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Title:
GYROSCOPIC TOY ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2005/065045
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A gyroscopic toy assembly including a first gyroscope, which includes a flywheel adapted to spin about a flywheel spin axis, a flywheel support defining the flywheel spin axis, and a multiple position gyroscope support mounted onto the flywheel support, the multiple position gyroscope support preferably being configured to define multiple selectable support locations for receiving at least one additional gyroscope and balancing weight.

Inventors:
Drory, Amir (10 Hapalmach Street, Mazkeret Batya, 76804, IL)
Hurwitz, Itzhack (13 Rav Binyamin Street, Jerusalem, 96303, IL)
Arnold, Ofer (Kibbutz Ramat Ha'shofet, 19238, IL)
Application Number:
PCT/IL2005/000009
Publication Date:
July 21, 2005
Filing Date:
January 04, 2005
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FLORITECH LTD. (10 Hapalmach Street, Mazkeret Batya, 76804, IL)
Drory, Amir (10 Hapalmach Street, Mazkeret Batya, 76804, IL)
Hurwitz, Itzhack (13 Rav Binyamin Street, Jerusalem, 96303, IL)
Arnold, Ofer (Kibbutz Ramat Ha'shofet, 19238, IL)
International Classes:
A63F9/16; A63F9/24; A63F9/26; A63H1/18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SANFORD T. COLB & CO. (P.O. Box 2273, Rehovot, 76122, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A gyroscopic toy assembly comprising: a first gyroscope including: a flywheel adapted to spin about a flywheel spin axis ; a flywheel support defining said flywheel spin axis; and a multiple position gyroscope support mounted onto said flywheel support, said multiple position gyroscope support being configured to define multiple selectable support locations for receiving at least one additional gyroscope.
2. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 1 and also comprising at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said flywheel support.
3. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 1 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing duration of spinning of said first gyroscope in a predetermined position.
4. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 1 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
5. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 2 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing duration of spinning of said first gyroscope in a predetermined position.
6. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 2 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
7. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 3 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
8. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 5 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
9. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 1 and wherein said flywheel support and said multiple position gyroscope support are integrally formed as a single element.
10. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 1 and wherein said flywheel support and said multiple position gyroscope support are formed as separate elements.
11. A gyroscopic toy assembly comprising: a first gyroscope including: a first flywheel adapted to spin about a first flywheel spin axis ; and a first flywheel support defining said first flywheel spin axis; and at least one additional gyroscope supported on said first gyroscope at a location thereon which does not lie along said first flywheel spin axis.
12. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 11 and also comprising at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said first flywheel support.
13. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 11 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
14. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 11 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
15. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 12 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
16. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 12 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
17. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 13 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
18. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 15 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
19. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 11 and also including at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said first gyroscope and supporting at least one of said at least one additional gyroscope.
20. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 19 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said at least one additional gyroscope onto said first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
21. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 11 and wherein said at least one additional gyroscope comprises a second gyroscope including: a second flywheel adapted to spin about a second flywheel spin axis ; and a second flywheel support defining said second flywheel spin axis.
22. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 21 and also comprising at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said second flywheel support.
23. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 21 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing duration of spinning of said second gyroscope in a predetermined position.
24. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 21 and also including a second flywheel rotational speed sensor.
25. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 22 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
26. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 22 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
27. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 23 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
28. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 25 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
29. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 21 and also including at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said first gyroscope and supporting said second gyroscope.
30. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 29 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said second gyroscope onto said first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
31. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 2130 and wherein said at least one additional gyroscope also comprises a third gyroscope including : a third flywheel adapted to spin about a third flywheel spin axis; and a third flywheel support defining said third flywheel spin axis.
32. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 31 and also comprising at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said third flywheel support.
33. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 31 or claim 32 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
34. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 3133 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
35. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 3133 and wherein said third gyroscope is supported onto said first gyroscope.
36. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 35 and also including at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said first gyroscope and supporting said third gyroscope.
37. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 36 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said third gyroscope onto said first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
38. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 3133 and wherein said third gyroscope is supported onto said second gyroscope.
39. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 38 and also including at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said second gyroscope and supporting said third gyroscope.
40. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 39 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said third gyroscope onto said second gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
41. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 1140 and wherein said first gyroscope and at least one of said at least one additional gyroscope having at least one different characteristic selected from the group of momentum, size, shape and weight.
42. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 1141 and also comprising a sensor for sensing location on said first gyroscope of said at least one additional gyroscope.
43. A gyroscopic toy assembly comprising: a first gyroscope including : a flywheel adapted to spin about a flywheel spin axis ; a flywheel support defining said flywheel spin axis ; and at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said flywheel support.
44. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 43 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing duration of spinning of said first gyroscope in a predetermined position.
45. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 43 and also including a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
46. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 45 and also including an automatic timer for automatically timing duration of spinning of said first gyroscope in a predetermined position.
47. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 1146 and also comprising scoring functionality operative to receive inputs indicating at least one of : location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon ; rotational speed of at least one gyroscope; and spinning duration of at least one gyroscope; and to provide a scoring output based at least partly thereon.
48. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 47 and wherein said scoring functionality is operative to receive inputs indicating at least two of : location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon; rotational speed of at least one gyroscope; and spinning duration of at least one gyroscope.
49. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 47 and wherein said scoring functionality is operative to receive inputs indicating at least some of the following information: location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon; rotational speed of at least one gyroscope; spinning duration of at least one gyroscope; and at least one characteristic of a post employed when supporting one gyroscope on another.
50. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 1149 and also comprising computer network interconnection functionality for enabling operators of multiple gyroscope toy assemblies to interact with each other.
51. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game comprising: software operable on a computer and being operative to simulate: operation of a first gyroscope including: a first flywheel adapted to spin about a first flywheel spin axis; and a first flywheel support defining said first flywheel spin axis; and operation of at least one additional gyroscope supported on said first gyroscope at a location thereon which does not lie along said first flywheel spin axis.
52. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 51 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said first flywheel support.
53. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 51 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
54. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 51 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
55. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 52 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
56. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 52 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
57. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 53 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
58. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 55 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
59. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 51 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said first gyroscope and supporting at least one of said at least one additional gyroscope.
60. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 59 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said at least one additional gyroscope onto said first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
61. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 51 and wherein said at least one additional gyroscope comprises a second gyroscope including: a second flywheel adapted to spin about a second flywheel spin axis ; and a second flywheel support defining said second flywheel spin axis.
62. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 61 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said second flywheel support.
63. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 61 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having an automatic timer for automatically timing duration of spinning of said second gyroscope in a predetermined position.
64. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 61 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a second flywheel rotational speed sensor.
65. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 62 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
66. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 62 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
67. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 63 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
68. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 65 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
69. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 61 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said first gyroscope and supporting said second gyroscope.
70. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 69 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said second gyroscope onto said first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
71. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 6170 and wherein said at least one additional gyroscope also comprises a third gyroscope including: a third flywheel adapted to spin about a third flywheel spin axis ; and a third flywheel support defining said third flywheel spin axis.
72. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 71 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with said third flywheel support.
73. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 71 or claim 72 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having an automatic timer for automatically timing spinning duration of at least one of said gyroscopes.
74. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 7173 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a flywheel rotational speed sensor.
75. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 7173 and wherein said third gyroscope is supported onto said first gyroscope.
76. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 75 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said first gyroscope and supporting said third gyroscope.
77. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 76 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said third gyroscope onto said first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
78. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 7173 and wherein said third gyroscope is supported onto said second gyroscope.
79. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 78 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having at least one gyroscope support mounted onto said second gyroscope and supporting said third gyroscope.
80. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 79 and wherein said at least one gyroscope support provides nonrigid mounting of said third gyroscope onto said second gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.
81. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 5180 and wherein said first gyroscope and at least one of said at least one additional gyroscope having at least one different characteristic selected from the group of momentum, size, shape and weight.
82. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 5181 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a sensor for sensing location on said first gyroscope of said at least one additional gyroscope.
83. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 5182 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having scoring functionality operative to receive inputs indicating at least one of : location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon; rotational speed of at least one gyroscope; and spinning duration of at least one gyroscope; and to provide a scoring output based at least partly thereon.
84. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 83 and wherein said scoring functionality is operative to receive inputs indicating at least two of : location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon; rotational speed of at least one gyroscope; and spinning duration of at least one gyroscope.
85. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to claim 83 and wherein said scoring functionality is operative to receive inputs indicating: location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon; rotational speed of at least one gyroscope; and spinning duration of at least one gyroscope.
86. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 5185 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having computer network interconnection functionality for enabling operators of multiple gyroscope toy assemblies to interact with each other.
87. A gyroscope toy assembly according to claim 1 and also comprising momentum adjusting apparatus for adjusting the momentum of said first gyroscope.
88. A gyroscope toy assembly according to any of claims 110 and also comprising a sensor for sensing location on said first gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope.
89. A gyroscope toy simulation computer game according to any of claims 5186 and wherein said software is operative to simulate a gyroscope having a sensor for sensing location on said first gyroscope of said at least one additional gyroscope.
Description:
GYROSCOPIC TOY ASSEMBLY REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS Reference is made to U. S. Provisional Patent Application 60/534,433, filed January 5,2004, and entitled"Set of Gyroscopic Toys", the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference, and priority of which is hereby claimed.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to toys and games generally and more particularly toys and games employing gyroscopic principles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The following patent documents are believed to represent the current state of the art : U. S. Patents 6,312, 306; 6,276, 985; 6,6612, 895; 5,823, 845; 4,713, 039; 3,945, 146; U. S. Published Patent Application 2003/0129920; U. K. Patent 1,256, 545.

