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United States Patent Application 20170232354
Kind Code A1
Arboleda; Edwin N. August 17, 2017

Play Mat System

Abstract

A play mat system to which various objects may be removably mounted over a display. The play mat system generally includes a housing having a transparent upper surface or upper cover. A display is either integrated with the housing or provided by an electronic device such as a tablet computer which may be removably connected to the lower surface of the housing via one or more receiver brackets. The housing may include a plurality of projections extending from its upper surface or upper cover to which various objects such as toys or building blocks may be removably mounted. Multiple housings may be interconnected via links such that they function as a singular display unit.


Inventors: Arboleda; Edwin N.; (Glen Head, NY)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Arboleda; Edwin N.

Glen Head

NY

US
Family ID: 1000002635667
Appl. No.: 15/498702
Filed: April 27, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
15074138Mar 18, 2016
15498702
62135388Mar 19, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63H 33/003 20130101; A63H 33/08 20130101; A63H 3/50 20130101
International Class: A63H 33/00 20060101 A63H033/00; A63H 33/08 20060101 A63H033/08; A63H 3/50 20060101 A63H003/50

Claims



1. A play mat system, comprising: a play mat including a frame and support; a board removably connected between the frame and support; a plurality of board projections extending upwardly from the board for removably engaging with an object; and an electronic device connected beneath the board projections such that a projected image from the electronic device is visible through the board.

2. The play mat system of claim 1, wherein the frame comprises a plurality of frame projections.

3. The play mat system of claim 2, wherein the frame projections each comprise a different size than the board projections.

4. The play mat system of claim 1, wherein the board is transparent.

5. The play mat system of claim 1, wherein the electronic device is removably connected to the play mat.

6. The play mat system of claim 5, wherein the electronic device comprises a tablet computer.

7. The play mat system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of stand members which are removably connected to the play mat such that the play mat may freely stand upright.

8. The play mat system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of straps connected to the play mat for securing the play mat against a structure.

9. The play mat system of claim 1, further comprising an adapter removably engaged with the board projections.

10. The play mat system of claim 9, wherein the adapter comprises a base indentation for removably engaging with the board projections.

11. The play mat system of claim 10, wherein the adapter comprises an upper connector for removably securing an object to the adapter.

12. The play mat system of claim 11, wherein the upper connector comprises a projection, wherein the projection of the upper connector is a different shape or size than the board projections such that a first type of object may be removably connected to the board projections and a second type of object may be removably connected to the upper connector.

13. The play mat system of claim 1, further comprising an aerial holder adapted to be removably connected to the board.

14. The play mat system of claim 13, wherein the aerial holder comprises a base, wherein the base comprises a plurality of base indentations for removably engaging with the board projections.

15. The play mat system of claim 14, wherein the aerial holder comprises an upper support.

16. The play mat system of claim 15, further comprising a suspension member extending from the upper support, the suspension member being adapted to removably secure an object thereto.

17. The play mat system of claim 13, wherein the aerial holder comprises a transparent rod.

18. The play mat system of claim 17, further comprising a fluid stored within the transparent rod.

19. The play mat system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of foam inserts positioned between the support and the electronic device.

20. The play mat system of claim 1, further comprising a gasket connected between the support and the electronic device.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 15/074,138 filed on Mar. 18, 2016 (Docket No. ARBO-005), which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/135,388 filed Mar. 19, 2015 (Docket No. ARBO-004). Each of the aforementioned patent applications, and any applications related thereto, is herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable to this application.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Field

[0004] Example embodiments in general relate to a play mat system to which various objects may be removably mounted over a display.

[0005] Related Art

[0006] Any discussion of the related art throughout the specification should in no way be considered as an admission that such related art is widely known or forms part of common general knowledge in the field.

[0007] Play mats have been in use by children for many decades. Typical play mats comprise flexible mats which are placed on the ground. Various objects are generally fixedly or removably connected to the play mats so that a child may lay on the play mat and play with the toys. In some play mats, structures are provided that suspend the toys over the child while the child is on the play mat.

