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Publication numberUS3815917 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 11, 1974
Filing dateAug 4, 1972
Priority dateAug 4, 1972
Publication numberUS 3815917 A, US 3815917A, US-A-3815917, US3815917 A, US3815917A
InventorsR Brown
Original AssigneeMidway Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling games
US 3815917 A
Abstract
A table as a playing field for a rollable ball which table is tiltable about one or both of a pair of substantially horizontal perpendicular axes, the apparatus being provided with suitable power source means for tilting the table whereby the ball travel relative to a table target is independent of a contestant's physical strength, but rather is dependent upon his ability in wielding a manipulator device for the powering means, which device is wielded at a remotely positioned operator's station. The table tilting powering means is preferably throttled whereby the ball is not catapulted from the table but rather remains rollably engaged therealong, the manipulator device motion is desireably directionally correlated with the ball rolling direction likely to result therefrom, and there is the further capability for two competing players at opposed operator stations including therewith apparatus means for resolving individual player efforts to control the ball through the table tilting powering means.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Brown 1111 3,815,917 1 June 11, 1974 TILTABLE TABLE APPARATUS FOR BALL ROLLING GAMES [57 I ABSTRACT [75] Inventor: Richard L. Brown, Bellevue, Nebr. A table as a playing field for a rollable ball which table I is tiltable about one or both of a pair of substantially [73] Asslgnee' 223mg ggig fl Company horizontal perpendicular axes, the apparatus being 7 provided with suitable power source means for tilting [22] Filed: Aug. 4, 1972 the table whereby the ball travel relative to a table target is independent of a contestants physical strength, [21] Appl 278l14 but rather is dependent upon his ability in wielding a manipulator device for the powering means, which de- [52] US. Cl. 273/110 vice is wielded at a remotely positioned operators sta- [51] Int. Cl A63b 67/14 tion. The table tilting powering means is preferably [58] Field of Search 273/110, 109, 115, 113; throttled whereby the ball is not catapulted from the 35/ 12 N, 12 P, 12 C table but rather remains rollably engaged therealong,

the manipulator device motion is desireably direction- [56] References Cited ally correlated with the ball rolling direction likely to UNITED STATES PATENTS result therefrom, and there is the further capability for l 865 828 7/1932 Bucke 35/12 P two competing players at opposed operator stations 3 479 033 ll/l969 Crisafull i eial. 273/1 10 x including therewith appaatus means for resolving 3:675:927 7/1973 Neyens et al. 273/110 dividual P y efforts tO Control the ball through the 3,732,630 5/1973 Crosbie 35/12 N table tilting Powering means- 3.7 5l,()38 8/1973 OKeefe 273/110 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown 11 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures Attorney, Agent, or Firm-George R. Nimmer 2i 2 3 X [5D 2| a r a n II 238 23A\ 22 F= I g W 1 L lu l\3D 4 2 29A L\ME as l H8 88 Y l L l c- L an l |2A z l l 2513 30A 12m l 3B 309 l lse L TILTABLE TABLE APPARATUS FOR BALL ROLLING GAMES The prior art is replete with teachings of tiltable tables for ball rolling games and equipped with one or more table targets, the table being amenable to tilting by a single player, or even by two or more competitively operating contestants. However, such tiltable table ball rolling games tend to suffer from one or more of the following disadvantages and deficiencies. With certain prior art structures the table is tiltably supported about one axis only; accordingly, the ball directional movement relative to a target is only partially operator controllable, there also being dependence upon chance or luck, which tends to bore and frustrate most contestants. While certain other prior art structures do provide table tilting capability about two perpendicular horizontal axes, the control furnished to each contestant at his operating station is for table tilting about only one of the two axes, which makes the target maneuvering quest partially dependent upon chance and hence similarly boring and frustrating. With a number of prior art apparatus the rate or degree of table tilt is largely dependent upon the physical strength of the respective contestants; hence, the physically stronger competitor will almost assuredly wrest table control and win the ball rolling contest, which soon discourages the weaker opponent. Another notable prior art deficiency resides in the fact that the table tilting controls available to the contestants, even if not wholly dependent upon an operators degree of physical strength, do not readily correlate with the ball travel direction likely to result therefrom. Another objectionable tendency with many tilting table ball rolling games is that the ball is apt to become catapulted away from the table; not only is ball catapulting a nuisance and unsafe for the players and spectators, but also renders tilting table ball rolling games very impractical for coin-operated or arcade public installations.

