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Publication numberUS20070099541 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/583,214
Publication date3 May 2007
Filing date18 Oct 2006
Priority date19 Oct 2005
Also published asWO2007047939A2, WO2007047939A3
Publication number11583214, 583214, US 2007/0099541 A1, US 2007/099541 A1, US 20070099541 A1, US 20070099541A1, US 2007099541 A1, US 2007099541A1, US-A1-20070099541, US-A1-2007099541, US2007/0099541A1, US2007/099541A1, US20070099541 A1, US20070099541A1, US2007099541 A1, US2007099541A1
InventorsGlenn Yu, Phedon Tsiknopolus, Jamie Cheung, Leon Lau, Carson Luo
Original AssigneeGlenn Yu, Phedon Tsiknopolus, Jamie Cheung, Leon Lau, Carson Luo
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hand-launchable fluid-boosted toy vehicle
US 20070099541 A1
Abstract
A toy vehicle is provided for launching comprising a body with a chamber. The chamber has an opening. The chamber releasably holds a power source (e.g., fluid) under pressure. A covering mechanism is disposed adjacent the chamber, and is biased to a first position to cover the opening. The covering mechanism is movable to a second position for allowing the power source (e.g., fluid) to be propelled through the opening. The toy vehicle has an actuator disposed adjacent the covering mechanism operable for movement between a starting position and an actuating position. In the starting position, the actuator allows the covering mechanism to remain in the first position. In the actuating position, the actuator moves the covering mechanism to the second position. The toy vehicle has a delay mechanism operatively coupled to the actuator configured to move the actuator to the actuating position after a delay or an interval.
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Claims(95)
1. A toy vehicle for launching, the toy vehicle comprising:
a body with a chamber having an opening;
a covering mechanism disposed adjacent the chamber, the covering mechanism biased to a first position to cover the opening, wherein the chamber releasably holds fluid under pressure, and further wherein the covering mechanism is movable to a second position for allowing fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening;
an actuator disposed adjacent the covering mechanism, the actuator operable for translational movement between a starting position and an actuating position, the actuator in the starting position allowing the covering mechanism to remain in the first position, and further wherein the actuator is translationally operable to the actuating position to move the covering mechanism to the second position; and
a delay mechanism operatively coupled to the actuator, the delay mechanism configured to move the actuator to the actuating position after a delay.
2. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the covering mechanism includes a plug disposed adjacent the chamber for covering the opening, and a lever disposed adjacent the plug, the lever biased towards a first position for holding the plug to cover the opening and movable to a second position for releasing the plug to allow fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening.
3. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the covering mechanism further includes a fluid inlet valve.
4. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the actuator is operable for translational movement under a biasing force.
5. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the actuator is configured to be held in the starting position and released at a predetermined time.
6. The toy vehicle of claim 1, further comprising a holder, wherein the holder holds the actuator in the starting position.
7. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position after the toy vehicle is launched.
8. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is moving.
9. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is in flight.
10. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the delay mechanism includes a dampener to control the translational movement of the actuator.
11. The toy vehicle of claim 10, wherein the dampener controls the translational movement of the actuator at a substantially constant rate.
12. The toy vehicle of claim 10, wherein the dampener includes a pinion operatively coupled to a rack on the actuator.
13. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the chamber includes a first compartment in fluid communication with the opening, and a second compartment in fluid communication with the first compartment at an aperture.
14. The toy vehicle of claim 13, wherein the aperture is positioned higher than the opening when the launchable body is positioned for launching.
15. The toy vehicle of claim 13, wherein the second compartment is configured to hold substantially gas under pressure and the first compartment is configured to hold substantially liquid under pressure, and further wherein the first compartment and the second compartment are configured to allow substantially all of the liquid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening before substantially all of the gas is propelled through the opening.
16. The toy vehicle of claim 1, further comprising:
a first holding member mounted to the body; and
an elastomeric band for engaging the holding member so the band can be stretched to a predetermined position and released causing the projectile toy to launch.
17. The toy vehicle of claim 1, wherein the toy vehicle is a toy car.
18. The toy vehicle of claim 1, further comprising at least two fins mounted to the body, the fins arranged for flying.
19. The toy vehicle of claim 1, further comprising a hollow tube in communication with the chamber, wherein the hollow tube is configured to release the pressurized fluid after the actuator moves to the actuating position.
20. The toy vehicle of claim 19, further comprising a launchable member operatively connected to the hollow tube, the launchable member being released from the launchable body after the release of the pressurized fluid through the hollow tube.
21. A toy vehicle for launching, the toy vehicle comprising:
a body with a chamber having an opening;
a plug disposed adjacent the chamber for covering the opening;
a lever disposed adjacent the plug, the lever biased towards a first position for holding the plug to cover the opening, wherein the chamber releasably holds fluid under pressure, and further wherein the lever is movable to a second position for releasing the plug to allow fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening; and
an actuator disposed adjacent the covering mechanism, the actuator operable for movement between a starting position and an actuating position, the actuator in the starting position allowing the covering mechanism to remain in the first position, and further wherein the actuator is operable to the actuating position to move the covering mechanism to the second position; and
a delay mechanism operatively coupled to the actuator, the delay mechanism configured to move the actuator to the actuating position after a delay.
22. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the actuator is operable for movement under a biasing force.
23. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the actuator is operable for translational movement.
24. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the actuator is configured to be held in the starting position and released at a predetermined time.
25. The toy vehicle of claim 21, further comprising a holder, wherein the holder holds the actuator in the starting position.
26. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position after the toy vehicle is launched.
27. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is moving.
28. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is in flight.
29. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the delay mechanism includes a dampener to control the movement of the actuator.
30. The toy vehicle of claim 29, wherein the dampener controls the movement of the actuator at a substantially constant rate.
31. The toy vehicle of claim 29, wherein the dampener includes a pinion operatively coupled to a rack on the actuator.
32. The toy vehicle of claim 21, further comprising:
a first holding member mounted to the body; and
an elastomeric band for engaging the holding member so the band can be stretched to a predetermined position and released causing the projectile toy to launch.
33. The toy vehicle of claim 21, wherein the toy vehicle is a toy car.
34. The toy vehicle of claim 21, further comprising at least two fins mounted to the body, the fins arranged for flying.
35. The toy vehicle of claim 21, further comprising a hollow tube in communication with the chamber, wherein the hollow tube is configured to release the pressurized fluid after the actuator moves to the actuating position.
36. The toy vehicle of claim 35, further comprising a launchable member operatively connected to the hollow tube, the launchable member being released from the launchable body after the release of the pressurized fluid through the hollow tube.
37. A projectile toy comprising:
a body with a chamber having a front portion and an opening;
a first holding member connected near the front portion;
an elastomeric band for engaging the first holding member so the band can be stretched to a predetermined position and released causing the projectile toy to launch;
a covering mechanism disposed adjacent the chamber, the covering mechanism biased to a first position to cover the opening, wherein the chamber releasably holds fluid under pressure, and further wherein the covering mechanism is movable to a second position for allowing fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening, and further wherein the covering mechanism has a fluid inlet valve;
an actuator disposed adjacent the covering mechanism, the actuator operable for movement between a starting position and an actuating position, the actuator in the starting position allowing the covering mechanism to remain in the first position, and further wherein the actuator is operable to the actuating position to move the covering mechanism to the second position;
a delay mechanism operatively coupled to the actuator, the delay mechanism configured to move the actuator to the actuating position after a delay; and
a launcher disposed adjacent the chamber, the launcher having a pump and a launch mechanism, wherein the pump couples to the fluid inlet valve for pressurizing the chamber, and further wherein the launch mechanism is operable from a first holding position for holding the actuator in the starting position and movable to a second releasing position to release the chamber for launch by the elastomeric band.
38. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the covering mechanism includes a plug disposed adjacent the chamber for covering the opening, and a lever disposed adjacent the plug, the lever biased towards a first position for holding the plug to cover the opening and movable to a second position for releasing the plug to allow fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening.
39. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the actuator is operable for movement under a biasing force.
40. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the actuator is operable for translational movement.
41. The toy vehicle of claim 37 wherein the actuator has at least two starting positions.
42. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the actuator is configured to be held in the starting position and released at a predetermined time.
43. The projectile toy of claim 42, wherein the launch mechanism includes a holder for holding the actuator in the starting position.
44. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position after the toy vehicle is launched.
45. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is moving.
46. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the delay mechanism is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is in flight.
47. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the delay mechanism includes a dampener to control the movement of the actuator.
48. The toy vehicle of claim 47, wherein the dampener controls the movement of the actuator at a substantially constant rate.
49. The toy vehicle of claim 47, wherein the dampener includes a pinion operatively coupled to a rack on the actuator.
50. The projectile toy of claim 37, wherein the launch mechanism includes a trigger biased to hold the chamber and movable to a position for releasing the chamber for launch by the elastomeric band.
51. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the chamber includes a first compartment in fluid communication with the opening, and a second compartment in fluid communication with the first compartment at an aperture.
52. The toy vehicle of claim 51, wherein the aperture is positioned higher than the opening relative to the opening when the launchable body is positioned for launching.
53. The toy vehicle of claim 51, wherein the second compartment is configured to hold substantially gas under pressure and the first compartment is configured to hold substantially liquid under pressure, and further wherein the first compartment and the second compartment are configured to allow substantially all of the liquid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening before substantially all of the gas is propelled through the opening.
54. The toy vehicle of claim 37, wherein the toy vehicle is a toy car.
55. The toy vehicle of claim 37, further comprising at least two fins mounted to the body, the fins arranged for flying.
56. The toy vehicle of claim 37, further comprising a hollow tube in communication with the chamber, wherein the hollow tube is configured to release the pressurized fluid after the actuator moves to the actuating position.
57. The toy vehicle of claim 56, further comprising a launchable member operatively connected to the hollow tube, the launchable member being released from the launchable body after the release of the pressurized fluid through the hollow tube.
58. A wheeled toy vehicle operable for movement on a surface, the toy vehicle comprising:
a body with a chamber having an opening;
a covering mechanism disposed adjacent the chamber, the covering mechanism biased to a first position to cover the opening, wherein the chamber releasably holds fluid under pressure, and further wherein the covering mechanism is movable to a second position for allowing fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening; and
an actuator disposed adjacent the covering mechanism, the actuator operable for movement in response to movement of the vehicle between a starting position and an actuating position, the actuator in the starting position allowing the covering mechanism to remain in the first position, and further wherein the actuator is operable to the actuating position to move the covering mechanism to the second position.
59. The toy vehicle of claim 58, further comprising a delay mechanism operatively coupled to the actuator, the delay mechanism configured to move the actuator in response to movement of the vehicle to move the actuator to the actuating position after an interval.
60. The toy vehicle of claim 59, wherein the delay mechanism is a worm and the actuator is a worm wheel.
61. The toy vehicle of claim 59, wherein the interval for movement occurs after the launchable body is launched.
62. The toy vehicle of claim 59, wherein the interval for movement occurs while the launchable body is moving.
63. The toy vehicle of claim 58, further comprising at least one wheel operatively coupled to the actuator so that the actuator moves as the at least one wheel rotates.
64. The toy vehicle of claim 63, wherein the actuator is mounted for rotation about a vertical axis as the at least one wheel rotatably moves about a horizontal axis.
65. The toy vehicle of claim 63, wherein the actuator is configured to move only when the at least one wheel rotates in one direction.
66. The toy vehicle of claim 63, wherein the actuator is biased towards a setting position and movable to an operable position, the actuator in the setting position allowing the actuator to move to the starting position, and the actuator in the operable position operable for movement in response to movement of the vehicle between the starting position and the actuating position.
67. The toy vehicle of claim 66, wherein the actuator in the setting position is biased towards the starting position.
68. The toy vehicle of claim 58, wherein the chamber includes a first compartment in fluid communication with the opening, and a second compartment in fluid communication with the first compartment at an aperture.
69. The toy vehicle of claim 68, wherein the aperture is positioned higher than the opening relative to the opening when the launchable body is positioned for launching.
70. The toy vehicle of claim 68, wherein the second compartment is configured to hold substantially gas under pressure and the first compartment is configured to hold substantially liquid under pressure, and further wherein the first compartment and the second compartment are configured to allow substantially all of the liquid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening before substantially all of the gas is propelled through the opening.
71. The toy vehicle of claim 58, wherein the covering mechanism further includes a fluid inlet valve.
72. The toy vehicle of claim 58, wherein the toy vehicle is a toy car.
73. The toy vehicle of claim 58, wherein the actuator has at least two starting positions.
74. A wheeled toy vehicle operable for movement on a surface, comprising:
at least one wheel mounted to the vehicle, wherein the at least one wheel is rotatable on the surface to move the toy vehicle; and
an actuator operatively coupled to the at least one wheel, the actuator biased towards a setting position and movable to an operable position, the actuator in the setting position releasing from the at least one wheel to allow the actuator to move to a starting position, and the actuator in the operable position operable for movement in response to movement of the vehicle between the starting position and an actuating position
75. The toy vehicle of claim 74, wherein the actuator in the setting position is biased towards the starting position.
76. The toy vehicle of claim 74, wherein the actuator in the operable position is operably coupled to the at least one wheel, the actuator movable as the at least one wheel rotates.
77. The toy vehicle of claim 76, wherein the actuator is mounted for rotation about a vertical axis as the at least one wheel rotatably moves about a horizontal axis.
78. The toy vehicle of claim 76, wherein the actuator is configured to move only when the at least one wheel rotates in one direction.
79. The toy vehicle of claim 74, further comprising:
a body with a chamber having an opening; and
a covering mechanism disposed adjacent the chamber and the actuator, the covering mechanism biased to a covering position to cover the opening, wherein the chamber releasably holds fluid under pressure, and further wherein the actuator in the engaging position moves the covering mechanism to a releasing position for releasing the covering mechanism to allow fluid to be propelled from the chamber through the opening.
80. The toy vehicle of claim 74, wherein the actuator has at least two starting positions.
81. A toy vehicle for launching, the toy vehicle comprising:
a power source;
a covering mechanism disposed adjacent the chamber, the covering mechanism having a first position to releasably hold the power source, and further wherein the covering mechanism is movable to a second position for releasing the power source;
an actuator disposed adjacent the body, the actuator operable for movement operable for movement under a biasing force between a starting position and an actuating position, the actuator in the starting position allowing the covering mechanism to remain in the first position, and further wherein the actuator is operable to the actuating position to move the covering mechanism to the second position; and
a dampener operatively coupled to the actuator, the dampener configured to control the movement of the actuator between a starting position and the actuating position under a delay.
82. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the power source is pressurized fluid.
83. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the dampener controls the movement of the actuator at a substantially constant rate.
84. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the dampener includes a pinion operatively coupled to a rack on the actuator.
85. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the dampener is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position after the toy vehicle is launched.
86. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the dampener is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is moving.
87. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the dampener is configured to move the covering mechanism to the second position while the toy vehicle is in flight.
88. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the actuator is configured to be held in the starting position and released at a predetermined time.
89. The toy vehicle of claim 81, further comprising a holder, wherein the holder holds the actuator in the starting position.
90. The toy vehicle of claim 81, further comprising:
a first holding member mounted to the body; and
an elastomeric band for engaging the holding member so the band can be stretched to a predetermined position and released causing the projectile toy to launch.
91. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the covering mechanism further includes a fluid inlet valve.
92. The toy vehicle of claim 81, wherein the toy vehicle is a toy car.
93. The toy vehicle of claim 81, further comprising at least two fins mounted to the body, the fins arranged for flying.
94. The toy vehicle of claim 81, further comprising a hollow tube in communication with the chamber, wherein the hollow tube is configured to release the pressurized fluid after the actuator moves to the actuating position.
95. The toy vehicle of claim 81, further comprising a launchable member operatively connected to the hollow tube, the launchable member being released from the launchable body after the release of the pressurized fluid through the hollow tube.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/728,467, filed Oct. 19, 2005, and entitled “Hand-Launchable Fluid-Boosted Toy Vehicle”; U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/733,043, filed Nov. 2, 2005, and entitled “Hand-Launchable Fluid-Boosted Toy Vehicle”; U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/775,885, filed Feb. 22, 2006, and entitled “Hand-Launchable Fluid-Boosted Toy Vehicle”; and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/778,231, filed Mar. 1, 2006, and entitled “Hand-Launchable Toy Car”; all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety for all purposes.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to fluid-boosted toys, and more particularly to hand-launchable fluid-boosted toy vehicles, such as balls, rockets, double-rockets, darts, airplanes, double-airplanes, cars, or wheels.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

