US Patent - Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 1 of 65
EXHIBIT A
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Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 2 of 65
(12) United States Patent
(10) Patent No.:
US 7,789,800 B1
(45) Date of Patent:
Sep. 7, 2010
Watterson et al.
(54)
METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR
CONTROLLING AN EXERCISE APPARATUS
USING A USB COMPATIBLE PORTABLE
REMOTE DEVICE
(52) U.S. Cl.
482/8; 482/1; 482/9; 482/901
(58) Field of Classification Search
482/1-9,
482/900-902; 434/247
See application file for complete search history.
(75)
Inventors: Scott R. Watterson, Logan, UT (US);
William T. Dalebout, Logan, UT (US);
Darren C. Ashby, Richmond, UT (US)
(56)
(73)
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,518,985 A
3,602,502 A
Assignee: ICON IP, Inc., Logan, UT (US)
( * ) Notice:
References Cited
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
U.S.C. 154(b) by 1104 days.
(21)
Appl. No.: 11/314,133
(22)
Filed:
7/1970 Quinton
8/1971 Hampl
128/2.06
272/69
(Continued)
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
CN
1162495 A
10/1997
(Continued)
Dec. 21, 2005
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Related U.S. Application Data
(63)
Notice of Allowance and Fees Due dated Dec. 30, 2008, 8 pages, U.S.
Appl. No. 10/856,676.
Continuation of application No. 10/856,676, filed on
May 28, 2004, now Pat. No. 7,628,730, and a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/776,410, filed on
Feb. 2, 2001, now Pat. No. 6,997,852, which is a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/641,220, filed
on Aug. 18, 2000, now Pat. No. 6,458,060, and a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/641,600, filed
on Aug. 18, 2000, now Pat. No. 7,060,006, which is a
continuation-in-part of application No. 09/641,627,
filed on Aug. 18, 2000, now Pat. No. 7,116,062, which
is a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/496,
560, filed on Feb. 2, 2000, now Pat. No. 6,447,424, and
a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/349,608,
filed on Jul. 8, 1999, now Pat. No. 6,312,363, said
application No. 09/641,220 is a continuation-in-part of
application No. 09/496,560, filed on Feb. 2, 2000, now
Pat. No. 6,447,424, and a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/349,608, filed on Jul. 8, 1999, now Pat.
No. 6,312,363, said application No. 09/641,600 is a
continuation-in-part of application No. 09/496,560,
and a continuation-in-part of application No. 09/349,
608.
(51) Int. Cl.
A63B 71/00
(Continued)
Primary Examiner Glenn Richman
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm Workman Nydegger
(57)
ABSTRACT
A portable system retrieves one or more exercise programs
from a remote communication system that provides motivational content for a user exercising upon an exercise mechanism. The exercise program further includes at least one
control signal that controls one or more operating parameters
of the exercise mechanism. The portable system includes a
control device configured to retrieve the exercise program and
deliver the motivational content to the user by way of an audio
delivery device, while delivering the control signals to the
exercise mechanism. A sensor communicates with the control
device and tracks one or more measurable parameters of the
user during the user's performance of the exercise program.
Data representative of the one or more measurable parameters
can be delivered to the control device for delivery to the
remote communication system.
(2006.01)
37 Claims, 25 Drawing Sheets
SYSTEM MEMORY
14
112
---166
(ROM) 116
HAZE!
BIOS is)
PROCESSING
UNIT
110
(RAM) 121
OPERATING
SYSTEM 13
APPLICATION
PROGRAMU
124
SYSTEM BUS
\
OTHER PROGRAM
MODULES
PROGRAM
DATA 156
MONITOR
VIDEO
ADAPTER in
(144
HARD DISK
DRIVE
INTERFACE
js) 146
11ARNETIC DISK
DRIVE
INTERFACE
(148
OPTICAL
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INTERFACE
C J ( 64
SERIAL
PORT
INTERFACE
NETWORK 4
INTERFACE \
132 -i22 ,42 134-1=L1
,
138
OPERATING
APPLICATION
SYSTEM 151 PROGRAMS
B2
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OTHER PROGRAM
MODULES
142
Q7'
PROGRAM
DATA L61
1
LOCAL AREA NETWORK
-116
WIDE AREA
NETWORK
MODEM
1.11.143,5ficluli—__.262"--- _REMOTE
UTER
COMP
KEYBOARD
2
APPLICATION _2”.,
17"-2
PROGRAMS
111--
18'
-. CONNUNICATION
SYSTEM
20
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3,802,698 A
3,845,756 A
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4,358,105 A
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4,659,074 A
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4,757,495 A
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5,299,810 A
5,308,296 A
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Burian et al.
Olsson
Bisberg
Marks
Putsch
Nabinger
Searcy
Lapeyre
Sweeney, Jr.
Relyea
Wells
Melton et al.
Taitel
Durham
Pitkanen
Silverman et al.
Petrofsky
Taitel et al.
Potts
Elstein et al.
Shyu
Baxter et al.
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Decker et al.
Carlin
Voris
Lautenschlager
Redington et al.
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Sweeney, Sr. et al.
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Ehrenfield
Schminke
Bergman
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Fence!
Maxwell
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Maeyama et al.
Smithson et al.
Silverman et al.
Brown et al.
Scholder et al.
Friedebach et al.
Densmore et al.
Schumacher
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Eckstein
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5,308,300 A
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5,318,487 A
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D348,493 S
5,328,420 A
5,328,422 A
5,335,188 A
5,352,166 A
5,361,091 A
5,375,068 A
5,382,209 A
5,385,519 A
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5,387,164 A
5,403,252 A
5,407,402 A
5,410,471 A
5,410,472 A
5,433,679 A
5,435,799 A
5,451,922 A
5,462,051 A
5,462,503 A
5,462,504 A
5,466,200 A
5,474,090 A
5,484,389 A
5,489,249 A
5,512,025 A
5,527,239 A
5,535,664 A
5,538,486 A
5,546,324 A
5,547,439 A
5,572,643 A
5,577,981 A
5,584,779 A
5,590,128 A
5,591,104 A
5,598,849 A
5,600,310 A
5,605,336 A
5,619,412 A
5,619,991 A
5,626,539 A
5,645,509 A
5,645,513 A
5,655,997 A
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5,667,459 A
5,690,582 A
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5,752,897 A
5,754,765 A
5,759,199 A
5,771,354 A
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5,779,596 A
5,785,630 A
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Chino et al.
Platzker
Potash et al.
Golen et al.
Houston
Ashby
Allen
Nichols
Brisson
Chang
Hoarty et al.
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Andrus et al.
Browne
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Hapka
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D21/192
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5,810,696 A
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5,873,369 A
5,880,677 A
5,888,172 A
5,890,906 A
5,890,995 A
5,905,442 A
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5,910,070 A
5,911,132 A
5,911,687 A
5,916,063 A
5,917,405 A
5,929,748 A
5,929,782 A
5,931,763 A
5,947,869 A
5,956,509 A
5,961,561 A
5,964,701 A
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5,993,356 A
5,995,868 A
5,997,476 A
6,004,243 A
6,010,451 A
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6,022,272 A
6,033,344 A
6,042,519 A
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6,152,854 A
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Ikuta
Powers
Doyle et al.
Lamberson
Hogan et al.
Kaufman
Malinouskas et al.
Laniado et al.
Lestician
Andrus et al.
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Stark
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Ridgeway
Houston et al.
Dorfmeister et al.
Brown
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Root et al.
Modney
Sano
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Shea
Candito et al.
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Kaufman et al.
Shum et al.
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Huang
Teller et al.
Yen
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US 7,789,800 B1
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Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 9 of 65
U.S. Patent
Sep. 7, 2010
Sheet 1 of 25
US 7,789,800 B1
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U.S. Patent
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Sheet 2 of 25
US 7,789,800 B1
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Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 12 of 65
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LOGIN I REGISTRATION
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Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 27 of 65
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Sheet 19 of 25
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Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 34 of 65
US 7,789,800 B1
1
METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR
CONTROLLING AN EXERCISE APPARATUS
USING A USB COMPATIBLE PORTABLE
REMOTE DEVICE
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
APPLICATIONS
This application is a continuation application of U.S.
patent application Ser. No. 10/856,676, filed May 28, 2004,
now U.S. Pat. No. 7,628,730 entitled "Methods and Systems
for Controlling an Exercise Apparatus using a USB Compatible Portable Remote Device," which is hereby incorporated
herein by reference in its entirety and which is a continuationin-part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/776,
410, entitled "Methods and Systems for Controlling an Exercise Apparatus using a Portable Remote Device," filed on Feb.
2, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,997,852, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/776,410 is a continuation-in-part application of each of: (a) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,
220, entitled "Systems and Methods for Interaction with
Exercise Device," filed on Aug. 18, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No.
6,458,060, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference
in its entirety, (b) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,600,
entitled "Computer Systems and Methods for Interaction
with Exercise Device," filedAug. 18, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No.
7,060,006, and (c) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,
627, entitled "System for interaction with Exercise Device,"
filed Aug. 18, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,166,062. Each of
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,220, filed Aug. 18,
2000, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,600, filedAug.
18, 2000, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,627,
filed Aug. 18, 2000, is a continuation-in-part application of
each of: (1) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/496,560,
entitled "System and Method for Selective Adjustment of
Exercise Apparatus," filed on Feb. 2, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No.
6,447,424, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference
in its entirety, and of (2) U.S. patent application Ser. No.
09/349,608, entitled "Systems and Methods for Providing an
Improved Exercise Device with Motivational Programming,"
filed on Jul. 8, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,363, which is
hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
2
Furthermore, while individuals exercise at a health club
they are taught the correct techniques for exercising, thereby
reducing the possibility of being injured during an exercise
program. In addition, group settings promote a healthy sense
5 of competition among group members. Initially, such group
fitness and exercise classes typically involved aerobics, traditionally performed without the use of any ancillary exercise
equipment or devices. In recent years, however, the group
work out approach has been extended to classes that utilize
10
various exercise devices. Take, for example, the recent rise in
popularity of "Spinning Classes," in which each participant
operates his or her own stationery exercise cycle in a group
setting, with a coach or instructor leading the group through a
prescribed program or routine. Similarly, with recent
15
advances in the design of treadmills, it is possible to have
"Treadmill Classes" wherein an instructor not only leads the
group, but the instructor is also able to control the operation of
the treadmills of all of the class participants from a single
control panel.
20
One of the primary disadvantages with group training,
however, is that it is typically available only at health clubs
and, therefore, is not as convenient as exercising in the privacy and comfort of one's own home. It would, therefore, be
a definite advancement in the art of home exercise equipment
25
to provide the desirable benefits of group exercise in a home
setting. Some efforts have been made in the prior art to introduce a level of "interactivity" into exercise machines. For
example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,489,249 discloses a video exercise
30 control system in which a videocassette recorder (VCR) or
similar device is coupled, via a hard wired connection, to an
exercise machine, such as a treadmill. As an individual exercises on the treadmill, the VCR in synchronization with prerecorded audio/video presentations controls the speed and
35 incline of the treadmill. U.S. Pat. No. 5,645,509, entitled
"Remote Exercise Control System" that is incorporated
herein by reference, discloses a remote exercise control system in which an exercise machine, such as a treadmill, may
remotely communicate via a communications module with an
40 evaluation module located at a remote location. Signals
indicative of the operating parameters of the treadmill are
transmitted from the treadmill to the evaluation module, and
control signals are transmitted from the remote evaluation
module for controlling the operating parameters of the tread45 mill. U.S. Pat. No. 5,888,172 is representative of another, in
which an exercise device is coupled, via hard wired connection, to a video game device, such that the operating parameters of the exercise device are used as inputs to the video
game controller, which then produces a video display based
50 on the inputs received. However, these approaches nevertheless fail to provide many desirable benefits of group exercise.
1. The Field of the Invention
This invention relates to exercise equipment and, more
specifically, to systems and methods for providing improved
exercise devices in combination with other users and/or a live
or stored trainer via a communications network.
2. The Relevant Technology
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In an attempt to improve their health and physical conditioning, consumers are purchasing home exercise devices in 55
Exemplary implementations of the present invention prorecord quantities. One common challenge with home exercise
vide advantages over the prior art with novel systems and
equipment is motivating the purchaser to use the device on a
apparatus. Such systems and apparatus, for example, can be
consistent and ongoing basis, while providing access to expeconfigured to stimulate a group or class workout environment
rienced trainers and individually developed exercise proand synchronizing operation of the exercise devices with
grams from the comfort of a user's own home. In addition, 60 exercise programming; provide an exercise device that is
many exercise devices involve repetitive actions, which can
capable of being controlled by packetized signals received
quickly become tedious to a person exercising alone.
from a trainer; provide an exercise device that is capable of
Health clubs, on the other hand, have organized various
enabling a user to communicate with a distantly located
exercise classes and routines involving a group setting. In the
trainer; and provide an exercise device that communicates
proper setting, a group approach to exercise creates a synergy, 65 with a communication system that enables real-time commuwhereby individual members of the class derive encouragenication with a trainer or alternatively access to one or more
ment and motivation from other members of the group.
stored exercise programs.
Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 35 of 65
US 7,789,800 B1
3
4
Alternative exemplary implementations further provide
treadmill (and optionally of the user of the treadmill, e.g.,
advantages over the prior art with exercise systems that
heart rate), such as speed, inclination, etc. Upon receiving this
enables one or more users to receive real-time signals from
data, the trainer can modify the operating parameters of the
one or more trainers via a network; exercise systems that
user's treadmill such that the user achieves an exercise proenable a third party to control one or more user exercise 5 gram designed by the trainer. The trainer can also communidevices and one or more trainer exercise devices in real-time;
cate in real-time with the user without interrupting any conexercise systems that enable a user to access various exercise
trol signals that control the treadmill or other exercise device.
equipment and information from a variety of locations; sysThe user can also communicate with the trainer without
tems where one device is capable of controlling one or more
affecting any of these controls during such communication.
operating parameters of one or more other devices; and sys- 10
A variety of different options are available for achieving
tems where the various modules of the system may be incorthe desired real-time communication. According to one such
porated within a variety of devices.
option, a user can receive a broadcast from a live trainer
Further exemplary implementations provide advantages
(human being) or a stored trainer (e.g., a website, video, disk,
over the prior art with systems and apparatus that incorporate
or dynamic or interactive software program) upon activating
modules for receiving and decoding control signals embed- 15 the exercise device. As another option, the user can receive
ded in multimedia (i.e., audio and/or video) programming for
programming in response to a signal sent by the user. As yet
controlling various operating parameters of the exercise
another option, the trainer can analyze information about the
device in synchronization with the multimedia programming;
exercise device (e.g., speed) and/or user (e.g., heart rate) and
respond to control signals that are encoded in programming
control the operating parameters of the exercise device and/or
external to the exercise device and containing audio and/or 20 provide recommendations to the user through audio or video
video and that can be transmitted and received by the exercise
communication.
device; enhance exercise devices, the operation of which can
Thus, the present invention relates to an exercise device
be controlled using interchangeable, multimedia programcapable of achieving real-time communication with either: (i)
ming containing control signals that is received via the Intera live or (ii) stored trainer. The present invention also relates
net; and facilitate live, interactive communications between a 25 to an exercise system comprising: (i) one or more user
treadmill user at home and a trainer or coach in a remote
devices, such as an exercise device; (ii) one or more trainer
location, and which enables the trainer or coach to control the
devices, such as another similar exercise device connected to
operating parameters of the user's treadmill on a live, real
each other in a master/slave relationship. Optionally, in additime basis.
tion to the master and slave devices, a third party can control
The present invention, therefore, is directed to devices, 30 the master and/or slave. Examples of such third parties
systems, methods, programs, computer products, computer
include an individual located at a master control console that
readable media, and modules for controlling the operating
controls the master and/or slave, such as in the setting of a
parameters of one or more devices by one or more distantly
spinning class.
located, or optionally closely located, devices through the use
The trainer and user may be linked in direct communicaof packetized data technology. The present invention is par- 35 tion (e.g., master/slave) or indirect communication, such as
ticularly well suited to devices that utilize one or more motors
by linking both the trainer and the user to a communication
and/or other electrically driven actuators that control one or
system that controls the operating parameters of an exercise
more operating parameters of a device, such as an exercise
device used by the user and/or trainer. For example, if both the
device.
trainer and the user devices are connected to a communication
In one embodiment, the exercise device is configured to 40 system, such as a website, the website may control the user
enable a user to interact with a trainer in real-time communidevice and/or the trainer device. Alternatively, the communication and includes an exercise mechanism having a movable
cation system may track changes of the operating parameters
element for movement in performance of exercise by a user.
of the trainer device and modify the operating parameters of
One example of such an exercise device is a treadmill,
the user device based upon the changing parameters of the
although a variety of different exercise devices may be 45 trainer device.
employed. By employing real-time communication and interOptionally, a stored trainer (e.g., a website) controls a user
action with a trainer, an exerciser can interact with the trainer,
device without requiring the services of a live trainer. The
thereby achieving many of the benefits of a group exercise
present invention also enables first and second users to comsession in a home environment.
pete against each other by connecting their corresponding
The exercise device of the present invention may have a so exercise devices to a communication system, such as a webvariety of different forms. However, in one exemplary
site.
embodiment, an exercise device configured to enable a user to
The present invention also relates to programming, cominteract with a trainer in real-time communication, computer products and computer readable medium including
prises: (i) an exercise mechanism comprising a movable eleinstructions designed to facilitate the above-described sysment; (ii) one or more user interface devices, that communi- 55 tems, inventions and exercises and other systems, devices,
cates with the exercise mechanism and gathers a first realand exercises. As will be discussed in greater detail, the
time signal from the user; (iii) a communicating mechanism
present invention is not limited to any particular device,
that communicates with the interface device and enables realalthough treadmills and other exercises are employed as
time transmission of the first signal to the trainer and receives
examples to illustrate the operation and function of the
a packetized second real-time signal. The second real-time 60 present invention.
signal may comprise a variety of signals, such as control
These advantages in addition to other objects and advansignal and/or audio and visual signals. A processor, respontages of the invention will be set forth in the description which
sive to a control signal is configured to control the operating
follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or
parameters of the exercise mechanism in real-time.
may be learned by the practice of the invention. The objects
Thus, according the present invention, it is possible for a 65 and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained
user to exercise on a device, such as a treadmill, while a
by means of the instruments and combinations particularly
trainer receives data regarding the operating parameters of the
pointed out in the appended claims.
Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 36 of 65
US 7,789,800 B1
5
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
6
FIG. 21 is an alternative embodiment of an exemplary
exercise system according to the teaching of the present
invention;
In order that the manner in which the above recited and
FIG. 22 is a perspective illustration of an exemplary porother advantages and features of the invention are obtained, a
more particular description of the invention briefly described 5 table system to be used in the exercise system of FIG. 21;
FIG. 23 is a schematic representation of the portable sysabove will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments
tem of FIG. 22;
thereof that are illustrated in the appended drawings. UnderFIG. 24 is a perspective illustration of one exemplary
standing that these drawing depict only typical embodiments
embodiment of a control device; and
of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be
FIG. 25 is a perspective illustration of an alternative
limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and 10
embodiment of a control device.
explained with additional specificity and detail through the
use of the accompanying drawings in which:
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 1 is an exercise system according to the teaching of
the present invention;
The present invention is directed to devices that include
FIG. 2 is a perspective illustration of a reorienting treadmill 15
one or more motors or other electrically driven actuators used
with the tread base positioned in a first position for a user to
to control one or more operating parameters of the device.
perform exercises to be used in the exercise system of FIG. 1;
While the invention will be described in the context of a
FIG. 3 is a perspective illustration of a reorienting treadmill
motorized
treadmill, it should be understood that the invenof FIG. 2 with the tread base positioned in a second or storage
20 tion is not limited to any particular type of exercise device. To
position;
the contrary, the present invention can be readily adapted to
FIG. 4 is a partial plan view of portions of the reorienting
any motorized device or any other device that utilizes motors,
treadmill illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 with the treadmill orisolenoids, or any other electrically driven actuators to control
ented in the second or storage position and with the bottom
any operating parameter of the device, such as speed, resiscover removed, revealing some of the internal components of
25 tance, incline, time, temperature, or other similar operating
the treadmill;
parameters. The term "device" or "devices" shall refer
FIG. 5 is a partial exploded perspective view of the incline
broadly to any type of apparatus that includes one or more
mechanism incorporated into the treadmill illustrated in
stepper motors, solenoids, or other electrically driven actuaFIGS. 2 through 4;
tors or controllers. Additionally, the term "exercise devices"
FIG. 6 is a perspective illustration of a control panel of the 30 shall refer broadly to any type of device that takes the form of
reorienting treadmill of FIG. 2;
an exercise machine, including, but not limited to, treadmills,
FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary computer and associated
exercise cycles, Nordic style ski exercise devices, rowers,
system that provides a suitable operating environment for the
steppers, hikers, climbers, and elliptical or striding exercise
exercise system of FIG. 1;
devices.
FIG. 8 is a functional block diagram of a communication 35
Depicted in FIG. 1 is a representation of one illustrative
system of the exercise system of FIG. 1;
system, designated by reference numeral 10, that may incorFIG. 9 is a functional block diagram of the treadmill and
porate the novel features of the present invention, including
computer with associated translator box of FIG. 1;
various novel devices, hardware and software modules, and
the like that may be remotely accessed and controlled in a
FIG. 10 is a functional block diagram of the exercise sys4o real-time manner. As shown, one or more exercise mechatem of FIG. 1;
nisms, such as a treadmill 12a-12n is in communication with
FIG. 11 is a more detailed functional block diagram of the
one or more trainers at treadmill 20a-20n via a translator
exercise system of FIG. 10;
device 13 and a personal computer 14. The translator device
FIG. 12 is a functional block diagram of the illustrative
13 and personal computer 14 communicate with a network 16
modules of the communication module;
FIG. 13 is a flow diagram illustrative of the process of 45 that is a communication network that enables various hardware and software modules and devices to communicate one
gathering information through the login/registration module
with another. Network 16, therefore, may be a local area
of FIG. 12;
network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), wireless netFIG. 14 is a functional block diagram of illustrative modwork, packetized network, real-time network, and the like.
ules of the audio program module of FIG. 12;
so Network 16 facilitates communication of treadmill 12 with a
FIG. 15 a flow diagram illustrative of the process of selectlive trainer on treadmill 20 and/or communication system 18
ing an audio program for a particular exercise device selected
(e.g. a website). Communication system 18 assists commufrom those illustrated in FIG. 14;
nication between a user on treadmill 12 and either a live
FIG. 16 a functional block diagram of the illustrative modtrainer on treadmill 20, or some other third party 21, as will be
ules and functions of the personal training module of FIG. 12; 55 described in more detail hereinafter. Optionally, communicaFIGS. 17A-D are flow diagrams representative of the protion system 18 acts as a stored trainer or connects to a stored
cesses a user performs using the competition module of FIG.
trainer.
