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Publication numberUS20040009851 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/193,005
Publication dateJan 15, 2004
Filing dateJul 10, 2002
Priority dateJul 10, 2002
Also published asWO2004004840A1
Publication number10193005, 193005, US 2004/0009851 A1, US 2004/009851 A1, US 20040009851 A1, US 20040009851A1, US 2004009851 A1, US 2004009851A1, US-A1-20040009851, US-A1-2004009851, US2004/0009851A1, US2004/009851A1, US20040009851 A1, US20040009851A1, US2004009851 A1, US2004009851A1
InventorsDouglas Lovison
Original AssigneeDouglas Lovison
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Scoring device for fighting sports
US 20040009851 A1
Abstract
A scoring device that can be worn by a participant during a fighting competition to indicate hits to a target area on the participant includes a base shirt and a chest pad. The chest pad is bonded to the base shirt and is made of an elastomeric material to absorb impact energy and thereby protect the participant's chest from opponent blows. A solid, elastomeric target is removably attached to the chest pad using a hook and loop fastening system. A sensor is embedded in the elastomeric target to produce an electrical signal when the target is hit. An indicator responsive to the electrical signal, such as a light or horn, is provided to notify the participants each time the target is hit. A counter can be connected to the sensor to register the number of times the target is hit.
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Claims(21)
What is claimed is:
1. A scoring device for indicating hits to a predetermined target area on a participant in a fighting competition, said scoring device comprising:
a base shirt;
a chest pad made of an elastomeric material, said chest pad attached to said base shirt;
a target made of an elastomeric material for attachment to said chest pad;
a sensor for sensing hits to said target; and
an indicating means responsive to said sensor for indicating hits to said target.
2. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 further comprising a hook and loop fastening system to removably attach said target to said chest pad.
3. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said base shirt comprises a front upper portion and a back portion and wherein said chest pad is formed with a front portion for attachment to said front upper portion of said base shirt and a rear portion for attachment to said back portion of said base shirt and wherein said target is attached to said front portion of said chest pad and said scoring device further comprises a rear target attached to said rear portion of said chest pad.
4. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said sensor is embedded in said target.
5. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said sensor comprises two conductors embedded in said target for contacting each other in response to a hit.
6. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said indicating means comprises a light.
7. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said indicating means comprises an LED readout.
8. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said indicating means produces an audible signal to indicate hits to said target.
9. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 further comprising a counting means responsive to said sensor to count the number of hits to said target.
10. A scoring device as recited in claim 1 wherein said indicating means comprises a radio-frequency transmitter to transmit a signal in response to said sensor, a receiver to receive said signal, and an indicator to provide an indication in response to said receiver receiving said signal.
11. A scoring device for indicating hits to a predetermined target area on a participant in a fighting competition, said scoring device comprising:
a target made of an elastomeric material for attachment to the participant to cover the predetermined target area;
a pad of elastomeric material for attachment to the participant to at least partially surround said target with said pad of elastomeric material;
a sensor for sensing hits to said target; and
an indicating means responsive to said sensor for indicating hits to said target.
12. A scoring device as recited in claim 11 further comprising a hook and loop fastening system to removably attach said target to said pad.
13. A scoring device as recited in claim 11 further comprising a base shirt attached to said pad.
14. A scoring device as recited in claim 11 wherein said sensor is embedded in said target.
15. A scoring device as recited in claim 11 wherein said indicating means produces a visually observable indication.
16. A scoring device as recited in claim 11 wherein said indicating means produces an audible indication.
17. A method for scoring hits to a predetermined target area on a participant in a fighting competition, said method comprising the steps of:
attaching an elastomeric target and a sensor to a shirt, said sensor for changing states in response to a target hit;
positioning said shirt on said participant to locate said target over said predetermined target area; and
activating an indicator in response to a change of state of said sensor to indicate a hit to said target.
18. A method as recited in claim 17 further comprising the step of attaching a pad of elastomeric material to said shirt to at least partially surround said target with said pad of elastomeric material to protect the participant from injuries due to opponent mishits.
19. A method as recited in claim 18 wherein a hook and loop fastening system is used to removably attach said target to said pad.
20. A method as recited in claim 17 further comprising the step of embedding said sensor in said target.
21. A method as recited in claim 17 further comprising the step of electronically counting the number of hits over a predetermined period.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention pertains generally to sports equipment. More particularly, the present invention pertains to a scoring device that can be worn by participants during a fighting competition. The present invention is particularly, but not exclusively, useful as a scoring device for a martial arts competition that is capable of indicating or recording hits to a target area on a participant.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Referees are often used to score fighting sports including martial arts competitions. In many of these competitions, the referee awards points to participants for “clean hits” to target areas on the body such as the head, neck or chest. In some competitions, a referee must decide whether a hit to a padded area on an opponent would be fatal if it had occurred in the absence of padding. Generally, one point is given for each clean or “fatal” hit, and the referee must keep track of the number of points awarded to each participant. Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks associated with the use of referees to score fighting competitions. For one, the use of a human referee to score each “clean hit” is subjective. Stated another way, different referees may score the same hit differently. Another problem associated with the use of referees is that the referee may miss many of the hits due to the fast nature of the various fighting sports. Additionally, the referee may fail to register a hit due to the fact that the referee is not always positioned at an adequate vantage point to see each and every hit.

