Illusion Caused By Visual Imitation Of Event Occurring In Nature (e.g., Rain, Snow, Fire, Etc.) Patents (Class 472/65)
  • Patent number: 8831840
    Abstract: Methods and systems are disclosed for a guidance application capable of coordinating the interior features of a vehicle (e.g., the heating/cooling system, automatic windows, automatic seats, automatic sunroof, seat heaters, etc.) to produce the current environmental conditions (e.g., sunshine, heat, wind, etc.) displayed in a media asset being accessed in the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2014
    Assignee: United Video Properties, Inc.
    Inventors: Walter R. Klappert, Michael R. Nichols, Satinderpal S. Sikh
  • Patent number: 8661721
    Abstract: The invention provides a flame simulating assembly having a simulated fuel bed, a light source, and a screen. The light source is operable to produce an image of flames appearing to be emitted from the simulated fuel bed. The screen has a front surface disposed behind the simulated fuel bed for transmitting the image of flames through the front surface. A pattern is included in the screen for simulating the appearance of firebrick to a viewer of the image of flames.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Inventors: Kristoffer Hess, Kelly Stinson
  • Patent number: 8590584
    Abstract: Certain example embodiments relate to flaming wallets, and methods of making the same, with such flaming wallets typically being used for magic tricks, illusions, jokes, and/or general fun. In certain example embodiments, a flame mechanism may be substantially completely concealed by “fake money.” The flame mechanism of certain example embodiments may include an igniter that produces a spark for causing flammable material applied to flame retardant material to combust, with the flame retardant material being inserted into respective recesses of one or more flame retardant material holders located between the inner surface of the flaming wallet and the rear surface of the fake money. In certain example embodiments, a magnet mechanism may facilitate the closing of the wallet and/or the extinguishing of the flames produced by the flaming wallet. Advantageously, the flaming wallet of certain example embodiments does not necessarily require hidden compartments or areas, or sleight of hand.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2013
    Assignee: Invisible Intelligence Incorporated
    Inventor: Howie Marmer
  • Patent number: 8574086
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to simulated flame effect fires which include an apertured bed, such as a simulated fuel bed, a vapour generating means such as an ultrasonic transducer and means for providing a rising current of air to carry the vapor through the apertured bed. Light sources are provided below the fuel bed to provide localized illumination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2013
    Assignee: Basic Holdings
    Inventor: Noel O'Neill
  • Patent number: 8523692
    Abstract: An apparatus for entertaining multiple guests includes a device that selectively generates a flame and a barrier interposed between each guest and the flame. The barrier is configured to remain transparent throughout multiple repetitions of use of the device for generating a flame. A method of entertaining guests is also presented.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 3, 2013
    Assignee: Universal City Studios LLC
    Inventors: Ross Osterman, Steven C. Blum, Justin Michael Schwartz
  • Patent number: 8500038
    Abstract: A fluid display includes a fluid source, a gas source, and a light source. The fluid source coherently emits fluid along a first trajectory. The gas source emits gas along a second trajectory that intersects the first trajectory. The light source is directed toward the intersection of the first trajectory and the second trajectory. The second trajectory may intersect the first trajectory at an oblique angle. The fluid source and/or the gas source may emit intermittently. The fluid source may emit a laminar jet or spherical fluid globules. The gas source may intermittently emit a gas vortex. The gas may be a flammable gas. The fluid may be water and the gas may be air. The fluid display may provide a “water sparkler” effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2013
    Assignee: WET Enterprises, Inc.
