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Publication numberUS20080096725 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/584,283
Publication dateApr 24, 2008
Filing dateOct 20, 2006
Priority dateOct 20, 2006
Also published asCA2702640A1, EP2079365A2, EP2079365A4, USD643887, USD659778, WO2008051693A2, WO2008051693A3
Publication number11584283, 584283, US 2008/0096725 A1, US 2008/096725 A1, US 20080096725 A1, US 20080096725A1, US 2008096725 A1, US 2008096725A1, US-A1-20080096725, US-A1-2008096725, US2008/0096725A1, US2008/096725A1, US20080096725 A1, US20080096725A1, US2008096725 A1, US2008096725A1
InventorsDennis L. Keiser
Original AssigneeKeiser Dennis L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Performance monitoring & display system for exercise bike
US 20080096725 A1
Abstract
An apparatus and method for determining the power of a user of an exercise cycle by measuring an RPM and resistance level achieved by the user in combination with a predetermined relationship. The RPM may be measured by sensing the rotation of, for example, a driving wheel or flywheel of the exercise cycle. The resistance level experienced by the user may be varied by an eddy current braking system. The eddy current braking system may include a pair of magnets that sweep across the face of the flywheel to thereby vary the experienced resistance level.
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Claims(12)
1. A method for determining a power level for an exercise cycle having a flywheel rotating against a variable resistance braking system by a user and having a monitoring system that measures an RPM of the flywheel and a resistance level of the braking system, the method comprising:
adjusting the variable resistance braking system to the resistance level;
monitoring the rotation of the flywheel against the resistance level;
providing a pre-determined relationship between the rotation, torque and power for the exercise cycle; and
using the resistance level, the rotation of the flywheel, and the pre-determined relationship to determine a power level of the user.
2. The method as defined in claim 1, wherein adjusting the variable resistance braking system to the resistance level comprises positioning magnets on opposite sides of the flywheel.
3. The method as defined in claim 1, wherein monitoring the rotation of the flywheel against the resistance level comprises sensing when a fixed point on the driving wheel passes a fixed point on the exercise cycle.
4. The method as defined in claim 1 further comprising displaying a number representing the power generated by the user.
5. A cycle apparatus for determining a power level of a user, comprising:
a controllable resistance;
a flywheel rotatable relative to the controllable resistance by a user;
a monitoring system that measures a speed of movement of the flywheel when the controllable resistance is set to a resistance level; and
a display device that determines a power based on the controllable resistance, the speed of movement of the flywheel, and a predetermined relationship.
6. The cycle as defined in claim 5, wherein the predetermined relationship is between RPMs, positions of the controllable resistance, and power.
7. The cycle as defined in claim 5, wherein the display device displays a number representing a power generated by the user.
8. The cycle as defined in claim 5 further comprising an eddy current braking system for a user to vary the resistance level.
9. The cycle as defined in claim 8 further comprising pair of movable magnets disposed on opposite side of the flywheel.
10. The cycle as defined in claim 5 further comprising a gear shift and a handlebar assembly, the gear shift and handlebar assembly being simultaneously adjustable for height by a user.
11. The cycle as defined in claim 10 further comprising a cable extending between the gear shift and the controllable resistance, the cable being coiled at a location between the gear shift and the controllable resistance so as to allow the gear shift and handlebar assembly to adjust for height.
12. The cycle as defined in claim 5, wherein the display device display has a normal mode and a start-up mode, the display device displaying an odometer reading during the start-up mode and not during the normal mode.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to an exercise bike, and is applicable to the fields of fitness, exercise, physical rehabilitation, and sports medicine and is directed to methods and apparatuses useable in such fields.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    There are numerous kinds of exercise bikes available in the marketplace. The main structure of these conventional exercise bikes includes a frame,.a handlebar mounted at a front end of the frame, a display, a seat mounted at a rear end of the frame, and a pair of pedals. The benefits of regular aerobic exercise have been well established and accepted. Exercise bikes provide a convenient means of exercising to those who are too busy to find time to ride a bicycle.
