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Publication numberUS20070224582 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/681,151
Publication dateSep 27, 2007
Filing dateMar 1, 2007
Priority dateMar 7, 2006
Publication number11681151, 681151, US 2007/0224582 A1, US 2007/224582 A1, US 20070224582 A1, US 20070224582A1, US 2007224582 A1, US 2007224582A1, US-A1-20070224582, US-A1-2007224582, US2007/0224582A1, US2007/224582A1, US20070224582 A1, US20070224582A1, US2007224582 A1, US2007224582A1
InventorsTakeaki Hayashino, Mayu Matsubara, Takeshi Tsuji, Yuki Yonai, Amika HARADA
Original AssigneeKonami Sports & Life Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Training apparatus
US 20070224582 A1
Abstract
The present invention discloses a training apparatus that will correct the movement of a trainee, and maintain the movement of the trainee in a way that provides a strong exercise effect. The position of a moving unit, which is moved by the trainee, is detected, and this detected position is compared with a reference position of the moving unit. If the difference between a reference position and the detected position exceeds a permissible range, then it is determined to be a deviation, which is reported to the trainee by, for example, a voice message, an image, or a character message. For example, voice data or character data is generated in order to output a message such as “work harder,” “too fast,” or “too slow.” Image data that indicates the deviation between the reference position and the detected position may also be generated.
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Claims(9)
1. A training apparatus for exercise in which an electrical load generator applies a load to a moving unit that is capable of repetitive motion, the training apparatus comprising:
a reference signal generating unit that generates a prescribed reference signal;
an indicating unit that calculates the position of the moving unit, which performs repetitive motion, based on the reference signal from the reference signal generating unit, and generates indication data that indicates the calculated reference position;
a position detecting unit that detects the position of the moving unit during the repetitive motion;
a relative position monitoring unit that monitors the relative positional relationship between the reference position of the moving unit, which was calculated by the reference signal generating unit, and a detected position, which is the position of the moving unit detected by the position detecting unit, and detects a prescribed deviation between the reference position and the detected position of the moving unit; and
a reporting unit that, if the relative position monitoring unit detects the prescribed deviation, reports the deviation based on that detected deviation.
2. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein
the load generator is a motor;
the reference signal generating unit outputs the reference signal based on the rotational angle and/or the rotational speed of the motor; and
the relative position monitoring unit monitors the relative positional relationship between the reference position and the detected position of the moving unit by comparing the reference signal with the motor rotational angle and/or rotational speed that correspond to the detected position of the moving unit.
3. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein
the relative position monitoring unit determines whether the detected position of the moving unit is ahead of or behind the reference position of the moving unit; and
the reporting unit reports the determination result by unit of the relative position monitoring unit.
4. A training apparatus as recited in claim 3, wherein
the relative position monitoring unit detects a deviation between the detected position and the reference position at the end point of the forward path and/or the return path of the moving unit; and
the reporting unit indicates and reports a motion to the exerciser that will eliminate the deviation between the detected position and the reference position of the moving unit.
5. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein
the relative position monitoring unit further monitors a time interval wherein a deviation does not occur; and
if the time interval wherein a deviation that is being monitored by the relative position monitoring unit does not occur exceeds the prescribed time, then the reporting unit reports that the exercise is proper.
6. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
a deviation counting unit that counts the number of times the deviation detected by the relative position monitoring unit occurs;
wherein,
the reporting unit issues the deviation report when the number of deviations counted by the deviation counting unit reaches or exceeds the prescribed count.
7. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
a deviation counting unit that counts the number of times that the deviation detected by the relative position monitoring unit occurs;
wherein,
the reference signal generating unit partitions the rep amplitude of the repetitive motion and creates a plurality of sections;
the relative position monitoring unit determines whether the deviation has occurred at the point in time when having passed through the first section based on the reference signal; and
the reporting unit issues the deviation report when the deviations, which are counted by the deviation counting unit, reach or exceed the prescribed count.
8. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
an image displaying unit that displays an image based on the indication data generated by the indicating unit;
wherein,
after a deviation between the reference position and the detected position of the moving unit has occurred, the relative position monitoring unit detects that the deviation has been eliminated; and
if the relative position monitoring unit has detected the deviation, then the indicating unit generates indication data, which indicates that the moving unit is stopped, and, subsequently, when the relative position monitoring unit has detected that the deviation has been eliminated, generates indication data that indicates the position of the moving unit, which resumes repetitive motion starting from the stopped position.
9. A training apparatus as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
an image displaying unit that displays an image based on indication data generated by the indicating unit;
wherein,
if the detected position of the moving unit still has not reached the end point at the point in time when the reference position of the moving unit has reached the end point of the forward path or the return path of the repetitive motion, then the relative position monitoring unit detects that the detected position of the moving unit has reached the respective end point; and
the indicating unit generates indication data that indicates that the moving unit is stopped until the detected position of the moving unit coincides with the end point.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-061836. The entire disclosure of Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-061836 is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a training machine that is used by an individual to perform exercises in order to improve physical strength.

2. Background Information

A variety of training machines have been proposed in the past that enable an individual to exercise with an appropriate load. Among these various training machines, there are machines with which a trainee performs repetitive exercise while a load is applied to certain muscles in order to work those muscles that he or she has targeted. For example, Japanese Examined Utility Model Application No. S61-22609 proposes an apparatus for the purpose of training by performing repetitive exercise. The training apparatus programmatically controls the load by using a torque motor as the load. This apparatus detects the position of a lever that is operated by a trainee as well as the load that acts upon the lever, and controls the output of the torque motor. Below are examples of output control methods.

(a) The output of the torque motor is controlled so that the position of the lever is always fixed.

(b) The output of the torque motor is always fixed.

(c) The output of the torque motor is controlled in accordance with the position of the lever.

(d) The time and the position of the lever are associated, and the torque output is controlled in accordance with the position of the lever, i.e., the time.

Thus, Japanese Examined Utility Model Application No. S61-22609 discloses that it is possible to easily adjust the load and to programmatically control the load to conform to arbitrary characteristics because the load is controlled by the torque motor and not by weight.

When a trainee actually uses a training machine to perform repetitive exercise while a load is applied, if he or she becomes fatigued midway, then there is a tendency, for example, for the tempo of the repetitive exercise to slow down or for the amplitude of the repetitions to decrease. In addition, it is often the case that the tempo of the repetitive exercise is too fast when the trainee is in a state wherein he or she has just begun to exercise and has ample physical strength. If the trainee continues to exercise in such an inappropriate state, then the trainee will be unable to effectively stimulate the muscles that he or she is trying to work, and it will be difficult to achieve the effects of the exercise.

The method recited in the abovementioned Japanese Examined Utility Model Application No. S61-22609 aims to have exercise performed properly by controlling the output of the torque motor to programmatically control the load in accordance with arbitrary characteristics, but does not go so far as to make the rhythm or the amplitude of the repetitive exercise proper. Consequently, even if the trainee performs an operation with good form in accordance with the movement of a moving unit of the training apparatus, there are cases wherein the trainee is substantially not performing the originally targeted training operation adequately and, as a result, there is a possibility that the effects of the exercise, hereinbelow referred to as the exercise effects, intrinsically provided by the training apparatus will not be achieved, even though the method goes to the trouble of controlling the load. Thus, a training machine has yet to be proposed that monitors the trainee's operation itself and advises the trainee so that he or she can sufficiently achieve the training effect originally expected with the use of the training apparatus.

