US 3482352 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 9, 1969 J. H. HEIM 3,482,352
TOYIPROGRAMMED VEHICLE Filed April 21. 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 mum U-LULVEL L1 llllll ll llAlX FORWARD ---u 45 JOHN H. HEIM LEFTJ RIGHT STRAIGHT 47 Q/ ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,482,352 TOY PROGRAMMED VEHICLE John H. Heirn, Barrington, R.I., assignor to Hasbro Industries, Inc., Pawtuckct, R.li., a corporation of Rhode Island Filed Apr. 21, 1969, Ser. No. 817,814 Int. Cl. A6311 33/26, 29/22, 29/24 U.S. Cl. 46-244 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A toy battery-operated, motor-driven vehicle having means therein for receiving and feeding a program card, the programming being achieved by opposite cam edges on the card that are engaged by resiliently urged followers carried by the chassis, the movement of said followers mechanically causing automatic steering of the car; and automatic mechanical shifting to determine whether the car moves forwardly or rearwardly.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is relatively well known in the prior art to provide toy vehicles and the like having means for predetermining the course of travel of the vehicle. Such means, however, in many instances, require the constant presence of an operator, such as, for example, where the remote control arrangement embodies some sort of physical connection to the vehicle, such as electrically conductive leads, flexible shafts, air tubes or the like, so that by proper manipulation of the control device the operator may guide or steer the vehicle from a remote point. Obviously, in such an arrangement, the operator must not only be ever present, but also the distance that the operator may be positioned from the vehicle is limited by the length of the inter-connecting means.
Other types of remote control device for effecting the steering of toy vehicles include incorporation in the vehicle of a sound switch which is responsive to waves of specified frequency emitted from a remote point, as Well as the installation of a radio receiver in the vehicle for reception of waves discharged from a remotely located transmitter. Here again, even though there is no physical interconnection between the operator and the vehicle, the operator must nevertheless be present to guide and control movement of the vehicle.
In addition, toy vehicles and the like have been produced wherein mechanical means are provided within the toy for effecting a change of path thereof in response to impact between the toy and some object. Such toys for the most part have been of the reversing type wherein the toy, in response to striking an object, is caused to eflfect a change in direction of travel of some predetermined degree. Although toys of this type obviously do not require the presence or control of an operator,. it will be understood that the movement of the toy will always be in a standard pattern, usually in a straight line, until the toy engages an obstacle.
There is still another class of toy vehicles and the like having a predetermined path of movement wherein programming means are incorporated in the toy for effecting the desired path of travel. Such self-contained program vehicles have, until now, incorporated relatively complicated and sophisticated electrical circuitry, thus making the toy relatively expensive to manufacture and relatively difficult to maintain in good working order and repair, since obviously toys of this nature are subject to considerable wear and tear, as is true of most toys designed for relatively small children.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a toy vehicle or the like having self-contained means for controlling forward and reverse movement of the vehicle, as well as steering of the vehicle, which means are actuated by a programmed card, tape or the like that is manually inserted into the toy. Thus, the path of travel, direction, etc., of the toy vehicle will be dependent upon the particular program card or tape that is utilized, whereby an endless variety of predetermined courses of travel may be achieved for the toy.
Basically, the above objective is achieved by utilizing a programmed card having opposed cam edges. Pivotally mounted means are associated with the toy vehicle, each of said means having a follower that is resiliently urged into engagement with one of the cam edges. Thus, the movement of these pivotally mounted means is dependent upon the particular profile that defines the respective cam edge. One of the pivotally mounted means is mechanically connected to the front wheels of the toy vehicle, whereupon movement of said means in response to movement of the programmed card results in steering of the vehicle. The other pivotally mounted means is mechanically connected to a gear train, which gear train is shiftable from a first position wherein the battery-operated motor of the toy drives the rear Wheels of the toy in one direction, and a second position wherein the direction of movement is reversed. There is also an intermediate shift position wherein the vehicle is in neutral. The shifting of gears takes place in response to movement of the second pivotally mounted means, which movement in turn is responsible to the particular profile of the program card with which its follower is in engagement.