  • [0005]
    In addition to enhancing the performance of athletes, such devices are used to improve or maintain the fitness and health of non-athletes, both to enhance the lifestyles of non-athletes and to potentially increase their respective life spans.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    The systems and methods of the present invention have several features, no single one of which is solely responsible for its desirable attributes. Without limiting the scope of this invention as expressed by the claims which follow, its more prominent features will now be discussed briefly. After considering this discussion, and particularly after reading the section entitled “Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments,” one will understand how the features of this invention provide several advantages over traditional exercise apparatus.
  • [0007]
    One aspect in accordance with embodiments of the present invention is a method for determining a power level for an exercise cycle having a flywheel rotating against a variable resistance braking system by a user and having a monitoring system that measures an RPM of the flywheel and a resistance level of the braking system. The method comprises adjusting the variable resistance braking system to the resistance level and monitoring the rotation of the flywheel against the resistance level. The method further comprises providing a pre-determined relationship between the rotation, torque and power for the exercise cycle and using the resistance level, the rotation of the flywheel, and the pre-determined relationship to determine a power level of the user.
  • [0008]
    Another aspect in accordance with embodiments of the present invention is an apparatus for determining a power level of a user. The apparatus comprises a controllable resistance and a flywheel rotatable relative to the controllable resistance by a user and a monitoring system that measures a speed of movement of the flywheel when the controllable resistance is set to a resistance level. The apparatus further comprises a display device that determines a power based on the controllable resistance, the speed of movement of the flywheel, and a predetermined relationship.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0009]
    These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will now be described in connection with preferred embodiments of the invention, in reference to the accompanying drawings. The illustrated embodiments, however, are merely examples and are not intended to limit the invention.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective rear view of an exercise apparatus in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is a side view of the exercise apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is an opposite side view of the exercise apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the exercise apparatus from FIG. 1 with a frame housing removed to show the path for a belt that links a driving wheel to a flywheel;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 5A is a perspective view of an upper portion of the exercise bike from FIG. 1 showing a gear shift for controlling the eddy current braking system in a low gear position;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5B is a perspective view of the upper portion of the exercise apparatus from FIG. 5A showing the gear shift in a high gear position;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6A is a side view illustrating a rear portion of the exercise apparatus from FIG. 1 with a gear cover removed to show an eddy current braking system in a low resistance position;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 6B illustrates the eddy current braking system from FIG. 6A in a higher resistance position;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6C is a right side perspective view showing the teeth of a potentiometer and of a gear cover engaged with one another to allow the potentiometer to sense the position of the eddy current braking system relative to the flywheel;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 is a front perspective view illustrating a speed system that includes a pick-up on a rib of the driving wheel and a magnetic switch for sensing when the pick-up passes by the magnetic switch during revolutions of the driving wheel so as to monitor the speed of the driving wheel;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the rib of the driving wheel that includes the pick-up of the speed system illustrated in FIG. 7.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9A illustrates a display device in a normal mode showing, for example, at least a power output in watts of a user of the exercise apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 9B illustrates the display device from FIG. 9A in a start-up mode displaying an odometer instead of the gear and trip indicators illustrated in FIG. 9A;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 10 illustrates a flow chart of a power determination process in accordance with a preferred embodiment; and
  • [0024]
    FIG. 11 illustrates an exemplary table of predetermined values for the procedure in FIG. 10 for determining the power based on the relationship between RPM, position of the magnets or potentiometer, and power.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 12 is a graph illustrating exemplary predetermined values of RPMs and watts for multiple resistance positions.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0026]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective rear view of an exercise apparatus in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate side views of the exercise apparatus of FIG. 1. The apparatus 10 can be used for evaluating power generated by a user when rotating a flywheel against levels of resistance that are varied to correspond to varying resistance levels.
  • [0027]
    The apparatus 10 comprises a frame 12 having a lower portion that rests on a floor of an exercise facility or a fitness evaluation facility. The frame 12 is generally v-shaped and supports a seat assembly 22 and a handlebar assembly 20 at the distal ends of the v-shaped frame 12. A housing 14 conceals components of the apparatus 10 which may easily hurt the user and provides an integral appearance to the apparatus 10. The frame 12 further supports a driving wheel 30 and a flywheel 32.
