Hunting through patents

As Yury suggested last week, I dug around looking for things that relate to my project. I think I still need to get the hang of how to effectively search, but I did find some useful stuff.

There are a lot of toy balls (especially for pets) that produce sound by pushing air or liquid through a tight space: Effectively a squeaker. Not exactly what I want to do for my project, but it is worth remembering that people have been making balls that make sound for a while.

A slightly more useful one in this category was this patent that I immediately recognized form my childhood. This was used by Nerf to make foam footballs with a whistle on them. It didn’t change the use of the ball at all, but having a sound made the ball more fun, especially since the sound would be more intense with a faster throw. Still not making music, but definitely exploring play and sound generation.

This interesting device is a ball that acts like a rainstick. It has an inner ball that creates a space between that inner sphere and the outer sphere that is filled with little particles that move over bumps on the inner balls surface as the ball move around. This was made for sue with young children and claims that the sound has a generally soothing effect.

Getting closer to my project, this is a ball with a sensor to detect impact on it that makes a sound using a built in speaker when it is hit. This project was designed for use in sports and is not terribly clear about what kind of sound is made.

This ball seems interesting, but I don’t know if it is really doing as much as the patent description would have you guess at first. Essentially, it’s a wooden flute-like object inside a ball that can be squeezed to send air through the flute. It was designed as a music/sound maker, though, which is definitely closer to what I’m doing.

I’ll keep hunting, but this was largely good just for reminding me about the other more utilitarian reasons for having balls make sound (such as sports or pets), and the old school methods of doing so (such as mounting a bell inside).