|1.||An arrangement comprising a supporting surface and an object adapted to move on said surface and having a base surface contacting said supporting surface at least one of said surfaces comprising a nap having a directional property whereby vibration effects relative movement of the object on the supporting surface.|
|2.||An arrangement according to claim 1, in which the supporting surface has a nap and the object has a base surface which coacts with said nap.|
|3.||An arrangement according to claim 2, in which the surface has a unidirectional nap so that the object moves on the surface in the direction of the nap.|
|4.||An arrangement according to claim 3, in the form of a race game in which the supporting surface represents a race track and the object represents a runner.|
|5.||An arrangement according to claim 3, in the form of an animated model in which the surface has track areas on which the object moves and confining means limiting the movement of the object to the track areas.|
|6.||An arrangement according to claim 1, in which the object has a base surface nap and the supporting surface coacts with said nap.|
|7.||An arrangement according to claim 6, in which said supporting surface comprises a track with confining means limiting the movement of the object to the track.|
|8.||An arrangement according to claim 7, in which the supporting surface comprises at least two tracks on which objects can be raced.|
|9.||An arrangement according to claim 7 or claim 8, the supporting surface being of a plastics extrusion.|
|10.||An arrangement according to claim 2, in which the supporting surface has a nap which can be adjusted as to its directionality.|
|11.||An arrangement according to claim 10, in which the nap directionality can be adjusted by brushing.|
|12.||An arrangement according to any one of claims 1 to 11, comprising vibrator means.|
|13.||A game comprising a board and playing pieces movable around tracks defined on the board, each move of the game being defined to comprise a movement of a playing piece a certain distance along its track, such movement of a playing piece being accompanied by a movement, along its respective track, of at least one or other of the other playing piece with the result that the playing piece of any player is not always in the place, at the start of that player's move, it was in at the termination of the previous move of that player.|
|14.||A game according to claim 13, in which each player's move is decided by a random value arrangement such as a spun wheel or a die or dice.|
|15.||A game according to claim 13 or claim 14, in which the moves are made by an arrangement according to any one of claims 1 to 12.|
This invention relates to a multi-purpose arrangement for effecting movement.
Movement for animation purposes in amusement devices, games and display devices involves motors such as electric motors in model railways and motor racing games, or other complicated arrangements.
The present invention provides arrangements for achieving movement in such devices and games which are simpler and less expensive which have wide application.
The invention comprises an arrangement comprising a supporting surface and an object adapted to move on said surface and having a base surface contacting said supporting surface at least one of said surfaces comprising a nap having a directional property whereby vibration effects relative movement of the object on the supporting surface.
The supporting surface may have a nap and the object have a base surface which coacts with said nap. The surface may have a unidirectional nap so that the object moves on the surface in the direction of the nap. The arrangement may take the form of a race game
in which the supporting surface represents a race track and the object represents a runner. The arrangement may otherwise take the form of an animated model in which the surface has track areas on which the object moves and confining means limiting the movement of the object to the track areas.
The object may, on the other hand, have a base surface nap and the supporting surface coact with said nap. The supporting surface may comprise a track with confining means limiting the movement of the object to the track, and may comprise at least two tracks on which objects can be raced. The supporting surface may be of a plastics extrusion.
In another arrangement, the supporting surface may have a nap which can be adjusted as to its direction¬ ality, as by brushing.
The arrangement may comprise vibrator means.
Embodiments of arrangements according to the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which :-
Figure 1 is a section through one surface/ object arrangement;
Figure 2 is a view of a horse race game;
Figure 3 is a plan view of an architectural model;
Figure 4 is a section through another surface/ object arrangement;
Figure 5 is a plan of curling game arrangement;
Figure 6 is a plan of a race track game;
Figure 7 is a plan of a ludo-like game;
and Figure 8 is a section through a vibrator device for use with games of the present invention.
The drawings illustrate arrangements comprising a supporting surface 11 and an object or objects 12 adapted to move on said surface 11 and having a base surface 12a contacting said supporting surface 11. One of said surfaces 11, 12a comprises a nap having a directional property whereby vibration effects relative movement of the object or objects 12 on the surface 11.
Figure 1 shows an arrangement in which the supporting surface 11 has a nap and the object, in this case a figure of a racehorse on a base, has a base surface 12a which coacts with said nap. The base surface 12a may be of smooth or rough plastics material or wood or metal for example.
The application of a vibration, as by a mechanical vibrator, of the kind, for example, used for personal massage, will cause a lightweight object such for example as a centimeter or so high racehorse figure as illustrated to move along the surface 11 in the direction in which the horse is facing in Figure 1. The object weight and the surface area in contact will have something to do with whether and in what manner the object moves along the surface - too heavy an object in relation to the contact area will simply squash the nap flat and prevent any movement, while too light an object may bounce undesirably and tend to topple if unconstraine .
Figure 2 illustrates a race game in which tracks are formed by laying napped fabric 13 in channels 14 of a plastics extrusion 15 which is supported at intervals along its length by feet 16 and which has a vibrator 17 attached to one end. The vibrator 17 can be of any type but a personal massage vibrator which comprises a battery
powered electric motor driving an eccentric weight has been found to be effective. The fabric 13 is laid with its napped surface aligned similarly in the two tracks.
Racehorse figures 12 placed at one end will, when the vibrator 17 is switched on, move along the direction determined by the nap to the other end. The movement will usually be of an irregular nature - the placement of the feet 16 will tend to affect the vibrational mode of the extrusion 15 and this will result in there being places along the length of the channels where the figures 12 move faster and other places where they move more slowly, so that the result of a "race" tends to be unpredictable, which, of course, is the basis of an amusement device upon which wagers may be made.
A very simple game can be made even without the mechanical vibrator 17 but relying simply on vibrations made by tapping the extrusion 15 with a stick or even merely with a finger. Players may take turns at such tapping as may be dictated by a random selector such as the throw of dice, and it may be that skillful tapping will be found to urge one "horse" forward faster than the other so that an element of skill as well as chance enters into the play.
Figure 3 shows the arrangement being used for a more serious purpose, namely to lend animation to an architect's model seen in plan view in the figure and comprising a base 31 having model buildings 32 and other features and including for example a footpath 33 and a roadway 34, which are track areas of napped material on which model pedestrians 35 and motor vehicles 36 run respectively. The tracks are desirably looped so as to support a continuous traffic of models; of course, the provision of loops on a model may be unrealistic and so the model may provide for concealed parts of the track under edgewise-disposed covers 37. The vibrator can be placed in one of the buildings 32.
Desirably, the napped fabric used in such an arrangement will be such as to enable its nap to be aligned to follow the path of the track, which may be done by effecting a set by a post-treatment such as a heat treatment on a randomly-napped fabric.
A use for a randomly-napped fabric is shown in Figure 5 which shows a model curling rink in plan view. A model curling stone 51 is placed on a start spot 52 and the vibrator 53 switched on. The nap of the fabric is orientated by brushing in front of the moving stone so as to encourage it to move faster or slower and along a desired path, the idea being of course to land the
stone in the target area 54. The vibrator may be operative for a predetermined time so that skill is required to coincide the arrival of the stone in the target area with the end of said predetermined time.
Figure 4 shows an alternative arrangement to Figure 1, which is also usable in embodiments such as those of Figure 2 and 3, in which the nap is on the base of the object 12 and the supporting surface is of plastics or wood or similar material having a smooth or rough finish which coacts with the nap. In this case, the horse-model object 12 will always move over the surface in the direction in which the horse is facing, with the nap aligned as shown.
Figure 6 illustrates a race track game made of a moulded plastics material sheet 61 with four tracks 62 arranged in a figure-of-eight fashion with a start and a finish position at opposite ends of the tracks. The corners of the sheet 61 accommodate small washboard-like mouldings 63 which can be rubbed or stroked, e.g. with a pencil or stick, to vibrate the sheet.
Figure 7 shows an arrangement which is like the arrangement of Figure 6 in comprising a moulded sheet 71 with tracks 72 having start and finish positions and washboard-like mouldings 73 at the corners. The tracks
are marked out in coloured squares. This is a game for up to four players. Each player in turn spins a disc 74 which is marked with sectors in colours corresponding to those of the squares. He vibrates the board using the nearest washboard 73 to move his playing piece, placed initially at the start position for his track, to the next square having the colour indicated by the spin of the disc 74. This will have the effect of moving the pieces of the other players, of course, as well as his own. The first player to the end position of his track is the winner.
In the case of the embodiments of Figure 6 and Figure 1 , it is desirable that the playing pieces are dimensioned so that they can navigate their tracks without becoming misaligned and so travelling with a retrograde motion - unless, of course, that is also to be a feature of the game.
Figure 8 shows a simple vibrator 81 comprising a telescopic arrangement of piston 82 and tube 83 with a spring 84. The tube 83 has an endwise edge 84 on which, when the tube 83 is pushed up and down in the fashion of a pogo stick, with the foot 82a of the piston 82 on a moulded sheet such as is described with reference to Figures 6 and 7, as an alternative to the washboard arrangement, rubs a serrated part 82b of the piston 82.
Various refinements may be made to these basic embodiments. For example, resonances may be exploited so that individual objects respond to different frequencies; vibrators generating different frequencies may be under the control of two or more players of a game so that they may have control over their "pieces". Vibration might be generated by aiming sound waves from a hand-held generator at individual objects on a napped surface or at objects with napped bases on a coacting surface.
Nor need the arrangement be restricted to flat or level surfaces - objects may be made to climb inclines and may even be held to vertical or steeply inclined surfaces e.g. magnetically.