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Title:
LIGHT EMITTING SPORTS TRAINING AND GAME PLAY SYSTEM AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/132381
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system (10) for sports training or game play includes at least two light emitting devices (12) that are positionable at a selected spaced apart distance from one another. The light emitting devices (12) are coupled to a power source (40) and each having at least one electrically powered light source (16, 64, 66) that is powered by the power source (40). A controller (70, 80) remotely and selectively controls the activation and deactivation of the light source (16, 64, 66) of each light emitting device (12).

Inventors:
ELDER, James C. (3120 Towerwood Drive, Dallas, Texas, 75234, US)
Application Number:
US2018/012970
Publication Date:
July 19, 2018
Filing Date:
January 09, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ELDER, James C. (3120 Towerwood Drive, Dallas, Texas, 75234, US)
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B71/06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERGEN, Grady K. (Griggs Bergen LLP, 3131 McKinney Ave. Suite 60, Dallas Texas, 75204, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I claim: 1. A system for sports training or game play comprising: at least two light emitting devices that are positionable at a selected spaced apart distance from one another, the light emitting devices being coupled to a power source and each having at least one electrically powered light source that is powered by the power source; and a controller that remotely and selectively controls the activation and deactivation of the light source of each light emitting device. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein: each light emitting device has a light source that provides a visually distinguishable appearance from the other. 3. The system of claim 1, wherein: the controller is a wireless controller.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein: the at least two light emitting devices each have a base for engaging a support surface, and wherein each light source is configured as an elongated body that is coupled to and extends from the base. 5. The system of claim 1, wherein: the light source is an LED light source.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein: the light source includes a plurality of LED lights coupled to an elongated support member so that the LED lights are spaced along the length of the support member, and wherein the light source includes an elongated translucent cover that surrounds the LED lights and elongated support member.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein: each light emitting device has a light source is a different color from the other.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein: the controller is programmed so that activation of one light source causes deactivation of the other.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein: the at least two light emitting devices each have a base for engaging a support surface, and wherein the base has a stake member for staking the light emitting device into the ground or support media.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein: the base has a push member that can be engaged to facilitate forcing the stake member into the ground or support media.

11. The system of claim 9, wherein: there are at least three light emitting devices.

12. A method of conducting sports training or game play comprising: providing at least two light emitting devices, the light emitting devices being coupled to a power source and each having at least one electrically powered light source that is powered by the power source; providing a controller that remotely and selectively controls the activation and deactivation of the light source of each light emitting device; positioning the at least two light emitting devices at a selected spaced apart distances from one another; using the controller remotely to selectively activating the light source of one of the light emitting devices while the light source of the other light emitting device is deactivated to indicate to a participant trainee or game player that a certain action is required; and then activating the light source of the other light emitting device and deactivating the activated light source of said one of the light emitting devices to indicate to the participant trainee or game player that a different action is required.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein: each light emitting device has a light source that provides a visually distinguishable appearance from the other.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein: the controller is a wireless controller.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein: the at least two light emitting devices each have a base for engaging a support surface, and wherein each light source is configured as an elongated body that is coupled to and extends from the base.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein: the light source is an LED light source.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein: the light source includes a plurality of LED lights coupled to an elongated support member so that the LED lights are spaced along the length of the support member, and wherein the light source includes an elongated translucent cover that surrounds the LED lights and elongated support member.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein: each light emitting device has a light source is a different color from the other.

19. The method of claim 12, wherein: the controller is programmed so that activation of one light source causes deactivation of the other.

20. The method of claim 12, wherein: the at least two light emitting devices each have a base for engaging a support surface, and wherein the base has a stake member for staking the light emitting device into the ground or support media.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein: the base has a push member that can be engaged to facilitate forcing the stake member into the ground or support media.

22. The method of claim 12, wherein: there are at least three light emitting devices.

23. The method of claim 12, wherein: there are a plurality of light emitting devices that are spaced apart and positioned to define a perimeter that surrounds the participant trainee or game player with the participant trainee or game player being located within the perimeter.