Examples of known launchable toy articles are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,936,053, U.S. Pat. No. 4,213,268, U.S. Pat. No. 4,438,587, U.S. Pat. No. 4,710,146, U.S. Pat. No. 4,732,569, U.S. Pat. No. 5,433,641, U.S. Pat. No. 5,653,216, U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,623, U.S. Pat. No. 6,500,042, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,698,414, and published patent application US20040040551. The disclosures of all of these patents and publications are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure relates to a hand-launchable fluid-boosted toy vehicle. The toy vehicle may take the form of a ball, a rocket, a double-rocket, a dart, an airplane, a double-airplane, a car, or a wheel. A launchable toy vehicle may be configured to have two power sources. The first power source may launch the toy vehicle a certain distance using a hand-held launching device, an elastomeric band, or by being thrown. The second power source may use a propulsion booster, which includes a delay mechanism, from the release of pressurized fluid contained within the toy vehicle. The propulsion boost may occur after a delay or an interval. The delay or interval may be after a launch and while the toy vehicle is moving or is in flight.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of an illustrative embodiment of a toy vehicle for launching according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a launchable body of a toy vehicle for launching according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 2A is a partially cutaway side view of a launchable body of a toy vehicle for launching according to the present disclosure.

FIGS. 3 and 4 are partially cutaway side views of a launchable body and a launcher of a toy vehicle for launching according to the present disclosure.

FIGS. 5 and 6 are partially cutaway side views of a launchable body of a toy vehicle for launching according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 7 is a side view of an illustrative embodiment of a wheeled toy vehicle according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 8 is a side view of a launchable body of a wheeled toy vehicle according to the present disclosure.

FIGS. 9, 10, and 11 are partially cutaway side views of internal components of a launchable body of a wheeled toy vehicle according to the present disclosure.

FIGS. 12, 13, and 14 are partially cutaway side views of internal components of a launchable body of a wheeled toy vehicle according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 15 is a bottom view of a launchable body of a wheeled toy vehicle according to the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

A launchable toy vehicle may be configured to have two power sources. The first power source may launch the toy vehicle a certain distance using a hand-held launching device, an elastomeric band, or by being thrown. The second power source may provide the toy vehicle a propulsion boost from the release of pressurized fluid contained within the toy vehicle. The fluid may be any liquid (e.g., water), any gas (e.g., air), or any combination of liquid and gas. The propulsion boost may occur after a delay. The delay may be after a launch and while the toy vehicle is moving or is in flight. The toy vehicle may take any form, such as a rocket, an airplane, a car, or a ball, and may be accordingly configured as such.

FIGS. 1 through 6 show an illustrated embodiment of a toy vehicle, indicated generally at 10, for launching. Toy vehicle 10 may include a launchable body 12, a launcher 14, and a slingshot 16. Launchable body 12 may include an internal reservoir or chamber 18 for holding a fluid F, a covering mechanism 20, an actuator 22 such as a rod or a plunger, a delay mechanism 24, and a first holding member 26 (e.g., a hook or latch).

Launchable body 12 may be shaped like a rocket. Launchable body 12 may have a protective nose 30 and fins 32 to aid in flight. Launchable body 12 may have four fins 32. Fins 32 may be permanently or removably attached to launchable body 12. If removable, launchable body 12 may include fin receivers 34 fitted to hold fins 32 in place mechanically, frictionally, or by any other means. In some embodiments, launchable body 12 may be shaped like an airplane with wings and a tail, or shaped like a car with wheels, or may be shaped as desired.

Now turning to FIG. 2, chamber 18 is shown with an opening 36. Chamber 18 may have a single compartment. Chamber 18 may also have a first compartment 38 in fluid communication with opening 36 and a second compartment 40 in fluid communication with first compartment 38 at a passage 41 having an aperture 42. Passage 41 may allow a fluid F1 (e.g., water) and a fluid F2 (e.g., air) to pass between first compartment 38 and second compartment 40. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 2A, fluid F may pass through passage 41 and through aperture 42.

Aperture 42 may be configured so that first compartment 38 may substantially hold a first pressurized fluid F1 (e.g., water) while second compartment 40 may substantially hold a second pressurized fluid F2 (e.g., air). When aperture 42 is positioned higher than opening 36, as in FIGS. 1 and 2, first compartment 38 may substantially hold pressurized water while second compartment 40 may substantially hold pressurized air. FIG. 1 shows an illustrative embodiment where aperture 42 is positioned higher than opening 36 when the launchable body 12 is held in a position for launch. FIG. 2 shows an illustrative embodiment where aperture 42 is positioned higher than opening 36 when launchable body 12 is positioned horizontally relative to the ground or a surface.

In some embodiments, chamber 18 may be configured to maximize the propulsive release of pressurized fluid F through opening 36. FIG. 6 shows a configuration for releasing pressurized fluid F from chamber 18. Pressurized fluid F2 may flow from second compartment 40, as shown by arrow X, through aperture 41 toward opening 36, creating a force. The force of pressurized fluid F2 may cause substantially all of pressurized fluid F1 in first compartment 38 to propel through opening 36 within a minimized time interval. The force of pressurized fluid F2 may force substantially all of pressurized fluid F1 through opening 36 before substantially all of fluid F2 releases through opening 36. When aperture 42 is positioned higher than opening 36, as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the force of pressurized air from second compartment 40 may cause substantially all of pressurized water in first compartment 38 to propel through opening 36 within a minimized time interval.

In some embodiments, first compartment 38 may have a volume Va and second compartment 40 may have a volume Vb. Volume Vb may be larger than volume Va. Volume Vb may be larger than volume Va to maximize the propulsion of pressurized fluid F through opening 36. Volume Vb may be larger than volume Va to maximize the force of pressurized air from second chamber 40 through aperture 42 on pressurized water in first chamber 38 when fluid F is being released through opening 36.

Second compartment 40 may have a fill line 43 indicating, when launchable body 12 is in a nose-down position, the amount of fluid in second compartment 40 that corresponds to the amount of fluid volume Va of first compartment 38.

Covering mechanism 20 may be fitted to cover or seal opening 36 while chamber 18 contains pressurized fluid F, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Covering mechanism 20 may be operably movable to a position for allowing the release of pressurized fluid F from opening 36, as shown in FIG. 6. In some embodiments, covering mechanism 20 may include a cork or plug 44, a lever 46, and a lever biasing mechanism 48 (e.g., a coil or other spring).

Plug 44 may have a fluid inlet valve 50, a plug chamber 51, a first gasket 52 for creating a seal with opening 36, a second gasket 54 for creating a seal with launcher 14, and an arm 56. Fluid inlet valve 50 may be disposed in plug chamber 51 so that fluid can be inserted through plug chamber 51 into chamber 18 while plug 44 is covering chamber 18. Fluid inlet valve 50 may allow fluid F to pass through closed plug 44 into chamber 18 and prevent fluid F from flowing in the opposite direction.

Arm 56 may be operatively connected to launchable body 12 so that plug 44 may rotate away from opening 36 while remaining attached to launchable body 12. In some embodiments, arm 56 may be connected to launchable body 12 in a slider slot so that plug 44 may first slide outward relative to opening 36 and then rotate away from opening 36 while remaining attached to launchable body 12.

Lever 46 may have a wheel 58 mounted on lever 56. Lever wheel 58 may be configured to rotatably move on lever 46. Lever wheel 58 may rotate when plug 44 contacts lever 46. Lever wheel 58 may aid plug 44 in releasing away from lever 46.

Covering mechanism 20 may have at least a first (or un-activated) position, and be movable to a second (or activated) position. In the first position, as shown in FIG. 2, covering mechanism 20 may be biased to cover opening 36 to prevent the release of pressurized fluid F through opening 36. In some embodiments, lever biasing mechanism 48 may urge lever 46 towards holding plug 44 in opening 36, thereby preventing release of pressurized fluid F through opening 36.

In the second position, as shown in FIG. 6, covering mechanism 20 may be positioned to allow fluid F to be propelled from chamber 18 through opening 36. In some embodiments, lever 46 may release or disengage from plug 44 against the urging of lever biasing mechanism 48. Plug 44 may be released from opening 36 to allow pressurized fluid F to be propelled through opening 36.

Actuator 22 may be operable to move covering mechanism 20 to the second (or activated) position. Actuator 22 may be operable for movement between a starting position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and an actuating position, as shown in FIG. 6. Actuator 22 may move between at least one intermediate position, as shown in FIG. 5. Actuator 22 may be operable to move translationally. Actuator 22 may be configured to move rotatably or in any way desired. In some embodiments, actuator 22 may have an actuator biasing mechanism 60 (e.g., a spring). Actuator 22 may include a rack or teeth 62 configured to slidingly mate with delay mechanism 24, as detailed below.

In a starting position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, actuator 22 may be positioned so that covering mechanism 20 is in the first (or un-activated) position. In a starting position, actuator 22 may be positioned so that actuator biasing mechanism 60 is compressed or coiled to urge or bias actuator 22 to move towards the actuating position. In a starting position, actuator 22 may be depressed into launchable body 12 so that actuator biasing mechanism 60 is compressed or coiled to urge or bias actuator 22 to move towards the actuating position. In a starting position, actuator 22 may be out of contact with lever 46. In a starting position, the movement of actuator 22 may be controlled by delay mechanism 24 against the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60.

In the intermediate position, as shown in FIG. 5, actuator biasing mechanism 60 may urge actuator 22 to move actuator 22 towards the actuating position. In the intermediate position, actuator biasing mechanism 60 may urge or bias actuator 22 to move to a position away from a starting position towards the actuating position. In the intermediate position, covering mechanism 20 may remain in the second position. In the intermediate position, the movement of actuator 22 may be controlled by delay mechanism 24 against the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60.

In the actuating position, as shown in FIG. 6, actuator biasing mechanism 60 may urge or bias actuator 22 to move covering mechanism 20 to the second position. In the actuating position, actuator 22 may move lever 46 to the second position. In the actuating position, actuator 22 may be disengaged from delay mechanism 24 and moving under the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60. Actuator 22 may move at a faster rate when not controlled by delay mechanism 24 relative to the rate at which actuator 22 may move under the control of biasing mechanism 24.

Delay mechanism 24 may be configured to control the movement of actuator 22 so that actuator 22 does not reach the actuating position until after a delay or an interval. Delay mechanism 24 may be configured to move actuator 22 from a starting position to the actuating position under a delay. The delay from when actuator 22 moves from a starting position to the actuating position may occur after launchable body 12 is launched. The delay may be selected so that the propulsion boost occurs while launchable body 12 remains moving or in flight. Delay mechanism 24 may cause actuator 22 to release each time actuator 22 is depressed into launchable body 12 at a fairly or substantially constant speed or rate so that actuator 22 each time extends back out at relatively the same time from launchable body 12. Delay mechanism 24 may create a tension or a resistance force against the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60 as actuator 22 moves from a starting position towards the actuating position. Again as best shown in FIG. 6, delay mechanism 24 may be configured to no longer control the movement of actuator 22 at some position or interval before the actuating position.

In some embodiments, delay mechanism 24 may have a dampener 64 to control the movement of actuator 22. Dampener 64 may be configured to create a tension or a resistive force against the biasing or urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60 as actuator 22 moves. Dampener 64 may cause actuator 22 to move at a fairly or substantially constant rate.

In some embodiments, dampener 64 may include a pinion or wheel 66, an axle 68, and gearbox 70. Pinion 66 may be coupled to slidingly engage with rack 62 of actuator 22. Pinion 66 may be coupled to axle 68 to rotate as the gears in gearbox 70 rotate. Gearbox 70 may be configured to create a tension or resistive force against the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60 as actuator 22 moves. Gearbox 70 may be configured to create a resistive force or tension, and any configuration that may cause a delay is suitable. Gearbox 70 may cause pinion 66 to rotate on axle 68 at a fairly or substantially constant speed or rate causing actuator 22 to move towards the actuating position at a fairly or substantially constant speed or rate. At some position or interval before the actuating position, pinion 66 may disengage from rack 62 so that actuator 22 may move towards the actuating position under the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60, as shown in FIG. 6.

Launcher 14 may include a mounting track 72, a pump 74, and a launch mechanism 76. Pump 74 may include a fluid chamber 77 with a fluid outlet 78, a plunger 80, and a pressure check valve 82. Fluid outlet 78 is alignable with fluid inlet valve 50 for pressurizing fluid F in launchable body 12. Pressure check valve 82 may be configured to release air from pump 74 when chamber 18 is suitably pressurized. Pressure check valve 82 may be configured to signal when chamber 18 is suitably pressurized, such as by whistling or making a sound. Any suitable pump for pressurizing fluid F in a chamber may be used.

FIG. 3 shows that launch mechanism 76 may include a trigger or finger pull 84, a trigger bias 86 (e.g., a coil or other spring), and a stop 88. Trigger bias 86 normally biases trigger 84 to engage and hold a second holding member 89 mounted on launchable body 12. Stop 88 may be positioned to hold actuator 22 of launchable body 12 in a starting position when launchable body 12 is operatively coupled to launcher 14.

FIG. 4 shows that trigger 84 may be pulled against trigger bias 86 to disengage trigger 84 from second holding member 28. Launchable body 12 may be released from launcher 14 when trigger 84 is disengaged from second holding member 28. Launchable body 12 may be released from launcher 14 when trigger 84 is disengaged from second holding member 28 by slingshot 16.

Returning to FIG. 1, slingshot 16 includes a sling housing 90, a sling arm 92, and an elastomeric or rubber band 94. Sling housing 90 may include a shield to protect the user (e.g., the user's hand) during launch. Sling arm 92 may have a first end pivotally connected to sling housing 90, and a second end operatively connected to elastomeric band 94. The pivotal motion of sling arm 92 on sling housing 90, as depicted in dashed lines in FIG. 1, may aid the launch of launchable body 12 into flight. Elastomeric band 94 may be configured to be releasably attached to first holding member 26 and to be stretched to create tension for launching launchable body 12 away from launcher 14. Elastomeric band 94 may be any stretchable or tension-creating material.

The following paragraphs describe an illustrative method of using toy vehicle 10 for launching. Launchable body 12 may be filled with water through opening 36 into chamber 18, e.g., up to fill line 43. Actuator 22 may be set to a starting position. Covering mechanism 20 may be in the first (non-activating) position, thereby holding fluid F in chamber 18 and allowing pressure to build in chamber 18 until release.

As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 3, launchable body 12 may be mounted to launcher 14 so that stop 88 stops actuator 22 in a starting position, covering mechanism 20 is in the first position, and fluid outlet 78 is aligned with fluid inlet valve 50. By moving plunger 80 in and out of pump 74, in a reciprocating motion like that of a common tire pump, air may be pushed out of fluid outlet 78 through fluid inlet valve 50 and into chamber 18, thereby pressurizing fluid F in chamber 18. Launchable body 12 may be positioned for launch so that the pressurized water substantially settles and substantially remains in first compartment 38 and pressurized air substantially remains in second compartment 40.

Slingshot 16 may be coupled to first holding member 26 of launchable body 12 and elastomeric band 94 may be stretched to a predetermined length to create tension. Launchable body 12 may then be launched from launcher 14 by slingshot 16, as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows trigger 84 being squeezed and launchable body 12 releasing from launcher 14 under the tension of elastomeric band 94. Covering mechanism 20 remains in the first position in FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 shows that actuator biasing mechanism 60 may urge actuator 22 to move actuator 22 toward the actuating position. Covering mechanism 20 may remain in the second position during some interval or delay while actuator 22 is being urged to the actuating position. Delay mechanism 24 may control the movement of actuator 22 so that actuator 22 does not reach the actuating position until after the launch. Delay mechanism 24 may control actuator 22 to move to the actuating position at some delay or interval when launchable body 22 is moving or is in flight.

FIG. 6 shows actuator 22 reaching the actuating position under the urging of actuator biasing mechanism 60. Acutator 22 may reach the actuating position while lanchable toy 12 is moving or is in flight. At the actuating position, actuator 22 may move covering mechanism 20 to the second position. Delay mechanism 24 may disengage from actuator 22 at some interval after actuator 22 has left a starting position. Delay mechanism 24 may disengage from actuator 22 at some interval before actuator 22 reaches the actuating position.

When covering mechanism 20 is in the second position, pressurized fluid F in reservoir 20 may propel through opening 36, providing launchable body 12 with a propulsion boost. Substantially all of the pressurized water contained in first compartment 38 may propel out of opening 36 within a minimized time interval and/or before substantially all of the pressurized gas is propelled out of opening 36 to provide a propulsion boost.

Attention is now directed to FIGS. 7 through 15, showing a toy vehicle, indicated generally at 110, for launching. FIG. 7 shows that toy vehicle 110 may comprise a wheeled launchable body 112, a pump 114, and a ramp system 116. Launchable body 112 may be shaped like a car with a set of front wheels 118 mounted to a front axle 120, a set of back wheels 122 mounted to a back axle 124, and a pump receiver 125. Launchable body 112 may also be configured to release pressurized fluid F, as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 7. The release of pressurized fluid F may provide a propulsion boost to launchable body 112.

Turning to FIG. 8, launchable body 112 may include a reservoir or chamber 126, for holding fluid F, with an opening 128. Opening 128 may be sealed or covered with a covering mechanism 130.

Chamber 126 may have a single compartment. Chamber 126 may also have a first compartment 132 in fluid communication with opening 128 and a second compartment 134 in fluid communication with first compartment 132 at a passage 135 having an aperture 136. Passage 135 may allow a fluid F1 (e.g., water) and a fluid F2 (e.g., air) to pass between first compartment 132 and second compartment 134. Chamber 126 may configured to operate similarly to chamber 18 of toy vehicle 10.

Aperture 136 may be configured so that first compartment 132 may substantially hold a first pressurized fluid F1 (e.g., water) while second compartment 134 may substantially hold a second pressurized fluid F2 (e.g., air). When aperture 136 is positioned higher than opening 128, as in FIGS. 7 and 8, first compartment 132 may substantially hold pressurized water while second compartment 134 may substantially hold pressurized air. FIGS. 7 and 8 show an illustrative embodiment where aperture 136 is positioned higher than opening 128 when launchable body 112 is positioned horizontally relative to the ground or a surface.

In some embodiments, chamber 126 may be configured to maximize the propulsive release of pressurized fluid F through opening 128. The dashed lines in FIG. 7 depict a configuration for releasing pressurized fluid F from chamber 126. Pressurized fluid F2 may flow from second compartment 134 through aperture 136 toward opening 128, creating a force. The force of pressurized fluid F2 may cause substantially all of pressurized fluid F1 in first compartment 132 to propel through opening 128 within a minimized time interval. The force of pressurized fluid F2 may force substantially all of pressurized fluid F1 through opening 36 before substantially all of fluid F2 releases through opening 36. When aperture 136 is positioned higher than opening 128, the force of pressurized air from second compartment 134 may cause substantially all of pressurized water in first compartment 132 to propel through opening 128 within a minimized time interval.

In some embodiments, first compartment 132 may have a volume Va and second compartment 134 may have a volume Vb. Volume Vb may be larger than volume Va. Volume Vb may be larger than volume Va to maximize the propulsion of pressurized fluid F through opening 128. Volume Vb may be larger than volume Va to maximize the force of pressurized air from second chamber 134 through aperture 136 on pressurized water in first chamber 132 when fluid F is being released through opening 128.

Second compartment 134 may have a fill line 138 indicating, when launchable body 112 is in a nose-down position, the amount of fluid in second compartment 134 that corresponds to the amount of fluid volume Va of first compartment 132.

In some embodiments, chamber 126 may have a pressure check valve 139 configured to release fluid when chamber 126 has reached a suitable pressure level.

Covering mechanism 130 may be fitted to cover or seal opening 128 while chamber 126 contains pressurized fluid F, as shown in solid lines in FIG. 7. Covering mechanism 130 may be operably movable to a position allowing the release of pressurized fluid F from opening 128, as show in dashed lines in FIG. 7.

Now referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, covering mechanism 130 may include a cork or plug 140, a lever 142 with a wheel 144 mounted on lever 142, and a lever biasing mechanism 146 (e.g., a coil or other spring). Plug 140 may have a fluid inlet valve 148 disposed within a fluid chamber 149, a first gasket 150 for creating a seal with opening 128, a second gasket 152 for creating a seal with pump 114, and an arm 154. Fluid inlet valve 148 may allow fluid F to pass through closed plug 140 into chamber 127 and prevent fluid F from flowing in the opposite direction. Plug 140 may be configured similarly to plug 44 on toy vehicle 10.

Covering mechanism 130 may have at least a first (or un-activated) position, and a second (or activated) position. Covering mechanism 130 may be configured like covering mechanism 20 on toy vehicle 10. In the first position, as shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10, covering mechanism 130 may be biased to cover opening 128 to prevent the release of pressurized fluid F through opening 128. In some embodiments, lever biasing mechanism 146 may urge lever 142 towards holding plug 140 in opening 128, thereby preventing release of pressurized fluid F through opening 128.

In the second position, as shown in FIG. 11, covering mechanism 130 may be positioned to allow fluid F to be propelled from chamber 126 through opening 128. In some embodiments, lever 142 may release or disengage from plug 140 against the urging of lever biasing mechanism 146. Plug 140 may be released from opening 128 to allow pressurized fluid F to be propelled through opening 128.

As shown in FIGS. 9 and 12, launchable body 112 may further include an actuator 156 such as a wheel, a delay mechanism 158, and an actuator setter 160. Actuator 156 may be operable to move covering mechanism 130 to the second (or activated) position. Actuator 156 may be operably movable in response to the movement of the vehicle. Actuator 156 may include teeth 162 disposed along the rim of actuator 156, a lever engager 164, and a setter stopper 166. Actuator 156 may be shaped like a wheel driven by a worm gear 168. Lever engager 164 may be shaped like a wedge configured to engage and move lever 142 to the second position. Setter stopper 166 may be configured to interact with actuator setter 160, as described below.

Actuator 156 has at least one starting position and an actuating position. In a starting position, as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, actuator 156 may be positioned so that covering mechanism 130 is in the first position. In a starting position, lever engager 164 may be positioned so that lever 142 remains biased towards holding plug 140 in opening 128, thereby preventing release of pressurized fluid F. In a starting position, lever engager 164 may be out of contact with lever 142.

In the actuating position, as shown in FIG. 11, actuator 156 may move covering mechanism 130 to the second position. In the actuating position, lever engager 164 may move lever 142 so that lever 142 releases from plug 140 allowing fluid F to propel out of opening 128. In the actuating position, lever engager 164 may be in contact with lever 142.

Delay (or timer) mechanism 158 may be operatively coupled to actuator 156 to control the movement of actuator 156. Delay mechanism 158 may be configured to move actuator 156 in response to the movement of toy vehicle 110. Delay mechanism 158 may be configured to move as the vehicle wheels, e.g., back wheels 122, rotate. Delay mechanism 158 may be configured to control the movement of actuator 156 so that actuator 156 does not reach the actuating position until after an interval or a delay. The interval or delay from when actuator 156 moves from a starting position to the actuating position may occur while launchable body 112 is moving.

Again referring to FIG. 9, delay mechanism 158 may include an actuator engager 168, such as a worm gear, and a ratchet system 170. Actuator engager 168 may be configured to move with back wheels 122 on back axle 124. Actuator engager 168 may be mounted to back axle 124. Actuator engager 168 may be operatively coupled with actuator 156. Actuator engager 168 may include worm (or spiral-like teeth) 172 operatively coupled with actuator 156. Actuator engager 168 may be configured to move actuator 156 by using a worm gear-worm wheel configuration.

In some embodiments, actuator 156 may move about a substantially vertical axis as actuator engager 168 rotates about a substantially horizontal axis. Actuator engager 168 may rotate about a substantially horizontal axis as back wheels 124 rotate about a substantially horizontal axis. Actuator engager 168 may be configured to rotate about back axle 124 in the same direction as back axle 124 is rotating, or in the opposite direction as back axle 124 is rotating. Other suitable orientations of these axes may be used.

Now turning to FIG. 12, ratchet system 170 may be configured so that actuator engager 168 may rotate in one direction about back axle 124. Ratchet system 170 may be configured to allow actuator 156 to move to the actuating position as back axle 124 rotates in a forward direction FD. Ratchet system 170 may be configured so that actuator 156 does not move or rotate with back axle 124 as back axle 124 rotates in a reverse direction RD.

Ratchet system 170 may include a ratchet 174 mounted to back axle 124.

Ratchet 174 may have first angled teeth 176 operatively coupled to second angled teeth 178. Second angled teeth 178 may be mounted to actuator engager 168. Ratchet 174 may further have a ratchet biasing mechanism 180 (e.g., a coil or other spring) urging first angled teeth 176 to couple with second angled teeth 178. Ratchet 174 may be mounted to rotate as back axle 124 rotates. Ratchet 174 may be mounted to always rotate with back axle 124. Ratchet 174 may be mounted to always rotate in the same direction as back axle 124 rotates.

First angled teeth 176 may be operatively coupled to second angled teeth 178 to function like a ratchet, or any other suitable arrangement, to restrict motion or rotatable movement in one direction. In some embodiments, first angled teeth 176 and second angled teeth 178 may be configured so actuator engager 168 rotates with back axle 124 as launchable body 112 moves in forward direction FD. First angled teeth 176 and second angled teeth 178 may be configured so actuator engager 168 does not rotate with back axle 124 as launchable body 112 moves in rearward direction RD. As back wheels 122 and back axle 124 rotate in rearward direction RD, angled teeth 176 and angled teeth 178 may disengage against the urging of ratchet biasing mechanism 180. In this manner, ratchet system 170 may function like a ratchet, causing actuator 156 not to rotate with back axle 124 as launchable body 112 moves in rearward direction RD.

Now turning to FIG. 12, actuator setter 160 may allow actuator 156 to be set to a predetermined starting position away from the actuating position. Actuator setter 160 may include a setter tab 182, at least one axle biasing mechanism 184 (e.g., spring), and a setter biasing mechanism 186 (e.g., a coil or other spring).

Setter tab 182 may be set to a predetermined starting position for actuator 156. Setter tab 182 may be a tab that is configured to stop stopper 166 on actuator 156 from rotating past setter tab 182.

Setter biasing mechanism 186 may be operatively coupled to actuator 156 to urge actuator 156 towards a predetermined starting position. In some embodiments, setter biasing mechanism 186 may urge actuator 156 to rotate counterclockwise about a substantially vertical axis towards a predetermined starting position. Stopper 166 on actuator 156 may come into contact with setter tab 182 of actuator setter 160 under the bias of setter biasing mechanism 186 at a predetermined starting position. Stopper 166 may hold or stop actuator 156 in a predetermined starting position against the urging of setter biasing mechanism 186. In some embodiments, actuator engager 168 may be out of contact with actuator 156 for setter biasing mechanism 186 to urge actuator 156 towards a predetermined starting position. In some embodiments, when actuator engager 168 is operatively coupled to actuator 156, setter biasing mechanism 186 may be prevented from urging actuator 156 towards a predetermined starting position.

To set actuator 156 to a predetermined position, setter tab 182 may be rotated. In some embodiments, actuator engager 168 may be out of contact with actuator 156 for setter tab 182 to set actuator 156 in a predetermined starting position. In some embodiments, when actuator engager 168 is operatively coupled to actuator 156, setter tab 182 may be prevented from being set to a predetermined starting position.

As setter tab 182 rotates, actuator 156 may rotate. In turn, as actuator 156 rotates, lever engager 168 may rotate closer to or further from lever 142. Setter tab 182 may be used to move lever engager 164 closer to or further from the actuating position. In some embodiments, setter tab 182 may be rotated on a substantially vertical axis in a clockwise direction or a counterclockwise direction. Rotating setter tab 182 in a clockwise direction may increase the interval or delay for actuator 156 between the predetermined starting position and the actuating position. Rotating setter tab 182 in a counterclockwise direction may decrease the interval or delay for actuator 156 between the predetermined staring position and the actuating position. Other suitable orientations of these axes and directions may be used.

While setter tab 182 is moved to set actuator 156 to a predetermined starting position, actuator engager 168 may be out of contact with actuator 156. As shown in FIG. 13, axle biasing mechanism 184 may urge back axle 124 and actuator engager 168 out of contact with actuator 156. When actuator engager 168 is out of contact with actuator 156, setter biasing mechanism 186 may urge actuator 156 towards the predetermined starting position. Setter tab 182 may be moved to a predetermined starting position when actuator engager 168 is out of contact with actuator 156.

With reference to FIGS. 8 and 13, axle biasing mechanism 184 may urge back axle 124 out of contact with actuator 156 when launchable body 112 is out of contact with a surface or the ground. Axle biasing mechanism 184 may urge back axle 124 out of contact with actuator 156 when back wheels 122 are out of contact with a surface or the ground, as depicted in dashed lines in FIG. 8. When back wheels 22 are out of contact with a surface or the ground, setter biasing mechanism 186 may urge actuator 156 towards a predetermined starting position. When back wheels 22 are out of contact with a surface or the ground, actuator setter 160 may set actuator 156 to a predetermined starting position.

With reference to FIGS. 8 and 15, axle biasing mechanism 184 may urge back axle 124 out of contact with actuator 156 when launchable body 112 is turned over. Setter biasing mechanism 186 may urge actuator 156 towards a predetermined starting position while launchable body 112 is turned over. Setter tab 182 may be set while launchable body 112 is turned over.

With reference to FIGS. 8 and 14, back axle 124 and actuator engager 168 are shown operatively engaged to actuator 156. The weight of launchable body 112 may overcome the urging of axle biasing mechanism 184 when back wheels 122 are in contact with a surface or the ground, as shown in solid lines in FIG. 8. When launchable body 112 is in contact with a surface or the ground, actuator engager 168 may be operatively engaged to actuator 156. Actuator 156 may be operably moved from to the actuating position when actuator engager 168 is in contact with actuator 156. Actuator 156 may be moved to the actuating position when back wheels 124 are in contact with the surface. Actuator setter 160 may allow actuator 156 to move towards the actuator position as back wheels 122 rotate.

In some embodiments, setter tab 182 may be set to hold actuator 156 at one of multiple predetermined starting positions. Now referring to FIG. 15, actuator setter 160 may further include a holder cover 188 with a slit 190, notches 192, and indicia 194. Slit 190 may be curved and may be fittably sized for setter tab 182 to fit and rotate in slit 190. Notches 192 may be configured to hold setter tab 182 by frictional force, mechanical force, or by any other means. Each notch 192 may be fitted to hold setter tab 182 at a different interval. Each different interval may indicate a different predetermined starting position for actuator 156. Each different interval may indicate a different interval of movement of launchable body 112, or delay, before actuator 156 reaches the actuating position. Indicia 194 may indicate the relative interval or delay between the predetermined starting position and the actuating position corresponding to each notch 192.

In some embodiments, FIG. 9 may depict actuator 156 set at a first predetermined location. In some embodiments, FIG. 10 may depict show actuator 156 set at a second predetermined location.

Returning to FIG. 7, pump 114 may incorporate a trigger 196, a fluid chamber 197 with a fluid outlet 198 and a plunger 200. Pump 114 may be used to pressurize fluid F in chamber 126. Trigger 196 may releasably engage with pump receiver 125. Plunger 200 may be moved up and down, as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 7, to pump fluid (e.g., air) out outlet 198 through fluid inlet valve 148 into chamber 126. Fluid inlet valve may restrict fluid F to flow only from pump 114 to chamber 126. Any suitable pump configuration for pressurizing fluid may be used.