The disclosures of all publications mentioned in the specification and of the publications cited therein are hereby incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention seeks to provide gyroscopic toys and games.

There is thus provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention a gyroscopic toy assembly including a first gyroscope, which includes a flywheel adapted to spin about a flywheel spin axis, a flywheel support defining the flywheel spin axis, and a multiple position gyroscope support mounted onto the flywheel support, the multiple position gyroscope support being configured to define multiple selectable support locations for receiving at least one additional gyroscope.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with the flywheel support. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes an automatic timer for automatically timing the duration of the first gyroscope in a predetermined position. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with any of the above preferred embodiments of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes a flywheel rotational speed sensor.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the flywheel support and the multiple position gyroscope support are integrally formed as a single element. Alternatively, the flywheel support and the multiple position gyroscope support may be formed as separate elements.

Yet further, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes momentum-adjusting apparatus for adjusting the momentum of the first gyroscope.

Also provided, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention, is a gyroscope toy assembly including a first gyroscope, which includes a first flywheel adapted to spin about a first flywheel spin axis and a first flywheel support defining the first flywheel spin axis, and at least one additional gyroscope supported on the first gyroscope at a location thereon which does not lie along the first flywheel spin axis.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with the first flywheel support. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes an automatic timer for automatically timing the spinning duration of at least one of the gyroscopes. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with any of the above preferred embodiments of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes a flywheel rotational speed sensor.

Yet further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes at least one gyroscope support mounted onto the first gyroscope, which supports at least one of the at least one additional gyroscope. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the at least one gyroscope support provides non-rigid mounting of the at least one additional gyroscope onto the first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the at least one additional gyroscope includes a second gyroscope, which includes a second flywheel adapted to spin about a second flywheel spin axis, and a second flywheel support defining the second flywheel spin axis.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with the second flywheel support. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes an automatic timer for automatically timing the duration of the second gyroscope in a predetermined position. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with any of the above preferred embodiments of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes a second flywheel rotational speed sensor.

Yet further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes at least one gyroscope support mounted onto the first gyroscope, which supports the second gyroscope. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the at least one gyroscope support provides non-rigid mounting of the second gyroscope onto the first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the at least one additional gyroscope includes a third gyroscope, which includes a third flywheel adapted to spin about a third flywheel spin axis and a third flywheel support defining the third flywheel spin axis.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with the third flywheel support. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes an automatic timer for automatically timing the spinning duration of at least one of the gyroscopes. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with any of the above preferred embodiments of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes a flywheel rotational speed sensor.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the third gyroscope is supported onto the first gyroscope. Additionally, at least one gyroscope support mounted onto the first gyroscope supports the third gyroscope. Additionally, the at least one gyroscope support provides non-rigid mounting of the third gyroscope onto the first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom. Alternatively, the third gyroscope is supported onto the second gyroscope.

Additionally, at least one gyroscope support mounted onto the second gyroscope supports the third gyroscope. Additionally, the at least one gyroscope support provides non-rigid mounting of the second gyroscope onto the first gyroscope with at least one degree of freedom.