[0003] In addition to the inherent inaccuracy of referees, it is also generally expensive to use a referee. Although high-level competitions can often justify the expense of a referee, there are many other situations in which participants may wish to have a sparring or practice session scored without the expense and logistic effort that is required to find and use a qualified referee. Of course, the participants themselves could be used to score the contest, but the disadvantages associated with this type of scoring are obvious and many.

[0004] To mitigate some or all of the drawbacks associated with the use of referees, scoring devices can be used. In this regard, several factors must be considered when contemplating the use of a scoring target to measure hits in a fighting competition. Of utmost importance, of course, is the safety of the participants. Specific injuries that must be prevented include: injuries to the participant hitting the scoring target and injuries to the participant wearing the scoring target, to include injuries that may occur when a participant “misses” with a hit and strikes an area adjacent to the scoring target.

[0005] In addition to satisfying the various safety considerations, the scoring device must not interfere with the competition. With this in mind, a lightweight scoring device is generally desired. Furthermore, a desirable scoring device is a device that is capable of being positioned on the participant in a manner wherein the participant's range of motion is not restricted. Also, a desirable scoring device would have a target that is secured to the participant at a predetermined target area, such as the center of the participant's chest. Moreover, it is desirable to prevent movement of the scoring target from the predetermined target area to allow the opponent to predict the location of the target.

[0006] In light of the above, it is an object of the present invention to provide a scoring device for a fighting competition that overcomes the subjective, non-uniform nature of referee scoring. Another object of the present invention is to provide a scoring device for a fighting competition that can be used without causing injuring to either participant. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a scoring device for a fighting competition that is capable of indicating or recording hits to a target area on a participant. Still another object of the present invention is to provide a scoring device for a fighting competition that does not hinder or interfere with the movements of the participants. Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a scoring device that distinguishes between relatively light hits and those hits that would most likely be fatal if an unpadded opponent was subjected to the hit. It is still another object of the present invention to provide a scoring device for a fighting competition that is easy to use, relatively simple to manufacture and comparatively cost effective.

SUMMARY OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0007] The present invention is directed to a scoring device that can be worn by a participant during a fighting competition to indicate or record hits to a target area on the participant. In accordance with the present invention, the scoring device includes a base shirt, a chest pad and a target. In functional overview, each participant wears a scoring device in place of a standard shirt during a competition, with the object of the competition being to hit the opposing participant's target. When the target is hit, an indicator that can include but is not limited to, a light or bell is temporarily activated. If desired, the hit can be recorded on a counter.

[0008] In greater structural detail, the scoring device preferably includes a sleeveless base shirt made of a relatively lightweight fabric. The shirt is preferably sleeveless to prevent the shirt from interfering with the participant's range of motion. Like a standard, sleeveless pullover shirt, the shirt for the present invention includes an opening for each arm and an opening for the participant's head and neck. As intended for the present invention, the shirt also includes a front portion having an upper front portion for covering the participant's chest, and may contain a lower portion for covering the participant's stomach. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the upper front portion of the shirt also covers the front of the participant's shoulders. Additionally, the shirt includes a back portion for covering the participant's back including the rear portion of the participant's shoulders. The shirt can be further characterized as having an inner surface that faces the participant's skin when the shirt is worn and an opposed outer surface.

