Patent application title: System and Method for Building, Registering and Racing Remotely Controlled Miniature Vehicles
David J. Domm (Chicago, IL, US)
Blake E. Harper (Evanston, IL, US)
Rocky Jones (Chicago, IL, US)
Joel Blumberg (Redondo Beach, CA, US)
Abhinov Singh (Green Village, NJ, US)
Michael Wilks (Oakland, CA, US)
Daniel Gott (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Ryan Mcglothlin (London, GB)
IPC8 Class: AA63H3000FI
Class name: Amusement devices: toys rolling or tumbling (e.g., wheeled) remotely controlled
Publication date: 2009-02-26
Patent application number: 20090053974
Patent application title: System and Method for Building, Registering and Racing Remotely Controlled Miniature Vehicles
David J. Domm
Blake E. Harper
UNGARETTI & HARRIS LLP;INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP - PATENTS
Origin: CHICAGO, IL US
IPC8 Class: AA63H3000FI
A retail store providing a customer with the opportunity to design, build
and assemble your own customized vehicle and then race it on an in-store
1. A method of creating and racing remote controlled vehicles at a single
store location comprising the steps of:providing a plurality of remote
controlled vehicle parts for selection by a user at the store;receiving
from a customer at the store an identification of select parts from the
plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to create a first remote
controlled vehicle;registering the first remote controlled vehicle at a
computer terminal at the store; and,racing the registered first remote
controlled vehicle at a race arena in the store.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of providing a plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts for selection by a user at the store comprises:providing a plurality of vehicle bodies having different body styles for selection by the customer.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of providing a plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts for selection by a user at the store comprises:providing a plurality of vehicle decals having different designs for selection by the customer;providing a plurality of vehicle wheels having different styles for selection by the customer;providing a plurality of vehicle tires having different styles for selection by the customer; and,providing a plurality of vehicle accessories.
4. The method of claim 1 further comprising:displaying the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts with an SKU card for with each different type of part, the SKU card including a bar code associated with the type of part.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein the step of receiving from a customer at the store an identification of select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to create a first remote controlled miniature vehicle comprises:receiving SKU cards selected by the customer;scanning the SKU cards by a scanner to identify the part types selected by the customer on a computer terminal; and,obtaining the selected part types from inventory at the store.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of receiving from a customer at the store an identification of select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to create a first remote controlled vehicle comprises:providing a computer terminal configured to display the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts;receiving a selection signal at the computer terminal for the select parts identified by the customer.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of registering the first remote controlled vehicle at a computer terminal at the store comprises:obtaining personal identification information from the customer at a computer terminal; and,generating a registration number associated with the customer.
8. The method of claim 6 further comprising:providing a digital camera coupled to the computer terminal;taking a picture of the customer; and,generating a picture identification card for the customer.
9. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of:providing a garage area at the store for assembling the select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to build the first remote controlled miniature vehicle.
10. The method of claim 1 further comprising:providing sensors in the race arena coupled to the computer terminal; and,maintaining statistics of a registered customer's vehicle as it races in the arena.
11. A system for creating and racing remote controlled vehicles comprising:a remote controlled vehicle part selection area of a store having a plurality of vehicle parts for selection by a customer;an assembly area of the store for assembling parts selected by the customer into a first remote controlled vehicle; and,a computer in the store configured to receive personal information of the customer for registration of the first remote controlled vehicle.
12. The system of claim 11 further comprising:a race arena in the store for racing the first remote controlled vehicle, the race arena including a plurality of sensors coupled to the computer.
13. The system of claim 12 wherein the sensors can track the position of the first remote controlled vehicle in the arena and display the position on a display coupled to the computer.
14. The system of claim 12 wherein statistics relating to the racing of the first remote controlled vehicle are generated by the computer from input from the sensors
15. The system of claim 11 wherein the first remote controlled vehicle can be controlled by a remote controller.
16. The system of claim 11 further comprising a digital camera coupled to the computer for generating a picture of the customer, the computer further coupled to a printer and configured to create a registration identification card of the customer, the registration identification card including the picture of the customer.
17. The system of claim 11 wherein the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts includes a plurality of vehicle bodies having different body styles, a plurality of vehicle wheels having different wheel styles, and a plurality of vehicle decals having different decal styles.
18. The system of claim 14 wherein the statistics generated by the computer are accessible over a network connection.
19. A retail store for sale of motor vehicle toys comprising:a store motif exuding a racing arena;a showroom section for displaying the motor vehicles and any accessories related to the motor vehicles for making customizing design decisions thereon;a checkout for the purchase of the vehicle; anda pit area for assisting in the assembly of the chosen vehicle and accessories within the store.
20. A method of creating and racing remote controlled vehicles at a single store location comprising the steps of:providing a plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts for selection by a user at the store;receiving from a customer at the store an identification of select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to create a first remote controlled vehicle;providing an area of the store configured as a garage for assembling the remote controlled vehicle; and,assembling the remote controlled vehicle parts into the first remote controlled vehicle.
21. The method of claim 20 further comprising:registering the first remote controlled vehicle at a computer terminal at the store; and,racing the first remote controlled vehicle at a race arena in the store.
The present invention claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/931,808 filed May 25, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention generally relates to the field of toy merchandise sales and, in particular, to business methods and apparatus for the sale of interactive toy merchandise by an experience retail store and attendant web site.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The sale of toy merchandise, such as specialized or interactive toys and other items of value, typically are sold in either specialty stores related to the toy being sold, such as retail toy stores, for instance, or other stores, which typically present the merchandise in many different manners for the customer. Oftentimes, such stores typically possess a sophisticated display window or an elegant arrangement of the toys in display cases for the adult who is accompanying the child and buying the toy. So the layout of the toy store is such that it may hold the interest of the adult but the store does not hold the interest of the child who is going to play with the toy. Such an appearance, however, also may inhibit the attraction of other customers with children who want to readily see, touch and experience the toy, which the typical display cases discourage. So the experience for the child and for the parent needs to be equally appealing to both to increase the sale of such merchandise.
While the "traditional" toy store method of merchandising arguably has some beneficial results, such as by providing a view of the displayed toy merchandise, this method also tends to negatively affect the sale of certain interactive or action toys such as model cars and trucks sold principally to boys. These action toys are capable of having customization possibilities with accessories that are added to the toys. Every boy and even a girl wants to handle and touch such action toys and to see how the toy operates under normal conditions or how the accessories will look on the toy of their choice. In short, you want interactive or action toys to be more accessible to the potential customer in its presentation in retail toy stores. Accessibility of such interactive toys will promote the purchase by a larger group of customers of even more expensive action toys with accessories if both the child and accompanying parent are able to have fun while purchasing the action toy. You want to turn shopping into entertainment for both. You also want to make the adult feel like a kid again and let boys be boys again by allowing both to play with action toys at the point of purchase. Because of the stodgy display case setup in most retail stores, customer-accessible merchandise in action toys at the point of sale has been limited at best. The resulting purchase by customers is often at a rate, which is far less than the rate desired by the both the producers of specialized action toys and the retail stores of such merchandise.
