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Publication numberUS20060170157 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/047,036
Publication dateAug 3, 2006
Filing dateJan 31, 2005
Priority dateJan 31, 2005
Publication number047036, 11047036, US 2006/0170157 A1, US 2006/170157 A1, US 20060170157 A1, US 20060170157A1, US 2006170157 A1, US 2006170157A1, US-A1-20060170157, US-A1-2006170157, US2006/0170157A1, US2006/170157A1, US20060170157 A1, US20060170157A1, US2006170157 A1, US2006170157A1
InventorsPaul Weingard, Thomas Hamilton
Original AssigneeWeingard Paul B, Hamilton Thomas P
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Spin art apparatus and method for producing and illuminating a decorative image
US 20060170157 A1
Abstract
An apparatus and a method of producing a decorative image are provided. The apparatus may include a rotatable platform, an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the platform, and an illumination source configured to illuminate the platform. The platform may secure an activity surface, and a motor may be coupled to the platform to rotate the platform. The illumination source may be an ultraviolet illumination source, may emit intermittent illumination, and may be part of a stroboscopic illumination device. A controller may be operatively coupled to the illumination source, and may cause the illumination source to illuminate the rotatable platform at a first strobe rate and at a second strobe rate. The controller may also cause the motor to rotate the platform. The method may include rotating a surface, receiving decorations on the rotating surface, and illuminating the rotating surface with a stroboscopic illumination device.
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Claims(35)
1. A game apparatus comprising:
a rotatable platform;
an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the rotatable platform; and
an ultraviolet illumination source configured to illuminate the rotatable platform.
2. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising:
a motor coupled to the rotatable platform and configured to rotate the rotatable platform;
a rotation input device; and
a controller operatively coupled to the motor and the rotation input device,
the controller being programmed to receive rotation control data from the rotation input device, and
the controller being programmed to change the speed of the motor rotating the rotatable platform in response to the rotation control data.
3. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the rotatable platform is configured to receive an activity surface.
4. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1,
wherein the rotatable platform is configured to receive one or more decorations on an activity surface, and
wherein the ultraviolet illumination source is configured to illuminate the one or more decorations.
5. A game apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein the one or more decorations comprise one or more decorations that phosphorescently react to the illumination of the ultraviolet illumination source.
6. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising:
an illumination input device; and
a controller operatively coupled to illumination input device and operatively coupled to the ultraviolet illumination source,
the controller being programmed to receive illumination control data from the illumination input device, and
the controller being programmed to cause the ultraviolet illumination source to illuminate the rotatable platform at a strobe rate in response to the illumination control data.
7. A game apparatus as defined in claim 6, wherein the controller is programmed to cause the ultraviolet illumination source to change the strobe rate at which the ultraviolet illumination source illuminates the rotatable platform in response to the illumination control data.
8. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising:
an illumination input device; and
a controller operatively coupled to illumination input device and operatively coupled to the ultraviolet illumination source,
the controller being programmed to receive illumination control data from the illumination input device, and
the controller being programmed to change a duty cycle of the illumination source in response to the illumination control data.
9. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the ultraviolet illumination source comprises a light emitting diode.
10. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising a control device operatively coupled to the ultraviolet illumination source and configured to change the strobe rate of the ultraviolet illumination source.
11. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising a control device operatively coupled to the ultraviolet illumination source and configured to change the duty cycle of the ultraviolet illumination source.
12. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising:
a motor coupled to the rotatable platform and configured to rotate the rotatable platform; and
a control device operatively coupled to motor and configured to cause the motor to change the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform.
13. A game apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising:
an audible output device; and
a control device operatively coupled to the audible output device and configured to cause the audible output device to generate one or more sounds.
14. A game apparatus comprising:
a rotatable platform;
an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the rotatable platform; and
an illumination source disposed along the upstanding wall and configured to emit intermittent illumination on the rotatable platform.
15. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, wherein the rotatable platform is configured to receive an activity surface.
16. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, wherein the illumination source comprises a light emitting diode.
17. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, wherein the illumination source comprises one of the following: an ultraviolet illumination source, a white light illumination source or a red light illumination source.
18. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising:
an illumination input device;
a controller operatively coupled to the illumination input device and operatively coupled to the illumination source,
the controller being programmed to receive illumination control data from the illumination input device, and
the controller being programmed to change the strobe rate of the illumination source in response to the illumination control data.
19. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising:
an illumination input device;
a controller operatively coupled to the illumination input device and operatively coupled to the illumination source,
the controller being programmed to receive illumination control data from the illumination input device, and
the controller being programmed to change a duty cycle of the illumination source in response to illumination control data.
20. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising:
a motor coupled to the rotatable platform and configured to rotate the rotatable platform;
a rotation input device;
a controller operatively coupled to the rotation input device and operatively coupled to the motor;
the controller being programmed to receive rotation control data from the rotation input device, and
the controller being programmed to cause the motor to change the speed of the motor rotating the rotatable platform in response to the rotation control data.
21. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising a control device operatively coupled to the illumination source and configured to change the strobe rate of the illumination source.
22. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising a control device operatively coupled to the illumination source and configured to change the duty cycle of the illumination source.
23. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising:
a motor coupled to the rotatable platform and configured to rotate the rotatable platform; and
a control device operatively coupled to motor and configured to cause the motor to change the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform.
24. A game apparatus as defined in claim 14, further comprising:
an audible output device; and
a control device operatively coupled to the audible output device and configured to cause the audible output device to generate one or more sounds.
25. An apparatus for producing a decorative image comprising:
a platform configured to secure an activity surface;
a motor coupled to the platform and configured to rotate the platform;
an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the platform;
at least one illumination source disposed along the upstanding wall and configured to emit intermittent illumination on the platform;
one or more controllers, at least one of the one or more controllers being operatively coupled to the motor and at least one of the one or more controllers being operatively coupled to the at least one illumination source,
at least one of the one or more controllers being programmed to cause the illumination source to illuminate the platform at a plurality of rates of intermittent illumination, and
at least one of the one or more controllers being programmed to cause the motor to rotate the platform.
26. An apparatus as defined in claim 25, wherein at least one of the one or more controllers is programmed to cause the motor to rotate the platform at a plurality of rates of rotation.
27. An apparatus as defined in claim 25, wherein the at least one illumination source comprises one of the following: an ultraviolet illumination source, a white light illumination source or a red light illumination source.
28. An apparatus as defined in claim 25, further comprising one or more input devices operatively coupled to at least one of the one or more controllers,
wherein at least one of the one or more controllers is programmed to receive illumination control data from the one or more input devices,
wherein at least one of the one or more controllers is programmed to cause the at least one illumination source to change the rate of intermittent illumination at which the at least one illumination source illuminates the platform in response to the illumination control data,
wherein at least one of the one or more controllers is programmed to cause the at least one illumination source to illuminate the platform at the second rate of intermittent illumination in response to the illumination control data.
29. An apparatus as defined in claim 25, further comprising an audible output device operatively coupled to at least one of the one or more controllers, wherein at least one of the one or more controllers is programmed to cause the audible output device to generate one or more sounds.
30. A method of producing a decorative image comprising:
rotating a surface;
receiving one or more decorations on the rotating surface;
illuminating the rotating surface with a stroboscopic illumination device.
31. A method as defined in claim 30, further comprising changing the strobe rate of the stroboscopic illumination device to illuminate the rotating surface.
32. A method as defined in claim 30, further comprising changing the rate of rotation of the rotating the surface.
33. A method as defined in claim 30, wherein illuminating the rotating surface with a stroboscopic illumination device comprises illuminating the rotating surface with an ultraviolet stroboscopic illumination device.
34. A method as defined in claim 30, wherein receiving one or more decorations on the rotating surface comprises receiving one or more decorations on the rotating surface while the rotating surface is illuminated with the stroboscopic illumination device.
35. A method as defined in claim 30, wherein receiving one or more decorations on the rotating surface comprises receiving one or more decorations on the rotating surface that phosphorescently react to the illumination of the stroboscopic illumination source.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    The patent is directed to a game apparatus and method of producing a decorative image, and more particularly to a game apparatus and method that illuminates a rotating image, and varies the illumination pattern and rotation rate.
  • [0002]
    Various games relating to applying paints or other colored substances to a rotating surface have been previously described. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,496 to Handy discloses a spinning platen paint set with a spinning platform and a containment wall. A push rod operated drive mechanism coupled to the spinning platform provides the spinning motion. The containment wall is disposed around the spinning platform. A paint medium, such as paper, cardboard or other paint receiving medium is supported by the platform. A plurality of paints are also disclosed. The paints can be dripped onto the spinning paint medium to produce various designs.
  • [0003]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,672,057 to Engel also discloses a device for creating spin art having inflatable components. An inflatable spinning platform is coupled to the shaft of a motor. A workpiece (e.g., the item to be decorated) is supported by the spinning platform. An inflatable container encloses the spinning platform and motor to prevent paint from splashing from the rotating workpiece onto nearby objects. Paints may be poured or dripped onto the workpiece through an open top in the inflatable container.
  • [0004]
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,550,679 to Pipa et al. discloses a device for producing decorative patterns on clothing. The device has a variable speed motor connected to a clothing carrier. The clothing carrier holds and rotates the clothing. A cover is provided with self-closing ports, through which paint may be applied to the rotating clothing. The cover protects the operator from inadvertent paint thrown off the rotating clothing.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,643 to Goldfarb et al. discloses an apparatus and method for rotating an enclosed container and introducing different materials into the container during rotation to produce multi-aspect designs. A support holds the container during rotation, and a drive mechanism rotates the container. The materials can be sands or gels of different colors or appearances.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    In one aspect, the invention is directed to a game apparatus which may include a rotatable platform, an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the rotatable platform, and an ultraviolet illumination source configured to illuminate the rotatable platform.
  • [0007]
    In another aspect, the invention is directed to a game apparatus which may include a rotatable platform, an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the rotatable platform, and an illumination source disposed along the upstanding wall and configured to emit intermittent illumination on the rotatable platform.
