spoken words into PIC input codes. Motion or position sensors mounted inside chassis 1 could convert wand movement patterns into input codes. Some embodiments of the wand may have no means for permitting a user to select object or spell codes. Such a wand, when energized, would always transmit a default object and spell code when waved. Such a wand without user input would be immediately armed when energized and would be able to cast only a single spell on objects identified by a single object code.

[0074] Other versions of wand 13 may include additional output devices. For example, the LEDs 62 illuminating orb 7 may be implemented as several independently controlled LEDs of different color so that orb 7 can be made to glow or flash with a wide range of colors. Also PIC 72 can be provided with external memory so that it can be programmed to provide more complex wand behavior.

[0075] Proximity switch 54 may be replaced with a motion detector that turns on the CLOSE signal when the magician moves the wand, or by any other sensor that detects when the magician is holding the wand. Power switch 55 and proximity switch 54 may also be replaced by a user-operable on/off switch.

[0076] The Wand as a Controllable Object

[0077] PIC 72 may be programmed so that one of the object selection codes addresses the wand itself and so that the wand itself responds to various spells selected by the magician. In such case when the magician selects the wand itself as an object to be spell-bound, selects a spell to be cast, and then waves the wand, the wand doesn't transmit a code to another object but instead responds in some manner to that spell. For example a spell may cause PIC 72 to execute a subroutine in which, for a time, it produces various tones on speaker 64 when the magician closes various combinations of push-button switches 50-53. Other spells may cause the wand to exhibit other behaviors, or to refrain for a time from responding to any input from the magician. When wands include receivers and are capable of interrogating objects as described above, a wand can respond to spells cast by another wand. For example, such wands may interrogate one other to learn each other's address code. Thereafter dueling magicians can battle one another for control of each other's wand or for control of other objects. Note that when one magician casts a spell on another magician's wand, the other magician's wand will be temporarily prevented from casting spells while engaging in spell-bound behavior.

[0078] The forgoing specification and the drawings depict the best mode(s) of practicing the invention, and elements or steps of the depicted best mode(s) exemplify the elements or steps of the invention as recited in the appended claims. However the appended claims are intended to apply to any mode of practicing the invention comprising the combination of elements or steps as described in any one of the claims, including elements or steps that are functional equivalents of the example elements or steps depicted in the specification and drawings. Accordingly should any appended claim describe an element or step only in terms of its function, then it is intended that the claim's description of the element be interpreted as reading on any element or step having the described function, regardless of any structural limitations associated with any example depicted in this specification or in the drawings.

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US7429108Aug 22, 2006Sep 30, 2008Outland Research, LlcGaze-responsive interface to enhance on-screen user reading tasks
US7850527 *Jul 13, 2004Dec 14, 2010Creative Kingdoms, LlcMagic-themed adventure game
US8284989Aug 17, 2005Oct 9, 2012Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.Method for locating an object associated with a device to be controlled and a method for controlling the device
US8330587Jun 30, 2008Dec 11, 2012Tod Anthony KupstasMethod and system for the implementation of identification data devices in theme parks
US8384565Jul 29, 2008Feb 26, 2013Nintendo Co., Ltd.Expanding operating device and operating system
US20120081216 *Dec 9, 2011Apr 5, 2012Lee Yu-TuanRemote-controlled motion apparatus with acceleration self-sense and remote control apparatus therefor
Classifications
U.S. Classification472/57
International ClassificationA63J21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63J21/00
European ClassificationA63J21/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 5, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: EMERALD FOREST TOYS, LLC, OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KORIENEK, GENE;REEL/FRAME:012237/0673
Effective date: 20010927