Next, the appearance of the retail toy store itself often is not interesting to the parent and their child. When you are attempting to sell more than just an action toy, but the experience of buying the toy and playing with it, the exterior of the toy store becomes important too. The storefront should reflect the type of toys being sold therein.
Therefore, there is a need for improved business methods, display apparatuses, and interaction possibilities with the customers for implementing such methods that address these and other shortcomings of the prior art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Briefly stated, the present invention relates to interactive toy retail store business methods and apparatus for the sale of interactive toy merchandise. In a preferred embodiment, the business method includes providing a process of purchasing an interactive or action toy at the sales point that includes a unique in-store experience in purchasing the action toy. It begins with the store appearance itself where the exterior of the store selling the model toy vehicle should have the look and feel of an entrance to a racing car garage or the back of an open race car semi-trailer truck or the bleachers for watching the race. In short, the retail store takes on the appearance of a showroom, garage or repair facility for motor vehicles being sold within the premises even though they are just toy racing cars.
In accordance with the present invention, the business method or process permits the customer, guest or you to design, build and race a purchased interactive toy vehicle. You are offered the ability to create, customize and accessorize the chosen vehicle, build it, and then take it for a test drive on an in-store racetrack. This puts the fun back into the purchasing experience for you whether you are the adult or the child at the point of sale of the interactive toy that is now missing in retail toy stores today. Gone are the stodgy toy store display cases. In are interactive organized sections of the retail store replacing the normal display cases that enhance the fun of purchasing a specialized interactive toy like a freewheel or remote controlled vehicle.
Further in accordance with the present invention, the first step towards customizing, building and racing your own vehicle happens in a Design Showroom® area of the store. In the Design Showroom® area, each racer gets to choose from a number of different kinds of vehicles. Perhaps you prefer the speed and razor sharp handling of an on-road street racer. Or maybe you're looking for a rough and tough off-road monster truck. Whatever your racing tastes, the Design Showroom® display boards has a vehicle for you. After you've chosen your vehicle type, it's now time to customize your ride! Choose from over a hundred different body styles and color combinations, including exotic sports cars, rugged monster trucks, and go-anywhere dune buggies. Pick a color that complements your own personal style. Further personalize your ride with a selection of road gripping tires and custom wheels and rims. You can choose five-spoke chrome mags on flame treads for example. Yellow spinners on racing slicks is yet another choice. You, the customer decides. It's your car. Next select the finishing touches for your vehicle with custom tailored decals. Whether it's a sleek pinstripe for that cherry red racecar, or smoking hot flames for your monster truck or hybrid, a decal center has it all to choose from.
Once you've chosen all the parts for your custom ride, you head on over to the Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") for license and registration. Here you receive a personalized driver's license and/or license plate complete with your own photo on the driver's license to put in your wallet and take home. With this card, you're now officially a racing club member and club racer who belongs to an elite racer's club for that store.
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, another preferred business method may include the step of beginning your designing of an interactive freewheel or remote control vehicle immediately upon entering the retail store as the traffic flow of the store directs you visually first to a number of interesting display boards in a design showroom. The design showroom area with the numerous display boards having a particular theme or vehicle line like a street racing car or a monster truck thereon with many choices of vehicle bodies and customizing accessories like tires/wheel rims and decals on each display board. From each display board, you make a choice of a body style for your vehicle, one set of decals and one tire/wheel style. Samples of each of these choices are firmly attached directly to the boards as a display model only or a colored photo of the item and below each item are a supply of SKU cards or the like to pick off the board when you make your choice of body style, tire/wheels and decals for your vehicle. So below each example of a body style, decal or tire/wheel on the display board is a matching SKU card showing a photo of the item for visual identification. This is important for younger children who may not be able to read all of the information on the SKU card but certainly can match up the picture with the item of their choice in vehicles and customizing accessories. A customer who likes a particular body style in a certain color is easily able to take the corresponding SKU card, which eliminates mistakes later when entering data about their vehicle and customizing choices. The process is then repeated for the decal and tire/wheel selections. Each display board includes a number of different body styles, colors, decals and tires/wheels to choose between on each display board that makes for a large number of combinations to personalize each vehicle chosen by a customer. In short, each customer selects at least three SKU cards for a body, tire/wheel and decals to complete the design of their vehicle.
In still another aspect of the invention, there are two different chassis, one a street racing vehicle and the other a monster truck that the chosen body style is affixed to so that the customer can always return to the store at a later date and choose a replacement body, decals and tires/wheels as the need arises by simply picking outing once again individual SKU cards for each item and proceeding directly to checkout counter of the store.
In furtherance of the design aspect of the present invention, the next step in the design process of the motor vehicle is going to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) area in the store for a driver's license and registration, which may include license plates for the vehicle. The racer sits down at a computer terminal and begins the process of registering their car and designing their own driver's license for use at the retail store and racing track. You get started by registering the racer name and information by going through a number of computer screens and in the case of a child, there is a parent screen before getting started in filling out the child racer information. The next screen is a "Build Your Member ID/License". The customer positions themselves in front of a portable camera mounted on top of the monitor or within the monitor face, smiles and their picture is taken and seen on the monitor within a driver's license picture window showing the picture just taken by the racer. The driver license can be taken as many times as necessary to get the picture of choice for the License Photo ID. Then the customer selects the appropriate picture from those taken or takes another before choosing a background for their member ID/driver's license. The ID/driver's license information is sent to the Pit Crew (order desk personnel) and also serves as a Pit Pass to be described later.
In addition, a custom screen asks the racer to enter in their first and last names, e-mail address, current address, birthday and a coined racer name. For privacy reasons, the customer is only required to enter some of the fields in the form on the computer monitor such as your name and birthday if the racer so chooses. Next, the body style of the vehicle is entered into the process. At a "Design Your Car" screen, you are given a choice of either scanning in your three SKU cards, which include a bar code, by using a bar code scanner located at the DMV station or manually entering the information into a series of computer screens on the vehicle line, body style, tire/wheels and decals. Upon the completion of the bar coding or manually entry of data, the next screen lists your designed vehicle information and if that information, which is displayed on this screen is correct, the customer clicks on the "confirm your order" button on the screen and your vehicle information is transferred via computer to a Pit Crew checkout clerk (Checkout Desk Personnel) to confirm the order and complete the transaction of purchasing by paying for the vehicle ordered.