  • [0008]
    In a further aspect, the invention is directed to an apparatus for producing a decorative image which may include a platform configured to secure an activity surface, a motor coupled to the platform and configured to rotate the platform, an upstanding wall extending around a perimeter of the platform, at least one illumination source disposed along the upstanding wall and configured to emit intermittent illumination on the platform, and one or more controllers. At least one of the one or more controllers may be operatively coupled to the motor and at least one of the one or more controllers may be operatively coupled to the at least one illumination source. At least one of the one or more controllers may be programmed to cause the illumination source to illuminate the platform at a plurality of rates of intermittent illumination, and at least one of the one or more controllers may be programmed to cause the motor to rotate the platform.
  • [0009]
    In an additional aspect, the invention is directed to a method of producing a decorative image which may include rotating a surface, receiving one or more decorations on the rotating surface, and illuminating the rotating surface with a stroboscopic illumination device.
  • [0010]
    Additional aspects of the invention are defined by the claims of this patent.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a game apparatus having an adjustable rotation and illumination in accordance with the invention;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the game apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the electronic components of the game apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a main routine that may be performed during operation of the game apparatus;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a rotation control routine that may be performed during operation of the game apparatus;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is a flowchart of an embodiment of an illumination control routine that may be performed during operation of the game apparatus;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a sound control routine that may be performed during operation of the game apparatus; and
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a game routine that may be performed during operation of the game apparatus.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS
  • [0019]
    Although the following text sets forth a detailed description of numerous different embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the legal scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment of the invention since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention.
  • [0020]
    It should also be understood that, unless a term is expressly defined in this patent using the sentence “As used herein, the term ‘______’ is hereby defined to mean . . . ” or a similar sentence, there is no intent to limit the meaning of that term, either expressly or by implication, beyond its plain or ordinary meaning, and such term should not be interpreted to be limited in scope based on any statement made in any section of this patent (other than the language of the claims). To the extent that any term recited in the claims at the end of this patent is referred to in this patent in a manner consistent with a single meaning, that is done for sake of clarity only so as to not confuse the reader, and it is not intended that such claim term by limited, by implication or otherwise, to that single meaning. Finally, unless a claim element is defined by reciting the word “means” and a function without the recital of any structure, it is not intended that the scope of any claim element be interpreted based on the application of 35 U.S.C. 112, sixth paragraph.
  • [0021]
    FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrates one possible embodiment of a game apparatus 10 for producing a visual design or decorative image in accordance with the invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the game apparatus 10 may include a housing 12. The housing 12 may include an upper housing 14 and a lower housing 16. The upper and lower housing 14, 16 may be coupled to each other via various fastening mechanisms, such as screws, rivets, plastic spring tabs and corresponding slots, adhesive, etc. The upper housing 14 may include an opening 18. A rotatable platform 20 may be disposed within the housing 12 and visible and accessible through the opening 18. As indicated in FIG. 2, the rotatable platform 20 may be coupled to, and centered on, a shaft of a motor 19 to allow rotation of the rotatable platform 20. The rotatable platform 20 may be coupled to the shaft of the motor 19 via a rotation mount 21.
  • [0022]
    The rotatable platform 20 may include a plurality of fasteners 22 which may be utilized to temporarily affix an activity surface (not shown) to the rotatable platform. Although four fasteners 22 are shown, with one fastener 22 for each edge or corner of a rectangular activity surface, it should be understood that the number and positioning of the fasteners 22 may vary. As shown, the fasteners 22 may be provided as tab portions defining a spacing thereunder approximately the thickness of the activity surface. The tab portions may extend inward toward the center of the rotatable platform 20 or extend tangentially along an edge of the rotatable platform 20. The activity surface may be securely affixed to the rotatable platform 20 via the fasteners 22 such that the activity surface does not become detached from, or sit loosely in, the rotatable platform 20 during rotation. In particular, the activity surface may be slid beneath each of the tabs at a corner or edge of the activity surface to be friction-fitted beneath each tab portion. Although tabs have been disclosed, it should be understood that different fasteners may be utilized, including, but not limited to, spring-biased clips, snaps or adhesive. The activity surface may any surface that may be decorated including, but not limited to, paper, cardboard, plastic, fabric or another surface which may be decorated. The activity surface may also be disposable, washable or reusable.
  • [0023]
    An upstanding containment wall 24 may be provided around the perimeter of the rotatable platform 20. Although shown in FIG. 2 as separate from the upper and lower housing 14, 16, it should be understood that the containment wall 24 may be integrally formed with the upper housing 14 and/or the lower housing 16. The containment wall 24 may be of sufficient height surrounding the rotatable platform 20 to prevent paint or other decorations from discharging outside the containment area as the rotatable platform 20 rotates. The containment wall 24 may include one or more openings 26 disposed along the containment wall 24. Each of the openings 26 may receive an illumination source 28 such that the illumination source 28 illuminates the upper surface of the rotatable platform 20 and/or the activity surface thereon. The illumination sources 28 may be provided as light emitting diodes, though it should be understood that alternative illumination sources may be utilized. The illumination sources 28 may include, but are not limited to, ultraviolet illumination sources that emit an ultraviolet light, white light illumination sources that emit a white light, or red illumination sources that emit a red light. Each of the illumination sources 28 may be spaced equidistant along the containment wall 24, as indicated by the openings 26, to provide uniform and complete illumination of the upper surface of the rotatable platform 20 and any activity surface thereon. Although four openings 26 and illumination sources 28 are shown equidistant along the containment wall 24, it should be understood that the number of openings 26 and illumination sources 28, and their placement may vary.
