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Publication numberUS20060105857 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/990,853
Publication dateMay 18, 2006
Filing dateNov 17, 2004
Priority dateNov 17, 2004
Publication number10990853, 990853, US 2006/0105857 A1, US 2006/105857 A1, US 20060105857 A1, US 20060105857A1, US 2006105857 A1, US 2006105857A1, US-A1-20060105857, US-A1-2006105857, US2006/0105857A1, US2006/105857A1, US20060105857 A1, US20060105857A1, US2006105857 A1, US2006105857A1
InventorsDavid Stark
Original AssigneeStark David A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Athletic ball telemetry apparatus and method of use thereof
US 20060105857 A1
Abstract
An athletic ball includes a receiver, a processor, a transmitter, a power source and/or a multiplexing signal relay. The athletic ball receives GPS signal date from earth-orbiting satellites in order to determine the location of the ball. An output device is utilized to display the ball location and/or provide analytical data pertaining to movement of the athletic ball.
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Claims(21)
1. An athletic ball comprising:
a receiver, said receiver configured to receive GPS signal data;
a microprocessor, said microprocessor configured to triangulate received GPS signal data and determine ball position; and
a transmitter, said transmitter configured to transmit said ball position to an output device.
2. The athletic ball of claim 1, further comprising a power source.
3. The athletic ball of claim 2, wherein the power source is a battery.
4. The athletic ball of claim 1, wherein the output device is a portable electronic device having a graphical display.
5. The athletic ball of claim 4, wherein the portable electronic device includes capability for showing computed location of the ball on a graphical map.
6. The athletic ball of claim 4, wherein the portable electronic device includes capability for transmitting signals to the ball.
7. The athletic ball of claim 1, wherein the ball is a golf ball having a dimpled exterior surface.
8. An athletic ball comprising:
a multiplexing signal relay, said relay configured to receive signals simultaneously broadcast by a plurality of earth-orbiting satellites and communicate the received satellite signals to a position-processing output device.
9. The athletic ball of claim 8, further comprising a power source.
10. The athletic ball of claim 9, wherein the power source is a battery.
11. The athletic ball of claim 8, wherein the position-processing output device is a handheld computer having a graphical display.
12. The athletic ball of claim 11, wherein the handheld computer includes capability for computing and graphically mapping a location of the ball.
13. The athletic ball of claim 11, wherein the handheld computer includes capability for transmitting at least one signal to the ball.
14. The athletic ball of claim 8, further comprising a movement sensor.
15. The athletic ball of claim 14, wherein the movement sensor is a piezoelectric sensor.
16. The athletic ball of claim 8, wherein the ball is a golf ball having a dimpled exterior surface.
17. A method for determining the telemetry of an athletic ball, said method comprising:
providing an athletic ball having a GPS receiver, a microprocessor, and a transmitter;
receiving satellite signal data into the receiver included within the ball;
processing the received data to compute the position of the ball; and
transmitting the computed ball location to an output device.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising providing an athletic ball having a power source.
19. The method of claim 17, further comprising transmitting a signal from the output device to the athletic ball.
20. The method of claim 17, wherein the output device is a portable electronic device having capability to graphically display the location of the ball.
21. The method of claim 17, further comprising tracking the ball while playing a game of golf.
Description
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Technical Field

This invention relates generally to athletic balls. More particularly, this invention provides for an athletic ball comprising a GPS receiver, a microprocessor and a transmitter for determining the telemetry of the ball and a corresponding method of use thereof.

2. Related Art

Various athletic games, like baseball, softball, lacrosse, golf and other similar sports employ the use of athletic balls. Often it is advantageous to have access to telemetric data pertaining to athletic ball position and/or ball movement dynamics such as variable direction, velocity and/or acceleration. Improvements in sports performance time and again result from investigation into the physics of the sport. Accordingly, athletes and others have a desire to evaluate various physical characteristics of athletic ball movement by analyzing telemetric data pertaining to athletic balls. By way of example, hitting coaches may seek to review telemetric data corresponding to how fast a baseball accelerates and how far it flies after being hit by a particular batter or lacrosse coaches may want to track ball movement during a game to study strength of field.

