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Title:
CONTROLLABLE SPINNING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/144224
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system and method for controlling an action toy without electronics or motors. A spinning sphere includes a set of magnets supported by a cross beam. A magnet assembly, such as a ring or wand, may be held by an operator and used to control the spinning embodiments. Special play surfaces may be provided to enhance an experience and challenges of steering a spinning sphere.

More Like This:
JP2018139744TOP TOY
Inventors:
BRATTESANI, Robert, J. (1742 Kansas Street, Redwood City, CA, 94061, US)
Application Number:
US2018/014063
Publication Date:
August 09, 2018
Filing Date:
January 17, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
DIGGIN ACTIVE, INC. (5900 Hollis St, Ste. QEmeryville, CA, 94608, US)
International Classes:
A63H1/00; A63H1/04; A63H29/00; A63H33/26
Foreign References:
US8083566B22011-12-27
JP2894685B11999-05-24
CN201692629U2011-01-05
US5188364A1993-02-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOODS, Michael (Patent Law Offices of Michael E. Woods, 887 Humboldt RdBrisbane, CA, 94005-1637, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent:

1. An amusement system, comprising:

a body having a rotational symmetry including an axis extending between a first reference point and a second reference point and further including a reference plane extending perpendicularly from said axis between said reference points, said reference plane defining a reference perimeter;

a plurality of magnetic components distributed about said reference perimeter; and a controller, independent from said body, including a magnet structure configured to control a direction of motion of said body as it spins over a play surface.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein said body includes a spherical shell containing said reference points and said reference plane.

3. The system of claim 1 further comprising an anti- swallowing structure, coupled to said body, encapsulating said plurality of magnetic components.

4. The system of claim 2 further comprising an anti- swallowing structure, coupled to said body, encapsulating said plurality of magnetic components.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein said reference perimeter defines a circle.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein each said magnetic component includes a first magnetic pole associated with a second magnetic pole, said poles disposed within said reference plane, with each said first magnetic pole closer to said axis than each said associated second pole wherein all said first magnetic poles have a same magnetic pole selected from a north magnetic pole or a south magnetic pole.

7. The system of claim 2 wherein each said magnetic component includes a first magnetic pole associated with a second magnetic pole, said poles disposed within said reference plane, with each said first magnetic pole closer to said axis than each said associated second pole wherein all said first magnetic poles have a same magnetic pole selected from a north magnetic pole or a south magnetic pole.

8. The system of claim 3 wherein each said magnetic component includes a first magnetic pole associated with a second magnetic pole, said poles disposed within said reference plane, with each said first magnetic pole closer to said axis than each said associated second pole wherein all said first magnetic poles have a same magnetic pole selected from a north magnetic pole or a south magnetic pole.

9. The system of claim 4 wherein each said magnetic component includes a first magnetic pole associated with a second magnetic pole, said poles disposed within said reference plane, with each said first magnetic pole closer to said axis than each said associated second pole wherein all said first magnetic poles have a same magnetic pole selected from a north magnetic pole or a south magnetic pole.

10. The system of claim 5 wherein said controller includes a ring including said magnetic structure.

11. A method of operating an amusement system, comprising:

a) spinning a first body on a play surface producing a spinning first body, said first body having a rotational symmetry including a first axis extending between a first reference point and a second reference point and further including a first reference plane extending perpendicularly from said axis between said reference points, said first reference plane defining a first reference perimeter; and a plurality of magnetic components distributed about said first reference perimeter, wherein said first reference point is proximate said play surface and wherein said second reference point extends above said play surface; and

b) positioning a first controller, independent from said first body, over said second reference point while said first body is spinning, said first controller including a magnet structure complementary to said plurality of magnetic components; and

c) inducing a movement of said spinning first body over said play surface by translating said first controller over said play surface proximate said second reference point.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein each said magnetic component of said first body

includes a first magnetic pole associated with a second magnetic pole, said poles disposed within said reference plane, with each said first magnetic pole closer to said axis than each said associated second pole wherein all said first magnetic poles have a same magnetic pole selected from a north magnetic pole or a south magnetic pole, further comprising:

d) spinning a second body on said play surface producing a spinning second body wherein each said magnetic component of said second body includes a first magnetic pole associated with a second magnetic pole, said poles disposed within said reference plane, with each said first magnetic pole closer to said axis than each said associated second pole wherein all said first magnetic poles have a same magnetic pole selected from a north magnetic pole or a south magnetic pole and different from said first magnetic poles of said first body;

e) positioning a second controller, independent from said bodies, over said second reference point of said second body while said second body is spinning, said second controller including a magnet structure complementary to said plurality of magnetic components of said second body; and

f) inducing a movement of said spinning second body over said play surface by translating said second controller over said play surface proximate said second reference point of said second body concurrent with step c).

13. The method of claim 12 wherein each said body includes a housing having a game play graphic component disposed thereon further comprising:

g) contacting said spinning bodies together at a contact point for each said housing which fixes a relative position of said contact point with respect to each said game play graphic component; and

h) resolving a match event by comparing said contact point to each said game play graphic component.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein said play surface may include a track portion assembled from a set of predetermined track portion options.

15. The method of claim 12wherein said play surface may include a track portion assembled from a set of predetermined track portion options.

16. The method of claim 13 wherein said play surface may include a track portion assembled from a set of predetermined track portion options.

Description:
CONTROLLABLE SPINNING DEVICE

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims benefit of US Patent Application No. 15/873,490 which claims benefit of US Patent Application No. 62/447,144 filed 17 January 2017, the contents of both which are hereby expressly incorporated by reference thereto in their entireties for all purposes.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to an amusement device, system, and method, and more specifically, but not exclusively, to a spinning toy that may be controlled by a user without motors or electronics.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The subject matter discussed in the background section should not be assumed to be prior art merely as a result of its mention in the background section. Similarly, a problem mentioned in the background section or associated with the subject matter of the background section should not be assumed to have been previously recognized in the prior art. The subject matter in the background section merely represents different approaches, which in and of themselves may also be inventions.

[0004] Amusement systems are popular, particularly toys for young children. User interaction with an amusement system, particularly with active and moving components, is sometimes desired. That interaction may be complicated when using electronics or powered motors (e.g., battery failure). Such complication may be inappropriate for amusement systems intended for use by young children.

[0005] What may be useful to certain users is a system and method for controlling an action toy without electronics or motors.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Disclosed is a system and method for controlling an action toy without electronics or motors. [0007] The following summary of the invention is provided to facilitate an understanding of some of the technical features related to user-controlled action devices, and is not intended to be a full description of the present invention. A full appreciation of the various aspects of the invention can be gained by taking the entire specification, claims, drawings, and abstract as a whole. The present invention is applicable to other amusement system in addition to spinning spheres.

[0008] An embodiment of the present invention may include one or more: 1) single ring (to be worn on a finger) and ball combo - rings all have two magnets of different polarities but to control the balls you use the same polarity for the ball and for the magnet; 2) battling arena - kids spin and control their balls trying to knock their opponent off the platform; and 3) track system - raised tracks that kids control their spinning ball over - The tracks may have different features like tunnels, seesaws, tightropes, ramps, and the like.

