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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TENNIS TRAINING BAG
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/106647
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A carrying bag for sports equipment comprises compartments suitable to accommodate sports equipment; and an automatic launching apparatus configured to launch sports balls to a distance from the bag.

Inventors:
KALFA, Yonah (13 Hasadna Street, 07 Ra'anana, 4365007, IL)
Application Number:
IL2018/050927
Publication Date:
June 06, 2019
Filing Date:
August 22, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KALFA, Yonah (13 Hasadna Street, 07 Ra'anana, 4365007, IL)
International Classes:
A45C9/00; A63B69/38; A63B69/40; F41B3/00
Foreign References:
US20150297972A12015-10-22
US20140374456A12014-12-25
US6176230B12001-01-23
US20170266516A12017-09-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUZZATTO, Kfir et al. (Luzzatto & Luzzatto, P.O. Box 5352, 02 Beer Sheva, 8415202, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A carrying bag for sports equipment, comprising compartments suitable to accommodate sports equipment; and an automatic launching apparatus configured to launch sports balls to a distance from the bag.

2. A carrying bag according to claim 1, comprising:

a. a tennis ball hopper compartment, suitable to accommodate a plurality of tennis balls, with an opening in the bottom side of the compartment;

b. a tennis racket compartment, suitable to accommodate one or more tennis rackets, in a removable secondary inner tennis bag;

c. an automatic launching apparatus compartment accommodating the automatic launching apparatus;

d. a ball sorting apparatus for loading balls to the loading side of the automatic launching apparatus in a controlled manner;

e. a control panel, suitable to control the behavior of the automatic launching apparatus and of the ball sorting apparatus; and

f. shoulder straps allowing the carrying bag to be carried;

wherein the automatic launching apparatus comprises a loading section and an ejection section; and wherein a tennis ball is automatically delivered by the ball sorting apparatus from the ball hopper compartment to the loading section of the automatic launching apparatus and is automatically launched therefrom through the ejection section to a distance.

3. A carrying bag according to claim 2, wherein the automatic launching apparatus comprises an electrically rotatable fly wheel.

4. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising a launch angle mechanism configured to determine the direction at which balls are launched from the automatic launching apparatus.

5. A carrying bag according to claim 4, wherein the launch angle mechanism is an deflection member electronically controlled by the control panel.

6. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising one or more sensors configured to detect control commands given from afar.

7. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising a wireless communication module configured to wirelessly communicate with an electronic computing device.

8. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising wheels on opposite sides of the bag and an extendable handle for carting the carrying bag.

9. A carrying bag according to claim 2, comprising:

A. an external hard shell chassis structure;

B. an internal structure that is attached to the outer structure, and which holds the launching and ball sorting apparatuses in place, divides between the compartments and prevents the bag from collapsing; and

C. an outer fabric that houses all of the compartments, protects the internals from ingressions, and provides ergonomic means for handling the bag.

10. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising a retractable "trolley" type handle, allowing the bag to be wheeled.

11. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising fabric straps for carrying and handling the bag.

12. A carrying bag according to claim 2, further comprising a four contact point base with the ground.

13. A carrying bag according to claim 8, wherein the distance between the front ejecting section of the launching apparatus and the axle of the bag's wheels is selected so as to allow the bag to withstand launching forces, taking in account the horizontal component of said launching force and the weight of the bag.

Description:
TE NIS TRAINING BAG

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of sports practice accessories. More particularly, the invention relates to a portable carrying bag for tennis training equipment, specifically a tennis ball launcher.

Background of the Invention

When transporting equipment for a sports practice, e.g. for a tennis practice, it is inconvenient to carry each of the items (e.g. one or more rackets and a plurality of tennis balls) of equipment separately. Tennis bags and backpacks are typically used for carrying rackets and tennis balls. Other bags include, among others, baseball bags and golf bags.

An important aspect of a sports training session is the preparation of the trainee for a match against an opponent. In order to simulate a match, automatic ball launching devices allow a trainee to be challenged to respond to balls being automatically launched in a manner that simulates plays of an opponent. Several commercially available automatic ball launching devices exist, however they are commonly bulky and heavy, and are therefore inconvenient to transport from one place to another (e.g. from home to the training field/court).

US Patent Application No. 2016/0310817A1 discloses a sports simulation robot that is small and light enough to be easily stored and transported, although in order to do so it must be dismantled and folded. Obviously a previously stored and transported simulation robot according to US2016/0310817A1 would require assembly in order to use it.

