Motion Activated Accessories for Bowling Balls

Bowling ball accessories can add both amusement as well as educational value to the activity. Adding lights can make both a visually appealing display as well as a visual feedback to the bowler on spin. Adding telemetry sensors and recording devices can assist serious bowlers in their quest to perfect their game. Adding ID devices can assist in rental programs, anti-theft and personalization.

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This application claims the benefit of the earlier filed provisional application Ser. No. 61/542,575, filed on Oct. 3, 2011.


Bowling, while primarily a sport, is also an amusement activity for many. The sport has become a family activity and has even evolved into more of an amusement activity with the introduction of special Glow bowling nights, etc.

While it is possible to enjoy bowling in its original form, it may be further enhanced with some of today's modern electronics. These electronics may include lights, sensors, id tags, etc. The addition and implementation of these devices will enhance the enjoyment and success of bowling.


While the bowling ball itself may have various design enhancements, it is the addition of accessories to the ball that is unique. These accessories may or may not invalidate the official specification for a ball by the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). However, these accessories will add both fun and vital feedback to the bowlers using them.

These accessories have many forms and functions. One form is lighted feedback. The lights can be purely ornamental, or they can actually have vital visual feedback to the bowler. Another form is telemetry sensors. These sensors can provide feedback on the spin, speed, release, contact and other parameters. It can also assist the bowler in practice time and events. Another form may be ID tags—allowing for rental programs, ball identification and anti-theft.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.


In the drawings, FIG. 1 is a diagram of an embodiment showing a collection of motion activated lights embedded in a bowling ball covered by a smooth, diffuse protective cover.

FIG. 2 is a diagram of an embodiment showing precisely placed, single color LEDs to allow the bowler to visualize specific spin or other characteristics of the proper or improper throw.

FIG. 3 is a diagram of an embodiment showing telemetry device embedded in a bowling ball. This device will wirelessly transmit collected data to a computer for further analysis.

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an embodiment showing an embedded ID device for identifying, tracking, and preventing the ball from leaving the building without notice.


Many types of bowling accessories exist, but very few are included within the bowling ball. Part of the reason for the lack of accessories within the ball may be due to the fact that many would invalidate the ball for league play according to the PBA. However, as bowling is becoming more of an entertainment amusement, the desire for more entertaining accessories is growing. In addition, these accessories may be used during training or practice to aid a professional bowler, while still not qualifying for league play.

The first group of these accessories is centered around illumination sources. The simplest form would be to illuminate the ball. This source would have to be embedded in the ball and would be ideally triggered from outside the ball. The illumination source might be triggered based on movement or remote signals. This illumination might be one or more sources. As these accessories might be expensive or undesirable to purchase, amusement centers may prefer to rent balls containing these devices. Renting these devices can be facilitated if there is a system for enabling the balls for the length of the rental period.

In additional to ornamental illumination, sources may be added in strategic locations as to visually indicate a particular spin or throw. Different colors may be added in different locations to indicate different techniques.

Other accessories might be centered around gathering information about the ball's motion. In general this will be telemetry. Information that might be useful would include but not limited to Speed, spin speed, spin direction, acceleration (impact), time in motion, trips down the lane, days used.

This data might be used to give the bowler immediate feedback or it might be used later with analysis software to provide more in depth information about the bowling technique. The data can be locally stored in the ball and later relayed to a remote device. The ball may also have some sort of display to indicate simple results immediately.

Specific embodiments of the subject matter are used to illustrate specific inventive aspects. The embodiments are by way of example only, and are susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms. The appended claims are intended to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims.

Throughout this specification, like reference numbers signify the same elements throughout the description of the figures.

The subject matter may be embodied as accessories for bowling balls and supporting hardware. In the context of this document, bowling ball accessories is any embedded device in a bowling ball that is intended to enhance the bowling experience.

FIG. 1 is a diagram of an embodiment showing a bowling ball with embedded illuminating devices (101)

In other embodiments, the illuminating sources may be different colors, may be solid on, or flashing, may be motion triggered or remotely controlled. These devices may have batteries, may be replaceable, rechargeable, or may harvest power from motion, solar or other.

Some embodiments, such as the one shown in FIG. 2, may use precisely located illumination sources .

FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of an embedded telemetry device. This device collects information from various sensors and can relay information such as speed, rotation, impact and other physical properties that might aid in the bowling process or practice.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of an embedded ID device. This device can be active or passive, one or two directional and can help with anti-theft, ball tracking and rental.

The foregoing description of the subject matter has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the subject matter to the precise form disclosed, and other modifications and variations may be possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application. This enables others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the appended claims be construed to include other alternative embodiments except insofar as limited by the prior art.


1. A bowling ball lighting system comprising:

a bowling ball;
one or more motion-activated illumination sources.

2. The system of claim 1, having sealed, diffused or clear covers.

3. The system of claim 1, having illumination sources that can be replaced

4. The system of claim 1, having one or more colors or having a rainbow of colors in one device.

5. The system of claim 1, having a remotely triggered, timed, enabling circuit.

6. The system of claim 1, having a separate device which can trigger the timer enabling circuits and keep track or use credits to allow for the system to be used in a rental, or limited time application.

7. The system of claim 1, specific illuminations in specific locations to show a specific spin.

8. The system of claim 1, such that the illumination sources might have batteries, might be rechargeable, or might be able to capture energy through motion, solar, or other source.

9. The system of claim 1, having additional devices to produce sounds when used for bowling, or returned to user, or colliding with another ball.

10. The system of claim 1, having additional devices to produce sounds when used including sounds that will insult or comment on your results.

11. The system of claim 1, Different color lights enabled for basic play and additional colors and/or display that illuminate temporarily when obtaining a Strike.

12. A bowling ball telemetry system comprising:

A bowling ball;
One or more sensors;
A recording device;
A communication device;

13. The system of claim 12, being having software analysis tools.

14. The system of claim 12, being able to record spin, speed and direction.

15. The system of claim 12, being able to record acceleration.

16. The system of claim 12, being able to record number of times the ball is used.

17. The system of claim 12, being able to transfer the information to another device for further analysis.

18. The system of claim 12, incorporating a simple display on the ball to indicate simple sampled data..

19. The system of claim 12, having a video camera linked to the spin data such that still pictures can be captured in the same attitude producing a sequence of pictures showing the same location each time (creating a video of the ball hitting the pins.)

20. A bowling ball Identification system comprising:

a bowling ball;
one or more remote identification devices.

21. The system of claim 20, having an ID device using RFID technology.

22. The system of claim 20, having an ID device using bar code or QR code technology.

23. The system of claim 20, using a remotely triggered device to enable functions within the ball.

24. The system of claim 20, using the remote ID device to alert bowling operators when a ball is leaving the center.

25. The system of claim 20, using the remote ID device to alert bowling operators when a ball is leaving the center by sounding a sound on the ball, a beep, buzz, or even a pre-recorded growl, scream, or other distress call.

26. The system of claim 20, having a ball locating procedure such that renter can find the same ball again.

Patent History
Publication number: 20130085006
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 1, 2012
Publication Date: Apr 4, 2013
Inventors: Peeraya Nilwong (Boise, ID), Theodore Bruce Ziemkowski (Windsor, CO)
Application Number: 13/633,116
Current U.S. Class: Ball (473/125)
International Classification: A63B 43/06 (20060101);