12;
The following discussion will be directed to only a single
FIG. 18 is a flow diagram representing the process of
treadmill 12 and a single treadmill 20, however, it may be
performing diagnostic on the treadmill of FIG. 2 from a 60 appreciated that a similar discussion may be had for multiple
distant location;
treadmills 12a-12n, 20a-20n. In addition, although only one
FIG. 19 is a flow diagram representing the actions perof each element of system 10 is depicted, it may be appreciformed by the user and communication module to create
ated by one skilled in the art that system 10 may have a
audio and video programs in accordance with the teaching of
mixture of both single and multiple elements, for example, at
the present invention;
65 least one treadmill 12, 20, translator device 13, personal comFIG. 20 is a functional block diagram of a master-slave
puter 14, network 16, and communication system 18. Altersystem according to the teaching of the present invention;
natively, one or more of the elements of system 10 may be
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eliminated or the functionality thereof incorporated within
cise device (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, etc), and the like.
the structure and function of one or more of the other elements
For example, treadmill 12 may transmit one or more signals to
of system 10.
communication system 18. The signal may include paramSimilarly, although each of the elements of system 10 are
eters such as the status of the exercise device, e.g., active
shown separated one from another, it may be appreciated by 5 status (i.e., on), deactivated status (i.e., off), standby status
one skilled in the art that the hardware and/or software ele(i.e., waiting), and the like, and/or parameters such as speed,
ments of the present invention may be incorporated within
inclination, resistance. Additionally, the signal may include
two or more elements. For example, translator device 13 and
parameters regarding the user, such as heart rate, blood prespersonal computer 14 may be incorporated within treadmill
sure, and the like. Alternatively, treadmill 12 may receive
12. Similarly, the hardware and/or software elements of the 10 programming "broadcast" by communication system 18 and/
communication system 18 may be incorporated within treador a trainer at treadmill 20, such that any treadmill with the
mill 20.
capabilities to receive the programming may access such,
As defined herein, the term "trainer" or "third party" 21
without the need to transmit one or more signals.
may include: (i) a live human being; or (ii) a stored trainer,
As mentioned above, the control signals control the opersuch as a web site, computer, optical media (e.g., compact disk 15 ating parameters of treadmill 12, such as speed, inclination,
or digital video disk), visual media, or magnetic media (e.g.,
resistance, and the like. Such control may be achieved by a
videotape, readable disk), an electronic monitoring system,
trainer at treadmill 20, a combination of a trainer at treadmill
dynamic computer readable instructions, interactive and/or
20 and communication system 18, or a third party 21 interdynamic software programs, computer readable instructions,
acting with treadmill 20 and/or communication system 18.
and other media and hardware and/or software modules and 20 Generally, the present invention allows control of a device,
components, whether or not the trainer is located at treadmill
such as an exercise device, without the need to interrupt the
20 or at some other location. In one embodiment, the third
other portions of the programming, such as the real-time
party is another trainer.
audio and/or video.
Generally, system 10 enables exercise programming with
FIGS. 2 through 5 generally depict a typical motorized,
control signals to be transmitted from a trainer at treadmill 20, 25 reorienting treadmill 12. Although the discussion herein will
or alternatively from communication system 18, to a user at
be directed to treadmill 12, it may be appreciated by one
treadmill 12. As disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No.
skilled in the art that treadmill 20 may include all or a portion
09/349,608 entitled "Systems and Methods for Providing an
of the elements, modules, and means discussed herein
Improved Exercise Device with Motivational Programming,"
Treadmill 12, in one embodiment, includes a control panel
which is incorporated herein by reference, the programming 30 22 supported on a generally upright support structure 24 and
may include motivational content and/or one or more control
a tread base 26. Upright support structure 24, in this illustrasignals that may be used to control the operating parameters
tive embodiment, includes two side members 28, 30 coupled
of treadmill 12 in real-time in an uninterrupted manner. The
together by way of one or more cross members 32. Side
control signals may be synchronized with the motivational
members 28, 30 and cross members 32 may have various
content and designed to control one or more operating param- 35 configurations and may be fabricated from various materials
eters of the exercise device, such as the speed, incline, diffiso long as they are capable of supporting control panel 22 and
culty of exercise program, time, distance, and the like of an
tread base 26. For example, the elements of upright support
exercise program performed on treadmill 12.
structure 24 may be fabricated from, but not limited to metals,
As used herein, the term "motivational content" is used to
plastics, composites, combinations thereof, and the like.
broadly refer to any audio material, including dialog, narra- 40 Additionally, one skilled in the art may appreciate that various
tion, sound effects, and/or music, either alone or in combinaother exercise devices may have different upright support
tion with video material. In one embodiment of the present
structures, side members, and cross members, or be devoid of
invention, the motivational content is stored in communicaone or more of such structures and members.
tion system 18 and includes an audio/video presentation of a
The tread base 26 typically includes a pair of side rails 34,
personal trainer and others engaged in a series of exercises of 45 36 each having a front portion proximal to and a rear portion
varying difficulty. In another embodiment of the present
distal from upright support structure 24 when tread base 26 is
invention, the motivational content is a live-on-live, real-time
in a downward exercisable position. As shown in FIG. 4, a
exercise program presented by one or more personal trainers
front pulley 38 and a rear pulley 40 are disposed between and
that is either specific to one particular user or alternatively
supported by side rails 34, 36, while a continuous belt 42
broadcast or optionally "webcast" to any user that may access so extends between and around front and rear pulleys 38 and 40,
communication system 18. In still yet another embodiment,
respectively. Pulleys 38, 40 and belt 42 may have various
the programming includes an exercise profile of the intensity
configurations and be fabricated from various materials, as
of various exercise criteria, such as, but not limited to, speed,
known by one skilled in the art and commonly known within
incline, or resistance of the exercise device, that is displayed
the exercise industry.
A deck 44, commonly fabricated from wood, typically
continually or periodically to the user during the performance 55
of the programming. In still yet another embodiment of the
supports the upper run of belt 42 and supports an exercising
present invention, the user controls the period of when the
individual resting upon belt 42. Although deck 44 is preferexercise profile appears. One skilled in the art may appreciate
ably of a cellulose material such as wood, various other types
that various other configurations of programming are appliof material may be used so long as deck 44 is capable of
cable.
60 supporting belt 42 and a user exercising thereupon.
Generally, the second real-time signal may include both the
As best seen in FIG. 4, in one embodiment, front pulley 38
motivational content and the control signals, whether or not
is mechanically coupled to an electric tread drive motor 46 by
such control signals are synchronized with the motivational
way of pulleys 48 and 50 and a drive belt 52. In this illustrative
content. Alternatively, the second real-time signal may
embodiment, motor 46 further incorporates an inertial flyinclude only the motivational content, other signals represen- 65 wheel 54 that controls fluctuations in the rotational motion of
tative of measurable parameters of the exercise device (e.g.
a shaft of motor 46 during operation of treadmill 12. Motor 46
speed, inclination, resistance, etc) and/or a user of the exeris optionally electrically coupled to a treadmill controller 56
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that controls the operation of motor 46, and thus the speed of
example, as shown, control panel 22 includes a wireless port
belt 42, in response to various user inputs or other control
105 that enables treadmill 12 to wirelessly communicate with
signals. As shown, treadmill controller 56 is incorporated
network 16 (FIG. 1), either directly or via computer 14 and/or
within tread base 26; however, it may be appreciated by one
translator device 13. Alternatively, wireless port 105 may be
skilled in the art that treadmill controller 56 may be incorpo- 5 located on tread base 26. Various other types of port or interrated within control panel 22 or alternatively within personal
face may be included within treadmill 12 to enable commucomputer 14.
nication via one or more communication line connections.
In addition to the ability to control and vary the speed of
For example, treadmill 12 may include one or more ports and
belt 42, treadmill 12 also permits the degree of incline of tread
interfaces to enable communication line connection through
base 26 relative to the floor, or other surface upon which tread 10 existing broadcast technology, including television broadcast
base 26 rests, to be varied. Typically, this is accomplished
over the airwaves, cable or cable modems, satellite, telephone
through the use of an incline drive motor 60 that rises or
lines, whether analog or digitally based, the internet, DSL,
lowers one end of tread base 26 relative to the other end. In the
G-Lite, wireless technology, infra-red (IR) technology, other
embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 5, tread base 26
high-speed data connections, or any other suitable transmisincludes a pair of rear feet 62 and 64 that are rotatably 15 sion technology or medium. Optionally, a communication
attached to the rear of portion of side rails 34, 36. As best seen
port on a user treadmill may enable communication directly
in FIGS. 4 and 5, feet 62 and 64 are mechanically coupled
with another treadmill (such as in a master/slave scenario),
through a shaft 66 to incline drive motor 60, which causes feet
whether or not such communication utilizes a network.
62 and 64 to pivot about their points of pivotal attachment to
In one embodiment, by activating iFit.com button 82, a
side rails 34, 36, thereby selectively raising or lowering the 20 user of treadmill 12, or other exercise device, connects to
rear end of tread base 26 relative to the front end thereof.
communication system 18, such as a website. Such connecMotor 60 is also optionally electrically coupled to, and contion may be via an independently located computer, such as
trolled by the treadmill controller 56.
computer 14, through translator device 13 or directly through
As shown in FIG. 2, treadmill 12 (and optionally treadmill
a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) by
20) includes control panel 22 attached to side members 28, 30 25 way of the described communication line connections for
of upright support structure 24. Control panel 22, in one
example, or other connections known to one skilled in the art.
embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6, includes one or more interMore specifically, by activating the iFit.com button 82 a
face devices. Such interface devices may be either input
signal is transmitted to communication system 18 to create a
devices or output devices. Input devices enable a user to input
connection therebetween. In this manner, treadmill 12 may
and vary the operating parameters of treadmill 12. As 30 receive signals representative of exercise programming from
examples of such input devices, control panel 22 includes
communication system 18. Additionally, the connection with
many typical controllers for use on an exercise device, such as
communication system 18 enables the user to obtain the sera treadmill. A number of illustrative input devices include but
vices of a stored trainer or a personal trainer to perform
are not limited to speed controls 68, incline controls 70, time
programming, ask questions, download or access programcontrols 72, distance controls 74, a start button 76, a stop or 35 ming materials, surf the web, gather and send electronic mail
pause button 78, and heart rate controls 80. In addition to
messages ("e-mail"), listen to audio programming, view
these input devices, such as one or more controllers, control
video programming, review and update user information and
panel 22 further optionally includes an iFit.com button 82, a
statistics, load user statistics, purchase exercise programmanual override button 84, and a scaling control 86, each of
ming, equipment, and materials, update exercise device softwhich are also examples of input devices. It may be appreci- 40 ware and operating parameters, research exercise materials,
ated that each of the above-recited controllers or buttons may
and the like.
be embodied in a variety of different manners to perform their
Furthermore, activation of the connection with communicommonly utilized function. In addition, each controller, butcation system 18 enables treadmill 12, or other exercise
ton, and the like may take the form of one or more switches,
device, to have the potential of being controlled during an
rheostats, potentiometers, touch sensitive controls, voice acti- 45 exercise program by a third party, whether that third party is
vated controllers, and the like. The input devices described
another personal trainer using another treadmill 20, a stored
herein are examples of structures capable of performing the
communication system 18, or some other individual, hardfunction of interface means for gathering a first signal (such
ware, or software modules or components. For example, a
as a real time signal) from the user. One skilled in the art may
third party individual or a stored third party trainer may
identify various other configurations of interface means that 50 operate a console controlling the operation of one or more
are capable of performing the desired function. Additionally,
exercise devices in a group class setting, including devices
it may be appreciated that treadmill 20 may also include such
operated by a live or stored trainer and by trainee users. This
interface means.
may be useful in a spinning class or other class in which a
As shown in FIG. 6, iFit.com button 82, in one emboditrainer trains trainee users. In one embodiment, as the third
ment, acts as both a selector and an indicator of connectivity 55 party controls the operation of the exercise devices, the trainer
of treadmill 12 to communication system 18, and optionally
can communicate motivational messages to the trainee users.
treadmill 20, whether such connectivity is via translator
Similarly, activation of the connection with network 16
device 13, computer 14, or directly from treadmill 12. The
and/or communication system 18 enables one or more users
iFit.com button 82 optionally includes an indicator light (not
to interact one with another, and optionally compete one
shown) that demonstrates when a connection has been estab- 60 against another as shall be described in detail hereinafter. For
lished between treadmill 12 and communication system 18,
example, a first user on treadmill 12a may receive informasuch as when iFit.com button 82 is depressed. Alternatively, a
tion regarding the workout performed by a second user on
light emitting diode (LED) positioned in close proximity to
treadmill 12n via network 16 and/or communication system
iFit.com button 82 may be activated when iFit.com button 82
18, then compete against the second user and vice versa. This
is activated.
65 competition may be live on live or time adjusted, e.g., a
The connection achieved by activating iFit.com button 82
workout recorded previously by the second user which the
may be via a variety of communication line connections. For
first user competes against. Greater information about com-
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munication system 18, with its associated modules and comcommunication, such as real-time communication, with other
ponents will be discussed in detail hereinafter.
users of exercise devices, via communication system 18 (FIG.
As mentioned above, control panel 22 may include manual
1). The audio and video input devices 90, 92 also enable the
override button 84. Manual override button 84 enables a user
user to hear and/or watch (i) a live trainer or (ii) a stored
to override an action initiated by (i) a live trainer or (ii) a 5 trainer, such as recorded programs, educational programstored trainer, such as communication system 18, stored proming, entertainment programming, and the like. The diagnosgramming that is located within the memory of computer 14,
tic control 88, audio input device 90 and video input device
or alternatively in memory stored in treadmill 12. For
92, therefore, are structures capable of performing the funcexample, if the exercise program accessed through commution of interface means, communicating with the exercise
nication system 18 is too difficult for the user, the user may 10 mechanism, for gathering a first signal from the user. Various
activate manual override button 84 thereby interrupting the
other configurations of such interface means are known to one
program delivered to treadmill 12 by communication system
skilled in the art in view of the teachings contained herein.
18. Furthermore, in the event that the exercise program is too
In one embodiment, audio input device 90 may take the
easy, the user may increase the difficulty level of the exercise
form of a microphone, while video input device 92 may take
device. Consequently, manual override button 84 provides the 15 the form of a video camera. Audio input device 90 and video
user with a safety switch during operation of treadmill 12. In
input device 92 may alternatively take various other configuan alternate configuration of treadmill 12, the functionality of
rations as known by one skilled in the art. For example, audio
manual override button 84 is activated upon manual activainput device 90 may be a microphone detachably connected
tion of one of the other input devices, such as but not limited
to control panel 22 or another part of treadmill 12. In another
to, incline controls 74, speed controls 76, stop/pause button 20 configuration, audio input device 90 may be located distant
78, and the like.
from treadmill 12, while being capable of gathering the audio
Similar to the operation of manual override button 84,
inputs from the user. In still another configuration, audio
scaling control 86 enables a user to vary the operating paraminput device 90 may be eliminated from treadmill 12, while
eters of treadmill 12 during an exercise program initiated
treadmill 12 includes an audio jack, such as an RCA-type
externally to treadmill 12. A user may activate scaling control 25 audio jack, RJ-type jacks, digital audio jack, and the like. In
86 and vary the intensity of an exercise program. The scaling
still another configuration, audio input device 90 may be a
control 86, therefore, enables a user to select a value repreradio frequency (RF), infra red (IR), or wireless type microsentative of the proportional change to be made to the control
phone. Similarly, video input device 92 may have the consignal received by the communicating mechanism of treadfiguration of a digital video camera integrally formed within
mill 12 from communication system 18. For example, if an 30 control panel 22. Alternatively, video input device 92 may be
exercise program requires a maximum speed of 6 miles per
detachably connected to control panel 22 or another part of
hour (mph) with a maximum incline of 15 degrees for a period
treadmill 12, such as wireless digital cameras. Still in another
of 30 minutes, an individual may activate scaling control 86 to
configuration, video input device 92 may be located distant
require only 66% intensity of the exercise program; stated
from treadmill 12, while being capable of gathering the reqotherwise, reduce the intensity by one third. Therefore, the 35 uisite video signals to be transmitted to communication sysexercise program is varied to a maximum speed of 4 mph,
tem 18 (FIG. 1).
with a maximum incline of 10 degrees, for a period of 20
In addition to the above-described audio and video input
minutes. Optionally, scaling control 86 may enable the user to
devices 90, 92 respectively, control panel 22 may include a
set maximum values for each operating parameter of treadvariety of other input devices. For example, control panel 22
mill 12. In another configuration, scaling control 86 may 40 may include an integrally formed mouse 100. Additionally,
enable the user to scale only one operating parameter of
control panel 22 may include a keyboard jack 102 for an
treadmill 12 while leaving other parameters unchanged.
external keyboard 103, a controller port 104 for receiving one
Hence, the user may vary the exercise program to their parof a variety of game controller, an integrally formed mouse
ticular abilities, while obtaining the beneficial effects of exer100, a touch-sensitive video display, and various other ports,
cising.
45 jacks, or the like to receive various other external compoAs another example of an input device of the present invennents. Each input device is adapted to allow a user operating
tion, control panel 22 may include a diagnostic control 88.
treadmill 12 to more fully operate one or more operating
Upon activation of diagnostic control 88, whether be depressparameters of treadmill 12. Furthermore, the input devices
ing a button or by some other manner known to one skilled in
enable the user to access communication system 18 and/or
the art, treadmill 12 communicates with communication sys- 50 obtain educational, entertainment, or other information via
tem 18 to check the operating status of the exercise device.
network 16, whether such information is from communicaCommunication system 18, thereby sends signals to the intertion system 18 or from one of a variety of other hardware
nal hardware and software modules of treadmill 12 to verify
and/or software modules that are accessible via network 16.
that the modules are operating within the desired specificaFor example, the input devices may allow the user to surf the
tions or to determine whether treadmill 12 may include soft- 55 Internet to find educational materials or entertainment. These
ware for which an update is available. In one embodiment, in
additional input devices are further examples of structures
the event that one or more of the hardware and/or software
capable of performing the function of interface means, commodules are damaged or not performing as required, commumunicating with the exercise mechanism, for gathering a first
nication system 18 may download one or more software
signal from the user.
updates from communication system 18 if possible. Alterna- 60
Control panel 22, in one embodiment includes one or more
tively, communication system 18 may inform the user that an
output devices that provide a visual and optionally an audio
error has occurred and advise that the user obtain mainteindication of the operational status of treadmill 12 to the user.
nance of the hardware components of treadmill 12.
As with the input devices, the output devices may have variAs additional examples of input devices, according to
ous configurations and perform numerous functions. Generanother aspect of the present invention, control panel 22 may 65 ally, the output devices described herein are each structures
include an audio input device 90 and a video input device 92.
capable of performing the function of means for reproducing
Audio and video input devices 90, 92 enable a user to perform
a signal. The output devices and hence the means for repro-
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ducing a signal may have various configurations as known to
14 may take various configurations, including personal comone skilled in the art in view of the teaching contained herein.
puters, hand-held devices, multi-processor systems, microIn one embodiment, one video output device 94 may be a
processor-based or programmable consumer electronics,
video display. Generally, video output device 94 presents the
telephones, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe comuser of treadmill 12 with information and data transmitted 5 puters, and the like. Additionally, computer 14 may be part of
from communication system 18, whether such data is live
a distributed computer environment where tasks are pertransmission from treadmill 20, or alternatively stored proformed by local and remote processing devices that are linked
gramming accessible by communication system 18. Addi(either by hardwired links, wireless links, or by a combination
tionally, video output device 94 may optionally show inforof hardwired or wireless links) through a communications
mation and data from: (1) various other sources selected by 10 network, such as network 16. Furthermore, as suggested earthe user, third parties, or system 10; (2) statistical information
lier, treadmill 12 may optionally incorporate the functionality
representative of the operational parameters of treadmill 12,
of personal computer 14 therein or include one or more modsuch as the speed, incline, duration of user's workout, etc.; (3)
ules or components of computer 14 while not incorporating
electronic mail messages (e-mail), and the like. Video output
all the modules and components of computer 14.
device 94, in one embodiment is a liquid crystal display 15
The following discussion will focus on certain examples of
(LCD) or cathode ray tube (CRT) display.
alternate structures that may be used as computer 14; however
One skilled in the art may appreciate that various other
it is understood that a similar discussion may be made for the
devices may be used to perform the functions of video output
hardware and/or software modules and components associdevice 94. For example, video output device 94 maybe an
ated with communication system 18, treadmill 20, and/or a
electroluminescent display (ELD), a gas-plasma display, a 20 third party 21. Furthermore, it may be appreciated that treadthin film transistor (TFT) display, a virtual reality (VR) dismill 12, treadmill 20, communication system 18 and third
play, and the like. In another embodiment of the present
party 21 may incorporate portions of computer 14 as
invention, control panel 22 includes multiple video output
described herein and appreciated by one skilled in the art in
devices 94. In still another embodiment, video output device
light of the teaching contained herein. Similarly, one skilled
94 is adapted to permit split screen or layered images that are 25 in the art will recognize that treadmill 12 and/or communicaassociated with picture-in-picture viewing of various images
tion system 18 may includes some or all of the modules and
and information. For example, video output device 94 may
components of computer 14.
allow a user to watch various types of entertainment and/or
Generally, computer 14 is configured to receive data from
surf the Internet, while receiving images representative of the
various portions of treadmill 12 and deliver manipulated data
exercise profile that they are following whether continuously, 30 to the hardware and/or software modules or components
periodically, upon activation of a user control, or the like.
associated with communication system 18 and/or treadmill
As shown in FIG. 6, in one embodiment of the present
20 or other treadmills 12a-n. In addition, computer 14 cominvention, control panel 22 includes an audio output device
municates with communication system 18 and retrieves
96, such as a speaker. Audio output device 96 performs a
audio, video, and control signals therefrom and provides
similar function to that of video output device 94, in that audio 35 these signals to treadmill 12, whether or not the signals are
output device 96 provides the user with audible signals repinitiated solely by communication system 18, treadmill 20, a
resentative of the operational parameters of treadmill 12.
third party 21, or another treadmill 12a-12n. Computer 14
Additionally, audio output device 96 may deliver audio,
may, therefore, use various types of interfaces to communivisual, or control signals to the user from communication
cate with treadmill 12 and network 16. For example, the
system 18 and treadmill 20. Such signals may be audible 40 interface may be a wireless interface thereby utilizing IR, RF,
and/or inaudible signals transmitted from the trainer on treadsatellite, blue tooth transmission and associated protocols.
mill 20. Various speakers are applicable and may operate as
Alternatively, the interface may be a modem, cable modem,
audio output device 96, for example, hardwired and wireless
ADSL connection, ISDN, Ethernet, or similar other connecspeakers, such as computer speakers, audio system speakers,
tions, voice activated, and the like.
and the like. Control panel 22 may optionally include one or 45
Following herein after is a general discussion of possible
more amplifiers in cooperation with audio output device 96.
modules and components of computer 14. The following
Furthermore, audio output device 96 may be circumvented
discussion is merely illustrative of modules and components
through use of one of a variety of audio jacks that enable a
that may form computer 14. It is appreciated that some of the
user to listen to the audio output through headphones or
referenced modules may be eliminated while other modules
similar audio transmitting device.
so and components may be included within computer 14, as
In addition to the output devices described above, the
known by those skilled in the art.
present invention may include various other output devices to
With reference now to FIG. 7, in one embodiment of the
provide information and data to the user of treadmill 12. In
present invention computer 14 is a general-purpose-computone embodiment of treadmill 12, control panel 22 includes
ing device, including a processing unit 110, a computer
one or more operating parameter displays. The one or more 55 memory 112, and a computer bus 124 that couples various
operating parameter displays give a visual display of some of
computer components including the computer memory 112
the more important exercise device operating parameters,
to the processing unit 110. The computer bus 124 may be any
such as, but not limited to, speed, incline, distance traveled,
of several types of bus structures including a memory bus or
calories used, elevation climbed, wheel resistance, and the
memory controller, a peripheral bus, and a local bus using any
like. The one or more operating parameter displays may use a 60 of a variety of bus architectures. Additionally, when treadmill
numerical display, a graphical display, combinations thereof,
12 includes computer 14 and/or translator 13 computer bus
or such other displays known to one skilled in that art. For
124 may be an I2C bus, a SPI bus, a microwire bus, a microexample, the operating parameter display may be incorpobus, and the like. Also, computer bus 124 may use the CAN
rated within video output device 94.
protocol, CSAFE 1 protocol, or some other protocol known to
As shown in FIG. 1, communicating with treadmill 12 via 65 one skilled in the art to allow communication between treadpersonal computer 14 is communication system 18 and treadmill 12 and communication system 18 and/or treadmill 20
mill 20. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that computer
either directly or through network 16.
