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Publication numberUS20080103024 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/588,722
Publication dateMay 1, 2008
Filing dateOct 26, 2006
Priority dateOct 26, 2006
Publication number11588722, 588722, US 2008/0103024 A1, US 2008/103024 A1, US 20080103024 A1, US 20080103024A1, US 2008103024 A1, US 2008103024A1, US-A1-20080103024, US-A1-2008103024, US2008/0103024A1, US2008/103024A1, US20080103024 A1, US20080103024A1, US2008103024 A1, US2008103024A1
InventorsTheodore G. Habing
Original AssigneeDream Visions, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Exercise apparatus with spoken messages
US 20080103024 A1
Abstract
An exercise machine has audio programs that provide explanation, coaching and encouragement to the user. The user is given a spoken description of the workout program or work mode, along with training and encouragement. The user may also be advised of any change in speed, resistance, incline, pedal position, etc. The voice can be turned on or off during a programmed exercise sequence and will automatically pick up where the user is in the exercise program. Controls allow the user to select among different voices and exercise levels.
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Claims(34)
1. An exercise apparatus comprising:
an exercise machine having at least one adjustable exercise parameter;
an electronic program controlling the adjustable exercise parameter;
a voice message delivery unit providing a spoken message corresponding to a programmed state of the adjustable exercise parameter.
2. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein the spoken message is selectable between a male voice and a female voice.
3. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein the spoken message corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
4. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with an exercise suggestion.
5. The exercise apparatus of claim 4 wherein the spoken message corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
6. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with exercise encouragement.
7. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein the spoken message announces a state of the adjustable exercise parameter.
8. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 further comprising visual indicia representing a selected exercise parameter proximate to the user control.
9. An exercise apparatus comprising:
an exercise machine having at least one adjustable exercise parameter;
a voice message delivery unit providing a spoken message corresponding to the state of the adjustable exercise parameter.
10. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 wherein the spoken message is selectable between a male voice and a female voice.
11. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 wherein the spoken message corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
12. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with an exercise suggestion.
13. The exercise apparatus of claim 12 wherein the spoken message corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
14. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with exercise encouragement.
15. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a sensor for sensing a state of the adjustable exercise parameter.
16. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 wherein the spoken message announces a state of the adjustable exercise parameter.
17. The exercise apparatus of claim 9 further comprising visual indicia corresponding to the state of the adjustable exercise parameter proximate to the user control.
18. An exercise apparatus comprising:
an exercise machine having at least one adjustable exercise parameter;
a user control for designating a selected adjustment of the exercise parameter;
a voice message delivery unit providing a spoken message corresponding to the selected adjustment of the exercise parameter.
19. The exercise apparatus of claim 18 wherein the spoken message is selectable between a male voice and a female voice.
20. The exercise apparatus of claim 18 wherein the spoken message further corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
21. The exercise apparatus of claim 18 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with an exercise suggestion.
22. The exercise apparatus of claim 21 wherein the spoken message corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
23. The exercise apparatus of claim 18 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with exercise encouragement.
24. The exercise apparatus of claim 18 further comprising visual indicia representing available adjustments of the exercise parameter proximate to the user control.
25. The exercise apparatus of claim 24 wherein each visual indicium has an associated button for turning on and off a recorded message of exercise description and suggestions for the corresponding adjustment of the exercise parameter.
26. An exercise apparatus comprising:
an exercise machine having at least one adjustable exercise parameter;
a user control for selecting an adjustment of the exercise parameter;
a voice message delivery unit providing a spoken message corresponding to the selected adjustment of the exercise parameter.
27. The exercise apparatus of claim 26 wherein the spoken message is selectable between a male voice and a female voice.
28. The exercise apparatus of claim 26 wherein the spoken message further corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
29. The exercise apparatus of claim 26 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with an exercise suggestion.
30. The exercise apparatus of claim 29 wherein the spoken message corresponds to a selected one of a plurality of exercise levels.
31. The exercise apparatus of claim 26 wherein the voice message delivery unit further provides a spoken message with exercise encouragement.
32. The exercise apparatus of claim 26 further comprising visual indicia representing available adjustments of the exercise parameter proximate to the user control.
33. The exercise apparatus of claim 32 wherein each visual indicium has an associated button for turning on and off a recorded message of exercise description and suggestions for the corresponding adjustment of the exercise parameter.
34. The exercise apparatus of claim 26 further comprising visual indicia representing a selected exercise parameter proximate to the user control.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to the field of exercise equipment. More particularly, the invention relates to a programmed exercise machine with adjustable configurations, which may be either manually adjusted or electromechanically controlled by a program, wherein an audio program matched with the configuration of the machine is presented to the exerciser.

