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Acrobatic elevated-path amusement device

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Title: Acrobatic elevated-path amusement device.
Abstract: An amusement device enables an acrobatic user (105) to traverse an elevated path. It comprises a user-accessible platform (110) at the beginning of the elevated path; a frame extending the length of the elevated path; and a plurality of swings attached to the frame along the length of the elevated path. Each swing is held in a user-accessible position by a counterweight (131) such that a user exiting the platform to a first swing can employ gravity to move to each successive swing along the elevated path. Each swing returns to the user-accessible position by gravity acting on the counterweight (131) when the user has exited the swing. ...


- Oakton, VA, US
Inventor: Frederick Edward Osler-Weppenaar
USPTO Applicaton #: #20080318733 - Class: 482 23 (USPTO) - 12/25/08 - Class 482 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20080318733, Acrobatic elevated-path amusement device.

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Acrobat   Amu   Counter   Elevated   EXIT   Gravity   Levate   Muse   Semen    FIELD OF INVENTION

In the field of entertainment and recreation, an elevated-path amusement device challenging the acrobatic skills of a user.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention is anticipated for use in an amusement park environment and typically for the younger person having the strength and endurance needed for acrobatic type exercises. The invention serves a need to supply an amusement device that creates a physical challenge for the user. It serves a need not presently served by passive conveyance rides typical in amusement parks.

DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

Elevated-path amusement rides are known in the industry. However, they typically involve a user seated in the device and being conveyed to another location. Roller coasters are a prime example. The present invention does not employ a device for a seated person, but rather is for an acrobatic user capable of supporting himself and conveying himself along an elevated path. The present invention is unique in one aspect in that it is suited for a user having some acrobatic talent and is not suitable to convey a seated user. It serves a need for a physically challenging amusement device.

Elevated amusement devices sometimes employ a platform to carry a user and a counterweight in a round-about device that returns the user to the entrance location on the same platform. Unlike the present invention this type of device does not employ a frame with a plurality of swings attached to a frame along the length of the elevated path. The present invention does not employ a round-about device, and is further distinguished in that it employs a swing that is held in a user-accessible position by a counterweight.

An example of this type of elevated amusement device is U.S. Pat. No. 5,989,127, which discloses an oscillating boom amusement ride. A tower pivotably supports a boom. A passenger carriage is pivotably attached to the extended end of the boom. Passengers are loaded into the passenger carriage when the boom is in the down position. The boom is then raised by moving a counterweight fluid into a first storage tank. The boom swings through approximately 270 degrees, and the passenger carriage may make a full-circle loop at the end of the first swing.

An example of prior art that uses an elevated path and does not return the user to the same location is United States Patent Application publication 20040092322. This application describes an amusement ride where the user is conveyed to the end of the elevated path and is then ejected to free falls and an attached bungee cord stops the person at the end of his fall.

The present invention does not use a ride where the user is conveyed to a point, but rather uses a plurality of swings attached to a frame. The present invention does not employ a bungee cord. In order to use the present invention, the user must have some acrobatic skills because the user traverses the elevated path on his own power using swings. These features provide a challenging amusement device that is not disclosed in the prior art.

Accordingly, the present invention will serve to improve the state of the art by providing a physically challenging amusement device for a user with acrobatic skills.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An amusement device enables an acrobatic user to traverse an elevated path. It comprises a user-accessible platform at the beginning of the elevated path; a frame extending the length of the elevated path; and a plurality of swings attached to the frame along the length of the elevated path. Each swing is held in a user-accessible position by a counterweight such that a user exiting the platform to a first swing can employ gravity to move to each successive swing along the elevated path. Each swing returns to the user-accessible position by gravity acting on the counterweight when the user has exited the swing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings in which like three-digit reference numbers represent corresponding parts throughout, wherein the first digit of the three-digit reference number represents the figure number, and wherein analogous parts in different drawings are given the same last two numbers:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective of an embodiment of the invention enabling a user to traverse an elevated path.