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The computer memory, in this particular embodiment,
7 include local area network (LAN) 176 and a wide area
includes read only memory (ROM) 126 and random access
network (WAN) 178 that are presented here by way of
memory (RAM) 128. A basic input/output system (BIOS)
example and not limitation. Such networking environments
130, containing the basic routines that help transfer informaare commonplace in office-wide or enterprise-wide computer
tion between elements within computer 14, such as during 5 networks, intranets and the Internet.
start-up, may be stored in ROM 126.
When used in a LAN networking environment, typically
The computer 14 may also include a magnetic hard disk
computer 14 is connected to the local network 176 through a
drive 132 for reading from and writing to a magnetic hard disk
network interface or adapter 180 that communicates via one
138, a magnetic disk drive 134 for reading from or writing to
of a variety of communication line connections, such as those
a removable magnetic disk 140, and an optical disk drive 136 10 described previously. When used in a WAN networking envifor reading from or writing to removable optical disk 142
ronment such that computer 14 may communicate with comsuch as a CD-ROM or other optical media. The magnetic hard
munication system 18, computer 14 may include a modem
disk drive 132, magnetic disk drive 134, and optical disk drive
182, a wireless link, or other means for establishing commu136 are connected to computer bus 124 by a hard disk drive
nications over the wide area network 178, such as the Internet.
interface 144, a magnetic disk drive-interface 146, and an 15 The modem 182, which may be internal or external, is conoptical drive interface 148, respectively. The drives and their
nected to computer bus 124 via serial port interface 164. In a
associated computer-readable media provide nonvolatile
networked environment, program modules depicted relative
storage of computer-executable instructions, data structures,
to computer 14, or portions thereof, may be stored in the
program modules, and other data for computer 14 as will be
remote memory storage device. It will be appreciated that the
discussed in detail hereinafter. Although the exemplary envi- 20 network connections shown are exemplary and other means
ronment described herein may employ a magnetic hard disk
for establishing communications over wide area network 178
138, a removable magnetic disk 140, and a removable optical
may be used.
disk 142, other types of computer readable media for storing
Various transmission or communication protocols may be
data can be used, including magnetic cassettes, flash memory
cards, digital video disks, Bernoulli cartridges, RAMs, 25 used to enable computer 14 to receive and transmit data
through network 16. In one embodiment of the present invenROMs, and the like.
tion, computer 14, and more specifically, network interface
Computer 14, in one embodiment, further includes pro180 or serial port interface 164, may use TCP/IP communigram code means comprising one or more program modules
cation protocol. Alternatively, computer 14 may use connecthat may be stored on hard disk 138, magnetic disk 140,
optical disk 142, ROM 126 or RAM 128, including an oper- 30 tion orientated or connectionless networks via asynchronous
transfer mode (ATM) technology, X.25 protocol, Frame
ating system 150, one or more application programs 152,
Relay protocol, packet switching protocols, circuit switching
other program modules 154, and program data 156. A user
protocols, dynamic packet switching protocols, 802.11RF
may enter commands and information into computer 14, in
protocol, home network protocols, CSAFE 1, CAN protoone embodiment, through a keyboard 160, pointing device
162, or other input devices (not shown), such as, but not 35 cols, and the like to transmit and receive data through network
16.
limited to microphones, joy sticks, game pads, satellite
The term "transceiving" as used herein will mean transmitdishes, scanners, video cameras, potentiometers, buttons,
ting, receiving, or a combination of both transmitting and
switches, rheostats, or the like, whether such devices are
receiving data. The term "packetized", "packetizing", and the
incorporated within treadmill 12 or in communication with
translator device 13 and/or computer 14. These and other 40 like, as used herein will mean data that has been manipulated
into one or more packets according to a packet switching
input devices are often connected to processing unit 110
protocol for transmission via network 16, such as may be
through a serial port interface 164 coupled to computer bus
understood in light of the following teaching and knowledge
124. Alternatively, the input devices may be connected by
within the art.
other interfaces, such as a parallel port, a game port, or a
universal serial bus (USB), and the like. A monitor 166 or 45
Generally, the packet contains the destination address in
another video display device, such as those described herein
addition to the data. Each packet may be transmitted individuis optionally connected to computer bus 124 via an interface,
ally or may be combined or pooled with other packets of data
such as video adapter 168. In addition to the monitor, personal
going to similar destinations, such as audio data, video data
computer 14 may include other peripheral output devices (not
and/or control signals. The packets of data or pooled data are
shown), such as one or more speakers, and printers for obtain- 50 optionally compressed and encapsulated for transceiving
ing recent statistical information regarding the user's workacross network 16, where each packet may follow different
outs.
routes to its destination. Once all the packets of a specific data
The computer 14, as depicted in this illustrative embodimessage arrive at the destination, they are decompiled and
ment, may operate in a networked environment using logical
deencapsulated into the original data. The packets may be
connections to one or more remote computers, such as remote 55 prioritized according to content so that certain packets of data
computer 170. The computer 14 may also communicate with
are delivered to computer 14, and hence treadmill 12, through
treadmill 12 via a LAN and optionally communicate with
network 16 faster than the other packets of data. For example,
communication system 18 and treadmill 20 via a WAN and
in a live-on-live exercise program situation audio and video
optionally remote computer 170. Generally, each remote
data or signals are transceived faster than the control signals.
computer 170, communication system 18, and treadmill 12, 60 Therefore, according to one embodiment, an individual may
20 may be or include the structure and perform the function of
communicate with a trainer in real time without the need to
another personal computer, a server, a router, a network PC, a
interrupt the real-time communication between the trainer
peer device, or other common network node, and typically
and the user so that one or more control signals may be
includes many or all of the elements described above relative
delivered to the exercise device. An advantage of packetizing
to computer 14, although only one memory storage device 65 data, therefore, is that computer 14, translator device 13,
172 and its associated application program 174 has been
and/or treadmill 12 may optimize its performance according
illustrated in FIG. 7. The logical connections depicted in FIG.
to the available bandwidth of the communication connection
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line with network 16 without the need to interrupt the realvisual signal from one source and a control signal from
time communication between a user and a trainer.
another source. For example, the audio and/or visual signal
The discussion above describes a computer detached from
may come from a live trainer, while the control signal may
treadmill 12; however, as appreciated and stated earlier, all or
come from a website or vice versa. Optionally, the audio,
portions of computer 14 may be optionally incorporated 5 visual, and control signals are each directed both to the user
within treadmill 12. As such, some or all of the various eleand to the exercise device, such as when the control signal is
ments of computer 14 may be incorporated within control
an audible signal directed to a microphone connected to the
panel 22, or alternatively within tread base 26. In various
device.
other configurations of the present invention, therefore, conComputers 14 and/or translator device 13 portions are coltrol panel 22 may include one or more magnetic hard disk lo lectively or individually examples of a communicating
drives, magnetic disk drives, optical disk drives, and associmechanism. Additionally, when portions of one more comated interfaces. Control 22, therefore, may be capable of
puters 14 and/or translator devices 13 are incorporated within
accessing programming that is stored on computer diskettes,
treadmill 12, such portions are collectively or individually
CD ROMs, DVDs, and the like. Additionally, control panel 22
examples of a communicating mechanism. Examples of such
may optionally include a keypad integrally formed therein, or 15 a communicating mechanism of the present invention may
optionally include a standard keyboard interface that may
comprise (i) a single structure that enables transmission of the
enable a user to communicate with treadmill 12. The keypads
first signal and/or receives the packetized second signal or (ii)
and keyboard enable the user to control the operation of
a first structure that enables transmission of the first signal and
treadmill 12, and optionally communicate with communicaa separate second structure that receives the packetized section system 18 and other hardware and/or software modules 20 and signal. Any of these communicating mechanisms are
that may be accessible via network 16.
examples of structures capable of performing the function of
As depicted in FIG. 1, computer 14 may optionally comcommunicating means, communicating with the interface
municate with translator device 13 that is configured to
means, for receiving a packetized second signal (such as a
manipulate signals transmitted and received between comreal-time signal), and optionally, for enabling transmission of
puter 14 and treadmill 12. Specifically, translator device 13 25 the first signal (such as a real-time signal).
may be used when computer 14 and treadmill 12 are incaIn one embodiment, the communicating means only
pable of directly communicating one with another. Translator
receives the second signal. For example, upon merely actidevice 13 includes one or more processors that convert the
vating a user input device, such as by turning the power of the
signals passed therethrough to a form that the device to
exercise device or other device on, a first signal is "gathered
receive such signals might understand. For example, com- 30 from the user," but is not transmitted. Instead, the first signal
puter 14 may communicate with translator device 13 via a
merely activates the power and enables the communicating
serial connection, while treadmill 12 may only communicate
mechanism to receive any second packetized signal that may
with devices that deliver data via a serial VC connection or
be broadcast to the exercise device. Such a broadcast may be
protocol. As such, translator device 13 is configured to
from a communication system 18, such as by wireless transmanipulate the serial signal received from computer 14 into a 35 mission, RF transmission, or other means known to those
signal capable of being delivered via a serial I2C connection
skilled in the art. In another embodiment, the communicating
or bus.
mechanism transmits the first signal and receives the second
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that translator
signal.
device 13 may convert various types of signal to various other
Additionally, computer 14 and/or translator device 13, colforms capable of being transmitted to various interfaces. For 40 lectively and/or individually are examples of structures
example, translator device 13 may use a SPI bus, a microwire
capable of performing the function of control means, combus, a microbus, a CAN protocol, a CSAFE 1 protocol, a
municating with the exercise mechanism, for receiving one or
home network protocol, TCP/IP communication protocol, an
more packetized control signals from the communication
asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology, X.25 protosystem indicative of the selected exercise program and for
col, Frame Relay protocol, packet switching protocols, cir- 45 changing one or more operating parameters of the exercise
cuit switching protocols, dynamic packet switching protomechanism based upon the selected exercise program and the
cols, 802.1 1RF protocol, serial, parallel, USB, or wireless
one or more packetized control signals.
connection, and the like. Additionally, the structure and funcAs discussed above with respect to FIG. 1, computer 14
tion of translator device 13 may be completely or partially
may transceive one or more signals to and from communicaincorporated within treadmill 12, computer 14, or a combi- 50 tion system 18 through network 16. Referring now to FIG. 8,
nation thereof.
a schematic block diagram of communication system 18 is
Generally, computer 14 and/or translator device 13, collecillustrated. For simplicity, only the most relevant hardware
tively and/or individually are examples of a communicating
components are illustrated in FIG. 8. It may be appreciated by
mechanism, communicating with the interface means (e.g.,
one skilled in the art that various other components may be
the input devices of console 22 that gather a signal from the 55 included within communication system 18 depending on the
user). In one embodiment, the communicating mechanism
particular use and function of communication system 18.
enables real-time transmission of a first signal to: a live trainer
As depicted, communication system 18 includes an inter(e.g., on treadmill 20), a stored trainer (e.g., communication
face 190 that communicates with a control processor 192 and
system 18), another user, or a third party 21, for example. The
an interface 198. Interface 190 is configured to transceive one
communicating mechanism may also receive a packetized 60 or more signals to and from computer 14 and treadmill 12 via
second real-time signal from any of these sources.
network 16. Such signals may include audio and visual sigThe second real-time signal may be an audio or visual
nals of the user exercising, the status of the exercise device,
signal directed to the user and/or a control signal directed to a
such as active status, deactivated status, standby status, data
device, such as an exercise device 12, for example. The audio
and information about the user, such as heart rate, blood
and/or visual signal and the control signal may come from the 65 pressure, and the like that has been gathered by one or more
same source, such as a trainer 20. In one embodiment, howhealth monitoring devices. Such devices may include but are
ever, the second real-time signal comprises an audio and/or
not limited to electrodes, transducers, other ECG monitoring
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devices, a pulse watch, a heart rate monitor, an EKG elecmemory 194 and/or external memory 196 may be one structronic detection device, an ECG electronic detection device,
ture capable of performing the function of storage means for
and the like. Similarly, interface 198 enables communication
storing programming. Memory 194 and/or external memory
system 18 to transmit the above signals to and receive various
196 may, therefore, include or be configured to access one or
signals from a trainer at treadmill 20 via network 16 (FIG. 1). 5 more audiocassette tapes, compact disks (CDs), mini disks
Such received signals may include audio, visual, and/or con(MDs), computer diskettes, videotapes, laser disks (LDs),
trol signals. Alternatively, the trainer at treadmill 20 may
digital videodisks (DVDs), computer diskettes, or such other
receive no signals, in the case where communication system
media capable of storing audio and/or video programming,
18 controls treadmill 12 without a trainer at treadmill 20.
with associated control signals. Additionally, memory 194
Each interface 190, 198 therefore, may be of a variety of 10 and/or external memory 196 may store a particular set of
types depending on the particular communication line concontrol signals in synchronization with the above-recited
nection used in system 10 and the particular transmission
audio and video media programming. In light of the teaching
protocols used by computer 14, treadmill 12, translator device
contained herein, it may be appreciated by one skilled in the
13, or treadmill 20. For example, interfaces 190, 198 may be
art, that either memory 194 and/or external memory 196 may
a wireless interface, may use infrared (IR), radio frequency 15 take the form of or include a database structure that enables
(RF), microwave technology, satellite, blue tooth transmisaccess to the various programming stored therein.
sion, home network protocols, or various other protocols and
Also communicating with control processor 192 is control
technology as known by one skilled in the art. Alternatively,
signal generator 200. Control signal generator 200 includes
interfaces 190, 198 may be a modem, cable modem, ADSL
circuitry and/or software to generate the control signals that
connection, ISDN, Ethernet, or similar other connections. 20 are synchronized with the audio and video programming
Interfaces 190, 198 either solely or in combination with the
retrieved from memory 194 and/or external memory 196 or
other elements of communication system 18, may use various
alternatively transmitted from treadmill 20 through interface
transmission protocols to transceive data between treadmill
198. Therefore, control signal generator 200 may include one
12 and treadmill 20 via communication system 18. It may be
or more micro-controllers, central processing units, state
appreciated by one skilled in the art that interfaces 190, 198 25 machines, programmable logic arrays, network logical
need not be the same, so long as they may communicate with
arrays, or gates, ASIC processors, software-based controllers,
control processor 192, and the other appropriate elements of
combination logic, combinations thereof, and a variety of
system 10.
other controllers known by one skilled in the art to generate
Communicating with interface 190 and interface 198 is a
one or more control signals.
control processor 192. Control processor 192 is configured to 3
Control signal generator 200 is one structure capable of
transceive signals through interface 190 and manipulates the
performing
the function of means for generating one or more
same based on selected programming selected by: (i) the user;
control signals. One skilled in the art may identify various
(ii) a trainer located at treadmill 20; (iii) a third party 21; or
other configurations of means for generating one or more
(iv) a combination thereof. Subsequently, control processor
192, optionally in combination within interface 190 or 198, 35 control signals.
Various configurations are applicable for encoding a conprepares the selected programming (i.e., audio and video
trol signal on a carrier signal included with the audio and
signals with associated control signals, if any) for transmisvideo programming. Following hereinafter is a discussion of
sion to treadmill 12 and 20. Control processor 192 also prefone format for encoding the control signals. It should be
erably "packetizes" the programming so that packets of information may be "streamed" or downloaded through respective 40 understood that the method of encoding set forth herein is
representative only and is not intended to limit the scope of
interfaces 190, 198 to computer 14, and subsequently treadthis invention or to limit the various other alternative means or
mill 12, or to treadmill 20. Each packet of data may be sent
methods by which a control signal may be transmitted to
individually, and may follow a different path across network
treadmill 12 and/or optionally treadmill 20. Additionally, any
16 to reach computer 14 (or treadmill 12). Upon reaching
computer 14 (or treadmill 12 or 20), the data may be "buff- 45 number of encoding schemes, which are known to those
skilled in the art, may be used to carry out the desired function
ered" so that the data may be delivered to the user or trainer in
and are encompassed within, the scope of the present invenreal-time.
tion.
Generally, control processor 192 may include one or more
micro-controllers, central processing units, state machines,
In one embodiment, the control signals generated by conprogrammable logic arrays, network logical arrays, or gates, s() trol signal generator 200 are carried on a two (2) kHz carrier
ASIC processors, software-based controllers, combination
signal, with each control signal consisting of two transmislogic, combinations thereof, and a variety of other controllers
sion bursts, each burst having three bytes of data. The second
known by one skilled in the art to manipulate data transceived
burst is intended to exactly duplicate the first burst for error
between treadmill 12, communication system 18, and/or
checking purposes. The first byte of data of each burst, gen55 erated by control signal generator 200, in this illustrative
treadmill 20.
Control processor is one example of a structure capable of
embodiment, indicates the desired speed of the treadmill,
performing the function of means for synchronizing and
while the second byte of data indicates the desired incline of
packetizing the control signals with the programming and
the tread base 26, and the third byte is a check sum of the first
delivering the packetized control signal to the user device. It
and second bytes. For other exercise devices the first and
may be appreciated that various other control processors and 60 second bytes may represent other operating parameters, like
means are appropriate and known to those skilled in the art.
resistance of an elliptical device or cycle device. It may be
Communicating with control process 192 is memory 194
appreciated that each burst may include less or more than 3
and external memory 196. As shown, external memory 196 is
bytes of data, depending on the different type of device that
optionally included, depending on the particular data storage
communicates with communication system 18. As configneeds of communication system 18. For example, memory 65 ured, the control signal uses a standard RS-232 protocol.
194 and/or external memory 196 may include physical inforAlternatively, control signals may also use other serial or
mation regarding the operation of treadmill 12. Additionally,
parallel protocols, such as RS-422, RS-423, universal serial
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bus (USB) and various other communication protocols
tively, control processor 192 may deliver control signals to
known by one skilled in the art in light of the teaching contreadmill 12 to vary the operating parameters thereof, while
tained herein.
sending an audio and/or video representation of the exercise
In one embodiment, each control signal includes both the
profile (i.e., speed, distance, time, inclination of the exercise
first burst and the second burst. Generally, the control signal 5 device) of the exercise program delivered to the user, so that
is typically left in one quarter second in duration. Each byte
the trainer may then manually vary the operating parameters
consists of eight bits of data, giving a high degree of resoluof treadmill 20 as desired. The delivery of the programming
tion for controlling the exercise device operating parameters,
including the control signal may be termed a packetized secsuch as treadmill speed and the degree of incline. In one
ond signal (preferably a packetized second real-time signal).
embodiment, each time a control signal is inserted into the 10
In one embodiment, changes made by the trainer on treadprogramming, the control signal entirely suppresses the audio
mill 20 are translated into control signals that are delivered to
portion of the programming for the duration of the control
treadmill 12 to vary the operating parameters therein. As
signal. Alternatively, and more preferably, the control signal
such, treadmill 20 includes one or more sensors that identify
does not entirely suppress the audio portion of the programchanges made to the operating parameters of treadmill 20 and
ming. Rather the control signal overlays the programming so 15 deliver signals representative of such changes to control prothat the programming is uninterrupted. As a result, the control
cessor 192. Upon receiving the sensed information, control
signals are audible to the user which also provides an audible
processor 192 delivers a request to control signal generator
cue or warning to the user that one or more operating param200. Control signals generator 200 subsequently generates a
eters of treadmill 12 is about to change. Alternatively, the
control signal associated with the actions taken by the trainer
control signals are inaudible to the user, but may be analyzed 20 on treadmill 20 and passes those signals through control
by computer 14 and/or treadmill 12. The inaudible signals
processor 192, interface 190, and optionally computer 14 to
may, therefore, dictate an additional or alternate manner by
treadmill 12. The delivery of the programming including the
which the user is signaled of an impending change in one or
control signal may be termed a packetized second signal or a
more operating parameters of treadmill 12. For example, in
packetized second real-time signal.
addition to an audio signal, the control signal may include a 25
In still yet another configuration, treadmill 20 is configured
video signal, such as a flashing red border that may appear
to include control signal generator 200. In this particular
around the exterior perimeter of the video output device 94
configuration, as a trainer performs a programming workout,
and overlap the video display to inform the user of a change in
whether such programming is stored on treadmill 20 or alteroperating parameters of treadmill 12. It may be appreciated
natively accessed through communication system 18, control
by one skilled in the art that a combination of both audio and 30 signal generator 200 creates the bursts of bytes in accordance
video indicators, whether or not the programming is modiwith changes made by trainer made on treadmill 20. As such,
fied, such as the audio being eliminated, or the video being
the control signals are sent from treadmill 20 through intereliminated, may be used to inform the user of an impending
face 198 to control processor 192. Control processor 192 then
change in operating parameters.
passes the control signals along with the audio and video
As alluded to above, the control signals are detectable by 35 programming, through interface 190 to treadmill 12. The
computer 14 or treadmill 12, that verifies the control signal
delivery of the programming including the control signal may
has the proper 2 kHz carrier frequency, checks to make sure
be termed a packetized second signal (preferably real-time).
that the control signals otherwise properly formatted, and
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art, that the
check for errors. If the signal is approved, the signal is delivvarious above-described configurations are only illustrative
ered to the appropriate controllers for varying the operating 40 of the manner by which treadmill 20 may control the operaparameters of treadmill 12.
tion of treadmill 12 either directly or alternatively indirectly
Generally, the operation of communication system 18 varthrough the use of control signal generator 200 and the other
ies depending on the particular manner by which the procomponents and modules of communication system 18.
gramming is to be delivered to user on treadmill 12. In one
Following hereinafter, and depicted in FIG. 9, is a function
configuration, treadmill 20 is similarly configured to tread- 45 of block diagram of one embodiment of treadmill 12. In this
mill 12, previously described. In such a case, when an indiparticular configuration, the functionality of personal comvidual wishes to perform an exercise program in real-time
puter 14 is not incorporated within treadmill 12; however, as
with a distantly located trainer training on treadmill 20, the
may be appreciated by one skilled in the art, computer 14 may
trainer, preceding the scheduled exercise time, accesses or
be incorporated within control panel 22 or other portions of
"logs on" to communication system 18. Upon logging onto so treadmill 12. This embodiment enables true interactive comcommunication system 18, the trainer prepares the desired
munication between a user operating treadmill 12 in his/her
exercise program or alternatively selects a stored control sigown home, and a personal trainer located at a remote location,
nal profile that is synchronized to the desired program from
such as where treadmill 20 is located. Additionally, the trainer
memory 194 and/or external memory 196. At the scheduled
may observe the user in real-time and control the user's
time for a live-on-live treadmill exercise program, both the 55 treadmill 12 remotely and in real-time via communication
user of treadmill 12 and the trainer located at treadmill 20
system 18 without interrupting the real-time audio and video
access communication system 18. The trainer activates the
programming.
control signal profile, which is delivered to control processor
As shown, treadmill 12 includes control panel 22 and
192. Control processor 192 delivers to both treadmill 12 and
treadmill controller 56. Although shown separated, it may be
treadmill 20 both the audio and/or video programming and 60 appreciated that portions of each may be combined together,
the desired control signals to vary the operating parameters of
thereby simplifying the modules and components of the
each treadmill 12, 20 in synchronization with the audio and/or
present invention. Control panel 22, in this embodiment,
video programming. Control processor 192, optionally in
incorporates audio input device 90 in the form of a microcombination with interfaces 190, 198 prepares, the control
phone and a video input device 92 in the form of a video
signals with the audio and video signals in accordance with 65 camera for gathering audio and video signals to be transmitthe communication protocol that computer 14, translator
ted to communication system 18. As mentioned previously,
device 13, treadmill 12 and/or treadmill 20 uses. Alternathe audio and video receivers need not be incorporated within
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control panel 22 or other portion of treadmill 12. Rather,
ent communication interfaces 210 may be used at different
audio input device 90 and video input device 92 may be
communication line connections. For example, the commulocated distant from treadmill 12, while having sufficient
nication line connection may include existing broadcast techdetection controls to receive the requisite audio and video
nology, including television broadcast over the airwaves,
signals.