  • [0024]
    The game apparatus 10 may further include one or more input devices or controls 30, 32, 34. The controls 30, 32, 34 may be provided as one or more buttons, including a “sound control” button 30, an “on/off” button 32 and a “strobe control” button 34. As used herein, the term “button” is intended to encompass any device that allows a player to make an input, such as an input device that must be depressed to make an input or another input device which may include a remote control, audible control, etc. For example, each of the buttons 30, 32, 34 may include a cover 30 a, 32 a, 34 a and a switch 30 b, 32 b, 34 b disposed behind or beneath the cover 30 a, 32 a, 34 a, and pressing/depressing the button 30, 32, 34 may trigger the switch to activate or deactivate a function of the game apparatus 10. Each switch 30 b, 32 b, 34 b may be provided as a single-mode or multi-mode switch. Although depicted as electrical push button switches 30 b, 32 b, 34 b, each switch 30 b, 32 b, 34 b may be provided as any type of input device that may be actuated by a user, including, but not limited to, a magnetic switch, a photosensitive switch or a proximity switch. Further, each of the switches 30 b, 32 b, 34 b may be provided as a digital switch to provide a digital input to the controller 100, or as an analog switch. For example, one or all of the buttons 30, 32, 34 may be replace with a potentiometer and corresponding knob.
  • [0025]
    The “sound control” button 30 may be activated to cause the game apparatus 10 to emit one or more sounds via one or more speakers 36. The sounds may include words, phrases, noises, music, etc. Repeated activation of the “sound control” button 30 may cause the game apparatus 10 to emit different sounds following each activation of the button 30 and/or cease sounds altogether.
  • [0026]
    The “on/off” button 32 may be activated when a user decides to activate or deactivate the game apparatus 10. If activated, the game apparatus 10 may begin rotation of the rotatable platform 20 by activating the motor. In addition, activation of the game apparatus 10 may cause the illumination sources 28 to illuminate the rotatable platform 20. Alternatively, activating the “on/off” button 32 once may cause the game apparatus 10 to rotate the rotatable platform 20, whereas a subsequent activation of the “on/off” button 32 may cause the illumination sources 28 to illuminate the rotatable platform 20. The illumination sources may illuminate the rotatable platform 20 with steady illumination or intermittent illumination. Repeated activation of the “on/off” button 32 may cause the game apparatus 10 to vary the speed of rotation of the rotatable platform 20 and/or vary the strobe rate of the illumination sources 28 following each activation of the button 32 and/or cease operation of the game apparatus 10 altogether. In another example, activation (or a subsequent activation) of the “on/off ” button 32 may cause the game apparatus to automatically vary the speed of rotation and/or the strobe rate of the illumination sources 28 without further activation of the “on/off” button 32. Subsequent activation of the “on/off” button 32 may terminate the variation of speed of rotation and/or strobe rate.
  • [0027]
    The “strobe control” button 34, may be activated when a user decides to activate, deactivate or vary the strobe effect of the illumination sources 28. If activated, the game apparatus 10 may cause the illumination sources 28 to emit illumination onto the rotatable platform 20 and the activity surface. The initial illumination may be a steady illumination or intermittent illumination according to a particular strobe rate. Repeated activation of the “strobe control” button 34 may cause the illumination sources to emit illumination at different strobe rates for each activation of the “strobe control” button 34. A subsequent activation of the “strobe effect” button 34 may also cause the illumination to cease altogether.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a number of components that may be incorporated in the housing 12 of the game apparatus 10. Referring to FIG. 3, the game apparatus 10 may include a controller 100 containing the sound generation logic, illumination generation logic and/or rotation control logic implemented via circuitry contained on a conventional printed circuit board, with the sound generation data, illumination generation data and/or rotation control data being stored directly on the printed circuit board. It should be appreciated that although the controller 100 may be implemented on a printed circuit board, more complex implementations of the game apparatus 10 may be implemented wherein the controller 100 may comprise, among other components, a program memory which may be a read-only memory (ROM) or alterable memory, a microcontroller or microprocessor (MP), a random-access memory (RAM), and an input/output (I/O) circuit, all of which may be interconnected by a address/data bus. It should be appreciated that the controller 100 may include multiple microprocessors. Similarly, the memory of the controller 100 may include multiple RAMs and multiple program memories, depending on the complexity and requirements of a specific implementation. It should also be appreciated that the I/O circuit may include a number of different types of I/O circuits, such as sound generation circuits, illumination generation circuits, and the like. The RAM(s), ROM(s) and program memories may be implemented as semiconductor memories, magnetically readable memories, and/or optically readable memories, for example.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 3 illustrates that the controller 100 may be operatively coupled to the motor 19, the illumination sources 28, an activation switch corresponding to the “sound control” button 30, an activation switch corresponding to the “on/off” button 32, an activation switch corresponding to the “strobe control” button 34, and a power supply 102, each of those components being so coupled by either a unidirectional or bidirectional, single-line or multiple-line data link, which may depend on the design of the component that is used. The power supply may be provided as disposable or rechargeable batteries, or as an electrical cord pluggable into an electrical wall outlet. The speaker(s) 36 may be operatively coupled to a sound circuit 104, which may comprise a voice- and sound-synthesis circuit or that may comprise a driver circuit. The sound-generating circuit 104 may be coupled to the I/O circuit.
