US 20060247109 A1
A multi-function apparatus integrating an exercise device with a computer workstation. The exercise device is preferably a treadmill, step machine, or stationary bicycle. The computer workstation is attached to the exercise device, and comprises adjustable computer monitor, keyboard/mouse and desk surfaces.
1. A multi-activity exercise apparatus comprising:
a stationary exercise device;
a display for monitoring the status of said stationary exercise device;
a computer workstation affixed to said stationary exercise device for performing non-exercise (NEAT) and exercise tasks; and
an adjustable working surface.
2. The multi-activity apparatus of
3. The multi-activity apparatus of
4. The multi-activity apparatus of
5. The multi-activity apparatus of
6. The multi-activity apparatus of
7. The multi-activity apparatus of
8. The multi-activity apparatus of
9. The multi-activity apparatus of
10. A workstation for an exercise apparatus, comprising:
a computer with a display and a user input disposed on the exercise apparatus; and
an adjustable working surface disposed on the exercise apparatus.
11. The workstation of
12. The workstation of
13. The workstation of
14. The workstation of
15. A method for simultaneously exercising and performing computer operations, comprising the steps of:
providing a multi-activity apparatus comprising a stationary exercise device, a display for monitoring the status of said stationary exercise device, and a computer workstation affixed to said stationary exercise device for performing non-exercise tasks;
exercising with said stationary exercise device;
operating said computer workstation; and
monitoring said display simultaneously with said operating step.
16. The method of
17. The method of
18. The method of
detaching said computer workstation from said stationary exercise device; and
attaching said computer workstation to a second stationary exercise device.
Obesity has become a major health crisis in America. Societal changes in diet, exercise, and common occupational activities have each contributed to this epidemic. Many Americans spend a major portion of their workday at a desk in offices or at home, working with a computer, telephone and reading material. There is minimal opportunity for calorie-burning exercise during such work time.
Recent research in the field of obesity has indicated that a technique called “Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis” (NEAT) may be effective in weight loss and weight control therapies. NEAT employs an exercise protocol in which the participant is active at very low exertion rates for relatively long periods of time. For example, a user may employ NEAT by walking on a treadmill significantly slower than her natural walking speed, but continues walking for several hours. The user thus avoids becoming winded and only minimally perspires. In addition, the NEAT technique allows the user to simultaneously engage in other activities, such as operating a computer, while exercising.
Prior art suggests the value of a “virtual treadmill” in which a computer user is encouraged to elevate the display and to “march in place” on the floor while operating the computer. Kehrbaum, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,808,475 entitled “Ergonomic computer workstation and treadmill combination”, teaches the construction of a bulky piece of furniture surrounding a traditional treadmill. The configuration of the furniture makes it incompatible for use in spaces characteristic of offices, cubicles, home, school and fitness center settings.
On the other hand, prior art exercise devices which are integrated with office or entertainment features, such as that taught by Kao in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/064466 entitled “Exercising apparatus including embedded multimedia computer system” are sub-optimal for employing NEAT. Such devices are geared toward heavy aerobic exercise, and thus limit non-exercise features to those that can only be utilized during heavy exercise.
What is needed, therefore, is a multi-activity device which is particularly suited for conducting complex office-type work while simultaneously exercising at a low exertion level.
The present invention solves the problem of the prior art by describing an apparatus which enables the user to engage in various types of health-enhancing exercises while simultaneously performing computer and office work related tasks. The present apparatus is compact, operates quietly, and is adaptable for use with various exercise devices. Thus, it is appropriate for work settings where space is limited and in close proximity to others.
The present invention comprises a multi-function apparatus which integrates an exercise device with a computer workstation. The exercise device is preferably a treadmill, step machine, or stationary bicycle. The computer workstation is attached to the exercise device, and comprises adjustable computer monitor, keyboard/mouse and desk surfaces. Shelves and brackets may additionally be mounted to the exercise device for storage of computer towers, telephones and other office equipment. The apparatus may be adjustable such that the user can conduct office work without exercising.
