Racing game with randomly accelerated drive elements

Abstract

A mechanical horseracing game is disclosed which includes an automatic random selection mechanism for advancing the racers randomly ahead of other racers as all of the other racers are driven forward at a uniform speed. The first racer to reach a switch mechanism at the finish end of the course is indicated the winner automatically. The racers are individually attached to a plurality of parallelly extending conveyor bands driven by a like plurality of pulleys arranged in a linear array. The random selection mechanism includes a ratchet which is randomly reciprocated both in a direction parallel to the array to position the ratchet adjacent a pulley and transverse to said array to bring the ratchet into driving engagement with that pulley to thereby accelerate the engaged pulley and the racer associated therewith.

Claims

1. A mechanically driven horseracing game comprising a plurality of parallel tracks, a continuous conveyor band in each of said tracks, a simulated racer member mounted on each of said conveyor bands, driving pulleys about which each of said conveyor bands passes said driving pulleys being disposed generally in a linear array extending substantially transversely of said tracks and conveyor bands, first driving means for simultaneously driving all of said pulleys at a constant speed, and random-selection means for randomly driving sequentially any of said driving pulleys by an incremental distance in advance of the remainder of said pulleys while said first driving means is driving said pulleys, said random-selection means comprising a carriage mounted for reciprocation between forward and rearward positions with respect to said driving pulleys along a path substantially transverse to said linear array of driving pulleys, second driving means for driving said carriage to the rearward position, means biasing said carriage towards the forward position, said carriage comprising ratchet means for engaging any one of said driving pulleys, means for reciprocating said ratchet means along a path parallel to said lineAr array of driving pulleys, a random-selection wheel, means for driving said random-selection wheel and means operable by said random-selection wheel for actuating said second driving means to move said carriage rearwardly and engage said ratchet means with one of said driving pulleys whereby said driving pulley is accelerated and the corresponding simulated racer member is advanced an incremental distance relative to the remainder of said simulated racer members. 2. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 further comprising manually operable electrical switch means to start said first driving means and random-selection means, and switch means operable by any of said simulated racer members to stop said first driving means and said random-selection means. 3. A mechanically driven horse racing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said first driving means comprises a driving shaft upon which each of said driving pulleys is freely rotatably mounted and ratchet means between said driving shaft and each of said pulleys for driving said pulleys with said shaft. 4. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said second driving means comprises a rotatable cam and linkage between said cam and carriage. 5. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means for reciprocating said ratchet means along a path parallel to said linear array of driving pulleys comprises a rotatable lead screw having an endless helical thread thereon, gear means for engaging said first driving means when said carriage is in its forward position for rotating said lead screw and a following block engaging said lead screw and reciprocable therealong, said ratchet means being mounted on said following block. 6. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means for driving said random-selection wheel comprises a rotatable member driven by said first driving means for engaging the periphery of said random selection wheel when said carriage is in said forward position. 7. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said random-selection wheel includes at least one axially extending pin and said means operable by said random-selection wheel for actuating said second driving means comprises an electrical switch operable by said pin. 8. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 7 further comprising spring means for engaging said pin on said random-selection wheel and for imparting free rotation to said wheel as said carriage is moved rearwardly.