Yet further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the first gyroscope has at least one different characteristic, selected from the group of momentum, size, shape, and weight, from at least one of the at least one additional gyroscope.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes a sensor for sensing the location on the first gyroscope of the at least one additional gyroscope.

Also provided, in accordance with still another preferred embodiment of the present invention, is a gyroscopic toy assembly including a first gyroscope, which includes a flywheel adapted to spin about a flywheel spin axis, a flywheel support defining the flywheel spin axis, and at least one selectably positionable balancing weight associated with the flywheel support. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy includes an automatic timer for automatically timing the duration of the first gyroscope in a predetermined position. Additionally or alternatively in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy includes a flywheel rotational speed sensor.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly also includes scoring functionality operative to receive inputs indicating at least one of the following: location on a gyroscope of at least one additional gyroscope supported thereon, rotational speed of at least one gyroscope, and spinning duration of at least one gyroscope, and to provide a scoring output based at least partly thereon.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the gyroscope toy assembly includes computer network interconnection functionality for enabling operators of multiple gyroscope toy assemblies to interact with each other.

Still further provided, in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention, is a gyroscope toy simulation computer game including software operable on a computer and being able to simulate operation of a gyroscope toy in accordance with any of the above preferred embodiments of the present invention.

Preferably, the gyroscope toy assembly of the present invention includes a first plurality of virtual or physical gyroscopes which may be identical or, alternatively, may differ in one or more of the following attributes: a. size; b. shape; c. momentum ; d. number of and distribution of support locations; e. weight; and f. length of base pin. The gyroscope toy assembly also preferably includes a second plurality of rods or posts operative to provide non-rigid mounting of one gyroscope on another, wherein the rods may each enjoy one or more degrees of freedom of motion.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a set of gyroscopic tops is mechanically or electrically accelerated. The tops can be spun and mounted one on top of another in various spinning spots and combinations, at and/or away from the central balance point of the lower gyroscopic top/s. There is an option of connection to a personal computer, used as a platform for downloading results & scores to the Internet, which may be used as a global arena for competitions.

Additionally, the present invention provides a computer game based on the same mechanical principles as the gyroscopic tops.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a set of mechanically and/or electrically accelerated gyroscopic tops can be spun and mounted one on the top of another in various spinning spots and combinations. Upper gyroscopic tops can be spun and mounted on and/or away from the central balance point of lower gyroscopic top/s. Balancing the gyroscopic movements and forces is achieved by creating equal moments on opposite sides of the upper top/s by using gyroscopic tops of different weight located at different distances from the center, and/or by using a set of balancing weights to be placed in an adequate spot for balance.

The aim of the game is to spin the upper top/s for a long duration of time at various spinning points and using various top combinations. This set of unique gyroscopic tops creates a challenging and multi-level task for a player based on the chosen spinning combinations, demonstrates gyroscopic principles, improves the coordination of the player, and creates a magnificent sight. It also enables connection of the gyroscopic set to a personal computer for computerized score determination and as a data base, and enables use of the Internet to share scores among players, making the Internet a global arena for competitions. The invention also describes a multi-level computer game based on the same kinetic principles as the mechanical set of gyroscopic tops. The computer game allows competition among players using the same computer, or using various computers connected via the Internet.

Preferably, a set of at least 2 gyroscopic tops is provided to be used in a multi-level game. The gyroscopic tops can be identical in all their characteristics, or can be different in one or more of the following characteristics: size, shape, color, building material, weight, design (or structure), and gyroscopic momentum (inertia).

A set of gyroscopic tops includes a means of kinetic propulsion, such as a ripcord, serrated belt, spring-powered starter, or electric starter; alternatively, propulsion can be achieved by friction, with no other specific means of propulsion. Each of the gyroscopic tops preferably comprises the following components: a flywheel, one shell or two complementary half shells (upper and lower ones) as a mantle and/or as a spinning platform for additional gyroscopic top/s, a central axis to be attached to the flywheel, bearings to enable gyroscopic movement, and a lower end post to spin on.

In addition, a series of balancing weights for balancing the lower gyro/s serves as the platform for an upper spinning gyroscopic top. The balancing weights may be permanently attached to the gyroscopic top, or may be individual weights, attached or hung on the gyroscopic top/s using hooks, pins, magnetic force, and/or any other suitable method of selectable or permanent attachment.

The upper surface of the shell preferably serves as a spinning platform and can be round, or a different shape; can be the same size as the flywheel, or a different size; and can be flat, sloped, convex, or concave. The spinning platform may contain spinning spots for additional gyroscopic top/s to spin on, in the center point of the platform and away from the center of the lower top. The spinning spots may be situated on the surface of the spinning platform, and/or elevated or below the surface of the spinning platform. Each gyroscopic top may contain a component to transfer kinetic energy and thus enable its propulsion, like a cogwheel attached to the central axis, in case of propulsion by serrated belt, spring starter, or electric starter.

The gyroscopic tops may include additional build-in components and capabilities, such as but not limited to lighting (created by an internal dynamo, operated by battery or by other means), voice or whistle production, speedometer, and timer.

The set of gyroscopic tops may include additional external gadgets such as supports to place the lower gyroscopic top on, pedestals of various lengths to be attached to the lower end post of the upper gyroscopic top for elevating its center of gravity, and more.

The present invention seeks to provide a challenging and multi-level task for and/or competition among players using two or more gyroscopic tops. The aim of the game is, preferably, to spin gyroscopic top/s on the top of other/s in various locations and combinations for as long a time period as possible. The basic gyroscopic movement is created by the fast movement of the flywheel relative to its housing. The player may spin and place one gyroscopic top on top of another spinning gyroscopic top, two gyroscopic tops on top of a lower spinning one, or three spinning tops one on top of another, using different spinning spots which are located on the spinning platform. By using more than three gyroscopic tops, more combinations are created.

When spinning upper gyroscopic top/s away from the central point of lower one/s, balancing may be achieved by spinning additional tops on the same platform in the opposite direction as a balance, by adding/using the balancing weights of the lower gyroscopic top, or by using both means at the same time. The major parameters that create the multi-level challenge are the weight and inertia of the tops, the horizontal distance of the spinning spot from the center-point of the spinning platform, and the height of the center of gravity of the upper top above the center of gravity of the lower top/s. The specific top combinations, spinning speed, spinning locations, usage of rods and posts, and balancing weight positions are preferably defined by the player/s.