It is accordingly the general object of the present in vention to provide a tiltable apparatus for ball rolling games and contests that overcomes the several disadvantages and deficiencies of prior art apparatus.

It is another general object of the present invention to provide a titltable table apparatus suitable for ball rolling contests and games that is unusually suited and amenable to coin-operated or public installations thereof. In this vein, it is an ancillary object to reasonably ensure that the ball travel path relative to a target is dependent upon a players skill in adroitly controlling the table tilt about the two respective horizontal axes through a suitable manipulator device requiring only a modicum or initiate level of operator strength capabil ity to motivate said manipulator device.

It is another object to provide a tiltable apparatus for ball rolling games that is interesting and challenging to a wide spectrum of potential pairs of player contestants, the target scoring capability being largely independent of luck, chance, or ones muscular prowess, but rather almost entirely dependent upon a contestants quickness, adroitness, and visual perception.

It is a further object to provide a tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling contests that can be built sturdily, safely, and reliably for so-called coin-operated or arcade public installations.

It is yet another object to provide a tiltable table apparatus of the class described wherein the table tilting manipulator device controls at the operator station can be readily mastered by the contestant so that he can quickly gain a ball control feel for predicting the resultant effect of his control efforts upon the table inclination and the ball travel path influenced thereby. For so-called coin-operated public installations especially, it is important that the typical operators learning time to master the controls be minimal.

With the above and other objects and advantages in view, which will become more apparent as this description proceeds, the tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling games of the present invention generally comprises: a base member adapted to elevate a table having a substantially horizontal normalcondition at which the table has a spatial relationship to three imaginary axes including a pair of mutually perpendicular horizontal axes defining the table and both axes also perpendicularly intersecting a vertical axis; the table having a broad upper-side as a playing field and adapted to rollably support a ball therealong and being non-rotatable about the vertical axis but tiltable bidirectionally about each of the horizontal axes; powering means attached to the apparatus and adapted to tilt the table selectively about each of the horizontal axes, including throttling means to limit tilting accelerations whereby the rolling ball will remain on the table rather than being catapulted upwardly therefrom; at least one (and preferably an opposed pair of) operator station, each station including an operator wieldable manipulator device that is actuatably connected to the powering means and that requires only a relatively low initiate-level operator physical exertion. A servomechanism is preferably interposed between the manipulator device and the powering means to provide said low initiate-level and the powering means throttling; for simultaneously competing players at respective opposed operator stations, and each providing input to the servomechanism, there are dualinput resolution means.

In the drawing, wherein like characters refer to like parts in the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a representative embodiment of the tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling games of the present invention with the table at substantially horizontal normal-condition and defined thereat by a pair of mutually perpendicular horizontal axes, herein arbitrarily denominated as a longitudinally extending y-axis and a transversely extending x-axis.

FIG. 2 is a sectional elevational view taken along the longitudinally extending y-axis of FIG. I, phantom line indicating table tilting about the transversely extending x-axis caused when an upright handle manipulator (e.g. 30A) is moved in one longitudinal direction.

FIG. 3 is a sectional elevational view taken along the transversely extending x-axis of FIG. 1, phantom line indicating table tilting about the longitudinally extending y-axis resulting when an upright handle manipulator (e.g. 30A) is moved in one transverse direction.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional plan view taken along lines 44 of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 5 is a detail sectional view of one of the four identical switches of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a circuit diagram schematically indicating how the table tilting actions alluded to in phantom line in FIGS. 2 and 3 are effected upon operator control of the upright handle manipulators (e.g., 30A, 30B).

