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Publication numberWO2010120822 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/US2010/030942
Publication date21 Oct 2010
Filing date13 Apr 2010
Priority date7 Sep 2005
Also published asUS20100197462
Publication numberPCT/2010/30942, PCT/US/10/030942, PCT/US/10/30942, PCT/US/2010/030942, PCT/US/2010/30942, PCT/US10/030942, PCT/US10/30942, PCT/US10030942, PCT/US1030942, PCT/US2010/030942, PCT/US2010/30942, PCT/US2010030942, PCT/US201030942, WO 2010/120822 A1, WO 2010120822 A1, WO 2010120822A1, WO-A1-2010120822, WO2010/120822A1, WO2010120822 A1, WO2010120822A1
InventorsRobert A. Piane, Jr.
ApplicantBvp Holding, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
3-d, interactive exercise analysis, gaming, and physical therapy system
WO 2010120822 A1
Abstract
A system is disclosed for monitoring, recording and analysis of exercise in an exercise machine with a device, such as a handle, that enables a user to push or pull against a resistance. A sensor or "load cell" mounted on the machine produces an electronic signal representing the instantaneous force applied by the user, and an electronic computer or the like, is coupled to receive the electronic signal, for storing values representing the force as a function of time. In another embodiment, a system comprises a resistance member for providing resistance to movement by a user, a sensing device coupled to the resistance member, a force sensor, and a CPU. The sensing device generates a first signal representing the position of the resistance member, and the force sensor generates a second signal representing the force applied to the resistance member by the user. The CPU processes the first and second signals to generate useful images, displays, and audio signals.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
C L A I M SWhat is claimed is:
1. An exercise system comprising: a resistance member for providing resistance to movement by a user; a sensing device, coupled to the resistance member, for generating a first signal representing the position of the resistance member; and a force sensor, coupled to the resistance member, for generating a second signal representing the force applied to the resistance member by the user.
2. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the sensing device is multidimensional.
3. The exercise system of claim 1 , wherein the sensing device comprises at least one receiver and at least one signal generator, one of said signal generators being attached to the resistance member at the point where force is applied by the user.
4. The exercise system of claim 3, wherein the first signal represents the position, orientation, or both position and orientation of said point where force is applied.
5. The exercise system of claim 3, wherein said signal generator generates one or more signals received by one or more receivers.
6. The exercise system of claim 1 , wherein the sensing device is coupled to the resistance member by at least one of electrically, electronically, wirelessly, and mechanically.
7. The exercise system of claim 1 , wherein the second signal represents the force applied over a period of time.
8. The exercise system of claim 1 , wherein the resistance member has first and second ends, and wherein said first end is coupled to the sensing device and said second end is coupled to the force sensor.
9. The exercise system of claim 1 , wherein the force sensor comprises a transmitter to transmit the second signal.
10. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the sensing device comprises a transmitter to transmit the first signal.
11. The exercise system of claim 1 , further comprising a CPU coupled to said sensing device and said force sensor, that processes the first and second signals.
12. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU has a receiver for receiving at least one of the first signal and the second signal.
13. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU comprises a display that displays information in response to the first and second signals.
14. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine the number of times that force was applied to the resistance member.
15. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine a user' strength.
16. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine the power exerted by a user.
17. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine the total work of the user during an exercise program.
18. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the CPU generates an audio signal.
19. An exercise system comprising: a resistance member for providing resistance to movement by a user; a sensing device, coupled to the resistance member, for generating a first signal representing the position of the resistance member; a force sensor, coupled to the resistance member, for generating a second signal representing the force applied to the resistance member by the user; and a CPU that processes the first and second signals.
20. A method of recording an exercise regimen, wherein a user operates an exercise device having a resistance member for providing resistance against a force applied to it at a given point by the user, said method including the steps of:
(a) repetitively measuring the force applied to the resistance member by the user at the given point;
(b) repetitively measuring the position of the given point; and
(c) repetitively storing the measured values of force and position.
21. The method defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of displaying at least one of the measured values.
22. The method defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of calculating the energy expended by the user for a prescribed period of time based on the measured values.
23. The method defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of calculating the work done by the user for a prescribed period of time based on the measured values.
24. The method defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of calculating the energy expended by the user for a prescribed period of time based on the measured values.
25. The method defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of changing the resistance of the resistance member against the force applied by the user.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3-D, INTERACTIVE EXERCISE ANALYSIS, GAMING, AND PHYSICAL THERAPY SYSTEM

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENTS AND PATENT

APPLICATIONS

This patent application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending, commonly assigned U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/728,928, filed March 22, 2010, entitled "MEDICAL ANALYSIS AND RECORDING SYSTEM," which in turn is a continuation of commonly assigned U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 11/491,750, filed July 24, 2006, entitled "MEDICAL ANALYSIS AND RECORDING SYSTEM," now U.S. Patent No. 7,682,294, which in turn is based upon and claims priority from commonly assigned U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/714,746, filed September 7, 2005, entitled "MEDICAL ANALYSIS AND RECORDING SYSTEM," and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/749,512, filed December 12, 2005, entitled "MEDICAL ANALYSIS AND RECORDING SYSTEM," each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. This application is also based upon and claims the priority of U.S. Patent Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/212,546, filed April 13, 2009, entitled "W.E.M.: WIIMOTE EXERCISE MONITOR," and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/214,349, filed April 22, 2009, entitled "EXERCISE MACHINE FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY," each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

This present application relates to subject matter disclosed in the U.S. Patent No. 6,705,976, entitled "EXERCISE APPARATUS," U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 09/965,032, filed September 27, 2001, entitled "WEIGHT SYSTEMS FOR EXERCISE EQUIPMENT," and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 10/736,807, filed December 15, 2003, entitled "EXERCISE APPARATUS USING WEIGHTS FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAINING."

