Title:
Apparatus for instructing biomechanical movements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to an apparatus for visually instructing biomechanical and ergonomic movements, such as instructions for operating fitness equipment, postures for office workers, and other activities that require proper body posture and manipulation to be performed. The invention comprises a lenticular panel capturing at least two images of the biomechanical movements, wherein each of said at least two images capturing a body posture and at least one muscle group affected by the biomechanical movements. The first one of the images captures a start posture and the last captures a finish posture. The images are overlaid on top of each other for a user to easily identify and implement proper body postures and movements by altering his or her angle of viewing perspective and by comparing the images.



Inventors:
Gill, Andrew (Ottawa, CA)
Application Number:
11/287365
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
11/28/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
George A. Seaby;Seaby & Associates (603-250 City Centre Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1R 6K7, CA)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for instructing biomechanical movements comprising: a lenticular panel comprising at least two images of said biomechanical movements; wherein each of said at least two images captures a body posture and at least one muscle group affected by said biomechanical movements; wherein a first of said images captures a start posture and a last of said at least two images captures a finish posture; and wherein said at least two images are overlaid on top of each other for a user to easily identify and implement proper body postures and movement.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said lenticular panel includes a fastening means at the rear side of said lenticular panel for fastening said lenticular panel to a surface of an object.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said at least two images include shading for preventing ghosting effect.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 including a housing, and a pair of guiding rails in said housing for slidably supporting said lenticular panel.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 including driving means for periodically and automatically sliding said lenticular panel back and forth at a predetermined or adjustable rate.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said predetermined or said adjustable rate of sliding said lenticular panel is for showing said user an optimal rate of said biomechanical movements.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 including a housing, and tilting means tiltably attaching said lenticular panel to said housing.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 including driving means for periodically and automatically tilting said lenticular panel back and forth at a predetermined or adjustable rate.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said lenticular panel includes two images, wherein a first of said two images captures a start posture and a second of said two images captures a finish posture.

10. A method for instructing biomechanical movements to a user comprising showing at least two images of said biomechanical movements in a sequence; wherein said at least two images are captured in a lenticular panel, and each of said at least two images captures a body posture and at least one muscle group affected by said biomechanical movements; wherein a first of said at least two images captures a start posture and a last of said at least two images capturing a finish posture; and wherein said images are overlaid on top of each other for a user to easily identify and implement proper body postures and movement.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein said lenticular panel includes fastening means at a rear side thereof for fastening said lenticular panel to a surface of an object.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein said images include shading for preventing ghosting effect.

13. The method of claim 10 including a housing, and a pair of guiding rails in said housing for slidably supporting said lenticular panel.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein said lenticular panel is manually slid by said user.

15. The method of claim 13 including driving means for periodically and automatically sliding said lenticular panel back and forth at a predetermined or adjustable rate.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein said predetermined or adjustable rate of sliding said lenticular panel is for showing said user an optimal rate of said biomechanical movements.

17. The method of claim 10 including a housing, and tilting means tiltably attaching said lenticular panel to said housing.

18. The method of claim 17 including driving means for periodically and automatically tilting said lenticular panel back and forth at a predetermined or adjustable rate.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein said predetermined or adjustable rate of said tilting said lenticular panel is for showing said user an optimal speed of said biomechanical movements.

20. The method of claim 10, wherein said lenticular panel includes two images, wherein a first of said two images captures a start posture and the second of said two images is captures a finish posture.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an apparatus for visually instructing biomechanical and ergonomic movements, such as instructions for operating fitness equipments, postures for office workers, and other activities that require proper body postures and manipulation to be performed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Exercising using fitness equipment has become quite popular in recent years. The designs or structures of the fitness machines have improved its effectiveness and efficiency for burning calories or strengthening muscles. There are a number of exercise machine models offering more than one type of exercise with one machine for training different parts of muscles. As a result, operations of those fitness machines have become somewhat more complex or not as intuitive as before. In many cases, the instruction for those fitness machine is inadequately illustrated or has little or no explanation, or there may be too much technical description solely on the set-up of the equipment.

