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Publication numberUS20040198151 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/351,024
Publication dateOct 7, 2004
Filing dateJan 24, 2003
Priority dateJan 16, 2003
Publication number10351024, 351024, US 2004/0198151 A1, US 2004/198151 A1, US 20040198151 A1, US 20040198151A1, US 2004198151 A1, US 2004198151A1, US-A1-20040198151, US-A1-2004198151, US2004/0198151A1, US2004/198151A1, US20040198151 A1, US20040198151A1, US2004198151 A1, US2004198151A1
InventorsDale Bell
Original AssigneeBell Dale L.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Yo-yo
US 20040198151 A1
Abstract
A yo-yo that provides enhanced performance, expeditiously responds to retrieval movement, and is otherwise responsive upon the string, yet still provides prolonged rotational inertia for the overall facilitation of complex tricks, maneuvers, and general yo-yo play.
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Claims(21)
1. A yo-yo, comprising:
a first yo-yo body half;
a second yo-yo body half;
said first and second body halves joined by an axle;
a bearing adapted to rotate concentrically about said axle;
an o-ring for at least momentarily disrupting the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state; and,
an annular groove comprising uninterrupted inside and outside diameters formed on an inward facing surface of said first yo-yo body half, said annular groove adapted to receive said o-ring therein and to position a portion of said o-ring above said inward facing surface.
2. The yo-yo of claim 1 wherein said o-ring further comprises elastomeric material.
3. The yo-yo of claim 1 wherein said o-ring further comprises non-elastomeric material.
4. The yo-yo of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of o-rings of increasing diameter, for cooperating engagement within a plurality of concentrically disposed annular grooves of increasing diameter formed on said inward facing surface of said first yo-yo body half, each said annular groove adapted to receive one of said plurality of o-rings therein, wherein one or more of said plurality of o-rings acts to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
5. The yo-yo of claim 1 further comprising a second o-ring and an annular groove formed on an inward facing surface of said second yo-yo body half, said annular groove adapted to receive said second o-ring therein, wherein said second o-ring acts individually or in conjunction with said o-ring to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
6. The yo-yo of claim 5 further comprising in association with each yo-yo body half a plurality of o-rings of increasing diameter, for cooperating engagement within a plurality of concentrically disposed annular grooves of increasing diameter formed on said inward facing surface of each yo-yo body half, each said annular groove adapted to receive one of said plurality of o-rings therein, wherein one or more of said plurality of o-rings acts to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
7. (cancel)
8. (previously canceled; represented) The yo-yo of claim 1 further comprising an adjustable gap between said body halves.
9. A yo-yo, comprising:
a first yo-yo body half;
a second yo-yo body half;
said first and second body halves joined by an axle;
an adjustable gap between said body halves;
a bearing adapted to rotate about said axle;
an o-ring for at least momentarily disrupting the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state; and,
an annular groove comprising uninterrupted inside and outside diameters formed on an inward facing surface of said first yo-yo body half, said annular groove adapted to receive said o-ring therein and to position a portion of said o-ring above said inward facing surface.
10. The yo-yo of claim 9 wherein said o-ring further comprises elastomeric material.
11. The yo-yo of claim 9 wherein said o-ring further comprises non-elastomeric material.
12. The yo-yo of claim 9 further comprising a plurality of o-rings of increasing diameter, for cooperating engagement within a plurality of concentrically disposed annular grooves of increasing diameter formed on said inward facing surface of said first yo-yo body half, each said annular groove adapted to receive one of said plurality of o-rings therein, wherein one or more of said plurality of o-rings acts to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
13. The yo-yo of claim 9 further comprising a second o-ring and an annular groove formed on an inward facing surface of said second yo-yo body half, said annular groove adapted to receive said second o-ring therein, wherein said second o-ring acts individually or in conjunction with said o-ring to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
14. The yo-yo of claim 13 further comprising in association with each yo-yo body half a plurality of o-rings of increasing diameter, for cooperating engagement within a plurality of concentrically disposed annular grooves of increasing diameter formed on said inward facing surface of each yo-yo body half, each said annular groove adapted to receive one of said plurality of o-rings therein, wherein one or more of said plurality of o-rings acts to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
15. (previously canceled)
16. A yo-yo comprising a first yo-yo body half; a second yo-yo body half; said first and second body halves joined by an axle; a bearing adapted to rotate concentrically about said axle; said body halves and axle adapted to form, in combination, an adjustable gap between said body halves; an o-ring for at least momentarily disrupting the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state; and, an annular groove formed on an inward facing surface of said first yo-yo body half, said annular groove adapted to receive said o-ring therein.
17. The yo-yo of claim 16 wherein said o-ring further comprises elastomeric material.
18. The yo-yo of claim 16 wherein said o-ring further comprises non-elastomeric material.
19. The yo-yo of claim 16 further comprising a plurality of o-rings of increasing diameter, for cooperating engagement within a plurality of concentrically disposed annular grooves of increasing diameter formed on said inward facing surface of said first yo-yo body half, each said annular groove adapted to receive one of said plurality of o-rings therein, wherein one or more of said plurality of o-rings acts to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
20. The yo-yo of claim 16 further comprising a second o-ring and an annular groove formed on an inward facing surface of said second yo-yo body half, said annular groove adapted to receive said second o-ring therein, wherein said second o-ring acts individually or in conjunction with said o-ring to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
21. The yo-yo of claim 20 further comprising in association with each yo-yo body half a plurality of o-rings of increasing diameter, for cooperating engagement within a plurality of concentrically disposed annular grooves of increasing diameter formed on said inward facing surface of each yo-yo body half, each said annular groove adapted to receive one of said plurality of o-rings therein, wherein one or more of said plurality of o-rings acts to at least momentarily disrupt the rotational inertia of said yo-yo when said yo-yo is in a spinning state.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The inventor hereof claims priority to, and the benefit of, U. S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/440,651 filed Jan. 16, 2003.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates generally to yo-yos, and more specifically to a yo-yo that includes a miniature ball bearing disposed over a fixed axle between two yo-yo halves, in combination with an annular elastomeric o-ring positioned radially concentrically about said axle; thus, providing enhanced yo-yo performance, retrieval and string responsiveness.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Historically, yo-yos were primarily a recreational toy. However, with increased attention, yo-yo play has become a competitive event for many, and has gained an appreciation that has fueled the engineering of the perfect yo-yo for complex and innovative yo-yo tricks and movements.