FIG. 2 is an end view of another embodiment of the invention having a U-shaped-bar swing.

FIG. 3 is a perspective of a single-bar swing in an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of the U-shaped bar swing in an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective of a swing having a hollow core rope with a rigid bar insert.

FIG. 6 is an elevation view of a swing employing a double bar each with horizontal extension hand-holds.

FIG. 7 is an elevation view of a swing having an approximate rectangular shape.

FIG. 8 is a two-part side view of an embodiment of the invention enabling a user to swing out from an elevated position.

FIGS. 9A-9D are perspectives of 4 swings using alternative counterweights.

FIG. 10 is an end view of an obstacle in an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof and which illustrate several embodiments of the present invention. The drawings and the embodiments of the invention are presented with the understanding that the present invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms and, therefore, other embodiments may be utilized and structural and operational changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of the amusement device, which enables a user (105) under his or her own power to traverse an elevated path on a variety of swings (130, 230, 530, 630 and 730). A swing (130) has no seat in the conventional sense of a child's swing set, but rather is simply a means for a user (105) to move in an arc. Essentially, for the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the user (105) starts on a platform (110) at the beginning of the elevated path and tries to move to the end of the elevated path using the swings.

Thus, using the invention necessitates that the user (105) have sufficient strength, physical prowess and acrobatic skill to be able to hold himself in the air on the amusement device and propel the user forward using the natural motion of a swing in the presence of gravity. At the end of each arc, the user must let go of the swing and try to catch the next swing or fall from the device, typically to a waiting net or air bag (160) below.

The elevated path is created by a frame. The frame may be any structure capable of supporting the weight of the swings and at least one user. Steel and wood structures are well known in the art. Preferably, the frame is an inflatable structure, known in the art as a sealed-air inflatable or captured-air inflatable, and it resembles a pontoon and is referred to herein as a pontoon for simplicity. The inflatable structure when inflated is a rigid body capable of supporting the swings and at least one user. An inflatable structure embodiment is shown in FIG. 1 in which the frame is composed of a plurality of pontoons made sufficiently rigid by air pressure: two slanted pontoons (120) at the beginning of the elevated path straddle an elevated horizontal pontoon (121). The horizontal pontoon (121) essentially defines the elevated path; a pair of vertical pontoons (122) at the end of the elevated path also straddle the elevated horizontal pontoon (121); and a pair of vertical pontoons (123) at the beginning of the elevated path, also straddling the elevated horizontal pontoon (121).

The platform (110) is located at the beginning of the elevated path created by the frame so that the user (105) may gain access to a first swing. The user (105) would typically climb stairs (106) to get to the platform (110).

The swings may take any shape wherein the structure of a swing serves as a means for moving the user in an arc. A variety of swings (130, 230, 530, 630 and 730) is illustrated in the FIGS. 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. Examples include a swing (130) in the form of a bar having an approximate straight shape; a swing (230) in the form of bar having an approximate U-shape; a swing (730) in the form of a bar having an approximate rectangular shape like a professional trapeze, except that instead of flexible steel cables supporting a horizontal bar, it has a rigid structure to enable the rectangular shape to be lifted by the counterweight; a swing (630) in the form of double bar each with horizontal extension hand- or foot-holds; and, a swing (530) in the form of a hollow core rope with a rigid bar insert.

Each swing is rotatably attached to the frame. For example, a rotatable attachment may be obtained using rigging with a swivel joint (141, 541, 641 and 841) at or near the connection between a swing and the rigging. A variety of rigging (140, 240, 540, and 640) is illustrated.

For most embodiments, the swings are attached to a frame extending the length of the elevated path. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the swings are attached to the horizontal pontoon (121) using rigging (140).

The rigging is preferably steel or aluminum rigging, which is one means to permit a rotatable attachment to the frame. The rigging varies according to the type of swing being used and generally refers to any structural configuration that permits the swing to rotate in an arc. The rigging is typically attached to the frame by welding or other appropriate means.

