DEVICE FOR ACCEPTING AND STORING MESSAGES
A message storage apparatus that can stimulate creativity and imagination of children and adolescents is disclosed. The apparatus facilitates storage of messages such as secrets, memories, notes, diary entries, wishes, dreams, trivia and other educational facts, quiz and other game questions, valentines, etc. More particularly, the apparatus can virtually (or physically) store intangible (and tangible) messages, thereby enhancing creativity and imagination. The message storage apparatus has a message delivery system that receives a message and delivers it securely to a storage chamber where the message can be accessed at a later time.
Latest Preformed Line Products Company Patents:
This application is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 12/706,280 entitled “DEVICE FOR ACCEPTING AND STORING MESSAGES” and filed Feb. 16, 2010, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent application Ser. No. 61/152,926 entitled “APPARATUS FOR STORING MESSAGES SECRETS AND THE LIKE” and filed Feb. 16, 2009. The entireties of the above-noted applications are incorporated by reference herein.BACKGROUND
Educational games and toys have become prolific in today's marketplace; this is partly because parents and educators recognize the need for supplemental educational stimulation and learning outside of the classroom. However, few of the products in the marketplace provide both educational learning and fun for the child. Stimulation of a child's imagination is an important part of the childhood development cycle. Although parents, siblings, friends and teachers have a critical role in a child's development, individual imaginary play is as important to the child's development
Many believe that a child's mind is most creative around the age of eight years old. The years between birth and this age have a profound impact upon a child's future. Creativity is particularly important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, creativity can develop and improve a child's imaginative skills. Basic skills are often honed by way of a child's creativity and imagination. Additionally, creativity and imagination enable a child to learn at their own pace in an environment that is both educational and fun.
Today, there are countless resources available for parents to help stimulate their child's creativity. As with many decisions throughout the tender years, parents sometimes struggle to make the right choice in selecting toys and activities for their child. Many toys available today offer both amusement and educational value to a child. This stimulation is invaluable in giving the child a head start in life on an educational level. Many of the toys and amusement products available today help a child to learn basic shapes, colors, numeracy, literacy, and creativity. Through the use of stimulating yet enjoyable products, children learn about everything from shapes and colors to numbers and letters.
Children often stimulate their mind through books, puzzles and imaginary friends. Encouragement of imagination both stimulates and nurtures the child's developing mind, curiosity, and creative skills. Imagination also inspires independence and creativity—there is a need for amusement devices that inspire children to learn and develop during these formative years.SUMMARY
The following presents a simplified summary of the innovation in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the innovation. This summary is not an extensive overview of the innovation. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the innovation or to delineate the scope of the innovation. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts of the innovation in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.
The innovation disclosed and claimed herein, in one aspect thereof, comprises a device that can stimulate creativity and imagination of children and adolescents. Individuals of all ages can be entertained and/or educated through use of the innovation. More particularly, the innovation discloses devices that facilitate storage of messages such as secrets, memories, notes, diary entries, wishes, dreams, trivia and other educational facts, quiz and other game questions, valentines, etc.
In aspects, the device can employ multiple (e.g., two) chambers to receive and store messages. A first chamber can receive the message whereby a user can prompt storage into a second chamber, e.g., for safekeeping. In one aspect, a chamber selector is employed to transfer a message from one chamber to the other. Additional aspects can employ a single chamber or can be configured to convey the appearance of multiple chambers. Because children and adolescents generally enjoy the activity of storing secrets, memories, dreams, diary entries, etc., the innovation can promote creativity and imagination.
To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, certain illustrative aspects of the innovation are described herein in connection with the following description and the annexed drawings. These aspects are indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles of the innovation can be employed and the subject innovation is intended to include all such aspects and their equivalents. Other advantages and novel features of the innovation will become apparent from the following detailed description of the innovation when considered in conjunction with the drawings.
The following terms are used throughout the description, the definitions of which are provided herein to assist in understanding various aspects of the subject innovation. As used herein, a “message” is intended to refer to most any communication including, but not limited to, a secret, memory, note, diary entry, wish, trivia item or other educational message/fact, dream, quiz or other game entry or question, valentine, message to an imaginary friend, or the like. “Messages” may be real or virtual; in other words, tangible or intangible. For example, a “message” may be a written “message” on a slip of paper, sticker, or other suitable material but also may be spoken words or other forms of virtual (e.g., non-tangible) “messages” (e.g., thoughts or ideas).