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to exercise equipment of the type having a resistance element or member attached to a device, such as a handle, that is pulled or pushed by a user against a restraining force imparted by a resistance device that is coupled to the cable's distal end. Exercise equipment of this type is well known and is disclosed, for example, in my U.S. Patents Nos. 5,102,122 and 6,705,976, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

As used herein, the term "cable" is intended to mean and include any elongate flexible member, such as a steel cable, plastic coated steel cable, stranded rope, flexible wire, or a strap or strip made of plastic, leather, or rubber. The cable has a "proximal" or near end, to which the user applies a force, and a "distal" or remote end attached to a resistance device or member or a sensor that measures force. The device attached to the proximal end of the cable that is pushed or pulled by a user may, for example, be a handle that is grasped by the user's hand, a pad that is pressed by the user's body, or a strap or belt that is tied around the user's waist and pulled by the user.

The resistance device or member is normally a weight stack, that is, a stack of weights which are mounted to slide vertically on one or more guide rails. The distal end of the cable is coupled to a device that may be connected to one or more weights to allow the user to select the number of weights to be lifted when pulling or pushing the handle. The resistance force applied by the weights is substantially constant, independent of the height that the weights are lifted, but their substantial inertia applies a strong acceleration-dependent tensile force to the cable. Other types of resistance devices, which may be used alone or in combination with a weight stack, are disclosed in my co-pending U.S. Patent Applications Serial Nos. 09/965,032 and 10/736,807, referenced above. These include one or more elastic bands or springs, coupled to the distal end of the cable, to apply a distance-dependent tensile force to the cable. In addition, or in the alternative, the resistance device or member may include one or more damping devices coupled to the distal end of the cable to apply a speed-dependent tensile force to the cable.

Various systems are known for monitoring and recording the user's performance in an exercise machine. U.S. Patent No. 6,669,600 discloses a system for collecting work and power performance data on any type of exercise equipment. This system remotely senses movements of the limb of a person's body, such as an arm or leg, and records them with a time stamp. Movements of the limb are detected by a magnetic sensor, attached to the exercise equipment, which senses motions of a small magnet on the limb. The sensor signals are digitized and supplied to a computer for analysis. If a weight stack machine is used, the weight and distance of travel must be entered separately into the computer, e.g., by a keyboard.

Several devices are known which can automatically determine the number of weights selected in an exercise machine having a weight stack. These are disclosed, for example, in U.S. Patents Nos. 5,785,632 and 6,358,188 and in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0211916. These systems are equipped with special purpose devices, such as a bar code reader or the like, which determines the number of weights which have been selected.

U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0069108 discloses a monitoring system for a weight stack-type exercise machine which counts the number of times that weights are lifted within a prescribed period of time. The number of weights lifted can be entered into the device by means of a keypad.

U.S. Patent No. 5,800,310 discloses a machine for measuring the force exerted by the user's muscles and displaying the strength of the muscles at different positions of the user's body part. To measure the static strength of a user's lumbar muscles, the machine utilizes a strain gauge connected between a movement arm and the frame of the machine. Forces applied to the strain gauge are converted into an electric signal which is digitized and stored in a digital computer.

While this exercise equipment does utilize a cable coupled at its distal end to a weight stack, it is designed for very small movements which can be measured by the compression applied to the strain gauge.

None of the exercise machines disclosed in this prior art provide means for monitoring and recording the tension in a cable that is provided by the resistance device coupled to the distal end of the cable.

Manufacturing companies the world over either make fixed-plane or multidirectional, movement-based resistance training and physical therapy systems. They use cable and pulley-based devices, or fixed-plane resistance delivery devices, or simple frames that hold bars and weight plates or which allow for the attachment of elastic bands to provide a wide variety of means for strength training. Various forms of resistance are also used to provide load such as weight plates, selectorized weight stacks, resistance bands, hydraulic methods, springs, chords and many methods. Wide varieties of grips, straps, handles bars and accessories can be attached to the various types of resistance devices to allow all varieties of users to strength train and exercise for whatever the fitness need. They also make interactive screens with moving figures which can show the user's body position and spatial orientation, repetition counts of movements, acceleration, speed, pitch, yaw, roll, length of movement, as well as time, 3-D orientation and such measurements as those provided by sensors for spacial orientation of the user working in combination with interactive handles or controllers such as the Wii Remote™ (or Wiimote) unit (Nintendo, RVL-CNT 01) or the Sony PLAYSTATIONŽ MOVE system, which allows the user's limbs and various attachments to be simulated in real time and space and interact with other players or objects, obstacles, environments, or goals provided via game programs which are displayed and tracked on a monitor such as a television, a computer screen, or a virtual reality visor. There are even platforms on which a user can stand which can display the user's weight, balance, and/or foot placement, calculate the amount of lean, and track and measure cardio output and/or pressure and jumping forces. Nintendo makes such a platform as a balance board in its Wii Fit™ systems. These can be used to track a variety of results and measurements which can then be used for therapeutic training and assessment, as well as for interactive games which can be played for fun and/or exercise.

Most interactive programs are for coordination, balance, aerobic training, movement training, improving reflexes, and/or hand-eye coordination or just plain fun. The programs created for such systems often allow the user to interactively challenge an opponent or the program's characters, obstacles, environments, or goals in progressively competitive events. During the sessions progress is shown, measured, and tracked and results are compared with the user's past results, an opponent's results, or a particular goal. Today's technology allows for integration with other players, with the program's artificial computerized challengers, or with a therapist who may work interactively with the patient directly or create a set of particular goals and parameters for the user's therapy. Audio feedback and/or visual feedback is also available today which can provide direction cues, instruction, or limiting cues or be just for fun. Head sets allow for real time live team play with verbal communication between multiple users linked by the internet that may be all using the same program and system. Real time results as well as statistics of the user's accomplishments, optionally as well as the competitors', are displayed during use on a monitor or on multiple monitors, and are stored in a CPU for current and future use. These results and statistics can also be sent via Internet to any other integrated system using the same technology for on-line, live game play and interaction, such as with the Wii Gaming and Wii Sports systems or the X- Box 360 games.

