Patent application title: Night Light Balls
Jack William De Sort (Redlands, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B4306FI
Class name: Games using tangible projectile projectile, per se; part thereof or accessory therefor with light-emitting, electrical, magnetic, or rotatable inertial means or having boundary-detector activating means
Publication date: 2012-02-16
Patent application number: 20120040785
Improvements in a football and beach ball to allow the balls to be used
at night. The illumination from the "EL" lights gives the ball an
exciting kaleidoscope of color as it spirals, adding a new and exciting
twist to an old game in addition to adding safety to night play. The ball
is made of various colored self-skinning flexible urethane foam, or
elastomer and has grip ridges between electroluminescent lighting that
surrounds ball. The ball is formed with grip ridges to allow small to
large hands to easily grip the ball and throw a spiral when wet or dry.
At least two different colors of EL lights are equally spaced and glued
to the outside of the ball to allow spin on a ball to be more visible.
The ball has a compartment that holds a power supply on/off switch and
the EL driver.
1. A night light ball comprising: a ball made of self-skinning flexible
urethane foam, or elastomer which holds air; said ball further has grip
ridges on an external surface of said ball; said ball further having at
least two separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting
elements; each of said colored electroluminescent lighting elements
surrounds said ball and are equally spaced from each other; a compartment
inside said ball that holds a power supply comprising at least one
battery and a driver; said driver inverts DC voltage to AC voltage, and
an on/off switch that controls said driver to illuminate said at least
two separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting elements.
2. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein there are at least three separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting elements.
3. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein there are at four separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting elements.
4. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein there are at six separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting elements.
5. The night light ball according to claim 1 that has two separate sets of batteries and drivers that power separate electroluminescent lighting elements.
6. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said electroluminescent lighting elements operate in an off and constant on condition.
7. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said electroluminescent lighting elements operate in an off and flashing on condition.
8. The night light ball according to claim 5 wherein said two separate sets of batteries and drivers are mounted opposite each other within said night light ball.
9. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said electroluminescent lighting elements are further covered with water resistant tape.
10. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said compartment is water resistant.
11. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said power supply is water resistant.
12. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said power supply is separable from said ball.
13. The night light ball according to claim 12 wherein said separable connection is with a plug and socket.
14. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said power supply is wired to said electroluminescent lighting elements.
15. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein night light ball is usable in reduced ambient light levels, total darkness and daylight.
16. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said battery(ies) are replaceable or rechargeable.
17. The night light ball according to claim 1 wherein said at least two separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting elements are secured to the exterior of said night light ball.
18. The night light ball according to claim 17 wherein said at least two separate and different colored electroluminescent lighting elements are essentially flat ribbons.
19. The night light ball according to claim 1 that further includes a glove that has a separate power supply and electroluminescent lighting element.
20. The night light ball according to claim 1 that further includes a separate lighted cone.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims the benefit of Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/372,599 filed Aug. 11, 2010 and Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/323,783 filed Apr. 13, 2010 the entire contents of which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference herein.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 Not Applicable
THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT
 Not Applicable
INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC
 Not Applicable
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to improvements in illuminated sports equipment. More particularly, the present night light balls includes footballs, baseball, soccer balls, Disks, field markers and gloves with one or more colored electroluminescent (EL) lighting elements.
 Description of Related Art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98:
 For many athletic events that require an object to be thrown the play time is limited to daylight hours or when external artificial lighting is available. To play these activities at night some devices have been developed that either glow in the dark or an internal lighting elements. For the devices to glow they must be charged by a light source and then continue to dim as the activity is played. When the devices are illuminated with power and lights the illumination is spot lighted or illuminated so the entire object or ball glows. Several products and patents have been. Exemplary examples of patents covering these products are disclosed herein.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,490,047 issued on Feb. 6, 1996 to Thomas J. O'Rourke et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,133,528 issued on Jan. 9, 1979 to Jeffrey Koblick and U.S. Publication2003/0224885 that published on Dec. 4, 2003 all disclose balls that are internally illuminated to make essentially the entire outer surface of the ball illuminate. While these patents disclose a method that allows the ball to be visible when it is dark, the illumination does not provide any information of the spin of the ball.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,683,316 that issued on Nov. 4, 1997 to Daniel Scott Campbell and U.S. Pat. No. 5,403,000 that issued on Apr. 4, 1995 to John Woosley both disclose balls that use illuminated tubes that are placed with the ball. The illumination tubes use chemiluminescent light. The chambers of the tubes must be broken and the chemicals mixed to start the illumination. When the glowing properties are expended the tubes must be replaced. This patent does not provide illumination strips that are electrically powered where they can be turned on and off as desired. They further do not provide the use of more than one color to identify rotation or spin of the ball.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,888,156 that issued on Mar. 30, 1999 to Peter J. Cmiel et al., U.S. Pat. No. 7,179,181 that issued on Feb. 20, 2007 to Li-Lin Ko and published U.S. Application 2008/0132363 that published on Jun. 5, 2008 to Shiro Harada each disclose balls with one or more spots of light. The spots of light allow the balls to be seen from different sides of the ball but because the lights are the same color information regarding the direction and speed of a spinning ball can't be determined.