Description:
LIGHT EMITTING SPORTS TRAINING

AND GAME PLAY SYSTEM AND METHOD

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0001] For a more complete understanding of the system and its use, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, in which:

[0002] FIG. 1 is schematic diagram of a system for sports training or game play utilizing a plurality of light emitting devices in which illustrative embodiments may be implemented;

[0003] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a light emitting device of the system of FIG. 1 in which illustrative embodiments may be implemented;

[0004] FIG. 3 is an enlarged front perspective view of the light emitting device of FIG. 2;

[0005] FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of the light emitting device of FIG. 2 showing a light control assembly of the light emitting device;

[0006] FIG. 5 is an enlarged rear perspective view of the light emitting device of FIG. 2;

[0007] FIG. 6 is a elevational view of the light emitting device of FIG. 2 shown in partial cross section;

[0008] FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a control device for use with the system of FIG. 1;

[0009] FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a mobile device that may be used as a control device for the system of FIG. 1;

[0010] FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram of the system of FIG. 1 showing users of the system at various positions during sports training or game play;

[0011] FIG. 10 is a elevational view of a playing field obstacle device incorporating the light emitting device of FIG. 2 as a support for the obstacle device; and

[0012] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a net assembly incorporating the light emitting device of FIG. 2 as a support for the net assembly. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] Referring to FIG. 1, a system 10 for sports training, game play, and other activities is shown. The system 10 includes two or more light emitting devices 12. The light emitting devices 12 are shown being positioned on playing field or surface 14, where the devices 12 are positioned at various selected spaced apart distances from one another.

[0014] The light emitting device 12 is shown in more detail in FIG. 2. As shown, the device 12 includes a light source assembly 16 that is coupled to a base 18. The base 18 is configured to engage a support surface or structure and to hold the light source assembly 16 at a position above the support surface or extending away from the support surface or structure. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the base 18 may include a support plate or member 20 from which extends a light source coupling 22 for coupling the light source assembly 16 to the base 18. In the embodiment shown, the support plate 20 is configured as flat or planar member, which may be formed from a structurally rigid material, such as metal, steel, wood, fiberglass, graphite, plastic, etc. Extending from the support plate 20 is a light source coupling 22 for coupling and securing the light source assembly 16 to the base 18. Although the support member 20 is shown as a flat or planar plate, it may have other configurations, as well.

[0015] In the embodiment shown in Fig. 3, the light source coupling 22 is in the form of a socket, tube or sleeve 24 that is configured to receive a proximal end of the light source assembly 16. The light source assembly 16 may secured to the coupling 22 by means of fasteners 25, which may be permanent or non-releasable (e.g., rivet, weld, epoxy, etc.) or releasable (e.g., screw, bolt, hook and loop, etc.). Other configurations for the light source coupling 22 may also be used to facilitate securely coupling the light source assembly 12 to the base 18. In certain embodiments, the coupling 22 may be rigid. In others, the coupling 22 may be elastic or serve as a flexible biasing member, which may be metal (e.g., coiled metal spring) or non-metal (e.g., elastomeric sleeve), so that the light source assembly 16 may flex or pivot at or near the coupling 22 relative to the base 18. This may prevent damage to the device 12 when it is hit or contacted during use.

[0016] In the embodiment shown, a portion of the support plate or member 20 extends to at least one side of the coupling 22 and forms a foot plate or rest 26. One or more spikes 28 may be coupled to and extend from the bottom of the support plate or member 20. The spike or spikes 28 are configured to penetrate the ground or media of the support surface or structure and may be of sufficient length (e.g., 1 to 5 inches) so that the light emitting device 12 cannot be readily dislodged or knocked over during normal use. The spike or spikes 28 may be positioned at different positions along the bottom of the support plate or member 20. The foot plate or rest 26 is configured to serve as a foot rest or contact area where a user may place their foot to facilitate insertion of the spike or spikes 28 into the ground or support media. In the embodiment shown, a single pike 28 is located directly below the foot plate or rest 26. The support plate or member 20 and/or foot plate or rest 26 may serve as a stop to limit the insertion of the spike or spikes 28 and to further stabilize the base 18 once it is inserted the ground or support media. The spike 28 may be rigidly or permanently coupled to the plate or member 20. In other embodiments, the spike 28 may be pivotally or releasably coupled to the base 18. For example, the spike 28 may be joined to the plate or member 20 so that it pivots out of the way when not in use or during storage. In other embodiments, the spike 28 may be removable, with the spike 28 having a head (not shown) at one end and being passed through a hole or aperture provided in the plate or member 20 that is then staked to the ground or support media. In other embodiments, other securing means may be used instead of a spike 28. This may include a suction cup or cups or a weighted base having a large contact surface or area that may be rested on a support surface to keep the light source assembly 16 oriented in an upright or extended orientation.

