The present invention relates to a locator device for a recreational throwing disc such as a golf disc or Frisbee.
The act of throwing discs has been with us in one form or another since the beginning of time. Early man realized the advantages of using flying objects to hunt from a distance in order to avoid injury from an often formidable prey. The appearance of items like the boomerang indicates that early man understood the benefits of a flat spinning weapon. Such an object would travel further than a round object. Moreover, the spinning motion could be exploited by shaping and sharpening the edge to enhance its lethality upon impact.
Since that time, games involving throwing discs have evolved from man's instinctual competitive drive. However, as with any game in which the game pieces are thrown, hit, or otherwise removed from the immediate proximity of the player, the discs often get lost. Consequently, the need has arisen for a device that effectively locates the lost disc without interfering with its aero dynamical properties.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
A locator system for a golf disc or Frisbee is disclosed. The system comprises transmitting means operable for transmitting a locator signal, wherein the transmitting means is physically located on the golf disc or Frisbee, and receiving means operable for receiving the locator signal from the transmitting means. In a second embodiment the system further comprises signal transmission means operable for transmitting a prompting signal to the golf disc or Frisbee, signal receiving means for operable receiving a prompting signal from the signal transmission means, and signal initiation means operable for initiating the locator signal in response to the prompting signal. Both the signal receiving means and the signal initiation means are physically located on the golf disc or Frisbee.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
The terms, “disc”, “throwing disc”, “golf disc” and “Frisbee”, as used interchangeably herein, are intended to denote a flat circular disc that is thrown for recreational purposes.
FIG. 1 illustrates the operation of disc locator in passive mode.
FIG. 2 illustrates the operation of disc locator in active mode.
FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a disc as seen from the top.
FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a disc as seen from the bottom.
FIG. 5 shows a plan view of a disc as seen from the top.
FIG. 6 shows a plan view of a disc as seen from the bottom.
Identification of Numbers used in the drawings
10—disc, throwing disc, golf disc, or Frisbee
12—receiver operable for receiving locator signal
13—barrier between locator signal and receiver
20—transmitter operable for prompting a signal from locator device
30—top surface of disc
40—bottom surface of disc
41—rim of disc, candidate location for locator device or for prompting signal receiver
- DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
42—center of disc, also a candidate location for locator device or for prompting signal receiver
Consider an individual playing disc golf on a standard course. The disc (10) is thrown as part of the game. At times, it will land in an area that is visually obscured from the player as indicated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The barrier (13) responsible for the obscurity may be vegetation, walls, or any other semi-opaque objects situated on the line of sight between the disc (10) and the player. If the disc (10) is equipped with a device location system capable of communicating to the player, then it can be easily found.
The location system can be either passive as shown in FIG. 1 or active as shown in FIG. 2. The locator device is a common component of both. It is affixed or otherwise incorporated into the disc (10), and is configured to emit a signal (11) capable of being detected by a receiver (12). There are only two essential characteristics of the receiver (12); it must be sensitive to the signal (11) emitted by the locator device and it must be communicable with the player or other person searching for the lost disc (10).
The signal (11)/receiver (12) pair could be as simple as a beeper emitting an audio signal (11). Here, the person's ear, or the person's dog's ear, is the receiver (12). Another embodiment could comprise a visual signal (11) such as a blinking light. Here, the person's eye is the receiver (12). A more sophisticated embodiment might involve the emission of an electromagnetic signal (11) subsequently detected by a receiver (12) capable of sensing the signal. Such a system is available from Electronic Identification Systems, www.trovan.com.
A passive system is illustrated in FIG. 1. In passive mode, the locator device emits the locator signal (11) without any prompting. In contrast to this, the location process for an active system as illustrated in FIG. 2, is initiated by a prompting signal (21) emitted by a transmitter (20). The locator device senses the prompting signal (21) and begins emitting its own signal in response. The prompting signal (21) may be electromagnetic in nature while the locator device may emit an electromagnetic, visual or audio signal (11). The only requirement is that the prompting signal (21) must be sensible to the locator device and result in the onset of signal (11) emission. Weight and power requirements for each type of transmit-receive link will serve to dictate the optimum choice for a given system.
In the event that an electromagnetic signal is employed as either the prompting signal (21) or the locator signal (11), one must consider the capabilities and limitations of its frequency content. A low frequency system, for example, emits a divergent signal and has relatively low power requirements. On the other hand, a high frequency system is more apt to penetrate dense barriers such as heavy vegetation. The tradeoff is that power requirements are often significant, thereby dictating heavier and clumsier apparatus. Moreover, high frequency systems are characterized by narrow angular ranges; the locator device and the receiver (12) must be mutually faced. Components for an electromagnetic signal for either system are available from RF-ID.com.
FIG. 3 shows the top surface (30) of a standard disc (10). FIG. 4 illustrates the bottom surface (40) including an optional rimmed edge (41). A candidate spot for the location device is the center of the disc (42) as shown in FIG. 4. Other embodiments of the location device include a ring butted up against the rim (41) also shown in the figure. The basic geometrical requirement of the locator device is that it not interfere with the aero dynamical characteristics of the disc. Because the disk spins about its geometrical center, the configuration of device is constrained to one of azimuthal symmetry. Moreover, it must be light so that the added weight does not significantly interfere with the disc's unadulterated flight characteristics. The locator device could be incorporated into the disc (10) at the time of manufacture.
The above arguments focusing on the location device parallel those for a device sensible to a prompting signal (21) of an active system. One embodiment would be that the location device is configured in the rim (41) while the sensing device for the prompting signal (21) resides at the center (42) of the disc. Another embodiment might have the two configurations reversed while a third would have them both incorporated into the disc at the time of manufacture. Yet another embodiment would have the locator device for the locator signal (11) coincident with the sensing device for the prompting signal (21).
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For instance, the emitting signal (11) can be actuated by the user before the disc is thrown rather than being prompted after the fact or being in a continuous state of emission. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.