US 3870305 A
Apparatus for testing target aiming ability utilizing a hand-held light gun adapted to project a beam of light along a course sighted by a contestant. A light actuated target and timing system cooperates with the light gun, and may include a photo-receptor target which produces an output upon being struck by a light beam. A digital counter in the system receives output pulses from a clock through a gate connected between clock and counter. The apparatus operator depresses a starter switch opening the gate to start the digital counter. Means responsive to the output from the photo-receptor close the gate and stop the counter, so that the total counter therein is indicative of the contestant's performance. A display matrix, such as an array of LEDs, is connected to the counter outputs to provide direct reading of a cumulative time. In an alternate embodiment of the invention a pair of light guns may be utilized by two contestants, who carry separate photo-receptor targets, thereby enabling a "shoot-out" contest.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite States atent Harclerode LIGHT RAY GUN AND TARGET INCLUDING ELAPSED TEME COUNTER  Inventor: Thomas J. Harclerode, 1817 Crest Dr., l-lagerstown, Md. 21740  Filed: May 4, 1973  Appl. No.: 357,100
 U.S. Cl. 273/101.1, 273/102.2 R
 Int. Cl. A63i 9/02  Field of Search 273/101.1, 101.2, 102.2 R; 35/25; 356/4  References Cited UNITED STATESPATENTS 2,710,754 6/1955 Varney 273/10l.1
2,845,270 7/1958 Durant 273/1012 3,011,783 12/1961 Pcarson.... 273/1 E 3,376,039 4/1968 Fenton 273/10l.1
3,588,108 6/1971 Ormist0n.... 273/l01.1
 ABSTRACT Apparatus for testing target aiming ability utilizing a handheld light gun adapted to project a beam of light along a course sighted by a contestant. A light actuated target and timing system cooperates with the light gun, and may include a photo-receptor target which produces an output upon being struck by a light beam. A digital counter in the system receives output pulses from a clock through a gate connected between clock and counter. The apparatus operator depresses a starter switch opening the gate to start the digital counter. Means responsive to the output from the photo-receptor close the gate and stop the counter, so that the total counter therein is indicative of the contestants performance. A display matrix, such as an array of LEDs, is connected to the counter outputs to provide direct reading of a cumulative time. In an alternate embodiment of the invention a pair of light guns may be utilized by two contestants, who carry separate photo-receptor targets, thereby enabling a shoot-out contest.
CLOCK m 11 r 1 n DECADE :1 DECADE 3 DECADE DECADE COUNTE R COUNTER COUNTER COUNTE R [8/ ABCD ABCD ABCD ABC D ill 97 1111 gzllll 111 5/12 j j 30 20 100 j 45 i ./26 26 7 III [II I ll 11 Ti 1' PATENTEDNARHIQYS 3,870,305
v "sumznrz RESET SWITCH LIGHT RAY GUN AND TARGET INCLUDING ELAPSED TIME COUNTER BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates generally to testing apparatus, and more specifically relates to an amusement-type apparatus which provides for testing of target aiming abiity in one or a pair of contestants.
For many years, amusement apparatus of various configurations have been available which have been intended to simulate the aiming and firing of a rifle, pistol, or similar device, at a spaced target, and in one manner or another provide an indication to the operator of his accuracy in use of the simulated weapon. In many instances, apparatus of this type, particularly when utilized in amusement parks and similar public installations, make use of a light beam projected by the simulatd weapon, which beam impinges upon a light sensitive portion of the spaced target. Electrical circuitry is thereby activated to indicate the accuracy of the aiming process. An obvious and important advantage of this type of apparatus is, of course, that the approach thus utilized comes close to simulating the actual performance of a weapon, in that the light beams behavior is analogous in some physical respects to a missile fired from a weapon, in the sense that the beam travels in straight lines and may be accurately aimed" if the simulated weapon is suitable for such purpose.
In the past, amusement devices of the aforementioned type, have not only provided indication as to the ability of the user to orient the simulated weapon so that the target is struck," but in some instances provision has moreover been made for timing the operators performance. In this latter type of apparatus, as for example in U.S. Pat. No. 2,710,754, it is appreciated that the test of aiming skill is not only the ability to sight and strike" the target, but moreover the ability to do so with rapidity. Accordingly, in disclosures such as the cited patent timer, means are provided for informing the operator exactly how long it has taken him to hit the target from a given starting time.
In spite of the fact that apparatus of the type heretofore discussed, have been thus known for many years, the fact remains that they have achieved little acceptance outside of the amusement park type of environment. Such is deemed in part to arise from the fact that much of the prior apparatus have been unduly complex, bulky, and in consequence expensive to construct and maintain. In short, such apparatus has not by and large been suitable for use in the home, much less has such apparatus been portable in nature. Another related aspect of the same problem, has been that the prior apparatus basically utilized heavy electromechanical components and the like, and in consquence basically required high power inputs and relatively high voltages. Accordingly, such prior devices were relatively dangerous, and for this reason too, not deemed suitable for home applications, much less for portable use by individuals.
It may also be observed that, in general, prior apparatus of the aforementioned type have not been deemed suitable for person-to-person competition. Largely due to the fact that these prior apparatus have been bulky and of fixed installation, it was not, for example, contemplated that arrangements could be provided wherein targets might be associated with the individu- In accordance with the foregoing, it may be regarded as an object of the present invention, to provide amusement apparatus for testing of target-aiming ability, which is of dependable, compact construction, which is economical to build and maintain, and which utilizes low voltage and low power solid state electronic components therein.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide apparatus for testing of target-aiming ability, thereby providing amusement for contestants utilizing same, which employs rugged and highly dependable solid state components to provide a directly readable indication of the time period utilized by a contestant to achieve a successful result.
It is a yet further object of the present invention to provide apparatus for testing of target-aiming ability, which utilizes highly dependable solid state electronic circuitry, and which is adapted to provide a direct contest between a pair of individuals, who may engage in a simulated shoot-out through use of the said appara- SUMMARY OF INVENTION Now in accordance with the present invention, the foregoing objects and others as will become apparent in the course of the ensuing specification, are achieved in apparatus which utilizes a hand-held light gun adapted to project a beam of light along a course cited by the contestant-operator thereof. A light-actuated target and timing system cooperates with the said handheld light gun. The said system may include a photoreceptor target means which produces an output upon being struck by the incident light beam. Digital clock means are also provided, and a digital counter receives the output pulses from the clock means through a suitable gate connected between clock and counter. The operator of the apparatus may depress a starter switch which opens the gate to start the digital counter. Means responsive to the output from the photo-receptor closes the said gate and stops the counter so that the total count therein is indicative of the performance period of the operator. a display matrix, preferably defined by a rectangular array of light emitting diodes, is connected to the counter outputs so that a direct reading of the cumulative time is enabled. At the conclusion of a test the operator may activate a reset means associated with the apparatus, to reset the counters and clear the display matrix. In a modified form of the apparatus, a pair of light guns are carryable by a pair of contesting individuals; a pair of photo-receptors are connected by flexible leads to the remainder of the system, and may be individually carried by the said contestants. In this latter version of the invention, indicator means are as sociated with each of the said individuals, and depending upon which of the carried targets is first struck by the light beam, that contestant is indicated as the winner" by the associated indicator.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS The invention is diagrammatically illustrated, by way of example, in the drawings appended hereto, in which:
FIG. 1 is a simplified electrical schematic diagram, partially in block form, setting forth the target and timing system portion of apparatus in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 1A is a schematic electrical block diagram, illustrating an alternative type of display means utilizable with the FIG. 1 apparatus;
FIG. 1B is a schematic plan diagram, illustrating the arrangement of indicating lamps in the display matrix of FIG. 1;
FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view of a light gun, utiliz- DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. 1 a schematic, somewhat simplified electrical diagram, appears of the target and timing system 10 portion of apparatus in accordance with the invention. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, power for the present system is provided from a low voltage d.c. source, such as the battery 12 shown toward the lower right-hand corner of the Figure. This battery 12 may typically provide a positive potential V-lof the order of volts, which is sufficient for the low power solid state components which are preferably utilizd in the apparatus. It should be understood in connection with this point, however, that the voltages or other parameters that may be set forth throughout the specification are intended to merely be exemplary and not in any way delimitive of the invention. Power can, of course, also be supplied from a line source by use of a rectifier and step-down transformer; however, one of the advantages of the present system is that use of the light-weight battery source 12 lends the apparatus portability. A switch 14 is initially closed by an operator in order to provide power for all other elements to be now set forth. The positive potential thus provided at point 17 is then made available to various other points throughout the system 10, as will become apparent.
Power having been thus provided by the switch 14, a reset switch 16 is provided, which is spring-loaded at 18, and is activated by depression thereof by the operator. Such action serves to reset the series of decade counters indicated at 18, 20, 22, and 24. The said counters are conventional resettable units, each having four parallel output lines identified as A through D respectively, whereby a counted number 1 through may be represented in binary code digit (BCD) form. Each of the parallel lines A through D of the several counters 18, 20, 22, and 24 are connected through an indicator lamp, preferably a light emitting diode, a resistor 26, to the positive side of the power source V+ at 28. A total of 16 such light emitting diodes 30 through 45 are therefore present, and in totality comprise the time display indicator matrix generally designated at 48. For purposes of simplicity only two of the said units, namely, at 30 and 45 are seen at FIG. 1, but their arrangement, as will be discussed later hereinbelow (in connection with FIG. 1B) is a rectangular matrix, whereby the four indicators associated with each decade counter, are alined as a column of the said matrix, with the highest order binary digit being at the top of said column, and successively lower ordered digits being at successively lower positions.
The resetting switch 16 also acts to turn out the time display indicators 30 through 45. In addition, the said switch resets the flip-flop 50 comprised of NOR gates 52 and 54. Having accomplished these operations the contestant, that is the operator of the apparatus. then secures a holster, not shown, to his body in conventional fashion, which holster carries the light gun 56 which is seen in the schematic plan view of FIG. 2.
Continuing however to refer to FIG. 1, the start switch 58 is then depressed, which enables the positive potential V+ from line 60 to furnish a logic 1" pulse through network 62, comprising grounded resistors 64 and 66, and capacitor 68. Such pulse sets flip-flop 50 so that logic l output in line enables NAND gates 72, 74, and 76. With NAND gate 72 enabled, clock pulses from a clock 78 are applied to the input of decade counter 18. The clock 78 is a conventional modular unit (such as an NE 555) which is biased and regulated by potential applied thereto from point 80 (at +V) and at the several inputs through resistors 82, 84 and in the case of inputs 88 and 86, through the additional, partially shunted resistor 90. The input 86 is also connected to ground through the capacitor 92, with the input 94 being directly grounded. At the same time that clock 78 is thus enabled, start signal lamps 96 and 98, which preferably are again light emitting diodes, are lit since they are energized when gates 74 and 76 are enabled by V+ potential applied through line 95, and resistor 93.
The clock pulses thus provided are passed by line 99 to decade counter 18, and after every 10 pulses the counter 18 provides an output pulse to the successive counter 20 via line 97. Similarly, on every tenth pulse into counter 29, a pulse in turn is provided via line 100, to counter 22. In analogous fashion, on every tenth pulse into counter 22, a pulse in turn is provided through line 102 to counter 24.
Upon the operator, who has been referred to as a contestant, observing the start signal lamps 96 and 98, he draws pistol 56 from the holster and aims it at photocell 104, which may be mounted on a stationary or movable object or so forth, and (referring to FIG. 2) squeezes trigger 106. Such action pushes pawl 108 against thee ratchet 110, causing it to rotate. Copper strips 112, on the periphery of ratchet 110, short contacts 114 and 116 allowing lamp 118 to be energized by batteries 120 and 122. The light from lamp 118 is reflected by reflector 124, and focused by lens 126, thereby being emitted from the forward part 128 of the gun. When this light beam strikes photocell 104, (biased by resistors 130, 132, and 134) it triggers oneshot 136. The latter, a conventional modular unit, such as an NE 555 is shown with conventional connections to enable the one-shot function. The output from oneshot 136, in turn causes flip-flop 50 to reset, disabling gates 72, 74, and 76. In consequence indicators 96 and 98 will be extinguished and the clock pulses from clock 78 are no longer passed to decade counter 18 and the successive counters.
The clock 78 is selected and regulated, as is known in the art, to provide typically 1,000 pulses/second. Thus the number of counts registered in counters 18 through 24, may reflect the amount of time that has elapsed from the pressing of start switch 58 until the striking of photocell 104 with the light beam. Thus, specifically decade couner 18 will, under such conditions, indicate 0.001 seconds, counter 20 will indicate 0.01 seconds, counter 72 will indicate 0.1 seconds, and counter 24 will indicate full seconds. The BCD matrix display 48 utilizing the system of light emitting diodes previously referred to, therefore may readily have the rectangular array previously discussed. In particular, the said matrix would have a physical configuration as schematically indicated in FIG. 18, where the sixteen small circles as at 30, 31, etc. indicate the individual light emitting diodes.
In this FIG. 18 showing the first column 132 at the left, represents the four LEDs (45, 44, 43, and 42) associated with the full second reading of counter 22; the second column the four LEDs associated with the 0.1 second readings of counter 22, etc. It will, of course, be noted that the columns in FIG. 18 have been inverted in a left-to-right sense from their spatial depiction in FIG. 1; here it must be appreciated that FIG. 1 is intended to merely show the schematic wiring arrangement not the actual spatial arrangement of the sixteen LEDs, which spatial arrangement is actually that shown in FIG. 1B. In FIG. 1B, the numbers at column 134 are, of course, the decimal values of the BCD indicated digits in the matrix. Accordingly, with the arrangement indicated in the Figure, the weight of each lit lamp in a column is readily added together to give the total of that column; so that the observer may, by simple inspection of the lit points on the matrix add the values together to establish the total elapsed time for his performance.
In an optional arrangement of the present apparatus, as indicated in FIG. 1A, a decade counter as for example at 136, may have its four parallel outputs A through D connected through a convention BCD-to-7-segment convertor 138. Such a modular unit, as for example an SN 7446, then provides its outut via line 140 to light four segments of the conventional 7-segment lamp 142 (which may comprise a 7-segment LED). By means of such arrangement the elapsed time may, of course, be displayed in direct, true decimal fashion utilizing a plurality of units 141 and 136 in parallel to convert successively divided l/lOth of seconds to directly readable form.
In FIG. 3 herein, an electrical schematic diagram depicts a modification for the circuit shown in FIG. 1, which permits a two-contestant or shoot-out mode of operation for the apparatus of the invention. The circuit portions depicted in FIG. 3, may be regarded as providing inputs to the flip-flop 50 of FIG. 1. In particular NOR gate 144 may be regarded as providing in its output line 146, a START signal to the input line 148 of NOR gate 52; and similarly the NAND gate 150 may be regarded as providing at its output line 152 an input STOP signal to line 154 of NOR gate 54.
In particular then, referring to FIG. 2, it may be assumed that the power to the target and timing system is provided through the switch 14 (FIG. 1). Similarly, as discussed in connection with FIG. I, reset switch 16 is closed to clear the several counters and reset the matrix display 48.
A pair of contestants would, however, now be individually provided with a holster (not shown), each carrying a gun similar to gun 56 of FIG. 2. The first of the said contestants is provided with a photocell 158, which may be secured to portion of his clothing in any convenient manner, as by a clip or so forth. Flexible leads 160 permit a reasonable degree of movement. The alternate contestant, similarly is provided with a photocell or other photo receptor 162, which in similar manner is secured on to his clothing, etc. by flexible leads 164. With each contestant then preferably facing the other, and their photocell targets in each others view, each contestant endeavors to draw his respective light gun and strike his opponents photocell with its light beam. The first contestant to achieve this objective would win, as indicated by the indicator 167 or 168, typically a light emitting diode, being lit.v It is seen that in the case of FIG. 3 the available positive potential (+V) may typically be provided by the same power source (battery 12), which typically has a positivve potential of about 5 volts. Each photocell 167 and 168 are biased by the respective resistors 170 and 172. A light signal incident on the said cells, provides an output to activate respectively one shot 174 or one shot 176, which then sets the flip-flop 178 or 180, which units have previously been reset through lead 182. These, in turn, may enable one or the other of the gates 184 or 196, so as then to activate the flip-flops 188 or 190, which have previously been reset through leads 192 or 194. Depending which of the said flip-flops are activated, one or the other of the indicator lamps 167 or 168 is lit, to indicate which of the contestants is the winner.
As already indicated, the START signal provided in line 146, together with the STOP signal provided in line 152, constitutes the enabling signals to control the timing mechanism, as such timing units have been discussed in connection with FIG. 1.
While the present invention has been particularly set forth in terms of specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood in view of the present disclosure, that numerous variations upon the invention are now enabled to those skilled in the art, which variations yet reside within the scope of the presnt invention. Accordingly, the invention is to be broadly construed, and limited only by the scope and spirit of the claims now appended hereto.
1. Apparatus for testing of target shooting ability, comprising in combination:
A. a hand-held light gun adapted to project a beam of light along a course cited by the operator thereof; and
B. a light activated target and timing system compris- 1. photo receptor target means providing an output upon being struck by said light beam;
2. digital clock means;
3. digital counter means for receiving the output pulses from said clock means;
4. first gating means connected between said clock means and counter means;
5. starter means for opening said gate means to start said counter means;
6. means responsive to the output from said photo receptor means for closing said first gating means to stop said counter means;
7. display means connected to the output from said counter means for accepting the cumulative count thereof, and displaying to said operator the total elapsed time between opening and closing of said first gating means; and
8. means to reset said counter means and dislay means upon conclusion of a testing period.
2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for opening said first gating means includes a flip-flop circuit actuated by said starter means, said flip-flop means further being connected to receive a signal initiated by the output from said photo receptor means for initiating change of state thereof, to thereby provide a signal to close said first gating means and stop said counters.
3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2, wherein a one shot circuit is connected to receive said output from said photo receptor to thereby provide said signal changing said state of said flip-flop circuit.
4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein power for said target and timing system is provided for a low voltage battery.
5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein said display means comprises a rectangular matrix of visible indicating light sources, each column of said matrix representing indirectly readable binary code a digit in the corresponding decimal value of said elapsed time.
6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5, wherein each of said light sources is a light-emitting diode.
7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein said display means comprises a row of seven-segmnt lamps directly readable in decimal fashion, and connected to said counter means through binary code digit-to-seven-segment convertor means.
8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1, including a pair of said hand-held light guns, operable respectively by a pair of contestants; and further including a pair of said photo receptors respectively associatable with each of said contestants, means for gating signals respectively to said first or second indicator means in accordance with which of said photo receptors is first struck by the respective light beam from said first or second light guns; and said means for closing said first gating means to stop said clock being further responsive to the said output from either of said pair of said photo receptors.
9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8, wherein each of said pair of photo receptors is connected to the remainder of said system through flexible leads, whereby said receptors may be readily carried by said contestants to enable a shoot-out contest.
l =l= l