A set of gyroscopic tops may be connected to a personal computer by wire (sensitive pad, etc. ) or wireless (infra-red, etc. ) means. This set of gyroscopic tops may measure, compute, and quantify the achievements of the individual player/s.

A score of each individual player may be determined by built-in microprocessor/s in the gyroscopic top/s, and/or by built-in microprocessors in a flat pad that serves as a spinning base for the mentioned gyroscopic set, and/or by built-in microprocessors in a base in which the lowest gyroscopic toy is placed, etc. Specific software is preferably installed in a personal computer, enabling presentation of the scores in the computer and serving as a database for the player/s.

A set of gyroscopic tops may be connected to a personal computer and may use a network such as the Internet as a medium for sharing scores among Internet players, staging competitions among Internet players, and making the Internet a global arena for players. Specific Internet sites may be designed to perform these tasks.

A computer game may be based on the principles of the described set of gyroscopic tops. The software may simulate the physical and kinetic forces and principles that are created while spinning selected gyroscopic top/s in all combinations, thus creating a complete playing environment for the players. The software permits the creation of spinning combinations using 2 or more gyroscopic tops of identical or different size, shape, weight, and characteristics, as described herein. The player may choose the top/s to play with and the spinning combinations.

The software may determine the player score according to the spinning positions, combinations, and other spinning data, and may enable competition between players using the same computer or using different computers via the Internet.

Examples of preferred embodiments of the present invention include: a. a gyroscopic top that has a round and flat upper spinning platform, which is similar in its shape and diameter to the flywheel. The spinning spots are slightly sunken in the spinning platform. The balancing weights for balancing the spinning of an upper gyroscopic top/s are located below the flywheel. The gyroscopic top is propelled by a serrated belt that transmits kinetic energy to a cogwheel attached to a central axis. b. a gyroscopic top that has an upper spinning platform in a"bridge" shape, which is slightly concave and has a greater diameter than that of the flywheel.

The rest of the main components are similar to example (a). c. a set of two gyroscopic tops, different in size and weight, spun and mounted one on top of the other. The upper gyroscopic top is placed in a spinning spot that is away from the center point of the spinning platform, balanced by a balancing weight on the opposite side of the lower gyroscopic top. d. a set of three gyroscopic tops, different in size and weight, spinning and mounted in"two on one"configuration. The upper two tops are spun and mounted on the"spinning bridge"of the lower top, in spinning spots that are away from the center point of the lower top, and at different distances from the center point of the lower top. Balance is achieved by creating an equal moment of the two upper gyroscopic tops. These equal moments are achieved by a combination of the tops' weights, distances from the center point of the lower top, and compensation supplied by balancing weights on the lower gyroscopic top. e. a set of three gyroscopic tops, different in size and weight, spinning and mounted in"top on top"configuration. The upper two tops are placed in spinning spots that are away from the central point of each of the two lower tops. Each of the spinning spots used is at a different distance from the center point of each of the lower tops, respectively. Balance is achieved by creating an equal moment of the upper gyroscopic tops.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the drawings in which: Figs. 1A & 1B are respective simplified pictorial and side view illustrations of a gyroscope toy constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 2A & 2B are respective simplified pictorial and side view illustrations of a gyroscope toy constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 3A & 3B are respective simplified pictorial and side view illustrations of a gyroscope toy constructed and operative in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 4A, 4B and 4C are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 5A, 5B and 5C are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 6A, 6B and 6C are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 7A, 7B and 7C are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with still another preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 8A, 8B and 8C are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 9 is an example of a gyroscope property table which may be stored in the memory of a gyroscope game constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, and which may be used by a processor of the computer game to compute complexity of a particular configuration of real or virtual gyroscopes and, based on the complexity, to compute a score assigned to a user who built that configuration; Fig. 10 is a simplified illustration of a computer network based toy system employing toys of the type shown in Figs. 1A-8C, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 11A-1 IF are simplified illustrations of computer games based on simulations of functionalities of toys of the type shown in Figs. 1A-8C, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 12 is a pictorial illustration of a plurality of network- interconnected players playing a gyroscope toy simulation computer game constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 13A-13B are examples of physical or virtual, computer displayed challenge cards which define configurations of gyroscopes to be built by a player of a gyroscope toy assembly or gyroscope toy simulation computer game constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and Fig. 14 is an example of a post property table which may be stored in the memory of a gyroscope game constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, and which may be used by a processor of the computer game to compute complexity of a particular configuration of real or virtual gyroscopes and posts and, based on the complexity, to compute a score assigned to a user who built that configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Reference is now made to Figs. 1A & 1B, which are respective simplified pictorial and side view illustrations of a gyroscope toy constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As seen in Figs. 1A & 1B, the gyroscope toy preferably comprises a chassis 100 having a bottom portion 102, side wall portions 104 and a top flywheel axle mounting aperture defining portion 106 defining a top flywheel axle mounting aperture 108. Chassis 100 also defines a base pin mounting aperture 110, a pair of spaced flywheel axle mounting apertures 112 and a pair of balance weight positioning locations 114.

A base pin 122 is fixedly mounted to chassis 100 at aperture 110. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that a pair of balance weights 124 are selectably radially positioned with respect to chassis 100 at balance weight positioning locations 114. It is appreciated that any suitable arrangement and mounting of balance weights may be employed.

A flywheel 126 is fixedly mounted onto a flywheel axle 128, preferably having fixed thereto a threaded drive gear 130, and is arranged for relatively low friction rotation about a flywheel spin axis 132 with respect to chassis 100 in mounting apertures 108 and 112, such that drive gear 130 is partially surrounded by a partial enclosure 134, forming part of chassis 100. It is appreciated that any other suitable type of flywheel rotation actuation mechanism may be employed in this and all other suitable embodiments described herein.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that fixed to or integrally formed with chassis 100 there is provided a multiple position gyroscope support 136. Preferably, the multiple position gyroscope support 136 is configured to define multiple selectable support locations 138 for receiving at least one additional gyroscope. In the embodiment of Figs. 1A & 1B, the gyroscope support 136 is generally in the form of a disk. It is appreciated that the distribution of support locations 138 on gyroscope support 136 may be any suitable distribution which includes off-axis locations with respect to flywheel spin axis 132.

Reference is now made to Figs. 2A & 2B, which are respective simplified pictorial and side view illustrations of a gyroscope toy constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

As seen in Figs. 2A & 2B, the gyroscope toy preferably comprises a chassis 200 having a bottom portion 202, side wall portions 204 and a top flywheel axle mounting aperture defining portion 206 defining a top flywheel axle mounting aperture 208.

Chassis 200 also defines a base pin mounting aperture 210, a pair of spaced flywheel axle mounting apertures 212 and a pair of balance weight positioning locations 214.

A base pin 222 is fixedly mounted to chassis 200 at aperture 210. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that a pair of balance weights 224 are selectably radially positioned with respect to chassis 200 at balance weight positioning locations 214. It is appreciated that any suitable arrangement and mounting of balance weights may be employed.

A flywheel 226 is fixedly mounted onto a flywheel axle 228 having fixed thereto a threaded drive gear 230 and is arranged for relatively low friction rotation about a flywheel spin axis 232 with respect to chassis 200 in mounting apertures 208 and 212, such that drive gear 230 is partially surrounded by a partial enclosure 234, forming part of chassis 200.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that fixed or integrally formed with chassis 200 there is provided a multiple position gyroscope support 236. Preferably, the multiple position gyroscope support is configured to define multiple selectable support locations 238 for receiving at least one additional gyroscope. In the embodiment of Figs. 2A & 2B, the gyroscope support 236 is generally in the form of a strip. It is appreciated that the distribution of support locations 238 on gyroscope support 236 may be any suitable distribution which includes off-axis locations with respect to flywheel spin axis 232.

Reference is now made to Figs. 3A & 3B, which are respective simplified pictorial and side view illustrations of a gyroscope toy constructed and operative in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention. As seen in Figs. 3A & 3B, the gyroscope toy preferably comprises a chassis 300 having a bottom portion 302, side wall portions 304 and a top flywheel axle mounting aperture defining portion 306 defining a top flywheel axle mounting aperture 308. Chassis 300 also defines a base pin mounting aperture 310, a pair of spaced flywheel axle mounting apertures 312 and a pair of balance weight positioning locations 314.

A base pin 322 is fixedly mounted to chassis 300 at aperture 310. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that a pair of balance weights 324 are selectably radially positioned with respect to chassis 300 at balance weight positioning locations 314. It is appreciated that any suitable arrangement and mounting of balance weights may be employed.

A flywheel 326 is fixedly mounted onto a flywheel axle 328 having fixed thereto a threaded drive gear 330 and is arranged for relatively low friction rotation about a flywheel spin axis 332 with respect to chassis 300 in mounting apertures 308 and 312, such that drive gear 330 is partially surrounded by a partial enclosure 334, forming part of chassis 300. It is appreciated that the distribution of support locations 338 on gyroscope support 336 may be any suitable distribution which includes off-axis locations with respect to flywheel spin axis 332.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that fixed or integrally formed with chassis 300 there is provided a multiple position gyroscope support 336. Preferably, the multiple position gyroscope support 336 is configured to define multiple selectable support locations 338 for receiving at least one additional gyroscope.

In the embodiment of Figs. 3A & 3B, the gyroscope support 336 is generally in the form of a bridge wherein the selectable support locations 338 are located on slanted sides thereof to either side of a central region which defines a pivot support for the flywheel axle 328. Alternatively any other bridge configuration, such as a configuration having curved sides may be employed.

Reference is now made to Figs. 4A, 4B and 4C, which are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 4A shows a gyroscope toy 400 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 402 formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 404 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 402 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 400. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toy 404 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys 400 and 404 in balance.

It is appreciated that the engagement between base pin 322 and recess 402 may be such that a selected degree of freedom of movement therebetween is provided. In the illustrated embodiment of Fig. 4A, the base pin 322 may be provided with protrusions 405, which may engage corresponding protrusions or recesses (not shown) in recess 402, so as to restrict rotation of base pin 322 relative to recess 402.

Alternatively such restriction on rotation may not be provided. Additionally or alternatively, the engagement between base pin 322 and recess 402 may be such that base pin 322 is or is not pivotable in one or more plane relative to recess 402. The selection of the degree of freedom between base pin 322 and recess 402 may be effected by suitable configuration of recess 402 and/or of base pin 322. The foregoing applies equally to all of the suitable embodiments described herein.

Fig. 4B shows a gyroscope toy 410 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 412 formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of a gyroscope toy 414 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B. Fig. 4B also shows a gyroscope toy 416 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B having its base pin 222 placed in a recess 418 formed at another one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of the gyroscope toy 414.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recesses 412 and 418 are at locations which do not lie along the flywheel spin axis 232 of toy 414. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 224 may be required to maintain the gyroscope toys 410,414 and 416 in balance.

Fig. 4C shows a gyroscope toy 420 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 422 formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 424 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. Fig. 4C also shows that gyroscope toy 424 has its base pin 122 placed in a recess 426 formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of another gyroscope toy 428, of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 422 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 424. It is also a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 426 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 428. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toys 424 and 428 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys in balance.

The embodiments of Figs. 4A-4C described hereinabove are characterized in that the base pins of each supported gyroscopic toy which is mounted on a recess formed in a supporting gyroscopic toy have full hemispherical freedom of movement.

Reference is now made to Figs. 5A, 5B and 5C, which are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The toys of Figs. 5A, 5B and 5C are all characterized in that a post is employed when supporting one gyroscope toy onto another.

Fig. 5A shows a gyroscope toy 500 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 502 formed at the top of a post 503 which is seated in an aperture formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 504 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 502 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 504. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toy 504 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys 500 and 504 in balance.

Fig. 5B shows a gyroscope toy 510 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 512 formed at the top of a post 513 which is seated in an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of a gyroscope toy 514 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B. Fig. 5B also shows a gyroscope toy 516 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B having its base pin 222 placed in a recess 518 formed at the top of a post 519 which is seated in an aperture at another one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of the gyroscope toy 514.

As shown, the base pin of gyroscope toy 510 is notched whereas the base pin of gyroscope toy 516 is smooth and not notched. More generally, any of the gyroscope toys provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention can have a notched or smooth base pin independent of each gyroscope toy's other characteristics. A smooth base pin generally allows free rotation of the entire gyroscope toy whereas a notched base pin generally prevents rotation of the external components of the gyroscope toy and allows free rotation of the flywheel and associated elements only.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recesses 512 and 518 are at locations which do not lie along the flywheel spin axis 232 of toy 514. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 224 may be required to maintain the gyroscope toys 510,514 and 516 in balance.

