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Patent Analysis of

BOWLING MOBILITY AID

Updated Time 15 March 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

WO2009000026A1

Application Number

PCT/AU2008/000915

Application Date

23 June 2008

Publication Date

31 December 2008

Current Assignee

DUNCAN, DAN

Original Assignee (Applicant)

DUNCAN, DAN

International Classification

A63D5/00,A63B47/00,A63B65/12

Cooperative Classification

A63D5/00,A61H3/04,A63B47/002,A63B2225/09,A61H2003/0222

Inventor

DUNCAN, DAN

Abstract

A mobility aid comprising a ball retaining portion, said ball retaining portion adapted to retain a ball at least temporarily during a user's delivery action, at least one release mechanism associated with the ball retaining portion, the at least one release mechanism adapted to allow the user to release the ball from the ball retaining portion and support means adapted to provide the user with a smooth delivery action, and wherein the application of pressure to the support means serves to actuate the release mechanism.

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Claims

Claims.

1. A mobility aid comprising; a ball retaining portion, said ball retaining portion adapted to retain a ball at least temporarily during a user's delivery action; at least one release mechanism associated with the ball retaining portion, the at least one release mechanism adapted to allow the user to release the ball from the ball retaining portion; and support means adapted to provide the user with a smooth delivery action, and wherein the application of pressure to the support means serves to actuate the release mechanism.

2. A mobility aid according to claim 1 wherein the ball retaining portion is adapted to clamp a ball between a pair of opposed members.

3. A mobility aid according to claim 2 wherein a first of said pair of opposed members is fixed while a second of said pair of opposed members is adapted to be pivotable.

4. A mobility aid according to any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein the ball retaining portion may be adapted to retain balls of a plurality of sizes.

5. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the ball retaining portion is further adapted to prevent unwanted lateral movement of a ball retained within the ball retaining portion.

6. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the release mechanism is biased to retain the ball in the ball retaining portion until actuated.

7. A mobility aid according to claim 6 wherein the biased mechanism is a spring- loaded mechanism.

8. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the mobility aid further comprises at least one ground bearing member adapted to remain in contact with the ground during use.

9. A mobility aid according to claim 8 wherein the at least one ground bearing member includes one or more wheels.

10. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the support means is located at such a height that a user is able to hold the support means with the ball retaining portion adjacent ground level, without bending or kneeling.

11. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the support means is a handle.

12. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein at least the support means and the ball retaining portion are interconnected by an elongate body member.

13. A mobility aid according to claim 12 wherein the length of the body member is adjustable.

14. A mobility aid according to claim 12 or claim 13 wherein one or more heel members are pivotally connected to the body member. 15. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the application of pressure to the support means in a downward direction results in the release of a ball from the ball retaining portion.

16. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the support means comprises one or more actuators adapted to facilitate the insertion and/or release of a ball from the ball retaining portion.

17. A mobility aid according to claim 3 wherein the at least one release mechanism includes at least one ground bearing member mounted for contact with the ground, at least one first arm member pivotally associated with the fixed opposed member and the at least one ground bearing member and at least one second arm member associated with the pivotable opposed member such that application of pressure to the support means in a downward direction results the fixed opposed member moving towards the ground and the contemporaneous movement of the pivotable opposed member upward to release of a ball from between the opposed members.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A mobility aid comprising
    • a ball retaining portion, said ball retaining portion adapted to retain a ball at least temporarily during a user's delivery action
    • at least one release mechanism associated with the ball retaining portion, the at least one release mechanism adapted to allow the user to release the ball from the ball retaining portion
    • and support means adapted to provide the user with a smooth delivery action, and wherein the application of pressure to the support means serves to actuate the release mechanism.
    • 2. A mobility aid according to claim 1 wherein
      • the ball retaining portion is adapted to clamp a ball between a pair of opposed members.
    • 4. A mobility aid according to any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein
      • the ball retaining portion may be adapted to retain balls of a plurality of sizes.
    • 5. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the ball retaining portion is further adapted to prevent unwanted lateral movement of a ball retained within the ball retaining portion.
    • 6. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the release mechanism is biased to retain the ball in the ball retaining portion until actuated.
    • 8. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the mobility aid further comprises
    • 10. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the support means is located at such a height that a user is able to hold the support means with the ball retaining portion adjacent ground level, without bending or kneeling.
    • 11. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the support means is a handle.
    • 12. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • at least the support means and the ball retaining portion are interconnected by an elongate body member.
    • 15. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the application of pressure to the support means in a downward direction results in the release of a ball from the ball retaining portion.
    • 16. A mobility aid according to any one of the preceding claims wherein
      • the support means comprises
See all 1 independent claims

Description

Bowling Mobility Aid

Field of the Invention.