[0009] An embodiment of the present invention may include one or more of the following features, characteristics, elements, structure, or method: 1) a spinable device supporting two or more magnets evenly distributed and aligned along an equator; 2) ring and/or wand with magnets to influence a direction of the spinning device; 3) device may include a safety cross hatch so in an event that the device fails, internal device magnets remain encased in plastic to reduce any swallowing/choke hazards; 4) weight of ball and strength of magnets in device and controller may be optimized for controlling a direction of motion for a spinning device and for tricks such as picking a spinning device up off of a play surface; 5) use of magnets to control the device only when it is not spinning; 6) an alignment of the magnets in the device and an physical arrangement such that the device may be a sphere (or have a rotational symmetry) that may allow that no matter how one spins the device, the device will align itself so that the magnets are spinning along the equator of the ball (which is important for control from above as the magnets are advantageously specifically balanced); 7) a device need not have a top or bottom (may part of rotational symmetry), therefore the user is not required to worry which side comes "up" after spinning (some embodiments may have two distinct sides to add an element of randomness to use of the amusement system); 8) graphics on the device may create a dice game when two balls connect (two devices of opposite polarities may "stick" and result in a battle result - the specifics may change based upon the graphic element(s)); 9) multiple devices may be battled like in a Battle Game; 10) track systems that may involve guiding structures of various sizes and configurations/arrangements/features to both constrain motion as well as provide opportunity to navigate and control device direction and motion, for example a configuration may include going up ramps, through tunnels, over very thin tight ropes or over see- saws - one game play option may include a user selecting and assembling various track components and compete to get a device over the track course and/or competition for a fastest speed while maintaining the device on the course; 11) various tricks with the spinning devices and interactions with the controller that may help to develop hand/eye and muscle coordination; 12) one or more lights or illumination elements, which may be simple ON/OFF illumination or may be responsive to control, device operation, and/or environment features (such as track components); 13) a device may include visual persistence graphics to produce small animations during use; 14) a device may be controlled using a controller not limited to a user- worn ring or a user-manipulated wand; 15) other competitive or cooperative games (two users cooperate in controlling a single spinning device to compete against another team or the clock or to accomplish a predetermined goal) such as sports goal based games, knock over things games, race games, and the like; 16) a conductive pad on the bottom of the spinning device that can be sensed by a smart phone, pad, or other touch-sensitive structure to play app games using a controlled spinning device on the touch system as as a controller for the application; 17) ink or media distribution from a bottom of the spinning device allowing control of the spinning device to transfer a "drawn" image to a piece of paper or other foundation that is part of, or supported by, a play surface; and 18) the device may be manufactured from other materials in addition to, or in lieu of, plastic (e.g., aluminum or other non-magnetic material) as long as the interaction of the magnets of the controller and the spinning device are not adversely affected.

[0010] An embodiment of the present invention may include one or more important points: a) one or more mechanisms of controlling a spinning sphere remotely with no electronics using handheld/worn/manipulated magnet assemblies, b) evenly spaced magnets on a sphere either inside the sphere or outside combined with spinning the sphere combined with a handheld magnet creates a unique entertainment device, c) additional safety considerations may also be implemented, like the cross beam construction for improved anti-choke hazards.

[0011] An embodiment of the present invention may include a spin launcher feature. Some embodiments are designed for enjoyment by children and young adults and some embodiments may be best operated while the device is spinning. A mechanism to mechanically induce a consistent and sufficient rotational speed to the device may increase enjoyment for some of the user base. Such a feature may be implemented in a number of ways to induce spin in the device. For example, the controller (e.g., the ring or wand) may include a "wind up" feature coupled to a mechanical interface (e.g., a nub or dimple) that is non-circular (a triangle, square, or other regular/irregular polygon or arcuate (e.g., elliptical) cross-section that mates to a complementary structure at one or both poles. The controller feature may be wound by the user, engaged to the device, and when the controller is released, the spring will induce the device to spin rapidly about the axis. When the launcher is incorporated into the controller, the user may quickly begin to control the spinning device.

[0012] An amusement system, including a body having a rotational symmetry including an axis extending between a first reference point and a second reference point and further including a reference plane extending perpendicularly from the axis between the reference points, the reference plane defining a reference perimeter; a plurality of magnetic components distributed about the reference perimeter; and a controller, independent from the body, including a magnet structure configured to control a direction of motion of the body as it spins over a play surface.

[0013] A method of operating an amusement system, including a) spinning a first body on a play surface producing a spinning first body, the first body having a rotational symmetry including a first axis extending between a first reference point and a second reference point and further including a first reference plane extending perpendicularly from the axis between the reference points, the first reference plane defining a first reference perimeter; and a plurality of magnetic components distributed about the first reference perimeter, wherein the first reference point is proximate the play surface and wherein the second reference point extends above the play surface; and b) positioning a first controller, independent from the first body, over the second reference point while the first body is spinning, the first controller including a magnet structure complementary to the plurality of magnetic components; and c) inducing a movement of the spinning first body over the play surface by translating the first controller over the play surface proximate the second reference point.

