Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oh, patents! New Year’s ball drop

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The countdown has started on some of the meridians to the right of Greenwich Mean Time! Not long 'till celebrations start ushering in the year 2014!
And perhaps that you will be in Times Square, in NYC, a little later to see the New Year’s ball drop! But before you bundle up and go, you might take a quick peek at the New Year’s Ball Drop patent!

The New Year’s ball drop patent, US2005138851, is an invention classified as a celebratory illuminating device. It is preceded by the disco light ball [US4389598], the synchronized confetti sprayer and descending illuminated ball [US 6260989] and the laser light show with holographic image projection [US5090789, although none of the prior art is specifically suited for the purposes of celebrating the New Year.  

There are many aspects to New Year's ball drop invention: the ball drop on a vertical post with an illuminated sign announcing the new year; the tracking mechanism to guide the movement of the ball; the configuration of the lamps required to light up the sign announcing the new year; the ball lights and the timing mechanism for the ball lights; the timing mechanism for the new year flashing lights once the ball has completed its descent, and its connection to real time in view of precisely synchronizing the descent  of the ball with the real time countdown for the new year.

The Abstract for the New Year's Ball drop patent US2005138851 summarizes the invention as follows:
The present invention 10 discloses a New Year's celebrating device having a vertically standing support pole 16 having tracks 18 thereon upon which a movable ball 12 is slidably mounted. The ball 12 also has lights 14 there on. A New Year display sign 20 having lights 22 thereon. In operation, at a predetermined time, the ball 12 begins its descent from atop the pole 16. When the ball 12 reaches its destination at the bottom of the pole 16, the New Year display lights 22 light up and the ball lights 14 flash.
Hurry now, as otherwise you will have to wait another 365 days to celebrate the New Year 's ball drop, synchronistically, in patent style! Happy 2014!

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