  • [0028]
    The seat assembly 22 comprises a seat post 24 and a seat 26. The seat post 24 extends rearward from the seat 26 and is fitted into an elevating rod 28. The upper end of the elevating rod 28 receives the seat post 24. A fastener 36 fixes a position of the seat post 24 relative to the elevating rod 28. A user may loosen the fastener 36, adjust the forward-aft position of the seat 26, and retighten the fastener 36 to thereby fix the forward-aft position of the seat 26 in a desired position.
  • [0029]
    The lower side of the elevating rod 28 passes through a tube 34 secured to the frame 12. The elevating rod 28 may have a plurality of holes formed therein. The holes are selectably engageable with a vertical seat fastener 38.
  • [0030]
    The seat fastener 38 may include a spring-loaded pin which is inserted in the selected hole. The fastener 38 can be temporarily disengaged from one of the holes and the seat 36 can be raised or lowered to change the distance between the pedals 46 and the seat 26 to adapt the position of the seat 36 to the physical characteristics of a particular user. The spring-loaded fastener 38 may re-engaged the most closely aligned one of the holes to restrain the elevating rod 28 at the selected height.
  • [0031]
    Alternatively, the vertical seat fastener 38 may compress the elevating rod 28 within the tube 34 so as to fix the vertical position of the seat 26. In such an embodiment, the elevating rod need not have holes formed therein to receive the vertical seat fastener 38.
  • [0032]
    The seat 26 is adjustable in a generally vertical direction to accommodate variations in the physical characteristics of users. The seat 26 may also be tilted so as to rotate about the elevating rod 28 independent from the generally vertical adjustments to change the angle of the seating surface on the seat 26.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the exercise bike 10 from FIG. 1 with a portion of the frame housing 14 removed to show the path for a belt 50 that links the driving wheel 30 to the flywheel 32. The belt 50 is preferably grooved and comprises an elastic material. For example, an elastic belt 50 known by the trade name Flexonic is available from Hutchinson Worldwide in France. Of course other materials for the belt 50 could be used including inelastic materials. Further, the belt need not be grooved and may be smooth.
  • [0034]
    The driving wheel 30 is mounted at a middle section of the frame 12 at a suitable position between the handlebar assembly 20 and the seat assembly 22. Pedals 46 are attached to both sides of the driving wheel 30. The pedals 46 may be toe clip style pedals or clipless style pedals. The driving wheel 30 is driven by the pedals 46.
  • [0035]
    The flywheel 32 is mounted at a rear section of the frame 12 and is supported by a rear frame member 48 that extends in a rearward direction from the frame 12. The flywheel 32 is connected to the driving wheel 30 via the belt 50. The driving wheel 30 and the flywheel 32 may be provided with grooves or teeth to grip the belt 50.
  • [0036]
    The illustrated embodiment of the apparatus 10 includes an idler 52. The idler 52 is located near the flywheel 32 and in contact with the belt 50. The belt 50 wraps around at least a portion of the idler 52. The idler 52 is positioned so as to force more of the belt 50 around a pulley 64 that is attached to the flywheel 32 and thereby increase the contact surface area between the belt 50 and the pulley 64. The increased contact surface area increases friction between the belt 50 and the pulley 64 so as to inhibit slipping of the belt 50 relative to the pulley 64. The idler 52 may be fixed or spring loaded. In the illustrated embodiment, the position of the idler 52 is fixed relative to the rear frame member 48.
  • [0037]
    In embodiments having a spring loaded idler or tensioner, the tensioner pivots so as to maintain tension in the belt and accounts for variations or changes in the length of the belt 50. In such embodiments, an inelastic belt may be employed in combination with the tensioner. Of course the tensioner need not be located near the pulley 64 and may be located at a different location along the path of the belt 50 and still maintain tension in the belt 50. The tensioner maintains sufficient tension on the belt 50 to avoid slippage between the belt 50 and the driving wheel 30 and the flywheel 32. Alternatively, a fixed idler 52 in combination with a tensioner may be employed.
  • [0038]
    The upper front end or neck portion of the frame 12 supports a gear shift 54. By actuating the gear shift 54 a user is able to control a resistance level at which the apparatus 12 is operated. Preferably, magnetic resistance, which is described below, is used to change the resistance level of the apparatus 10.