It would be advantageous to have a light-weight sports training bag that contains a ready-to- use, small and light-weight automatic ball launching device. It is an object of the present invention to provide such a sports training bag.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a sports training bag with an embedded a sports simulation robot.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the description proceeds. Summary of the Invention

The present invention relates to a carrying bag for sports equipment, comprising compartments suitable to accommodate sports equipment; and an automatic launching apparatus configured to launch sports balls to a distance from the bag.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the carrying bag comprises:

a. a tennis ball hopper compartment, suitable to accommodate a plurality of tennis balls, with an opening in the bottom side of the compartment;

b. a tennis racket compartment, suitable to accommodate one or more tennis rackets, in a removable secondary inner tennis bag;

c. an automatic launching apparatus compartment accommodating the automatic launching apparatus;

d. a ball sorting apparatus for loading balls to the loading side of the automatic launching apparatus in a controlled manner;

e. a control panel, suitable to control the behavior of the automatic launching apparatus and of the ball sorting apparatus; and

f. shoulder straps allowing the carrying bag to be carried;

wherein the automatic launching apparatus comprises a loading section and an ejection section; and wherein a tennis ball is automatically delivered by the ball sorting apparatus from the ball hopper compartment to the loading section of the automatic launching apparatus and is automatically launched therefrom through the ejection section to a distance.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, the automatic launching apparatus comprises an electrically rotatable fly wheel. According to still another embodiment of the invention, the carrying bag further comprises a launch angle mechanism configured to determine the direction at which balls are launched from the automatic launching apparatus. According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, the launch angle mechanism is a deflection member electronically controlled by the control panel.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the carrying bag further comprises one or more sensors configured to detect control commands given from afar. According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, the carrying bag further comprises a wireless communication module configured to wirelessly communicate with an electronic computing device.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, the carrying bag further comprises wheels on opposite sides of the bag and an extendable handle for carting the carrying bag. According to another embodiment of the present invention, the carrying bag further comprises a retractable "trolley" type handle, allowing the bag to be wheeled. According to still another embodiment of the invention, the distance between the front ejecting section of the launching apparatus and the axle of the bag's wheels is selected so as to allow the bag to withstand launching forces, taking in account the horizontal component of said launching force and the weight of the bag.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the carrying bag comprises an external hard shell chassis structure; an internal structure that is attached to the outer structure, and which holds the launching and ball sorting apparatuses in place, divides between the compartments and prevents the bag from collapsing; and an outer fabric that houses all of the compartments, protects the internals from ingressions, and provides ergonomic means for handling the bag. According to another embodiment of the invention, the carrying bag further comprises fabric straps for carrying and handling the bag. According to yet another embodiment of the invention, the carrying bag further comprises a four contact point base with the ground.

Brief Description of the Drawings

In the drawings:

Figs. 1A and IB each show different perspective views of a tennis equipment carrying bag, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 2 shows a perspective view of the carrying bag of Fig. 1A in which covers of compartment are removed, according to an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 3 schematically illustrates a cutaway side view of the tennis equipment carrying bag of Figs. 1A and IB, according to an embodiment of the invention; and

Fig. 4 schematically illustrates an electronic control panel, according to an embodiment of the invention.

Detailed Description of the Invention Reference will now be made to an embodiment of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying figures for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following description that alternative embodiments of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed, mutatis mutandis, without departing from the principles of the claimed invention.

Figs. 1A and IB show different perspective views of a tennis equipment carrying bag 101 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The exterior of carrying bag 101 comprises a cover 102 of a ball compartment, a cover 103 of a tennis racket compartment, a cover 104 of a launching compartment, a cover 105 of an electronic panel, wheels 106 and wheels-brake 106a, a handle 107 and shoulder straps 108.

Fig. 2 shows a perspective view of the tennis equipment carrying bag 101 of Figs. 1A and IB in which covers 102, 103, 104 and 105 are removed, according to an embodiment of the invention. A plurality of tennis balls 201 is present inside tennis ball hopper compartment 202. Tennis balls 201 may be inserted and withdrawn from compartment 202 via opening 203 or 204 in bag 101. Similarly, a plurality of tennis rackets 205 is partially shown inside a removable secondary inner tennis bag (provided inside tennis racket compartment 208) and may be inserted thereto and withdrawn therefrom via opening 204 in bag 101. Carrying bag 101 further comprises a four contact point base with the ground, providing stability both when the bag is stationary as well as while balls are being launched.

An automatic launching apparatus 206 is shown inside automatic launcher compartment 207. Fig. 3 schematically illustrates a cutaway side view of tennis equipment carrying bag 101 according to an embodiment of the invention. Opening 209 in the bottom side of tennis ball hopper compartment 202 allows balls to pass through passage 301 to a loading section 301 at the rear side of launching apparatus 206. According to an embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of balls may simultaneously pass through opening 209 and passage 301 and be present at loading section 302, whereas the diameter of the pipe-shaped barrel 303 of the automatic launching apparatus 206 allows only one ball to enter the barrel. According to another embodiment of the present invention, in order to prevent balls from being jammed in passage 301, an electrically rotatable ball sorting apparatus (not shown in the Figs.) is provided for controlled loading of balls, wherein a user may determine the rate or other condition (e.g. upon receipt of an explicit command) at which balls will be delivered by the ball sorting apparatus through to the loading section 302.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, automatic launching apparatus 206 comprises an electrically rotatable fly wheel (not shown in the Figs.), which when operated rotates and causes a single tennis ball that is located at loading section 302 to be forced out of barrel 303. The rotational energy of the fly wheel is transferred to kinetic energy of the tennis ball, resulting in acceleration of the ball and ejection through the barrel at a predefined velocity. In other embodiments of the invention, automatic launching apparatus 206 comprises a different launching apparatus (e.g. air pressure). The aforementioned rotatable fly wheel is exemplary in nature and the present invention is not limited to a specific launching apparatus.