Representative embodiment 9 of the tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling games comprises a base member (generally referred to as 20) adapted to stably rest upon a floor G or other suitable underlying substrate and for elevating above the substrate a table having a substantially horizontal normal-condition; the table 10 at normal-condition (indicated in solid line in FIGS. 2-3) is horizontally defined by a pair of mutually perpendicularly intersecting (at Z) horizontal axes x and y, the table having an upper-side 10F as a broad playing field for spherical ball 100 and preferably including at least one target (herein as two recesses 12A and 12B in field 10F) for the ball; table 10 is associated with base member so as to be selectively tiltable about each of the axes x and y; powering means (e.g., 40, 45) attached to the apparatus and adapted to tilt the table about the respective horizontal axes; a pair of opposed operator stations (herein stations A and 258 located on opposite sides of the x-axis) each station including an operator wieldable manipulator device (e.g., handles A and 30B), each handle being substantially physically divorced from the tiltable table 10 and being actuatably connected to the powering means whereby from either remote operator station table 10 can be made to tilt in either angular direction about each horizontal axis.

As already mentioned, the table through the base means must be elevated above an'underlying substrate (G) and thetiltably supported, commencing at substantially horizontal normal-condition, in both angular di rections about each of the tables substantially horizontal perpendicular axes, e.g., x and y. The base means 20 utilized in apparatus embodiment 9 comprises a substantially horizontal rectangular shelf 22 having four upright legs 21 depending from the respective corners thereof whereby legs 21 elevate shelf 22 above horizontal floor underlying substrate G. A rectangular box 23 stably rests upon shelf 22, and includes four stationary walls 23A-23D each extending vertically upwardly from shelf 22; walls 23A and 23B extend transversely (herein parallel to the x-axis) while walls 23C and 23D extend longitudinally (herein parallel to the y-axis). Rectangular table 10 has a substantially planar horizontal upper-side 10F herein provided with recesses 12A and 12B located along the y-axis as a target means for the rollable ball 100. There is desireably ball containment means effectively surrounding the vertical z-axis to contain a rolling ball within the broad playing field circumscribed thereby; the rectangular peripheral fence type ball containment means 13 has its four linear sections each extending uprightly from playing field 10F, including transversely extending sections 13A and 13B and longitudinally extending sections 13C and 13D. Table 10 herein is surrounded by a substantially horizontal annular frame 15, the table being tiltable about the longitudinally extending y-axis through longitudinally colinear pivot pons 11A and 11B extending from the table 10 to frame transverse sections 15A and 158, respectively. The longitudinally extending sections 15C and 15D are pivotably connected through transversely colinear pivot pins 16C and 16D to the respective upright walls 23C and 23D. Thus, there is provided a gimbol-type connection 11A between table 10 and the base member shelf 22 wherein during table tilting the table midpoint (e.g., the intersection of axes x, y, and 2) remains at constant elevation. Moreover, annular frame 15 remains horizontal (untilted) when table 10 tilts about the longitudinally extending y-axis only; frame 15 needs to tilt only when table 10 is to be tilted about the transverse x-axis.

Unlike typical prior art situations, the tilting force for the table of the present invention is not essentially dependent upon a human contestants physical and muscular ability to directly grasp and wrestle either the table 10 or the frame 15. Rather, the force for tilting the table is dependent upon a powering means comprising a connected component part for the apparatus itself, such as hydraulically or pneumatically actuated reciprocating pistons, motors of various types, etc. The powering means is actuated through an operator wielded handle (e.g. 30A) or other manipulator device that is physically divorced from the tiltable table and that requires only a relatively low initiate-level of operator physical exertion to actuate the powering means. Thus, assuming the operator is not physically infirm and possesses at least that modicum initiate-level of physical strength required to move the manipulator device, then the powering means (e.g. 40, 45) is the only force required to tilt the table;

For embodiment 9, the table tilting powering means comprises two separate electric gear motors 40 and 45, each motor having an electromagnetically driven shaft. Motor 40 is mounted on shelf 20 and carries an elongate arm 41 co-revolvable with the motor shaft; there are apair of lugs 43 rigidly depending from frame transverse section 15A, and a pivotal-link 42 extends from arm 41 to lugs 43. Thus, as is indicated in phantom line in FIG. 2, actuation of motor 40 (as through handle manipulator 30A) causes tilting of table 10 about the transverse x-axis. Motor 45 is mounted on the horizontal leg 17E of a U-shaped carriage 17 that depends from frame sections 15C (at 17C) and 15D (at 17D) whereby motor 45 and carriage 17 are co-tiltable with frame 15. There is a pair of lugs 48 rigidly depending from table 10 (beneath 13D), pivotal-link 47 extending from lugs 48 to arm 46 that is co-revolvable with the shaft of motor 45. Thus, as is indicated in phantom line in FIG. 3, actuatable excitation of motor 45 (as through handle manipulator 30A) causes tilting of table 10 about the longitudinal y-axis.

