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Publication numberUS3717347 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 20, 1973
Filing dateJan 27, 1971
Priority dateJan 27, 1971
Publication numberUS 3717347 A, US 3717347A, US-A-3717347, US3717347 A, US3717347A
InventorsHottendorf W
Original AssigneeHottendorf & Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for testing the reflexes or reaction time of a person
US 3717347 A
A coin inserted at the top of a column is initially held against falling down a channel. The coin actuates a circuit having a series of timing cycles; when a "gas" pedal is depressed, the end of the next cycle causes the coin to be released. A braking linkage is depressed by the operator to catch the coin fall as rapidly as possible.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1451 Feb. 20, 1973 United States Patent 1 1 Hottendorf et .m l0 v0 1 6 9 1 l 0 1 lhde m n 0 w r. G l 7 9 l l 3 54 APPARATUS FOR TESTING THE 1,993,669 3/1935 REFLEXES OR REACTION TIME OF A 2, ,597 5/1958 PERSQN 3 ,005 ,634

[75] Inventor: William J. Hottendorf, Sunnyvale,

. Calif.

Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner--Paul E. Shapiro [73] Assignee: Hottendori 8: Company [22] Filed: Jan. 27, 1971 Attorneyl.imbach, Limbach & Sutton [57] ABSTRACT A coin inserted at the top of a column is initially held against falling down a channel. The coin actuates a [21] Appl. No.2 110,173

[52] U.S. Cl....................273/95 R, 35/22 R, 273/1 E [5 l] Int. Cl. 5/16 .273/1 R, l E, 95 R; 35/22 R circuit having a series of timing cycles; when a gas pedal is depressed, the end of the next cycle causes [58] Field of Search R f d the coin to be released. A braking linkage is depressed e erences l e by the operator to catch the coin fall as rapidly as UNITED STATES PATENTS Possible- 7 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures 1,937,445 ll/l933 Smith....................................273/lE PATENTEDFEBZOIBN 3,717, 347

saw 1 {IF 3 I NVEN TOR.

WILLIAM J HOTTENDOKF BY (W, (W 5am ATTOKN E V5 APPARATUS FOR TESTING THE REFLEXES OR REACTION TIME OF A PERSON 1 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to apparatus for testing the reflexes or reaction time of a person. Applications for such apparatus include not only scientific uses in medicine experimental psychology, but also sporting uses as a game or toy.

One prior art US. Pat. discloses a completely mechanical reaction time meter designed to receive a coin initially supported on a pin for subsequent free fall through a channel where the length of free fall before stop is used as a measure of reaction time. The operator pushes a button which causes the pin to be retracted from the channel and a lower pin to be inserted in the channel temporarily catching the coin. A suction cup engages a metal bracket when the coin is released by the first pin; after the cup releases a bell rings and the second pin retracts and the coin falls. A mechanical linkage is provided to permit an operator to pull a brake rod to stop the coin in its free fall down the chute.

The patent suffers from a number of shortcomings, particularly in its coin release mechanism. The suction cup tends to lose its suction capacity as the material becomes old and as it and suction surface becomes dirty. The holding power of the cup thus becomes unreliable. Also, for a given condition of the suction cup and cleanliness, the delay before the cup comes lose will not vary greatly, whereas a random time delay is desirable.

The present invention is an improvement over the aforementioned patent wherein an electronic circuit provides a random time delay for the coin release. A circuit is closed when the coin is inserted in a slot at the top of the device to begin a series of timing cycles. A gas pedal is pressed by the operator; at the completion of the next cycle following depression of the gas pedal the coin is released into a free fall channel. Since the gas pedal is pushed at various times in the cycle, the drop time will vary. A mechanical linkage is actuated to stop the coin when the operator presses a brake pedal. Since the release mechanism is electronically controlled, there are no suction cups or like devices to wear out and to get dirty thereby incapacitating the device. Other advantages of the present invention will become apparent as the following description is read and understood.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the reflex testing device according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a sectional plan view along section lines 2- 2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a partial sectional plan view along section lines 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cutaway side elevation view of the reflex testing device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a sectional rear elevation view along section lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a sectional partial front elevation view along section lines 6-6 of FIG. 4 showing the gas pedal depressed.