[0008] Play mats have been limited in the type of toys which may be connected thereto. For example, play mats do not typically have any structure to which toy figures such as toy soldiers or robots may be connected alongside with traditional building blocks such as LEGOS or DUPLOS. Further, any imagery on the play mat is generally fixed, with alternating images or even videos not being supported.

SUMMARY

[0009] An example embodiment of the present invention is directed to a play mat system. The play mat system includes a housing having a transparent upper surface or upper cover. A display is either integrated with the housing or provided by an electronic device such as a tablet computer which may be removably connected to the lower surface of the housing via one or more receiver brackets. The housing may include a plurality of projections extending from its upper surface or upper cover to which various objects such as toys or building blocks may be removably mounted. Multiple housings may be interconnected via links such that they function as a singular display unit.

[0010] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, some of the features of the play mat system in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the play mat system that will be described hereinafter and that will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the play mat system in detail, it is to be understood that the play mat system is not limited in its application to the details of construction or to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The play mat system is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Example embodiments will become more fully understood from the detailed description given herein below and the accompanying drawings, wherein like elements are represented by like reference characters, which are given by way of illustration only and thus are not limitative of the example embodiments herein.

[0012] FIG. 1 is a first perspective view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 2 is a second perspective view of an example embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an example embodiment with a pair of objects secured to the projections.

[0015] FIG. 4 is a lower perspective view of an example embodiment.

[0016] FIG. 5 is a top view of an example embodiment displaying an image.

[0017] FIG. 6 is a bottom view of an example embodiment.

[0018] FIG. 7 is a top view of an example embodiment in which multiple housings have been interconnected to form a single display.

[0019] FIG. 8 is a first side view of an example embodiment.

[0020] FIG. 9 is a second side view of an example embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 10 is a first end view of an example embodiment.

[0022] FIG. 11 is a second end view of an example embodiment.

[0023] FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken along line 12-12 of FIG. 5.

[0024] FIG. 13 is a top view of an example embodiment displaying an image.

[0025] FIG. 14 is a bottom perspective view of an example embodiment with a tablet aligned for connection to the housing.

[0026] FIG. 15 is a bottom perspective view of an example embodiment with a tablet connected to the housing.

[0027] FIG. 16 is a side sectional view of an example embodiment with a tablet connected to the housing.

[0028] FIG. 17 is a top view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0029] FIG. 18 is a top view illustrating the board being interchanged in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0030] FIG. 19 is a side view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0031] FIG. 20 is a bottom view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0032] FIG. 21 is an exploded view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0033] FIG. 22 is an upper perspective view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0034] FIG. 23 is a frontal sectional view of an aerial holder in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0035] FIG. 24 is an upper perspective view of a play mat system including a pair of linked aerial holders in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0036] FIG. 25 is an upper perspective view of an aerial holder filled with fluid in use on a play mat in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0037] FIG. 26 is a top view of a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0038] FIG. 27 is a top view of a play mat system with a projected image in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0039] FIG. 28 is a side view of an adapter in use with a play mat system in accordance with an example embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A. Overview.

[0040] An example play mat system generally comprises a housing 20 having a transparent upper surface 21 or upper cover 30. A display 34 is either integrated with the housing 20 or provided by an electronic device 36 such as a tablet computer which may be removably connected to the lower surface 22 of the housing 20 via one or more receiver brackets 37. The housing 20 may include a plurality of projections 32 extending from its upper surface 21 or upper cover 30 to which various objects 12 such as toys or building blocks may be removably mounted. Multiple housings 20 may be interconnected via links 46 such that they function as a singular display 34 unit.

B. Housing.

[0041] As shown throughout the figures, exemplary embodiments include a housing 20 which comprises an upper surface 21, a lower surface 22, a first end 23, a second end 24, a first side 25, and a second side 26. The housing 20 may comprise a mat or board. The housing 20 may be flexible in some embodiments, or rigid in other embodiments.

