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Publication numberUS20060105670 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/988,751
Publication dateMay 18, 2006
Filing dateNov 15, 2004
Priority dateNov 15, 2004
Publication number10988751, 988751, US 2006/0105670 A1, US 2006/105670 A1, US 20060105670 A1, US 20060105670A1, US 2006105670 A1, US 2006105670A1, US-A1-20060105670, US-A1-2006105670, US2006/0105670A1, US2006/105670A1, US20060105670 A1, US20060105670A1, US2006105670 A1, US2006105670A1
InventorsArthur Seymour
Original AssigneeElenco Electronics, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Remote control electronic toy and teaching aid
US 20060105670 A1
Abstract
Disclosed is a toy like system using snap together parts and modules that easily demonstrates the principles required in making a remote controlled vehicle. The system comprises a wireless microphone comprising a touch tone key pad for transmission of both speech and touch tones; a mounting base that allows attachment of modules on both upper and lower faces; a reusable electronic module that contains a touch tone decoder circuit and has means for attaching to other electronic modules; and a reusable electronic module that contains motor driving and steering circuits and has means for attaching to other electronic modules. Thus, the present invention discloses a system comprising a base member with base-attachable modules, which together function to allow for the construction of a remote controlled vehicle using standard touch tone frequencies.
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Claims(21)
1. A quick connect toy vehicle, the quick connect toy vehicle comprising, in combination:
a plurality of interconnectable electronic components, the interconnectable electronic components for forming electronic circuitry;
a substantially planar base member, the base member comprising a first base face, a second base face, and a plurality of snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members, the snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members each comprising a male module-receiving portion, the male module-receiving portions extending outwardly from the first base face, the snap-fitting module-receiving connector members comprising at least one conductive male connector, the conductive male connector being in electrical communication with a conductive female connector member, the conductive female connector member extending outwardly from the second base face opposite the conductive male connector; and
a plurality of modules, each module comprising a substantially planar interface portion and a plurality of snap-fitting module connector members, the interface portion comprising a first module face and a second module face, the snap-fitting module connector members each comprising a female connector portion and a male connector portion, the female connector portions being in electrical communication with the male connector portions, the female connector portions extending outwardly from the first module face, the male connector portions extending outwardly from the second module face, the female connector portions of at least one first module being cooperatively associated with the male module-receiving portions to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male module-receiving portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple and mechanically attach the module to the base member, the female connector portions of at least one second module being cooperatively associated with male connector portions of the first module to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male connector portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the first and second modules to one another, at least one third module, the third module comprising roller means for movement, the third module being cooperatively associated with the female connector member to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the female connector member to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the third module to the base member.
2. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 1 wherein the base member, the interface portion, and a plurality of male module-receiving connector members are constructed from electrically non-conductive material.
3. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 2 wherein the non-conductive material is selected from the group consisting of plastic, wood, paperboard, cardboard, and rubber, the base member comprising a foraminous portion with a matrix of openings therein.
4. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 1 wherein the roller means for movement is defined by an axle assembly, the axle assembly comprising at least one axle member, each axle member having a pair of rotatable wheels cooperatively associated therewith.
5. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 1 wherein the third module comprises at least one DC motor, the DC motor being securely mounted to the third module.
6. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 5 wherein the DC motor mechanically operates the third module via a first select mechanical connection, the first select mechanical connection being selected from the group consisting of a direct connection and a geared ratio connection.
7. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 1 wherein the snap-fitting module-receiving connector members comprises a plurality of conductive male connectors, the conductive male connectors each being in electrical communication with a female connector member, the female connector members extending outwardly from the second base face opposite the conductive male connectors, the quick connect toy comprising a solenoid, the solenoid comprising at least one male solenoid connector member, the male solenoid connector member being cooperatively associated with at least one female connector member to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the female connector member to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the solenoid to the base member.
8. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 7 wherein the third module comprises electronic steering means, the electronic steering means for steering the roller means for movement, the electronic steering means enabled via a second select mechanical connection, the second select mechanical connection being selected from the group consisting of a direct mechanical connection, a geared ratio connection, and a solenoid connection.
9. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 1 wherein the snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members and the snap-fitting module connector members comprise select metal male connector structure and select metal female connector structure, the select metal male connector structure selected from the group consisting of snaps, pegs, pins, posts, pedestals, and plugs; the select metal female connector structure being selected from the group consisting of sockets, receptacles, grommets, rings, and tubes.
10. The quick connect toy vehicle of claim 1 wherein at least one module comprises electronic voltage reversal means, the electronic voltage reversal means for reversing motor voltage and steering voltage, the electronic voltage reversal means comprising snap-fitting means, the snap-fitting means being cooperatively associated with a select toy structure to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the select toy structure to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the electronic voltage reversal means to the select toy structure, the select toy structure being selected from the group consisting of the base member and at least one module.
11. A quick connect electronic circuit system, the quick connect electronic circuit system comprising, in combination:
a plurality of interconnectable electronic components, the interconnectable electronic components for forming an electronic circuit;
a base member, the base member comprising a first base face, a second base face, and a plurality of snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members, the snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members each comprising a male module-receiving portion, the male module-receiving portions extending outwardly from the first base face, the snap-fitting module-receiving connector members comprising at least one conductive male connector, the conductive male connector being in electrical communication with a female connector member, the female connector extending outwardly from the second base face opposite the conductive male connector; and
a plurality of modules, each module comprising a substantially planar interface portion and a plurality of snap-fitting module connector members, the interface portion comprising a first module face and a second module face, the snap-fitting module connector members each comprising a female connector portion and a male connector portion, the female connector portions being in electrical communication with the male connector portions, the female connector portions extending outwardly from the first module face, the male connector portions extending outwardly from the second module face, the female connector portions of at least one first module being cooperatively associated with the male module-receiving portions to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male module-receiving portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple and mechanically attach the module to the base member, the female connector portions of at least one second module being cooperatively associated with male connector portions of the first module to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male connector portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the first and second modules to one another, at least one third module, the third module comprising a decoding circuit, the decoding circuit for decoding standard touch tone frequencies to provide a binary output, the binary output correspondingly relating to a touch tone frequency pair, the touch tone frequency pair being present at a module input connector, the electronic components being in electrical communication with a plurality of select connector members, the select connector members being selected from the group consisting of the module-receiving connector members and the module connector members.
12. A wireless microphone, the wireless microphone comprising an oscillator and a microphone, the oscillator for frequency modulating a select signal, the select signal being selected from within the standard commercial FM band of 88 megahertz to 108 megahertz, the microphone comprising a key pad, the key pad for generating at least one standard telephonic touch tone pair of frequencies.
13. A quick connect electronic circuit system, the quick connect electronic system comprising, in combination:
a plurality of interconnectable electronic components, the interconnectable electronic components for forming an electronic circuit;
a base member, the base member comprising a first base face, a second base face, and a plurality of snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members, the snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members each comprising a male module-receiving portion, the male module-receiving portions extending outwardly from the first base face, the snap-fitting module-receiving connector members comprising at least one conductive male connector, the conductive male connector being in electrical communication with a female connector member, the female connector extending outwardly from the second base face opposite the conductive male connector; and
a plurality of modules, each module comprising a substantially planar interface portion and a plurality of snap-fitting module connector members, the interface portion comprising a first module face and a second module face, the snap-fitting module connector members each comprising a female connector portion and a male connector portion, the female connector portions being in electrical communication with the male connector portions, the female connector portions extending outwardly from the first module face, the male connector portions extending outwardly from the second module face, the female connector portions of at least one first module being cooperatively associated with the male module-receiving portions to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male module-receiving portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple and mechanically attach the module to the base member, the female connector portions of at least one second module being cooperatively associated with male connector portions of the first module to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male connector portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the first and second modules to one another, the modules thus being mounted on the base member and electronically connected to one another to form a movable and steerable vehicle, the movable and steerable vehicle being remotely movable and steerable by touch tone frequency signals, the touch tone frequency signals emanating from remotely located touch tone transmitting means.
14. The quick connect electronic circuit system of claim 13 wherein the touch tone transmitting means is defined by a wireless microphone, the wireless microphone comprising an oscillator and a microphone, the oscillator for frequency modulating a select signal, the select signal being selected from within the standard commercial FM band of 88 megahertz to 108 megahertz, the microphone comprising a key pad, the key pad for generating at least one standard telephonic touch tone pair of frequencies.