  • [0039]
    The driving wheel 30, noted above, drives the flywheel 32 via the belt 50. At least a portion of the flywheel 32 is preferably made from a conductive material such as aluminum, copper, gold, silver and the like so as to be capable of generating internal electric currents. The flywheel 32 may comprise a conductive outer circumference and a non-conductive or insulating inner region. The conductive portion of the flywheel 32 preferably passes between the magnets 70, 72 when rotating. In the illustrated embodiment, the flywheel 32 is solid aluminum while the driving wheel 30 is die cast aluminum.
  • [0040]
    The flywheel 32 is mounted on an axle shaft 66 passing through the rear frame member 48. The pulley 64 may be a multi-groove pulley to receive a grooved belt 50. In the illustrated embodiment, the pulley 64 is located inboard of the flywheel 32 and between the flywheel 32 and the rear frame member 48. The pulley 64 preferably rotates with the flywheel 32 and may be integral with the flywheel 32.
  • [0041]
    The pulley 64 has a smaller outer diameter than the flywheel 32. The belt 50 wraps around the smaller pulley 64. The relative sizes of the driving wheel 30 and pulley 64 are such as to achieve a step up of speed. In other words, the flywheel 32 rotates faster than the driving wheel 30.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 5A is a perspective view of an upper portion of the apparatus 10 from FIG. 1 showing a gear shift 54 of a handlebar assembly 20 controlling an eddy current braking system in a low gear position. FIG. 5B illustrates the gear shift 54 in a high gear position. The handlebar assembly 20 is mounted at the upper front end or neck portion of the frame 12 and comprises handlebars 44 and a display device 42.
  • [0043]
    The handlebars 44 may be a racing-type handlebar which includes an upper handlebar grip portion connected with a lower handlebar grip portion via a forwardly and downwardly extending curved member, an aero-type handlebar which has two parallel, forward extending hand grips spaced narrowly apart and located at a relatively high position, or a combination thereof or the like. The illustrated embodiment, for example, includes features of an aero-type handlebar. A left handgrip 58 extends generally along a longitudinal axis of the apparatus 10 and includes a 180 degree bend to form a general u-shape. The u-shape portion advantageously provides a resting surface perpendicular to the forearms of the user. Similarly, a right handgrip 60 extends generally along a longitudinal axis of the apparatus 10 and includes a 180 degree bend to form a general u-shape. Because at least portions of the hand grips 58, 60 extend in a forward direction, a user may lean forward to a greater extent, thus simulating a racing stance with a reduced frontal surface area.
  • [0044]
    Each handgrip 58, 60 has a length sufficient to accommodate the width of a user's hand and to further accommodate variations in the position of a user's hand. Preferably, each handgrip 58, 60 is cylindrical and has a respective gripping surface mounted thereon to assist a user in grasping the handgrips. The gripping surfaces may advantageously be padded for the comfort of the user's hands. The handlebars 44 may provide a user multiple positions for their hands. As most clearly shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, a vertical handlebar fastener 40 fixes the height of the handlebar assembly 20 relative to the frame 12.
  • [0045]
    The gear shift 54 comprises a lower lever portion 62 that extends generally below and slightly forward of the gear shift 54. The lower lever portion 62 is fixedly attached to an end of a cable 84. The other end of the cable 84 attaches to a resistance assembly 56. As most clearly illustrated in FIG. 2, the cable 84 is routed inside the upper front end or neck portion of the frame 12. The cable 84 continues downward to a location within the frame housing 14 near the intersection of the neck portion and the seat portion of the frame 12. Preferably at that location, the cable 84 is coiled in a counter-clockwise direction and then continues rearward to the resistance assembly 56. By coiling or keeping slack in the cable 84 at a location between the gear shift 54 and the resistance assembly 56, the height of the gear shift 54 together with the handlebar assembly 20 may be adjusted by a user. Advantageously, the accessibility of the gear shift 54 to a user is maintained even when the handlebar assembly 20 is adjusted upwards or downwards.
  • [0046]
    A user seated in the seat assembly 22 is able to grip the handgrips 58, 60 while their feet engage the pedals 46 and apply forces to the driving wheel 30 to cause the flywheel 32 to rotate. The user is further able to pivot the gear shift 54 about the lever portion 62 to actuate the cable 84 and thereby change resistance levels.
  • [0047]
    The illustrated embodiment includes a system for selectively applying the braking or retarding force on the rotation of the flywheel 32 through the resistance assembly 56. In the illustrated embodiment, the resistance assembly 56 utilizes an eddy current brake system. The eddy current brake system employs swinging magnets 70, 72 positioned on opposite sides of the flywheel 32. The magnets 70, 72 generate a magnetic field that intersects the flywheel 32. The magnets 70, 72 allow a user to control the braking action by varying the strength of the magnetic field. The strength of the magnetic field is varied by swinging the magnets across the surfaces of the flywheel 32.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 6A is a side view illustrating a portion of the apparatus 10 from FIG. 1 with a gear cover 88 removed to show the eddy current braking system in a low resistance position. FIG. 6B illustrates the eddy current braking system in a higher resistance position. The braking system retards motion or causes deceleration of the flywheel 32 by converting the kinetic energy of the flywheel 32 to heat without contacting the flywheel 32.
  • [0049]
    The resistance assembly 56 includes a support member pivotally attached to the rear frame member 48 and having a pair of rearwardly extending plates 74, 76. The plate 74 is located on the left side of the apparatus 10. The plate 76 is located on the right side of the apparatus 10. The plates 74, 76 may be formed from a single unshaped support member. The plate 74 includes threaded holes for receiving fasteners 78, 80, 82. The fasteners 78, 80, 82 fix the gear cover 88 over the resistance assembly 56. The plates 74, 76 carry magnets 70, 72, respectively.
  • [0050]
    The magnets 70, 72 are mounted to the resistance assembly 56 and closely adjacent to the faces of the flywheel 32. As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the magnets 70, 72 are positioned along the outer perimeter portion of the flywheel 32. The location of the magnets 70, 72 may be adjusted relative to the adjacent face of the flywheel 32 so as to move across the face of the flywheel 32 while being positioned as closely as possible to the flywheel 32 without actually touching or interfering with the rotation of the flywheel 32. This positioning of the magnets 70, 72 is accomplished by pivoting the plates 74, 76 carrying the magnets 70, 72 relative to the rear frame member 48. A user rotates the plates 74, 76 by actuating the gear shift 54 which is coupled to the cable 84. The cable 84 runs along the front portion of the frame 14 and connects the gear shift 54 to the resistance assembly 56.
  • [0051]
    As the flywheel 32 rotates inside the magnetic field created by the magnets 70, 72, electric currents are induced inside the flywheel 32. The electric currents generate a magnetic field in opposition to the original field thus creating a force which acts to decelerate the rotating flywheel 32. Rotation of the support member of the resistance assembly 56 in a counter-clockwise direction as illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, swings the magnets 70, 72 generally rearward so that a larger portion of the surface area of the flywheel 32 passes between the magnets 70, 72 and thereby increases the electric currents induced in the flywheel 32.
  • [0052]
    Heat is created in the flywheel 32 due to the electrical resistance of the flywheel material and the current induced in the flywheel 32. The heat represents the dissipated kinetic energy.
  • [0053]
    Electromagnets may be used instead of permanent magnets 70, 72. Unlike permanent magnets, an electric current is passed through the electromagnets to produce the braking force. In such an embodiment, the electromagnets may be stationary while the electric current passing through the magnets is increased to thereby increase the braking force.
  • [0054]
    Because the induced current is proportional to the speed of the flywheel 32, the braking torque decreases as the flywheel 32 decelerates resulting in a smooth stop. Accordingly, the eddy current brakes may be unable to completely stop the flywheel 32. For this purpose, the resistance assembly 56 may further include a conventional brake which operates by causing friction between a brake pad 68 and the flywheel 32. The conventional or friction brake is employed when a user desires to completely stop the flywheel 32 or keep it from moving. Other types of resistance systems may also be used for the eddy current brake system and the friction braking system.
  • [0055]
    As noted above, the significant difference in size between the diameters of pulley 64 and driving wheel 30 results in a substantial step up in rotational speed of the flywheel 32 relative to the rotational speed of the drive wheel 30. The rotational speed of the flywheel 32 is thereby sufficient to produce relatively high levels of braking torque through the eddy current brake assembly as well as sufficient kinetic energy to simulate the actual feel of a road bike.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 6C is a right side perspective view showing the teeth of a potentiometer 90 and teeth of the gear cover 88 engaged with one another to allow the potentiometer 90 to sense the relative position of the eddy current braking system relative to the flywheel 32. The gear cover 88 further prevents a user's feet from contacting the components of the resistance assembly 56 and provides a sleek appearance.
