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Publication numberUS20040043843 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/231,638
Publication dateMar 4, 2004
Filing dateAug 30, 2002
Priority dateAug 30, 2002
Also published asCA2401047A1
Publication number10231638, 231638, US 2004/0043843 A1, US 2004/043843 A1, US 20040043843 A1, US 20040043843A1, US 2004043843 A1, US 2004043843A1, US-A1-20040043843, US-A1-2004043843, US2004/0043843A1, US2004/043843A1, US20040043843 A1, US20040043843A1, US2004043843 A1, US2004043843A1
InventorsKeith Ryan
Original AssigneeKeith Ryan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Illuminating goal structure and method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure
US 20040043843 A1
Abstract
An illuminating goal structure is disclosed. According to one embodiment of the present invention the illuminating goal structure, adapted for connection to a power source, includes a back plate, a face plate having at least one lighting aperture defined therein, viewable signal means (VSM) housed within the at least one lighting aperture, connection means for operably connecting the VSM to the power source, and VSM control means for controlling the distribution of power from the power source to the VSM, wherein the back plate is attached to the face plate such that the connection means are enclosed therein. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source includes an illumination tube including at least one lighting channel therein, VSM housed within the at least one lighting channel, connection means for operably connecting the VSM to the power source, and VSM control means for controlling the distribution of power from the power source to the VSM. A method for manufacturing illuminating goal structures is also disclosed. The goal structure and methodology described herein allows one to illuminate a goal structure in such a manner that the lighting arrangement therein is easily modifiable.
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Claims(42)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising the steps of:
a. forming a back plate;
b. forming a face plate, wherein said face plate has at least one lighting aperture defined therein;
c. housing viewable signal means within said at least one lighting aperture;
d. operably connecting said viewable signal means to said power source via connection means wherein power distributed to said viewable signal means via said connection means is controlled by viewable signal means control means; and
e. attaching said face plate to said back plate such that said connection means are enclosed therein.
2. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 further including the step of attaching non-illuminating goal structure thereto.
3. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said viewable signal means include at least one light emitting diode.
4. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said viewable signal means include a message matrix board.
5. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 2 further including the step of defining a storage compartment within said illuminating or non-illuminating goal structure wherein said compartment is adapted to house said power source and said viewable signal means control means.
6. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said viewable signal means are housed within a lens.
7. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein the step of attaching includes attaching said face plate to said back plate via at least one independent bulk head ring.
8. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein the step of attaching includes attaching said face plate to said back plate via at least one bulk head ring formed into said face plate or said back plate.
9. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 2 wherein the step of attaching non-illuminating goal structure includes attaching via at least one bushing.
10. A method of manufacturing an ωilluminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said viewable signal means control means includes a controller.
11. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein the step of forming back plate further includes defining at least one lighting aperture in said back plate and housing viewable signal means therein, wherein said viewable signal means are operably connected to said power source.
12. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said at least one aperture is oriented perpendicular its surface tangent on said face plate.
13. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said at least one aperture is oriented in a direction other than perpendicular to its surface tangent on said face plate.
14. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising the steps of:
a. forming an illumination tube wherein said tube includes at least one lighting channel therein;
b. housing viewable signal means within said at least one lighting channel; and
c. operably connecting said viewable signal means to said power source via connection means wherein power distributed to said viewable signal means via said connection means is controlled by viewable signal means control means.
15. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 14 further including the step of attaching non-illuminating goal structure thereto.
16. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 14 wherein said viewable signal means include at least one light emitting diode.
17. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 14 wherein said viewable signal means include a message matrix board.
18. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 15 further including the step of defining a storage compartment within said illuminating or non-illuminating goal structure wherein said compartment is adapted to house said power source and said viewable signal means control means.
19. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 14 wherein said viewable signal means are housed within at least one viewable signal means shield.
20. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 15 wherein the step of attaching non-illuminating goal structure includes attaching via at least one bushing.
21. A method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 14 wherein said viewable signal means control means includes a controller.
22. An illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising:
a back plate;
a face plate having at least one lighting aperture defined therein;
viewable signal means housed within said at least one lighting aperture;
connection means for operably connecting said viewable signal means to said power source; and
viewable signal means control means for controlling the distribution of power from said power source to said viewable signal means;
wherein said back plate is attached to said face plate such that said connection means are enclosed therein.
23. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 further including non-illuminating goal structure attached thereto.
24. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said viewable signal means include at least one light emitting diode.
25. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said viewable signal means include a message matrix board.
26. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 23 including a storage compartment housed within said illuminating or non-illuminating goal structure wherein said compartment is adapted to house said power source and said viewable signal means control means.
27. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said viewable signal means are housed within a lens.
28. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said face plate is attached to said back plate via at least one independent bulk head ring.
29. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said face plate is attached to said back plate via at least one bulk head rink formed into said face plate or said back plate.
30. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 23 wherein said non-illuminating goal structure is attached via at least one bushing.
31. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claims 22 wherein viewable signal means control means includes a controller.
32. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said back plate further includes at least one lighting aperture housing viewable signal means therein, wherein said viewable signal means are operably connected to said power source
33. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 22 wherein said at least one lighting aperture is oriented perpendicular to its surface tangent on said face plate.
34. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claims 22 wherein said at least one lighting aperture is oriented in a direction other than perpendicular to its surface tangent on said face plate.
35. An illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising:
an illumination tube including at least one lighting channel therein;
viewable signal means housed within said at least one lighting channel;
connection means for operably connecting said viewable signal means to said power source; and
viewable signal means control means for controlling the distribution of power from said power source to said viewable signal means.
36. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 35 further including non-illuminating goal structure attached thereto.
37. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 35 wherein said viewable signal means include at least one light emitting diode.
38. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 35 wherein said viewable signal means include a message matrix board.
39. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 36 including a storage compartment housed within said illuminating or non-illuminating goal structure wherein said compartment is adapted to house said power source and said viewable signal means control means.
40. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 35 wherein said viewable signal means are housed within at least one viewable signal means shield.
41. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claim 36 wherein said non-illuminating goal structure is attached via at least one bushing.
42. An illuminating goal structure as claimed in claims 35 wherein viewable signal means control means includes a controller.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to goal structures for use in sporting events. More specifically, the present invention relates to illuminating goal structures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is well known that many sports use a goal structure for purposes of defining a scoring area. For example, the sport of hockey employs a hockey goal, basketball uses a hoop and backboard, baseball has foul poles, and football utilizes uprights. One drawback of traditional sports goal structures, however, is that it is often difficult for spectators to determine whether the ball or puck has entered the scoring area. This is particularly true in the world of professional sports where sporting venues are much larger and game speeds are much quicker.