Newer systems today do not need the Wiimote controller. Such systems use a tracking means built into the CPU or monitor, which sends out sound or radio waves (or other sensory means) which track the accessory the user may use or key points on the user's body. The Sony PLAYSTATION MOVE system has an Eye camera looking for visual movement as in one or more Advanced Motion Sensors are manipulated by a user. The various data generated is used to manipulate, direct, and control images on the monitor, which interact with other players or objects, obstacles, environments, or goals provided by the particular program the same way as the Wii systems do.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A principal object of the present invention, therefore, is to provide a system for monitoring, recording, and analysis of exercise in an exercise machine of the type which has a handle, foot pedal, pressure plate, or bar connected to a resistance element or member that enables a user to push or pull against the resistance.

This object, as well as further objects which will become apparent from the discussion that follows, are achieved, in accordance with the present invention, by providing a force sensor such as a "load cell" mounted on the frame structure of the machine, for producing an electronic signal representing the instantaneous force in the resistance member, and an electronic computer or the like, coupled to receive the electronic signal, for storing values representing the force as a function of distance and/or time and/or number of repetitions.

According to the invention, other sensors may also be mounted on the frame structure of the exercise machine for simultaneously monitoring other aspects of the user's performance during the exercise. In particular, a second sensor is preferably mounted on the frame structure to produce a second electronic signal representing the instantaneous longitudinal position of the resistance member. Alternatively, or in addition, a third sensor is preferably mounted on the same structure for producing a third electronic signal representing the instantaneous speed of the resistance member. Alternatively or in addition, a fourth sensor is preferably mounted on the same structure for producing a fourth electronic signal representing the instantaneous direction of egress of the resistance member from the frame structure at the point where the resistance member exits the machine.

Outputs from the second, third and/or fourth sensor are also transmitted to the electronic computer for storing their respective values as a function of distance and/or time and/or number of repetitions.

The second and third sensors which measure the position and speed of the resistance member may be combined. Once the instantaneous position of the resistance member is known as a function of distance and/or time and/or number of repetitions, the speed of the resistance member can be calculated.

The parameters which are sensed and transmitted to the computer may be processed to produce a display, to print a report, and/or to generate various audio signals. The exercise machine may be designed to provide a 1 : 1 ratio between the tensile force applied to the resistance member and the resistance applied by the resistance member. It may also be designed to provide a 1 :2 ratio between the tensile force in the resistance member and the resistance applied by the resistance member. Other ratios of tensile force to applied resistance are also possible, as is known in the art by passing the resistance member through one or more pulleys.

Another object of this invention is the integration of a means that records the force measurements of a user using a resistance member such as elastic and non- elastic bands, chords, or cables that allow for three-dimensional, multi-directional, movement-based resistance training and integrates them with the other variables and systems provided by devices, systems, and programs such as that from the Wiimote or PLAYSTATION MOVE system as described above. Also, the user's initial strength parameters, as well as isometric strength measurements, can be measured in three-dimensional space for any body position or plane of movement deemed important to the game or therapeutic session. This system allows for open and closed chain measurements of muscular strength. (Whereas most equipment used in measuring muscular strength and progress is open chain, or isolates a single joint or muscle movement, closed chain measurements are more reflective of the compound muscles that are used in real life activity and allow for measuring strength progressions of functional type training as well.)

The exercise system of the invention allows for the creation of interactive games and therapeutic programs whereby the user can gain in strength and power, as well as coordination, balance, aerobic training, movement training, improved reflexes, and/or hand-eye coordination, in a fun, measurable way. All results can be measured, recorded, and compared to norms or their own past results, a set of goals, or results of other challengers. The user's progress can be shown and analyzed, and sent to other data centers via the internet or data storage device, or printed out for therapists to show objective progress; or to other CPU's or monitors for gaming activity, competitions, fitness training, physical therapy, recording, or transfer of medical or fitness history, or simply fun play.

The exercise system of the invention will allow for a new type of fitness unit that builds muscular strength and power while providing gaming fun, therapeutic development for medical purposes, and assessment as well as measurable fitness improvement for all ages. It also reduces medical fraud by providing objective reports to the insurance industry.

In one embodiment of the invention, an exercise system comprises: a resistance member for providing resistance to movement by a user; a sensing device coupled to the resistance member, for generating a first signal representing the position of the resistance member; and a force sensor coupled to the resistance member, for generating a second signal representing the force applied to the resistance member by the user.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the sensing device is multi-dimensional.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the sensing device comprises a controller or signal generator to be held by the user or to be attached to an item held by the user.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the sensing device comprises one or more receivers and a controller or signal generator to be held by the user.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the sensing device comprises at least one receiver and at least one signal generator, one of said signal generators being attached to the resistance member at the point where force is applied by the user.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the sensing device comprises sensors attached to the user or an item held by the user and a controller or signal generator.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the first signal represents the position and orientation of said point where force is applied.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the signal generator generates one or more signals received by one or more receivers.

In another embodiment of the invention the sensing device or at least one component thereof is electrically, electronically, wirelessly, or mechanically connected or coupled to the resistance member.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the first signal represents the position, orientation, or both the position and orientation of the controller or signal generator.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the second signal corresponds to force applied over a period of time.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the resistance member has first and second ends, said first end is coupled to a multi-dimensional sensing device and said second end is coupled to the force sensor.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the controller or signal generator generates one or more signals received by one or more receivers. In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the second signal corresponds to force measured over a period of time or over a distance, or both, and/or the number of repetitions.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the force sensor comprises a transmitter to transmit the second signal wirelessly, by wire or cable, or over the Internet.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the first signal is transmitted wirelessly, by wire or cable, or over the Internet.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the system also comprises a CPU which processes the first and second signals.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU has a receiver for receiving the first signal and/or the second signal.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU comprises one or more receivers for the multi-dimensional sensing device.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU has a display that displays information corresponding to the first and second signals.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine the number of times that force was applied to the resistance member.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine a user' strength.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine the power exerted by a user. In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU analyzes the first and second signals to determine the total work of the user during an exercise program.

