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Publication numberUS20030148700 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/357,439
Publication dateAug 7, 2003
Filing dateFeb 4, 2003
Priority dateFeb 6, 2002
Publication number10357439, 357439, US 2003/0148700 A1, US 2003/148700 A1, US 20030148700 A1, US 20030148700A1, US 2003148700 A1, US 2003148700A1, US-A1-20030148700, US-A1-2003148700, US2003/0148700A1, US2003/148700A1, US20030148700 A1, US20030148700A1, US2003148700 A1, US2003148700A1
InventorsDavid Arlinsky, Jacob Marantz
Original AssigneeDavid Arlinsky, Jacob Marantz
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Set of playing blocks
US 20030148700 A1
Abstract
The present invention is directed toward a set of playing blocks for selectively invoking a player discernible effect depending on the upwardly facing game operation displaying face of a game controller playing block and the upwardly facing indicia displaying face(s) of at least one row of one or more electrically coupled playing blocks electrically coupled to the game controller playing block on its/their juxtaposition thereagainst by a player. The set of playing blocks of the present invention is readily amenable to children of different ages ranging from toddlers to about 1st Graders for playing a number of educational games depending on a player's age for teaching numbers, letters, names of objects, basic arithmetic, word composition, and the like.
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Claims(12)
1. A set of playing blocks comprising:
(a) a plurality of playing blocks each having at least one indicia displaying face(s) and either one or two opposite contact faces, each contact face having electrical contacts in electrical connection with at least one electrical component(s) having an addressable value associated with at least one of said at least one indicia displaying face(s) whereby, in the case of playing blocks having two opposite contact faces, playing blocks are capable of being arranged into a row of two or more electrically coupled playing blocks by player juxtaposition of a contact face of one playing block against a contact face of another playing block; and
(b) a game controller playing block having at least one game operation displaying face and either one or two opposite contact faces, each contact face having electrical contacts in electrical connection with a controller capable of invoking a player discernible effect depending on said game controller playing block's upwardly facing game operation displaying face and the upwardly facing indicia displaying face(s) of one or more playing blocks electrically coupled to said game controller playing block.
2. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein said player discernible effect is an annunciation of one of the following list: a number, the individual letters making up a word, a complete word, the individual letters making up a word and the complete word, and a phrase.
3. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein said player discernible effect is the illumination of at least one face of at least one playing block.
4. The set of playing blocks according to claim 3 wherein a playing block includes a reflector rotatably mounted about a centrally mounted light source for reflecting light upwardly through its upwardly facing face.
5. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein said game operation is the comparison between the upwardly facing indicia displaying faces of a first row of one or more electrically coupled playing blocks juxtaposed against a first contact face of said game controller playing block and the upwardly facing indicia displaying faces of a second row of one or more electrically coupled playing blocks juxtaposed against a second contact face of said game controller playing block.
6. The set of playing blocks according to claim 5 wherein the comparison is between: a digit and a number of identical pictorial elements, an arithmetic operation and the result of an arithmetic operation, the letters of a word and a pictorial representation of a word.
7. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein a contact face has a centrally disposed electrical interface and at least one peripherally disposed electrical contact associated with at least one indicia displaying face.
8. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein an electrical component is constituted by an active memory storage device.
9. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein said game controller playing block includes a finger depressible face for closing a normally open (NO) electrical circuit for selectively invoking a player discernible effect.
10. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein a contact face of either said game controller playing block or a playing block is provided with a magnet.
11. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein said game controller playing block is capable of at least two different game operations.
12. The set of playing blocks according to claim 1 wherein at least some playing blocks of said plurality of playing blocks each have two pairs of indicia displaying faces, each pair of indicia displaying faces having a first indicia displaying face showing a number of one or more identical pictorial elements and a second indicia displaying face showing the digit of the number of identical pictorial elements of its associated first indicia displaying face, the two first indicia displaying faces displaying different numbers of identical pictorial elements.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to sets of playing blocks for didactic purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] One common toy enjoyed by young children is playing blocks often having digits, letters or pictorial elements on their faces for teaching basic arithmetic, word composition, relationships between different sets of items, and the like. In particular, U.S. Pat. No. 4,416,455 to Munson et al, U.S. Pat. No. 4,452,588 to Smith, U.S. Pat. No. 5,556,102 to Huang, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,944,312 to Darneille illustrate and describe sets of passive playing blocks for various didactic purposes, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,212,117 and 4,212,118 both to Baldwin et al. illustrate and describe a set of interactive playing blocks for teaching basic arithmetic.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a set of playing blocks comprising:

[0004] (a) a plurality of playing blocks each having at least one indicia displaying face(s) and either one or two opposite contact faces, each contact face having electrical contacts in electrical connection with at least one electrical component(s) having an addressable value associated with at least one of said at least one indicia displaying face(s) whereby, in the case of playing blocks having two opposite contact faces, playing blocks are capable of being arranged into a row of two or more electrically coupled playing blocks by player juxtaposition of a contact face of one playing block against a contact face of another playing block; and

[0005] (b) a game controller playing block having at least one game operation displaying face and either one or two opposite contact faces, each contact face having electrical contacts in electrical connection with a controller capable of invoking a player discernible effect depending on said game controller playing block's upwardly facing game operation displaying face and the upwardly facing indicia displaying face(s) of one or more playing blocks electrically coupled to said game controller playing block.

[0006] The playing blocks are each preferably cube-shaped with four indicia displaying faces and at least one contact face adjacent to its associated indicia displaying faces and enabling electrical coupling with either a game controller playing block or another playing block to form a row of at least two electrically coupled playing blocks for electrically coupling to a game controller playing block. The electrical components are preferably 8 bit active memory storage devices capable of providing up to 28=256 unique addressable values sufficient for all the alphanumeric characters 0-9 and A-Z, the four arithmetic operators +, −, , and /, a range of numbers, say, from 1 through to 12, of identical pictorial elements, various pictorial representations of words, for example, sun, dog, and the like. A player discernible effect can be in form of an annunciation or the illumination of one or more faces of one or more playing blocks including the game controller playing block. The set of playing blocks of the present invention is readily amenable to players of different ages ranging from toddlers up to young children, say, 1st Graders, for playing a number of educational games depending on a player's age for teaching numbers, letters, names of objects, basic arithmetic, words, and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] In order to understand the invention and to see how it can be carried out in practice, preferred embodiments will now be described, by way of non-limiting examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which similar parts are likewise numbered, and in which:

[0008]FIG. 1 is a pictorial representation showing a set of playing blocks in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention for playing annunciation games;

[0009]FIG. 2 is a schematic electrical diagram of the game controller playing block of the set of playing blocks of FIG. 1 with a playing block juxtaposed thereagainst;

[0010]FIG. 3 is a cross section view of the game controller playing block of the set of playing blocks of FIG. 1 with a playing block juxtaposed thereagainst along line I-I in FIG. 1;

[0011]FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D are pictorial representations showing the use of a set of playing blocks in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention for playing comparison games; and

[0012]FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C are pictorial representations of alternative embodiments of playing blocks.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0013]FIG. 1 shows a set of cube-shaped playing blocks 1 suitable for toddlers for annunciating a number typically in the range of 1 to 9 or the name of an object, for example, an animal, a type of fruit or vegetable, and the like. The set of playing blocks 1 includes several regular playing blocks 2 for use with a game controller playing block 3.

[0014] Each playing block 2 has four indicia displaying faces A, B, C and D each depicting a digit from 1-9 or a number of identical pictorial elements, or a pictorial representation of an object, and a contact face E adjacent to the indicia displaying faces A, B, C, and D. Each of a playing block's four indicia displaying faces A, B, C, and D has an active memory storage device, for example, a parallel in serial out 8 bit shift register SR, for storing a unique addressable value associated therewith. For example, the binary code 0000 0001 can represent the digit 1, the binary code 0000 0010 can represent the digit 2, the binary code 0001 0000 can represent the pictorial representation of a dog, the binary code 0010 0000 can represent the pictorial representation of two cats, and the like. The contact face E has a centrally disposed triple electrical contact electrical interface 4 connected to the four serial registers SR-A, SR-B, SR-C and SR-D and four electrical contacts EC-A, EC-B, EC-C and EC-D disposed in its four corners and correspondingly connected to the four serial registers SR-A, SR-B, SR-C and SR-D (see FIG. 2).

[0015] The game controller playing block 3 has a game operation displaying face F depicting, say, a megaphone, and an adjacent contact face G with a centrally disposed triple electrical contact electrical interface 6 for electrically coupling to a playing block's electrical interface 4 and an electrical contact 7 disposed at its top right corner for electrically coupling to one of a playing block's four electrical contacts EC-A, EC-B, EC-C and EC-D depending on which of its indicia displaying faces is upwardly facing on player juxtaposition of its contact face E against the game controller playing block's contact face G. The game controller playing block 3 includes a controller 8, a battery 9, an OFF/ON switch 11, a speech synthesizer 12, a loudspeaker 13, and a selector switch 14 for selecting the annunciation of either numbers or names of objects (see FIG. 2).