FIG. 7 is a view corresponding to FIG. 6 showing the brake pedal depressed.

downward through a channel (not shown in this figure) that runs parallel to the vertical front panel 10 of the device. Panel 10 has a central clear, see-through, portion 12 through which the coin may be seen by an operator. The side portions 14 of panel 10 are opaque and a scale or legend may be inscribed thereon related to the fall time of the coin. When the coin is placed in slot 4 and rests on member 8, a green panel 6 located in the base member 3 lights and the operator may press a pedal 18, marked gas. After a random time delay (explained hereinafter), member 8 is retracted and the coin is free to drop in the channel. When member 8 retracts, the green panel 16 extinguishes and a red panel 20 lights. The operator must then depress brake pedal 22 as rapidly as possible so as to actuate a brake linkage 24 that stops the coin fall by holding it against panel 10. The operator may 10 read his relative reaction time from the scale.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-7 for the details of the mechanical structure of the embodiment of the reflex testing device according to the present invention, vertical member 6 is formed from a pair of side panels 26 and 28, an L-shaped top and rear panel 29 and a front panel 10. Although vertical member 6 is shown with an increasing cross section from top to bottom, such a design is not critical to the operation.

A vertical channel 30 for free fall of coin 2 is defined by the inside of front panel 10 and a pair of notched strips 32. The channel is preferably large enough so that the coin or other falling body used in the device will not bind against the channel sides.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 4, an electromagnet 34 is mounted on a support panel 36. Panel 36 may be secured to the strips 32 and front panel 10 by screws 38 and shafts 40. A shaft 42 passes through electromagnet 34 and has a ferrous disc 44 and movable member 8 fixed thereto. A leaf spring 46 fixed to panel 36 by a screw 48 and nuts 50 urges shaft 42 toward front panel 10. Member 8 has a pair of conductive pins 52 and 54 that connect to a pair of leads and to the electronic circuit of FIG. 8 explained hereinafter. When a coin is placed in slot 4 it rests against pins 52 and 54 to thereby close a circuit path, thus acting as a switch. When electromagnet 34 is energized, in a manner explained hereinafter, the ferrous disc 44 is pulled against electromagnet 34 thus moving shaft 42 and member 8 away from front panel 10, thereby removing pins 52 and 54 from the channel 30 and permitting the coin to drop.

Referring now to especially FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the brake linkage 24 for catching the falling coin will be described.

The brake linkage includes a braking member 56, in

the form of a long strip held spaced apart from thechannel 30 in the gap between members 32. Member 56 is yieldably held in the non-active position by a pair of leaf springs 58 and 60. Brackets 62 and 64 fix a first.

end of springs 58 and 60, respectively, to member 56. A second set of brackets 66 and 68 fix the other end of springs 58 and 60, respectively, to members 32. The

lower end of braking member 56 is attached to a double Loshaped member 70. Member 70 has a first portion 72 extending downward into base member 3, a second portion 74 extending perpendicular to portion 72 toward the brake pedal side of base 3, and a third portion 76 extending perpendicular to portion 74 toward the front of base 3 underneath the rear edge of brake pedal 22. Pedal 22 is hinged to the base at its front edge by a strip of spring steel 76 secured to the base by a bracket 78 and to the pedal 22 by screws 80. The spring steel 76 biases the pedal to a normally up position. By depressing pedal 22, portion 76 of member 70 is engaged and moved downward by the rear lip 82 of pedal 22. As member 70 moves downward it pulls brake member 56 downward and forward toward the front panel thus narrowing the channel and stopping the fall of any coin therein.