The aspects described herein include means to store a “message” or “messages.” The devices disclosed and claimed herein are hereinafter referred to as a “message keeper” or “message keepers”. These definitions are not intended to limit the scope of the innovation or claims appended hereto. Rather, the definitions are provided to add perspective to the innovation to facilitate a complete and comprehensive understanding of the features, functions and benefits thereof.
The innovation is now described with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals are used to refer to like elements throughout. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the subject innovation. It may be evident, however, that the innovation can be practiced without these specific details.
Referring initially to
The message keeper 100 of
Here, a chamber selector 110 can be employed to virtually transfer the message from a message acceptance chamber to a message storage chamber. As described herein, these chambers can be actual cavities within base housing portion 102 or, alternatively, can be established and conveyed merely by way of colors, textures, placement, indicia, or the like. By sliding the chamber selector 110 in a clockwise (or counter-clockwise) direction around track 112, a child can visualize the transfer (or virtual transfer in the case of spoken messages) of the message between the acceptance and storage chambers. In particular, a chamber viewer 114 can be employed to visualize motion of the chambers simultaneously with motion of the chamber selector 110. This motion will be better understood upon a review of the figures that follow.
Referring now to
At 302, the cover of a message keeper can be opened to expose a message input interface. For instance, the cover can be hinged into an open position. As described above, it will be understood that the cover is optional—aspects can exist without the cover portion. As well, in other aspects, a cover can be pivoted, slid, removed, etc. without departing from the spirit and scope herein. At 304, a message can be input into the message interface. For instance, a secret message can be spoken, or whispered, into the interface. In other aspects, a physically documented message (e.g., written note) can be input into the interface. In either scenario, the message is transferred into a first, or message acceptance, chamber. As described above, this chamber can be a real or virtual cavity depending upon the design of the message keeper.
At 306, a chamber selector can be activated to facilitate movement (virtual or actual) of the message from the first chamber into storage, e.g., for safekeeping. The message is either virtually, or actually, moved from the first chamber to a second, or storage, chamber at 308. A dashed arrow is included on
The upper portion 402 of base housing portion 102 can include apertures or openings for message input, chamber selector slide as well as chamber visualization. A clear, translucent or semi-transparent window 410 can be placed onto the chamber view aperture as shown. It is to be appreciated that the components and subcomponents shown in
As illustrated described above, a chamber selector 110 can be moved (e.g., slid) along a track or guide 112 to facilitate movement (actual or virtual) of a message from one chamber to another. As shown, selector plate 406 can be molded with apertures such that, when positioned in a particular location, a first chamber can appear via the chamber viewing window 410. When the chamber selector is moved into a disparate position, an individual (e.g., a child) can view a chamber swap by way of the chamber viewer 410 as well as the message input interface. Additionally, as shown, the chamber selector 110 can be molded integral to the selector plate 406.
As described supra, it is to be appreciated that the first and second chambers can be actual or virtual cavities without departing from the spirit and scope of this specification and claims appended hereto. In other words, if a message is actually (or physically) inserted, e.g., tangible on paper, the chambers can be real cavities whereby the paper can transfer from a first chamber to the next. In a virtual aspect, the chambers can be imaginary and need not be physical chambers or cavities. In this aspect, colors, patterns, etc. viewed through the chamber viewer 410 can be employed to translate an appearance of the message moving from a first to a second chamber. Still further, it is to be understood that aspects exist that employ actual chambers which are able to be used with both tangible (e.g., paper) and intangible (e.g., spoken) messages.
Chamber plate 408 can be configured in a manner so as to convey an appearance of actual chamber swap, in both physical and virtual aspects. In aspects, the chamber plate 408 can be configured (or molded) with patterns, indicia, colors, etc. that convey a switch from one chamber to the next. For example, a first chamber can be shown to have a yellow background whereas, after the chamber selector is moved, the background can change to purple. This visual change can convey an appearance of moving the message from one chamber to the next, regardless of whether the movement is actual or virtual.
Referring now to
Additionally, the upper 402 and lower 404 portions of base housing portion (102 of
Additionally, message keeper 100 can include a key locking means (not shown) that prohibits the lid portion 104 from opening. Other aspects of locking means are contemplated, including, but not limited to, key locks, combination locks, digital locks that recognize handwriting, digital locks that recognize a code, digital locks that recognize voices, and others.
With continued reference to
A side perspective view of device 800 is illustrated in
In the open state depicted in
This message keeper 800 may utilize most any message input system, for example, though a simple sliding mechanism that exposes an aperture for message entry. The user may deposit physical or spoken messages through an opening created by a sliding mechanism in an open state. Unlike the earlier aspect that employed two chambers, in this aspect, messages can reside in a single storage chamber 1102. The chamber can be locked by a locking means 1008 and pivoted open by way of hinging means 1010.