The present invention involves only the simplest electrical circuitry; and, specifically, battery means are provided for energizing the motor which drives the rear wheels of the toy. The circuit between the battery and the motor is normally open, and means are provided for automatically closing the circuit in response to the insertion of the program card into the toy. The motor also drives a feed roller which engages the program card and causes the card to feed slowly through the device, it being understood that the motor will remain energized for so long as the card is being fed.
Thus, one of the prime objectives and advantages of the instant invention is the provision of a toy programmed vehicle wherein the programming means are almost entirely mechanical in nature, there being no sophisticated or complicated electrical circuitry involved.
A further object is the provision of a toy programmed vehicle of the character described wherein the front wheels of the device have individual suspension to better insure proper contact between the front wheels and the surface on which the vehicle is moving, which in turn permits proper steering of the vehicle.
Another object is the provision of a toy programmed vehicle of the character described wherein means are provided for properly positioning the straight-ahead, left and right positions of the front wheels.
Another object is the provision of a toy programmed vehicle of the character described that is economically feasible to manufacture, durable in use, and that possesses maximum play value for children.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the description thereof proceeds when considered in connection with the accompanying illustrative drawings.
3 DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a toy vehicle embodying the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the chassis assembly with certain parts removed for purposes of illustration;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the chassis assembly which forms a part of my invention;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the gear shift assembly per se in one position of adjustment;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view showing the gear train assembly in its other position of adjustment;
FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the chassis assembly;
FIG. 7 is a section taken on line 77 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 8 is a section taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 3; FIG. 9 is a side elevational view, in section, of the chassis assembly before a program card has been fully inserted;
FIG. 10 is a similar view to FIG. 9 after the program card has been inserted;
FIG. 11 is a plan view of an illustrative program card; and
FIG. 12 is a fragmentary elevational view, partly in section, showing the details of the front-wheel suspension system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings, there is shown generally at 10 a toy vehicle comprising a chassis assembly 12 and a body 14 which may embody any desired design. The body 14 may be integrally molded of any suitable plastic material and is assembled onto the chassis assembly by any suitable means, not shown, such as a snapseat arrangement or the like. Although the body 14 is illustrated herein as embodying the design of an automotive sports car, and although a prime utility of the instant invention is to simulate a toy automotive vehicle,
the term vehicle as used herein is not limited to an automotive vehicle. Thus the instant invention is equally applicable to a wide variety of different designs that may be combined with the programmed movement hereinafter to be described. Thus, instead of the automotive body 14, the vehicle might take the form of a toy animal or other figure, in which event the body 14 would be molded to the desired configuration and then mounted on the chassis assembly 12 by any suitable means. Thus, the essence of the instant invention resides in the chassis construction and the programming means which control the direction and path of travel of the chassis assembly.
The chassis assembly 12 comprises a frame 16 which also is preferably constructed of molded plastic, said frame being of generally rectangular configuration and comprising elongated side walls 18, 20, a side wall 22, and transverse walls 24, 26 and 28 extending integrally from one side wall to the other in spaced, parallel relation above and with respect to bottom wall 22, as will be seen most clearly in FIGS. 9 and 10. For molding purposes, the bottom wall 22 is discontinuous and is provided with openings in alignment with the walls 24, 26 and 28. A transverse rear wall 30 extends upwardly from wall 24 and is provided with a horizontal flange 32. Similarly, an upwardly extending transverse front wall 34 is provided at the forward edge of transverse wall 28 and has a forwardly extending horizontal flange 36 thereon. As will be seen most clearly in FIGS. 3 and 6, bottom wall 22 is provided with a pair of aligned elongated openings 38, 40, the outer portions of which are defined by semicircular projections 42 in side walls 16 and 18.
The space between bottom wall 22 and transverse walls 24, 26 and 28 defines a longitudinally extending slot 44 which receives therein a program card 46 (see FIG. 11) having opposite cam edges 48 and 50. It will be understood that the term card as used herein should be construed to cover any suitable card, strip or tape.