    Inventors: Mark W. Fuller, Michael Jason Baldwin, Keith J. Kalis, Helen S. Park, Riae Yoo
  • Patent number: 8136276
    Abstract: The present invention relates to apparatus for producing an optical effect, and in particular to an apparatus for producing an optical effect resembling flames and smoke. More especially, the invention relates to flame effect electric fires, such as for domestic use, which may or may not include means for space heating and which include and optical effect to resemble burning solid fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2012
    Assignee: Basic Holdings
    Inventor: Noel O'Neill
  • Patent number: 8056274
    Abstract: A dioramic apparatus includes a vessel having an inferior portion and a superior portion. The vessel includes a shell and defines an interior space. The interior space is partially filled by a liquid medium. At least one dioramic scene is disposed in the interior space. A reservoir is in fluid communication with the interior space. The reservoir includes a flow plate defining at least one liquid intake and at least one liquid output port. The at least one liquid intake is configured and arranged for receiving at least a portion of the liquid medium from the interior space when the dioramic apparatus is at least partially inverted. The at least one liquid output port is configured and arranged to output at least a portion of the liquid medium from the reservoir when the vessel is placed in an upright position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2011
    Assignee: Rain Globes LLC
    Inventors: Joshua James, Fred Northup, Lawrence Scott Larson, Jeremy Kolenbrander, James Ladtkow
  • Publication number: 20110250978
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to simulated flame effect fires which include an apertured bed, such as a simulated fuel bed, a vapour generating means such as an ultrasonic transducer and means for providing a rising current of air to carry the vapour through the apertured bed. Light sources are provided below the fuel bed to provide localised illumination.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 23, 2011
    Publication date: October 13, 2011
    Inventor: Noel O'Neill
  • Patent number: 7967690
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to simulated flame effect fires which include an apertured bed, such as a simulated fuel bed, a vapor generating means such as an ultrasonic transducer and means for providing a rising current of air to carry the vapor through the apertured bed. Light sources are provided below the fuel bed to provide localized illumination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2011
    Assignee: Basic Holdings
    Inventor: Noel O'Neill
  • Patent number: 7850533
    Abstract: An apparatus for entertaining multiple guests includes a device that selectively generates a flame and a barrier interposed between each guest and the flame. The barrier is configured to remain transparent throughout multiple repetitions of use of the device for generating a flame. A method of entertaining guests is also presented.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2006
    Date of Patent: December 14, 2010
    Assignee: Universal City Studios LLLP
    Inventors: Ross Osterman, Steven C. Blum, Justin Michael Schwartz
  • Patent number: 7833106
    Abstract: The invention is directed toward an electro-mechanical simulated aquarium. It includes a novel combination of a planetary gear train driving two endless loops of transparent material in counter-rotating directions. Depictions of marine life are applied to the loops and the entire arrangement is housed in an aquarium-like enclosure in order to maximize its realism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 16, 2010
    Inventor: Shiqi Zhu
  • Patent number: 7762897
    Abstract: The present invention provides a device for producing a fire special facilitates a more compact device. In one embodiment, the device comprises a steam curtain generator for directing received steam to an outlet slot that directs the steam into the ambient atmosphere such that the steam is flowing in a substantially a first direction to produce a curtain of steam, fan that is oriented so as to produce a flow of air in a direction that is substantially parallel to the flow of a steam curtain, a deflector for redirecting the flow of air produced by the fan towards the steam curtain, an adjustable agitator for causing turbulent flow in the stream of air directed towards a steam curtain, and an LED light for producing light that is projected onto a steam curtain.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 2006
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2010
    Assignee: Technifex, Inc.
