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Publication numberUS3782031 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 1, 1974
Filing dateFeb 23, 1972
Priority dateFeb 24, 1971
Also published asCA935997A, CA935997A1
Publication numberUS 3782031 A, US 3782031A, US-A-3782031, US3782031 A, US3782031A
InventorsByron M
Original AssigneeCreative Patents & Products Lt
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Controllable amusement device
US 3782031 A
Abstract
A self propelled amusement device including a body member shaped in any form which appeals to a child, a pair of drive wheels and at least one steering wheel for supporting the body member. The drive wheels are driven by means of a battery operated motor, and the steering wheel is controlled by a solenoid. Proximity detectors or other sensing devices are placed at both ends of the body member and at both sides. The proximity detectors may be sensitive to changes in capacity in their vicinity, and in such a case the presence of a hand of the child near one of the proximity devices causes a voltage to appear at the output thereof. Appropriate electronic circuitry is provided for controlling the operation of the drive motor and the steering solenoid in response to changes in electrical capacity occurring near any of the proximity detectors, so that the body member can be caused to travel forwards or backwards or to turn any desired direction by merely placing a hand or other body having electrical capacity near selected ones of the proximity detectors.
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Jan. 1, 1974 CONTROLLAPLE AMUSEMENT DEVICE Inventor:

[75] Melville Byron, Toronto, Ontario,

Canada Assignee: Creative Patents & Products Limited, Ontario, Canada Filed: Feb. 23, 1972 Appl. No.: 228,630

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Feb. 24, 1971 Canada 106,134

US. Cl. 46/244 R, 46/247 Int. Cl A63h 11/10 Field of Search 46/244 R, 244 C,

46/243 M, 243 LV, 247; ZOO/D10. I

[5 6 1 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS OTHER PUBLICATIONS General Electric Co; publication 201.6, July 1969.

Primary ExaminerLouis G. Mancene Assistant ExaminerRobert F. Cutting AttorneyDavid M. Rogers et al.

[ ABSTRACT A self propelled amusement device including a body member shaped in any form which appeals to a child, a pair of drive wheels and at least one steering wheel for supporting the body member. The drive wheels are driven by means of a battery operated motor, and the steering wheel is controlled by a solenoid. Proximity detectors or other sensing devices are placed at both ends of the body member and at both sides. The proximity detectors may be sensitive to changes in capacity in their vicinity, and in such a case the presence of a hand of the child near one of the proximity devices causes a voltage to appear at the output thereof. Appropriate electronic circuitry is provided for controlling the operation of the drive motor and the steering solenoid in response to changes in electrical capacity occurring near any of the proximity detectors, so that the body member can be caused to travel forwards or backwards or to turn any desired direction by merely placing a hand or other body having electrical capacity near selected ones of the proximity detectors.

3 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures DRIVE 18 MOTOR 15- N4 V L JIEER/IVG K SOLENOID at a Pmmmm H 14 1 3.782.031

oe/ VE MomR '1 CONTROLLABLE AMUSEMENT DEVICE This invention relates to an amusement device, particularly to a self-propelled toy which a child may cause to move in any desired direction without any physical contact with the toy.

A preferred embodiment of the invention includes a body member which may be shaped in any desired form, such as the shape of a rabbit or other animal, automobile, etc. The body member is propelled along a surface such as a floor by means of a pair of wheels which are driven by a battery operated motor. Another wheelor wheels is used for steering. Detectors such as proximity devices are placed at each end of the body member (front and rear) and at both sides, and the output of the proximity detectors, which may consist of an electrical signal, isfedto an electronic circuit which produces an output signal which isproportional in amplitude to the degree of unbalance between two opposed proximity detectors. Theoutputsignal is of sufficient voltage and current todrive the'motor. The proximity detectors positioned at the sides of the body member are also fed to amplifiers which are designed to drive a solenoid which is coupled by appropriate linkages to the steering wheel or wheels. By placing his hand in the proximity of one or more of the proximity detectors, the child can cause the device to move in any desired direction along the floor. For example, by placing his hand immediately in front of the body member, the toy will travel directly towards the hand, and similarly by placing the hand near one of the proximity detectors at the side of the body member,the body member will turn towards the hand. In this manner the toy can be made to follow the child about a room. A preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an electrical circuit employed in the invention, and

