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Title:
SOUND-RESPONSIVE TOY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/024274
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention provides a hand-held toy, comprising an integral microphone (11) and mouth means (7, 8), movable in response to a signal provided, at least indirectly, by the microphone. Thus the toy can be used as a mask, the mouth means moving in response to a user's voice. A loudspeaker emits sounds in response to signals received from the microphone (11), simultaneously with the movement of the mouth means (7, 8).

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Inventors:
Norman, Casey William (Thornhill, Withington Road, Andoversford GL54 4LL, GB)
Laxton, David (Monte La Solana, Calle Riu Segura 38, Pedreguer, E-03750, ES)
Gamlin, David (80 Newbridge Road, Bath BA1 3LA, GB)
Thatcher, Tony (September Cottage, New Portreath Road, Redruth TR16 4HH, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2003/003930
Publication Date:
March 25, 2004
Filing Date:
September 11, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GENIE TOYS PLC (25 Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1QZ, GB)
Norman, Casey William (Thornhill, Withington Road, Andoversford GL54 4LL, GB)
Laxton, David (Monte La Solana, Calle Riu Segura 38, Pedreguer, E-03750, ES)
Gamlin, David (80 Newbridge Road, Bath BA1 3LA, GB)
Thatcher, Tony (September Cottage, New Portreath Road, Redruth TR16 4HH, GB)
International Classes:
A63H3/28; A63H3/36; A63H3/40; A63H30/04; (IPC1-7): A63H3/36; A63H3/28; A63H3/40; A63H30/04
Domestic Patent References:
1985-09-26
2002-08-22
Foreign References:
US6068536A2000-05-30
US5407376A1995-04-18
US4245430A1981-01-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hanson, William Bennett (Bromhead Johnson, Kingsbourne House 229-231 High Holborn, London WC1V 7DP, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A handheld toy, comprising an integral microphone and mouth means, movable in response to a signal provided, at least indirectly, by the microphone.
2. A toy according to claim 1, comprising a human, animal or fantasy figure, the mouth means comprising a mouth or beak.
3. A toy according to claim 1, wherein the toy represents an inanimate object such as a television set.
4. A toy according to claim 1, wherein the toy represents a mouth or beak per se.
5. A toy according to any preceding claim, comprising a loudspeaker for emitting sounds in response to signals received from the microphone, simultaneously with the movement of the mouth means.
6. A toy according to any preceding claim, comprising recording means for recording a signal from the microphone.
7. A toy according to any preceding claim, comprising amplification means for amplifying a signal form the microphone.
8. A toy according to any preceding claim, comprising distortion means for distorting a signal form the microphone.
9. A toy according to any preceding claim, wherein an electrical motor is used to move at least one jaw of the mouth means.
10. A toy according to claim 9, wherein gearing means is provided between the motor and the mouth means.
11. A toy according to claim 9 or 10, comprising spring means for closing the at least one jaw.
12. A toy according to claim 9 or 10, comprising a reversible motor both for opening and closing the at least one jaw.
13. A toy according to any preceding claim, wherein, as long as an activating signal is received, the motor is arranged to turn in a jawopening direction until the mouth means reaches a fullyopen position, and the mouth means then close as far as a partiallyopen position, and alternate between the partiallyand fullyopen position until the activating signal ceases, at which point the mouth means then closes.
Description:
SOUND-RESPONSIVE TOY The present invention relates to a sound-responsive toy.

Toys having moving parts that are activated by sound are known. In particular, it is known to provide a figure having a mouth, beak and/or arms that are arranged to move in response to sound from one of a number of possible electrical sources to give the appearance that the figure is speaking or singing.

It is an object of the invention to provide a sound-responsive toy having amusing features of novelty.

Accordingly, the invention provides a hand-held toy, comprising an integral microphone and mouth means, movable in response to a signal provided, at least indirectly, by the microphone. Thus the toy can be used as a mask, the mouth means moving in response to a user's voice.

The mouth means may comprise a mouth or beak, the toy usually comprising a human, animal or fantasy figure. The toy may alternatively represent an inanimate object such as a television set or may represent a mouth or beak per se.

In a preferred embodiment, the toy comprises a loudspeaker for emitting sounds in response to signals received from the microphone, simultaneously with the movement of the mouth means. The effect is thus to simulate the user's speech audibly as well as mechanically.

