Toy With A Degradable Release Mechanism And Containment Device
The toy system has a liquid degradable component used to obscure a hidden component that is release or revealed upon application of a liquid on the liquid degradable component. The toy may resemble the blooming of a plant to reveal a doll or figuring for further enjoyment after it is revealed to the user.
This application claims priority as a continuation of International Application No. PCT/US19/33487, filed May 22, 2019 and as a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 16/419,197, filed May 22, 2019, both of which claim priority to U.S. Application No. 62/742,196, filed Oct. 5, 2018, each of which are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In present times individuals are known to provide children with playsets and toys that emulate real activities but sanitized or modified in such a way as to avoid the hazards, difficulties, or damages associated with said activities. For example, one might provide a child with a set of hollow plastic “tools”, providing the entertainment value of a set of props without the inherent dangers associated with real tools.
Playsets may include moving or changing components that may entertain or fascinate a child. These components must be safe, even when used outside of their intended function. Further, they must ideally be clean or easily contained given a child's propensity to make a mess if given any ability to do so.
These standards and limitations generally put things such as gardening outside of the reach of a realistic playset (i.e. a combination of sharp implements and fertilizer are not acceptable playthings for a child). One object of the present invention is to provide children a safe, clean way of “growing” their own “plants” with a playset that may transform in ways similar to organic plants (on a significantly enhanced time scale).
The ideal embodiment of the present invention will further incorporate a fantasy element to the structure and design of the present invention, namely the idea that a “plant” may be grown from the head of a doll figurine as a hairstyle.
The assembly to create the unique functionality behind the reveal of the character is defined by several mechanical parts that hold the doll figurine in position and balance the force and compression of an expandable foam material, so it can be released in a controlled manner. Once the doll's slow-rising “hair” is compressed and retained between the doll and a liquid permeable paper barrier, the doll can be assembled into a container in the form of a plant pot. The doll can only then be released from the pot by degrading the paper barrier, in this case using a few drops of water.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention features a expandable component that may substantially deform or alter the structure of individual components when released from the compressed state. The compressed component is ideally positioned and contained within other permeable components and released when the permeable components are degraded by application of a liquid such that the compressed component can expand, be lifted or be elevated through the plane of the membrane. The expandable component may be fixed to an obscured structure that may be revealed by the degradable release mechanism designed to release when contacted with the liquid. Further components of the present invention mechanically fix the degradable and expandable components into an operable orientation such that an external device may deploy the liquid to all components simultaneously.
More specifically, the invention relates to a toy including a normally compressed component adapted to expand upon certain conditions, a structure upon which the expandable component is supported, and a containment device defining a cavity within which the structure is situated with the component in its compressed state.
The containment device includes an opening, and a liquid permeable membrane extending over the opening. The membrane has an exterior surface. When liquid is situated on the exterior surface of the membrane, the liquid will cause the membrane to degrade, and release the compressed component such that it can expand, be lifted or be elevated through the plane of the membrane.
The containment device includes a rigid hollow body and a cover. The cover includes a frame upon which the membrane is supported. The frame includes a bracket adapted to support the structure such that the compressed component is situated between the structure and the membrane. The cover also has a removeable, protective cover situated over the exterior surface of the membrane.
The toy is adapted for use with an applicator for supplying liquid. The cover may have a rigid element configured to retain the applicator. The applicator has a liquid reservoir and a conduit through which liquid from the reservoir can be delivered to the toy.
The containment device is formed of first and second hollow halves and a hinge connecting the containment device halves such that the halves can be moved between a closed position, wherein the structure is enclosed and a position wherein the structure is visible. Each of the containment device halves includes an engaging part. When the engaging parts interengage, containment device halves are maintained in the closed position.
The containment device may take the form of a plant pot having a substantially cylindrical body with a closed bottom and an open top. The plant pot includes a wall with an interior surface and elements extending from the interior surface which are associated with a plant pot theme.