Yet another aspect of the invention, when the racer gets up from registration and ID/License station at the DMV, a racing shop is in the immediate vicinity, where various vehicle related toys, accessories, vehicle upgrades as well as branded apparel of the store (shirts, hats and other such accessories) are offered for purchase. Next, the racer moves onto the Checkout counter to purchase the vehicle and any articles from the racing shop. Meanwhile, the order that was scanned at the DMV was sent to a POS terminal checkout, where the order is called by name, prints a racing Pit Pass or incorporates the Pit Pass information on the ID/Driver's License, and following payment, sends the order to the store Garage for processing. Before the customer heads to the Pit/Garage Area of the store to pickup the vehicle, each customer is given a Garage carrying box, a Pit Pass/Driver's License, a Racing Lanyard, instructions on vehicle assembly, and "Tips and Tricks" for when the customer gets home. With each vehicle purchase, the customer gets a predetermined number of track points on the Pit Pass, which gives the racer access to an in-store racetrack to test their vehicle prior to leaving the store. All member information entered at the DMV, as well as each member's balance of track points, are stored on their Pit Pass via a bar coding system. Racers with the purchase of their first vehicle are automatically members of the store elite racing club. This permits the racer to test out their vehicles immediately after purchase and the racer is free to use the store track again as much as they like so long as enough track points remains on the Pit Pass. Each racer is free thereafter to buy as many additional track points at checkout from a Pit Crew member, which are then credited to their membership account and appear on the Pit Pass to race again at store race track.
In accordance with a next step in the process of the invention, the customer goes next to the Pit Row in the Build area of the store following Checkout. The Pit Row is typically a set of benches and tables forming a build station to assemble the vehicle. The customers walks over to the Pit Area, finds an empty build station and one of the Pit Crew delivers a tray with all of the parts needed to assemble the customer's vehicle. As mentioned previously during checkout, the racer's order is sent onto the store's Garage where the order ticket is printed out, and one of the Garage crewmembers "picks" the order parts from the back room stock. In addition to the three items that the customer chose at the Design Showroom, the Garage crew also brings out a rechargeable battery pack, a vehicle chassis, a transmitter (typically with batteries included therein), a battery charger and screws necessary to attach the body and tire/wheels to the chassis. Once the order is picked, it is left at the Garage window and one the Pit Crew members takes the tray of parts to the racer seated at a bench in the Pit area and assists the racer if needed to assemble the vehicle. The assembly process is fairly simple effort. With the help of a Pit Crew (if the customer desires), the customer attaches the body to the chassis with screws, attaches the tires/wheels to the chassis with screws and then applies the decals. The customer installs the batteries in the transmitter, installs the battery pack into the chassis and is then ready to "test drive" the vehicle on the in-store racetrack.
In another aspect of the invention, after a racer has visited the Design Showroom® and the DMV, paid for the vehicle at Checkout, the excitement really starts to build. A racer heads to the Pit Area where one of the stores Pit Crew® members presents the racer with their build kit that you selected in the Design Showroom®. The Garage is fully stocked with all of the parts and accessories that you will need to build the racing vehicle. The racer now spends time to build their creation. Sitting down at one of the store's assembly tables, the racer builds the car or truck of their dreams, especially for the older kids like an adult. The racer can take as much time as they need to carefully assemble their custom body onto its frame, putting on the slick tires and wheels with their own racing vehicle tools and layering on as many decals as they like. The Pit Crew member is always present to help, but only if you want it. At all times the Pit Crew members do not want to get in the way of the racer and his machine. The racer is told to make sure they hold onto their new driver's license. The driver's license is needed for special access to the Motorworks Speedway® track.
Finally in accordance with the present invention, another preferred step in the process is a visit to the racetrack with the purchased racing vehicle. It's time for the main event. When you have finished assembling the car or monster truck of your dreams in the Pit Area®, it is now time put your driving skills to the test on a store racetrack. The racer heads on over to the Motorworks Speedway® track for an adrenaline pumping, heart thumping race on the store racetrack of your choice. The racer checks out either an off-road obstacle course, ideal for racers with powerful monster trucks or versatile dune buggies. Here, a racer navigates over rugged terrain and challenging moguls. Or the racer cruises over to a sky high jump, launching your truck into orbit. Crash and bash with your friends and other racers, with the strongest vehicle becoming the king of the hill! Or perhaps you'd like to test your racing skills on the street racecourse. Armed with the racing car you built, rev your engine at the starting gate as the announcer shouts out "start your engines". As soon as a racing light turns green, it is your chance to maneuver your new racing car or truck around other racers vying for pole position. Using a remote control transmitter in hand, the throttle blips and a quick brake as you head into a slingshot turn, blowing past your competition to victory lane. Whether you're an off-road junkie or an on-road champion, the retail store includes a track for you. Best of all, when the race is over, the racer packs up their ride in a custom mini garage given at the checkout counter and carries it home for more racing fun on your home turf!
In still another embodiment, an interactive toy retail store is the perfect venue to have a child's Birthday Party or a Group Event. Each guest designs a new ride, picks up a special birthday driver's license, customizes and assembles their own car in the Pit Area and then races it with his or her friends. Best of all, the parent sets the price by picking a preselected package and the store will handle the rest. There are no additional fees so you will always stay within your budget. To book a reservation, a parent fills out a store web page online Party Reservation Form and submits it to the store. A Party Crew member then contacts you to schedule a race date for the birthday or group party.
Alternately, a parent is free to contact the store directly by telephone to talk with a staff member who will assist you in making a party reservation. Each store can offer a choice of various party packages for all ages and kind of racers; each with its own personalized touch. The parent is able to customize their package to fit any budget. An examples of a package for a parent to choose for all parties of six (6) or more racers would typically receive the following: Dedicated member of their Pit Crew to act as party leader. Dedicated assembly table for party participants. Extra track time for all party guests; the total time for parties is approximately 1.5 hours. Raceline pit pass lanyards for all party guests. Raceline drivers license, membership card or birthday pit pass. Raceline Prizes during race events. Party Room available by request with decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and utensilsRacers Edge Package--$35 per person Includes choice of vehicle lines like Falcon F1 Indy Car, Jackrabbit Race Car, Kodiak Rally Car or Rhino Monster Truck. Vehicle includes choice of stock body style and color, choice of stock tire/wheel set and 1 set of vehicle decals. Up to 6 racers on the track at one time. Multiple events and extended track time for larger groups.Phantom Phenoms Package--$45 per person Includes the choice of a higher end vehicle line like a Phantom Race Car. Working lights and sleek body designs. Vehicle includes choice of stock body style and color, choice of stock tire/wheel set and 1 set of vehicle decals. Up to 12 racers on the track at one time. Multiple events and extended track time for larger groups.Blazing Infernos Package--$65 per person Includes the choice of a still higher end vehicle line like an Inferno Street Race Car. Xenon style lights. Optimum track speed and performance. Precision Steering. Vehicle includes choice of stock body style and color, choice of stock tire/wheel set and 1 set of vehicle decals. Up to 12 racers on the track at one time. Multiple events and extended track time for larger groups.Store Rental Package--$20 per person Party guest can race lower end vehicle line of a Jack Rabbit Race Car, Kodiak Rally Car or Rhino Monster Truck. Includes choice of custom body and color for vehicle of choice. Includes 1 decal set for selected body. All vehicles are store demos and will be available for use only during the race. Participants will be able to take the car body home, and bring it back to the store if they would like to complete the vehicle for a discounted price.Raceline GIFT BAG ATTACHMENT!--$10 per person Everyone in the party gets a store Hat or T-shirt of their choice. Also included are 2 store Special Prizes. Signature store Gift Bag.