Fig. 5C shows a gyroscope toy 520 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 522 formed at the top of a post 523 which is seated in an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 524 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. Fig. 5B also shows that gyroscope toy 524 has its base pin 122 placed in a recess 526 formed at the top of a post 527 which is seated in an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of another gyroscope toy 528, of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 522 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 524. It is also a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 526 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 528 It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toys 524 and 528 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys in balance.

The embodiments of Figs. 5A-5C described hereinabove are characterized in that the base pins of each supported gyroscopic toy which is mounted on a recess formed in a post have full hemispherical freedom of movement relative to the post, which is securely and removably fastened to the supporting gyroscopic toy.

Reference is now made to Figs. 6A, 6B and 6C, which are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The toys of Figs. 6A, 6B and 6C are all characterized in that a post which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane is employed when supporting one gyroscope toy onto another.

Fig. 6A shows a gyroscope toy 600 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B having its base pin 122 placed in a recess 602 formed at the top of a post 603 which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane at an aperture formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 604 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 602 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 604. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toy 604 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys 600 and 604 in balance.

Fig. 6B shows a gyroscope toy 610 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B having its base pin 122 placed in a recess 612 formed at the top of a post 613 which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane at an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of a gyroscope toy 614 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B. Fig. 6B also shows a gyroscope toy 616 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B having its base pin 222 placed in a recess 618 formed at the top of a post 619 which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane at an aperture at another one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of the gyroscope toy 614.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recesses 612 and 618 are at locations which do not lie along the flywheel spin axis 232 of toy 614. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 224 may be required to maintain the gyroscope toys 610,614 and 616 in balance.

Fig. 6C shows a gyroscope toy 620 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 622 formed at the top of a post 623 which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane at an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 624 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. Fig. 6B also shows that gyroscope toy 624 has its base pin 122 placed in a recess 626 formed at the top of a post 627 which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane at an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of another gyroscope toy 628, of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 622 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 624. It is also a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 626 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 628. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toys 624 and 628 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys in balance.

The embodiments of Figs. 6A-6C described hereinabove are characterized in that the base pins of each supported gyroscopic toy which is mounted on a recess formed in a post have full or partial hemispherical freedom of movement relative to the post, which is pivotably mounted for motion in a plane relative to the supporting gyroscopic toy. It is appreciated that the engagement between the base pin and the recess of a post and between the base of a post and the recess at a selectable support locations may be such that a selected degree of freedom of movement therebetween is provided.

For example, the base pin or the base of the post and the corresponding recess in which it is located may be configured so as to fully or partially restrict relative rotation and pivoting therebetween. The selection of the degree of freedom between a base pin or post and a recess may be effected by suitable configuration of the recess and/or of the base pin or post. The posts may be of any suitable length or lengths. The foregoing applies equally to all of the suitable embodiments described herein.

Reference is now made to Figs. 7A, 7B and 7C, which are simplified pictorial illustrations of gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-3B and are constructed and operative in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The toys of Figs. 7A, 7B and 7C are all characterized in that a post which is pivotably mounted is employed when supporting one gyroscope toy onto another.

Fig. 7A shows a gyroscope toy 700 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 702 formed at the top of a post 703 which is pivotably mounted at an aperture formed at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 704 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 702 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 704. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toy 704 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys 700 and 704 in balance.

Fig. 7B shows a gyroscope toy 710 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 712 formed at the top of a post 713 which is pivotably mounted at an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of a gyroscope toy 714 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B. Fig. 7B also shows a gyroscope toy 716 of the type shown in Figs. 2A & 2B having its base pin 222 placed in a recess 718 formed at the top of a post 719 which is pivotably mounted at an aperture at another one of the multiple selectable support locations 238 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 236 of the gyroscope toy 714.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recesses 712 and 718 are at locations which do not lie along the flywheel spin axis 232 of toy 714. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 224 may be required to maintain the gyroscope toys 710,714 and 716 in balance.

Fig. 7C shows a gyroscope toy 720 of the type shown in Figs. 3A & 3B having its base pin 322 placed in a recess 722 formed at the top of a post 723 which is pivotably mounted at an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of a gyroscope toy 724 of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B. Fig. 7B also shows that gyroscope toy 724 has its base pin 122 placed in a recess 726 formed at the top of a post 727 which is pivotably mounted at an aperture at one of the multiple selectable support locations 138 defined by multiple position gyroscope support 136 of another gyroscope toy 728, of the type shown in Figs. 1A & 1B.

It is a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 722 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 724. It is also a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that recess 726 is at a location which does not lie along the flywheel spin axis 132 of toy 728. It is appreciated that suitable positioning of balance weights 124 of toys 724 and 728 is required to maintain the gyroscope toys in balance.

The embodiments of Figs. 7A-7C described hereinabove are characterized in that the base pins of each supported gyroscopic toy which is mounted on a recess formed in a post have full hemispherical freedom of movement relative to the post, which is pivotably mounted onto to the supporting gyroscopic toy.

It is also a particular feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that gyroscope toys of any suitable size or weight may be mounted onto each other in any suitable order. Accordingly, relatively large gyroscope toys may be mounted onto relatively small gyroscope toys and vice versa.

It will be appreciated that the gyroscope toys of Figs. 1A-3B may be constructed in such a way that multiple position gyroscope supports 136,236, and 336 are removable therefrom and may be interchanged with others of multiple position gyroscope supports 136,236, and 336, allowing a single set of gyroscopic toys to be configured in multiple ways by switching shape/s of gyroscope supports thereon. It will further be appreciated that a single set of gyroscopic toys may be provided with a variety of multiple position gyroscope supports 136,236, and 336 having a variety of different types of support locations 138, 238, and 338 respectively, the support locations of each of the multiple position gyroscope supports being adapted to support thereon posts or base pins of other gyroscopic toys with a variety of levels of freedom of movement.

