|Publication number||US20060058156 A1|
|Application number||US 10/941,243|
|Publication date||Mar 16, 2006|
|Filing date||Sep 15, 2004|
|Priority date||Sep 15, 2004|
|Publication number||10941243, 941243, US 2006/0058156 A1, US 2006/058156 A1, US 20060058156 A1, US 20060058156A1, US 2006058156 A1, US 2006058156A1, US-A1-20060058156, US-A1-2006058156, US2006/0058156A1, US2006/058156A1, US20060058156 A1, US20060058156A1, US2006058156 A1, US2006058156A1|
|Inventors||Gabriel Cohen, Gerald Mitchell|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (18), Classifications (10), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention generally relates to systems, methods, and computer readable media for improving circuit training in a smart gym, and more particularly, to advantageous systems, methods, and computer program products for determining a circuit training path in a smart gym for efficient utilization of exercise equipment.
Circuit training exercise programs typically consist of defining an ordered set of exercises performed on exercise equipment to work out particular muscles or muscle groups, each exercise having an associated duration or repetition count, and associated levels of resistance. Traditional gyms provide a limited number of stand alone pieces of exercise equipment, or stations, on which to accomplish these exercise sets. Each station can be used to perform a small set of specifically targeted exercises, for example, a tricep machine is operated by a user to exercise the user's tricep muscles, the target muscle. Since these stations can only be in active use by one individual at a time and each individual's exercise program is personal to that individual, there is often contention for pieces of exercise equipment between multiple individuals resulting in user downtime.
Lengthy downtime between performing exercises is not desirable, since maintaining an elevated heart rate is important over the course of an entire circuit. For exercises with multiple sets, there is usually some desirable downtime between sets to rest the target muscle stressed by the target machine allowing two or more users to share a station by interleaving sets during each other's downtime.
Furthermore, due to the increased demands on peoples lives, exercisers are requiring more efficient use of their limited time at the gym. At the same time, gym operators typically have limited budgets and would not typically purchase more equipment to accommodate increased usage. Additionally, spending money on equipment purchases requires more floor space in which to fit the additional equipment and increases the total maintenance cost for keeping all the equipment in working order.
There is a growing surge in smart gym technology. Smart gyms can be characterized as combining computers with exercise equipment and associating identities with exercisers. Currently, some smart gym technologies allow training programs to be associated with user identities. A user can then identify themselves to a piece of exercise equipment with a unique key, and the equipment will retrieve their desired resistances and durations, and possibly record the user's progress. Some equipment can even retrieve settings for a user from the Internet, and maintain records of that user's progress. However, the current state of smart gym technology does not address the problem of optimizing the utilization of exercise equipment by users to minimize contention for an individual piece of equipment.
Among its several aspects, the present invention recognizes that a need exists for mechanisms for optimizing the utilization of exercise equipment by users to minimize user contention for an individual piece of equipment. The present invention also recognizes that methods, systems, and computer program products are needed to provide an efficient path through an equipment circuit to an exerciser by automatically determining the next equipment station in the equipment circuit an exerciser will visit.
To this end, the present invention addresses a variety of aspects of a smart gym which may advantageously comprise a plurality of station agent nodes, a management node, and a network providing connectivity between the plurality of station agent nodes and the management node. The station agent node preferably resides on a computerized exercise station and is operable to report the status of the exercise station. The station agent node also retrieves a suggested next exercise machine in the equipment circuit for an exerciser and directs a display to inform the exerciser of the suggestion. The management node maintains and directs the operations of the smart gym. The management node is responsible for collating information from exercise stations disposed in the equipment circuit. The management node retrieves an exerciser's personal program and analyzes the collated information to direct the exerciser from station to station through the equipment circuit, resulting in a circuit training path.
A more complete understanding of the present invention, as well as further features and advantages of the invention, will be apparent from the following Detailed Description and the accompanying drawings.
The present invention will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which several presently preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in various forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.