[0003] One prior art attempt to improve upon goal indication is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,947,846 issued to Craig. This patent discloses a hockey net having lights within the goal posts wherein the lights are illuminated upon a goal being scored. One chief shortcomings of the Craig patent, however, is that no method for manufacturing the net is provided. Furthermore, the lighting scheme described in the Craig patent is fixed and, therefore, not modifiable. As such, the net is an impractical solution for purposes of displaying advertisements or other messages, as a new net is required each time there is a change in sponsorship or message requirement.

[0004] A need, therefore, has been identified for an improved illuminating goal structure and a method for manufacturing an improved illuminating goal structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an illuminating goal structure and a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure which obviates or mitigates at least one of the disadvantages described above.

[0006] In accordance with the present invention there is provided a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising the steps of: forming a back plate; forming a face plate, wherein said face plate has at least one lighting aperture defined therein; housing viewable signal means within the at least one lighting aperture; operably connecting the viewable signal means to the power source via connection means, wherein power distributed to the viewable signal means via the connection means is controlled by viewable signal means control means; and attaching the face plate to the back plate such that the connection means are enclosed therein.

[0007] The invention is also directed to a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising the steps of: forming an illumination tube wherein the tube includes at least one lighting channel therein; housing viewable signal means within the at least one lighting channel; and operably connecting the viewable signal means to the power source via connection means wherein power distributed to the viewable signal means via the connection means is controlled by viewable signal means control means.