As has been previously alluded to, the operator wieldable manipulator device-(e.g., 30A) is sufficiently physically divorced from the tiltable table that any degree of operator physical exertion exceeding said modicum initiate-level will have essentially no additional effect upon table tilting. Appropriately, the manipulator device is located at an operators station which is located remote from the tiltable table. For example, operators station 25A comprises a stationary chest 29A and rigidly secured to stationary box wall 23A, chest 29A being located midway between walls 23C and 23D and remote of frame 15 and table 10 and having the manipulator device (30A) movably secured thereto. Although many of the novel concepts of the present invention are amenable to tiltable table apparatus having only one operator station, the use of a pair of opposed operator stations will provide greater operational versatility. in this vein, a second operator's station 2 58 similarly comprises a stationary chest 29B and rigidly secured to stationary box wall 238, chest 298 being located midway between walls 23C and 23D and outwardly remote of frame 15 and having the manipulator device (308) movably secured thereto. Thus, herein, the stations 25A and 25B are colinearly arranged along the longitudinal y-axis on opposite sides of the transverse x-axis and remotely outward frame 15.

It is exceedingly desireable that there be ball travel path correlation means extending from the multidirectionally movable manipulator device to the table tilting powering means, this feature giving the operator feel" for his ball control efforts, i.e., allowing him to coordinate his manual control movements with the ball travel path likely to result therefrom. Without a ball travel path correlation means, it would be exceedingly difficult for the operator to learn to contral the ball travel path along the tiltable playing field F, which would tend to frustrate and discourage many players particularly those at coin-operated public installations. While a complete description of a preferred ball travel path correlation means will need to await FIG. 6, the correlation means is aptly schematically alluded to in FIGS. 2 and 3 in conjunction with the uprightly extending handle manipulator device 30A (and assuming the existence of one operator only at station A). Referring to FIGS. 2 and .3 and commencing with the movable handle A (having a medial spherical portion 31A revolvably secured to chest 29A) vertically upright and the table 10 horizontal as indicated in solid line. A rightward movement of handle 30A parallel to the y-axis will cause a clockwise tilt of table 10 about the x-axis (16C-l6D) as indicated in FIG. 2 phantom line and ball 100 rolls rightwardly along 10F; .conversely of the handle 30A were moved leftwardly parallel to the y-axis, table 10 would tilt counterclockwise about the x-axis. As seen in FIG. 3 phantom line, a leftward movement of handle 30A parallel to the x-axis will cause a counterclockwise tilt of table 10 about the y-axis (llA-l 18) ball 100 also moving left; conversely, if the handle 30A were moved rightwardly parallel to the x-axis, table 10 would tilt clockwise about the yaxis. As FIG. 6 will show, the same ball travel directional correlation would result if a single player at station 258 would manipulate handle 30B. In other words,

.the apparatus 9 herein has operational symmetry with respect to the transverse x-axis, the same kind of ball control by a single player being possible by said player from whichever manipulator device 30A (at 25A) or 308 (at 258) he chooses to use.

