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United States Patent Application 20180056209
Kind Code A1
Jensen; Daniel Mark ;   et al. March 1, 2018

MAZE MODULAR PARTITION SYSTEM

Abstract

Described herein is a convenient set-up of a play structure, similar to a maze or multi-room play house without the use of tape or external connectors outside of the structure design. The panel component-based play area structure system will allow users to reduce the set-up time required for custom play structures as it is based on a simple individual partitions or panels designed to fit together to form a multiple room, or partitioned structure. The individual panel partitions allow the user to form customizable portals thereby customizing access to the individual partitioned sections.


Inventors: Jensen; Daniel Mark; (Vadnais Heights, MN) ; Kolb; Jeremy; (Saint Paul, MN)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Sproljen Inc.

Fridley

MN

US
Family ID: 1000002861713
Appl. No.: 15/689919
Filed: August 29, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62381396Aug 30, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63J 11/00 20130101; A63F 9/0078 20130101; A63H 33/008 20130101
International Class: A63J 11/00 20060101 A63J011/00; A63H 33/00 20060101 A63H033/00; A63F 9/00 20060101 A63F009/00

Claims



1. A panel component-based assembly for building a child's entertainment maze or any other play structure designed by a user, the panel component-based assembly comprising: a first panel partition, a second panel partition, and a third panel partition, wherein the first panel partition is coupled to a first edge of the second panel partition in a parallel position, a second edge of the second panel partition is coupled to a first edge the third panel partition in a parallel position, and a second edge of the third panel partition coupled to an unattached edge of the first panel partition in a parallel position to form a user interior portion or space; and a door assembly formed on surface of at least one of the first, second or third panel partitions, the door assembly including a door formed from a perforated opening and a hinge.

2. The panel component-based assembly of claim 1 wherein the hinge is perforated.

3. The panel component-based assembly of claim 1 each of the panel partitions is configured from: a first and a second panel member conjoined along a longitudinal edge of each panel member, each panel partition having a longitudinal edge distal from the conjoined edge of each of the first and second panel members, each panel partition having a first vertical slot formed inset from the first panel member longitudinal edge and a second vertical slot formed inset from the second panel member longitudinal edge, the door assembly formed on at least one of the first and second panel members, the door assembly including a door formed from a perforated opening and a perforated hinge.

4. The panel component-based assembly of claim 3, wherein the first panel partition is coupled to the second panel partition such that the slot on the second panel member of the first panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the second partition; wherein the second panel partition is coupled to the third panel partition such that the slot on the second panel member of the second panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the third partition; and wherein the third panel partition is coupled to the first panel partition such that the slot of the second panel of the third panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the first panel partition.

5. The panel component-based assembly of claim 1, further comprising a fourth panel partition coupled with the third and first panel partitions to form the interior space or area.

6. The panel component-based assembly of claim 3, further comprising a fourth panel partition coupled with the third and first panel partitions to form the interior space or area and wherein the fourth panel partition is coupled to the third panel partition such that the slot of the first panel member of the fourth panel partition is engaged with the second panel of the third panel partition and the slot of the second panel of the fourth panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the first panel partition.

7. The panel component-based assembly of claim 1, wherein the door assembly is formed on surface of at least one of the panel members of the fourth panel partition, the door assembly including a door formed from a perforated opening and a hinge.

8. The panel component-based assembly of claim 5, wherein the first, second, third and fourth panel partitions comprise a first base module configured to be coupled to a second base module comprising a second set of first, second, third and fourth panel partitions.

9. The panel component-based assembly of claim 5, wherein the first, second, third and fourth panel partitions comprise a first base module of a plurality of base modules configured to be coupled to each other to form multiple play area configurations.

10. The panel component-based assembly of claim 3, wherein each panel partition further includes a third and a fourth panel member, wherein the first vertical slot is disposed on the first panel member and the second vertical slot is disposed on the fourth panel member.

11. The panel component-based assembly of claim 3, wherein each panel partition comprises multiple panel members having vertical slots disposed on both distal ends of the panel partition.

12. The panel component-based assembly of claim 10, wherein a door assembly is formed on surface of at least one of the panel members, the door assembly including a door formed from a perforated opening and a hinge.

13. The panel component-based assembly of claim 12, wherein the hinge is perforated.

14. The panel component-based assembly of claim 12, wherein the hinge is formed from a foldable portion of a panel member surface.

