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Publication numberUS20070093306 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/541,672
Publication dateApr 26, 2007
Filing dateOct 3, 2006
Priority dateOct 3, 2005
Also published asCA2564149A1
Publication number11541672, 541672, US 2007/0093306 A1, US 2007/093306 A1, US 20070093306 A1, US 20070093306A1, US 2007093306 A1, US 2007093306A1, US-A1-20070093306, US-A1-2007093306, US2007/0093306A1, US2007/093306A1, US20070093306 A1, US20070093306A1, US2007093306 A1, US2007093306A1
InventorsRod Magee, Jill White
Original AssigneeRod Magee, Jill White
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Water flow control system and apparatus
US 20070093306 A1
Abstract
A water flow control system and apparatus is disclosed. The system comprises a water distribution system configured to deliver water from a water source to a water amusement apparatus. At least one detector is coupled with the water distribution system to detect a change in the water being distributed from the water source to the water amusement apparatus. An effect generator is responsively coupled with the detector such that when the detector detects a change in the water, the effect generator produces at least one effect. The apparatus adaptable for use with a water distribution system comprises at least one detector configured to detect changes in water being distributed through the water distribution system and an effect generator responsively coupled with the detector such that when the detector detects a change in the water, the effect generator produces at least one effect.
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Claims(20)
1. A water flow control system comprising:
a) a water distribution system configured to deliver water from a water source to a water amusement apparatus;
b) at least one detector coupled with said water distribution system, said at least one detector configured to detect a change in water distributed from said water source to said water amusement apparatus; and
c) an effect generator responsively coupled with said at least one detector
wherein when said at least one detector detects said change in water, said effect generator produces at least one effect.
2. The water flow control system of claim 1 wherein said at least one detector is a flow switch, said flow switch configured to generate a signal when said flow switch detects a fluctuation in volumetric flow of water.
3. The water flow control system of claim 1 wherein said at least one detector is a pressure sensor, said pressure sensor configured to generate a signal when said pressure sensor detects a fluctuation in water pressure.
4. The water flow control system of one of claims 2 or 3 wherein said effect generator is responsive to said signal, said effect generator producing said at least one effect when said effect generator receives said signal.
5. The water flow control system of claim 6 wherein said effect generator further comprises a controller, a data storage system, and equipment for generating said at least one effect.
6. The water flow control system of claim 7 wherein said at least one effect is stored in said data storage system such that said at least one effect is generated by said equipment when said controller receives said signal.
7. The water flow control system of claim 8 wherein said at least one effect produced by said effect generator is an auditory effect.
8. The water flow control system of claim 8 wherein said at least one effect produced by said effect generator is a visual effect.
9. The water flow control system of claim 9 wherein said water amusement apparatus corresponds in appearance to said auditory effect.
10. A water flow apparatus adaptable for use with a water distribution system said apparatus comprising:
a) at least one detector coupleable with said water distribution system, said at least one detector configured to detect a change in water flowing through said water distribution system; and
b) an effect generator responsively coupled with said detector
wherein when said at least one detector detects said change in water, said effect generator produces at least one effect
11. The water flow apparatus of claim 10 wherein said at least one detector is a flow switch, said flow switch configured to generate a signal when said flow switch detects a fluctuation in volumetric flow of water.
12. The water flow apparatus of claim 10 wherein said at least one detector is a pressure sensor, said pressure sensor configured generate a signal when said pressure sensor detects a fluctuation in water pressure.
13. The water flow apparatus of one of claims 11 or 12 wherein said effect generator is responsive to said signal, said effect generator producing said at least one effect when said effect generator receives said signal.
14. The water flow apparatus of claim 13 wherein said effect generator further comprises a controller, a data storage system, and equipment for generating said at least one effect.
15. The water flow apparatus of claim 14 wherein said at least one effect is stored in said data storage system such that said at least one effect is generated by said equipment when said controller receives said signal from said flow switch.
16. The water flow apparatus control of claim 15 wherein said at least one effect produced by said effect generator is an auditory effect.
17. The water flow apparatus control of claim 16 wherein said water amusement apparatus corresponds in appearance to said auditory effect.
18. A water flow control system for a water park, the water flow control system comprising:
a) a water distribution system configured to deliver water from a water source to a water amusement apparatus such that water from said water source may be released from said water amusement apparatus;
b) at least one detector coupled with said water distribution system, said at least one detector configured to detect a change in water being distributed from said water source to said water amusement apparatus; and
c) an digital audio player responsively coupled with said detector
wherein when said detector detects said change in water, said digital audio player plays back a pre-recorded auditory effect.
19. The water flow control system for a water park of claim 18 wherein said at least one detector is a flow switch, said flow switch configured to generate a signal when said flow switch detects a fluctuation in volumetric flow of water.
20. The water flow control system for a water park of claim 18 wherein said at least one detector is a pressure sensor, said pressure sensor configured generate a signal when said pressure sensor detects a fluctuation in water pressure.
Description
PRIORITY CLAIM