[0017] It should be understood that with respect to any amount or range listed or described in any summary or detailed description herein as being useful, suitable, or the like, it is intended to include every amount or point within the range, including the end points, and is to be considered as having been specifically stated. For example, "a range of from 1 to 10" is to be read as indicating each and every possible number along the continuum between 1 and 10. Thus, even if specific data points within the range, or even no data points within the range, are explicitly identified or refer to only a specific few, it is to be understood that the inventor appreciates and understand that any and all data points within the range are to be considered to have been specified, and that the inventor is in possession of the entire range and all points within the range, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

[0018] The light emitting device 12 is provided with light control assembly 28. The light control assembly may be mounted to or otherwise carried by, provided on, or housed by the base 18, although it or components thereof may be provided at other positions of the light emitting device 12. Referring to FIG. 4, the light control assembly 30 includes those modules or components, hardware and/or software, for controlling the light source of the light source assembly 16, as described herein. This may include a receiver module 32 for receiving signals from a separate remote controller through a communication link, which may be a physical or wireless communication link. The receiver 32 will typically be a wireless receiver for receiving wireless signals, however, such as IR, radio wave, Bluetooth, etc.

[0019] The receiver 32 is coupled to a switch or relay module 34 for controlling or activating and deactivating the light source of the light source assembly 16. In more advanced applications, the receiver 32 may be coupled to a computer or control module 36, such as a microcomputer or microcontroller, that facilitates more complex control of the light source of the light source assembly 16. This may activate different lights of the light source assembly 14 or activate or deactivate lights of the light source assembly 14 in different sequences. Control of the light intensity may also be achieved through such control.

[0020] The light control assembly 30 may also include a sensor module 38 with one or more sensors that may be used with the device 12. These sensors are typically ambient sensors for sensing and collecting data related to the surroundings of the light emitting device 12. The sensor module 38 may include both hardware and software and any necessary devices for sensing and collecting the necessary ambient data. This may include proximity sensors, optical sensors, cameras (which may also function as optical sensors), accelerometers, GPS sensors, audio sensors or microphones, gyroscope, etc.

[0021] A wireless transmitter module 39 may also be provided with the control assembly 30. The wireless transmitter module 39 may generate and transmit wireless signals, e.g., IR, radio wave, Bluetooth, etc., to the receiver of a control device or to the receiver module 32 of other light emitting devices 12.

[0022] The control assembly 30, as well as other electrical components of the device 12, may be powered through an electrical power source 40. The power source 40 will typically be a battery power source, which may be rechargeable or non-rechargeable battery power source. In other embodiments the power source may be a wired external power source. In the embodiment shown, the power source 40 is a rechargeable power source having a recharge cable 42 that may be used for connecting to a battery charging source. In the embodiment shown, a USB connector is supplied on the recharge cable 42 for use with cooperating USB sockets wherein the battery 40 can be charged. The battery 40 may be provided, carried or housed on the base 18 or support plate or member 20. In other embodiments, the battery 40 may be positioned at other positions on the device 12. In certain embodiments, the battery 40 may provide of from 1 Amp or more of power output. In still others, the battery 40 may provide from 2 Amps or more of power output.

[0023] The battery 40 and/or the control assembly 30 or components thereof may be housed within a housing 44, which may be provided on the base 18, and may be supported by and coupled to the support plate or member 20. In some embodiments, a magnetic fastener 46 may be provided on the base 18 for holding the battery 40 and/or the control assembly 30 or components thereof to the base 18.