[0042] The size, shape, and orientation of the housing 20 may vary across different embodiments of the present invention. Thus, the rectangular shape shown in the figures should not be construed as limiting in this regard. Different sizes may be utilized so that the present invention may be utilized across a wide range of age groups and for a wide range of purposes.

[0043] As shown in FIG. 7, multiple housings 20 may be interconnected to form a larger play mat system 10. The orientation in which the housings 20 are interconnected may be tailored to suit specific user's needs. For example, multiple housings 20 may be interconnected in a daisy chain configuration as a linear series. As shown in the figures, multiple housings 20 may also be interconnected in a manner which retains the overall shape of a singular housing 20 but with far greater surface area for the displays 30.

[0044] Various structures and methods may be utilized to removably interconnect multiple housings 20 together, such as hook-and-loop fasteners, clamps, brackets, and the like. In the embodiment shown in the figures, each housing 20 includes connectors 27 and receivers 28 on its ends 23, 24 and sides 25, 26.

[0045] The connectors 27 may comprise pegs or other similar extensions which are adapted to be removably received by the corresponding receivers 28. The receivers 28 may comprise openings sized to frictionally receive the corresponding connector 27 from an adjacent housing 20. In the exemplary figures, the first end 23 and second side 26 of the housing 20 includes receivers 28 while the second end 24 and first side 25 of the housing 20 includes connectors 27.

[0046] Many embodiments of the housing 20 will be adapted to be removably mounted on a variety of surfaces such as walls, ceilings, floors, and the like. It should be appreciated that the housing 20 may be removably mounted to any horizontal, diagonal, or vertical surface without any limitation based on orientation of the surface. Various methods and structures may be utilized for removably mounting the housing 20 on such surfaces, such as the suction cups 29 on the lower surface 22 of the housing 20 shown in FIG. 4.

C. Upper Cover.

[0047] The housing 20 may include an upper cover 30 which is fixedly or removably connected to the upper surface 21 of the housing 20. In some embodiments, the upper cover 30 may be integral with the housing 20 and thus form its upper surface 21. In other embodiments, such as shown in FIG. 12, the housing 20 may include a recessed portion on its upper surface 21 which accommodates the display 34 and upper cover 30.

[0048] The upper cover 30 will preferably be transparent or semi-transparent such that images from an underlying display 34 may be viewed through the upper cover 30. In embodiments without a discrete upper cover 30, the upper surface 21 of the housing 20 may itself be transparent or semi-transparent.

[0049] The upper cover 30 will preferably include a plurality of projections 32 extending upwardly therefrom. In embodiments without a discrete upper cover 30, the plurality of projections 32 will extend upwardly directly from the upper surface 21 of the housing 20. The projections 32 are utilized to removably receive any number of objects 12 on the housing 20, such as toys, building blocks including LEGOS or DUPLOS, scenery such as trees and the like, or any other object 12 which would be desirable to secure to the housing 20 for education or play. It should be appreciated that the projections 32 may be adapted for use with toys from different manufacturers by connecting the toys (such as through openings on the toys themselves) to the housing 20.

[0050] It should be appreciated that the shape, size, and orientation of the projections 32 may vary in different embodiments. The projections 32 could cover the entire upper surface 21 of the housing 20 or, in other embodiments, could cover only portions of the upper surface 21 of the housing 20. Any areas on the housing 20 without projections 32 could be utilized to provide instructions, other text, symbols, and the like.

[0051] In the exemplary figures, the projections 32 are shown as being comprised of vertical pegs. The projections 32 could in some embodiments not extend vertically, but extend at various angles. The projections 32 are shown as cylindrical in the exemplary figures, but alternate shapes could be utilized such as a square-shaped or star-shaped cross-section. The projections 32 will preferably be adapted to fit with common toys, building blocks, or the like. Adapters may be provided to allow for different types of objects 12 to be connectable to the projections 32.