Ramp system 116 may include a ramp 202, a base 204, and a trick piece 206. Ramp 202 may be attached to base 204 in a plurality of positions, as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 7. The different attachment positions may allow a user to adjust ramp 202 to the desired angle and steepness relative to base 204. Trick piece 206 may be placed on ramp 202 at various positions. Other accessories can also be included with wheeled toy vehicle system 110, such as decals, toy vehicle tracks, or any other desired accessory.

The following paragraphs describe an illustrative method of using toy vehicle 110. Launchable body 112 may be filled with water through opening 128 into chamber 126. Water may be added, e.g., when launchable body 112 is positioned nose-down, up to fill line 138. Actuator 156 may be set to a starting position. Covering mechanism 130 may be set to the first position, thereby holding water in chamber 126 and allowing pressure to build in chamber 126 until release. Opening 128 may be sealed or covered with plug 140. Lever biasing mechanism 146 may urge lever 142 towards holding plug 140 to cover or seal opening 128.

Launchable body 112 may be turned over, as in FIG. 15. Because launchable body 112 is turned over, delay mechanism 158 may be urged by axle biasing mechanism 184 to disengage from actuator 156. Setter tab 182 may be rotated to any notch 192 to set actuator setter 160 and actuator 156 to a predetermined starting position. Setter tab 182 may be rotated to any notch 192 to set a delay interval between a starting position and the actuating position for actuator 156.

Launchable body 112 may be flipped upright, as in FIG. 7, and releasably mounted to pump 114 to pressurize the water in chamber 126 with air. Launchable body 112 may be disengaged from pump 114. Launchable body 112 may be positioned, e.g., nose-up, before launch to ensure the water is substantially transferred from second compartment 134 to first compartment 132. Launchable body 112 may be shaken while launchable body is positioned nose-up to ensure the water is substantially transferred from second compartment 134 to first compartment 134.

Launchable body 112 may be set on a surface. Actuator 156 and delay mechanism 158 may engage when launchable body 112 is set on the surface, as shown in FIG. 9.

Launchable body 112 may be rolled in a forward direction FD along a surface. FIG. 9 shows the rotation of back axle 124 as launchable body 112 is rolled along a surface in a forward direction FD. The rotation of back wheels 122 along the surface may rotate back axle 124 and actuator engager 168. The rotation of actuator engager 168 may rotate actuator 156 toward the actuating position.

FIG. 10 shows that actuator 156 may be rotated from a starting position or a predetermined starting position towards the actuating position while launchable body 112 is rolling in a forward direction FD. Covering mechanism 130 may remain in the second position during some interval after launchable body 112 is launched. Covering mechanism 130 may remain in the second position during some interval while launchable body 112 is moving.

FIG. 11 shows that at some interval after launch and while launchable body 112 is moving, actuator 156 may move into the actuating position. Actuator 156 may move into the actuating position while launchable body 112 is moving in a forward direction FD′. Covering mechanism 130 may move to the second position. Lever engager 164 may move lever 142 to the second position. Lever 142 may be released or disengaged from plug 140. Plug 140 may be released from opening 128. Pressurized fluid F may be propelled through opening 128. The release of pressurized fluid F may act as an energy source, providing a propulsion boost for launchable body 112.

Launchable body 112 may be lifted from the surface. Back wheels 122 may be disengaged from the surface when launchable body 112 is lifted, as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 8. Axle biasing mechanism 184 may urge delay mechanism 158 to disengage from actuator 156, as shown in FIG. 13. In turn, setter biasing mechanism 186 may urge actuator 156 towards the predetermined starting position. Stopper 166 may rotate with actuator 156 as actuator 156 is being urged towards the predetermined starting position. Setter tab 182 of actuator setter 160 156 may stop and hold stopper 166. Setter tab 182 may hold actuator 156 in the predetermined starting position.

Actuator setter 160 may be set when launchable body 112 is lifted from the surface. Actuator 156 may be set to a predetermined starting position using actuator setter 160.

The present disclosure encompasses other embodiments. In some embodiments, the delay mechanism may include at least one delay button. The at least one delay button may be positioned so a user can hold the actuator out of the actuating position without using a launcher. The at least one button may have a depressed position and be biased towards a released position. In the depressed position, the button(s) may hold the actuator in a starting position while the button(s) is being held by a user. In the released position, the button(s) may disengage from the actuator, allowing the actuator to move to the engaging position. The button(s) may be configured to move from a starting position to the releasing position after a delay. Once the button(s) is released, the button(s) may move after a delay from a starting position to the released position, thereby releasing the actuator. The delay may be after a launch. The delay may be while the launchable body is moving or in flight.

In some embodiments, the delay mechanism or the dampener may function like those typically found in music boxes. As such, the delay mechanism may be a time-delayed, spring-loaded, constant-speed delayed release mechanism.

In some embodiments, such as a double-airplane or a double-rocket, a launchable body (e.g., a first rocket or airplane) may be releasably coupled to a launchable member (e.g., a second rocket or airplane) so that the body carries the member for a certain distance after a launch. The body may be configured to release pressurized fluid in a chamber as described in other embodiments. The body may also include a hollow tube in fluid communication with the chamber through which the pressurized fluid may be released. The member may include a hollow fuselage sized to receive the hollow tube of the body. After a delay or an interval, the body may release pressurized fluid through the hollow tube. The member may speed away from the body. The delay may occur after launch. The delay may occur while the body and the member are moving or are in flight. The body and the member may be shaped like an airplane, a rocket, a car, or any other form or combination desired.

It is believed that the disclosure set forth above encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions has been disclosed in its preferred form, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein. Similarly, where any claim recites “a” or “a first” element or the equivalent thereof, such claim should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.

Inventions embodied in various combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements, and/or properties may be claimed through presentation of new claims in a related application. Such new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The methods and apparatus described in the present disclosure are applicable to toys, games, and other devices, and industries in which amusement devices are used.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7849627 *3 Jul 200814 Dec 2010Blackpoint Engineering, LlcFoam projectile
US8004390 *26 Feb 200723 Aug 2011Wolo Mfg. Corp.Horn device having a plural power supply
US20090192792 *29 Jan 200930 Jul 2009Samsung Electronics Co., LtdMethods and apparatuses for encoding and decoding audio signal
US20110244756 *9 Jun 20116 Oct 2011Funsource Partners d/b/a Funtastic USAToy Projectile and Launch Device
US20110263179 *25 Apr 201127 Oct 2011Martino Anthony MToy vehicle and method of launching
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/429
International ClassificationF41B11/83, A63H29/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H17/264, A63H17/008
European ClassificationA63H17/00F, A63H17/26C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
29 Jan 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: MATTEL, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:YU, GLENN;TSIKNOPOLUS, PHEDON;CHEUNG, JAMIE;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018841/0628;SIGNING DATES FROM 20061204 TO 20070120