Although exercise device 100 is shown as a treadmill, and will be identified as such, the invention is not so limited. Exercise device 100 alternatively be disposed as a stepper, stationary bicycle, or elliptical trainer. In addition, exercise device 100 may be operated over a range of exertion levels; from slow continuous walking while operating all of the computer functions, to fast walking/aerobic exercise while doing most computer functions, to running while doing limited computer functions. In one embodiment, all of these activities are possible within the same exercise device 100, while in another embodiment, the treadmill could be the walking-only style, which would be more compact and appropriate for an office setting.
Treadmill 100 has optional stowing hinge 130, allowing the treadmill 100 walking surface to be folded up and forward when not in use. When treadmill 100 is in this stowed position, the footprint is reduced for storage purposes.
Integrated computer workstation 200 comprises computer tower 250, which may optionally be a laptop computer. Integrated computer workstation 200 also has shelf 260 for stowage of various computer components, including computer tower 250, so that the unit is compact and yet also a complete work station. Attachment 270 allows attachment of other work station devices to integrated computer workstation 200, such as a telephone, cup holder, or small set of dumbbells.
Integrated computer workstation 200 further comprises workstation display 220, which is adjustable for proper ergonomic viewing angle. Keyboard 230 and mouse 210 comprise user input devices for integrated computer workstation 200. Printer 240 is one integrated computer workstation 200 output device, and may be located on shelf 260. Optionally, exercise device 100 display functions performed by display 120 may be integrated into workstation display 220.
Adjustable working surface 300 is disposed on multi-function apparatus 10 such that the user can perform office work during exercise. It is preferably sized large enough to allow the user to work without “shuffling” multiple sheets of paper and other material. Keyboard tray table 310 is disposed adjacent to adjustable working surface 300, and comprises the location for keyboard 230 and mouse 210. Adjustable working surface 300 is mounted separately from user input 122 and display 120 such that the user can control/monitor her exercise while simultaneously being able to see all of her paperwork.
Keyboard tray table 310 adjusts for height, separately from the workstation display 220 adjustable height, and can slide forward and backward to move it closer when the user sits down to work or out of the way when the user desires to exercise with full arm movements. Keyboard tray table 310 also tilts for ergonomic wrist positioning An advantage to keyboard tray table 310 articulating separately from the monitor is that such articulation allows adjustment of each component independently, providing comfortable positioning of each, unlike prior art devices. Optionally, keyboard tray table 310 is disposed to fit a laptop computer for more computing options.
Exercise device 100 and integrated computer workstation 200 each rest solidly on the floor and are attached on one another with shock-absorbing attachment 420. Shock absorbing attachment 420 isolates the integrated computer workstation 200 components from the exercise activity and protects the electronics from jarring. Shock absorbing attachments 420 are also disposed such that exercise device 100 may be detached completely from integrated computer workstation 200, and a new or different exercise device 100 reattached to integrated computer workstation 200 in the same location. Thus, the inventive device is flexible in that the exercise device of choice can be used with the computer station.
Alternatively, optional stowing hinge 130 allows the treadmill 100 walking surface to be folded up and forward, allowing for user can sit in a separate chair (not shown) that is placed on the floor in front of multi-function apparatus 10. In this embodiment, treadmill 100 is short, such as a standard walking treadmill, such that when in the stowed position, treadmill 100 does not interfere with the operation of computer workstation 200.
One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other embodiments of the afore-described apparatus are within the scope of the claimed invention. For example, one or more of the components comprising integrated computer workstation 200, such as mouse 210, display 220, keyboard 230, computer tower 250, or printer 240 may be standard off-the-shelf components. This allows computer workstation 200 to be upgraded as computer technology develops. The components could alternatively be customized and built into the frame of apparatus 10, which reduces clutter and further protects computer workstation 200 components.