Ball location is particularly critical in the game of golf. Golfers seek to position a golf ball strategically throughout a series of ball movements on a golf course. Thus, it is advantageous to understand flight characteristics of a golf ball in order to gain knowledge and skill needed better maneuver a ball on a course. Furthermore, during a typical golf game, it is not uncommon for a golf ball to become obscured from view by course terrain. Hence various devices and methods have been implemented to provide information about golf ball flight dynamics and/or to locate hit golf balls. However, the various devices and methods are inadequate in that the devices and methods do not provide an athletic ball affording capability for receiving, processing, transmitting, and/or relaying GPS signal data pertaining to the ball. Instead the various devices and methods relevant to a golf ball, and/or athletic balls in general, employ positioning of additional exterior implements and/or devices to accomplish telemetric analysis of the ball

Accordingly, there is a need for an improved athletic ball design including a receiver, a processor, a transmitter, and/or a multiplexing signal relay to determine the telemetry of the athletic ball and a corresponding method of operation pertinent ball use.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an athletic ball telemetry apparatus that offers improved operability.

A first general aspect of the invention provides for an athletic ball comprising a receiver, the receiver being configured to receive GPS signal data, a microprocessor, the microprocessor being configured to triangulate received GPS signal data and determine ball position, and a transmitter, the transmitter being configured to transmit ball position to an output device.

A second general aspect of the invention provides for an athletic ball comprising a multiplexing signal relay, said relay configured to receive signals simultaneously broadcast by a plurality of earth-orbiting satellites and communicate the received satellite signals to a position-processing output device.

A third general aspect of the invention provides for a method for determining the telemetry of an athletic ball, wherein the method comprises providing an athletic ball having a GPS receiver, a microprocessor, and a transmitter, receiving satellite signal data into the receiver included within the ball, processing the received data to compute the position of the ball; and transmitting the computed ball location to an output device.

The foregoing and other features of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of various embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some of the embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein like designations denote like members, wherein:

FIG. 1 depicts a front view of an embodiment of an athletic golf ball, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 depicts a sectional view of an embodiment of an athletic golf ball, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 depicts a front view of an embodiment of an athletic baseball, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 depicts a sectional view of an embodiment of an athletic baseball, in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 5 depicts a schematic illustration of an embodiment of a method of using an embodiment of an athletic ball, in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Although certain embodiments of the present invention will be shown and described in detail, it should be understood that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the appended claims. The scope of the present invention will in no way be limited to the number of constituting components, the materials thereof, the shapes thereof, the relative arrangement thereof, etc., and are disclosed simply as an example of an embodiment. The features and advantages of the present invention are illustrated in detail in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout the drawings.

As a preface to the detailed description, it should be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a”, “an” and “the” include plural referents, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 depicts a front view of one embodiment of an athletic ball such as golf ball 100, in accordance with the present invention. The athletic golf ball 100 may have a dimpled outer surface 10. The dimpled outer surface 10 may be geometrically designed to provide aerodynamic flight characteristics desirable for accurate ball flight. For example, the dimpled outer surface 10 may be configured with spaced apart dimples having a particular surface depth such that the athletic golf ball 100, upon being hit by a golf club and propelled away from the club, flies farther and straighter than a golf ball having a non-dimpled surface. As the athletic golf ball 100 may be employed in the sport of golf, the athletic golf ball 100 may be designed for maximum conformance with golfing standards and rules pertaining to ball size, weight, geometric design and the like, while still obtaining the advantages of the present invention. To extend the durability of the athletic golf ball 100, the dimpled outer surface or layer 10 may be formed of materials such as polymers, or composite polymeric mixtures and other like materials that provide for an efficiently manufactured impact resistant surface capable of withstanding wear and tear from normal golf play.

Referring further to the drawings, FIG. 2 depicts a sectional view of an embodiment of an athletic ball such as golf ball 100, in accordance with the present invention. Spherically within the dimpled outer surface 10 may be an elastic layer 20. The elastic layer 20 facilitates greater bouncing propensity and improved propulsion of the athletic golf ball 100 off a golf club head following impact. Hence, the elastic layer 20 may be formed of materials such as rubber, synthetic rubber, elastomers, plastics, polymers and other like materials having a high degree of elasticity. The elastic layer 20 may be fabricated by winding elastic strands to form a spherical layer of a particular thickness to provide enhanced bouncing and impact propulsion properties. Furthermore, the elastic layer 20 may fabricated as a homogenous layer of a single elastic material having a particular spherical thickness.