[0014] Any of the embodiments described herein may be used alone or together with one another in any combination. Inventions encompassed within this specification may also include embodiments that are only partially mentioned or alluded to or are not mentioned or alluded to at all in this brief summary or in the abstract. Although various embodiments of the invention may have been motivated by various deficiencies with the prior art, which may be discussed or alluded to in one or more places in the specification, the embodiments of the invention do not necessarily address any of these deficiencies. In other words, different embodiments of the invention may address different deficiencies that may be discussed in the specification. Some embodiments may only partially address some deficiencies or just one deficiency that may be discussed in the specification, and some embodiments may not address any of these deficiencies. [0015] Other features, benefits, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon a review of the present disclosure, including the specification, drawings, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] The accompanying figures, in which like reference numerals refer to identical or functionally-similar elements throughout the separate views and which are incorporated in and form a part of the specification, further illustrate the present invention and, together with the detailed description of the invention, serve to explain the principles of the present invention.

[0017 FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the present invention;

[0018 FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0019 FIG. 3 illustrates a top plan view of a cross beam of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0020 FIG. 4 illustrates a side elevation view of a magnet assembly for control;

[0021 FIG. 5 illustrates a front elevation view of the magnet assembly of FIG. 4;

[0022 FIG. 6 illustrates a first play mode;

[0023 FIG 7 illustrates a second play mode;

[0024 FIG. 8 illustrates a beginning of a third play mode;

[0025 FIG. 9 illustrates an end of the third play mode;

[0026 FIG. 10 illustrates a side elevation view of a first play surface;

[0027 FIG. 11 illustrates a top plan view of the first play surface of FIG. 10;

[0028 FIG. 12 illustrates a side elevation view of a second play surface;

[0029 FIG. 13 illustrates a top plan view of the second play surface of FIG. 12; and

[0030 FIG. 14 illustrates a side elevation view of an interaction device that may be u with a play surface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0031] Embodiments of the present invention provide a system and method for controlling an action toy without electronics or motors. The following description is presented to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention and is provided in the context of a patent application and its requirements.

[0032] Various modifications to the preferred embodiment and the generic principles and features described herein will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiment shown but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and features described herein.

[0033] Definitions

[0034] Unless otherwise defined, all terms (including technical and scientific terms) used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this general inventive concept belongs. It will be further understood that terms, such as those defined in commonly used dictionaries, should be interpreted as having a meaning that is consistent with their meaning in the context of the relevant art and the present disclosure, and will not be interpreted in an idealized or overly formal sense unless expressly so defined herein.

[0035] The following definitions apply to some of the aspects described with respect to some embodiments of the invention. These definitions may likewise be expanded upon herein.

[0036] As used herein, the term "or" includes "and/or" and the term "and/or" includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items. Expressions such as "at least one of," when preceding a list of elements, modify the entire list of elements and do not modify the individual elements of the list.

[0037] As used herein, the singular terms "a," "an," and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to an object can include multiple objects unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

[0038] Also, as used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, the meaning of "in" includes "in" and "on" unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. It will be understood that when an element is referred to as being "on" another element, it can be directly on the other element or intervening elements may be present therebetween. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being "directly on" another element, there are no intervening elements present.

[0039] As used herein, the term "set" refers to a collection of one or more objects. Thus, for example, a set of objects can include a single object or multiple objects. Objects of a set also can be referred to as members of the set. Objects of a set can be the same or different. In some instances, objects of a set can share one or more common properties.

[0040] As used herein, the term "adjacent" refers to being near or adjoining. Adjacent objects can be spaced apart from one another or can be in actual or direct contact with one another. In some instances, adjacent objects can be coupled to one another or can be formed integrally with one another.

[0041] As used herein, the terms "connect," "connected," and "connecting" refer to a direct attachment or link. Connected objects have no or no substantial intermediary object or set of objects, as the context indicates.

[0042] As used herein, the terms "couple," "coupled," and "coupling" refer to an operational connection or linking. Coupled objects can be directly connected to one another or can be indirectly connected to one another, such as via an intermediary set of objects.