[0024] As shown in FIG. 5, a protective plate or member 48 is provided with the base 18 and is shown coupled to the support plate or member 20. The protective plate or member 48 is positioned adjacent to the foot plate or member 26, extending upward from the foot plate or member 20, and protects the light source coupling 22 and proximal end of the light source assembly 16, such as may occur when the foot plate or member 20 is being engaged during insertion of the spike or spikes 28 when the base 18 is secured to the ground or support media.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 6, in the embodiment shown, the light source assembly 16 of the light emitting device 12 is configured as an elongated pole or body 50 that extends from the light source coupling 22 of the base 18. The light source body 50 may have a length of from 1 feet to 6 feet or more that extends from the base 18. In particular embodiments, the light source body 50 may have a length of from 2 to 4 feet, as measured from the base 18. The light source body 50 may be linear or non-linear and may have a cylindrical configuration with a uniform diameter or width along its length. In other embodiments, the body 50 may have a non-cylindrical configuration, such as conical shape, or may have an oval, square, rectangular, polygonal, etc. transverse cross- sectional shape. Such non-cylindrical configurations may have a uniform or non-uniform width or transverse dimensions. The diameter or width of the light source body 50 may range from ¼ inch to 2 or 3 inches. In particular embodiments, the diameter or width of the light source body 50 may range from ½ inch to 1 ½ inch.

[0026] In the embodiment shown, the light source body 50 is formed from a cover or light housing 52 that is formed as a cylinder having a hollow interior 54, although the cover 52 may have different configurations, such as those described previously for the light source body 50 in the preceding paragraph. The walls of the cover 52 are transparent or translucent to allow the passage of light from the interior 54 to pass therethrough. In certain embodiments, the walls of the cover 52 are a white translucent material, although colored transparent or translucent materials may also be used. Examples of suitable materials for the cover 52, include plastic or polymeric materials, such as PVC, acrylic, polypropylene, polyethylene, PETE, etc. The cover 52 may be formed as or act as a light diffuser.

[0027] In the embodiment shown, an elongated support member or core 56 is located and housed within the interior 54 of the cover or light housing 52. The elongated support or core 56 may extend along the entire length or a portion of the length of the cover 52. In certain applications, the support or core 56 may extend from 1/4, 1/3, ½, 2/3, to ¾ of the length of the cover 52 from either the distal end or proximal end of the light source assembly 16 or may be located at a position between but spaced apart from the distal and proximal ends of the light source assembly 16.

[0028] The support or core 56 may be formed in a cylindrical or non-cylindrical configuration, which may the same or different than the shape or configuration of the cover 52. The configuration of the support or core 56 may be that provides the necessary functionality of the light source assembly as described herein. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the core 56 is secured within the cover 52 by means of fasteners 58, 60 located at either end of the core 56. In this instance, the core is secured and extends from the distal end of the cover 52 toward the proximal end. An end cap 62 closes off the upper or distal end of the cover 52.

[0029] Secured or coupled to the support or core 56 are a plurality of light source elements 64. The light source element 64 may be a single element or a plurality of lighting elements that function as a single element in that they are located in close proximity to one another such that they appear as a single distinct source of light. The light source may be any electrically powered light source that is capable of functioning in the manner described herein. Particularly well suited light source elements 64 are LED lights, which are small in size but produce a great amount of light while requiring little energy. They also have a very quick response time with little delay in the activation and deactivation so that they can be turned on and off quickly.

[0030] As shown, the individual light source elements 64 are used as a set and are mounted to and spaced apart along a flexible light strip 66, which may also includes wiring or flexible circuitry for powering the light source elements 64 of the light strip 66. The light strip may use surface mount device (SMD) LED light sources that are mounted to a flexible circuit board formed as an elongated flexible strip. Such LED light strips or tapes are commercially available. The light strip 66 is electrically coupled to the light control assembly 30 and power supply 40. The light strip 66 is secured to the support or core 56. In the embodiment shown, the light strip 66 is helically wrapped around the elongated support or core 56 so that the light sources cover all sides (360 degrees) of the support or core 56. In other embodiments, it may be secured so that it extends generally longitudinally along the length of the support or core 56 and along different sides so that the light sources are visible from all sides of the light source assembly 16. One or more light strips 66 may be secured to the support or core 56.