  • [0030]
    Although one controller 100 is shown, it should be understood that multiple controllers may be utilized, and may be operatively interconnected via an address/data bus. For example, a controller may be provided and operatively coupled to the sound circuit 104 and the speaker(s) 36. Such a controller may execute sound generation logic and control the sound circuit 104. In addition, a stroboscopic illumination device may be provided that may include a controller operatively coupled to the illumination sources 28. Such a controller may execute illumination generation logic and control a strobe rate of the illumination sources 28. Likewise, yet another controller may be provided and operatively coupled to the motor 19 and the rotatable platform 20. Such a controller may execute rotation control logic and control the rotation of the rotatable platform 20 via the motor 19. Each of the above provided controllers may be provided with a program memory, a microcontroller or microprocessor (MP), a random-access memory (RAM), and an input/output (I/O) circuit, all of which may be interconnected by a address/data bus, as above with the controller 100. Although the routines disclosed below are described in relation to the controller 100, it should be understood that various aspects of the routines may be executed by one or more corresponding controllers, if multiple controllers are provided. It should also be understood that a single controller may perform multiple aspects of the routines, such as executing a combination of the sound generation logic, illumination generation logic and/or rotation control logic.
  • [0031]
    As previously discussed, an activity surface may be secured to the rotatable platform 20, and the controller 100 may receive input signals from the activation switches 30 b, 32 b, 34 b corresponding to the “sound control” button 30, the “on/off” button 32 and the “strobe control” button 34. The input signals may cause the controller 100 to process the sound generation logic, illumination generation logic and/or rotation control logic. Paints or other decorations may be applied to the activity surface either prior to activation of the game apparatus 10 and/or during operation of the game apparatus 10. Additional and/or different decorations may be applied throughout operation of the game apparatus 10. For example, the paints may include transparent or translucent flowable viscous gels tinted with different colors. The paints may further include solid particles such as glitter of various colors or appearances dispersed within the gel. In one example, the paints may include florescent paints of one or more colors that are visibly reactive to ultraviolet light. If provided as florescent paints, the game apparatus 10 may be operated in a darkened area with minimal ambient light so as to maximize the visual effect of the florescent paints. Further, the florescent paints may phosphoresce when ambient light is low, and particularly when illuminated with the illumination sources 28. Additional decorations or decorating utensils may include, but are not limited to, pens, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, stickers or markers, any or all of which may be florescent, removable or washable. Materials may also be secured to the activity surface, including but not limited to, paper, molding compounds, fabric. Such materials may also be florescent, removable or washable, and may be secured using an adhesive.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a main operating routine 200 that may be stored in the memory of the controller 100. The main operating routine 200 may being operation at block 202, wherein the controller may receive an input to activate the game apparatus 10. Such an input may be accomplished by, for example, activating the “on/off ” button 32. If such an input is received, the controller 100 may cause the game apparatus to activate at block 204.
  • [0033]
    Activation of the game apparatus 10 may activate the power supply 102 to supply power to the motor 19, the illumination sources 28, the speaker(s) 36 and the controller 100. Activation of the game apparatus 10 may further cause the motor 19 to rotate the rotatable platform 20. If multiple rates of rotation are provided, the rotation of the rotatable platform 20 may begin at a first rotation rate, which may be the lowest rate of rotation. Rotation of the rotatable platform 20 may cause decorations, such as paints, deposited on the activity surface to spread into various image patterns. Activation of the game apparatus 10 may further include emitting a sound from the speaker(s) 36 and/or activating the illumination sources 28 to illuminate the rotatable platform 20. If provided with multiple sounds, the speaker(s) 36 may emit a sound corresponding to a default sound initiated when the game apparatus 10 is activated, or a sound selected by the controller 100 at random, sequentially or by any other selection method. As part of activating the game apparatus 10 at block 204, the illumination sources 28 may illuminate the rotatable platform 20 with constant, uniform illumination or intermittent illumination according to a strobe rate. The initial illumination may be predetermined, such as the slowest strobe rate, or may be selected by the controller 100 at random, sequentially or by any other selection method.
