Reebok | Rt1000 Treadmill | (12) United States Patent (10) Patent N0.: US 7,637,847 B1

(12) United States Patent (10) Patent N0.: US 7,637,847 B1
USOO7637847B1
(12) United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
Hickman
(54)
(45) Date of Patent:
EXERCISE SYSTEM AND METHOD WITH
(56)
Us PATENT DOCUMENTS
FOREWARNING
_
3,518,985 A
Paul L. Hickman, Los Altos Hills, CA
(US)
(73) Assignee: ICON IP, Inc., Logan, UT (US)
( * ) Notice:
Dec. 29, 2009
References Cited
VIRTUAL PERSONAL TRAINER
(75) Inventor:
US 7,637,847 B1
(continued)
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
CN
or a JuSte
un er
U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
1162495 A
Icon Health and Fitness, Nordictrack C2420 (Model No. NTL
14950), 2004'
(21) App1.No.: 10/751,334
_
10/1997
(Continued)
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Subject to any diisglaimeé, the tiermdof
patent ls eXten e
7/1970 Qulnton
(Continued)
Primary ExamineriGlenn Richman
(22) F11ed3
Dee- 30: 2003
Related US. Application Data
(74) Attorney, Agent, or FirmiWorkman Nydegger
(57)
ABSTRACT
(63)
Continuation of application No. 09/690,178, ?led on
Oct. 16, 2000, now Pat. No. 6,749,537, Which is a
continuation-in-part of application No. 09/273,591,
?led on Mar, 22, 1999, now Pat, No, 6,193,631, which
is a continuation of application No. 08/766,513, ?led
on Dec_ 13, 1996’ now pat NO_ 6,059,692
(60)
Prevmenal aPPheanon NO~ 60/008503: ?led on Dec-
level of effort by an automated control of the actuator. An
14: 1995-
exemplary method embodiment for creating an exercise
experience includes providing a scripted virtual personal
_ _
(51)
_
impending change in the level of effort prior to a change in the
Int. Cl.
A633 71/00
(52)
(58)
_
An exemplary exercise system embodiment includes an exer
cise apparatus having a level of effort that is adjustable With
an actuator. The exercise apparatus preferably provides a
scripted virtual personal training experience for a user of the
exereise aP1321r211115~ The exereise apparatus Preferably
includes a loudspeaker to provide a vocal forewarning of an
~
~
~
~
_
tra1n1ng
exper1ence
for a user of an exerc1se
apparatus 1nclud
(2006-01)
ing a vocal forewarning of an impending change in a level of
US. Cl. .................................. .. 482/8; 482/ 1; 482/9
Field of Classi?cation Search ............... .. 482/149,
effort required of the user and automatically changing the
level of effort after the vocal warning
482/51, 9004902; 434/247
See application ?le for complete search history.
16 Claims, 12 Drawing Sheets
16
761x
COMPUTER
A
V
COMPUTER
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US 7,637,847 B1
Page2
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Page 6
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* cited by examiner
US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 2 0f 12
US 7,637,847 B1
FIG. 2
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US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 3 0f 12
START
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US 7,637,847 B1
WELCOME J
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126
US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 4 0f 12
US 7,637,847 B1
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RECCRD EXERCISE
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ENCOURAG EMENT
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ENCOURAGE I
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FIG. 5
US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 5 0f 12
START
US 7,637,847 B1
146
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154
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US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 6 0f 12
US 7,637,847 B1
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-172 CALORIES
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-20 REPS @ 80 LBS
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US 7,637,847 B1
US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
US 7,637,847 B1
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US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 11 0f 12
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US 7,637,847 B1
US. Patent
Dec. 29, 2009
Sheet 12 0f 12
US 7,637,847 B1
242
240
FIG. 12
US 7,637,847 B1
1
2
EXERCISE SYSTEM AND METHOD WITH
VIRTUAL PERSONAL TRAINER
FOREWARNING
raderie often found in a health club, diet center, etc., it is easier
for users, as individuals, to discontinue their exercise or diet
program.
Personal trainers have been used both at ?tness clubs and in
the home. Personal trainers are individuals who usually have
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
APPLICATION
a ?tness training background and who typically provide per
sonal training services to an individual customers. Personal
trainers can be very effective in that they provide personal
This application is a continuation of US. application Ser.
No. 09/690,178, entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS
motivation and feedback to an individual in the exercise pro
gram, and thus often foster a more effective and longer
FOR REMOTE INTERACTIVE EXERCISE AND
HEALTH EQUIPMENT, ?led on Oct. 16, 2000 now US. Pat.
lasting exercise program. The downside of personal trainers
is, particularly in the home setting, their relatively high cost.
No. 6,749,537, which is a continuation-in-part of US. appli
cation Ser. No. 09/273,591, entitled METHOD AND APPA
It is not unusual for a personal trainer to charge hundreds of
dollars per month for their services. Therefore, while these
personal trainers are very effective, they tend to be used by
only a small percentage of the population.
RATUS FOR REMOTE INTERACTIVE EXERCISE AND
HEALTH EQUIPMENT, ?led on Mar. 22, 1999, now US.
Pat. No. 6,193,631, which is a continuation ofU.S. applica
tion Ser. No. 08/766,513, entitled METHOD AND APPARA
TUS FOR REMOTE INTERACTIVE EXERCISE AND
HEALTH EQUIPMENT, ?led on Dec. 13, 1996, now US.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Pat. No. 6,059,692, which claims the bene?t ofU.S. applica
tion Ser. No. 60/008,603, entitled METHOD AND APPARA
TUS FOR REMOTE INTERACTIVE EXERCISE AND
HEALTH EQUIPMENT, ?led on Dec. 14, 1995.
20
The present invention provides an exercise and health sys
tem which is convenient, affordable, and effective. The sys
tem includes computerized exercise and/ or health equipment
(the “local system”) that can provide feedback and encour
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
25
trainer.” In addition, the system includes a remote computer
system communicating over a bi-directional data channel
agement to the user, i.e. can serve as a “virtual personal
with the exercise and health equipment. Still further, the
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to health and exercise
equipment, and more particularly to computer networked
systems including health or exercise equipment.
2. Description of the Related Art
Good health is a fundamental requirement for a happy and
long life. A multi-billion dollar health and ?tness industry has
grown to help individuals meet this requirement. For
example, there are a great many gymnasiums which provide
facilities and equipment for aerobic and musculature devel
opment, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of weight
system can include a server computer system that is in com
30
systems.
Since the exercise and health equipment can communicate
with the user, it is possible for the health equipment to provide
35
loss and diet centers and programs. The goals of these many
programs typically include weight loss and/or maintenance,
the improvement of aerobic ?tness, improved circulation,
increased strength, and body building or shaping.
40
45
a human personal trainer, as opposed to the “virtual personal
trainer” emulated by software in the local system computer.
For example, the remote system computer can be associated
with one hundred local systems (used by one or more indi
50
health equipment. Again, a large industry has arisen to pro
vide exercise and health equipment for the home. This equip
ment tends to be more of the aerobic type, e.g. stationary
personal trainer.”
a number of exercise and health locations. The remote system
computer can be considered to be the communication tool of
gymnasiums, ?tness centers, and diet centers. For one, they
tend to be fairly expensive due to the need to maintain the
a special trip to the center by individuals wishing to use their
facilities. Both the price and the inconvenience tend to dis
courage use of these centers over time, allowing the individu
als to lose incentive and drop out of their ?tness or diet
program.
A partial solution to this problem is home exercise and
incentive and motivation to the user much in the same fashion
as a human personal trainer. In addition, the health and exer
cise equipment can store data and other parameters concem
ing the exercise or other activities which can be used to
monitor the progress and to vary the exercise program or
script. In this way, the local system can serve as a “virtual
The remote system computer is preferably associated with
There are several problems encountered with the use of
facilities, pay rent and payroll, buy equipment, etc. In addi
tion, these centers tend to be inconvenient in that they require
munication with the remote computer systems to provide
bidirectional data communication with the remote computer
viduals in, for example, their homes), and can be used to
upload information from the exercise and health equipment of
a local system to be analyzed by the personal trainer at the
remote computer. The personal trainer can then call the indi
vidual user to provide additional instruction, encouragement,
and cautions, and the remote system computer can download
new exercise scripts or programs to the local system computer
55
to implement these changes.
bicycles, rowing machines, “step” machines, etc., although
The server system computer serves a number of remote
weight lifting apparatus, sometimes referred to as “resistance
trainers,” are also widely used in the home. These types of
home exercise and health equipment increasingly use sophis
ticated electronics, such as microprocessors, to monitor the
level of exercise and to provide exercise programs for the
system computers. For example, while a remote system com
puter might serve one hundred local system computers, the
server system computer might serve as one hundred remote
60
user.
Unfortunately, even well designed home exercise and
health equipment often fall into disuse over time. This is
because individuals, even in their own home, often lack the
incentive to exercise when there are other, more enjoyable,
activities available. Also, since there is typically not the cama
system computers. The server system computer can commu
nicate with other server system computers (“peer” servers), or
with a yet higher order server system computers for the con
solidation, storage, processing, and exchange of data. The
server system computer can be used to communicate with the
65
remote system computers for the uploading of data concem
ing the remote system computer and the local system com
puters that the remote system computer is in contact with, and
US 7,637,847 B1
3
4
it can also download new programs and other data and infor
mation to the remote system computers. For example, a server
systems 16. The local systems 12 are typically home-based
systems designed for the promotion of the health and ?tness
system computer or peer system computer might design a
of individual users within a family. The remote systems 14
may be home or business based, and are used as data gather
dietary program for a particular user which is then down
loaded into the remote system computer for subsequent com
ing and storage stations, as well as communication stations,
between a human personal trainer and users of local systems
munication to the individual user of a local system.
In one embodiment of the present invention, a distributed
12. As will be discussed in greater detail subsequently, the
remote system 14 is associated with a relatively large number
of local systems 12, e.g. a personal trainer with a remote
system might be in communication with 100 or more indi
vidual users of local systems 12. This is made possible, in
part, by providing a “virtual personal trainer” at each of the
local stations 12 to partially or fully replace the need for a
human personal trainer at the local station. The server systems
16 can communicate with the remote systems 14 to provide
network such as the Internet is used to couple local, remote,
and server systems together. Users at local systems can inter
act visually and even in a tactile manner with other users over
the Internet. For example, a ?rst user at a ?rst local station can
take a “virtual ride” with anotheruser at a second local station
through the Internet connection. Likewise, a remote “per
sonal trainer” can interact with a user at a local station via the
Internet communication linkage.
The systems, methods, and apparatus of the present inven
server and control functions across the entire enterprise, i.e.
over the entire system 10. As also will be discussed in greater
detail subsequently, the server system 16 is associated with a
number of remote systems 14.
tion therefore can provide an effective exercise, dietary, and
health program for a great number of individuals. The com
puterized health equipment provides incentive and encour
agement to stay in the program, due to the “virtual personal
trainer” of the local system, the human personal trainer of the
remote system, and by the various services provided by the
20
The local system 12 includes one or more health or ?tness
devices such as a stationary bicycle 18, a weight or “resis
tance trainer” 20, a scale 22, etc. Associated with a local
enterprise as a whole as supported by the server systems, peer
system 12 is a computer 24 which, in this preferred embodi
systems, etc. For example, a variety of services of products
ment, is integrated into the stationary bicycle 18. A stationary
can be offered to the users of the system to further their health
25
and ?tness goals. In addition, the camaraderie of exercising
any piece of equipment (a rowing machine, a step machine,
etc.) could house the computer 24, or the computer 24 could
with other users can be provided.
These and other advantages of the present invention will
become apparent upon the rating of the following descrip
tions and the study of the ?gures of the drawings.
be housed separately. The computer 24 can serve as a “local
30
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
35
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the local, remote, and server
system computers of the present invention;
40
ACTIVITY” step of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a ?ow diagram of the “DETECT AND RECORD
USER ACTIVITY, PROVIDE FEEDBACK” step of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a ?ow diagram of a “PROCESS LOCAL SYS
TEM ACTIVITY” step of FIG. 3;
45
FIG. 7 is a ?ow diagram of the “PROCESS REMOTE
bicycle 18 are typically attached to a rigid frame that is
FIG. 8 is a ?ow diagram of a process running on a remote
internally connected to the housing 34.
The weight trainer 20 is preferably a resistance-type
system computer of the present invention;
50
FIG. 9 is a ?ow diagram of a process running on a server
FIG. 10 is an illustration of a local system connected to
55
the Internet;
FIG. 11 is a block diagram of the local computer of the
local system of FIG. 10; and
FIG. 12 is an illustration of a “virtual ride” taking place
over the Internet with users using two separate local systems.
60
one or more remote systems 14, and one or more server
device such as an electrically actuated brake. Active resis
tance devices are advantageous in that they can provide a
force-feedback that can closely mimic real-world conditions,
i.e. the actual forces that might be felt by a user when lifting
real weights with a human “spotter” or trainer. In any event,
the amount of resistance to movement of the bar (or other
portions of a piece of exercise equipment) is preferably under
the control of the computer 24 and the script that it is running.
Particularly with active resistance devices, the control by the
local computer is important. This is because a tight feed-back
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
EMBODIMENTS
In FIG. 1, a health and ?tness system 10 in accordance with
the present invention includes one or more local systems 12,
weight trainer, such as a bench press machine, a biceps curl
machine, a squat machine, etc. Typically the use grasps a bar
connected to a cable that is attached to a resistance device.
This resistance device can be weights, or can be an active
resistance device such as a motor, or a passive resistance
system computer of the present invention;
other local systems, remote systems, and server systems via
these functions for the weight trainer 20 and the scale 22. Of
course, the weight trainer 20 and the scale 22 may include
their own computer systems for local control purposes.
The stationary bicycle 18 includes a housing 34 which, as
stated previously, preferably houses the computer 24, a crank
36 provided with a pair of pedals 38, a seat 40 supported by a
seat stem 42, handle bar 44 supported by handle bar stem 46,
legs 48, and feet 50. The various components of the stationary
ACTIVITY” step of FIG. 3;
FIGS. 8a, 8b, and 8c are three examples of data analysis
performed in the “PROCESS DATA” step 176 of FIG. 8;
28, and communicate with the remote system 14 via a tele
phone line 30 and a modem 32. However, in the present
preferred embodiment, the assumption is that the local server
26 and modem 32 are not required and that the computer 24
will serve not only to control the operation and data gathering
function of the stationary bicycle 18, but will also provide
FIG. 3 is a ?ow diagram of a process running on a local
system computer of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a ?ow diagram of the “PROCESS EXERCISE
server” for other health and ?tness devices at local system 12,
such as the weight trainer 20 and the scale 22. Alternatively, a
separate local server 26 can be used to control and/or support
various devices in local system 12 via data and control lines
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a health and ?tness system in
accordance with the present invention;
bicycle as a “base unit” is given merely by way of example, as
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loop between sensors and actuators (such as motors, sole
noids, etc.) is desirable to create realistic force feed-back.
This would be difficult to accomplish in a realistic manner
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