As further depicted in FIG. 2, the embodied athletic golf ball 100 may include an inner core 30. The inner core 30 may be designed to deflect impact forces around or away from interior components such as a receiver 50, a processor 60, a transmitter 70 and a power source 80 and/or other components residing within the inner core 30. For example, the inner core 30 may be formed of material having greater rigidity than the elastic layer 20 so that impact forces moving through the elastic layer may deflect around the inner core 30. Moreover, the inner core 30 may be designed to absorb or transfer impact forces. For example, the inner core 30 may comprise a rubber or rubber-like exterior spherical wall housing a viscous liquid contained therein. The viscous liquid may act to absorb and diffuse impact forces and thereby protect interior components.

As shown still further in FIG. 2, the embodied athletic golf ball 100 may include a shock resistant encasement 40 for durably holding interior components such as a receiver 50, a processor 60, a transmitter 70 and a power source 80 and/or other like components within the inner core 30. The shock resistant encasement 40 may hold the interior components in place so that they are not jostled and/or damaged upon ball impact. Moreover, the shock resistant encasement 40 may provide an environmental barrier for the interior components keeping out damaging liquid and/or solid particles. Further, the shock resistant encasement 40 may facilitate physical and electrical coupling of the interior components. While the encasement 40, as shown, may be spherically shaped, those in the art should recognize that other geometries may be utilized in the shock resistant encasement 40 design. For example, the shock resistant encasement 40 may be designed to compensate for the additional mass of interior components such that the center of gravity of the athletic golf ball 100 resides as close to the spherical center of the ball 100 as possible. Furthermore, the shock resistant encasement 40 may utilize designs have more or less structural mass positioned strategically throughout the encasement 40 body. Still further, the shock resistant encasement 40 may act in conjunction with a small internal gyroscope of other like component capable of facilitating modification of the mass/momentum displacement of the ball.

The physical shape, mass, density and structural design of the dimpled outer surface 10, the elastic layer 20, the internal core 30 and the shock resistant encasement 40 of the inventive athletic golf ball 100 may work together to provide athletic operation of the golf ball 100 that is, in physical function, as similar as possible to an off-the-shelf regulation golf ball. For example, while still accomplishing the advantages of the present invention, the athletic golf ball 100 may be designed to have a weight and athletic feel similar to a standard golf ball such that golfing with the athletic golf ball 100 is as comparable as possible with golf play involving an ordinary golf ball.

With further reference to FIG. 2, the embodied athletic golf ball 100 may include a receiver 50. The receiver 50 may be configured to receive GPS signal data. As such, the receiver may have capability to receive signals from at least two earth-orbiting satellites containing information indicative of the satellites' position and current time. In addition, the receiver may have capability to receive signals from land-based transmitters. For example, an embodiment of the receiver may act in conjunction with a differential global positioning system DGPS to correlate received signal data with a land-based stationary receiver fixed at a known location. Moreover, the receiver may accept signals from land-based transmitters of output devices such as the portable output device 400 (an embodiment of which is shown in FIG. 5) and/or stationary output devices working in conjunction with athletic golf ball 100. The receiver may be capable of receiving multiple signals simultaneously. Hence, the receiver may be responsive to transmissions provided by land-based transmitters while at the same time collecting signal data from orbiting satellites.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, an embodiment of athletic golf ball 100 may include a microprocessor 60. The microprocessor 60 may be configured to triangulate received GPS signal data and determine the global position of athletic golf ball 100. Accordingly, the microprocessor 60 may be coupled to the receiver 50 in a manner effective to process the signals received by the receiver 50. In addition to processing GPS signals, the microprocessor 60 may also process signals received from land-based transmitters. Such land-based signals may contain control data which, when processed, may enable the microprocessor to initiate various microelectronic functions corresponding to the microprocessor 60, receiver 50, transmitter 70, power source 80, and/or other like components. For example, the microprocessor 60 may be coupled to the transmitter 70 and may control what transmissions are emitted by the transmitter 70. Moreover, the microprocessor 60 may direct time duration of transmissions broadcast by transmitter 70. Further, the microprocessor may be coupled to the power source 80 and may actuate various capabilities pertaining to the power source 80 such as regulating power provision and metering power capacity. Still further, the microprocessor 80 may be coupled to and may manage operation of other interior components included within an athletic golf ball 100. The microprocessor 60 may be an off-the-shelf chip-set readily adaptable for operation within an athletic golf ball 100, may be a modified chip-set for specific use within an athletic ball 100, or may be comprised of specially designed integrated microelectronic circuitry capable of performing processing functions requisite with using an athletic golf ball 100.