Fig. 4 schematically illustrates an electronic control panel 400 according to an embodiment of the invention. Control panel 400 is located behind the electronic panel cover 105, shown in Fig. IB, connected to a power source (numeral 303 in Fig. 3). Using arrow buttons 401a-d and selection button 402, a user may control the behavior of automatic launching apparatus 206 according to what is presented on screen 403. For instance, a user may set an electrically controlled ball sorting apparatus to load a ball to the launching apparatus 206 once every 3 seconds or once every other fixed or unfixed time interval, and the velocity at which each ball is launched.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the direction at which balls are ejected from barrel 303 is determined by the horizontal orientation of carrying bag 101, and by a mechanical launch angle mechanism (not shown in the Figs.). According to another embodiment of the invention, an electronically controlled deflection member (numeral 210 in Fig. 2) is provided adjacent to the front ejecting side of barrel 303. When activated, balls that are ejected from the front side of barrel 303 engage deflection member 210 and are redirected thereby. In this embodiment control panel 400 is adapted to control the activation and orientation of deflection member 210, thereby allowing balls to be aimed in various directions.

According to an embodiment of the invention, bag 101 further comprises one or more sensors (not shown in the Figs.) configured to detect control commands given from afar. The sensors include sound sensors for detecting voice or sound commands (e.g. the sound of a racket hitting a tennis ball), visual sensors for visually detecting commands (e.g. a predefined hand gesture), and/or any other sensor suitable to detect a control command. Accordingly, bag 101 further comprises a processing element suitable to process data from the one or more sensors.

According to another embodiment of the invention, bag 101 further comprises a wireless communication module configured to wirelessly communicate with an electronic computing device (e.g. smartphone, PDA, tablet, etc.) for receiving commands therefrom, and for transmitting training related data (e.g. a summary of a training session).

According to an embodiment of the preset invention, in order to allow the above-detailed features of carrying bag 101, baglOl comprises a hard outer plastic shell exoskeleton, made of fiber reinforced thermoplastic, capable of supporting bag 101's content as well as providing the bags rigidness. Secondly the internal mechanisms are held in place by an internal structure that is fastened to bag 101's chassis (outer shell). The internal structure holds the internal elements in place (e.g. launching apparatus 206), and functions as a compartment divider, by segmenting bag 101's volume. According to an embodiment of the invention, since the overall mass needs to be manageable by the end user (i.e. low-weight), the structural materials will be reinforced polymers instead of metals.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, "trolley" type handle 107 is connected to telescopic arms (not shown in the Figs.) allowing handle 107 to be shifted back and forth from its initial un-extended position (as shown in the Figs.) to an extended position in which the handle is further away from wheels 106 than in the initial un-extended position. In this embodiment, carrying bag 101 may be carted in a manner similar to suitcases and luggage in addition to being carried by shoulder straps 108 or any other handle that may be added, e.g. between covers 102 and 103.

Below is an exemplary embodiment of a tennis-equipment carrying bag, the constructive details and constraints of which arise from the need to launch balls from one side of a tennis court to the other, and the need to withstand forces of ball launches. Obviously the specific values provided below are exemplary in nature and are provided for sake of demonstration. Obviously the present invention is not limited to these values and may be implemented with other values, without exceeding the scope of the claims.

One of the main considerations in the construction of a carrying bag according to the present invention is the manner in which a bag is kept in an upright position while launching balls and is prevented from falling over as result of a launch. Assuming that a launching apparatus (e.g. 206) comprises a fly wheel that turns at the speed of approximately 2500 rounds per minute (rpm), and is configured to launch a tennis ball weighing less than 60 grams to a distance of at least 20 meters with an incline of 15-25 degrees above ground, the force exerted on the tennis ball would be between 250 and 300 Newtons (N). The distance d x between the front ejecting side of barrel 303 and the axle of wheels 206 is chosen so as to allow the bag to withstand the launching force, taking in account the horizontal component of the launch force F LX and the weight of the bag that defines the amount of resistance force the wheels are able to withstand. For instance, the distance d x may be 310 millimeters (mm) in a bag weighing 5 kilograms (kg) with a center of gravity located 351 mm above ground and 171 mm from the front side of the barrel.

Power source 303 is required to supply power to the various electrically powered components for a sufficient amount of time. Accordingly, a 12 amp-hour (Ah) 12 volt (V) battery may be used to power the launching apparatus and any other electrically powered components provided in various embodiments of the invention (e.g. an electronically controlled deflection member, sensors, processing elements, a wireless communication module etc.).

Although embodiments of the invention have been described by way of illustration, it will be understood that the invention may be carried out with many variations, modifications, and adaptations, without exceeding the scope of the claims.