[0031] The light source elements 64 of each light source assembly 16 may be the same or different, providing a different light, color or appearance. In many applications the light source elements 64 will be used as a set with multiple light source elements in each set, and with each light source element of the same set providing the same or a similar light to the other light source elements in the set. This may be the same color, intensity, etc. In some embodiments, the light source assembly 16 may have only one set of light source elements that provide the same or similar light. In other embodiments, different sets of light source elements 64 or multiple strips 66 having different light source element sets may be secured to the support or core 56, with each strip 66 having sets of light source elements 64 that provide a different type of light, color or appearance from other sets of light source elements 64 or other light strips 66 used with the assembly 16. Alternatively, the same light strip 66 may have different sets of light source elements 64 that provide a different type of light, color or appearance on the same light strip 66. In such instances, different wiring or circuitry may be provided within the same light strip 66 to power the different light source elements 64 or light source sets to provide the desired lighting effect.

[0032] Where the cover 52 is a white translucent cover, different colors may be provided by the type and particular color of the light source elements 64. In other embodiments, however, the cover 52 of each light emitting device 12 may be a non- white colored translucent material, with the light sources 62 of each device 12 being the same (e.g., white light). In such cases, it is the cover 52 that provides the different color for the light emitting device 12.

[0033] One of the problems encountered during the development of the present invention was that certain light sources of light emitting devices did not provide sufficient illumination in conditions where there was bright sunlight or ambient light. Therefore a sufficient light source that could illuminate the light source body 50 was needed to ensure that the light source body 50 of the light emitting device 12 could be readily seen and it could be quickly determined whether the light emitting device was illuminated or not illuminated. The use of the white translucent cover 52 in combination with bright LED lights, of various colors, housed within the interior 54 of the cover 52 facilitates this. The brightness of the LED lights or light sources is enhanced by the translucent white material of the cover 52 when activated so that the light source body 50 is illuminated.

[0034] In particular embodiments, there may be from 10 or more individual light source elements 64 (e.g., SMD LED light source elements) in a single set of light sources to provide sufficient light to light the light emitting device 12 so that it has sufficient brightness. In certain applications, there may be from 20 to 120 or more light source elements 64, which may be LED light sources, such as SMD LED elements. This number may be for a particular character of light, such as the same colored light. If different lights (e.g., a different color) are used with the same light source assembly 16, the same number or a similar number may be used for each different set of light source elements 64. In particular embodiments, the sets of light source elements 64 provide from 5, 10, 15 20, 30, or 35 lumens to 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 300, or 350 lumens or more per inch of length of the light emitting body 50. In certain embodiments, the light source elements 64 provide from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, or 95 lumens to 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, or 200 lumens per inch of length of the light emitting body 50, and any range therein. This may be along all or a portion of the length of the light emitting body 50. In an exemplary embodiment that has been found suitable for the device, each individual light source may provide from 10 to 35 lumens. This may provide from 10 to 50 lumens per inch, which in turn provides from 100 to 2000 lumens per light emitting device.

[0035] While the above describes particular forms from the light source assembly 16, it may have other forms as well. For example, a single light source element or a single light source element for each different light for each device 12 may be used. This may be a single light source element that illuminates the light source body 50. The cover 56, core 56, or other components forming the light source body 50 may be formed as a light pipe or a fiber optic material so that the body 50 can be illuminated by a single light element or very few light source elements, which may be positioned at various positions to provide the effective illumination of the light source body 50.

[0036] Referring again to FIG. 1, the system 10 includes multiple light emitting devices 12 of the type described previously. Each light emitting device 12 of the system 10 may be configured to provide a different light that has a visually distinguishable appearance from the other light emitting devices 12. This may include a different color, a different intensity or brightness, or a different lighting sequence. As far as lighting sequences, this may be a flashing sequence where light source elements of each device 12 flash at different rates or multiple light source elements are activated in different patterns, such as lighting in sequence up or down the length of the body 50.

[0037] In many applications or embodiments, the light emitting devices 12 of the system will provide a different color of light. This may include white, blue, green, red, pink, yellow, and orange (amber). Different distinct combinations of colors may also be used for the light sources of each light emitting device 12. Thus, one light emitting device may use red and green lights, another blue and white, etc. In this way, various unique combinations may be used so that each light emitting device provides a different visual appearance from the others. In some embodiments, each light emitting device 12 may be capable of providing multiple different colors but it may be used or programmed to selectively provide only certain colors, with the other light emitting devices 12 of the same system being used or programmed to provide a different visually distinguishable appearance from multiple different colors.