In view of the above, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that there exists a need for an improved training machine that monitors the trainee's movement itself and guides the trainee so that he or she can maintain movement that provides powerful exercise effects. This invention addresses this need in the art as well as other needs, which will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve the abovementioned problems, a first aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus, wherein an electrical load generator applies a load to a moving unit that is capable of repetitive motion, that is provided for exercise. This apparatus comprises the following units:

a reference signal generating unit that generates a prescribed reference signal;

an indicating unit that calculates the position of the moving unit, which performs repetitive motion, based on the reference signal from the reference signal generating unit, and generates indication data that indicates the calculated reference position;

a position detecting unit that detects the position of the moving unit during the repetitive motion;

a relative position monitoring unit that monitors the relative positional relationship between the reference position of the moving unit, which was calculated by the reference signal generating unit, and a detected position, which is the position of the moving unit detected by the position detecting unit, and detects a prescribed deviation between the reference position and the detected position of the moving unit; and

a reporting unit that, if the relative position monitoring unit detects the prescribed deviation, reports the deviation based on that detected deviation.

If the difference between the reference position and the detected position exceeds a permissible range, then it is determined to be a deviation, which is reported to the trainee by, for example, a voice message, an image, or a character message. For example, voice data or character data is generated in order to output a message such as “work harder,” “too fast,” or “too slow.” Image data that indicates the deviation between the reference position and the detected position may also be generated.

The reference position is the position at which the moving unit should be at a prescribed reference time. For example, if a repetitive motion is performed for four beats, then the position where the moving unit should be at each reference time, i.e., the first beat, the second beat, the third beat, and the fourth beat, constitutes the reference position at that reference time. The reference position is calculated based on the reference signal of, for example, the rotational speed of a torque motor. In addition, the reference position is dependent upon a range of motion. The range of motion is the amplitude of the repetitive exercise, and may be fixed regardless of the trainee or may change with the trainee. Herein, the repetitive exercise includes a repetitive operation of a rotational exercise, such as bicycling; a repetitive operation of part of a rotational exercise, such as climbing virtual steps; and a repetitive operation of a linear motion, such as raising and lowering a barbell. The reference time and the time information vary with the beat, the speed, and the like, i.e., they vary with the tempo. The tempo is determined by, for example, various preset exercise modes, an indication of the tempo from the trainee, and the like.

With the present training apparatus, the trainee is informed of any deviation between the ideal motion and the trainee's motion and is guided to perform the correct motion; therefore, the trainee is corrected so that he or she performs the correct motion, as if he or she were training with an instructor directly.

A second aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, wherein the load generator is a motor. In this apparatus, the reference signal generating unit outputs the reference signal based on the rotational angle and/or the rotational speed of the motor. In addition, the relative position monitoring unit monitors the relative positional relationship between the reference position and the detected position of the moving unit by comparing the reference signal with the motor rotational angle and/or rotational speed that correspond to the detected position of the moving unit.

The position of the moving unit can be detected based on, for example, the rotational count of the torque motor, which applies a load to the moving unit.

A third aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, wherein:

the relative position monitoring unit determines whether the detected position of the moving unit is ahead of or behind the reference position of the moving unit; and

the reporting unit reports the determination result by unit of the relative position monitoring unit.

If the detected position is ahead of the reference position, then the repetitive exercise of the trainee is faster than the appropriate motion; in the converse case, it is slower than the appropriate motion. Detecting and giving notification of the direction of the deviation makes it possible to make the trainee aware that his or her current exercise state is deviating from the desired exercise state.

For example, if an image displaying unit is provided, then indicators, which are disposed in one vertical column, are displayed on the screen thereof, and that column is partitioned into three parts, i.e., the P part, the Q part, and the R part from top to bottom, with each partitioned block having a different color. The upper P part is yellow, the center Q part is blue, and the lower R part is red. If a perfectly ideal motion is being performed, then the indication block remains in the blue center block, i.e., the Q part.

If the motion is slightly behind, then the indication block lengthens so that it extends downwards, but it is determined that there is no particular problem while the indication block remains in the center blue Q part. Furthermore, if the exercise operation falls behind and the indication block reaches the lowest R part, then the R part, which is the red block, is displayed in addition to the blue indication block. Accordingly, the trainee recognizes that the indication block of the lowest red R part is additionally displayed and easily recognizes that his or her operation is currently slightly behind and therefore adjusts (quickens) the operation so that the indication block returns to the blue Q part.

Conversely, if the operation of the trainee is ahead, then the indication block juts out upwards from the blue Q part and enters the yellow P part, and the yellow indication block is additionally displayed. Accordingly, the trainee easily recognizes that his or her own operation is too far ahead, and therefore relaxes the operation.

The constitution may be simplified by providing three flashing units, which are arranged in a column, and determining that the exercise is in the ideal exercise state while the center part is flashing, or is slightly behind if the lower part is flashing, or is ahead if the upper part is flashing. The notification described above is visual, but may be additionally or separately a voice notification. For example, it is possible to output a voice message, such as “you've fallen behind” if “behind” is detected, or “too fast” if “ahead” is detected.

A fourth aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the third aspect of the invention, wherein the relative position monitoring unit detects a deviation between the detected position and the reference position at the end point of the forward path and/or the return path of the moving unit. The reporting unit indicates and reports a motion to the trainee that will eliminate the deviation between the detected position and the reference position of the moving unit.

In the abovementioned third aspect of the invention, the exerciser is, for example, visually or aurally notified of information related to the exercise state so that he or she can recognize if his or her exercise state is particularly behind or ahead; however, the fourth aspect of the invention more clearly indicates, from the training apparatus side, the training operation to be performed by the trainee.

For example, if it is detected that the amplitude of the repetitive exercise of the trainee has decreased, then a voice instruction, such as “go deeper” is output to the trainee. Here, the indication details may be modified depending on the extent of the deviation (degree of spacing) between the ideal exercise state and the current exercise state. For example, the further the trainee falls behind, the stronger the message that may be sent, i.e., “let's speed up a little,” “a little bit faster,” and “go faster!” In addition, if the image displaying unit is provided, then it is possible to display the same text on the display. Thus, if the exercise state of the trainee has deviated from the ideal exercise state, an indication is given to the trainee to eliminate that deviation, which makes it easy to guide the trainee to the proper exercise state.

A fifth aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, wherein the relative position monitoring unit further monitors a time interval wherein a deviation does not occur. In this apparatus, if the time interval wherein a deviation that is being monitored by the relative position monitoring unit does not occur exceeds the prescribed time, then the reporting unit reports that the exercise is proper.

If the trainee is exercising properly, he or she is given a notification to that effect, which makes it possible to make the trainee maintain the correct exercise and to inspire him or her.

A sixth aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, further comprising a deviation counting unit that counts the number of times the deviation, which is detected by the relative position monitoring unit, occurs. In this apparatus, the reporting unit issues the deviation report when the number of deviations counted by the deviation counting unit reaches or exceeds the prescribed count.

If a notification that a deviation has occurred is output every time the detected position of the moving unit deviates from the reference position, then the trainee will become annoyed and lose his or her motivation. Here, it is preferable to output indications at appropriate intervals. For example, a notification may be given every time three deviations occur. While it is acceptable to give a notification every time three deviations occurs, it is also possible to give a notification if deviations occur for three consecutive reps, if deviations occur for three out of the last ten reps, and the like. If the amplitude is also detected in addition to the position of the moving unit, then the number of occurrences of deviations may be separately detected.

Here, deviations over the course of multiple reps that are subject to counting of deviation occurrences refers to deviations that are in the same direction. For example, if the number of deviations wherein the trainee is behind the ideal motion reaches or exceeds a prescribed count, or, conversely, if the number of deviations wherein the trainee is ahead of the ideal motion reaches or exceeds a prescribed count, then the trainee is notified of such. This is because it is difficult to imagine that a single trainee, when his or her training is examined for a relatively short time span (e.g., during several reps) would repetitively fall behind and jump ahead.