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view showing a typical toy. Referring to the drawings, a body member generally indicated by reference numeral may be shaped in any form which appeals to a child, such as the shape of a rabbit, etc., and the body member 10 is supported by a pair of front wheels 11 and a rear wheel 12. The body member 10 is propelled over a floor or other flat surface by means of a motor coupled to the wheels 11 which are mounted on a fixed axle (not shown). The wheel 12 is rotatable about a vertical axis so that the body member 10 may be steered by adjusting the position of the wheel 12. It will be understood, of course, that the Wheel 12 could be positioned at the front of the body member 10 and the wheels 11 at the rear thereof, and that a pair of wheels 12 could'be used when it is necessary to employ four wheels for supporting the body member 10, as for example in the case of a toy automobile. Four proximity detectors 13, 14, and 16 are respectively secured to the body member 10 at the front, rear and both sides of the body member 10. In the case of the rabbit shown in FIG. 2, the proximity detector 13 may be positioned at the nose of the rabbit, the proximity detector 14 positioned in the tail, and the proximity detectors l6 and 17 may respectively be positioned in both ears of the rabbit. The proximity detectors 13, 1'4, 15 and 16 are conventional devices which produce an electrical signal when a body such as ahand is placed in proximity to the device. The sensitivity of such devices can be adjusted so that signals of reasonable amplitude are obtained when a hand is within a few inches of the device.

Referring to FIG. 1, the output of the proximity detectors 14 are respectively fed to the input of a differential amplifier 17, and the outputs of the proximity detectors 15 and 16 are respectively fed to the inputs of a differential amplifier 18. The outputs of the differential amplifiers 17 and 18 are connected together and are fed to a battery operated drive motor 19. The dif ferential amplifiers l7 and 18 may include conventional current amplifier circuits to provide the required current and voltage for driving the motor 19. The motor 19 is coupled by conventional means to the wheels 11.

In addition to being connected to the differential amplifier 18, the proximity detectors 15 and 16 are also respectively connected to amplifiers 20 and 21 which are designed to energize a steering solenoid 22. The solenoid 22 is conventional, and it is designed to have a central neutral position. The solenoid 22 is coupled by any conventional steering linkage to the steerable wheel 12. As an added refinement, an automatic gain control circuit 23 may be connected to the circuit of FIG. 1. As shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1, the outputs of the amplifiers 17, 18, 20 and 21 are fed to the automatic gain control circuit 23, and the circuit 23 in turn feeds back an AGC voltage to any appropriate point in the input stages of the amplifiers 17, 18, 20 and 21. The automatic gain control circuit 23 may be referenced by any conventional stores of a fixed reference voltage, indicated diagramatically as reference generator 24 in FIG. 1.

In operation, assuming the child places a hand near the proximity detector 13 at the nose of the body member 10, a voltage will appear across the inputs of the differential amplifier 17, resulting in an output voltage that is fed to the drive motor 19 which causes the wheels 11 to rotate. The proximity detectors 15 and 16 will not respond to the presence of the hand if it is immediately in front of the proximity detector 13, and consequently the wheel 12 will be maintained in its neutral position, i.e. with its axis at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the body member 10. As a result, the body member 10 will be caused to travel forwards in a straight line. Conversely, if the hand is placed immediately in front of the proximity detector 14 at the tail of the body member 10, a voltage of opposite polarity will appear at the output of the differential amplifier 17 and cause the drive motor 19 to operate in the opposite direction to the previously described direction, so that the body member 10 will be caused to travel backwards in a straight line.

If it is desired to cause the body member 10 to change its direction while moving either forwards or backwards, the hand is placed near either of the proximity detectors 15 and 16. For example, when the hand is placed near the proximity detector 15, a voltage of predetermined polarity appears at the output of the differential amplifier 18, is fed to the drive motor 19 and the wheels 11 are caused to rotate in a predetermined direction, for example counter-clockwise. In addition, the output of the proximity detector 15 is fed to the amplifier 21, which causes the steering solenoid 22 to move from its neutral position to a position such that the wheel 12 is caused to pivot through a predetermined angle with respect to the vertical. Consequently, the body member 10 will be caused to move in a forward direction in a curved path, for example towards the hand that is placed near the proximity detector 15. Similarly, if the hand is placed near the proximity detector 16, the body member will be caused to travel forwards in a curved path towards the hand that is placed near it.

It will be understood that conventional electrical circuitry can be employed between a battery (not shown) and the drive motor 19 and steering solenoid 22 to provide an on-off function and also to permit the polarity of the voltage fed to the motor 19 to be reversed so that placing the hand near the proximity detector 13, for example, can be made to cause the body member 10 either to travel forwards or backwards depending upon the polarity of the voltage fed to the drive motor 19. Similarly, if desired the polarity of the voltage fed to the solenoid 22 can be reversed so that the body member 10 will be caused to either travel towards the hand or away from it.