The toy may include a normally compressed component adapted to expand when released by the degradation of the membrane by application of liquid, a doll upon which the compressed component is supported, and a hollow cylindrical containment device defining a cavity within which the doll is situated with the component in its compressed state.
The containment device has an opening, and a cover including a liquid permeable membrane with an exterior surface extending over the opening. The compressed component is situated between the doll and the membrane. Liquid situated on the exterior surface of the membrane will cause the membrane to degrade, releasing the force on the compressed component such that it can extend through the membrane.
The liquid may also cause the compressed component to expand. However, other mechanical or chemical mechanisms can be employed to cause the component to extend through the degraded membrane once the membrane is degraded and releases the force compressing the component.
The containment device takes the form of a plant pot. It includes a rigid hollow body and a cover. The cover includes a frame upon which the membrane is supported. A bracket supports the doll within the containment device. A removeable protective cover may be situated over the exterior surface of the membrane.
An applicator may be provided with the toy for supplying liquid to the membrane. The applicator includes a liquid reservoir. The cover may be shaped to retain the applicator.
The plant pot is formed of first and second hollow halves and a hinge connecting the halves. Accordingly, the halves can be moved between a closed position, wherein the doll is enclosed, and an open position wherein the doll is visible.
Each of the plant pot halves has an engaging part. When the engaging parts are interengaged, the plant pot halves are maintained in the closed position.
The plant pot has a wall with an interior surface. Elements extend from the interior surface of the plant pot which are associated with the plant pot theme.
To these and to such other objects that may hereinafter appears, the present invention relates to a toy with a degradable film release mechanism and containment device as described in detail in the following specification and recited in the annexed claims, taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts and in which:
All illustrations of the drawings are provided for the purpose of describing the present invention and are not intended to limit the scope of any claims related to the present invention.
A liquid permeable membrane 10 extends over the top opening of the frame B. Membrane 10 may be made of any type of film or paper capable of physically degrading
when it comes in contact with a liquid. This degradation may allow, and may be concurrent with, the passage of liquid through the plane originally defined by membrane 10.
Cover A is intended to protect membrane 10 until the playset is ready for use. The cover may be any form of removeable lid but in the embodiment takes the form of a second, non-permeable membrane 12 which defines a protective layer situated in such a way as to prevent premature damage or degradation of the permeable membrane 10. The non-permeable membrane is manually removed before use of the toy.
The protective membrane may take the form of cover A which is physically separate from frame B but configured to be mounted on the frame, as illustrated in
Frame B constitutes a generally rigid, cylindrical or ring-like structure. It is configured to carry the permeable membrane (and in one embodiment, the protective membrane, as well) and adapted to be received within a congruent feature of container C, such as the enlarged the upper portion of container C.
The membranes may be attached to the frame by a seal. The seal may constitute any means of fastening, permanent or temporary, including mechanical, magnetic, adhesive, or any other means of bonding two unlike objects together known in the industry.
In an embodiment, the protective membrane is attached over the permeable membrane by a thin layer of adhesive.
At least one substrate of expandable material is provided. The substrate is a mechanical component (e.g. pot, pod, doll or character) which has a surface that carries a expandable component such as a volume of foam in compressed form. In an embodiment, as seen in
As used in this specification, the term “expandable material” may include any substance or element with the capability of rapidly increasing in volume once the force maintaining the component in the compressed state is eliminated, such as by degradation of the membrane when liquid is applied to the membrane. For example, the expandable component may take the form of a compressed foam layer which expands when exposed to liquid, an element including or associated with a mechanical structure such as a compressed spring which lifts or elevates the component when the membrane is degraded, or a chemical element which reacts to cause the component to move beyond the plane of the membrane, when the membrane has been degraded.
In an exemplary embodiment, the playset features an enclosure having an opening, a degradable material, a substrate, and an applicator configured to retain and dispense fluid. The playset may be configured to have at least two positions. A first position of the playset positons the substrate fully contained within the enclosure and obscured from view by the enclosure and/or degradable material. A second position in which the degradable material is degraded and/or broken and the substrate extends through the opening to expose the substrate. The playset is configured to transition from the first position to the second position by the application of fluid to the degradable material by the applicator.
