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Publication numberUS3621605 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 23, 1971
Filing dateDec 16, 1969
Priority dateDec 16, 1969
Publication numberUS 3621605 A, US 3621605A, US-A-3621605, US3621605 A, US3621605A
InventorsWitiak John Dale
Original AssigneeWitiak John Dale
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Remote-control device for spinning tops
US 3621605 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 23, 1971 J, wm 3,621,605

REMOTE-CONTROL DEVICE FOR SPINNING TOPS Filed Dec. 16, 1969 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR JOHN DALE WIIIAK BY 4 41.3 d W1 ATTORNEYS Nov. 23, 1971 J. D. WITIAK 3,621,605

REMOTE-CONTROL DEVICE FOR SPINNING TOPS Filed D06. 16, 1969 4 Sheets-$haet 5 BY 9 M ATTORNEYS Nov. 23, 1971 w T 3,621,605

REMOTE-CONTROL DEVICE FOR SPINNING TOPS Filed Dec 16, 1969 4 Sheets-$heet 4 United States Patent O REMOTE-CONTROL DEVICE FOR SPINNING TOPS John Dale Witiak, PJU. Box 5024, Milwaukee, Wis. 53204 Filed Dec. 16, 1969, Ser. No. 885,547

' Int. Cl. A6311 33/26 US CI. 46-45 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A device used for either amusement purposes or for physical therapy, including one or more spinning tops, each of which has at least a portion fabricated from a metallic material, and means for selectively controlling the rotation of the tops from a remote location, including a manually-operable control member for each top and a mechanical linkage connecting each respective control member and its associated top, each linkage incorporating a magnet adapted to selectively engage the metallic portion of the top.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention pertains to a device which incorporates one or more spinning tops, commonly referred to as Yo-Yos, and includes remote control means for selectively operating the tops. The remote actuation of the tops enchances the enjoyment of the top itself and greatly increases the skill required for operation, particularly when two or more tops are involved and the operator is attempting to control these simultaneously, either with both hands or with different fingers of one hand.

Of even greater significance, perhaps, is another application of the subject device, quite different from the more obvious application in the field of toys and games. It is thought that the subject device can be an extremely useful tool in the field of physical therapy. More specifically, the device may be advantageously employed in a program for rehabilitation of patients who have suifered some temporary impairment of manual or digital dexterity.

In this connection, it should be noted that the conventional operation of a common Yo-Yo merly involves a degree of manual dexterity. The continuation of the motion of the top is effected primarily on the basis of the operators response to a tactile stimulus. Thus, one experienced with the conventional operation of such a spinning top would generally be capable of successfully manipulating the top even if blindfolded.

In contrast thereto, however, the remotely-controlled device contemplated by the present invention substantially reduces the tactile stimulus. This substantial reduction or total elimination of the tactile stimulus requires the operator to manipulate the controls in response to a visual stimulus, thereby demanding a coordination of the eye and hand or fingers of the operator. Further, as mentioned above, the device contemplated by the present invention facilitates the requirement of a coordinated control of a plurality of tops, demanding far more intense concentration and coordination than that required for conventional direct operation of a spinning top.

Accordingly, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a device including a spinning top and a means for remotely controlling the operation thereof.

Further, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a device of the type described above wherein a plurality of tops can be selectively controlled simultaneously from a remote location.

Moreover, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a device of the type described above which includes a relatively simple mechanical and/or magnetic ice linkage between the control members and the respective tops.

Finally, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a device of the type described above which is relatively simple in design, incorporating a minimal number of moving parts, and which is, therefore, relatively inexpensive to produce.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The aforementioned objectives are accomplished, in accordance with the present invention, by providing a support structure which includes an upright portion for supporting the free end of the draw string of the top at an elevation greater than the length of the drawstring so that the top, when the drawstring is fully unwound, is unobstructed. As mentioned briefly above, the top includes at least a portion which is of a metallic material. In order to facilitate selective attraction and retention of the top in an upper position, wherein the: drawstring is wound at least partially about the spindle thereof, a magnet is provided, either upon the support structure itself or at a fixed point on the drawstring of the top, for engagement with the metallic portion of the top.

A control key, or like member adapted to be operated manually or, more specifically, digitally, is interconnected with the free end of the drawstring of the top through a mechanical linkage which facilitates selectively imparting motion to the drawstring, relative to the body of the top, thereby enabling an operator of the key control key to either initiate a rotational motion of the top, to continue a reciprocating rotational motion thereof or to terminate rotation of the top.

