US 20050272561 A1
Fitness machines with attached machine parameter sensors send machine parameter data over a local area network to a computer where the sensed data is stored and processed. The processed data is made available to a user to show machine adjustments made in previous workouts, the number of repetitions made as well as other exercise or health related parameters. Other data which can be entered into the computer includes, for example, a user's body dimensions, if any soreness was felt during or immediately after a workout and data from body monitors worn during the workout to monitor, for example, heart rate. The computer can have data on different exercise regimes and application data for suggesting a workout regime for a particular user.
1. A system for monitoring exercise comprising:
a) a fitness machine for use by a user;
b) a sensor mounted on said fitness machine for sensing an machine parameter of said fitness machine and for converting said sensed parameter into digital data;
c) a local area network for transferring said digital data to a first computing device which receives and processes said digital data.
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11. A method for monitoring an fitness machine comprising the steps of:
a) converting an machine parameter of said fitness machine into digital data; and
b) transferring said digital data over a local area network to a first computer.
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1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to fitness machines and, more specifically, to electronic data gathering and processing for fitness machines.
2. Description of the Related Art
Currently a minority of fitness machines being used provide exercise data that is available for use with a data processing machine such as a computer, and this data is limited to a few machine parameters of the fitness machines. Furthermore, this data is not stored and thus there are many machine parameters of fitness machines which are not readily available to a user, or, in the case of electronic based fitness machines, are only available until the workout is complete at which time the data is lost. A few basic machine parameter, for example, are the seat position adjustment, weight used, repetitions completed, or in the case of electronic based fitness equipment, distance traveled, calories burned, etc. Some other parameters associated with using fitness machines are a knowledge of what a user's fitness goals are (e.g., muscle tone, weight loss, stamina, a muscular body), the user's individual physical parameters (e.g., weight, muscle strength), historical workout data and data showing progress toward a user's goals.
Therefore, it can be appreciated that system which facilitates using existing or new fitness machines used in conjunction with a computer system which stores these and other machine parameters of the fitness machine from previous workouts by a particular user, which has algorithms in the computer for generating an appropriate selection and use of fitness machines, which uses a local area network to couple the computer to the individual fitness machines and which makes available summaries of the machine parameters of the fitness machines at previous workouts so that progress towards selected fitness goals can be monitored locally or remotely is highly desirable.
In one aspect the present invention generally provides a system for monitoring exercise which includes a fitness machine with a sensor mounted on the machine for sensing a machine parameter of the fitness machine. The sensed parameter is converted to digital data and passed over a local area network which receives and processes the digital data.
In a further aspect the present invention generally provides a method for monitoring an exercise machine including converting a parameter of the machine into digital data and transferring the data over a local area network to a computer.
It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention to store predetermined machine parameter data for a particular user on a computer associated with a fitness machine.
Another object of the present invention is to provide algorithms stored in the computer for generating appropriate selection and use of fitness machines for a particular user.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a local area network coupling the computer to the individual fitness machines.
An even further object of the present invention is to make available summaries of the machine parameters at previous workouts so that progress towards selected fitness goals can be monitored.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide to a user the ability to monitor certain body parameters during exercise such as heart rate and blood pressure.
The aforementioned and other features, characteristics, advantages, and the invention in general will be better understood from the following more detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
It will be appreciated that for purposes of clarity and where deemed appropriate, reference numerals have been repeated in the figures to indicate corresponding features, and that the various elements in the drawings have not necessarily been drawn to scale in order to better show the features of the invention.
Turning now to the drawings,
A third fitness machine 22 has a data port 24, which transfers data through a cable 26 to a data interface module 28 over a local area network which connects together the various blocks of
It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the sensors 16 and 18 can be added after the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ships the fitness machine from its factory, and it is also within the scope of the present invention that all of the sensors described herein could be installed by the fitness machine OEM.
Also shown in
In addition to the body measurement device 38, there is also a body monitor 44 for monitoring certain body parameters when a user is exercising. Such body parameters could be, for example, heart rate and blood pressure. Sensors 46 associated with the body monitor 44 captures this data and provides it to the computer interface module 20 through a cable 48. In another example, the body monitor 44 could consist of attachments for measuring the EKG of a user along with an adapter to transmit the EKG data to the computer 50 via the computer interface module 20. Furthermore, the computer 50 could, in turn, pass such data in real time or at a later time to an automated EKG analysis system 186 (shown in
The computer interface module 20 transfers data between itself and the individual fitness machines 12, 14 and 22, the body measurement device 38 and the body monitor 44. Cables 52, 54, 58, 42 and 48 connect fitness machines 12, 14 and 22, the body measurement device 38, and the body monitor 44, respectively, to the computer interface module 20.
The computer interface module 20 is connected via a cable 58 to the computer 50 which, in turn, is connected to a printer 60.
In operation the sensors including sensors 16, 18 and 30 are usually attached to a fitness machine as described in more detail below. The data transferred to and/or from the sensors 16, 18 and 30 can be encoded using any of the well known communication protocols such as the Ethernet protocol.
These signals are routed to and/or received from the computer interface module 20, which multiplexes the signals (if, for example, two people are using fitness machines at the same time) and sends the multiplexed signal to the computer 50.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention the communication paths are all bidirectional for reasons discussed below. However, for less complicated systems, such as may be used in a home, one way communication paths may be appropriate which would lower the cost of the system 10.