The playset may be configured to transition from the first position to the second position. The transition may be initiated by, caused by, facilitated by, or assisted by the application of liquid to the degradable material. The playset may also include a expandable material that causes, facilitates, or assists in the transition from the first position to the second position. The expandable material may be in contact with the substrate, part of the substrate, separated from the substrate, attached to the substrate, or combinations thereof. The expandable material may include a plurality of separate expandable materials. For example, a expandable material may be a portion or attached to the substrate and comprise a material in a compressed configuration in the first position and an expanded configuration in the second position. For another example, a expandable material may be a spring or platform in contact with the substrate that is compressed in the first position and extended in the second position. The spring may be positioned between the substrate and the enclosure to elevate the substrate relative to the enclosure to extend at least a portion of the substrate out of the opening of the enclosure when the spring expands. In an exemplary embodiment a force may be applied on the degradable material in the first position that facilitates in the transition from the first position to the second position. In an exemplary embodiment, the applied force is directly or indirectly from the expandable material.
Any combination of features may be used to transition the playset from the first position to the second position. The transition may be used to reveal an otherwise obscured or hidden substrate from view. The transition may be used to simulate the growth of the substrate similar to a flower or plant growth out of a container. In an exemplary embodiment, the transition includes an elevation of a portion or all of the substrate from a lower position to a higher position relative to an opening of the container to expose or make at least a portion of the substrate visible in the second position. The elevation may be through any combination of features described herein. For example, a portion of the substrate may expand. The expansion may be upon application of a catalyst (such as water), and/or through the removable of a restraint (such as a degradable material). For example, a portion or all of the substrate may be elevated by a mechanical mechanism, such as a spring.
The expanding playset apparatus ideally features a hidden component (hair, body part or object) made of a material which can be compressed into a compartment or void during assembly and released by the user with a few drops of liquid on the membrane to reveal the hidden component beneath. The material may be coupled to one or more mechanical components prior to being inserted to a compartment or void. In an embodiment, the material is shown as a layer 16 of compressed foam located on the top of the doll's head.
The concept of the playset is to provide an assembly of the expandable material coupled to one or more mechanical components, in this embodiment taking the form of a doll. The doll is loaded to the containment device such as container C where the material in maintained in compressed form under pressure beneath the permeable membrane 10. In that configuration, the compressed material may be released from the containment device C through the application of a liquid to the permeable material. This allows the permeable material to degrade and release the pressure on the underside of the permeable material, to break through the upper surface of the containment device as the liquid passes through the degraded membrane. In an embodiment, the after the liquid passes through the permeable membrane to the compressed foam layer, the liquid will cause the foam layer to expand and reveal the hidden component.
Container C defines a substantially rigid structure to which reference to all other components of the present invention may be drawn. The container is ideally a substantially cylindrical hollow body, open at the top. In an embodiment, as seen in the figures, the container takes the form of a plant pot 14, capable of splitting vertically into two equal and conjoined sections 14A and 14B during various stages of the operation of the present invention.
Container C may take any other shape or combination of shapes without departing from the original scope of the invention. Cover A defines a manifold face at the open top of the container. In alternate embodiments of the container, the cover may be positioned at various faces and define various facets of any structural geometry without departing from the original scope of the invention.
The substrate is positioned within the manifold structure defined by the container and the cover. The substrate supports the expandable material, which in one embodiment is activated on contact with a liquid is applied via an applicator through the permeable membrane.
As seen in
The activation and subsequent expansion of the volume of compressed material will result in a combined structure that is dimensionally greater that the cavity of the container on at least one axis. It is understood that both the volume of expandable material (in both compressed and expanded form) and the medium may constitute a variety of different shapes and compositions in various alternate embodiments without departing from the original scope of the invention.
