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Publication numberWO2000045918 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/US1999/026774
Publication date10 Aug 2000
Filing date10 Nov 1999
Priority date4 Feb 1999
Also published asCA2344817A1, DE69935010D1, DE69935010T2, EP1148918A1, EP1148918A4, EP1148918B1, WO2000045918A9
Publication numberPCT/1999/26774, PCT/US/1999/026774, PCT/US/1999/26774, PCT/US/99/026774, PCT/US/99/26774, PCT/US1999/026774, PCT/US1999/26774, PCT/US1999026774, PCT/US199926774, PCT/US99/026774, PCT/US99/26774, PCT/US99026774, PCT/US9926774, WO 0045918 A1, WO 0045918A1, WO 2000/045918 A1, WO 2000045918 A1, WO 2000045918A1, WO-A1-0045918, WO-A1-2000045918, WO0045918 A1, WO0045918A1, WO2000/045918A1, WO2000045918 A1, WO2000045918A1
InventorsBrian E. Walsh, Esther Levine, Joe Franke
ApplicantMattel, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Cooperating doll pair having one doll providing speech for the other
WO 2000045918 A1
Abstract
A fashion doll (10) and appropriately scaled child size doll (60) form a cooperating doll pair in which a sound circuit within the fashion doll is utilized to produce audible sound output in place of the much smaller child-sized doll. A conventional speech circuit within the fashion doll operates in response to play pattern movements (32) of the fashion doll to produce the sounds in place of the child-sized doll.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
THAT WHICH IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A cooperating doll pair comprising:
a first doll having a fashion doll appearance including a first doll body having a first doll interior cavity and a first pivotally supported arm;
means for producing audible sound supported within said first doll interior cavity responsive to pivotal movement of said first pivotally supported arm to cause audible sound to emanate from said first doll body, said sound being characteristic of sounds uttered by a young child; and
a second doll having a child doll appearance and proportionally smaller than said first doll including a second doll body having a second doll interior cavity,
said first and second doll cooperating in a play pattern in which said first doll audibilizes child-like sounds in place of said second doll to give the cooperating doll pair a fanciful appearance of an adult playing with a noisy child.
2. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim 1 wherein said first doll body defines a front portion having a plurality of grille apertures therein and wherein said means for producing sound includes a speaker for directing sound outwardly through said grille apertures.
3. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim
2 wherein said first doll includes a second pivotally supported arm and first and second hands on said first and second pivotally supported arms and wherein said second doll includes means for attaching said second doll to said first and second hands.
4. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim
3 wherein said means for attaching includes a garment, worn by said second doll, having a pair of loops for receiving said first and second hands.
5. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim
4 wherein said second doll includes a third arm pivotally supported upon said second doll body and means within said second doll interior cavity for moving said third arm.
6. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim 1 wherein said first doll includes a second pivotally supported arm and first and second hands on said first and second pivotally supported arms and wherein said second doll includes means for attaching said second doll to said first and second hands.
7. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim
6 wherein said means for attaching includes a garment, worn by said second doll, having a pair of loops for receiving said first and second hands.
8. The cooperating doll pair set forth in claim
7 wherein said second doll includes a third arm pivotally supported upon said second doll body and means within said second doll interior cavity for moving said third arm.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

COOPERATING DOLL PAIR HAVING ONE DOLL PROVIDING SPEECH FOR THE OTHER

SPECIFICATION

Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to dolls and toy figures and particularly to those utilizing speech or vocalizing apparatus.

Background of the Invention

The creation of vocalizing dolls provided a substantial increase in the entertainment and amusement value as well as the realism found in toy figures and dolls. While a substantial variety of vocalizing dolls and toy figures have been developed by practitioners in the art, the most common of such dolls and toy figures include an internal vocalizing or speech apparatus operative within an electronic circuit and usually hidden within the doll or toy figure. In addition, many such dolls or toy figures provide one or more activating switches for controlling the vocalizing apparatus. A further refinement of such dolls and toy figures provides vocalizing which is responsive to play interaction with the child user such as appendage articulation, figure movement, or squeezing pressure at various points on the doll's body. In such refined dolls or toy figures, the production as well as the selection to be vocalized is influenced or controlled by the particular activated mechanism which is utilized.

