Sunday, January 10, 2016

Oh, patents! Caterpillar ancestors….

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

US6247934, granted on June 19, 2001, discloses a Sequence learning toy designed to teach children various sequences such the letters of the alphabet, numbers or colors. In particular, the toy is envisioned as a caterpillar with a plurality of body parts, each corresponding to an item of the learning sequence.

The invention further seeks to foster learning of sequences by providing opportunities for children to associate various symbols with their corresponding voiced sounds, in the process of learning how to read. Thus, the invention further discloses that each of the segmented portions of the toy contains a switch, designed to activate a voice synthesizer, and that another switch, associated with all of the segments of the toy, activates the full sequence of voice synthesized parts.

This means that a small child can depress the switches on the individual body parts of the caterpillar to hear an item of a sequence (for example to hear the letter of the alphabet appearing on the body part), and alternatively, depress the switch activating the whole sequence of synthesizer-equipped body parts to hear the whole sequence of voice synthesized symbols appearing on the body parts (i.e.; the whole alphabet sequence of letters).

Considering the 2001 prior art of learning sequence toys, such as puzzles and blocks -- without electronic components such as printed circuit boards, voice synthesizers and microprocessors, the inventive step taken in this invention resided in associating synthesized sound to the sequenced items for learning.

Below appears the abstract for US6247934 titled Learning sequence toy, and one of the patent drawings corresponding to this invention. 
An educational toy for teaching a child a sequence of letters, numbers, colors or other sequences. The toy would be provided with a plurality of segmented body portions, each of the body portions associated with a single indicia. A switch is provided on each of the segmented body portions. When this switch is depressed, an audio output associated with the indicia would be produced. After the child has memorized a series of indicia to produce a learned sequence, a switch associated with a segmented body portion having demarcation indicia would be depressed, allowing the entire sequence to be vocalized in order. [Abstract US6247934]

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