This patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/797,781, filed May 4, 2006, entitled "Articulated Walking Toy Device", and is a continuation of International Application No. PCT/US07/10991 filed May 4, 2007 with the same title, the disclosures of which are 10 incorporated by reference herein in their entireties.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention generally relates to powered, motive toys and, in particular, to articulated walking toys.
While articulated walking toys are generally known, it is believed that an articulated toy with an alternate motive mechanism for providing a more anatomic-like walking 2o movement would be desirable.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Briefly stated, the present invention is an articulated walk- 25 ing toy device configured for movement across a surface. The toy device comprises a frame and a plurality of leg assemblies movably coupled with the frame so as to at least partially support the frame for movement across the surface. Each leg assembly includes a leg member configured to rotate with 30 respect to the frame about a joint. The joint is formed by a pin passed through an at least generally hour glass shaped aperture to provide rotational movement of the leg member with respect to the frame about at least first and second axes of rotation intersecting in the joint. A drive mechanism is opera- 35 tively engaged with the plurality of leg assemblies so as to actuate each of the leg members to rotate about the first and second axes in a like, predetermined, repeatable cycle of movement. At least some of the leg members are out of phase 4Q with other leg members to produce an anatomic-like gait of the toy device upon actuation of the drive mechanism.
In another aspect, the present invention is an articulated device configured for walking movement across a surface. The device comprises a frame and a plurality of leg assem- 45 blies movably coupled with the frame so as to at least partially support the frame for movement across the surface. Each leg assembly includes a leg member configured to rotate with respect to the frame about a joint. A tab extends from the joint generally away from the leg member and includes a curved 50 surface with a slot therealong. A crank is operably connected with the tab to slide along the slot such that rotation of the crank causes the leg member to pivot about a first axis of rotation of the joint. The crank has a cam surface operably connected with the curved surface such that rotation of the 55 crank causes the cam surface of the crank to slide along the curved surface of the tab and pivot the leg member about a second axis of rotation of the joint. A drive mechanism is drivingly engaged with each of the plurality of leg assemblies through the tab of each leg assembly so as to cause each of the 60 leg members of the leg assemblies to move in the at least two different directions in a like, predetermined, repeatable cycle of movement of each leg member. Movement of at least some of the plurality of the leg members is unsynchronized with movement of others of the plurality of the leg members, such 65 that the plurality of leg members produce an anatomic-like gait of the device across the surface.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL
VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings an embodiment which is presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a top right front perspective view of an articulated toy device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the toy device of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view the toy device of FIG. 1 having an outer housing and a projectile launcher removed;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the toy device of FIG. 1 taken generally along line 4-4 of FIG. 2, the toy device having the outer housing and the projectile launcher removed;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the toy device of FIG. 1 taken generally along line 5-5 of FIG. 2, the toy device having the outer housing and the projectile launcher removed;
FIG. 6 is a partial view of the toy device of FIG. 1 having an alternative drive mechanism and projectile launcher control; and
FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the toy device of FIG. 6. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. The words "right," "left," "upper," and "lower" designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words "inwardly" and "outwardly" refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of an articulated walking toy device in accordance with the present invention, and designated parts thereof. The terminology includes the words noted above, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.
Unless specifically set forth herein, the terms "a", "an" and "the" are not limited to one element but instead should be read as meaning "at least one".
Referring to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout, there is shown in FIGS .1-6 preferred embodiments of an articulated walking toy device, indicated generally at 10, configured for movement across a surface (not shown) in accordance with the present invention. The toy device 10 includes a frame 12 and a plurality of leg assemblies 14 movably coupled with the frame 12 so as to at least partially support the frame 12 for movement across the surface, as will be described in more detail below. Each leg assembly 14 includes a leg member 16. Preferably, the toy device 10 includes six leg members 16, three leg members 16 on each opposing lateral side of a body or frame 12, to mimic an insect-like creature. The leg members 16 are preferably curved in order for a distal end of the leg members 16a to support the frame 12 above the surface and to give the device 10 an animal-like appearance. The leg members 16, toward the front and rear of the device 10, are preferably curved or angled toward the front or rear of the device 10 respectively, but it is within the spirit and scope of the present invention that the leg members 16 are identically shaped or have any shape capable of performing the desired movement. It is also within