This application claims the benefit to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/22,445 entitled WATER FLOW CONTROL SYSTEM filed on the 3rd day of October, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to water amusement apparatus, more particularly, it relates to a water flow control system and apparatus in which users interact with the water of the water amusement apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the water park industry, typical water attractions include water rides that transport users by means of water flow from a high elevation to a low elevation, mechanical water rides that carries users in a compartment along a track through a water course, and pools with water features such as slides, artificial waves, and devices that spray water with respect to devices that spray water, users may immerse themselves in water by positioning themselves directly in the water flowing from the spray device and/or interact safely with the water by running through the water or disrupting the water flow. However, such spray devices are generally passive amusement devices because the spray devices are non reactive to any attempts by users to influence the water spray devices or to create any subsequent event from interacting with the water flow.

Applicant is aware of water features that produce an effect such as a sound when a switch is activated. Typically, the sound is pre-recorded and the switch directly activates the sound using purely electrical means, such as a push button switch that sends an electrical signal directly to the sound generation equipment. For example, Applicant is aware of U.S. Pat. No. 6,427,927 to Hall which describes a fountain which allows the viewer to alter the fountain's water display. Applicant is also aware of PCT International Publication No. WO 03/097255 to Christopher which describes a water fountain and method of interacting with the water to provide an auditory or visual effect The problem with such prior art devices is that water fountains fail to provide users with a complete, full body interactive experience with the water unlike conventional water amusement devices found at a typical water park.

Applicant is also aware of U.S. Pat. No. 6,702,687 to Henry which describes a controller system for water amusement devices to produce water effects. The problem with such controller system is that it fails to provide for direct user interaction with the water.

Therefore, an unaddressed need for an improved control system and activation method for water amusement devices exists to overcome the inadequacies and deficiencies in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a water flow control system that enables users to directly interact with the water so as to generate an effect.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a water flow apparatus that may be adaptable to virtually any water distribution system to enables users to directly interact with the water so as to generate an effect.

In accordance with the present invention, a water flow control system comprising a water distribution system configured to deliver water from a water source to a water amusement apparatus is provided. At least one detector is coupled with the water distribution system to detect a change in the water being distributed from the water source to the water amusement apparatus. An effect generator is responsively coupled with the detector such that when the detector detects a change in the water, the effect generator produces at least one effect.

In an embodiment of the invention, the detector is a flow switch configured to detect changes in the volumetric flow of water. The flow switch generates a signal when a fluctuation in the volumetric flow of water is detected. Alternatively, the detector is a pressure sensor configured to generate a signal when the pressure sensor detects a fluctuation in water pressure. The effect generator is responsive to the signal produced by the detector by producing an effect when the effect generator receives the signal.

The effect generator comprises a controller, a data storage system, and equipment for generating the effect. The effect is stored in the data storage system such that the effect is generated by the equipment when the controller receives the signal. In an embodiment of the invention, the effect produced by the effect generator is an auditory effect. Alternatively, the effect produced by the effect generator is a visual effect. Preferably, water amusement apparatus corresponds in appearance to the auditory effect Further, a water flow apparatus adaptable for use with a water distribution system is provided. The apparatus comprises at least one detector configured to detect changes in water being distributed through the water distribution system and an effect generator responsively coupled with the detector such that when the detector detects a change in the water, the effect generator produces at least one effect. In an embodiment of the invention, the detector is a flow switch configured to generate a signal when the flow switch detects a fluctuation in volumetric flow of water. Alternatively, the detector is a pressure sensor configured to generate a signal when the pressure sensor detects a fluctuation in water pressure. The effect generator is responsive to the signal produced by the detector by producing the effect.

The effect generator comprises a controller, a data storage system, and equipment for generating the effect. The effect is stored in the data storage system such that the effect is generated by the equipment when the controller receives the signal from the flow switch. Preferably, the effect produced by the effect generator is an auditory effect and that the water amusement apparatus corresponds in appearance to the auditory effect.