[0008] The invention is also directed to an illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising: a back plate; a face plate having at least one lighting aperture defined therein; viewable signal means housed within the at least one lighting aperture; connection means for operably connecting the viewable signal means to the power source; and viewable signal means control means for controlling the distribution of power from the power source to the viewable signal means; wherein the back plate is attached to the face plate such that the connection means are enclosed therein.

[0009] The invention is also directed to an illuminating goal structure adapted for connection to a power source comprising: an illumination tube including at least one lighting channel therein; viewable signal means housed within the at least one lighting channel; connection means for operably connecting the viewable signal means to the power source; and viewable signal means control means for controlling the distribution of power from the power source to the viewable signal means.

[0010] Various terms of art are used throughout this specification. A discussion of the various terms is set out hereinbelow in order to provide context to the meaning of each term.

[0011] The term “viewable signal means” is used in connection with a light source that is either viewable by the human eye or detectible by an external device (eg. a video camera). Examples of “viewable signal means” include: light emitting diodes; lasers; illuminated liquid crystal display, fibre optics, or any matrix pixel display.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] These and other features of the invention will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings and which:

[0013]FIG. 1 illustrates a front elevation of a goal structure as is known in the art;

[0014]FIG. 2a presents an exploded top view of an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0015]FIG. 2b presents an exploded side elevation of an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0016]FIG. 2c presents a top view of a face plate in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 2d presents a top view of a face plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0018]FIG. 2e presents a cross sectional top view of a face plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0019]FIG. 2f presents a side elevation of a face plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0020]FIG. 2g presents a top view of a face plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0021]FIG. 2h presents a side elevation of a face plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0022]FIG. 2i presents a face plate and back plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0023]FIG. 2j presents a face plate and back plate in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 3 presents a flow chart of a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0025]FIG. 4 illustrates a circuit diagram for controlling an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

[0026]FIG. 5 presents an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention as attached to non-illuminating goal structure;

[0027]FIG. 6 presents an isometric view of an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention as attached to non-illuminating goal structure which includes a storage compartment and sensor therein;

[0028]FIG. 7a presents a top view of an illuminating goal structure in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 7b presents a side view of an illuminating goal structure in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0030]FIG. 8 presents a flow chart of a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0031]FIG. 9 illustrates an illuminating goal structure in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention as attached to non-illuminating goal structure;

[0032]FIG. 10 illustrates a circuit diagram in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0033] With reference to FIG. 1 there is illustrated a goal structure as is known in the art and depicted generally by reference number 10. The goal structure 10 includes mesh 12 and structure 14. A portion of structure 14 to be illuminated is identified as element 16 as defined by cutting line 1-1.

[0034] Referring to FIGS. 2a and 2 b, an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the invention is shown in an exploded top view and an exploded side view respectively. The goal structure described therein includes a back plate 200 having mounting apertures 202 therein, a face plate 204 having mounting apertures 202 and lighting apertures 206 therein, bulkhead rings 208 having mounting apertures 210 therein, light emitting diode assembly (LEDA) 212 and screws 214. According an embodiment of the invention, the LEDA includes light emitting diodes (LED) 216 attached to printed circuit board (PCB) 218 which has wires 220 attached thereto. Wires 220 are adapted for connection to two 12V batteries (not shown). As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the way in which power is supplied to the LED does not affect the working of the invention described previously in the summary of the invention. Thus, one could easily replace wires 220 with optical fibre or any other electrical connectors as are known in the art.

[0035] Referring to FIG. 3, a flow chart depicting a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure as depicted in FIGS. 2a and 2 b is described. Beginning at a step 300, back plate 200 for the illuminating goal structure is formed. At a step 302, face plate 204 is formed, wherein the face plate has lighting apertures 206 defined therein. Referring back to FIGS. 2a and 2 b, one can see that in this embodiment of the invention face plate 204 and back plate 200 include two channel members which, when attached to one another, form a structural component having length, width and curvature substantially similar to that portion of the goal structure sought to be illuminated 16. The step of forming a back plate 200 or face plate 204 therefore includes any method for manufacturing such plates. For example, one could form plates by merely removing a piece of the original goal structure sought to be illuminated 16 and splitting said structure along its longitudinal axis. Alternatively, one could utilize only a portion of the original goal structure for purposes of back plate 200 or face plate 204 and then manufacture a mating piece such that any material which would be lost while cutting the structure could be replaced by the manufactured piece. Finally, one could manufacture both the back plate and the face plate without utilizing any of the original structure. For example this could be achieved by extruding the plates. Although each of face plate 204 and back plate 200 depicted in FIGS. 2a and 2 b generally represent 50 percent of the illuminating goal structure respectively, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that this proportion of back plate 200 to face plate 204 is not essential. The only limit to the size of a back plate or a face plate is that said plates must be of necessary width to facilitate connection of the face plate to the back plate. This connection is described below in greater detail.