The widespread availability and use of speech or vocalizing systems within dolls or toy figure has, for the most part, been made possible be dramatic advances in the microprocessor and related electronic component arts which have provided relatively low cost microprocessor based speech synthesis or speaking circuits. The continued improvement of such speech systems has also substantially reduced the cost of such devices and ultimately provided speech circuits which require a small number of supporting components together with a single "speech chip" to drive an audio output device. The audio output devices themselves have enjoyed a parallel development and, with the advent of small compact piezoelectric audio transducers, relatively large space consuming speakers may be avoided.

U.S. Patent 5,011,449 issued to Handy, et al. sets forth an APPENDAGE MOTION RESPONSIVE DOLL having a torso portion and outwardly extending leg and arm appendages together with a neck and head. The arm appendages are pivotally secured to the torso to permit motion and are fabricated in a manner permitting bending or flexing thereof. A speech circuit supported within the doll torso produces sound output in response to flexing or bending of the arm appendages.

U.S. Patent 4,179,842 issued to Fauls sets forth an AUDIBLE SOUND EMITTING TOY having a doll capable of alternately emitting one of a plurality of different audible sounds in response to the orientation of the doll. The sound system utilizes a pivotal weight and switch mechanism for sensing the orientation or position of the doll.

U.S. Patent 4,263,742 issued to Terzian sets forth an ANIMATED DOLL having a hollow head and body together with a face defining a mouth opening. The mouth opening includes a pair of lips on opposite edges thereof and a movable tongue extends outwardly through the mouth opening between the lips. A mechanism is provided for moving the tongue between the lips to provide a particular amusing action for the doll.

U.S. Patent 4,696,653 issued to McKeefery sets forth a SPEAKING TOY DOLL which responds with spoken words and/or sentences to the touching of selected portions of the doll by the user. Specific areas of doll such as eyes, ears, nose, etc. are provided with touch switches which selectively activate the speech system within the doll to cause corresponding words to be spoken.

U.S. Patent 5,281,180 issued to Lamb, et al. sets forth a TOY DOLL HAVING SOUND GENERATOR WITH OPTICAL SENSOR AND PRESSURE SWITCHES in which the doll cries or laughs depending upon the manner in which it has been stimulated. An optical sensor fixed in the mouth of the doll and connected to an integrated circuit located in the doll torso responds to light or dark conditions to cause the doll to cry or speak. A pressure-actuated switch positioned within the doll's torso is configured to respond to tickling-type pressure and communicate a differen sound from the sound circuit.

U.S. Patent 5,376,038 issued to Arad, et al. sets forth a DOLL WITH PROGRAMMABLE SPEECH ACTIVATED BY PRESSURE ON PARTICULAR PARTS OF HEAD AND BODY having an internal prerecorded speech mechanism responsive to a plurality of pressure sensitive switches located about the doll's body.

U.S. Patent 5,695,381 issued to Truchsess sets forth a TOY FIGURE WITH RUMP-ACTUATED SOUND GENERATOR having a sound circuit supported within a doll body and coupled to a pressure sensitive mechanism supported in the doll posterior. Pressure against the doll posterior such as results from bouncing the doll upon the user's lap actuates the sound system.

U.S. Patent 5,083,965 issued to Mayem sets forth an INTERACTIVE DOLL SYSTEM which incorporates both liquid handling elements for receiving liquid through the mouth in one position and dispensing that liquid through the eyes when the doll is differently positioned. The doll also discharges liquid through a lower abdominal opening when the doll is positioned in a third position. Sound producing means are included within the doll and respond to doll positioning.

U.S. Patent 4,840,602 issued to Rose sets forth a TALKING DOLL RESPONSIVE TO EXTERNAL SIGNAL having a doll which cooperates with a remote signal source to provide narration in which the doll interacts. U.S. Patent 4,271,627 issued to Echterling sets forth a DOLL HIGHCHAIR AND SWING having a support frame and a pivotally coupled swing which in turn supports a doll receiving seat.

While the foregoing described prior art devices have variously employed sound producing or vocalizing apparatus, a commercially practical limit as to the use of such vocalizing or sound producing devices within dolls arises as a function of the doll size.