[0004] In the modern era, yo-yos initially were constructed from wood, and possessed a fixed wooden axle to which a yo-yo string was attached. In play, the wooden axle would rotate within the string loop. Such a configuration, however, often led to undesirable friction between the fixed wooden axle and the string. Additionally, in many such early yo-yos, fixed yo-yo body halves were closely disposed to each other, leaving little string gap therebetween. Such yo-yos forms served only to increase the frictional contact between the yo-yo and the string. Although response time and yo-yo retrieval were extremely quick, the frictional contact between the yo-yo and the string precluded the performance of even simple, sleep-mode based tricks.

[0005] The advent of the trans-axle yo-yo provided the benefit of increasing sleep-mode performance. In the trans-axle yo-yo, a sleeve formed from nylon, plastic, or other low-frictional material, surrounded the fixed axle. The yo-yo string was then attached to the trans-axle, rather than the fixed axle. Such a configuration permitted more complex sleep-mode play and tricks, as the string, during rotation of the yo-yo, was fixed to the trans-axle sleeve, which, in turn, rode over the axle. While string wear at the axle was accordingly reduced, and sleep-mode performance was increased, such yo-yos suffered from a lack of responsiveness during the retrieval maneuver to return the yo-yo to the hand. The same conditions precluded or reduced the consistency of maneuvers requiring the yo-yo to return toward the hand, but, thereafter, bypass the hand in an underpass or overpass maneuver.

[0006] Thereafter, axle-surrounding, high precision, low friction metallic or ceramic ball bearing mechanisms were also introduced for more complex play and tricks. Although both the trans-axle and ball bearing mechanisms increased sleep-mode abilities, retrieval maneuver response of the yo-yo back toward the player's hand continued to be greatly diminished, thus hindering complex string tricks.