The computer 50 stores the data it receives from the computer interface module 20 and from the keyboard of the computer 50 and runs various applications that manipulate the received data according to computer algorithms which may also use information from a source such as a remote processing center 186. Such applications may simply store the data or may use more complicated applications such as the following:
(1) Applications which provide a selection of training regimes for a user with information about each of the regimes;
(2) Applications which provide daily workout exercises which vary so that the exercise session isn't routine, but which is selected to fit the needs of a particular user at a particular point in his or her training; and
(3) Applications which provide instructions on the setup of the selected fitness machines by, for example, printing such instructions on the printer 60.
The electronic data gathering and processing system 70 operates in the same manner as
In operation the interactive display 98 accepts information manually entered on the keypad 102 and provides information to the user on the display 100. Information can also be communicated to the user using the speaker 104. For example, the user could use the keypad 102 to ask the computer 50 and/or the USB memory stick 107 for certain information such as, for example, the machine parameters from the last workout (e.g., seat position, amount of weight, number of repetitions per set and the number of sets). The computer 50 or the USB memory stick 107 would then provide this information to the user via the display 100. Also, the speaker 104 could provide beeps to provide a cadence for the user when exercising. Moreover, the computer 50 or the USB memory stick 107 could ask, using the display 100, a series of questions which would be answered by the user using the keypad 102, about the machine parameters not directly sensed in order to have a complete set of parameters available when the user again uses the leg press 90. The display 98 could be used to show video of the proper settings and use of the leg press 90.
The card reader 106 would be used to identify the user with the LED 108 providing a confirmation that the user has been recognized. The adjustment position sensor 110 senses the seat adjustment position with regard to the foot plate 94 as described below in more detail with respect to
During the use of the machine the foot plate 94 moves back and forth and thereby changes the angle of the connecting member 114 with respect to the frame of the leg press 90. This angle is measured with the rotation sensor 112 to thereby provide the motion of the foot plate 94 to the computer 50 during the workout to capture the range of motion and the time of each cycle of the foot plate 94. The display 100 and/or the speaker 104 could provide feedback to the user during the exercise as to where to stop the foot plate 94 during the exertion phase, where to stop the foot plate 94 during the relaxation phase, to indicate to the user the cadence (the amount of time to spend on each of the exertion and relaxation phases) and the rest time between each set. Wires 116 provide power to the sensors and a cable for transferring data between the foot press 90 and the computer interface module 20.
The data sensed by the sensors, such as the rotation sensor 112, during the workout could be stored directly in the memory stick 107, or the memory stick 107 could be updated after the workout from the computer 50 using the USB port on the computer 50.
Instead of the card reader 106, the display 98 with the visual display 100 and keypad 102 could be used for registering the user using a password. In this embodiment the visual display 100 could be simply one or more LEDs to indicate to the user that his or her password has been accepted.
In operation the two bar code readers 138 and 140 read the bar codes 136 on the weights and provide this information through the encoder box 142 and out one of the cables 144 to the computer interface module 20 and then to the computer 50, with the second cable used to provide power to the encoder box 142 and the bar code readers 138 and 140. When some of the weights are moving up and down, the bar code readers 138 and 140 detect the bar code 136 on whatever weights are moving. This data is used in the computer 50 to determine how much weight has been selected by the user, and can also be used to detect the end points of the exertion phase and the relaxation phase and to detect the user's speed of motion.
The bar code readers, such as the bar code readers 138 and 140 may vary in number and placement depending on the particular weight stack 120. The number and placement of the bar code readers is chosen such that the bar code readers are able to detect which individual weights have been selected for an exercise. The top bar code reader is positioned to read the bar code of the top weight when the weight is at rest. The minimum amount of travel of the central shaft 128 needs to be determined based on the range of movement of the central shaft 128 during normal operation of the fitness machine using the weight stack 120. After the minimum amount of travel has been determined, the placement of the next lower bar code reader is set by placing the bar code reader opposite the weight that is just below the weight that the top bar code reader reads when the central shaft 128 has moved the minimum amount of travel. In the same manner additional bar code readers are positioned until the bottom weight's bar code can be read when the central shaft 128 has moved the minimum distance.
In operation once the position of the inner member 150 is secured with respect to the outer member 152 and locked in place with the pin 154, the bar code reader 158 reads the bar code 160 immediately under the adjustment hole 170 of the inner member 150 which holds the locking pin 156. The bar code number is transferred over the local area network to the computer 50 where it is recorded as the particular adjustment position for a particular fitness machine for a particular user. The information is then made available to the user so that the same adjustment position can be used, if desired, the next time the user uses such fitness machine.
A variation of the assembly 164 of
With regard to the location and ownership of the software used in the present invention, a number of alternatives are available. For purposes of this analysis, the software will be considered to consist of three segments. The first segment is the software to transfer the data from the sensors, such as sensors 16 shown in
Although the invention has been described in part by making detailed reference to a certain specific embodiment, such detail is intended to be, and will be understood to be, instructional rather than restrictive. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that many variations may be made on the structure and mode of operation without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as disclosed in the teachings contained herein.