FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to balls and more particularly to a ball which lights up upon impact.
The game of billiards dates back to ancient times and traditionally employs a generally rectangular snooker or billiard table with or without ball pockets at the corners and midpoints, although other table configurations have been devised. Among others, there are circular, elliptical and eight-sided table configurations wherein the ball pockets are either formed in an intermediate portion of the playing surface away from the cushion or evenly spaced around the cushioned edge of the playing surface. Representative patents are C. F. A. Reesch U.S. Pat. No. 208,539, P. L. Hayes U.S. Pat. No. 606,546, C. W. Fuller, U.S. Pat. No. 675,273, J. C. Gillespie U.S. Pat. No. 2,219,675, V. J. Fontaine, Jr. U.S. Pat. No. 2,361,471, A. Tretow U.S. Pat. No. 3,463,489, K. Wiggins U.S. Pat. No. 3,610,618, J. R. McGovern U.S. Pat. No. 4,175,345, J. J. Pearsons Des. No. 39,173 and F. E. Held Des. No. 7,165.
The game of billiards in its various modern forms—English billiards (played with 3 balls and 6 pockets), French billiards (played with 3 balls and no pockets, also known as carom), pocket billiards (pool), and snooker (played with 21 balls, a cue ball and 6 small pockets)—has been known since the 19th century.
The object of billiards is to strike a ball with a stick (known as a cue stick) to place a ball at a particular location which may include a pocket.
While only a single billiard cue or pool stick is necessary to play billiards, billiard players are predisposed to their own favorite cues for a variety of reasons. Increasingly, these cues have fancy and elaborate finishes and include coatings and inlays of precious and rare materials.
The billiard cue has evolved from a simple wooden stick into a precision-machined cue that is typically detachable into two or three parts. This facilitates portability of the cue, which otherwise may extend to over five feet in length. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 970,172, issued to Bloom et al. in 1910, is an early two-piece cue stick which allows the cue to be separated into butt and shaft sections when not in use. The joint illustrated in the '172 patent has come to be known as the main joint.
In using a billiard cue, a billiard player ordinarily (1) grasps the butt of the cue with one hand, (2) supports the cue shaft in the crotch between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand used as a guide (this hand being positioned on the surface of the billiard table), and (3) then moves the cue longitudinally relative to the guide hand with a short jab or thrusting motion.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,066,011 discloses a bouncing ball within which is incorporated an activatable light in the form of a flashtube which flashes when the ball incurs a physical jolting force such as when it is being bounced. There may also be incorporated within the ball a sound annunciator which produces a sound simultaneously with the flashing of the light.
Typical cue balls or billiard balls may be formed from ivory or plastic and includes various indicia which may be used in the game to identify and attach significance to a particular ball. In one game, it is desired to not sink a particular ball until all the other balls have been sunk. Consequently, the indicia found on the ball can be of great help when playing billiards.
The present invention is directed to a ball which lights upon impact. The ball may include many lights which may be formed at various angles in order to provide an entertaining display while the ball is turning. In addition, the lights may be activated by a vibration switch to turn on and off the lights. Furthermore, the lights may be activated by a pair of vibration switches which are positioned at angle in order to detect all impacts of the ball which avoids an impact along the centerline of one vibration switch which could result in the failure of the vibration switch to detect the impact.
The present invention includes a lighted ball including a spherical housing having a transparent portion, a circuit board mounted in the spherical housing, a on-off switch to detect an impact of the spherical housing and a lamp to flash in response to the impact of the spherical housing.
The on off switch may include a first vibration switch and a second vibration switch which is positioned at an angle with respect to the first vibration switch, and the lamp includes a first light emitting diode and a second light emitting diode which is positioned at an acute angle with respect to the first light emitting diode. The angle may be approximately 90°.
The first light emitting diode may be a different color than the second light emitting diode, and the spherical housing includes a controller to receive signals from the on-off switch.
The spherical housing includes a battery to power the circuit board, and the controller controls the frequency of the flashing of the lamp.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The lighted ball may be a billiard ball.
The invention may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which, like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates a top view of the light up billiard ball of the present invention;
FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the light up billiard ball of the present invention;
FIG. 3 illustrates a circuit diagram of the light up billiard ball of the present invention;
FIG. 4 illustrates a circuit diagram of the lights of the light up billiard ball of the present invention.
FIG. 1 illustrates a top view of the light up billiard ball 100 which includes a spherical housing 102 which includes a transparent housing for supporting a circuit board 104 which includes electrical devices to operate the light up billiard ball 100. FIG. 1 additionally illustrates a on off switch 106 to turn on and off the lamp 108 of the ball 100; the on-off switch 106 may be mounted on the circuit board 104. FIG. 1 additionally illustrates a battery 110 to supply power to the lamp 108 and the remaining electrical devices mounted on the circuit board 104. Furthermore, FIG. 1 illustrates a lamp 108 which may be a light emitting diode (LED).
FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the lighted billiard ball 100 in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. FIG. 2 illustrates the spherical housing 102 for mounting the circuit board 104. The on/off switch 106 is mounted on the circuit board 104 and turns on and off the lamp 108 which is mounted on the circuit board 104.
FIG. 3 illustrates a circuit diagram of the light up billiard ball 100 of the present invention. The on off switch 106 includes a first vibration switch 308 and a second vibration switch 309. The first vibration switch 308 is mounted at an angle, for example 90°, from the second vibration switch 309. Other angles such as 30 or 60° are within the scope of the present invention. If there is an impact along the centerline of the first vibration switch 308, the first vibration switch 308 may not detect the impact. However, because the second vibration switch 309 is at an angle with respect to the first vibration switch 308, the impact would be detected by the second vibration switch 309. When the billiard ball 100 detects an impact from the cue stick, the billiard ball table or another billiard ball 100, either or both the first vibration switch 308 and the second vibration switch 309 detect the impact and send a message to the controller 306. The controller 306 activates the lamp 108. More particularly, the controller 306 will activate one or several of the light emitting diodes 304 to flash for a predetermined time. After the predetermined time, the controller 306 will deactivate the lighted emitting diodes 304. FIG. 3 additionally illustrates a voltage source 312 which may be battery 110 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 3 illustrates that the resistors 302 may be connected between the voltage source 312 and the lamp 108. FIG. 3 additionally illustrates a resistor 303 and capacitor 318 connected to the controller 306.
FIG. 4 illustrates a first light emitting diode 402 at a first angle for example 60° with respect to a second light emitting diode 404, and a third light emitting diode 406 at a second angle, for example 40° with respect to the second light emitting direct 404. The controller 306 can light the first light emitting diode 402, the second light emitting diode 404 and the third light emitting of 406 simultaneously or the controller may light the first light emitting diode 402, the second light emitting diode 404 and the third light emitting diode 406 in a sequence to provide a pleasing light experience for the user of the lighted billiard ball 100. Furthermore, by virtue of the first light emitting diode 402, the second light emitting diode 404 and the third light emitting diode 406 having an angled relationship that will provide entertainment as the billiard ball 100 rotates. The first light emitting diode 402, the second light emitting diode 404 and the third light emitting diode 406 may be the same color or different colors. The frequency of the flashing of the light emitting diodes 402, 404, 406 is controlled by the controller 306.
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed.