Lighted sports projectile
A sports projectile illuminated with a chemiluminescent light stick capable of producing a stroboscopic effect. The body is made of a soft, pliable material such as NERF® and the light stick(s) is carried through bores in the body. There are no ancillary components, only the light stick(s) and the soft, pliable body. Orifices or various other shapes are cut into the body of the sports projections allowing for the maximum light transmission.
The present invention relates to a sports projectile that is adapted for use in low light situations. It is designed to provide safety and a minimal of damage potential, while presenting an aesthetically appealing throwing projectile. More particularly, the present invention relates to a soft, durable, spongy football that presents as an alluring toy to market to sports enthusiasts of all ages; perfect for evening tailgating events.
In the past, previous attempts to illuminate sports balls have relied heavily on battery powered devices. Such devices require numerous components (i.e., batteries, light emitting elements such as light bulbs, and the housing units for these components). All of these additional components are cumbersome and the added weight increases the chance for injury or property damage should the projectile not be caught by the intended recipient.
Recently, various sports balls have been coated with a phosphorescent paint or material. The ball has to be “charged” by exposure to light in order to “glow-in-the-dark.” This approach, allows the game ball to remain light weight, but does not to provide a very intense light.
Additionally, sports balls have been developed that use chemiluminescent light sticks. One such device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,683,316 to Campbell. A game ball is shown which includes hollow tubular flexible housing for receiving the chemiluminescent light stick. The problem with additional internal components still exists; additional weight is added decreasing the safety factor and potentially altering the aerodynamics of the ball. U.S. Pat. No. 6,726,580 to Peterson also discusses plastic tubbing to hold the light stick and threaded screw caps, for retaining the light stick. These additional elements are not soft and can lead to injury.
A significant feature of the present invention is the complete omission of any additional parts; there is simply the spongy, foam-like projectile and the chemiluminescent light stick. Orifices are bored through the spongy, foam-like material, allowing the projectile to be extremely light weight, and the additional safety benefit of providing a simulated stroboscopic effect (temporal aliasing) when thrown. Since there is nothing between the light emitted by the chemiluminescent light stick and the human eye, the highest optical efficiency is achieved. The ball comes alive as light is cast out from its orifices as it bounces, spins, or moves.
Henceforth, a lighted, spongy sports projectile, with no additional components, capable of producing a stroboscopic effect would fulfill a long felt need in the sports industry. This new invention utilizes and combines known and new technologies in a unique and novel configuration to overcome the aforementioned problems and accomplish this.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a novel lighted sports projectile, which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art, either alone or in any combination thereof.
In accordance with the invention, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved lighted sports projectile with the maximum light transmission.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved lighted sports projectile with enhanced safety features.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved lighted sports projectile that is easy to throw and catch.
It is still a further object of this invention to provide an improved lighted sports projectile capable of producing a stroboscopic effect.
It is still a further object of this invention to provide an improved lighted sports projectile capable of producing varying degrees of light intensity.
It is yet a further object of this invention to provide an improved lighted sports projectile that is water resistant.
The subject matter of the present invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. However, both the organization and method of operation, together with further advantages and objects thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with accompanying drawings wherein like reference characters refer to like elements. Other objects, features and aspects of the present invention are discussed in greater detail below.
In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of descriptions and should not be regarded as limiting.
The preferred embodiment of lighted sports projectile according to this invention is illustrated in
In the illustrated embodiment the illuminated projectile is shaped like a standard American football 2. Body 4 of football 2 is made from a soft, spongy polymer material. One such material is commonly know as a NERF®. NERF is made from a solid, spongy cellular material produced by the reaction of polyester with a diisocyanate while carbon dioxide is liberated by the reaction of a carboxyl with the isocyanate. Polyester resin reacts with a compound while CO2 is simultaneously released by another reaction. It is this gas that creates open pockets within the polyurethane that, in turn, makes the material soft and light. Use of the NERF® material reduces the mass of the object and subsequently the potential for injury should someone or something be struck by the ball.
Referring now to
The orifices 8 allow the highest degree of light transmission from the chemiluminescent light stick 10. Since there is no additional barriers between the light stick 10 and the human eye, there is no additional refraction of the emitted light. The emitted light travels directly from the light stick to the eye.
The orifices 8 limit the mass of the football 2, which in turn limits the at speed the object can be thrown further decreasing the risk of injury should the football not be caught by the intended recipient. Additionally, the orifices 8, serve as an additional means to grip the football 2, making the football 2, easier to catch again decreasing the risk of injury. The combination of the spin imparted by throwing of the football 2, and the light emitted from the four orifice sets creates a stroboscopic effect, increasing the visibility and hence safety of the football 2.
A typical commercial light stick 10 consists of a glass vial holding a hydrogen peroxide solution encased in a plastic tube holding a phenyl oxalate ester and a dye. When the plastic tube is bent the fragile glass vial is broken and the two solutions mix. The chemicals immediately react to one another, and the atoms begin emitting light. The particular dye used in the chemical solution gives the light a distinctive color.
Referring now to
Once light stick 10 has been activated and inserted into the body 4, through the x slit 12, the football 2 can be thrown at night or in dimly lit places. The football's visibility is safely linked to the velocity and distance with which the football can be thrown. As the number of light sticks 10 utilized at once increases, so does the football's overall mass and the distance the object can be thrown. Thus the safety feature is self regulating.
The overall end to end length about the surface of the projectile is approximately 10-12 inches, the diameter is approximately 5-6 inches and the orifice diameter is 1-2 inches, with the preferred embodiment having dimensions of 11 inches 5.5 inches and 1.5 inches respectively. This dimension is dictated primarily by the size of commercially available light sticks 10.
The above description will enable any person skilled in the art to make and use this invention. It also sets forth the best modes for carrying out this invention. There are numerous variations and modifications thereof that will also remain readily apparent to others skilled in the art, now that the general principles of the present invention have been disclosed.
As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. For example other sports throwing projectiles may be similarly configured such as softballs, baseballs etc. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
1. An illuminated sports projectile comprising:
- a monolithic body; and
- at least one chemiluminescent light stick, wherein said light stick is visibly housed within said body.
2. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 1 wherein said projectile is made of a compressible spongy material which has at least one cut along the longitudinal centerline of the body, and wherein said body has at least two orifices extending from an outer surface of said body normally to said longitudinal centerline of said body.
3. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 2 wherein said orifices intersect.
4. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 3 wherein said projectile is in the shape of a football, with an oval of revolution configuration having two ends.
5. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 4 wherein said number of orifices is 12 and are arranged in 4 substantially similar sets of 3 orifices with the midpoints of each set equally spaced along a line extending between the ends of said football, and wherein said sets are arranged equidistant from adjacent sets.
6. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 5 wherein there are three intersections formed by the convergences of one orifice from each set.
7. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 6 wherein said orifices are circular right cylinders.
8. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 7 wherein the number of light sticks is one.
9. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 7 wherein the number of light sticks is two.
10. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 7 wherein the number of light sticks is three.
11. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 7 wherein said orifices are cylindrical designs selected from the set of designs including sports team logos, sporting good manufacturers logos.
12. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 6 wherein the number of cuts is two and said cuts intersect.
13. The illuminated sports projectile of claim 1 wherein said projectile is configured in the shape of a sports ball selected from the set of sports balls including, soccer balls, footballs, basketballs, softballs, rugby balls and golfballs.
Filed: Jan 29, 2008
Publication Date: Jul 30, 2009
Inventor: Carson Smith (Oregon City, OR)
Application Number: 12/011,803
International Classification: A63B 43/06 (20060101);