D. Display.

[0052] As shown throughout the figures, the housing 20 includes a display 34 which is adapted to project various images or videos through the upper cover 30 or upper surface 21 of the housing 20. The display 34 may comprise various configurations, including LCD, LED, and the like. The display 34 may comprise various sizes as well. Although the figures illustrate that the display 34 covers substantially the upper surface 22 of the housing 20, the display 34 could cover less or more of the overall area of the upper surface 22 of the housing 20 in different embodiments.

[0053] The display may be integral with the housing 20 as shown in FIGS. 12 or, in alternate embodiments, could comprise a discrete electronic device 36 which is removably secured to the housing 20. As shown in the figures, one such embodiment comprises an electronic device 36 such as a tablet which may be removably mounted within a plurality of receiver brackets 37 extending from the lower surface 22 of the housing 20. Other electronic devices 36 such as mobile phones, computers, laptops, PDA's, and the like could also be utilized.

[0054] The number, orientation, and configurations of any brackets 37 used may vary so long as the electronic device 36 is securely but removably connected to the housing 20. The receiver brackets 37 will preferably extend from the lower surface 22 of the housing 20 such that the display 34 of the electronic device 36 is visible through the upper surface 21 or upper cover 30 of the housing 20. However, other positioning may be utilized.

[0055] The housing 20 may also include a speaker 40 for providing audio capabilities for the present invention. For example, music stored on the electronic device 36 could be played through the speaker 40 of the housing 20. The housing 20 may also include a data port 42 such as a USB port to which various devices such as storage devices may be connected via a USB cable. In such embodiments, the speaker 40 may be adapted to play audio files stored on such a device connected to the data port 42.

[0056] The housing 20 may include a wireless transceiver 44 which is adapted for wireless communication with other housings 20 or with the electronic device 36. The wireless transceiver 44 may comprise a WI-FI transceiver 44 so that the present invention may be connected to a wireless network. Audio received through the transceiver 44 may be played through the speaker and video or images received from the transceiver 44 may be displayed on the display 34. Thus, the display 34 may be used for wireless streaming of video or audio.

[0057] Many embodiments will preferably be configured such that, when multiple housings 20 are interconnected, the displays 34 of the various housings 20 will act in unison as a single, larger display 34. Such a configuration is shown in FIG. 7. Various methods may be utilized to electronically interconnect multiple housings 20 to allow for the video and/or audio sharing necessary.

[0058] In the embodiment shown in the figures, each of the housings 20 includes one or more links 46 such as ribbon connectors extending from their sides 25, 26 and/or ends 23, 24. The links 46 could be on one, multiple, or all sides 25, 26 and/or ends 23, 24 of the housing 20. Such links 46 may be connected to a corresponding video port 47 to effectuate the electronic interconnection between housings 20 and displays 34. In some embodiments, the video port 47 could comprise a port adapted for both video and audio, such as HDMI. In the embodiment shown in the figures, each side 25, 26 and end 23, 24 of the housing 20 includes a link 46 for connecting to a video port 47 on an adjacent housing 20 and a video port 47 for receiving a link 46 from an adjacent housing 20.

E. Operation of Preferred Embodiment.

[0059] In use, various images 14 or videos may be displayed on the display 34 whether the display 34 is integrated with the housing 20 or with an electronic device 36 which is removably connected to the housing 20. In the latter embodiment, the electronic device 36 is first secured to the lower surface 22 of the housing 20 by the receiver brackets 37 as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. In either embodiment, any such images 14 may be viewable through the upper cover 30 or the upper surface 21 of the housing 20.

[0060] Videos/images/sounds may be generic or customized specifically for a specific customer. Any such videos/images/sounds may be downloaded, streamed, stored locally, stored remotely, etc. Thus, the display 34 of the present invention is adapted to provide support for both local (i.e., stored natively within the housing 20) or remote (i.e., streamed from a third-party device).

[0061] Whether the display 34 is active or inactive, one or more objects 12 may be removably mounted on the projections 32 of the housing 20. For example, objects 12 comprised of toy robots may be connected to the projections 32 via openings on the bottom of such toy robots which are common with many toys. If the projections 32 are improperly sized for any type of object 12, an adapter may be provided.