Referring now to other structural details of the base member 3, especially with reference to FIGS. 1 and 4-7, the base member has a pair of L-shaped side panels 84 and 86, a bottom cover 88 having four rubber feet 90, a rear panel 92, and a front panel 94. An L- shaped member 96 serves as an upper front panel in which colored panels 16 and 20 for the green and red lamps are mounted and as a support and mount for the vertical member 6. A space is provided in the rear interior of base 3 for a battery 98. A bracket 99 holds the battery in place. Gas pedal 18 is also hinged by a strip of spring steel (not shown) to the front of the base. A microswitch 100 is mounted below pedal 18. A rod 102 is fixed to the rear lip of pedal 18 so as to engage and push in the bottom 104 of microswitch 100 when pedal 18 is depressed. When button 104 is pushed in, microswitch 100 closes a circuit as described hereinafter. An L-shaped am 106 mounted on the rear lip of pedal 18 engages a notch 108 in the edge of a cam member 1 10 when the pedal is depressed. Before pedal 18 is depressed, arm 106 engages the edge of cam 110 which is hinged at a bearing 112. A leaf spring 114 fixed to the base by a screw 116 urges the cam toward arm 106. Once engaged, notch 108 holds rod 102 down to push in button 104 on the microswitch 100 thus keeping the circuit closedso long as the gas pedal is down. The gas pedal 18 is released when the brake pedal 22 is depressed; portion 76 of member 70 is pushed down by the rear lip of pedal 22 thereby rotating cam 110 and releasing arm 106 from the notch 108 causing gas pedal 18 to return to its normal up position. When pedal 18 goes up, the button 104 on the microswitch 100 is released and the circuit opens.

F IG. 4 also shows a bulb 1 17 mounted behind the red panel 20. When power is applied to the bulb it lights to provide a red indication showing that the coin has dropped. A similar bulb (not shown) is located behind the green panel 16. An assembly 118 includes a wire 119 that extends therefrom to a point just below the coin channel 30. As the coin falls to chamber 120, it trips wire 119 and opens a normally closed electrical switch. Assembly 1 18 has an insulated mounting board 122 that is attached to the base by a bracket 124. Wire 119 is attached to the rear end of board 122 by a conductive post 126. Wire 119 normally touches a contact 128 at the front of assembly 118. Contact 128 is connected to a terminal 130 and to one side of a capacitor 132. The other side of capacitor 132 is connected to a terminal 134. Thus the normally closed contact between terminal 126 and contact 128 is opened briefly as a dropping coin hits the end of wire 1 18.

Referring now to the circuit of FIG. 8, the insertion of a coin in the device closes the circuit between pins 52 and 54, thus, in effect, closing a switch 5,. Switch S,,, the contact between wire 119, contact 128 and terminal 126 is closed thus applying a voltage +V to junction point 136. Capacitor 132 is connected between +V (at contact 128) and ground. Bulb B, connected between point 136, at +V, and ground lights causing the green panel 16 to light. A unijunction transistor Q,

has its second base connected through a resistor R, to point 136 and has its emitter connected to point 136 through a resistor R,. A capacitor C, is connected between the emitter of transistor Q, and ground. The first base of transistor Q, is connected to ground through a resistor R The emitter-base 1 junction of Q, is normally reverse biased and non-conductive, however, as the emitter voltage increasea a critical voltage is reached and the emitter-base 1 becomes forward biased and conductive. Thus after S, closes, the capacitor C, begins to charge through R, until 0, conducts causing C, to disengage to ground through R,,. Q, again becomes reverse biased and the cycle repeats so long as S, is closed.

When the microswitch 100 is closed, (when the gas pedal is depressed) S closes and the base 1 of Q, is connected to the base of a PNP transistor 0,. The base of Q, is also connected to ground through resistor R The collector of Q, is grounded and the emitter is connected to junction point 138 at one end of the parallel connection of the electromagnet 34 coil L,, a diode D, and a bulb B, that lights red panel 20. The cathode of diode D, is connected to the emitter of Q,. Q, functions simply as a switch; in the absence of a positive voltage on its base, it is non-conductive. When S, is closed and Q, becomes forward biased, the voltage at C, is applied to the base of Q and it goes into saturation thus grounding junction 138. The other junction 140 of B D, and L, is still at +V, hence D, is back biased and is open, B, lights and current flows through L, to energize the electromagnet causing member 8 to retract dropping the coin down channel 30. S, then opens to extinguish green lamp B,. Whether or not the mechanical brake catches the coin is immaterial to the circuit. Eventually, wire 118 is tripped by the coin, momentarily opening 8 Capacitor 132 immediately must go to ground at both ends, thus grounding junction 140, D, conducts shorting L,, to deactivate the electromagnet and to ground the emitter of Q, to rapidly cut off (1,. The circuit thus returns to the inactive state until another coin is inserted.