A seventh aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, further comprising a deviation counting unit that counts the number of times that the deviation, which is detected by the relative position monitoring unit, occurs. In this apparatus, the reference signal generating unit partitions the rep amplitude of the repetitive motion and creates a plurality of sections. The relative position monitoring unit determines whether the deviation has occurred at the point in time when having passed through the first section based on the reference signal. The reporting unit issues the deviation report when the deviations, which are counted by the deviation counting unit, reach or exceed the prescribed count.

For example, if there are four beats and if four sections are generated by dividing the range of motion into four parts, then it is possible to obtain a reference position for each of the beats 1, 2, 3, 4. If the deviation between the reference position and the detected position is greater than or equal to a prescribed deviation at the time of each beat, then it is determined that a deviation has occurred. Thereby, it is possible to detect the occurrence of a deviation between the correct amplitude exercise and the amplitude exercise performed by the trainee, and to detect the amount of that deviation.

Furthermore, a threshold value for determining that a deviation has occurred is provided in order to provide play in the determination of the deviation and to permit fluctuations in the tempo of the exercise currently being performed.

Furthermore, because the description above does not provide a target interval of time for which counting is to be performed, it is conceivable that deviations will gradually accumulate during a considerably long training time and will ultimately be reported at a time when the sum of the deviations exceeds a prescribed value. In such a case, it is also conceivable that the trainee will get the impression that the report was very abrupt. Accordingly, the counted value may be initialized every time a prescribed time elapses, every time the repetitive exercise is performed a prescribed number of time, or the like. For example, a method is conceivable wherein the counted value is set to zero every minute or every five reps.

An eighth aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, further comprising an image displaying unit that displays an image based on the indication data generated by the indicating unit. In this apparatus, after a deviation between the reference position and the detected position of the moving unit has occurred, the relative position monitoring unit detects that the deviation has been eliminated. If the relative position monitoring unit has detected the deviation, then the indicating unit generates indication data, which indicates that the moving unit is stopped, and, subsequently, when the relative position monitoring unit has detected that the deviation has been eliminated, generates indication data that indicates the position of the moving unit, which resumes repetitive motion starting from the stopped position.

If it is detected that the trainee is behind, then the repetitive motion of the moving unit, which indicates the reference position, is stopped, and the advance of the reference position is stopped until the detected position of the moving unit coincides with the stopped reference position. Thereby, it is possible to prevent the reference position and the detected position from rapidly deviating from one another. This is because, if they deviate too much, there is a risk that the trainee will lose his or her motivation. Furthermore, the eighth aspect of the present invention can also be adapted not only to repetitive exercise wherein the moving unit moves back and forth, but also to, for example, rotational motion of a pedal, such as bicycling.

A ninth aspect of the invention provides a training apparatus according to the first aspect of the invention, further comprising an image displaying unit that displays an image based on indication data generated by the indicating unit. In this apparatus, if the detected position of the moving unit still has not reached the end point at the point in time when the reference position of the moving unit has reached the end point of the forward path or the return path of the repetitive motion, then the relative position monitoring unit detects that the detected position of the moving unit has reached the respective end point. The indicating unit generates indication data that indicates that the moving unit is stopped until the detected position of the moving unit coincides with the end point.

If it is detected that the trainee is behind, then the repetitive motion of the moving unit, which indicates the reference position, is stopped, and the advance of the reference position is stopped until the detected position of the moving unit coincides with the stopped reference position. Thereby, it is possible to prevent the reference position and the detected position from rapidly deviating from one another. This is because, if they deviate too much, there is a risk that the trainee will lose his or her motivation.

In addition, if the reference position moves regardless of the deviation with respect to the detected position, then the following types of problems are also conceivable. Namely, as the reference position, which has arrived at the forward path end point, turns back and moves so that it returns along the return path, there is a possibility that the trainee who fell behind will not lean forward sufficiently and, midway in the forward path, will raise his or her upper body so that he or she follows the reference position, which is returning along the return path. In this case, the trainee has not leaned forward sufficiently and, ultimately, may end up continuing to exercise with a small amplitude of operation for each rep, in which case a sufficient exercise effect could not be expected. At this point, if the reference position stands by at the forward path end point as mentioned above, then the trainee can see that position and reliably bend forward until he or she catches up, which makes it possible to avoid a situation wherein the trainee exercises incompletely.

According to the present invention, it is possible to maintain a movement that provides a strong exercise effect, even in a state wherein the trainee is fatigued from performing the movement of correct exercise.

These and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the attached drawings which form a part of this original disclosure:

FIG. 1 is a training apparatus according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is one example (a front perspective view) of the training apparatus in FIG.

FIG. 3 is a conceptual explanatory diagram of personal data accumulated in the server in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4A and 4B shows conceptual explanatory diagrams of reference signals that are generated by a reference signal generation unit 36 a. FIG. 4A is a reference signal for a case of four beats and a range of motion of 80°-0°, and FIG. 4B is a reference signal for a case of three beats and a range of motion of 80°-20°.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are explanatory diagrams that show the reference signal and the detection signal. FIG. 5A is an explanatory diagram for a case of detection signals that are behind and ahead of the reference signal. FIG. 5B is an explanatory diagram for a case wherein the amplitude of the detection signal is smaller than the amplitude of the reference signal.

FIG. 6 is one example of an indication screen that is output by the indication unit 36 b in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7A to 7C respectively show a conceptual explanatory diagram of a rhythm counter, a conceptual explanatory diagram of a depth counter, and a conceptual explanatory diagram of a return counter.

FIG. 8 is an explanatory diagram that shows changes in the reference signal.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart that shows one example of the flow of a main routine, which is executed by the calculation unit in FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a flow chart that shows one example of the flow of a seat position verification subroutine, which is executed by the calculation unit in FIG. 1.

FIG. 11 is a flow chart that shows one example of the flow of a deviation detection process, which is executed by the calculation unit in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Selected embodiments of the present invention will now be explained with reference to the drawings. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that the following descriptions of the embodiments of the present invention are provided for illustration only and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

Overview of the Invention

In a training apparatus according to the present invention, a motor applies a load to a bar (corresponds to a moving unit) that moves repetitively due to the action of a trainee who performs an exercise. The position of the moving unit, which is moved by the trainee, is detected, and this detected position is compared with a reference position of the moving unit. If the difference between the reference position and the detected position exceeds a permissible range, then it is determined to be a deviation, which is reported to the trainee by, for example, a voice message, an image, or a character message. For example, voice data or character data is generated in order to output a message such as “work harder,” “too fast,” or “too slow.” Image data that indicates the deviation between the reference position and the detected position may also be generated.

A reference position is a position at which the moving unit should be located at a prescribed reference time. For example, if a four-beat repetitive exercise is performed, then the position at which the moving unit should be located for each reference time, i.e., for the first, the second, the third, and the fourth beat, is the reference position for each reference time.

With the present training apparatus, the trainee is informed of any deviation between the ideal motion and the trainee's motion and is guided to perform the correct motion; therefore, the trainee is corrected so that he or she performs the correct motion, as if he or she were training with an instructor directly.

First Embodiment Training Apparatus Configuration

FIG. 1 is an explanatory diagram that shows the hardware configuration and the functional configuration of a training apparatus 100 according to the first embodiment of the present invention. The hardware configuration and the functional configuration of the training apparatus 100 will now be explained successively, referencing FIG. 1.