[0043] The use of the term "about" applies to all numeric values, whether or not explicitly indicated. This term generally refers to a range of numbers that one of ordinary skill in the art would consider as a reasonable amount of deviation to the recited numeric values (i.e., having the equivalent function or result). For example, this term can be construed as including a deviation of +10 percent of the given numeric value provided such a deviation does not alter the end function or result of the value. Therefore, a value of about 1% can be construed to be a range from 0.9% to 1.1%.

[0044] As used herein, the terms "substantially" and "substantial" refer to a considerable degree or extent. When used in conjunction with an event or circumstance, the terms can refer to instances in which the event or circumstance occurs precisely as well as instances in which the event or circumstance occurs to a close approximation, such as accounting for typical tolerance levels or variability of the embodiments described herein. [0045] As used herein, the terms "optional" and "optionally" mean that the subsequently described event or circumstance may or may not occur and that the description includes instances where the event or circumstance occurs and instances in which it does not.

[0046] As used herein, the term "size" refers to a characteristic dimension of an object. Thus, for example, a size of an object that is spherical can refer to a diameter of the object. In the case of an object that is non- spherical, a size of the non-spherical object can refer to a diameter of a corresponding spherical object, where the corresponding spherical object exhibits or has a particular set of derivable or measurable properties that are substantially the same as those of the non-spherical object. Thus, for example, a size of a non-spherical object can refer to a diameter of a corresponding spherical object that exhibits light scattering or other properties that are substantially the same as those of the non-spherical object. Alternatively, or in conjunction, a size of a non-spherical object can refer to an average of various orthogonal dimensions of the object. Thus, for example, a size of an object that is a spheroidal can refer to an average of a major axis and a minor axis of the object. When referring to a set of objects as having a particular size, it is contemplated that the objects can have a distribution of sizes around the particular size. Thus, as used herein, a size of a set of objects can refer to a typical size of a distribution of sizes, such as an average size, a median size, or a peak size.

[0047] As used herein, the term "rotational symmetry" refers to a specific shape of a body embodying the present invention. This body includes a pair of opposing reference points that define an axis, The body includes stability when rotating about this axis which refers to a resistance to toppling. When spinning, one of the reference points is proximate a play surface and the opposing reference point extends away from the play surface. Toppling is a tendency of certain bodies to tilt relative to the play surface when a force is applied to the opposing reference point. Anti-toppling as a characteristic of rotational symmetry allows a controller (such as a ring or a wand or the like) to manipulate the body when it is spinning from a position directly above the spinning body. Another secondary characteristic that may be present in some implementations includes that the body performs similarly with either reference point proximate the play surface with similar anti-toppling features with either reference point "on top" and the other opposing reference point "on bottom" during play with the body spinning. This anti-toppling is not principally a gyroscopic effect as the body is designed to be spun by hand by a young child so anticipated rotational speeds are limited. In between the reference points, approximately midway (consistent with the importance of the secondary feature) between the references is an equatorial reference plane extending generally perpendicularly from the axis. Distributed evenly around a perimeter in this reference plane are two or more magnetic components. A spacing of the reference plane from each reference point and a relative magnetic strength of the magnetic components vis-a-vis the magnetics is configured to allow the controller to influence direction (e.g., push (repulse) or pull (attract)) of the body when spinning from a position directly above the axis of the spinning body. In some embodiments, rotational symmetry may be achieved by a spherical body, however other body shape configurations may be possible. For example, the magnetic components in the reference plane may form a square perimeter with the axis extending through a center of the square. Embodiments may not require that this arrangement of the magnetic components and the reference points be included within a discrete housing (e.g., the sphere or the like).

[0048] An embodiment of the present invention may include gesture control spinning magnetic spheres. Important features may include one or more of the following:

[0049] a) Spheres, the bottoms are preferred to be round or pin points (like spinning tops) but the sides can be round or flattened into shapes. Illustrated herein is a representative implementation including spheres rather than other toy configurations.