In addition to the examples shown and described, other pocket type configurations similar to the embodiments are also possible such as a sliding arrangement instead of a pivoting arrangement. Aspects may include a detent or snap-to-close feature and retention devices such as key chains, necklaces, clips, lanyards, and the like. It is to be understood that most any of the message keeper embodiments may be configured as single- or multi- (e.g., double) chamber devices.
In one particular aspect, once closed, a locking means 1210 can be employed to secure the apparatus in a closed position. The aspect of
With continued reference to
Referring now to
The message keeper is a device that can be used to stimulate the creativity and imagination of young children. Accordingly, the innovation will most likely be used in a manner for amusement and entertainment purposes. However, due to its nature as a verbal device, it may be used as an educational tool to promote literacy as an edutainment device to a wide age range.
In place of, or in addition to, storage chamber(s), it is to be appreciated that message keepers described herein can be equipped with electronics means capable of capturing audible messages. The following paragraphs describe how these aspects of a message keeper can be used as an educational device and how it can integrate to a software tool, for example, an Internet (Web) software tool, software-based educational tool or the like. Unlike other educational devices and toys that have a significant learning element to them, the message keeper is a device that can integrate directly with the daily lives of children. This means that it is a device that is likely to be with the user throughout the day and is not a game that either one is forced to use for learning or one that the user easily tires of. To make the message keeper a device that is prolifically used, the learning element can be partially separated from amusement elements.
Thus, children are able to use the innovation, have fun with the device, and then re-live the enjoyable moments while they transfer their day's activity to a software tool, e.g., standalone software or Web-based (or other computer-based environment) learning tool. It is contemplated that this learning tool can complement the product and provide targeted marketing opportunities.
In these examples, an online or computer-based tool can be provided that allows users to upload messages for secured storage. The tool can also facilitate generation of diary or journal entries and to be able to link these entries to the dreams, secrets, etc. Still further, the tool can allow for social networking with other users (e.g., Web users), for example, via an invited friend network. Other uses of the tool can include providing story starter aides that are both general and targeted to key words from the user's inputs, delivery of vocabulary words and grammar tips each day, correction of grammar and spelling of the inputs in an enjoyable manner, providing parental controls and parental monitoring of learning trends and needs for further educational supplement; and providing a mechanism for targeted advertising through a wide range of ages.
As will be understood, the message keeper can be packaged into a product that is fun to use and can stand alone on this merit. The features, functions and benefits of the innovation can also be integrated with significant educational elements that promote literacy through enjoyable and contributory learning.
As described herein, the message keeper device can be designed in a multitude of different versions, types, and aesthetic configurations. However, they all are similar in that they are designed to be message storage devices. As described, aspects differ in the way that messages are input and stored within the device, whether physical or spoken messages. Messages may be whispered into the device, written on a note card, or recorded with an audio recording device.
In electronic aspects, with regard to whispered messages (typical for younger users), the person using the device will benefit by remembering the message for later interface to a Web or software tool. For written messages, they may be extracted from the message keeper and, if desired, transcribed into a Web tool. Recorded and other electronically captured messages may be uploaded automatically by using a computer docking tool which may interface (e.g., via Universal Serial Bus (USB) or wirelessly) to a computer.
As stated above, the drawings and this detailed description are provided not to limit the scope of the innovation and device but rather to depict several embodiments that illustrate features, functions and benefits of the innovation. Many of the aspects of each embodiment are applicable to many of the other embodiments but are, for simplicity, described only for some of the embodiments.
Some of these flexible and interchangeable attributes are: sizes and shapes, materials, colors, opacity, types and placement of openings, types and placement of closures, types and placement of locking mechanisms, types and placement of hinging means, position of storage chamber(s) relative to the receiving chamber(s), types of messages that the device can store, means to remove the messages, ancillary devices, electronics, etc.
Accordingly, embodiments may have different sizes and shapes including, but not limited to, the following shapes: conical, frusto-conical, cylindrical, spherical, those with a polygonal cross-section, clamshell, shapes with amorphous cross-sections, free form three dimensional shapes, round, square, rectangular, and others. Additionally, embodiments are contemplated to be vertical devices. That is that the message is deposited in a top down manner and is in turn routed to another vertically oriented opening to be received by a storage chamber that is generally vertically underneath the first chamber and delivery mechanism. Other configurations are possible such as side-by-side, diagonally oriented chambers, and routings that also take on free form shapes as well as multiple storage chambers into which messages can be stored.