United States Patent 4/1969 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Richard A. Abercromhie [72] Inventor 909 Silver Spring Ave., Silver Spring, Md. [2!] pp No. Attorney-Watson, Cole, Grindle & Watson [22} Filed Dec. 22, 1967 [45] Patented Aug. 31, 1971 ABSTRACT: A mechanical horseracing game is disclosed 54] RACING GAME WITH RANDOMLY which includes an automatic random selection mechanism for ACCELERATED DRIVE ELEMENTS advancing the racers randomly ahead of other racers as all of 8 C'aims6 Drawing Figs. the other racers are driven forward at a uniform speed. The first racer to reach a switch mechanism at the finish end of the [52] US. com-Se is indicated the winner automatically The racers are individually attached to a plurality of parallelly extending conveyor bands driven by a like pluralit linear array. The random selectio y of pulleys arranged in a n mechanism includes a 273/86 F, 273/138 A A63f 9/l4 273/86 R, 86 B, 86 F, 86 G 501 FieldofSearch.............................. ratchet which is randomly reciprocated both in a direction parallel to the array to position the ratchet adjacent a pulley [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,141,777 12/1938 Watling........................ PATENTED M1831 IBYI 3,602 .508 SHEET 1 BF 4 PATENTEU M1831 I971 SHEET 2 BF 4 PATENTEU AUGSI l97| SHEET 3 [1F 4 I N VENTOR PATENIED AUBSI 1971 SHEET 0F 4 mvsmon fia'akardA.AJam/vmde RACING GAME WITH RANDOMLY ACCELERATEI) DRIVE ELEMENTS This invention relates to amusement devices and more particularly to mechanically operated devices such as racing games containing an automatic mechanism for producing random results. This invention will be described in association with a simulated horseracing game though parts of the device, and particularly the random-selection mechanism, are useful with other types of amusement devices where unpredictable results are desired. A principle object of the invention is an amusement device which simulates racing contests and the like by mechanical means. Another object is to provide a mechanical racing game comprising at least two'racers driven continuously from start to finish, the driving means including a random-selection device. A still further object is a random-selection device capable of randomly advancing the relative position of any one of a plurality of continuously driven racers. These and other objects will become readily apparent in the following description of the invention, appended claims, and the drawings, of which: FIG. 1 is a top plan view; FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view showing the general layout of the racer-advance mechanism, motors, controllers and electrical wiring; FIG. 3 is a complete schematic electrical wiring diagram; FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the racer-advance mechanism including the random-selection mechanism shown without driving motors; FIG. 5 is a sectional view of FIG. 2 taken along the line A A; and FIG. 6 is a sectional view of FIG. 1 taken along the line B B showing the guide rail construction. Referring to FIG. 1, a simulated racing device 9 is shown consisting of eight tracks enclosed by nine guide rails 10 which act as guides to continuous conveyors 11 and racers 12. The continuous conveyors may conveniently be produced from l6-mm. movie film which has equally spaced sprocket holes along opposite edges for engaging sprocket wheels 14 and sprocket drivers 5 to be described later. Referring also to FIGS. 5 and 6, the racers 12 are retained on the conveyors 11 by friction brought about by the light pressure of sponge rubber pads 13 mounted on the underside of each of the racers 12 and resting against the film surface and the overhanging portions of the tracks 10 which project into grooves in opposite sides of the racers 12. Each of the conveyors passes over a sprocket idler wheel 14 located at the starting end of the track at the left end as viewed in FIGS. 1 and 5 and passes between guide rails 10 onto another sprocket idler wheel 14 located at the finish end of the track. The conveyor then passes through the advancing mechanism on the underside of the device as shown in FIG. 5 and back up to the first idle wheel 14 at the starting end of the track. Two lighted indicator modules 15 and 16 are provided adjacent the tracks. Module 15 contains four small light bulbs mounted behind indicating windows numbered 1, 2, 5 and 6 which correspond to the four tracks identically numbered. Module 16 also contains four small light bulbs mounted behind four indicating windows numbered 3, 4, 7 and 8 which correspond to the identically numbered tracks. Module 15 also includes two switches 17 (FIG. 2) on the underside thereof which are operated by depressing the indicating window of module 15. Operation of switches 17 will light bulbs 19 (FIG. 3) and will indicate ON in the window so marked of indicating module 18. Indicating module 18 contains two switches 20 which are operated by depressing the indicating window thereof. Closing of switches 20 will activate indicating lights 21 (FIG. 3), holding coil 22 and gear motors 23 and 24. This mechanism will be described later, but suffice it to say that closing switches 20 will start the forward movement of all eight conveyors, the indicating windows marked RUN on module 18 being lit as the race begins. All of the racers 12 would travel from start to finish at the same consistent rate of speed and would reach the finish line simultaneously if there were only a constant drive mechanism and no random selection mechanism involved in the device. However, sudden incremental advances are imparted to one racer at a time randomly by a random conveyor-advancing mechanism. Both