  • [0034]
    At block 206, the controller 100 may detect an input, which may be the result of a subsequent activation of the “on/off ” button 32. If such an input is received, the controller 100 may cause the illumination sources 28 to change the illumination of the rotatable platform 20 with a different illumination pattern than initial the illumination pattern of block 204. The new illumination pattern may include a constant, uniform illumination, intermittent illumination at a strobe rate, intermitted illumination at a different strobe rate, etc. However, it should be understood that if activation of the game apparatus at block 204 involved activating the illumination sources 28, block 208 may result in activating the illumination sources 28 according to an initial illumination pattern (e.g., a constant, uniform illumination or intermittent illumination according to a strobe rate).
  • [0035]
    If provided as a constant, uniform illumination, the user may observe a spinning image resulting from the rotating design pattern. If provided as intermittent illumination, the user may observe various images of the design pattern during the resulting brief periods illumination. Generally, the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform 20 may remain constant, whereas the illumination of the rotatable platform 20 may vary, thereby resulting in different visual effects for different rates of illumination. However, the rotation control logic of the controller 100 may further cause the rotatable platform 20 to rotate at a particular rate of rotation, and the illumination generation logic may cause the illumination source 28 to illuminate the rotatable platform 20 at a strobe rate corresponding to the rate of rotation. As a result, the user may observe an interesting visual effect caused by the design pattern, the rotation of the rotatable platform 20 and the illumination sources 28. For example, the rate of rotation and the strobe rate may be synchronized such that a rotating image on the activity surface appears stationary. Alternatively, the rate of rotation and the strobe rate may correspond such that the rotating image appears to rotate slower than the rate of rotation or to rotate in the reverse direction as the physical direction of rotation. In yet another example, the rate of rotation and the strobe rate may be completely unsynchronized, thereby resulting in a random visual image seen when the activity surface is illuminated by the intermittent light. As a result, different combinations of rotation and illumination may result in different images being observed, and these combinations may be preprogrammed in the controller 100 as part of the rotation control logic and illumination generation logic. Changes in the illumination pattern may thereby be automatically accompanied by changes in the rate of rotation to provide different visual effects for each combination. However, it is also contemplated that the rotation of the rotatable platform 20 may vary whereas the illumination pattern of the rotatable platform 20 remains the same (e.g., constant or strobe).
  • [0036]
    As discussed above, different images may be observed by varying the illumination pattern of the illumination sources 28 and/or the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform 20. Referring again to FIG. 4, subsequent activation of the “on/off ” button 32 at block 206 may cause the illumination sources 28 to activate or change the illumination pattern at block 208. In particular, the subsequent activation of the “on/off” button 32 at block 206 may cause the game apparatus 10 to automatically vary the illumination of the rotatable platform 20 without further input from the user. At block 210, the controller 100 may increment a count. Initially, the count may correspond to the illumination pattern of block 208. If the count reaches a predetermined number, as determined at block 212, the count may be reset at block 214 and begin incrementing again at block 210. If the count has not reached a predetermined number, the illumination pattern may be incremented at block 216. As such, various illumination patterns may be executed by the controller 100, with a new illumination pattern corresponding to each count. The routine 200 may cycle through each illumination pattern, and begin again when the count is reset at block 214. The new illumination pattern may correspond to an incrementally faster or slower strobe rate, or a constant illumination. Alternatively, the new illumination pattern may correspond to a random illumination pattern, such as a random strobe rate. As mentioned above, rates of rotation may correspond to different illumination patterns. As such, variations in the rate of rotation may automatically accompany each change in the illumination pattern. Further, variations in the illumination pattern and/or rate of rotation may be accompanied by variations in the sounds emitted from the speaker(s) 36.
  • [0037]
    If the illumination sources are provided as light emitting diodes, a change in strobe rate may be accompanied by a change in the brightness, or duty cycle, of the light emitting diodes. In particular, when a light emitting diode is “on,” the light emitting diode may emit light according to a blink rate, which is generally faster than can be observed by the human eye. The “brightness” of the light emitting diode may be adjusted by varying the duty cycle. When the duty cycle is increased, the light emitting diode emits light for a longer period of time for each pulse of the blink rate, thereby appearing brighter. Decreasing the duty cycle causes the light emitting diode to appear less bright. During a strobe pulse where an illumination source 28 is “on,” the light emitting diode emits light according to the blink rate and duty cycle. However, if the light emitting diode is too “bright” for the strobe rate (e.g., the duty cycle is too high), the activity surface may receive too much illumination and the image may appear blurry. Conversely, if the light emitting diode is not “bright” enough (e.g., the duty cycle is too low), the activity surface may receive too little illumination, and the image may appear dull or nonexistent. Variations in the strobe rate may also cause the image to be distorted, if unaccompanied by a corresponding change in the duty cycle. Therefore, for each change in the strobe rate, the controller 100 may vary the duty cycle, or “brightness” of the illumination sources. For example, an increase in the strobe rate may result in a decrease in brightness. Likewise, a decrease in strobe rate may result in an increase in brightness.
