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Publication numberUS20020055418 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/374,324
Publication dateMay 9, 2002
Filing dateAug 13, 1999
Priority dateAug 13, 1999
Also published asWO2001012269A1, WO2001012269A9
Publication number09374324, 374324, US 2002/0055418 A1, US 2002/055418 A1, US 20020055418 A1, US 20020055418A1, US 2002055418 A1, US 2002055418A1, US-A1-20020055418, US-A1-2002055418, US2002/0055418A1, US2002/055418A1, US20020055418 A1, US20020055418A1, US2002055418 A1, US2002055418A1
InventorsNathan Pyles, Steven M. Stanziano
Original AssigneeNathan Pyles, Steven M. Stanziano
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interactive fitness equipment
US 20020055418 A1
Abstract
The invention relates to a modular fitness device consisting of a stationary fitness device with a video display mounted thereon, an electronic media interface and an exercise sensor. The interface enables connection of the display to one or more of a variety of electronic media, including PC, video/audio recorder, set top box, games console etc. Preferably, a connection to the internet can be provided. User interfaces for control of the device can include a combination of voice-activation, a touch mouse pad or a keyboard movably attached to the device.
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Claims(51)
1. A modular fitness device comprising:
a stationary exercise device;
a video display monitor mounted on the exercise device; and
an electronic media interface mounted on the exercise device.
2. The modular fitness device of claim 1, and further comprising:
an exercise sensor mounted on the exercise device, for generating signals corresponding to an exercise condition; and
the electronic media interface for receiving the signals from the exercise sensor.
3. The modular fitness device of claim 2, wherein the exercise sensor generates signals corresponding to a plurality of exercise conditions.
4. The modular fitness device of claim 2, wherein the exercise sensor is selected from the group consisting of:
a tachometer;
a heart rate monitor;
an odometer;
a variable resistance mechanism;
belt speed monitor;
tilt monitor; and
torque sensor.
5. The modular fitness device of claim 2, wherein the electronic media interface further comprises an activity-based controller for processing exercise condition signals and generating exercise device control signals.
6. The modular fitness device of claim 5, wherein the activity-based controller includes a programmable operator interface.
7. The modular fitness device of claim 1, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to an Internet site.
8. The modular fitness device of claim 1, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to a digital playback device.
9. The modular fitness device of claim 1, and further comprising:
a data processor in signal communication with the electronic media interface.
10. The modular fitness device of claim 1, and further comprising:
a voice-activated operator input.
11. The modular fitness device of claim 1, and further comprising:
a second display monitor mountable on an exercise device.
12. The modular fitness device of claim 1, wherein the video display monitor is a flat screen television.
13. The modular fitness device of claim 1, and further comprising:
a touch mouse pad mounted on the exercise device.
14. The modular fitness device of claim 1, and further comprising:
a keyboard movably attached to the exercise device.
15. A modular fitness device comprising:
an exercise sensor mountable to an exercise device, for generating exercise signals corresponding to an exercise condition; and
an electronic media interface for receiving the signals from the exercise sensor.
16. The modular fitness device of claim 15, wherein the exercise sensor generates signals corresponding to a plurality of exercise conditions.
17. The modular fitness device of claim 15, wherein the exercise sensor is selected from the group consisting of:
a tachometer;
a heart rate monitor;
an odometer;
a variable resistance mechanism;
belt speed monitor;
tilt monitor; and
torque sensor.
18. The modular fitness device of claim 15, wherein the electronic media interface further comprises an activity-based controller for processing exercise condition signals and generating exercise device control signals.
19. The modular fitness device of claim 18, wherein the activity-based controller is a programmable operator interface.
20. The modular fitness device of claim 15, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to an Internet site where the signals from the exercise sensor are analyzed.
21. The modular fitness device of claim 15, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to a data display unit.
22. The modular fitness device of claim 15, and further comprising:
a data processor in signal communication with the electronic media interface.
23. The modular fitness device of claim 15, and further comprising:
an voice-activated operator input.
24. The modular fitness device of claim 15, and further comprising:
a second display monitor mountable on the exercise device.
25. The modular fitness device of claim 15, wherein the video display monitor is a flat screen television.
26. The modular fitness device of claim 15, and further comprising:
a touch mouse pad mounted on the exercise device.
27. The modular fitness device of claim 15, and further comprising:
a keyboard movably attached to the exercise device.
28. A modular fitness device comprising:
a stationary exercise device;
a video display monitor mounted on the exercise device;
an electronic media interface mounted on the exercise device;
an exercise sensor mounted on the stationary exercise device, for generating signals corresponding to an exercise condition; and
a voice-activated operator input for controlling electronic media.
29. The modular fitness device of claim 28, wherein the exercise sensor generates signals corresponding to a plurality of exercise conditions.
30. The modular fitness device of claim 28, wherein the exercise sensor is selected from the group consisting of:
a tachometer;
a heart rate monitor;
an odometer;
a variable resistance mechanism;
belt speed monitor;
tilt monitor; and
torque sensor.
31. The modular fitness device of claim 28, wherein the electronic media interface further comprises an activity-based controller for processing exercise condition signals and generating exercise device control signals.
32. The modular fitness device of claim 31, wherein the activity-based controller includes a programmable operator interface.
33. The modular fitness device of claim 28, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to an Internet site.
34. The modular fitness device of claim 28, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to a digital playback device.
35. The modular fitness device of claim 28, and further comprising:
a data processor in signal communication with the electronic media interface.
36. The modular fitness device of claim 28, and further comprising:
a second display monitor mountable on the exercise device.
37. The modular fitness device of claim 28, wherein the video display monitor is a flat screen television.
38. The modular fitness device of claim 28, and further comprising:
a touch mouse pad mounted on the exercise device.
39. The modular fitness device of claim 28, and further comprising:
a keyboard movably attached to the exercise device.
40. A modular fitness device comprising:
a stationary exercise device;
a video display monitor mounted on the exercise device;
an electronic media interface mounted on the exercise device;
an exercise sensor mounted on the stationary device, for generating signals corresponding to an exercise condition;
a voice-activated operator input for controlling electronic media; and
a personal computer mounted on the exercise device, the personal computer including digital data drives.
41. The modular fitness device of claim 40, wherein the exercise sensor generates signals corresponding to a plurality of exercise conditions.
42. The modular fitness device of claim 40, wherein the exercise sensor is selected from the group consisting of:
a tachometer;
a heart rate monitor;
an odometer;
a variable resistance mechanism;
belt speed monitor;
tilt monitor; and
torque sensor.
43. The modular fitness device of claim 40, wherein the electronic media interface further comprises an activity-based controller for processing exercise condition signals and generating exercise device control signals.
44. The modular fitness device of claim 43, wherein the activity-based controller includes a programmable operator interface.
45. The modular fitness device of claim 40, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to an Internet site.
46. The modular fitness device of claim 40, wherein the electronic media interface can be coupled to a digital playback device.
47. The modular fitness device of claim 40, and further comprising:
a data processor in signal communication with the electronic media interface.
48. The modular fitness device of claim 40, and further comprising:
a second display monitor mountable on the exercise device.
49. The modular fitness device of claim 40, wherein the video display monitor is a flat screen television.
50. The modular fitness device of claim 40, and further comprising:
a touch mouse pad mounted on the exercise device.
51. The modular fitness device of claim 40, and further comprising:
a keyboard movably attached to the exercise device.
Description
FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to fitness equipment, and particularly to fitness equipment that is interactive with computers, the Internet, and other electronic media devices.