The two powering means and are selectively operable, both individually and in concert, from the same manipulator device whereby the table 10 can tilt simultaneously about both horizontal axes and ball 100 can travel along field 10F obliquely (i.e., non-parallel) to the x and y axes. Each manipulator device is actuatably connected to the motor 40 through an .exciter (e.g., 51, 52) therefor and also actuatably connected to motor 45 through an exciter (e.g. 53, 54) therefor. The upright handle type manipulator device (30A, 308) has its medial portion (31A, 318) connected in universal joint fashion to its chest (29A, 29B), the handle lower portion (32A, 32B) extending below said chest. I-Iandles 30A and 30B are spring-loaded so as to remain normally vertical, and hence, engaged with an exciter only when manually operated. Herein, the handle lower portion might actuate the said motor exciters, which exciters are herein individual identical push-button switches (51A-54A, and 518-548) maintained by brackets (28A, 288) in tetraswitches array (A, 50B) rectangularly surrounding the lower part (32A, 32B) of the respective handles (30A, 3013). As alluded to in FIG. 4 at typical station 25A for handle 30A, when the handle lower part 32A (at phantom line condition 32Ax) strikes switch 51A, table tilting about x indicated in FIG. 2 phantom line results). Similarly, when the handle lower part (at phantom line condition 32Ay) strikes switch 53A, table tilting about y alluded to in FIG. 3 phantom line results. Handle lower portion 32A is adapted to contact two adjacent switches (e.g., both 51A and 53A) simultaneously whereby dual-axial table tilting results to provide ball travel oblique to both horizontal axes.

As indicated in FIG. 5, each of the eight herein identical switches 51A54A and 518-548 might be of the conventional snap-action push-button type generally comprising a housing 101, the reciprocatable pushbutton 102 being resiliently depressible as by helical spring 103. Such conventional switches have three external leads, herein including an endward common" lead 104C, a bottomcenter normally closed" lead 106 (having stationary housed terminus 105), and a bottom-corner normally open lead 108 (having stationary housed terminus 107). Common lead 104C extends from a housed springy metallic portion 104 twice nodally restrained at positions 109. Thus, the housed free end of springy member 104 is adapted to effect abrupt and affirmative switching between housed terminals 105 (having lead 106) and 107 (having lead 108) as push-button 102 moves toward (phantom line), or away from (solid line), the housing 101. As indicated by the two double-headed arrows, a resistor is adapted as 110 to be connected to leads 106 and 108. As indicated by the tir-cusped configuration for motor mounting plates 44 and 49 in FIG. 6, the resistance values of resistors 44R and 49R each exceed the resistance value of resistor 110 bya factor of four. Gear motor 40 carries a mounting plate 44 for resistor 44R, which is sweepable by bar 41E co-angularly driven with arm 41 about the motor shaft. Similarly, gear motor 45 carries a mounting plate 49 for resistor 49R, which is sweepable by bar 46E co-angularly driven with arm 46 about the motor shaft.

The table tilting powering means (e.g., gear motors 40,45) is preferably throttled to limit table tilting accelerations about the x and y horizontal axes; this assures that ball 100 will remain rollable disposed along the tiltable playing surface 10F rather than being upwardly catapulted therefrom. Ball catapulting upwardly from the tiltable playing field would not only frustrate and discourage an operators quest to negotiate a target,

but would also be inimical to so-called coin-operated public installations where a catapulted ball could injure spectators or damage a protective transparent cover for the playing field. The ball anti-catapulting means preferably comprises a servomechanism (e.g., comprising servoamplifiers 201-202, electric current supply 200, and ancillary circuitry) interposed between the operator wieldable manipulator device and the individual table tilting powering means, exemplified in FIG. 6. Moreover, such servomechanism will be seen to provide the capability that only a modicum initiate-level of operator physical exertion to the manipulator device is required to actuate the table tilting powering means (e.g., gear motors 40, 45).

As has already been stated, representative apparatus embodiment 9 might be operated by a single lone player in substantially identical fashion and result from whichever operating station (e.g. handle 30A at 25A, or handle 308 at 253) he chooses to utilize. In the single lone player situation, each servomechanism (e.g., including 201, 202) has by definition only one input effort introduceable thereinto, i.e., that effort from whichever single manipulator device (e.g. 30A, or 308) that the lone operator chooses to use. Thus, as indicated in FIGS. 2 and 3, table tilting at some finiteamplitude in both angular directions and about either selected horizontal axis' is afforded, and the lone player has complete'control over the path of ball 100 along the tiltable playing field F. However, it is within the additional optional capability of the representative embodiment 9 to accommodate simultaneously two opposed competitive players, each player simultaneously wielding a different manipulator device whereby they might therethrough exert competitive efforts to control the rollable ball along the tiltable playing field.

