Patent application title: Personalizable Doll
Wendy Steinberg (Woodcliff Lake, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63H328FI
Class name: Amusement devices: toys figure toy or accessory therefor having sounding means
Publication date: 2008-11-20
Patent application number: 20080287033
A doll that can be personalized to display a familiar image and/or play a
recorded sound comprises a body, a head and a digital display in the
1. A personalizable doll comprising a body, a head and a digital display
in the head.
2. The doll of claim 2, wherein the doll has the likeness of a person and the body further comprises a soft body in the general shape of a human for cuddling by a child.
3. The doll of claim 3, further comprising an internal memory for storing at least one image to be displayed on the digital display.
4. The doll of claim 4, wherein the internal memory is a non-volatile memory located in the body.
5. The doll of claim 5, further comprising a port for connection to an external memory device.
6. The doll of claim 6, further comprising a transfer device for transferring images from the external memory device to the internal memory.
7. The doll of claim 1, further comprising a port for connection to an external memory device.
8. The doll of claim 1, further comprising an input for receiving an insertable external memory device.
9. The doll of claim 8, wherein the doll has the likeness of a person and the body further comprises a soft body in the general shape of a human for cuddling by a child.
10. The doll of claim 9, wherein the input further comprises an inserted external memory device.
11. The doll of claim 3, further comprising at least one audio output for playing at least one audio item stored on the internal memory.
12. The doll of claim 11, further comprising a microphone and a record button for recording the at least one audio item to the internal memory, and a play button for playing the at least one audio item.
13. The doll of claim 11, wherein the body further comprises at least one hand and the audio output is positioned in the hand.
14. The doll of claim 2, further comprising a controller for control of the digital display.
15. A personalizable doll having the likeness of a person, the doll comprising:a) a soft body in the general shape of a human;b) a head comprising a digital display for displaying at least one image;c) a microphone for recording at least one audio item;d) at least one audio output for playing the audio item; ande) a controller for control of the digital display.
16. The doll of claim 15, further comprising an input for receiving an insertable external memory device on which is stored the at least one image.
17. The doll of claim 16, further comprising an external memory device inserted into the input.
18. The doll of claim 15, further comprising an internal memory on which is stored the at least one image.
19. The doll of claim 15, further comprising a port for connection to an external memory device on which is stored the at least one image.
20. The doll of claim 15, wherein the body further comprises a hand and the audio output is positioned in the hand.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a doll generally, and more particularly to a doll that can be personalized to display a familiar image and/or play a recorded sound.
Ask any parent of a young child about their bedtime routine and many if not most will tell you that the child wants the parent to stay with them as they try to fall asleep. To avoid tears and tantrums, parents wind up sitting on the edge of the bed, resting next to their child until he/she falls asleep, even lying on the floor. This obviously is not the right solution for several reasons--the child does not learn proper sleep habits and the parent gets incredibly frustrated because so much time is wasted getting the child to bed each night.
In addition to bedtime, a child experiences separation anxiety at other times, such as during the first day of school or camp, when dropped off at daycare, or when the parents go on vacation without the child. When separation anxiety is high, children often find comfort in holding or snuggling a security item, such as a security blanket, pillow, favorite doll, stuffed animal or the like. These items tend to have a special meaning to the child that allows the child to better cope with difficult situations.
The basic problem with a security item, such as a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal, is that it lacks a visual connection with the child's parent. Children rarely find comfort in viewing a parent's picture in a frame, not only because frames tend to be out of reach, but because there is not much a child can do with a frame other than to break it. Kid-friendly photo albums are used more as learning aids than comfort aids, and children rarely seek out photo albums in times of need. In addition, children tend to cuddle up with security items in bed, which would be difficult to do with a picture frame or a photo album.
There is a need, therefore, for a security item, such as a doll, that creates an actual connection or association between a child and a parent, for example, and that is capable of being cuddled and treated like a security item that would normally be taken to bed or the like. Such a connection or association is preferably in the form of an audio and/or visual experience that sounds and/or looks like the parent, for example, and that allows a child to fondly remember the parent during times when the parent is physically unavailable to the child.