The present invention relates to a mobility aid. More specifically, the present invention relates to a device for assisting players of various sports with restricted mobility.

Background Art.

When playing sports such as lawn bowls, ten pin bowling or blind cricket, a player will generally deliver their ball from as close to the ground as possible in order to prevent the ball from bouncing and to gain as much control over the trajectory of the ball as possible. Typically, a player achieves this by kneeling, crouching, squatting or bending as they release the ball.

If a player is carrying an injury, or their movement is restricted for any other reason, however, adopting the necessary position may be painful and/or difficult. As a result, a player may not be able to play as competitively or as often as they had previously been able. In some circumstances, such as where the restriction to a player's mobility is long-term or permanent, the player may even be forced to give up playing completely.

Thus, there is an advantage to provide a device that will allow a player with restricted mobility to deliver a ball from as close to the ground as possible without requiring that player to bend and possibly fall or injure themselves.

It will be clearly understood that, if a prior art publication is referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms part of the common general knowledge in the art in Australia or in any other country.

Object of the Invention. It is an object of the present invention to provide a bowling aid which may overcome at least some of the abovementioned disadvantages, or provide a useful or commercial choice. In one form, the invention resides in a mobility aid comprising; a ball retaining portion, said ball retaining portion adapted to retain a ball at least temporarily during a user's delivery action; at least one release mechanism associated with the ball retaining portion, the at least one release mechanism adapted to allow the user to release the ball from the ball retaining portion; and support means adapted to provide the user with a smooth delivery action, and wherein the application of pressure by the user during the user's delivery action serves to actuate the release mechanism.

In use, a ball is inserted into the ball retaining portion and retained in place. The user may hold the mobility aid by the support means, with the lower end of the mobility aid in contact with the ground, then the user may begin their delivery action. At a point during the delivery action, the user may apply pressure to at least one release mechanism in order to actuate the release mechanism and release the ball from the mobility aid in the direction and at the speed desired. The mobility aid of the present invention may be used to effectively bowl a ball from a point close to the ground without the user needing to crouch, bend or kneel, meaning that players with restricted mobility may still play sport at a standard similar to that at which they previously played. It also allows the user to release the ball whilst remaining supported with their weight spread between their legs and the device.

The ball retaining portion of the mobility aid may comprise any suitable form for retaining a ball. Preferably, however, the ball retaining portion is shaped so as to accommodate a variety of sizes of balls. One or more attachment members may be used as desired by the user to adjust the size of the ball in relation to which the device is used. The physical configuration of the means for retaining the ball in the ball retaining portion is not of particular importance, although it is preferred that the ball is retained by mechanical means, such as, but not limited to, clamping the ball in place. In some embodiments of the invention, the ball retaining portion may be provided with means for preventing unwanted movement of the ball while it is retained in the ball retaining portion. While the exact nature of the means for preventing unwanted movement of the ball is not important, in some embodiments of the invention the means for preventing unwanted movement may comprise a barrier, wall or the like located at least one side of the ball retaining portion to prevent unwanted lateral movement of the ball.

In those embodiments of the invention in which the ball is clamped in place within the ball retaining portion, the ball may be clamped using any suitable method. Li a preferred embodiment of the invention, the ball may clamped by a pair of opposed members. In a further preferred embodiment of the invention, the first of the pair of opposed members may be fixed, while the second of the pair of opposed members may be capable of pivoting. In some embodiments of the invention the pivotable clamping member may comprise an arm member. Preferably, the arm member may be curved so as to effectively clamp against the curved surface of a ball.

The clamping members are preferably provided one above the other but the clamping members may be provided in any direction. Preferably, the fixed clamping member will be a lower clamping member and the pivoting member an upper member, as providing a moving lower member may allow the ball to deviate as the member moves to release the ball, whereas a fixed lower member may better act to guide the ball particularly when provided in combination with a lateral barrier means for preventing unwanted movement. It is also recognized that there may be more than one pivoting clamping member provided.

The ball retaining portion of the mobility aid may be associated with at least one release mechanism. Upon actuation of the at least one release mechanism, the ball retained in the ball retaining portion may be released. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, as well as releasing the ball from the ball retaining section, the release mechanism may also, on actuation, be adapted to allow the user to insert a ball into the ball retaining portion of the mobility aid. More preferably, the release mechanism allows a ball to be inserted into the ball retaining portion while the ball is on the ground, and without the need for the user to handle the ball.

The release mechanism may comprise any suitable form adapted to release the ball from the ball retaining portion. Ih embodiments of the invention in which a ball is retained in the ball retaining portion by clamping, the release mechanism may be adapted to cause the clamping members to open, thus releasing the ball. In embodiments of the invention in which one clamping member is pivotable, actuation of the release mechanism may cause the pivotable clamping member to pivot, thereby releasing a ball from the ball retaining portion.