Resiliently mounted to the underneath surface of bottom wall 22 is a roller 52, which roller extends partially through opening 54 in bottom wall 22. Roller 52 is resiliently urged upwardly with respect to bottom wall 22 by any suitable means, such as spring plate 56, secured to wall 22 by any suitable means, such as screw 58, said plate having a forward pintle 60 which rotatably carries the shaft 62 of roller 52. A second roller '64 is fixedly mounted on shaft 66, which shaft extends transversely across the chassis assembly and is rotatably journalled in the walls 18 and 29. As will be 'seen most clearly in FIGS. 7, 9 and 10, roller 64 is located above and in alignment with the aforesaid roller 52, the roller 52 resiliently bearing against roller 64 pursuant to the urging of spring plate 56.
Mounted on transverse wall 24, by any suitable means, is a miniature motor 68 which drives gear 70, which, through the gear train illustrated generally at 72 in FIG. 2, drives gear 74 at a greatly reduced speed. Gear 74 is secured to the outer end of shaft 66, whereupon when motor 68 is energized, shaft 66 and hence roller 64 are driven at a relatively low speed. In order to energize the motor 68, a pair of batteries 76 are mounted in suitable brackets 78, 80. An electrically conductive strap 82 is in electrical contact with and extends from one of the batteries 76, as shown most clearly in FIGS. 3, 9 and 10; and said strap is normally in spaced relation from a second conductive strap 84, or, more specifically, in spaced relation from curved contact portion 86 which is located adjacent to an arcuate portion 88 provided in strap 84. It is important to note that arcuate portion 88 extends downwardly to a point closely adjacent to bottom wall 22, whereupon when card 46 is manually inserted into slot 44 and pushed forwardly therein, the front edge 47 of the card 46 will engage arcuate portion 88 to cam the curved contact portion 86 upwardly into electrical contact with strap 82, as clearly shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. As soon as this contact is made, the circuit between battery 76 and motor 68 is completed, the path of the current being through strap 82 to strap 84 to motor 68 to conducting plate 90, which is in electrical contact with plate 92, which in turn is in contact with strap 94, thus completed the circuit back to the secondary battery 76, it being understood that the bracket 78 and the contact 96 located therealongside are electrically connected to each other, such as by being blanked from one integral metal plate. Thus, the motor 68 will normally not be energized, due to the spacing which exists between contact 86 and strap 82. When, however, a program card 46 is manually inserted into slot 44 and is pushed therein sufiiciently, the front edge of the card will cam arcuate portion 88 upwardly so as to cause engagement between contact 86 and strap 82, thus completing the electrical circuit and thereby energizing motor 68. Upon energiza tion of motor 68, the aforedescribed reduction gearing results in rotation of shaft 66 and roller 64. Since arcuate portion 88 of strap 84 is located alongside roller 64, it follows that when card 46 is inserted sufiiciently to close the electrical circuit, the forward edge of the card, at the same time, is engaged between rollers 64 and 52, whereupon the subsequent rotation of roller 64, and the pressurized contact thereagainst by roller 52, causes continuous longitudinal feeding of card 46 through slot 44.
Pivotally mounted to the underneath surface of bottom wall 22, as at 98, is a first lever 100 having at its rear end an upwardly extending cylindrical portion 102, the portion 102 extending upwardly through the aforesaid opening 40. A second lever 104 is pivotally mounted to the under surface of bottom wall 22 as at 106 and has a similar upwardly extending cylindrical portion 108 at its forward end extending upwardly through opening 38. The cylindrical portions 102 and 108 are interconnected by a laterally extending spring 110 which resiliently urges said cylindrical portions to the inner ends of openings 38, 40, as shown most clearly in FIG. 3. It will therefore be ap parent that as card 46 is fed through slot 44 by the aforesaid feed means, the cam edges 48, 50 of the card will be resiliently engaged and followed by the cylindrical portions 102 and 108, thus causing movement of levers 100 and 104 about their pivot points. Expressed differently, the particular cam edges of card 46 will control movement of levers 100 and 104 to control steering of the vehicle and to further control forward or reverse movement of the vehicle, in a manner now to be described.
