US 3604726 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Charles W. Tracy Tallahassee, Fla.
Appl. No. 836,364
Filed June 25, 1969 Patented Sept. 14, 1971 Assignee international Enterprises, Inc.
BALANCE BALL FOR AMUSEMENT AND EXERCISE 4 Claims, I 1 Drawing Figs.
0.8. CI 280/205, 280/8704 A, 272/57 A Int. Cl B62k 1/00 Field of Search 272/1, 35,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,565,484 l2/l925 McWhirter 272/57 2,829,892 4/1958 Ludwig 272/l 2,999,688 9/1961 Gabrielson 272/56 3,379,454 4/l968 Woodman 280/8704 3,306,626 2/1967 Kawada 280/205 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant ExaminerR. T. Stouffer Attorneys-A. Yates Dowell and A. Yates Dowell, Jr.
ABSTRACT: Apparatus including a platform on a freely rotatable ball utilized for developed muscular coordination and balance as well as for amusement. A dome-shaped housing extends over the ball. Secured to the housing is a circular plate on which the user stands. Between the housing and the ball are antifriction devices. In one form, these are ball bearings. In another form, these are low friction areas of Teflon. To retain the housing on the ball, a skirt is secured to the housing and extends below the diameter of the ball.
PATENTED SEP1 4I97l SHEET 2 OF 2 'IIIIIIII IL IN VENT( )R MAM/as runway BALANCE BALL FOR AMUSEMENT AND EXERCISE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to exercise and amusement devices and particularly to apparatus for amusing and for developing muscular control and balance.
2. Description of the Prior Art Efforts have been made to provide an exercise and amusement device in which the operator balanced himself on a ball, cylinder, or single wheel; however, these devices have not proved satisfactory since they were complicated, expensive, were easily separated, and the frictional forces were so great that the ball or wheel could not roll easily.
SUMMARY The present invention is a platform having a dome-shaped housing with antifriction means therein and adapted to receive a spherical member or ball in such a manner that the ball can be rotated freely in any direction. Means is provided for capturing the ball to prevent separation of the platform and housing from such ball.
It is an object of the invention to provide an amusement and exercise device having a platform mounted on a single ball with antifriction means disposed between the housing and the ball and on which platform a person is adapted to stand and maintain balance.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective illustrating one application of the invention;
FIG. 2, an enlarged top plan view thereof; FIG. 3, a side elevation; FIG. 4, an exploded side elevation with the ball removed; FIG. 5, an enlarged vertical section on the line 5-5 of FIG.
FIG. 6, an enlarged fragmentary detail elevation on the line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
,FIG. 7, a section on the line 7--7 ofFIG. 6; FIG. 8, a top plan view of a modified form of the invention; FIG. 9, a side elevation thereof;
FIG. 10, an enlarged fragmentary detailed section on the line 10 ofFIG. 8; and
FIG. 1 1, an enlarged fragmentary detail section similar to FIG. 10 of a further modified form of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With continued reference to the drawings, the present invention includes a housing 10 having a dome-shaped portion 11 with an outwardly extending flange 12 disposed entirely around the lower marginal portion thereof. A generally flat disk-shaped platform 13 is provided having an inner opening 14 and an outer marginal edge 15. The opening 14 is slightly larger in diameter than the dome-shaped portion 11 so that the platform can be placed on the flange l2 and connected thereto by bolts or other fasteners 16.
A plurality of equally spaced semispherical recesses 17 are disposed about the periphery of the dome-shaped portion 11 adjacent to the flange 12 and the dome has a central inverted semispherical recess 18 located at the top of the same. A ball hearing or other antifriction means 19 is located within each of the recesses 17 and 18 and are confined therein by collars 20 having a central angularly disposed skirt 21 terminating in an opening 22. The collars 20 are secured to the dome-shaped portion 11 by rivets or other fasteners 23 in such a manner that the skirt 21 will overlie the greatest diameter of each of the ball bearings 19 and retain the ball bearings within the recesses 17 and 18 while permitting the outer surface of such ball bearings to protrude into the dome-shaped portion 1 1.
A relatively large ball 24 which engages a supporting surface is provided having its outer spherical surface of a size to be received within the dome-shaped portion 11 and engage the ball bearings 19.
In order to retain the ball 24 within the housing 10 a retainer ring 25 having a disk-shaped outer portion 26 with a central skirt or flange 27 terminating in an opening 28 is provided with such skirt and opening being complementary to the ball 24 and of a size less than the maximum diameter of such ball. The outer portion 26 is connected to the flange 12 by means of the fasteners 16 so that after the unit has been assembled the ball 24 will be freely rotatable but will be retained within the housing 10.