[0007] The trend also arose to increase the gap between yo-yo halves, in order to further reduce string friction and provide for enhanced sleep-mode performance. Increased gap, however, also served to further reduce retrieval maneuver responsiveness. Accordingly, manufacturers came to provide adjustability of the gap between the yo-yo body halves for modifying the overall frictional contact with the string. Examples of such adjustable gap yo-yos may be seen with reference to U. S. Pat. No. 6,206,749 B1 issued Mar. 27, 2001 to Bell, the inventor hereof.

[0008] In order to compensate for the trend toward increased sleep-mode play, but reduced retrieval responsiveness, some manufacturers began incorporating trans-axle or ball bearing mechanisms with mechanical clutch mechanisms. Such mechanisms were heavy, complex, more expensive, and more difficult to maintain. Such clutch-based systems were not competition-friendly for the advanced player.

[0009] Similar attempts to compensate for the trend toward increased sleep-mode play, but reduced retrieval responsiveness, provided frictional retrieval mechanisms concentrically disposed about the axle, and formed on the inner faces of the yo-yo body halves, wherein such frictional retrieval mechanisms were generally raised, ridge-like protrusions, often arranged in a starburst or similar pattern. Although such frictional retrieval mechanisms assisted in yo-yo response and string retrieval, they tended to promote an overly frictional condition that essentially negated the benefits derived from the trans-axle or ball bearing mechanisms. Additionally, premature breakage of the yo-yo string due to frictional rubbing was also a common downfall. Alternatively, when the frictional retrieval mechanisms were under-pronounced, the desired response time and overall performance was not at all achieved.

[0010] Still other manufacturers provided a frictional sticker that was to be adhered to the inner surfaces of the yo-yo, wherein the frictional sticker was to provide an enhanced frictional or tacky surface for interaction with the yo-yo string. Such frictional stickers, however, initially provided for overly-responsive yo-yo play, while tending to lose surface tackiness with extended play. Such systems require the player to burdensomely, and at additional expense, replace the worn sticker or suffer reduced playability. Accordingly, the consistency of play of such systems remains variable and unpredictable, a disadvantageous circumstance for advanced, competitive play.

[0011] Accordingly, in view of this development of the competitive yo-yo and its play, yo-yo players have sought a yo-yo having enhanced playability characteristics. Such characteristics include the balancing of enhanced, low-friction, sleep-mode performance with increased, consistent, and predictable responsiveness during retrieval to the hand, or during underpass or overpass-type maneuvers.

[0012] It is, therefore, readily apparent that there is a need for a yo-yo that provides enhanced, consistent yo-yo performance, retrieval and string responsiveness for facilitating complex tricks, maneuvers, and overall yo-yo play. It is to the provision of such an enhanced yo-yo that the present invention is directed.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] Briefly described, in its several preferred embodiments, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a yo-yo that provides enhanced performance, and that expeditiously responds to retrieval movement and string responsiveness, yet still provides prolonged rotational inertia for the overall facilitation of complex tricks, maneuvers, and general yo-yo play.

[0014] According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention in its preferred form is a yo-yo having yo-yo body halves, an axle, a miniature high-precision ball or ceramic bearing, and an annular elastomeric o-ring disposed radially concentrically about said axle.

[0015] More specifically, the present invention is a yo-yo including a pair of yo-yo body halves, each formed preferably as a composite having an inner hub, a central dish-shaped main body portion defining an inward facing surface, and an annular-shaped peripheral body portion. An axle is threadably engaged at each end thereof into a hub thread formed into each hub along an axis of rotation of the yo-yo. Each hub also includes a shoulder positioned radially adjacent the hub thread which, when the axle is fully tightened in frictional engagement into each hub thread by tightening rotation between the body halves, bear against one another to define a minimum gap between the inward facing surfaces of the body halves. A miniature bearing is also provided having an inner ring tightly frictionally engaged over each shoulder, each end of the bearing extending into an annular recess formed into each inward facing surface adjacent to the hub to maintain a tether, or string, in wrapped engagement around an outer ring of the bearing. The outer ring is freely rotatable with respect to the body halves and the axle, the axle rotating with the body halves when the yo-yo is spinning. Preferably, a groove formed on the inward facing surface of a first yo-yo body half, and positioned radially adjacent to, and concentrically about, the bearing, functions to receive and retain a removable, annular elastomeric o-ring. The annular elastomeric o-ring preferably frictionally associates with the yo-yo string to provide enhanced yo-yo performance, retrieval and string receiving. Additionally, optionally formed on the second yo-yo body half, may be a plurality of ridges extending radially from the center of the hub area in a starburst-like formation, wherein the plurality of ridges provide additional frictional association with the yo-yo string for improved performance. The axle, when the body halves are forcibly rotated in an axle disengaging direction one to another, causes a corresponding increase in the width of the gap.