    Inventors: Joseph W. Starr, Rockne J. Hall, Donald A. Simon
  • Patent number: 7712496
    Abstract: Certain example embodiments relate to flaming wallets, and methods of making the same, with such flaming wallets typically being used for magic tricks, illusions, jokes, and/or general fun. In certain example embodiments, a flame mechanism may be substantially completely concealed by “fake money.” The flame mechanism of certain example embodiments may include an igniter that produces a spark for causing flammable material applied to flame retardant material to combust, with the flame retardant material being inserted into respective recesses of one or more flame retardant material holders located between the inner surface of the flaming wallet and the rear surface of the fake money. In certain example embodiments, a magnet mechanism may facilitate the closing of the wallet and/or the extinguishing of the flames produced by the flaming wallet. Advantageously, the flaming wallet of certain example embodiments does not necessarily require hidden compartments or areas, or sleight of hand.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 11, 2010
    Assignee: Invisible Intelligence Incorporated
    Inventor: Howie Marmer
  • Patent number: 7686471
    Abstract: An apparatus for simulating flames using fabric flame sheets or elements. The apparatus includes a fan or blower for producing a volume of air flow and two or more flame elements positioned in the fan air flow. First and second light sources, such as high powered light emitting diodes (LEDs), are provided to produce light beams having two differing colors such as an amber beam and an orange/red beam. The light beams are directed so as to mix or cross on or near the flame elements when the flame elements extend outward from their mounting location into the fan air flow. Each of the LEDs has a brightness level that can be tuned or adjusted by a controller, which may be manual or may be automated to modify the brightness level of at least one of the LEDs and typically both LEDs during the operation of the flame simulator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 2006
    Date of Patent: March 30, 2010
    Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
    Inventor: Mark A. Reichow
  • Patent number: 7668442
    Abstract: An apparatus for simulating flames includes a light source, a viewing screen capable of diffusing and transmitting light, a rear reflector disposed behind the viewing screen, and a light producer for producing moving beams of light. The light source is disposed below the reflector and behind the viewing screen. The light producer is disposed in front of the light source and below the screen and light from the light source is reflected by the light producer onto the reflector and is reflected by the reflector onto the screen to produce a perceptible image viewable on the screen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 23, 2010
    Assignee: Basic Holdings
    Inventor: Noel O'Neill
  • Patent number: 7597629
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method for producing experiences, wherein a person (3) is brought, within boundaries (1, 4) to be the object of artificial climatological and/or seasonal conditions, wherein the person at the same time has the possibility to encounter different separate activities and/or meet different conditions or creations. Of these at least a part are based on artificially generated solid and/or semi-solid elements or structures (9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 19?) associated with refrigeration of water. The present invention also relates to an arrangement for generating experiences, where there is at least one space (2) which can be secluded. Said space includes arrangements (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 19?) which present different climates and/or seasons in real-time and at least partially three-dimensionally, by means of which certain artificial elements (9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 22) can be observed by the person (3) in order to form a comprehensive three-dimensional experience.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2006
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2009
    Inventor: Ritva Laijoki-Puska
  • Publication number: 20090093318
    Abstract: A device and method for generating a visible vortex for display or educational purposes. A container houses a two-phase fluidic system of a primary fluid, such as water, and a secondary fluid such as silicone fluid carrying a powder which has no affinity for the primary fluid. The two-phase fluidic system may be stirred using a stir bar or pump to generate the vortex.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 5, 2007
    Publication date: April 9, 2009
    Inventor: Robert F. Piontek
  • Publication number: 20090088263
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to simulated flame effect fires which include an apertured bed, such as a simulated fuel bed, a vapour generating means such as an ultrasonic transducer and means for providing a rising current of air to carry the vapour through the apertured bed. Light sources are provided below the fuel bed to provide localised illumination.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 13, 2007
    Publication date: April 2, 2009
    Applicant: Basic Holdings
    Inventor: Noel O'Neill
  • Patent number: 7373743
    Abstract: A flame simulating assembly for providing an image of flames and simulating one or more actual fuel elements in a fire. The flame simulating assembly includes one or more light sources, a screen adapted for transmission of the image of flames therethrough, and a simulated fuel bed. The simulated fuel bed includes a simulated ember bed and one or more simulated fuel elements positioned on an upper surface of the simulated ember bed. Each simulated fuel element includes a base surface with a light-transmitting portion and an exposed surface which is at least partially viewable. The base surface is positioned proximal to the upper surface of the simulated ember bed. The exposed surface includes one or more uncovered portions through which light from the light source is transmittable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2007