[0002] Some types of fitness equipment such as treadmills and exercise bicycles are sold with video monitors for watching television while exercising. Other fitness machines have on-board computers and video monitors for calculating and displaying exercise rates and heart rates, while some are even capable of sending control signals back to the fitness device to control resistance and other exercise parameters. Thus, these machines have limitations in versatility and will not be as capable of keeping exercisers mentally stimulated while they are being physically challenged by the fitness device. This is important because exercise programs are known to be more successful when there is mental stimulation above and beyond that which accompanies the act of exercising.

[0003] Recently, with the advent of the Internet, fitness devices have been developed and marketed that can be connected to the Internet so that exercise data can be transmitted to a central web site computer. That computer can function much as the on-board computer described above, and additionally can report to health clubs regarding equipment use frequency and other general information.

[0004] Despite the above advances in fitness equipment, each machine is limited to use with the particular electronic media device that is built into the piece of fitness equipment. As electronics develop the original piece of equipment can become obsolete. Obsolescence in fitness equipment can be expensive, particularly when electronics are built in. Further, many prior art machines have bulky and top heavy video monitors that cause fitness machines to be obsolete because of their ungainly appearance.

[0005] Even recent machines with on-board computers have drawbacks in the way that they are operated. Some use traditional keyboards which are difficult to manipulate while exercising. Others use touch screens which can become smudged with perspiration during exercise.

[0006] Thus, there is a need for fitness equipment that is adaptable to a variety of electronic media devices, is easy to operate, and has a balanced weight and appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] In accordance with the present invention, there is a fitness device that is adaptable to being used with a variety of electronic media while at the same time including only the bare essentials of electronics to interact with the various media forms. Such a fitness device will provide a variety of intellectual stimulation to an exerciser while remaining relatively inexpensive and less likely to become obsolete as new electronic equipment and Internet connectivity methods are developed.

[0008] In accordance with the present invention, there is a fitness device having an on-board display screen and an interface jack or jacks that are able to connect to a variety of electronic media devices such as computers, set-top boxes, cable boxes, video cassette recorders, and digital recording and playback devices. (“Set-top boxes” as used herein, refers to devices that feed televised and Internet signals to a video monitor, as for example, WebTV™.) Additionally, there may be an electronic sensor for monitoring a particular exercise parameter and sending a corresponding signal to an interface. The interface is capable of connection to a variety of electronic media, such as computers, the Internet, television, and radio. Among other things, the electronic media will be displayed on an on-board video monitor that can display video images from any media source. The media source may or may not utilize the exercise sensor signal, but the sensor will be used by computers and certain Internet web sites that function to monitor and/or control the exercise program being carried out on the fitness device.

[0009] As stated, the fitness device and video monitor are adapted to interface with any number of electronic media devices to provide a high degree of adaptability for the fitness device as a variety of electronic media are desired to interact with the fitness device. The ability to interact with electronic devices such as television, computers, or the Internet via personal computer, set-top devices, or cable modem boxes provides intellectual stimulation during an exercise program without the added expense of all the possible media hardware being sold as part of the fitness device. As media hardware becomes obsolete, it can be replaced without the added expense of replacing the fitness device itself. Further, these various media devices are already available in many homes and fitness centers so there is no significant additional expense to many purchasers of the exercise equipment.

[0010] Such a fitness device allows the user to watch television and recorded video, listen to music, monitor the news, communicate with other people, and play games with a computer or over the Internet. The Internet link can also be used to connect to a special web site portal where a data base of health and exercise information is processed for individual users of the fitness equipment, thus, saving the expense of specialized computer software in home or fitness center situations. When the Internet site portal is accessed, a special data base having that user's personal workout and health history can be accessed. The user can upload and display all pertinent exercise information, including workout history, goals, fitness programs, and even the weather and other sports related information for outdoor workouts. The web link and computers can generate control signals that adjust the fitness device to increase or decrease resistance and workout times to maintain a user's heart rate and exercise regimen. Goals for fitness can be input by the user through an operator interface, and the web site or computer will track progress, set new goals, or provide health information for the user.