A doll is provided in one embodiment that can be personalized to display a familiar image, such as a child's mother or father or both, and/or play a recorded sound, such as "Good Night" or "I Love You" or the like. The doll comprises a body, a head and a digital display in the head for displaying recorded images, moving images, cartoons, videos, etc. Speakers are provided for playing sound, such as music, recorded messages, etc.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a front view of one embodiment of a personalizable doll of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a rear view of the doll of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 illustrates the connection of the doll of FIG. 1 to an external memory device.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
This disclosure describes the best mode or modes of practicing the invention as presently contemplated. This description is not intended to be understood in a limiting sense, but provides an example of the invention presented solely for illustrative purposes by reference to the accompanying drawings to advise one of ordinary skill in the art of the advantages and construction of the invention. In the various views of the drawings, like reference characters designate like or similar parts.
FIG. 1 is a front view and FIG. 2 is a rear view of one embodiment of a personalizable doll 10 preferably having the likeness of a person, the doll 10 further comprising a body 20 and a head 30 preferably in the general shape of a human, and a digital display 40 in the head 30 for displaying images (not shown) thereon. As described herein, the term "images" shall mean still images such as digital photographs, or moving images such as video, movies, cartoons, and the like, or a combination. The digital display 40 is preferably a liquid crystal display (LCD), which has the advantage of being clear and lightweight, although other types of displays are contemplated. The body 20 is preferably a soft body that is lightweight and easily transportable for carrying and cuddling by a child (not shown). A portable power source such as a battery (not shown) is preferably provided in a child-resistant casing to power the electronic elements described herein.
The doll 10 of the present embodiment preferably has the likeness of a human person to closely simulate a traditional looking doll. However, it will be appreciated that the doll of the present invention does not need to have a human form, but can have another form that should bring comfort to a child, whether such form is based on a fictional or non-fictional entity. For example, the doll could have the form of an animal, a popular television or movie character, or a popular book character. Similarly, images could be displayed on the digital display that are consistent with the doll form, such as, for example, images of the Sesame Street® characters if the doll is in the form of the character Elmo for example. For purposes of the present discussion, the doll will be described herein in the general shape of a human.
Returning to FIGS. 1-2, the digital display 40 can display images from various sources, one being an internal memory 50, such as an internal random access memory (RAM) or non-volatile memory such as flash memory, on which is stored at least one image or video (not shown). The internal memory 50 may be pre-loaded with a plurality of stock-type pictures at the point of manufacture, such as a happy face and a sad face, for example, so that the doll 10 is usable right out of the package. Alternatively, or in addition, a port 60 may be provided for connection to an external memory device 70 such as a computer as shown in FIG. 3, which has images stored thereon. Such connection may be wired via a transfer cable 75, or wireless using infrared, radio such as Bluetooth®, or other similar communications, or all of the above. For example, the port 60 could be a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port that receives a flash drive 90 on which is loaded a plurality of images. The doll 10 could also be fitted with a communications device (not shown) to allow wireless communications with any external compatible device including, for example, interfacing with the Internet, to enable a user to send pictures directly from a web site, for example, to the internal memory 50 in the doll 10. A controller 80 is preferably used to control the peripheral devices such as the internal memory 50, digital display 40, and the external interface connections such as wired or wireless ports and the various inputs and outputs discussed below. The controller 80 may include its own memory for driver programs and may have an interface for program changes or updates.
As shown in FIG. 2, the doll 10 could also be provided with an input 100, such as a card slot, for receiving an insertable external memory device 110, such as a digital memory stick, which could be pre-inserted at the point of manufacture and available to the user at the point of purchase. In other words, the doll 10 could be vended with simply an input 100 for receipt of a user's preexisting memory device, or the doll 10 could be vended complete with an inserted external memory device 110 on which the user could load images and the like. In another example, an input 102 could receive a disc-based insertable device 120, such as a compact disc (CD) or digital video disc (DVD), on which is stored images or video or both. In this scenario, the child could view pictures and/or watch a movie on the display 40.
