US 3795064 A
A toy particularly useful for speech therapy and including visual display means actuated in response to sounds produced into a microphone. In one form the visual display is a monkey which is suspended on a vertical pillar by a thread passing over pulleys or by magnets attracted to other magnets mounted for movement within the pillar. The microphone is connected to an electrical circuit adapted to drive an electric motor in a forward direction thereby raising the monkey up the pillar when an acceptable sound is produced. The circuit is adjustable to redefine an acceptable sound and may be adapted to lower the monkey immediately an acceptable sound ceases or after a preset delay.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Sims-Williams THERAPEUTIC TOY Christopher Temple' Sims-Williams, London, England  Inventor:
 Assignee: Alfred George Moore, 1-lounslow,
England Filed: Oct. 12, 1972 Appl. No.: 296,924
 Foreign Application Priority Data Oct. 14, 1971 Great Britain 47,860/71 US. Cl 35/35 c, 46/132, 46/245 Int. Cl. com; 19/04 Field ofSearc h.. 35/1,35 R, 35 c; 46/132, 238,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 543,489 7/1957 Canada 46/240 Primary ExaminerWm. H. Grieb Attorney, Agent, or FirmWo0dard Weikart, Emhardt & Naughton [5 7 ABSTRACT A toy particularly useful for speech therapy and including visual display means actuated in response to sounds produced intoa microphone. in one form the visual display is a monkey which is suspended on a vertical pillar by a thread passing over pulleys or by magnets attracted to other magnets mounted for movement within the pillar. The microphone is connected to an electrical circuit adapted to drive an electric motor in a forward direction thereby raising the monkey up the pillar when an acceptable sound is produced. The circuit is adjustable to redefine an acceptable sound and may be adapted to lower the monkey immediately an acceptable sound ceases or after a preset delay. v
9 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED 51974 SHEET 3 BF 3 SCR I THERAPEUTIC TOY This invention relates to a toy and more particularly to a therapeutic toy.
Many of those who suffer fromcerebral palsy are handicapped by a severe deficiency in speech. Such a handicap can be at least partly alleviated by applying an appropriate therapy at an early stage.
It is an object of this invention to provide a therapeutic toy which will encourage handicapped childrento produce sounds and which may be used to encourage such children to speak.
According to one aspect of this invention a toy comprises visual display means, means for operating the display means, and a microphone connected to an electrical circuit adapted to actuate the operating means so as to produce a-visual display when an acceptable audible signal is received by the microphone.
The display may involve any change visually discernable by a child using the toy, such as flashing lights, colour changes or mechanical movements so that the child is able to associate a given sound with the resulting display.
' lower the monkey 14.
incentive to the child to producelouder andmore sus-.
In one form the toy comprises a base supporting a pillar on which is mounted an-object (in a preferred form microphone and to drive the motor in anopposite direction and thereby lower the object when no acceptable audible signal is received. Theobject may, however, be lowered under the action of gravity alone.
Preferably, the circuit is adjustable to redefine an acceptable signal; Acceptabilitymay. be determined according to, for example, the loudness of a signal. I g
The circuit may further be adapted to lower the object immediately anfacceptable signal ceases or after a frequency, duration or preset delay and thus the difficulty of an ascent may further be increased by reducing this delay.
In some circumstances it may beu seful' to incorpo rate a counter in the toy for recording the number of ascents achieved by a child. In this way a parent or nursemay monitor the progress of a child without actually being present when the toy is' in use.
When a nurse or parent is in attendance, the toy may be used to encourage a child' to sayparticular selected words. In this case, the toy includes, forexample, a foot operated switch so thatthe nurse or parent can prevent operation of thetoy except when the child articulates the selected word.
Embodiments of the invention will now be described I by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:
FIG. 1 shows a perspective view'of one embodiment of the toy according to this invention;
FIGS. 2 and 3 show respectively a sectional plan view and a sectional elevation of the base of a toy;
FIG. 4 shows a circuit diagram;
FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of a toy according to this invention;
FIG. 6 shows details of a further embodiment of a toy according to this invention; and
FIG. 7 is a diagram of a simplified form of control circuit.
The toy shown in FIG; I has a base 10 upon which is mounted a tall pillar 12. A toy monkey 14 is slidably mounted on the pillar and is attached to a cord 16 passing over a pulley 19 at the top of the pillar and round ,a similar pulley 17 (FIGS. 2, 3 and 4) in the base 10.