  • [0057]
    The gear cover 88 includes teeth on an inner surface that are disposed so as to contact the teeth of the potentiometer 90. The potentiometer 90 is preferably fixed to the rear frame member 48 while the gear cover 88 pivots with the magnets 70, 72. As the magnets 70, 72 and gear cover 88 pivot relative to the rear frame member 48, the teeth of the gear cover 88 rotate the teeth of the potentiometer 90. This rotation of the gear is sensed by the potentiometer 90 and converted to an electrical signal. A wire 110 running along the frame 12 and connecting the potentiometer 90 to the display device 42 provides a signal indicative of the sensed gear position to the display device 42.
  • [0058]
    The resistance assembly 56 may further include a spring 86 and a spring stop 92. The spring 86 may bias the resistance assembly 56 towards high or low resistance levels. In the illustrated embodiment, the spring 86 biases the resistance assembly 56 towards a low resistance level.
  • [0059]
    The electrical signal provided to the display device 42 is indicative of the relative position of the magnets 70, 72 with respect to the surfaces of the flywheel 32. The signal provides the display device 42 with the precise location of the magnets 70, 72 that has been selected by the user. As the user changes the position of the gear shift 54, the cable 84 rotates the magnets 70, 72 to increase or decrease the resistance force while the gear cover 88 rotates the potentiometer 90. The precise position of the magnets 70, 72 allows the display device 42 to calculate, for example, the power being expended by the user. As discussed below, the revolutions of the flywheel per unit time is also needed to determine power.
  • [0060]
    As discussed more fully below, it is desirable to monitor the speed of the flywheel 32 so as to measure the distance traveled by the user and also to control the level of workout experienced by the user. Any standard method of measuring the speed of the flywheel 32 may be utilized. For instance, an optical or magnetic strobe wheel may be mounted on the flywheel 30, driving wheel 32 or other rotating member of the present apparatus 10. The rotational speed of the flywheel 32 may be monitored by an optical or magnetic sensor 94 to generate an electrical signal related to such rotational speed.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a speed system that includes a pick-up 112 on a rib of the driving wheel 30 and a magnetic switch 94 for sensing when the pick-up 112 passes by the magnetic switch 94 during revolutions of the driving wheel 30 so as to monitor the speed of the driving wheel 30.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the rib of the driving wheel 30 that includes the pick-up 112 of the speed system illustrated in FIG. 7. The speed sensed by the magnetic switch 94 is provided to the display device 42 via the wire 110.
  • [0063]
    The apparatus 10 further includes a display device 42 supported on a riser 96 so that the display device 42 is positioned in front of a user seated in the seat assembly 22. FIG. 9A illustrates the display device 42 in a normal mode showing at least a power output in watts of a user of the exercise bicycle illustrated in FIG. 1.
  • [0064]
    The display device 42 houses a processor or CPU 120 and stores software for determining the values of the operational parameters displayed on the device 42. In certain embodiments, the display device 42 is optionally capable of communicating, wired or wirelessly, with an external computer system via a communications cable and an adapter unit. The communications cable, the adapter unit, and the external computer system are not necessary to an understanding of embodiments described herein and will not be discussed further.
  • [0065]
    As shown in FIG. 9A, the display device 42 comprises a GEAR indicator 98 that displays the relative resistance currently selected by the user. In the embodiment described herein, the gear may be selected by a user by selectively rotating the gear shift 54 in an upward direction to increase the resistance force created by the resistance assembly 56 and selectively rotating the gear shift 54 in a downward direction to decrease the resistance. In alternative embodiments, the gear may also be selected automatically. The resistance may be numerically displayed by numbers from, for example, 1 through 24 and is preferably calibrated to evenly space adjacent gears so as to correspond to equal percent increases in resistance levels between adjacent gears. The resistance may be calibrated to correspond to the force required to rotate a wheel of a conventional road bicycle in the selected gear.
  • [0066]
    In alternative embodiments of the apparatus 10 in which a gear shift 54 is not used, controls for increasing and decreasing the resistance may be implemented into the handlebar assembly 20.