For example, a panel with a brief instruction and diagrams are placed on the machine for instructing its user how to operate machine. The panel usually shows one image for a posture or position how a user should be sitting or standing with respect to the fitness equipment, and showing arrows suggesting approximately which part of the machine may be operable during exercise (and, as a result, the user would find out how to use the equipment), and another image for showing which muscle group will be used or affected during the exercise using the machine; however, these instructions are not as intuitive or easily understood by its users. Consequently, it is required to have a qualified instructor or trainer to show the user how to use the machine for different exercises. Even the user finds a way to use it without help, the user may not be using the machine in a proper manner as originally designed for.

There are a number of attempts to address such issue by using audiovisual equipment, i.e. by showing the user a video illustrating how to use such equipment. However, this type of solution requires a television (or screen) and video player, which is too costly and takes up too much space, thus it is not desirable for both businesses and personal users.

The present invention addresses these shortcomings by providing a compact and inexpensive apparatus illustrating biomechanical and ergonomic movements visually.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known instruction panels now present in the prior art, the present invention provides an apparatus for visually instructing biomechanical and ergonomic movements, such as instructions for fitness equipment, postures for office workers, and other activities that requires proper body posture and manipulation to be performed.

The general objective of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide effective memory cues for helping users to correct improper presumptions and maintain appropriate biomechanical and ergonomic movements on how to perform specific exercises effectively and safely.

The other objective of the present invention is to provide a way to instruct and educate the users without the need for specific language instructions due to the pictorial property of the present invention.

According to one aspect of the invention, it provides an apparatus for instructing biomechanical movements comprising: a lenticular panel comprising at least two images of the biomechanical movements; wherein each of the images capturing a body posture and at least one muscle group affected by the biomechanical movements; wherein the first of said at least two images capturing a start posture and the last of said at least two images is a finish posture; and wherein said at least two images are overlaid on top of each other for a user to easily identify and implement proper body postures and movement.

According to another aspect of the invention, it provides a method for instructing biomechanical movements to a user, comprising showing at least two images of the biomechanical movements in a sequence, wherein the said at least two images are captured in a lenticular panel, and each of the said at least two images capturing a body posture and at least one muscle group affected by the biomechanical movements; wherein the first of the said at least two images capturing a start posture and the last of the said at least two images capturing a finish posture; and wherein the said at least two images are overlaid on top of each other for a user to easily identify and implement proper body postures and movement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of prior art displaying a starting posture image comprising body posture with a thigh exercising equipment and an image including a front and rear view images of a body indicating muscle group used through the exercise;

FIG. 2a illustrates one of the images, a start body posture and position of thigh exercise equipment, captured on a lenticular panel in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2b illustrates another image, a finishing body posture and position of the thigh exercise equipment, captured on the lenticular panel in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 3a and 3b illustrate a perspective exploded view and top view of another embodiment of the present invention, respectively;

FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate a perspective exploded view and top view of yet another embodiment of the present invention, respectively; and

FIG. 5 illustrates an installation example of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of prior art displaying a starting posture image 1 comprising body posture 10 with an inner and outer thigh exercising equipment 20 and image 2 including a front 11-f and rear view images 11-b of a body indicating muscle groups 13 used through the exercise. In the starting posture image 1 usually includes arrows 30 to suggest the direction of movements for implying to show how to use the thigh exercise equipment 20. However, there is no indication of how the user carry out the operation of the equipment 20 or what is a proper and correct finish body posture. This lack of information often causes unnecessary injury due to the wrong usage of any fitness equipment and/or improper finishing body position. It is very important for the user to know the proper operation of the fitness equipment with proper body postures for acquiring maximum benefit from the exercise.