15. The quick connect electronic circuit system of claim 13 wherein the base member, the interface portion, and a plurality of male module-receiving connector members are constructed from electrically non-conductive material.
16. The quick connect electronic circuit system of claim 13 wherein at least one module comprises electronic voltage reversal means, the electronic voltage reversal means for reversing motor voltage and steering voltage, the electronic voltage reversal means comprising snap-fitting means, the snap-fitting means being cooperatively associated with a select toy structure to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the select toy structure to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the electronic voltage reversal means to the select circuit structure, the select circuit structure being selected from the group consisting of the base member and at least one module.
17. A remote control toy system, the remote control toy system comprising a remotely controllable toy and touch tone transmitting means, the remotely controllable toy comprising a plurality of remotely controllable movable portions, frequency receiving means, frequency decoding means, electronic circuitry and power source means, the movable portions being remotely controllable via a plurality of user-selected touch tone frequencies, each touch tone frequency for controlling at least one movable portion, the touch tone frequencies being remotely transmittable to and receivable by the frequency receiving means, the frequency decoding means operably connected to the frequency receiving means, the movable portions, and the power source means via the electronic circuitry for controlling the movable portions.
18. The remote control toy system of claim 17 wherein the touch tone frequencies are standard telephonic touch tone frequencies.
19. The remote control toy system of claim 18 wherein the remotely controllable movable portions, frequency receiving means, frequency decoding means, electronic circuitry and power source means are housed within modules, the modules comprising snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members and snap-fitting module connector members, the connector members for snap-fittingly receiving and matingly engaging adjacent modules to one another to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect adjacent modules.
20. The remote control toy system of claim 19 wherein the modules are mounted on a base member and electronically connected to one another to form a movable and steerable vehicle, the movable and steerable vehicle being remotely movable and steerable by the touch tone frequencies, the touch tone frequencies emanating from the touch tone transmitting means.
21. The remote control toy system of claim 20 wherein the touch tone transmitting means is defined by a wireless microphone, the wireless microphone comprising an oscillator and a microphone, the oscillator for frequency modulating a select signal, the select signal being selected from within the standard commercial FM band of 88 megahertz to 108 megahertz, the microphone comprising a key pad, the key pad for generating at least one standard telephonic touch tone pair of frequencies.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention generally relates to devices used with circuits that may be easily and quickly connected together or assembled. More particularly, the present invention relates to circuits that may be constructed by children or students learning the underlying principles of electronics as incorporated into remote control vehicles and the like.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Quick connect electronic toys currently available typically consist of a box of electronic devices mounted to quick connect modules. Diagrams for hundreds of circuits are included to educate a student or entertain a child. When these circuits are assembled, the child or student can listen to a radio station, send a flying saucer on a mission, or create and store sounds to name just a few. Further, there are educational toys that require use of a mechanical connector, which connector enables users to quickly and easily assemble electronic circuits. Many of these circuits may then also be used to amuse a child and/or teach some mechanical or electronic principle.
  • [0003]
    Notably, during the construction of remote control vehicles a skill such as soldering is also often required to assemble the components. It is on object of this invention to minimize the assembly requirements while at the same time enhancing the educational benefits of the invention. By cooperatively associating touch tones with the wireless microphone the user can harness the use of vocal frequencies or voice transmissions along with touch tone frequencies to control the motion of the invention. Since decoding and motor controls are handled by easy to connect modules, assembly is quick and simple.
  • [0004]
    Remote control toys that exist on the market today are often preassembled and require no more than insertion of batteries before operation. There is very little, if anything, being taught on how the toy functions. Thus, it is a further object of this invention to utilize quick connect modules in combination with additional quick connect modules to construct an educational, remote controlled toy. The educational, remote controlled toy, through its assembly and operation, man effectively function to teach the user how the controls operate and other underlying mechanical and electronic principles.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    To achieve these and other readily apparent objectives, the present invention provides a remote control electronic toy and teaching aid comprising a touch tone decoder module, a wireless FM microphone with touch tone generator, a motor and steering module, and an inventive base capable of mounting components on both a top surface and a bottom surface.