  • [0038]
    Returning to FIG. 4, the controller 100 may detect a further input at block 218 corresponding to activation of the “on/off” button 32. If no such input is received, control may pass back to block 210 where the controller 100 may again increment the count to initiate a new illumination pattern (and/or rotation rate). If an input is received at block 218, the controller 100 may deactivate the game apparatus 10 at block 220 by deactivating the power supply 102 or otherwise terminating operation of the motor 19, the rotatable platform 20 and the illumination sources 28.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a rotation routine 300 that may be stored in the memory of the controller 100 to provide manual control over the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform 20. The rotation routine 300 may be provided in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, the main operating routine 200. The rotation routine 300 may begin operation at block 302 where the controller 100 may receive an input. The input may correspond to activation of the “on/off” button 32, though it should be understood that a separate button may be provided to control the rotation of the rotatable platform 20. If received, the controller 100 may cause the motor 19 to rotate the rotatable platform 20 at block 304. Blocks 302 and 304 may correspond to the activation of the game apparatus 10 at blocks 202 and 204 of FIG. 4.
  • [0040]
    At block 306, the controller 100 may increment a count, which may initially correspond to the initial rate of rotation at block 304. Each count may correspond to a different rate of rotation of the rotatable platform 20. At block 308, the routine 300 may determine whether the user has activated the “on/off” button 32 again. If so, the controller 100 may determine whether the count has reached a predetermined number at block 310. The predetermined number may correspond to deactivation of the motor 19 to stop rotation following a number of times a user activates the “on/off” button 32. If the count has not reached the predetermined number, the rate of rotation may be incremented at block 312, and control may pass back to block 306 where the count may be incremented again. The new rate of illumination may correspond to an incrementally faster or slower rotation rate. Alternatively, the new rate of rotation may correspond to a random rotation rate. If the count reached the predetermined number, as determined at block 310, the game apparatus 10 may deactivate the motor 19 to stop rotation of the rotatable platform at block 314.
  • [0041]
    The rotation routine 300 depicts an example of a manual control over the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform 20. The user may activate the “on/off” button 32 once to activate the game apparatus 10, thereby causing the rotatable platform 20 to rotate. Subsequent activations of the “on/off ” button 32 may cause the controller 100 to cycle through each of the various rates of rotation, and repeated activation of the “on/off” button 32 may eventually cause the rotation to stop. In one example, the count may be set to “1,” whereby a subsequent activation of the “on/off” button 32 causes the rotation to stop rather than change rotation. However, as mentioned above with respect to the main operating routine 200 if FIG. 4, the controller 100 may automatically cycle through the various rates of rotation, which may correspond to changes in the illumination patterns.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 6 is a flowchart of an illumination routine 400 that may be stored in the memory of the controller 100 to provide manual control over the illumination pattern emitted by the illumination sources 28. The illumination routine 400 may be provided in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, the main operating routine 200. The illumination routine 400 may begin operation at block 402 where the controller 100 may receive an input. The input may correspond to activation of the “strobe control” button 34. If received, the controller 100 may cause the illumination sources to activate at block 404. Blocks 402 and 404 may correspond to the activation of the game apparatus 10 at blocks 202 and 204 of FIG. 4. Alternatively, the illumination sources 28 may have been previously activated upon activation of the “on/off” button 32, whereby activation of the “strobe control” button 34 at block 402 may cause the illumination pattern to change at block 404.
  • [0043]
    At block 406, the controller 100 may increment a count, which may initially correspond to the initial illumination pattern at block 404. Each count may correspond to a different illumination pattern. At block 408, the illumination routine 400 may determine whether the user has activated the “strobe control” button 34 again. If so, the controller 100 may determine whether the count has reached a predetermined number at block 410. The predetermined number may correspond to deactivation of the illumination sources 28 following a number of times a user activates the “strobe control” button 34. If the count has not reached the predetermined number, the illumination pattern may be incremented at block 412, which may be a uniform constant illumination or a new strobe rate which may be incrementally faster or slower. Control may then pass back to block 406 where the count may be incremented again. Alternatively, the new illumination pattern may correspond to a random illumination pattern. If the count reached the predetermined number, as determined at block 410, the game apparatus 10 may deactivate the illumination source 28 to stop illumination of the rotatable platform at block 414.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a sound routine 500 that may be stored in the memory of the controller 100 to provide manual control over the sounds emitted by the speaker(s) 36. The sound routine 500 may being operation at block 502 where the controller 100 may receive an input. The input may correspond to activation of the “sound control” button 30. If received, the controller 100 may cause the speaker(s) 36 to activate at block 504. Blocks 502 and 504 may correspond to the activation of the game apparatus 10 at blocks 202 and 204 of FIG. 4. Alternatively, the speaker(s) 36 may have been previously activated upon activation of the “on/off ” button 32, whereby activation of the “sound control” button 30 at block 502 may cause the illumination pattern to change at block 504.