One embodiment of a swing (130) employs an approximately straight bar in that is fixed to the counterweight forming a rigid unit. The counterweight (131) orients the bottom of the bar (130) towards the user so that it is in a user-accessible position. Typical rigging (140) for this unit is also shown in FIG. 3. As shown, the rigging (140) is attached to the horizontal pontoon (121) and the bar (130).

Another embodiment of a swing is a bar having an approximate U-shape, or typical trapeze shape, that is fixed to the counterweight (231) again forming a rigid unit. Typical rigging (240) for this unit is shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4. FIG. 2 is an end view of an embodiment of the invention having a U-shaped-bar swing.

In both such embodiments of a swing, the rigid unit is rotatably affixed to the frame with steel rigging (140 or 240) to enable it to swing in an arc when a user (105) gains access to the bar, typically by grabbing it with one or two hands.

In preferred embodiments, each swing is held in a user-accessible position by a counterweight (131 or 231). By biasing each swing towards a user (105), a user can easily access the swing (130 or 230) and employ gravity to move to each successive swing along the elevated path. A typical bias would be 70 degrees from the vertical, but any bias permitting user access may be used. When the user exits a swing, gravity acts on the counterweight (131 or 231) to return the swing to the user-accessible position, typically one leaning toward the user to permit easy acquisition of the swing.

An alternative embodiment has one or more obstacles (150) at the end of the elevated path, which the user must surmount to exit and complete the elevated path. Such an embodiment would require a user to swing over or surmount the obstacle to complete traverse of the elevated path. As shown in FIG. 10, a typical obstacle (150) is a goal-post type structure (150, FIG. 10) composed of two vertical air bags connected by a horizontal air bag (1010). Any such obstacle arrangement should be made to soften the user's landing. Obstacles may be marked with distance indicators, such as colors or lines, to enable a user (105) to measure the distance that can be achieved by the user after leaving a swing. These embodiments promote competition among users.

A typical counterweight (131, 231, 531, 631, 731 and 831) is a weight offset from the plane of the swing. Other counterweight designs are possible, four examples of which are shown in FIGS. 9A-9D. The first example is FIG. 9A, which includes a spring (931a) acting on a swing (930). The spring shown is a spiral spring but a straight spring might also be attached between the swing and the frame or rigging. The second example is FIG. 9B, which is a weight-operated pulley system (931b). The third example is FIG. 9C, which is a water fillable container and pulley system (931c) operated by a constant flow of water. The fourth example is FIG. 9D, which is a water fillable container (931d) with no pulley system. An optional mechanical stop (932) is shown in FIGS. 9B-9D.

An alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 8, enables a user (105) to swing out from an elevated position, that is move the user in an arc, and compete for distance. This embodiment has a platform (110) at the beginning of the elevated position, which is accessible to a user (105); a frame (820) extending above the elevated position; and, a swing rotatably affixed to the frame. The swing is held in a user-accessible position near the platform by a counterweight (841) such that a user (105) exiting the platform to the swing can employ gravity to move in an arc such that a user exiting the swing can intersect a series of obstacles (150, 851, 852 and 853), and wherein the swing returns to its user-accessible position by gravity acting on the counterweight (841) when the user has exited the swing. Typically, the obstacles are goal-post type structures (150, FIG. 10) composed of two vertical air bags connected by a horizontal air bag (1010). Any such obstacle arrangement should be made to soften the user's landing. In some embodiments, the air bags are marked with indicators to enable a user to measure the distance achieved by the user after leaving the swing.

The above-described embodiments including the drawings are examples of the invention and merely provide illustrations of the invention. Other embodiments will be obvious to those skilled in the art. Thus, the scope of the invention is determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20080318733 A1
Publish Date
12/25/2008
Document #
11766161
File Date
06/21/2007
USPTO Class
482 23
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
63B26/00
Drawings
10


Acrobat
Counter
Elevated
Gravity
Levate
Semen


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