[0036] With respect to lighting apertures 206 and mounting apertures 202, those apertures can be formed by any method known in the art of machining including, for example, drilling. Preferably lighting aperture 206 are designed to minimize space between LEDs 216 and face plate 204, so as to prevent unnecessary vibration that may damage LEDs 216.

[0037] Referring back to FIG. 3, the method continues at a step 304 wherein LEDs 216 are housed within lighting apertures 206 defined in face plate 204. Referring to FIG. 2c, a top view close-up of face plate 204 housing LEDs 216 within lighting apertures 206 is described. As shown therein, LEDs 216 as attached to PCB 218 are housed within lighting apertures 206 via O-rings 222, silicone 224, and fibreglass resin 226. In accordance with this embodiment of the present invention, a lens 227 is inserted into aperture 206 to protect LED 216 from being damaged by a puck for example.

[0038] As one can see in FIG. 2c, lighting apertures 206, LEDs 216, and PCBs 218 are oriented perpendicular to their respective surface tangents 203. By comparison, in FIG. 2d lighting apertures 206, LEDs 216, and PCBs 218 are oriented perpendicular to a single tangent 205. This alternative embodiment of face plate 204 is beneficial in that more LEDAs 212 can be incorporated into a single face plate as the associated printed circuit boards 218 will not interfere with each other.

[0039] Referring back to FIG. 3 again, at a step 306, LEDAs 212 are connected to two 12V batteries via wires 220 wherein power distributed to the LEDAs is controlled by controller 400 and power supply board 402 as described below.

[0040] Referring FIG. 4 to a circuit diagram for an illuminating goal structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. As shown therein LEDAs 212 is connected to power supply board 402 via wires 220. Power supply board 402 is in turn connected to controller 400 via power connection 404. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, controller 400 is provided for by an IPM 420™ controller. Controller 400 includes a plurality of outputs 406 for each respective LEDA 212. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the number of LEDAs which can be controlled by controller 400 is only limited by the number of outputs on controller 406. Also attached to controller 400 is an infrared receiver 408. Finally, batteries 410 are connected to power supply board 402. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, batteries 410 are provided for by two Sanyo™ NP-1 style 12-volt batteries in series.

[0041] As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, battery 410 supplies power to power supply board 402. Power supply board 402 in turn provides power to controller 400 via power connection 404. In accordance with this embodiment of the invention, power supply board 402 and controller 400 are distinct components. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, these boards could easily be combined without effecting the operation of the illuminating goal structure. Responding to a signal provided by RF receiver 408, controller 400 outputs signals via outputs 406 which signals are boosted by power supply board 402 and ultimately illuminate LEDAs 212. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, controller 400 can be utilized to provide any number of effects such as blinking or strobing. In accordance with this embodiment of the invention, only one LEDA is lit at any particular time. The period of illumination, however, is sufficiently short such that, to the human eye, all LEDAs 212 appear lit at the same time. This is beneficial in that it reduces the draw on batteries 410 without affecting the appearance of the goal structure.

[0042] Infrared receiver 408 is utilized for the purpose of allowing remote control of the LEDAs 212 by an official, for example. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, any form of signalling device could be used in place of infrared sensor 408. For example one could employ a whistle sensor, radio receiver, or a 3D puck sensor without affecting the operation of the goal structure.

[0043] Referring back to FIG. 3 once again, the methodology concludes at a step 308 wherein face plate 204 is attached to the back plate 200 such that LEDAs 212 and wires 220 are enclosed therein. Referring back to FIGS. 2a and 2 b, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, face plate 204 is attached to back plate 200 via bulkhead rings 208. More specifically, face plate 204 and back plate 200 are attached by aligning mounting apertures 202 with apertures 210 in bulkhead rings 208 and inserting fastener 214 therethrough.