  • [0006]
    The new base of the present invention provides for electrical current to pass from the top face of the base to the bottom face of the base. In this way the motor and steering module or modules attached to the bottom face of the base may be controlled from the snap together circuits on the top face of the base. At the same time the new base provides for mechanical means of attachment between the base platform and the motor and steering module or modules. Further, the present invention provides a novel module designed to decode the standard touch tone frequencies and provide up to 16 digital output combinations depending on the combination of the tones transmitted. This feature allows 15 different functions on the remote vehicle and an off position when all outputs are zero. This module requires only a single audio input that may be driven by the output of an FM radio, cellular telephone, cordless telephone, a memory circuit, or any other device that can receive or can reproduce the standard touch tone frequencies.
  • [0007]
    An additional novel module is provided to process the output of the touch tone decoder and provide appropriate power to the driving motor and/or the steering mechanism. This module also reverses the output of the voltage polarities to provide for reverse direction or turning in the opposite direction when the output of the touch tone decoder indicates these are the desired commands.
  • [0008]
    A further component of the present invention is a wireless microphone that contains a touch tone keypad to allow the transmission of speech and touch tone frequencies. The microphone may be tuned to any allowed radio frequency to match the receiver module on the remote unit. In one embodiment an FM radio receiver is utilized and an FM wireless microphone with crystal controlled frequency in the FM band provides the transmission of both voice and touch tone frequency. A standard touch tone keypad is designed into the microphone to allow up to 12 different tone combinations. It is contemplated that the receiver could be a cellular phone with auto answering and a special earphone connector to electronically connect the output of the phone to the decoder. If the cellular phone is equipped with a camera, visual feedback of the vehicular environment is possible from distances limited only by the cellular phone capability. Since all cellular phones produce touch tone frequencies, a user could also control the remote control vehicle from the calling phone and view the remote vehicular environment if the user's phone is so equipped.
  • [0009]
    Other objects of the present invention, as well as particular features, elements, and advantages thereof, will be elucidated in, or apparent from, the following description and the accompanying drawing figures.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    Other features of my invention will become more evident from a consideration of the following brief description of patent drawings, as follows:
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 fragmentary perspective view of a motor and steering module 100 with parts broken away to show a battery compartment 103, a motor 105 and steering mechanism 110.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is an electrical schematic of electronic components enclosed in the motor and steering module 100.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an insulative base panel 300.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of a motor control module 400 with parts broken away to show spaced connectors 410-414 and a circuit board 450.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of motor control module 400, insulative base 300, and motor and steering module 100.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is an electrical schematic of the electronic components enclosed in control module 400.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view of a power source module assembly showing a power source module 700 designed to hold one 9 volt battery 750.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8 is an electrical schematic of the electronic components enclosed in the power source module 700.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 9 is a fragmentary perspective view of a touch tone decoder module 900 with parts removed to show a binary output 911 and an electronic circuit board 925.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 10 is an electrical schematic of the electronic components enclosed in the touch tone decoder module 900.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of touch tone decoder module 900, power source module 700, motor control module 400, insulative base 300, motor and steering module 100 and various other snap together components 10-20.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 12 is a block diagram of the preferred embodiment of the remote control electronic toy and teaching aid of the present invention.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 13 is a plan view of a hand held wireless microphone 200 with a standard telephone type keypad 205 that generates the standard touch tone frequencies.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 14 is an electrical schematic of the electronic components enclosed in the wireless microphone 200.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 15 is a table outlining sixteen (16) possible inputs to the control module 400 and the outputs related to each input.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0026]
    Referring more particularly to the drawings, the preferred embodiment of the present invention generally concerns a remote control electronic toy and teaching aid 1 as generally referenced in block diagram form in FIG. 12. Remote control electronic toy and teaching aid 1 generally comprises an improved mounting base member or base panel 300, a motor and steering module 100, a motor control module 400, a wireless microphone with touch tone keypad 200, a touchtone decoder module 900, a new power source module 700, and other existing modules and components 10-19. By proper assembly of these components as shown in FIG. 11, a remote controlled toy vehicle can be constructed.