[0016]FIG. 3 shows that the inside surface of the game controller playing block's contact face G is provided with an annular magnet M whilst the inside surface of each playing block's contact face E is provided with an annular metal washer W such that the game controller playing block's contact face G is magnetically attracted to the playing block's contact faces E, thereby facilitating player juxtaposition of a playing block's contact face E against the game controller playing block's contact face G for electrically coupling therebetween.

[0017] The use of the set of playing blocks 1 is now described:

[0018] A toddler switches on the game controller playing block and sets the selector switch to annunciate either numbers or names of objects. The toddler then takes the game controller playing block in his left hand and a playing block in his right hand and juxtaposes its contact face against the game controller playing block's contact face whereupon the game controller playing block annunciates either the number or the name of the object on the playing block's upwardly facing face. The toddler can then rotate the playing block either clockwise or counterclockwise to annunciate the number or the name of the object displayed on the newly upwardly facing indicia displaying face adjacent to the previously upwardly facing indicia displaying face. Alternatively, the toddler can remove the playing block and place another playing block against the game controller playing block.

[0019] FIGS. 4A-4C show the use of a set of cube-shaped playing blocks 21 including several playing blocks 22 and a game controller playing block 23 for enabling, say, 1st Graders, to play comparison games for checking a comparison between the upwardly facing indicia displaying faces of two rows of one or more electrically coupled playing blocks for annunciating a phrase, for example, “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE CORRECT” in the case of a correct comparison or “SORRY, TRY AGAIN” in the case of an incorrect comparison. In particular, FIG. 4A shows the comparison between a number of identical pictorial elements and a digit, FIG. 4B shows the comparison between an arithmetic operation and the result of an arithmetic operation, and FIG. 4C shows the comparison the letters of a word and a pictorial representation of a word. Other annunciations may include spelling out the letters of a word and/or a complete word, for example, “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU CORRECTLY SPELT SUN, S, U, N”.

[0020] To enable a player to form rows of two or more electrically coupled playing blocks for use in a comparison game, the playing blocks 22 and 23 differ from playing blocks 2 and 3 in two respects as follows: First, each playing block 22 and 23 has two opposite contact faces. And second, the right contact face of a playing block 22 and the game controller playing block 23 is provided with a magnet M and the left contact face of a playing block 22 and the game controller playing block 23 is provided with a washer W, thereby ensuring correct orientation of adjacent playing blocks. Still further, the game controller playing block 23 preferably has a finger depressible game operation displaying face F (see FIG. 4D) for closing a normally open (NO) electrical circuit for selectively invoking a player discernible effect.

[0021]FIG. 5A shows a game controller playing block 24 combining the functionalities of both the game controller playing blocks 3 and 23 for invoking player discernible effects. Such a game controller playing block 27 requires electrical contacts on its contact face G for each game operation displaying face in a similar manner to a playing block 2 and also a vertical sensing mechanism for determining which game operation displaying face is upwardly facing.

[0022]FIG. 5B shows that the game controller playing block 24 can include a centrally mounted light 26 extending between its two opposite contact faces G and a reflector 27 rotatably mounted thereabout whereby a correct answer can be indicated by the illumination of its upwardly facing game operation displaying face F in addition to or instead of an annunciation. Also, playing blocks 22 can be supplied with similar light arrangements in which both the playing blocks 22 and the game controller playing block 24 require electrical interfaces 4 and 6 with an additional electrical contact for powering the light 26.

[0023]FIG. 5C shows a playing block 28 with a pair of indicia displaying faces 29 having a first indicia displaying face 29A showing a number of one or more identical pictorial elements and a second indicia displaying face 29B showing the digit of the number of identical pictorial elements of its associated first indicia displaying face 29A and both being associated with the same memory storage device. Such playing blocks 28 preferably have two such pairs of indicia displaying faces whose first indicia displaying faces display different numbers of identical pictorial elements, thereby halving the number of memory storage devices per playing block.

[0024] While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, it will be appreciated that many variations, modifications, and other applications of the invention can be made within the scope of the appended claims. For example, rather than using active memory storage devices for storing addressable values associated with a playing block's indicia displaying faces, passive electrical components, for example, resistors may be employed. Also, the playing blocks 2 and the game controller playing block 3 can be provided with the lighting arrangement described in connection with the game controller playing block 24.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/91
International ClassificationA63H33/04, G09B1/40
Cooperative ClassificationG09B1/40, A63H33/042, A63H33/04
European ClassificationA63H33/04, A63H33/04B, G09B1/40