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US005938199A [ii] Patent Number: 5,938,199  Date of Patent: *Aug. 17,1999
 SQUEEZABLE TALKING TRADING CARDS
 Inventors: Dieter D. Doederlein, Mississauga; G.
Dale Newman, Unionville; Brian J.
Burgess, Newmarket; Anthony C.
Sharp, Agincourt, all ol Canada
 Assignee: The M2000 Group Inc., Richmond
[ * ] Notice: This patent is subject to a terminal disclaimer.
 Appl. No.: 08/577,315  Filed: Dec. 22, 1995
Related U.S. Application Data
 Continuation of application No. 08/322,135, Oct. 13, 1994, Pat. No. 5,480,156.
 Int. C I. G09F 1/00
 U.S. CI 273/237; 40/457
 Field of Search 273/237; 40/457
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,691,312 9/1972 Peterson 273/237
3,798,806 3/1974 Sanford 273/237
3,857,191 12/1974 Sadoras 273/237
4,531,310 7/1985 Acson et al 273/237
4,607,747 8/1986 Steiner 273/237
4,703,573 11/1987 Montgomery et al 273/237
4,791,741 12/1988 Kondo 273/237
4,866,865 9/1989 Yang 273/237
4,934,079 6/1990 Hoshi 273/237
5,010,665 4/1991 Clinkscales 273/237
5,030,485 7/1991 Meeks et al 273/237
5,063,698 11/1991 Johnson et al 273/237
5,182,872 2/1993 Lee et al 273/237
5,215,792 6/1993 Miller 273/237
5,275,285 1/1994 Clegg 273/237
5,433,035 7/1995 Bauer 273/237
5,480,156 1/1996 Doederlein et al 273/237
Primary Examiner—-Vincent Millin
Assistant Examiner—Charles W. Anderson
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Bereskin & Parr
A trading card capable ol generating sounds comprises a thin housing having front and back surfaces, flexible sheets affixed to the front surface and to the back surface ol the housing, a voice chip located in the housing for generating patterns ol sounds, a battery located in the housing lor supplying electrical power to the voice chip, and a switch located in the housing for activating the voice chip. The subject trading card may be activated by squeezing the flexible sheets between the thumb and forefinger at a selected switch location.
8 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
SQUEEZABLE TALKING TRADING CARDS
This is a continuation, of application Ser. No. 08/322.135 filed Oct. 13, 1994. Now U.S. Pat. No. 5,480,156.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to collectable cards, and in particular, sports trading cards such as baseball cards, hockey cards and the like.
Baseball cards and other sports trading cards have been available since the turn of the century. These cards typically display an action photograph or other image of a baseball player or other athlete on the front face, and statistics and other personal information about the player on the back face. Collecting and trading baseball cards and other sports cards is a popular hobby engaged in by both children and adults. Sports cards tend to appreciate in value over the years, with rare cards such as the 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card being valued at several hundred thousand dollars.
In recent years, collecting sports cards has increased in popularity, particularly among younger collectors. Card manufacturers have responded to this increase in popularity by introducing innovations such as holographic logos and gold-plated collector sets. However, conventional sports trading cards are passive, and the information provided thereon has remained relatively constant over the years. The present inventors have recognized a need and demand for sports cards which provide more information and value than that available on conventional passive sports cards.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is accordingly directed to an active trading card which provides not only graphics and text, but also sounds, such as a player's voice. The subject invention not only increases the information provided by sports cards, but also increases their appeal to collectors, particularly adults.
The subject trading card comprises a thin housing having front and back surfaces, flexible sheets affixed to the front and back surfaces, sound generating means located in the housing for generating preselected patterns of sounds, power means located in the housing for supplying electrical power to the sound generating means, and activation means located in the housing for activating the sound generating means.
In a preferred embodiment, the subject invention includes activation means in the form of a snap switch sandwiched between the front and back flexible sheets which can be activated merely by squeezing the sheets between the thumb and index fingers. This construction eliminates the need for an unsightly switch button which protrudes beyond the flat front face of the card. The subject switch also allows the entire front and back faces of the card to be filled with graphics or text.
The subject trading card also preferably utilizes a longlife replaceable battery mounted in a battery cavity covered by a battery cap which fits along one edge of the card. This battery cavity construction eliminates the need for cutouts, flaps or other battery door on the face of the card, thereby enabling the entire front and back faces of the card to be used for decoration.
The subject squeezable talking trading card has an unusually thin profile, in the range of 2 to 3 mm. The card employs a voice chip which reproduces sound of unusually good quality, considering the small dimensions of the card. The trading card of the subject invention is also relatively simple and inexpensive.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a trading card made in accordance with the subject inven
FIG. 2 is a partially cut-away top plan view of the preferred embodiment;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines 3—3 in FIG.
1° FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 4—4 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the housing of the preferred embodiment; and 15 FIG. 6 is a simplified circuit diagram of the electrical components of the preferred embodiment of the subject invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
As shown in FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment, the subject talking trading card 10 comprises a thin rectangular housing shown generally as 12 having thin flexible sheets 16, 18, adhesively affixed to the front and back surfaces of
25 housing 12. Sheets 16, 18 are preferably card stock or other flexible substrates suitable for printing. Typically, front sheet 16 is printed with a reproduction of a color photograph or other image of the sports player featured on the card, and back sheet 18 is printed with statistics and other personal
30 information about the player.
Referring now to FIGS. 2-5, the front surface of housing 12 comprises a flat front panel 20, and the back surface of housing 12 comprises a thin narrow frame 22 extending outwardly from the back of front panel 20 around the
35 periphery thereof.
The dimensions of front panel 20 are preferably equal to the dimensions of conventional sports trading cards, i.e. 2.5 by 3.5 inches. The thickness of housing 12 is preferably in the range of 2 to 3 mm.
As shown in FIG. 5, front panel 20 of housing 12 is provided with circular aperture 23 approximately in the middle thereof for receiving speaker 24, a rectangular aperture 25 for receiving printed circuit board 26 and a generally
45 rectangular battery aperture 27 having a rounded inside edge for receiving battery 28. Housing 12 preferably includes reinforcing ribs 38 which extend outwardly from the back of front panel 20, to provide some rigidity to housing 12. As best shown in FIG. 2, the sound generating means of
50 the subject invention comprises speaker 24 and voice chip 30 mounted on a flexible printed circuit board 26. Snap switch 32 mounted on printed circuit board 26 activates voice chip 30. Battery 28 provides electrical power to printed circuit board 26 by means of spring loaded battery
55 contacts 34. Battery cap 36 is a plastic plug which is shaped to fit in the mouth of battery aperture 27 along the bottom side edge 37 of housing 12.
Voice chip 26 may be a single chip integrated circuit utilizing VLSI technology, comprising a 360K ROM for
60 voice data storage, adapted to be powered by a power supply in the range of 2.4 volts to 5.0 volts. Voice chip 26 is preferably capable of providing voice or other sound output of approximately 10-90 seconds long at 5K sampling rate. Battery 28 is preferably a thin circular 3 volt manganese
65 oxide/lithium battery, which has a multi-year lifetime in this application under normal usage. Snap switch 32 preferably comprises a resilient dome-switch contact plate which