(1) Hardware Configuration (1-1) Overall Configuration

The training apparatus 100 is installed, for example, in a facility such as a health club, and is connected to an on-site server 200. The server 200 accumulates the personal data of trainees, and transmits such in response to requests from the training apparatus 100. Furthermore, in the present embodiment, the server 200 is only installed in a facility such as a health club, but an off-site server (not shown) can also be provided that connects on-site servers nationally or globally. Membership data may be accumulated in such an off-site server, and each on-site server may access that data.

The training apparatus 100 comprises a torque motor 15 (corresponds to a load generator), a motor signal processing unit 23, a sensor 24, a control unit 30, an input unit 50, a monitor 70, and a speaker 90. The torque motor 15 applies the load to the bar (discussed later). The motor signal processing unit 23 transmits data regarding, for example, the rotational direction, the rotational speed, and the rotational count of the torque motor 15 to the control unit 30. The sensor 24 is provided at a prescribed location of the training apparatus 100 and detects, for example, the orientation of the seat (discussed later). The control unit 30 is a computer that comprises, for example, a CPU, ROM, RAM, and a hard disk, and executes a training program. The functions of the control unit 30 will be discussed later in detail. The input unit 50 has a function that receives the input of data, which can be implemented by, for example, a receiver unit of a transponder as well as a numeric keypad unit and a card reader. The monitor 70 and the speaker 90 output images and sound, respectively, in accordance with a program stored by the control unit 30.

(1-2) An Example of the Training Apparatus

FIG. 2 is one example of the exterior of the training apparatus 100. The training apparatus 100 in this example has a structure wherein the trainee seated on a seat 16 can work the abdominal and back muscles as well as the left and right oblique muscles by repetitively moving a bar 11 (corresponds to the moving unit) about a rotary shaft. For each training type, the amplitude of a rep, wherein the trainee repetitively moves the bar 11, is called the range of motion. In the present apparatus, the range of motion varies with the trainee and the training type.

The bar 11 is rotatable about the rotary shaft and is coupled to a chain. The chain is looped onto two pulleys. One of the pulleys shares a rotary shaft with the torque motor 15. When the trainee swings the bar 11, the chain moves and the pulleys thereby begin to rotate. At this point, the torque motor 15 applies torque to one of the pulleys, which impresses a load upon the bar 11. Furthermore, it is also possible to use a servomotor, a stepping motor, and the like instead of the torque motor. In addition, in place of the motor, a load may be applied to the bar 11 by using a solenoid brake and the like.

The seat 16 can rotate between an A direction and a B direction in the figure. The A direction in the figure is at a right angle to the B direction. The trainee exercises facing the A direction or the B direction in the figure. The sensor 24 (refer to FIG. 1) is provided below the seat 16, detects the direction of the seat 16, and sends a detection signal to the control unit 30.

With the seat 16 in a first position at which it is oriented in the A direction in FIG. 2, the trainee performs an abdominal muscle exercise by placing his or her feet on a footrest 17 a, hugging the bar 11, and then pushing it with the upper body forward and downward, or a back muscle exercise by pushing the bar 11 upward with his or her back. With the seat 16 in a second position at which it is oriented in the B direction in FIG. 2, the trainee performs a left obliques exercise by placing his or her feet on a footrest 17 b, tucking the bar 11 under his or her left side, and then pushing downward, or performs a right obliques exercise by tucking the bar 11 under his or her right side and then pushing downward. Accordingly, with the present training apparatus 100, the trainee can perform four types of training: abdominal muscle exercise, back muscle exercise, left obliques exercise, and right obliques exercise. Furthermore, the training apparatus 100 may receive the selection of various training modes in addition to the training type.

A stopper 40 is provided in order to set a mechanically movable limiting point for the bar 11 when performing each type of training. Using the stopper 40 to provide a mechanically movable limit for the presumed range of exercise during training makes it possible to avoid situations wherein an overload is applied to the trainee's body as a result of overdoing the operation or wherein the trainee performs a sudden operation. Although omitted from the drawings, the mechanically movable limiting point of the bar 11 is preset in accordance with, for example, each of the abovementioned exercises, i.e., abdominal muscle exercise, back muscle exercise, and left and right obliques exercises. The modification of the setting of the limiting point is performed manually by the trainee. If the stopper 40 is lifted to an upper part, then the fixed state of the stopper 40 is released. The bar 11 is fixed at each limiting point by moving it to the relevant limiting point and, at that point, dragging the stopper 40 downward. The position of the stopper 40 shown in FIG. 2 is set when the trainee performs the back muscle exercise.

(2) Functional Configuration (2-1) Control Unit

The following explains the functions of the training apparatus 100. To simplify the explanation, the following takes up an example of an abdominal muscle exercise, wherein the trainee repetitively performs the sequence of pushing the bar 11 downward while leaning his or her upper body forward, and then returning to the original position.

The functions of the training apparatus 100 are implemented by the control unit 30. The details of the control unit 30 will now be explained, referencing FIG. 1 once again. The control unit 30 has the functions described in (a) through (f) below:

(a) a detection signal processing unit 31 that processes detection signals from the motor signal processing unit 23 and the sensor 24, and sends them to a calculation unit 36;

(b) a receive unit 32 that receives input signals, such as personal data, that are input from the input unit 50 and sends them to the calculation unit 36;

(c) a communication control unit 33 that sends and receives personal data to and from the server 200;

(d) an image generating unit 34 that generates display data and sends such to the monitor 70;

(e) a voice control unit 35 that generates voice data and sends such to the speaker 90; and

(f) a calculation unit 36 that controls each unit in the control unit 30 by executing a program stored in, for example, ROM (not shown).

(2-2) Calculation Unit

The calculation unit 36 comprises a reference signal generation unit 36 a (corresponds to a reference signal generating unit), an indication unit 36 b (corresponds to an indicating unit), a position detection unit 36 c (corresponds to a position detecting unit), a deviation monitoring unit 36 d (corresponds to a relative position monitoring unit), a deviation notification unit 36 e (corresponds to a reporting unit), a training unit 36 f, and a counter 36 g (corresponds to one part of the deviation counting unit). The following explains the function of each unit.

(2-2-1) Personal Data

FIG. 3 is a conceptual explanatory diagram of the personal data that is acquired from the server 200 by the training unit 36 f. First, personal data will be explained as it is related to various functions that are discussed later.

Personal data includes a trainee ID, basic personal data, and supplemental personal data. The trainee ID is an identifier that identifies the trainee. Basic personal data is information about the trainee's body, such as gender, age, body weight, and body fat percentage. Supplemental personal data is, for example, the trainee's 1 RM (repetition maximum) and the range over which he or she can move the bar 11, and is preferably stored for each training type. Supplemental personal data is acquired by the training apparatus 100 by performing measurements and is sent to the server 200. If supplemental personal data does not exist for the type of training that is about to be performed, then the range of motion and the 1 RM are calculated based on the basic personal data.

(2-2-2) Reference Signal Generation Unit

The reference signal generation unit 36 a generates a reference signal that specifies the reference positions of the bar 11 in the range of motion. Specifically, the reference signal generation unit 36 a generates a reference signal that specifies the reference positions of the bar 11, which repetitively travels through the range of motion, based on the range of motion of the bar 11 and a number of beats N (where N is a natural number that is greater than or equal to 2). The number of beats N is set in accordance with, for example, the training type and the training mode selected by the trainee. The following explains one example of a reference signal generating method.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are conceptual explanatory diagrams of the reference signal generated by the reference signal generation unit 36 a. First, a plurality of sections is formed by equally dividing the range of motion into N parts along the circumferential direction. The reference positions are disposed along an arc that spans the range of motion along the forward path direction of the figure from the start point to the end point and then spans the range of motion along the return path direction of the figure back to the start point. The movement of the bar 11 along the forward path and then along the return path is referred to as one rep, and the bar 11 is repetitively moved back and forth between the start and end points of the range of motion along these reference positions. A reference position is located at the boundary of each section in accordance with the time of each beat. Accordingly, the reference positions change in accordance with, for example, the amplitude of the range of motion and the number of beats N. Furthermore, the range of motion in the figure is shown with 0° as the position where the bar 11 is at the highest point, and 90° as the position where the bar 11 is swung 90° therefrom. To simplify the explanation, the position of the bar 11 in FIGS. 4A and 4B is indicated by an angle, and the reference signal generated by the reference signal generation unit 36 a indicates the position of the bar 11 by the rotational count of the torque motor 15.