Pulley 17 is driven through a gear reduction unit 20 by a dc. motor 18 mounted in the base 10 and this motor 18 drives the pulley in a forward or reverse 'di- .rection, according to the polarity of the motor supply from a printed circuit assembly 22 to thereby raise or Two microswitches S, and S are mounted one. at each side of the pulley 17 as shown in'FlG. 3 and each of 'these switches isoperable by a knot 24 tied at an ap propriate position in the cord 16 to switch off the motor 18'when the monkey reaches the top or bottom of the pillar 12. i Them'icrophone 26 is connected to the printed circuit assembly 22 whichi s adjusted to respond to an ac-- ceptable range, of audible sounds received by microphone 26 and to drive the motor in such a direction that the monkey 14 is raised on'receipt of such a sound. When the sound ceases then the motor is driven such that the monkey is lowered in stages between which there is a predetermined ,and adjustable time delay.
The circuit diagram of one form of therapeutic toy is shown in'FlG. 4 to which the following description refers.
whicha potentiometer VR2 and a decoupling capacitor C5 and resistor R6 are connected.
Poweris supplied from 240 v.a.c. mains viaa transformer T3 having two secondary windings W1 and W2.
A cross the winding W l is connected a rectifierand smoothing circuit constituted by a diode D3, a resistor R5 and a capacitor C4 and supplying dc. power to the amplifiers A2 and A1.
' The windingW2 is connected to a parallel branched circuit in one branch of which SCR (silicon controlled rectifier) land rnicroswitch S1 are connected in series and in the other branch of whichSCR2" and microswitch S2 are connected in series. The branched circuit .is also connected'to'one terminal of the dc. motor 18,
the other terminal of which is connected by a return lin'e 28 to the-transformer'coil. A rectifier andsmoothoutput"of amplifier A2 and reducesinterference between, the amplifier and motor-circuits.
. A' rectifier'andsmoothing circuit, formed by diode D1, resistor'RS and capacitor C2, is connected across the terminals a: and b in the parallel branched circuit and a unijunction transistor Tr1 is connected between A signal received the microphone 26 is amplified by a pre-amplifier'Al andan amplifier A2 between terminals a and c with a resistor R1 at its base b2 and the primary windingof decoupling transformer T1 at its base bl. The emitter of transistor Trl is connected via a potentiometer VRl and resistor R2 to terminal c and via capacitor C1 to terminal a to form a relaxation oscillator. The secondary winding of transformer T1 is connected to the gate of SCRZ.
Thus, in operation, when an audible signal is received by the microphone and amplified by amplifiers Al and A2, SCRl is triggered and will conduct in the forward biased mode unless microswitch S1 is open. A voltage corresponding in shape to the negative portion of a sine wave is applied to the motor 18 which is driven so as to raise the monkey up the pillar. The motor will continue to be driven until the audible signal ends at which time SCRl ceases to conduct. If a continuous sound is produced the monkey will be raised to the top of the pillar whereupon switch S1 will open to interrupt the supply of power to the motor.
When SCRl is conducting there is substantially no voltage drop across the terminals a and b and C1 remains uncharged.
The loudness of sound to which the toy will respond is variable by means of potentiometer VR2 since by increasing the proportional input to amplifier A2 from the pre-amplitler A1 a relatively smaller audible signal will produce an output from A2 sufficient to trigger- SCRl.
When SCRl does not conduct and when microswitch S1 is closed a dc. voltage is applied across terminals 21 and c and capacitor C1 charges (at a rate determined by the magnitudes of R2, VR] and C1) to a level at which transistor TRl is switched on. Capacitor Cl then discharges, the transistor switches off and the cycle is repeated. In this way, pulses are produced, to trigger SCR2 at a rate (e.g., one pulse every one-half to 8 seconds) determined by the setting of VRl.
When SCR2 is triggered a dc. current is passed to the motor 18 and, during periods when diode D2 is reversed biased, capacitor C3 discharges through resistor R4 to maintain SCR2 in a conducting state for an extended period. The motor is thus driven in a forward direction to lower the monkey down the pillar a distance determined by the time constant of the discharge path of the capacitor C3 each time a pulse from the relaxation oscillator triggers SCR2. Thus, when no acceptable signal is'received by the microphone the monkey is lowered in stages until switch S2 is opened as the monkeyreaches the bottom of the pillar.
In a modified form the toy may be adapted to respond to physical movements made by a paralysed or partially paralysed child. The physical movement may in some way be translated into an audible sound or may directly operate the toy without the intermediary of the audible signal.
FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of a therapeutic toy in which the monkey 14 is not directly attached to the cord 16 which in this case passes over pulleys mounted within the tubular pillar 12 formed from a plastics material. The cord 16 is attached to a trolley 30 comprising a magnet 32 mounted on anti-friction pads or wheels 34, which is drawn up or down the pillar according to the polarity of the motor as described with reference to FIG. 1. The monkey 14 is retained upon the pillar by magnets 36 and 38 buried in the monkeys pillar 12 the monkey moves with it.