However, there is only limited space available around any fitness equipment, thus it is difficult to display such detailed information. Sometimes, instructions are written in a limited space on a fitness equipment; however, fonts used for these instructions are too small, or instructions are too wordy and not intuitive. Therefore, these types of instructions are not as effective as intended to be.

The purpose of the invention is to provide a visually appealing memory cue as to how an exercise can be both effectively and safely performed. A preferred embodiment of the present invention is a lenticular two dimensional (or 2D) biomechanical exercise diagrams serving as visual instructions and/or educational tools that address the aforementioned issues, capturing, at least, two diagrams or images into a single lenticular panel. The first image captures a starting body posture in relation to the position of the fitness equipment, and the last image captures a finish body posture in relation to the position of the fitness equipment. These images are overlaid on the top of each other to show a sequence of the exercise routine with the fitness equipment by slightly alternating the user's perspectives, manually or automatically. The images also capture and display the targeted muscle groups affected or used by the exercise. The present invention can be used in commercial, governmental or privately owned fitness, sports and/or rehabilitation facilities.

FIG. 2a illustrates one of images, a start body posture and position of the thigh exercise equipment 20, captured on a lenticular panel 5 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The lenticular panel 5 comprises a lenticular lens panel and a sheet capturing at least two images, including the image of the start body posture in relation to the position of the thigh exercise machine 20, and the image of the finish body posture in relation to the position of the thigh exercise machine 20. The sheet is attached below the lenticular lens panel. By altering an angle of his or her point of view, the user may see one of the embedded images at a time. The thigh exercise equipment 20 is at starting position, showing a user's body image 10 in the starting posture. The legs of the user 16a are shown in the resting position, and thigh muscle image 15a is shown naturally stretched and rested.

FIG. 2b illustrates another image, a finishing body posture and position of the thigh exercise equipment 20, captured on the lenticular panel 5 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention. By a viewer changing his or her angle or slightly shifting his or her point of view, the viewer may see the finishing body posture and position of the thigh exercise equipment 20 on the lenticular panel 5. The image shows the user body 10 in the finish posture with the thigh exercise equipment 20 also in the finish position. The legs of the user 16b are shown to be brought up and extended. However, note that care shall be undertaken not to hyper-extend the knee during this exercise; therefore, the image captures such knee position in FIG. 2b. Image of the thigh muscle 15b is shown being contracted for illustrating how the thigh muscle is affected through the exercise.

The image shown in FIG. 2a and one in FIG. 2b are overlaid on top of each other in such a way so that the viewer can easily identify the differences in positions and/or postures in body 10 positions. Especially, the viewer would easily be able to point out the differences between thigh muscle images 15a and 15b and between leg positions 16a and 16b, by changing his or her viewing perspective or by shifting his/her point of view slightly back and forth and by comparing the two images. Optionally, a visual indication, such as an arrow(s), may be added to the image for showing the user the direction of the biomechanical movement for preventing any confusion from occurring.

This visual effect is to remind and inform the viewers (or users of the thigh exercise equipment) how to both effectively and safely perform this specific exercise, while incorporating the correct biomechanical/ergonomic movement. To further improve the visual effect and ease for identifying differences between images, multi-chromatic images may be affixed onto the lenticular panel 5. For example, distinctive color usage among body line, the equipment and muscle used for the exercise would help illustrating proper posture and position for the exercise by easing the user to identify the differences in the images. Further enhancing visual details on the images of the muscle used for the exercise, the changes in the muscle shape can be shown to the users to remind them which muscle they are actually using and how.

Alternatively, three-dimensional visual effect, which can be implemented based on an existing lenticular technology by providing the depth in the images, may be utilized for even further enhancing visual image quality. As the result, the present invention provides effective memory cues for helping users to correct improper presumptions and maintain appropriate movements on how to perform specific exercises effectively as well as how to operate any corresponding equipment. It is noted that the present invention provides a way to instruct and educate the users without the need for specific language instructions due to the pictorial properties of the invention.

