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Publication numberUS20080242511 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/691,227
Publication dateOct 2, 2008
Filing dateMar 26, 2007
Priority dateMar 26, 2007
Publication number11691227, 691227, US 2008/0242511 A1, US 2008/242511 A1, US 20080242511 A1, US 20080242511A1, US 2008242511 A1, US 2008242511A1, US-A1-20080242511, US-A1-2008242511, US2008/0242511A1, US2008/242511A1, US20080242511 A1, US20080242511A1, US2008242511 A1, US2008242511A1
InventorsRaul Munoz, Steven Wain Ward, Jack B. Hough, Kevin Short, Gary E. Oglesby
Original AssigneeBrunswick Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
User interface methods and apparatus for controlling exercise apparatus
US 20080242511 A1
Abstract
User interface methods and apparatus for controlling exercise apparatus are disclosed. An example user interface includes an exercise parameter input and an indicator associated with the exercise parameter input, and a control unit to activate the indicator in response to a training routine to prompt a user of the exercise apparatus to adjust an operation of the exercise apparatus via the exercise parameter input.
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Claims(23)
1. An exercise apparatus comprising:
a user interface having an exercise parameter input and an indicator associated with the exercise parameter input; and
a control unit to activate the indicator in response to a training routine to prompt a user of the exercise apparatus to adjust an operation of the exercise apparatus via the exercise parameter input.
2. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the user interface is an activity console located in a forward central portion of the exercise apparatus.
3. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the exercise parameter input comprises at least one of an incline setting, a speed setting, or a resistance setting.
4. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the indicator comprises at least one of one or more light bulbs, one or more light emitting diodes, a cathode ray tube (CRT), or a liquid crystal display (LCD).
5. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein the control unit is to generate a display of at least one of a shape or a color for the indicator and to generate the display of the indicator on at least one of the CRT or the LCD.
6. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 5, wherein the indicator is displayed as a graphic overlay with the exercise parameter input.
7. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 6, further comprising a touch-screen for user activation of the exercise parameter input.
8. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein the control unit is to generate a display of the exercise parameter input on at least one of the CRT or the LCD.
9. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 8, wherein the CRT or the LCD includes a touch-screen.
10. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the indicator is proximate the exercise parameter input.
11. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the exercise parameter input comprises at least one of a toggle switch, a toggle lever, a trackball, or a touch-screen.
12. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 11, wherein the exercise parameter input operates via gross motor movements by the user.
13. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the exercise apparatus is at least one of a treadmill, an elliptical trainer, a climber, a stepper, a stationary bicycle, or a rower.
14. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the exercise parameter input is positioned on the user interface to be approximately aligned with a forward central portion of the exercise apparatus.
15. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the indicator comprises at least one arrow-shaped portion.
16. A method to control an exercise apparatus comprising:
automatically receiving a signal from a training routine indicative of a desired exercise parameter adjustment;
activating an indicator in response to the signal; and
determining if an exercise parameter input is activated by a user of the exercise apparatus in response to activation of the indicator.
17. A method to control an exercise apparatus as defined in claim 16, wherein the signal is associated with at least one of a change in incline, a change in speed, or a change in resistance.
18. A method to control an exercise apparatus as defined in claim 16, wherein activating the indicator comprises causing the indicator to illuminate.
19. A method to control an exercise apparatus as defined in claim 16, further comprising executing the desired exercise parameter adjustment when the exercise parameter input is activated.
20. An article of manufacture storing machine readable instructions which, when executed, cause a machine to:
automatically receive a signal from a training routine indicative of a desired exercise parameter adjustment;
activate an indicator in response to the signal; and
determine if an exercise parameter input is activated by a user of the exercise apparatus in response to activation of the indicator.
21. An article of manufacture as defined in claim 20, wherein the machine readable instructions, when executed, cause the machine to receive the signal of at least one of an incline change, a speed change, or a resistance change.
22. An article of manufacture as defined in claim 20, wherein the machine readable instructions, when executed, cause the machine to illuminate the indicator.
23. An article of manufacture as defined in claim 20, wherein the machine readable instructions, when executed, cause the machine to execute the desired exercise parameter adjustment when the exercise parameter input is activated.
Description
    FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • [0001]
    The present disclosure relates generally to exercise equipment control and, more specifically, to user interface methods and apparatus for controlling exercise apparatus.
  • BACKGROUND OF RELATED ART
  • [0002]
    Modern exercise apparatus often provides adjustable exercise parameters during use. For example, treadmills typically enable users to adjust platform speed and/or platform incline. Similarly, other exercise equipment or apparatus such as stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, climbers, steppers, etc. may enable users to adjust exercise speed, resistance, and/or stroke length during use of the apparatus. Such adjustable exercise apparatus often provides one or more predetermined pre-programmed training routines that a user may follow during a workout. Such routines automatically adjust the exercise parameters throughout the routine, such as by changing speed, changing incline (e.g., in the case of a treadmill), changing resistance, and/or various combinations thereof. The routines typically execute as a series of intervals (e.g., speed step functions) of varying intensity, execute gradual changes of speed and/or incline, and/or execute a relatively constant exercise (e.g., a single speed and/or small speed adjustments over time). Such routines may also be based on the weight, age, percent body fat, and/or target heart rate of the user, and/or such routines may be custom tailored for particular health or fitness objectives of the user.
  • [0003]
    While many users are content to follow predetermined pre-programmed training routines as provided and/or set the speed, resistance, and/or incline parameters at fixed levels throughout a workout, other users may wish to make one or more adjustments to the parameters during the workout. During the workout, many users exhibit a natural rhythm, gait, and/or body motion when using an exercise apparatus. However, a user's natural body motion typically includes an arm motion that results in the user's hands extending in a direction that is generally in-front of the user rather than down near a side of the exercise apparatus (e.g., one or more rails of a treadmill) where the parameter adjustment button(s) may be located. Additionally, some users may wish to make one or more adjustments to the exercise apparatus parameters during part of the workout, while accepting predetermined pre-programmed routine settings during other parts of the workout.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0004]
    FIG. 1A is an illustration of a treadmill incorporating an example user interface.
  • [0005]
    FIG. 1B is an illustration of the treadmill of FIG. 1A being used by a runner.
  • [0006]
    FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate example manners of displaying a prompt to a user via the example user interface of FIG. 1.
  • [0007]
    FIGS. 3-5 illustrate example manners of receiving user inputs via the example user interface of FIG. 1.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a flowchart representative of an example process that may be carried out to implement the example user interfaces shown in FIGS. 1, 2A, 2B, and 3-5.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 7 illustrates an example processor system that may be used to implement the example apparatus and methods described herein.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0010]
    The example exercise apparatus described herein include user interfaces having input mechanisms to enable users to adjust operating parameters of the exercise apparatus. The input mechanisms may include one or more switches, buttons, levers, and/or keypads to facilitate user control and/or data entry. Users may interact with the interface input mechanisms to enter a weight, an age, a target heart rate, a percent body fat, and/or select one or more pre-programmed training routines. Examples of exercise apparatus include, but are not limited to, stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, climbers, steppers, rowers, and/or treadmills. For ease of illustration and description, the example user interface methods and apparatus are described below in connection with a treadmill. However, the user interface methods and apparatus described herein may more generally apply to any type of exercise apparatus, without limitation.
  • [0011]
    Referring to FIG. 1, an example treadmill 100 is shown with a base 102 that houses a moving platform 104 on which a user may walk, jog, and/or run. The base 102 includes a pivot end 106 and an incline/decline end 108, which may be raised and/or lowered to various heights based on user settings and/or programmed training routines. For example, the moving platform 104 is deemed to be at an incline position when the relative angle formed between the pivot end 106 and the incline/decline end 108 results in an angle above a zero horizontal level. On the other hand, the moving platform 104 is deemed to be at a decline position when the relative angle formed between the pivot end 106 and the incline/decline end 108 results in an angle below the zero horizontal level. In the illustrated example, the speed of the moving platform 104 and the incline/decline end 108 are controlled by a control unit 110 having a user interface 112 and an activity zone, console, or user interface 113. The activity zone, console, or user interface 113 may include, but is not limited to, toggle switches 114 a and 114 b, buttons, levers, touch sensors, membrane switches, and trackballs. Similarly, the user interface 112 may also employ toggle switches, buttons 116, membrane switches, trackballs, and touch sensitive screens 118 a and 118 b. The example control unit 110 may also monitor a safety strap 120 that attaches to the user and/or the user's clothing, and which causes the moving platform 104 to stop if the strap 120 is pulled away or disengaged from a mounting slot 122. As described above, other types of exercise apparatus may use the example methods and apparatus described herein. For example, a stationary bicycle may include the activity console 113, which includes the toggle switches 114 a, 114 b, buttons, levers, touch sensors, membrane switches, touch sensitive screens 118 a and 118 b, and/or trackballs. In the case where the activity console 113 is used with a stationary bicycle, the activity console 113 may allow the user to adjust an exercise time, a pedaling resistance, and/or select a particular training routine.
  • [0012]
    The example treadmill 100 also includes vertical rails 124 that are mounted to the base 102 and which support the control unit 110, the user interface 112 components, and the activity console 113 (e.g., the toggle switches 114 a and 114 b, the buttons, the levers, the touch sensors, the membrane switches, the touch sensitive screen 118 b, and/or the trackballs). Additionally, the vertical rails 124 provide support for arms 126 that extend generally perpendicular from the vertical rails 124 and which are generally parallel with the base unit 102. The arms 126 allow a user to support himself/herself while walking, jogging, and/or running on the moving platform 104. However, persons having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that a user who exceeds about 4.5 miles per hour is generally considered to be running. As such, placing hands on the arms 126 becomes cumbersome and is typically not done because the user would no longer be moving his or her arms in a natural manner, thereby increasing the chances of tripping.
  • [0013]
    In the illustrated example, the treadmill 100 includes handgrip electrodes 128 to allow the user to monitor their heart rate. The user's heart rate may be displayed on a screen (e.g., a television screen, a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen, a high definition screen, etc.) of the user interface 112 and/or the activity console 113, and/or transmitted to a heart rate monitor worn by the user (e.g., a watch with heart rate functionality and/or display). As described above, to reduce the possibility of tripping and/or awkward body motions when the user exceeds about 4.5 miles per hour, the heart rate functionality is disabled. Similarly, any other user interface pads, switches, buttons, and/or toggles that are located on the arms 126, which may result in awkward body motion(s) when the user exceeds about 4.5 miles per hour may also be disabled.
  • [0014]
    To minimize the possibility of tripping and/or other accidents that may occur due to a user's arms moving in a manner inconsistent with a natural gait and body motion, the activity console or user interface 113 is positioned to be in front of a user (e.g., within an activity zone of the user) rather than at the user's side (e.g., on the arms 126 at or near the handgrip electrodes 128). In other words, for the example treadmill 100 in FIG. 1, exercise parameter input(s) are positioned on the activity console 113 to be approximately aligned with a forward central portion of the exercise equipment.
  • [0015]
    The example activity console 113 may accommodate users having various body types by telescoping and/or tilting, as needed. For example, taller users having a longer stride may consume more of the moving platform 104 when running, walking, and/or jogging. As such, a taller user may prefer that the example activity console 113 be retracted, that is, nearer the user interface 112 by telescoping along a positive x-axis 130. Additionally, the taller user may prefer that the example activity console 113 be tilted in a generally upward manner to allow a more direct view of the screen 118 b. Such tilting may occur in a direction generally perpendicular to the x-axis 130. Without limitation, the example activity console 113 may pivot, rotate, and/or tilt with respect to all three coordinate axes (i.e., the x-axis 130 and a y-axis and z-axis, both of which are orthogonal to each other and the x-axis 130). For example, the activity console 113 may be mounted to the treadmill 100 via a ball-and-socket joint to facilitate one or more pivot locations, rotation locations, and/or tilt locations.
  • [0016]
    In the illustrated example of FIG. 1A, the treadmill 100 includes an auxiliary display 132 mounted to the user interface 112. The example auxiliary display 132 may be an LCD screen, a cathode ray tube (CRT) display, a plasma display, a touch sensitive display, or similar display to facilitate viewable media for a user of the treadmill 100. For example, the auxiliary display 132 may present broadcast television media, cable and/or satellite media, music videos, movies, and/or training videos during a workout by the user. The user may interact with the user interface 112 to adjust the displayed media content by, for example, adjusting a channel selection, adjusting a volume level, and/or selecting control parameters of the example treadmill (e.g., increase/decrease speed, increase/decrease incline/decline, increase/decrease moving platform 104 hardness, etc.).
  • [0017]
    Additionally, the user may physically adjust the auxiliary display 132 in a telescoping manner along a y-axis 134, adjust the user interface 112 along the y-axis 134 via telescoping joints 135 a, and/or adjust the height of the vertical rails 124 along a general direction of the y-axis 134 via telescoping joints 135 b. Without limitation, telescoping, rotation, and/or tilting motions of the activity console 113, the user interface 112, the auxiliary display 132, and/or the vertical rails 124 may be accomplished by interaction with the toggle switches 114 a, 114 b, the buttons 116, and/or touch sensitive buttons of the example touch sensitive screens 118 a, 118 b. In the illustrated example of FIG. 1A, such tilting, telescoping, and/or rotation motions invoked by user interaction are accomplished via one or more motors within the example treadmill 100. For example, servo motors may be located within the vertical rails 124 proximate the telescoping joints 135 b to move the vertical rails 124 in a motion generally parallel to the y-axis 134.
  • [0018]
    In the illustrated example of FIG. 1A, the activity console 113 includes a media port 136 to interface with one or more media devices. For example, the media port 136 may be adapted to accept, via a headphone port 138, a pair of headphones owned and/or otherwise preferred by the user of the treadmill 100. Some users may prefer to receive various training prompts privately, and/or may prefer to listen to music with headphones that deliver superior fidelity versus external speakers (not shown) of the example treadmill 100. Additionally or alternatively, the user may use headphones with the headphone port 138 to drown-out ambient noise of the environment in which the example treadmill 100 is being used. Although the illustrated example of FIG. 1A shows the media port 136 on the example activity console 113, the media port 136 may also be located on the user interface 112, on the auxiliary display 132, in proximity to the mounting slot 122, and/or in proximity to the buttons 116.
  • [0019]
    Volume control of audio output of the example headphone port 138 may be adjusted via the user interface 112, such as, for example, via the touch screen 118 a and/or via one or more buttons 116 of the user interface 112. Without limitation, volume control may alternatively or additionally be accomplished via the activity console 113. The user may move the toggle switches 114 a, 114 b to adjust the volume of the headphone port 138 output, and/or select alternate audio output content such as, for example, alternate radio stations. Without limitation, audio output of the headphone port 138 may be controlled by the touch display 118 b of the example activity console 113.
  • [0020]
    The example media port 136 may also be adapted to receive a portable memory device at a memory port 140. The portable memory device may include, but is not limited to, a universal serial bus (USB) type memory, a compact flash (CF) memory, and/or a secure digital (SD) memory. The portable memory device may permit the user to consume personalized media while using the example treadmill 100 such as, for example, music tracks (e.g., MP3 files), video, and/or images for display on the example auxiliary display 132, the display 118 a of the user interface 112, and/or the display 118 b of the example activity console 113. Additionally, the example memory port 140 may receive the portable memory device to facilitate personalized training profiles and/or personalized settings for the example treadmill 100. For example, the user may have configuration data stored on the memory device to execute a particular training routine, display a particular scenery/background image, and/or tune to a particular radio station. The user may also store workout result information to the portable memory device such as, for example, workout elapsed time, calories burned, and/or distance. If the user pursues a workout goal such as, for example, 50 miles per week, then the example memory port 140 may allow the control unit 110 to store progress data to the portable memory device.
  • [0021]
    Without limitation, the memory port 140 may allow the user to access electronic books, educational information, training information and/or suggested workout activities. Persons having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that portable memory devices received by the example memory port 140 allows the user to skip data entry activities such as, for example, the user's weight, age, text font size on the display 118 a, 118 b, preferred workout routine, preferred radio station, preferred television program/station, and/or username and password credentials for e-mail access.
  • [0022]
    Service personnel may use the example memory port 140 to update firmware and/or run diagnostic utilities of the example treadmill 100. The portable memory device may be inserted into the memory port 140 to provide administrative credentials stored thereon that place the example treadmill 100 in a diagnostic and/or service mode. The service personnel may download system data associated with the treadmill to ascertain a general health status of the treadmill 100. For example, the example control unit 110 may cause the memory port 140 to store treadmill parameters to the portable memory device (e.g., a USB jump drive) including, but not limited to, elapsed hours of operation, belt age, and/or number of miles used by the moving platform 104.
  • [0023]
    The example media port 136 may also be adapted to receive, via a media device port 142, a portable entertainment device such as, for example, an MP3 player (e.g., an iPOD®) and/or a personal digital assistant (PDA). In the illustrated example of FIG. 1A, media from the portable media device connected to the example media device port 142 is presented to the user via speakers of the treadmill 100 in the event of audio-type media. However, in the event of video and/or image media, such media is displayed on the auxiliary display 132, the display 118 a of the user interface 112, and/or the display 118 b of the activity console 113. Additionally or alternatively, the user may plug personal headphones into the media device connected to the media port 142 to allow the user listening privacy.
  • [0024]
    Media devices connected to the example media device port 142 may be controlled by the user interface 112 (e.g., via one or more buttons 116, via the touch sensitive display 118, etc.), and/or controlled via the example activity console 113. For example, the user may move the toggle switch 114 a in a generally upward and downward motion to navigate to various stored audio tracks. Similarly, the user may move the toggle switch 114 b in a generally upward and downward motion to increase and decrease a volume level, respectively. User interface controls of portable media devices (e.g., an MP3 player) are relatively small compared to the toggle switches 114 a, 114 b of the activity console 113 and generally require fine motor skill for proper operation. As such, using such small controls of the portable media device may be particularly difficult while the user is walking, jogging, and/or running. As discussed in further detail below, the example activity console 113 facilitates user control of the treadmill 100 and/or media devices connected thereto in a manner that eliminates a need for fine motor skills while the user is walking, jogging, and/or running.
  • [0025]
    A user of the example treadmill 100 will exhibit a particular gait pattern and associated upper body movements while walking, jogging, and/or running. The upper body movements generally include arms swinging in opposing directions, where each arm swing moves forward in unison with the opposite leg. For example, as the user's left arm swings forward, the user's right arm swings backward or rearward while the user's right leg steps forward. Similarly, as the user's right arm swings forward, the user's left arm swings backward or rearward while the user's left leg steps forward. Typically, each arm swing reaches a full forward position when the opposite arm swing reaches a corresponding full rearward position. As such, when one of the user's arms is in a forward position, interaction with the example activity console 113 components, such as the example toggle switches 114 a and 114 b, is most easily accomplished. As shown in FIG. 1B, the example activity console 113 is generally located at a height equal to a user's 144 abdomen, thereby providing a biomechanical advantage to the user 144 when attempting to interact with the activity console 113. In particular, because the user's 144 hands generally converge at the abdominal area when walking, jogging, and/or running, the activity console 113 location is advantageously placed near this abdominal area.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 1B illustrates the user 144 interacting with the example activity console 113 of the treadmill 100. In particular, the user's right hand 146 is pushing down on the right toggle switch 114 b. As discussed above, movement of the toggle switch 114 b may allow the user 144 to reduce a volume level of a media device connected to the media port 136 of the activity console 113. Additionally or alternatively, movement of the toggle switch 114 a and/or 114 b may cause other treadmill parameters to change including, but not limited to, treadmill speed, treadmill incline, treadmill mode settings, and/or a treadmill platform 104 hardness. In the illustrated example of FIG. 1B, the user 144 is wearing a media device 148 communicatively connected to the media port 136 via a communication cable 150. In response to movement of the toggle switches 114 a and 114 b, the control unit 110 transmits control signals to the media device 148 via the media port 136 to adjust volume and/or select media tracks. The user 144 may control the media device 148 via the user interface 112, one or more buttons 116, and/or control the media device 148 via the touch sensitive displays 118 a and 118 b of the user interface 112 and the activity console 113, respectively.
  • [0027]
    While the illustrated example treadmill 100 of FIG. 1B includes a communication cable 150 to facilitate control commands to the example media device 148, commands may be wirelessly sent by the control unit 110. For example, the control unit 110 may include a wireless transceiver to send and/or receive control commands via radio frequency (RF) signals compliant with one or more wireless communication standards including, but not limited to, Bluetooth® and 802.11x standards.
  • [0028]
    Awkward body motions often result when accessing user interfaces of some known exercise apparatus, such as a stationary exercise bicycle, an elliptical trainer, a climber, a stepper, and/or a rower. For example, a person using an elliptical trainer typically maintains a forward facing position during their workout. As such, a greater biomechanical advantage may be maintained when user interface buttons, switches, keypads, and/or levers do not require that the forward facing user turn away to the side for such interaction.
  • [0029]
    In operation, a user may manually set the speed and/or the incline of the example treadmill 100. Returning to the illustrated example of FIG. 1A, the toggle switch 114 a controls the incline and/or decline level of the incline/decline end 108, and the toggle switch 114 b controls the speed of the moving platform 104. The toggle switch 114 a for the incline/decline and the switch 114 b for the speed are configured to facilitate control via gross motor movements, such as those that are typical of a user that is walking, jogging, and/or running. Generally speaking, gross motor movements are those that involve larger muscle groups and include a relatively lower degree of movement precision. For example, a user that moves his or her entire arm in a forward direction employs larger muscle groups to achieve such gross motor movements, but a user that attempts to sign his or her name generally employs smaller muscle groups to achieve the requisite movement precision for the signature. Persons having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that larger user interface controls, such as the example toggle switches 114 a and 114 b, allow the user to more easily adjust parameters of the treadmill 100, particularly when the user's hands are perspiring, the user is moving quickly (e.g., running), and/or when the user is exhausted and, thus less coordinated, due to a strenuous workout.
  • [0030]
    The control unit 110 may store one or more training routines in a memory and/or the control unit 110 may include an input/output (I/O) port to send/receive training routines from various sources including, but not limited to, a network connected to a computer, a computer operated by a personal trainer, a USB memory device, and/or the Internet. The I/O port may send/receive training routines and/or user information, such as user age, weight, body mass, etc., via a wired and/or wireless interface. As described above, the training routines may automatically adjust operating parameters of the treadmill 100 (and/or any other type of exercise apparatus) during the user's workout, such as increasing/decreasing speed and/or increasing/decreasing the angle of the incline/decline end 108. As the routine executes, the operating parameters automatically adjust according to predetermined settings, and/or settings based on the user's weight, age, body fat percentage, height, and/or target heart rate. For example, younger users having a relatively lower weight and a relatively higher height may experience operating speeds on the example treadmill 100 during the routine that are higher than those for older users having a relatively higher weight and a relatively lower height. Accordingly, the user does not need to interact with the activity console 113 (such as the example toggle switches 114 a and 114 b) and may simply accept the predetermined or default speed and/or incline selections of the control unit 110 based on the training routine.
  • [0031]
    On the other hand, some users may follow a training routine stored in the control unit 110 that suggests (rather than executes) one or more moving platform 104 speeds and/or incline levels. In the illustrated example of FIG. 1, the treadmill 100 includes an increase incline indicator 154, a decrease incline indicator 152, an increase speed indicator 156, and a decrease speed indicator 158. The indicators 152-158 may be implemented using one or more (filament) light bulbs having one or more colors, as one or more light emitting diodes (LEDs) having one or more colors, as a cathode ray tube (CRT), and/or as a liquid crystal display (LCD) having one or more colors. Without limitation, the LCD indicators may be monochrome and, optionally, include a backlight. However, other illumination technologies may be employed including, but not limited to, organic displays, electronic ink (E-Ink), plasma, laser, and/or projection technologies. While arrow-shaped objects are illustrated in FIG. 1 for the increase incline indicator 154, the example decrease incline indicator 152, the example increase speed indicator 156, and the example decrease speed indicator 158, the indicators 152-158 may be configured to have any other shape.
  • [0032]
    The training routine stored in the control unit 110 and/or the external memory device causes the various indicators 152-158 to illuminate based on suggested speeds and/or incline levels. In the event that the user is feeling too exhausted to walk, jog, or run at a higher suggested speed, then the user may ignore the suggestion to move the speed toggle switch 114 b in the direction of the illuminated increase speed indicator 156. Similarly, in the event that the user wants to experience a workout that is more strenuous than the training routine suggests, then the user may advance the incline and/or the speed with the incline toggle switch 114 a and/or the speed toggle switch 114 b, respectively.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 2A illustrates additional detail of the example activity console 113 of FIGS. 1A and 1B. In the illustrated example, the increase speed indicator 156 is illuminated to instruct the user that the training routine suggests the speed of the moving platform 104 should be increased. In the event that the user agrees with the training routine suggestion, the example speed toggle switch 114 b is activated (e.g., slid) by the user in a direction generally parallel to the increase speed indicator 156 arrow. However, as discussed above, if the user chooses to not follow the suggested prompt by the training routine, the user may ignore the increase speed indicator 156 and continue walking, jogging, or running at the current speed.
  • [0034]
    Similarly, FIG. 2B illustrates additional detail of the example activity console 113 of FIGS. 1A and 1B. In particular, the example activity console 113 of FIG. 2B illustrates that the decrease incline indicator 152 and the decrease speed indicator 158 are illuminated, thereby suggesting to the user that the incline toggle switch 114 a and the speed toggle switch 114 b should be moved in the downward direction generally parallel to the indicators (152, 158). Upon moving the toggle switches 114 a, 114 b in the suggested directions, the control unit 110 causes the incline/decline end 108 to decrease in relative height from the horizontal and the moving platform 104 to decrease in speed. However, the user is free to ignore both indicated suggestions, comply with both indicated suggestions, and/or comply with one of the two indicated suggestions, as desired.
  • [0035]
    Without limitation, the increase incline indicator 154, the decrease incline indicator 152, the increase speed indicator 156, and/or the decrease speed indicator 158 may illuminate as a solid or continuous light or as a blinking light. Additionally, the indicators 152-158 may be any variety of colors and/or shapes. Further, the indicators 152-158 may operate in conjunction with a sound emitted by a speaker and/or a text message displayed on a screen of the example activity console 113.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 3 illustrates another example user interface configuration that may enable a user to respond to training routine prompts of the example activity console 113. In the illustrated example activity console 113 of FIG. 3, a toggle lever 302 a enables the user to increase and/or decrease the incline of the example treadmill 100, and a toggle lever 302 b enables the user to increase and/or decrease the speed of the moving platform 104 of the example treadmill 100. Similar to the example toggle switches 114 a and 114 b, the example toggle levers 302 a and 302 b allow the user to apply gross motor movements (as opposed to requiring fine motor movements) to generate a control signal in response to prompts from the training routine executed by the control unit 110 within and/or in communication with the activity console 113. The toggle levers 302 a and 302 b may be movable in a direction generally parallel to the incline indicators 152 and 154, and a direction generally parallel to the speed indicators 156 and 158, respectively. However, the example toggle levers 302 a and 302 b may be configured to move in a direction parallel to that of the example moving platform 104. For example, the user may move the example toggle lever 302 b in a forward direction (i.e., the same direction as the moving platform 104) to cause a speed increase, and move the example toggle lever 302 b in a backward or rearward direction (i.e., a direction opposite to that of the moving platform 104) to cause a speed decrease.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 4 illustrates yet another example configuration of the activity console 113. In the illustrated example activity console 113 of FIG. 4, a trackball 402 a allows the user to increase and/or decrease the incline of the example treadmill 100, and a trackball 402 b allows the user to increase and/or decrease the speed of the moving platform 104 of the example treadmill 100. The trackballs 402 a and 402 b may be configured to move in only two directions along a single axis of rotation. Accordingly, the user may rotate the trackball 402 a, for example, in a direction generally parallel to that of the example increase incline indicator 154 to cause the incline/decline end 108 of the base 102 and/or platform 104 to increase in height (e.g., approach an alternate angle toward zero if in a decline position and/or approach an alternate angle greater than zero if in an incline position).
  • [0038]
    FIG. 5 illustrates yet another configuration of the example activity console 113. In the illustrated example activity console 113 of FIG. 5, the user is provided with a touch-screen monitor 502. The touch-screen monitor 502 allows the user to view training routine instructions, media content, and/or broadcast programming during their workout. Additionally, the example touch-screen monitor 502 shown in FIG. 5 partitions the screen 502 into four separate regions 504, 506, 508, and 510 to identify the increase incline indicator 154, the decrease incline indicator 152, the increase speed indicator 156, and the decrease speed indicator 158, respectively. In the event that the user wishes to increase and/or decrease the incline and/or the speed (e.g., in response to prompts via the indicators 154, 152, 156, and 158), the user touches the particular partition or region corresponding to the desired command. Accordingly, the partitions 504, 506, 508, and 510 serve as an increase incline input, a decrease incline input, an increase speed input, and a decrease speed input, respectively. The relatively large partitions depicted in the example of FIG. 5 are to facilitate a user's accurate selection of the desired control, particularly when the user is tired and/or moving during exercise.
  • [0039]
    In the illustrated example touch-screen monitor 502 of FIG. 5, the decrease speed indicator 158 is illuminated (i.e., shown as a crosshatched section) in response to the training routine suggestion to decrease the speed of the moving platform 104. In the event that the user touches the crosshatched region (the input partition 510), then the control unit 110 responds by reducing the speed of the moving platform 104. The example indicators 152-158 may be displayed on the touch screen monitor 502 as an image overlay. Persons having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the touch-screen LCD and/or touch-screen CRT may display such images as bitmap images generated by the control unit 110.
  • [0040]
    A flowchart representative of an example process 600 for implementing the example treadmill 100 and user interfaces of FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 3-5 is shown in FIG. 6. The example process 600 may be implemented as machine readable instructions arranged as a program for execution by a processor, a controller, or similar computing device (e.g., the processor system 700 depicted in FIG. 7). The program may be embodied in software stored on a tangible medium such as, for example, a flash memory, a CD-ROM, a floppy disk, a hard drive, a digital versatile disk (DVD), or a memory associated with the processor and/or controller, but persons of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate that the entire program and/or parts thereof could alternatively be embodied in firmware or dedicated hardware in a well-known manner (e.g., the program or example process 600 may be implemented by an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a programmable logic device (PLD), a field programmable logic device (FPLD), a programmable logic controller (PLC), a personal computer (PC), discrete logic, etc.). Also, one or more of the operations represented by the flowchart of FIG. 6 may be implemented manually. Further, although the example process 600 is described with reference to the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 6, persons of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate that many other methods of implementing the example process 600 may alternatively be used. For example, the order of execution of the blocks may be changed, and/or some of the blocks described may be changed, substituted, eliminated, or combined.
  • [0041]
    The example process 600 determines (e.g., via the control unit 110) if the user has triggered an input, such as the example incline increase/decrease, and/or the example speed increase/decrease inputs of FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 3-5 (block 602). If not, then the example control unit 110 determines if the training routine is making a suggestion for the user to increase/decrease the incline and/or to increase/decrease the speed of the moving platform 104 (block 604). If neither a user input (block 602) occurs, nor a training routine suggestion (block 604) occurs, then control is returned to block 602 to monitor for such inputs. However, if the user activates an input (block 602), then the control unit 110 responds by executing the request (block 606). For example, if the user slides the toggle switch 114 b in an upward direction, then the control unit 110 causes the moving platform 104 to increase its speed.
  • [0042]
    If the training routine includes a suggestion to increase and/or decrease the incline and/or speed (block 604), then the control unit 110 causes the activity console 113 to illuminate the corresponding prompt for the user to view (block 608). For example, if the training routine suggests that the user's speed should increase, then the control unit 110 sends a signal to the example increase speed indicator 154 to illuminate a solid or a continuous color and/or flash at a predetermined rate to attract the attention of the user. As discussed above, the example control unit 110 may invoke or activate any type of indicator including, but not limited to, the example touch-screen indicators 152-158 of FIG. 5. The example control unit 110 determines if the user responds to the training routine suggestion by monitoring the inputs (block 610). If no response is received, the control unit 110 waits for a predetermined delay time period and decreases a counter (block 612). If the counter does not equal zero (block 614), then the example process 600 returns to block 610 to monitor for a user input. However, if the counter equals zero (block 614), then it is assumed that the user is ignoring or has elected not to follow the training routine suggestion and the counter is reset (block 616) before returning control to block 602 to monitor for user input.
  • [0043]
    Returning to block 610, if the user does respond to the training routine suggestion, then the example control unit 110 responds to the user input by executing the request (block 618). The counter is then reset (block 616) before the example method 600 returns to block 602 to monitor for user input.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of an example processor system 700 that may be used to implement the control unit 110, user interface 112, and/or the activity console 113 of FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 3-5. The example processor system 700 of FIG. 7 includes a general purpose programmable processor 710. The example processor 710 of FIG. 7 executes coded instructions 715 present in a main memory (e.g., within a random access memory (RAM) 725 as illustrated and/or within a read only memory (ROM) 720). The example processor 710 may be any type of processing unit, such as a microprocessor from the AMD®, Sun® and/or Intel® families of microprocessors. The example processor 710 may execute, among other things, machine accessible instructions to perform the example process 600 of FIG. 6 to control the treadmill 100.
  • [0045]
    The example processor 710 of FIG. 7 is in communication with the example main memory (including the ROM 720 and the RAM 725) via a bus 730. The example RAM 725 of FIG. 7 may be implemented by dynamic random access memory (DRAM), Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM), and/or any other type of RAM device, and the example ROM 720 of FIG. 7 may be implemented by flash memory and/or any other desired type of memory device. Access to the example memories 720 and 725 is typically controlled by a memory controller (not shown) in a conventional manner.
  • [0046]
    To receive input signals from the example incline increase/decrease inputs (e.g., 152 and 154) and/or the example speed increase/decrease inputs 156 and 158, the example control unit 110 of FIG. 1 includes any variety of conventional interface circuitry such as, for example, an external bus interface 735. For example, the external bus interface 735 may provide one input signal path (e.g., a semiconductor package pin) for each switch of the example activity console 113. Additionally or alternatively, the external bus interface 735 may implement any variety of time multiplexed interface to receive input signals from any number of additional and/or alternate activity console 113 inputs.
  • [0047]
    To display information for viewing by a user, the example processor system 700 includes any variety of display 740, such as the example touch-screen 502 (e.g., an LCD touch-screen, a CRT touch-screen, etc.) discussed in connection with FIG. 5.
  • [0048]
    To allow the example control unit 110 to interact with the user to upload and/or modify training routines, a network interface 750 may be employed, such as, for example, a wireless LAN interface in accordance with, for instance, the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.15.4 (a.k.a. ZigBee) etc. standards. The example processor 710 of FIG. 7 uses the example network interface 750 to obtain, edit, and/or delete training routines for an identified user.
  • [0049]
    To allow the example control unit 110 to generate sounds, the example processor system 700 includes any variety of speaker 755. The example processor 710 of FIG. 7 can cause any variety of sounds such as, for example, a prompt alarm bell to be produced by the example speaker 755 of FIG. 7 while a user is exercising.
  • [0050]
    Although an example control unit 110 has been described as being implemented using the example processor system 700 of FIG. 7, the control unit 110 may be implemented using any of a variety of other and/or additional devices, components, circuits, modules, etc. Further, the devices, components, circuits, modules, elements, etc. illustrated in FIG. 7 may be combined, re-arranged, eliminated and/or implemented in any of a variety of ways.
  • [0051]
    Accordingly, while the above specification described example apparatus, methods, and articles of manufacture, persons of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate that the examples are not the only way to implement such apparatus, methods, and articles of manufacture. Therefore, although certain example apparatus, methods, and articles of manufacture have been described herein, the scope of coverage of this patent is not limited thereto. On the contrary, this patent covers all apparatus, methods, and articles of manufacture fairly falling within the scope of the appended claims either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/5
International ClassificationA63B21/005
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2230/00, A63B22/02, A63B2071/065, A63B2225/50, A63B2230/062, A63B2071/0694, A63B2071/0658, A63B2230/065, A63B2230/01, A63B2225/15, A63B22/0023, A63B24/00, A63B22/0242, A63B71/0619
European ClassificationA63B22/02, A63B24/00, A63B71/06D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 10, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: BRUNSWICK CORPORATION, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MUNOZ, RAUL;WARD, STEVEN WAIN;HOUGH, JACK B.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019175/0608;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070323 TO 20070326