The present invention relates to a toy and more particularly, to a toy that has an elastic cord with a ball affixed to on one end thereof, with the ball having glow-in the-dark properties.
There are a number of different toys on the market that have an adjustable wrist strap that includes an elastic cord attached at one of its ends to the wrist strap. At the other end of the wrist strap, a ball is attached to the elastic cord. This type of toy is used by first securing the wrist strap around a user's wrist such that it snugly fits therearound. The user then grips the ball and releases the ball so that it either falls by gravity to the ground or is propelled in another direction by the user (e.g., the user throws the ball outwardly away from the user's body). Because the ball is attached to the wrist strap by an elastic cord, the cord elongates to a length greater than its free standing length when the ball is displaced to a position that is farther away from the wrist strap than the free standing length of the elastic cord. The elastic cord stores energy as it is being elongated under the force of the ball and then when the ball either strikes a surface or the elastic cord reaches its maximum elongation, the stored energy is released, resulting in the ball being propelled back towards the user. Typically, the user catches the ball and then begins the process over by either dropping or throwing the ball.
What has heretofore not been available is a highly entertaining and challenging variation of the above-described wrist toy which can be used during night time or in settings where light is at a minimum.
A wrist toy is provided and includes an adjustable wrist band and an elastic band having a first end and an opposing second end. The first end is secured to the wrist band and a ball is coupled to the second end of the elastic band. An outer surface of the ball has a glow-in-the-dark material disposed thereon according to a predetermined pattern. As used herein, “glow-in-the-dark material” refers to any material which has the property of continuing to emit light for an extended period of time after excitation, e.g., by subjecting the material to appropriate wavelengths of light. Exemplary glow-in-the-dark materials include but are not limited to long-lasting, high luminescence photostorage materials and phosphorescent materials.
The entertainment value of the wrist toy is enhanced by the inclusion of glow-in-the-dark materials into the ball. Not only can the wrist toy now be used in conditions of low lighting but the games which can be played with the wrist toy are made more challenging since it is more difficult to catch the ball in low light conditions and also the visual sensation that is achieved is much different than during normal play during day light hours. Accordingly, the versatility of the wrist toy is enhanced since the wrist toy can be used in well lit conditions as wells as conditions where the lighting is poor or even at nighttime.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES
Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
The foregoing and other features of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description and drawings figures of illustrative embodiments of the invention in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view, in partial cut-away, of a wrist toy according to a first embodiment;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational in partial cross-section of a connection region of an elastic member of the wrist toy of FIG. 1; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, in partial cut-out, of a ball according to another embodiment for use with a wrist toy.
Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, a wrist toy 10 is provided and is generally formed of an adjustable wrist band 20, an elastic member 30, and a ball 40. The wrist band 20 is a length of synthetic material that forms a webbing that is constructed to encircle a user's limb (i.e., the wrist). Suitable synthetic materials for forming the wrist band 20 include but are not limited to polymeric materials, such as, nylon, polyimide, etc. The wrist band 20 includes means 22 for fastening the wrist band 20 securely around the user's wrist but in an adjustable manner. Any number of conventional fastening means can be used, such as snaps, buttons or a hook and loop fastening means can be used to make the wrist band 20 adjustable to a number of different sizes. Preferably, the fastening means is a hook and loop fastening means 22 which provides the greatest versatility in adjusting the wrist band 20 to any number of sizes and also is very easy to make such adjustments and to secure the wrist band 20 around the user's wrist. It will also be appreciated that the wrist band 20 can include indicia (not shown), such as the name of a company and/or the name of the product.
Wrist band 20 also includes a means 50 for attaching one end of the elastic member 30 to the wrist band 20. Any number of means 50 can be used including but not limited to a swivel assembly or a grommet based means. The exemplary means 50 is a grommet based system in which an opening 52 is formed through the wrist band 20 and a grommet 50 is provided around the opening 52. The grommet 50 is formed of a metal opening 52 using conventional techniques, including crimping techniques.