Advantageously, the water flow control system and apparatus according to the present invention provides a novel method of activating an effect when interacting with a water amusement apparatus. Instead of the user activating a switch or interacting with some other activation point on or around the water amusement apparatus, the user interacts directly with the water itself by temporarily partially or completely blocking the flow of water or otherwise interfere with the flow of water from the water amusement apparatus. As the water flow is partially or completely blocked or otherwise interfered with, the detector detects the drop in water flow and sends a signal to the effect generator to produce an effect such as an auditory or visual effect.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an embodiment of the water flow control system according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a water amusement apparatus in the shape or configuration of a giraffe;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a water amusement apparatus in the shape or configuration of a frog;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a water amusement apparatus in the shape and configuration of a dragon;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a water amusement apparatus in the shape and configuration of a horn;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a water amusement apparatus in the shape and configuration of a keyboard;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a first manifold;

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a first and second manifold;

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of a flow switch

FIG. 10 is a cross sectional view of a water outlet having a lip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to FIGS. 1 to 9, the water flow control system 1 according to the present invention comprises a water source 10, a water distribution system 20 that distributes water from water source 10 to a water amusement apparatus 30, a detector 40, and an effect generator 50. Water amusement apparatus 30 is defined throughout this application as any structure that enables water to be sprayed or otherwise released from the structure. Typically, water is sprayed or otherwise released from water amusement apparatus 30 from at least one water outlet 32 (see FIGS. 2 to 5 for example). Water amusement apparatus 30 includes but is not limited to any structure positioned above, below, or at ground level, the structure having at least one water outlet 32 for spraying or otherwise releasing water, as described in greater detail below.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, water source 10 is coupled with or otherwise configured to provide water to water distribution system 20. Water distribution system 20 circulates water from water source 10 so as to distribute the water to water amusement apparatus 30 where the water is then sprayed or otherwise released from water amusement apparatus 30 through water outlet 32. Water source 10 may be any water or fluid source including but not limited to a public water system or a re-circulated water treatment system. Although water source 10 may provide water that is not advisable to be consumed by a user 60 in any or large quantities, preferably, water source 10 provides potable water such that a user 60 may safely ingest the water released from water amusement apparatus 30 during interaction or use.

In an embodiment of the invention, water from water source 10 is pressurized so as to enable the water to be sprayed or otherwise released from water amusement apparatus 30 in the form of a water effect. For example, and without intending to be limiting, a water effect may be water released from water amusement apparatus 30 in the form of a mist, a continuous or pulsating stream, a spray, a waterfall, or droplets. In addition to producing water effects, water flow control system 1 is configured to produce a plurality of effects, including but not limited to a plurality of auditory effects and/or a plurality of visual effects, as explained in greater detail below. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, water system 20 in conjunction with effect generator 50 is configured to generate at least one effect in response to a signal received from detector 40.

Detector 40 may be coupled with or otherwise configured to work in conjunction with water system 20 to detect a change in the water such as water flow, water pressure, or water temperature. In an embodiment of the invention, detector 40 is a sensor configured to detect changes in water flow, such as but not limited to a flow switch. In an alternative embodiment, detector 40 is a sensor configured to detect changes in water pressure, such as but not limited to a pressure sensor. A sensor that detects changes in water flow is configured to detect changes in volumetric flow of water available for delivery to a desired destination whereas a sensor that detects changes in water pressure is configured to detect changes in the force exerted due to a restriction of the water flow. Preferably, detector 40 is a sensor configured to detect changes in water flow.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention and as seen in FIG. 6, detector 40 is a flow switch 42 configured to detect a change or fluctuation in the volume of water flowing through water system 20 such as when the volume of the water flowing through water system 20 deviates from a predetermined threshold level by exceeding or decreasing below the predetermined threshold level. The predetermined threshold level of water flow may be set between 0.1 gallons per minute and 20 gallons per minute. Preferably, the threshold level is set at 0.5 gallons per minute. When flow switch 42 detects a change or deviation in water flow compared to the predetermined threshold level of water flow, flow switch 42 may be triggered. When flow switch 42 is triggered, a signal may be sent to effect generator 50 to generate an effect such as a visual and/or auditory effect in response to such change in water flow.

