US 3675925 A
A toy which senses the color of a target area to select an appropriate output, one of such toys being a rifle which can be aimed at a target device to register whether a hit has been made. The rifle includes a lens which focuses light from the precise direction in which the rifle is aimed onto two identical photocells. A red filter is placed in front of a first of the cells while a neutral density filter is placed in front of a second cell, so that when the rifle is aimed at a red target the red-filtered cell generates a larger output than the other. A detecting circuit determines when the output from the red-filtered cell is greater than that from the other to ring a bell in the gun that indicates a hit. The detecting circuit is activated only at the instant when a child first depresses a trigger on the gun.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States atent Ryan et al. [451 July 11, 1972  COLOR RESPONSIVE TOY 3,171,963 3/1965 Bourguignon ..46/244 c x  Inventors: John w. Ryan, Los Angeles; John G. 3,218,461 1 1/1965 Saunders et al ..250/215 X Tomkinson, Palos Verdes Peninsula; Paul Primary Examiner walter Stolwein wieman Hawthorne an of Calif Artomey-Seymour A. Scholnick  Assignee: Mattel, Inc., Hawthorne, Calif.  Filed: Feb. 8, 1971  ABSTRACT A toy which senses the color of a target area to select an ap-  App]. No.: 113,478 propriate output, one of such toys being a rifle which can be aimed at a target device to register whether a hit has been 52 us. Cl. .273/1012, 46/244 R, 250/226, made- The includes a lens which Muses "8'" the 356/152 precise direction in which the rifle is aimed onto two identical 51 .Int. Cl. ..A63f 9/02 A red filter is Placed in mm a 0f the Cells  Field of Search ..250 203, 202, 215. 226; while a neutral densiy is Semnd cell R, 244 C; 80 that when the rifle lS aimed at a red target the red-filtered cell generates a larger output than the other. A detecting cir-  References Cited cuit determines when the output from the red-filtered cell is greater than that from the other to ring a bell in the gun that UNITED STATES PATENTS indicates a hit. The detecting circuit is activated only at the instant when a child first depresses a trigger on the gun. 3,314,189 4/1967 Carroll ..46/244 C 3,020,793 2/ 1962 Neubrech et a] ..250/226 X 7 Clains, 7 Drawing Figures 9 4 1 1 a 96 I00 102 H2 |c c QIGH 1' RI GHT DEIT p- TUQNINC-I CIRCUIT 50L, 1 I l r 9 6 =fl 04 I i! us I22 LEFT I LEFT I08 ne'r.
TURNING C. lIlcu SOL.
COLOR RESPONSIVE TOY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to action toys.
2. Description of the Prior Art Various toys have been devised to detect a target device by sensing the light from it. Typically, the target device produces a strong beam of light which the toy can distinguish from the much dimmer surroundings. In many cases, it would be desirable to enable a toy to detect a passive target by sensing the different amount of light from it as compared to the surroundings, as where the target is white and the surroundings are black. However, the great variation in ambient light intensity makes it difficult to provide a toy that can accurately distinguish between bright and dark areas that are illuminated only by ambient light. A toy which could distinguish passive target areas illuminated by ordinary room light or sunlight would simplify the construction and use of toys. For example, a toy rifle that could distinguish whether it had been accurately aimed at a target at the moment when the trigger was pulled, without the necessity for an elaborate target with photocells or lamps at the targets, would simplify the toy targets and allow a variety of different targets to be supplied at low cost.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide a toy which can select an output in accordance with the color seen in a predetermined direction.
Another object is to provide a toy rifle which can be used with a passive target to indicate whether the marksman has fired directly at the target when he pulls the trigger.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a rifle is provided which can be used with a passive target device containing targets of a red color surrounded by areas of a white color to automatically indicate whether the marksman has hit the target. The rifle includes a pair of identical photodetector cells, one covered by a red filter and the other by a filter that blocks at least a part of the red light projected thereagainst. A lens system focuses light received from the precise direction in which the rifle is aimed onto the two cells. A circuit coupled to the two cells determines when the output from the cell covered by the red filter is greater than the output from the other cell to ring a bell in the gun that indicates a hit. The circuit is activated only at the instant when a trigger on the gun is initially pulled.
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will be best understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of a color sensitive rifle and target constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a partially diagrammatic view of the rifle of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of the detecting circuit of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of another form of detecting circuit;
FIG. 5 is a view of a steerable toy vehicle and sign arrangement constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a partially diagramatic view of the vehicle of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is a partial plan view of the chassis of the vehicle of FIG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates a gun l0, constructed in accordance with the invention, which is designed to be fired" at a target device 12 which includes target areas 14 of a bright red color that are surrounded by areas 16 of a white color. The target device is in the form of a strip that moves in the direction of arrow 18 to make the apparatus more interesting. When a child pulls a trigger 20 on the gun, sensing apparatus in the gun detects whether the gun was aimed accurately at one of the targets 14. If the aiming was accurately on a target, a bell sound is produced which issues from a speaker grill 22 in the stock of the gun. If the aiming was improper, no bell sound is produced.
FIG. 2 illustrates a detecting system 24 located within the gun housing 26, which determines whether a hit should be registered. The system includes a first lens 28 which focuses light rays R originating from a distant target. A stop 30 located at the focal plane of the lens 28 prevents the passage of all light except that which originates within a narrow angle around the direction in which the gun is aimed. Light passing through the small aperture at the center of the stop 30 is converged by a second lens 32.
A semi-reflecting mirror 34 positioned behind the second lens 32 reflects half of the light incident on itself towards a first photodetector cell 36 and allows the other half of the light to pass through itself towards a second photodetector cell 38. A red filter 40 is placed between the mirror 34 and first photocell 36 to allow only red light to reach photocell 36. A neutral density filter 42 is positioned in front of the second photocell 38 to block a portion of all colors of light incident thereon, so that only portions of all colors of light reach the photocell 38. It may be noted that lens 32 does not form a sharp image of the target on the photocells 36 and 38, but only a very blurred and out of focus image." This is to prevent inequality in the photocell illumination arising from misalignment of optical elements, which might occur when the gun is aimed at the border between a black and white areas. Instead, the field lens 32 is positioned to focus an image of the objective lens 28 on the photocells.
If the target device 12 is illuminated by white light and the gun is aimed precisely towards one of the red targets 14, then the rays R received by the gun and which can pass through the stop 30 will be red in color. One-half of these rays will be reflected by the mirror 34, will pass through the filter 40, and will reach the first photodetector 36. The other half of the red light will pass through the mirror 34 and be partially absorbed by the neutral density filter 42, so that only perhaps onefourth of the received light will reach the second photocell 38 instead of one-half. The photocells 36 and 38 are identical and are constructed to provide an output proportional to the intensity of light thereon, so that the first cell 36 will provide a greater output than the second cell 38. A detector circuit 44 compares the outputs of the two cells 36 and 38. If the output from the first cell 36 exceeds the output from the second cell 38, the detector circuit 44 provides an output to a bell 46 which is located behind the grill 22 in the stock of the gun. When the bell 46 rings, it indicates that the gun has been aimed precisely at one of the red targets 14.
If the gun is aimed at the white area 16 surrounding the targets l4, then the rays from the direction in which the gun is aimed will represent white light. The one-half portion of this light which is reflected towards the first photocell 36 will be partially blocked by the red filter 40 so that the first cell 36 will have a low output. The one half portion of white light which passes through the mirror 34 will be only partially absorbed by the neutral density filter 42 so that perhaps onefourth of the total lights will reach the second photocell 38. The photocell 38 will therefore provide a substantial output. The detector circuit 44 will then determine, by the fact of the greater output from second photocell 38, that the target has not been hit. Accordingly, it will not supply a signal to the bell 46 and no sound will be produced thereby. It should be noted the reason why two cells 36 and 38 are used is to provide an accurate determination as to whether the target has been hit or missed, regardless of the intensity of ambient light which illuminates the target device 12. The second cell 38 essentially adjusts the sensitivity of the detector circuit in accordance with the ambient light level at the target. Of course, a minimum illumination level is required for the apparatus to function properly.
FIG. 3 is a simplified circuit diagram of the detector circuit 44. The photocells 36, 38 represent resistors whose resistances decrease as the incident illumination increases so that the outputs of the cells are essentially the voltages across themselves. The circuit is of the Darlington type, including a transistor 48. The transistor 48 is turned on when the first photocell 36 is strongly illuminated and therefore its resistance drops, so that the voltage at the base of transistor 48 becomes more negative and the transistor conducts. When the transistor 48 conducts, its emitter current flows through the base of a second transistor 50 so that the second transistor 50 conducts and allows current to flow through the bell output device 46 to produce a bell sound, A battery 52 which powers the device is coupled to the circuit through a switch 54 that is closed only when the trigger 20 on the gun is depressed, so that the circuit can operate to ring the bell only when a child has pulled the trigger.
In order to prevent a child from maintaining the trigger 20 in a depressed state to ring the bell every time the gun line of sight drifts over a target, a resistor 56 is connected in series with the battery 52 and a capacitor 58 is connected across the combination of the battery 52 and resistor 56. The resistor 56 is large enough so that not enough current can flow directly through the battery to operate the circuit in a manner to ring the bell. When a child depresses the trigger 20 to close switch 54, the charge on the capacitor 58 is applied to the circuit to operate it.
A dissipating resistor 60 is provided which dissipates the charge on the capacitor during a short period such as one-half second after the switch 54 is closed. However, before the charge is dissipated through resistor 60, the charge is sufficient to operate the circuit and ring the bell 46. Thus, if the gun is on a target when the switch is closed, or up to one-half second thereafter, the bell will ring. Otherwise, the bell will not ring unless the child releases the trigger to allow the capacitor to recharge for a second or two.
FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of another circuit which can be employed to detect when the first photocell 36 is more intensely illuminated than the second one 38. When the triggeroperated switch 54 is closed, resistor 62 holds the SCR 64 off and resistor 66 holds the transistor 68 off. If more light is incident upon the second photocell 38 than on the first one 36, the voltage at the base of transistor 68 will be more positive than the voltage at the emitter thereof, transistor 68 will be held off, and the SCR 64 will not be triggered on. If more light becomes incident upon the first photocell 36 than the other 38, transistor 68 turns on and supplies current to the gate of the SCR 64 to trigger it on. Resistors 69 and 70 supply a reference voltage for the emitter of transistor 68 and provide current limiting through the transistor 68 and through the gate of the SCR 64.
The resistor 66 assures that transistor 64 will be held off when the circuit is subjected to very low light levels. Resistor 62 collects leakage current from the collector of transistor 68 and the gate of SCR 64, and also keeps the SCR 64 from firing as power is applied, which might occur because of a high anode to gate capacitance in SCR 64. A variety of electrical or mechanical devices can be utilized to prevent the circuit of FIG. 4 from supplying current to the load 46 except at the instant when the gun trigger is first pulled.
In the detection system 24 of FIG. 2, a neutral density filter 42 is shown. Instead of utilizing such a filter, the mirror 34 can be constructed to pass less than 50 percent of incident light towards the second photocell 38, and the neutral density filter 42 can be eliminated. Another alternative is to utilize photodetectors 36 and 38 which are not identical, but which, instead, are of different size or which have different sensitivity characteristics. It is also possible to utilize a green filter instead of the neutral density filter 42, so that red light does not pass to the cell 38 but the green component of white light does pass thereto. Of course, a variety of other variations can be resorted to, including the use of two lens systems or the positioning of two smalls photocells side-by-side and covered with different small color filters to eliminate the need for a lightsplitting mirror. In any case, the detecting circuit coupled to the two cells is constructed to operate the hit-indicating device when the output from one cell exceeds a predetermined multiple (which may be one or any fraction which is less or more than one) of the output from the other cell.
FIG. 5 illustrates another type of toy in the form of a selfpropelled vehicle with steerable wheels 82 that can turn to the left, to the right, or remain directed straight ahead. The vehicle is used in conjunction with right turn signs 84, 86 and left turn signs 88 and that command the vehicle to turn to the left or right. Right turn signs 84 and 86 have a red color while left turn signs 88 and 90 have a green color, all the signs being positioned on stands 92. The vehicle 80 has a detection system 94 shown in FIG. 6, which detects the presence of a red or green sign immediately in front of the vehicle. This system includes a lens 96 which focuses light rays L originating from a short distance such as several inches in front of the vehicle, at the plane of a stop 98. Light passing through the stop 98 is concentrated by a lens 100. A semi-reflecting mirror 102 positioned behind the lens passes one-third of the light and reflects two-thirds of it towards a second semi-reflecting mirror 104. The second mirror 104 is constructed to pass one-half of the light and reflect one-half of it. Three photocells 106, 108, and are positioned to receive the light, with one-third of the light being directed towards each of the three cells. A neutral density filter 112 is positioned in front of the first cell 106, a red filter 1 14 is positioned in front of the second cell 108, and a green filter 115 is positioned in front of the third cell 110.
The system includes a right detection circuit 116 for detecting the presence of a red, or right-indicating sign, and a left detection circuit 118 for detecting the presence of a green, or left-indicating sign in front of the vehicle. The output of the first cell 106 is coupled to the right and left detection circuits 116 and 118. The output of the second cell 108 is coupled to the right detection circuit 116 while the output of the third cell 110 is coupled to the left detection circuit 118. When the right circuit 1 16 senses that the second cell 108 is generating a larger output than the first cell 106, it delivers a pulse to a right turning solenoid 120 that turns the vehicle to the right. When the left detection circuit 118 determines that the third cell 110 has a larger output than the first cell 106, it has sensed the presence of a green sign and it delivers a pulse to a left turning solenoid 122 which turns the vehicle to the left. FIG. 7 illustrates a chassis 124 of the vehicle and the solenoids 120, 122 for turning the steerable wheels 82 of the chassis. The mechanism of FIG. 7 is highly simplified, and various devices can be utilized to assure that the vehicle will turn a predetermined amount, such as 90, when a left or right turning sign is detected. Each of the circuits 116, 118 can be of the type shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. A child can arrange the red and green signs on a table top to control the path of the vehicle 80 so that it moves along a predetermined route.
Thus, the invention provides toys that are responsive to the color of objects at a predetermined direction with respect to the toy, and which control a toy output in accordance with the color detected thereat. A variety of toy outputs can be provided, such as the ringing of a bell to indicate that a rifle has been properly aimed at a target or the control of a robot vehicle. A wide variety of other types of toys can be constructed to sense the color of objects illuminated by ambient light, and a variety of detection systems can be utilized for detecting the color.
Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art and consequently it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents.
What is claimed is:
1. A light responsive toy comprising:
at least first and second photodetectors for generating output signals of an amplitude dependent upon the amplitude of light incident thereon;
objects of predetermined color positionable at selected cations relative to said toy;
light directing means for directing light reflected from said objects when an object is at only a predetermined direction fixed relative to said toy, onto each of said photodetectors;
color filter means for blocking the passage of light directed towards said first photodetector means, to pass substantially only light of a predetermined color thereto;
detector circuit means coupled to said first and second photodetectors, for detecting a predetermined relationship in their outputs; and
toy output means responsive to said detector circuit means for initiating an output activity, whereby to provide a preselected output activity upon the presence of an object of said predetermined color at said predetermined direction, for a wide range of ambient light levels.
2. The toy described in claim 1 including:
a housing in the form of a gun containing said light directing means, to direct onto said photodetectors only light received from the direction in which said gun is pointing; and wherein said toy output means includes manually depressable trigger means mounted on said housing and means coupled to said trigger means for providing an indication of a hit only at the moment when said trigger initially reaches a predetermined state of depression.
3. The toy described in claim 1 including;
a substantially neutral density filter positioned in front of said second photodetector means.
4. The toy described in claim 1 including:
a vehicle housing containing said light directing means, said photodetectors, said color filter, and said detector circuit means; and
wheels rotatably mounted on said vehicle to support it, at
least one of said wheels mounted to steer in a plurality of directions; and wherein said toy output means comprises means for steering said at least one wheel.
5. The toy described in claim 1 including: second toy output means;
a third photodetector;
second color filter means for selectively blocking the passage of light directed towards said third photodetector by said light directing means to pass substantially only light of a second predetermined color thereto; and
said detector circuit being is constructed to operate said second toy outputmeans when it detects a predetermined relationship in the relative magnitudes of outputs from said second and third photodetectors.
6. In combination with a toy target device having a target area of a predetermined color surrounded by an area of different color, a toy gun for firing at said target device comprising:
an aimable gun housing;
first and second photodetector cells mounted in said housing for producing output signals of a magnitude dependent upon the intensity of light incident thereon;
lens means mounted in said housing for directing light received only from the direction in which said gun housing is aimed onto said first and second photodetector cells;
color filter means for blocking the passage of light to said first photodetector cell except for light of substantially the predeterminedcolor of said target area; manually operable trigger means mounted on said gun hous- 2; means for indicating a hit; and detector circuit means coupled to said first and second cells for detecting a predetermined relationship in their outputs and for operating said hit-indicating means only when light directed thereto from said target device produces an output from said first cell which exceeds a predetermined multiple of the output of said second cell. 7. The toy gun described in claim 6 wherein: said means for indicating a hit comprises apparatus mounted on said housing for producing a predetermined sound.