[0011] In addition, the present invention provides operator interfaces that are unique to fitness equipment. Rather than the typical touch screen monitor that can be smeared by sweat or a standard keyboard that is difficult to operate while exercising, the present invention can include voice-activated software and/or a touch mouse pad. These modes of inputting information or calling up a variety of electronic devices are beneficial because they do not interfere with the exercise program and do not cause smearing or blocking of the video monitor.

[0012] To achieve the above goals, the present invention includes: a modular fitness device having: a video monitor and an interface that is adaptable for connection to a variety of electronic media hardware. The device may further include an exercise sensor to monitor an exercise condition and generate signals corresponding to an exercise condition; and an interface for receiving the signals from the exercise sensor and receiving signals from a variety of electronic media.

[0013] The exercise sensor may generate signals corresponding to any number of exercise conditions for a stationary fitness device. The exercise sensor can be a tachometer; a heart rate monitor; an odometer; a resistance mechanism; speed sensor elevation monitor; torque sensor; or any type of sensor that monitors an exercise condition.

[0014] The modular fitness device may also include an on-board activity-based controller that can control the fitness device based on signals received from the exercise sensor or any of the various electronic media that communicate with the fitness device interface. The modular fitness device interface may be coupled to an Internet site or computer where the signals from the exercise sensor are analyzed, or a television link, digital video and audio playback equipment, game stations (particularly those using voice-activation), or any other electronic media device.

[0015] The modular fitness device may farther include an operator voice-activated input or a mouse touch pad as operator interface devices that are easily operated while exercising.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016]FIG. 1 is a fitness device in accordance with the present invention.

[0017]FIG. 2 is an alternate fitness device in accordance with the present invention.

[0018]FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a control panel in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Referring to FIG. 1, there is depicted a fitness device 20 in accordance with the present invention including an exercise bicycle 22, a video monitor 24, and an electronic media interface 26. The exercise bicycle 22 includes a frame 28, an adjustable seat 30, a pedal 32, a first pair of handle bars 34 on a front post 36, and second pair of handle bars 38 mounted on the seat 30.

[0020] The video monitor 24 is preferably mounted on the front post 36 as illustrated, but other mounting devices can be used that will provide clear and unobstructed views of the video display. The video monitor 24 is preferably an active matrix LCD TV display with a 12.1 inch screen, model LCD-101, by Action Electronics in Chung Li, Taiwan, but other types of monitors can be used in accordance with the present invention that are able to display television and/or Internet images. Further, there can be multiple video monitors 24 for simultaneous viewing of different electronic media.

[0021] The interface 26 in its most fundamental form is essentially a jack or jacks that is able to connect to any type of electronic media, such as cable, satellite or computer jacks. Suitable jacks include coaxial, video in and out (RCA), VGA, mouse jacks, microphone, audio in, or RS232 and/or USB.

[0022] In addition, the interface 26 may, and preferably does, include some limited computing ability to perform such functions as converting and formatting data to be displayed on the video monitor 24, and/or control the exercise device 20 to optimize a user's workout. Thus, the interface 26 includes jacks or similar devices to communicate with media hardware that is not part of the fitness device 20. The interface 26 may also include a printed circuit board or programmable device for the purposes of formatting and organizing workout data and/or controlling the operation of the fitness device 20 as a result of signals received from an exercise sensor or from an off-board computer or Internet website. Further, the interface 26 may include voice-activation software when that type of operator interface is used. In some embodiments it may be preferable that the voice activation software can be loaded in the external linking mechanisms, such as a PC.

[0023] At the lower end of the video monitor 24, there is an operator interface 40 that includes a number of oversized buttons 42 for easy access when the operator is exercising and/or is fatigued. The operator interface 40 here is depicted as a series of large buttons 42, but as described more fully below, other types of interface devices can be used in accordance with the present invention.

[0024] Also depicted in FIG. 1 are a pair of speakers 46 for generating sound corresponding to the video display or other Internet or computer data being conveyed through the invention. Although the speakers 46 are mounted adjacent the video monitor 24, they may be mounted anywhere there will be adequate audio projection to the user, including a head set or ear phones such as a headset/microphone made by Andrea Game Ware, model no. NC-65 Pro of Long Island, N.Y.