[0038] Referring to FIG. 7, a control device 70 is provided with the system 10. This may constitute a primary controller that is used by a coach, instructor, supervisor, overseer, etc. In its simplest form, the control device 70 is electrically powered and includes a transmitter 72 for transmitting a signal to the receiver 32 of the light emitting devices 12. The signal may be a wired or wireless signal so that the control device 70 can be used remotely and spaced a distance from the light emitting devices 12. In most applications, the control device 70 signal will be wireless signal, such as such as IR, radio wave, Bluetooth, etc., as has been discussed previously. The receiver 32 may activate the light switch or relay 34 of the device 12 to activate or deactivate the light source assembly 16 or it may provide input to the computer/control module 36, which in turn activates the light switch or relay 34 to activate the light source assembly 16.

[0039] A control device interface 72 is provided with the control device 70 and has different selection options or buttons 76. Each selection option may correspond to a particular device 12 of the system 10. Thus, referring to FIG. 1, each button 76 may correspond to one of the devices 12. As shown in FIG. 1, the device 12A emits a red light, the device 12B emits an orange or amber light, the device 12C emits a green light, the device 12D emits a blue light, and the device 12E emits a pink light, and device 12F emits a white light. By selecting the option or button 76 to activate the device 12A, the device 12A will illuminate and emit a red light. The other devices 12B-12F may remain deactivated or non-illuminated. Selecting the option or button 76 of the interface 74 to select another device 12 will activate that particular device so that it is illuminated with its particular color. For example, the control device user may select the option or button 76 for device 12D. A control signal is transmitted to the device 12D and the device 12D is illuminated with a blue light. The controller 70 may also transmit a signal simultaneously to the device 12A so that it is deactivated and the white light of device 12A so that it is no longer illuminated. In an alternative embodiment, when the device 12D is activated, it may transmit its own signal through the transmitter 39 (FIG. 4), that is received by the device 12A through its receiver 32 that causes the device 12A to be deactivated. An on/off switch may also be provided with the controller 70 to deactivate all the devices 12A-12F.

[0040] In another embodiment, the controller 70 may be programmed so that one or more of the buttons 76 controls a combination of two or more of the devices 12A-12F. Thus, in one example, pushing one button 76 may activate two adjacent devices, such as 12A and 12B. The activation or lighting of these adjacent devices 12A, 12B may provide a gate through which a participant may be required to pass through, such as when kicking a soccer ball or dribbling a basketball, or through which a ball must be passed. Various combinations of the devices 12A-12F may be activated in this way, with each combination forming a gate or gateway through which a participant may pass or otherwise interact. Additional sets of devices beyond the devices 12A-12F may also be used to provide additional lighting devices or gates.

[0041] Referring to FIG. 8, a control device 80 is shown in the form of a mobile device or tablet computer having a display screen 82 that also functions as an interface with various inputs, control options or buttons 84 for controlling the light emitting devices 12 of the system 10, as described with the device 70, may also be used with the system 10.

Application software may be provided on the device 80 for use with the system 10 and may provide additionally functionality, such as programming the devices 12 and features associated with the system 10, such as data collection from data generated by the sensor module 38. The device 80 provides a wireless signal (e.g., Bluetooth) to control the devices

12.

[0042] In some embodiments, the control devices 70, 80 may allow options for allowing one to select variations in the operation of the system 10 or devices 12. For instance, these options may include the number of light source elements 64 that are activated or deactivated on each light emitting device 12 or the amount of time each light emitting device 12 or light source elements 64 are activated or deactivated. A random option may be provided and the system 10 may be programmed so that light emitting devices 12 and light emitting elements 64 are randomly activated or deactivated in a random mode of operation. Combinations of the light emitting devices 12 may be activated or deactivated, such as a pair of devices that provide a gate or gateway. The control device 70, 80 may also be provided with a color or light characteristic option so that light emitting devices 12 that are each capable of displaying different colors or light characteristics can be selected to display a particular color or light characteristic. A time selection may also be provided so that the system 10 can be operated for a selected period of time wherein one or more of the lighting element devices 12 are activated at the start of the selected time period and the final lighting element devices are deactivated at the end of the selected time period.