5 cable or cable modems, satellite, telephone lines, whether
Signals from audio input device 90 and video input device
analog or digitally based, the interne, DSL, G-Lite, wireless
92 are delivered to an audio/video controller 212. Audio/
technology, other high-speed data connections, or any other
video controller 212 is configured to manipulate the audio
suitable transmission technology or medium. As such, comand video signals received from input devices 90, 92 in prepamunication interface 210 is compatible with existing convenration for transmission to a processor 214. Audio/video con- 10 tional broadcast technologies and can interface with existing
troller 212, therefore, includes one or more amplifiers, microaudio and/or video components commonly found in homes,
controllers, central processing units, state machines,
thereby reducing the overall cost of the exercise device and
programmable logic arrays, network local logical arrays, or
reducing barriers to accessing communication system 18.
gates, ASIC processors, software based controllers, combiCommunicating with processor 214 and optionally comnation logic, or combinations thereof to both manipulate 15 municating with communication interface 210 is treadmill
audio and video signals that are to be transmitted or received
controller 56. As illustrated in FIG. 9, treadmill controller 56
by input devices 90, 92 and associated output devices 94, 96.
communicates with control panel 22. Generally, treadmill
Additionally, audio/video controller 212 may include
controller 56 may communicate with control panel 22 by an
memory, such as a buffer, to store and aid with real-time
I2C bus, a SPI bus, a microwire bus, a microbus, and the like.
transmission and delivery of the audio and video signals. It 20
In one embodiment, treadmill controller 56 includes a
may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that various
treadmill processor 220, memory 222, and a control signal
audio/video controllers 212 are applicable and known in the
decoder 224. Treadmill processor 220 is configured to control
art in light of the teaching contained herein.
the operation of speed motor 226 and incline motor 228 that
Communicating with audio/video controller 212 is procescontrols the speed and incline of treadmill 12. Treadmill
sor 214. Processor 214 converts the audio and video data 25 processor 220, therefore, is one structure capable of performreceived through audio/video controller 212 into the desired
ing the function of means for controlling the operating paramform that is capable of being transmitted to communication
eters of the exercise mechanism in real-time and one structure
system 18 via communication interface 210. As such, procescapable of performing the function of control means for
sor 214 may perform various operations on the data to be
receiving one or more packetized control signals from a comdelivered to communication system 18, such as, but not lim- 30 munication system indicative of a selected exercise program
ited to, packing, encrypting, splitting, and the like. Additionand changing one or more operating parameters of the exerally, processor 214 may be configured to perform various
cise mechanism based upon the selected exercise program
operations to data received from communication system 18,
and the one or more packetized control signals.
such as, but not limited to, the reverse of the above operations.
Treadmill processor 220 is optionally controlled by proGenerally, processor 214 may have various configurations to 35 cessor 214 or by control signal decoder 224 in response to the
perform the above-described function as known by one
various signals received through communication interface
skilled in the art. For example, processor 214 may take the
210 from communication system 18. Alternatively, treadmill
form of one or more micro-controllers, central processing
processor 220 may be controlled by signals obtained from
unit (CPU), state machines, programmable logic arrays, or
memory 222, via input devices 216, audio input device 90 and
network of logical gates, ASIC processor, software-based 40 video input device 92. Treadmill processor 220 may include
controllers, a combination of these components, or a variety
various components and modules to perform the desired funcof other controllers.
tion. For example, treadmill processor 220 may include one
According to another aspect of the present invention, proor more micro-controllers, central processing unit (CPU),
cessor 214 may receive various inputs from one or more
state machines, programmable logic arrays, or network of
manually operated input devices 216, such as manual over- 45 logical gates, ASIC processor, software-based controllers,
ride button 84, scaling controls 84, and other controls and
combination logic, a combination of these components, or a
buttons known to one skilled in the art in light of the teaching
variety of other controllers.
contained herein. In response to such inputs, processor 214
Controller 212, processor 214, interface 210, and treadmill
may vary the operating parameters of treadmill 12 and proprocessor 220 are collectively and individually examples of
vide the user with notification of such change in the operating so structures capable of performing the function of communiparameters of treadmill 12 via output devices 218 and/or
cating means, communicating with the interface means, for
video output device 94 and audio output device 96. Processor
receiving a packetized second signal, and optionally, for
214, therefore, is one structure capable of performing the
enabling transmission of the first signal.
function of means for controlling the operating parameters of
Both processor 214 and treadmill processor 220 are
the exercise mechanism in real-time and one structure 55 capable of receiving and transmitting feedback signals from
capable of performing the function of control means for
the various elements of treadmill 12, for example, feed back
receiving one or more packetized control signals from a comfrom drive motor 226 and incline motor 228. Each processor
munication system indicative of a selected exercise program
214, 220 is capable of converting the feedback signals into
and changing one or more operating parameters of the exersignals for the video output device 94 or monitor 166 comcise mechanism based upon the selected exercise program 60 municating with computer 14. The particular feedback sigand the one or more packetized control signals.
nals received from speed motor 226 and incline motor 228
Communicating with processor 214, in one embodiment, is
may be stored in registers or memory modules.
communication interface 210 that enables treadmill 12 to
Treadmill 12, as depicted, optionally includes one or more
transceive data, such as packetized data, via a communication
sensors, such as belt speed sensor 230 and incline sensor 232.
line. Communication interface 210, in one embodiment, is a 65 Each sensor 230, 232 gathers a particular operating parameter
modem. Depending on the particular communication manner
of treadmill 12 (speed of belt 42 (FIG. 4) and incline of tread
used to communicate with communication system 18, differbase 26), such that control panel 22 may present outputs via
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the output devices that are indicative of the present operating
such as an I2C bus, SPI bus, Microwire bus, Microbus, CAN
state of treadmill 12 at any given point in time. Treadmill 12
protocol, home network protocol, or the like. Additionally,
may include other sensors that gather various other operating
the control signals, and the audio and the video signals may be
parameters, such as, but not limited to, maximum pulse and
delivered using the CSAFE 1 protocol or equivalent thereof
heart rate, average pulse and heart rate, target heart rate, 5 for various other types of devices not within the field of
length of workout session, and the like. Additionally, sensors
exercise devices.
230, 232, optionally in combination with one or more other
When communication interface 210 delivers all signals to
sensors, may determine whether an individual is actually
processor 210, processor 214 separates the audio, video, and
exercising on treadmill 12 and deliver a feedback signal to
control signals and optionally delivers them to audio/video
processor 214 that informs communication system 18 and/or 10 controller 212, control signal decoder 224, treadmill procesthe trainer. Furthermore, sensors 230, 232, optionally in comsor 220, or memory 224. For example, in one configuration
bination with one or more other sensors, may calculate
processor 214 may optionally deliver portions of the audio
whether the individual is a juvenile and stop treadmill 12 in
and video signals to control signal decoder 224, either
the event that the user is a juvenile.
directly or through treadmill processor 220 such that the
As discussed earlier, system 10 enables a user of treadmill 15 audio and video signals are "buffered" in accordance with
20 to communicate with and control one or more operating
"streaming" technology. If the available bandwidth does not
characteristics or parameters of treadmill 12. There are variallow real-time streaming of audio and video signals, video
ous manners by which treadmill 12 may be controlled by
frames and the audio signals may be separated and transcommunication system 18 solely or in combination with
ceived so that a segmented display is provided with real-time
treadmill 20 or a third party 21. Following hereinafter is a 20 audio signals. Although segmenting of video frames is not
continued discussion of the operation of the illustrated
preferred it is one possible alternative method of streaming
embodiment of treadmill 12 depicted in FIG. 9.
audio and video signals. In another configuration, upon
During operation of treadmill 12 a user initially inserts a
receiving the signals from processor 214, control signal
dead-man key (not shown) within port 98 of control panel 22
decoder 224 may optionally store the complete audio and
(FIG. 6). Upon insertion of the dead-man key, treadmill 12 is 25 video signals for an entire program before treadmill 12 may
capable of being operated, i.e., power is allowed to flow to the
access such signals. In yet another configuration, processor
various internal and external components of treadmill 12 and
214 may optionally deliver only the audio signal and the
treadmill 12 has an active status. Once activated, a user may
control signal to treadmill processor 220 that may include the
optionally connect to communication system 18 or use a
functionality of control signal decoder 224 therein. The parstored or manually defined exercise program or workout. In 30 ticular manner by which treadmill processor 220 retrieves
the event that the user wishes to connect to communication
either the encoded control signal or the decoded control sigsystem 18, in one embodiment, a user activates iFit.com
nal may vary from configuration to configuration depending
button 82 (FIG. 6), thereby initiating the hardware and/or
on the particular form of treadmill 12.
software modules within either treadmill 12 or computer 14 to
Generally, control signal decoder 224 either individually or
create a connection with communication system 18. Alterna- 35 collectively with processor 214 and/or treadmill processor
tively, upon placing treadmill 12 in active status, treadmill 12
220 is one structure capable of performing the function of
may automatically connect to communication system 18.
means for decoding the control signal having an input and an
Once a link is achieved and a user optionally has provided
output. One skilled in the art may identify various other
a password and user identification, a user may select either
configurations of a means for decoding the control signal
stored or live-on-live exercise programs. Following the user 40 having and input and an output. For example, treadmill proselection, programming, whether live or stored is delivered
cessor 220 and/or processor 214 may include a control signal
(optionally in real-time) to communication interface 210 via
decoder and hence be a means for decoding the control signal
one or more of a variety of communication line connections,
having an input and an output.
whether such connections are digital, analog, serial, parallel,
Following manipulation of the control signals to obtain the
or a combination thereof. The particular configuration of 45 control instructions, treadmill processor 220 performs the
communication interface 210 may vary based upon the parcontrol process on the various components of treadmill 12 as
ticular communication line connection used.
dictated by the control instructions. For example, treadmill
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that the
processor 220 may cause motor 46 to speed up thereby accelexercise program may be displayed to the user in a variety of
erating belt 42 or alternatively cause motor 60 to rotate
manners, depending on the particular signals received from so thereby raising or lowering tread base 26. Motors 46, 60 and
communication system 18 or trainer device 20. For example,
226, 228 are structures capable of performing the function of
the programming may include an exercise profile that perimeans, electrically coupled to the output of the decoding
odically or continually appears on video output device 94.
means for driving the moveable element in response to the
Alternatively, the programming may solely include the
decoded control signal. It may be appreciated by one skilled
above-described exercise profile, thereby enabling the user of 55 in the art that the control instructions may cause various other
treadmill 12 to view educational or entertainment programchanges to the operating parameters of treadmill 12, and other
ming via video output device 94 during their exercise prodevices. Similarly, various means for driving the moveable
gram.
element in response to the decoded control signal. For
Upon receiving the programming, communication interexample, the means may vary depending on the particular
face 210 may optionally deliver the audio signal to control 60 type of exercise device used.
signal decoder 224 that identifies the control signal. In
While treadmill processor 220 is either decoding the conanother setting, communication interface 210 may deliver
trol signal from the audio signal received from communicaboth the audio and video signals, with the control signal, to
tion system 18 or merely activating speed motor 226 and/or
processor 214 for manipulation and distribution to the approincline motor 228, processor 214 delivers the audio and video
priate hardware components, and/or software modules. Such 65 signals received through communication interface 210 to
delivery of programming may be performed through use of a
audio/video controller 212. Audio/video controller 212
general-purpose bus or a variety of other buses and protocols,
manipulates the signals received and passes the audio signal
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to audio output device 96 and the video signal to video output
of the above should also be included within the scope of
device 94. Optionally, processor 214 may send portions of the
computer-readable media. Computer-executable instructions
audio or video signals to the output devices 218 to provide the
may include, for example, instructions and data which cause
user with multiple sources of representations of the current
a general-purpose computer, special-purpose computer, or
operating parameters of treadmill 12, or exercise device.
5 special-purpose processing device to perform a certain funcIn another alternative configuration of the present invention or group of functions.
tion, the audio, video, and control signals received by comAlthough not required, the present invention will be
munication interface 210 are delivered to processor 214 for
described in the general context of computer-executable
manipulation and delivery to audio/video controller 212. In
instructions, such as program modules, that may be executed
such a case, the video data is displayed on video output device 10 by one or more computers in various network environments,
94 while the audio signal including the control signal is transsuch as within the environments illustrated in FIGS. 1, 7, and
mitted to audio output device 96. In this configuration, audio
10. Generally, program modules include routines, programs,
input device 90 or a second audio input device (not shown) is
objects, components, data structures, etc. that perform parconfigured to receive various control signals that are delivticular tasks or implement particular abstract data types.
ered by audio output device 96 and pass those back to pro- 15 Computer-executable instructions, associated data structures,
cessor 214. The control signals are subsequently decoded and
and program modules represent examples of program code
treadmill processor 220 may activate speed motor 226 and/or
means for executing steps of the methods disclosed herein.
incline motor 228 in accordance with the delivered control
The particular sequence of such executable instructions or
signals.
associated data structures represents examples of correspondGenerally, communication interface 210, processor 214, 20 ing acts for implementing the functions described in such
audio/video controller 212, treadmill processor 220, and/or
steps.
control signal decoder 224 are collectively and individually
According to this illustrative embodiment of the present
examples of a controller, responsive to the packetized second
invention, a distantly located personal trainer performing an
signal, configured to control the operating parameters of the
exercise on one treadmill in real-time may control one or
exercise mechanism (preferably in real-time). Additionally, 25 more operating parameters of an exercise device used by a
such controller is a structure capable of performing the funcuser performing an exercise program. However, it may be
tion of control means, communicating with the exercise
appreciated that the systems, methods, and devices of the
mechanism, for receiving one or more packetized control
present invention may be implemented and utilized in various
signals from the communication system indicative of the
other situations and with various other exercise devices or
selected exercise program and for changing one or more 30 other devices unrelated to exercise devices. The systems and
operating parameters of the exercise mechanism based upon
methods of the present invention may be implemented using
the selected exercise program and the one or more packetized
a variety of hardware and/or software modules and include a
control signals. It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art
variety of computer network configurations, including but not
that the control means may have various other configurations.
limited to multiple computers and/or exercise devices that are
Following hereinafter is a generalized discussion of a num- 35 connected via the Internet, LANs, WANs, and the like.
ber of features of an exercise system, exercise devices, methTo more easily explain the function and structures of sysods, computer products, and computer readable media assotem 250, reference will now be made to FIG. 10 that is a block
ciated with the teaching and disclosure of the present
diagram illustrating one embodiment of the present inveninvention. Referring now to FIGS. 10-19, a system 250 is
tion. As shown, system 250, that is similar to system 10,
illustrated. The majority of the features described with 40 includes a number of user modules 252a-252n that represent,
respect to system 10, also apply to system 250.
in this embodiment, multiple exercise devices, translator
Generally, this embodiment of the present invention may
devices 13, and/or computers 14, whether such exercise
comprise one or more hardware components, such as those
devices, translator devices 13, and/or computers 14 are
described above and illustrated in FIGS. 1, 7, and 10, and
located in the same area, or distantly located one with another,
various special-purpose or general-purpose computers. 45 such as at a number of user's homes. Alternatively, as disEmbodiments within the scope of the present invention also
cussed earlier, user modules 252a-252n may take the form of
include computer-readable media for carrying or having comvarious other devices known by one skilled in the art. For
puter-executable instructions or data structures stored
example, the exercise devices may include treadmill 12, ellipthereon. Such computer-readable media can be any available
ticals, cycles, steppers, hikers, climbers, Nordic type exercise
media that can be accessed by a general-purpose or special- so devices, and other various types of exercise devices as known
purpose computer and the hardware and/or software modules
by one skilled in art.
associated with system 10 (FIG. 1). By way of example, and
Generally, user modules 252a-252n include one or more
not limitation, such computer-readable media can comprise
exercise mechanisms with one or more moveable elements
RAM, ROM, EEPROM, CD-ROM, or other optical disk storthat enable a user to exercise during an exercise program,
age, magnetic disk storage, or other magnetic storage devices, 55 whether such exercise program requires anaerobic exercise,
or any other medium which may be used to carry or store
aerobic exercise, or a combination thereof. Therefore, the
desired program code means in the form of computer-executmodules of each user module 252a-252n may be structures
able instructions or data structures and which may be
capable of performing the functions of: (1) control means for
accessed by a general-purpose or special-purpose computer.
receiving one or more packetized controls signals from the
When information, such as one or more signals or program- 60 communication system (communication module) indicative
ming is transferred or provided over network 16 or another
of a selected exercise program and changing one or more
communications connection (either hardwired, wireless, or a
operating parameters of the exercise mechanism based upon
combination of hardwired or wireless) to treadmill 12, transthe selected exercise program and the packetized controls
lator device 13, computer 14, communication system 18, and
signals; (2) interface means, communicating with the exer/or treadmill 20, such devices properly view the connection as 65 cise mechanism, for gathering a first real-time signal from the
a computer-readable medium. Thus, any such a connection is
user; (3) communicating means, communicating with the
properly termed a computer-readable medium. Combinations
interface means, for receiving a packetized second signal, and
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optionally, for enabling transmission of the first signal; (4)
users to interact one with another through network 16, withmeans for reproducing the second signal; (5) means for conout the capability to control one another.
trolling the operating parameters of the exercise mechanism;
Optionally communicating with communication module
(6) means for decoding the control signals; and (7) means for
254 is a third party control module 258. Third party control
driving the moveable element in response to the decoded 5 module 258, in one embodiment, enables some third party
control signals.
such as an additional personal trainer, medical provider,
In one embodiment, user modules 252a-252n communidevelopment team, and the like to view the current exercise
cate with a communication module 254, via network 16. In
program, while having the ability to control various operating
one embodiment, communication module 254 has a similar
properties of user modules 252a-252n and/or trainer modules
configuration to that of communication system 18 and is 10 256a-256n. For example, in a health club setting, third party
capable of transmitting and receiving data from user modules
control module 258 may take the form of a console operated
252a-252n. As such, communication module 254 is able to
by an individual who is able to control the operating param"transceive" information and data to and from the various
eters of one or more exercise devices (e.g., during a spinning
modules, components, and other hardware and/or software
class), whether operated by a trainer or user, during an exermodules of system 250.
15 cise program. It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art
that various other configurations of third party control module
Generally, in one illustrative embodiment, communication
258 are applicable and known to one skilled in the art, in view
module 254 is configured to act as an intermediary module
of the teachings contained herein.
between user modules 252a-252n and the various other modules of system 250. Communication module 254, therefore,
Through the illustrative configuration of control system
enables user modules 252a-252n to communicate with and 20 250 depicted in FIG. 10, a user performing various exercise
select one or more exercise programs, whether based on a
activities through user modules 252a-252n may communilive-on-live request or recorded exercise programs. The struccate with trainers using trainer modules 256a-256n in realtures and functions related to communication module 254
time communication. Additionally, one user module 252awill be discussed in greater detail hereinafter.
252n may communicate with another user module 252a-252n
25
without communicating with one of trainer modules 256aOptionally communicating with communication module
256n.
254 is one or more trainer modules 256a-256n. As illustrated,
communication module 254 is directly communicating with
Generally, communication module 254 may act as and take
trainer modules 256a-256n. Alternatively, trainer modules
the form of a server, with associated hardware and/or soft256a-256n may communicate with user modules 252a-252n 3 ware modules to enable communication between the various
through network 16, therefore enabling user modules 252amodules of the illustrated system 250. As such, user modules
252n to communicate with trainer modules 256a-256n
252a-252n, trainer modules 256a-256n, and third party conthrough network 16 without interacting with communication
trol modules 210 may be considered clients of communicamodule 254, such as illustrated in FIG. 1, where a user treadtion module 254. Alternatively, a separate server or a server
mill 12 may communicate directly with a trainer treadmill 20. 35 network, illustrated in dotted
tt lines and referenced by numeral
260 may communicate with communication module 254. In
Trainer modules 256a-256n, in one illustrative embodisuch a case, communication module 254 acts as a client.
ment, include the structures and functions of treadmill 20.
