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Title:
AIR DRIVEN TOY ASSEMBLY AND A PLAY ELEMENT THEREFORE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/143800
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an air driven toy assembly comprising a main body, a plug and one or more play elements. The main body comprises a tube which provides a through-passage for said play elements. The main body further comprises an insert-section having an inlet opening for inserting an individual play element into said tube. The insert-section is provided with an air inlet proximate to said inlet opening, and said air inlet is arranged for connecting the through-passage of the tube with an air pressure means. The plug is adapted for closing off the insert-section upstream the air inlet. Each Play element comprises an elongate piece of elastomeric material. Said play element has an outer diameter which is larger than an inner diameter of the tube. Said play element comprises a circumferential surface which is provided with grooves and/or ridges which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction.

Inventors:
GOLAD, Adar (Scherenenkweg 16, 8051 KH Hattem, NL)
Application Number:
NL2018/050066
Publication Date:
August 09, 2018
Filing Date:
January 31, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GOLAD, Adar (Scherenenkweg 16, 8051 KH Hattem, NL)
International Classes:
A63H29/16; A63H3/28; A63H3/31; A63H5/00; A63H13/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012030219A12012-03-08
WO2012030219A12012-03-08
Foreign References:
GB2253570A1992-09-16
US1627384A1927-05-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VAN TRIER, Norbertus Henricus Gerardus (Octrooibureau Vriesendorp & Gaade B.V, Koningginnegracht 19, 2514 AB Den Haag, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. An air driven toy assembly comprising:

a main body comprising a substantially airtight tube having an interior wall defining a through-passage for leading a play element there through, the main body further comprising an insert-section having an inlet opening for insertion of said play element into said tube, wherein the insert-section is provided with an air inlet proximate to and downstream from said inlet opening, said air inlet is arranged for connecting the through-passage of the tube with an air pressure means,

a plug comprising an air-tight wall, wherein the plug is adapted for closing off the insert-section upstream the air inlet, and

one or more play elements, each comprising an elongate piece of elastomeric material, wherein each play element has a longitudinal main axis and a substantial circular cross-section in a direction transverse to said longitudinal main axis, wherein said play element, at least when separate from the main body, has an outer diameter which is larger than an inner diameter of the tube of said main body, and wherein said play element comprises a circumferential surface which extends around the longitudinal main axis, which circumferential surface is provided with one or more grooves and/or ridges which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction.

2. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 1, wherein the play elements comprise a thermoplastic elastomer .

3. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the circumferential surface of the piay elements is substantially barrel shaped.

4. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein the outer diameter of the play element, at least when separate from the main body, between 100 % and 140 % of the inner diameter of the tube of said main body.

5. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 4, wherein the outer diameter of the play element, at least when separate from the main body, between 100 % and 120 % of the inner diameter of the tube of said main body.

6. Air driven toy assembly according to any one of the claims 1 - 5, wherein the play elements comprises an embittering agent.

7. Air driven toy assembly according to any one of the claims 1 - 6, wherein the air driven toy assembly comprises an air pump, which is connectable to air inlet proximate to and downstream from said inlet opening for producing a flow of pressurized air inside said tube.

8. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 7, wherein said air pump is a hand-operated air pump.

9. Air driven toy assembly according to any one of the claims 1 - 8, wherein the plug comprises a center axis which is substantially in line with a center axis of the insert-section of the tube when the plug is arranged in said insert-section, wherein said plug is provided with a handle for holding the plug, said handle being fixed to the air-tight wall, and wherein said handle comprises gripping part which extends in a direction substantially perpendicular to said center axis of the plug.

10. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 9, wherein the handle has an oblong form which ends at both ends in a widened head.

11. Air driven toy assembly according to claim 10, wherein the handle has schematically the shape of a femur or bone .

12. Air driven toy assembly according to any one of the claims 1 - 11, wherein the main body of the air driven toy assembly has the shape of an animal, such as a dog, wherein the insert-section is arranged at the mouth of said animal.

13. A play element for use in an air driven toy assembly according to any one of the claims 1 - 12.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

BP/HZ

Description:
Air driven toy assembly and a play element therefore

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to an air driven toy assembly, comprising an elongated hollow tube adapted for the passage of a malleable play material, preferably while making unusual and entertaining sound effects . The invention furthermore relates to a new play element for said air driven toy assembly.

Such an air driven toy assembly is described in WO 2012/030219 of the applicant, which is incorporated herein by reference. The air driven toy assembly comprises air pressure means for producing a flow of pressurized air, a main body comprising a substantially airtight tube having an interior wall defining a through-passage for the passage of a quantity of a malleable play material. The main body further comprises an insert-section for insertion of an amount of the malleable play material. The air driven toy assembly comprises a container comprising a supply of malleable play material. From said supply, a substantially predetermined quantity of said malleable play material is taken out of the container using a metering cup. Metering is done by completely filling the metering cup with play material, and then removing excess material which protrudes past the edges and above the metering cup. The metering cup is designed to establish a suitable quantity of play material, which suitable quantity is optimized to promote the occurrence of unusual and entertaining sound effects when a portion of a flow of pressurized air passes between said play material and the interior wall of the tube, and to avoid clogging inside of the tube due to excessive quantities of play material being inserted .

It is an object of the present invention to ameliorate one or more disadvantages of the known air driven toy assembly or to at least provide an alternative air driven toy assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To this end, according to a first aspect the present invention provides an air driven toy assembly comprising:

a main body comprising a substantially airtight tube having an interior wall defining a through-passage for leading a play element there through, the main body further comprising an insert-section having an inlet opening for insertion of said play element into said tube, wherein the insert-section is provided with an air inlet proximate to and downstream from said inlet opening, said air inlet is arranged for connecting the through-passage of the tube with an air pressure means,

a plug comprising an air-tight wall, wherein the plug is adapted for closing off the insert-section upstream the air inlet, and

one or more play elements, each comprising an elongate piece of elastomeric material, wherein each play element has a longitudinal main axis and a substantial circular cross-section in a direction transverse to said longitudinal main axis, wherein said play element, at least when separate from the main body, has an outer diameter which is larger than an inner diameter of the tube of said main body, and wherein said play element comprises a circumferential surface which extends around the longitudinal main axis, which circumferential surface is provided with one or more grooves and/or ridges which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction.

The use of play elements according to the present invention eliminates the need for metering a suitable quantity of play material from a large supply of malleable play material. The handling of the elongate play elements of an elastomeric material is less complicated and more hygienic than the messing around with the malleable play material and a metering cup of the air driven toy assembly of the prior art.

It is noted that the play elements are made of elastomeric material, which has the ability to return to its near original shape, when stretched or compressed to a moderate extend. Accordingly, the play elements of the present invention are substantially shape retaining. In addition, the play elements are elastic which allows them to adapt to the shape and diameter of the tube, for example when the tube has curves.

The elongate play elements of an elastomeric material are suitably shaped in order to enhance or even guarantee the occurrence of the desired unusual and entertaining sound effects, when one of said play elements is arranged in said tube and a portion of a flow of pressurized air passes between said play element and the interior wall of the tube. The play element, at least when separate from the main body, has an outer diameter which is larger than an inner diameter of the tube of said main body. Accordingly the play element is compressed when arranged in the tube of the main body, which ensures that the circumferential surface of the play element is at least partially pushed against the interior wall of the tube. In addition, the inventor found that when the circumferential surface is provided with one or more grooves and/or ridges which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction, the desired unusual and entertaining sound effects are obtained.

In an embodiment, the play elements comprise a thermoplastic elastomer. Thermoplastic elastomers, sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubbers, allow for an easy manufacturing of said play elements, for example, by injection molding.

In an embodiment, the circumferential surface of the play elements is substantially barrel shaped. Accordingly, the diameter of the play element at the outer ends is smaller than the diameter of the play element at the center area, in particular when viewed along the longitudinal main axis. The smaller diameter at the outer ends facilitates the positioning of the individual play elements into said tube via the insert-section of said play element .

In an embodiment, the outer diameter of the play element, at least when separate from the main body, between 100 % and 140 % of the inner diameter of the tube of said main body. Preferably, the outer diameter of the play element, at least when separate from the main body, between 100 % and 120 % of the inner diameter of the tube of said main body. By providing the play elements with an outer diameter within the above ranges, when not arranged inside said tube, it is assured that, when the play elements are arranged inside said tube, said play elements are compressed to a suitable extend to ensure that the desired unusual and entertaining sound effects are obtained.

In an embodiment, the play elements comprise an embittering agent. The bittering agent is added in order to discourage and minimize the ingestion of the play elements .

In an embodiment, the air driven toy assembly comprises an air pump, which is connectable to air inlet proximate to and downstream from said inlet opening for producing a flow of pressurized air inside said tube. Preferably, said air pump is a hand-operated air pump. When the plug is inserted in the insert-section, the plug pushes play element in the insert-section upstream of the air inlet past the air inlet and further in the tube. The pressurized air from the air pump then pushes said play element through said through-passage of the tube and forces a portion of said flow of pressurized air past said play element to produce a sound, thus providing additional entertainment value.

In an embodiment, the plug comprises a center axis which is substantially in line with a center axis of the insert-section of the tube when the plug is arranged in said insert-section, wherein said plug is provided with a handle for holding the plug, said handle being fixed to the air-tight wall, wherein said handle comprises gripping part which extends in a direction substantially perpendicular to said center axis of the plug. Accordingly, the sideways extension of the gripping part with respect to the center axis of the plug provides an improved hold, and allows to more easily placing the plug in the insert-section of the tube .

In an embodiment, the handle has an oblong form which ends at both ends in a slightly widened head. Preferably, the handle has schematically the shape of a femur or bone. The femur or bone thus extends in the direction substantially perpendicular to the center axis of the plug.

In an embodiment, the main body of the air driven toy assembly has the shape of an animal, such as a dog, wherein the insert-section is arranged at the mouth of said animal .

According to a second aspect the present invention provides a play element, in particular for use in an air driven toy assembly as described above. The play element comprises an elongate piece of elastomeric material, wherein each play element has a longitudinal main axis and a substantial circular cross-section in a direction transverse to said longitudinal main axis, wherein said play element has an outer diameter which is larger than an inner diameter of the tube of said main body, and wherein said play element comprises a circumferential surface which extends around the longitudinal main axis, which circumferential surface is provided with one or more grooves and/or ridges which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction.

The various aspects and features described and shown in the specification can be applied, individually, wherever possible. These individual aspects, in particular the aspects and features described in the attached dependent claims, can be made subject of divisional patent applications .

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be elucidated on the basis of an exemplary embodiment shown in the attached drawings, in which :

Figure 1 shows a schematic view of an example of an air driven toy assembly according to the invention,

Figure 2 shows a longitudinal cross-section of the toy assembly of figure 1,

Figures 3A and 3B show a cross section and a bottom view of a plug of a toy assembly according to the invention,

Figures 4A, 4B and 4C show a schematic view, a side view and a top view of a play element according to the invention,

Figure 5 show top view of an alternative play element according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Figure 1 shows a schematic perspective view of an example of an air driven toy assembly 1 according to the present invention. The toy assembly comprises a main body 20 in the shape of a dog to provide additional entertainment value. The main body 20 comprises an insert- section 21 which is arranged at the mouth of said dog shaped main body 20. The insert-section 21 is closed off by a plug 30, which will be described in more detail below. In addition, the toy assembly 1 comprises an air pump 40 which is connectable to an air inlet of the main body 20 via an air hose 41. The air pump 40 is provided with a lever 44 to manually operate said air pump 40.

Figure 2 shows a longitudinal cross-section of the toy assembly 1 of figure 1. As shown in more detail in figure 2, the main body 20 comprises a substantially airtight tube 22 having an interior wall defining a through-passage 23 for the passage of a play element 50 which will be described in more detail below. The main body 20 comprises an insert-section 21 having an inlet opening 24 for insertion of said play element 50 into said tube 22. The insert-section 21 is provided with an air inlet 25, proximate to and downstream from said inlet opening 24, wherein said air inlet 25 is arranged for connecting the through-passage 23 of the tube 22 with an air hose coupling 47.

The air hose coupling 47 is arranged to connect the air hose 41 of the air pump 40 to the main body 20. From the air hose coupling 47, an internal air hose 48 is arranged to connect the air hose coupling 47 with the air inlet 25. Accordingly, a flow of pressurized air from the air pump 40 is provided to the air inlet 25 via the air hose 41, the air hose coupling 47 and the internal air hose 48.

The Air pump 40 comprises a housing 43 in the shape of a dog leash handle, and a lever 44 for manually driving a bellows 45 arranged inside said housing 43. The bellows 45 is provided with an air valve 46 such that, when the bellows 45 is compressed, a pressurized air stream is directed downstream from the bellows 45 through the air hose 41 which connects the bellows 45 to the air hose coupling 47. In addition, the air valve 46 is arranged to substantially prevent that air is drawn in through the air hose 41 when the bellows 45 is expanded.

As shown in figure 2, the tube 22 extends substantially along the length of the main body 20 and comprises the insert-section 21 at an upstream end of said tube 22, and a downstream end 28 for the passage of a play element 50. Preferably, the tube 22 comprises a material flexible enough to allow easy bending of the tube 22 during manufacture of the main body 20 so that it may be easily placed within the main body 20, yet sufficiently rigid to maintain a substantially circular cross section with a substantial constant inner diameter D along the length of the tube 22 during use. As a result, when a play element 50 is inserted into the tube 22, inlet opening 24 is closed off by the plug 30, and the air pump 40 is connected and actuated, the flow of pressurized air from the air pump 40 at least partially drives the play element 50 through the tube 22.

In order to allow the flow of pressurized air to at least partially drive the play element 50 through the tube 22, the inlet opening 24 is closed off by the plug 30. The plug 30, which is shown in greater detail in figures 3A and 3B, comprises a handle 31 for holding and manipulating the plug 30. The plug 30 comprises a center axis H3 which is substantially in line with a center axis H2 of the insert-section 21 of the tube 22 when the plug 30 is arranged in said insert-section 21, as schematically shown in figure 2. The handle 31 comprises gripping part which extends in a direction substantially perpendicular to said center axis H3. Accordingly, the sideways extension of the gripping part with respect to the center axis H3 of the plug 30 provides an improved hold, and allows to easily holding the plug 30 and position said plug 30 in the insert-section 21 of the tube 22. As shown in figures 3A and 3B, the handle 31 has an oblong form which ends at both ends in a slightly widened head. As also shown in figure 1, the handle 31 of the plug 30 has schematically the shape of a femur or bone, such that when the plug 30 is inserted into the insert-section 21 of the main body 20, the bone- shaped handle 31 protrudes from the dog-shaped main body 20. In particular, a longitudinal extension of said femur or bone extends in a direction substantially perpendicular to the center axis H3.

Alternatively, the handle 31 may also be shaped as the handle shown and described in WO 2012/030219.

The plug 30 further comprises a circular substantially air-tight wall 32 which is provided with a circumferential groove with an O-ring 32a to provide additional air-tightness and friction between the air-tight wall 32 of the plug 30 and interior wall of the insert- section 21 of the tube 22. When the plug 30 is inserted into the insert-section 21 as shown in figure 2, the airtight wall 32 and its O-ring 32a close off the inlet opening 24 of the insert-section 21, i.e. a part of the insert-section 21 upstream of the air inlet 25, in a substantially air-tight manner. Preferably, the plug 30 comprises a further wall 36 which is spaced apart from the air-tight wall 32 by a spacer 35. Preferably, the further wall 36 is also provided with a circumferential groove with an O-ring 36a to provide additional air-tightness and friction between the further wall 36 of the plug 30 and interior wall of the insert-section 21 of the tube 22.

The spacer 35 provides a gap between the airtight wall 32 and the further wall 36 in a direction parallel to the center axis H3, such that the further wall 36 is arranged in a part of the insert-section 21 downstream of the air inlet 25, when the plug 30 is inserted into the insert-section 21 as shown in figure 2. As shown in detail in figure 3A, the spacer 35 is provided with through holes 34, and the further wall 36 is provided with at least one through hole 37. It is noted that the through hole 37 is arranged in an end face 38 of the plug 30 facing away from the handle 31.

The air-tight wall 32 furthermore comprises a flange 33 at a side of said air-tight wall 32 facing the handle 31, which flange 33 is arranged to abut against the upstream end of the insert-section 21. When the flange 33 is arranged in abutment with the upstream end of the insert-section 21, the plug 30 is suitably placed such that the air-tight wall 32 is arranged upstream of said air inlet 25 and the further wall 36 is arranged downstream of said air inlet.

The O-rings 32a, 36a of the plug are adapted to fit sufficiently tight in the insert-section 30 for the plug to withstand the air pressure needed for operating the toy assembly 1, i.e. for propelling the play element, without substantially displacing the plug 30. Instead of 0- rings on the plug, the insert-section 21 may be provided with inner O-rings, or the plug 30 and/or the insert- section 21 may be provided with a locking mechanism to keep the plug 30 in place.

When the plug 30 is inserted into the insert- section 21 and the flange 33 abuts the upstream end of the insert-section, as shown in figure 2, the gap between the air-tight wall 32 and the further wall 36 is arranged in a part of the insert-section 21 where the air inlet 25 debouches into said tube 22. Accordingly, a pressurized air flow which enters said tube 22 via the air inlet 25, is introduced in said gap and traverses the through holes 34 of the spacer 34, and passes through the alt least one through hole 37 of the further wall 36, to provide a substantially axial oriented air flow in said tube 22.

Thus, when the play element 50 is introduced in the insert-section 21, and the plug 30 is inserted, the end face 38 can push the play element 50 further into the tube 22. The play element 50 is then arranged adjacent to the end face 37, downstream for the air inlet 52 inside the tube 22. When a flow of pressurized air is provided at the air inlet 52, the flow of pressurized air is directed via the gap, the through holes 34 and 37 of the plug 30, into said tube 22, in particular between the plug 30 and the play element 50.

An example of a play element 50 according to the present invention is shown in figures 4A, 4B and 4C. The play element 50 comprises an elongate piece of elastomeric material, wherein the play element 50 has a longitudinal main axis H5 and a substantial circular cross-section in a direction transverse to said longitudinal main axis H5. Said play element 50, at least when separate from the main body 20, has an outer diameter D2 which is larger than an inner diameter D of the tube 22 of said main body 20. The play element 50 comprises a circumferential surface which extends around the longitudinal main axis H5, and which is provided with one or more grooves 51 which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction. The width of said grooves 51, as measured in a direction parallel to the main axis H5, is in a range of 1% to 10% of the total length of the play element 50, as measured along the main axis H5. Preferably the width of said grooves 51 is in a range of 2% to 6% of the total length of the play element 50.

In a typical example, the total length of the play element 50 is approximately 25mm, and the width of the grooves 51 is smaller than 2 mm, preferably around 1 mm. In said typical example, the depth of said grooves 51 is preferably also less than 2 mm, preferably less than 1 mm.

It is further noted that the grooves 51 are arranged in an irregular pattern, as schematically shown in figures 4A, 4B and 4C. In addition, the circumferential surface of the play element 50 is substantially barrel shaped, as schematically shown in figure 4A.

Instead of, or in addition to the grooves 51, the play element 50' may also be provided with ridges 52 which protrude out of the circumferential surface of the play element 50', as schematically shown in figure 5.

Both the play elements 50, 50' shown in the example of figures 4A, 4B and 4C, and the example of figure 5, comprise a thermoplastic elastomer. In addition, the play elements 50, 50' comprises an embittering agent. Examples of such bittering agents are, Naringin and Denatonium Benzoate, which may be used at the following levels :

Naringin 1%

Denatonium Benzoate 0, 0004% (4 mg/kg)

As already noted above, the play elements 50, 50' , at least when separate from the main body 20, have an outer diameter D2, D2' which is larger than an inner diameter D of the tube 22 of said main body 20.

When such an elastomeric play element 50, 50' is manually placed in the insert-section 21, the play element 50, 50' is compressed, at least in a direction transverse to the main axis H5. Accordingly, the circumferential wall of the play element 50, 50' will push against the interior wall of the tube 22, which provides an amount of friction between the circumferential wall of the play element 50, 50' and the interior wall of the tube 22.

Subsequently, the plug 30 may be inserted into the insert-section 21 as well, pushing the play element 50, 51' past the air inlet 25.

Next, when the air pump 40 is operated, at least a portion of the generated flow of pressurized air is directed to the air inlet 25, the gap between the airtight wall 32 and further wall 36 of the plug 30, and is directed though the through openings 34, 37 of the plug 30 into the part of the tube 22 between the end face 38 of the plug 30 and the play element 50, 50' inside said tube 22. This flow of pressurized air provides a propelling force for pushing the play element 50, 50' to the downstream end 28 of the tube 24. The design of the play element 50, 50' is optimized to enhance or even guarantee the occurrence of unusual and entertaining sound effects when a portion of a flow of pressurized air passes between the circumferential wall of the play element 50, 50' and the interior wall of the tube 22.

Referring again to figure 2, the air hose coupling 47 may be provided with an air flow divider which is arranged to direct a part of the flow of pressurized air from air pump 40, through a second internal air hose 49, to an actuator 60 in the shape of a dog's tail. The tail is adapted to move dependent on the flow of pressurized air provided thereto, i.e. it wags from side to side under the influence of the provided pressurized air stream. Besides providing entertainment value, the tail 60 serves as an indicator of the amount of air pressure that is available to propel the play element 50, 50' through the main body 20; when too little pressure is available, for instance when there is no play element 50, 50' in the tube 22 for substantially restricting the passage of air through the tube 22, the tail 60 will not move. Accordingly, the position and/or speed of movement of the tail 60 provide an indication of the available flow of pressurized air and the power with which it is applied.

In summary, the present invention relates to an air driven toy assembly comprising a main body, a plug and one or more play elements. The main body comprises a tube which provides a through-passage for said play elements. The main body further comprises an insert-section having an inlet opening for inserting an individual play element into said tube. The insert-section is provided with an air inlet proximate to said inlet opening, and said air inlet is arranged for connecting the through-passage of the tube with an air pressure means. The plug is adapted for closing off the insert-section upstream the air inlet. Each Play element comprises an elongate piece of elastomeric material. Said play element has an outer diameter which is larger than an inner diameter of the tube. Said play element comprises a circumferential surface which is provided with grooves and/or ridges which extend at least partially in a circumferential direction.

It is to be understood that the above description is included to illustrate the operation of the preferred embodiments and is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. From the above discussion, many variations will be apparent to one skilled in the art that would yet be encompassed by the spirit and scope of the present invent ion .