[0043] Referring to FIG. 1, in an example of use of the system 10, multiple devices 12, such as devices 12A-12F, are positioned on a playing field 14 or other area in a spaced apart arrangement. Here, the devices 12 are spaced apart several yards (e.g., 5 to 20 yards) away from one other over a large area or playing field. These may be arranged in a variety of configurations. As shown in FIG. 1, the devices 12A-12F are arranged in ring so that there is a large open center. Game players, trainees, or participant users 86 of the devices 12 are shown positioned within the center of the ring. Here each participant 86 has a ball, such as a soccer ball or basket ball. Because the devices 12 are spread out over a large area, the player or participants 86 will have to be vigilant keeping their eyes and peripheral vision on the various devices 12 to determine when one or more is activated. A coach, trainer, supervisor, or overseer 88 with a control device, such as the control devices 70 or 80, remotely controls the activation of the light emitting devices 12. Thus, for example, the coach or overseer 8 may activate the device 12C so that it is illuminated with a green light. The activation of the device 12C indicates to the players or participants 86 that a certain action is required. In one embodiment of use, each participant 86 is required to move with the ball (e.g., by kicking or dribbling) toward the light emitting device 12C. Once the first player or participant reaches the device 12C, the coach or overseer 88 may activate another device 12, such as device 12A where the device 12A is illuminated with a red light. This indicates to the players/participants 86 should now move with the ball to toward the device 12A.

[0044] As discussed earlier, activation of one device 12 within the system 10 may cause the deactivation of the other devices 12. Thus, when the device 12A is activated, as in the example discussed above, the device 12C is automatically deactivated. In other embodiments, sensors (e.g., proximity sensor) of the sensor module 38 (FIG. 4) may sense that a player or participant has reached, encountered, is in close proximity with, or has otherwise engaged the device 12C. This may be a touch or non-touch sensor, such as light beam sensors that are activated when the light beam is interrupted. The device 12C may automatically transmit a signal, such as through transmitter 39, to another device 12, such as device 12A, so that device 12A is now activated. The system 10 can be programmed to provide such automatic functioning such that the controller or overseer 88 may not have to manually control the activation of the individual devices 12 with the controller 70 or 80. In such instances, the control device 70, 80 may provide a program selection so that the devices 12 function based upon preprogrammed instructions that activate and automate the individual devices 12 in certain ways, sequences, patterns, sequences, and the like, which may be random or non-random.

[0045] Any one or more of the devices 12A-12F may be activated, by programming or otherwise, for a preselected period of time. The selected period of time (e.g., 3-15 seconds) may vary based upon the size of the playing field, with larger playing fields having longer activation periods to allow players to interact with the device. The periods of activation may also be varied based upon the age of the players or participants, with longer periods of activation being provided for younger players or children.

[0046] Referring to FIG. 9, in another mode of use, the system 10 wherein the light emitting devices 12A-12F are arranged similarly to that of FIG. 1, although other arrangements may be used, a player 86 with a ball, such as a soccer ball or basketball, is positioned in the center of the ring formed by the devices 12A-12F. Other players or participants 90 are positioned near one of the spaced apart devices 12, so that each device 12A-12F has a participant 90 positioned nearby. The coach or overseer 88 with controller, such as controller 70 or 80, activates one of the light emitting devices 12A-12F. For example, device 12D may be activated so that it is illuminated with a blue light. This indicates to the player 86 that they should pass the ball to the participant 90 located near the device 12D. The player or participant may then pass the ball back to the participant 86. The overseer 88 may then activate another device 12, such as device 12F, and the player 86 would pass the ball to the participant located near the device 12F. Alternatively, the activation of the system 10 may be preprogrammed to provide activation and deactivation of the various devices 12A-12F so that this type of functionality is provided.

[0047] In another embodiment, the coach or overseer 88 may instruct the participants that they are only to move toward or otherwise interact with a device 12 when it displays a particular color or light characteristic. Each device 12 may be capable of provide a multitude of different colors or light characteristics, including the selected light color or other characteristic (e.g., flashing, pulsing, alternating or changing light color, etc.). Thus, the devices 12A-12F may be activated to display different colors or characteristics at different times but not the selected color or characteristic. When the selected color or characteristic appears on one of the devices 12A-12F, the participant 86 would then move or interact with the device 12 with that selected color or light characteristic. This provides a more complex system in that the participant's will be distracted by different devices 12A-12F activated and deactivated with each device 12 being capable of displaying the selected color or light characteristic. Only when the selected color or light characteristic appears on one of the multiple devices 12A-12F would the participant then move toward or interact with that device.