2. Background

The benefits of exercise are well known, and a wide variety of exercise machines are available for both cardiovascular conditioning and strength training. Some manufacturers of exercise equipment have begun offering machines with programmed exercise routines. Octane Fitness offers “X-Mode” and “Heart Logic” programs for exercise equipment. Life Fitness offers treadmills with workout programs. The T9700HRT treadmill from Vision Fitness offers a “scrolling message center” in the control console. Motivational messages scroll across the console at appropriate points during a workout, such as: “Great job, you're halfway there!” or “Stride out and control your breathing.” Requiring the exerciser to read feedback or workout encouragement is not as effective as providing spoken encouragement and feedback. It is optimal to have both visual and audio encouragement and feedback.

Devices that provide visual and audio information in connection with a related activity are well known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,703,573 discloses a visual and sound display that is activated by turning pages of an associated book.

U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0171189 and related U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,857,939; 6,251,048 and 6,582,342, all by Arthur H. Kaufman, disclose an audible electronic exercise activity monitor for monitoring the performance of an exercise. The device has a memory for storing sound data corresponding to a plurality of values associated with the exercise activity. An activity detector is responsive to motion associated with the performance of the exercise to output a corresponding signal. A processor receives the signal and retrieves a block of corresponding sound data. A speech generator then generates a naturally-sounding human voice or reproduces a pre-stored version of an actual human voice in accordance with the sound data stored in the memory. The speech generator is controlled by the processor in response to the activity detector to provide a verbal representation of the user's performance of the activity. Motivational speech may also be generated to encourage correct and continued performance of the activity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An exercise machine, particularly a machine for performing cardiovascular exercises, has an electronic program for controlling certain adjustable exercise parameters. These parameters, which depend on the particular type of exercise machine, may include platform inclination, pedal surface incline and configuration (shape), speed, resistance, and other variations of the workout mode. The program also provides voice and visual stimuli to explain and encourage a workout. Voice messages may describe and explain any change in an exercise program, e.g.; mechanical change of the machine or speed or resistance change. Additional voice messages may then suggest user workout variations and encourage the user through the exercise. The machine may have manual adjustment of exercise parameters and sensors to recognize the position of the parameters to provide workout information, description and training suggestions. Console controls allow the user to choose between a male or female voice. Additional controls allow the user to select voice messages corresponding to different experience or intensity levels of exercise. The voice messages can be turned on or off by the user at any point during a workout program and, when turned back on, will automatically pick up where the user is in the program. Visual stimuli comprise pictures of workout modes with names and/or descriptions adjacent. A lighting effect can be used to show the user which picture relates to the workout being performed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows one example of an exercise machine suitable for use with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram of a control system for implementing the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a detailed view of a potion of a control console for use with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of another portion of a control console for use with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, for purposes of explanation and not limitation, specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced in other embodiments that depart from these specific details. In other instances, detailed descriptions of well-known methods and devices are omitted so as to not obscure the description of the present invention with unnecessary detail.

The present invention provides improved programming for exercise machines. Various adjustable features or exercise parameters on aerobic exercise machines such as platform elevation, running surface inclination, speed, pedal surface configuration, resistance, and other variations in workout modes that tax muscles differently or allow the user to target a specific muscle group more easily are manually adjustable or electromechanically controlled by an electronic program. In the case of programmed adjustments, the program adjusts the various parameters throughout an exercise routine and provides a voice description, information, voice training and encouragement corresponding to each adjustment configuration. The voice can be manually turned on or off, and when turned on at any specific point in a programmed exercise routine, the electronics will start the voice program at the location appropriate for the specific point in the exercise routine. The voice may be a continually running recording in which the speaker is simply turned on or off such that at any point the voice is turned on, the recording is already at the correct point in the exercise program. For manually adjustable parameters, the voice would give workout information, description, training suggestions and encouragement for the selected adjustment.

A demonstration program may be used to show the features and changes of the exercise parameters. An actual workout program may rotate through various configurations of exercise parameters and workout variations, such as, in the case of a pedal exerciser, spinning backward or forward with each pedal position, and bending more at the knees for portions of a pedal variation, etc. Each program may have a visual representation of the control console with lights moving in a circle around picture schematics showing the training method and stopping/lighting the mode currently in use.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exercise apparatus 10 in which the present invention may be embodied. In this example, apparatus 10 is, in most respects, a conventional treadmill. The speed and incline of the treadmill may be adjusted by the exerciser using controls on control console 12. In addition to manual control of these functions, the exerciser may select a programmed exercise routine that automatically adjusts the speed and incline of the treadmill in accordance with programmed parameters. During the course of the programmed exercise routine, the exerciser receives spoken messages from speaker 14 (or from optional headphones not shown) describing certain aspects of the exercise routine and also providing encouragement.

FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram of a control system for implementing the present invention. The control system may be incorporated into any of a variety of exercise machines, aerobic or strength, including but not limited to a treadmill as illustrated in FIG. 1. The exercise machine has at least one physically adjustable exercise parameter 20. In the example of a treadmill, the adjustable exercise parameters include the speed of the treadmill and the incline of the treadmill. Other exercise machines each have their own unique set of adjustable parameters. For example, a striding exerciser may have pedals that can be adjusted to different configurations.

The state of the adjustable exercise parameters may be controlled by an electronic program 22. Such program may be implemented as a set of instructions in a microprocessor. The program may be preloaded by the manufacturer of the exercise machine or may be loaded by the exerciser with a storage medium, such as a CD-ROM or flash drive. Alternatively, the exercise machine may be configured with a simple connector to receive programs from a personal computer or directly from the Internet. Furthermore, programs may be entered directly by the exerciser using controls 24 on the control console of the exercise device.

A voice message delivery unit 28 receives signals from the electronic program 22 to provide appropriate messages to the exerciser via speaker 14. The voice message delivery unit may be implemented as a routine within the electronic program 22 using either recorded or synthesized speech.

Certain exercise parameters may be adjusted directly by the exerciser. For example, many exercise machines use selectable weight stacks to provide exercise resistance. Typically, the exerciser manually selects a desired level of resistance before beginning an exercise set. When such adjustments are made, a sensor 26 may provide data concerning the adjustable exercise parameter to the electronic program 22. The sensor can also be used to provide feedback to the electronic program as to the condition of programmed exercise adjustments.

Sensors need not be provided for all exerciser-adjustable parameters. Instead, appropriate controls may be provided on the control console with which the exerciser may designate a selected adjustment of a parameter as shown in FIG. 3. In this example, four different foot pedal configurations are graphically depicted on a control console 12′. Each of buttons 31-34 is associated with one of the depictions. When the exerciser manually adjusts the pedals to one of the configurations, the exerciser presses the corresponding button, thereby notifying the electronic program of the selected configuration. The voice message delivery unit then provides voice messages appropriate for that configuration of the pedals.

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of a portion of a control console 12. Two buttons 41 and 42, one depicting a woman, the other a man, are provided to select a female or male voice, respectively. Additional buttons 43-45 allow the exerciser to select among different experience or intensity levels of exercise. In this case, the selections provide for beginner, intermediate and intense levels of exercise. Pushing these various buttons while in a demo or workout program activates the selected voice and exercise level to provide suggestions on how to push, pull, bend, rotate (spinning direction), or body positioning for the specific programmed exercise or workout mode and gives encouragement just like a personal trainer. The voice may be turned on or off by pushing the buttons at any point in a program so the user can turn it on to listen as a reminder or encouragement when the exercise configuration changes and then turn it back off if the user wants to read a magazine, listen to radio or watch TV during the rest of the workout program. If the speaker is on while the program is changing from one segment of the programmed exercise to another (such as a pedal configuration change, ramp incline change, or speed change), the voice introduction to this segment explains what is happening to the pedal, ramp or speed and what the focus of the next workout segment will be. The voice program then goes into a “trainer encouragement mode”. If the speaker is turned on in the middle of a workout segment, the voice program starts just after the introduction (beginning explanation of that segment), so it does not go through a description of how the exercise configuration is changing, but goes directly into the suggested workout mode, body positioning, and encouragement mode.

EXAMPLE 1

On an elliptical with programmed electronic pedal changes, when the pedal starts to change to the heel up mode and the voice button is already on, the voice might say: “Now the pedal will raise your heel to go into a glute and hamstring push. Continue the forward rotation.” The voice would then pause a pause while the pedal finishes raising the heel, and then continue: “Now focus on pushing with your heel as your foot moves down and back through the stroke. Push with your heel. Feel the back of your leg working? Push . . . Push . . . Push with your heel. Good, keep pushing with your heel towards the back of the stroke . . . Keep up the good work . . . Feel the glute and the back of the legs . . . Good job . . . Keep going . . . ”

If the speaker was off and is turned on after the pedal has changed, but while still in the heel workout segment, the voice would start out: “Continue with forward rotation. Now focus on pushing with your heel as your foot moves down and back through the stroke. Push with your heel. Feel the back of your leg working? Push . . . Push . . . Push with your heel. Good keep pushing with your heel towards the back of the stroke . . . Keep up the good work. . . Feel the glute and the back of the legs . . . Good job . . . Keep going . . . ”

While still in the heel mode, the voice could suggest reversing directions and pushing down with the heel towards the back of the stroke.

EXAMPLE 2

On a treadmill with programmed electronic incline changes and speed changes, when the speed starts to drop and the ramp starts to incline for the mountain climb mode and the voice button is already on, the voice might say: “Now the speed is reducing to 3 mph and the ramp will raise to 15% incline. Keep pace with the belt speed and, if needed, hold onto the rails. If it is too fast, push the speed down button.” The voice would then pause while the speed reduction and incline finishes, and then continue: “Now focus on walking uphill as if you were hiking up a hill, but plant your heels down at the top of each step and push with your heel. Feel the back of your leg working? Climb. . . Climb . . . Push down with your heel. Good keep pushing with your heel through out the climb . . . Keep up the good work . . . Feel the glute and the back of the legs . . . Good job . . . Keep going . . . ”

If the speaker was off, and is turned on after the speed and incline have changed, but while still in the mountain climb segment, the voice would start out: “Now focus on walking uphill as if you were hiking up a hill, but plant your heels down at the top of each step and push with your heel. Feel the back of your leg working? Climb . . . Climb . . . Push down with your heel. Good keep pushing with your heel through out the climb . . . Keep up the good work. . . Feel the glute and the back of the legs . . . Good job . . . Keep going . . . ”

While in the mountain climb mode, the voice could suggest “Keep pace with the belt speed and if needed, hold onto the rails. If it is too fast, push the SPEED DOWN button to a more comfortable speed.”

It will be recognized that the above-described invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics of the disclosure. Thus, it is understood that the invention is not to be limited by the foregoing illustrative details, but rather is to be defined by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7771320 *Aug 31, 2007Aug 10, 2010Nike, Inc.Athletic performance sensing and/or tracking systems and methods
US8152695Jul 16, 2010Apr 10, 2012Nike, Inc.Athletic performance sensing and/or tracking systems and methods
US8568278Mar 23, 2012Oct 29, 2013Nike, Inc.Athletic performance sensing and/or tracking systems and methods
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/8, 482/54, 482/6
International ClassificationA63B21/005, A63B22/02, A63B71/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2220/30, A63B2220/833, A63B2220/18, A63B24/0006, A63B24/0087, A63B71/06, A63B2071/063, A63B2024/0009, A63B22/02, A63B2024/0093
European ClassificationA63B22/02, A63B71/06, A63B24/00A1, A63B24/00R
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 26, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: DREAM VISIONS, LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HABING, THEODORE G.;REEL/FRAME:018476/0100
Effective date: 20061026