15. A panel partition configured as a base component for assembling play structures for a child, the panel partition comprising: a first and a second panel member conjoined along a longitudinal edge of each panel member, the panel partition having longitudinal edges distal from the conjoined edge of each of the first and second panel members, the panel partition having a first vertical slot formed inset from the first panel member longitudinal edge and a second vertical slot formed inset from the second panel member longitudinal edge, a door assembly formed on at least one of the first and second panel members, the door assembly including door formed from a perforated opening and a hinge, wherein any one of the first and second vertical slots is configured to engage another panel partition.

16. The panel partition of claim 15, further comprising a third and a fourth panel member, wherein the first vertical slot is disposed on the first panel member and the second vertical slot is disposed on the fourth panel member.

17. The panel partition of claim 16, wherein at least one foldable portion is located between any one of the panel members.

18. A panel partition configured as a base component for assembling play structures for a child, the panel partition comprising: a first longitudinal edge and a second longitudinal edge, the first longitudinal edge having a first vertical slot and the second longitudinal edge having a second vertical slot, with each vertical slot formed inset from each respective longitudinal edge of the panel partition; and a plurality of panel members located between the first and second longitudinal edges of the panel partition, a door assembly formed on at least one of the panel members, the door including a perforated opening and a hinge.

19. The panel construction assembly of claim 15, wherein the panel partition is formed from any one of a corrugated cardboard material and a paper-based material.

20. The panel construction assembly of claim 15, wherein the panel partition is formed from any one of a plastic material and a foam-based material.
Description



CLAIM OF PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/381,396, filed Aug. 30, 2016 and entitled "MAZE MODULAR PARTITION" the application of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention generally relates to mazes for the amusement of children.

[0003] The use of a maze or labyrinth as a basis for a children's game is well known and there have been many differing types of apparatus to establish the basic maze for the enjoyment of the children. Basically, the maze is set up so that the children can proceed down a particular path and are not readily visible to other children in the same maze such that each child wends a unique path and chances an encounter with another child. With a typical maze set up, there are certainly many games that can thus be played and with certain of the maze setups, the children themselves can improvise and make up their own games for amusement.

[0004] One of the more simple games enjoyed by children with a maze arrangement is to chase each other through the maze in an effort, simultaneously, to catch and evade each other as they progress through the intricate passageways therethrough. Despite the seemingly availability of the construction materials for a maze, there are no such games or kits that can conveniently be provided to a parent and which can be easily set up, stored and moved with a minimum of difficulty. Thus, while a parent can individually purchase various equipment and materials to construct a maze, there is no convenient source of the assemblage of materials available in a form that can be used by the parent to readily set up the maze expeditiously and that is adaptable to be used indoors or outdoors. The prior art fails to provide a maze game apparatus that is light, comprised of readily transportable components by a parent, and which is adaptable to be as easily set up indoors as well as outdoors. Thus, it would be advantageous to have such a maze that is adjustable for varying imaginative configurations and can have standard component for inexpensive manufacture as well as to allow the overall apparatus to be stored by the user without having cumbersome parts.

SUMMARY

[0005] The various embodiments of the invention relate to a play area building or construction component including a maze system for setting up and playing a children's game, and, more particularly, to a maze game and structure that can readily be set up indoors or outdoors and which is comprised of light, easy to assemble construction components. In particular, the various embodiments of this invention provide for a modular, partition-style, play structure system. There are currently no repeatable or configurable maze-like structures or systems available on the market today that allow users to construct or configure play-structures in this manner. In a related embodiment, the building panels or partitions described herein are available to build pet-oriented structures to keep pets in that is easy to assemble/disassemble for ease of portability.

[0006] In one example embodiment, a maze system is constructed that allows users to set-up a partition based structure that will be ideally used as a substitute for "cardboard box mazes" or "cardboard play-houses." This panel partition system allows for the convenient set-up of a play structure, like a maze or multi-room play house without the use of tape or external connectors outside of the structure design. The invention will allow users to reduce the set-up time required for custom play structures. The maze system and method of forming a maze structure is based on a simple designs that fit together to form a multiple room, or partitioned structure. The individual partitions will have the ability to be opened with a simple tool allowing the set-up person to customize access to the individual partitioned sections.