[0016] An alternate embodiment of the present invention provides for modification of the form, profile, and material of the elastomeric o-ring to allow customization of the performance characteristics of the yo-yo.

[0017] A further alternate embodiment of the present invention provides for a plurality of elastomeric o-rings to enhance yo-yo retrieval and responsiveness, as for example, during looping-type maneuvers.

[0018] It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo with an annular elastomeric o-ring for frictional association with the yo-yo string for enhanced yo-yo performance, retrieval and string responsiveness.

[0019] It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo with a removable annular elastomeric o-ring for replacement with a user-selected elastomeric ring of varying material, form, or profile for permitting tuning of the responsiveness of the yo-yo, as by allowing substitution of elastomeric o-rings for beneficial implementation, to accommodate a variety of yo-yo movements and tricks.

[0020] It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo that accommodates known frictional retrieval mechanisms with a removable annular elastomeric o-ring, such as, a plurality of ridges extending radially from the center of the hub area in a starburst-like formation, wherein the plurality of ridges, in conjunction with the elastomeric o-ring, provide further frictional association with the yo-yo string for alternate degrees of enhanced performance characteristics.

[0021] It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo with the ability to accommodate more than one removable annular elastomeric o-ring for increased frictional association with the yo-yo string; thereby, permitting more complex yo-yo movements, tricks and performances, and to enhance yo-yo retrieval and responsiveness, as for example, during looping-type maneuvers.

[0022] It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo with a miniature ball or ceramic bearing in combination with a removable annular elastomeric o-ring positioned radially concentrically thereabout; thus, providing enhanced yo-yo performance, retrieval and string responsiveness.

[0023] It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo utilizing a miniature ball or ceramic bearing in combination with a removable annular elastomeric o-ring positioned radially concentrically thereabout in association with a unique hub structure to provide adjustability of the string gap and frictional string characteristics between the yo-yo halves for enhanced functionality of the yo-yo.

[0024] It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo having an elastomeric o-ring string retrieval system providing extended, consistent play without significant degradation to the o-ring retrieval system, which, thereby, reduces or eliminates the requirement for a user to periodically replace the o-ring.

[0025] It is another and further object of the present invention to provide an improved yo-yo having an elastomeric o-ring string retrieval system providing extended, consistent play without significant degradation to the o-ring retrieval system, which, thereby, may also act to reduce excess frictional string wear of the type ordinarily attributed to the retrieval system.

[0026] These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

[0028]FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a yo-yo according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 1A is an exploded perspective view of a yo-yo according to the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1 of the present invention;

[0030]FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the hub area of a yo-yo according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing one of the yo-yo halves in phantom for clarity;

[0031]FIG. 3 is front view of one of the yo-yo halves of a yo-yo according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0032]FIG. 4 is front view of one of the yo-yo halves of a yo-yo according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0033]FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a yo-yo according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention; and,

[0034]FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a yo-yo according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

[0035] In describing the preferred and alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-6, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

[0036] Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, the present invention, in a preferred embodiment, is yo-yo 10 having, in general, yo-yo halves 12 each of which are formed of a central dish-shaped main body 14, preferably of molded plastic material. Threaded brass hub inserts 28 are integrally molded with an enlarged molded plastic hub portion 24 so that the female threads 46 of each hub insert 28 are axially aligned along the axis of rotation C of yo-yo 10.