The lever 100 has at its forward end an elongated slot 111 which receives therein pin 112 of cross link 114. Link 114 is pivotally connected at its opposite extremities as at 116 to links 118, which in turn are connected to vertical cylinders 120, said vertical cylinders each being rotatably mounted between spaced plates 122, 124 carried by the chassis assembly and extending laterally therefrom adjacent the forward end thereof. Specifically, as will be seen in FIG. 12, cylinder 120 has pins 126 and 128 extending axially therefrom, said pins being received in suitable openings in the plates 122 and 124 in order to rotatably mount cylinder 120. It is important to note that the length of cylinder 120 is less than the distance between the inner surfaces of plates 122 and 124, whereupon a limited amount of axial movement of cylinder 120 is permitted between said plates. Each of the cylinders 120 has a shaft 130 extending outwardly therefrom, said shafts rotatably receiving thereon the front wheels 132. Thus, when lever 100 is rotated about its pivot point 98 pursuant to in-and-out movement of cylindrical portion 102 caused by longitudinal movement of the adjacent cam edge of card 46, the forward end of the lever will impart lateral movement to cross link 114 by virtue of the aforesaid pin-and-slot connection that exists therebetween. As the cross link moves laterally, the links 118 will rock about the axis of cylinders 120 to impart rotation to the latter, which rotation will in turn change the direction of the wheels 132.
In order that the wheels 132 may have independent suspension, so that better contact will be made with uneven surfaces, a spring wire 134 is secured to the upper surface of front flange 36, said wire at its opposite extremities engaging the upper surfaces of pins 128 to urge the cylinders 120 to their lowermost position, as shown most clearly in FIGS. 3 and 12. The cylinders 120, and hence their associated wheels, may move upwardly independently of each other against the action of spring 134, thus providing an independent front-wheel suspension in the device.
It has also been found that it is desirable to provide positioning means for maintaining the straight-ahead, left and right positions of the wheels 132. To this end, the cross link 114 has provided thereon a block 136 having a tooth-like inner edge 138. A boss 140 carried on the underneath surface of bottom wall 22 is provided with a bore 142 having a spring 144 mounted therein, which spring urges a slidably mounted pin 146 which is positioned in the bore into engagement with the toothed edge of block 136. The forward end of pin 146 is preferably pointed so as to snugly interengage with the toothed portion 138. Thus, it will be seen that when the cross link 114 and hence the wheels 132 are in the position illustrated in FIG. 6, the pin 146 is in one of the outermost pockets in block 136. Upon suitable movement of lever 100 so as to position cross link 114 for straight-ahead motion, the pin 146 will retract against the action of its spring and snap into the center pocket. By the same token, when the wheels have been turned to the opposite direction of that illustrated in FIG. 6, the pin 146 will engage in the pocket at the opposite extremity of block 136. Thus, the spring-loaded pin 146 and the block 136 function as detent means for insuring proper straight-ahead movement of the device, as well as a constant angle of left and right movement.
Referring now in detail to the gear train 72, the reduction gear train which drives shaft 66 will now be traced.