[0050] b) Two or more magnets (in this representative implementation four magnets are used) are placed evenly spaced from each other along a latitude or longitude of the sphere (the equator of the spheres in this illustrated implementation). Note, the product does perform with a pair of magnets but is better with four magnets. An embodiment of the present invention may include, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or more magnets distributed around the equator or in the reference plane.

[0051] c) The magnets may be placed so that all the positive sides (e.g., north poles) of the magnets face out, all the negative sides (e.g., south poles) face out, alternating positive and negative poles, or some other arbitrary configuration, fixed or alterable.

[0052] d) A magnet assembly, separate from the magnets in the spinning toy, is included to control the spinning toy. In some embodiments, this magnet assembly may define a ring wearable by the user or operator, but it may also be defined in a wand or simply be some other hand-held or user-manipulated format.

[0053] e) To play with the product the user may spin the sphere like a spinning top and then grasp and manipulate the magnet assembly near the sphere to control the a movement of the sphere. This configuration allows that one or more using may perform numerous tricks and numerous games with one or more spheres.

[0054] f) When all the out facing magnets in the sphere are positive then the spinning sphere may be pushed by the positive side of the magnet assembly and may be pulled by the negative side of the magnet assembly. When the sphere includes negative out-facing magnets, the control protocol with the magnet assembly is reversed. A "randomized" configuration may include different outward facing poles, sometimes different strengths, making operation with the magnetic assembly harder to predict which may be a desirable product goal for some implementations.

[0055] g) Different magnet strengths in some embodiments may affect the game play in a wide range of ways to implement design goals. As noted, different embodiments may include magnets with the same strength, some with all different strengths, and some with one or more sets of magnets with different strengths.

[0056] h) For embodiments intended for use with children, it is important to protect children from swallowing any of these magnets. Therefore the sphere and magnet assembly are larger than a standard opening in a choke tube. Additionally, it is preferred that construction options including designs wherein the magnets are extremely difficult to remove. This may be achieved through material choices, welding choices, and construction implementation. One implementation may include embedding the magnets of the sphere in a center cross beam. The center cross beam will be larger than an opening of the choke tube. This creates a double safety check so that in an event that the sphere broke, the magnets could still not be swallowed. In production some embodiments may remove the cross beam implementation when the sphere will not break during anticipated uses and misuses which may release the magnets but it is another feature of the illustrated design.

[0057] i) In some embodiments, the center cross beam may be made

replaceable/interchangeable to easily alter a pattern of the magnets of the sphere which can alter operation as described herein.

[0058] j) Game Play: Graphics on or integrated into the spheres may allow for many types of game play when two balls connect, dice games, battling games and the like.

[0059] FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an embodiment 100 of the present invention including a sphere 105 and a cross beam 110 that secures and places circumferential equatorial magnets, two or more magnets evenly distributed by cross beam 110. Embodiment 100 is designed to spin about a vertical axis as illustrated, the axis perpendicular to a plane defined by cross beam 110.

[0060] FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded view of embodiment 100. Embodiment 100 includes a pair of half spheres 205 that surround and capture the internal components, primarily cross beam 110 illustrated in FIG. 1. Cross beam 110 includes an N-armed support 210, N = 4 as illustrated but may be 3 or more and corresponds to a number of internal magnets 215. Magnets 215 are disposed at the end of each arm of support 210. A set of spacers 220 may be used to help secure cross beam 110 to an internal surface of half sphere 205, while allowing larger diameter disk magnets 215 to be used and/or to secure magnets 215 to support 205 to decrease a risk of choking free magnets.

[0061] FIG. 3 illustrates a top plan view of cross beam 110 including support 210, magnets 215, and optional spacers 220.

[0062] FIG. 4 illustrates a side elevation view of a magnet assembly 400 for control of a spinning embodiment 100, FIG. 5 illustrates a front elevation view of magnet assembly 400. Magnet assembly is illustrated in a ring format to be worn on a finger of an operator though other formats are possible as described herein. Magnet assembly 400 includes a housing 405 defining an aperture 410 that secures a set of magnets 415 disposed in varying ways as described herein for control of a spinning embodiment 100.