In another embodiment of an exercise system of the invention, the CPU generates an audio signal.

In another embodiment of the invention, an exercise system comprises: a resistance member for providing resistance to movement by a user; a sensing device coupled to the resistance member, for generating a first signal representing the position of the resistance member; a force sensor coupled to the resistance member, for generating a second signal representing the force applied to the resistance member by the user; and a CPU with a receiver for receiving the first and second signals.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method of recording an exercise regimen, wherein a user operates an exercise device having a resistance member for providing resistance against a force applied to it at a given point by the user, comprises the steps of:

(a) repetitively measuring the force applied to the resistance member by the user at the given point;

(b) repetitively measuring the position of the given point; and

(c) repetitively storing the measured values of force and position.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method 21. The method defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of displaying at least one of the measured values. In another embodiment of a method of the invention, the method further comprises the step of calculating the energy expended by the user for a prescribed period of time based on the measured values.

In another embodiment of a method of the invention, the method further comprises the step of calculating the work done by the user for a prescribed period of time based on the measured values.

In another embodiment of a method of the invention, the method further comprises the step of calculating the energy expended by the user for a prescribed period of time based on the measured values.

In another embodiment of a method of the invention, the method further comprises the step of changing the resistance of the resistance member against the force applied by the user.

In another embodiment of the invention, limiters can be set to keep a user within certain parameters. A limiter can cause or provoke, for example, an audio sound or signal, a verbal cue, or a visual cue on a monitor that lights up a certain color or brightness, when a user is within and/or goes out of the correct, load, speed, position, range of motion or other factors that need control. Or, the limiter generate a visual tracking cue for the user to follow on a screen.

In particular, interactive three-dimensional strength progression-based games or physical therapy programs could work like this:

A device to measure the force (a force measurer or force measuring means, or "FMM") of a person moving against a resistance is attached to a support. The FMM can be a load cell, tension measuring unit, scale, pressure plate or other commercially available means. A person pulling or pushing on or turning a handle or other attachment attached at the proximal end of a resistance member such as a cable on a pulley leading to a means of resistance at the distal end, for example, an elastic band or a fixed cable attached to the FMM creates force to be measured. This measurement is delivered to a CPU and used as a function in a variety of formulae in conjunction with multiple other variables provided by an interactive gaming device such as the Wiimote controller used in the Wii Gaming or Wii Fit system or the Advanced Motion Sensor controller used in the PLAYSTATION MOVE system. This data can be delivered to the CPU via hard cable or wirelessly, for example, via a BLUE TOOTH™ device, or via the Internet. The Wiimote controller can be the handle itself or attached to a variety of handles or accessories at the proximal end of the resistance member, or the PLAYSTATION Advanced Motion Sensor can be held by a user or form a handle that is held by a user. The Wiimote controller interacts with sensors, programs, and one or more Space Bars integrated with or within the Wii console, or the PLAYSTATION Advanced Motion Sensor controllers interact with an Eye camera system and programs within the PLAYSTATION console, and instantaneously deliver data on the spatial orientation, repetition counts of movements, acceleration, speed, pitch, yaw, roll and length of movement, as well as time and three-dimensional orientation. By taking the force data and combining it with the speed and distance traveled and time traveled between points in three-dimensional space, the power data for every movement can also be gathered during play. One can also determine the strength of a person performing any movement as they move the handle/Wiimote/Advanced Motion Sensors against a resistance.

New fitness-based games and physical therapy tools can then be developed whereby a user's strength and ability to provide a certain power output can be first assessed. Strength assessments can be made by connecting the resistance member to the handle and the FMM and having the user push, pull, or turn in predetermined positions or directions. Strength (S) is measured as the amount of force (F) that a user can generate (S = F).

The power output (P) a user can deliver can be determined by moving a handle such as a Wiimote or Advanced Motion Sensor controller attached to a resistance member across a distance. The distance (d) is multiplied by the force (F), which is then divided by the time (t), according to the following formula:

P = F x d t

The program used will interpret the combined data and allow the user to interact with opponents, obstacles, an environment or goal displayed in real time on the monitor. As the person continues in the interactive play he/she inevitably gets stronger by moving larger amounts of resistance and/or more powerful by applying force at faster speeds, thereby increasing his/her strength and power output enabling them to beat ever increasing stronger and more powerful opponents, environments, obstacles, or goals. Calorie usage of the user can also be estimated and displayed by using the total amount of power displayed during the time and using it in a basic formula for estimating the number of calories burned. Other data, such as the amount of resistance, number of repetitions, etc., can also be displayed. The total work (TW) is determined by multiplying the force (F) times the distance (d) times the number of repetitions (N), as represented by the following formula:

TW = F x d x N

This is important for tracking workout programs, strength competition games, strength testing for physical therapy, and other needs.

Interactive platform units such as the Wii Fit systems with balance board designed for users to stand on which can display the user's weight, balance, foot placement, calculate the amount of lean and track and measure cardio and calorie output and jumping forces to work with data from the FMM when the resistance member or members are attached at the proximal end or ends to a belt along with a Wiimote or a similar device at the user's waist and the FMM is attached to the platform. This will allow strength and power gains of the user to be an important part of progression through the game play, or therapy program that strength trains the user's lower body in a fun way. Calorie usage or energy of the user can also be estimated and displayed by using the total amount of power and/or cardio output displayed during the time and using it in a basic formula for estimating the number of calories burned or energy used.