[0009] In accordance with the present invention, the chest pad is attached to the outer surface of the shirt to cover the upper front portion of the shirt. Preferably, the chest pad is made of an elastomeric material to absorb impact energy and thereby protect the participant's chest from opponent blows. Suitable elastomeric material for the chest pad can include, but is not limited to, natural or synthetic rubber, polyurethane foam and other materials known in the pertinent art that have shock attenuating properties similar to, or better than, natural rubber.

[0010] In greater structural detail, the chest pad is formed with an inner surface for contact with the shirt and an outer surface. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the inner surface of the chest pad is molded onto the shirt to thereby bond the chest pad to the shirt. Alternatively, a suitable adhesive can be used to bond the chest pad to the shirt. If desired, a texture can be formed in the outer surface of the chest plate to further promote the absorption of impact energy. Importantly, the chest pad is formed with an attachment area, free of surface texture, to allow the target to be attached to the chest pad. Preferably, the attachment area is located at the center of the chest pad. More specifically, with the chest pad attached to the base shirt, the attachment area is located approximately midway between the shirt openings that are provided for the participant's arms and directly below the hole that is provided for the participant's head and neck.

[0011] For the present invention, the target is attached to the chest pad at the attachment area. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a hook and loop fastening system is used to removably attach the target to the chest pad. Use of the hook and loop fastening system accommodates a competition in which a point is awarded for successfully removing and capturing an opponent's target. In greater structural detail, the target is preferably shaped as a solid elliptical dome having an elliptical base and is made of an elastomeric material such as polyurethane foam. Typically, the elliptical base of the target will have a major axis and a minor axis that are approximately 4.5 and 3.0 inches respectively.

[0012] In accordance with the present invention, a sensor is embedded in the elastomeric target to produce an electrical signal when the target is hit. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the sensor includes two electrical contacts that are embedded in the elastomeric material and spaced apart at a predetermined distance. The contacts are each electrically connected to an electrical circuit that includes a battery and a radio-frequency transmitter. When the target is hit, the elastomeric material compresses and causes the contacts to touch each other and close the electrical circuit. This closing of the electrical circuit activates the transmitter causing the transmitter to broadcast a radio-frequency signal.

[0013] The scoring device can also include a remote receiver/indicator assembly that can include a receiver for receiving the radio frequency signal, an indicator, a power supply such as a battery and an electrical circuit. The remote receiver/indicator assembly can be positioned away from the participants, for example at ringside, and is configured to provide an indication in response to the receipt of a radio-frequency signal from the transmitter. Typical indicators for use in the present invention can include, but are not limited to, indicator light(s), audible indicators such as a bell or buzzer, LED readouts or any other type of indicator known in the pertinent art. If desired, a counter can be incorporated in the electrical circuit to register each indication and thereby count the number of target hits.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

[0015]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a scoring device in accordance with the present invention;

[0016]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a sleeveless shirt suitable for use in the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a chest pad suitable for use in the present invention;

[0018]FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a chest pad and target as seen along line 4-4 in FIG. 1;

[0019]FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a target suitable for use in the present invention;

[0020]FIG. 6 is a side, plan view of a target showing typical dimensions for a target that are suitable for use in the present invention;

[0021]FIG. 7 is a top, plan view of a target showing typical dimensions for a target that are suitable for use in the present invention;

[0022]FIG. 8 is a simplified schematic of a sensor/indicator assembly suitable for use in a particular embodiment of the present invention;

[0023]FIG. 9 is a simplified schematic of a sensor/transmitter assembly suitable for use in an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 10 is a simplified schematic of a receiver/indicator assembly suitable for use in the alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

[0025]FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an extended chest pad having a rear portion that includes a triangularly shaped target.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0026] Referring initially to FIG. 1, a scoring device that can be worn by a participant during a fighting competition to indicate or record hits to a target area on the participant is shown and generally designated 10. As shown, the scoring device 10 can include a base shirt 12, chest pad 14 and a target 16. In use, one or more participants each don a scoring device 10 and thereafter participate in a competition wherein at least one other participant attempts to hit the target 16, detach the target 16 from the chest pad 14, or both. As detailed further below, the scoring device 10 includes a mechanism to detect a hit to the target 16 and provide an indication to the participants of the detected hit.