[0007] In one example embodiment, there is provided a panel component-based assembly for building a child's entertainment maze or any other play structure designed by a user, the panel component-based assembly that includes a first panel partition, a second panel partition, and a third panel partition, wherein the first panel partition is coupled to a first edge of the second panel partition in a parallel position, a second edge of the second panel partition is coupled to a first edge the third panel partition in a parallel position, and a second edge of the third panel partition coupled to an unattached edge of the first panel partition in a parallel position to form a user interior portion or space. The panel component-based assembly further including a door assembly formed on surface of at least one of the first, second or third panel partitions, the door assembly including a door formed from a perforated opening and a hinge. In a related embodiment, each of the panel partitions is configured from a first and a second panel member conjoined along a longitudinal edge of each panel member, each panel partition having a longitudinal edge distal from the conjoined edge of each of the first and second panel members, each panel partition having a first vertical slot formed inset from the first panel member longitudinal edge and a second vertical slot formed inset from the second panel member longitudinal edge. In this embodiment, the door assembly formed on at least one of the first and second panel members, and the door assembly includes a door formed from a perforated opening and a perforated hinge. In this example embodiment, the first panel partition is coupled to the second panel partition such that the slot on the second panel member of the first panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the second partition. Further, the second panel partition is coupled to the third panel partition such that the slot on the second panel member of the second panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the third partition. Finally the third panel partition is coupled to the first panel partition such that the slot of the second panel of the third panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the first panel partition.

[0008] In a related embodiment, a fourth panel partition coupled with the third and first panel partitions to form the interior space or area and the fourth panel partition is coupled to the third panel partition such that the slot of the first panel member of the fourth panel partition is engaged with the second panel of the third panel partition and the slot of the second panel of the fourth panel partition is engaged with the slot of the first panel member of the first panel partition. Further, the first, second, third and fourth panel partitions together form a first base structure module configured to be coupled to a second base module comprising a second set of first, second, third and fourth panel partitions. In a related embodiment, the panel component-based assembly includes a first, second, third and fourth panel partitions that comprise a first base module of a plurality of base modules configured to be coupled to each other to form multiple play area configurations.

[0009] In yet another example embodiment, there is provided a panel partition configured as a base component for assembling play structures for a child, the panel partition including a first and a second panel member conjoined along a longitudinal edge of each panel member, the panel partition having longitudinal edges distal from the conjoined edge of each of the first and second panel members, the panel partition having a first vertical slot formed inset from the first panel member longitudinal edge and a second vertical slot formed inset from the second panel member longitudinal edge. The panel partition also includes a door assembly formed on at least one of the first and second panel members, the door assembly including door formed from a perforated opening and a hinge, where any one of the first and second vertical slots is configured to engage another panel partition. In a related embodiment, there is included a third and a fourth panel member, wherein the first vertical slot is disposed on the first panel member and the second vertical slot is disposed on the fourth panel member. In any of the various embodiments described, at least one foldable portion is located between any one of the panel members.

[0010] In yet another example embodiment, there is provided a panel partition configured as a base component for assembling play structures for a child, the panel partition including a first longitudinal edge and a second longitudinal edge, the first longitudinal edge having a first vertical slot and the second longitudinal edge having a second vertical slot, with each vertical slot formed inset from each respective longitudinal edge of the panel partition. The panel partition also includes a plurality of panel members located between the first and second longitudinal edges of the panel partition. Finally, the panel partition includes a door assembly formed on at least one of the panel members, the door including a perforated opening and a hinge. In the various embodiments described, the panel partition is formed from any one of a corrugated cardboard material, a paper-based material, a plastic material and a foam-based material.

[0011] The invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, which are intended to be read in conjunction with both this summary, the detailed description and any preferred and/or particular embodiments specifically discussed or otherwise disclosed. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided by way of illustration only and so that this disclosure will be thorough, complete and will fully convey the full scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIG. 1 illustrates a panel which comprises a panel component of a playground or play area or maze system or structure according to the invention.

[0013] FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate various views of a four by four (4.times.4) configuration of an embodiment of the maze system or play area structure of the invention.

[0014] FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of a maze system or play area structure configured from a panel component illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0015] FIGS. 4A-4E illustrate various views of maze configurations that can be assembled according to the invention from the panel component illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0016] FIG. 5 is a photograph of an embodiment of a maze system with configurable portals according to the invention.

[0017] FIGS. 6A-6C illustrate views of three (3) embodiments of the panel partition component of FIG. 1 having differing exteriors according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0018] The following are more detailed descriptions of various related concepts related to, and embodiments of, methods and apparatus according to the present disclosure. It should be appreciated that various aspects of the subject matter introduced above and discussed in greater detail below may be implemented in any of numerous ways, as the subject matter is not limited to any particular manner of implementation. Examples of specific implementations and applications are provided primarily for illustrative purposes.