As previously stated, motor 68 has a drive shaft which carries gear 70, which in turn drives a larger gear 148 which carries a centrally disposed pinion gear 150 which in turn drives a relatively large gear 152. Gear 152 has a pinion 154 which drives gear 156, which through pinion 158 drives the aforesaid gear 74. Motor 68 also drives shaft 160 which carries rear wheels 162 at its outer extremities. Since the gear train 72 is positioned between one of the wheels 162 and side wall 18, a spacer 164 is provided on shaft 160 outside the opposite side wall 20 to maintain the other wheel in proper symmetry. Shiftable means are provided whereby the motor 68 may selectively drive shaft 160 in either a forward or reverse direction. More specifically, a shiftable plate 166 is provided, note FIGS. 4 and 5, said plate being rotatable about the axis 168, which is the axis of the aforesaid shaft 160. A gear 170 is mounted on the same axis, and a pair of planetary gears 172, 174 are rotatably mounted on the plate 166. An additional gear 176 is in driving engagement with the gear 172, While a still further gear 178 is carried on the inside hub of the aforesaid gear 148. The gear 178 is not mounted on plate 166, but rather extends through an opening 180 provided therein, whereupon when the plate 166 is in the position illustrated in FIG. 4, the gear 178 is in engagement with the gear 176. The resultant gear train causes gear 168 and hence shaft 160 which is fixed thereto to be driven in a forward direction. When, however, plate 166 is shifted or rotated in a counterclockwise direction about its axis 168 to the position illustrated in FIG. 5, the gear 174 moves into engagement wtih gear 178, thus causing the gear 170 and shaft 160 to be driven in a reverse direction. Since the gear 178 is carried by the aforesaid gear 148, and since gear 148 is driven by the gear 70, which is in turn driven by the motor 68, it follows that the motor 68 will drive the axle 160 and hence the wheels 162 connected thereto in either a forward or reverse direction, depending upon the position of the aforesaid plate 166. In addition, plate 166 may be shifted to an intermediate position (not shown) wherein gear 178 will be disengaged from both gears 174 and 176. In this position, the vehicle is in neutral, there being no drive imparted to axle 160.
In order to shift the plate 166 between the positions illustrated in FIGS. 4 and S, the lever 104 carries a laterally extending spring wire 182, the free end of which engages in an aperture 184 provided in plate 166. Thus, as the lever 104 is caused to rotate about its pivot 106 pursuant to the following action of cylindrical portion 108 against the adjacent cam edge of card 46, the resilient wire 182 will cause shifting of plate 166 between the positions illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. Actually, looking at FIG. 11, it will be understood that cam edge 48 will be the edge that controls movement of lever 104, it being noted that said cam edge has three positions, i.e., one position for forward movement of the vehicle, one position for rearward movement thereof, and one position for neutral. Cam edge 50, on the other hand, controls lever 100, and it will be noted that here again there are three relative positions on said edge, one for left direction, one for straight-ahead movement, and one for right direction. It is important that the wire 182, which causes shifting of plate 166, be sufficiently resilient so that a certain amount of override is permitted when the gears are shifted from one position to the other. Without this resilience, it would be extremely difiicult to effect the desired shifting action.
The operation of the vehicle 10 is briefly as follows. The card 46 is manually inserted into the slot 44, it being noted that the card 46 is provided with beveled portions 186 on its forward edge so as to facilitate entry of the card between the cylindrical portions 102 and 108. As the card is pushed inwardly through slot 44, the forward edge of the card will cam upwardly the strap 84 to cause engagement of contact portion 86 with conductor strap 82, thus completing the electrical circuit to motor 68. At the same time, the forward edge of the card engages between the rollers 52 and 64. Upon energization of motor 68, the roller 64 is driven by said motor through reduction generally at a relatively low rate of speed, whereupon the card 46 may now be manually released, since the continued feeding of the card through slot 44 is now achieved by driven feed roller 64 and pressure roller 52. As the card is fed, its cam edge 48 controls movement of lever 104 by virtue of the following action of cylindrical portion 108, which is resiliently urged against the cam edge 48 by means of the spring 110. As lever 104 moves between the positions defined by cam edge 48, the wire 182 will cause shifting of plate 166 between the positions illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, thus determining whether the motor drives the rear wheels 162 in a forward or reverse direction, or whether the vehicle is in neutral.