As will be appreciated by one of skill in the art, the present invention may be embodied as methods, systems, or computer program products. Accordingly, the present invention may take the form of a hardware embodiment, a software embodiment, or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects. Furthermore, the present invention may take the form of a computer program product on a computer-usable storage medium having computer-usable program code embodied in the medium. Any suitable computer readable medium may be utilized including hard disks, CD-ROMs, optical storage devices, flash memories, or magnetic storage devices.
The code may execute entirely on one or more computers, or it may execute partly on a server and partly on a client within a station device or as a proxy server at an intermediate point in a communications network. Regarding the former scenario,
In one embodiment of the present invention, a station agent node may consist entirely of program code stored within an exercise machine if the exercise machine is computerized and programmable and contains a communication interface and a display. In another embodiment of the present invention, a station agent node may consist of personal computer, workstation, or the like which is connected to an exercise machine. The term “exercise station” as used herein refers to the combination of an exercise machine and a station agent node. For example, exercise station 147 encompasses exercise equipment 145C and station agent node 150C. It should be noted that the present invention contemplates a station agent node controlling one or more exercise machines. It should also be noted that a station agent node may not be associated with any exercise machine.
The handheld computer 170, although depicted as a personal digital assistant (PDA), may also include a cell phone, a notebook computer, a pager or any other device which contains a display and communicates wirelessly. The handheld computer 170 allows an exerciser to maintain his or her own exercise log and exercise program on the handheld computer 170 itself. The handheld computer 170 communicates an exercise program directly to an exercise station through an infrared interface or through a wireless LAN 160. The handheld computer 170 also displays information generated by the management node 110 or an exercise station including a next exercise machine the exerciser will visit in the equipment circuit according to the exerciser's personal exercise program in light of the current activity at each exercise station. It is understood that for simplicity only three station agent nodes and one handheld computer are illustrated in
In operation, each station agent node receives information from its associated exercise machine and receives information either directly or indirectly from an exerciser. The exerciser may communicate a personal exercise program through his or her handheld computer 170. The personal exercise program may suitably specify an identification number for the user, the total number of sets planned to be performed on the exercise machine associated with the station agent node, the number of repetitions for each set, the resistance levels for each repetition in each set, and historical completion times for using a similar exercise machine. The personal exercise program may also specify three or more typical phases of a workout such as a warm-up phase, a regular phase, and a cool down phase. In each phase, a list of target muscles which would be the focus of a selected exercise station are specified such as biceps, triceps, upper back, lower back, shoulders, and the like. Alternatively, other items such as specific exercises, exercise equipment, target muscles, or any combination of these items may be specified in a workout phase.
The personal exercise program may alternatively be retrieved from the data store 130 by the management node 110 upon the user inputting a personal identification number at a station agent node. When an exerciser begins his or her exercise on an exercise machine, the station agent node determines that the exercise machine is occupied. During the course of exercising, the station agent node receives current status information from the exercise machine. Such status information includes an identification number for the current user, the current set the current user is performing, the current repetition being performed by the user, and the current resistance level for the current repetition being performed by the user. Additionally, regardless of the exercise machine being occupied, messages indicating the health of the exerciser and the operational status of the machine are transmitted to the station agent node. The station agent node may periodically report status information to the management node 110 or the management node 110 may periodically request status information from each station agent node.
The management node 110 maintains and directs the operations of the smart gym 100. The management node 110 collates status information received from station agent nodes 150A-C. If an exercise station is not currently being used, the associated station agent node reports that it is available. Furthermore, the management node 110 receives each user's personal exercise program from either the data store 130 or a handheld computer such as the handheld computer 170. With the management node 110 having access to each user's personal exercise program and the current status of each exercise station, the present invention determines both a first exercise station and a next exercise station which an exerciser should visit in pursuing his or her workout. This determination results in a personal path through the equipment circuit and it is more fully described in connection with the discussion of
An exerciser about to begin an exercise circuit may approach an available exercise station or a separate station agent node embodied in a networked computer which is not associated with an exercise machine. As described above, the exerciser will be informed of his or her next exercise station of the equipment circuit through either the display associated with a station node or the exerciser's handheld computer. Alternatively, output to an exerciser may be done through a display on the exercise machine. The management node 110 considers the dynamic change in status of each exercise station when calculating the next equipment station to be visited by an exerciser.