In some embodiments of the invention, the release mechanism may comprise a biased mechanism, such as a spring-loaded mechanism. The biased mechanism may be associated with the ball retaining portion such that actuation of the biased mechanism may cause a pivotable clamping member to pivot. The biased mechanism may be directly connected to the ball retaining portion such that extension or compression of a biasing means (e.g. a spring) directly acts upon the pivotable clamping member, thus causing the release of a ball from the ball retaining portion. Typically, the ball retaining portion is biased into the closed or clamped condition.

Preferably, a lower end of the mobility aid may remain in contact with the ground throughout the user's delivery action. In order to achieve this, the release mechanism may further comprise means adapted to remain in contact with the ground and enable the user to achieve a smooth delivery action. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the means may comprise one or more wheels. The one or more wheels remain in contact with the ground as the user moves the mobility aid through their delivery action, enabling the user to achieve a smooth, controlled, consistent delivery action in which the ball is released as close to the ground as possible.

Typically, the wheels or other mechanism will be provided on the side of the device which is closest to the user when the device is used properly. In this way as the user guides the device away from the user, the wheels located on the side of the user can remain in contact with the user as the rest of the device may be lifted away from the ground.

The support means of the present invention may comprise any suitable means for allowing the user to control the action of the mobility aid. In some embodiments of the invention, the support means may comprise a handle. So that the user does not have to bend or kneel when using the mobility aid, it is preferred that the support means is located at such a height that the user may hold the support means without bending or kneeling. Thus, in some embodiments of the invention, the bowling aid may further comprise a body member at least interconnecting the ball retaining portion and the release mechanism adjacent the ground with the support means at a suitable height for manual operation. The body member may comprise any suitable form, however it is preferred that the body member comprises an elongate shaft. In some embodiments of the invention, the length of the body member maybe adjustable to accommodate users of different height. The body member may also comprise further features for improving the stability or comfort of the bowling aid. These features may comprise any suitable features such as, but not limited to, padding or an arm brace, such as for a user's upper arm.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the actuation of the release mechanism may be achieved manually by the user by the application of pressure to the support means. In some embodiments of the invention, the support means may comprise one actuator which functions to facilitate the insertion and release of a ball from the ball retaining portion, hi other embodiments of the invention, the support means may comprise more than one actuator. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the support means comprises one actuator for facilitating the insertion of a ball into the ball retaining portion and a second actuator for releasing the ball from the ball retaining portion. In those embodiments of the invention in which the release mechanism comprises more than one actuator, the actuators may be of the same or different construction.

hi a preferred embodiment of the invention, the mobility aid may be provided with a first actuator in the form of a lever for facilitating the insertion of a ball into the ball retaining portion. The lever may be connected to the ball retaining portion by any suitable means. However, it is preferred that the lever may be connected directly to a pivotable clamping member via a connection rod or flexible connection member for example wire or similar. Thus, actuation of the lever causes the pivotable clamping member to open. A user may then position the mobility aid in such a way that a ball is aligned with the ball retaining portion. Once this is done, the lever may be released allowing the pivotable clamping member to close and retain the ball in the ball retaining portion.

In some further embodiments of the invention, the actuator for releasing a ball from the ball retaining portion of the mobility aid may comprise the handle. Ih order to actuate the release of a ball from the ball retaining portion, the user may apply pressure to the handle to force the device toward the ground surface. Preferably, the user may apply downward pressure to the handle. This downward pressure on the handle may be transferred through the elongate body member of the mobility aid to the spring-loaded ball release mechanism, thus causing the pivotable clamping member to open in an upward direction and release the ball. It is preferred that the user may apply the downward pressure to the handle at an appropriate point of the delivery action in order to impart the desired speed and trajectory to the ball.

In a particularly preferred form, the invention includes an elongate main body member with a handle provided towards an upper end such that the user can hold and lift the device using the handle. At a lower end of the device is a ball retaining means including a pair of opposed clamping members, a lower fixed member and a pivoting upper member, which are biased into the closed condition. The ball retaining means extends forwardly of the device as does the handle. There is also preferably a heel member provided which is pivotally connected to the main body member such that it can move upwardly and downwardly. At the rearmost portion of the heel members, one or more wheels are provided. The heel member is connected to a connection member which is also connected at an opposed end, to the upper pivoting member of the ball retaining means and has a central pivot. The heel member is biased such that the wheels at the rear are biased downwardly.

Movement of the device towards the ground surface forces the heel to move upwardly which in turn forces the upper pivoting member of the ball retaining means to move upwardly and release the ball.

Brief Description of the Drawings.