It should be noted that the closure of S, by inserting a coin begins a series of charge-discharge cycles whose times are determined by the values of R,, C, and R The drop time is random depending on when in the cycle the gas pedal is depressed to close S since the coin will drop at the end of the C, charge cycle and the time until that event will depend on when in the cycle the gas pedal is depressed.

It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the embodiment disclosed may be modified and yet remain within the spirit of the invention. For example, although the invention has been describedwith respect to a coin as a falling body, it is apparent that other bodies may be used instead, and if a non-conductive body is used, other means for closing S can be employed. The scope of the invention is therefore to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

1 claim:

1. Apparatus for measuring the reaction time of a person comprising means forming a channel for a falling body,

means for supporting such a body disposed adjacent the upper end of said channel and means for suddenly withdrawing said support in response to a signal,

time constant means for cyelicly generating a signal at spaced apart time intervals,

first manually operable means for applying the next occurring signal generated by said time constant means to said supporting means when said manually operable means is actuated, whereby a variable delay time occurs between the operation of said first manually operable means and the withdrawal of said support depending on the relative time of first manually operable means operation in said cycle,

a brake rod disposed in said channel and extending along the same, said brake rod being movable from an inactive position into an active position in which the latter position is adapted to stop the falling movement of said body, and

second manually operable means for causing said brake rod to move suddenly from the inactive into the active position to stop the movement of the body, the distance which the body has fallen until stopped indicating the reaction time of the person being tested.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said supporting means comprises a movable member normally extending into said channel and said means for suddenly withdrawing said support comprises electromagnetic means connected to said member for moving said member out of said channel when a signal is applied to said electromagnetic means.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said time constant means comprises an electronic circuit means for cyclicly generating a signal at substantially regular spaced apart time intervals.

4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said means for applying the next occurring signal comprises a manually operable switched, said switch connected to close a circuit between said time constant means and said electromagnetic means.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said electronic circuit means comprises a unijunction transistor,

a capacitor connected to the emitter of said transistor,

means for charging said capacitor,

a switching transistor,

means for connecting the first base of said unijunction transistor to the base of said switching transistor when said first manually operable means is actuated, and

means for connecting one of the remaining elements of said switching transistor to said electromagnetic means. 6. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1937445 *Jun 1, 1931Nov 28, 1933Smith Fern CReaction timer
US1993669 *Dec 18, 1930Mar 5, 1935Algot Ihde HugoApparatus for measuring periods of time, particularly psycho-physical reaction periods
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4502489 *Sep 29, 1982Mar 5, 1985Audostart CorporationApparatus for measuring auditory reaction time
US4789155 *Aug 31, 1987Dec 6, 1988Barra James MCompetitive reaction-time game toy
US4798048 *Dec 21, 1987Jan 17, 1989United Technologies CorporationAugmentor pilot
US5407212 *Oct 12, 1994Apr 18, 1995Bob's Space Racers, Inc.Falling card game apparatus
US6341267Jul 2, 1997Jan 22, 2002Enhancement Of Human Potential, Inc.Methods, systems and apparatuses for matching individuals with behavioral requirements and for managing providers of services to evaluate or increase individuals' behavioral capabilities
US7063325 *Apr 4, 2005Jun 20, 2006Wendy SmithMeans and method for playing a card-catching game
US20010042004 *Jan 5, 2001Nov 15, 2001Taub Herman P.Methods, systems and apparatuses for matching individuals with behavioral requirements and for managing providers of services to evaluate or increase individuals' behavioral capabilities
U.S. Classification273/446, 434/258, 273/454
International ClassificationA61B5/18, A61B5/16
Cooperative ClassificationA61B5/162, A61B5/18
European ClassificationA61B5/18, A61B5/16D