For the following example depicted in flow diagram 300, the first exercise machine to which the exerciser will visit for the start of his or her work out corresponds to station agent node 320. Station agent node 320 has been previously reserved by the exerciser. Station agent node 320 may suitably be similar to station agent node 150A of
At time t0, the exerciser inputs his or her user identification (id) 305 to a station node 320. The exerciser may input the user id through various means including entering the user id utilizing an interface provided at an exercise station or by wirelessly communicating the user id from or with a handheld computer such as handheld computer 170. It should be noted that the communication between the input/output 310 and the station agent node 320 is performed through known display devices and known input and output techniques. The station agent node 320 removes the reservation associated with the exerciser and may optionally inform the management node 330 by sending message 307 indicating the removal of the exerciser's reservation. The station agent node 320 also sends a message 309 to indicate that the station is now occupied by the exerciser. The station agent node 320 also sends a message 311 to retrieve the exercise parameters for the exercise machine. It should be noted that message 309 may alternatively be sent after response 313 when the exerciser actually begins working out on the exercise machine. In response to message 311, the management node sends exercise parameters associated with an exercise specific personal program for the exercise machine such as the weight settings, the number of sets, the number of repetitions for each set, and the like. The communication between the station agent node and exercise machine is not shown, but may occur in a known manner. Upon receiving the exercise parameters, the station agent node 320 communicates an indication 315 to the exerciser to begin executing the exercise set. The station agent node 320 may operate to display messages to the exerciser through a display connected to the computer upon which the station agent node runs or may communicate with the exercise machine causing it to display messages on a display integrated with the exercise machine.
During the exerciser's work out on the exercise machine, the station agent node 320 sends a message 317 to request that the management node to reserve the next station agent node on behalf of the exerciser. By analyzing the exerciser's personal program and the states of the station agent nodes, the management node 330 determines the next station. In the embodiment depicted in the example illustrated in
Each polled station agent node responds to the management node indicating whether it supports the particular exercise. The management node 330 finds the next station agent node based on anlalyzing the reply messages 321 received from the collection of station agent nodes. Preferably, the management node will find a next agent station node which is available and unreserved. Since the state of the next station agent node is dependent on factors such as the number of exercisers working out, the next agent station may not be available and unreserved. In that case, the management node would attempt to find a station agent node which is occupied but unreserved. If there are no station agent nodes which satisfy the target muscle and have the occupied and unreserved states, the management node would select a station agent node that is occupied and reserved as the next station agent node. In this case, the management node would make an additional reservation for the next station agent node.
Upon finding the next station agent node, the management node 330 issues a message 323 to the next station agent node 340 to mark the next station agent node 340 as being reserved. If the next station agent node 340 has already been previously reserved, the marked reservation is made to a reservation queue in the next station agent node 340. The next station agent node 340 acknowledges the management node 330 with a reservation received message 325. The management node 330 communicates to the station agent node 320 by sending a message 327. In message 327, the next station and any additional exercise instructions are communicated to the station agent node 320. Station agent node 320 communicates the next station to visit to the exerciser and any additional instructions through input/output 310, if necessary. For example, if the exerciser 310 is queued in a reservation queue at the next station agent node 340, any waiting time which would typically be calculated at the management node is communicated to the exerciser through input/output 310 to provide him or her an estimated time before approaching the next station. Additionally, non-equipment exercises which address the target muscles may be suggested to the exerciser to occupy the exerciser's waiting time.
