Patent 3630524 - RACING GAME WITH SELECTIVELY ACTUATED LANE SWITCHING MEMBERS
|United States Patent||Patent Number 3,630,524|
|Cooper , et al.||Issued December 28, 1971|
RACING GAME WITH SELECTIVELY ACTUATED LANE SWITCHING MEMBERS
A racing game to be played with at least two vehicles which are driven at substantially the same speed wherein a track is arranged to establish a raceway including at least a first course and a second course, with the second course being longer than the first course such that the elapsed time to travel the second course with the vehicles traveling at substantially the same speed is longer than the elapsed time to travel the first course. The raceway includes at least two crossover means on the track which are arranged to be manually controlled by the players of the game such that the vehicles travelling along the first and second courses at substantially the same speed may be switched to and from the longer and shorter of the courses under the control of the players whereby, notwithstanding the constant speed limitation of the respective vehicles, it is possible to cause one of the vehicles to traverse the raceway, or one or more turns about the raceway, in the shorter elapsed time than the other player-controlled vehicle.
|Inventors:||Julius Cooper (New Hyde Park NY)|
Erwin Benkoe (Manhassett Hills NY)
|Assignee:||Ideal Toy Corporation (Hollis, NY)|
|Filed:||October 22, 1969|
|Current U.S. Class:||463/63 - 104/60 - 238/10F - 446/197 - 446/454|
|Current International Class:||A63H018/00 (20060101)|
|Current CPC Class:||A63H 18/02 (20130101); A63H 18/023 (20130101)|
|Field of Search:||273/86R,86B 46/44,1K,202,216,243M 104/60 238/1R,1A,1E,1F|
|1657511||January 1928||Lorenz et al.|
|2786680||March 1957||Northrop et al.|
|3417507||December 1968||Ryan et al.|
|3466043||September 1969||McRoskey et al.|
What we claim is:
1. In combination, an interchangeable track assembly including plural individual track sections interconnectable into various track layouts to define a raceway including an inside lane and an outside lane, at least two individually powered vehicles adapted to travel said raceway at approximately the same speed and assigned to different players, at least two of said track sections including lane switching members individually operable to switch said vehicles from one lane to the other, respective switch actuating means operatively connected to said lane switching members for manipulation thereof whereby vehicles may be switched from one lane to the other, a common actuating member for said lane switching members of each section operatively connected to said switch actuating means, said switch actuating means being pneumatic and including an actuating bellows coupled to said common actuating member, means for introducing pressure into said actuating bellows to move said actuating member to move said lane switching members and a manual control for each of said switch actuating means operable at a location removed from its switch actuating means whereby each of the players may switch either his vehicle or that of his opponent from lane to lane with the objective of causing his vehicle to complete one or more laps about said raceway in a shorter elapsed time than his opponent's vehicle, said assembly further including a track section in the form of fixed lane crossover means disposed immediately in advance of each of said lane switching members whereby vehicles approaching said first and second lane switching members will cross over from one lane to the other immediately prior to passing through their respective land switching members.
2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said two track sections each include entry and exit sections of said inside lane and of said outside lane, a first crossover section extending from said entry section of said inside lane to said exit section of said outside lane and a second crossover section extending from said entry section of said outside lane to said exit section of said inside lane.
The present invention relates generally to a racing game, and in particular to a racing game employing self-powered vehicles constructed to travel at substantially the same speed.
Automotive racing games have achieved a wide degree of popularity with both adults and children. Such games usually include a miniature track assembly including interconnectable and interchangeable track sections which are capable of being laid out into a variety of track layouts and courses, often simulating world reknown automotive racing courses. Usually, the play of the game involved the use of one or or more miniature cars each of which has a speed controller which enables the operator to have his vehicle traverse the racing course at varying speeds, depending upon the degree of difficulty of different portions of the racing course. The winner of any given race is, of course, determined by the elapsed time for travelling the particular race course. Typical installations usually have plural racing lanes each of approximately the same length. Speed control is achieved for cars of this type by providing individual hand-operated controls which are plugged into an overall control for the multiple-lane racing course and associated with a particular lane of that course, with the vehicle traversing any given lane receiving its power from a vehicle contact riding along a corresponding lane contact. In this way, the operator or racer exercises control over the speed of his vehicle as he negotiates the course. Needless to say, installations of this type are comparatively expensive, both with respect to the track layout and overall control and the individual vehicles which must have variable speed motors and associated hand-operated speed controls. Further, when once setup, it is usually impractical to vary the layout for raceways of this type due to their complexity.