  • [0027]
    As earlier noted, FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a motor and steering module 100 with parts broken away to show a battery compartment 103, a motor 105 and steering mechanism 110. Motor and steering module 100 provides forward and reverse motion along with steering capability. This module 100 also contains a battery compartment 103 to power both the motor 105 and the steering mechanism 110. DC voltage output terminal for B+ 115 is connected for safety protection through a PTC resetable fuse 125 to the plus 6V terminal of the battery 130. DC voltage output 120 is connected directly to the minus 6V terminal 135 of the battery. The first Motor Connector input 140 is connected to inductor 145 which is connected to capacitor 148 and motor lead 150 to eliminate as much radiation from the DC motor 105 as possible. The other Motor Connector input 141 is connected to inductor 146 which is connected to capacitor 149 and motor lead 151 to eliminate as much radiation from the DC motor 105 as possible. The Steering Connector inputs 160 and 161 are connected directly to the steering motor 110. By various connections of the battery output connectors 115, 120 to the motor connectors 140, 141 and steering connectors 160, 161 the motor and steering module 100 may be driven forward or backward and made to turn to the left or to the right.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of insulative base panel 300 preferably constructed of an insulating material such as plastic. On one side of this base panel 300 there exists an array of posts 305 that are spaced to accept attachment of modules containing electronic parts or circuits. Also on this base panel 300 there is an arrangement of connectors 310-315 that allow for connection to a module on the non-post side of the panel. These connectors 310-315 are conductive through the base panel 300 in such a manner that electrical current and voltages may pass from the top of the base panel 300 to the bottom of the base panel 300. These conductive connectors 310-315 are also arranged to directly mate with the connectors located on the motor and steering module 100.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of motor control module 400 with parts broken away to show spaced connectors 410-414 and a circuit board 450. Motor control module 400 is designed for attachment to conductive connectors 310-314 on base panel 300. The motor control outputs 410, 411 are designed to provide an electrical connection directly to the base panel connectors 310, 311 respectively. One (1) steering control output 414 is designed to provide an electrical connection directly to the base panel connector 314 the other steering control output 415 is connected to the steering motor input 315 by using an external jumper wire. The power inputs 412, 413 are designed to provide an electrical connection directly to the base panel connectors 312, 313 respectively. The control module has four (4) binary inputs 420-423 to set the state of the outputs. The input to output relationship is further illustrated in FIG. 5. This relationship is set by the electronic circuit board 450 that contains electronic components such as, but not limited to, transistors 451 and resistors 452.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 7 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view of a power source module assembly showing a power source module 700 designed to hold one 9 volt battery 750. The module has a positive terminal and a negative terminal that are designed to connect to a standard 9 volt battery 750. The positive terminal is used to drive a 5 volt regulator integrated circuit 705. The power source module has a positive 5 volt output connector and a zero volt output connector.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 9 is a fragmentary perspective view of a touch tone decoder module 900 with parts removed to show one of several binary outputs (as referenced at 911) and an electronic circuit board 925. The touch tone decoder module 900 preferably comprises one audio input 905 and four binary outputs 910-913. Power is supplied to the internal circuit through the plus 5 volt input connector 920 and the ground or zero volt input connector 921. The touch tone decoder module 900 preferably further contains an electronic circuit board 925 with electronic components such as, but not limited to, transistors 930 and resistors 931.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of touch tone decoder module 900, power source module 700, motor control module 400, insulative base 300, motor and steering module 100 and various other snap together components 10-20.
  • [0033]
    Thus, it will be understood that when the motor and steering module 100 is properly attached to the lower face of the base panel 300, the base panel connectors 310, 311 provide electrical feed through the base panel 300 to the motor input connectors 140, 141 located on the motor and steering module 100. In this manner the motor control outputs 410, 411 on the motor control module connect through the base panel conductive connectors 310, 311 to the motor input connectors 140, 141 and provide control of forward, reverse, or stop to the DC motor 105. In a similar manner the steering control output 414 connects to the steering mechanism input 161 via the base panel connector 314. The other steering mechanism input 160 is connected through the base panel connector 313 to a jumper lead 19. The other end of this jumper lead 19 is then connected to the steering control output 415. In this manner the steering control outputs 414, 415 connect to the steering input connectors 161, 160 respectively, and provide control of turning right, turning left, or going straight. Power is supplied to the control module 400 through connectors 412, 413 via the male part of base connectors 312, 313 on the base panel top face. Base panel female connectors 312, 313 on the base panel bottom face, mate with the male connectors 120, 115 respectively on the motor and steering module 100. A thermal fuse 125, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, limits current from the battery holder 103 and provides protection to external circuits, including but not limited to the control module 400.
