Patent application title: Interlocking Bendable Device
Raymond Vine, Iii (South Elgin, IL, US)
CCK Creations, Inc.
IPC8 Class: AA63H3300FI
Class name: Construction toy resilient interlocking joint (e.g., snap joint) resilient male member
Publication date: 2012-08-23
Patent application number: 20120214380
A bendable device, such as a child's toy, to be generally comprised of an
elongated, flexible body section, a head segment attached to an end of
the body section, and a tail segment attached to the other end of the
body section is disclosed. In a basic form, the device can be wrapped
about an object and secured to itself to form a ring. The head segment
includes an opening, preferably in the form of a mouth, and a cavity
extending from the open mouth inward to the body, and the tail includes
an insertable portion for being frictionally engaged and retained within
the cavity. The cavity may extend through the head segment and into the
body and may include a plurality of indexed chambers. The chambers allow
adjustability of the ring size by providing deeper insertion of the tail
into the mouth of the head. Objects may be inserted into the cavity for
storage, decoration, or play.
1. A bendable device comprising: an elongated, flexible body section; a
first section attached to an end of the body section, the first section
having an opening and a cavity extending from the opening inward to the
first section; a second section attached to an end of the body section
opposite the first section, the second section having an insertable
portion; wherein the insertable portion of the second section is capable
of insertion to the opening and retention within the cavity of the first
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the cavity extends through the first section and into the body.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein the cavity comprises a plurality of indexed chambers.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the first section is modeled after an entity selected from a group consisting of aliens, animals including domestic, farm, fantasy, prehistoric and wild animals, athletes, buildings, cartoon characters, famous persons, fictional characters, inanimate objects, infamous persons, mythological creatures, professional persons, vehicles and the like.
5. The device of claim 3, wherein the insertable portion of the second section has a shape and each of the plurality of indexed chambers have a shape, and the shape of the insertable portion corresponds to the shape of the plurality of indexed chambers.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein the elongated body section is hollow.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein the elongated body section includes a slit providing passage from an interior of the body section to the exterior of the body section.
8. The device of claim 3, wherein the shape of the insertable portion is substantially spherical.
9. The device of claim 1, wherein the insertable portion includes a hollow section.
10. The device of claim 9, wherein the hollow section includes loose material for making a noise when shaken.
11. The device of claim 1, wherein the insertable portion includes a noise-maker.
12. The device of claim 1, wherein the elongated body section is bendable.
13. The device of claim 1, wherein the first section and the second section are detachable from the body to allow interchanging parts.
14. A bendable device comprising: an elongated, flexible body segment having opposing ends; a tail segment attached to the body segment at an end, wherein the tail segment comprises an insertable member; and a head segment attached to the body at an end opposite the tail segment, wherein the head segment comprises an opening to a cavity defined within one of either the head segment or the body segment, wherein the insertable member is capable of removable engagement with the cavity to form a ring.
15. The device of claim 14, wherein the insertable member is bulbous.
16. The device of claim 14, wherein the cavity extends throughout the body segment creating a substantially hollow interior.
17. The device of claim 16, further comprising an access port in the body segment.
18. The device of claim 17, wherein the access port comprises a concealed slit in the body segment providing a passage from the substantially hollow interior to an exterior.
19. The device of claim 15, wherein the insertable member comprises a substantially hollow interior.
20. The device of claim 19, where the substantially hollow interior of the insertable member encloses loose material which rattles upon shaking.
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present device relates to a bendable device that has multiple uses, including functioning as a toy, fanciful jewelry, an ID tag, or as advertising merchandise. Particularly, the present device relates to an adaptable bendable device which can be used in many different ways for a wide range of ages, from babies through toddlers as well as pre-teens through teenagers, and even adults.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 There are very few toys on the market today, if any, which have the ability to be marketed for newborns as well as teenagers. For babies, desirable toys are generally safe, colorful, easy-to-grasp and often have some noise-making aspect. Older children become more imaginative in play and often look for toys and gadgets which are theme-based--e.g., cartoons, sports, fantasy, historical. The intended use for a baby's toy must be kept simple, while older children look to be challenged during play. Further, babies and (to a lesser extent) toddlers (i.e., ages 1-4) are solitary in their play, as they lack the necessary communication skills for interacting with others, so the toy must solely hold their attention. On the other hand, social play is very strong in young children (i.e., ages 5-12) and adolescents (i.e., 13-19 year-olds) predominately favor social interaction during play. Accordingly, toys for these age groups should provide a social component. It is difficult to conceive of a toy which can provide each of the features for children over such a wide range of ages.