As mentioned above, the present invention contemplates an assembly including a plurality of tops controlled by respective keys located in close proximity to facilitate simultaneous operation of the plurality of tops by a single operator. It is further contemplated that the plurality of units should be easily separable so that they may be operated by different operators as a competitive game. In this connection, the assembly would further include a timing device and/or a counting device, as well as an indicator for implementation of the competitive game arrangement.

Finally, the present invention additionally contemplates the use of an electrically-powered wind-up mechanism for rotating the top to move same from an unwound position to an upper position wherein the drawstring is at least partially wound about the spindle of the top, which wind-up mechanism could be remotely controlled from a location in close proximity to the control key operating the respective top, This additional structural element of the combination will be described in greater detail hereinbelow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The aforementioned objectives, features, and advantages of the device constructed in accordance with the present invention will become more readily apparent from the consideration of the detailed description hereinbelow, when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 represents a front elevation view of a device constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 represents a side view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 represents a diagrammatic elevation view, partially broken away from the sake of clarity, of a device constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3A represents a perspective detailed view of that portion of FIG. 3 identified by the circle A;

FIG. 3B represents a perspective detailed view of that portion of FIG. 3 identified by the circle B;

FIG. 4 represents a side view of the spinning top constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 represents a front view of the spinning top illustrated in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 represents a diagrammatic plan view showing a portion of an arrangement of four of the individual devices illustrated in FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, a spinning top 1, in the form of a device similar to the toy known under the trademark Yo-Yo, is suspended :by means of its drawstring 2 from a horizontal support arm 3 secured to the upper end of a vertical upright support 4. The support 4 is in turn secured and supported upon a base 9 of any configuration capable of maintaining the support 4 in an upright position. In this connection, the upright support 4 can be constructed in the form of a solid member rigidly secured at its ends to the base 9 and horizontal support arm 3, respectively, or in any structural configuration and of any material capable of providing the necessary support.

As seen in FIG. 2, near the free end of the horizontal support arm 3, there is provided a bore 14 of sufficient diameter to permit passage 'of the drawstring 2 therethrough. Along the upper edge of the horizontal support 3, a groove 15 is also provided to carry the drawstring 2 therein. Additionally, a bore 18 is provided in the horizontal support 3, preferably adjacent to the upright support 4, of sufficient diameter to permit passage of the drawstring 2 therethrough. Thus, the drawstring 2 extend from the top 1 through the bore 14, along the groove 15 and down through the bore 18.

The free end of drawstring 2 extending from the bore 18 is secured to the free end of one leg portion of a generally U-shaped control lever 16'. The opposite leg portion of the control lever 16 may be provided, at its free end, with a control key 10, and the web portion of the control lever 16 is rotatably supported on the base 9 by a clamping member 17 and by the upright support 4 through which it extends.

The spinning top 1 is provided with a plurality of metallic extension members 12 disposed in spaced relationship about the periphery of one or both of the respective half portions of the top, which metallic extensions 12 are capable of encountering and being held by a magnet 11 secured to the drawstring 2 at a point spaced from the top 1 in its lower-most position.

The operation of the device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 proceeds as follows: with the drawstring 2 wound about the spindle of the spinning top 1 to such an extent that the metallic projections 12 of the top engage with magnet 11 and are thereby retained at the position of the magnet, the U-shaped control lever 16 is rotated quickly from its normal vertical orientation, in either direction, by movement of control key 10, thus causing a quick vertical reciprocation of the top through translation of the drawstring 2, thereby overcoming the magnetic attraction between the magnet 11 and metallic projections 12 of the spinning top. The spinning top 1 then unwinds upon drawstring 2 and as it approaches its lower, unwound position, the control lever 16 is again manipulated to cause a repeated vertical reciprocation of the top through translation of the drawstring 2, thus causing the spinning top to rewind upon the drawstring. This process is continued so long as continuous operation is desired. Finally, a more vigorous operation of the control lever 16 causing a more pronounced motion of the drawstring 2 causes the spinning top to rewind upon drawstring 2 up to a point where the magnetic attraction between magnet 11 and metallic portion 12 of the spinning top 1 causes a re-engagement of the metallic projections on the spinning top 1 with the magnet 11 to catch the top and hold it in position once again.