One non-limiting example of a control panel 130 controlled by the controller 80 for controlling the display of images and the like is illustrated in FIG. 2, which shows a play button 140 for scrolling the images in a predetermined order, a stop button 150 for halting the scrolling on the displayed image, an increment button 160 for advancing one image, a decrement button 170 for going back one image, and a random button 180 for playing the images in a random order. A scale 190 may be provided to vary the scrolling speed, which may include, for example, 1-minute, 2-minute, 5-minute and 10-minute increments as shown.
The doll 10 may operate in a variety of ways. For example, right out of the package the display 40 may show an image that was pre-loaded on the internal memory 50. If more than one image was pre-loaded, then multiple images will start scrolling automatically or upon pressing the play button 140. The stop button 150 may be used to stop the scrolling and select only a single image for display. Once an external memory device is inserted into the input 100, 102, the external memory device may override the internal memory 50 and result in the display 40 pulling images from the external memory device rather than the internal memory 50. Of course, the control panel 130 can include a switch (not shown) for toggling between the internal and external memories as desired.
The doll 10 may include power-saving features to reduce power consumption and prolong the enjoyment of the doll 10. For example, the doll 10 may be fitted with a motion sensor (not shown) that causes the display 40 to dim or turn off after a certain period of inactivity, such as after the child carries the doll 10 to the bed and falls asleep. Another example is a gradual prolonging of the scrolling period with inactivity. The doll 10 may also include security features that prevent a child from accessing the control area such as, but not limited to, a child-resistant removable cover (not shown) that it secured over the inputs, outputs and control buttons shown in FIG. 2. Other safety features are contemplated.
In addition to viewing images on the display 40, the doll 10 is preferably provided with at least one audio output device 200 in the form of a speaker for playing at least one audio item (not shown) stored on a memory. While FIG. 1 illustrates the output in the hands 25 of the body 20, it will be appreciated that other locations are contemplated. For example, the speaker could be in the head 30 adjacent the display 40. The audio item could be pre-recorded and stored on the internal memory 50 or an external memory device, or both, and can comprise recorded messages, songs, music or a combination of the same. Alternatively or in addition, the parent, for example, can record an audio item, such as "I Love You" or "Good Night," using a microphone 210 and a record button 220, and enable the child to play the same by pressing a play button 230 shown for example in FIG. 1 on the thumbs directly adjacent the speakers 200.
The doll of the present invention could be marketed in a variety of different ways. For example, the doll 10 could be part of a series of "My Family" dolls, where a child could have a soft doll whose face would be of his/her mom or dad, or brother or sister, or grandparent, or all of the above as the case may be. In addition to daily bedtime usage, the doll would be perfect for the first day of school or camp when separation anxiety is also high. Or, if mom and dad want to go on vacation without the child, again, it would be the next best thing while they are away. The child could also benefit from the audio capabilities so that the parent could record "I love you" etc. to comfort the child.
The doll of the present invention could also be marketed as a fictional character such as Blue from Blue's Clues®. Where the doll is representative of a particular show or event, the images and/or audio could be consistent with such show or event. For example, if a child enjoys watching the Blue's Clues® television program, the parent can insert a memory stick 110 with Blue's Clues® images and audio provided thereon. Similarly, the parent could insert a DVD 120 of a Blue's Clues® show into the input 102 and allow the child to watch a program on the display 40.
While the present invention has been described at some length and with some particularity with respect to the several described embodiments, it is not intended that it should be limited to any such particulars or embodiments or any particular embodiment, but it is to be construed with references to the appended claims so as to provide the broadest possible interpretation of such claims in view of the prior art and, therefore, to effectively encompass the intended scope of the invention. Furthermore, the foregoing describes the invention in terms of embodiments foreseen by the inventor for which an enabling description was available, notwithstanding that insubstantial modifications of the invention, not presently foreseen, may nonetheless represent equivalents thereto.
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