In an embodiment of the invention, flow switch 42 may be configured to maintain a first open position when the water is flowing at least at the rate of the predetermined threshold level. When flow switch 42 detects a change or deviation in water flow, such as a decrease in the volume of the water flowing through water system 20 below the predetermined threshold level, flow switch 42 may displace into a second position, thereby causing a change of state in flow switch 42. Other types of flow switches 42 equipped with various different types of sensors to measure the liquid flow, such as but not limited to ultrasonic and electronic sensors, are contemplated and within the scope of the present invention. As a result of the change in flow switch 42, a signal may be sent to effect generator 50 to generate an effect such as a visual and/or auditory effect. For example, when the water is flowing at least at the rate of the predetermined threshold level, flow switch 42 may maintain a first open position but when flow switch 42 detects a change in water flow, flow switch 42 may displace into a second closed position, thereby causing an electrical circuit to complete and permit the flow of electricity. As a result of the electrical circuit completing, an electrical signal may be sent to effect generator 50 to generate an effect such as a visual and/or auditory effect. In an embodiment of the invention, flow switch 42 may be triggered when user 60 partially or completely blocks or otherwise interferes with the water being released from water amusement apparatus 30, as explained in greater detail below.

In an alternative embodiment, detector 40 may be a pressure sensor configured to detect a change or fluctuation in water pressure of water flowing through water system 20 such as when the pressure of the water flowing through water system 20 deviates from a predetermined threshold level by exceeding or decreasing below the predetermined threshold level. The predetermined threshold level of water flow may be set between 0.1 pound force per square inch and 15 pound force per square inch. The threshold level depends on where the pressure sensor is positioned. For example, if the pressure sensor is positioned in closer relative proximity to outlet 32, the predetermined threshold level would be lower and if pressure sensor is positioned in closer relative proximity to water source 10, then the predetermined threshold level would be higher. When pressure sensor detects a change or deviation in water pressure compared to the predetermined threshold level of water pressure, the pressure sensor may be triggered. When the pressure sensor is triggered, a signal may be sent to effect generator 50 to generate an effect such as a visual and/or auditory effect in response to such change in water flow.

Effect generator 50 is configured so as to receive and respond to a signal from detector 40. Effect generator 50 may respond to the signal by producing at least one auditory and/or visual effect. In an embodiment of the invention, effect generator 50 may include a controller 52, a data storage system 54, and equipment 56 for generating or presenting an effect. Controller 52 may be any device configured to receive a signal and transmit, convert, or otherwise cause the generation of an effect. Data storage system 54 may include any device capable of storing a database of a plurality of auditory and/or visual effects that may be produced and/or presented when effect generator 50 receives a signal from detector 40. For example, data storage system 54 may be a digital audio player configured to store, organize, and play at least one prerecorded audio file. Alternatively, data storage system 54 may be a visual storage media configured to store and play at least one pre-recorded visual file and may include other devices such as lighting effects to create a visual effect. Equipment 56 may include, but is not limited to an audio amplifier and speakers for delivering an auditory effect and/or lasers for generating and/or presenting a visual effect. When controller 52 receives a signal from detector 40, controller 52 sends the necessary information to data storage system 54 and equipment 56 to produce an effect. For example, when user 60 partially or completely blocks or otherwise interferes with the water being released from water amusement apparatus 30 such that a change in water is detected by detector 40, a signal is sent to effect generator 50 to generate the production of a sound such as the sound of an animal or a musical note that may be played through a speaker 58. In an embodiment of the invention, controller 52 and data storage system 54 may be a single device such as but not limited to a MP3 player

Preferably, the shape and/or configuration of water amusement apparatus 30 corresponds to the effect that may be generated by effect generator 50. For example, effect generator 50 may produce sounds of various animals, birds, or reptiles. The shape and/or configuration of water amusement apparatus 30 that is associated with each of such animal sounds preferably resembles the animal corresponding to the animal sound. For greater clarity, as seen in FIG. 2, effect generator 50 associated with water amusement apparatus 30 in the shape or configuration of a giraffe may be configured to generate the sound of a giraffe. Similarly, effect generator 50 associated with water amusement apparatus 30 in the shape or configuration of a frog as seen in FIG. 3 may be configured to generate the sound of a frog. Water flow control system may therefore be used as an educational tool by teaching users 60 what sounds certain animals make and visually associating the animal sound with the appearance of the animal as expressed in the shape and configuration of water amusement apparatus 30.