FIG. 4A shows the reference signal for the case wherein there are four beats and the range of motion (LOAD RANGE Wa) is from 80°-0°. First, second, third and fourth sections are formed by dividing the range of motion into four equal parts, which are 80°-6°, 60°-40°, 40°-20°, and 20°-0°, respectively. With this reference signal, the reference positions along the forward path for each of the reference times are 60° at the first beat, 40° at the second beat, 20° at the third beat, and 0° at the fourth beat. In addition, the reference positions along the return path are 20° at the first beat, 40° at the second beat, 60° at the third beat, and 80° at the fourth beat.

FIG. 4B shows a reference signal for the case wherein there are three beats and the range of motion (LOAD RANGE Wb) is from 80°-20°. First, second and third sections are formed by dividing the range of motion into three equal parts, which are 80°-60°, 60°-40°, and 40°-20°, respectively. With this reference signal, the reference positions along the forward path for each of the reference times are 60° at the first beat, 40° at the second beat, and 20° at the third beat. In addition, along the return path, the positions are 40° at the first beat, 60° at the second beat, and 800 at the third beat.

(2-2-3) Indication Unit

The indication unit 36 b converts the reference signal generated by the reference signal generation unit 36 a in order to derive the angle of the bar 11 at a prescribed reference time. Specifically, the indication unit 36 b converts the reference position of the bar 11, which is indicated by the rotational count of the torque motor 15, to an angle. In addition, the indication unit 36 b calculates the time information of each reference time based on the reference signal. The time information is based on the start time of the repetitive exercise. In the present embodiment, the indication unit 36 b uses the times of the beats as the reference times. Namely, the time it takes to pass through each section shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B is used as the reference times. The time information for each beat, which is a reference time, depends on both the number of beats N and the speed. Accordingly, the reference signal generation unit 36 a determines the time information of each reference time based on both the number of beats N and the speed. In so doing, the indication unit 36 b generates a reference signal wherein the reference positions are converted to angles and the times are converted to time information of the reference times.

In FIGS. 5A and 5B, the solid line is the reference signal that was converted by the indication unit 36 b. The reference signal is graphed with the vertical axis representing the angle and the horizontal axis representing time. In this example, the reference positions, which are for the case wherein there are 4 beats and the range of motion is from 80°-0°, are graphed against time. In the figure, “1,” “2,” “3,” and “4” represent beat numbers.

Furthermore, the indication unit 36 b preferably generates image data that indicates the position of the bar 11 based on the reference signal, which has been converted to an angle, and the time information of a reference time. The generated image data is output to the monitor 70 so that it is synchronized with the reference time. In addition, the indication unit 36 b may generate voice data that indicates the reference time. The generated voice data is output to the speaker 90.

FIG. 6 shows one example of an indication screen that is output by the indication unit 36 b. The indication screen displays a model (a detailed body in the figure) that indicates the reference position. The detailed model performs the repetitive exercise so that the reference position is indicated at each reference time, i.e., at beat “1”, “2,” “3,” and “4.” In the figure, the outlined model indicates the actual position of the bar 11 as detected by the position detection unit 36 c, i.e., the detected position. The indication unit 36 b may also display the detected position, as shown in this figure.

(2-2-4) Position Detection Unit

The position detection unit 36 c monitors the actual position of the bar 11 as it is being moved by the trainee. Specifically, the position detection unit 36 c acquires, for example, the rotational count, the rotational speed, and the rotational direction of the torque motor 15 from the detection signal processing unit 31 at prescribed times, and converts such to angles. The prescribed times are the reference times that were calculated by the indication unit 36 b. The position (hereinbelow, referred to as the detected position) of the bar 11, which was detected and converted at a reference time, is associated with the time information of the reference time and temporarily stored.

In FIGS. 5A and 5B, the chain line and the dotted line are each one example of a detection signal that is detected and stored by the position detection unit 36 c. The detection signal indicates the detected position (angle) of the bar 11 with respect to time. The chain line in FIG. 5A of the same figure is one example of a detection signal for a case of performing repetitive exercise wherein the bar 11 is behind the reference signal. The dotted line in FIG. 5A of the same figure is one example of a detection signal for a case of performing repetitive exercise wherein the bar 11 is ahead of the reference signal. The chain line in FIG. 5B of the same figure is one example of a detection signal for a case wherein the amplitude of the rep of the bar 11 is less than the range of motion. Furthermore, in an actual product, until the chain line, which indicates the state wherein the bar 11 is behind the reference signal, reaches the 0° or the 90° position, the reference signal, which has arrived at the relevant position ahead of the chain line, stands by until the bar 11 reaches that position, as explained later in detail in FIG. 8.

(2-2-5) Deviation Monitoring Unit

(i) Detection of Deviation

The deviation monitoring unit 36 d monitors the relative positional relationship between the reference position and the detected position of the bar 11, and detects a prescribed deviation therebetween. Specifically, if the difference between the reference position and the detected position at the same reference time is greater than or equal to a prescribed permissible quantity, then the deviation monitoring unit 36 d determines that a deviation has occurred. If the deviation monitoring unit 36 d determines that a deviation has occurred, then it writes the determination result to the counter 36 g.

The detection of a deviation will now be concretely explained, referencing FIG. 5A. The deviation monitoring unit 36 d calculates the difference between the reference position and the detected position, i.e., the difference between the angles, at the reference times, i.e., the times of the beats, calculated by the indication unit 36 b. For example, if the detection signal is indicated by the chain line in the figure, then the difference between the detected position and the reference position at each reference time is the difference between the angle indicated by the corresponding black circle in the figure and the angle indicated by the corresponding white circle in the figure. If the difference between the angles is greater than or equal to the prescribed permissible value, then the deviation monitoring unit 36 d determines that a deviation has occurred.

(ii) Detection of Deviation Direction

The deviation monitoring unit 36 d preferably detects not only the magnitude of the difference in the angle between the detected position and the reference position, but also the deviation direction. Namely, if a deviation has occurred, it preferably determines whether that deviation is one wherein the detected position is behind or, conversely, ahead of the reference position. This determination can be made by comparing the phase of the detection signal and the phase of the reference signal, wherein the indication unit 36 b converted the position to the angle. With the present embodiment, the deviation monitoring unit 36 d detects the count of deviations of the bar 11 per rep for the cases wherein the detected position is behind and ahead. The detected “behind” deviation count and the “ahead” deviation count per rep are written to the counter 36 g.

FIG. 7A is a conceptual explanatory diagram of rhythm counters, which are included in the counter 36 g. The counter 36 g is implemented by, for example, RAM (not shown) in the calculation unit 36. In the present example, the rhythm counters accumulate four reps worth of the “behind” deviation count and the “ahead” deviation count, respectively, for each rep of the bar 11. When a rhythm counter fills up and a prescribed condition is satisfied, then the trainee is given a notification to go faster if the operation is “behind” or, conversely, to go slower if the operation is “ahead,” after which that rhythm counter is cleared. Examples of prescribed conditions include, “number of reps in which ‘behind’ occurred at least two times is greater than or equal to 3,” and “number of reps in which ‘ahead’ occurred at least two times is greater than or equal to 3.” Conversely, if the prescribed condition is not satisfied, then that rhythm counter's old data is overwritten with new data beginning with the oldest data. Thereby, the “behind” and “ahead” counts for the four most recent reps are continuously accumulated in the rhythm counters.