Reference is now made to Fig. 8A which is a simplified pictorial illustration of a gyroscope toys which combine toy elements of the types shown in Figs. 1A-1B, including gyroscopes 800 with suitably adjustable weights 802 and suitable detectors/transmitters 804 and 806 informing processor 808 of current parameters relevant to the configuration difficulty and/or score, e. g. as described herein. A display board 810 preferably displays game information such as, for each gyroscope, the gyroscope's name, position relative to the gyroscope below it, rotational speed and time elapsed since spinning of that gyroscope commenced. Game information also typically comprises information pertaining to the entire configuration of gyroscopes, such as the gyroscope configuration's difficulty level, and such as the player's current score which is typically a function of the difficulty level and of the performance (speed, spinning time) of each participating gyroscope.

Fig. 8B shows a configuration of several gyroscope toys similar to the configuration of Fig. 8A; however, the gyroscopes participating in the configuration of Fig. 8B are of the types shown in Figs. 2A-2B. Fig. 8C shows a configuration of several gyroscope toys similar to the configuration of Fig. 8A; however, the gyroscopes participating in the configuration of Fig. 8C are of the types shown in Figs. 1A-1B and Figs. 2A-2B. In the illustrated embodiment, base pin 840 of Fig.

8A is slotted or notched at its base, which tends to prevent rotation of chassis 842.

Base pin 850 of Fig. 8B is not notched at its base, and therefore, chassis 852 may rotate when its gyroscope is spinning. It is appreciated that any of the gyroscope toys shown and described herein may have either a notched base pin or a smooth base pin.

The gyroscope toys of Figs. 8A-8C preferably comprise gyroscope support locations 138 which are identified, e. g. by numerals 812 indicating the distance of the locations 138 from the center of gravity of the gyroscope, and the gyroscopes themselves are also preferably identified, e. g. by names 814. Vibration detectors/transmitters 806 may be provided at each gyroscope support location 138 and may send indications of presence of a gyroscope, at that location, to processor 808. Processor 808 may be located within a base portion 816, which supports the lowest gyroscope 818, or in a pad that serves as the base of the toy.

The processor 808 typically receives, e. g. via wireless or wired signal transmission means, information regarding the presence of, identity of, rotational speed of, and spinning time of all gyroscopes and posts, if any, participating in the configuration mounted on base 816, e. g. from space detectors 806, rotational speed detectors 804, which may include timers, and a vibration detector 822 detecting the presence of the lowest gyroscope 818. It is appreciated that vibration detector 822 can also be used to determine spinning duration since a gyroscope typically vibrates only when spinning. Display board 810 preferably displays game information computed by the processor 808, such as but not limited to the amount of time each of the gyroscopes 800 has been spinning, the position in which each of the gyroscopes 800 has been spinning (the position in which the bottom gyroscope 818 is spinning on the base 814 is typically considered 0), the rotational speed at which each of the gyroscopes 800 is spinning, as detected by rotational speed detectors 804, the difficulty level of the gyroscope configuration, and the score.

A speaker 830 may be provided in addition to or instead of the display board 810. The speaker 830 may play music while the gyroscopes spin, may beep when the gyroscopes fall and may provide a congratulatory message once the gyroscopes have spun for a predetermined time period.

In the example shown in Fig. 8A, an upper gyroscope 832 is spinning on bottom gyroscope 818 at the support location 138 identified as 2. In the present example, the difficulty level of the configuration shown is defined as 2, since a configuration in which upper gyroscope 832 were spinning within support location 0, rather than support location 2, on the bottom gyroscope 818 would be easier and could be defined as difficulty level 1, whereas a configuration in which an additional gyroscope were spinning atop gyroscope 818 would be more difficult and could be <BR> <BR> defined, e. g. , as difficulty level 3 if the additional gyroscope were spinning at support location 0 on gyroscope 818, or as difficulty level 4 if the additional gyroscope were spinning within a non-zero support location on gyroscope 818. As seen in Fig. 8B, the difficulty level of the configuration shown is defined as 4, since two upper gyroscopes 834 are spinning on bottom gyroscope 818, each of the two upper gyroscopes spinning at support locations that are not 0. As seen in Fig. 8C, a top gyroscope 838 is spinning on upper gyroscope 832 of the configuration of Fig. 8A, at a support location 138 on upper gyroscope 832 that is not zero. Here, the difficulty level is defined as 5.

Difficulty level might also vary depending on known weight of an additional gyroscope. Fig. 9 is an example of a gyroscope properties table, which is typically stored in processor 808, and which stores various gyroscope characteristics which may be used by processor 808 to compute the difficulty level. Preferably each gyroscope transmits its own identity to processor 808 and processor 808 accesses the characteristics of each gyroscope from the gyroscope table of Fig. 9 ; using the identity of that gyroscope as transmitted.

The score, also shown in display 810, typically is a function of at least some of the following parameters: the configuration difficulty level, the amount of time for which the gyroscopes in the configuration spin, the rotational speed of the gyroscopes in the configuration, and usage of various posts in the configuration which may allow a different number of degrees of freedom between gyroscopes in that configuration.

Reference is now made to Fig. 10, which is a simplified illustration of a computer network based toy system employing toys of the type shown in Figs. 1A- 8C, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention. As shown, sets of gyroscopic toys 1002,1004 and 1006 are coupled, preferably via their respective bases 1012, 1014 and 1016 to respective personal computers 1022,1024 or 1026 by wire (sensitive pad, etc. ), or wireless<BR> (infra-red, etc. ) means, as shown.

Each personal computer may measure, compute, and quantify the achievements of the individual player/s as transmitted by the set of gyroscopic toys associated with each computer. A score of each individual player may be determined by built-in microprocessor/s in the gyroscopic top/s, and/or by built-in microprocessors in a flat pad that serves as a spinning base for the mentioned gyroscopic set and/or by each player's computer. Specific software is preferably installed in a personal computer and enables the computation and presentation of the scores, e. g. on the computer's display, and serves as a database for the player/s.

Communication between the personal computers may be provided using a network 1030 such as the Internet and associated server/s 1032 as a medium for sharing scores among Internet-interconnected players, performing competitions among Internet- interconnected players, and making the Internet a global arena for players in the web.

Specific Internet sites and/or software may be designed to perform these tasks.

Reference is now made to Figs. 11A-11F, which are simplified illustrations of computer games based on simulations of functionalities of toys of the type shown in Figs. 1A-8C, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention. As shown in Fig. 11A, a population of gyroscopes 1110 with differing characteristics is displayed. Also displayed is a population of posts. 1120, typically of different lengths and shapes, being either slotted or unslotted and/or affording different degrees of freedom (posts which screw in and provide no degrees of freedom, vis a vis rods which provide a single degree of freedom for pivoting along a single axis, vis a vis rods which provide two degrees of freedom for pivoting within an entire hemisphere).