  • [0067]
    The display device 42 also advantageously includes an RPM indicator 100, a trip or distance indicator 102, a heart rate indicator 104, a time indicator 106, and a power or energy indicator 108. As previously discussed, the apparatus 10 incorporates a sensing system, preferably in the form of a potentiometer 90, to sense the extension and retraction of the magnets 70, 72. This information is routed through the wire 110 to the display device 42. The rotational speed of the driving wheel 30 is also monitored by the sensor 94 and provided to the display device 42 via the wire 110. As discussed below, with this information in combination with a predetermined relationship between power, RPM, and resistance for the apparatus 10, the display device 42 determines, for example, the power expended by the user.
  • [0068]
    In certain embodiments in which the display device 42 is powered by batteries rather than by AC power, the selected gear indicator 98 and/or the trip indicator 102 is advantageously caused to display OFF rather than a gear value or distance in order to indicate that the display device 42 has gone into a low power consumption (e.g., “sleep”) mode to increase battery life. The display device 42 can also be advantageously used to display a message indicating that the batteries supplying the display device 42 are low and need to be replaced.
  • [0069]
    FIG. 9B illustrates the display device from FIG. 9A in a start-up mode displaying an odometer 122 instead of the gear 98 and trip 102 indicators illustrated in FIG. 9A. Preferably, the odometer 122 value is displayed for a brief period of time at start-up so that a service person can view the information. The brief period of time could be, for example, 5 or 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, the lower portion of the display device 42 switches to the normal mode illustrated in FIG. 9A and displays gear and trip data instead of the odometer value 12.
  • [0070]
    During use of the apparatus 10, the display device 42 is apprised of the RPM being sensed by sensor 94 and the rotational position of the potentiometer 90 which corresponds to the relative position of the magnets 70, 72. This information, or related information, may be displayed to the exerciser through the display device 42.
  • [0071]
    The apparatus 10 may also display a physical workout parameter, e.g., user's heart rate. An electrical signal, typically analog in nature, related to the user's heart rate is generated. Various types of heart rate monitors may be employed, including chest worn monitors, ear lobe monitors, hand and finger monitors. As is illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B, a sensor 114 may be employed in the left handlebar 58 to sense the heart rate. The output from the sensor 114 is routed to the display device 42 via wire 118. In addition to, or in lieu of, the user's heart rate, other physical parameters of the exerciser may be utilized, including respiratory rate, age, weight, sex, etc.
  • [0072]
    In certain embodiments, a desired workout level may be maintained by inputting certain parameters, such as age, height, sex, into the display device 42 via a communications cable and an adapter unit to achieve a desired heart rate range during exercise. Alternatively, the desired heart rate range may be directly entered by the exerciser into the display device 42. In such an embodiment, the display device 42 may include one or more user actuated buttons or a touchpad. Other parameters may or may not be inputted by the exerciser, such as the desired speed of the flywheel 32 corresponding to cycles per minute.
  • [0073]
    It is to be understood that in certain embodiments various courses or workout regimes may be preprogrammed into the display device 42 or designed by the user to reflect various parameters, including a desired cardiovascular range, RPM, energy rate, etc. In such an embodiment, the display device 42 may directly control the position of the magnets 70, 72 via a cable (not shown) linking the display device 42 to the resistance assembly 56. The display device 42 thereupon will control the resistance assembly 56 to correspond to the desired workout regime.
  • [0074]
    The display device 42 uses the position of the magnets and RPMs derived from the signal received from the magnetic sensor 94 to calculate the power achieved by the user. The calculated power is advantageously displayed as the power on the power indicator 108 of the display device 42 so that a seated user can readily observe the power being achieved by the user. The power is displayed as the work (preferably in watts) required to rotate the driving wheel 30 at a selected RPM and gear that is calibrated to be equivalent to the displayed power.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 10 illustrates a flow chart of a power determination process in accordance with a preferred embodiment. The power achieved by a user depends on the design of the exercise apparatus 10. For example, the mass of the rotating components, ratio of between the outer circumferences of the pulley 64 and the driving wheel 30, and friction losses affect the power achieved by a user. Applicant has discovered that by testing the exercise apparatus 10 over a range of speeds and resistance levels a relationship between speed, resistance level, and power can be determined. This relationship is programmed into the display device 42 and accessed by the processor or CPU 120 when the exercise apparatus 10 is subsequently used after completion of testing. For the purposes of the following discussion, a range in resistance levels corresponding to the rotation of the gears of the potentiometer 90 between 0 and 100 percent or 85 and 215 is assumed. The resistance levels shown in FIG. 11 are listed under the column heading “position” and range from 85 to 215.