The present figure shows that at the point in time when the bar 11 has undergone three reps, it was determined that the “behind” deviation count was two in the first and second reps, and three in the third rep. In addition, in the present figure, it was determined that there were no “ahead” deviations during the three reps. If neither a “behind” deviation nor an “ahead” deviation occurs in a rep, then the “behind” and “ahead” deviation counts for that rep are set to “0.”

(iii) Detection of Small Amplitude and Insufficient Return

The deviation monitoring unit 36 d detects the deviation between the detected position and the reference position at the end point of the forward path and/or the return path of the bar 11, and preferably determines whether the amplitude is too small and whether the bar 11 has returned to the start position. This determination will now be explained, referencing FIG. 5B. The present figure shows that the detected position at the end point (fourth beat) of the forward path of the first rep is approximately 10°, and has not reached 0°, which is the end point of the range of motion. In this case, if the 10° deviation between the detected position and the reference position at the forward path end point exceeds the permissible value, then a deviation monitoring unit 36 d determines that the amplitude is too small.

In addition, the present figure shows that the detected position at the end point (fourth beat) of the return path of the first rep is approximately 70°, and has not returned to 80°, which is the start point of the range of motion. In this case, if the 10° deviation between the detected position and the reference position at the return path end point exceeds the permissible value, then the deviation monitoring unit 36 d determines that the return was insufficient.

FIG. 7B is a conceptual explanatory diagram of a depth counter, which is included in the counter 36 g. The depth counter accumulates four reps worth of the count wherein the amplitude was determined to be too small at the end point of the forward path. If the depth counter fills up, then the trainee is notified that the amplitude is too small, as discussed later, after which the depth counter is cleared. The present figure shows that at the point in time when the bar 11 has undergone three reps, as shown in FIG. 7A, the count wherein the amplitude is determined to be too small is two.

FIG. 7C is a conceptual explanatory diagram of a return counter, which is included in the counter 36 g. The return counter accumulates four reps worth of the count wherein the bar 11 did not return to the end point of the return path, i.e., the start point of the range of motion. If the return counter fills up, then, as discussed later, the trainee is notified that the return is insufficient after which the return counter is cleared. The present figure shows that at the point in time when the bar 11 has undergone three reps as shown in FIG. 7A, the count wherein the return was determined to be insufficient is one.

(iv) Standby

If a deviation has occurred, then the deviation monitoring unit 36 d preferably changes the reference signal by stopping the advance of the reference position until the detected position coincides with the reference position and then resuming the advance of the reference position after they match.

FIG. 8 is an explanatory diagram that shows the change in the reference signal for the case wherein the advance of the reference position has been stopped. The dotted line in the figure indicates the return path of the first rep for the pre-change reference signal. The solid line in the figure indicates the pre-change reference signal up to a reference time t4, and indicates the post-change reference signal starting from a reference time t5. The chain line in the figure indicates the detection signal.

For example, let us consider a case wherein the deviation monitoring unit 36 d has determined that a “behind” deviation has occurred at the fourth beat (the reference time t4 in the figure) at which the bar 11 was expected to arrive at the forward path end point. At this point in time, the deviation monitoring unit 36 d detects the position of the bar 11 every ΔT2 and resumes the advance of the reference position at the time t5, at which point it determines that the detected position of the bar 11 has arrived at the forward path end point. During the interval from reference time t4 to time t5, the reference position is stopped at the position of the forward path end point, which in this case is the position at the 0° angle. Furthermore, the reference position starting from time t5 changes at reference times t6, t7, t8, t9, which are determined by the prescribed number of beats and speed, to the positions indicated by the angles 20°, 40°, 60°, and 80°, respectively.

The abovementioned FIG. 6 shows that a reference position indication image, which is generated by the indication unit 36 b, also changes in accordance with changes in the reference signal. Not only does the indication image change, but the voice data, which is generated by the indication unit 36 b, also changes in accordance with changes in the reference signal. Using this example, an image wherein the reference position is stopped is displayed on the input unit 50 during the interval from time t4 to time t5. This will now be explained in greater detail, referencing FIGS. 6A-6D.

FIG. 6A shows the reference position and the detected position at the forward path start point. Because they both overlap, the detected position is not visible. This is the state at time t0 of FIG. 8. Furthermore, although the reference position and the detected position are actually displayed by a character of a trainee, as shown in the figure, the following explanation is based just on the reference position and the detected position.

FIG. 6B shows the reference position and the detected position for the second beat and the third beat. The figure illustrates that the detected position, which is indicated by the outlined model, is behind when compared with the reference position, which is indicated by the detailed model. Namely, the figure illustrates a state wherein the operation of the trainee has fallen behind with respect to the ideal operation. This is the state at times t2 and t3 in FIG. 8.

FIG. 6C shows the reference position when it is at forward path end point at the fourth beat and the detected position. The figure illustrates that the reference position has reached the forward path end point and the detected position has fallen further behind. This state is the state at time t4 in FIG. 8. Furthermore, because the present training apparatus performs repetitive motion, the reference position essentially arrives at the forward path end point, as shown in FIG. 6C, and then immediately turns back and moves so as to follow the return path. Nevertheless, in the case of FIG. 6C, the detected position, i.e., the position of the trainee, is “behind”; therefore, in this case, the reference position stands by at the forward path end point until the detected position catches up. Furthermore, if the detected position, keeping pace with the reference position, arrives at the forward path end point, then the reference position immediately turns back after it arrives at the forward path end point and follows the return path without standing by in this manner.

FIG. 6D shows a state wherein, as a result of having kept the reference position stopped since the state shown in FIG. 6C, the detected position coincides with the reference position. Namely, this figure illustrates a state wherein the trainee who fell behind has caught up with the reference position, which was standing by. This state is the state at time t5 in FIG. 8.

Thus, attendant with the changes in the reference signal shown in FIG. 8, the output of the indication unit 36 b also changes based on the reference signal. Thereby, it is possible to prevent the reference position and the detected position from increasingly deviating. This is because if they excessively deviate, then there is a risk that the trainee will lose his or her motivation. In addition, if the reference position moves regardless of the deviation with respect to the detected position, then the following types of problems are also conceivable. Namely, as the reference position, which has arrived at the forward path end point, turns back and moves so that it returns along the return path, there is a possibility that the trainee who fell behind will not lean forward sufficiently and, midway in the forward path, will raise his or her upper body so that he or she follows the reference position, which is returning along the return path. In this case, the trainee has not leaned forward sufficiently and, ultimately, may end up continuing to exercise within a narrow amplitude of operation for each rep, in which case a sufficient exercise effect could not be expected. At this point, if the reference position stands by at the forward path end point as mentioned above, then the trainee can see that position and reliably bend forward until he or she catches up, which makes it possible to avoid a situation wherein the trainee exercises incompletely.