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2008
    Assignee: Dimplex North America Limited
    Inventor: Kristoffer Hess
  • Patent number: 7334360
    Abstract: A contrivance (30) simulates smoke and flames emanating from an intense burning simulated log stack fire (13). The visual effect is provided by unrestricted fluctuating light reflected off spaced apart sunburst formation bunches (41) of colored rotating metallic strips(9) of different length that transmit uneven flashes of colored light and shadow through a bronze tinted tempered glass diffusing screen(16)(39) simulating images of smoke and flames when viewed from the front, simultaneously the simulated log stack bed (13) adjacent the lower area of the screen(17)(40) is illuminated providing a glowing surface and a intense flickering flame effect is transmitted and viewed through the plurality of openings(14) in between the individual protruding angle backward log configuration of the log stack bed(13) creating the overall images of smoke and flames emanating from out of a real log stack burning fire with intense burning core simulating a natural roaring log fire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2006
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2008
    Inventor: Arthur Andrew Corry
  • Patent number: 7162820
    Abstract: A flame simulating assembly for providing an image of flames. The flame simulating assembly has a light source for producing the image of flames, a screen, and a simulated interior fireplace wall positioned behind the screen. The screen has a front surface and is positioned in a path of light from the light source. The screen is adapted to transmit the image of flames through the front surface. The front surface of the screen includes an observation region, which is adapted to permit observation of part of the simulated interior fireplace wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2007
    Assignee: Dimplex North America Limited
    Inventors: Kristoffer Hess, Kelly Stinson
  • Patent number: 7134229
    Abstract: A flame simulating assembly for providing one or more images of flames. The flame simulating assembly has a light source, a first screen, and a second screen. Each of the first and second screens is positioned in a path of light from the light source. Also, each of the first and second screens is adapted to receive light from the light source to form one or more images of flames transmittable through the screens respectively.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2006
    Assignee: Dimplex North America Limited
    Inventors: Kristoffer Hess, Kelly Stinson, Richard Adamczyk
  • Patent number: 6953401
    Abstract: In one embodiment, the present invention provides a device for producing a fire special effect that is suitable for applications in which the viewers of the simulated flame are able inspect the device from relatively close range and/or from a number of perspectives. For example, the device can be used as a torchiere or wall sconce.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 11, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2005
    Assignee: Technifex Products, LLC
    Inventor: Joseph W. Starr
  • Patent number: 6944982
    Abstract: A flame simulating apparatus to simulate flames emanating from a wood or fossil fuel burning fire. The flame simulating apparatus includes a light source, a light reflecting element, and a fire simulation screen. The light reflecting element produces a moving and generally random pattern of reflected light when light is cast upon it by the light source. The fire simulation screen has the image of a fire thereon and is positioned so that reflected light from the light reflecting element is cast upon its rear surface. The fire simulation screen includes at least one portion that is at least partially translucent such that light cast upon the partially translucent portion by the light reflecting element is diffused and at least partially passes through the translucent portion to present a moving flame image when viewed from a position in front of the fire simulation screen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2005
    Assignee: Napoloen Systems and Developments Inc.
    Inventors: Wolfgang Schroeter, Cliff Lilley, Jeremy Kurtin
  • Patent number: 6817951
    Abstract: An improved novelty item is disclosed. The novelty item has a container that receives a solid piece of carbon dioxide when the solid carbon dioxide contacts water vapor in the container a fog is created. As the solid carbon dioxide sublimates, the water vapor is emitted from the container as a visible fog. The container may be in the shape of any number of designs for which the visible fog streaming from the container creates a pleasing illusion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 16, 2004
    Inventor: Steven Levine
  • Patent number: 6802782
    Abstract: The present invention provides a device for producing a fire special effect using a curtain of theatrical smoke. In one embodiment, the device comprises a theatrical smoke console for producing a curtain of theatrical smoke, an air modulator for providing a varying current of air that modulates the curtain of theatrical smoke produced by the console, and a lighting assembly that produces a flood of colored light that is projected onto the modulated curtain of theatrical smoke produced by the console and air modulator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 12, 2004
    Assignee: Technifex, Inc.