Such systems are readily installed within large soft- bodied dolls but are much more difficult to install in hard-bodied smaller dolls particularly of the type generally referred to as "fashion dolls". Fashion dolls typically define sizes of eight to ten inches in height and are very thinly or narrowly bodied leaving very little room inside the doll for electronic circuit components of the type used in speech producing systems. For even greater reasons, dolls smaller than such fashion dolls are unlikely to be capable of inclusion of speech systems due to the increased cost and compromises of reliability and complexity necessitated in providing electronic speech circuits of even smaller size. As a result, with the use of present speech circuit technology as well as the likely size of such speech circuits in the future, dolls smaller than eight or ten inches of a fashion doll configuration are unlikely to be capable of being equipped with sound systems. As a result, doll playsets of the fashion doll variety which utilize smaller dolls to depict children and the like are, as a practical matter, not equippable with sound features for the child size dolls. Because such play patterns are desirable, there arises a need in the art for doll playsets in which the small child size dolls may be given a speech capability within the play pattern.

Summary of the Invention

Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved doll playset. It is a more particular object of the present invention to provide an improved doll playset of the fashion doll variety in which a smaller child-sized doll is utilized and in which vocalization or speech of the child size doll may form a portion of the play activity.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a cooperating doll pair comprising: a first doll having a fashion doll appearance including a first doll body having a first doll interior cavity and a first pivotally supported arm; means for producing audible sound supported within the first doll interior cavity responsive to pivotal movement of the first pivotally supported arm to cause audible sound to emanate from the first doll body, the sound being characteristic of sounds uttered by a young child; and a second doll having a child doll appearance and proportionally smaller than the first doll including a second doll body having a second doll interior cavity, the first and second doll cooperating in a play pattern in which the first doll audibilizes child-like sounds in place of the second doll to give the cooperating doll pair a fanciful appearance of an adult playing with a noisy child. Brief Description of the Drawings

The features of the present invention, which are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in the several figures of which like reference numerals identify like elements and in which:

Figure 1 sets forth a perspective view of a fashion doll constructed in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 2 sets forth a partially sectioned side view of the present invention doll;

Figure 3 sets forth a perspective assembly view of a doll playset constructed in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 4 sets forth a partial perspective view of a cooperating doll pair constructed in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 5 sets forth a partially sectioned perspective of one of the dolls in the present invention doll pair;

Figure 6 sets forth a partial view of the present invention cooperating doll pair in a typical activity; and Figure 7 sets forth a partial perspective of a cooperating doll pair constructed in accordance with the present invention engaging in an alternate play activity.

Description of the Preferred Embodiment

Figure 1 sets forth a perspective view of a doll constructed in accordance with the present invention and generally referenced by numeral 10. Doll 10 includes a body 11 preferably formed of a molded plastic material or the like and generally defining a doll type known in the industry as a "fashion doll". Doll 10 includes a torso 15 supporting a pair of arms 12 and 13 (arm 13 seen in Figure 4) . Doll 10 further includes a head 14 and a button 20 extending outwardly from the rear portion of torso 15. In accordance with the present invention, doll 10 is intended to function in combination with a cooperating child size doll 60 (seen in Figure 4) . However, suffice it to note here and as is better seen in Figure 2, doll 10 includes an internal speech circuit 50 supported within torso 15 which responds to either movement of arm 12 in the directions indicated by arrows 27 or, alternatively, activation of push button 20. Thus, upon the occurrence of either pivotal movement of arm 12 or activation of push button 20, a predetermined speech and sound pattern is produced by doll 10 and emanates outwardly from the frontal portion of body 11.

Figure 2 sets forth a partially sectioned side view of the upper portion of doll 10 having body 11 defining torso 15 and an interior cavity 16 therein. Body 11 further supports a head 14 and defines a recess 21 on the rear portion of torso 15. Within recess .21, a push button 20 is slidably received and includes an extending flange 22. A plate 30 supported within interior cavity 16 defines an aperture 31 which receives a post 25 extending forwardly from flange 22. Post 25 passes through aperture 31 and defines a frontal end 26. A spring 23 is received upon post 25 and is captivated between flange 22 and plate 30 to provide a spring force urging flange 22 and push button 20 outwardly.