The automatic gain control 23, which is a conventional circuit, is designed to automatically increase the gain of the amplifier controlled by it so that the output of the amplifier is reasonably uniform despite variations in the level of the voltages produced by the proximity detectors l3, l4, l5 and 16. lf desired, the automatic gain control 23 may be designed so that the output voltage of the amplifier controlled by it is higher than normal when the signal produced by the proximity detector is relatively weak. If the signal produced by the proximity detector drops a predetermined level, the automatic gain control 23 will cease to function and the voltage appearing at the output of the relevant amplifier will be zero.

What I claim is:

1. An amusement device comprising a body member, controllable drive means, a pair of rotatable wheels op eratively connected to said drive means, said rotatable wheels being attached to said body member and being positioned for moving said body member along a surface in a horizontal direction and in a generally linear path, controllable steering means including a wheel that is pivotable about a vertical axis attached to said body member and positioned for varying the direction of said body member as it moves along said surface, first means responsive to a change in a condition proximate to and spaced from said body member for producing electrical signals fed to said drive means to cause said drive means to operate selectively so as to cause said body member to move forwards and back, and second means responsive to a change in a condition proximate to and spaced from said body member for producing electrical signals fed to said steering means to vary the direction of said body member, said first and second means comprising proximity detectors respectively positioned at the front, rear and both sides of said body member.

2. An amusement device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said first and second means further include first and second differential amplifiers which are respectively connected to said front and rear proximity detectors and to said side proximity detectors.

3. An amusement device as claimed in claim 2 wherein an automatic gain control is connected to said differential amplifiers to maintain the gain thereof at a substantially uniform level over a predetermined change in said proximate condition.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2770074 *Sep 3, 1953Nov 13, 1956JonesSelf propelled toy which circumvents obstructions
US3112476 *Jan 7, 1960Nov 26, 1963Sylvania Electric ProdElectronic switches
US3254313 *Feb 6, 1964May 31, 1966Tung Sol Electric IncTouch responsive oscillator and control circuits
US3596401 *Feb 18, 1970Aug 3, 1971Camire Arthur JVehicle guidance systems
US3621356 *Sep 15, 1969Nov 16, 1971On Kwan ChiPhotocell control circuit for motor-operated toy
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *General Electric Co. publication 201.6, July 1969.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4086724 *Jan 16, 1976May 2, 1978Mccaslin Robert EMotorized toy vehicle having improved control means
US4166338 *Feb 3, 1978Sep 4, 1979Shinsei Kogyo Co., Ltd.Steering system for radio or wire controlled traveling toys
US4334221 *Oct 22, 1979Jun 8, 1982Ideal Toy CorporationMulti-vehicle multi-controller radio remote control system
US4349986 *Dec 15, 1978Sep 21, 1982Tsukuda Co., Ltd.Radio-controlled toys
US4938483 *Nov 4, 1987Jul 3, 1990M. H. Segan & Company, Inc.Multi-vehicle interactive toy system
US5413518 *Jan 18, 1994May 9, 1995Lin; Ming-TuanProximity responsive toy
US5846120 *Feb 11, 1997Dec 8, 1998Rokenbok Toy CompanyToy tow trailer with self-leveling hitch assembly
US5879221 *Feb 11, 1997Mar 9, 1999Rokenbok Toy CompanyToy bulldozer with blade float mechanism
US5885159 *Aug 13, 1996Mar 23, 1999Rokenbok Toy CompanySystem for, and method of, controlling the operation of toys
US5944607 *Dec 29, 1995Aug 31, 1999Rokenbok Toy CompanyRemote control system for operating toys
US5964640 *Feb 11, 1997Oct 12, 1999Rokenbok Toy CompanyToy dump truck with automatic dumper mechanism
US5989096 *Feb 11, 1997Nov 23, 1999Rokenbok Toy CompanyToy fork lift vehicle with improved steering
US6224454 *Jun 18, 1999May 1, 2001Jer-Ming ChengDynamic searching device for toys
US6247994Feb 11, 1998Jun 19, 2001Rokenbok Toy CompanySystem and method for communicating with and controlling toy accessories
US7553211Feb 11, 1997Jun 30, 2009Deangelis Peter CSystem and method for controlling the operation of toys
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/292, 446/442
International ClassificationA63H11/00, A63H30/00, A63H30/04, A63H11/10
Cooperative ClassificationA63H11/10, A63H30/04
European ClassificationA63H30/04, A63H11/10