[0044] Referring to FIGS. 2e and 2 f an alternative embodiment of a face plate 204 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention is shown. According to this embodiment face plate 204 is defined by extruding a hollow member having two portions with different outside diameters such that a notch or lip 230 formed. Notch 230 aids in attaching face plate 204 to back plate 200 (not shown).

[0045] Referring to FIGS. 2g and 2 h face plate 204, as depicted in FIGS. 2e and 2 f, is shown having a section of the smaller diameter portion being removed so as to effectively create bulkhead rings 232 in face plate 204. Similar to face plate 204 described in FIGS. 2a and 2 b face plate 204 can be attached to back plate 200 (not shown) via fasteners 214 apertures 202 and apertures 210 in bulkhead rings 232.

[0046] Referring to FIGS. 2i and 2 j two alternative embodiments for attaching face plate 204 to back plate 200 are shown. Referring to those figures as one can see that back plate 204 includes male connectors 234 for mating attachment with female connectors 236 formed within face plate 200. This type of attachment is known in the art as an interference fit. Also shown within FIGS. 2i and 2 j is a bulb 240 and a ring 242 attached to back plate 200 for attachment of mesh 12.

[0047] Although the preceding embodiments of the present invention utilized screws and an interference fit respectively for connecting face pate 200 to back plate 204, one skilled in the art will appreciate that said plates could easily be welded without affecting the invention described above in the summary.

[0048] Referring to FIG. 5 an illuminating goal structure as described in FIGS. 2a through 2 j, generally represented by reference number 500, is shown attached to non-illuminating goal structure 502. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, non-illuminating goal structure includes any structure required for defining the goal structure itself which is not replaced by illuminating goal structure 500.

[0049] Referring to FIG. 6, one can see illuminating goal structure 500 attached to non-illuminating goal structure 502. Incorporated into non-illuminating goal structure 502 is infrared receiver 406 and storage compartment 602 wherein storage compartment 602 is adapted to house controller 400 and 402, and batteries 404 therein. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, illuminating goal structure 502 and infrared sensor 406 are operably attached to controller 400 and batteries 406 via wires 220. A storage compartment housed within the non-illuminating goal structure is beneficial in that the entire goal structure is self-contained. That is to say, one can physically move the goal structure without the necessity of disconnecting wires 220.

[0050] Although the preceding embodiments of the present invention only depict LEDs 216 housed in face plate 204, the invention described in the summary is not so limited. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, LEDs 216 could just as easily be housed in back plate 200 utilizing the same methodology set out above.

[0051] Referring to FIGS. 7a and 7 b an alternative embodiment of an illuminating goal structure is described. According to this embodiment, LEDAs 212 are housed within an illumination tube 700. Illumination tube 700 includes a central tubular portion 702 having a plurality of T-shaped members 704 extending therefrom thereby defining a plurality of lighting channels 706. Lighting channels 706 in turn house shields 708 within which LEDAs 212 are housed. According to this embodiment of the invention, shield 708 is provided by a transparent red extruded plastic channel designed to house LEDAs 212 therein. Together illumination tube 700, shield 708 and LEDA 212 define an illuminating goal structure.

[0052] Referring to FIG. 7b, a bushing attachment for attaching the illuminating goal structure described in FIG. 7a to non-illuminating goal structure (not shown) is depicted. The attachment is provided for by removing the upper portion of T-shaped members 704 from illumination tube 700 at one end. Removal of these T-shaped members results in an illumination tube section consisting of hollow tubular member 702 and fins 710. Hollow member 702 and fins 710 are then inserted into a mating pocket 714 formed within polyurethane bushing 712. Also shown in FIG. 7b is a washer 716 for insertion between illumination tube 700 and bushing 712 to prevent destruction of bushing 712 by vibration of illumination tube 700. Bushing 712 is then attached into non-illuminating goal structure 502 as described below. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the illumination tube need not represent the male member of the connection. That is to say, the bushing could represent the male end and the illumination tube, in particular the tubular member 702 therein, could act as the female connection.