  • [0034]
    After insertion of batteries into the motor and steering module 100 and assembly of modules 100, 300, and 400 as shown in FIG. 5, Table 1 (as presented in FIG. 15) can be determined. By adjusting the voltage at the control module input connectors 420-423 between zero volts as a binary 0 and 5 volts as a binary 1, the function column in Table 1 can be verified. The duplicated functions shown in Table 1 could be used to perform different operations on future assemblies without loss of control functions. As can be seen from an inspection of Table 1, the toy vehicle assembled as shown in FIG. 5 is capable of turning left or right without movement. It can also go straight forward, forward to the left, forward to the right, straight in reverse, reverse to the left, or reverse to the right. The particular function only depends on the state of the input connectors 420-423 which eventually drives the motor and steering module 100.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 6 shows an electronic circuit that will accomplish the requirements as detailed in Table 1. All the transistors are used as switches that are either conducting, “On”, or not conducting, “Off”. When input connector 420 is at a binary 0, Transistor Q3 is Off. Since no current flows through transistor Q3, transistors Q10 and Q13 are also Off. If input connector 420 is at a binary 1, Transistor Q3 is On. Since current flows through transistor Q3, transistors Q10 and Q13 are also switched On. This allows current to flow from B+ at connector 413, through transistor Q13 and out to steering motor through connector 415. This same current returning from the steering motor enters the motor control module 400 through connector 414 and passes through transistor Q10 to the ground connector 412 and back to the battery. This process forces the wheels to turn to the left.
  • [0036]
    When input connector 421 is at a binary 0, Transistors Q9 and Q14 are Off. Since no current flows through transistor Q9, transistors Q11 and Q12 are also Off. Since transistor Q14 is Off the input at connector 420 is not affected. If input connector 420 is at a binary 1, Transistor Transistors Q9 and Q14 are On. Since current flows through transistor Q9, transistors Q11 and Q12 are also switched On. This allows current to flow from B+ at connector 413, through transistor Q11 and out to steering motor through connector 414. This same current returning from the steering motor enters the motor control module 400 through connector 415 and passes through transistor Q12 to the ground connector 412 and back to the battery. This process forces the wheels to turn to the right because the current through the motor has been reversed from the previous process. When Q14 is on it forces transistor Q3 to be Off and the state of the binary input at connector 420 has no affect. Therefore, when both connectors 420 and 421 are at a binary state 1, the wheels will turn to the right.
  • [0037]
    Since the motor control uses the same circuitry as the steering motor control, the operation of the remaining transistors in FIG. 6 is identical. The touch tone decoder module 900, shown in FIG. 9, accepts a single touch tone input signal through connector 905 and converts that signal to a weighted binary code on the output connectors 910-913. For example, if a touch tone frequency corresponding to a 7 on a touch tone key pad is received at input connector 905, the output connectors 910, 911, and 912 would be a binary 1 with connector 913 at a binary zero. FIG. 10 shows that output 910 corresponds to a decimal weight of 1, output 911 corresponds to a decimal weight of 2, output 912 corresponds to a decimal weight of 4, and output 913 corresponds to a decimal weight of 8. Since 910, 911, and 912 are true, at a binary 1 state, the number decoded is equal to the decimal number 1+2+4 or 7, the touch tone number that was received at the input. This can also be seen in the eighth row of Table 1 where the Key number is 7. This process is used to convert all the touch tone frequencies that exist on a normal telephone to a 4 bit binary number. This binary number is used to control the motor and steering module 100.