For a full understanding of the present invention, reference should now be made to the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise machine of the type with which the user applies a force to a handle attached to the proximal end of a cable. The tensile force in the cable is monitored by an electronic sensor or load cell.

Fig. 2 is an isometric perspective view of another type of exercise machine which is more fully disclosed in my U.S. Patent No. 6,705,976.

Fig. 3 is a cutaway side view of the exercise machine of Fig. 2.

Fig. 4 is a cutaway rear view of the exercise machine of Fig. 2.

Fig. 5 is a cutaway rear view of an exercise machine, similar to that of Fig. 4, with a 2: 1 ratio of the resistance applied to the cable and the tensile force in the cable. Fig. 6 is a perspective view, partially in phantom, showing still another type of exercise machine according to the present invention.

Fig. 7 is a block diagram illustrating the electronic system used with the present invention.

Fig. 8 is a block diagram showing how a plurality of exercise machines may be monitored simultaneously.

Fig. 9 is a schematic representation of an exercise system according to the invention.

Fig. 10 is a schematic representation of a handle system useful according to the invention.

Fig. 1 IA is a oblique view of a shield that can be clipped to a handle useful according to the invention, as shown in Fig. 1 IB.

Fig. 12A is a lateral view of a sword that can be clipped to a signal generator useful according to the invention, as shown in Fig. 12B.

Fig. 13A is a lateral view of a pugil stick that can be clipped to one or two signal generators, as shown in Fig. 13B.

Figs. 14A and 14B are top and oblique views of a belt that can have one or more signal generators attached thereto.

Fig. 15 is a schematic representation of a work measurer useful according to the invention.

Figs. 16A and 16B represents a support frame useful according to the invention. Figs. 17 to 19 are each a representation of a stand-alone support structure.

Figs. 20 to 22 are each a representation of a monitor display that can be generated according to the invention.

Fig. 23 represents an embodiment of the invention where an interactive platform is integrated with a work measurer and a multi-dimensional sensing device.

Fig. 24 is a representation of a kayak simulator according to the invention.

Fig. 25 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 26 is a representation of a force measurer with a Sony PLAYSTATION MOVE system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to Figs. 1-26 of the drawings. Identical elements in the various figures are designated with the same reference numerals.

The exercise monitoring and recording system according to the present invention is designed to attach to most, if not all, existing cable-based resistance exercise equipment to record the progress of a user's performance in exercising over time. Such a record is useful in the fields of sports performance for training and assessment as well as for medical rehabilitation. This system is particularly adapted for use with the exercise equipment which is shown and described in U.S. Patents Nos. 5,102,122 and 6,705,976, both of which have been incorporated herein by reference. The system according to the present invention has at least one electronic force sensor such as a "load cell" for monitoring the amount of resistance and/or the force in a resistance member. The system also includes an analog to digital converter, to convert the output of the sensor into digital signals, and a computer comprising a microprocessor, memory, display and printer and the firmware and software to run the system (using Windows XPPro, for example), all bundled together. The information obtained by the system is paired with the user's personal data for storing and tracking the results of exercise.

The software is preferably "user friendly" so that it can be shared with other known software designed to record such things as an athlete's total performance history or a patient's medical history, as well as to be used for insurance billing purposes.

In addition to the force sensor, an encoder is arranged adjacent to the resistance member, or coupled to a pulley, to produce a real-time readout of the instantaneous position of the resistance member. From this data it is possible to calculate the distance and speed that the resistance member is pulled by the user in opposition to the resistance.

The force sensor that determines the force in the resistance member can be positioned at a number of different locations. In particular, the force sensor can be connected between the distal end of the resistance member and its point of connection to the frame of the exercise equipment. Alternatively, the force sensor may be mounted beneath the weight stack of an exercise machine which uses weights as a resistance device, to measure the remaining weight after the upper weights in the weight stack have been lifted. A simple subtraction therefore produces the force of the resistance. Alternatively, the force sensor may be mounted in the bracket which holds a pulley to the frame of the exercise equipment.

The various arrangements for measuring the force will be described below in connection with Figs. 1-6 of the drawings.

The present invention is intended to monitor and record a user's performance in a cable-based exercise machine. Such exercise equipment can be designed to interface with the human body in an almost infinite number of ways. The monitoring and recording system according to the invention will allow for cable- based exercise equipment to be monitored for an almost infinite variety of exercises.

In addition to monitoring the cable tension, cable speed, and distance of travel that the cable is pulled by the user in opposition to the resistance, additional sensors can be added that track the angle of the cable travel in three-dimensional space relative to fixed points on the user as well as the egress point from the exercise machine. This data can then be utilized for a more complete assessment of user performance.

As explained above, the resistance member can be a weight stack, one or more elastic bands (springs), one or more hydraulic or pneumatic damping devices, or any combination of these.

As an example, Fig. 1 shows an exercise machine 10 comprising a frame structure 11 and a cable 12. The cable is connected at its distal end to a weight stack 13 comprising a plurality of weights which can slide vertically on guide rods 15 and 15'. The resistance provided by the weight stack may be adjusted by selecting the number of weights lifted by the cable. The opposite, proximal end of the cable is connected to a handle 14 which allows the cable to be pulled or pushed by a user in any desired direction away from the frame structure. The user may stand or may be in a prone or sitting position with the aid of the cushion devices 16 and 17.

In addition to the weight stack 13, the resistance device may include one or more elastic bands 18 and 18' which are stretched between the top of the first (highest) weight in the weight stack and the base of the frame structure 11. Whereas the weights in the weight stack apply a constant and an acceleration- dependent tensile force to the cable, the elastic bands apply a distance-dependent tensile force to the cable. Like the weights in the weight stack, elastic bands 18 and 18' are designed to be added or removed to adjust the tensile force applied to the cable.

According to the invention, the tensile force in the cable is measured by a load cell 20 disposed at the top of the frame structure. This load cell is connected between the frame structure 11 and a bracket 21 which supports a pulley 21' for the cable 12.