[0037] An elongated threaded axle 30 is threadably engaged into each of the brass hub inserts 28 so that, when fully threadably engaged as shown in FIG. 1, the distal ends of the axle 30 preferably do not bottom out against the end or bottom of cavity 26 within each hub portion 24.

[0038] As best seen in FIG. 2, the unique overall hub structure of the present invention is shown therein. Shoulder 38 is formed immediately radially adjacent hub insert 28. Shoulder 38 of each main body portion 14 extends longitudinally to the axis C beyond an inward facing surface 34 of each of the yo-yo main body portions 14. Thus, when threaded axle 30 is fully engaged as shown in FIG. 1, shoulders 38 abut one another about a central plane A transverse to the rotational axis C of yo-yo 10. By this arrangement of the abutting shoulders 38, a minimum gap 36 of approximately 0.07″ as shown in FIG. 1 between the inward facing surfaces 34 is established.

[0039] A miniature, precision ball or ceramic bearing 32 is also provided. The inner ring of bearing 32 preferably is forcibly urged onto the cylindrical surface 40 that defines shoulder 38. As best seen in FIG. 2, this cylindrical surface 40 extends inwardly with respect to each inward facing surface 34 so that, when bearing 32 is fully engaged against lip 48, each end of bearing 32 is substantially concealed so that the yo-yo string or tether wrapped around the outer ring of the bearing 32 cannot slip or be worked off of the outer surface of bearing 32.

[0040] The outer ring of the bearing 32 rotates freely due to the clearance provided at surface 42. A small annular notch 44 is also formed radially adjacent bearing clearance surface 42 which appears to provide the operational yo-yo function of interrupting the “sleep” mode of yo-yo operation, so as to allow for yo-yo retrieval and string rewinding. Inward facing surface 34, as best seen in FIG. 1, is substantially flat or lying in the same plane as plane A. However, upon moving radially outwardly from the center of the hub area, inward facing surface 34 preferably tapers off into a substantially arcuate formation.

[0041] Preferably, annular groove 47 is also formed radially adjacent, and concentrically about, annular notch 44 on preferably one yo-yo half 12, wherein annular groove 47 is preferably adapted to receive an annular-shaped, removable elastomeric o-ring 49 therein. Preferably, elastomeric o-ring 49 is retained and seated within groove 47 such that elastomeric o-ring 49 protrudes micro-fractionally therefrom, in the order of approximately 0.005″; thus, supplying sufficient frictional contact with the string of yo-yo 10 for enhanced performance, response, and string rewinding thereof.

[0042] As elastomeric o-ring 49 is preferably removable, it is contemplated that elastomeric o-ring 49 could be replaced with other suitable elastomeric o-rings having different overall thickness and/or surface contour; thus, altering the amount and/or textured characteristic of elastomeric o-ring 49 that protrudes from groove 47 for varied yo-yo 10 performance. Such compatible elastomeric o-rings may include, but are not limited to, flat o-rings, ridged o-rings, textured o-rings, and/or o-rings formed from various elastomeric materials having different or differing coefficients of friction.

[0043] Similarly, while the known, preferred form of o-ring utilized within the present invention is of elastomeric material, it is certainly within the contemplation of the present invention that other, non-elastomeric o-ring materials could be substituted for the elastomeric forms, without changing the purpose or essential nature of the present invention. Such exemplary materials might comprise, without limitation, polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrenic, carbonaceous or carbonized, fiberglass, or bakelite materials, or composites.

[0044] As seen in FIG. 2, the width of gap 36 a may be varied by simply disengaging the two yo-yo halves 12 from one another in very small increments by counterclockwise rotation one to another. As this occurs, the threads of one of the hub inserts 28 will disengage partially from the threaded hub axle 30, as demonstrated by the phantom outline of one of the two partially engaged yo-yo halves 12. This may increase gap 36 a substantially to alter the fashion in which the tether or yo-yo string is wound about the outer ring of bearing 32. However, as shown in phantom in FIG. 2, gap 36 a is somewhat larger than desired and will likely result in the tether or yo-yo string slipping off of one end of the bearing 32, because the spacing 50 between one end of the outer ring of bearing 32 and the annular notch 48 is too great. Accordingly, it will be recognized that during play, gap 36 a would be decreased slightly, so as to eliminate the possibility of the string slipping from bearing 32.