As seen in
The pot halves are connected by a hinge 24 so that the pot halves can be moved between the closed position, shown in
A hollow bracket 26 is situated below frame B. Bracket 26 may be a separate component but may be attached to or integral with the bottom of frame B, as illustrated in the figures. Doll D is of suitable dimensions and shape to fit within the enclosure. Bracket 26 defines a cavity into which doll D is received such that when frame B is situated in the upper portion 27 of the container, the head of the doll is situated immediately below the central portion of permeable membrane 10. Bracket 26 constitutes a removably fixed component aligned concentrically within cavity 18 of pot 14.
In this embodiment, the expandable material is situated in protruding layer 28 on top of the head of the doll. The bracket serves to maintain the expandable material in protrusion 28 at the location within the cavity under the membrane.
The volume of expandable material may take the form of a compressed cellular foam compound capable of significant expansion when freed from mechanical constraints such as those provided by components of the cover. Alternatively, the expandable material may take the form of a mechanical component with a spring-loaded part or any other member which includes a mechanical or chemical element capable of rapidly increasing in volume when the membrane is degraded by exposure to liquid.
In the situation where the expandable material is selected to expand when it comes in contact with the liquid, when liquid is applied to the permeable membrane, the membrane will degrade, allowing the liquid to pass through the membrane and come in contact with the compressed material in protrusion 28. The liquid will cause the compressed material to expand rapidly as illustrated in
A support 30 for the doll within bracket 26 is provided. Support 30 includes a concave platform with spaced legs. The support is situated within cavity 18 of the container, between the floor of the container and the doll. Support 30 serves to maintain the doll in position within bracket 26 with the compressed material in protrusion 28 immediately below the central portion of membrane 10. This arrangement will insure that liquid applied to the permeable membrane will fall onto the expandable material which is in compressed form in protrusion 28 on the top of the head of the doll.
Various alternate embodiments of the bracket may take the form of permanent fixtures defined on the inner faces of the container without departing the original scope of the invention.
The protrusions 20 and slots 22 bind the disparate halves of the shell together by a means that may be manually released or engaged by a user. The protrusions and slots define a series of surface contours on the internal and external faces of the container, arranged to fulfill any functions as described (i.e. retaining components, providing grasping points, relaying instructions, channeling fluids) or for purely decorative purposes in various embodiments of the present invention.
A second mechanism in the form of a separate expandable material may be used to elevate the doll out of the opening of the container through the upper portion 27. For example, support 30 may have an upper platform for contact a portion of the doll D. The platform may be coupled to another portion of the playset, such as, for example, the container and/or frame B. As shown in
A third mechanism in the form of a separate expandable material (not shown) may be used to release the attachment between the protrusions and slots to automatically open the container halves upon exposure to liquid during various stages of the intended use of the present invention.
Various accessories 34 may be provided within the playset container. The accessories may be permanently or removeably attached to the interior walls of the container halves 14A and 14B. The accessories may follow the plant pot theme and in the illustrated embodiment are miniature replicas of things which one might use in plant potting.
Alternate embodiments of the volume of expandable material may constitute dehydrated or otherwise contracted structures that may grow or expand rapidly when exposed to an external agent, such as, but not necessarily, the same liquid as described in relation to other elements of the present invention. The volume of expandable material may define any structure or compound capable of significant triggerable dimensional change without departing from the original scope of the invention. The volume of compressed material is fixed to the medium by a seal, ideally to the top of the substrate. That seal may be any type of fastening, permanent or temporary, including mechanical, magnetic, adhesive, or any other means of bonding two unlike objects together known in the industry. The combined structure of the medium and the volume of expandable material, prior to expansion of the volume of the expandable material, will fit within the combined structure of the container and cover.
Applicator E may take the form of a miniature watering can in accordance with the plant pot theme of the playset. The watering can includes a liquid reservoir 31, a volume of water in the reservoir which serves as a catalyst, and a conduit 32.