  • [0038]
    When all the modules are assembled as generally shown in FIG. 11, a toy size moving vehicle is constructed. This moving vehicle uses a FM receiver 10 to receive the touch tones and voice from a wireless microphone 200 similar to the one shown in FIG. 13. The signals from the FM receiver are adjusted in amplitude by a loudness control 12 and then amplified by an electronic amplifier 13. The modules 10, 13, and 900 receive their power from an isolated power source module 700 to remove all motor noise and undesired spurious responses. The power source module 700 uses connectors 715 and 710 to make connection with the terminals on a standard 9 volt battery 750. A 5 volt regulating integrated circuit 705 inside the power supply module 700 reduces the voltage to 5 volts and protects the battery 750 from excessive current or shorts between power supply module connectors 720 and 725. A switch 730 is attached to power supply module 700 to allow user to turn the power off. The amplified audio from the amplifier 13 drives both the touch tone decoder module 900 and a speaker 11. Thus voice transmissions and touch tone frequencies are converted into audible sound. A capacitor 15 is added for filtering power and a Light Emitting Diode 14 to indicate when power is on. All these modules and components are electronically connected by using conductive strips 16, conductive spacers 17, and jumper wires 18.
  • [0039]
    Once assembled and batteries are installed, the toy vehicle with FM radio module 10 can receive normal FM broadcast, or transmissions from a wireless microphone 200. When pressed the key pad 205 on the wireless microphone 200 transmits frequency modulated touch tone frequencies in the standard FM broadcast band of 88 MHz to 108 Mhz. To transmit voice the user speaks into the microphone hole 240 located on the wireless microphone. In this way the FM modulated transmissions from the wireless microphone antenna 210 can carry music, voice, or touch tones to the FM receiver. A power indictor light 215 and a switch 230 are used for power on/off control. Another switch 220 is used to switch the carrier frequency to prevent interference when transmitting in proximity of another wireless microphone. A schematic for a wireless microphone that can transmit voice and transmit touch tone frequencies is shown in FIG. 14.
  • [0040]
    Thus it will be understood that here disclosed is a quick connect toy vehicle or electronic circuit system, which comprises, in combination a plurality of interconnectable electronic components, a base member, and a plurality of modules. The electronic components are interconnectable for forming electronic circuitry. The base member is preferably substantially planar and thus comprises a first base face, a second base face, and a plurality of snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members. The snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members each preferably comprise a male module-receiving portion, which portions extend outwardly (preferably orthogonally) from the first base face. The snap-fitting module-receiving connector members comprise at least one conductive male connector in electrical communication with a conductive female connector member, which conductive female connector member extends outwardly (preferably orthogonally) from the second base face opposite the conductive male connector.
  • [0041]
    Each module preferably comprises a substantially planar interface portion and a plurality of snap-fitting module connector members. The interface portion comprises a first module face and a second module face, and the snap-fitting module connector members each comprise a female connector portion and a male connector portion. The female connector portions are preferably in electrical communication with the male connector portions and extend outwardly from the first module face. The male connector portions extend outwardly from the second module face. The female connector portions of at least one first module are thus cooperatively associated with the male module-receiving portions to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male module-receiving portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple and mechanically attach the particular module to the base member. The female connector portions of at least one second module are cooperatively associated with male connector portions of the first module to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the male connector portions to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the first and second modules to one another.
  • [0042]
    At least one third module comprises roller means for movement and is cooperatively associated with the female connector member of the base member to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the female connector member to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the third module to the base member.
  • [0043]
    Notably, the base member, the interface portion, and a plurality of male module-receiving connector members are constructed from electrically non-conductive material, which material may be selected from the group consisting of plastic, wood, paperboard, cardboard, and rubber. Of further importance is that the base member may comprise a foraminous portion with a matrix of openings therein. It is contemplated that the roller means for movement may preferably be defined by an axle assembly, the axle assembly comprising at least one axle member, each axle member having a pair of rotatable wheels cooperatively associated therewith.
  • [0044]
    The third module may preferably comprise at least one DC motor securely mounted to the third module. The DC motor is designed to mechanically operate the third module via a first select mechanical connection, the first select mechanical connection being selected from the group consisting of a direct connection and a geared ratio connection.