[0062] For example, if the projections 32 are sized properly for building blocks, an adapter may be provided to additionally allow toys to be connected alongside the building blocks. In some embodiments, the size or shape of the projections 32 may vary on the housing 20 itself; with a first plurality of projections 32 comprising a first size/shape and a second plurality of projections 32 comprising a second size/shape.

[0063] In some embodiments, the present invention may be utilized to play a board game. In such an embodiment, the display 34 could display a board game surface, such as RISK or MONOPOLY. The projections 32 could be utilized for moving pieces for such a board game around over the display 34 to play the game. Dice could be rolled on portions of the housing 20 which do not include projections 32, or on another surface.

[0064] The housing 20 may be electronically interconnected via a wired or wireless connection with other electronic devices 36, other housings 20, or various other devices. The data port 42 may be utilized to interconnect via USB or other type of data transferring protocol with a storage device or computer which may provide a video signal for the display 34 and/or an audio signal for the speakers 40. The wireless transceiver 44 may be utilized to interconnect with a wireless network, such as via WI-FI, or to remotely connect with another electronic device 36 such as a storage device, computer, tablet, or phone. As shown in FIG. 7, multiple housings 20 may be interconnected to each other to act as a single display 34. This may be accomplished by using the links 46 and video ports 47 on the outer edges of the housings 20. A link 46 may be connected to a video port 47 on an adjacent housing 20 so that multiple housings 20 may display a single image 14 such as shown in FIG. 7. This type of interconnection is useful for increasing the effective surface area of the displays 34.

F. Alternate Embodiment.

[0065] FIGS. 17-28 illustrate an alternate embodiment of the play mat system 10 which utilizes a modular design allowing for the interchanging of boards 53 having differently-sized board projections 54 extending therefrom for removably receiving objects 12 such as toys, adapters 64 for receiving a variety of different objects 12, and/or one or more aerial holders 70 by which different play arrangements may be set up for use with the objects 12.

[0066] As best shown in FIG. 21, the modular play mat 50 may comprise an outer frame 52 including a plurality of frame projections 52. The shape, size, and configuration of the frame projections 52 may vary in different embodiments. The frame projections 52 may extend upwardly from the upper surface of the outer frame 52. While FIG. 21 illustrates that the entire frame 51 is covered in frame projections 52, it should be appreciated that, in some embodiments, portions of the frame 51 may not include frame projections 52. Such non-projectioned surfaces 59 may be utilized for projected images 80 from an underlying electronic device 36. In other embodiments, frame projections 52 may be omitted from the frame 51 entirely.

[0067] Continuing to reference FIG. 21, the modular play mat 50 includes a board 53 which is removably secured within the play mat 50. The board 53 is adapted to be interchangeable such that different boards 53 may be utilized to accommodate different objects 12 or arrangements. FIG. 18 illustrates the interchanging of a board 53 within the modular play mat 50. The shape, size, and configuration of the board 53 may vary. In a preferred embodiment, the board 53 will be slightly smaller than the frame 51 such that the board 53 is approximately flush with the inner circumference of the frame 51 when inserted within the frame 51 as shown in the figures.

[0068] The board 53 will generally include a plurality of board projections 54 on its upper surface, such as in the grid pattern shown in the figures. The shape, size, and configuration of the board projections 54 will vary in different embodiments. Further, a plurality of boards 53 may be utilized, each having different board projection 54 arrangements that are interchanged within the frame 51 as needed to accommodate different objects.

[0069] The board 53 may be transparent or semi-transparent such that the display 34 of an underlying electronic device 36 may be viewed through the board 53. The electronic device 36 may be incorporated (and thus integral with) the play mat 50 or may be removably secured to the play mat 50 such as shown in the figures. The electronic device 36 may comprise a tablet computer which includes a display 34 and speakers.

[0070] As best shown in FIG. 21, a support 55 is utilized to secure the board 53 against the frame 51; with the board 53 being sandwiched between the support 55 and the frame 51. The support 55 may comprise different configurations, including a plate configuration as shown in the figures. The support 55 will preferably be durable but comprised of a material which will not cause damage to the underlying electronic device 36. The support 55 will generally comprise the same shape and size as the board 53 such as shown in the figures, but may comprise a different size in some embodiments.

[0071] Continuing to reference FIG. 21, a gasket 56 may be provided which is positioned beneath the support 55. The gasket 56 will generally comprise the same shape and size as the frame 51 and thus surround the board 53 and support 55 when installed. The gasket 56 seals the area between the outer rim of the electronic device 36 and the frame 51 which is outside the perimeter of the board 53 and support 55.

[0072] As shown in FIG. 21, a plurality of rubber feet 58 may be positioned between the frame 51 and the board 53. The rubber feet 58 create friction for additional structural integrity and act as a buffer between the frame 51 and board 53. The rubber feet 58 may be positioned at the corners of the board 53 and frame 51 as shown in the figures.

[0073] A plurality of foam inserts 57 may also be provided which are positioned underneath the support 55 between the support 55 and the electronic device 36. The foam inserts 57 function to prevent damage to the electronic device 36 from contacting the support 55 and act as a spring-like buffer to absorb force from impact, such as if the play mat 50 is dropped with the electronic device 36 connected.

[0074] As best shown in FIGS. 18 and 21, the board 53 is removably secured within the play mat 50 between the frame 51 and support 55. A plurality of stand members 60 may be secured around the play mat 50 which allow the play mat 50 to be stood upright such as shown in FIG. 19. The stand members 60 may clip around the play mat 51, contacting the frame 51 and support 55. The stand members 60 are preferably removable such that the play mat 50 may be reoriented if desired. The stand members 60 may be connected to any location along the frame 51 of the play mat 50 to allow for the play mat 50 to lay flat or stand upright from any of its sides or ends.

[0075] FIGS. 19-21 illustrate straps 61 which may be connected to the play mat 50. The straps 61 allow the play mat 50 to be connected to or suspended from various structures, such as the headrest of a vehicle. The straps 61 may be arranged in an X-shaped configuration as shown in the figures. The straps 61 may include clips 62 which clip onto the play mat 50 as shown in the figures. Various other methods and structures may be utilized to removably connect the straps 61 to the play mat 50.

[0076] The board projections 54 may be adapted to mount specific types of objects 12 on the board 53 surface. For example, the board projections 54 may be adapted specifically for use fitting with LEGO-style toys and blocks. However, it may be desirable by users of the play mat system 10 to utilize toys that do not have LEGO-style openings or connectors. In such situations, an adapter 64 may be provided to allow such objects 12 to be connected to such a board 53 along with LEGO-style objects 12.

[0077] The adapter 64 is best shown in FIG. 28. The shape, size, configuration, and orientation of the adapter 64 may vary in different embodiments and should not be construed as limited by the exemplary figures. The adapter 64 will generally comprise a base indentation 65 which connects to the board 53 via the board projections 54. The board indentation 65 will generally be positioned at the lower end of the adapter 64 as shown in the figures. The base indentation 65 may be adapted to fit onto a single board projection 54 or may be adapted to fit over a plurality of board projections 54.

[0078] The adapter 64 may also include an upper connector 64 for removably engaging with an object 12 such as a toy. The upper connector 64 may comprise a projection or an indentation depending on the type of object 12. For example, if the board projections 54 do not fit LEGO-style objects 12, the upper connector 64 may comprise a projection adapted to fit within a LEGO-style opening which will allow LEGO-style objects 12 to be secured to the board 53 via the adapter 64. As another example, objects 12 such as toys with legs may be inserted within the upper connector 64; with the upper connector 64 comprising an opening or indentation adapted to receive such an object 12. In this manner, a wide range of objects 12 may be removably secured to the board 53 at the same time.