the constant-drive mechanism and the random selection and advancing mechanism will now be described. As previously stated, all of the conveyors 11 are normally advanced at the same constant rate by means of a constantdrive mechanism. This comprises film socket drivers 25 which are press fitted to ratchets 26, both of which are mounted for free rotation on shaft 29. They are rotated simultaneously at a constant speed in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 4 and 5 by means of shaft 29 to which the ratchets 27 are permanently secured. Pawls 28 are pivotally mounted on sprocket drivers 25 and are maintained in engagement with ratchets 27 by springs 31 mounted on sprocket drivers 25 to press pawls 28. The shaft 29 is rotated at a constant relatively slow speed in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 4 and 5 by the driving gear motor 24. It thus may be seen that a consistent forward movement of the conveyors may be maintained by the constant-drive mechanism once the race has started. The random selection and advancing mechanism becomes operative once the constant-drive mechanism is in operation. At the opposite end of shaft 29 from the driving gear motor 24 is mounted gear 33 (FIG. 4) which engages gear 34 of a carriage assembly when this assembly is in its forward position. The forward position is to the right as viewed in FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5. In this position gear 34 drives an endless lead screw 35 having an endless helical thread along its peripheral surface. A following block 36 is slidably mounted on both the lead screw and a stationary guide shaft 38 mounted parallel to the endless lead screw 35. A spring-loaded follower 37 (FIG. 5) keeps the following block 36 in engagement with the helical thread on endless lead screw 35. As the endless lead screw 35 rotates, the following block 36 will traverse back and forth on the endless lead screw while being supported by the stationary guide shaft 38. A ratchet rack 32 is secured to the following block 36 and the forward end thereof slidably engages stationary supporting rail 40 which extends parallel to endless lead screw 35. The ratchet rack 32 is biased upwardly towards operating position by spring 39. The carriage assembly which includes the endless lead screw 35, following block 36 and ratchet rack 32 is slidably supported in slots 43 of the stationary side brackets 44 and 45 and by parallel rods 70 extending rearwardly from the carriage assembly through holes in lugs 71 in the stationary frame member and finally through holes 72 in the rear portion of the frame member itself. The carriage thus may be moved between forward and rearward positions. The carriage is biased towards the forward position by helical springs 54 which extend between lugs 71 and the carriage. Gear motor 23 (FIG. 2) serves to rotate shaft 41 causing cam 42 to rotate. Linkage 46 pivotably secured between the cam 42 and the carriage assembly permits the cam 42 to drive the carriage assembly between its forward and rearward positions. Rearward travel of the carriage assembly causes rack 32 to be drawn rearwardly into engagement with one of the ratchets 26 and to rotate the ratchet a predetermined distance, e.g. one-third revolution, in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 4. By reason of the offset portion near the end of the rack 32 arm, shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the rack is permitted to move slightly in a direction towards ratchets 26 during rearward movement of the carriage assembly so as to be positively engaged with one of the ratchets. Conversely, rack 32 will be raised slightly during forward movement of the carriage assembly to insure a proper disengagement from said one ratchet 26. Since the carriage assembly is moved at a relatively fast rate, the ratchet 26 will be rotated at a substantially faster rate than it is driven by shaft 29. Pawl 28 and spring 31 will permit ratchet 26 to make its incremental higher speed advancement over its normal speed, and at the end of the incremental advancement pawl 28 will again engage ratchet 27 allowing ratchet 26 to continue to turn at the normal rate as determined by the rate of rotation of shaft 29. It thus will be seen that the particular film conveyor driven by the ratchetsprocket assembly which is incrementally advanced by ratchet rack 32 will itself be incrementally advanced a short distance ahead of the remaining conveyors while they are moving forward at the slower rate determined by shaft 29. The ratchet rack 32 will only engage one of the ratchets 26 at a time and will impart the sudden incremental advancement only to the particular conveyor being driven by the ratchet-sprocket assembly affected by the action of rack 32. As the carriage assembly is moved rearwardly by cam 42, gear 34 disengages gear 33 thus stopping rotation of lead screw 35, and consequently the traverse movement of the following block 36. Secured to drive shaft 29 adjacent gear motor 24 is a rubber-tired driving wheel 47 which drives a rubber-tired random-selection wheel 48 mounted on endless lead screw shaft 35. The wheel 48 is mounted to spin freely on shaft 35 by means of a ball bearing center 42 press fitted into position on shaft 35. Three pins 50 are mounted on wheel 48 and extend in an axial direction. The frictional engagement between rubber-tired wheels 47 and 48 while the carriage is in its forward position causes wheel 48 to be turned in a clockwise direction resulting in one of the pins 50 pressing against flat spring 51 bending it rearwardly sufficiently to press against the activating arm of switch 52 closing the switch. The switch 52 is