[0027] As best seen with reference to FIG. 2, the base shirt 12 can be sleeveless and is preferably made of a relatively lightweight fabric. The use of a sleeveless base shirt 12 prevents the base shirt 12 from interfering with the participant's range of motion, specifically arm movement. As shown in FIG. 2, the base shirt 12 can be styled similar to a standard, sleeveless pullover shirt, if desired. Continuing with FIG. 2, it can be seen that the base shirt 12 for the present invention includes an opening 18, 20 for each arm and an opening 22 for the participant's head and neck. It can be further seen that the base shirt 12 includes a front portion 24 having an upper front portion 26 for covering the participant's chest, and may contain a lower front portion 28 for covering the participant's stomach. It is to be appreciated that when a participant wears the base shirt 12 depicted in FIG. 2, the upper front portion 26 of the base shirt 12 also covers the front of the participant's shoulders. Also shown, the base shirt 12 includes a back portion 30 for covering the participant's back including the rear portion of the participant's shoulders. The base shirt 12 can be further characterized as having an inner surface 32 that faces the participant's skin when the base shirt 12 is worn, and an opposed outer surface 34.

[0028] With cross-reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, it can be seen that the chest pad 14 is attached to the outer surface 34 of the base shirt 12 to cover the upper front portion 26 of the base shirt 12. Preferably, the chest pad 14 is made of an elastomeric material to absorb impact energy and thereby protect the participant's chest from opponent blows. Suitable elastomeric materials for the chest pad 14 include but are not limited to natural or synthetic rubber, open and closed cell foams to include polyurethane foam, and other materials known in the pertinent art that have shock attenuating properties similar to, or better than, natural rubber.

[0029] As best seen with cross-reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, the chest pad 14 is formed with an inner surface 36 for contact with the base shirt 12 (shown in FIG. 1) and an outer surface 38. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the chest pad 14 is molded onto the base shirt 12 to thereby bond the inner surface 36 of the chest pad 14 to the base shirt 12. Alternatively, a suitable adhesive (not shown) can be used to bond the chest pad 14 to the base shirt 12. As best seen in FIG. 4, the outer surface 38 of the chest pad 14 can be formed with an optional texture that can include a plurality of raised surfaces 40 to further promote that absorption of impact energy. As best seen in FIG. 3, the chest pad 14 is formed with an attachment area 42, which can be oval shaped and free of surface texture, to provide a location for the target 16 (shown in FIG. 1) to be attached to the chest pad 14. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the attachment area 42 is located at the center of the chest pad 14. More specifically, by comparing FIGS. 1 and 3 it can be seen that with the chest pad 14 attached to the base shirt 12, the attachment area 42 is located approximately midway between the shirt openings 18, 20 that are provided for the participant's arms and directly below the opening 22 that is provided for the participant's head and neck. This location for the target 16 is chosen so that an attack will simulate the crushing or tearing of an opponent's throat.

[0030] Comparing FIGS. 1 and 3, it can be seen that the target 16 is attached to the chest pad 14 at the attachment area 42. A better appreciation for a typical target 16 for use in the present invention can be obtained with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. As shown, the target 16 can include a solid elliptical dome portion 44 that extends from an elliptical base 46. Preferably, the dome portion 44 is made of an elastomeric material to absorb impact energy and thereby protect the participant's chest from opponent blows. Suitable elastomeric materials for the target 16 include but are not limited to natural or synthetic rubber, open and closed cell foams to include polyurethane foam, and other materials known in the pertinent art that have shock attenuating properties similar to, or better than, natural rubber. The elliptical base 46 can also be made from an elastomeric material or the elliptical base 46 can be made of a harder material such as plastic. When the elliptical base 46 is made from an elastomeric material, it is to be appreciated that the entire target 16 can be of one-piece construction.

[0031] With reference now to FIGS. 6 and 7, the dimensions of a typical target 16 for use in the present invention can be seen. Specifically, as shown, the elliptical base 46 of the target 16 has a major axis 48 and a minor axis 50. As further shown, the target 16 can be characterized as having a thickness 52. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, a target 16 having a major axis 48 of approximately 4.5 inches and a minor axis 50 of approximately 3.0 inches and a thickness 52 of approximately 1.25 inches is used. It is to be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the shapes and sizes outlined above are merely exemplary and that other shapes and sizes for the target 16 can be used without departing from the spirit of the present invention.

[0032] As best seen in FIG. 4, a hook and loop fastening system 54 is preferably used to removably attach the target 16 to the chest pad 14. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of small hooks 56 (see FIG. 6) are fastened to the target 16 and a plurality of small loops 58 are fastened to the chest pad 14 at the attachment area 42 (see FIG. 3). Use of the hook and loop fastening system 54 accommodates a competition in which a point is awarded for successfully removing and capturing an opponent's target 16.