[0045] To insure that yo-yo halves 12 do not rotate one to another when fully or partially engaged and interconnected by the threaded hub shaft 30, conventional tightening and locking means between the male and female threads of the hub shaft 30 and hub insert 28, respectively are provided by making the threaded hub shaft 30 sufficiently long so that the distal threads thereof screw into the unthreaded plastic halves themselves at 52.

[0046] Preferably, to substantially increase the rotational inertia of a yo-yo about its rotational axis, weight rings and/or other known elements that increase spin time and gyroscopic stability are typically utilized. As such, to substantially increase the rotational inertia of yo-yo 10 about rotational axis C, weight rings 16 are preferably disposed in each dish-shaped main body 14 of the two yo-yo halves 12. As more fully detailed below, however, in an alternate embodiment, weight rings 16 may be peripherally displaced, which will affect the rotational inertia of yo-yo 10 for the performance of certain types of tricks and maneuvers that benefit from this alternate feature.

[0047] Preferably, a decorative indicia-bearing disc 20, or pog, is also provided which conceals hub portion 24 and provides for a generally flat appearing surface of the outer side surfaces 54 of yo-yo 10. Such decorative discs 20 are frictionally forcibly engaged into position, as shown in FIG. 1.

[0048] Referring more specifically now to FIGS. 3-4, inward facing surfaces 34 of yo-yo body halves 12 are more fully detailed. As depicted in FIG. 3, elastomeric o-ring 49 is shown seated within annular groove 47. With reference to FIG. 4, as is known within the art, frictional retrieval mechanisms formed on the inner surfaces of yo-yos are typically utilized to increase frictional association with the string of the yo-yo for purposes of enhanced yo-yo performance, response, and string responsiveness. As such, a plurality of ridges 60 concentrically disposed, and extending radially from, annular notch 44, are formed on the yo-yo half 12 that does not possess annular groove 47 and elastomeric ring 49. Ridges 60 are preferably in a starburst formation, although other known configurations may be utilized, wherein ridges 60, in conjunction with the elastomeric o-ring 49, provide further frictional association with the yo-yo string for improved performance and responsiveness. It is to be understood that ridges 60, or any other known structurally and functionally similar frictional retrieval mechanism, is purely optional, and may be utilized in association with or without elastomeric o-ring 49 for effectuating desired yo-yo 10 performance characteristics.

[0049] Referring now more specifically to FIG. 5, illustrated therein is an alternate embodiment of yo-yo 10, wherein the alternate embodiment of FIG. 5 is substantially equivalent in form and function to that of the preferred embodiment detailed and illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 except as hereinafter specifically referenced. Specifically, the embodiment of FIG. 5 replaces weight rings 16 with peripherally disposed weight rings 116, each integrally formed with yo-yo body halves 12, as may be seen with reference to U. S. Pat. No. 6,206,749 B1 issued Mar. 27, 2001 to Bell, the inventor hereof.

[0050] Referring now more specifically to FIG. 6, illustrated therein is an alternate embodiment of yo-yo 10, wherein the alternate embodiment of FIG. 6 is substantially equivalent in form and function to that of the preferred embodiment detailed and illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 except as hereinafter specifically referenced. Specifically, the embodiment of FIG. 6 replaces ridges 60 with annular groove 147 and elastomeric o-ring 149, such that the present alternate embodiment incorporates two elastomeric o-rings, one in each yo-yo half, for increased frictional association with the string of yo-yo 10; thus, permitting the performance of more complex and varied yo-yo movements, tricks and performances that require increased frictional conditions. Such conditions are often preferable during the performance, for example, of advanced looping maneuvers. The present alternate embodiment also replaces weight rings 16 with peripherally disposed weight rings 116, each integrally formed with yo-yo body halves 12, as is known within the art.

[0051] Similarly, it is contemplated that a plurality of concentrically disposed o-rings of increasing diameter may be provided within one or both yo-yo halves to further effectuate the response characteristics of the yo-yo as described hereinabove.