connected to gear motor 23, and upon being closed the gear motor drives cam 42 in a counterclockwise direction which immediately starts the carriage assembly moving rearwardly from its forward position disengaging wheels 47 and 48. As wheel 48 is freed from contact with wheel 47, the pressure of pin 50 against spring 51 is released allowing spring 51 to snap back to its original position and simultaneously causing wheel 48 to be given a free spin in a counterclockwise direction, which spin will continue until it again engages wheel 47 upon the return of the carriage assembly to its forward position. As spring 51 snaps back to its original position, switch 52 is opened shutting off the electrical current to gear motor 23. Gear motor 23, however, continues to rotate through its own momentum causing cam 42 to rotate at least a sufficient distance for switch 53 to be opened through action of cam follower 73. Switch 53 is connected in parallel with switch 52 controlling gear motor 23. It is closed upon application of pressure by cam 42 to cam follower 73, and the circuit remains closed until the switch 53 is opened by the step on cam 42. As indicated above, the gear motor 23 continues to rotate after the circuit to the gear motor is opened by switch 52. The overcarry of the planetary gears of the gear motor coupled with the forward thrust of springs 54 against the carriage assembly will return the carriage assembly to its forward position. When the carriage assembly reaches its forward position again, gears 33 and 34 once again become engaged, lead screw 35 begins to turn and the following block 36 begins to advance therealong. At the same time, wheels 47 and 48 also become engaged and the cycle is ready to repeat itself. It is important to note at this point that wheel 48 continues to spin freely as long as the carriage assembly is not in its forward position. This free spin will cease the instant wheels 47 and 48 engage. However, the distance pin 50 will have to travel to engage spring 51 will vary from one spin to the next, thereby causing the carriage assembly to be activated at varying times after the carriage assembly has been moved to the forward position and wheels 47 and 48 have been engaged. The result is that this Wheel-of-Chance operation of wheel 48 cannot be predicted. Consequently, there is no predetermined pattern of consecutive incremental advancing of the ratchets 26 by rack 32. There can be no predictable time period between the time that the carriage reaches its forward position and the time that it is moved rearwardly. The forward simultaneous continuous movement of all eight conveyors coupled with the occasional random incremental advancements taking place from time to time will eventually cause at least one of the racers to be pushed onto one of the finish platforms 55. Each of the finish platforms is pivotally secured by means of a hinge arrangement 60 to the base frame. The platform rests on the surface of switch 56 which requires pressure on the platform to be operated. Secured to the underside of the forward edge of the platform is a counterweight 57. It is of sufficient weight to permit the operation of switch 56 the instant the added weight of a racer 12 is applied to the top surface of the finishing platform 55. The instant the rear section of one of the racers l2 clears the guide rails 10 and the weight of this racer depresses the platform 55, the switch 56 immediately below the platform will be closed causing contacts 20 to open, contact to holding coil 22 to be opened, and contact to gear motor 24 to be opened. At the same time, the indicating light of the particular switch 56 will light up. Gear motor 24 may be equipped with a conventional magnetic brake (not shown) which will cause the race to come to an immediate stop the instant contact is broken by switch 56. The winner of the race will be determined by the indicating light of the particular switch which has been actuated. Electrical power to operate the indicator lights and gear motors is supplied through power supply 61 which includes a transformer connected to house current. Alternatively, the power supply may consist of a battery. The electrical wiring scheme is shown in FIG. 3. To operate the stimulated racing device, all of the racers are placed on the conveyor belt 11 between guide rails 10 at the starting position at the left end of the race course as viewed in FIG. 1. Indicator module 15 marked ON-OFF is depressed, lighting the ON window of indicator module 118 whereafter the race may be initiated by depressing the RUN window on module 18, thereby closing switches 24). Since the carriage assembly is in its forward position, gear motor 24 will cause all of the racers to move forwardly at the same speed. The random-selection mechanism will immediately thereafter start to advance certain randomly selected conveyors incremental distances ahead of the remaining conveyors. Thus, individual racers 12 will be advanced incremental distances sequentially and randomly as all of the racers move towards the finish line. Some of the racers will be advanced more frequently by these incremental distances clue to the random mechanism than will other racers. The race will continue until at least one of the racers is pushed onto its finishing platform 55. The finishing platforms are numbered in this case 1 to 8 to correspond with the indicator lights on the module 15 and 16. Thus, if finishing platform number 4 is depressed by racer number 4, the light on module 16 will light up the instant switch 56 under platform number 4 is activated. Activation of a switch 56 will also bring the race to a dead stop. The RUN light on module 18 will go out and