Another embodiment of therapeutic toy is shown in FIG. 6 and in this embodiment cylindrical magnets 40 are driven upor down within the tubular pillar 12 by means of a lead screw 42 upon which are mounted two soft iron steel washers 44 and 46. As the lead screw is rotated the washers 44 and 46, between which the magnets 40 are clamped, are driven up or down the pillar 12 since the magnetic attraction between the magnets 36, 38 in the monkey, and magnets 40 causes the peripheral surface of the washers to engage the internal surface of the pillar and the friction vtherebetween is sufficient to restrain rotation of the washers. The threaded shaft lead screw is attached to the upper part 48 of a coupling 50 for transmitting the motion of an ouptut shaft 52 of an electric motor (not shown) to the lead screw 42. The output shaft 52 is fitted with a T- piece 54 slidable within two slots 56 (one shown) formed in the upper part 48 to permit relative axial movement between the shaft and the lead screw. A switch 58 operable by a lever 60 to reverse the direction of rotation of the motor is mounted adjacent the upper part 48 with the lever 60 extending into a groove 62 formed therein.
When the washers and the magnets reach the bottom of the pillar 12, washer 44 abuts against a shoulder 64 but the lead screw continues to rotate and this causes the lead screw 42 and upper part 48 to lift. When the upper part lifts the lower shoulder 68 of the groove 62 engages the lever 60 and operates the switch 58 to reverse the direction of rotation of the motor.
FIG. 7 shows a simplified form ofcontrol circuit, suitable for use with the embodiment of FIG. 6, in which signals received from the microphone M are amplified by amplifier A and connected to the gate of a silicon controlled rectifier SCR in series with an electric mo tor. A switch S representing switch 58 (FIG. 6) connects the motor across terminals a and a and the motor is driven in a forward direction to raise the magnets 40 when signals received by the microphone trigger the SCR. When the magnets reach the top of the lead screw 42 switch 58 is operated, as described with reference to FIG. 6, to connect the motor between ter minals b and b The direction of rotation of the motor is then reversed and the magnets are lowered to the foot of the pillar.
A centrifugal switch 0 is connected between the SCR and terminal a so that when the motor has accelerated to a predetermined speed the motor is switched off until the SCR is triggered when another signal is received.
l. A toy comprising a pillar upon which is mounted an object, means comprising an electric motor for raising the object up the pillar, an electrical circuit and a microphone connected to the circuit, said circuit including means triggered by a signal derived from the microphone to drive the motor in a forward direction to thereby raise the object when an acceptable audible signal is received by the microphone, and means for reversing the direction of the motor when an audible signal received by the microphone ceases or ceases to be acceptable.
2. A toy according to claim 1 and comprising means for introducing a time delay before reversing the direction of the motor.
3. A toy according to claim 1 and comprising means for automatically reversing the direction of the motor when the object reaches the top of the pillar.
4. A toy according to claim 1 wherein the pillar is tubular and comprising a first magnetic means screwed on a lead screw co-axially mounted within the pillar and connected for rotation with the output shaft of the electric motor, means restraining the first magnetic means against rotation with the threaded shaft so that when the shaft rotates the first magnetic means is driven up or down the pillar, the object being fitted with further magnetic means attracted by the first magnetic means to thereby retain the objectupon the pillar and cause it to move with the first magnetic means.
5. A toy according to claim 4 wherein the lead screw is connected to the output shaft by a coupling permitting relative axial displacement of the lead screw and the output shaft and further comprising a switch operable to reverse the direction of rotation of the motor by means engaging the switch during axial displacement of netic means and a microphone connected to a circuit adapted to drive the motor in a forward direction to thereby raise the object when an acceptable audible signal is received by the microphone, wherein the first magnetic means is screwed on a lead screw co-axially mounted within the pillar and connected for rotation with the output shaft of the electric motor and further comprising means restraining the first magnetic means against rotation with the threaded shaft so that when the shaft rotates the first magnetic means is driven up or down the pillar.
7. A toy according to claim 6 wherein said lead screw is connected to the motor output shaft by a coupling permitting relative axial displacement of the lead screw and the output shaft, and further comprising a switch operable to reverse the direction of rotation of the motor by means engaging the switch during axial displacement of the lead screw which occurs when the first magnetic means reaches the top or bottom of the pillar.
8. A toy according to claim 6 wherein the circuit comprises means triggered by a signal derived from the microphone to drive the motor in the said forward direction.
9. A toy according to claim 6 and comprising means for automatically reversing the direction of the motor when the object reaches the top of the pillar.