    Inventors: Rockne Hall, Joseph W. Starr
  • Patent number: 6696116
    Abstract: Pellets which may, for example, simulate snow are brought to a position such as the top of a tree from where they are dispensed. After falling to the bottom. the pellets are collected and re dispensed. The pellets are blown through a venturi tube and from there to a tube which runs to the position at where the pellets are dispersed. An adjustable flap is provided in the venturi tube, this flap functioning both to contribute to the venturi action controlling the fluid pressure and as a valve to control the rate of flow of pellets for optimum operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2004
    Inventor: Cary Bigman
  • Patent number: 6685574
    Abstract: The present invention provides a device for producing a fire special effect using a steam curtain. In one embodiment, the device comprises a steam console for producing a curtain of steam/fog, an air modulator for providing a varying current of air that modulates the curtain of steam produced by the console, and a lighting assembly that produces a flood of colored light that is projected onto the modulated curtain of steam produced by the console and air modulator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 3, 2004
    Assignee: Technifex, Inc.
    Inventor: Rockne Hall
  • Publication number: 20030190966
    Abstract: The present invention provides a device for producing a fire special effect using a steam curtain. In one embodiment, the device comprises a steam console for producing a curtain of steam/fog, an air modulator for providing a varying current of air that modulates the curtain of steam produced by the console, and a lighting assembly that produces a flood of colored light that is projected onto the modulated curtain of steam produced by the console and air modulator.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 4, 2002
    Publication date: October 9, 2003
    Inventor: Rockne Hall
  • Patent number: 6612935
    Abstract: An apparatus for generating light effects comprising a liquid container having transparent top and bottom walls, partially filled with a transparent liquid. At least one light source is mounted so that an emitted light beam will pass through the liquid container at the top and bottom walls thereof to project an image on a desired surface. An actuator including a control unit is effectively coupled directly or though a transmission medium with the liquid container such that the movements generated in a given pattern impart vibrations to the liquid in the liquid container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2003
    Inventor: Johannes Rojahn
  • Publication number: 20030110671
    Abstract: A flame simulating assembly (10, 110, 210, 310, 410, 510, 610, 710) is provided having a simulated fuel bed (12, 112), a light source (14, 414), and a reflector (18, 518). The reflector (18, 518) is disposed in front of the simulated fuel bed (12, 112) and has a reflective surface (22, 522). The reflective surface (22, 522) is positioned for reflecting light from the light source (14, 414) onto the simulated fuel bed (12, 112) to simulate burning embers.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 23, 2002
    Publication date: June 19, 2003
    Inventor: Kristoffer Hess
  • Patent number: 6520861
    Abstract: More reality is given to weather phenomena reflected on an image displayed on a screen of a display unit and an operability of an operatable object. A global weather deciding part 901 decides weather in each global area obtained by dividing the whole map of a virtual world into a plurality of global areas. The weather in the global a area in question is decided at intervals of a first time, in accordance with a preset behavior model and considering area information of each global area in advance. A local weather deciding part 902 decides weather in each local area obtained by dividing each global area into a plurality of local areas. The weather in the local area in question is decided at intervals of a second time, which is shorter than the first time, in accordance with the weather of the global area concerned decided by the global weather deciding part 901, and considering area information of each local area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2003
    Assignee: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
    Inventors: Mitsunori Shoji, Kouichi Abe, Izumi Fukuda, Yasuhiko Fujii, Shigeru Okita, Hiroyuki Seki, Makoto Eguchi, Hideki Morinaga, Masaki Hirabayashi
  • Publication number: 20020095832
    Abstract: The invention provides a flame simulating assembly for providing an image of flames transmitted in a fluctuating light. The flame simulating assembly has a simulated fuel bed, a light source, a screen disposed behind the simulated fuel bed for diffusing and transmitting light, and a flicker element for creating the fluctuating light, the flicker element being positioned in a path of light from the light source. The simulated fuel bed defines a profile viewable by an observer. In addition, the screen includes a curved portion which is curved in a vertical direction and in a horizontal direction to correspond to the profile of the simulated fuel bed. Also, the curved portion of the screen is positioned adjacent to the simulated fuel bed. The fluctuating light transmitted through the screen is attenuated and a three-dimensional image of flames appears to curve around the profile of the simulated fuel bed.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 20, 2002
    Publication date: July 25, 2002
    Inventors: Kristoffer Hess, Kelly Stinson
  • Publication number: 20020091005