  • [0045]
    At block 506, the controller 100 may increment a count, which may initially correspond to the initial sound at block 504. Each count may correspond to a different sound. At block 508, the sound routine 500 may determine whether the user has activated the “sound control” button 30 again. If so, the controller 100 may determine whether the count has reached a predetermined number at block 510. The predetermined number may correspond to deactivation of the speaker(s) 36 following a number of times a user activates the “sound control” button 30. If the count has not reached the predetermined number, the sound may be incremented at block 512, which may be the next sound on a playlist of sounds stored in a memory of the controller 100. Control may then pass back to block 506 where the count may be incremented again. Alternatively, the new sound may correspond to a random sound. If the count reached the predetermined number, as determined at block 510, the game apparatus 10 may deactivate the speaker(s) 36 at block 514.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a game routine 600 which may be performed by the game apparatus 10 to produce a decorative image. The game routine 600 may begin operation at block 602, whereby the game apparatus 10 may rotate the rotatable platform 20, which may be in response to a user activating the “on/off” button 32 or a rotation control button. Prior to rotation, the rotatable platform 20 may have been provided with a activity surface, as disclosed above. At block 604, the game apparatus may receive one or more decorations on the activity surface. However, it should be understood that the decorations may be applied at any time prior to or during the routine 600. Rotation of the activity surface may cause decorations, such as paints, to spread along the activity surface. Excess paint or other decorations may be prevented from spreading beyond the opening 18 to the surrounding area by the containment wall 24.
  • [0047]
    During the game routine 600, the game apparatus 10 may receive one or more inputs relating to an illumination pattern, a rate of rotation and/or a sound. Such inputs may be the result of the user activating one or more of the buttons 30, 32, 34, as disclosed above. Each input may be made manually (e.g., activating a button for each change in illumination pattern, rotation rate and/or sound) or automatically by the controller 100. For example, at block 608, the game apparatus 10 may receive an input relating to the illumination pattern, in response to which the game apparatus 10 may change the illumination pattern at block 610. The illumination pattern may illuminate the rotating surface with constant, uniform illumination or intermittent illumination, resulting in an interesting visual effect on the rotating surface. In particular, the illumination may include ultraviolet illumination and the decorations may include florescent paints or markings, thereby resulting in an interesting, phosphorescent image when ambient light is low. However, different decorations and different illumination, such as white light illumination or red light illumination, may also be utilized to produce interesting visual effects.
  • [0048]
    At block 612, the game apparatus 10 may receive an input relating to the rotation rate of the rotatable platform 20. If so, the game apparatus 10 may change the rotation rate of the rotatable platform 20 at block 614. At block 616, the game apparatus 10 may receive an input relating to the sound emitted from the speaker(s) 36, in response to which the game apparatus 10 may change the sound at block 618. At block 620, the game apparatus 10 may receive an input relating to deactivation of the game apparatus 10. Such an input may be a subsequent activation of the “on/off” button 32 or activation of a dedicated power switch. If no such input is received, the game apparatus 10 may continue to receive inputs relating to changes in the illumination pattern, the rotation rate and/or the sounds. Otherwise, the game apparatus may deactivate by discontinuing power to the controller 100, the motor 19, the illumination sources 28 and the speaker(s) 36.
  • [0049]
    Although the above examples describe a game apparatus 10 with a controller 100 and associated sound generation logic, illumination generation logic and/or rotation control logic for controlling the sound, illumination and/or rotation of the game apparatus 10, respectively, it should be understood that one or more functions of the game apparatus 10 may be performed using different control devices, other than a controller 100 associated logic. For example, the controller 100 and each of the buttons 30, 32, 34 may be replaced with potentiometers and corresponding knobs. A potentiometer for controlling sound may be operatively coupled to the sound generation circuit 104 and the speaker(s) 36. Adjustment of the sound potentiometer may change the sound being generated by the sound generation circuit 104 and the speaker(s) 36. A potentiometer for controlling the illumination may be operatively coupled to the illumination sources 18, and adjustment of the potentiometer may adjust the illumination from the illumination sources 28. Further, the potentiometer for controlling illumination may be operatively coupled to an illumination circuit such as a counter, and adjustment of the potentiometer may cause the illumination circuit to vary the strobe rate of the illumination sources 28 by varying the input to the counter and causing the counter to count at various rates to produce an output corresponding to the strobe rate which may be inputted to the illumination sources 28. Although the illumination circuit may provide automatically compensate the brightness of the illumination source in response to a change in strobe rate, a separate potentiometer may be provided and operatively coupled to the illumination sources 28 to manually adjust the brightness of the illumination sources 28. A potentiometer for controlling the rotation rate may be operatively coupled to the motor 19, whereby adjustment of the rotation potentiometer may adjust the speed of the motor 19 by varying the power supplied thereto, and hence the rate of rotation of the rotatable platform 20. A user may adjust the potentiometers as desired to control the strobe rate, the brightness and/or the rotation rate to produce different visual effects, as described above.
  • [0050]
    While the preceding text sets forth a detailed description of numerous different embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the legal scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment of the invention since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8956163 *May 7, 2010Feb 17, 2015Spin-T, LlcApparatus, systems, and methods for applying spin-art to fabric
US20100285430 *Nov 11, 2010David Jerry MacfadyenApparatus, systems, and methods for applying spin-art to fabric
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Classifications
U.S. Classification273/236, 273/280
International ClassificationA63F3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB44C5/005, A63H33/22
European ClassificationA63H33/22, B44C5/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 27, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: HASBRO, INC., RHODE ISLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WEINGARD, PAUL B.;HAMILTON, THOMAS P.;REEL/FRAME:016173/0808
Effective date: 20050412