A second sensor or encoder 22 is provided on a bracket 23 to monitor the angular position of the cable 12 at the point of egress of a pulley 23' from the exercise machine.

Electronic signals from the load cell 20 and the encoder 22 are passed to a respective analog to digital (A/D) converter. Outputs from the converter are supplied to a conventional laptop or desktop computer for recording and processing.

Figs. 2 to 4 illustrate a multi-cable exercise machine of the type disclosed in my U.S. Patent No. 6,705,976. This machine 30 includes a plurality of cables 39 which emerge from different exit points around an arc 32 of a circle. Each cable exit point is defined by a pair of pulleys 31 between which one of the cables 39 passes. The proximal end 40 of each cable is attachable to one of any number of handles 41, 42, and 43, respectively.

The cabling of the exercise machine 30, which is described in greater detail in the aforementioned U.S. Patent No. 6,705,976, passes around various pulleys 34, 34.1, 34.2, 34.3 to a device 48 which applies a small restoring force to each cable. As one of the cables is pulled, the device 48 is lifted on a guide rail 50, causing still another cable 39' to draw upward one or more weights 53.1 of a weight stack 53.

According to the invention, two load cells 56a and 56b are mounted beneath the weight stack and the base of the frame to measure the downward force applied by the remaining weights that are not lifted when one or more of the cables 39 are drawn away from the machine by a user. The actual tensile force applied to the cable is determined by subtracting the force applied to the load sensors 56a and 56b from the total applied weight after the top weight or weights on the weight stack are lifted.

If desired, elastic bands 54 and 54' may be attached between the top plate 50 on the weight stack and the frame of the machine. In this case, individual load cells 45 may be provided at the points of attachment of the pulleys 34 (Fig. 3) to measure the actual tensile force in real time. According to the invention, further sensors 35 may also be provided at the points of egress of the cables 39 to sense the direction, in three-dimensional space, that each respective cable is pulled by a user.

Fig. 5 illustrates a variation of the exercise machine of Fig. 4 in which the cable 39 is passed around a pulley 60 and connected to the upper part of the frame structure through a load cell 59. As with the previous embodiments, the load cell measures the instantaneous tensile force in the cable. However, in this case, the tensile force is reduced by a factor of 2 from the selected weights 53.1 in the weight stack 53 plus the force applied by elastic bands 54.

In the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 4, the instantaneous position of the cable 39 is monitored by an encoder 58.

In the embodiment of Fig. 5, the encoder 58 is associated with a separate pulley 62.

Fig. 6 illustrates still another type of cable-based exercise machine 63. This machine is similar in structure and operation to the machine 30 shown and described in connection with Figs. 2-4; however, it operates with a single cable 68 rather than multiple cables as in this prior embodiment. The exit point of the cable from the frame structure of the machine can be adjusted to a selected point along the arc 64 by means of a trolley or slide 66. A sensor (not shown) is provided to produce a signal representing the selected position of the slide or trolley 66, and thus the position of the point of egress of the cable 68 from the machine.

The single cable 68 of the machine 63 has a proximal end 67 that passes through a pair of pulleys 62. The pulley pair 62 is mounted on the movable trolley 66 that can be repositioned along a track 64 and 64.1 attached to the frame structure.

From the handle 76, the cable 68 passes through the pulley pair 62, and is directed through a set of pulleys 70 after which it ultimately extends downward to a plate 69 that travels vertically in a guideway.

Since the distance between the pulley pair 62 and the first pair of pulleys 70 will vary as the trolley 66 is repositioned along the track 64, a cable takeup mechanism, is provided, comprising a pulley 72.1 which is moveable along a bar 73.1. As the trolley 66 is moved, a lever 74 is rotated about a pivot connection to pull the end of a flexible sheath cable. When the lever 74 is moved, the pulley 72.1 travels in a substantially vertical direction up or down in dependence upon the distance the trolley 66 is moved along the arced curve. Once the new position is found for the moveable trolley 66, the lever 74 is moved back causing a pin to slide into a corresponding hole in the vertical rod 73.1, holding the pulley 72.1 in place.

The source of resistance in this embodiment is considerably simpler than that of the embodiment described above. In this embodiment the distal end of the cable 68 is attached to a plate 69 which is constrained to move vertically by vertical tracks 81 , 82, 83, 84 arranged in each corner. This plate 69 serves as a force transfer device for the resistance.

Extending outward from this plate 69 is a rod of suitable size and diameter to hold one or more disk shaped weights 80. As in the case of the previous embodiment, one or more tension springs 82 or dampers 84 may be connected between the rod and a frame member 77 which protrudes outward from the bottom of the exercise equipment.

According to the invention, a load sensor 79 is provided on the bracket which holds the take-up pulley 72.1 to sense the tensile force applied to the cable 68.

Fig. 7 illustrates the electronic system employed with the present invention to monitor, record, analyze and display the outputs from the various sensors on the exercise equipment. As may be seen, the outputs from the sensors on the exercise equipment 100 are passed through A/D converters and a computer interface 102 and from there to a dedicated desktop computer 104 which may, for example, be positioned near the exercise equipment. The computer stores and accumulates the data as the exercise equipment is utilized, storing the data in a separate file for each successive user of the equipment. The identity of the user can be entered into the computer via a keyboard, by scanning a magnetic or optical stripe on the user's ID card, or by any other means known in the art. The computer can be internally networked with a main server 106 either wirelessly, as shown, or via a cable network, as desired, or it can be networked via the Internet to other main servers or CPUs using similar software and/or systems.

Fig. 8 shows an alternative embodiment wherein one of the computers 108 used to collect data from the exercise equipment 100 is used as a "master" to collect data from all the other computers 110 which operate as "slave stations". Again, the connection between computers may operate wirelessly, via LAN cables, or via the Internet.

The computers 104, 106, 108, and 110 shown in Figs. 7 and 8 thus provide electronic means, coupled to receive the electronic signals form the various sensors, for storing values representing the tensile forces and positions of the cable(s) as a function of time.

With regard to Figure 9, a multi-dimensional controller or signal generator 150 is removably coupled at attachment point 152 to a resistance member 154, which in turn is removably coupled at attachment point 156 to a force measuring means or force measurer 158. Force measurer 158 has a power source 160 and optionally a wireless transmitter 162, such as a BLUE TOOTH transmitter.

The system shown in Fig. 9 also comprises a CPU 164, which has a monitor or display 168, an internal or external wireless receiver 170, and optionally one or more speakers 174 and a printer 176 (wired or wireless). Signal generator 150 generates one or more signals that are received at one or more receivers/processors 180, which may be incorporated into CPU 164 or send a signal or signals to CPU 164. The signals received by CPU 164 from one or more receivers/processors 180 indicate the position of signal generator 150 in from 3 to 5 dimensions, including pitch and yaw. A multi-dimensional signal generator sensor 150 can comprise any electronic device that is capable of multi-dimensional sensing and transmittal of a signal. One commercially available device is the Wii Remote controller, available from Nintendo, Inc., in which case a Wii console would receive signals from the Wii Remote controller. Sensor/processor or sensors/processors 180 would comprise a Wii console, optionally with one or more Space Bars that emit and/or receive infrared signals.

Resistance member 154 can be any elastic or non-elastic cord or cable that opposes movement of a user (not shown). Movement of the user causes a force to be exerted through attachment point 156 which is then measured with regard to intensity, time, and duration by force measurer 156. It is within the scope of the invention that the resistance of the resistance member can be adjusted, for example, by adding or removing weights or elastic bands.

The signal generated by force measurer 158 can be transmitted wirelessly through transmitter 162 to CPU 164.

A proprietary software program 184 can be inserted into CPU 164, which will in turn process the signals from a multi-dimensional system, for example, signal generator 150 plus sensor/processor 180, and force measurer 158 to provide images on display 168. An optional visor 186 is in wired or wireless communication with CPU 164. Visor 186 has a screen 188 for displaying to the user some or all of the information or images that could be displayed on display 168.

The audio signal sent by wire, wirelessly, or over the Internet to speakers 174 can reflect sounds characteristic of a game or exercise or the sounds can reflect information, such as the level of force, speed, power, or location, or a combination of two or more. For example a stronger impact of a simulated blow may carry a louder sound; or the stronger a person is the character or its movements may have a deeper sound as it proceeds in its progress; or an increase or decrease in force applied can be reflected in comparable increases or decreases in volume or pitch. The audio can correspond to changes in force and the various results that can be obtained when the forces are integrated with the other signals as are outlined in the spirit of this invention. Such sounds would be especially helpful to the hearing impaired

In Fig. 10 a signal generator 190 is removably coupled at its first and second ends 192, 194 to straps 198. Straps 198 engage a D-shaped or circular ring 200 to form a handle 202. Ring 200 is attached to a clip 206 that is attached to or forms the proximal portion of a resistance member 208.

Handle 202 and/or signal generator 190 can accommodate various clip-on accessories, examples of which are shown in Figs. 1 IA to 14B. An offensive or defensive shield 210 is shown in Figs. 1 IA and 1 IB, where shield 210 comprises a rigid or substantially rigid material about 100 cm to about 250 cm in diameter. The "reverse" surface 214 of shield 210 has projections or other mechanical means 216 for attachment to handle 202 and/or signal generator 190. Ring 200 can be attached to clip 206 of resistance member 208. Fig. 12A is an oblique lateral view of a sword 220. Sword 220 can be removably or fixedly attached to signal generator 190, with clips, adhesive, VELCROŽ, duct tape, or the like.

Fig. 13A is a lateral view of a typical pugil stick or fighting staff 224. Signal generators 226 can be removably or fixedly attached near the respective ends of pugil stick 224, as shown in Fig. 13B, with clips, adhesive, VELCRO, duct tape, or the like.

A user could wear one or more signal generators on or in clothing or accessories to show position, etc. An example is shown in Figs. 14A and 14B where signal generators 230 are removably or fixedly attached to a belt 232.

According to the exercise system of the invention force exerted on a resistance member or device is measured, and then a commensurate signal is sent to a CPU. A representative force measurer system 238 is shown in Fig. 15, where a housing 240 comprises a force measurer 242 with a power source 244, such as a battery, and a transmitter 246. Housing 240 may have one or more flanges or plates 250 for attachment to a solid surface as well as an optional clamping attachment 252 and/or a magnetic attachment 254. In another embodiment, housing 240 may be attached to a substrate by screws, nails, duct tape, clamps, VELCRO, or the like. Force measurer 242 has an attachment point 258 for removable or fixed attachment to a resistance member (not shown here).

An application of the exercise system of the invention is shown in Figs. 16A and 16B, where a rigid frame or board 262 comprises two force measurer systems 264, wherein each housing 266 is attached to board 262. Each force measurer system 264 is coupled at attachment point 268 with a resistance member 270 that is in turn coupled at coupling point 274 to handle 276. Each handle 276 comprises a signal generator 280. The upper portion 284 of board 262 comprises shoulder harnesses 286, which are adjustably spaced apart to fit on the shoulders 288 of a user 290, as shown in Fig. 16B.

Figs. 17 and 18 represent alternate supports for the force measurer systems. In Fig. 17 a base 302 is positioned on 3 to 6 wheels 304, preferably 4, at least 2 of which have locking means 306. An upper plane surface 310 of base 302 has a swivel joint 312 with a locking means 314. Extending from joint 312 is an articulated arm 316 with segments 320 and joints 322. Each joint 322 has a locking means 324. A housing 326 of a force measurement system 328 is bolted or otherwise attached through a clamp 330 to a swivel/ball joint 332 to a distal end 334 of articulated arm 316. A force measurer 336 within force measurement system 328 is coupled to a resistance member 338 that is coupled to a handle 340 having a signal generator 342.

