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Balance platform method and apparatus

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Title: Balance platform method and apparatus.
Abstract: One embodiment of the present invention comprises a balance platform apparatus, including, a balance platform having upper and lower surfaces, and a freely rotatable ball member. The lower surface of the balance platform includes a rim member which projects in a generally perpendicular direction away from the platform and which encircles an area of the lower surface of the platform. In use, the balance platform is placed upon the ball member, and the user tries to balance platform upon the ball member. During the balancing activity, the rim member tends to confine movement of the ball member to within the area encircled by the rim member. In another embodiment of the invention, the ball member is rotatably supported in a cradle member. ...


- East Brunswick, NJ, US
Inventor: Zachary Michael Cantor
USPTO Applicaton #: #20060211553 - Class: 482146000 (USPTO) - 09/21/06 - Class 482 


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Related Patent Categories: Exercise Devices, Support For Entire Body Of User (e.g., Bench, Slant Board, Etc.), Swivelled Foot Platform
The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20060211553, Balance platform method and apparatus.





CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This nonprovisional U.S. patent application claims priority of U.S. Ser. No. 60/662,564, filed Mar. 16, 2005, entitled "Balance Platform Method and Apparatus". The entire disclosure of this patent application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates in general to a balancing device, as well as a method of use for amusement, recreation and/or exercise. The particular invention relates to the balancing device itself, which enables a wide variety of manipulations and feats to be performed, in a free style manner, by a user while standing, sitting or otherwise positioned upon it and maintaining ones balance.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Balancing platforms may be utilized for recreational purposes; teaching people balancing, proper edging and banking techniques; and/or body weight equilibrium techniques relating to many sports activities. Many competitive athletes, particularly surfers, snowboarders and skateboarders, utilize balancing platforms to improve their balancing, edging, banking and/or steering anticipation skills. These board sports require that participants dedicate many hours of practice to improve the athlete's balancing skills. Therefore, balancing platforms are in public demand because they allow a person to improve balance, are enjoyable to use and may be sufficiently small for home use and accessibility.

[0006] Balancing platform devices of various types and kinds have been known in the art. Typically, such devices include a roller serving as a fulcrum, and a foot engageable balance board resting on top of the roller. However, substantially all such prior known roller board devices, typically employed for amusement and/or exercise, are limited in their use and movement. They are primarily used for rolling or balancing, and their movement is limited to sideways rolling of the board relative to the roller, and/or a teeter-totter rocking motion. Therefore, these devices are somewhat limited in their use by virtue of their design. It would be highly desirable to have a balancing device which would allow much more freedom of movement, and thereby provide greater amusement and/or exercise and/or training value.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

[0007] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a balancing platform that is enjoyable to utilize.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is to provide a balancing platform that is inexpensive to manufacturer.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a balancing platform that can be utilized indoors or outdoors.

[0010] Another object of the present invention is to provide a balancing platform that can assist in improving a person's balancing, turning, banking, edging and other athletic skills.

[0011] Another object of the present invention is to provide a balancing platform that is useful to perform a wide variety of movement and manipulations so as to achieve many different free-style feats for amusement, recreation, training and/or exercise.

[0012] Another object of the present invention is to provide a balancing platform that freely allows, without any readjustment or manipulation, rocking, rolling and rotating movements, including 360 degree rotations.

[0013] Briefly, one embodiment of the present invention comprises a balance platform apparatus, including, a balance platform having upper and lower surfaces, and a freely rotatable ball member. The lower surface of the balance platform includes a rim member which projects in a generally perpendicular direction away from the platform and which encircles an area of the lower surface of the platform, which rim member tends to confine movement of the ball member to within the area encircled by the rim member during a balancing activity by a user positioned upon the balance platform.

[0014] Another embodiment of a balance platform apparatus in accordance with the present invention comprises, a balance platform having upper and lower surfaces, a rotatable ball member, and a cradle member positioned on a support surface. The cradle member supports the ball member at a fixed location thereon. The cradle member including means for supporting the ball member thereon so as to allow the ball member to rotate with respect to the cradle member during a balancing activity by a user positioned upon the balance platform while the balance platform is position upon the ball member.

[0015] An advantage of the present invention is that it provides a balancing platform which is enjoyable to utilize.

[0016] Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides a balancing platform which is inexpensive to manufacturer.

[0017] Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides a balancing platform which can be utilized indoors or outdoors.

[0018] Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides a balancing platform which can assist an athlete in improving the athlete's balancing, turning, banking, edging and other athletic skills.

[0019] These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will no doubt become obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art after having read the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments that are illustrated in the various drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and constitute part of this specification, illustrate embodiments and details of the invention, and, together with the general description given above and the detailed description given below, serve to explain the features of the invention.

