Title:
Treadmill with pedometer and method of counting the number of steps of user running or walking on treadmill
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A treadmill includes a base, a motion assembly and a pedometer system. The pedometer system has a sensor mounted on the base to monitor a speed of an element of the motion assembly, such as a motor, a transmission device, rollers or a running belt, a processor mounted on the base to detect instant variations of the speed of the element of the motion and count the instant variations, and a display mounted on the base to show a number of the instant variations. As a result, people running or walking on the treadmill of the present invention is informed the number of steps of running or walking.



Inventors:
Pan, Francis Chung Hwa (Taichung City, TW)
Liao, Yen-hwa (Taichung City, TW)
Chuang, Fu-chin (Changhua County, TW)
Chu, Chin-chieh (Taichung County, TW)
Application Number:
11/144819
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/06/2005
Assignee:
Forhouse Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060234840Closed loop control of resistance in a resistance-type exercise systemOctober, 2006Watson et al.
20020098947Exercising and sports conditioning matJuly, 2002Brown
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20090227424EXERCISE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMSeptember, 2009Hirata et al.
20080318744Portable Exercise UnitDecember, 2008Barra
20050130803Safety devices and methods for gymnastics and other activitiesJune, 2005Rastegar et al.
20070117693METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR LATERAL EXERCISEMay, 2007Ilioi
20050064997Connection member for connecting treadmill postsMarch, 2005Ming-fu
20080274861ELECTRIC TREADMILL WITH A LEVEL METERNovember, 2008Chou
20100022352Walking exercise supporting deviceJanuary, 2010Kasama et al.
20080096724ANKLE REHABILITATION APPARATUSApril, 2008JU et al.



Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH STEWART KOLASCH & BIRCH (PO BOX 747, FALLS CHURCH, VA, 22040-0747, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A treadmill, comprising: a base; a motion assembly having two roller pivoted on the base and a running belt mounted on the rollers for rotation; a sensor for monitoring a speed of an element of the motion assembly; a processor for detecting instant variations of the speed of the element of the motion and to count the instant variations, and a display for showing a number of the instant variations.

2. The treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the sensor has a light emitting device, a receiver and a light gate, and further wherein the light emitting device is mounted on the base to emit rays to the receiver, and the light gate is connected to the element of the motion to rotate along with the element in synchronism, which has apertures to be moved to a path of the rays from the light emitting device, such that while the light gate is rotated, the receiver receives intermittent light signals and transfer the signals to the processor to measure a time between two of the signals.

3. The treadmill as defined in claim 2, wherein the light gate is a disk with a weigh member thereon.

4. The treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the sensor has a light emitting device, a receiver and a light gate, and further wherein the light emitting device and the receiver are mounted on the base at opposite sides of the running belt, and the light emitting device emits rays to the receiver, and the light gate is apertures on the running belt, such that while the running belt is running, the receiver receives intermittent light signals and transfer the signals to the processor to measure a time between two of the signals.

5. The treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the sensor has a light emitting device, a receiver and a light gate, and further wherein the light emitting device and the receiver are mounted on the base at opposite sides of the running belt, and the light emitting device emits rays to the receiver, and the light gate is teeth on an edge of the running belt, such that while the running belt is running, the receiver receives intermittent light signals and transfer the signals to the processor to measure a time between two of the signals.

6. The treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the sensor has a rotor and a switch, wherein the rotor is connected to the element of the motion assembly, on which magnets are provided, whereby the magnets produce a periodical magnetic field while the rotor is rotating, and the switch is turned on and turned off repeatedly by periodical magnetic field to generate a serious of digital signals.

7. The treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the sensor has a rotor and a coil, wherein the rotor is connected to the element of the motion assembly, on which magnets are provided to produce a periodical magnetic field while the rotor is rotating, whereby the coil generates an induction current by the periodical magnetic field, and a value of the induction current is taken as an indication of the speed of the motion assembly.

8. The treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the senor has a wheel pivoted on the base and pressing the running belt to rotate along with the running belt and a tachometer connected to the wheel to detect a speed of the wheel.