The elastic member 30 is actually formed of two parts, namely a first part 60 in the form of an elastic cord and a second part 70 in the form of an elastic attachment member that securely couples the elastic member (i.e., the elastic cord 60 thereof) to the ball 40.
The ball 40 can be any number of different balls. The ball 40 is a rubber or spongy ball which can be constructed with a bore 42 formed therethrough. The bore 42 can be linear or can be slightly arcuate in nature and extends completely through the ball 40. The bore 42 can be formed so that it extends through an axis of the ball 40 or the bore 42 can be formed so that it passes through a portion of the ball 40 not along an axis of the ball 40 such that a larger continuous surface of the ball 40 is free of the elastic attachment member 70. This results in a minimization of the contact of the elastic attachment member 70 with contact surfaces, such as floors and/or walls.
In one exemplary embodiment, the ball 40 is made of a soft material which deforms upon impact to absorb impact energy but which material is sufficiently elastic such that the ball after impact and recoil transforms back to its preimpact shape. Preferably, the ball 40 is of a weight which when thrown is not significantly hindered by the elastic member 30.
The elastic cord 60 has a first end section 62 for attachment to the wrist band 20 and an opposing second end section 64 for attachment to the elastic attachment member 70. The first end 62 is attached to the wrist band 20 by passing the first end 62 through the opening 52 of the grommet 50. The first end 62 is passed completely through the opening 52 and is then doubled back and tied in a knot to a section of the elastic cord 60 near the first end section 62. This knot is generally indicated at 66.
The elastic attachment member 70 can be made of the same material as the elastic cord 60 or it can be formed of a different material and/or it can be formed to have a different shape compared to the elastic cord 60. For example, the elastic attachment member 70 can be formed to have a flat construction so that it lies more flush against the ball 40. The elastic attachment member 70 is connected to the ball 40 by passing a portion of the elastic attachment member 70 through the bore 42 of the ball 40 and then draw a knot 72 inside the ball 40. One will appreciate that the knot 72 can be tied first in the elastic attachment member 70 and then draw the knot 72 inside the ball 40.
As illustrated in FIG. 3, the elastic attachment member 70 can also be formed by taking a length of elastic cord and then folding a first end section over and tying it to a more central section of the elastic cord, thereby defining a first loop at the first end section. Similarly, the second end section is folded over and tied to the central section, thereby defining a second loop at the second end section. The elastic attachment member 70 is inserted through the bore 42 such that the first and second loops extend at least partially outside of the bore 42 and the central section and knots formed thereat remain within the bore 42.
The second end section 64 of the elastic cord 60 is attached to the elastic attachment member 70 by first folding over a length of the elastic cord 60 and tying a knot 67. This results in a loop being formed at the second end section 64. The loop is then inserted between the elastic attachment member 70 and the ball 40 and then the first end section 62 is passed through the loop defined at the second end section 64 and the first end section 62 is pulled tightly causing the loop to close and resulting in the first end section 62 being securely attached to the elastic attachment member 70. When the elastic attachment member 70 has first and second loops extending outside of the bore 42, the loop formed at the second end section 64 is threaded through both the first and second loops and then the first end section 62 is passed through the loop at second end section 64.
A sleeve 80 can be provided to shroud the knots 66, 67 of the elastic cord 60 to optimize the endurance of cord 60 and to prevent scratching to the user. It will be appreciated that wrist band 20, ball 40 and elastic member 30 can be manufactured in any color or combination of colors as desired.
According to the present application, the usability and entertainment value of the wrist toy 10 is enhanced by incorporating glow-in-the-dark properties into the wrist toy 10. According to one exemplary embodiment, glow-in-the-dark material, generally indicated at 90, is formed on the ball 40 itself to define glow-in-the-dark indicia on the outer surface 45. For example, a paint having glow-in-the-dark properties is disposed over an outer surface 45 of the ball 40 to impart glow-in-the-dark properties to the ball 40. It will be appreciated that the paint does not have to be disposed over the entire ball 40 since other indicia that does not have glow-in-the-dark can be disposed over the outer surface 45 of the ball 40. For example, a company logo and/or name can be applied to the ball 40 such it does not have glow-in-the-dark properties.