[0025] Referring now to FIG. 2, there is depicted an alternate embodiment of a fitness device 50 in accordance with the present invention, which includes an operator interface 40, an elliptical motion trainer 52 having a frame 54, a pair of pedal arms 56, and an upright post 58 supporting a pair of handle bars 60. On the upright post 58, there is mounted a video monitor 64 and interface jacks that are similar, if not identical, to the video monitor and interface jacks described above in conjunction with FIG. 1. Also, speakers 66 and operator interface 68 including oversized buttons 70 are included, as described above in the FIG. 1 embodiment.

[0026]FIG. 3 illustrates a schematic view of a control panel in accordance with the present invention. Centrally located in the diagram is a panel 200 which includes a mixer 202, a tuner 204, an amplifier 206, and data formatting software 208 pre-programmed on a circuit board or similar programming medium. Although shown on the panel 200, the operative components described below can be mounted anywhere on the fitness device 20, including in the frame or base of the bicycle 22.

[0027] The mixer 202 functions to sort and combine data for display on the monitor. The tuner 204 is a television or radio signal tuner that can be mounted in the control panel 200, in the video monitor, or off-board in another piece of hardware to select a desired television or radio frequency from a coaxial cable, for example. The amplifier 206 amplifies sound signals from any of the sources described below. The data format software 208 can be any software that processes signals that are unique to the fitness device, and formats data from any of the data sources described below for view on the video monitor.

[0028] The panel 200 is preferably mounted on the fitness device 20 that can be any of the devices described herein or any other fitness device including weight machines, treadmills, ski machines, etc. As indicated by the lead arrows joining the panel 200 and the fitness device 20, the fitness device will generate signals corresponding to an exercise condition such as heart rate, distance traveled, rate of travel, and others. These signals are transmitted to the panel 200 in any convenient manner, such as wire, infrared transmission, and either by digital or analogue. Further, the fitness device 20 can be controlled by another device that transmits its signals through the control panel and to the fitness device 20. The control signal can adjust resistance or other exercise parameters.

[0029] The panel 200 can be linked to a computer 230 for a variety of interactive functions. For example, when the interface 26 does not include any computing capability as discussed above, the computer 230 can process exercise signals received from an exerciser sensor 235. The exercise sensor 235 can be any number of sensors including, tachometers, odometers, heart rate monitor, variable resistence mechanism, belt speed monitor, tilt monitor, and torque sensor. The signals can be processed to calculate any number of exercise conditions, such as heart rate, velocity, distance traveled, calories burned, etc. The computer 230 can also compare exercise data to data from previous workouts to calculate progress over time or generate control signals that are transmitted to the fitness device 20 to control resistance and keep an exerciser within a target heart rate range.

[0030] Further, the computer 230, the Internet, or the on-board software in the interface 26, can generate signals that are transmitted to a video display 240 or speakers 250 so that any interested person can review the data. Interested people include the person exercising, training instructors, equipment designers, and equipment repair and maintenance personnel.

[0031] The computer 230 or Internet can be activated by an operator using any type of operator interface, but it is preferred that the operator interface 254 that is a voice activated control system, or a touch mouse pad 255. The voice-activated interface allows a user to search the web by voice command, call up favorite web sites, or call out hyper-links to connect the exerciser to any media source desired. The voice-activated interface can be a headset or be mounted on the fitness device 20 or elsewhere. A suitable headset is made by Andrea Game Ware, model no. NC-65 Pro, and suitable voice software is Conversa Web 3.0 by Conversational Computing Corporation. When used as a headset there are jacks provided that connect to the a headset. When a mouse touch pad is used, it preferably is mounted in the control panel for additional navigational ease. Preferably, the voice-activation and the mouse pad are used together for optimum controllability.