In further accordance with the present invention, interior cavity 16 supports a speech circuit generally referenced by numeral 50 which is fabricated entirely in accordance with conventional fabrication techniques. Thus, speech circuit 50 includes a printed circuit board 51 supported within interior cavity 16 by conventional support means (not shown) . In further accordance with conventional fabrication, speech circuit 50 includes an integrated circuit device 52 having conventional speech synthesis apparatus formed therein. Printed circuit board 51 further supports a depressible switch 53 generally aligned with end 26 of post 25. Additional circuit components such as components 54 are also supported upon printed circuit board 51 to complete speech circuit 50. A pair of coupling wires 43 is operatively coupled between speech circuit 50 and a conventional speaker 41. Speaker 41, in its preferred form, comprises a miniature piezoelectric transducer suitable for converting electrical signals coupled by wires 43 from circuit 50 to audible sounds such as speech or the like. Speaker 41 is supported within a recess 40 formed on the interior of body 11. Body 11 further defines a plurality of speaker grille apertures 42 which function to permit audible sound to pass outwardly from speaker 41 when energized by speech circuit 50. In accordance with the preferred fabrication of the present invention and as is shown in Figure 4, the position of grille 42 and speaker 41 is selected to produce output sound 65 emanating from doll 10 in a manner which may appear to the user as emanating from doll 60.

Returning to Figure 4, speech circuit 50 further includes a switch 55 supported upon printed circuit board 51. Switches 43 and 55 are substantially parallel in their effect upon speech circuit 50 and operate to trigger the output of previously stored sound messages such as speech each time either of switches 53 or 55 is activated.

Arm 12 is pivotally secured to torso 11 at a shoulder joint 35. Of importance with respect to the present invention, arm 12 and shoulder joint 35 cooperate to support a cam 36 having an extending lobe 38 in general alignment with switch 55.

In operation, the user is able to activate speech circuit 50 by pressing button 20 inwardly or pivoting arm 12 upwardly in the direction indicated by arrow 32 and downwardly in the direction indicated by arrow 35. Lobe 38 of cam 36 is configured to actuate switch 55 each time it passes across switch 55 as it pivots in the directions indicated by arrows 37. Similarly, inward motion in the direction indicated by arrow 24 of push button 20 overcomes the force of spring 23 and presses end 26 against switch 53 actuating the switch. Speech circuit 50 responds in a conventional manner to the activation of either of switches 53 or 55 to output an appropriate signal to speaker 41 which in turn produces corresponding audible sound. As is well known in the art, speech circuit 50 utilizes an internal memory having stored data therein and a microprocessor having a stored instruction set to provide sound signal output in this manner. It will be well understood by those skilled in the art that virtually any standard speech circuit may be utilized in place of speech circuit 50. The essential characteristic of speech circuit 50 is the provision of appropriate signals to speaker 41 for audibilizing a predetermined speech message or sound combination each time a switch is pressed. For example, a combination of a microprocessor, read-only memory, speech synthesizer, and audio output amplifier suitable for the functioning of circuit 50 is formed as a single integrated circuit chip device and manufactured by Texas Instruments, Inc. under the device name TMS50C44. However, it will be understood that a variety of standard integrated circuit devices may be utilized for circuit 50.

Figure 3 sets forth a perspective view of a cooperating playset utilized in combination with the present invention cooperating doll pair to further enhance the play value thereof and generally referenced by numeral 85. Playset 85 provides a combination swing and slide typical of those found in various playground environments. Playset 85 includes a plurality of sockets 135 through 138 which receive cooperating struts 130 through 133 respectively. A pair of junction members 125 and 126 join struts 130 and 131 and struts 132 and 133 respectively. A bar 120 defines 121 and 122 and is coupled to junctions 125 and 126.

A swing 90 includes a seat 91 having an aperture 92 formed therein together with a pair of extending posts 93 and 94 (seen in Figure 6) . Swing 90 further includes a pair of cords 95 and 100 having clasp 96 and 101 coupled to bar 120 and loop ends 97 and 102. Loops 97 and 102 define respective apertures 98 and 103 together with respective posts 99 and 104. Apertures 98 and 103 receive posts 93 and 94 respectively to secure seat 91. Posts 99 and 104 receive apertures 111 and 112 of a belt 110. The ladder is used to secure a doll upon seat 91. Base

134 further defines sockets 140 and 141 which receive the bottom end portions of a ladder 142. A slide 143 is snap-fitted to the upper end of ladder 142.

Figure 4 sets forth a perspective view of a cooperating doll pair constructed in accordance with the present invention comprising doll 10 and a smaller child sized doll 60. Doll 60 is sized with respect to fashion doll 10 to the appropriate relative size of a young child. As described above, doll 10 includes a body 11 having a torso 15, a head 14 and a pair of arms 12 and 13. As is also described above, arm 12 of doll 10 is movable as indicated by arrows 32 and 33 to produce audible sound 65 emanating outwardly from the frontal portion of torso 15.