It should be noted in connection with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 that the length of the one leg portion of the control lever 16 connected to the drawstring 2 determines the distance through which the spinning top can be reciprocated upon actuation of the control lever 16. In addition, the position of the magnet 11 also determines the extent of travel of the top 1 in winding and unwinding upon the drawstring 2. Thus, the difiiculty involved in maintaining reciprocation of the spinning top 1 and achieving final travel of the top 1 to the point where the magnet 11 will retain it in position can be adjusted by suitable adjustment of these parameters.

An additional embodiment of the device constructed in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 3 and the detailed views of FIGS. 3A and 3B. In this embodiment, a spinning top 1 is suspended by means of its drawstring 2 which is fixedly secured to a horizontal support arm 3a. The horizontal support arm 3a is arranged for vertical reciprocating motion upon an upright support 411, which accommodates a push rod 5 connected near its upper end with a portion of hori zontal support arm 3 for vertical motion together therewith.

As seen in FIG. 3A, at its lower end, push rod 5 is connected by means of a pin and slot connection 6 to a key lever 7. Key lever 7, in turn, is pivoted at point 8 on the support base structure 9a with the free end of the key lever 7, outside of the support base 9a, being provided with a control key 10a for depressing the lever at this end. As shown in dot and dash lines in FIG. 3, key lever 7 is capable of pivoting from the central position illustrated to a position higher or lower, depending upon the force supplied to the control key 10a.

In FIG. 3B, a detailed perspective view if the interconnection between push rod 5 and the vertical portion of the horizontal support arm 3a is illustrated. In this regard, it is noted that the upright support 4a is provided in the form of a solid rod having a longitudinal track or groove extending along the length thereof and in which slides the push rod 5. The upper portion of the push rod 5 is then secured to the horizontal support arm 3a in any conventional manner for translational movement therewith. In the alternative, the upright support 4a could be provided as a hollow cylinder with a longitudinal slot therein to accommodate a pin in terconnecting the push rod 5 and support arm 3a.

In this embodiment of the present invention a magnet- 11a is secured at the underside of horizontal support arm 3a, arranged about the attachment of drawstring 2 at the support arm 3a. In this regard, it is noted that the drawstring 2 is secured to the support arm 3a, in contrast to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the translational movement of the drawstring 2 being accomplished by sliding movement of the support arm 3a on the upright support 4a.

As seen most clearly in FIGS. 4 and 5, the spinning top 1 includes two disc-like halves 20 interconnected by a spindle 21 to which one end of. drawstring 2 is secured. Depressions 24 are provided for connection to a winder, if desired. Depressions 24 are provided for connection to a winder (not shown) if desired. Further, each half 20 is provided in this embodiment with a circumferential groove 22 in which a metallic ring 23 is disposed. Thus, in place of the metallic extensions 12 provided in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, a continuous metallic ring is provided at the periphery at each of the halves 20 of the spinning top 1. These two top configurations may be used interchangeably in connection with all of the embodiments of the invention.

The operation of the device illustrated in FIG. 3 is similar to that described in connection with the embodiment of FIG. 1. With the drawstring 2 wound about the spindle of the spinning top 1 to such an extent that the metallic portion 12a of the spinning top 1 is engaged with magnet 11a and thereby retained at the horizontal support arm 3a, the control key 10a is quickly and firmly depressed and then released, thus causing a quick vertical reciprocaiton of the horizontal support arm 3a upon vertical 4a via the key lever 7 and connecting rod 5, thereby overcoming the magnetic attraction between magnet 11a and the metalic portion 12a of the spinning top 1. The spinning top 1 then unwinds upon drawstring 2 and as it approaches its lower, unwound position, the control key 10a is again manipulated to cause a repeated vertical reciprocation of horizontal support arm 3a about vertical support 4a, thus causing spinning top 1 to rewind upon the drawstring 2.

To enhance the motion of the spinning top 1, a portion of elastic string 25 may be provided between the drawstring 2 and the spindle of the top 1, as illustrated in FIG. 3. It is also possible to combine several devices of the type illustrated in FIG. 3, such as illustrated by the embodiment of FIG. 6.

In FIG. 6, the base 9b supports four upright support members 4b, each carrying a horizontal support arm from which is suspended a spinning top as illustrated in FIG. 3. A plurality of control levers 7b engage with connecting rods 5b whose vertical movement controls the motion of the spinning top as described above. The levers 7b are pivotably mounted on the casing 9b with the outwardly extending free ends thereof being provided with control keys 1017.

With the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 6, a single player may manipulate four spinning tops through control of the cotnrol keys 101), or four players individually operating the respective control keys 1% may simultaneously compete in the manipulation of the spinning tops.