With reference to FIGS. 8-10 a modified form of the invention is provided and includes a generally flat disk-shaped platform 30 having an outer circumference 31 and an inner upstanding flange 32 terminating in an opening 33 and providing substantially a truncated sphere. The inner wall of the flange 32 preferably is coated with a nonfriction material such as Teflon 34 or the like. The lower portion of the flange 32 is substantially the same diameter as the maximum diameter of the ball 24 which is received therein and such flange curves upwardly to a diameter less than the maximum diameter of such ball to prevent the ball from being discharged from the top of the platform. In order to retain the ball within the flange 32 a retainer ring 35 is provided having a disk-shaped outer portion 36 and a downwardly turned spherical skirt 37 terminating in an opening 38. The skirt 37 is in the form of a truncated sphere in which the opening 38 is less than the maximum diameter of the sphere or ball 24 to prevent the ball from separating from the platform 30. The retainer ring 35 is connected to the platform 30 in any desired manner, as by bolts or other fasteners 39.
It is contemplated that in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-7 the inner surface of the dome-shaped portion 11 could be coated with an antifriction material such as Teflon or the like the same as in FIGS. 8-40, in which case the ball bearings 19 could be omitted and likewise it is contemplated that the flange 32 in the embodiment of FIGS. 8-10 could have recesses with ball bearings therein, in which case the antifriction material could be omitted.
With reference to FIG. 11 a further modified form of the invention is provided and includes a generally flat disk-shaped platform 40 with an inner upstanding flange 41 which may be in the form of a truncated sphere or may be in the form of a semispherical dome. A ball 42 having a plurality of outwardly extending rounded projections or bubbles 43 spaced around the outer surface thereof is adapted to be received in the flange or dome 41 in such a manner that projections engage the inner surface of such flange. In order to retain the ball 42 within the flange 41 a retainer ring 44 having a disk-shaped outer portion 45 is provided having a downwardly turned skirt 46 terminating in an opening 47. The skirt 46 is in the form of a truncated sphere generally complementary to the ball 42 and is adapted to prevent separation of the ball 42 and the platform 40. The retainer ring 44 can be connected to the platform 40 in any desired manner, as by fasteners 48. In this modification the relatively small bearing surface of the projections will permit free rotation of the ball in any direction.
In the operation of the device the ball 24 will rest on a floor or other relatively hard surface and the platform 13 or 30 will tilt until the outer circumference thereof engages the floor. When the device is to be used, a person can place one foot on the platform and then by leaping into the air he can place his other foot on the platform on the opposite side of the ball, the initial object being for the operator to balance himself on the ball. Obviously the ball will roll in any direction and make it difficult for the operator to retain his balance. If desired the operator may lean against a wall or other fixed structure until balanced on the ball before he pushes away from or releases the fixed object. After an operator has become accomplished in balancing himself on the ball, he can by shifting his weight cause the ball to travel in any desired direction including in a circle.
It will be apparent that a relatively simple exercise device has been provided which will afford amusement and which will instruct the user in muscular coordination, control and balance.
It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that various changes may be made in the invention without departing from the spirit and the scope thereof and therefore the invention is not limited by that which is illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification but only as indicated in the accompanying claims.
1. Apparatus for providing amusement and exercise comprising a relatively large spherical member, a housing having an internally curved surface generally complementary to said spherical member, said curved surface having a first portion at least as large as the maximum diameter of said member and terminating along the same, and a second portion smaller than the maximum diameter and adapted to overlie said member, antifriction means carried by said internally curved surface and providing the only contact between said spherical member and said housing at all times and permitting relatively free movement therebetween in all directions of rotation, a platfonn attached to said housing and extending generally radially outwardly therefrom along the maximum diameter of said spherical member a distance sufficient to receive the feet of an operator on opposite sides of said spherical member, retainer ring means connected to said housing and extending downwardly therefrom, said retainer ring means having a depending skirt with an inner surface arcuately curved in a direction from the bottom toward the top of said skirt and generally complementary to said spherical member, said skirt having a first portion at least as large as the maximum diameter of said member and'a second portion smaller than the maximum diameter for retaining said spherical member within said housing at all times, said spherical member providing the sole support for said platform, whereby said spherical member is freely mounted within said housing and is retained therein by said retainer ring means.
2. The structure of claim 1 in which said antifriction means includes a plurality of generally semispherical recesses in said housing, a ball bearing located within each of said recesses and having a portion extending inwardly of the housing in engagement with said spherical member.
3. The structure of claim 2 including collar means for retaining said ball bearings within the recesses of said housing.
4. The structure of claim 1 in which said antifriction means includes an antifriction surface.