Generally, user modules 252a-252n, communication module
Generally, trainer modules 256a-256n include one or more
254, trainer modules 256a-256n, and third party control 210
exercise mechanisms with one or more moveable elements
that enable an individual to exercise during and exercise 40 may communicate one with another, via various communication line connections as discussed herein and known to one
program, whether such exercise program requires anaerobic
skilled in the art in light of the teaching contained herein.
exercise, aerobic exercise, or a combination thereof. Additionally, trainer modules 256a-256n are configured to enable
Reference is now made to FIG. 11, which is a more detailed
a trainer, whether a physical therapist, personal trainer, or the
schematic diagram of system 250. For ease of explanation,
like to perform an exercise program substantially simulta- 45 FIG. 11 only shows one user module 252 and one trainer
neously with or without substantial delay with users exercismodule 256; however it may be appreciated by one skilled in
ing through user modules 252a-252n. Furthermore, trainer
the art that a similar discussion may be made for multiple
modules 256a-256n may include hardware and/or software
users and trainer modules 252, 256 respectively.
modules and components that enable trainer modules 256aAs shown, in one embodiment, user module 252 includes a
256n to control the exercise devices incorporated within user so user interface 262. User interface 262 enables a user utilizing
module 252a-252n, such as treadmill 12. As such, trainer
the beneficial characteristics of user module 252 to engage
module 256a-256n may include various exercise devices
and give commands thereto with respect to various operating
commonly known by one skilled in the art, and various hardparameters of user module 252. For example, user interface
ware and/or software modules that enable the trainer to vary
262 may include one or more interface devices as discussed
each user module 252a-252n, whether individually, collec- 55 previously, such as one or more audio and video input devices
tively, or subsets of the entire group of user modules 252a90, 92 and one or more audio and video output devices 94, 96
252n.
as described earlier herein. Therefore, user interface 262
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that trainer
enables the user to visually and/or audibly communicate with
modules 256a-256n may take various other configurations as
the trainer manipulating personal trainer module 256, various
known by one skilled in the art, in view of the teaching 60 other stored programming, or other users. Consequently, user
contained herein. For example, although trainer modules
interface 262 may incorporate various structures and func256a-256n are depicted herein, trainer modules 256a-256n
tions of treadmill 12, and more specifically control panel 22.
may be substituted for one or more additional user modules
Furthermore, user interface 262 may incorporate various por252a-252n. Therefore, system 250 may enable multiple users
tions of translator device 13 and computer 14, such as, but not
to interact one with another through network 16, without the 65 limited to, monitor 166, keyboard 160, mouse 162, and the
capability to control one another. As referenced previously, it
like. User interface 262 is one structure capable of performing
may be understood that system 10 may also enable multiple
the function of interface means for gathering a first real-time
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signal from the user and also means for reproducing the
from communication module 254, thereby sending safety
second signal from the trainer.
signals that maintain the operating parameters of exercise
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that user
module 264 at the same level as before interruption of the
interface 262 and hence the interface means may take various
programming. In yet another configuration, safety module
forms or configurations to perform the desired function 5 268 sends one or more safety signals that slowly decrease all
thereof. For example, user interface 262 and interface means
the operating parameters of exercise module 264 to either a
may be a voice activated interface, a touch sensitive interface,
user defined or communication module 254 defined base level
an automatic monitoring system, such as a system that monior to zero upon disengagement of user module 252 from
tors heart rate, blood pressure, and the like and various other
communication module 254. As such, safety module 268 may
measurable parameters of user module 252 and a user exer- 10 include various hardware and/or software components and
cising through user module 252.
modules necessary to perform the desired function, such as,
User interface 262, in one embodiment, communicates
but not limited to, a buffer to store programming received
with exercise module 264, such as treadmill 12 or other
from communication module 254. Therefore, safety module
mechanisms having a movable element. Exercise module 264
268 is one example of a safety mechanism that is capable of
includes various hardware and software components that 15 manipulating the operating parameters of the exercise mechaenable an individual to obtain aerobic exercise, anaerobic
nism in the event that a packetized second control signal is
exercise, combinations thereof, or the like exercise program.
interrupted. As such, safety mechanism may generate one or
For example, in one embodiment exercise module 264 is
more safety signals to operate the exercise mechanism, as
treadmill 12 with computer 14 and translator device 13. Alterdiscussed herein. Safety module 268 is another example of
natively, exercise module 264 is treadmill 12 with compo- 20 communicating mechanism of the present invention.
nents of computer 14 and translator device 13 therein.
Interface module 270, connected to safety module 268,
It may be appreciated that the various modules related to
manipulates the information and data transceived through
user module 252 may be incorporated within exercise module
user interface 262, whether such data is to be delivered to
264, or more specifically within treadmill 12 or some other
exercise module 264 or for delivery to communication moddevice. In another configuration, exercise module 264 25 ule 254 through network 16. As such, interface module 228
includes a movable element, such as belt 42, that allows the
performs various operations on the data, such as, but not
user to exercise. In yet another configuration, exercise modlimited to, encrypting data, decrypting data, buffering data,
ule 264 may incorporate the structure and functionality assopacketizing data, depacketizing data, and the like. Interface
ciated with user interface 262 therein.
module 270 is one example of a communicating mechanism,
Communicating with exercise module 264 is a data storage 30 communicating with the interface, the communicating
module 266. Data storage module 266, in one embodiment is
mechanism enabling real-time transmission of the first signal
a database of operating parameters for exercise module 264
to a trainer, the communicating mechanism receiving a packwith respect to one or more exercise programs. As such, data
etized second real-time signal. In addition, interface module
storage module 266 may be a ASIC chip, programmable
270 is an example of a structure capable of performing the
ROM, CD-ROM, EEPROM, PCMCIA card, compact flash 35 function of a communicating means, communicating with the
card, flash bios, dynamic memory, magnetic storage disk,
interface means, for receiving a packetized second signal, and
optical storage media, or the like. Additionally, data storage
optionally, for enabling transmission of the first signal.
module 266 may be a hierarchal, relational, or other typical
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that there are
database, including related database management systems
various other configurations of interface module 270 and
(not shown). Generally, data storage module 266 contains the 40 hence communicating means. For example, interface module
necessary data and information to operate exercise module
270 may facilitate communication of data between one or
264 in accordance with a selected program by a user operating
more users rather than between user module 252 and trainer
user module 252 or alternatively to perform the necessary
module 256.
exercise program designated by the operator of training modGenerally, each of the modules referenced as being
ule 256. Furthermore, data storage module 266 may store 45 included within user module 252 may be integrally formed
programming retrieved from communication module 254 in
with treadmill 12 or exercise module 264. Those modules
preparation for activation of exercise module 264 upon a
may, alternatively, be added to or installed within an existing
request from a user, communication module 254, or trainer
exercise device to allow the same to communicate with commodule 256. Data storage module 266 may be incorporated
munication module 254. Therefore, the particular functions
within exercise module 264 such as when user interface 262, 50 of each of the modules referenced within user module 252
exercise module 264, and data storage module 266 are part of
may vary depending on the particular characteristics and
treadmill 12, whether or not translator device 13 and/or comproperties of the exercise device. Similarly, user module 252
puter 14 is integrally formed therewith.
may include various other modules that may be appropriate,
Communicating with exercise module 264 is a safety modas understood and may be identified by one skilled in the art.
User interface 262, safety module 268, data storage module 268. Safety module 268 optionally communicates with 55
storage module 224. Safety module 268 is intermediate
ule 266, and/or interface module 270 are examples of a conbetween an interface module 270 and exercise module 264
troller, responsive to the packetized second real-time signal,
and controls the data transferred through network 16 from
configured to control the operating parameters of the exercise
communication module 254. As such, safety module 268
mechanism (or exercise module) in real-time. Additionally,
tracks the information delivered from communication mod- 60 such a controller is a structure capable of performing the
ule 254 and automatically engages a program stored within
function of control means, communicating with the exercise
data storage module 266 upon disengagement of the connecmechanism (or exercise module), for receiving one or more
tion with communication module 254 through interface modpacketized control signals from the communication system
ule 270, thereby delivering one or more safety signals to
(or communication module) indicative of the selected exerexercise module 264. Alternatively, safety module 268 may 65 cise program and for changing one or more operating parammaintain the operating parameters of exercise module 264 at
eters of the exercise mechanism (or exercise module) based
the same level as before disengagement of user module 252
upon the selected exercise program and the one or more
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packetized control signals. It may be appreciated by one
Communicating with interface module 284 is an exercise
skilled in the art that the control means may have various
module 286 and optionally a data storage module 288. Furother configurations.
thermore, trainer module 256 includes a trainer interface 290
Communicating with user module 252 via network 16 is
that enables a trainer to input various exercise parameters to
communication module 254. As shown, communication 5 change the operating parameters of user module 252. Trainer
module 254 includes a communication user interface module
interface 290, therefore, may include the various input
272 that transceives data, such as audio, video, and control
devices recited previously with respect to user module 252
signals between user module 252 and communication module
and/or treadmill 12.
254. Communication user interface module 272 may have
Trainer module 256 optionally includes a control signal
various forms, such as, but not limited to, those described 10 generation module 292. Control signal generation module
herein with respect to interface 190. Additionally, communi292 enables trainer module 256 to generate control signals
cation user interface module 272 may include various hardthat are synchronized with the audio and/or video signals that
ware and/or software modules and components to encrypt
are transmitted from trainer module 256 to user module 252.
data, decrypt data, buffer data, packetize data, and depackControl signal generation module 292, therefore, is substanetize data, and the like.
15 tially the same as control signal generation module 282.
Communicating with communication user interface modThe synchronization of the audio and/or video signals with
ule 272 is control module 274 that may have a similar conthe control signals may be achieved in a variety of different
figuration and function to control processor 192 in FIG. 8.
manners For example, in one embodiment of such synchroControl module 274 performs many of the functions recited
nization, the audio and/or video signals indicate that the
with respect to control processor 192, in that control module 20 treadmill speed will move from 1 mile per hour to 5 miles per
274: (1) manipulates the data to be transmitted to user module
hour. The control signal may not automatically move the
252, (2) enables the user to select one of a plurality of differspeed to 5 miles per hour, but may instead ramp gradually
ent programs, whether such programs are stored or live, such
from 1 mile per hour to 5 miles per hour. Optionally, the
as those stored in memory 278, (3) requests the creation of
control signal and video/audio signals are synchronized such
control signals by control signal generation module 282 25 that a message increasing to a given speed is instantaneously
which may be synchronized with the exercise programs, (4)
matched by the exercise device.
transmits data between one or more user modules 252,
Following hereinafter is a discussion of the various
between a one or more user modules 252 and trainer modules
optional modules that may be incorporated within communi256 via communication trainer interface module 276,
between one or more user modules 252 and/or third party 30 cation module 254, in addition to those discussed earlier. It
may be appreciated by one skilled in the art, that communimodule 258, and the like. Additionally, control module 274
cation module 254 includes the typical user interfaces and
may access data that is stored in one or more memory modcommunication interfaces for enabling user module 252aules: memory 194 and external memory 196.
252n to communicate with training module 256a-256n and
Furthermore, control module 274, may automatically disoptionally
another user module 252a-252n. Generally, thereconnect data communication between user module 252 and 35
fore, communication module 254 includes various other
communication module 254 when the movable element of
functional modules. Additionally, the following discussion
exercise module 264 is stopped by the user. For example, in a
describes various functions of communication system 18 and
gym type setting, once an individual connects to communiits interaction with a user at treadmill 12, computer 14, transcation module 254, and/or communication system 18, control
module 274 provides access to communication module 254 40 lator 13, third party 21, and/or a trainer at treadmill 20
As shown in FIG. 12, communication module 254 (FIG.
with associated programming. As a user exercises, control
11) includes, in one embodiment, an iFit.com website 300
module 274 tracks the active status of the movable element of
that acts as both an interface with the user, while also conexercise module 264 to determine whether the user is controlling the operation of user module 252a-252n and/or
tinually exercising. When the user activates, through user
interface 262, stop/pause button 78 (FIG. 6), control module 45 trainer module 256a-256n. As such, iFit.com website 300 is
in communication with a number of various other modules
274 disconnects the user from communication module 254.
forming one embodiment of communication module 254.
Furthermore, control module 274 clears the temporary data
Each module depicted may represent functionality included
file stored in storage module 224 of user module 252 and may
within communication module 254, while representing strucalso clear the temporary data files stored in communication
module 254 that relate to the particular user. In this way, 50 tural hardware and/or software modules that may either be
incorporated within the hardware and software modules of
control module 274 prepares user module 252 and commuiFit.com web site 300, or alternatively, accessible by the hardnication module 254 for use by subsequent users. Although
ware and software modules forming iFit.com website 300.
the above discussion is directed to control module 274, it may
be appreciated by one skilled in the art that control processor
Generally, the iFit.com website 300 is hosted on one or
192 may perform the same function with control processor's 55 more computers, whether a general-purpose or special-purhardware and/or software modules and components.
pose computer, that may have the form of computer 14, or any
Control signal generation module 282 may have a similar
variation thereof known by one skilled in the art in view of the
configuration to that of control signal generator 200 (FIG. 8),
teaching contained herein. As such, the hardware and softso long as control signal generation module 282 is capable of
ware modules forming iFit.com website 300 may include
creating one or more control signals that may be synchro- 60 those listed herein with reference to computer 14. As depicted
nized with the audio and video signals retrieved from memory
in the illustrative configuration of FIG. 12, iFit.com website
194, 196 or received through communication trainer interface
300 may include login-registration module 302, audio pro276 from trainer module 256.
gram module 304, video program module 306, health inforTrainer module 256 has substantially the same configuramation module 308, consumer purchase module 310, pertion as that of user module 252. Therefore, trainer module 256 65 sonal training module 312, competition module 314,
includes an interface module 284 for transceiving data
diagnostic module 318, program generation module 318,
between trainer module 256 and communication module 254.
advertising module 320, and links module 322.
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According to one aspect of the present invention, commuand the like to analyze and store the information input during
nication module 254 includes a login-registration module 302
a login process. In one configuration, login-registration modthat is accessible via iFit.com web site 300. Login-registration
ule 302 may communicate with user module 252 during the
module 302 is configured to obtain the necessary registration
login process to verify that the exercise device used by the
and login information from a user wishing to use communi- 5 user is the same as previously indicated by the user during
cation module 254 and the various audio/video and literary
previous logins. In the event that the exercise device differs,
information contained therein, with their exercise device.
whether by type, model or the like, login-registration module
Referring now to FIG. 13, a flow diagram illustrating the
302 may cause communication module 254 to either prompt
operation of login-registration module 302 is depicted. Inithe user to change the stored login information, thereby varytially, login-registration module 302 identifies whether the 10 ing the access to the various programs, or automatically
user has logged into the communication module 254 before,
change the login information and associated access in light of
as represented by decision block 330. In the event that the user
the changed exercise device.
is accessing or "logging in" to iFit.com website 300 for the
In another configuration, login-registration module 302
first time, login-registration module 302 gathers the user
may be a separate hardware and/or software module or corninformation, as shown by block 332. Specifically, login-reg- 15 ponent that is located distantly from the hardware and/or
istration module 302 may gather the user's name, age, sex,
software components or modules of communication module
type of exercise equipment being used, and various other data
254. In still other configurations, login-registration module
unique to the user. Additionally, login-registration module
302 may be further adapted to store information regarding the
302 may present the user with multiple questions to obtain
use of exercise equipment. For example, login-registration
statistical information regarding the user's background, edu- 20 module 302 or some other module of communication module
cation, work experience, income, hobbies, and other related
254 may track the amount of time that a user spends exercisinformation to aid operators of communication module 254
ing on a particular type of exercise device, thereby determinand system 250 in providing greater instructional information
ing a user's exercising preferences.
to the user. Furthermore, such statistical information may also
Furthermore, login-registration module 302 may track the
be used in targeting specific advertisement to the individual 25 particular locations where the user trains to identify a user
during an exercise program.
profile of the user's exercise activities throughout the United
As information is gathered from the user, payment inforStates ofAmerica or the World. Such information may then be
mation, such as credit card numbers, accounts, and the like
used to provide the user with specific information related to
may further be obtained from the user. Alternatively, as
those locations where the user exercises most. For example,
depicted in FIG. 12, the step of obtaining payment informa- 30 the user may receive targeted advertising to exercise and
tion may follow the gathering of the user information, as
non-exercise related businesses or services within the city or
shown by block 334. Once all the necessary information is
state of the place where the individual commonly visits or
gathered, login-registration module 302 assists the user in
exercises.
defining a login user identification number (user ID) and
Referring back to FIG. 12 communication module 254
password that are unique to the particular user, as depicted by 35 includes an audio program module 304. Generally, audio
block 336. Upon defining the user password and user ID
program module 304 is configured to provide the user with
communication module 254 stores the information within a
multiple selections of audio programs that are available for
memory of communication module 254 and optionally user
particular types of exercise devices. Additionally, audio promodule 252. The user is subsequently asked to login to comgram module 304 allows the user to purchase copies of the
munication module 254.
40 audio programs that may be performed on line.
Following the logging in procedure, the user is given
As depicted in FIG. 14, audio program module 304 allows
access, as depicted by block 340, to communication module
the user to select from various types of exercise devices with
254 to the specific level that they are allowed, based upon
associated audio programs. As illustrated, audio programs
their responses to the various questions asked during the login
may have separate information for treadmills, ellipticals,
procedure. For example, if a user defines the exercise device 45 cycles, steppers, hikers, climbers, Nordic type exercise
as a treadmill located at home, the user may be limited to only
devices, and various other types of exercise devices known by
the treadmill related web pages of iFit.com website 300.
one skilled in the art. As such, a user may manually select the
Similarly, if a user does not define any account information
particular exercise device to be used. Alternatively, audio
the user may be limited to only the free web pages and
program module 304 may dynamically select the particular
information available thereon, while being restricted to so exercise device and the various audio programs applicable to
access the fee-based web pages, such as to purchase exercise
the user's exercise device by analyzing the user information
profiles, exercise equipment, and the like.
gathered by login-registration module 302. No matter the
Referring again to decision block 330, if a user accesses
manner by which the particular exercise device is selected,
communication module 254 for a second or any other subseFIG. 15 depicts an illustrative flow diagram that depicts posquent times, decision block 330 is in the negative, and login- 55 sible user selections and data flow related to accessing the one
registration module 302 gathers the user ID and password
or more audio programs available through communication
from the user, as depicted by block 342. Upon gathering the
system 18, and more specifically iFit.com website 300.
user ID and password, login-registration module 302 verifies
As shown, upon selecting a particular exercise device
the user ID and password with the stored user ID and pass(whether manually or dynamically as discussed above), as
word, as represented by block 344. Subsequently, login-reg- 60 depicted by block 350, the user is allowed to select the type of
istration module 302 either rejects access to communication
music to be played during the program session, as depicted by
module 254 or alternatively allows access thereto with the
block 352. Once the user has selected the particular music
specific level of access, as shown by blocks 346 and 340.
type, the user is given the option to view the program inforIt may be appreciated by one skilled in the art, that various
mation to determine if the difficulty level is too great, as
other functionality and structures might form login module 65 depicted by decision block 354. For example, if the individual
302. For example, login-registration module 302 may incorwishes to view the exercise program profile, communication
porate various processors, micro-controllers, logic circuits,
module 254 packetizes an audio and/or graphical representa-
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tion of the exercise program selected (i.e., the maximum
health issues for those exercising and/or those who wish to
speed, maximum incline, time to perform the exercise probegin to exercise using communication module 254. As such,
gram, amount of time at each maximum speed and incline,
in one configuration, health information module 308 is a
and various other operating parameters known to one skilled
distantly located database, such as a relational, hierarchal, or
in the art) and transmits the data to either the integrally 5 some other database that is accessible by the iFit.com website
formed video output device 92 (FIGS. 1 and 6) mounted on
300. Alternatively, health information module 308 may be
treadmill 12, or alternatively, to monitor 166 (FIG. 7) associincorporated within the hardware and/or software compoated with computer 14 for review by the user, as depicted by
nents and modules hosting iFit.com website 300.
block 356.
Communication module 254 may optionally include a conAlternatively, the user may decide not to view the user ic) sumer purchase module 310. Consumer purchase module 310
profile, such that the response to decision block 354 is in the
is configured to enable a user to purchase exercise equipment,
negative. Whether or not the user views the exercise profile,
materials such as books and instructional materials, nutrithe user may select to begin the online exercise program, as
tional supplements, and the like online. Consumer purchase
depicted by decision block 358. If the user selects in the
module 310 may, therefore, link directly to one or more
affirmative, communication module 254 delivers the audio 15 affiliates of communication module 254. Alternatively, consignals, with control signals, to user module 252 in accorsumer purchase module 310 may include a database, whether
dance with the selection. Consequently, communication
relational, hierarchal, or the like that has stored specifications,
module 254 may download the entire audio program to user
pricing guides, illustrative images of exercise devices and
module 252, or alternatively "stream" the audio signals
products, and the like, that a user may search through to find
thereto by a manner known by one skilled in the art. Upon 20 the necessary or desired exercise equipment. Additionally,
completion of the program, as depicted by block 360, the user
consumer purchase module 310 may include the necessary
is given the opportunity to purchase their own copy of the
hardware and/or software modules to gather and store billing
audio program just performed, as represented by decision
and purchase information from the user or alternatively, conblock 364. In the event they decline to purchase the program
sumer purchase module 310 may communicate with a censession, the particular audio program session is completed 25 tralized accounting module that performs the necessary funcand the user is optionally returned to the homepage of iFittions typically known by one skilled in the art related to
.com web site 300.
accounting, billing, purchasing, sales, and the like activities.
Referring again to decision block 358, if the user selects
According to another aspect of the present invention, comnot to perform the online program, the user may optionally
munication module 254 includes a personal training module
select to purchase the program, as depicted by decision block 30 312. Personal training module 312 enables a user to interact
364. If this selection is in the negative, the user is returned to
with a personal trainer on a live-on-live exercise session
the homepage of iFit.com website 300. Otherwise, if the user
whether in a one on one session or in a group setting. Addiwishes to purchase the program, audio program module 302
tionally, personal trainer module 312 enables the user to ask
gathers account information, as depicted by block 366 and
questions and receive communications from one or more
media format, such as CD, tape, MP3 file, or the like, as 35 personal trainers related to exercise advice, techniques, and
depicted by block 368. Furthermore, audio program module
programs, whether or not in real-time.
304, through video output device 90 or monitor 166 displays
Referring now to FIG. 16, a schematic representation of the
the pricing guides for various types of media and/or associvarious illustrative functional modules of personal training
ated mailing costs, as depicted by block 370. Alternatively,
module 312 are illustrated. As shown, personal training modaudio program module 304 may interface with an accounting 40 ule 312 includes a scheduling module 380 that enables varimodule that performs the function of storing and collecting
ous individuals to schedule times to talk to and optionally
account information and purchase information from any of
perform a live workout program. Scheduling module 380
the various modules associated with communication module
enables the user to access a profile module 382 that contains
254. As such, communication module 254 may have a cenone or more trainer profiles. In this way, personal training
tralized accounting module that is accessible by one or more 45 module 312 enables a user to review the profiles of the various
of the various modules forming communication module 254.
trainers to select the particular trainer that best suits the user' s
Furthermore, in another alternate configuration, audio proneeds and/or time requirements. Profile module 382 may,
gram module 304 may communicate with login-registration
therefore, include a database, whether relational, hierarchimodule 304 and obtain account information therefrom.
cal, or the like, or some other data storage hardware and/or
Referring again to FIG. 12, communication module 254 so software that is capable of storing data in an accessible form.
further includes video program module 306. Video program
Scheduling module 380, in one embodiment, communimodule 306 uses a similar flow of information and related
cates with a calendaring module 384 that lists the days of the
functional operations as audio program module 302; howmonth and the particular times available for one-on-one exerever, video program module 306 merely gives video options
cise programs with each trainer. Additionally, calendaring
to the user, whether such video options include or exclude 55 module 384 may list the times of group sessions and enable a
audio programs transposed or incorporated therein. Thereuser to select a particular session time reference within calfore, instead of selecting a music type, video program module
endaring module 384 for the user to exercise with a personal
306 enables a user to select a video program session and
trainer.
receive real-time or streamed video and/or audio signals.