As previously mentioned, “glow-in-the-dark material” refers to any material which have the property of continuing to emit light for an extended period of time after excitation, e.g., by subjecting the material to appropriate wavelengths of light. It is well-known that some substances can convert the absorbed energy into visible light, which is called fluorescence. The re-emitted light surviving after the excitation is called phosphorescence. The longer afterglow of phosphorescence is called photoluminescence.
In one exemplary embodiment, a long-lasting, high luminescence photostorage material is included in a sufficient quantity in the glow-in-the-dark paint. The photostorage material is preferably a long lasting photostorage material, such as Chemitech Picariko CP-05 photostorage material or PERMAGLOW photostorage material. Chemitech Picariko CP-05 or PERMAGLOW photostorage material is a photostorage material comprised of aluminum oxide, strontium oxide, calcium oxide, europium oxide, and boron oxide. The commercial source of this material is Chemitech Inc. of Tokyo, Japan. The photostorage material can also be a suitable long lasting photostorage material that belongs to the same general class as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,424,006 and 5,686,022, both of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference. This material can be obtained from Nemoto & Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan.
Photophorescent materials have been used in a variety of commercial applications, including the present wrist toy 10, because they have the property of continuing to emit light for an extended period of time after excitation. Photophorescent materials include a phosphor which has been artificially prepared and has the property of luminescence when activated by appropriate wavelengths of light. These materials are also simply referred to as phosphorescent materials that each includes a phosphor. A variety of phosphors are available for use in providing luminescence when activated by an appropriate source of light. Commercially available phosphors include zinc sulfide, zinc cadmium sulfide, alkaline each sulfides with or without a trace of activators, such as silver, copper, or manganese to provide the desired rapid activation of the phosphorescence material in providing the luminescence image. The phosphorescent pigments may be incorporated into a variety of carriers, including paints or the like.
One preferred glow-in-the-dark material is a zinc sulfide material. Zinc sulfide materials are commercially available from a number of suppliers. Zinc sulfide material is commonly available as an additive which is easily added to other pigments or the like to form paints suitable for use. Also, the glow-in-the-dark material can be added with other components to form a coating that can be applied to the various parts of the wrist toy (e.g., the ball's outer surface). The glow-in-the-dark material can also be mixed with resins if it desired to make a plastic-based part have glow-in-the-dark properties.
According to one exemplary embodiment, glow-in-the-dark indicia 90 is applied to the outer surface 45 of the ball 40 after the ball has been manufactured. For example and according to one embodiment, a paint having glow-in-the-dark properties due to it containing a glow-in-the-dark material is applied over the entire outer surface 45 of the ball 40. This will yield a ball that has glow-in-the-dark properties over its entire outer surface 45 (with the exception of the bore 42). As previously-mentioned, additional indicia, generally indicated at 100, that does not have glow-in-the-dark properties can be applied over the outer surface 45. For example, if the ball 40 is representative of a baseball, the black stitching 100 of the ball 40 can be formed of a material that does not have glow-in-the-dark properties and thus, only the surrounding sections (which constitute a substantial area of the outer surface 45) have glow-in-the-dark properties. When this type of arrangement is desired, the paints or coatings that are applied to the ball 40 can be layered such that the glow-in-the-dark paint/coating is applied first and then the material not having glow-in-the-dark properties is applied over the first applied material to effectively eliminate the glow-in-the-dark properties in these regions.
