Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 232)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on September 24, 2013

U.S. Patent No. 7,104,865: Apparatus for cat’s cradle game.

JW Note:  This TIW? should be filed under “Creepy Kid’s Toys”.

catscradle

What is claimed is:

1. A self-play cat’s cradle toy that permits a single user as a first player to manipulate a string loop, comprising: a base; a first arm supported in a first position relative to the base; a second arm moveably supported relative to the base; a set of digits supported by each of the first and second arms; a resiliently-biased, manual actuator positioned along the base and physically coupled to the second arm to effect movement of the second arm toward the first position in response to pressure on the actuator, the manual actuator resiliently returning to a rest position in response to the restoring force of the bias; and a surface of at least a portion of the digits in the set of digits being configured to resist release of the string loop as the second arm is moved away from the first position in order to bring the string loop into a taut condition, wherein the first and second arms are surrogates for a second player; and wherein the base, arms, actuator and surface cooperate as a device to permit the single user to self-play cat’s cradle.

2. The toy of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second arms is removably supported relative to the base.

3. The toy of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first arm and second arms is pivotally supported relative to the base.

4. The toy of claim 1, wherein the actuator has a range of motion responsive to the actuation by a user, and wherein the movement of the second arm is translational movement and is transmissioned-up to have a mechanical advantage over the range.

5. The toy of claim 1, wherein the actuator is positioned along the base for actuation by an elbow of a user while the hand of the user positions the string loop upon the surfaces.

6. The toy of claim 1, further comprising a slideable post accessible exteriorly of the base.

7. The toy of claim 6, wherein the slideable post includes a rack, the rack being coupled to the actuator for slideable movement of the rack in response to movement of the actuator.

8. The toy of claim 6, wherein the slideable post has an engagement surface and wherein the second arm is selectively secureable in a rigid, upright position relative to the engagement surface.

9. The toy of claim 6, wherein the slideable post has a keyed impeller.

10. The toy of claim 7, further comprising a pinion engaging the rack, and a transmission operatively connected to the pinion to rotate the pinion in response to movement of the actuator.

11. The toy of claim 10, further comprising a plunger biased toward an extended position and operatively associated with the actuator to resiliently urge the actuator to the extended position against the restoring force of the bias, the plunger being moveable against the restoring force to move the transmission.

12. The toy of claim 1, wherein each set of digits includes a pinky digit, and wherein each pinky digit is movably supported by a respective one of the first and second arms.

13. The toy of claim 12, further comprising a second actuator coupled to each pinky digit to effect movement of each pinky digit.

14. The toy of claim 13, wherein the second actuator is positioned proximate to at least one of the first and second arms.

15. The toy of claim 13, further comprising a drive actuated by the second actuator to move the pinky digit between an upright position in which the pinky digit is generally parallel to the other digits in the set of digits and relaxed position in which the pinky digit is generally anti-parallel to the other digits in the set of digits.

16. The toy of claim 15, wherein the drive is a motor having a rotatable shaft.

17. The toy of claim 15, further comprising a linkage coupling the rotatable shaft to each moveable pinky digit to effect movement of the pinky digit between the upright and relaxed positions.

18. The toy of claim 15, wherein the second actuator toggles the drive so as to move each pinky digit from the upright position to the relaxed position or from the relaxed position to the upright position with each actuation of the second actuator.

19. The toy of claim 15, wherein the arm has a hand from which the set of digits are supported, the hand has an open slot when the pinky digit is in the upright position and a closed slot when the pinky digit is in the relaxed position.

20. The toy of claim 19, further comprising a flexible cover disposed so as to overlie the slot yet flex in response to a compression force by the string loop when pressed against the cover while the string loop is in the taut condition.

21. The toy of claim 1, further comprising a slideable post accessible exteriorly of the base and having an impeller, wherein the first and second arms include a pinky-drive coupling rotatably supported within each said arm and engageable with the impeller.

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