Still referring to FIG. 2, an embodiment of an athletic golf ball 100 may include a transmitter 70. The transmitter 70 may be configured to transmit global position of the athletic ball 100. Signal transmission may be constant or may be periodic, wherein the transmitter 70 broadcasts signals intermittently in a pulse-like fashion. Intermittent signal transmitting may preserve power because the transmitter 70 may not be required to constantly emit a signal. The phase of each pulsed transmission and the corresponding rate of intermittent pulsing may vary. Furthermore, the transmitter 70 may emit intermittent transmissions for predetermined time periods. For example, the transmitter 70 may intermittently transmit global ball location signals for a period of time ranging from milliseconds to days. The time period for intermittent signal transmission may be initiated by the user of the athletic golf ball 100 and set by reception of a control signal enabling operation of microprocessor 60 working in conjunction with transmitter 70. The transmitter 70 may also have capability to transmit signal data pertaining to management of power source 80. Those in the art should recognize that the transmitter 70 may emit electromagnetic signals and/or ultra sonic signals.

With still further reference to FIG. 2, an embodiment of athletic golf ball 100 may include a power source 80. The power source 80 may be a battery. The battery may be a long lasting off-the-shelf battery adaptable for use with micro-components. In addition, the power source 80 may be rechargeable. For example, the power source 80 may be a capacitive store capable of being recharged via an electromagnetic field. Further, the power source 80 may be a micro fuel cell adaptable for use within the athletic golf ball 100. Further still, the power source 80 may be a solar cell capable of generating solar power from light shown on the athletic ball 100. Even further still, the power source 80 may be a kinetic micro generator capable of converting kinetic movement into electrical power available for components within the athletic ball 100. The power source 80 may be capable of multiple power level outputs. For instance, the power source 80 may have a dormant mode, wherein minimal power is expended. Moreover, the power source 80 may have an active mode, wherein power may be actively provided for transmission, processing, and/or reception of signal data. The power source 80 should be shock resistant and capable of enduring the physical rigors consistent with normal use of an athletic golf ball 100. Furthermore, the power source 80 may facilitate intermittent signal transmission. Additionally, the power source 80 may be configured for operation in conjunction with a receiver 50, microprocessor 60, transmitter 70, and/or other like components which may reside and function within the interior of an athletic golf ball 100.

Referring again to the drawings, FIG. 3 depicts a front view of an embodiment of an athletic ball such as baseball 200, in accordance with the present invention. The athletic baseball 200 may have a stitched outer surface 210. As the athletic baseball 200 may be employed in the sport of baseball, the athletic baseball 200 may be designed for maximum conformance with baseball standards and rules pertaining to ball size, weight, geometric design, roughness of outer surface, stitching pattern, and the like, while still obtaining the advantages of the present invention. To help extend the durability of the athletic baseball 200, the stitched outer surface 210 may be formed of materials such as leather, synthetic leather, or other like materials that provide for a resilient surface capable of withstanding wear and tear from normal play and practice pertaining to the game of baseball.

With further reference to the drawings, FIG. 4 depicts a sectional view an embodiment of an athletic ball such as baseball 200. Within the stitched outer surface 210 of athletic baseball 200 may be a twine layer 220. The twine layer 200 may be formed of string, twine, or threaded material wrapped around itself and/or an inner core 230. The inner core 230 may be formed of rubber, plastic, cork wood, synthetic cork, and/or other like materials. Further, the inner core 230 may be designed to deflect impact forces around or away from interior components such as a relay 250, a movement sensor 260, a power source 280 and/or other components residing within athletic baseball 200. Moreover, the inner core 230 may be designed to absorb or transfer impact forces. For example, the inner core 230 may comprise a rubber or rubber-like exterior spherical wall housing a viscous liquid contained therein. The viscous liquid may act to absorb and diffuse impact forces and thereby protect interior components. In addition, within the inner core 230 may be a shock resistant encasement 240. The shock resistant encasement 240 may secure the interior components in place so that they are not fractured and/or demolished upon ball impact. Additionally, the shock resistant encasement 240 may provide protect interior components from unwanted external contamination. Furthermore, the shock resistant encasement 240 may facilitate physical and electrical coupling of the interior components. While the encasement 240, as shown, may be spherically shaped, the shock resistant encasement 240 may have other shapes designed to compensate for the additional mass of interior components thereby keeping the center of gravity of the athletic baseball 200 as close as possible to the spherical center of the baseball 200.