    Abstract: More reality is given to weather phenomena reflected on an image displayed on a screen of a display unit and on operability of an operatable object. A global weather deciding part 901 decides weather in each global area obtained by dividing the whole map of a virtual world into a plurality of global areas. The weather in the global area in question is decided at intervals of a first time, in accordance with a preset behavior model and considering area information of each global area in advance. A local weather deciding part 902 decides weather in each local area obtained by dividing each global area into a plurality of local areas. The weather in the local area in question is decided at intervals of a second time, which is shorter than the first time, in accordance with the weather of the global area concerned decided by the global weather deciding part 901, and considering area information of each local area.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 21, 2001
    Publication date: July 11, 2002
    Inventors: Mitsunori Shoji, Kouichi Abe, Izumi Fukuda, Yasuhiko Fujii, Shigeru Okita, Hiroyuki Seki, Makoto Eguchi, Hideki Morinaga, Masaki Hirabayashi
  • Patent number: 6385881
    Abstract: A device is provided for enhancing the realistic appearance of flames produced by a simulated fireplace (gas or electric) by providing additional ambient lighting effects in response to sensed light intensity within the fireplace. The device includes a photosensor, a control circuit, and display lighting. The photosensor senses the level of light intensity produced by a simulated flame source and changes its resistive value accordingly. The control circuit has circuit parameters which uses the resistive value of the photosensor to determine whether to apply operational power to the display lighting. The display lighting consists of at least one lamp positioned above the simulated fuel bed. When simulated fireplace is operational, the display lighting of the device produces a “flickering” effect that is synchronized with the changes in light intensity occurring within the fireplace.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2002
    Assignee: Dimplex North America Limited
    Inventor: Kristoffer Hess
  • Publication number: 20010046572
    Abstract: Pellets which may, for example, simulate snow are brought to a position such as the top of a tree from where they are dispensed. After falling to the bottom. the pellets are collected and re dispensed. The pellets are blown through venturi tube and from there to a tube which runs to the position at where the pellets are dispersed. An adjustable flap is provided in the venturi tube, this flap functioning both to contribute to the venturi action controlling the fluid pressure and as a valve to control the rate of flow of pellets for optimum operation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 29, 2001
    Publication date: November 29, 2001
    Inventor: Cary Bigman
  • Patent number: 6319136
    Abstract: An apparatus for a space study generates visually impressive fluffy frost effects from the controlled freezing of water. This apparatus has transparent side walls and contains thermal elements and electrodes that can be either round or planar. The thermal elements can be Peltiers. Applying a DC voltage across the electrodes controls the generation of the artful frost effects. The apparatus can also contain, displays, illuminators and other components for enhancing the visual effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2001
    Inventor: Ritva Laijoki-Puska
  • Patent number: 6280278
    Abstract: A smoke generation system for use in model toys. The system includes a reservoir for holding smoke fluid, a heating element for converting the smoke fluid into smoke, a pump unit for delivering smoke fluid from the reservoir to the heating element, and a controller coupled to the pump unit. The controller functions to govern the operation of the pump unit so as to control the delivery of smoke fluid to the heating element, thereby controlling the density, volume and output rate of the smoke generated by the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2001
    Assignee: M.T.H. Electric Trains
    Inventor: Chuck Wells
  • Patent number: 6269567
    Abstract: A simulated fireplace assembly is provided having a simulated fuel bed and a screen for transmitting an image of a flame. The simulated fuel bed is located adjacent to the screen. The screen has a first region that is sufficiently reflective to reflect the fuel bed and a second region that is sufficiently non-reflective to avoid reflection of ambient subject matter that is not associated with the fireplace assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2001
    Assignee: Dimplex North America Limited
    Inventors: David Miller MacPherson, Kristoffer Hess, Ignazio Gallo, Sean David Spencer
  • Patent number: 6254489
    Abstract: An amusement attraction is housed within a building. The building contains several different settings. Each setting contains a variety of scenic elements. One setting acts as a pre-show and includes an audio-visual presentation. A second setting is designed to resemble a tornado-damaged building. A third setting contains various scenic elements designed to resemble an outdoor scene. In the third setting, a special effects show takes place that includes a man-made tornado. Other special effects are used to simulate the effect of the tornado on the scenic elements in the outdoor scene. Guests can safely view the man-made tornado from a guest viewing area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2001
    Assignee: Universal City Studios, Inc.