[0033] Referring now to FIG. 4, it can be seen that in one embodiment of the present invention, a sensor/indicator assembly 60 is embedded in the elastomeric portion of the target 16 to produce an indication when the target 16 is hit. FIG. 8 shows an exemplary sensor/indicator assembly 60 that can include a sensor 62, an indicator 64, a power supply 66 such as a battery and an electrical circuit 68. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the sensor 62 can include two electrical contacts 70, 72 that are spaced apart at a predetermined distance. When the target 16 is hit, the elastomeric target 16 compresses and causes the contacts 70, 72 to touch each other and close the electrical circuit 68. This closing of the electrical circuit 68 activates the indicator 64. Typical indicators for use in the present invention can include, but are not limited to, indicator light(s), audible indicators such as a bell or buzzer, LED readouts or any other type of indicator known in the pertinent art.

[0034] In another embodiment of the present invention, a sensor/transmitter assembly 60′ is embedded in the elastomeric portion of the target 16 to produce a radio-frequency signal when the target 16 is hit. FIG. 9 shows an exemplary sensor/transmitter assembly 60′ that can include a sensor 62′, a power supply 66′ such as a battery, a radio-frequency transmitter 74 and an electrical circuit 68′. Like the embodiment described above, the sensor 62′ can include two electrical contacts 70′, 72′ that are spaced apart at a predetermined distance. When the target 16 is hit, the elastomeric target 16 compresses and causes the contacts 70′, 72′ to touch each other and close the electrical circuit 68′. This closing of the electrical circuit 68′ activates the radio-frequency transmitter 74 causing the transmitter 74 to broadcast a radio-frequency signal.

[0035] For this embodiment, a receiver/indicator assembly 76, such as the exemplary receiver/indicator assembly 76 shown in FIG. 10 is preferably provided to receive the radio-frequency signal and generate an indication in response thereto. As shown, the receiver/indicator assembly 76 can include a receiver 78 for receiving the radio-frequency signal, an indicator 80, a power supply 82 such as a battery and an electrical circuit 84. An optional counter 86 can be incorporated in the receiver/indicator assembly 76 to register each indication and thereby count the number of hits to the target 16. The receiver/indicator assembly 76 can be positioned on the participant or can be remotely positioned from the participants, for example at ringside.

[0036] It is contemplated by the present invention that two or more participants may be simultaneously using a scoring device in which case it will generally be necessary for the receiver/indicator assembly 76 to respond only to a single associated sensor/transmitter assembly 60′. As such, each sensor/transmitter assembly 60′ is preferably configured to broadcast a signal that is distinguishable from signals broadcast by other sensor/transmitter assemblies 60′. For this purpose, the signals can be distinguished by frequency, a distinct code can be modulated on each signal, or any other technique known in the pertinent art to distinguish signals between transmitters and receivers can be used.

[0037] In another embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIG. 11, the chest pad 14′ is extended to include a rear portion 88 that is attached to the upper back portion 30 of the shirt 12 (shirt 12 shown in FIG. 2). As further shown, a triangularly shaped rear target 16′ is attached to the extended chest pad 14′ at a location such that when the extended chest pad 14′ is attached to the shirt 12, the rear target 16′ is positioned directly below the participant's neck. For the present invention, the rear target 16′ is preferably permanently affixed to the extended chest pad 14′ (i.e. without a hook and loop fastening system). Like the elliptical target 16 shown in FIG. 4, a sensor/indicator assembly 60 (see FIG. 8) or a sensor/transmitter assembly 60′ is embedded in the rear target 16′.

[0038] While the particular Scoring Device for Fighting Sports as herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of obtaining the objects and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7909749Aug 13, 2007Mar 22, 2011Richard SheedyBoxing device and related methods
US8021281 *Mar 3, 2010Sep 20, 2011Nedsyp Nominees Pty LtdElectronic scoring system, method and armor for use in martial arts
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/84, 482/83
International ClassificationA63B71/12, A63B71/06, A63B69/00, A63B69/32
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/004, A63B2071/1208, A63B69/32, A63B71/0605, A63B2243/0029, A63B2220/17, A63B71/12
European ClassificationA63B71/12, A63B69/32, A63B71/06B, A63B69/00K