[0079] As shown in FIGS. 23-25, the play mat system 10 may include one or more aerial holders 70 which are removably connected to the board 53 via the board projections 54. The aerial holders 70 may be utilized to suspend objects 12 such as toy planes above the board 53. The aerial holders 70 may also be utilized to create a "zip line" configuration as shown in FIG. 24 along which an object 12 such as a toy plane may be moved across for amusement.

[0080] As shown in the figures, the aerial holders 70 will generally comprise a rod 71 including an upper end 72 and a lower end 73. In some embodiments such as shown in FIG. 24, the upper end 72 and lower end 73 may include threaded portions; with the upper end 72 being connected to an upper support 74 and the lower end 73 being connected to a base 78 which is secured to the board 53 via the board projections 54. In such a manner, the upper support 74 may be removably connected to the upper end 72 of the rod 71 and the base 78 may be removably connected to the lower end 73 of the rod 71; with the base 78 being removably connected to the board 53.

[0081] The base 78 generally includes base indentations 79 which removably engage with the board projections 54 of the board 53 to removably secure the base 78 to the board 53. The base indentations 79 may be adapted to secure to only a single board projection 54 or may engage with multiple board projections 54.

[0082] In another embodiment as shown in FIG. 23, the aerial holders 70 may be extendible in length by interconnecting multiple rods 71 together via linkages 67. Each of the linkages 67 includes outer linkage threading 68 which engages with the rods 71, upper support 74, and base 78. FIG. 23 illustrates a configuration in which a pair of rods 71 have been interconnected together via a linkage 67; with additional linkages 67 being utilized to connect the lower rod 71 to a base 78 and the upper rod 71 to an upper support 74. While only two rods 71 are shown, it should be appreciated that any number of rods 71 may be interconnected in this manner to increase the height of the aerial holders 70.

[0083] The rods 71 of the aerial holders 70 may be transparent or semi-transparent in some embodiments such that decorations may be incorporated to increase amusement and visual appeal. FIG. 25 illustrates a fluid being stored within the rod 71. Colored fluids 71 may be added to the rods 71 for their visual appeal. Alternatively, lights (not shown) could be incorporated inside the rods 71 so that the rods 71 may light up different colors.

[0084] Turning to FIGS. 24-25, suspension members 77 are shown that may be removably or fixedly connected to the upper support 74 of the aerial holder. The suspension members 77 may comprise flexible, elongated members such as cords to which various objects 12 may be suspended such as toy planes and UFO's as shown in FIG. 25. The suspension members 77 are illustrated as being semi-rigid, but they could be flexible or rigid in different embodiments.

[0085] FIG. 24 illustrates usage of a suspension member 77 which may be interlinked between a pair of aerial holders 70 to create a "zip line" along which objects 12 may be suspended and moved. As shown in FIG. 24, a suspension member 77 may extend between a first aerial holder 70 and a second aerial holder 70. A ring 76 may be connected around the suspension member 77; with the ring 76 being freely slidable thereon. A connector 75 may suspend an object 12 such as a toy plane from the ring 76 such that the ring 76, connector 75, and object 12 may be slid along the length of the suspension member 77.

[0086] As discussed previously, the electronic device 36 may display images or videos which are viewable through the board 53. In this manner, various images or videos may be displayed to enhance the experience of playing on the modular play mat 10. FIG. 27 illustrates a projected image 80 which comprises a fire. Various other types of projected images 80 may be utilized to enhance the experience of using the play mat system 10. Audible sounds may also be emitted by the electronic device 36 to further improve the experience. As an example, an individual could build a rebel base on the board 53 using the board projections 54 while the electronic device 36 play "Star Wars" battle sounds and videos. An object 12 such as a rebel fighter could be "flown" between a pair of aerial holders 70 via the suspension member 77.

[0087] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although methods and materials similar to or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the play mat system, suitable methods and materials are described above. All publications, patent applications, patents, and other references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety to the extent allowed by applicable law and regulations. The play mat system may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof, and it is therefore desired that the present embodiment be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Any headings utilized within the description are for convenience only and have no legal or limiting effect.

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