[0052] It will be recognized and appreciated by those ordinarily skilled in the art that the elastomeric o-ring string retrieval system of the yo-yo of the present invention provides extended play without significant degradation to the o-ring retrieval system, which, thereby, reduces or eliminates the requirement for a user to periodically replace the o-ring beyond that required by a player in view of other playability considerations (e.g., the tuning of playability characteristics provided by the specific o-ring form, structure, or material). This, in turn, translates to more consistent and predictable long-term yo-yo play characteristics, without excessive and unduly costly maintenance requirements.

[0053] Additionally, the elastomeric o-ring string retrieval system of the yo-yo of the present invention provides extended play without significant degradation to the o-ring retrieval system, which, thereby, may also act to reduce excess frictional string wear of the type ordinarily attributed to the retrieval system. This, in turn, translates to more consistent and predictable long-term yo-yo play characteristics, without the need to excessively replace the yo-yo string beyond that required by a player in view of other playability considerations (e.g., the soiling of a string over time, the loss in stiffness of a string over time, the loss in twist characteristic of a string over time, or the like).

[0054] Finally, it will be recognized that with some bearings, and especially with metallic bearings, a light degree of lubrication must be applied to control rust and to reduce excessive friction within the bearing itself. With prior art yo-yo string retrieval systems, players often found it necessary to further alter lubrication characteristics within the bearing, such as by more frequently lubricating the bearing and/or altering the bearing lubricant type and properties beyond that recommended by the bearing manufacturer. Players undertook such lubrication modifications and schedules to aid in developing an acceptable balance between the resulting bearing friction as compared to the resulting spin characteristic; thereby affecting, or tuning, the rate and consistency of retrieval of the yo-yo toward the hand resulting from the alteration of bearing lubricity characteristics. Such lubrication schedules, while initially effective, further contributed to lack of long term, consistent play, for the reason that conditions of overlubrication contributed to reduced spin times and undesirable build-up of lubricant or lubricant contaminants within the bearing, in some cases requiring frequent solvent cleaning of the bearing to remedy the condition and restore basic playability. In worst case scenarios, a player might unknowingly choose an incompatible lubricant that would act to degrade the base material of the yo-yo itself, or its other components, irreparably damaging the yo-yo or its components. Advantageously, with the elastomeric o-ring string retrieval system of the yo-yo of the present invention, the requirement upon the player to modify bearing lubrication characteristics, including application and cleaning schedules, beyond that required by the bearing manufacturer, may be reduced or eliminated due to the consistency of play provided by the o-ring response system. Accordingly, the response system of the present invention provides extended, consistent play without significant alteration to the manufacturer's recommended bearing lubrication characteristics, which, in turn, increases overall spin times and avoids excessive bearing maintenance requirements attendant to the use of some prior art yo-yos.

[0055] It should be recognized that the invention disclosed hereinabove may be utilized in association with yo-yos designed for tethered yo-yo play (i.e., wherein the string is affixed to the yo-yo), for freehand play (i.e., wherein the string is affixed to the yo-yo but disjoined from the hand), or for offstring play (i.e., wherein the string is disjoined from both the yo-yo and the hand) all without affecting the scope or characteristic of the invention hereindescribed.

[0056] Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7448934 *Nov 7, 2005Nov 11, 2008Van Dan Elzen Hans WMotor yo-yo
US7621796 *Mar 23, 2006Nov 24, 2009Schonert Matthew CYo-yo having a string-formed response system
US7874891Nov 6, 2008Jan 25, 2011Van Dan Elzen Hans WMotorized yo-yo
US8075365 *Oct 7, 2009Dec 13, 2011Schonert Matthew CYo-yo having a string-formed response system
US8187052Feb 28, 2010May 29, 2012Van Dan Elzen Hans WMotorized yo-yo having improved efficiency
US20130045658 *Feb 12, 2012Feb 21, 2013Joyce AmaralCustomizable Yo-Yo System
WO2005082482A1 *Mar 1, 2005Sep 9, 2005Brendon Michael O'sullivanImprovements to yo-yo recall means
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/247
International ClassificationA63H1/30
Cooperative ClassificationA63H1/30
European ClassificationA63H1/30