[0032] Another optional operator interface to be used alone or in conjunction with the mouse pad and/or voice-activation device is a keyboard 40 (FIGS. 1 and 2) that preferably is of a reduced size from standard computer keyboards, and is able to slide or fold out of the way when not in use (dashed lines).

[0033] Preferably, the computer 230 has at least a Pentium processor with at least 166 mHz of processing speed, with an iternet connection, such as a 28.8 MHz modem, and preferably, a Windows 98 or similar type of operating software. An Internet website such as MyFitness.com by Vision Fitness of Lake Mills, Wis. is preferably used to upload exercise data to, and provide additional fitness information, as discussed above. Preferred web browser software is Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.

[0034] The computer 230 is preferably capable of interfacing with the Internet 270, which can provide any of the myriad of services available over the Internet, but preferably the Internet will be used to access a web site specialized to process, record, and provide data relating to signals generated by the fitness device 20. The web site can track data, compute data if the computer 230 is not used for computation, compare data over a series of workouts, and supply summary data to be used by any interested person. The web site will have individual mail boxes or disc space on the server on which an individual's exercise data is stored.

[0035] Once processed by the web site, the data is converted to signals that can be displayed on the video monitor 24, broadcast through the speakers, or transmitted to another location for use by interested persons.

[0036] As an alternative to the PC, the set-top box 290 transmits television signals for the tuner 204 to select from and then transmit a selected frequency on to the video monitor 24.

[0037] Also, in a preferred embodiment, the fitness device 20 is connectable to either a personal computer with a DVD (or other type of audio/video player) to provide the advantages of computer/Internet links and to enable viewing of recorded digital movies and music. Other electronic media devices such as video and audio recorders, game stations, and satellite web TV, can be connected to this versatile invention, as well. One further example of a suitable media device is a 333 MHz personal computer with CD ROM by e-machine, model no. 333ci.

[0038] The above detailed description of the drawings is meant for clearness of understanding only, and no unnecessary limitations therefrom should be read into the following claims.

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US7291744Nov 12, 2004Nov 6, 2007Bristol-Myers Squibb CompanyN-ureidoalkyl-amino compounds as modulators of chemokine receptor activity
US7753824 *Aug 6, 2007Jul 13, 2010Leao WangFinger-touch type sensor for an exercise apparatus
US8306635 *Jan 23, 2009Nov 6, 2012Motion Games, LlcMotivation and enhancement of physical and mental exercise, rehabilitation, health and social interaction
US8538562Apr 5, 2010Sep 17, 2013Motion Games, LlcCamera based interactive exercise
US8706530Sep 29, 2011Apr 22, 2014Dacadoo AgAutomated health data acquisition, processing and communication system
US20090233769 *Jan 23, 2009Sep 17, 2009Timothy PryorMotivation and enhancement of physical and mental exercise, rehabilitation, health and social interaction
US20120223480 *Dec 1, 2011Sep 6, 2012Jerry NorthExercise game
WO2003039368A1 *Oct 31, 2002May 15, 2003Epm Dev Systems Corp D B A NewCustomized physiological monitor
WO2004111910A1 *Jun 17, 2004Dec 23, 2004Sung-Il KimSporting apparatus of image sports room, its managing method for an image sports room using of network and managing system
WO2005027742A1 *Sep 21, 2004Mar 31, 2005Fabien M J GuilloritSportcare set-top-box monitoring system
WO2010124267A1 *Apr 23, 2010Oct 28, 2010Unisen, Inc., Dba Star TracFitness product projection display assembly
WO2012050969A1 *Sep 29, 2011Apr 19, 2012Quentiq AGAutomated health data acquisition, processing and communication system
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/8, 482/51
International ClassificationA63B21/00, A63B24/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B24/00, A63B71/0622, A63B2225/20, A63B2225/305
European ClassificationA63B24/00, A63B71/06D2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 6, 1999ASAssignment
Owner name: EPIX, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PYLES, NATHAN;STANZIANO, STEVEN M.;REEL/FRAME:010443/0477;SIGNING DATES FROM 19991122 TO 19991130