While the present invention has been described hereinabove with reference to the specific structural details of but three embodiments, it is to be understood that the scope of the invention is not limited to these specific structural details, but is susceptible of numerous changes and modifications as would be obvious to one with normal skill in the pertinent technology.

What is claimed is:

1. A device for remotely controlling one or more spinning tops, comprising at least one spinning top, having at least a portion thereof fabricated from a metallic material, a drawstring secured at one end thereof to siad spinning top to permit winding of said top on said drawstring, remote control means including manuallyoperable control key means and linkage means interconnecting the free end of said drawstring with said control key means for manipulating said drawstring to effect winding of said top on said drawstring, and magnet means positioned at a point along said drawstring so as to selectively engage with and adhere to said metallic portion of said spinning top upon contact therewith as said top is wound on said drawstring.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein two or more spinning tops are provided each with a respective control key means and linkage means and wherein said control key means are located in close proximity to each other, whereby remote control of said two or more spinning top means can be effected by different digits of an operators hand.

3. A device according to claim 1, wherein said spinning top includes two identical disk-like halves interconnected in spaced parallel relationship by a spindle forming the rotational axis thereof and wherein each of said disklike halves includes a circumferential groove, and further including metal ring means disposed within said circumferential grooves.

4. A device according to claim ll, wherein at least a portion of said drawstring is fabricated from a relatively elastic material.

5. A device according to claim 3, wherein at least a portion of said drawstring is fabricated from a relatively elastic material.

6. A device according to claim 11, wherein said linkage means includes support base means, fixed hollow vertical support means and horizontal support arm means, one end of which is mounted for vertical reciprocation upon said vertical support means, push rod means vertically reciprocal within said vertical support means interronnected, near the upper end thereof, with a portion of said horizontal support arm means for conjoint vertical reciprocation, control lever means having one end thereof interconnected with the lower end of said push rod means, the other end of said control lever means being provided with said control key means, wherein said control lever means is pivotally supported between said two ends thereof, at said support base means.

'I. A device according to claim. 3, wherein said linkage means includes support base means, fixed hollow vertical support means and horizontal support arm means, one end of which is mounted for vertical reciprocation upon said vertical support means, push rod means vertically reciprocal within said vertical support means interconnected, near the upper end thereof, with a portion of said horizontal support arm means for conjoint vertical reciprocation, control lever means having one end thereof, interconnected with the lower end of said push rod means, the other end of said control lever means being provided with said control key means, wherein said control lever means is pivotally supported between said two ends thereof, at said support base means.

8. A device according to claim 1, wherein said linkage means includes support base means, fixed vertical support means and fixed horizontal support arm means secured, at one end thereof, to the upper end of said vertical support means, the free end of said horizontal support arm means having a vertical bore therethrough accommodating said drawstring therein, and generally U-shaped control lever means having the free end of one leg portion thereof secured to the free end of said drawstring, the free end of the other leg portion thereof including said control key means, the web portion of said control lever means being pivotally-supported at said support base means.

9. A device according to claim 6, further comprising electrically-powered means for effecting a rotation of said spinning top to effect a winding of said drawstring about said spinning top.

10. A device according to claim 8, further comprising electrically-powered means for eifecting a rotation of said spinning top to eifect a winding of said drawstring about said spinning top.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,441,221 1/1923 Fourcher 273- 2,547,776 4/1951 Rankin 273-90 2,645,881 7/1953 Frangos 46-47 2,848,236 8/1958 Gibson 273-97 3,330,067 7/1967 Starkenberg 46-65 FOREIGN PATENTS 405,801 1910 France 273-97 ROBERT 'PESHOCK, Primary Examiner A. HEINZ, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 46-242, 67

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3899849 *May 16, 1973Aug 19, 1975Witiak John DRemote-control device for spinning tops
US4738032 *Jun 7, 1982Apr 19, 1988Elmer William BInertial pendulum
US5871386 *Jul 25, 1997Feb 16, 1999William T. WilkinsonRemote controlled movable ball amusement device
US8210895Dec 11, 2009Jul 3, 2012Mega Brands InternationalMagnetic top system and method
US8556676Jun 8, 2012Oct 15, 2013Mega Brands InternationalMagnetic top system and method
US20100159798 *Dec 11, 2009Jun 24, 2010Mega Brands International, S.A.R.L., Luxembourg, Zug BranchMagnetic Top System And Method
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/138, 446/454
International ClassificationA63H1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H1/00
European ClassificationA63H1/00