As shown, scheduling module 380 may communicate with
Similarly, in the event the user wishes to purchase the video 60 a mailbox module 386 that includes multiple mailboxes, one
program, video program module 306 enables the user to
for each user and trainer. Each mailbox may receive email
select a particular type of video format such as CD ROM,
from trainers and other users of communication module 254,
DVD, video tape, MP3 file, and the like.
or alternatively, only trainers or communication module 254
According to another aspect of the present invention, commay deliver a message 388 to each user, such as electronic
munication module 254 includes a health information module 65 mail. Generally, each mailbox is configured to receive mes308. Health information module 308, in one embodiment,
sages from the trainers regarding scheduled one-on-one exerincludes a searchable database of information related to
cise sessions or group sessions. Additionally, communication
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module 254 or iFit.com web site 300 may deliver notifications
traveled is maintained and updated. Each competitor may
of upcoming special group exercise sessions, or other inforcompare the total distance traveled against other competitors
mation related to the user and/or exercising. Each user and/or
to see who runs a number of miles equivalent to running
trainer may save unique exercise programs created by the user
around the world in the shortest time.
and/or the trainer within data storage 390 accessible by mail- 5
With reference to FIG. 17A, when the race around the
box module 386. Optionally, data storage 390 may correworld race type is selected, competition module 314 retrieves
spond to memory 278 (FIG. 11) or other external memory that
the stored statistical information of the user, as depicted by
is accessible to mailbox module 386.
block 410. The statistical information may include, but is not
Communicating with personal training module 312 is a
limited to, distance traveled by the user, average speed of the
video conferencing module 392. Video conferencing module 10 user, and the like. Once competition module 314 selects the
392 provides the functional hardware and/or software to
stored statistical information, such information may be comallow a user to videoconference with a personal trainer. For
pared against other competitors in the race, as depicted by
example, video conferencing module 392 may include variblock 412. Competition module 314 may deliver comparison
ous hardware and/or software modules that: (1) assist with
data to communication module 254. In turn, communication
data transmission of audio and/or video signals between user 15 module 254 may deliver a graphical representation of the
module 252a-252n and trainer module 256a-256n; (2) assist
user's exercise distance, times, speed, and other information
with image and voice capturing; (3) packetizing or depackcompared against other competitors to the user via user modetizing data, and the like, such as those discussed with respect
ule 252a-252n. A user module 252a-252n or a user operating
to system 10, or otherwise known to those skilled in the art in
treadmill 12, for example, may view their distance and times
light of the teaching contained herein. Additionally, video 20 with respect to other competing users of user modules 252aconferencing module 392 allows the user to videoconference
252n, thereby being motivated to exercise more. Once such
with the personal trainer in either a private room, as repreinformation is depicted, the user may modify their existing
sented by numeral 394 or in a public room, as represented by
exercise programs to either increase or decrease exercise
numeral 396. In either case, (i.e., in the private or public
parameters of the programs. For example, if the user sees that
room) the user may exercise with the personal trainer in a 25 they have not run as many miles as other competitors, they
one-on-one or group setting.
may increase the distance to be run in the future. Once the user
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art, that the
is ready, the user may begin or continue the race, as reprefunctionality described herein with respect to personal trainsented by block 414. As the user exercises communication
ing module 312 may be varied and is only illustrative of one
module 254 records new statistical information for the user,
possible embodiment thereof. Other functionality and asso- 30 such as speed, distance traveled, calories used, and the like.
ciated structures such as hardware and/or software modules
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that various
may be included within personal trainer module 312. Furtherother configurations of the race around the world type race are
more, various other linkages may occur between the various
applicable and known to one skilled in the art. For example, in
functional modules of personal training module 312. For
another configuration of the race around the world type race,
example, in one alternate embodiment, calendaring module 35 a user may select a particular time period, say from January 1
384 is linked with private room 394 such that upon scheduling
to February 1, and race against others to see who travels the
a one-on-one exercise program, a private room is automatifurthest distance within the given time period. Again, comcally scheduled for the user. Additionally, calendaring modmunication module 254 tracks the distance traveled of each
ule 384 may automatically send a message to the user's mailcompetitor and may provide graphical representations of the
box, thereby providing the user with information regarding 40 position of one competitor against the other competitors. In
the particular private room scheduled and a reminder of the
still yet another configuration, the race around the world may
schedule time.
include racing over various types of terrain ranging from
According to another aspect of the present invention, as
deserts, mountains, and the like. As such, each competitor
illustrated in FIG. 12, iFit.com website 300 includes a comfollows a similar overall exercise profile and communication
petition module 314. Competition module 314 enables one or 45 module 254 tracks the time that a user takes to complete the
more individuals to engage in competitive exercise programrace, for example, when a user slows down the treadmill
ming with one another or alternatively with the communicabased upon the terrain traversed.
tion module 254 hosting iFit.com web site 300. Such competiReferring again to FIG. 17A, the user may optionally select
tive exercise programming motivates the users to exercise on
to race against the computer, as referenced by block 404. As
a more regular basis while also setting goals for the individual so the name of the race type suggests, this option enables the user
to reach. Competition module 314, therefore, provides varito select a particular type of race and a particular skill level of
ous benefits to those seeking to exercise on a regular basis.
the computer against which to race. As shown in FIG. 17C, a
Referring now to FIGS. 17A-17D, a flow diagram repreuser selects the difficulty level for the particular race, as
senting one illustrative operation of competition module 314
represented by block 416, such as in the case of a treadmill,
is depicted. As shown, a user selects the particular race types 55 the speed, incline, distance, and the like. This may also enable
that they wish to engage in, as depicted by block 400. Three
the user to select a particular skill level of the computer, such
types of races are depicted; race around the world 402, race
as a beginner runner, intermediate runner, or advanced runner.
against the computer 404, and personalized race 406; howAdditionally, the user may select various other options, as
ever various other race types are applicable and known to one
represented by block 418, such as a head start for the comskilled in the art, in view of the teaching contained herein. 60 puter or the user, scaling of the particular difficulty level, and
One particular race type is a race around the world. In the
the like. Upon completing the selections, the user may race
race around the world type race, an individual races against
against the computer, as represented by block 420.
various other individuals to determine who will run around
With reference to FIG. 17A, another type of race is a
the world in the shortest time. Communication module 254
personalized race, as depicted by block 406. In the personaltracks the exercising activities of competing users of user 65 ized race, two or more individuals schedule a live on live
modules 252a-252b and computes the distance traveled per
session, such as in a private room of personal training module
exercise session and per user. A running total of the distance
312 where they may race one against the other, while viewing
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graphical representations of the distance, time, and speed of
art that the live on live and time-adjusted races may be perthe other competitors. Alternatively, two or more individuals
formed in a variety of different manners For example, the
may schedule a race where the start time is adjusted based
number of competitors is not limited to any specific number.
upon the particular location of the competitors.
Additionally, the time adjustments may allow for competitors
As shown in FIG. 17D, a user may select a time-adjusted 5 throughout the world to race one against another.
race, as depicted by decision block 422. If the user rejects
It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that competime adjustment, then the user will race against one or more
tition module 314 may have various other configurations. For
competitors in a live-on-live competition. The user selects
example, the functionality of competition module 314 may be
one or more competitors, as referenced by block 424. Followincorporated within user modules 252a-252n. As such, two or
ing the selection, each competitor enters a private room to io more user modules 252a-252n may be in direct communicabegin the race and to synchronize each competitor's exercise
tion one with another, without the aid of communication
device with communication module 254 and each other, as
module 254, and the internal modules of user modules 252adepicted by block 426. Alternatively, each competitor may
252n enable competition data to be transceived between the
merely enter the private room that has been scheduled for the
user modules 252a-252n.
race, thereby automatically selecting each competitor for the 15
With reference again to FIG. 12, communication module
race, while synchronizing each competitor's exercise device
254 further includes a diagnostic module 316. Diagnostic
in block 426 in preparation for beginning the race as depicted
module 316 enables the user to perform a diagnostic analysis
by block 428.
of their particular exercise device or product in the case of
Synchronization prepares the communication links
disconnection or changes in the operation of their exercise
between each competitor and generates the displays and data 20 device or product. Additionally, diagnostic module 316
flow therebetween, such as, but not limited to, the audio and
enables the user to update and change operational parameters
video data flows and displays that enable each competitor to
of the user's exercise device or product, either through
view their progress against each other. For example, the dismanual activation of diagnostic control 88 (FIG. 6) or autoplay may include a racing track that shows a relative position
matically through communication module 254. For example,
of each competitor one with another, or a trail that each 25 in the event a new software update is available for the parcompetitor races along. It may be appreciated that various
ticular exercise device's software, communication module
other data flows and displays are appropriate and known to
254 may automatically recognize operation of the update and
one skilled in the art in view of the teaching contained herein.
deliver the same to each individual having an exercise device
As suggested above, the user may select a time-adjusted
or product that may benefit from updating of the software.
race. The time-adjusted race allows two or more competitors 30 Additionally, the diagnostic module 316 may identify probto conveniently race against each other. For example, the
lems with the exercise device and subsequently schedule
time-adjusted race allows an individual on the east coast to
arrival times for maintenance workers to resolve physical
race against individuals in the Mountain Time zone and the
problems that are unable to be fixed by remote communicawest coast at the same local time, for example 5:00 p.m. The
tion from communication module 254.
time-adjusted race, therefore, stores the race of one indi- 35
As such, referring now to FIG. 18, an illustrative flow
vidual, say the individual on the east coast who races at 5:00
diagram representing diagnostic module 316 is depicted. As
p.m. and then rebroadcasts the stored exercise race to those
shown, a user is asked to select whether they wish to update
other individuals in various other time zones upon reaching
their product, as depicted by decision block 440. Alternathe designated time period, such as 5:00 p.m. Mountain Stantively, communication module 254 may automatically recogdard Time, pacific time, and the like.
40 nize that the exercise device or product is to be updated,
With reference to FIG. 17D, for ease of explanation, let us
therefore eliminating block 440 from the flow diagram. In the
assume that three individuals, one on the east coast, one in the
event that the user wishes to update the exercise device or
Mountain Time zone, and one on the west coast wish to race
product, communication module 254, and more specifically
against each other at 5:00 pm local time. Each competitor
diagnostic module 316, connects directly to user module
accesses communication module 254 and selects each other 45 252a-252n via network 16 (FIGS. 1 and 10), as depicted by
as competitors, block 430, in a time-adjusted race, as depicted
block 442. Such connection may be achieved by a variety of
in decision block 422. Each competitor defines the particular
manners, as known by one skilled in the art and also discussed
time period or adjusted time at which each individual is to
herein. Upon connecting to user module 252a-252n or prodrace, as depicted by block 432. The selections and adjusted
uct, diagnostic module 316 verifies that particular hardware
times for each competitor are stored in one or more databases so and/or software modules are contained therein, as shown by
or other storage modules associated with an identification
block 444. In the event that software or read/write hardware
number given to the time-adjusted race or directly to each
may be updated, the necessary executable file is either
competitor. Once the information is entered and stored, the
streamed or downloaded to user module 252a-252n, as refercompetitor on the east coast may perform their race on their
enced by block 446. Upon receiving the downloadable file,
own or with the aid of a pace setter generated by the computer 55 user module 252a-252n executes the executable file to update
at the appointed time, as depicted by block 434. Once the east
the hardware and/or software components therein, as refercoast competitor finishes their race, the statistical information
enced by block 448. Alternatively, such as in system 10 (FIG.
and a real-time representation of the race is stored, as repre1), the downloadable file may be downloaded to computer 14
sented by block 436. Upon the arrival of the adjusted time for
which may execute the program and update treadmill 12
the Mountain Time zone competitor to race, communication 60 remotely.
module 254 will rebroadcast the particular race performed by
Referring again to decision block 440, when the user
the east coast competitor to the Mountain Time zone comanswers in the negative, the user is subsequently queried as to
petitor. Similarly, upon the time for the west coast competitor
whether they are having difficulty with their exercise device
to race, communication module 254 will rebroadcast the paror product, as identified by decision block 450. Upon answerticular race performed by the east coast competitor and 65 ing in the affirmative, diagnostic module 316 queries the user,
optionally the Mountain Time zone competitor to the west
as depicted by block 452, as to the difficulties they are having
coast competitor. It may be appreciated by one skilled in the
and what attempts if any, they have made to resolve the
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problem. Upon gathering the necessary information, diagnoserate a completely new audio track, according to block 484.
tic module 316 connects to the exercise device or other
Once the video program, and optional music program, is
device, as depicted by block 454, and thereafter analyzes the
selected, the user may subsequently generate an exercise
various hardware and software problems to resolve and idenprofile, as represented by block 486, in a similar manner to
tify whether it is possible to remotely fix the problem, as 5 that described above. As with the audio program, the video
depicted by blocks 456 and 458. In the event that the exercise
program may be stored for use at subsequent times, as
device or product may be remotely corrected, through an
depicted by block 488.
update, as depicted by decision block 460, diagnostic module
The presently described invention may be used in a variety
316 will then perform the steps of updating as previously
of situations to enable individuals who wish to exercise to
described in block 442, 444, 446, and 448. Alternatively, if the 10 obtain more beneficial results in a highly motivated setting.
problem may not be corrected through remote access, diagWith this in mind, following hereinafter is an illustrative
nostic module 316 may automatically schedule a time for
embodiment of an environment within which the exercise
physical maintenance of the device or product. It may be
devices and modules of the presently described invention may
appreciated by one skilled in the art, that various other funcbe used.
tionality may be performed by diagnostic module 316.
15
Referring again to FIG. 12, communication module 254
In an alternate configuration, when user module 252 (FIG.
includes an advertising module 320. Advertising module 320
10) is placed in the active status (e.g. turned on) user module
is adapted to retrieve the information obtained by login-reg252 may optionally analyze its internal hardware and/or softistration module 302 and retrieve from memory 194 or exterware modules to verify that such modules are operating cornal memory 196 (FIG. 8) advertisements that may be approrectly. In the event that one or more problems occur, diagnos- 2o priate for the user to view in light of the selections made
tic module 316 answers decision block 440 in the affirmative,
during the login process. In one embodiment, an audio and
thereby automatically obtaining an update from communicavideo advertisement signal is delivered with the audio and
tion module 254 (FIG. 10) or alternatively manually requestvideo exercise programming to appear on user interface 262
ing information from the user. Optionally, when a user of user
(FIG. 11). For example, a banner may appear on user interface
module 252 accesses communication module 254 (FIG. 10), 25 262 (FIG. 11), and more specifically video display 94 (FIG. 6)
communication module 254 activates diagnostic module 316
for the user. Such advertising may, alternatively, take the form
(FIG. 12) to analyze user module 252.
of an additional streaming, real-time audio and video output
Referring again to FIG. 12, according to another aspect of
that is linked to one or more national advertising agencies. In
the present invention, communication module 254 enables a
such a case, the banner may optionally appear for a few
user to prepare a personalized audio and/or video exercise 30 seconds to present a micro-commercial targeted to the user of
program. Communication module 254, therefore, includes
user module 252. Upon completing the commercial, the banprogram creation module 318. Program creation module 318,
ner may disappear, to subsequently reappear with the same or
referring now to FIG. 19, enables a user to select an audio
alternatively different micro commercials at various periods
program session, as depicted by decision block 470 and/or a
along an exercise program.
video program session, as depicted by decision block 478. In 35
Referring again to FIG. 12, communication module 254
the event that only an audio program session is desired, the
includes a links module 322. Links module 322 is configured
user initially selects the type of exercise device that the proto provide the user with a list of various additional web sites
gram is to be used, such as, but not limited to, treadmills,
where educational and exercise information, products, matecycles, steppers, hikers, climbers, Nordic style devices, elliprials, and the like may be viewed and/or purchased.
ticals, and the like, as represented by block 472. Upon select- 40
With reference now to FIG. 20, a master-slave system 500
ing the type of device, the user may then select a specific type
is depicted that may or may not use the systems described
of music, such as rock, pop, country, jazz, classical, alternaabove to enable communication between the various compotive, or the like, that is to be used with the exercise program,
nents of the master-slave system as will be described in detail
as represented by block 474. Once a particular music type is
hereinafter. Master-slave system 500 may use various types
selected, the user may then generate an exercise profile that 45 of networks, such as the Internet to enable communication
the exercise device will follow during the exercise program,
between the various portions of master-slave system 500.
as depicted by block 476. Generation of the exercise profile
Master-slave system 500, in this embodiment, includes a
may include defining one or more operating parameters of the
master device 502 and one or more slave devices 504a-504n
exercise device, such as the speed and inclination of the tread
communicating with master device 502. In this embodiment,
base for a given period of time. Upon finalizing the exercise so master device 502 may take the form of a treadmill with a
program, the user may then store the program, as represented
computer integrally formed therein.
by block 488, such as in their mailbox, on their exercise
Alternatively, master device 502 may be a treadmill with
device, on a computer readable media, or the like.
one or more processors, controllers and memory storage
In the case of a video program, the user again selects the
devices that allow master device 502 to control one or more
particular type of exercise device to be used in association 55 slave devices 504a-504n without entirely incorporating a
with the exercise programming, as represented by block 480.
computer therein. Master device 502, therefore, may or may
Upon selecting the exercise device, the user may select a
not incorporate the structure and functionality of treadmill 20
particular video presentation they desire, as represented by
(FIG. 1) or other exercise devices, communication module
block 482. The video presentation includes any type of moti254 (FIG. 10), and/or trainer modules 256a-256n (FIG. 10).
vational programming known to those skilled in the art. For 60
Generally, master device 502 enables an individual exerexample, and not by way of limitation, the video presentation
cising thereupon to control one or more slave devices 504amay include natural scenes, such as mountains, oceans,
504n, in real-time, whether or not master device 502 receives
streams, and the like, exercising individuals, educational proinput data from the one or more slave devices 504a-504n. As
gramming, abstract images, and the like. It is preferred that
depicted, master device 502 is directly linked with each of the
each video presentation includes a specific sound track; how- 65 slave devices 504a-504n via a communication line connecever, the user may modify a particular audio track that is
tion, such as, but not limited to, existing broadcast technolsynchronized with the video presentation or optionally genogy, including short range wireless transmissions, television
Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 56 of 65
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broadcast over the airwaves, cable or cable modems, satellite,
According to another aspect of the present invention, one
telephone lines, whether analog or digitally based, wireless
or more users are enabled to exercise in a group setting, while
technology, other high-speed data connections, or any other
being distantly located one from another. Furthermore, the
suitable transmission technology or medium. Master device
present invention enables home exercise equipment users to
502, therefore, includes the appropriate hardware and/or soft- 5 interact with trainers, other users, physical therapists, physiware applicable to enable master device 502 to communicate
cians, and the like in live-on-live workout sessions and, in
and control one or more slave devices 504a-504n.
some situations, allow a trainer, physical therapists, physiIn one case, the internal components of master device 502,
cians, and the like to control at least one operating parameter
alone, are sufficient to enable communication to and control
of the exercise device upon which the user is training.
of slave devices 504a-504n. Therefore, master device 502 10
To enable the above-described communication, a user may
need not incorporate computer 14 (FIG. 1), translator device
access a communication system or module that facilitates
13 (FIG. 1), or hardware and/or software modules of commucommunication between one or more users, trainers, or third
nication system 18, or communication module 254 therein. In
parties. Such communication system or module may include
another configuration, master device 502 may communicate
at least one web site with associated web pages. As a user
with slaves 504a-504n via a network and a communication 15 accesses the communication system or module, statistical
system or module so that master-slave system 500 has a
information related to an individual's workout regime, such
similar configuration to system 250 where one or more trainer
as how much time an individual spends on each various
modules 256a-256n control the operation of one or more user
exercise device, the locations where they trained, when each
modules 252a-252n via network 16, whether or not commuuser accesses the communication system or modules, and the
nication module 254 is used to facilitate such communication 20 like is gathered.
and control.
Generally, the communication system or module, and
Each slave device 504a-504n and sub-slave device 506ahence the web site, may enable a user to access information
506n linked to master device 502 may take the form of an
and programming contained therein, while, in one embodiexercise device, such as treadmill 12, translator device 13,
ment, the communication system or module has the ability to
and/or computer 14 of FIG. 1. Additionally, each slave device 25 control at least one operating parameter of the device or
504a-504n may incorporate the structure and functionality of
exercise device via the web site and web pages. In one case,
user modules 252a-252n. Each slave device 504a-504n,
when a user activates one or more input devices, such as a
therefore, may be controlled by master device 502 in realtouch sensitive screen having a visual representation of the
time while enabling the user to manually override the operaweb page thereon, the communication system or module, via
tion of the exercise device in opposition to control signals 30 the web site, changes the operational parameters of the device
received from master device 502.
or exercise device.
As illustrated in FIG. 20, each slave 504a-504n may
Another type of motivational content may include one or
optionally be a master to subsequent sub-slave device 506amore electronic magazines or books that a user may down506n, as shown in broken lines. In such a manner, various
load to view while exercising. Yet another type of motivaexercise devices may be separated into different groups. For 35 tional content or programming relates to the ability of the user
example, slave 504a may receive a beginner level control
to view an exercise profile representative of the exercise prosignal from master 502. In turn, slave 504a may control the
gram currently being performed by the user. Such profile may
operation of one or more sub-slave devices 506a-506n that
be displayed to the user continuously, periodically, or other
are operated by one or more beginners Similarly, slave 504b
under the control of the user and/or the communication sysmay receive an intermediate level control signal from master 40 tem or module. In one configuration, the exercise profile may
502 and subsequently control one or more sub-slaves (not
appear and overlay the visual image that the user is watching,
shown), while slave 504n may receive an advanced level
whether the visual image is a television broadcast, webcast, or
control signal from master 502 and subsequently control one
the like.
or more sub-slaves (not shown).