In another aspect of the invention, the store is able to form a Racers Club. The Club is an exclusive member's only club where racers of all kinds have access to the private racetrack in the store year around. Club members, with the purchase of their first custom car or truck, receive a personalized driver's license or club membership card that gets them special deals and driving privileges available to no one else. As a store Racers Club member, you'll get the following for example:
A personalized Racers Club Card or store Driver's License complete with photo.
Enrollment in our exclusive Racers Rewards® Program good for VIP only deals and events
Exclusive invitations to Racers Club Only races on Mondays-Thursdays
Advance notice for Raceline Club events and races; and
Speedy e-mail notifications of special promotions and events.
To become a store Race Club Member, the customer stop by a store and a member of the store racing team is happy to enroll the customer and get them started.
The Store Process
The interactive toy racing process is a unique in-store experience that lets guests "Design, Build and Race" their very own remote controlled vehicle. An experience based retailer is able to offer a guest the ability to create and customize their own ride, build it, and then take it for a test drive on an in-store race track.
The interactive store of the present invention is organized according to sections. There are five sections that generally define an in-store experience. However, it is possible to add other sections or delete others and still be within the concept of the invention as shown in FIG. 1. The five sections are as follows: Section 1: Showroom; Section 2: Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); Section 3: Checkout; Section 4: The Assembly Area (Pit Row); and Section 5: The Racetrack. Other sections are possible too that will be described later in the detailed description. These sections define an exemplary in-store experience and will serve as the model for building future stores.
THE SHOWROOM ("DESIGN")--Section 1 is shown in FIG. 2 in more detail over FIG. 1. In Section 1 (Design), guests select their vehicle of choice. For example, the experience retail store might offer 10 different lines of vehicles, ranging in price from approximately $35 to $135. Each line is represented on a proprietary design board, which measure approximately 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Each board is generally designated by a different icon or logo. Each icon or logo also has its own name associated with it. Exemplary names might be the Jackrabbit, the Kodiak, the Falcon, the Rhino, the Phantom, the Inferno, the Silverback, the Stampede, the Sandstorm, the Cyclone and the Riptide.
The selection process is simple. On each board, guests have three primary choices. They choose one body style, one set of decals and one tire/wheel style. Samples of each of these choices are attached directly to the boards. Below each sample on the board are a number of SKU cards hanging on the board to be selected. If a guest would like a particular body style in a particular color, he takes the corresponding SKU card. He then repeats the same process for the decal selection and the tire/wheel selection. Each body style for a vehicle may have one or more cards and in a preferred embodiment, the body style has three different SKU cards below it allowing for three different color choices for that particular body. Each body style also has at least one but may have up to 3 different decal choices for that particular body. Finally, each specific vehicle board includes at least one tire and wheel combination but it may have up to 12 different tire and wheel combinations available. Once again, the corresponding SKU cards that match the particular tire/wheel are located directly below the sample tire/wheel combination. For returning guests, they can also choose replacement/extra bodies, decals and tires/wheels by simply picking individual SKU cards and proceeding directly to Checkout to be described later.
In summary, each board has the same logic and steps if a different body style with its attendant Icon or logo is chosen. The following steps are preferred for choosing a particular motorized vehicle: Step #1: Select Body Style and Color; Step #2: Select Decal; and Step #3: Select Tire/Wheel combination. Therefore, each customer or guest selects three SKU cards hanging on the display boards 32 to complete the design of the chosen vehicle.
The Department of Motor Vehicles--"DMV" ("DESIGN")--Section 2.
In the Department of Motor Vehicles, a customer or guest sits down at a computer terminal and begins the process of registering their car and designing their own driver's license. The first step in the process involves registering the racer name and information. A custom screen asks the guest to enter in their name, e-mail address, current address, birthday and racer name. This information is stored in a customer relationship database of the experience retail store.
The next screen is a "Build Your Member ID Screen". On this screen, the guest positions themselves in front of a portable camera on top of the computer monitor or within the monitor, smiles and their digital picture is taken. The computer system then imports this digital picture onto a Pit Pass (driver's license). At the bottom of this screen, guests can scroll over different Pit Pass templates and customize their own Pit Pass as they see fit.
The next few screens after the "Build Your Member ID Screen" allow the guests to register their vehicle and the Pit Crew to process their order. The computer system includes a scanner tied into it that automatically scans their SKU cards, checks to make sure the store has that particular SKU in stock, and then process the order. The first screen asks the guest to "scan" his body SKU card (that he picked in the showroom). Each DMV computer station has a bar code scanner next to the monitor that reads a bar code located on the front of the SKU card. Once it is scanned, the system automatically "checks" if the store has that particular item in stock and if not that information may go to an automatic reorder function. If the item is in stock, it allows the guest to proceed. If the store does not, it will prompt the guest to make another selection. The next screen asks the guest to scan in their decal card. The final screen asks the guest to scan in their tire/wheel card. Incidentally, the computer system is able to accomplish the same tasks without the use of SKU cards. If a guest does not have their SKU card(s), they can manually select from a list that appears on each screen. Once all three SKU cards have been scanned or manually entered into the system, a final "Confirm Order" screen comes up complete with photos of each of the three items the guest just chose. If they are correct, the guest hits "Confirm Order". If not, the guest is free to go back and change something.
Checkout--("DESIGN")--Section 3 for checkout is shown in FIG. 5.
Following registration at the DMV, the guests pass through the Retail Shop, where the store offers for sale various vehicle related toys and accessories, vehicle upgrades as well as branded apparel (shirts, hats, accessories). At checkout counter, the order that was scanned at the DMV is sent to the POS terminals, where one of the staff recalls the order (by name), prints the Pit Pass, and, following payment, sends the order to the Garage for processing. Before heading over to the Pit Area/Garage Area to pick up their car, each guest is given a Garage carry box, their Driver's License/Pit Pass, a Racing Lanyard to attach to the Pit Pass, instructions on how to assemble their vehicle, and the Store's "Tips and Tricks" for when they get home. Of note, included with each vehicle purchase are 20 track points, which are added to each guest's Pit Pass and which points grant each guest or racer access to an in-store racetrack as shown in FIG. 1. All member information that was entered at the DMV, as well as each member's balance of track points, are stored on their Pit Pass via a bar coding system. Guests, with the purchase of their first vehicle, are automatically members of a Racers Club and are free to come back and race on the track as much as they like (as long as they have enough track points to gain access to races). When guests exhaust their 20 points included with their vehicle purchase, they are free to return and purchase additional track points, which are credited to their account and appear on their Pit Pass.