A player 1130 typically drags and drops gyroscopes 1110 into a playing space 1140, interconnects the gyroscopes either directly or via dragged-and- dropped rods 1120, sets locations of balancing weights, and then clicks on a"spin" button 1160 to indicate that he has created a gyroscope configuration and wishes to test the ability of his configuration to spin. Fig. 11B shows a successful gyroscope configuration 1180 which has been found by the game's internal simulational/computational units to be capable of spinning for a time period t.

Therefore, the gyroscope configuration 1180 is shown spinning for a time period t, as illustrated in Fig. 1 in.

Preferably, as time proceeds within time period t, the display changes, as shown in Fig. 11C, to indicate changes in the relative orientations of the gyroscopes since the gyroscopes in a somewhat imbalanced gyroscope configuration tend to tilt more and more as time goes on.

Gyroscope configuration 1180 is shown toppled over once time period t has elapsed, as illustrated in Fig. 11D. A"back"button 1190 allows the user to terminate the simulation so as to return to the drag-and-drop screen of Fig. l lA and further adjust the gyroscope configuration and balance, or to terminate the game.

When a player wishes to adjust weights so as to affect the balance of participating gyroscopes, either initially or because the player has learned by simulation as shown in Figs. 11B-1 ID that a configuration is imbalanced, the player typically drags balance weights 124 on selected gyroscopes inward or outward. For example, in Fig. HE, as shown, the player is simulating the same configuration as in Figs. 11 B-11 D except that some of the weights 124 have been dragged in order to alter the balances of the corresponding gyroscopes.

As shown in Fig. 1 IF, according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a winning criterion may be developed, typically comprising a period of spinning time which must be achieved, and when this occurs, the screen or the computer's speaker provides a congratulatory message and score.

Fig. 12 illustrates a plurality of interconnected computers 1210 playing a gyroscope toy simulation computer game constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As shown, one of the players, Joe, has been successful in building and balancing a predetermined configuration of gyroscopes, before or in less time than his co-players Tom and Ann have done so.

Typically, the predetermined configuration to be built and balanced is presented to players in the form of a challenge card such as those shown in Figs. 13A and 13B.

Fig. 13A is an example of a challenge card in which the gyroscope support location 1310 in which each gyroscope is to be positioned is specifically indicated. In the illustrated example, gyroscope Tam is to be positioned at location 2 on gyroscope Tum. The player has only to adjust the balancing weights to achieve balance for the defined gyroscope configuration. Fig. 13B is an example of a challenge card in which gyroscope support locations are not defined. Therefore, the player must select support locations at which to position each gyroscope relative to the gyroscope under it, and then adjust moments to balance the configuration s/he has defined. Similar challenge cards may be used for both mechanical and computerized versions of the game.

It is appreciated that the difficulty level of challenge cards can be determined empirically, by assigning a wide variety of challenge cards to focus groups comprising potential players who attempt to carry out the challenge cards and are monitored to determine how many potential players are successful, and within which time frame, for each challenge card. Similarly, a combination function may be developed empirically to determine scores as a function of parameters such as number of gyroscopes, distance of each location atop a first gyroscope and bearing a second gyroscope, from the axis of the first gyroscope, gyroscope weight particularly of gyroscopes which are radially distant from the axis of gyroscopes under them, rotational speed, time of rotation, and properties of posts interposed between first gyroscopes and second gyroscopes bearing the first gyroscopes. To develop the combination function empirically, focus groups of potential players are again studied as they manipulate a set of gyroscopes, so as to identify the relative degrees of difficulty involved in building and operating various configurations of gyroscopes.

More generally, any of the gyroscope embodiments shown, described and illustrated herein can be simulated in order to form a basis for computer games such as those games shown and described in Figs. 10-13B.

It is appreciated that any suitable apparatus may be provided on board the gyroscopes of the present invention, in order to allow the moment thereof to be modified, thereby to maintain balance of a plurality of gyroscopes arranged in an asymmetric structure. In the illustrated embodiment, the moment is modified by translating a weight radially inward and outward from the axis of the gyroscope, however, alternatively, other implementations are possible such as a container at a fixed radial location into which variable weights can be loaded.

Reference is now made to Fig. 14, which illustrates a post properties table storing properties of a set of posts which may be provided in conjunction with the gyroscopes shown and described herein. As described above with reference to Figs. 5A-7C, these posts may be employed when supporting one gyroscope toy onto another. Each post may be characterized by its length. In the illustrated examples, posts of 2 lengths are provided (10 mm long and 20 mm long). Each post may also be characterized by the degree of freedom with which it is mounted. Posts 1-4 provide 0 degrees of freedom because they are constructed to be securely and removably fastened to a supporting gyroscopic toy, as described above with reference to Figs. 5A - 5C. Posts 5-8 provide an axial degree of freedom as described above with reference to Figs. 6A-6C. Posts 9-12 provide full rotational degrees of freedom as described above with reference to Figs. 7A-7C. Each post may also be characterized as being slotted or notched (posts 1, 3,5, 7,9 and 11) or smooth i. e. not slotted/notched (posts 2,4, 6,8, 10,12) at its base.

Preferably, the post properties table of Fig. 14 is stored in a suitable memory accessible by a suitable score-computing processor such as processor 808 of Fig. 8A. Each post transmits its own identity via suitably positioned detectors/transmitters to the processor, and the processor then accesses the post properties table of Fig. 14 to obtain post properties which impact on configuration difficulty. For example, posts with 0 degrees of freedom increase the difficulty very little whereas posts with full rotational freedom increase the difficulty very substantially. The effect of the posts may be simulated by virtual posts such as posts 1122,1124 and 1126 illustrated in Fig. 11A.

It is appreciated that the software components of the present invention may, if desired, be implemented in ROM (read-only memory) form. The software components may, generally, be implemented in hardware, if desired, using conventional techniques.

It is appreciated that various features of the invention which are, for clarity, described in the contexts of separate embodiments may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited by what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather the scope of the present invention includes both combinations and subcombinations of the various features described hereinabove as well as variations and modifications which would occur to persons skilled in the art upon reading the specification and which are not in the prior art.