It should be noted that the present invention contemplates that different messages and orders of messages than those depicted in
Returning to step 430, if there are no available and unreserved equipment stations, the method proceeds to step 435. At step 435, the method determines if there is another muscle in the current stage that could be addressed by an available and unreserved station. If there is another muscle in the current stage, the method proceeds to step 425. At step 425, the method 400 retrieves the next muscle in the set of muscles in the current stage and proceeds to step 430. Returning to step 435, if there is no other muscle in the current stage, the method 400 proceeds to step 445 because there are no equipment stations which are available and unreserved for any of the muscles in the current stage. Consequently, the method will search for unavailable equipment stations which are unreserved and address the target muscles in the current stage. Step 445 retrieves the first muscle from a set of muscles in the stage to find a station which is occupied but unreserved. It should be noted that the method 400 may look for exercise equipment which focus on one more target muscles. Proceeding to step 450, the method 400 determines if there is an occupied and unreserved station which exercises the target muscle by looking at the response messages 3231 received by the management node 330, for example. If there is such a station, step 455 determines if there are multiple unreserved stations found. If there are multiple unreserved stations, step 460 selects the equipment station that will become available the soonest, marks that equipment station as reserved, and notifies the exerciser how long to expect to wait for the equipment station, ending this iteration of the method.
Returning to step 455, if there are not multiple unreserved and occupied equipment stations, the method proceeds to step 475 which marks the single found station as reserved and notifies the exerciser how long to expect to wait for the equipment station, ending this iteration of the method. At the end of either steps 475 or 460, the method proceeds to step 442.
Returning to step 450, if there are no unreserved stations which exercise the target muscle, the method 400 proceeds to step 470. At step 470, the method 400 determines if there is another target muscle in the current stage. If there is such a muscle, the method 400 proceeds to step 465 to retrieve the next target muscle in the set of muscles in the current stage and continues to step 450. Returning to step 470, if there are no more muscles in the current stage being analyzed, the method 400 proceeds to step 505 in
Up to step 505, the method 400 has so far not found an equipment station which is either available or unreserved and occupied. In other words, all the equipment stations needed by the exerciser according to his or her exercise program are occupied and reserved. Method steps 505, 530, 535, and 540 attempt to find the best equipment station to enque an additional reservation to an equipment station which is currently occupied and reserved.
At step 505, the method 400 retrieves the first muscle from a set of muscles in the current stage and proceeds to step 530. At step 530, the method 400 determines if there are multiple reserved equipment stations. If there are multiple reserved stations found, the method 400 proceeds to step 535 where it selects the soonest available equipment station, enques an extra reservation at that equipment station, and notifies the exerciser to wait a predetermined time before going to the soonest available station. This iteration of the method ends. The method 400 then proceeds to step 442 which returns to the beginning of the method to find a next station after a predetermined time.
Returning to step 530, if there is only one reserved equipment station which is found, the method proceeds to step 540. At step 540, the method 400 enques an extra reservation to the found equipment station and notifies the exerciser to wait a predetermined time before going to the found station, ending this iteration of the method. The present invention may suggest non-equipment oriented exercises for the exerciser to do during the waiting period before the next station node becomes available. The method proceeds to step 442 which returns to the beginning of the method to find the next station after a predetermined time.
Although the examples depicted above specify target muscles to be associated with a stage of a personal exercise program, other items such as specific exercises, exercise equipment, target muscles, exercise classifications such as aerobic and anaerobic or any combination of these items may be specified as a personal criteria in a particular workout stage. For example, a warm up stage of a personal exercise program may include an aerobic classification. An elliptical machine would be a possible exercise machine that may be suitably associated with the next station agent node when matching the aerobic classification in the personal exercise program.
While the present invention has been disclosed in the context of various aspects of presently preferred embodiments, it will be recognized that the invention may be suitably applied to other environments consistent with the claims which follow. Such environments include health spas, rehabilitation hospitals, physical therapy gyms, and any other suitable environment where exercise equipment is used by a number of exercisers.
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|U.S. Classification||482/4, 482/8|
|International Classification||A63B24/00, A63B71/00|
|Cooperative Classification||A63B2225/15, A63B24/0075, A63B71/0697, A63B24/00|
|European Classification||A63B71/06R, A63B24/00|
|Nov 11, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:COHEN, GABRIEL AARON;MITCHELL, JR., GERALD LAVERTE;REEL/FRAME:015351/0180
Effective date: 20040915