Referring now to FIG. 3, the outer surface 45 alternatively can be first coated with a paint/coating 49 that does not have glow-in-the-dark properties and then a screen (mask) or the like can be disposed around the outer surface 45 to effectively mask some regions of the paint layer 49 (where glow-in-the-dark properties are not desired) and then a glow-in-the-dark material 90 is applied over the screen and is effectively applied to the outer surfaces that are open within openings formed in the screen/mask. For example, the openings formed in the screen/mask can define a corporate name/logo and/or a product name. In the illustrated embodiment, the ball 40 includes two bands of glow-in-the-dark material 90 and a band 49 formed therebetween that does not have glow-in-the-dark properties. It will be understood that this arrangement is merely exemplary and the number of non-glow-in-the-dark and glow-in-the-dark sections can be varied and their placements on the ball 40 can be varied.
The entertainment value of the wrist toy 10 is enhanced by the inclusion of glow-in-the-dark materials into the ball 40. Not only can the wrist toy 10 now be used in conditions of low lighting but the games which can be played with the wrist toy 10 are made more challenging since it is more difficult to catch the ball 40 in low light conditions and also the visual sensation that is achieved is much different than during normal play during day light hours. The commercial possibilities, including advertising, are also increased since the advertiser's information can stand out and be more prominently displayed due to it being formed with glow-in-the-dark paint.
It will also be appreciated that the glow-in-the-dark material is not limited to application to the ball 40 but rather it can be applied to other parts of the wrist toy 10. For example, part of the elastic cord 60 and/or elastic attachment member 70 can have glow-in-the-dark indicia applied thereto. For example, a continuous swirl pattern formed of glow-in-the-dark paint can be applied to a part of the elastic member 40. Alternatively, one or more longitudinal or lateral stripes can be applied to the elastic member 40.
- EXAMPLE 1
The following examples are merely illustrative of the exemplary wrist toys disclosed herein and do not in any way limit the scope of the present invention.
- EXAMPLE 2
A paint was prepared using a standard paint base mixed with a pigment power that is commercially available under the trade name ProGlow (e.g., ProGlow20) from ProGlow Mfg. Company of Mount Pleasant, Pa. ProGlow pigment powders can glow for up to 20 hours after a 10 minute exposure to a visible light source. ProGlow is a photoluminescent material that does not emit radiation and is thus safe for human uses, such as wrist toy 10. ProGlow pigment powders come in fine particles and therefore can readily be incorporated with a standard paint base to form a paint that is suitable for application to the outer surface 45 of the ball 40. After preparing the paint, it is then applied to the outer surface 45 of the ball 40 using conventional techniques, such as spray coating, dipping, etc. The outer surface is then permitted to dry before indicia that does not have glow-in-the-dark properties is applied over the dried outer surface 45. For example, in the case of a ball, the stitching or other markings of the ball can be formed using standard paint (i.e., black colored) that does not have glow-in-the-dark properties.
A paint was prepared using a standard paint base mixed with a pigment power that is commercially available under the trade name Luming from Dalian Luminglight Science & Technology Co Ltd. of China. Luming is made of alkaline earth aluminate and exhibits glow-in-the-dark properties after exposure to a visible light source. The Luming material is incorporated with the standard paint base to form a paint that is suitable for application to the outer surface 45 of the ball 40. A standard paint of a given color or colors is applied first to the outer surface 45 of the ball 40 to establish a base color. As screen or mask is then disposed around the outer surface 45 after the base color has dried. In one exemplary embodiment, the screen or mask has a continuous opening that defines a swirl pattern. The glow-in-the-dark paint is then applied over the mask such that the glow-in-the-dark paint is only applied over the base color in areas where the mask is open. Thus, the paint is disposed within the open swirl pattern to create and define a glow-in-the-dark swirl pattern. At night time, the glow-in-the-dark swirl pattern provides the ball 40 with a very stimulating and challenging visual appearance since a rotating and otherwise moving swirl pattern makes it more difficult for the user to focus and catch the ball 40 as it is recoiled back to the user by the elastic member 30.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.