Other auditory effects that effect generator 50 may produce include musical notes produced by various musical instruments, such as a piano, violin, horn, and trumpet. As seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the shape and/or configuration of water amusement apparatus 30 may resemble the musical instrument corresponding to the sound of the instrument and the musical note generated by such instrument. Water amusement apparatus 30 in the form of a musical instrument may further include a plurality of water outlets 32 in relative close proximity to each other such that each water outlet 32 may correspond to a different note of the musical instrument, as seen in FIGS. 5 and 6. Each time water outlet 32 is partially or completely blocked, water flow control system 1 enables the production of a musical note such that user 60 may play a simple tune on water amusement apparatus 30.

Further examples of auditory effects include human voices speaking or singing; sounds generated by vehicles such as revving of an engine or screeching of tires; and any other synthesizeable and pre-recordable sounds such as a dinosaur's roar or laser sounds of a spaceship. Similarly, the shape and/or configuration of water amusement apparatus 30 that is associated with such sounds may resemble the source of the sound. For example, as seen in FIG. 4, the sound of the dinosaur's roar may be associated with water amusement apparatus 30 in the shape and/or configuration of a dinosaur. Preferably, the auditory effects are prerecorded and stored in data storage system 54 for playback when a signal is received from detector 40. Effect generator 50 may also include equipment for recording sound made by user 60, for example, such that effect generator 50 may play back sound created by user 60. Effect generator 50 may also be configured to generate visual or mechanical effects. For example, effect generator 50 may cause the flashing of lights or activate the mechanical movement of another structure within the park.

The educational possibilities of water flow control system 1 are virtually endless. For example, water amusement apparatus 30 may be in the shape and/or configuration of any letter of the alphabet. Alternatively, a plurality of letters of the alphabet may each be associated with a water outlet 32 on water amusement apparatus 30. When user 60 blocks or interferes with the water being released from outlet 32 corresponding with, for example, the letter ‘A’, effect generator produces a word that starts with the letter ‘A’. Alternatively, water flow control system 1 may be configured as an educational game. For example, user 60 may interact with water amusement apparatus 30 to trigger the start of the game which involves effect generator 50 playing a sound and user finding the appropriate water amusement apparatus 30 that corresponds with the sound produced or finding the appropriate water outlet 32 associated with the sound produced and blocking or otherwise interfering with the water being released to trigger a response. For greater clarity, effect generator 50 may produce a sound of a dog's bark and user 60 would have to find water amusement apparatus 30 in the shape and/or configuration of a dog or find water outlet 32 associated with the picture of a dog and block or otherwise interfere with the water being released to make a correct match and trigger a response. If the match is correct, effect generator 50 may produce a positive auditory effect such as but limited to the sound of cheering, clapping, or a musical tune. The positive auditory effect may be in association with flashing of lights or mechanical movement of a nearby structure. If the match is incorrect, effect generator 50 may produce a negative effect such as but not limited to a voice saying ‘try again’ or the sound of a siren in association with flashing lights.

Operation

In operation, water flow control system 1 may be incorporated for use in association with virtually any conventional water amusement apparatus 30 or incorporated as a water flow control apparatus with virtually any water system connected to a water source. As seen in FIG. 7, water system 20 may include a manifold 22 configured to distribute water from water source 10 to water amusement apparatus 30 for release through a plurality of water outlets 32. Manifold 22 may include at least one water line 24 connected with water source 10. Manifold 22 is typically a pipe that may then divide into at least two pipe branches 25 for delivery of water to at least one water amusement apparatus 30. Typically, manifold 22, water line 24, and pipe branches 25 are disposed below ground remote from water amusement apparatus 30 while water amusement apparatus 30 is positioned at ground level or above ground. Advantageously, the remote location and configuration of manifold 22, water line 24, and pipe branches 25 allow for repair and maintenance work away from and with minimal affect to the functioning of the other water amusement apparatus 30.

Each pipe branch 25 typically includes a manual valve 27 for regulating the water flow in each pipe branch 25. Each pipe branch may also include a solenoid valve 29 that may be opened or closed to control the flow or non-flow of water into each individual pipe branch 25. A main control panel 28 controls each solenoid valve 29 in each pipe branch 25 such that the water flow to each outlet 32 and/or water amusement apparatus may be controlled. By directing water flow into each pipe branch 25, via solenoid valve 29, water amusement apparatus 30 may spray or otherwise release water according to a pre-determined sequence of water effects. Preferably, solenoid valve 29 is electrically actuated and automated by a valve controller according to a predetermined sequence. For example, when the valve controller opens solenoid valve 29 for pipe branch 25 a, pressurized water may flow from pipe line 24 through valve 27 and solenoid valve 29 and along pipe branch 25 a for release through water outlets 32 of water amusement apparatus 30. When the water is sprayed or otherwise released from water amusement apparatus 30, the water may be quickly drained away from the spray area. In an embodiment of the invention, the water drained from the spray area may then be treated and re-circulated through a water treatment system.

