Related Matter

ADDENDA

REMOTE CONTROLLER

A simple and easy to use remote controller is prototyped for alternate controlling an arbitrary number of trains on the track. User has just to point on a selected train and press one of three buttons:

GREEN “go forward” or “speed up” (if pressed continuously)
RED “slow down” or “stop” (if pressed continuously)
R (reverse) “go backward” or “change status” (for switches)

The same RC may be used for controlling trains, switches, semaphores, lights etc.

Several RCs may be used simultaneously by several users for multi-user game.

You may adjust safe traffic, or, on the contrary, provoke accidents. It’s up to you! The game is yours.

 

SEMAPHORES, LIGHTS & RAIL SWITCHES

For traffic control a set of semaphores, lights and switches may be used. All the prototyped devices may be controlled in both ways: manually and remotely (by the same RC).

Moreover their work may be programmed and reprogrammed. Any switching device remembers its state when it is passed by a train led by user (either manually or remotely). Next time when the same train approaches the device it switches to a position previously set by the user.

WHAT IS BRAIN TRAIN?

Brain Train is a series of interactive toy trains and railways. User may control trains as well as railway switches and semaphores either by hand or by remote controller. While manipulating or remotely controlling a train user programs its speed, rout and motion patterns.

 

Small children always grasp moving toys with their hands. Sense of touch is of greatest importance for infants and kids. An unperformed need exists for a variety of self-propelled interactive toys guided by hands in such a manner that a toy percepts and distinguishes between grasp, touch and even non-contacting manipulations (hand passes). Toy’s movements and behavior should be dependent on type and intend of a manipulation. Ideally, a toy should “understand” not an abstract sign but a purport of the manipulation applied to it as if it proceeded hand’s move.

 

Premise:

  • If you’ve taken a toy vehicle with your hand then (most probably) you want the vehicle to do something or stop doing something or change doing something.
  • If a toy vehicle is put with its wheels on a surface and pushed by your hand then (most probably) you want it to roll forward.
  • If you put your hand across the way of the moving toy vehicle then (most probably) you want to stop it.

Proposition:

What is desired is a toy vehicle that can recognize manipulations applied to it (i.e. if it is taken by hand, pushed, pulled, thrown etc.). And we want the vehicle to repeat or keep on the same or similar movement as it did while being led by user’s hand. User manipulates the vehicle as if he/she explains: “That is what I want you to do”. When user releases the vehicle that means: “And now do yourself what we did together before”.

Way:

Vehicle’s sensors perceive user’s manipulations and related motions of the vehicle’s parts.

Processor correlates manipulations with simultaneous vehicle’s movements, interprets it and converts to simple commands to vehicle’s actuators. Actuators perform the desired movement.

Example:

  • User takes the vehicle (and it understands: “I’m taken by user’s hand”)
  • User puts the vehicle on the floor and pushes it forward (and it understands: “My wheels are on the surface and I’m being pushed forward”).
  • User releases the vehicle (and it understands: “My master wants me to go forward”).
  • User doesn’t touch the vehicle anymore (and it understands: “Now I should go forward myself”).
  • The vehicle switches its motor on and goes forward until the next touch.
  • No next touch comes on time (and the vehicle understands: “They do not want me to move anymore”).
  • The vehicle switches the motor off and waits.

 

While a child is playing trains on the floor (carpet) his father may participate in the game sitting on a sofa. For that reason a remote controller and a set of switching devices like semaphores, traffic lights and rail switches is developed. Any device is controlled by the same controller as used for controlling trains. User has just point on a selected train or another device and press one of three buttons on the RC.

 

Motion pattern is being created while a vehicle is led by user. If user leads the vehicle more or less evenly and then gently releases it, then in auto-mode the vehicle will go as well evenly, with the same speed and in the same direction. On the contrary, if during programming user alternates speed, acceleration and direction of the vehicle’s motion with some regularity fixed by vehicle’s processor, then in auto-mode the vehicle will reproduce this regularity as a motion pattern.

Motion rout programming may be based on detection of the track tags, joints of the track segments or different coloring of different segments. Most intuitively obvious rout programming may be done by repetitive conduction of the programmed vehicle along the same loop which is defined by track junctions. Programming of motion pattern and rout may be combined (made at the same time).

In some embodiments railway engines remotely detect each other and cars. By default both of them start speeding down as soon as they detect each other. At the same time user, on the contrary, strongly pushes both of them to knock them together. After some repetitions both vehicles turn into “battle machines”.

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