    Inventors: Nicholas H. Drobnis, Craig R. Hanna, Philip D. Hettema, James H. Hightower, Cecil D. Magpuri, Edward S. Newquist
  • Patent number: 6168531
    Abstract: A simulated soup bowl entertainment attraction, comprising: a bowl-shaped member having a top bounded by a top rim, a bottom permitting light transmission therethrough, and sidewalls connecting the top rim with the bottom; a fog generator producing a fog layer at the top of the bowl-shaped member; and an imaging device producing an image within the bowl-shaped member, the image viewable from a viewing position looking down into the top of the bowl-shaped member. Preferably, the bowl shaped entertainment attraction includes an image controlling apparatus coupled to the imaging device for changing the image viewable from the viewing position. Optionally, apparatus producing sound within the bowl-shaped member may be provided. The bowl shaped entertainment attraction may include a sound controlling apparatus coupled to a sound system for selectively changing the sound heard from within the bowl-shaped member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2001
    Assignees: Sony Corporation, Hyper Entertainment Inc.
    Inventors: William George Adamson, Donald Lewis Updyke, Jr.
  • Patent number: 6152829
    Abstract: A device and a process for producing effects of waterfall, rain, garden, mountains, desert, animals, kitchen and river scenes while viewing a picture, an advertisement or playing amusement games in a cinema hall/open theater/TV is disclosed. The device includes a movie film/video tape/disc with coded signals for producing effects of waterfall, rain, garden, mountain, desert, animals, kitchen and river scenes or advertisements either recorded separately or embedded on the sound signals; an electronic decoder for decoding the coded signals when the film is moving and particular scene appears; the output of the electronic decoder is connected to an actuating device that releases gas/perfumes or energizes a heating/cooling device to produce the desired effects corresponding to the scene appearing on the screen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2000
    Assignee: National Research Development Corp.
    Inventor: Sandeep Jaidka
  • Patent number: 6149495
    Abstract: A device for propelling confetti or theatrical snow comprising two compartments. One compartment houses a vacuum device having an intake in communication with the other compartment and an exhaust in communication with the exterior of the device. The second compartment holds the confetti or theatrical snow. Only material which is able to be airborne is able to enter the vacuum device and be expelled through the vacuum device. Confetti can be reintroduced into the second compartment without fear of foreign objects mixed with the confetti becoming dangerous projectiles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2000
    Inventors: Joseph James Austin, Joseph Stanley Austin
  • Patent number: 6082594
    Abstract: A snowfall simulator which houses and dispenses artificial snow from a box-like housing 20 using agitation. The housing or dispenser has openings 32 uniformly placed on the bottom horizontal plane. Thin shredded white plastic flakes, used for snow, are placed inside and the machine which is mounted directly over the desired area. A small motor 14 is attached to the housing. A light-weight reticulated agitation plate 24, fastened to a support rod 25, resting on the inside bottom horizontal plane of housing, is pivotally connected by gear 16 and shaft 18 to motor. A series of rods 29 and paddles 31 are pivotally attached to rod 25. A series of slats are fastened to the sides of housing, just above, and perpendicular to, the agitation plate 24 and rod 25. The linear motion of the grid 24, rod 25, and push rods 29 and paddles 31, works to slowly agitate the snow flake material out of the housing through the exit holes and onto the window display, theatrical stage, display case, or event.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2000
    Assignee: Snowmaker Productions, Inc.