Referring further to FIG. 4, an embodiment of an athletic ball such as baseball 200 may include a multiplexing signal relay 250 configured to receive signals simultaneously broadcast by two or more earth-orbiting satellites and communicate the plurality of received satellite signals to a position-processing output device (such as depicted in one embodiment of a portable output device 400 shown in FIG. 5). The multiplexing signal relay 250 may pass on the received satellite signals to a position-processing output device in a manner that retains the time-dependent nature of the signal data. Thus, the position-processing output device (such as portable output device 400, and/or a stationary output device working in conjunction with athletic ball 200) may be capable of triangulating GPS signal data communicated by the relay 250 within the ball 200, thereby rendering the global position of the ball without a need to globally locate the position of any exterior devices such as the position-processing output device and/or other fixed-position elements. Further, the multiplexing signal relay 250 may be coupled to and act in conjunction with other internal components such as a movement sensor 260, a power source 280, and/or other like components. For example, the multiplexing signal relay may commence reception and communication of GPS signal data based upon a control initiated by a motion sensor 260, or may function relative to managed power supply provided by power source 280. Additionally, the multiplexing signal relay 250 may be configured with multiple operational modes. For instance, the multiplexing signal relay may have a dormant mode, wherein the relay does not actively pass on signals and it may have an active mode wherein signals are actively relayed. Moreover, the multiplexing signal relay 250 may be capable of relaying signals broadcast by land-based transmitters to an embodiment of a position-processing output device such as the device embodied as portable output device 400 (shown in FIG. 5).

Referring further still to FIG. 4, the athletic ball such as baseball 200 may include a movement sensor 260. The movement sensor 260 may be a piezoelectric sensor or another sensor capable of sensing physical movement. Where the sensor 260 is included within the athletic baseball 200, the sensor may capable of detecting ball movement. The movement sensor may be coupled to the multiplexing signal relay 250, power source 280, and/or other like components. For example, when the ball is moved, the movement sensor 260 may initiate active operation of a previously dormant multiplexing signal relay 250. Moreover, the movement sensor 260 may activate the power source 280, which, prior to sensed movement may have been in a power-saving mode. Accordingly, the power source 280 may be capable of multiple power level outputs. For instance, the power source 280 may have a dormant mode, wherein minimal power is expended. Moreover, the power source 280 may have an active mode, wherein power may be actively provided for relaying signal data. The power source 280 should be shock resistant and capable of enduring the physical rigors consistent with normal use of an athletic baseball 200. Further, the power source 280 may be a battery, a solar cell, or a micro fuel cell designed for use within an athletic ball 200.

With continued reference to the drawings, FIG. 5 depicts a schematic illustration of an embodiment of a method of using an embodiment of an athletic ball such as golf ball 100, in accordance with the present invention. The athletic golf ball 100 is provided with a GPS receiver, a microprocessor, and a transmitter. It should be recognized that the athletic ball 100 may be also provided with a multiplexing signal relay, a movement sensor, a power source, and/or other like components. GPS satellites 300 a-c broadcast corresponding signals 310 a-c which are received by the receiver included within the ball 100. Typical GPS satellites, such as satellites 300 a-c, synchronize operations so that repeating signals are transmitted at the same instant. The signals, moving at the speed of light, arrive at the ball 100 at slightly different times because some satellites are farther away than others. Hence, signal 310 a may be take longer to reach the ball 100 than signal 310 b, but may take a shorter amount of time to reach the ball 100 than signal 310 c. The distance from the ball 100 to the GPS satellites can be determined by estimating the amount of time it takes for their signals to reach the receiver or relay included within the ball. When a processor located within the ball 100 working in conjunction with the included receiver estimates the distance to the GPS satellites, the ball's 100 global position can be calculated in three dimensions. The processor “knows” the location of the satellites, because that information is included in the time-dependent satellite transmissions. By estimating how far away a satellite is, the processor also “knows” the ball is located somewhere on the surface of an imaginary sphere centered at the satellite. The processor may then determine the sizes of several spheres, one for each satellite. The athletic ball 100 is located where these spheres intersect.