There exists a need for a racing game wherein vehicles capable of normally operating at substantially the same speed may be raced in a way to produce a winner, notwithstanding the fact that such constant-speed vehicles usually will traverse a given race course in substantially the same elapsed time, except for speed variations introduced by battery ageing and the normal variations from car to car as a result of mass production manufacture. Preferably, the racing game should embody all of the flexibility of existing miniature motoring sets wherein the raceway or course is constructed from a number of track sections which are releasably interconnected. By varying the number and configuration of track sections in such sets, it is possible to lay out courses of different length, orders of difficulty, etc. Typically, the vehicles employed include a wheeled chassis having a motor driven from a battery mounted within the chassis with different vehicle bodies being provided to change the appearance to the individual vehicles. The vehicles are guided along any particular track configuration by the provision of a depending guiding pin on the vehicle which rides along a guideway or groove formed in the raceway.
Broadly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a racing game wherein cars operating at substantially the same speed may be raced along a raceway or track in different elapsed times, depending upon manipulative skills of the players of the game. Specifically, it is within the contemplation of the present invention to provide a racing game wherein players have cars assigned to them which travel at substantially the same speed, with each player having the facility to switch his own car, as well as those of his opponent, from a racing course of longer length to a racing course of shorter length, or vice versa, with a view to causing his own vehicle to traverse the course in a shorter elapsed time and to cause his opponent's vehicle to traverse the raceway in a comparatively longer elapsed time.
In accordance with an illustrative embodiment demonstrating objects and features of the present invention there is provided an interchangeable track assembly which includes plural individual track sections which are interconnectable into various track layouts to define a raceway including at least an inside lane and an outside lane. At least two individually powered vehicles are adapted to travel the raceway with the vehicles being of a construction to travel at approximately the same speed. The vehicles are assigned to different players, as by numerical or color designations. The raceway includes at least two track sections which include lane switching means individually operable to switch the vehicles from one lane to another. Respective switch actuating means are operatively connected to the lane switching means for manipulation thereof whereby vehicles may be switched from one lane to the other and back. A manual control for each switch means is provided which is operable at a location removed from the switch actuating means whereby each of the players may switch either his vehicle or that of his opponent from lane to lane, with the objective of causing his vehicle to complete one or more laps about the raceway in a shorter elapsed time than his opponent's vehicle. By the simple expedient of providing these two specially designed track sections and the usual straight and curved standard track sections, it is possible for the players to lay out any one of a wide variety of racing courses having an inside lane and an outside lane and race with constant speed cars.
The above brief description, as well as further objects features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following description of a presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein;
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a typical track assembly in accordance with the present invention composed of a plurality of individual track sections laid out to define one specific track layout having inside and outside lanes;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a lane change track section constructed in accordance with the present invention, shown in association with its switch-actuating means and remote pneumatic hand control;
FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the lane-change track section shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line 4--4 of FIG. 2 on an enlarged scale, and showing a vehicle traversing the outer lane or course.
Referring now to the drawings, there is shown a typical but purely illustrative track layout, generally designated by the reference numeral 10 which includes plural track sections affording an inner lane or course L.sub.1 and an outer lane or course L.sub.2. The track sections which make up the outer and inner courses are of varying lengths, shapes and functions, but are each characterized by the provision of guideway sections or grooves extending therethrough making up the continuous guideways defining the outer and inner courses or lanes.
In a typical, but illustrative track layout, the track 10 comprises a number of different track sections which vary in length, shape and function and include track sections such as at 12 which are substantially rectangular and provides two parallel sections of the guideways making up the inner and outer lanes or courses L.sub.1 and L.sub.2, curved track sections such as that designated at 14, fixed dual lane crossover sections such as that designated at 16, one or more right angle crossover intersections such as that designated at 18, plural single lane sections of various shapes, lengths and configurations such as those designated at 20 defining continuations of the inner course or lane L.sub.1 and plural single-lane sections of various lengths, shapes and configurations such as those designated at 22 defining corresponding runs of the outer lane or course L.sub.2 of the track. Provision is made along the track assembly to define a starting line S and a finishing line F. To this end, a special track section, generally designated by the reference numeral 24, is constructed which provides an operator controlled starting line (generally at the location S) and a finishing line. (generally at the location F). The details of construction and function of the start-finish track section 24 which, although desirable in the play of the present racing game is not essential, is fully described in copending application, Ser. No. 868,437 filed on Oct. 22, 1969 and assigned to the assignee of the present invention. Reference may be made to said copending application for a complete description of the start finish track section 24 and its specific functions in the overall racing game described in the instant application. Typical vehicles or cars for use in the present racing games are shown along lane L.sub.1 and lane L.sub.2 and have been designated as A.sup.1 and B.sup.1. These cars include a wheeled chassis containing a fractional horsepower motor which is operated by one or more batteries, such as "N" sized batteries, and interchangeable car bodies to impart different appearances thereto. For a complete description of the construction of typical cars reference may be made to U.S. Pat. No. 3,350,813 entitled "Electrically Powered Wheeled Toy Vehicle" which patent is assigned to the assignee of the present invention. It will suffice for the present purposes to appreciate that vehicles A.sup.1 and B.sup.1 are mass produced and except for variations introduced by differences in mass production manufacture and in battery wear, normally would traverse the raceway 10 from the starting line S to the finishing line F in substantially the same elapsed time.