These first three sections of the retail store are known as the Design phase of the purchase of the vehicle. Next come the build phase sections of the retail store experience.
Raceline Pit Row--("BUILD")--Section 4 begins the build phase of the in store retail experience. The fifth section of the store is Pit Row, or the "Build Area". Following the Checkout, the guest walks over to the Pit Area, finds an empty build station as shown in FIG. 6, and one of the Pit Crew delivers a tray with all of the parts needed to assemble the guest's vehicle. As mentioned previously, at Checkout, the order is sent to the Garage, the order ticket is printed out, and one of the Garage crew members (in the back room) "picks" the guest's parts from the back room stock. In addition to the three "items" that the guest chose at the Showroom, the Garage crew member also includes a rechargeable battery pack, the vehicle chassis, a transmitter (with batteries), a battery charger and the screws necessary to attach the body and tires/wheels to the chassis. Once the order is picked, it is left at the Garage window and one of the Pit Crew takes the tray of parts to the guest seated in the build area.
The assemble process is fairly simple. With the help of one of the Pit Crew (if so desired), the guests attach the body to the chassis (with screws), attach the tires/wheels to the chassis (with screws) and apply their decals. Guests also install the batteries into the transmitter, install the rechargeable battery pack into the chassis and are then ready to "test drive" their new ride on the racetrack.
Raceline Race Track--("RACE")--Section 5 in the retail store is the in-store racetrack for the vehicles. So, the final section of the in-store process is the Race. As soon as guests are finished with the assembly of their vehicles, they proceed to the Racetrack Control kiosk, where they register for an upcoming racing event. At the terminal, they are prompted to scan in their Pit Pass, which immediately recognizes their name, hometown, and outstanding track points. If they have enough track points to gain access to a race, the system then asks if they would like to "Join a Race". If they would, they touch "Yes" at the kiosk. They are then asked which racetrack they would like to race on--the choices are a "Road Course" on the road track or an "Off Road Course" on the obstacle course. As soon as they touch which of the tracks they would like to race on, they are immediately registered in the system and cued in for the next race. Racing order depends upon when they scan their driver's license into the system. Once entered into the system, each racer's name, picture and hometown appears on one of flat screen monitors next to the racetrack. For Example, one monitor is for "on deck" racers, the second for "Current Racers" and the third for "Racer Results". Guests can monitor where they are in the process by looking at these in-store monitors.
Once on the track, the guests experience organized racing events and is entertained by one of the Race Track MC's. Many times, these guests also compete for prizes. The store might also offer organized league events and races, which take place during the week, and are offered only to Racers Club members. A sophisticated track timing system can be added to the track to add excitement with statistical information. This system is able to automatically monitor each vehicle's lap times, lap counts, and other racing statistics. Each vehicle can have a passive RFID tag with a unique identification number embedded in the body of the racecar or truck. Statistics are then broadcast onto one of the in-store monitors, in real time, for others to see, track and observe. These stats will also be added to the Member's section of the website. Here, Club members will be able to log on and compare racing stats with other racers from various stores throughout the country.
As soon as guests have completed their race (which usually last between 5 and 10 minutes), they are free to reenter an upcoming race by logging into the Race Control kiosk, or leave and come back later for more racing fun.
The present invention is concerned with a chain of experienced based retail stores that allow guests to design, build and race their own remote controlled vehicle in the store. The store also sells various other Raceline branded merchandise and apparel, other toy vehicles and accessories and birthday party and corporate events packages.
In a preferred experience retail store made in accordance with the invention includes the same process and technology mentioned above. The store may also incorporate the following features and be in keeping with the present invention: On-line order fulfillment. Ability to design vehicle online. Members only chat rooms, areas to view racing statistics for individual and fellow racers, club area for photos--"kids social networking site". Racing video games. Video links (some in real time) allowing racers to view existing races at other stores throughout the county. Expansion of merchandise to include other toy offerings, including, but not limited to: Customizable battery operated, wind-up and push vehicles, planes, trains, boats, helicopters, motorcycles and other "non-vehicle" toys. Additional vehicles to include licensed manufacturers, NASCAR, hot rods, classic cars, muscle cars, luxury cars and antique cars. Racing branded apparel, accessories and vehicle upgrades. Racing branded vehicle and technology. Include a "smart car" and "smart track", which, through existing technology, can communicate with each other Vehicle consists of fully interchangeable platform and contain "central technology control center" that serves as command module for vehicle Track contains technology to communicate with vehicles while on racetrack and includes components that are electronically operated (sounds, elevations, obstacles, etc.) Store is capable of being built into non-mall based format including, but not limited to lifestyle centers, power centers, streetscape retail locations and stand alone locations Expansion of distribution channels to include on-line, catalogue and third party retailers/distributors Development of other proprietary Stores and racetrack design, to eventually serve as a "kit of parts" for future stores and possible resale to customers Each Racetrack to be named according to store name/location (e.g.--"Racing Hawthorn" or "Racing Mayfair"
Development of proprietary logo and locations for each unique store location.
Such logos to be branded onto vehicles, apparel and accessories. E.g.--"Racing Hawthorn" and "Racing Mayfair". The goal is to create a racing circuit, with each retail store representing a unique name and identity. Customers can then collect branded vehicles and other products from the different retail store locations. Each vehicle will have its respective location logo imbedded on its body.
In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a method of creating and racing remote controlled vehicles at a single store location is provided. The method comprises the steps of providing a plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts for selection by a user at the store. The vehicle parts are preferably for model or toy race cars; however, other vehicles, such as remote controlled helicopters, planes, boats or submarines can be utilized in a similar manner. The method further includes receiving from a customer at the store an identification of select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to create a first remote controlled vehicle. For a race car, the select parts can include the vehicle body, wheels, tires, decals or other vehicle accessories (e.g., battery, engine type, etc.). Each category of parts can have a plurality of styles for selection by the customer. Once the parts are selected, the method includes registering the first remote controlled vehicle at a computer terminal at the store; and, racing the registered first remote controlled vehicle at a race arena in the store.
The race arena is preferably a race track when the vehicle is a race car. A water course, or a flying course can be used for the other remote controlled vehicles as appropriate.
The method can further include displaying the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts with an SKU card for with each different type of part. The SKU card can include a bar code associated with the type of part which can be scanned by an employee of the store. The scanned items can then be retrieved from inventory kept in a storeroom. Alternatively, a plurality of parts can be displayed, and a customer can select the actual parts and bring them to a counter for purchase. The displayed parts can be replenished from inventory as they are purchased.
In another alternative, the method can include providing a computer terminal configured to display the plurality of remote controlled vehicle part. The customer can then browse the parts on the computer terminal and input a selection signal which can be received at the computer terminal for the select parts identified by the customer.