Due to the physical limitation, when the user is viewing one of the images embedded on the lenticular panel, the user may see a shadow or ghost view of other images, which are supposedly hidden behind the scene. This phenomenon is called ghost effect. To avoid the ghost effect, a particular pattern and color may be used in background of each image, so that the shadows or ghost views of other images will become less obvious or less visible. Alternatively, this phenomenon may be prevented by shifting background image slightly.

In the case that more than two images are embedded in the lenticular panel 5, an indication means for sequence order may be included with each of the pictures. For example, if the lenticular panel 5 comprises three images, number “1”, “2” and “3” may be embedded in a sequence to indicate which image illustrates the start, transition, and finish posture. Instead of numbering, indication bar diagram may be used for showing the order of sequence.

FIGS. 3a and 3b illustrate a perspective exploded view and top view, respectively, of another embodiment of the present invention. The lenticular panel 5 capturing a sequence of, at least, two images illustrating instructions for fitness equipment is placed in a housing 50 having a guide rail 51 for slidably attaching the lenticular panel 5 to the housing 50. A user may manually slide the panel 5 along the guide rail 51 in directions 60. Optionally, there may be a driving means for sliding the panel 5 back and forth repetitively for automatically altering the angle of the user's visual perspectives to show the whole sequence of the exercise movements.

Alternatively, the lenticular panel 5 may be decomposed into a lenticular lens panel and a sheet composing at least two images, slidably attached to the lenticular lens. By either sliding the lenticular lens panel or the sheet slightly back and forth manually or automatically, it achieves the same result as illustrated in FIGS. 3a and 3b.

FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate a perspective exploded view and top view, respectively, of yet another embodiment of the present invention, respectively. The lenticular panel 5 has a pair of pivots 52, located at the middle of two sides of the panel 5. A housing 50 has a couple of small depressions or holes 53 at the middle of corresponding sides of the panel 5, so that the panel 5 can be tiltably attached to the housing 50 about the pivots 52 and holes 53. Note that the location of pivots 52 and holes 53 may not be in the middle, but at one of the ends. The user may manually tilt the panel 5 by pushing one side of the panel to alter the angle of the user's visual perspective to show the whole sequence of the exercise movements. Optionally, a driving means may be attached inside the housing 50 for automatically and periodically tilting the panel 5 back and forth, thus the user does not have to manually tilt the panel to view the whole sequence.

The period or rate of sliding or tilting the panel 5 can be predetermined or adjustable. This speed of the tilting the panel can be predetermined or adjusted in such a way to represent an optimal speed or duration of the exercise sequence, so that the user would obtain the maximum optimal result by following the speed illustrated by the panel 5. In other words, the invention shows the user the optimal speed or rate of biomechanical movements. The rate of the movements can be decided and adjusted based on the experience or muscle strength of the particular user for the particular exercise or biomechanical movement and complexity.

FIG. 5 illustrates an installation example of a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The lenticular panel 5 is placed on the pole 21 of exercise equipment, attached on it by a fastening means, such as screws, adhesive, etc. Having the lenticular panel 5 readily viewable within the range of the fitness equipment user's sight enables the strength training process to be less daunting, and allows for the development of a strong kinesthetic awareness of a proper exercise form. The panel 5 may also alleviate the confusion that novice gym users often experience when commencing a fitness program. The lenticular panel 5 provides visual cues for providing an additional reinforcement of proper body postures and movements.

In the other embodiment of the present invention, the lenticular panel 5 can be utilized in a printed collateral, such as a booklet, pamphlet or poster format. These options allow for a correct technique and motion to be referred to outside the fitness or strength training facility.

Optionally, the invention can be used to facilitate proper ergonomic postures and movements in a variety of work scenarios as an operation manual or manual for specific strength and stretching exercises that can be adapted for the alleviation of repetitive stress injuries.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shapes, forms, functions and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.