At the same time, the opposite cam edge 50 controls movement of lever 100 by similar mechanical means, and the movement of the lever 100, through a pin-and-slot connection, causes lateral movement of cross link 114. By means of links 118 which are pivotally connected to opposite ends of cross link 114, the lateral movement of the cross link causes rotation of the cylinders 120 t which the front wheels 132 are mounted. Thus, the rotation of cylinders 120 determines the angular or directional position of the wheels 132. Cooperating detent means are provided for properly positioning the cross link 114 in a straight-ahead, left or right position. In addition, the front wheels 132 each have a floating mounting, whereupon an independent front-wheel suspension is provided to insure better contact of the front wheels where the surface on which the vehicle is moving is not completely level.
It will therefore be seen that the vehicle 10, unless in neutral, will continue to move forwardly, rearwardly, straight ahead, left and right, depending on the particular cam edges 48 and 50 provided on the card 46. This movement will continue until the card has been completely fed by roller 64, at which point the conductor strap 84 will again be free to move to the position illustrated in FIG. 9, thus breaking the circuit and automatically shutting off the motor. It will be understood that the play value of this item is unlimited in that a child may design and cut his own program cards in order to make the vehicle travel a predetermined path.
While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described.
What is claimed is:
1. A toy vehicle comprising a chassis having front and rear wheels rotatably mounted thereon, a slot in said chassis receiving an elongated card having a cam edge, means for feeding said card through said slot, a lever pivotally mounted on said chassis having a first end resiliently urged toward said cam edge and making engagement therewith as the card is fed through said slot, said lever having a second end connected to a laterally movable cross link carried by said chassis whereupon movement of said first lever end as it follows said cam edge causes corresponding lateral movement of said cross link, means connecting said cross link to at least one of said wheels so that lateral movement of said cross link causes steering of said one wheel, and drive means causing rotation of one of said wheels.
2. In the toy vehicle of claim 1, said cross link and said chassis having cooperating detent means for releasably maintaining said cross link in one of a plurality of lateral positions.
3. In the toy vehicle of claim 1, said feed means comprising a motor-driven roller carried by said chassis, and means for automatically energizing said motor in response to insertion of said card through said slot into engagement with said roller.
4. In the toy vehicle of claim 3, said chassis having a pair of front wheels and a pair of rear wheels, said cross link being operatively connected to said front wheels and said drive means being operatively connected to said rear wheels, said drive means being actuated by energization of said motor.
5. In the toy vehicle of claim 4, means mounting each of said front wheels for independent limited vertical movement with respect to said chassis and resilient means normally urging each of said front wheels to their lowest positions.
6. In the toy vehicle of claim 4, said card having a second cam edge, a second lever pivotally mounted on said chassis having a first end resiliently urged toward said second cam edge and making engagement therewith as the card is fed through said slot, gear means carried by said chassis drivingly interconnecting said motor and said rear wheels, said gear means being shiftable between a first position wherein said rear wheels are driven in one direction and a second position wherein said rear wheels are driven in the other direction, said second lever having a second end in engagement with said gear means, whereby movement of said second lever as it follows said second cam edge causes shifting of said gear means.
7. In the toy vehicle of claim 6, said second end of said second lever comprising resilient means for resiliently maintaining said gear means in said first and second positions.
8. In the toy vehicle of claim 6, a spring extending laterally across said chassis, said spring being connected at its opposite ends to the said first ends of said first and second levers to resiliently urge said first ends to their aforesaid cam engaging pg'sitions.
9. In the toy vehicle of claim 3, said automatic energizing means comprising a battery carried by said chassis, a normally open circuit connecting said battery and said motor, and means closing said circuit in response to insertion of said card through said slot into engagement with said roller.
10. In the toy vehicle of claim 6, said gear means being shiftable to an intermediate position wherein the vehicle is in neutral.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,581,109 1/1952 Kenngott 74-1 2,729,026 1/ 1956 Slaby 46-213 2,775,848 1/ 1957 Isaacson 46244 3,050,904 8/1962 Morse 46244 3,102,363 9/ 1963 Ferriot 46-244 3,131,508 5/1964 Brown 46-244 3,252,247 5/ 1966 Miller et al 46-244 ANTONIO F. GUIDA, Primary Examiner R. F. CUTTING, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.