The computed ball location may be transmitted to an output device. For example, a transmitter within the ball 100 may emit signal 150 which may be received by portable output device 400. The portable output device 400 may be an electronic device such as a PDA running corresponding software and having a graphical display, a handheld computer with an LCD screen functioning with a corresponding operating system, a digital-communication-enabled wristwatch having a color display and GPS capability, a sports radio having a small pixilated monitor, a digitalized visor capable of being worn like eyeglasses and displaying the ball location on a virtual GPS map, a cellular phone capable of communicating with and displaying the location of the ball 100, and/or any other portable apparatus capable of displaying the computed ball 100 location and/or any like device or similar combination of devices as contained in a portable electronic unit. Further, the portable output device 400 may run mapping software functional with common GPS systems and the software may be adaptable with various embodiments of the portable output device 400. Thus, an athletic ball 100 may have capability to communicate signal data to various embodiments of a portable output device 400 running various software programs. Accordingly, a user may be able to observe a displayed graphical map and determine the location of an athletic ball 100 by using any portable output device 400 capable of receiving signal data from the ball 100 and outputting it to the user. Communication between an athletic ball 100 and multiple portable output devices 100 may also be possible. Moreover, the portable output device 400 may provide capability for dynamic ball movement analysis. As such, the portable output device 400 may be able to receive and process real-time or near-real-time data emitted from the ball 100. Software and processing capability of the portable output device 400 may enable a user to track the location of the ball on a map in real-time or near-real-time. Furthermore, the portable output device 400 may facilitate evaluation of ball movement over time. Hence, the output device 400 may provide a user with the variable direction, velocity, and/or acceleration of a moving ball 100. In addition, the portable output device 400 may have capability to store ball movement over time so that a user can review ball location and dynamics corresponding to previous ball 100 movements. A user may, therefore, analyze stored repeated ball movement to determine trends and track dynamic ball response due to various impetuses for ball movement. Additionally, the portable output device may have capability to calculate and display statistics pertaining to repeated ball movement. It is understood that the telemetric capabilities of athletic ball 100 may be utilized in enhancing driving range practice or in similar practice corresponding to different ball embodiments such as baseball 200 (shown in FIG. 3) or other athletic ball embodiments. Still further, the portable output device may include a charge indicator capable of displaying the amount of power source available within the athletic ball 100.

Where an embodiment of an athletic ball 100 utilizes a multiplexing signal relay (shown in FIG. 4), a method of using the ball 100 may vary accordingly. For example, the relay may pass on signals 310 a-c sent from satellites 300 a-c to a position-processing output device, such as portable output device 400. The signals 310 a-c would retain their time dependent nature as relayed from the ball 100 to the portable output device 400. Those in the art should recognize that the signals may also be relayed to a stationary position-processing device such as a central computer or other like apparatus have capability to receive, process, and output the relayed signals. Because the signals 310 a-c retain time-dependent data when relayed, the position processing output device, such as portable output device 400 may triangulate the global position of the ball 100 and correlate the position with GPS software. The location of the ball 100 may then be displayed in a graphical map or via other display means so that a user may be apprised of the location of the ball 100. Moreover, because the position-processing output device, such as portable output device 400, can determine and display the location of the ball 100, the global position of the position-processing out put device, such as portable output device 400, need not be determined.

With further reference to FIG. 5 and additional reference to FIGS. 2 and 4, an embodiment of a method of using an athletic ball 100 may involve a user initiated signal 160 being emitted from a portable output device 400 to the athletic ball 100. The signal 160 may contain data that may be used to manage or control various interior components of the ball 100. For example, the user may broadcast a signal 160 which may be received by the receiver 50 coupled to processor 60 and utilized to change the mode of power source 80 (also shown in FIG. 2) from dormant to active. Power output modification may also be possible by a signal based on a distance range from the ball 100. For example, the athletic ball 100 may respond to a signal and power up when the signal is broadcast with in a range of inches, or feet. Further, power management of the athletic ball 100 may be preprogrammed into the processor 50, regulated by a movement sensor 260 controlling power output, or by some other like means. Further still, the signal 160 may prompt other capable responses from the processor 60, the receiver 50 and/or other like components. For instance, the signal 160 may be relayed by a multiplexing signal relay 250 to a separate stationary output device. As such, the athletic ball may act to communicatively connect a stationary output device and a portable output device 400. Moreover, the signal 160 may prompt performance modifications pertaining to the transmitter 70 by helping to facilitate changes in the length of a time period for signal broadcasting or by increasing or decreasing a rate of intermittent signal transmission. Additionally, a user may power off the athletic ball by sending a power down control as signal 160. Thus, the useable lifespan of the athletic ball 100 may be preserved and extended.

While this invention has been described in conjunction with the specific embodiments outlined above, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the embodiments of the invention as set forth above are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

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US8249626Oct 19, 2007Aug 21, 2012Huston Charles DGPS based friend location and identification system and method
US8275397Jan 19, 2007Sep 25, 2012Huston Charles DGPS based friend location and identification system and method
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/353
International ClassificationA63B43/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B43/00, A63B24/0021, A63B2024/0053, A63B2225/50
European ClassificationA63B43/00, A63B24/00E