  • [0076]
    In block 200 of FIG. 10, the RPM sensed by the speed system is provided to the display device 42. An optical or magnetic strobe wheel may be mounted on the flywheel 30, driving wheel 32 or other rotating member of the present apparatus 10 to determine speed. The rotational speed of the flywheel 32 may be monitored by an optical or magnetic sensor 94 to generate an electrical signal related to such rotational speed. Preferably, the speed system includes a pick-up 112 on the driving wheel 30 and a magnetic switch 94 for sensing when the pick-up 112 passes by the magnetic switch 94 during revolutions of the driving wheel 30
  • [0077]
    In block 202, the position of the potentiometer 90, for example from 0 to 100 percent, is provided to the display device 42. As the magnets 70, 72 pivot relative to the rear frame member 48, the gear cover 88 presses against the teeth of the potentiometer 90 and correspondingly rotates the gear of the potentiometer 90. This rotation of the gear is sensed by the potentiometer 90 and converted to an electrical signal. A wire 110 runs along the frame 12 and connects the potentiometer 90 to the display device 42. The electrical signal provided to the display device 42 is indicative of the relative position of the magnets 70, 72 with respect to the surfaces of the flywheel 32.
  • [0078]
    Next at a block 204, the display device 42 determines, for example, the power being expended by the user by accessing the pre-determined relationship programmed into the display device 42. For example, the pre-determined relationship may be in the form of one or more look-up tables.
  • [0079]
    FIG. 11 illustrates an exemplary table of predetermined values 206 for the procedure in FIG. 10 for determining the power based on the relationship between RPM, position of the magnets 70, 72 or potentiometer 90, and power. The look-up table 206 includes an RPM column 208, a position column 210, and a power column 212.
  • [0080]
    The processor or CPU 120 selects a power value that corresponds to the RPM sensed in block 200 and the position of the magnets sensed in block 202 to determine power in block 204. If an exact match to the sensed values is not found in the look-up table 206, the CPU 120 may select a power that is close to or at least relates to the sensed values.
  • [0081]
    Preferably, a dynamometer is used to determine the relationship between RPM, position, and power. The dynamometer drives the exercise apparatus 10 through a range of speeds for a given magnet position and measures the torque being applied to the pedals 46 to maintain that speed at that resistance level. A different resistance level is then selected and the process repeated until an adequate amount of data is accumulated at each resistance level over the full range of speeds. FIG. 12 is a graph 214 illustrating exemplary predetermined values of RPMs and watts for multiple resistance positions.
  • [0082]
    Power may be calculated by multiplying the measured torque by the speed and dividing by a constant. The constant is selected depending on the units of measure. The exemplary predetermined values from FIG. 12 are programmed into the exercise apparatus 10 and accessed to display the power expended by a user after testing is concluded.
  • [0083]
    Preferably, the testing process for determining the relationship, between RPM, position, and power is not performed on each exercise apparatus 10 and instead is performed on a few selected exercise apparatuses 10. Preferably, the machining and tolerances of the components of the exercise apparatus 10 are controlled so that the relationship between RPM, position, and power is consistent between exercise apparatuses. In this way, the test results for a single exercise apparatus 10 are applicable to multiple exercise apparatuses 10. For example, the display device 42 is programmed to work with a specific model of exercise apparatus 10 so that the measurement of RPM and position and the calculations of power correspond to the configuration of a particular exercise apparatus 10.
  • [0084]
    The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is therefore indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within that scope.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/8, 482/57
International ClassificationA63B22/06, A63B71/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/015, A63B21/0052, A63B2024/0093, A63B2220/54, A63B2220/34, A63B2022/0658, A63B21/225, A63B2220/51, A63B21/0051, A63B22/0605
European ClassificationA63B21/005B, A63B22/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 9, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: KEISER CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KEISER, DENNIS L.;REEL/FRAME:018892/0635
Effective date: 20070109