[0021] FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a balancing board of the present invention shown ready for use by a participant, the balance platform apparatus including a stiff platform/board which is balanced by the user thereof upon a freely moving ball;

[0022] FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a balancing board of the present invention which is similar to FIG. 1, and further includes a rim member which encircles an area of the lower surface of the balancing board;

[0023] FIG. 3 illustrates the ball member of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0024] FIG. 4 illustrates the balance platform of FIG. 2 used with a ball member mounted in a cradle member; and

[0025] FIG. 5 illustrates details of the cradle member of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] As shown in FIG. 1, the balance platform apparatus of the invention includes a stiff platform/board 2 which is balanced by a user thereof upon a freely moving ball 4 placed on a support surface 6 such as a floor inside a house or building or the ground outside. Such apparatus is particularly useful for development of muscular coordination, balance and amusement; namely for practicing the motions of surfing. The platform/board is large enough for a person to stand on an upper surface 5 of the platform/board 2 with both feet. In the illustrated embodiments, as shown in FIG. 1, the platform/board 2 is approximately 48'' in length, 18'' in width, and 5'' thick and generally shaped like a surfboard, but other sizes and shapes are equally possible.

[0027] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, platform/board 2 is made of wood and fiberglass with a soft and squishy rubber bottom surface 3 so as to provide a good surface friction with the ball. It is noted that other materials can be used for the construction of the platform 2 and its friction enhanced bottom 3. A friction enhanced upper surface 5 may also be provided.

[0028] In one embodiment of the invention, in order to introduce variability in the balance platform apparatus, the size, weight, and/or density of the ball 4 can be adjusted, for example by configuring the ball 4 so that it comes apart (such as by being unscrewed, so that two halves, as illustrated in FIG. 3 by the separation line 8, can be separated). After separation of ball 4 into two halves, a small spherical weight (one of a variety of balls varying in density, e.g., 4 kg, 6 kg, 8 kg) can be placed securely within the middle of the balance ball 4 for achieving a variance of resistance, density, and/or weight of the ball 4. Alternatively, the platform can be sold with a variety of different balls, or in another embodiment of the invention some other technique can be used to provide a single ball that has a technique that allows its size/weight/density to be varied.

[0029] In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, the bottom 3 of platform 2 preferably has a circumferentially applied rim 10 (as shown by the bold border about platform 2 in FIG. 2) which projects downwardly, i.e., toward surface 6, so as to proved a safety barrier mounted thereon which will tend to limit free movement between the ball 4 and platform 2, in an attempt to provide a safety stop before the platform rolls off of ball 4. For example, rim 10 can be mounted to the bottom surface 3 of platform 2 along the outer edge thereof. Alternatively, less than the full area of surface 3 can be bounded by rim 10.

[0030] In a "kit" form of the present invention, the platform 2 could come with various sizes of rims 10, various sizes of platforms 2, as well as plurality of balls 4 each having a different resistance, density, and/or weight characteristic.

[0031] In a further embodiment of the invention, the rim 10 is provided so it can be easily removed from platform 2, for example by unscrewing four screws 12 equally spaced about the length of rim 10 (only the position 12 of one such screw being shown in FIG. 2), or alternatively, the rim 10 can be permanently secured to the bottom 3 of the platform 2. In use, the balance ball 4, which can be of any desired weight and density, is placed under the platform/board 2, as shown in FIG. 2, so that the platform/board is able to move freely upon the ball.

[0032] In still a further embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the ball 4 can be held in a cradle 14 in a manner so that it contacts a plurality of ball-bearings 16 mounted in cradle 14, which ball bearings 16 allow the ball 4 to rotate freely with respect to the bottom surface 3 of platform 2 as it would as if it were rolling about on the floor 6 (as shown and described in the above-noted embodiments), however, ball 4 is now constrained by the cradle 14 so as to not move with respect to the support/floor 6. It is noted that in a further alternative embodiment, the cradle 14 could have something which would provide a similar function to the ball bearings 16.

[0033] In accordance with a further aspect of this embodiment of the invention, the cradle 14 can have a knob 16 which can be used adjust the resistance exerted on the ball, so that the ball can move at different speeds within the cradle; hence, providing adjustment and variation in levels of difficulty. Means for adjusting the sliding friction of bail bearings is known by those of ordinary skill in this technology. The arrangement of FIG. 4 will provide the same effects and benefits as is provided by the previously mentioned embodiments.

[0034] In use in any of the above-described embodiments, the platform/board of the invention can be spun and rocked in all directions as the ball moves about underneath the platform/board while a user balances upon it. The user can be in a prone, sitting, kneeling or standing position during use. As the user gets better at using the device, a safety rim allowing a greater amount of movement can be used, the safety rim can be completely removed and/or the adjustment knob 18 can be adjusted, so as to provide various levels of skill and enjoyment for the user.

[0035] Although the present invention has been described in terms of the presently preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that such disclosure is not to be interpreted as limiting. Various alternations and modifications will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art after reading the above disclosure. Accordingly, it is intended that the appended claims (as well as equivalents thereof) be interpreted as covering all alterations and modifications that fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20060211553 A1
Publish Date
09/21/2006
Document #
File Date
08/22/2014
USPTO Class
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
/
Drawings
0



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