In an embodiment of the invention, as seen in FIG. 8, a second manifold 22 a may be coupled with a single pipe branch 25 a. Second manifold 22 a enables a plurality of water amusement apparatus 30 to be made available in an area, such as a water park, and for such plurality of water amusement apparatus 30 to be controlled by main control panel 28. Each pipe branch 25 b of second manifold 22 a may include a second solenoid valve 29 a so as to control the flow of water into each individual pipe branch 25 b to each outlet 32. Detector 40 may also be coupled with pipe branch 25 b such that an effect may be generated in the manner discussed above Independent generation of multiple effects at a single outlet 32 may also be made possible. For example, second manifold may enable user 60 to interact with outlet 32 a to play a plurality of different sound effects each time user 60 interacts with outlet 32 a. For greater clarity and by way of example, if outlet 32 a is associated with the letter ‘A’, a first interaction by user 60 with outlet 32 a will generate a voice speaking a word starting with the letter ‘A’ and a second interaction by user 60 with outlet 32 a will generate a voice speaking a second word starting with the letter ‘A’. Similarly, user 60 may move on to interact with outlet 32 b associated with the letter ‘B’ and each time user 60 interacts with outlet 32 b, a voice speaks a different word starting with the letter ‘B’. Alternatively, detector 40 may cause solenoid valve 29 a to temporarily disrupt the flow of water when a change in water is detected. Preferably, second manifold is coupled with pipe branch 25 a between solenoid valve 29 and water amusement apparatus 30.

When water is flowing through water system 20, detector 40 or flow switch 42 is held open if the water flow exceeds the pre-determined threshold level. However, when user 60 partially or completely blocks or otherwise interferes with the flow of water released from a water outlet 32 of water amusement apparatus 30, the rate of water flow in the particular pipe line delivering water to water outlet 32 temporarily decreases or stops, causing flow switch 42 to be triggered. A signal generated by the triggering of flow switch 42 may be sent to effect generator 50 where controller 52 communicates with data storage system 54 and equipment 56 to produce an effect, such as an auditory or visual effect.

Advantageously, to generate an effect, user 60 physically interacts with the water being sprayed or otherwise released from water amusement apparatus 30. By using the user's body to partially or completely block or otherwise interfere with the flow of water from water amusement apparatus 30, detector 40 or flow switch 42 maybe triggered so as to create the effect. Preferably, only a minimal amount of force is required to partially or completely block or otherwise interfere with the flow of water from water amusement apparatus 30 to trigger detector 40 or flow switch 42 so that even a young child may physically be able to partially or completely block the flow of water. In an embodiment of the invention and as seen in FIG. 7, a lip 70 surrounding water outlet 32 is provided so as to enable user 60 to partially or completely block the water flow more easily. Lip 70 creates a small central depression where the water sprays out. Preferably, lip 70 is slightly protruding and rounded to provide a positive surface against which user 60 may apply pressure to partially or completely block the flow.

From the foregoing description, it may be seen the water flow control system and apparatus formed in accordance with the present invention incorporates many novel features and offers significant advantages over those currently available. While the presently preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it is to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, various changes can be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7551161Dec 14, 2005Jun 23, 2009Mann W Stephen GFluid user interface such as immersive multimediator or input/output device with one or more spray jets
US8017858 *Jun 6, 2009Sep 13, 2011Steve MannAcoustic, hyperacoustic, or electrically amplified hydraulophones or multimedia interfaces
US8294019 *May 20, 2009Oct 23, 2012Mann W Stephen GFluid user interface such as immersive multimediator or iinput/output device with one or more spray jets
US20090223345 *May 20, 2009Sep 10, 2009Mann W Stephen GFluid user interface such as immersive multimediator or iinput/output device with one or more spray jets
Classifications
U.S. Classification472/128
International ClassificationA63G31/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63G31/007, B05B12/004, B05B17/08
European ClassificationB05B17/08, A63G31/00W
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 14, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: GLAVERBEL, BELGIUM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LEFEVRE, HUGUES;REEL/FRAME:017782/0581
Effective date: 20060518