(2-2-6) Deviation Notification unit

The deviation notification unit 36 e notifies the trainee of the occurrence of deviations based on the deviations detected by the deviation monitoring unit 36 d. For example, if a “behind” deviation is detected, then a voice message or a character message, such as “go faster,” is output; and if an “ahead” deviation is detected, then “go slower” is output. In addition, if it is determined that the amplitude is too small, or that the bar 11 did not fully return to the start point of the forward path, then a voice message or a character message, such as “try leaning forward a little bit more,” or “try leaning back a little bit more,” is output. The movement of the trainee can thereby be further corrected. Furthermore, if a state wherein no deviation occurs continues for a prescribed time or longer, then it is preferable to output a voice message or a character message that praises the trainee such as “good pace.” If the trainee is exercising properly, then notifying the trainee to that effect makes it possible to support correct exercising and to inspire the trainee.

Specifically, the deviation notification unit 36 e references the rhythm counters, the depth counter, and the return counter in the counter 36 g and determines the times at which to output notifications such as messages. For example, if the deviation notification unit 36 e references the rhythm counters and determines that there are two or more “behind” deviations per rep for all four accumulated reps, then the deviation notification unit 36 e gives a “behind” notification. Likewise, if the deviation notification unit 36 e references the rhythm counters and determines that there are two or more “ahead” deviations per rep for all four accumulated reps, then the deviation notification unit 36 e gives an “ahead” notification. In addition, if the deviation notification unit 36 e references the rhythm counters and determines that a deviation has not occurred for three or more consecutive reps, then it gives a notification that praises the trainee. Regardless of the notification given, the deviation notification unit 36 e clears the rhythm counter that corresponds to that notification.

In addition, if the deviation notification unit 36 e references the depth counter and finds that number of reps wherein the amplitude was determined to be too small has reached, for example, four, then it gives a notification that the amplitude is too small. After giving the notification, the position detection unit 36 c clears the depth counter.

Likewise, if the deviation notification unit 36 e references the return counter and finds that the number of reps wherein the return of the bar 11 was determined to be insufficient has reached, for example, four, then it gives a notification that the return is insufficient. After giving the notification, the deviation notification unit 36 e clears the return counter.

Thus, the number of detected deviations is stored in the counter 36 g and a notification of a deviation is given if a certain number of deviations has been detected. Thereby, compared with the case wherein a notification of a deviation is given with every detection, it is possible to encourage the trainee as well as to correct the trainee's exercise with appropriate timing. In addition, if it is detected that a deviation has not occurred, then a message that praises the trainee is output, thereby motivating the trainee.

Furthermore, the notification that is given when a certain number of deviations has been detected can be appropriately set in accordance with, for example, the training type. For example, the notification of a deviation may be given at a time such as when deviations have occurred for three consecutive reps, or when deviations have occurred for three out of the ten past reps.

(2-2-7) Training Unit

The training unit 36 f executes, for example: the reception of a training type selection; the reception of a prescribed training mode selection; the reception of the input of basic personal data; the measurement or calculation of range of motion, 1 RM, and the like, which are included in the supplemental personal data; as well as a training process. With the present training apparatus 100, the training types are abdominal muscle exercise, back muscle exercise, left obliques exercise, and right obliques exercise.

Process Flow

The following explains an embodiment of the process executed by the calculation unit 36 of the training apparatus 100. To simplify the explanation, an example of a case will be considered wherein abdominal muscle exercise has been selected as the training type. The calculation unit 36 broadly executes (1) a main routine, (2) a seat position verification subroutine, and (3) a deviation detection process. The main routine and the seat position verification subroutine are executed independently from the deviation detection process.

(1) Main Routine

FIG. 9 is a flow chart that shows one example of the flow of the main routine executed by the calculation unit 36. The main routine, for example, acquires personal data, receives the mode selection, the training type selection, and the like, and switches the process in accordance with the mode.

Step S1: When the training apparatus 100 starts up, the calculation unit 36 starts a demonstration that shows an overview of a training method.

Step S2: While the demonstration is executing, the calculation unit 36 stands by for the input of a set button or a quick start button. The set button and the quick start button are provided to the input unit 50 (not shown).

Steps S3-S6: The calculation unit 36 either acquires the personal data from the server 200 or has the trainee input such. Specifically, if a user ID is input from the transponder during the demonstration (S3), then the calculation unit 36 acquires personal data that corresponds to the inputted user ID from the on-site server 200. If there are no omissions in the basic personal data within the acquired personal data (S4), then the process transitions to step S7. If there is no input from the transponder (S3), then the calculation unit 36 outputs a notification to the effect that it cannot authenticate the trainee and therefore inquires as to the trainee's intention to continue the process (S5). If there is an intention to continue, then a data input screen (refer to FIG. 6) is displayed and the input of the basic personal data is received (S6). In addition, if there are any omissions in the basic personal data that was acquired from the on-site server 200, then the input of basic personal data is received from the data input screen (S4 and S6).

Steps S7-S8: If the set button was pressed during the demonstration (S7), then the calculation unit 36 receives the selection of the mode and the training type (region and notation in the figure) from the trainee.

Steps S9-S10: If the quick start button was pressed (S9), then the calculation unit 36 receives the selection of the training type (region and notation in the figure) from the trainee (S10). In addition, the calculation unit 36 may accept the setting of, for example, a target count and a target time.

Step S11: The calculation unit 36 executes the seat position verification subroutine, which is discussed later. This process determines the required seat position in accordance with the region of the training about to be performed.

Step S12: The calculation unit 36 executes the training process in accordance with the selected mode and training type.

(2) Seat Position Verification Subroutine

FIG. 10 is a flow chart that shows one example of the flow of the process of the seat position verification subroutine executed by the calculation unit 36. If the process transitions to step S11 in the abovementioned main routine, then the following process begins.

Step S201, S202: The calculation unit 36 determines whether it is necessary to modify the seat position based on the region of the training about to be performed, i.e., based on the training type (S201). If a modification is necessary, then the process transitions to step S202 whereupon the calculation unit 36 outputs a screen to the monitor 70 that instructs the trainee to modify the seat position. If a modification is not necessary, then the process returns to the main routine.

Step S203, S204: The calculation unit 36 stands by for the seat position (specifically, the seat direction) to be modified (S203); if the seat is rotated and set to the correct position, then the calculation unit 36 outputs a screen to the monitor 70 that instructs the trainee to sit down (S204). It is determined that the seat position has been modified by the detection of a signal from the sensor 24, which was discussed above.

Step S205: The calculation unit 36 stands by for the trainee to press the set button (S205) whereupon the process returns to the main routine.

The above process makes it possible to have the trainee sit in the seat at a position that is appropriate for the training type selected by the trainee.

(3) Deviation Detection Process

FIG. 11 is a flow chart that shows one example of the flow of the deviation detection process executed by the calculation unit 36. The following process is started if the execution of any training begins. The flow is the same for both the forward path and the return path. To facilitate the explanation, the following takes up an example of a case wherein a four beat abdominal muscle exercise is performed.

Step S301: The calculation unit 36 determines whether there is a deviation between the reference position and the detected position, the direction of the deviation if one occurs, etc. for every beat from the first beat to the fourth beat. In addition, at the fourth beat, the calculation unit 36 further determines whether the amplitude is too small if the path is the forward path, and whether the bar 11 has returned to the start point of the range of motion if the path is the return path. The determination results are written to the field of each rhythm counter, the depth counter, and the return counter.

Step S302: The calculation unit 36 determines whether the determination of a deviation at the fourth beat, the storage of the determination results, and the output of the counting voice are complete, and performs the following process if they are complete. If the abovementioned processes related to the fourth beat have not completed even after the elapse of a prescribed time from the first beat, which is based on the reference signal, then the process transitions to step S313, which is discussed later.