[0019] Referring now to the Figures, in particular FIGS. 1, 2A-2C and FIG. 5, FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a panel component or partition 100 which in this example embodiment comprises a component of a maze system or play area system 200 or 200B according to the invention. In one example embodiment, panel 100 includes 4 sections 110A-110D which include foldable portions 120 for shipping, foldable or perforated sections 130 that act as door or portal hinges and perforated sections 140 that be opened by user or assembler to form portals or openings between maze sections. In this example embodiment, panel component 100 is made of custom-cut (die-formed) corrugated cardboard panels, with each panel 100 measuring about 4 feet (height) by 8 feet (length). Panels 100 can also be made of other lightweight materials such as plastic or thin fiber glass boards that are flexible and safe for the user. FIG. 5 is a photograph of an embodiment of maze system 200 with panels 100 having configurable portals therethrough according to the invention. Various component panels 100 are held together by slits or slots 150 that facilitate panel to panel engagement as each panel is slipped or inserted into each respective slot 150 at about a right angle (see FIG. 2A and FIG. 5).

[0020] Referring now to FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate various views of an example embodiment of a four (4).times.four (4) maze configuration 200 according to the invention. In this example embodiment, ten (10) panels are used to form four by four (4.times.4) partitioned maze structure 200. Once assembled, each partitioned section will be about the size of 22 inches by 22 inches for use by a child user 210. The four by four (4.times.4) maze kit represents one of the smaller maze modules configurable for use and stability. Various four by four (4.times.4) kits are usable to make larger partitioned structures such as maze 300 illustrated in FIG. 3. Users will have the ability with use of a simple tool like a scissors or a knife to customize the connections of the partitioned sections.

[0021] Referring now to FIGS. 4A-4E, there is illustrated various views and embodiments of maze configurations that can be assembled according to the invention from component panel 100. In particular, FIG. 4A illustrates a top view of maze 200 and FIG. 4D illustrates a top view of maze 300. FIGS. 4B, 4C and 4E illustrate top views of maze configurations 400, 500 and 600, respectively, which are configurable from the base maze kit 200. The base kit 200 can be assembled into a structure with 16 cells (4.times.4). Users can modify the system to make larger cells inside the structure by not installing or removing a single panel. By not including the two (2) middle and crossing panels, the structure can provide unique and expandable play structures. The base module (base kit 200) is expandable by adding additional base modules to make larger partitioned structures such as a four by eight (4.times.8), eight by eight (8.times.8), sixteen by sixteen (16.times.16), etc. The final total of partitions and partition structures is limited solely by the user's imagination and addition of additional base modules.

[0022] Referring now to FIGS. 6A-6C, there is illustrated views of 3 embodiments of the panel component 100 of FIG. 1 having differing exteriors according to the invention. The differing exteriors will provide for differing images of the final structure (such as a castle or a mountain or hilly landscape or a space station so as to aid with the imagination aspect of the invention). In one example embodiment, the individual panel component or module is constructed by placing 5 panels vertically and then interlocking them with remaining five (5) panels. The user will be able to interlock the panels with use of folded cardboard around portions 150 (having slits for fitting other panels), thereby eliminating fasteners, glue or tape.

[0023] In one example embodiment, individual panels 100 will fold up to a two foot by four foot (2 ft..times.4 ft.) section. Ten (10) folded up sections will fit inside a shipping carton that measures two feet by four feet by one foot (2 ft..times.4 ft..times.1 ft.) and weighs less than 20 lbs. The maze system, or any other play structure, can be broken down and stored for reuse or can be recycled.

[0024] A maze system that is configurable from foldable subsection panels as substantially described herein. A subpanel configurable to include portals and configurable to be reduced in size for portability as substantially described herein. The following patents and publications are herein incorporated by reference in their entireties: U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,635,411; 5,487,690; 6,575,462; 9,163,393; 9,283,491; and 9,302,198.

[0025] While the invention has been described above in terms of specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these disclosed embodiments. Upon reading the teachings of this disclosure many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind of those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains, and which are intended to be and are covered by both this disclosure and the appended claims. It is indeed intended that the scope of the invention should be determined by proper interpretation and construction of the appended claims and their legal equivalents, as understood by those of skill in the art relying upon the disclosure in this specification and the attached drawings.

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