The step of registering the first remote controlled vehicle at a computer terminal at the store can comprise obtaining personal identification information from the customer and generating a registration number associated with the customer. The registration number and/or other information can be turned into a registration card or ID for the customer. To give the card a more authentic appearance, the method can include providing a digital camera coupled to the computer terminal and taking a picture of the customer. A printer can then be used to generate a picture identification card for the customer.
To build or assemble the vehicle once the parts are gathered, the method can include providing a garage area at the store for assembling the select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to build the first remote controlled miniature vehicle.
The method further includes providing sensors in the race arena coupled to the computer terminal. The sensors can be used to generate or maintain statistics of a registered customer's vehicle as it races in the arena, as well as displaying the vehicle's position on a display as it races. The statistics can be accessed by the customer over an Internet connection.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a system for creating and racing remote controlled vehicles is provided. The system comprises a remote controlled vehicle part selection area of a store having a plurality of vehicle parts for selection by a customer. The system also includes an assembly area of the store for assembling parts selected by the customer into a first remote controlled vehicle and a computer in the store configured to receive personal information of the customer for registration of the first remote controlled vehicle. Additionally, the system can include a race arena in the store for racing the first remote controlled vehicle. The race arena can include one or more sensors coupled to the computer which can generate statistics of the vehicle and/or display the position of the vehicle on a display coupled to the computer. The statistics can be made available to the user over a network connection such as the Internet.
Additionally, the system can include a digital camera coupled to the computer for generating a picture of the customer. The computer is further coupled to a printer and configured to create a registration identification card of the customer which includes the picture of the customer.
In accordance with yet another aspect of the invention, a retail store for sale of motor vehicle toys is provided. The store has a store motif exuding a racing arena. The store includes a showroom section for displaying the motor vehicles and any accessories related to the motor vehicles for making customizing design decisions thereon, a checkout for the purchase of the vehicle; and a pit area for assisting in the assembly of the chosen vehicle and accessories within the store.
In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, a method of creating and racing remote controlled vehicles at a single store location comprises providing a plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts for selection by a user at the store, receiving from a customer at the store an identification of select parts from the plurality of remote controlled vehicle parts to create a first remote controlled vehicle, and providing an area of the store configured as a garage for assembling the remote controlled vehicle. The method further includes assembling the remote controlled vehicle parts into the first remote controlled vehicle, registering the first remote controlled vehicle at a computer terminal at the store and, racing the first remote controlled vehicle at a race arena in the store.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to one of reasonable skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional objects, features, and advantages be included herein within the scope of the present invention, as defined by the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
To understand the present invention, it will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of showroom display boards of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a SKU card of a body style of the vehicle of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the DMV with close up of its monitors of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portable garage for the vehicles of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a partial perspective view of the garage and workbenches in Pit Area of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of the racetrack and its monitors of FIG. 1;
FIG. 8A-8P show example screen shots of the DMV process as seen by a user of the system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 9 is an example of the three design cards with bar codes for scanning into the computer at the DMV process of FIG. 1; and,
FIG. 10 is an example screen shot of a monitor at the in-store racetrack as seen by a racer of the system of FIG. 1.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
The present invention is an experience retail store 10 for selling model cars and truck with remote control as shown in FIG. 1 located in a downtown, suburban mall or a free standing store. Children 12 are attracted by the outwardly appearance of the store and usually are accompanied by a parent 14 who enters with the children 12 to purchase the remote controlled model motor vehicles items for their children. The store 10 includes seven distinct sections as follows: 1. Showroom; 2. Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") 18; 3. Racing Merchandise Shop 20; 4. Checkout 22; 5. Garage 24; 6. Pit Area 26 and 7.
Section 1 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 2. In Section 1 of the Showroom 16 (Design Stage), guests such as the children 12 select a vehicle 30 of choice. For example, the experience retail store 10 might offer at least 11 different lines of vehicles that range in price from the cheaper models to the more expensive ones. Each line is represented on a proprietary design board 32 of a predetermined size. Such a design board 32 may measure approximately 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Each board 32 is generally designated by a different icon or logo 34. Each icon or logo 34 also has its own name associated with it. Exemplary names are a Jackrabbit, a Kodiak, a Falcon, a Rhino, a Phantom, a Inferno, a Silverback, a Stampede, a Sandstorm, a Cyclone, Inferno and a Riptide as shown in the website FIGS.
As shown in FIG. 2, the first step towards customizing, building and racing your own vehicle happens in a Design Showroom 16 area of the store 10. In the Design Showroom 16 area, each racer (child or parent) gets to choose from a number of different kinds of vehicles. Perhaps you prefer the speed and razor sharp handling of an on-road street racer. Or maybe you're looking for a rough and tough off-road monster truck. Whatever your racing tastes, the Design Showroom 16 and its display boards 32 has a vehicle to match your preferences. After you've chosen your vehicle type, it's now time to customize your ride! Choose from over a hundred different body styles and color combinations, including exotic sports cars, rugged monster trucks, and go-anywhere dune buggies. Pick a color that complements your own personal style. Each display board 32 has a number of different body styles 36 for a vehicle 30 in a number of different colors 38. Further personalize your ride with a selection of road gripping tires and custom wheels and rims 40. You can choose five-spoke chrome mags on flame treads 40 for example. Yellow spinners on racing slicks is yet another choice. You, the customer decides. It's your car. Next select the finishing touches for your vehicle with custom tailored decals. In short, on each board 32, the racer 12 is able to select a body style 36, a color 38, customs wheels 40 and a decal 42 to match their preferences. Whether it's a sleek pinstripe for that cherry red racecar 30, or smoking hot flames for your monster truck or hybrid, a decal center has it all to choose from.
FIG. 3 shows a SKU card 42 for a racing car from a Phantom series 44 and a Ghost 46 body style with a barcode 48 identifying those choices on the card for scanning by a scanner 50a as shown in FIG. 4. This SKU card 42 would have come from the child 12 or parent 14 taking the card 42 off the Phantom Series 44 display board in the showroom 16 when first entering the store and seeing the display of vehicles on the display boards 32.
So the child 12 or parent 14 chooses the design of its vehicle easily and quickly from the display boards 32 in the showroom and then travel to the Department of Motor Vehicles 18 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. The person sits down at a DMV station terminal 50 that includes an open computer terminal keyboard 52 with a monitor 54 and a camera 56 in close proximity thereto.
An opening screen shot is shown in FIG. 8A where the DMV 18 allows a person to choose to click a racer start button 58 or a Parent start button 60. The next screen shot in FIG. 8B allows a racer/driver to answer the question of whether or not a purchase of a vehicle at the retail store had occurred prior to this visit in either checking a Yes or No circle. Then a "Let's Get Started!" Button 60 is clicked on by a mouse indicator to go onto the next screen shot. Then the screen shot in FIG. 8C show three questions to be answered by the Parent 14 before clicking button 62.
