CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/303,970, filed Feb. 12, 2010, which is incorporated by reference.
Remote control (“RC”) transmitters are commonly employed in toys for controlling motorized vehicles. The two most common types of RC technology are radio frequency (“RF”) and infrared. Such types of control devices are commonly limited to locomotion only. Growing trends in educational toys have generated a greater demand for learning-based play.
In an aspect, a system may be comprised of an RC control device having an RC transmitter and an RC action device having an RC receiver, in which the receiver is assembled into a housing of the RC action device, and the RC action device is configured to produce one or more of a pre-programmed audio response and pre-programmed visual response when activated by a corresponding input from the RC control device.
In a detailed embodiment, the RC control device may be configured to use a series of coded buttons, which may be configured to be entered in a predetermined sequence to affect the desired result from the receiver unit.
In a detailed embodiment, the RC action device may also be equipped with coded buttons itself so that the user may input the predetermined sequence directly on the RC action device.
In a detailed embodiment, the RC control device may take the form of a book holder, so that specific sequences of actuations to RC control device actuators may be read from a printer book or similar matter. Alternatively, the RC control device may be a hand-held device that is removably mounted to a book.
In a detailed embodiment, the RC control device housing may also include an actuator for controlling the locomotive functions of the RC action device unit separately from the RC control device actuators that control audio-visual functions of the RC action device.
In a detailed embodiment, the RC control device actuators for controlling locomotive functions of the RC action device may include a joystick or a directional keypad.
In a detailed embodiment, the locomotive functions of the RC action device may be controlled using a specific sequence of the coded buttons on the RC control device.
In a detailed embodiment, the RC action device may also include a remote transmitter apparatus and the book holder RC control device may also be equipped with a remote receiver apparatus, such that the RC action device can therefore send signals to the RC control device, which then processes and produces a specific, pre-programmed audio-visual response when activated by corresponding input from the RC control device. For example, a 2-way system so the state of the RC action device can influence functions on the RC control device as well.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In a detailed embodiment, the RC action device may include transparent or translucent portions to allow viewing of one or more of internal lights and movement as activated by the RC control device.
The detailed description refers to the following figures in which:
FIG. 1 is an example of an RC action device in the form of an RC car.
FIG. 2 is an example of an RC action device in the form of an RC car.
FIG. 3 is an example LED layout for the RC car.
FIG. 4 is an example RC control device, and examples of RC action devices in the form of an RC car, helicopter, and fire truck.
FIG. 5 is an example RC control device.
FIG. 6 is an example RC control device.
FIG. 7 is a schematic representation of an example RC control device and an example RC action device in the form of an RC car.
FIG. 8 is a schematic block-diagram representation of the electronic and electronically controlled components of an example RC control device and an example RC action device.
FIG. 9 is an example of an RC action device in the form of an RC car.
FIG. 10 is an illustration of an alternate embodiment of an RC control device removably mounted on a book.
Exemplary embodiments discussed herein use remote control technology to expand vehicle (toy) control beyond basic locomotion and introduce a system by which audio-visual responses can be triggered via the remote control device. An exemplary remote control device disclosed herein is adapted to hold a book, where the text of the book instructs the reader to activate remote control actuators of the device, which in-turn cause the corresponding vehicle to perform certain actions, typically in line with the story being told by the text.
In an exemplary embodiment, an RC receiver is built into an RC action device—typically, a children's toy, such as a remote control car or truck (although the RC action devices are not limited to a vehicle). FIGS. 1 and 2 provide examples of such an RC action device in the form of an RC car 10. The vehicle may be molded (completely or partially) in a translucent and/or transparent material to facilitate the viewing of lights or movable components mounted within the vehicle. Examples of transparent panels 12 as part of the RC car are shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 3 provides an exemplary LED layout for the RC car. Sets of LEDs A through V may be separately activated. For example set A1-A4 is activated as a set, and set E1-E4 may be activated as a set. Lights may also be mounted so as to be visible at the outer surface of the vehicle. The turning on and off of the lights comprise the visual performance an exemplary embodiment, but may include display panels (such as LED, LCD, backlit, etc.) in other embodiments. RC actuated audio actions (sound effects, voices, etc.) could be performed via a speaker controlled by the vehicle CPU. The speaker could be located in the most advantageous area of the body for optimal playback. As will be appreciated, the lights, speaker and such could be controlled by the CPU to perform various pre-programmed light and audio displays on command in a manner that is pleasing and exciting for the user. Other moving parts within and/or connected to the RC action device (for example, and without limitation, spinning engine fans, spinning helicopter blades, vibrating motors, lifting suspensions and such) could also be controlled by the on-board CPU and be included in the audio-visual display or be stand-alone reactions to the RC controller signals.
The RC control device (including an RC transmitter) may be equipped with buttons that may be pressed in sequence to transmit RC signals for commanding the vehicle to perform a specific routine which may include a series of flashing lights and/or sound effects. FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 provide an example RC control device 14, having buttons 16, 17 and 18, that may be coded with numerals, letters, symbols and the like and an “enter” button 19. The sequence of buttons 16-18 to actuate may be specified by a printed series of such as numerals, letters, symbols and the like (e.g., sequence “Δ, O, X, O”). Alternatively, the same sequence may be keyed from buttons mounted to the vehicle itself Exemplary vehicle mounted buttons 20, 21, 22 and 23 are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The coded input sequence may be preprogrammed into the CPU RAM of the vehicle and may be provided to the user by means of a printed book 25 (see FIG. 6), which can be removably mounted into the binder 26 of the book holder RC control device 14. The RC control device may also be equipped with a secondary input device, such as a joystick 28, for commanding additional vehicle functions, such as locomotion. Alternatively, or in addition, the input keys/buttons 16-19 of the RC control device 14 may be programmed to perform the same functions. The transmission/reception system in an exemplary embodiment uses infrared, but may be radio frequency, or tethered instead.
Referring to FIG. 4, other examples of RC action devices are shown in the form of a fire engine 30 and a helicopter 32. As discussed in FIG. 4, the RC control device 14 may include a slide switch having positions: OFF/PROGRAM/RUN. OFF for all power off; PROGRAM for allowing the user to enter the vehicle code into the RC control device so that the RC signals transmitted by the device may be specific to the RC action device corresponding to the vehicle code; and RUN for allowing the user to activate the user keys 16-19 and/or joystick 28 for standard operation (allowing the user to key in key codes to operate the vehicle). The user keys 16-19 include three buttons 16-18 plus an “enter” key 19 to trigger action of the RC action device. For example, to activate “engine sequence demo 1,” the user will be prompted to activate buttons labeled “X” “O” “X” “O” in sequence (as discussed above, such sequence of symbols could be found within the text of the associated book 25), followed by the “enter” key 19. To repeat the last function, the user will press the “enter” key 19 again. As discussed above, the RC action device may also have similarly labeled buttons that will cause the vehicle to operate in a like manner when actuated by the user. As also discussed in FIG. 4 a short-profile joystick 28 may be provided with the RC control device 14, which may be actuated by the user to perform the locomotive RC function for the RC action device.
FIG. 7 provides a schematic representation of the above embodiments. Additional components represented but not discussed above include the PCB baseboard 36 in the vehicle, the vehicle motor 38 and removable wheels/tires 40 on the vehicle 10. The RC control device 14 includes a housing 40 for its RC transmitter/receiver (infrared in the exemplary embodiment) and the RC action device 10 includes a housing 42 for its RC transmitter/receiver.
FIG. 8 provides a schematic block-diagram representation of the electronic and electronically controlled components of the RC control device 14 (the “Remote Book Transmitter”) and the RC action device (the “Vehicle/Toy”). On the printed circuit board 136 of the RC control device 14 is mounted one or more processor devices 40 and associated memory and other components as known in the art for operation of the RC control device 14 according to the functions described herein, all of which are powered by a power supply 42 such as a battery. Operatively connected to the printed circuit board 136 and associated processor device(s) 40 are the various components such as the three-position switch 44, infrared transmitter/receiver 46, joystick actuator 28, key button actuators 16-19. Likewise, the RC action device 10 includes a printed circuit board 36 with one or more processor devices 50 and associated memory and other components as known in the art for operation of the RC action device 10 according to the functions described herein, all of which are powered by a power supply 52 such as a battery. Operatively connected to the printed circuit board 36 and associated processor device(s) 50 of the RC action device 10 are the various components such as an on/off/mode switch 54, the vehicle motor 38, a speaker 54, key buttons 20-23, the LED array 56, a motion sensor 57, and an infrared transmitter/receiver 58.
FIG. 10 provides an alternate embodiment of a removable, hand-held RC control device 60 removably mounted to a children's book 62. The RC control device 60 may include a slot to receive the cover of the book 62, so that the two components may be mounted to one another, or the book 62 may include a channel into which the RC control device 60 may be received. The design of the book 62 and operation of the RC control device 60 are otherwise the same as discussed above. One feature of this embodiment is that it allows the user to remove the RC control device 60 from the book 62 such that it operates as a traditional hand-held remote control device for controlling the RC action device 10. This embodiment also illustrates that the buttons of the RC control device 60 may be marked with symbols such as shapes (e.g., “▴, , ▪”.
While exemplary embodiments have been set forth above for the purpose of disclosure, modifications of the disclosed embodiments as well as other embodiments thereof may occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited to the above precise embodiments and that changes may be made without departing from the scope. Likewise, it is to be understood that it is not necessary to meet any or all of the stated advantages or objects disclosed herein to fall within the scope of the disclosure, since inherent and/or unforeseen advantages of the may exist even though they may not have been explicitly discussed herein.