Doll 60 is a cooperating doll which together with doll 10 forms a cooperating doll pair in accordance with the invention. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that within the limits of commercially reasonable technologies both now in the near future, a doll as small as doll 60 will not support a speech circuit such as speech circuit 50. While excessive expense and exceedingly complex technologies may be capable of placing a speech circuit within doll 10 at this time, such use is entirely inconsistent with commercial feasibility in the toy industry.

In accordance with the present invention, doll 60 cooperates with doll 10 in a manner which produces the illusion of sound appropriate to child size doll 60 being produced thereby.

More specifically, doll 60 includes a body 61 having a garment 62 supported thereon. Doll 60 further defines a rear aperture 75 through which a slide button 76 extends. Garment 62 defines hand loops 63 and 64 which receive hands 17 and 18 of doll 10 respectively.

In the anticipated play pattern of the present invention cooperating doll pair provided by dolls 10 and 60, the user holds doll 10 and moves doll 60 up and down in a manner suggesting the play pattern of an adult bouncing a child playfully up and down in its hands. The up and down movement of doll 60 causes arm 12 to be moved up and down as indicated by arrows 32 and 33 activating speech circuit 50 (seen in Figure 2).

In accordance with an important aspect of the present invention, the sound emanating as sound 65 from doll 10 is selected to comprise the type and character of sounds which would be produced by child sized doll 60 as it responds to the adult play from doll 10. As a result, doll 10 and doll 60 cooperate in an operative arrangement in which doll 10 produces the sounds necessary for doll 60 during play.

Figure 5 sets forth a rear partially sectioned view of doll 60 having body 61 supporting arms 66 and 67. Arm 67 is secured by a pin 76 to a link 81 within the interior of body 61. A slide button 76 is coupled to a slide 80 which in turn is joined to link 81. In operation as the user moves button 76 up and releases it, the position of arm 67 is caused to pivot upwardly in the direction of arrow 70 each time button 76 is forced downwardly and is caused to pivot downwardly in response to gravity each time the user releases button 76. This feature provides an additional amusement value for doll 60.

Figure 6 sets forth a perspective view of doll 10 and doll 60 utilizing swing 90 (seen in Figure 3 in its entirety). As described in Figure 3, swing 90 includes cords 95 and 100 having loops 97 and 102 at the lower ends thereof. As is also described above, seat 91 includes posts 93 and 94 (post 93 seen in Figure 3) received within apertures 98 and 103. As is also described in Figure 3, swing 90 includes a belt 110 having apertures formed therein for attachment to posts 99 and 104 (post 99 seen in Figure 3) . Doll 60 is captivated upon seat 91 by belt 110 which is preferably formed of an elastic material.

Doll 10 includes a body 11 defining a torso 15 and supporting arms 12 and 13. Doll 10 further includes a head 14 and is operative as is described above to actuation of button 20 (seen in Figure 1) or movement of arm 12 to produce sounds outwardly from torso 15 which appear to come from doll 60. Thus, as the user holds doll 10 and undergoes the swing activity play pattern, the user may provide the apparent effect of child-like sounds emanating from child size doll 60.

Figure 7 sets forth a perspective view of cooperating dolls 10 and 60 in an alternate play pattern upon slide 143 and ladder 142. Once again, doll 60 includes arms 66 and 67 which may be positioned in a raised position as shown. Doll 10 includes a body 11 having a torso 15 supporting arms 12 and 13. Doll 10 further includes a head 14. In a similar manner to the play pattern described above in Figure 7 , the play pattern shown in combination with ladder 142 and slide 143 may be utilized to cause doll 10 to produce audible sound appropriate for doll 60 as doll 60 is released to slide downwardly upon slide 143.

What has been shown is a cooperating doll pair for use in a playset in which a fashion doll produces sound appropriate for a smaller child size doll. This cooperation is advantageous in that the difficulties associated with placing a sound circuit within a small child size doll scaled to the fashion doll is impractical.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects. Therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *See also references of EP1148918A4
Classifications
International ClassificationA63H3/20, A63H3/00, A63H3/28
Cooperative ClassificationA63H3/28
European ClassificationA63H3/28
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