Following button 62, a screen shot in FIG. 8D shows a form 64 to fill in Vehicle Driver Information that includes a name, email address, home address, birthday and a Racer name with only the first and last name blanks and racer name being required. After the pertinent information is entered, the person goes to the bottom of the screen shot where there is a choice of a Back Button 66, a Next Button 68 and a Start Over Button 70. These three Buttons 66, 68 and 70 are the usual choices at or near the bottom on all succeeding screens shots or a limited button combination thereof.
FIG. 8E screen shot is a Parent/Buyer Information form that is not required to be filled out before choosing one of the three Buttons at the bottom of the screen to move on.
FIG. 8F screen shot is a Build your Member ID/License or in short, a registration identification number ("RIN") that is unique to each customer buying a vehicle or child receiving the vehicle. So this RIN number can later be used to log into the store's website for the racing shop 20 purchases of customized accessories, racing minutes added to the particular RIN number and other online merchandise orders to be described in greater detail later. Thus, this is a very important screen to follow all of the instructions and three stages outlined thereon. In the first stage, a Capture your picture (as many times as you like) is provided by the digital video camera 56 that is active and captures your picture within a display box 72 on the screen shot and when you feel the picture is just right you click the Capture Picture Button 74 next to your real time camera shot. Then a captured digital picture 76 is shown immediately on a proposed Driver's License Preview 78 in section one, which shows the digital capture image of the camera 56 to see if the image for your Driver's License or RIN card is the one that you would like printed on the RIN or ID license card. In stage two, there is a Choose your ID picture 80 showing the digital captured picture above in stage one, where you can check this photo for your RIN card. You also have the ability to check an old photo or a number of different pictures 82 that were previously taken and stored under you RIN number. If you want to change to an earlier picture taken and stored within the various picture image arranged in order of being taken or you could even check no photo for the RIN or Driver's License card if no picture of you is deemed suitable. So the choices in stage two are present captured digital photo 80, old photo, or prior pictures 1-3 if these slots have images available or no photo. The photo 80 is shown as chosen in FIG. 8F so that is the one also shown in captured photo 76 on the Driver's License 78 in the preview box. Where there is a slot with one of the No Image Available 82, you can fill these three slots with newly captured digital photos for later use or not. Next, in stage three, you can Choose your background 84 for the RIN or Driver's License card 78 where a number of different colored backgrounds and designs of the card are listed and you are able to check a circle above Backgrounds 1-9 showing the various style RIN or Driver's License cards 78. Then the next screen shot is displayed by hitting the Next Button 68 at the bottom of the screen.
FIG. 8G is a screen shot for Design Your Car. You begin this screen by either scanning you SKU card taken from the showroom 16 with the vehicle line such as the Infereno, Falcon etc. or manually mouse click on a circle next to the vehicle line that you desire. If you choose a Begin designing your car by scanning your BODY card first, the SKU card from the showroom, you scan a SKU BODY Card 86 card past the scanner 50a at the DMV station terminal 50 and the vehicle line is chosen. At this screen shot another button is added at the bottom of the screen and that is an Edit Racer Button 88 where the name of the racer is displayed on this screen to the left of the button 88. If you click on this button 88, you then can change the racer name if you want.
FIG. 8H is a screen shot that is next in line after the vehicle line is chosen. This screen permits the racer to choose the body style and color of that body style. By scanning the SKU Body card 86 taken below the particular colored car on the display board 32. Or the racer can manually enter by checking the circle next to the color of car desired as shown in the FIG. 8H.
FIG. 8I is a screen shot showing a choice of decals for the vehicle. Again, the racer can scan in the SKU Decal card 88 or manually enter the decal by clicking on the circle next to the desired decal on this screen shot before clicking on the Next Button 68.
FIG. 8J is a screen shot showing a choice of Tire/Wheel for your vehicle. Here you scan in the SKU Tire card 90 or manually check the circle next to your choice of wheels for your vehicle before clicking on the Next Button 68.
FIG. 8K shows a variation of the above screen only know you can see on a left column checklist 92 that the vehicle line, Body, Decals and Tires/Wheels all have a check mark indicating that all of these items have been completed on the vehicle design.
FIG. 8L shows a Confirm Your Order screen shot where there is a recap of your choices and you are given the choice of clicking on a Confirm Order Button 92, Back Button 66 or Start Over Button 70. The purpose of these buttons is self-evident.
After clicking on the Confirm Order Button 92, you are taken to a Thank you for your order screen shot as shown in FIG. 8M where you are given the opportunity to add another vehicle by clicking on a Design Another Vehicle Button 94. This screen also informs the racer to look around the store for other items of interest and that you can go to the Checkout 22 for seeking a cashier to complete your purchase of your designed vehicle.
FIG. 8N shows a screen shot if you hit the Start Over Button 70. You get a repeat of FIG. 8K showing your checked off list of items on your vehicle with a new box 94 in the middle of the screen shot asking if you would like to replace your current selection with a Yes 96 or a No 98 button to click.
FIG. 8O is the next screen shot showing a box 96 when entering the system again and you already have the RIN or Driver's License 78 so box 96 asks you to scan your Drivers license now or if you do not have one with you, you can click ok on box 98 and go to cashier at Checkout 22 and get another RIN or Driver's License card 78.
FIG. 8P shows a screen shot that produces a box 100 with an acknowledgement Ok button 102 in the event an invalid Body attempting to be entered into the computer system.
To summarize the path that a customer, parent or child takes going through the steps of obtaining a vehicle of choice, FIGS. 2-7 shows the progression. First, the adult and their child are attracted to the outwardly appearance of the retail shop 10 that can have a number of various motifs. The store might look like a hot rod shop, a motor vehicle garage, a racing semi-trailer, a racetrack or any customizing theme that deals with the recognition of a place that has cars, trucks or other vehicle toys for sale therein. This is an important aspect of the invention for an experience based retail store to have the look and appeal that will attract kids and adults alike to look for a fun experience therein. The do-it-yourself aspect where the children can progress through steps within the retail store to choose a car design then build it and later even race it within the same retail shop gives the young racer the ability to have an enjoyable experience in shopping with his parents. In fact, the parents themselves will enjoy the experience as much as the kids because we all enjoy the freedom of the road in the fantasy car or truck of our dreams that comes alive with the purchase in this type of retail store at some level of consciousness.
FIG. 2 shows the colorful display boards 16 of cars, trucks, tire/wheels and decals in the showroom immediately upon entering the retail store. The kids are drawn to the display boards 32 in excited anticipation of acquiring their own model to design and play with it on the racetrack. A Rhino vehicle line series 104 is shown on the display board 32. Various body styles 106 in actual size are mounted on the display board in various colors. Below each body style is a SKU Body card 86 that is taken by the young racer. Next decals 108 are below the displayed bodies and the decal SKU card 88 hangs below each type of decal for the young racer to grab. FIG. 3 shows a close up of the Body SKU card 42 or 86. When the three SKU cards of Body, Decals and Tires are selected, the young racer goes to the DMV area 18 to sit at a terminal station 50 to enter their design choices for the car, truck or other vehicle. Of course, you could bypass the SKU cards on the board as shown in FIGS. 8A-8P and go directly to the computer terminal 50 in the DMV and make your selections from the succession of the previously describe screen shots in the computerized system. FIG. 4 shows the terminal stations 50, the scanners 50a at each station and then various screens 110 at the DMV that are shown in greater detail in FIGS. 8A-8P.