For two players simultaneously acting through different manipulator devices (e.g., handles 30A and 308),.

there is by definition two input efforts simultaneously introduceable into one or both of the intra-axial powering means (e.g., gear motors 40, 45). In this regard, the servomechanism for each individual powering means needs to have the capability of accepting two arbitrary inputs, and of resolving the two inputs into one powered output to the tiltable table. For example, each of the two players might simultaneously desire to have the table tilt in opposite angular directions about the x-axis (handles 30A and 308 being moved toward each other parallel to y-axis); in this countervailing situation, the x-axial servomechanism (e.g. 201, etc.) would instruct" the x-axis powering means 40 through resistor 44R to make the table assume the level normalcondition. But, if each of the two players should simultaneously concur to have the table tilt in the same angular direction about the x-axis (by moving the handles in the same direction along y) the x-axial servomechanism would instruct the x-axis powering means 40 to furnish an augmented amplitude (e.g., twice the finiteamplitude) about the x-axis. With respect to table tilt about the y-axis, if each of the two players simultaneously moved handles 30A and 30B parallel to the xaxis and in countervailing intent, the y-axial servomechanism (e.g. 202, etc.) would instruct the y-axis powering means 45 through resistor 49R and bar 46E to make the table assume the level normal-condition. But, if instead each of the players simultaneously concurs to have the table tilt in the same angular direction about the y-axis, the y-axial servomechanism would instruct the y-axis powering means 45 to furnish an augmented amplitude tilt about the y-axis. As had already been indicated, simultaneous control control about both horizontal axes is possible, wherein both powering means and their servomechanisms come into use. Moreover, the two players ball rolling contest can be seen to be independent of their relative physical strengths, provided each player possesses that modicum initiate-level of physical strength to move the physically divorced manipulator device.

Although the above described two operating stations (e.g., 25A and 25B) apparatus embodiment 9 might be played by two simultaneously competing human players, it is also within the purview of the present invention to utilize a simulated competitor robot means for a single lone player. For example, one of the two manipulator devices, or the powering means exciters directly, might be automatically moved or stimulated according to some seemingly-random predetermined schedule thereby offering a robot simulated competitor to a lone human player.

From the foregoing, the construction and operation of the tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling games will be readily understood and further explanation is believed to be unnecessary. However, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the ap pended claims.

I claim:

I. A tiltable table apparatus for ball rolling games and comprising:

A. A base member adapted to stably rest upon a suitable underlying substrate and being adapted to elevate above said substrate a tiltable table having a substantially horizontal normal-condition;

B. The said table at normal-condition intersecting a vertical z-axis and being horizontally defined by a pair of mutually perpendicular horizontal axes including an x-axis and a y-axis which axes also perpendicularly intersect'said vertical z-axis, the table having'a broad upper-side as a playing field for a rollable ball and being provided with ball containment means effectively surrounding the z-axis and defining said playing field, said table through the base member being elevated above the substrate and being aptly associated therewith so as to be non-rotatable about the vertical z-axis and also, commencing at said normal-condition, selectively tiltable about the x-axis and the y-axis; a first manipulator device at a first operator station and a second manipulator device at a second operator station;

C. Two separate powering means attached to said apparatus operable both individually and in concert including a first powering means having a servomechanism for accepting directive input from either manipulator device and also from both manipulator devices simultaneously, and a second powering means having a servomechanism for accepting directiveinput from either manipulator device and also from both manipulator devices simultaneously, said first and second power means causing table tilting about the x-axis and the y-axis respectively, the respective powering means being throttled to limit table tilting acceleration to prevent the rollable ball from being catapulted upwardly away from the playing field;

each said manipulator device requiring only a relatively low initiate-level of operator physical exertion to actuate said powering means and being sufficiently physically divorced from the table that operator physical exertion upon the manipulator device exceeding said low initiate-level will have substantially no additional effect upon table tilting.

2. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 1 wherein said servomechanism is interposed between the operator wieldable manipulator device and the table tilting powering means, said servomechanism providing the capability that only a modicum initiatelevel of operator physical exertion to the manipulator device is required to actuate the powering means, said servomechanism also providing the function of a throttledpowering means to limit the table tilting acceleration to ensure against catapulting the rollable ball upwardly from said tiltable table playing field.

3. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 2 wherein the operator wieldable manipulator device is multidirectionally movable by the operator, there being ball travel path correlation means extending from the manipulator to the powering means to ensure that a predetermined directional movement for the manipulator will direct a prescribed tilting motion for the table.

4. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 3 wherein the manipulator device is an uprightly extending handle with the manually wieldable upper portion at initiatelevel physical exertion being multi-directionally movable including parallel to the respective horizontal axes, the ball travel path correlation means extending from the handle to the powering means.

5. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 4 wherein the handle is attached to the base member remote of the tiltable table with universal joint means whereby the multi-directionally movable handle upper portion includes directions reflecting vectorial combinations of said horizontal axes, said correlation means ensuring that the ball travel path will be directionally similar to handle movement and even including directions nonparallel to said horizontal axes.

6. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 2 wherein said at least one operator wieldable manipulator device is actuatable connected to the first powering means through an exciter assigned thereto and also to the second powering means through an exciter assigned to it, there being ball travel path correlation means operatively extendable from the operator movable manipulator device to the first and second exciters to ensure that a predetermined directional movement for the manipulator device will direct a prescribed tilting motion for the table.

7. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 6 wherein the manipulator device is an uprightly extending handle having its medial portion attached to the base member remote of the tiltable table with universal joint means whereby the operator wieldable upper portion is multidirectionally movable including bi-directionally parallel to and vectorial combinations of the x and y horizontal directions, the multi-directionally movable handle being even selectively engageable with the first and second exciters simultaneously to provide the ball travel path correlation means.

8. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 7 wherein the first exciter includes a pair of opposed switches independently actuatable by opposite directional handle movements in the x direction, the first exciter two switches respectively causing through the powering means clockwise and counterclockwise table tilting about the y-axis, and wherein the second exciter includes a pair of opposed switches independently actuatable by opposite directional handle movements in the y direction, the second exciter two switches respectively causing through the powering means assigned thereto clockwise and counterclockwise tilting about the x-axis, the said four switches being maintained in a rectangular array surrounding the handle lower portion whereby said handle can selectively simultaneously engage two switches for causing table tilting about both horizontal axes simultaneously.

9. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 2 wherein there is a pair of opposed operator stations, each station having thereat a said operator wieldable manipulator device appropriately actuatably connected to the two respective table tilting powering means whereby identical table tilting directions and movements can be afforded by a single lone player for the apparatus from whichever operator station he chooses to utilize.

10. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 2 including means operatively connected to said servomechanisms and to said manipulator devices for receiving with respect to either horizontal axis simultaneous tilting directives from the two manipulator devices, countervailing directives from two players resulting in no tilting about the axis and concurrent directives resulting in augmented tilted amplitude about the axis.

11. The tiltable table apparatus of claim 10 wherein at each manipulator device the first exciter includes a pair of opposed switches independently actuatable by opposite directional movements of a handle like manipulator device in the x direction, the first exciter two switches respectively causing through the powering means and its servomechanism clockwise and counterclockwise tilting about the y-axis; and wherein the second exciter includes a pair of opposed switches independently actuatable by opposite directional movements of the handle in the y direction, the second exciter two opposed switches respectively causing through the appropriate powering means and its servomechanism clockwise and counterclockwise tilting about the x-axis, the said four switches at each handle manipulator being maintained in a rectangular array surrounding the lower portion of said upright handle, the handle medial portion being supported in universal joint fashion whereby the handle can selectively engage two switches simultaneously for causing table tilting about both horizontal axes simultaneously.

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EP2042219A1 *Sep 24, 2008Apr 1, 2009Steve JohnstonHead-to-head tilting surface game
EP2149393A1Jul 29, 2009Feb 3, 2010Nico RoosendaalDispensing device with a play function
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/110
International ClassificationA63F7/38
Cooperative ClassificationA63F7/386
European ClassificationA63F7/38R