the light located under either module 15 or 16 corresponding to the finishing platform that was depressed will thereby establish the winning racer. it is possible to determine second and third place winners by removing the winning racer and once again depressing module 18. The RUN light of module 18 will light up and the race will continue until the next racer depresses one of the finishing platforms. Third place is established in the same manner. ln the event there is a tie, two platforms will be depressed simultaneously and two lights will be lit on modules 15 and 16. If each of the switches 56 is extremely fast and sensitive, the chances of a tie would be minimized since two platforms would have to be depressed within microseconds of each other to establish this tie. Alternatively, if the race does not appear to be close, and second and third places in the race are to be established, module 18 may be held down thus preventing switch 20 from being activated by the switch 56 of the winner. In this case, indicator lights on module and 16 will remain lit as the racers depress their respective finish platforms, but the race will not shut off until module 18 is finally released or the racers are lifted off their finishing platforms. It may be readily seen thatthe game apparatus may be manufactured from standard parts. It should be understood, however, that various deviations in mechanical construction and arrangement are possible without departing from the scope of the present invention. It should be further understood that the above-described random-selection mechanism is suitable for use with other devices such as games of chance other than horseracing where an unpredictable, nonuniform random selection is desired. What is claimed is 1. A mechanically driven horseracing game comprising a plurality of parallel tracks, a continuous conveyor band in each of said tracks, a simulated racer member mounted on each of said conveyor bands, driving pulleys about which each of said conveyor bands passes said driving pulleys being disposed generally in a linear array extending substantially transversely of said tracks and conveyor bands, first driving means for simultaneously driving all of said pulleys at a constant speed, and random-selection means for randomly driving sequentially any of said driving pulleys by an incremental distance in advance of the remainder of said pulleys while said first driving means is driving said pulleys, said random-selec tion means comprising a carriage mounted for reciprocation between forward and rearward positions with respect to said driving pulleys along a path substantially transverse tosaid linear array of driving pulleys, second driving means for driving said carriage to the rearward position, means biasing said carriage towards the forward position, said carriage comprising ratchet means for engaging any one of said driving pulleys, means for reciprocating said ratchet means along a path parallel to said linear array of driving pulleys, a random-selection wheel, means for driving said random-selection wheel and means operable by said random-selection wheel for actuating said second driving means to move said carriage rearwardly and engage said ratchet means with one of said driving pulleys whereby said driving pulley is accelerated and the corresponding. simulated racer member is advanced an incremental distance relative to the remainder of said simulated racer members. 2. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 further comprising manually operable electrical switch means to start said first driving means and randomselection means, and switch means operable by any of said simulated racer members to stop said first driving means and said random-selection means. 3. A mechanically driven horse racing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said first driving means comprises a driving shaft upon which each of said driving pulleys is freely rotatably mounted and ratchet means between said driving shaft and each of said pulleys for driving said pulleys with said shaft. 4. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said second driving means comprises a rotatable cam and linkage between said cam and carriage. 5. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means for reciprocating said ratchet means along a path parallel to said linear array of driving pulleys comprises a rotatable lead screw having an endless helical thread thereon, gear means for engaging said first driving means when said carriage is in its forward position for rotating said lead screw and a following block engaging said lead screw and reciprocable therealong, said ratchet means being mounted on said following block. 6. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means for driving said random-selection wheel comprises a rotatable member driven by said first driving means for engaging the periphery of said random selection wheel when said carriage is in said forward position. 7. A mechanically riven horseracing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said random-selection wheel includes at least one axially extending pin and said means operable by said random-selection wheel for actuating said second driving means comprises an electrical switch operable by said pin. 8. A mechanically driven horseracing game as claimed in claim 7 further comprising spring means for engaging said pin on said random-selection wheel and for imparting free rotation to said wheel as said carriage is moved rearwardly.

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    Publication numberPublication dateAssigneeTitle
    US-4299301-ANovember 10, 1981Pierre JaninRandom motion mechanisms