FIG. 5 shows the retail merchandise of the racing shop within the store and a portable Garage 112 given to each young racer to house their vehicle purchase at the store. The portable Garage box 112 includes the theme of the store, which is to DESIGN, BUILD and RACE the vehicle of their choice within the store environment. The box 112 is design to look like an actual semi-trailer of the type that would carrier a racing car to its appointed racetrack for a race. There is a convenient carrying handle 114 with a folding flap 116 to close that securely holds the model vehicle within the garage box 112 for carrying to and from locations that the young racer desires to transport the vehicle.
FIG. 6 shows the garage theme includes a window that looks like an opening to a garage that would have the body, engine, tires, wheels and other accessories such as radios for music or remote radio controls for the vehicles. The garage 24 is where all of the customized choices of the design by the young racer or child comes together and the do-it-yourself aspect of the experience takes over as the parts are placed in a tray matching your confirmed order and then you go to the Pit Area 26 including a bench and chair where a garage mechanic or pit crew on the staff of the store assists the young racer to the level desired in the assembly of the vehicle. Once the body is assembled to the chassis and the wheels attached to the chassis, batteries are inserted into the vehicle chassis to operate a receiver for signals to steer, brake and accelerate the vehicle on a track or off road experience. The remote control panel transceiver is loaded with its batteries, the vehicle is now ready to receive control signals to power the vehicle around the track or off road.
FIG. 7 show an in-store racetrack 120 for racing the vehicles and a off road area 122 within the boundaries of the racetrack 120 for trying Monster Truck vehicles and other off road type vehicles within the store once assembled by the customer. For organized racing, a series of monitor screens 124 are displayed above the young racers to view so there is an orderly approach to racing the vehicles on the racetrack. A Kiosk pedestal or similar device is located next to the racetrack so the young racer can scan their RIN or Driver's License and be logged into the next race on the track. A picture of the young racer and their vehicle is displayed on a monitor as shown in FIG. 10. Then in FIG. 7, a progression of screens shows that the young racer can choose either the road course on the racetrack or the off road course within the borders of the generally curved and oval racetrack. Statistics on the road coarse are posted to each racing vehicle owner's RIN or ID License. Each car may include a RFID chip within the chassis or body that carries the same number of the RIN or ID License so each time it passes the finish line on the racetrack it is clocked in with stats. However, the race track could have sensors within the track that show the progress of the vehicle as it travels around the road courses and those results are then displayed on one of the overhead monitors for the friends and relatives of the young racers to keep track of their child's racing position. Besides racing against other children at the track, the young racer can just simply navigate his or her vehicle around the racecourse at their particular desired speed and time without capturing any of their laps.
The time on the road course or off road course is tracked by the entering of the RIN or ID License number into the scanner of the Kiosk and immediately the appropriate number of points is deducted from the racing time associated with each registered ID number. The young racers or their parents are able to buy additional racing time for themselves or even conduct events for friends by having birthday parties and other gatherings in which vehicles are put together for guests along any package that they want for their children or guests accompanying their kids.
This whole experience makes it perfect for Birthday parties and Events where the vehicles can either be purchased or rented for each guest at the time of the party or event.
The retail store 10 includes a website in which an opening home page is a dynamic action page that opens up with a Design panel on the left with the sound of an vehicle engine starting up and continuing on with a rev sound of the engine and then an arrow points to the right with a Build panel opening with the tools therein and the engine sound continuing before another arrow occurs pointing to the right to a Race Panel where the vehicle engines RPMs increases and you hear the screeching of the vehicle's tires as the vehicle peels out from a sound standpoint.
The Design stage panel, which lists the different vehicle lines where the first steps towards customizing, building and racing you own vehicle happens in the design showroom 16 of the store. A variety of lines of vehicles, body styles and colors as well as the decals and Tires/Wheels that are placed upon each line of vehicles can be displayed via the website. The site can highlight the Build step in the assembly of the vehicle at the store's Pit Area and the RACE step at the store where road and off road courses are present to test out and race the customized vehicles by the purchaser. Of course, the store's web pages are sufficient to place an order over the web of the exact customized vehicle of your choice and have the store mail out the portable garage with your purchased vehicle along with all other accessories required to have the fun experience of having either a freewheel or a radio remote controlled customized vehicle of your choice. A web-browsing parent who comes to the experience retail store can place an order for a Birthday Party for their children. You simply pick you package then fill out the form and click the submit button at the bottom of the page and you have a scheduled Birthday Party planned with maximum convenience to the parent planning the event. A browser screen for a RACERS CLUB can be provided. To become a member of the RACERS CLUB, you could stop by the store and a staff member (Pit Crew) of the store's racing team happily signs you up and gets things started. Of course, the same thing could be done remotely over a secured line where a credit or debit card is used to sign up for the CLUB and the purchase of the vehicle for future road or off road course runs. The site can provide the latest news from the retail store and allow the downloading of articles in PDF, WORD or other text to read what is currently happening at the store and with the vehicle offerings by the store. The site can provide the location of the store and detailed map information for going directly to the store from your location. The site can also provide contact information web pages that permit the public to get into contact by telephone, mail or email to contact a Pit Crew member of the Store to get further details or have questions answered, which are not covered by other web pages on the site. The site can also provide an employment web page providing information to the public if they would like to become a Pit Crew member at the store. Another web page on the site provides Q & A basic information and definition of the terms used throughout the various web pages on the site. And finally, the site provides the privacy statement of the store that lets the racer know the policy statements of the store with regards to the information supplied by parents, children and others that visit the web site or come into the store.
Another aspect of the website is that a customer can come onto the website and simply enter their RIN, ID LICENSE or Driver's License number into a information block and the racer would be immediate taken to a page with its statistics and information that could be changed or updated by the CLUB RACER member. Points could be purchased for the racetrack time or race shop accessories ordered for the racer's vehicle. And any other games or activities that come later as the website matures would be added onto the CLUB RACER member's activities by simply entering their RIN or Driver's License number.
As used herein, the terms "first," "second," "third," etc. are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to limit the embodiments in any way. Additionally, the term "plurality" as used herein is intended to indicate any number greater than one, either disjunctively or conjunctively as necessary, up to an infinite number.
While the specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications come to mind without significantly departing from the spirit of the invention, and the scope of protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying Claims.
Patent applications by David J. Domm, Chicago, IL US
Patent applications in class Remotely controlled
Patent applications in all subclasses Remotely controlled