Another type of motivational content relates to various
According to another alternate configuration, master 45 advertisements. During the exercise program a user may
device 502 may receive information from each slave device
receive commercial advertising through an advertising ban504a-504n representative of the user's heart rate, blood presner that may continuously or periodically appear on the video
sure, and the like. Master device 502 may, therefore, modify
display. Optionally, the advertisement may appear in a piceach slave device 504a-504n or sub-slave device 506a-506n,
ture-in-picture advertisement that is delivered to the user as a
whether individually or collectively, based upon the data so micro-commercial that is displayed to the user and subsereceived from the user. For example, if the user's heart rate is
quently removed.
too high, master device 502 may automatically reduce one or
As implied above, the programming received from the
more operating parameters of the exercise device, such as
communication system or module may be live or recorded. In
speed, incline, resistance, and the like.
some situations the live programming received by the user
Although it is preferred that the communications per- 55 may be too difficult or not difficult enough for the user of the
formed according to the present invention (e.g., the first signal
exercise device. One embodiment of the present invention
and the second signal) be in real-time, it is also possible to
provides scaling controls that allow the user to scale the
achieve many objects of the present invention by engaging in
signals received from the communication system or module
communication other than real-time.
and/or the trainer. In this manner, the exercising user may
According to one aspect of the present invention, an exer- 60 increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise program.
cise device is disclosed that incorporates various audio/video
Such scaling may be achieve either at the user device, trainer
features into the device or exercise device itself rather than
device, the communication system or module, or at some
having external audio/video features connected thereto. The
other third party modules that may control the operation of the
exercise device may also include sensors that track the activuser's exercise device. By selecting a particular option on the
ity level of an individual on the exercise device, to determine 65 web page, the user's appliance will be controlled according to
whether a user is actually exercising or to determine whether
the scaled choice. Optionally, the user may define a maximum
the user is old enough to be using the exercise device.
limited for one or more of the operating parameters of the
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device, such that transmitted programming is limited in
ners also give their riders a similarly intense riding experiaccordance with the maximum values defined for each operence. The master may selectively choose groups of particiating parameter.
pants based on various criteria, such as participant's heart
According to another aspect of the present invention, the
rates, and change those participants exercise program, while
systems, devices, and modules of the present invention enable 5 maintaining other participants at the original or different
bi-directional communication between one or more user
exercise level.
devices and one or more trainer devices. The communication
Referring now to FIGS. 21-25, depicted is another illustrasystem or module of the present invention may retrieve infortive system, designated by referenced numeral 600, that may
mation from the devices and/or exercise devices and evaluincorporate the novel features of the present invention. The
ates the operating parameters of the device and/or exercise io majority of the features and elements of system 600 are simidevice. The communication system or module may analyze
lar to those referenced with respect to system 10, and system
any measurable parameter of the device or exercise device
250. Subsequently, like elements, features, or devices are
and may optionally analyze any measurable parameter of a
designated with like reference numerals.
user exercising using the exercise device. In response to this
As shown, an exercise mechanism, such as treadmill 12 is
analysis, the communication system or module prescribes a 15 in communication with a trainer (not shown) at treadmill 20
particular action for the device or exercise device to perform,
via optional personal computer 14. Alternatively, treadmill 12
such as changing the speed of a treadmill, inclination of a
may communicate with a trainer at communication system 18
treadmill, and the like. In this manner, the exercise device is
or third-party 21, either directly via network 16 or through
capable of being controlled by signals from the communicapersonal computer 14 and network 16. Although not depicted
tion system or module.
20 in FIG. 21, one skilled in the art can appreciate that treadmill
Similarly, the exercise device can be controlled by physical
12 can communicate with communication system 18 via
controls integrated onto the device or exercise device. The
translator device 13 (FIG. 1) and computer 14, as described
physically integrated controls and the control signals from the
previously.
communication system or module can be passed through a
Generally, system 600 allows a user of treadmill 12 to
buffer that controls the exercise device or device. In this way, 25 download exercise programs stored at communication sysin the event that connectivity to the communication system or
tem 18, treadmill 20, or third party 21 for use in the performodule is lost, a user of the device or exercise device is still
mance of an exercise workout. These programs can include
capable of controlling the device or exercise device.
motivational content with optional control signals that control
In additional to control signals, communication system or
the operation of treadmill 12. The control signals may or may
modules can remotely update various portions of a device or 30 not be synchronized with the motivational content based upon
exercise device according to the need or direction of the user
the particular motivational content and downloadable exerof the device or as determined by the communication system
cise program. Therefore, each program can include an audio
or module. For example, communication system or module
representation of a trainer performing an exercise workout,
may change any and all parameters related to the device or
while providing encouragement and other motivational supexercise device, such as the BIOS, or some other software. 35 port, and/or control signals that vary one or more operating
This can be achieved automatically or through use of a diagparameters of treadmill 12.
nostic button. Upon activation of the diagnostic button, the
As illustrated, system 600 includes a portable system 602.
internal hardware and/or software components of the device
Portable system 602 can download exercise programs from
or exercise device, solely, or in combination with the comone or more of the other systems or devices of system 600. For
munication system or modules tests and checks the various 40 example, portable system 602 can download motivational
hardware and/or software modules, components, or elements
content with associated control signals from communication
of the device or exercise device. If any problems are found the
system 18 through network 16 and personal computer 14.
internal hardware and/or software components of the device
Although it is desirable that the motivational content includes
or exercise device, solely, or in combination with the comsynchronized control signals, one skilled in the art can appremunication system or modules attempt to fix the problems. 45 ciate that portable system 602 can receive motivational conAdditionally, the diagnostic button may activate a downloadtent without control signals, control signals without motivaing sequence to update information on the appliance with new
tional content, or asynchronous motivational content and
software from a central database, such as at communication
control signals.
system or module.
As shown, portable system 602 can communicate directly
As discussed previously, the diagnostic button is one so with treadmill 12 and computer 14 to gain access to commuexample of an interface to allow a user to access the communication system 18. Further, as illustrated in FIG. 21, portable
nication system. One embodiment of the present invention
system 602 can directly communicate with network 16 to
can include other interfaces that can communicate with existaccess communication system 18, treadmill 20, or third-party
ing hardware and/or software components of various existing
21 when portable system 602 has Internet capabilities, such as
devices and exercise devices. As such, those devices or exer- 55 when portable system 602 is a personal digital assistant, a
cise devices not currently capable of communicating with
palm computer, a mobile or wireless telephone, or the like.
communication system or module, can be retrofitted with
In addition to downloading exercise programs, portable
various hardware and/or software modules as described
system 602 can upload to communication system 18, treadherein to allow the exercise device or device to communicate
mill 20, and/or third-party 21 data specific to the user of
with the communication system or module.
60 treadmill 12. For instance, portable system 602 can upload
In addition to operating alone, a number of the devices of
data representative of any measurable parameter of the treadthe present invention can be used in a master-slave system. In
mill user to personal computer 14, communication system 18,
such a system, changes to the operating parameters of the
treadmill 20, or third party 21 of system 600. Such data can be
master are translated to the operating parameters of the slave,
representative of, but not limited to, the user's heart rate,
thereby controlling the operation of the device or exercise 65 user's blood pressure, distance traveled by the user, period of
device. For example, in a spinner class, upon activation of a
time which the user exercises, and the like. Similarly, portable
more intense riding experience by the master, the slave spinsystem 602 can upload data representative of any measurable
Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 58 of 65
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parameter of the exercise device, i.e., treadmill 12. Such data
can include, but not limited to, speed or inclination of the belt,
operating status of the components and modules of treadmill
12, and the like.
Whether the data represents operating parameters of the
exercising user or treadmill 12, this data can be stored at
communication system 18 for analysis by a trainer either
alone or in combination with modules and components of
treadmill 20, and third party 21. Consequently, the trainer
either alone or in combination with the modules and components of communication system 18, third party 21 can prepare
a user specific exercise program that can be downloaded to the
user of treadmill 12.
By providing access to a trainer, portable system 602 facilitates the performance of an exercise program by the user of
treadmill 12. Further, portable system 602 provides a user
with the functionality associated with an iFit compatible exercise mechanism, as discussed herein, when the exercise
mechanism upon which the user is exercising is iFit incompatible, i.e., portable system 602 allows a user to access the
iFit.com website 300 (FIG. 11) hosted on communication
system 18, download an exercise program, and perform the
exercise program in accordance with the motivational content, without the need to own or have access to a treadmill that
can communicate with communication system 18. In this
manner, a user can experience an iFit experience with a user's
existing exercise mechanism or equipment.
Referring now to FIG. 22, a more detailed representation of
one illustrative portable system 602 of the present invention is
depicted. Portable system 602 includes a control device 604,
an audio delivery device 606, and a sensing device 608.
Although each of these devices 604, 606, and 608 are illustratively separated one from another, various other configurations of the present invention can incorporate all or a portion
of device 604, 606, and 608 into a single device.
Control device 604 of portable system 602 is configured to
download and deliver exercise programs to an exercising user
and upload retrieved exercise data to personal computer 14,
communication system 18, treadmill 20, and/or third party
21. The downloaded exercise program and retrieved exercise
data can be stored within control device 604 on a storage
medium 621, whether removable or not, such as but not
limited to a ASIC chip, programmable ROM, CD-ROM,
EEPROM, PCMCIA card, a recordable integrated circuit (IC)
termed a memory stick, compact flash card, flash bios,
dynamic memory, magnetic storage disk, optical storage
media, or the like.
For example, the storage medium 621 can include a USBenabled storage device (e.g., the TREKS FLASH DRIVES),
as well as other types of storage made by other manufacturers,
where the storage medium has a suitable connection interface. As such, portable system 602 can also be considered a
USB-enabled portable system, a Firewire-enabled portable
system, and the like. In particular, the term "USB-enabled"
(or, for example, "Firewire-enabled"), as well as the designation of having a USB (or related interface) refers to Universal
Serial Bus (or related) connection interfaces being present on
the indicated device or apparatus. Thus, with respect to USB,
for example, USB-enabled memory can include a storage
medium, such as a flash, magnetic, or optical storage
medium, having a USB connection interface for connecting
the USB-enabled memory to another USB-enabled component directly, or through a USB cable. USB-enabled memory
can also include USB communication protocols stored
thereon, such that the USB-enabled memory is USB "compliant", as per the USB Implementers Forum, Inc.
50
The stored exercise program, in this illustrative configuration, can include motivational content and control signals that
operate treadmill 12 in synchronization with the motivational
content. For instance, the motivational content can be an
5 audio program having one of a variety of formats, such as a
MP3 file, a wave file, an audio file, a MIDI file, and the like.
Similarly, the control signals forming part of the exercise
program can be audible or inaudible signals that cause a
change in one or more of the operating parameters of tread10 mill 12, such as in the manner discussed previously.
As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the exercise
program can be devoid of control signals, thereby allowing
the user to manually manipulate the controls of treadmill 12.
Alternatively, the exercise program can include the control
15 signals, while the user can manually override the changes
initiated by the control signals. Similarly, when the exercise
mechanism is not iFit compatible or not capable of being
controlled by the control signals, the control signals will have
no effect on the exercise mechanism, consequently allowing
20 the user to manipulate the operation of the exercise mechanism. In still another configuration, the exercise program can
only include control signals with no motivational content,
such as when the motivational content is delivered to control
device 604 as a separate file written or stored on a storage
25 medium.
As illustratively shown in FIG. 22, control device 604
includes buttons 614a-614e, ports 616, 618, and 620 and a
display 622. Each button 614a-614e and port 616, 618, and
620 is considered an input device or means for inputting data
30 into control device 604. In some embodiments, display 622 is
also an input device, such as when display device 620 is a
touch sensitive input device or other similar display device
that allows a user to input data into control device 604 or
otherwise causes control device 604 to perform the desired
35 function. Furthermore, in at least one implementation, ports
616, 618, and 620 can each be ports configured for other types
of electronic interfaces such as Universal Serial Bus (USB)
interfaces, IEEE 1394 (Firewire) interfaces, optical (e.g.,
infrared, radio, optical cable, etc.) send and receive interfaces,
40 stereo or RCA interfaces, and so forth.
Each button 614a-614e allows a user to initiate or activate
different functionality of control device 604 and system 600.
For instance, one button, such as 614a can power control
device 604 into an "on" or operational status, while another
45 button 614e can place control device 604 into an "off' or
inoperable status. Further, other buttons can: (i) begin the
delivery of motivational content and/or control signals to
treadmill 12; (ii) initiate storing or downloading of motivational content and/or control signals to control device 604;
50 (iii) receive data representative of any measurable parameter
detected by sensing device 608, audio delivery device 606, or
one or more sensors coupled or communicating with treadmill 12; (iv) deliver motivational content to audio delivery
device 606; (v) display information or data associated with
55 the motivational content, the control signals, or any of the
measurable parameters of the exercising user or the exercise
device; (vi) and the like. Other functionality associated with
control device 604 and system 600, known by one skilled in
the art, can be initiated or activated through buttons 614a60 614e.
Although reference is made to "buttons" to perform the
above-recited functionality, portable system 602 can incorporate various other actuators to cause or initiate the functionality of portable system 602 and system 600. For instance,
65 such actuators can include one or more switches, rheostats,
potentiometers, touch sensitive controls, voice activated controllers, and the like.
Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 59 of 65
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As shown in FIG. 22, control device 604 includes ports
speakers that provide audio representations of the motiva616, 618, and 620. Port 616 is configured to allow control
tional content directly to the user. For example, as shown,
device 604 to communicate with audio delivery device 606.
audio delivery device 606 is in the form of a headset 624,
Subsequently, the particular type of port forming port 616 can
having speakers 626, which may be worn by the user.
vary based upon the configuration of audio delivery device 5
Audio delivery device 606 can communicate with portable
606. For instance, port 616 can accommodate an audio jack in
system 602 via a variety of different types of communication
at least one implementation, such as but not limited to an
line connection. As illustrated in FIG. 22, audio delivery
RCA-type audio jack, and the like. Port 616 may, however, be
device 606 includes an audio jack that engages with port 616
configured for other types of electrical connection interfaces,
included within portable system 602. Such an audio jack can
including USB, optical, and/or other wireless connection io be an RCA-type audio jack, as well as a USB, Firewire, serial,
interfaces, as described herein. For example, control device
or parallel interface and the like. Alternatively, control device
604 and audio delivery device 606 can be linked via a con604 and audio delivery device 606 can be linked via a nonnectionless link, such as by a radio frequency (RF), infrared
physical (wireless) connection link, such as by a radio fre(IR), or other wireless-type communication line connection,
quency, infrared, or other wireless-type communication line
with port 616 having the form of a transmitter and/or receiver 15 connection.
of the appropriate electromagnetic radiation.
It can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, that various
Port 618 is configured to allow control device 604 to upload
other configurations of audio delivery device 606 are capable
and download data from treadmill 12, personal computer 14,
of performing the desired function. For example, instead of
and/or communication system 18, treadmill 20, or third party
delivering audio signals to the user via both ears, the audio
21. For instance, port 618 can received data representative of 20 signals can be delivered to only one of the user's ears. Further,
any measurable parameter of treadmill 12 that is detected by
audio delivery device 606 need not be worn by the user, such
one or more sensors formed in treadmill 12 as discussed
as on the user's clothing, belt, head, or the like, but can take
herein. Further, port 618 can transmit control signals to treadthe form of a speaker formed in control device 604 or in a
mill 12, such as those synchronized with the motivational
speaker remote from control device 604 and/or treadmill 12.
content stored in control device 604. Consequently, port 618 25 For instance, control device 604 can communicate directly
can create a physical connection with other modules, compowith audio and/or video equipment typically available within
nents, or devices and systems of system 600 through a USB,
a user's home, at a gym, at some other exercising location,
Firewire, RCA, parallel, or serial, etc. interface. As well, port
and the like.
618 can create a wireless connection with the same. For
According to another aspect of the present invention, audio
instance, as illustrated in FIG. 22, port 618 is a wireless or 30 delivery device 606 includes a sensor 630. Sensor 630, in this
connectionless type port that represents an electromagnetic
illustrative configuration, includes two contacts; a first conradiation transmitter and receiver. Optionally, the present
tact 632a and second contact 632b. Sensor 630 is configured
invention can include two ports; one acting as a transmitter
to track any measurable parameter of the exercising user, such
and one acting as a receiver.
as but not limited to, pulse or heart rate, blood pressure,
Port 620 of control device 604 is configured to allow a 35 calories burned, distance traveled, and the like. As illustrated,
removable storage element 621 to be inserted therein. For
sensor 630 is a typical IR pulse sensor that uses first contact
example, port 620 can accommodate a memory stick, which
632a and second contact 632b to track the pulse of the user via
can store the programs downloaded from communication
the user's ear. In this manner, sensor 630 can detect exercising
system 18 and/or the exercise data retrieved from the exercisdata or information of the exercising user. Consequently,
ing user and/or treadmill 12 in a variety of formats. It can be 40 audio delivery device 606 can deliver the collected data to
appreciated that port 620 can have various other configuracontrol device 604 for future use, i.e., uploading such data or
tions depending on the particular removable storage associinformation to communication system 18, treadmill 20, thirdated with control device 604. For instance, port 620 can
party 21, and the like.
accommodate optically read media, magnetically read media,
The inclusion of sensor 630 within audio delivery device
and the like. Thus, port 620 may further comprise a USB, 45 606 is an advance over the existing manners of obtaining the
Firewire, parallel, serial, or optical connection interface as
pulse rate or other physical data related to an exercising user.
appropriate.
Particularly, incorporating sensor 630 or some other means
As shown, control device 604 includes display 622, such as
for measuring any measurable parameter of the exercising
a liquid crystal display (LCD). Display 622 acts as an output
user into a wearable headset, reduces the discomfort typically
device that provides information and data to a user, such as the so associated with obtaining such data or information. For
available battery power level, time remaining until the
example, many existing pulse rate sensors use clip-type sencompletion of the exercise workout, quantity of storage availsors that apply a degree of pressure or force to that particular
able or used, and the like. Consequently, display 622 can have
area of the patient's body, such as the ear or finger. The
various other configurations, such as but not limited to, an
inclusion of sensor 630 and associated first contact and secelectroluminescent display (ELD), a gas-plasma display, a 55 and contact 632a, 632b reduces the compressive force typithin film transistor (TFT) display, and the like. Alternatively,
cally applied when determining user's pulse rate, and consedisplay 622 can be remote from control device 604 while
quently reduces the discomfort that a user has to endure.
communicating with control device 604. For instance, disAlthough it is preferred to include sensor 630 within headplay 622 can be a virtual reality (VR) display, cathode ray
set 624, one skilled in the art can understand that the present
tube (CRT), and the like. In another configuration, display 60 invention can utilize various other types of sensor, including
622 can act as an input device when display 622 is a touch
the clip type sensors, to track various measurable parameters
sensitive control.
of the exercising user.
Communicating with control device 604 is audio delivery
As mentioned above, portable system 602 can optionally
device 606. Generally, audio delivery device 606 is configinclude sensing device 608. The sensing device 608 tracks the
ured to deliver motivational content stored within control 65 performance of the user during a workout, such as sensing the
device 604 to the exercising user of treadmill 12. Audio
acceleration or speed of the user, the distance traveled by the
delivery device 606, therefore, can include one or more
user during an exercise workout, and any other measurable
Case 1:11-cv-00175-CW Document 2-1 Filed 12/09/11 Page 60 of 65
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parameter of the user. Consequently, sensing device 608 can
face 642 can be incorporated into the same device or interbe an accelerometer, pedometer, combination thereof, or
face, such as when user display 640 is a touch sensitive video
other sensing device capable of tracking any measurable
display or other similar device.
parameter of the exercising user. For instance, sensing device
Communicating with user display 640 and user interface
608 can track blood pressure, heart rate, calories burned, and 5 642 is processor 644. Processor 644 controls the delivery of
the like in a similar manner to sensor 630.
exercise programs and exercise data representative of any
Typically, tracking one or more measurable parameters is
measurable parameter of the exercising user and/or treadmill
achieved by coupling sensing device 608 to the patient, such
12 (FIG. 21) to and from computer 14, communication sysas via the user's clothing, belt, or the like. Alternatively,
tem 18, treadmill 20, and/or third party 21. Further, processor
sensing device 608 can be directly attached to the user's skin 10 644 controls the flow of data, whether exercise program data
or via a combination of skin and clothing contact, such as
or data representative of any measurable parameter of the
when the user holds sensing device 608. As sensing device
exercising user and/or treadmill 12 (FIG. 21) between the
608 gathers the measurable data associated with the exercisdevices and components of portable system 602.
ing user, sensing device 608 downloads or transmits such data
Generally, processor 644 can include one or more microto control device 604. In this configuration, therefore, a con- 15 controllers, central processing units, state machines, pronection is created between sensing device 608 and control
grammable logic arrays, network logical arrays, or gates,
device 604 to allow data transmission therebetween. Thus, for
ASIC processors, software-based controllers, combination
example, a connection can take the form of a physical conlogic, combinations thereof, and a variety of other controllers
nection, i.e., a USB cable connection, Firewire cable connecknown by one skilled in the art to manipulate data transceived
tion, optical cable connection, RCA cable connection, 20 between one or more of the components or devices of portable
coaxial cable connection, and the like. As well the connection
system 602 and system 600.
can take the form of a wireless connection, i.e., an IR conData storage 646 communicates with processor 644. Data
nection, RF connection, or some other wireless-type connecstorage 646 can have various configurations known to one
tion or alternatively a physical connection, such as through
skilled in the art. For example, data storage 646 can be fixed
one or more conductive wires, optical fibers and the like.
25 within control device 604 and alternatively can be removable
The various devices forming portable system 602 can have
insertable within control device 604. Therefore, data storage
various other configurations as known by one skilled in the
646 can be a removable magnetic media, optical media,
art. For instance, in another configuration, sensing device 608
memory stick, or the like. Further, data storage 646 can be one
and sensor 630 can be incorporated within control device 604,
or more flash memory cards, such as a USB-enabled or
such that control device 604 both gathers and stores any 30 Firewire-enabled flash drive (also referred to as "flash stormeasurable parameter or data related to the exercising user or
age"), RAM, ROM, programmable RAM or ROM, and the
the exercise device. Consequently, control device 604 can
like. Generally, data storage 646 is configured to store exerinclude an accelerometer, a pedometer, combinations thereof,
cise programs with motivational content and/or control sigor some other sensing device 608. Therefore, the use of the
nals received from communication system 18, e.g., the iFit
term "sensor" incorporates any sensing device that can track 35 website, the exercise data obtained from sensor 630 of audio
any measurable parameter of a user or a device upon which
delivery device 606 and sensing device 608, and any measurthe user is exercising, such as treadmill 12.
ably parameter of the user and/or the treadmill sensed by one
In another configuration, portable system 602 can include
or more different sensors coupled to the user and/or the treadcontrol device 604 and sensing device 608, while using audio
mill.
and/or video delivery devices commonly existing in a users' 40
According to another aspect of the present invention, conhome, such as televisions, radio transceivers, removable stortrol device 604 includes an interface 648. Interface 648 allows
age devices (e.g. USB-enabled or Firewire-enabled flash storcontrol device 604 to communicate with audio delivery
age), optical (or magnetic) media storage-based players, and
device 606 and sensing device 608. Therefore, interface 648
the like.
performs the functions of port 616 and optionally 618
Referring now to FIG. 23, a schematic representation of 45 described above with respect to FIG. 22. It can be understood
portable system 602 is illustrated. As shown, control device
that the functionality of interface 648 can be executed by a
604 communicates with audio delivery device 606 and
plurality of interfaces. For instance, interface 648 can include
optionally sensing device 608 as before. As shown, control
an audio interface and a data interface. The audio interface
device 604 includes a user display 640 and a user interface
being capable of transceiving data between control device
642. The user display 640 provides a visual representation of 50 604 and audio delivery device 606 in an audio format, while
data associated with the exercising user. For instance, user
the data interface transceives data between control device 604
display 640 can display the current distance traveled, the
and sensing device 608 and optionally treadmill 12, computer
calories burned, time remaining to completion of the exercise
14, communication system 18, treadmill 20, and third party
program, the amount of the exercise program performed, and
21. Consequently, interface 648 can have various configurathe like. User display 640, consequently, can have a similar 55 tions as known by one skilled in the art in light of the teaching
configuration to display device 622 described herein.
contained herein. For example, interface 648 can be configUser interface 642 allows a user to input instructions and
ured to interface with USB, Firewire, optical, RCA, stereo,
facilitate initiating or activating an exercise program stored
and other connection interfaces suitable for receiving and
within data storage 646 of control device 604. The user intertransmitting data.
face 642 further provides a manner for the user to cause 60
Optionally, interface 648 can communicate with treadmill
uploading and downloading of information to and from tread12 to deliver control signals and receive data representative of
mill 12, computer 14, communication system 18, treadmill
any measurable parameter of treadmill 12. Further, interface
20, and/or third party 21. Various user interfaces are appli648 can facilitate communication between portable system
cable and known by one skilled in the art, such as but not
602 and communication system 18.
limited to, buttons, switches, potentiometers, voice activated 65
As illustrated in dotted lines, control device 604 can
interfaces, touch sensitive interfaces, and the like. Optionally,
optionally include one or more sensors or sensing devices
as illustrated by dotted lines, user display 640 and user inter650. For example, when control device 604 incorporates the
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functionality of sensing device 608 or sensor 630, control
removable flash drive). Consequently, control device 604 can
device 604 includes the various components of sensing
optionally directly communicate with communication sysdevice 608 and/or sensor 630. Similarly, when control device
tem 18, such as when control device 604 can access network
604 partially or completely incorporates audio delivery
16 remotely or otherwise create a connection with commudevice 606, control device can include sensors 630 (FIG. 22). 5 nication system 18, i.e., a wireless connection to the Internet,
Communicating with control device 604 is audio delivery
or the like. In the case where personal computer 14 downloads
device 606. Audio delivery device 606 includes an approprithe program file, a user can cause control device 604 to
ate interface 652 to allow communication between control
communicate with personal computer 14 to retrieve the audio
device 604 and audio delivery device 606. For example, interprogram file or optionally retrieve a removable data storage
face 652 can take the form of one or more audio jacks, as 10 component, such as an MP3 cartridge, memory stick, or a
discussed herein, or other interfaces such as USB, Firewire,
USB-enabled flash drive from personal computer 14, and
optical, RCA, stereo, and so forth, so long as such interfaces
insert the same into control device 604.
are complementary to those of control device 604.