[0053] Referring to FIG. 8, a method of manufacturing an illuminating goal structure in accordance with the alternative embodiment of the invention described in FIGS. 7a and 7 b is shown. The methodology begins at step 800 wherein illumination tube 700 having at lighting channels therein is formed. In accordance with this alternative embodiment of the invention, illumination tube 700 is formed by extruding a tubular member having a profile as shown in FIG. 7a. Proceeding to step 802 LEDAs 212 are housed within lighting channels 706. As described above with reference to FIG. 7a, LEDAs 212 can be housed within lighting channels 706 directly or alternatively within shields 708. Finally, at a step 804, LEDs 216 are connected to the 12V batteries 404 in the same manner described above with reference to FIG. 4.

[0054] Referring to FIG. 9, the illuminating goal structure described above with respect to FIGS. 7 and 8 is shown attached to non-illuminating goal structure 502. According to this embodiment of the invention, although not shown in FIG. 9, the connection between busing 712 and illumination tube 700 was reinforced by a tension spring.

[0055] The embodiments of the illuminating goal structure described above are beneficial for many reasons. One benefit in particular is the ability to modify the appearance of the illuminating goal structure by merely re-defining the position of the lighting apertures 206 or lighting channels 706 therein. This ability to modify the appearance of the illuminating goal structure is particularly beneficial when the lighting arrangement itself defines a textual advertising message. This is because one can use the illuminating goal structure for one sponsored event and then merely replace it for the next sponsored event without having to replace the non-illuminating goal structure. The inventor envisions the preceding embodiments of the invention being used for purposes of generating advertising revenue at sporting events.

[0056] While the LEDAs 212 described above included rows of LEDs 216 attached via PCBs 218, the invention described in the summary is not so limited. For example, according to another embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 10, LEDAs 212 are replaced by message matrix board 1000. Message matrix board 1000 is beneficial in that it can be used for purposes of generating advertising revenue in addition to signifying a goal. As one can see in FIG. 10, power supply board 402 is connected to battery 410 and controller 400 in the same manner described above with reference to FIG. 4. In addition to power connection 404, power supply board 402 is also connected to controller 400 by serial connection 1010. Controller 400 includes eight row outputs 1020, corresponding to each row on matrix row, connected to power supply board 402. Power supply board 402 has corresponding outputs 1030 which in turn are connected to individual rows on matrix board 1000. Finally, power supply board 402 is connected to the first row of matrix board 1000, the master board 1020, by a serial connection 1050.

[0057] According to this embodiment of the invention, controller 400 again receives an input signal from RF receiver 408 signifying a goal or advertising event. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, in accordance with the lighting algorithm stored within controller 400, controller 400 outputs a raw lighting pattern for a matrix row via output 1020 and 1030. Via serial connection 1010 and 1050, controller 400 lights those lights on of master row 1040 in accordance with the lighting pattern received. Controller 400 then determines which particular row of this lighting pattern is to be displayed on by matrix 1000 via outputs 1020 and 1030. The process then repeats for the remaining rows on matrix 1000. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the operations of the controller are effectively instantaneous. As such, any number of effects such as vertical or horizontal text scrolling or animation can be achieved.

[0058] Although a hockey net is depicted in the preferred embodiments of the invention, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention described in summary of the invention is not so limited. As such, the invention described in the summary of the invention can easily be applied to any sporting goal structure. For example, one could apply the invention to a lacrosse goal, soccer goal, football uprights, a basketball hoop, or baseball foul poles to name a few.

[0059] While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it is clear that changes and modifications may be made to such embodiments without departing from the true scope and spirit of the invention. Thus it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7115053 *Apr 29, 2004Oct 3, 2006Robert MeichnerSport or game goal post visual aid system and method for using the same
US20130286648 *Jan 12, 2012Oct 31, 2013Crazy NetsLuminous net for, inter alia, sports equipment, and sports equipment for ball games or the like comprising same
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/476
International ClassificationA63B63/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2207/02, A63B63/004
European ClassificationA63B63/00F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 14, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: LITNETS INC., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:RYAN, KEITH;REEL/FRAME:018102/0995
Effective date: 20060724