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided at spaced locations along raceway 10 two identical operator-controlled, lane-switching track sections, generally designated by the reference numeral 26, 26.sup.1. One of the lane change or switching sections (26) is at location or station A and enables the player at this location to switch the cars between lane L.sub.1 and L.sub.2 such that the cars will either traverse the inner single-lane course A.sub.1 or the single-lane outer course A.sub.2 which is of longer length. Following lane-change track section 26.sup.1 at location B there is also a shorter course B.sub.1 and a longer course B.sub.2. Thus, as a function of operator control the control stations A and B, cars entering the respective track sections 26, 26.sup.1 may be caused to traverse either longer or shorter courses. For example, if the player at control station A has been assigned car A.sup.1 the player at station A would want to be certain that his car remained on the inner lane including shorter course A.sub.1 (see dotted line position of car A.sup.1). Also, the player at location A would want to be certain that the opponent's car B.sup.1 would stay on the outer lane or course L.sub.2 to continue on the longer outer course A.sub.2. Bearing in mind that the play of the game proceeds rapidly due to the speed at which the cars travel and the possibility that the two cars will approach a control station very close in time, a substantial amount of dexterity must be exercised by the players to achieve the desired result of maintaining or restoring his own car to the shorter course and maintaining or changing his opponent's car to the longer course. The complexity of play may be enchanced by the provision of the fixed dual lane crossover track sections 16, 16.sup.1 in advance of each of the vehicle-switching track sections 26, 26.sup.1. However, the presence of such fixed changeover track sections 16, 16.sup.1 is not essential to the play of the game.
Reference will now be made to FIGS. 2 to 4 inclusive for a complete description of the identical operator-controlled lane-switching track sections 26 at control stations or locations A, B. Track section 26 includes a molded plastic body 30 provided at its opposite sides with depending support flanges 32, 34 and formed at its opposite ends with connecting tabs, such as 36, which are used to releasably interconnect track sections 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 into various layouts and configurations. Track body 30 is formed with guideways or grooves 38, 40 which provide continuous runs as part of the inner and outer lanes for courses L.sub.1, L.sub.2. Guideway or groove 38 includes an entry end or section 38a, intermediate section 38b and exit section 38c. In similar fashion, guideway or groove 40 includes an entry section 40a, intermediate section 40b and exit section 40c. Body 30 is further formed with crossover grooves or guideways 42, 44. Crossover groove 42 has an entry end 42a which merges into the entry section 38a of groove 38 and an exit end 42e which merges into exit section 40c of groove 40. Similarly, crossover guideway or groove 44 has an entry end 44a merging in entry section 40a and an exit end 44c merging into exit section 38c.
Mounted on the track body 30 are lane-switching members 46, 48 which are of identical but symmetrical construction. Lane-switching member 46 includes a straight outer side 46a which in the illustrated nonswitching position forms a substantial continuation of one side of guideway or groove 38 and a curved inner side 46b which in the dotted line switching position 46 will form a continuation of one side of entry section 38b and the corresponding side of crossover groove 42. Similarly, lane-switching member 48 includes a straight outer side 48a and a curved inner side 48b. In order to permit the lane-switching member 46, 48 to rock outwardly relatively to each other into the switching or vehicle-diverting positions shown in the dotted lines in FIG. 2 from the illustrated nondiverted positions illustrated in the full lines, the outer sides of guideways or grooves 38, 40 are laterally and outwardly offset, as indicated at 38d, 40d, in an amount sufficient to accommodate the leading ends of members 46, 48 such that the inner curve sides 46b, 48b will form continuations of entry sections 38a, 40a to divert the vehicle to the associate crossover guideways 42, 44 to achieve the requisite switching function.
Various techniques may be provided for pivotally mounting the lane-switching members 46, 48 to rock or pivot in a common plane from the nondiverting position extending lengthwise of the track body 30 to the outwardly angled diverting position. For example, track body 30 may be provided with integrally molded bearing plates 50, 52 on the underside thereof (see FIGS. 3) which bearing plates partially bridge the cutouts which receive members 46, 48 and receive depending pivot studs 46c, 48c formed integrally with members 46, 48.