The embodiment of the invention set forth in Fig. 18 is similar to the embodiment of the invention in Fig. 17 with the exception that there are two articulated arms 316 with two force measuring systems 328.

The advantage of the embodiments set forth in Figs. 17 and 18 is that the force measurement systems can be positioned in three-dimensions dependent upon the height and/or position of the user and/or the particular force measurement desired.

The configuration set forth in Fig. 19 is similar to the configuration set forth in, for example, Fig. 1 with weights, elastic bands, or other resistance 350. A handle 352 with a signal generator 354 is attached at attachment point 356 to a cable 358 that extends over pulleys 360 to force measurer system 364, having a housing 366 attached to weights 350. A force measurer 368 within force measure system 364 measures the force and generates a signal. That signal may optionally include sufficient information to determine the number of repetitions of the changes of force. Similarly, signal generator 354 in handle 352 generates a signal representing position and/or orientation and/or speed.

Figures 20 to 22 represent possible display configurations that can be achieved according to the invention. In Fig. 20, a monitor 378 with a display 380 has a separate data display 382 adjacent to a front view of an image of a user 384, with a chosen accessory 386. A top view 388 and/or a side view 390 of the user can be shown as well. A user can train and improve power, strength, speed, accuracy, and the like, as they perform against prescribed goals or obstacles.

In Fig. 21 a monitor 394 has a display 396 with an image of the user 398 as well as the actual or computer-generated image of an opponent 400, each with a chosen accessory or weapon 404. Each image 398, 400 has a separate data display 406, 408, respectively. Display 396 represents an interactive game or contest pitting the user against a computer-generated opponent or another player. The winner needs, for example, more power, speed, and accuracy than the opponent.

The display in Fig. 22 represents an interactive game against computer- generated obstacles. A monitor 410 has a display 412 with an image of a user 414 positioned in a computer-generated setting 418. One or more data displays 420 are set forth on display 412, and there may be obstacles such as a log 422 to move, or a boulder 424 to move, and/or a computer-generated meteor 428 to block or avoid.

Fig. 23 represents an embodiment of the invention where a user 440 is wearing an accessory belt 442 with two signal generators 444. Each signal generator 444 is coupled with a cable 448 that is in turn coupled to a work measurer system 450 in a housing 452. User 440 is holding a dagger 454 that optionally has a signal generator 456. User 440 is standing on an interactive platform 460 with an integrated or separate step accessory 464, to simulate obstacles. Signals from work measurer system 450, signal generators 444 and 456, and platform 460 are received by at least one wireless receiver 466 coupled to CPU 468. CPU 468 has a software program 470 installed therein. CPU 468 is connected to display 472 and speaker or speakers 476.

Fig. 24 represents a kayak simulator. A user 480 grasps a kayak paddle 482 at or near two signal generators 484 that are affixed to paddle 482. Each signal generator 484 is coupled to a resistance member 486 that is in turn coupled to a work measurer system 488 having a housing 490. The housings 490 are spaced apart on a board or frame 494. A CPU 496 is attached to the surface of frame or board 494 away from user 480. CPU 496 has a display 500, a wireless receiver 502, and one or more speakers 504. The arrangement is configured so that the user's motion will mimic a kayaker's paddling motion, and the system can measure the effectiveness and power of the kayaker's stroke.

Fig. 25 is a pictoral representation of a broad aspect of the invention herein. A multi-dimensional system 516 generates a first signal 518, and a work measurer 522 generates a second signal 524. These two signals are combined in a CPU 526 to provide a signal 528 to a display 530. CPU 526 generates an audio signal 532 to speaker 536. Speaker 536 may represent one or more speakers or another audio device such as headphones, earbuds, an earpiece, or the like.

An embodiment of the invention with a Sony PLAYSTATION MOVE system is shown in Fig. 26. A user 550 carries an embodiment of the invention similar to that shown in Figs. 16A and 16B where the user's hands each hold a handle 552 comprising an Advanced Motion Sensor controller. The handles 552 are each attached to a resistance member 558 that is coupled to a force measurer 560. Force measurers 560 are attached to a board or frame 562 having shoulder straps 564.

The actions and movements of user 550 are captured by a PLAYSTATION Eye camera 576, which sends a signal to console 578, which in turn sends a signal (wirelessly, via cable, or over the Internet) to a CPU 580 with a program 582. Force measurers 560 send a signal or signals (wirelessly, via cable, or over the Internet) to CPU 580, where the signals from console 578 and force measurers 560 result in a display 584 on monitor 588. CPU 580 has one or more speakers 590. Display 584 can show an image 594 of user 550 optionally with the image 596 that is an image of another live individual or a stored or generated image.

There has thus been shown and described a novel system for monitoring, recording and reporting exercise parameters for an exercise machine which fulfills all the objects and advantages sought therefor. Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the subject invention will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification and the accompanying drawings which disclose the preferred embodiments thereof. All such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention, which is to be limited only by the claims which follow.

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Classifications
International ClassificationA63B21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/0628, A63B2071/0625, A63B2220/34, A61B5/1113, G06F19/3481, A63B2071/0636, G06F3/011, A61B5/22, A63B2024/0096, A63B24/0062, A63B2024/0068, A63B21/156, A63B2225/50, A63B21/0552, A63B2220/51, A61B2503/10, A63B2220/58, A61B2505/09, A63B2220/13, A61B5/4519, A63B21/00, A63B2220/52, A61B5/6895, A63B2225/09
European ClassificationA63B21/062, A63B21/00, A63B24/00G, A61B5/22, G06F3/01B, A61B5/11N, A63B21/15F6P
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