In accordance with aspects of the innovation, the message keepers can be constructed in a manner that includes two primary components/sub-assemblies: the storage chamber, and the delivery mechanism. Essentially, the delivery mechanism can be used to describe the input together with the chamber selector.
The embodiments of the innovation can be fitted with additional openings with closures of various types to the storage chamber. This will allow the easy removal of a message. Preferably, these closures would be threaded but all types of closures are possible (e.g., press-fit, snap-fit). As well, the closures can be equipped with locking means as desired.
Each of the described embodiments may be fabricated from materials of different colors, transparency, and, opacity. These materials include, but are not limited to, plastic fiberboard, composite materials, various ferrous and non-ferrous metals, wood, aluminum, alloys, and others. In other words, most any suitable material can be employed. Additionally, it is to be appreciated that aspects can include non-rigid configurations without departing from the scope of this specification. For example, where appropriate, non-rigid materials can be employed together with rigid materials in some aspects.
Each of the described embodiments may have different types and sizes of openings and closures. The openings through which a message is deposited may be of a variety of sizes and shapes including, but not limited to, round, oval, elliptical, polygonal, free form, and others. Typically, there is both a first and second opening per message keeper; one for depositing the message and one through which the message passes (or virtually passes) from the first chamber to the second or storage chamber. The relative position of the first and second opening to one another is not fixed and may be coincident or non-coincident and may even be non-parallel. The innovation contemplates many types of closures, most of which are interchangeable from embodiment to embodiment, and some of which ensure that one opening is closed at all times.
Some of the embodiments are described to be used in conjunction with tools and other devices. Other devices and toys that message keepers integrate with include, but are not limited to, voice/sound recorders, USB and other computer interface devices, wireless communication protocols, text entry devices, digital cameras, diaries and scrapbooks, dolls and other toys and figurines, and music players such as MP3 devices, and others.
What has been described above includes examples of the innovation. It is, of course, not possible to describe every conceivable combination of components or methodologies for purposes of describing the subject innovation, but one of ordinary skill in the art may recognize that many further combinations and permutations of the innovation are possible. Accordingly, the innovation is intended to embrace all such alterations, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Furthermore, to the extent that the term “includes” is used in either the detailed description or the claims, such term is intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term “comprising” as “comprising” is interpreted when employed as a transitional word in a claim.
1. A device that facilitates storage of a message, comprising:
- a base portion having an open side and cavity formed therein;
- a cavity cover that is pivotally connected to the open side of the base portion, wherein the cavity cover is configured to open for input of a message into the cavity and to close to secure the message within the cavity; and
- a locking mechanism that secures the cavity cover atop the open side of the base portion to facilitate secure storage of the message.
2. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cover portion that is hingedly connected to the base portion, wherein the cover portion closes atop the cavity cover.
3. The device of claim 1, further comprising an impression disposed within the cavity cover, wherein the impression facilitates storage of paper for authoring the message.
4. The device of claim 3, further comprising a plurality of pieces of paper, wherein the plurality of pieces of paper are configured to be removeably disposed within the impression.
5. The device of claim 1, further comprising an electronic means that interfaces with an educational tool, wherein the educational tool accesses and employs the messages.
6. The device of claim 1, further comprising an unlocking mechanism that facilitates disengagement of the locking mechanism.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein the unlocking mechanism is a key.
8. The device of claim 6, wherein the locking mechanism is a numerical combination-type lock and the unlocking mechanism is a numerical combination.
9. The device of claim 1, wherein the cavity cover includes a securing mechanism that frictionally secures to a mating portion within the open side of the base portion.
10. A method of storing a message, comprising:
- providing a base portion having an open side and cavity formed therein;
- pivotally opening a cavity cover that is connected to the open side of the base portion;
- accepting a message into the cavity; and
- closing the cavity cover to secure the message within the cavity.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the message is a written or imaginary message.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein the act of accepting the message is one of an actual or perceived acceptance of the message.
13. The method of claim 10, further comprising, activating a locking mechanism that secures the cavity cover atop the open side of the base portion.
14. The method of claim 10, further comprising hinging a cover portion that is disposed atop the cavity cover.
15. The method of claim 10, further comprising inserting a plurality of pieces of indicia-accepting material, wherein the plurality of pieces of material are configured to be removeably disposed within an impression molded into the cavity cover.
16. The method of claim 10, further comprising locking the cavity cover to secure the message within the cavity.
17. The device of claim 10, further comprising unlocking the cavity cover to facilitates disengagement of a locking mechanism.
International Classification: A63H 33/00 (20060101);