Once the file has been retrieved and is accessible by control
Further, as mentioned above, audio delivery device 606 can
device 604, whether the exercise program is stored within a
include (i) one or more audio outputs 654, such as but not 15 removable data storage component of control device 604 or in
limited to two speakers (FIG. 22); (ii) one or more sensors 656
non-removable data storage of control device 604, the user
for sensing measurable parameters of the exercising user; (iii)
can begin to exercise on treadmill 12 in accordance with the
one or more processors 658 that manage the delivery of audio
motivational content and optional control signals stored in the
signals or data between control device 604 and audio delivery
data storage.
device 606 and facilitates the delivery of exercise data tracked 20
For discussion purposes, let us assume that only motivaby sensor 656; and (iv) a data storage 660 (internal, external,
tional content is downloaded to control device 604. This is
or removable, such as USB enabled removable storage) for
illustrative of the case where the available treadmill 12 is iFit
storing audio signals or data and the data representative of the
incompatible. Consequently, the user accesses iFit website
measurable parameter sensed by sensor 656. Each of the
300 (FIG. 12) through personal computer 14, which is not
above can have a similar configuration to the interfaces, audio 25 connected to treadmill 12, and manually operates the treadoutputs, processors, sensors, and data storages discussed
mill in accordance with the motivational content delivered to
herein. Generally, each of the above can have various other
the user. It is understood, however, that an exercise program
configurations known to one skilled in the art in view of the
with only motivational content can be used with an iFit comteaching contained herein.
patible treadmill, so long as the user manually controls the
Optional sensing device 608, as illustrated, includes an 30 exercise mechanism and no connection is needed between
interface 670 that assists with the transmission of sensed data
treadmill 12 and communication system 18 (FIG. 21).
to control device 604, and subsequently to communication
In the above described scenario, the user can exercise
system 18. As with audio delivery device 606 sensing device
whether or not treadmill 12 is directly connected to iFit web608 includes at least one processor 672, at least one data
site 300. As the user exercises, sensor 630 tracks any measurstorage 674 (internal, external, or removable, such as USB 35 able parameter of the exercising user, such as the pulse rate of
enabled removable storage), and at least one sensor 676.
the user. Substantially simultaneously with sensor 630 detectSensor 676 of sensing device 608 typically tracks different
ing the user's pulse rate, sensing device 608 tracks the speed
measurable parameters of the user than those parameters
and/or distance of the user during the exercise program or
sensed by sensor 630 (FIG. 22) or sensor 656. Although this
routine, while sensors included within treadmill 12 track one
is typically the case, one skilled in the art can appreciate that 40 or more operating parameters of treadmill 12. As data is
sensor 676 can sense the same measurable parameter as those
collected, sensing device 608, audio delivery device 606, and
sensed by sensor 656.
optionally treadmill 12 deliver such data to control device 604
Generally, portable system 602 can be used in a variety of
where the data is stored in preparation for uploading to commanners to provide a user with motivational content and
munication system 18, treadmill 20, and/or third-party 21.
optional access to iFit website 300 (FIG. 12). In one configu- 45 Optionally, sensing device 608, audio delivery device 606,
ration, a user connects control device 604 to personal comand optional treadmill 12 can deliver the gathered data when
puter 14. Subsequently, control device 604 through computer
the user has completed the exercise workout.
14 accesses communication system 18, treadmill 20, or thirdFollowing completion of the exercise program, the user can
party 21 and hence accesses iFit website 300. The user, thereconnect portable system 602 to personal computer 14, such as
fore, can obtain audio exercise programs from iFit website so by inserting control device 604 into a cradle adjoining com300 in a manner similar to that described above.
puter 14, by removal of a removable memory, via a wireless
For example, once a user connects to iFit website 300, and
connection, or the like. Subsequently, the user can upload the
optionally logs in, the user can review the available audio
exercise data to iFit website 300 where the data can be stored
programs and download one or more audio program files
within the iFit website 300, and more specifically hardware
from audio program module 304 (FIG. 14). As a user selects 55 and/or software modules associated with iFit website 300,
the audio program files, the user optionally specifies the type
such as in the user's personal storage of memory 278 (FIG.
of exercise device being used. Consequently, communication
11). This stored information can be accessed by a personal
system 18 displays audio program files specific to the type of
trainer and thereafter analyzed, whether or not such analysis
exercise mechanism or equipment available to the user. The
includes comparing the presently received exercise data with
user can then download a copy of the motivational content, 60 stored exercise. Following the analysis of the exercise data,
such as in an MP3, WAV, AU, MIDI, or other formats, optionthe personal trainer can develop various other user-specific
ally with control signals.
audio programs that the user can access when they next log
Depending on the particular configuration of the present
onto iFit website 300. Such user-specific exercise programs
invention and the capabilities of portable system 602, either
or routines can be stored or optionally e-mailed to the user's
personal computer 14 or control device 604 can retrieve the 65 mailbox 386 (FIG. 16) and stored within data storage 390.
downloaded audio program file and store the same in data
Alternatively, iFit website 300 can automatically analyze
storage 646 (internal, external, or removable, such as a
the exercise data uploaded from control device 604 to auto-
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matically develop other audio programs, update the distance
(not shown) that mate with a corresponding number of contraveled by the user during the exercise program to update
tacts 686 formed in a cradle 684. These mating contacts can
information associated with a race around the world compeexemplify any number of electrical connection interfaces
tition, race against the computer, and/or race against specific
including a USB, Firewire, RCA, stereo, serial, and/or paralother competitors.
5 lel connection interfaces. The cradle 684 can be in commuIn this manner, a user that owns an iFit incompatible exernication with computer 14 or treadmill 12, whether a physical
cise device can still obtain the benefits of using the iFit webconnection, as represented by cable 689, or a wireless consite 300 through portable system 602 whether alone or in
nection to upload and download the data between communicombination with computer 14. In this manner, the user can
cation system 18 and the various other systems, devices, and
be aided in performing exercise programs and routines and be 10 modules of system 600. Optionally, cradle 684 can be
motivated to exercise in the future.
mounted to or integrally formed with treadmill 12, such that
In another configuration, portable system 602 can be used
the treadmill 12 further has an appropriate connection interin connection with an iFit compatible treadmill 12. In this
face configured thereon, including a interface, as appropriate.
particular configuration, treadmill 12 is optionally disconThus, although it is preferred that a number of contacts be
nected from communication system 18, e.g., iFit web site 300. 15 used to allow communication between control device 680 and
In a manner similar to that described above, motivational
cradle 684, one skilled in the art can appreciate that a variety
content and control signals are retrieved from communication
of different connections can be used, such as but not limited
system 18 via personal computer 14. Following retrieval and
to, USB, Firewire, optical cable, parallel, serial, or Ethernet,
downloading of the appropriate motivational content and
or a connectionless connection, for instance, wireless, IR and
other audio content, such as one or more control signals, 20 the like.
control device 604 directly communicates with the iFit comAs shown, cradle 684 includes an activation button 688 that
patible treadmill 12, such as via one or more of the various
initiates the uploading or downloading of data to and from
input ports, such as port 102 or port 104 or via a wireless, IR,
control device 680. It can be understood by one skilled in the
RF connection through port 105 (FIG. 6). In this manner,
art, however, that various other manners are applicable for
control signals are transmitted from control device 604, such 25 initiating the delivery and receipt of data to and from control
as from port 618 (FIG. 22) to treadmill 12 to operate treadmill
device 680. For instance, in an alternate configuration, upon
12 in a synchronized manner with the motivational content.
insertion of control device 680 into cradle 684, a connection
The operation of treadmill 12 can be either synchronized or
is automatically made between control device 680 and cradle
asynchronous to the motivational content delivered to the user
684 with treadmill 12, computer 14, communication system
through audio delivery device 606. Alternatively, audio out- 30 18, treadmill 20, and/or third party 21.
put can be delivered to the users through speaker 96 on control
Further, it will be understood that the storage medium 621
panel 22 (FIG. 6).
(FIGS. 22 and 25) can plug directly into an appropriate conOn completion of the exercise program or routine, or
nection interface at the treadmill 20, such as through a USB,
throughout the exercise program or routine, the exercise data
Firewire, optical, or related connection interface. An exemreceived by sensing device 608 and/or sensor 630 can be 35 play such storage medium 621 (FIGS. 22 and 25), therefore,
delivered to iFit web site 300, either directly through treadmill
includes the devices depicted in the instant figures, as well as
12 or upon uploading such data through computer 14 to
any other portable memory device such as a USB (or
communication system 18. Optionally, control device 604
Firewire) enabled flash drive, and so forth. Referring now to
can receive data representative of any measurable parameter
FIG. 25, an alternative configuration of a control device,
of treadmill 12, such as speed, incline, distance traveled by 40 designated by reference numeral 690 is depicted. The majorthe user, operational status of treadmill 12, problems with one
ity of the features of control device 680 are the same as control
or more components or modules of treadmill 12, and the like
device 604. Hence, like features of control device 690 are
and deliver the same to communication system 18.
designated by like reference numerals.
In still another configuration, such as when treadmill 12 is
As illustrated, control device 690 has buttons 614a-614n,
connected to communication system 18 via network 16, audio 45 ports 618 and 620, and display 622. Further, control device
programming, optionally with associated control signals,
690 includes sensor 630, having contacts 632a, 632b posieither synchronous or asynchronous with the audio motivationed upon control device 690 in a manner to allow a user to
tional content, can be downloaded from communication syscontact such contacts 632a, 632b using their fingers or thumb.
tem 18 to treadmill 12 and subsequently downloaded to conControl device 690 further incorporates sensing device 608
trol device 604 via a wireless connection, physical so and consequently includes an accelerometer, a pedometer,
connection, such as a serial, parallel, USB or the like conneccombinations thereof, or some other sensing device 608. One
tions, a combination thereof, or the like. In this manner, a user
skilled in the art can identify various other configurations of
can download one or more exercise programs that can be used
control device 690 in light of the teaching contained herein.
in association with either iFit or non-iFit compatible exercise
As used in this specification and the appended claims, the
55 phrases "communicating with," and "in communication
equipment at various other locations.
According to another aspect of the present invention, the
with" and similar phrases can mean any type of applicable
exercise programs retrieved and stored within control device
communication or communication line connection known to
604 can be developed for use without an exercise mechanism
one skilled in the art in light of the disclosure herein, such as
currently owned by the user, but associated with an exercise
but not limited to electrical communication, optical commumechanism at a health club or for use without any exercise 60 nication, physical communication, wireless communication,
mechanism, such as riding a bicycle, running, walking and
magnetic communication, software communication, hardthe like. In this manner, the user is provided with various
ware communication, data communication, or the like.
manners to obtain and exercise while tracking the exercise
The present invention may be embodied in other specific
data associated with the user's workout.
forms without departing from its spirit or essential characterReferring now to FIG. 24, an alternate configuration of 65 istics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all
control device 604 is depicted. As illustrated, control device
respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of
680 includes a port 682 in the form of a plurality of contacts
the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims
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rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which
come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the
claims are to be embraced within their scope.
What is claimed is:
1. An exercise system, comprising:
a portable physical activity sensing system comprising:
a sensor configured to be associated with a user and configured to sense a physical activity parameter of the user
during the performance of physical activity by the user;
and
a memory in communication with the sensor, wherein the
sensor communicates data representative of the sensed
physical activity parameter to the memory, and wherein
the memory stores the data representative of the sensed
physical activity parameter; and
a separate communication system comprising:
a communication device for receiving physical activity
related information from the portable physical activity
sensing system;
a memory configured to store physical activity related
information regarding the user of the portable physical
activity sensing system; and
a processor configured to analyze and update information
received from the portable physical activity sensing system,
wherein the communication device sends information
either to the portable physical activity sensing system, to
the user of the portable physical activity sensing system,
or to both the user and the portable physical activity
sensing system, and
wherein the portable physical activity sensing system
records information about the user's physical activity
and sends the information to the separate communication system, the separate communication system
updates the user's stored information with the information received from the portable physical activity
sensing system, and wherein the user may access the
updated information stored by the separate communication system.
2. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the physical
activity parameter is at least one of heart rate, speed, distance
traveled, blood pressure, time, calories burned, or acceleration.
3. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the physical
activity of the user comprises walking, running, biking, calisthenics, weight-lifting, or any combination thereof, with or
without the assistance of an exercise device.
4. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the sensor is a
heart rate monitor, blood pressure monitor, blood oxygen
level monitor, respiration monitor, accelerometer, pedometer,
IR sensor, or any combination thereof
5. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the sensor is
configured to be coupled to the user's clothing.
6. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the sensor is
directly coupled to the skin, hair, or both the skin and hair of
the user.
7. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the memory of
the portable physical activity sensing system comprises a
removable memory.
8. The exercise system of claim 1, further comprising a
communication port in communication with the memory,
wherein the communication port is a serial port, parallel port,
USB port, IR port, RF port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other wireless-type port, or a combination thereof
9. The exercise system of claim 8, wherein the portable
physical activity device sends the data representative of the
60
sensed at least one physical activity parameter to the separate
communication system via the communication port.
10. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the portable
physical activity device sends data representative of the
5 sensed at least one physical activity parameter to the separate
communication system via a LAN, a WAN, the Internet, or a
combination thereof
11. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the separate
communication system is an exercise device.
10
12. The exercise system of claim 11, wherein the exercise
device is at least one of an aerobic exercise device, an anaerobic exercise device, or a combination thereof
13. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the separate
communication system is a portable computing device.
15
14. The exercise system of claim 13, wherein the portable
computing device is at least one of a cell phone, a personal
digital assistant, a portable digital audio player, a portable
computer, or a combination thereof
15. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the separate
20 communication system is a local server.
16. The exercise system of claim 1, wherein the separate
communication system is a remote server.
17. An exercise system including a portable physical activity monitoring system for use by a user during physical activ25 ity and a separate computing system, wherein:
the portable physical activity monitoring system comprises:
a sensor configured to be associated with the user and
configured to sense at least one physical activity param3
eter related to the physical activity of the user;
a feedback element configured to provide data representative of the sensed at least one physical activity parameter
to the user; and
a
control
element configured to communicate with the
35
sensor and the feedback element,
wherein the sensor communicates data representative of
the sensed at least one physical activity parameter to the
control element, the control element communicates the
data representative of the sensed at least one physical
40
activity parameter to the feedback element, and the control element is configured to store the data representative
of the sensed at least one physical activity parameter;
and
the separate computing system comprises:
45
a communication device for receiving physical activity
related information from the portable physical activity
sensing system;
a memory configured to store physical activity related
information regarding the user of the portable physical
50
activity sensing system; and
a processor configured to analyze and update information
received from the portable physical activity sensing system,
55
wherein the communication device sends information
either to the portable physical activity sensing system, to
the user of the portable physical activity sensing system,
or to both the user and the portable physical activity
sensing system, and
60
wherein the portable physical activity sensing system
records information about the user's physical activity
and sends the information to the separate computing
system, the separate computing system updates the
user's stored information with the information
65
received from the portable physical activity sensing
system, and wherein the user may access the updated
information stored by the separate computing system.
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18. The exercise system of claim 17, wherein the feedback
element comprises a visual display.
19. The exercise system of claim 18, wherein the visual
display comprises an LCD, ELD, TFT display, gas plasma
display, VR display, CRT, or any combination thereof.
20. The exercise system of claim 17, wherein the feedback
element comprises an audio delivery device.
21. The exercise sensing system of claim 20, wherein the
audio deliver device comprises speakers, headphones, or a
combination thereof.
22. The exercise system of claim 20, wherein the audio
delivery device comprises a headset, and wherein the sensor
is coupled to the headset.
23. The exercise system of claim 17, wherein the control
element is configured to send the data representative of the
sensed at least one physical activity parameter to the separate
computing system.
24. The exercise system of claim 17, wherein the feedback
element, the sensor, and the control element are configured to
be separate components.
25. The exercise system of claim 17, wherein the feedback
element, the sensor, and the control element are configured to
be a single component.
26. The exercise system of claim 17, wherein the feedback
element and the control element are configured to be a single
component, and wherein the sensor is configured to be a
separate component.
27. The exercise system of claim 17, further comprising a
communication port in communication with the control element, wherein the communication port is a serial port, parallel port, USB port, IR port, RF port, wireless-type port, or a
combination thereof.
28. The exercise system of claim 27, wherein the portable
physical activity sensing system receives physical activity
related information from the separate computing system via
the communication port.
29. The exercise system of claim 27, wherein the portable
physical activity sensing system sends and receives physical
activity related information to and from the separate computing system via the communication port.
30. The exercise system of claim 29, wherein the physical
activity related information comprises motivational content,
physical activity programs, or both.
31. The exercise system of claim 30, wherein the motivational content comprises music, automated speech, pre-recorded speech, or any combination thereof.
32. The exercise system of claim 30, wherein the motivational content comprises a music based MP3 file.
33. The exercise system of claim 27, wherein the portable
physical activity device is further configured to download
information from the separate computing system.
34. A monitoring system for use by a user during physical
activity, the monitoring system, comprising:
communication means for receiving physical activity
related information from a portable physical activity
sensing system, the portable physical activity sensing
system comprising:
a sensor configured to be associated with a user and configured to sense at least one physical activity parameter
related to physical activity of the user;
a feedback element configured to provide data representative of the sensed at least one physical activity parameter
to the user; and
a control element configured to communicate with the
sensor, the feedback element, and the communication
means,
wherein the sensor communicates data representative of
the sensed at least one physical activity parameter to the
control element, the control element communicates data
representative of the sensed at least one physical activity
parameter to the feedback element and to the communication means, and the control element is configured to
store data representative of the sensed at least one physical activity parameter;
means for storing physical activity related information
regarding the user of the portable physical activity
sensing system; and
means for analyzing and updating information about the
user based on the information received from the user
of the portable physical activity sensing system,
wherein the communication means sends information
either to the portable physical activity sensing system,
to the user of portable physical activity sensing system, or to both the user and the portable physical
activity sensing system.
35. A portable physical activity sensing system for use by
a user during physical activity, the portable physical activity
sensing system comprising:
a sensor configured to be associated with the user, wherein
the sensor is configured to sense at least one physical
activity parameter related to physical activity of the user;
a feedback element configured to provide data representative of the sensed at least one physical activity parameter
to the user; and
a control element including a processor, wherein the control element is configured to communicate with the sensor and the feedback element, wherein the control element receives information from the sensor regarding the
at least one physical activity parameter, wherein the
control element sends information to the feedback element regarding the information received from the sensor, wherein the control element is configured to store
information regarding the at least one physical activity
parameter, exercise programs, motivational content, or
any combination thereof, and wherein the control element is configured to send and receive information to
and from a remote computing system, wherein the
remote computing system comprises:
a communication device configured to receive physical
activity related information from the portable physical
activity sensing system;
a memory configured to store physical activity related
information regarding the user of the portable physical
activity sensing system; and
a processor configured to analyze and update information
received from the portable physical activity sensing system,
wherein the communication device sends information
either to the portable physical activity sensing system, to
the user of the portable physical activity sensing system,
or to both the user and the portable physical activity
sensing system, and
wherein the remote computing system updates the user's
stored information with the information received from
the portable physical activity sensing system, and
wherein the user may access the updated information
stored by the remote computing system.
36. An exercise system, comprising:
a portable physical activity sensing system comprising:
a sensor configured to be associated with a user and configured to sense at least one physical activity parameter
related to physical activity of the user;
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a feedback element configured to provide data representative of the sensed at least one physical activity parameter
to the user; and
a control element configured to communicate with the
sensor and the feedback element,
wherein the sensor communicates data representative of
the sensed at least one physical activity parameter to the
control element, the control element communicates data
representative of the sensed at least one physical activity
parameter to the feedback element, and the control element is configured to store data representative of the
sensed at least one physical activity parameter; and
a remote communication system comprising:
communication means for receiving physical activity
related information from the portable physical activity
sensing system;
means for storing physical activity related information
regarding the user of the portable physical activity sensing system; and
means for analyzing and updating information received
from the portable physical activity sensing system,
wherein the communication means sends information
either to the portable physical activity sensing system, to
the user of the portable physical activity sensing system,
or to both the user and the portable physical activity
sensing system, and
wherein the portable physical activity sensing system
records information about the user's physical activity
and sends the information to the remote communication system, the remote communication system
updates the user's stored information with the information received from the portable physical activity
sensing system, and wherein the user may access the
updated information stored by the remote communication system.
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37. An exercise system including a portable physical activity sensing system capable of being carried by a user during
the user's performance of physical activity and a separate
communication system, wherein:
the portable physical activity sensing system comprises:
a control device configured to communicate with the
remote communication system, the control device configured to send physical activity information to the communication system, the physical activity information
comprising data representative of at least one measurable parameter of the user;
a sensor configured to track at least one measurable parameter of the user and to deliver data representative of the at
least one measureable parameter to the control device
for delivery to the communication system; and
a delivery device communicating with the control device,
the delivery device presenting at least one of an audio
representation or a visual representation of the physical
activity information to the user; and
the separate communication system comprises:
communication means for receiving physical activity
related information from the portable physical activity
sensing system;
means for storing physical activity related information
regarding the user of the portable physical activity sensing system; and
means for analyzing and updating information received
from the portable physical activity sensing system,
wherein the separate communication system updates the
user's stored information with the information received
from the portable physical activity sensing system,
wherein the user may access the updated information
stored by the separate communication system.