  • [0045]
    The snap-fitting module-receiving connector members may comprise more than one or a plurality of conductive male connectors, each being in electrical communication with a female connector member (each female connector member extending outwardly from the second base face opposite a conductive male connector). The quick connect toy may further comprise a solenoid comprising at least one male solenoid connector member. The male solenoid connector member is cooperatively associated with at least one female connector member to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the female connector member to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the solenoid to the base member.
  • [0046]
    Further, the third module may comprise electronic steering means for steering the roller means for movement. The electronic steering means are enabled via a second select mechanical connection, which second select mechanical connection may be selected from the group consisting of a direct mechanical connection, a geared ratio connection, and a solenoid connection.
  • [0047]
    As earlier specified, the snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members and the snap-fitting module connector members comprise select metal male connector structure and select metal female connector structure, the select metal male connector structure selected from the group consisting of snaps, pegs, pins, posts, pedestals, and plugs; the select metal female connector structure being selected from the group consisting of sockets, receptacles, grommets, rings, and tubes. Further, at least one module may preferably comprise electronic voltage reversal means for reversing motor voltage and steering voltage. The electronic voltage reversal means preferably comprises snap-fitting means (such as the select male connector structure and select female connector structure), which snap-fitting means are cooperatively associated with a select toy structure to snap-fittingly receive and matingly engage the select toy structure to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect the electronic voltage reversal means to the select toy structure. The select toy structure may be selected from the group consisting of the base member and at least one module.
  • [0048]
    While the above description contains much specificity, this specificity should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of the invention. For example, it is contemplated that the principles of the present invention may be easily incorporated into various applications other than remote control toys. More particularly, it is contemplated that the principles may be incorporated into the design of broader based remote control machinery such as robots and the like so that students of electrical circuitry and the like may graduate into more involved developments. Further, it is contemplated that a remote control toy system is disclosed, which remote control toy system comprises a remotely controllable toy and touch tone transmitting means, the remotely controllable toy comprising a plurality of remotely controllable movable portions, frequency receiving means, frequency decoding means, electronic circuitry and power source means. The movable portions are remotely controllable via a plurality of user-selected touch tone frequencies, each touch tone frequency for controlling at least one movable portion and being remotely transmittable to and receivable by the frequency receiving means. The frequency decoding means are operably connected to the frequency receiving means, the movable portions, and the power source means via the electronic circuitry for controlling the movable portions. It is contemplated that the touch tone frequencies are standard telephonic-type touch tone frequencies.
  • [0049]
    As has been earlier described, it is preferred that the remotely controllable movable portions, frequency receiving means, frequency decoding means, electronic circuitry and power source means are housed within modules, the modules comprising snap-fitting, module-receiving connector members and snap-fitting module connector members, the connector members for snap-fittingly receiving and matingly engaging adjacent modules to one another to releasably secure, interlockingly couple, mechanically attach and electronically connect adjacent modules. The modules preferably mount to a base member and are electronically connected to one another to form a movable and steerable vehicle, the movable and steerable vehicle being remotely movable and steerable by the touch tone frequencies, which emanate from the touch tone transmitting means. The touch tone transmitting means may be defined by a wireless microphone, the wireless microphone comprising an oscillator and a microphone, the oscillator for frequency modulating a select signal, the select signal being selected from within the standard commercial FM band of 88 megahertz to 108 megahertz, the microphone comprising a key pad, the key pad for generating at least one standard telephonic touch tone pair of frequencies.
  • [0050]
    Accordingly, although the invention has been described by reference to a preferred embodiment, and two alterative embodiments, it is not intended that the novel assembly or apparatus be limited thereby, but that modifications thereof are intended to be included as falling within the broad scope and spirit of the foregoing disclosure, the following claims and the appended drawings.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7684911Jun 20, 2005Mar 23, 2010Gm Global Technology Operations, Inc.Suspension control calibration integrity
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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/456
International ClassificationA63H30/04
Cooperative ClassificationA63H30/04, A63H17/002
European ClassificationA63H30/04, A63H17/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 6, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: ELENCO ELECTRONICS, INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SEYMOUR, ARTHUR F.;REEL/FRAME:016044/0264
Effective date: 20041108
Jul 11, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ELENCO ELECTRONICS INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SEYMOUR, ARTHUR;REEL/FRAME:019554/0137
Effective date: 20070703