 The present device is capable of providing each of these features in a toy for children of a wide range of ages. However, the present device is not just a toy, but may also be considered for use as jewelry, an identification device, a hair tie, a safety device, and much more. These and other advantage will be more readily understood after review of the following detailed description and the appended drawing figures.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 There is disclosed herein an improved toy device which avoids the disadvantages of prior devices while affording additional structural and operating advantages.
 It is an aspect of the disclosed child's toy to be generally comprised of an elongated, flexible body section, a head attached to an end of the body section, and a tail attached to the other end of the body section. The toy can be wrapped about an object and secured to itself to form a ring.
 In an embodiment of the disclosed toy, the head includes an open mouth and a cavity extending from the open mouth inward to the head, and the tail includes an insertable portion for being frictionally engaged and retained within the cavity. The cavity may extend through the head and into the body and may include a plurality of indexed chambers. The chambers allow adjustability of the ring size by providing deeper insertion of the tail into the mouth of the head.
 In selected embodiments, it is an aspect of the disclosed toy to be modeled after an entity selected from aliens, animals including domestic, farm, fantasy, prehistoric and wild, athletes, cartoon characters, famous persons, fictional characters, infamous persons, mythological creatures, professional persons and the like.
 These and other aspects of the invention may be understood more readily from the following description and the appended drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected, there are illustrated in the accompanying drawings embodiments thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, the subject matter sought to be protected, its construction and operation, and many of its advantages should be readily understood and appreciated.
 FIGS. 1A and 1B are perspective views of a first embodiment of the device of the present application illustrating the formation of a ring;
 FIG. 2 is a perspective of the embodiment of FIG. 1B illustrating one possible use for the ring configuration;
 FIGS. 3A and 3B are side views of an embodiment illustrating one possible use for an extended configuration of the present device;
 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present device showing another possible use for the extended configuration;
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present device showing another possible use for the ring configuration;
 FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present device showing still another possible use of the ring configuration;
 FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective views of a shorter version of the present device showing a couple possible uses;
 FIG. 9 is a side view of several devices of a specific embodiment showing serial connections as a possible use;
 FIGS. 10A-10C illustrate a variety of different tail-end forms which may be used with the present device;
 FIGS. 11A-11E illustrate a variety of different chamber cross-sections possible for use with the present device;
 FIGS. 12A-12D illustrate a variety of different retention members which may correspond to chamber cross-sections;
 FIG. 13 is a side view illustrating an embodiment of the head segment of the current invention;
 FIGS. 14A and 14B are side views illustrating another embodiment of the present invention;
 FIGS. 15A-15E are various possible cross-sections for the body of the present invention;
 FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention; and
 FIGS. 17A-17C are perspective views of still three more possible embodiments of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail a preferred embodiment of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to embodiments illustrated.
 Referring to FIGS. 1-17, there are illustrated several embodiments of a bendable device, such as child's play toy, generally designated by the numeral 10. The device or toy 10 includes three distinct sections: a first section or head segment 12, a body 14 and a second section or tail segment 16. The three sections can be embodied in an almost infinite number of possible characters, sizes, colors, and shapes, making the device 10 capable of manufacture to be useful and interesting to children of a wide range of ages.