[0048] Referring to FIG. 10, an alternate embodiment is shown wherein the light emitting device 12 is incorporated with an obstacle device 92, with similar components labeled with the same reference numerals. The obstacle device 92 may be that provided with a frame 94 and a fabric material 94 covering the frame 94. Such playing field obstacle devices are described and shown in U.S. Patent Nos. 6,866,595; 7,198,580; D550,313; D565,135; D579,504; D591.369; D603,003; D614,709; D611,556; D630,283; and D708,093, each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes. The obstacle device 92 may approximate in shape the front profile of a human head and torso. In other embodiments, the obstacle device 92 may have other configurations.

[0049] In the embodiment of FIG. 10, the lighting device 12 forms a support member for supporting the obstacle device 92, with the elongated light source assembly 16 or light source body 50 extending along the length of the frame 92, as shown. In other embodiments the device 12 does not serve as a support member but may be coupled to the device 92 or a separate support member of the device 92 or the device 12 may be positioned adjacent or nearby the device 92. The fabric material 96 may be mesh or other material that allows the light from the lighting device 12 to be transmitted therethrough. When incorporated with or used in conjunction with the obstacle device 92, it may function similarly to the devices 12 previously described with multiple obstacle devices 92 incorporating the light emitting devices 12 may be used and used on a playing field in a manner similar to that described for FIGS. 1 and 9.

[0050] Referring to FIG. 11, the light emitting devices 12 can also be used with or incorporated into a net or goal, such as the net assembly 100. The net assembly 100 includes a net 102 stretched between supports 104. In this instance, at least one of the supports 104 is formed from a light emitting device 12, with similar components labeled with the same reference numerals. In other embodiments, both the supports 104 are formed by the light emitting devices 12. In certain embodiments, the net 102 may be secured to the supports 104 with elastic bands or cords 106, 108, 110 so that the net 102 springs back after a ball or object is hit into the net 102, returning the ball or object hit into the net. Such a net assembly 100 is similar to the SOCCER SLING SHOT™ or SOCCER REBOUNDER™, available from Soccer Innovations, with a website located at www. soccerinnovaiions.com, showing and describing such products, the description of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0051] Multiple net assemblies 100 incorporating the light emitting devices 12 may be used and used on a playing field in a manner similar to playing fields 14 described for FIGS. 1 and 9. In some instances, a light emitting device 12 may positioned near or adjacent to a net assembly 100 so that it is not incorporated into the net assembly 100, but activation of the device 12 will be an indication that a player or participant should interact with the associated net assembly 100.

[0052] In another embodiment, a speaker or audio device 112 (FIGS. 2 and 4) may be provided with one or more of the light emitting devices 12 of the system. The speaker 106 may provide an audio output at the light emitting device 12. This may be provided in conjunction with the activation or deactivation of the light source assembly 16 of the light emitting device 12 or may be provided separately from any such activation or deactivation. The audio output may be provided prior to or after activation of a light emitting device 12 to provide an audio prompt that the light emitting device 12 will be activated within a selected period of time or deactivated within a selected period of time. The speaker 112 may also provide an audio output with instructions or verbal communication. This may be provided by the coach or overseer through a microphone, which may be provided on the control device 70, 80 or another device. The controller 70, 80 may be used to activate or deactivate any audio function provided by the speaker.

[0053] The system 10, with the devices 12A-12F, sensors (e.g., sensor 38), transmitters (e.g., transmitter 39), mobile devices or computers 80, etc., may be used to record data related to a player(s) or participant(s) times or performance with respect to the interaction with the devices 12A-12F. This can include data from the sensors, as well as optical data, such as video of a player's or participant's performance taken with one or more mobile devices or computers 80, or with dedicated audio/visual equipment (not shown) provided with the system 10. The mobile device or computer 80 may be provided with a software program or app that facilitates such recording. This data and information may be further transmitted or published to a network, website, social media, etc. which may be private or public, local, national, etc., where the results can be viewed. The published data may be related to different individuals or teams and their performance so that they can be compared to one another. This also allows games and competitions to be conducted where remote users of multiple systems 10 can compete against one another, with the results being transmitted and published for others to see. [0054] While the invention has been shown in some of its forms, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible to various changes and modifications without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention.