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(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,991,586 B2
Lapcevic (45) Date of Patent: Jan. 31,2006
6,029,045 A 2/2000 Picco et al.
6,059,692 A 5/2000 Hickman
6,122,658 A 9/2000 Chaddha
6,298,218 Bl 10/2001 Lowe et al.
6,312,363 Bl 11/2001 Watterson et al.
6,345,293 Bl 2/2002 Chaddha
6,645,124 Bl * 11/2003 Clem 482/4
6.827.669 B2 * 12/2004 Cohen et al 482/8
6.827.670 Bl * 12/2004 Stark et al 482/9
CSAFE. Communications Specification for Fitness Equipment, Jun. 10, 2002, downloaded from www.fitlinxx.com. The Fitness Advisor Network, Nautilus, Oct. 9, 2002, downloaded from www.fitnessadvisor.com. FitLinxx Online, Oct. 9, 2002, downloaded from www. fitlinxx.com.
* cited by examiner
Primary Examiner—Glenn E. Richman
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Metz Lewis LLC
A system for simultaneously capturing data from multiple sources from individuals training on exercise equipment is provided. The system utilizes a wireless means of either transferring data to a computer server for permanent storage and interactive analysis or to prompt the delivery of programming content or data from a computer server to the exercise units or attachments affixed thereto. The system also includes an interactive means of incorporating thirdparty input regarding additional characteristics about each exercise unit, entertainment system or human user that when integrated with the base line equipment data becomes highly relevant and valuable. The present invention utilizes a programmable transceiver that can receive entertainment programming and data communications from a central computer server while simultaneously receiving data from multiple devices attached to or integrated within the exercise unit.
1 Claim, 1 Drawing Sheet
DATA STORAGE AND COMMUNICATION
NETWORK FOR USE WITH EXERCISE
CROSS REFERENCE TO A RELATED 5
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/417,117 filed on Oct. 9, 2002.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION 10
The present invention is directed generally to a system of collecting, transferring and applying information gathered from exercise equipment.
DESCRIPTION OF BACKGROUND 15
There has been an ongoing initiative within the fitness equipment industry to establish standards for capturing and storing data generated by electronic components attached to, integrated within or communicating with exercise equipment. For example, with respect to cardiovascular training equipment, manufacturers have adopted a programming protocol known as C-SAFE (Appendix A) in an effort to establish an industry-wide standard. The C-SAFE protocol captures various types of data regarding the operation and utilization of the equipment as outlined in the attached Appendix A. Unfortunately, it has proven to be very impractical and expensive to transfer, compile and apply such data. In addition, in order for such equipment data to be meaningful, it must be integrated with other data including
human, operational, and logistical data and various other forms of information and programming content.
Systems currently exist that transfer exercise equipment data back to a computer storage server that then permits the data to be retrieved via the Internet or through other meth- 35 ods. For example, certain approaches connect wires from the exercise unit to a computer. Other approaches provide for a wireless transmission of the data from the exercise unit to a computer. In each case, however, the transmission means are cumbersome, unreliable or prohibitively expensive for mass 4Q scale deployment. In addition, there are no back-end integration capacities or methods that integrate the baseline equipment data into practical applications.
There are also systems attached to exercise equipment that receive wireless transmission of audio entertainment 45 that permit users to selectively listen to different entertainment options. These systems consist of a basic receiver chip that can receive transmission at different frequency levels such 900 megahertz or 2.4 gigahertz. Some companies, such as CardioTheater, have inserted programmable chips into 50 such receivers in order to have the capacity to communicate with C-SAFE compliant exercise units. Such receivers, however, typically do not have the capacity of communicating the C-SAFE data or its own data back to a central computer. In addition, certain companies, such as 55 CardioTheater, provide personal viewing entertainment screens that attach to and can communicate with C-SAFE compliant exercise units.
In addition, certain companies, such as Polar, have built into cardiovascular training equipment units a receiver chip 60 that can receive communications from a wireless heart rate strap that monitors the heart rate of an individual as he or she exercises on the unit. The user's heart rate is typically displayed on a digital monitor incorporated into the exercise unit. 65
Thus, there have been many efforts to capture and display data relating to equipment, human and entertainment infor
mation gathered while individuals exercise on electronically integrated exercise units. In addition, there have been efforts to deliver elective entertainment programming options to individuals as they exercise on cardiovascular training units. There exists a substantial need, however, to collect, transfer and apply such information for practical applications in an efficient and reliable manner.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
The present invention is directed to a system of simultaneously capturing data from multiple sources while individuals train on exercise equipment and using a wireless means of either transferring such data to a computer server for permanent storage and interactive analysis or to prompt the delivery of programming content or data from a computer server to the exercise units or attachments affixed thereto. The system also includes an interactive means of incorporating third-party input regarding additional characteristics about each exercise unit, entertainment system or human user that when integrated with the base line equipment data becomes highly relevant and valuable. The present invention utilizes a programmable transceiver that can receive entertainment programming and data communications from a central computer server while simultaneously receiving data from multiple devices attached to or integrated within the exercise unit. The transceiver can be remotely programmed to receive, store and transfer such data pursuant to a wireless communication to a central server. The present invention provides a data-matching interface pursuant to which users define the type of data they want summarized and provide additional data and/or profiles for integration with the baseline equipment data for dynamic and ongoing analysis.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
For the present invention to be clearly understood and readily practiced, the present invention will be described in conjunction with the following figures wherein:
FIG. 1 represents an embodiment of a cardiovascular exercise unit integrating the C-SAFE protocol standard;
Item 2 of FIG. 1 represents an embodiment of a programmable transceiver that is either integrated into or attached to the exercise unit through a wired connection, such as a serial port, or a wireless connection, such as RF or infrared;
Item 3 of FIG. 1 represents an embodiment of a bodymonitoring device attached to an individual during exercise that is integrated with a programmable transceiver or is directly connected to the exercise unit through a wired connection, such as a serial port, or a wireless connection, such as RF or infrared;
Item 4 of FIG. 1 represents an entertainment and data receiver unit that is embodied within a user enabling device that is either is coordinated with or uses the functionality of the programmable transceiver;
Item 5 of FIG. 1 represents an embodiment of a computer server with a programmable transceiver that is integrated with the computer server through a wired connection, such as a serial port, or a wireless connection, such as RF or infrared;
Item 6 of FIG. 1 represents entertainment or educational programming content delivered to the entertainment receiver;
Item 7 of FIG. 1 represents a computer network-operating center that is connected to the computer server via a phone line or broadband connection;
Item 8 of FIG. 1 represents user interfaces that are connected to the central network-operating center via the Internet; and
Item 9 of FIG. 1 represents reports generated from the integration of the output from the exercise unit and the user 5 input.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an electronically integrated cardiovascular exercise unit that has some form of generating and storing data such as the C-SAFE protocol, including the capacity for a user of the exercise unit to input personal identification codes. Such exercise unit is inte- 15 grated with a programmable wireless transceiver (item 2) that is capable of storing data and having two-way communications with the exercise unit (item 1) as well as other electronic devices such as wireless heart strap monitors (item 3) and entertainment receivers (item 4). The trans- 2Q ceiver (item 2) also has the capability of having two-way wireless communications with a computer server (item 5) that is integrated with a compatible wireless transceiver. The transceiver (item 2) also has the capacity to receive incoming entertainment programming (item 6) and data transmis- 2J sions from a computer server (item 5). The transceiver (item 2) is programmed in such a manner to capture, encrypt and package data in a systematic manner and conducting coordinated transmissions to other compatible devices and the computer server (item 5) such to avoid conflict with incom- 3Q ing data and entertainment signals.
The computer server (item 5) is connected via a phone line or broadband connection to a central network-operating center (item 7). The computer server (item 5) is capable of storing data together with entertainment and educational 35 audio/video programming content and initiating two-way communications with the transceiver (item 2) and programming content downloading with the entertainment receiver (item 4). The computer server (item 5) is also capable of receiving entertainment and programming content from the 40 central network-operating center (item 7) and conducting two-way communications of data with the same. The computer server (item 5) is capable of gathering, processing, coordinating and transferring incoming data from the transceiver (item 2) and the central network-operating center 45 (item 7) so as to serve as a communication and intelligence link between the two devices.
The central network-operating center (item 7) serves as a central information hub by integrating data collected and transmitted from the computer server (item 5) with inquiries 50 and data input transferred via the Internet from multiple users (item 8) utilizing coordinated pre-defined interfaces and query fields (item 9). The central network-operating center (item 7) further serves as a central communications hub by receiving and initiating the transfer of data, pro- 55 gramming content and reports to and from the computer server (item 5) and multiple users (item 8) through the pre-defined user input interfaces (item 9). This is intended to result in both the pull and push of desired data and content by and between the network operating-center (item 7) and 60 computer server (item 5) on one hand and the network operating-center (item 7) and multiple users (item 8) using the interfaces (item 9) and reports (item 10) on the other. Overall, the central network-operating center (item 7) will be able to push data and programming content through the 65 computer server (item 5) and to the transceiver (item 2) and control the functions of all devices communicating with the
transceiver (item 2) such as the exercise unit (item 1), the entertainment receiver (item 4), the human body monitors (item 3) and any other integrated devices capable of receiving commands. At the same time, the central networkoperating center (item 7) will be able to push data to the multiple users (item 8) based upon input and inquiries received via the pre-defined user input interfaces (item 9).
There are multiple users (item 8) of the overall data network. In each case, however, supplemental data is necessary to be integrated with the underlying generic or raw data (e.g., C-SAFE) to make certain outputs meaningful for specific applications such as equipment performance and utilization assessments, training regiments and protocols, customized programming content, e-commerce initiatives and other user specific applications. To facilitate this convergence of data, multiple users (item 8) will be provided multiple pre-defined user input interfaces (item 9) that permit an efficient cataloging and management of C-SAFE type data with additional data fields that are unique to the exercise unit (item 1) such as brand identity of the exercise unit (item 1.), the product category of the exercise unit (item 1) (e.g., treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, steppers, etc.) logistical factors related to the exercise unit (e.g., the row the unit is in or the relative window location), environmental factors (e.g., a humid environment), user identification data that integrates information unique to the user of the exercise unit (e.g., age, gender, training regiments, body monitoring factors) and other correlated information that users would deem useful. In essence, equipment, human and programming profiles are created and integrated with the underlying equipment data. Such supplemental data can be provided by the ultimate user of the data or by authorized third parties. The efficient convergence of all such data can facilitate valuable applications by many different users.
One set of significant users of the data networks is expected to be the manufacturers of the exercise units (item 1) to conduct remote diagnostic assessments and repairs, programming updates, product utilization research, durability assessments and other forms of data applications. For such applications to be practical and meaningful, such users will be provided a user interface (item 9) that captures and transfers to the central network-operating center (item 7) the type of information that is relevant to the manufacturer with respect to the specific exercise unit (item 1) being analyzed. The user interface (item 9) will enable the manufacturer to add various forms of supplemental information that makes the application of the baseline data generated by the exercise unit (item 1) and C-SAFE meaningful. For example, environmental factors such as humidity will have a significant impact on the operation of the exercise unit (item 1). The user interface (item 9) will permit the manufacturer or a third-party to add such environmental information and assign it to the given exercise unit (item 1). As a result, future assessments of the operation of the exercise unit (item 1) and reports (item 10) generated thereby will be meaningful and accurate. It can be understood that any type of unit specific information may be identified, indexed and assigned to any specific exercise unit (item 1) to assist in the assessment and reporting process. The network operating center (item 7) can also be programmed to send automatic notifications to manufacturers for specific exercise units (item 1) regarding possible operational problems as indicated by certain data that is captured within the unit such as an excessive use of electricity or other problem indicators. Such recommendations can be sent to the user interface (item 9) or though e-mail notifications.
Health club operators that purchase and install exercise units will find data related to the utilization and maintenance