 What is needed is an activity device or ball that uses powered flat electroluminescent strips having different colors to provide information on location and flight characteristics of the activity device or ball. This application provides a solution to the problem with a ball having multiple colored electroluminescent lighting elements.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is an object of the night light ball for the ball to be made of self-skinning flexible urethane foam, or elastomer which holds air, and has grip ridges between electroluminescent lighting elements that surround the ball. The ball can be formed in a variety of colors.
 It is an object of the night light ball for the ball to have grip ridges to allow small to large hands to easily grip the ball and throw a spiral. The ridges on a beach ball further give the user a good grip when ball is wet.
 It is an object of the night light ball, when configured as a football, for the football to have at least two different colored EL wires. Many more colors can be used. For example a beach ball can have four colors. Each EL wire surrounds the ball equally spaced from each other. The use of different colors allows spin on a ball to be more visible.
 It is another object of the night light ball to have a compartment inside the ball that holds the power supply and the driver. The driver inverts the DC power to AC current and contains one or more batteries. An on/off switch controls the lights on the ball. The football has one compartment and driver, the beach ball has two drivers with battery(ies) and two compartments mounted in opposing side of the ball to provide an even balance. In all cases the compartment is waterproof or water resistive.
 It is another object of the night light ball that the compartment(s) that hold the driver has an electrical plug attached to the inside of the compartment. The plug connects to the driver for easy removing and battery replacement. This plug has wires on the inside of the ball that are connected to the EL wire(s) that are on the outside of the ball.
 It is still another object of the night light ball for the El wires to be glued to the outside of the ball. The El wires are essentially flat ribbons that provide even illumination over the entire length of the EL wires. The wires are encased in heavy plastic to make them water resistant.
 Various objects, features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like components.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)
 FIG. 1 shows an external view of a football.
 FIG. 2 shows a view of the driver and the battery pack.
 FIG. 3 shows the flight of an illuminated football.
 FIG. 4 shows a schematic of the inverter drive circuit.
 FIG. 5 shows a cross section of a Disk.
 FIG. 6 shows an underside view of the Disk in FIG. 5.
 FIG. 7 is an external view of a baseball.
 FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the baseball in FIG. 7
 FIG. 9 is a top view of a glove.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 FIG. 1 shows an external view of a football. The ball 20 made of self-skinning flexible urethane foam 42, or elastomer. The ball can be formed in a variety of colors or color combinations. The ball 20 has a plurality of grip ridges 41 located around the ball and arranged along the elongated body of the ball 20 or may be arranged in a swirled pattern along the body of the ball 20. A plurality of electroluminescent (EL) lighting elements 30 and 31 are placed in recess of the ball 20. The electroluminescent exist in different colored strips extending from pointed end to pointed end of the football 20. The electroluminescent ribbons 31 and 31 are located in slight recessed to protect the ribbons from being accidentally lifted or peeled from the ball 20. The ball 20 is designed to accommodate the thickness of the electroluminescent wire and has grooves embedded into the skin of the ball 20 to accommodate the wires 30 and 31. The ball 20 works with or without lights, but the object of the games is to let players see the ball. The ball has grooves that hold the EL wire which is glued to the surface of the ball and are covered with protective strips of water resistant tape. The wires themselves are embedded in recesses on the ball.
 The electroluminescent wires 30 and 31 are configured as flat ribbons. The electroluminescent wires 30 and 31 are basically a copper core wire, with a phosphor material sputtered onto it, then 2 very fine small wires that conduct electricity to make the phosphor material glow. The phosphor material glows in generally 9 different colors, but the colors can slightly change based upon the driving voltage and the excitation frequency. The phosphor material has a plastic coating, then a normal plastic insulation on top of that. When AC current at the proper voltage and frequency is applied to this wire, it glows.
 The grip ridges 41 allow small to large hands to easily grip the ball and throw a spiral. The ridges 41 further allow the ball to be more easily gripped when the ball is wet or configured as a beach ball (not shown). In one embodiment the ball 20 is made in two halves where the internal components are added and the two halves are bonded or otherwise secured together.
 The football 20 has three different colored EL wires. An embodiment of a beach ball can ideally have four colors. A minimum of two colors are used to provide a visual contrast on the ball 20 to allow any spin on the ball to be visible. Each electroluminescent wire 30 and 31 surrounds the ball equally spaced from each other. The electroluminescent wires are countersunk glued and covered with protective tape to the outside of the ball 20 to prevent undesirable movement of the electroluminescent wires 30 and 31.
 A compartment 40 inside the ball holds the power supply and the driver as shown and described in FIG. 2. The football 20 has one compartment and driver with a battery. In a beach ball embodiment, two drivers and two compartments are mounted opposite each other for the ball to balance and prevent the ball favoring a particular orientation. This compartment is waterproof or at least water resistant to prevent infiltration of unwanted water or moisture. A hook and loop closure may also be used to ensure that the opening remains closed during play.
 The compartment 43 that holds the driver has an electrical wiring 52 and plug 51 attached to the inside of the compartment 43 that the driver plugs into for easy removing and battery replacement. This plug 51 has wires 52 on the inside of the ball 20 that are connected to the electro-luminescent wire (s) 30 and 31 that are on the outside of the ball 20.
 Inside the ball wires connected from the electroluminescent wire plug into an electrical connection that leads to a waterproof container 52 that holds the driver 55 and battery(ies) 53. This unit 52 has an on/off switch 54 that controls the light on the ball. When the compartment cover is replaced on the ball that holds the battery, driver and on/off switch.
 FIG. 2 shows a view of the driver and the battery pack. The housing 52 encloses a driver 55 that inverts the DC power to AC current and contains one or more batteries 53. An on/off switch 54 controls the lights on the ball. An electrical connector 56 connects to the power connection 51 of the ball or other equipment.
 FIG. 3 shows the flight of an illuminated football. Using a single color electroluminescent element limits the amount of visible indication of the ball 20 spinning. A minimum of two different colors are required to clearly discern the flight and spin of the ball 20. In the preferred embodiment three different colors are used to ensure that at least two different colors 30 and 31 are visible at the same time.
 FIG. 4 shows a schematic of the inverter drive circuit. The circuit shown uses an integrated circuit 60 that is custom made to drive electroluminescent wires. The integrated circuit 60 in this embodiment is from Sipex, but other devices including a simple 555 timer chip can be used. The circuit provides essentially 200 VAC at 1200 Hz. This device takes only a couple of external components such as a resonance coil or inductor 61 and several capacitors and a diode to drive the electroluminescent elements. This circuit can operate from a single 1.5 volt battery 53. A switch 54 turns the circuit on and off to turn the electroluminescent wires 30 and 31 on and off.
 FIG. 5 shows a cross section of a Disk and FIG. 6 shows an underside view of the Disk in FIG. 5. The Disk 70 is constructed with the inverter and battery 53 pack 52 located in the center of the Disk 70 to minimize aerodynamic interference. Wires or conductors 58 and 59 connect the inverter to the external surface of the Disk 70 where the electroluminescent elements are located in the outer vertical rim of the Disk 70. The conductor 58 and 59 can be enclosed in protective tubing or bonded onto the surface of the Disk. Two different colored electroluminescent elements 30 and 31 are uses to provide a visual indicator of the spin rate of the Disk 70. While two colors are shown and described, three, four or more colors are contemplated.
 FIG. 7 is an external view of a baseball and FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the baseball in FIG. 7. This embodiment shows a baseball 80, but other balls are also contemplated including but not limited to a kickball, volleyball, soccer ball, beach ball and others. In this embodiment two color ribbons 30 and 31 are shown and arranged in an orthogonal arrangement. The exterior of the ball has tiny grip ridges 81 that allow the ball to be more easily gripped and thrown. An access door 40 functions as both access to the internal battery and inverter driver as well as functions to operate the switch 54 that turn the electroluminescent elements 30 and 31 on and off. The cover is made of the same material as the ball, is flat and has an on/off and removal instructions. The internal housing 52 has wiring 58 and 59 that connects to the electroluminescent elements 30 and 31.
 FIG. 9 is a top view of once contemplated embodiment of a glove 90. The battery(ies) 53 are enclosed within a housing that is secured to the back of the wrist area of the glove 90. An elastic band at the base of the glove helps to retain the glove 90 on the hand of a player. The hand portion of the glove can be configured with channels for individual fingers 91 or with an open area where all of the fingers can exist in a single pocket 92. Wiring 58 and 59 connect the power supply to an electroluminescent element 32. It is contemplated that each team will have a glove used as a target with a color that matches all of the players on a team. This allows one player to easily identify teammates when they play in the dark. The surface of the glove can be printed or colored to identify a particular team, logo, slogan or advertising.
 Other contemplated electroluminescent equipment includes but is not limited to wristbands, line markers, headbands, clothing, vest and shoes. The electroluminescent equipment is a sports toy. It can be played individually or with teams members. It is excellent for tag, or flag night football, a new game. The beach ball can be played with individually or with team members and is beneficially used in the dark playing team volleyball. The lighting element of the various disclosed products provides for sports products and improves the education and safety.
 Thus, specific embodiments of night light sports equipment have been disclosed. It should be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the appended claims.
Patent applications in class With light-emitting, electrical, magnetic, or rotatable inertial means or having boundary-detector activating means
Patent applications in all subclasses With light-emitting, electrical, magnetic, or rotatable inertial means or having boundary-detector activating means