The reservoir constitutes a wholly separate manifold component suitable to contain the volume of catalyst. The reservoir further defines the position of the conduit projecting generally horizontally outward from the reservoir. The conduit defines a substantially hollow structure capable of routing the volume of catalyst from the reservoir outward in a direction defined concentrically by the distal end of the conduit.
The volume of catalyst constitutes any liquid suitable to activate the expansion of the volume of expandable material defined within the substrate. The volume of catalyst is expelled from the reservoir by compressing the walls of the reservoir, reducing the internal volume such that a portion of the volume of catalyst is projected from the conduit and into eventual contact with at least one substrate.
It will now be understood that the present invention is a toy playset which a liquid permeable membrane includes a normally compressed component adapted to expand upon contact with a liquid, a structure upon which the expandable component is supported, and a containment device defining a cavity within which the structure is situated with the component in its compressed state.
While only a limited number of exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed for purposes of illustration, it is obvious that many modifications and variations could be made thereto. It is intended to cover all of those modifications and variations which fall within the scope of the present invention, as defined by the following claims:
1. A method of growing a doll, comprising:
- providing a playset having an enclosure, a hidden component that is rigid positioned within the enclosure, an expandable component positioned within the enclosure, and a material, wherein the expandable component have an expanded configuration and a compressed configuration and the material is used to retain the expandable component in a compressed configuration;
- applying liquid to the material to degrade the material; and
- releasing the expandable component to reveal the hidden component after application of the liquid to the material.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein revealing the hidden component comprises elevating the hidden component relative to the enclosure with the expandable component.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising applying pressure onto the material while the hidden component is within the enclosure and the expandable component is in the compressed configuration.
4. The method of claim 3, further comprising breaking the material through the application of the pressure after liquid is applied to the material to release the hidden component to the expanded configuration.
5. The method of claim 4, further comprising transitioning the playset from a first position before the application of liquid to a second position through the application of liquid and the release of the expandable component, wherein the first position comprises the hidden component fully contained within the enclosure and the second position comprises the hidden component extending out of the enclosure.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the enclosure is rigid and comprises an opening and the hidden component extending out of the enclosure is through the opening.
7. A playset comprising:
- an enclosure having an opening;
- a degradable material;
- a substrate comprising a rigid structure;
- an expandable component positioned within the enclosure, the expandable component have an expanded configuration and a compressed configuration and the degradable material is configured to retain the expandable component in a compressed configuration;
- an applicator configured to retain and dispense fluid,
- wherein the playset comprises two positions, a first position in which the substrate is positioned and fully contained within the enclosure and obscured from view by the enclosure with the expandable component in the compressed configuration retained by the degradable material, and a second position in which the degradable material is broken and the substrate extends through the opening to expose the substrate and the expandable component is in the expanded configuration, and the playset is configured to transition from the first position to the second position by the application of fluid to the degradable material by the applicator.
8. The playset of claim 7, wherein the enclosure comprises a rigid body.
9. The playset of claim 8, wherein the first position comprises the substrate positioned below a plane defined by the opening of the enclosure and the second position comprises the substrate extending above the plane.
10. The playset of claim 9, wherein the first position comprises an application of pressure against the degradable material to bias the substrate toward the second position in which the substrate extends above the plane.
11. The playset of claim 10, wherein the substrate traverses the plane in the second position.
12. The playset of claim 11, wherein the rigid body defines a pot shape.
13. The playset of claim 12, wherein the substrate is a doll figurine.
16. The playset of claim 10, wherein the expandable component applies the pressure on the degradable material in the first position.
17. The playset of claim 16, further comprising a removeable, protective lid coupled to the enclosure over the opening.
18. The method of claim 1, wherein the expandable component is a spring.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the spring is positioned under the hidden component to elevate the hidden component through an opening in the enclosure after the application of liquid to the material to break the material and release the spring.
20. The playset of claim 16, wherein the expandable component is a spring.