    Inventor: Timothy James Pickens
  • Patent number: 6047489
    Abstract: An electric fireplace is provided having an improved flame simulating apparatus. The flame simulating apparatus includes a light source, a flame effect element for transmitting light from the light source to produce a flame effect, and a flicker element having colored reflective strips for reflecting light for subsequent transmission by the flame effect element. A screen having a partially reflecting surface and a diffusing surface is positioned with the flame effect element extending proximate to the diffusing surface. A fuel bed is positioned immediately adjacent to the partially reflecting surface of the screen to produce an image of the fuel bed on the screen with the image of moving flames appearing to emanate between the fuel bed and its reflected image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2000
    Assignee: Dimplex North America Limited
    Inventors: Kristoffer Hess, David Miller MacPherson, Ignazio Gallo, Sean David Spencer
  • Patent number: 6036603
    Abstract: In an apparatus and method for creating a wave or water vortex effect, a bridge or platform is positioned within a semi-cylinder having a downward facing curved inside surface. Nozzles shoot water onto the curved surface, creating a water layer which follows the curved surface up and around the semi-cylinder. The water layer remains against the curved surface via centrifugal force. A spiral flow path is created by declining the semi-cylinder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2000
    Assignee: Universal Studios, Inc.
    Inventors: William D. Mason, Jonathan D. Frank, Risto M. Salo
  • Patent number: 5989128
    Abstract: The appearance of fire and flames is simulated using lighting, air pipes, fans, and fog manifolds. Water and air is sprayed into a display area to form a wall of mist which reflects light and light patterns. Air from the air pipes blows the wall of mist upwards. Fans generate a curtain of turbulent, upwardly flowing air that holds up the wall of mist, and makes it appear to flicker. Thematic lighting is projected onto the flickering wall of mist, to color the mist and simulate the flames.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1999
    Assignee: Universal Studios, Inc.
    Inventors: Cindi L. Baker, Catherynne Ann Jean, Marilyn Lowey
  • Patent number: 5979091
    Abstract: A device for producing a simulated snowfall is disclosed. The device comprises a display tank filled with water and a plurality of small pellets. A pump positioned on the upper side of the display tank creates water currents which flow around the perimeter of the display tank. The water is propelled out of the pump into an outflow tube extending down a first side of the display tank to a receiving trough positioned along the bottom side of the display tank. The pellets descend through the water to the receiving trough and are then carried horizontally across the receiving trough by a water current to a deflector plate which diverts the pellets and water current in an upward direction along the second side of the display tank. As the pellets reach the upper side of the display tank, they spread out uniformly and gradually descend through the water, creating a simulated snowfall with a natural appearance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1999
    Inventor: Carl Evan TenBrink
  • Patent number: 5971765
    Abstract: A system and method for generating tornadoes and other vortex phenomen in an open air, free space enviroment is disclosed. The system includes a flat surface or deck suspended above the ground, a circular hole in the center of the deck, a means for creating an updraft through the hole in the deck and fans or other air moving means for creating a swirling air flow. Preferably, the fans for swirling the air are angled approximately 45 degrees relative to the vertical axis of the updraft flow through the center hole. For swirling the air at higher elevations, as well as at ground level, a multi level fan arrangement having the layers of fans spaced relative to the deck is used. Alternatively, a single level of fans are used in conjunction with louvers or vanes for deflecting the blown air into a fan shape. In another embodiment of the present invention, tangential flow is established by using a multiplicity of tubes for returning air flow from a plenum above an updraft fan.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 22, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 26, 1999
    Assignee: Reel Efx, Inc.
    Inventors: James Gill, Dylan Hixon, James Lux, Martin Becker