 The first section or head segment 12 of the device 10 is preferably molded from an elastic or flexible polymer material, such as silicone rubber, and can be modeled after any number of entities. A preferred likeness is that of a dragon, which can itself take on many different shapes, colors and sizes. Other possible likenesses, including the examples shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, include animated/cartoon characters, superheroes, television characters, animals (including domestic, farm, wild, marine, mythological, prehistoric, insects, birds, etc.), aliens, soldiers (ancient, historic, current), famous persons, professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, etc.), athletes, sports mascots, and even inanimate objects (e.g., phones, computers, trains, cars, planes, buildings, etc.).
 Regardless of the form taken by the head 12, each is provided with a mouth or opening 20. The mouth 20 should be expandable to widen, as necessary, as a result of the head 12 being molded from an elastic material. Alternatively, the mouth or opening 20 may be articulated as shown in FIG. 13. The interior portion of the head 12 is hollowed to define a cavity 22 which extends toward the body 14 of the device 10. The cavity 22 will be explained in more detail below with respect to the body 14 and different uses of the toy 10. The head 12 may also be adorned with other peripheral devices (not shown), including reflective parts, bright colors, appendages, lights, LEDs, noise-makers and the like. In some embodiments, as illustrated in FIGS. 14A and 14B, the head 12 may be hinged to expose an opening 20B extending into the cavity 22 of the body 14. The head segment 12 may also be removable to allow interchangeable attachment of different head segments to change the look of the device 10.
 The second section or tail segment 16 of the device 10 is preferably comprised of a shaft 24 ending with a hollow, bulbous member 26 having loose material 28 inside so that it rattles when shaken. The sound of the rattle may be altered by changing the particle size of the loose material 28. Alternatively, other noise-making devices (not shown) may be used, such as buzzers, clickers, bells, whistles and the like, as well as visual stimulating devices, such as patterns, color wheels, lights, LEDs, reflective material and the like. For older users, digital time displays, GPS displays, compass, MP3 player, or other electronic components may be integrated.
 In some embodiments, the tail 16 or just the bulbous member 26 may be removable to allow interchangeable attachment of different parts to change the look and sound of the device 10. Of course, the device 10 may be constructed with a solid tail segment 16 having no noise-making capability. Further, to lessen the likelihood of accidental removal of the tail segment 16, the tail segment is preferably secured in other than a friction fit manner. For example, a threaded connection, a twist lock connection, or a depressible pin release mechanism are all effective and well-known devices to those skilled in the art. Preferably, the tail segment design is coordinated with the head segment design.
 The bulbous member 26 of the tail 16 should be sized to fit snugly into the mouth 20 of the head segment 12 (or the opening 20B of FIG. 14A) to form a ring configuration of the device 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 1A-1B. In some embodiments, the bulbous member 26 may be capable of further insertion into the cavity 22 extending inward from the opening or mouth 20 as a means to adjust the size of the resulting ring, as will be explained in further detail below.
 The body 14 of the device 10 is a very important component of the present invention. Preferably, the body 14 is flexible like metal wire, allowing it to be formed into many different shapes and figures. One particular form for the toy 10 is that it should be able to be bent into a ring shape (see, e.g., FIGS. 2, 5-8). However, the body 14 is also preferably hollow, at least in part, as it defines indexed chambers 30 within at least a portion of the cavity 22. The chambers 30 are preferably formed to complement the shape of the bulbous member 26 of the tail 16. The chambers 30 allow finite adjustments of the device 10 when it is formed into a ring. The indexed chambers 30 also provide a more secured retention of the bulbous member 26 during play. A more simplified friction fit may be suitable, and preferred, for babies and young children.
 Where the head segment 12 pivots to allow access to the opening 20 and cavity 22 by the tail segment, the outer surface of body 14 may include a flat section 23 upon which to rest the head segment 12, as shown in FIG. 14B. To prevent flopping of the head segment 12 in this configuration, the flat section 23 may provide a securing means (not shown) to hold the head segment 12 in place.
 The remainder of the cavity 22 forms a tunnel 32 for objects to pass into. An access port or slit opening 34 is formed in the wall of the body 14 at the end of the tunnel 32. The access port 34 allows insertion or the protrusion of objects from the cavity 22. The body 14 may be manufactured from a fabric, resilient polymers, including natural rubber and the like, or a combination of these material to provide the necessary flexibility. The body 14 may then also include wire or similar members (not shown) running lengthwise to provide shape retention ability to the body 14. Alternatively, the body 14 may be comprised of smaller jointed sections (not shown) to allow bending action. These and other molding, construction and manufacturing methods which allow the body 14 to be bent are certainly known to those skilled in the art and combinations of such methods may be employed herein.
 To prevent rolling, the body 14 should have a cross-section of any shape having at least one flat side. Certainly, the cross-section may be round for certain applications, but an oval or elliptical form may be most useful. Square or rectangular cross-sections may also provided advantages in some applications. Examples of body cross-sections are illustrated in FIGS. 15A-15E.
 The body 14 is preferably colored (including color changing material, neon colors and glow-in-the-dark) and patterned to match the theme used for the head segment 12 and tail segment 16 of the device 10. Texturing of the outer surface of the body 14 may be used as well. The length of the body 14 can be altered to the intended use of the toy 10, as explained in more detail below. To provide adjustability of the body length, the body 14 may be compressible in a manner similar to a bendable portion of a straw. Such a feature would still provide the desired bend-ability of the body 14. Theme related attachments, such as legs, arms, wings, clothing, battle accessories, professional accessories, beads, ribbons, bows, etc., as well as functional attachments, such as name tags, key rings, clock faces, etc., may be added to the body 14 of the toy, if desired. Such devices may clip to the body 14 or insert in holes provide for such attachment.
 The present device is particularly suitable for use as a child's toy. However, the potential for customization to accommodate clubs, teams, schools, associations, promotions, holidays, events, businesses, charities, and the like is practically endless. Accordingly, while the aforementioned device is primarily described in the context of a child's toy, it is understood that all such possible uses for the three-part device 10 are equally covered by the accompanying claims.
 In its simplest form, the device is a colorful, bendable character which can be used in any number of different children's games and activities. Each different character may be combined with, for example, a name, background/history, accessories, personality traits, or any other storyline and features that supports a desired theme. In all embodiments, the tail 16 of the toy 10 is capable of insertion into the head 12 at the mouth 20 to form a ring. The bulbous tail member 26 frictionally fits within a cavity 22 defined within the head 12 to retain the ring form. In some embodiments, the cavity 22 may be comprised of several chambers which provide indexed adjustability to the ring size and retain the tail 16 more securely within the cavity 22. Pulling the tail 16 from the mouth 20 returns the toy 10 to its full length embodiment.
 As a ring, the toy 10 may find a number of uses. For babies, for example, the toy 10 may be secured onto a chair or other device in the baby's view where the colorful and whimsical features provide visual stimulation. By utilizing the rattle-tail feature described above, the ring may be alternatively fastened loosely onto the ankle or wrist of the baby to provide both visual and audible stimulation. For older children, the body cavity 22 and slit opening 34 permit the insertion of a plastic straw or eating utensil, such as a fork or spoon, into the toy 10. With an end extending from each of the slit 34 and the mouth 20, a child may be encouraged to eat and drink using the toy. Similar use may be made with pencils, pens, markers, headphone cords, drawstrings, and the like.
 For groups of children, several of the toys 10 may be linked together using the tail from one toy inserted into the mouth of another, as shown in FIG. 9. By correlating the bulbous tail section 26 and chamber 30 for similarly themed characters--e.g., all dragon toys may have a 1.0 cm size bulbous end, all cartoon characters a 1.5 cm size, all robot themed toys a 2.0 cm size, etc.--matching, trading, and other social activities may be encouraged. Sharing, trading, gifting and exchanging of the toys helps grow collections. By varying the body length of different toys, children may use the ring form as jewelry (e.g., bracelet, necklace, ring), bike or locker decorations, luggage or backpack identifiers, hair ties, and a variety of other activities limited only by the child's imagination.
 The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only and not as a limitation. While particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the broader aspects of applicants' contribution. The actual scope of the protection sought is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the prior art.