Recording means, amplification means and/or distortion means can be provided in the toy to create various effects.

In a preferred embodiment, an electrical motor is used to move at least one jaw of the mouth means, gearing means being preferably provided between the motor and the mouth means. Spring means may be provided for closing the at least one jaw, or a reversible motor can be used both for opening and closing the at least one jaw.

In order to mimic a voice signal more realistically, as long as an activating signal is received, the motor is arranged to turn in a jaw-opening direction until the mouth means reaches a fully-open position, and the mouth means then close as far as a partially-open position, and alternate between the partially-and fully-open position until the activating signal ceases, at which point the mouth means then closes.

In order that the invention may be more readily understood, embodiments thereof will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 shows a sound-responsive toy according to the invention; Figure 2 is a schematic front-to back vertical section through the toy of Figure 1; Figure 3 is a side-to side vertical section through the head of the toy; Figure 4 is a block diagram of the control system of the toy; Figures 5a and 5b show an alternative embodiment of a toy according to the invention; and Figures 6a and 6b show a further alternative embodiment.

The drawings show a sound-responsive toy in the form of a bird having a body portion 1 which can be comfortably gripped. The body portion contains batteries 2, a circuit board 3 and an on/off switch 4.

Leads from the batteries are connected via switch 4 to an electric motor 5. A shaft of the motor is arranged to turn a gear 6, the rotation of which is imparted via gears and cam members to both upper and lower jaws 7,8 so as to raise the upper jaw 7 and lower the lower jaw 8. The jaws are pivotally mounted on an axle 9, shown in Figure 3, and a torsion spring 10 is provided for urging the jaws to the closed position.

A microphone 11 is located in a protrusion on the rear of the bird's head and a loudspeaker 12 is located between the jaws 7,8. Motor 5, microphone 11 and loudspeaker 12 are all connected to appropriate circuit elements on the circuit board 3.

More particularly, Figure 4 shows the control arrangement for the toy.

Sounds received by the microphone 11 are distorted, for example by changing the pitched, by a voice changer 13 comprising components attached to the circuit board 3. The changed sound is then amplified at an amplifier 14 and passed to the speaker 12. It is also passed to a voice detecting circuit 15 and passed therefrom to a motor driver circuit 16 and then to the motor 5.

In use, a user holds the toy in front of his or her face and depresses switch 4.

The user than speaks or sings into the microphone 11. This causes the bird's beak to open, and a distorted version of the speech or song to issue from the speaker 12, which is located within the beak. As soon as there is any interruption in the sound (which naturally occurs frequently in speech or song) the beak starts to close under the action of the spring 10.

The effect is thus that the bird speaks or sings the user's words with its own voice.

Means for stopping and/or protecting the motor once the beak is fully open could be provided. For example, the control circuit could be arranged to switch the motor off after one second of sound and simultaneously to reset itself.

In an alternative embodiment (not shown in the drawings), instead of the spring 10, a mechanical switch could be provided for reversing the direction of the motor as soon as the jaws are open by a certain amount. As long as the sound continues, the jaws would oscillate between partially and fully open positions to give a life-like"fluttering"effect.

Recording means, preferably solid-state digital recording means, could be provided to allow a sound recorded from the microphone to be played back, distorted and with the beak moving, at a later time. In addition, pre- recorded messages may be included, to be played back by the toy with a corresponding movement of the mouth means whenever the user chooses.

A tonal mimic function could be provided so that the toy hums at a musical interval above or below the user's voice, thus providing harmony. Well- known characters'voices could also be included with the toy, either as pre- recorded messages or as specific types of distortion allowing the user's voice to be changed into an imitation of the character's voice.

Whilst the particular toy that has been described above is in the form of a bird, the toy could alternatively a human figure as shown in Figures 5a and 5b, a mouth per se as shown in Figures 6a and 6b, any animal or fantasy

figure or another representative object having mouth means, for example a television set with a mouth.

The toy could be provided with means for remote activation. For example, by providing a microphone on a flying lead, the operator could conceal himself or herself during activation of the mouth means. In another embodiment, the toy functions as a radio transceiver or"walkie-talkie", a signal from a user speaking into the microphone of one toy being received by another user's toy so that the voice of the remote user would activate the mouth means and loudspeaker of the other toy.