An embodiment of the invention will be described with reference to the following drawings in which:.

Figure 1 illustrates a view of a mobility aid according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Best Mode.

With reference to Figure 1 of the drawings there is shown a mobility aid 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The mobility aid 10 comprises a ball retaining portion 11 comprising a fixed clamping member 12 and a pivotable clamping member 13. Both of the fixed clamping member 12 and the pivotable clamping member 13 are curved in order to effectively clamp against the curved surface of a ball (not shown) when the mobility aid 10 is in use.

The first fixed clamping member 12 further comprises a side wall 14 to prevent the ball from any unwanted lateral movement while it is held in the ball retaining portion 11.

The ball retaining portion 11 is associated with a release mechanism 15. The release mechanism of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in Figure 1 comprises a pair of wheels 16 which remain in contact with the ground during use. The release mechanism further comprises a first spring-loaded member 17 and a second spring- loaded member 18 which serves to interconnect the release mechanism 15 with the pivotable clamping member 13. Upon actuation of the release mechanism 15, the second spring-loaded member 18 acts directly on the pivotable clamping member 13, forcing the pivotable clamping member 13 to move upwards. This opens the ball retaining portion 11 and allows a ball (not shown) to be released from the mobility aid

10.

The mobility aid 10 has an elongated shaft 19 interconnecting the parts of the mobility aid adjacent to the ground with the support means 20. The support means 20 comprises a handle 21 which the user grips during use. The support means 20 of the embodiment of the invention illustrated further comprises a lever 22 connected to the second spring-loaded member 18 by a connecting rod 23. When a user pulls the lever 22 upwards, the connecting rod 23 forces the pivotable clamping member 13 to overcome the bias of spring 25 and move upwards, thereby opening the ball retention portion 11. When the ball retention portion 11 is in the open position, the mobility aid may be positioned over a ball (not shown). Releasing the lever 22 will cause the pivotable clamping member 13 to close, thereby clamping a ball (not shown) within the ball retaining portion 11.

To release a ball (not shown) from the ball retaining portion 11 when the mobility aid 10 is in use, the user is required to apply pressure in a downward direction on the handle 21. This has the effect of forcing the first and second spring-loaded members 17, 18 to move upwards, thus also causing the upwards movement of the pivotable clamping member 13 and releasing the ball (not shown).

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in Figure 1, the mobility aid 10 comprises an upper arm brace 24 connected to the elongated body member 19 at a point above the support means 20. This upper arm brace 24 serves to provide the user with additional support when holding the mobility aid 10 and may also provide extra control during the delivery action.

The mobility aid 10 may be constructed from any suitable materials, such as, but not limited to metal, plastic, fiberglass, or any combination thereof.

According to an alternative description, the invention includes an elongate main body member with a handle provided towards an upper end such that the user can hold and lift the device using the handle. At a lower end of the device is a ball retaining means including a pair of opposed clamping members, a lower fixed member and a pivoting upper member, which are biased into the closed condition. The ball retaining means extends forwardly of the device as does the handle. There is also preferably one or more heel members provided which are pivotally connected to the main body member such that it can move upwardly and downwardly. At the rearmost portion of the one or more heel members, one or more wheels are provided. The one or more heel members are connected to a connection member which is also connected at an opposed end, to the upper pivoting member of the ball retaining means and has a central pivot. The one or more heel members are biased such that the wheels at the rear are biased downwardly.

Movement of the device towards the ground surface forces the heel to move upwardly which in turn forces the upper pivoting member of the ball retaining means to move upwardly and release the ball.

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Citation

Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Bowling ball rotating and projecting apparatus ROTOBOWLING CORPORATION 12 March 1940 25 November 1941
Shuffle bowl bowling aid CAMINITI; ANTHONY D. 01 October 1990 21 December 1993
Ball handling implement INGEBO ALVIN C 15 July 1963 11 January 1966
Device for assisting in playing the game of bowls or the like WILLIAM MURPHY 08 July 1986 28 January 1987
Bowling apparatus STUART * MCEWEN 04 May 1983 30 November 1983
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Ten pin bowling method and apparatus BUCKLEY, DAVID LEONARD,PATON, ALLAN 10 December 2010 01 April 2014
TEN PIN BOWLING METHOD AND APPARATUS BUCKLEY, DAVID LEONARD,PATON, ALLAN 10 December 2010 16 June 2011
System and method for cooling and/or heating aircraft devices AIRBUS OPERATIONS GMBH 28 March 2012 19 April 2016
STAMPELLA A ROTELLE LAPI ENRICO 20 July 2009 21 January 2011
Adaptor for attaching tools to the lower end of a crutch KEITH BARNES-NEWTON 27 October 2010 02 May 2012
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