Steps S303-S304: The calculation unit 36 references the rhythm counters and determines whether to give a notification in order to provide rhythm assistance (S303). Namely, the calculation unit 36 determines whether to notify the trainee that he or she is behind the reference signal, or to notify the trainee that he or she is ahead of the reference signal. For example, the calculation unit 36 determines that a deviation notification should be given only if the count of reps in which two or more deviations have occurred has reached four. The deviations for the cases wherein the trainee is behind and for the cases wherein he or she is ahead are counted separately. Furthermore, if the count of reps in which no deviations occur is, for example, three or more, then the calculation unit 36 makes the determination to give a notification to maintain that pace. When giving a notification, a prescribed voice message, character message, or the like is output (S304).

Step S305: After the output of the abovementioned voice message, character message, or the like, the calculation unit 36 initializes the corresponding rhythm counter (S305). This is done in order to newly accumulate the detection results of four reps worth of deviations in the rhythm counter.

Steps S306-S308: The calculation unit 36 references the depth counter and determines whether to notify the trainee in order to provide depth assistance for the amplitude of his or her movement (S306). For example, if the count of reps wherein the position of the forward path end point has been determined to be too shallow has reached four, then the calculation unit 36 determines that a notification is to be given and outputs a prescribed voice message, character message, or the like (S307). After the notification, the calculation unit 36 initializes the depth counter (S308). Thereby, every time the count of reps wherein the position of the forward path end point is determined to be too small reaches four, the trainee is notified that the amplitude of the bar 11 is too small.

Steps S309-S311: The calculation unit 36 references the return counter and determines whether to notify the trainee in order to provide return assistance based on whether he or she has sufficiently returned the bar 11 to the forward path start position (S309). For example, if the count of reps wherein it was determined that the return of the bar 11 was insufficient reaches four, then the calculation unit 36 makes a determination to give a notification and outputs a prescribed voice message, character message, or the like (S310). After the notification, the calculation unit 36 initializes the return counter (S311). Thereby, every time the count of reps wherein it is determined that the return of the bar 11 was insufficient reaches four, the trainee is notified that the return of the bar 11 is insufficient.

Furthermore, in an event wherein the rhythm assistance message in step S303, the depth assistance message in step S307, the return assistance message in step S311, and the counting voice that counts the beats 1-4 are output with the same timing, it is preferable to set a priority level as described below in order to notify the trainee of information that is highly important. The information below is listed in priority order from high to low.

Forward path: Depth assistance message>Rhythm assistance message>Counting voice

Return path: Return assistance message>Rhythm assistance message>Counting voice

Steps S312-S314: At the fourth beat, the calculation unit 36 determines whether the position of the bar 11 has reached an end part of the range of motion. In other words, it determines whether the position of the bar 11 has reached the end point of the range of motion if the path is the forward path, and whether the position of the bar 11 has reached the start point of the range of motion if the path is the return path. If the position of the bar 11 has reached an end part, then the calculation unit 36 determines and stores whether the next operation is the forward path or the return path (S313); if the training is not complete, then a process similar to that discussed above is repeated for the movement in the reverse direction (S314).

Step S315: If the position of the bar 11 has not reached an end part of the range of motion at the fourth beat, then the calculation unit 36 stands by for the bar 11 to reach an end part of the range of motion until time ΔT1 elapses. Namely, the following steps S316-S318 are executed as long as time ΔT1 has not elapsed. If the bar 11 has not reached an end part of the range of motion by the time ΔT1 has elapsed, then it is interpreted that the trainee is fatigued and the process therefore transitions to step S319.

Step S316: As long as the maximum standby time ΔT1 has not elapsed, the calculation unit 36 detects the position of the bar 11 every time ΔT2 (S316) and determines whether the position of the bar 11 has reached an end part of the range of motion (S317). If it has reached an end part of the range of motion, then the advance of the reference position resumes and the process transitions to the abovementioned step S313. If it has not reached an end part of the range of motion, then a voice message, a character message, or the like, e.g., “try leaning forward a little bit more,” is output to the trainee. In addition, the calculation unit 36 changes the reference signal and stops the advance of the reference position (S318).

Step S319: The calculation unit 36 forcibly ends any training that is currently being executed by another program and ends the current process.

With the training apparatus according to the present invention, the trainee is informed of any deviation between his or her motion and the ideal motion, and is guided to perform the correct motion; therefore, the trainee is corrected so that he or she performs the correct motion as if he or she were directly training with an instructor. Detecting the direction of a deviation and giving notification of such makes it possible to guide the trainee so that he or she performs the motion with the correct rhythm. For example, outputting a voice message, such as “go faster” if “behind” is detected or “go slower” if “ahead” is detected, guides the trainee so that he or she can perform the correct motion without looking at the monitor and with a sense that he or she is being watched over by an instructor. In addition, if it is detected that the amplitude of the repetitive exercise of a trainee has become small, a voice instruction, such as “try leaning forward a little bit more,” is output. Monitoring the amplitude of the repetitive exercise makes it possible to further correct the trainee's movement. Conversely, if the trainee is exercising properly, then he or she is notified of such, which makes him or her maintain the correct motion and heightens his or her motivation.

Furthermore, notifications of deviations are output at suitable intervals rather than every time the detected position of the bar 11 deviates from the reference position. Consequently, it is possible to prevent the notifications from annoying the trainee or from lowering his or her motivation, and to provide the trainee with a reasonable amount of advice and to ensure that the targeted exercise is performed properly.

In addition, if a deviation of the trainee's movement is detected, then the advance of the reference position is stopped until the detected position of the bar 11 matches the stopped reference position. This prevents the reference position and the detected position from steadily becoming increasingly deviated from one another, and prevents the trainee from losing his or her motivation. In addition, stopping the advance of the reference position and waiting for the trainee to catch up makes it possible to stimulate the motivation of trainee, who may be feeling fatigued.

Other Embodiments

The present invention includes a program for executing the method discussed above on a computer as well as a computer readable storage medium whereon that program is recorded. Herein, the program may be downloadable. Examples of storage media include a computer readable/writable flexible disk, a hard disk, semiconductor memory, a CD-ROM, a DVD, and a magneto-optic disk (MO).

The present invention can be adapted to a training apparatus wherein a moving unit is repetitively moved.

General Interpretation of Terms

In understanding the scope of the present invention, the term “configured” as used herein to describe a component, section or part of a device includes hardware and/or software that is constructed and/or programmed to carry out the desired function. In understanding the scope of the present invention, the term “comprising” and its derivatives, as used herein, are intended to be open ended terms that specify the presence of the stated features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps, but do not exclude the presence of other unstated features, elements, components, groups, integers and/or steps. The foregoing also applies to words having similar meanings such as the terms, “including”, “having” and their derivatives. Also, the terms “part,” “section,” “portion,” “member” or “element” when used in the singular can have the dual meaning of a single part or a plurality of parts. Finally, terms of degree such as “substantially”, “about” and “approximately” as used herein mean a reasonable amount of deviation of the modified term such that the end result is not significantly changed. For example, these terms can be construed as including a deviation of at least ±5% of the modified term if this deviation would not negate the meaning of the word it modifies.

While only selected embodiments have been chosen to illustrate the present invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that various changes and modifications can be made herein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Furthermore, the foregoing descriptions of the embodiments according to the present invention are provided for illustration only, and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7717827 *Mar 5, 2007May 18, 2010Firstbeat Technologies OyMethod and system for controlling training
Classifications
U.S. Classification434/247
International ClassificationA63B69/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2071/063, A63B2220/16, A63B21/0058, A63B23/0211, A63B23/0244
European ClassificationA63B23/02A2, A63B23/02S, A63B21/005F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 28, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI SPORTS & LIFE CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HAYASHINO, TAKEAKI;MATSUBARA, MAYU;TSUJI, TAKESHI;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019073/0249
Effective date: 20070214