[0063] FIG. 6 illustrates a first play mode 600 in which embodiment 100 is spinning and magnet assembly 400 is held above, and spaced apart from, embodiment 100. As a user moves magnet assembly 400 laterally above a support surface 605, embodiment 100 responds and tracks the lateral movements by a magnetic coupling 610 between magnet assembly 400 and embodiment 100. This is one way that the user may steer and control a position of embodiment 100 without electronics or motors

[0064] FIG 7 illustrates a second play mode 700 which includes contacting spinning embodiment 100 with magnet assembly 400. The contact holds embodiment 100 to magnet assembly 400 while it continues to spin, allowing a user to raises spinning embodiment 100 above play surface 605. The user may reposition spinning embodiment 100 to a new location and quickly shake magnet assembly 400 to release spinning embodiment 100 and allow it to return to play surface 605. [0065] FIG. 8 illustrates a beginning of a third play mode 800 and FIG. 9 illustrates an end of third play mode 900. In third play mode 800, a pair of spinning embodiments are each affixed with a set of gaming indicia, for example four quarters, each quarter having an indicator of a value (one, two, three, infinity). In third play mode 900, the operators of each spinning embodiment 100 has steered their devices into contact with each other. One outcome is to compare the values of each contacted embodiment, a winner identified by the operator of the embodiment 100 having a greater value in the contacted quarter. In FIG. 9, the value of embodiment 100 on the left is "3" while the value of embodiment 100 on the right is "2" signifying that the operator of embodiment 100 on the left won the round indicated.

[0066] Various play surfaces may be designed for use with one or more players, each controlling one or more spinning embodiments 100.

[0067] FIG. 10 illustrates a side elevation view of a first play surface; FIG. 11 illustrates a top plan view of the first play surface of FIG. 10; FIG. 12 illustrates a side elevation view of a second play surface; FIG. 13 illustrates a top plan view of the second play surface of FIG. 12; and FIG. 14 illustrates a side elevation view of an interaction device that may be used with a play surface. These play surfaces may include modular components that may be assembled, reassembled, and reconfigured in different ways using different sets of components to provide different challenges and play strategies.

[0068] The system and methods above has been described in general terms as an aid to understanding details of preferred embodiments of the present invention. In the description herein, numerous specific details are provided, such as examples of components and/or methods, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present invention. Some features and benefits of the present invention are realized in such modes and are not required in every case. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that an embodiment of the invention can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other apparatus, systems, assemblies, methods, components, materials, parts, and/or the like. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not specifically shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of

embodiments of the present invention.

[0069] Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment", "an embodiment", or "a specific embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention and not necessarily in all embodiments. Thus, respective appearances of the phrases "in one embodiment", "in an embodiment", or "in a specific embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics of any specific embodiment of the present invention may be combined in any suitable manner with one or more other embodiments. It is to be understood that other variations and modifications of the embodiments of the present invention described and illustrated herein are possible in light of the teachings herein and are to be considered as part of the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0070] It will also be appreciated that one or more of the elements depicted in the

drawings/figures can also be implemented in a more separated or integrated manner, or even removed or rendered as inoperable in certain cases, as is useful in accordance with a particular application.

[0071] Additionally, any signal arrows in the drawings/Figures should be considered only as exemplary, and not limiting, unless otherwise specifically noted. Combinations of components or steps will also be considered as being noted, where terminology is foreseen as rendering the ability to separate or combine is unclear.

[0072] The foregoing description of illustrated embodiments of the present invention, including what is described in the Abstract, is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed herein. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described herein for illustrative purposes only, various equivalent modifications are possible within the spirit and scope of the present invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize and appreciate. As indicated, these modifications may be made to the present invention in light of the foregoing description of illustrated embodiments of the present invention and are to be included within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0073] Thus, while the present invention has been described herein with reference to particular embodiments thereof, a latitude of modification, various changes and substitutions are intended in the foregoing disclosures, and it will be appreciated that in some instances some features of embodiments of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth. Therefore, many

modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the essential scope and spirit of the present invention. It is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular terms used in following claims and/or to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include any and all embodiments and equivalents falling within the scope of the appended claims. Thus, the scope of the invention is to be determined solely by the appended claims.