Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 140)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on June 3, 2009

U.S. Pat. No. 5,421,089:  Fork with timer.

 forktimer

What is claimed is:

1. A fork with timer for providing a cue to a user after an elapsed period of time for indicating that another bite of food using the fork may be taken comprising, in combination:
         a rigid dinner fork having a head, four spaced and aligned tines extended from the head, and a handle extended from the head remote from the tines for allowing a user a firm grip for taking a bite of food;
         timer circuitry connected to the handle of the dinner fork and adapted for providing a cue after an elapsed period of time for indicating to user that another bite of food using the dinner fork may be taken, the timer circuitry further comprising:
          a countdown timer adapted for counting down a pre-programmed period of time, transmitting countdown signals in sequence during this period of time, and transmitting an event signal when this period of time has elapsed, the countdown timer including automatic reset circuitry for resetting the pre-programmed period of time upon countdown completion for subsequent countdown during a subsequent period of time;
          decoder/driver circuitry coupled to the countdown timer and adapted for receiving the countdown signals and event signals during and upon completion of a period of time, transmitting a “go” signal when an event signal is received, transmitting a “stop” signal when an event signal is not received, and transmitting timer display signals upon receipt of countdown signals;
          a green light emitting diode and a red light emitting diode each coupled to the decoder/driver circuitry with the green light emitting diode activated when the “go” signal is received and deactivated otherwise, the red light emitting diode activated when the “stop” signal is received and deactivated otherwise, whereby when a period of time has elapsed, the green light emitting diode is activated and the red light emitting diode is deactivated, and when a period of time has not elapsed, the red light emitting diode is activated and the green light emitting diode is deactivated; and
         display circuitry coupled to the decoder/driver circuitry with the display circuitry having a numeric display for transmitting a visual indication of elapsed time based upon receipt of timer display signals;
          a replaceable power source connected to the dinner fork and coupled to the timer circuitry with the power source adapted for energizing the timer circuitry; and
          a switch connected to the handle of the dinner fork and coupled between the power source and the timer circuitry with the switch having one orientation for energizing the timer circuitry and another orientation for de-energizing the timer circuitry.

2. The fork with timer as set forth in claim 1 further comprising:
          a one-shot speaker driver coupled to the countdown timer and adapted to transmit a speaker activation signal upon receipt of an event signal; and
         a speaker connected to the handle and coupled to the one-shot speaker driver with the speaker adapted for transmitting an audible tone based upon receipt of a speaker activation signal.

3. A fork with timer for providing a cue to a user after an elapsed period of time for indicating that another bite of food using the fork may be taken comprising:
         a dinner fork having a head, a plurality of spaced tines extended from the head, and a handle extended from the head remote from the tines;
         timer circuitry connected to the handle of the dinner fork and adapted for providing a cue after an elapsed period of time for indicating to user that another bite of food using the dinner fork may be taken, the timer circuitry further comprising:
          a countdown timer adapted for counting down a pre-programmed period of time, transmitting countdown signals in sequence during this period of time, and transmitting an event signal when this period of time has elapsed, the countdown timer including automatic reset circuitry for resetting the pre-programmed period of time upon countdown completion for subsequent countdown during a subsequent period of time;
          decoder/driver circuitry coupled to the countdown timer and adapted for receiving the countdown signals and event signals during and upon completion of a period of time, transmitting a “go” signal when an event signal is received, transmitting a “stop” signal when an event signal is not received, and transmitting timer display signals upon receipt of countdown signals;
           a green light and a red light each coupled to the decoder/driver circuitry with the green light activated when the “go” signal is received and deactivated otherwise, the red light activated when the “stop” signal is received and deactivated otherwise, whereby when a period of time has elapsed, the green light is activated and the red light is deactivated, and when a period of time has not elapsed, the red light is activated and the green light is deactivated; and
           display circuitry coupled to the decoder/driver circuitry with the display circuitry having a display for transmitting a visual indication of elapsed time based upon receipt of timer display signals;
          a replaceable power source connected to the dinner fork and coupled to the timer circuitry with the power source adapted for energizing the timer circuitry; and
a switch connected to the dinner fork and coupled between the power source and the timer circuitry with the switch having one orientation for energizing the timer circuitry and another orientation for de-energizing the timer circuitry.

4. The fork with timer as set forth in claim 3 further including interface means coupled to the timer circuitry and adapted to be accessible by a user for allowing the pre-programmed period of time to be set as desired.

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