Coordinated movement of the lane-switching members 46, 48 is achieved by appropriately interconnecting these members to each other and to a common actuating member 54 which projects through a cutout 34a formed in the depending side flange 34. In this illustrative embodiment, actuating member 54 is integral with and projects laterally from lane-switching member 48 at the underside of track body 30. Lane-switching member 48 is formed with a laterally projecting coupling arm 48d which is connected to a corresponding coupling arm 46d formed integrally with lane-switching member 46, with arms 46d, 48d being interconnected at pivot 56. As may be best appreciated by inspecting FIG. 3, when actuating member 54 is swung in the clockwise direction, as indicated by the directional arrow, coupling arm 48d swings in the clockwise direction about pivot 48c and member 48 moves into the lane switching or diverting position shown by the broken lines in FIG. 2. Concurrently, coupling arm 46d swings in the counterclockwise direction (when viewed in FIG. 3) thereby swinging lane-switching member 46 counterclockwise and outwardly into its lane-switching or diverting position shown by the dotted lines in FIG. 2. By swinging actuating member 54 in the opposite direction (clockwise in FIG. 2 and counterclockwise in FIG. 3), members 46, 48 are restored to the nondiverting position illustrating in the full lines in these figures.
Switch-actuating means, generally designated by the reference numeral 58, are operatively associated with the common actuating member 54 for track section 26. The switch-actuating means or mechanism is of the pneumatic type and includes a housing 60 which may be operatively positioned in relation to track section in any convenient fashion, as by the provision of spaced pairs of guided pins 62 which are arranged to embrace depending side flange 34 at opposite sides of cutout 34a (see FIGS. 2 and 3). Mounted in housing 60 is a bellows or closed diaphragm 64 which is constructed to expand lengthwise in the response to the introduction of air through air inlet 64a. Inlet 64a is connected via a length of tubing 66 to a hand control 68 molded with appropriate finger grips and serving as a squeeze bulb. Hand control 68 is appropriately ported to atmosphere such that in response to the squeezing thereof air is caused to pass via tube of 66 into bellows 64 to expand and extend the same lengthwise. Bellows 64 includes an axially extending output plunger 64b which is coupled at pivot 70 to activator arm 72 which is pivotally mounted on housing 60 at pivot 74. Activator arm 72 terminates in a gripping head or yoke 72a which embraces actuating member 54 when the switch-actuating subassembly is operatively associated with the track section 26, as illustrated in FIG. 2. Thus, upon squeezing of hand control 68 and longitudinal extension of bellows 64, activator arm 72 will swing in the clockwise direction about pivot 74 (see FIG. 2) whereupon common actuating member 54 swings in the direction of the arrow to pivot members 46, 48 outwardly about their pivots 46c, 48c, and into the vehicle-diverting positions. Upon reduction of pressure, bellows or diaphragm 64 will return to the condition illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein its inherent resilience and configuration biases or retains common actuating member 54 in the illustrated position corresponding to the lane-switching members 46, 48 being in their nondiverting positions.
A typical sequence of operations will now be described in order to facilitate a more thorough understanding of the present invention:
Depending upon the available number of track sections and the desired layout, a raceway is set up which includes as preferred elements thereof some means for defining a starting line S and a finishing line F, such as the special track sections 24, two operator controlled lane switching sections 26, 26.sup.1, single-lane track sections A.sub.1, A.sub.2 and B.sub.1, B.sub.2 following track sections 26, 26.sup.1 and fixed crossover track sections 16, 16.sup.1 in advance of sections 26, 26.sup.1. Each of the players then selects a particular control station and a car to be raced. For convenience in relating the selected control station to a particular car, the track sections 26 and its related controls may be color coded in accordance with the colors of one of the cars. The players line up their cars at the starting line S, with the cars in running condition and held by an appropriate stops stimulating chocks. At a predetermined signal, the race commences with the objective to run the particular racing course as fast as possible with each player trying to keep his car on the inside lane while trying to keep his opponent's car on the outside lane using the control afforded by the respective switchover gear and control at stations A, B. Initially, the cars will run neck and neck on the common starting section of the course, but thereafter each player is able to control the particular course of his car and his opponent's car by appropriately manipulating his hand control. After one or more laps about the course as determined by the players at the start of the game or the rules of play, one car will enter the home stretch and cross the finishing line F in advance of the other thereby winning the race, notwithstanding, the fact that both cars are of an initial construction and powered to travel at substantially the same speed.
A wide variety of accessories may be provided to enhance the play of the game, including, for example the provision of a stop watch or other timing means which will enable each player to keep track of the elapsed time of the race or any particular lap thereof. Additionally, provision may be made for not only changing the layout of the racing course, but in addition to make it more complicated or difficult, as by providing obstacles, turns, etc.
A latitude of modification change and substitutions is intended in the foregoing disclosure, and in some instances some features of the invention will be used without a corresponding use of other features thereof. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be broadly construed in a manner consistent with the spirit and scope of the invention.
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