9. A method of counting a number of steps that a person runs or walks on a treadmill, wherein the treadmill has a base and a motion assembly, and the motion assembly has a running and two rollers, comprising the steps of: monitoring a speed of an element of the motion assembly of the treadmill; detecting instant variations of the speed; counting the instant variations of the speed, and display a number of the instant variations of the speed.

10. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein a method of monitoring the speed of the element of the motion assembly of the treadmill comprises the steps of: emitting rays to a light gate, wherein the light gate is moved along with the element of the motion assembly in synchronism, and the light gate has apertures to be moved to a path of the rays, so that while the light gate is rotating, the rays becomes intermittent signals by the light gate; receiving the signals, and measuring a time between two of the signals to calculate a speed of the light gate, wherein the speed of the light gate is taken as an indication of the speed of the element of the motion assembly.

11. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein a method of detecting instant variations of the speed comprises the steps of: calculating a variation of the speed of the element of the motion assembly, and recording the variation of the speed as the instant variation while the variation of speed is greater than 0.02 degree/sec2 or 0.15 km/hr2.

12. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein a method of monitoring the speed of the element of the motion assembly of the treadmill comprises the steps of: providing a periodical magnetic field to a switch, wherein a frequency of the periodical magnetic field is directly proportional to the speed of the element of the motion assembly, and the switch is turned on and turned of repeatedly to produce a serious of ON and OFF signals, and measuring a time between two of the ON signals or between two of the OFF signals to calculate the speed of the element of the motion assembly.

13. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein a method of monitoring the speed of the element of the motion assembly of the treadmill comprises the steps of: providing a periodical magnetic field to a movable plate, wherein a frequency of the periodical magnetic field is directly proportional to the speed of the element of the motion assembly, and the switch is repeatedly by the periodical magnetic field to produce a serious of digital signals, and measuring a frequency the digital signals to calculate the speed of the element of the motion assembly.

14. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein a method of monitoring the speed of the element of the motion assembly of the treadmill comprises the step of providing a periodical magnetic field to a coil, wherein a frequency of the periodical magnetic field is directly proportional to the speed of the element of the motion assembly, and the coil generates an induction current by the periodical magnetic field, and a method of detecting the instant variations of the speed comprises the step of detecting instant variations of the induction current.

15. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein a method of monitoring the speed of the element of the motion assembly of the treadmill comprises the step of measuring a current of a motor of the motion assembly, wherein a value of the current is taken as an indication of the speed of the motion assembly, and a method of detecting the instant variations of the speed comprises the step of detecting instant variations of the current.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to an exercise equipment, and more particularly to a treadmill having the function of counting the number of steps of user walking or running on it.

2. Description of the Related Art

Treadmill is common equipment for exercise and training. Early treadmill only provides user the speed of the belt and total miles etc. The new treadmill further provides user some of his/her physiological data, such as heartbeats, ventilations, and calorie consumption. These information tell user the status of exercise and his/her physiological status, such that user can arrange the desired exercise.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The primary objective of the present invention is to provide a treadmill, which provides user the number of steps of he/she walking or running on it.

According to the objective of the present invention, a treadmill comprises a base, a motion assembly and a pedometer system. The pedometer system has a sensor mounted on the base to monitor a speed of an element of the motion assembly, a processor mounted on the base to detect instant variations of the speed of the element of the motion and count a number of the instant variations, and a display mounted on the base to show the number of the instant variations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the pedometer system of the first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the sensor of the first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the sensor of the first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the carrier of the sensor of the first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a chart of the variations of the sensed angular velocity;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the sensor of a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the sensor of a third preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the sensor of a fourth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 are top views of the sensor of the fourth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the sensor of a fifth preferred embodiment of the present invention, and

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the sensor of a seventh preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 3, a treadmill 1 of the first preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a base 2, a motion assembly 3 mounted on the base 2 and a pedometer system. The base 2 includes a base frame 10, two upright frames 12 fixed to the base frame 10, two handlebars 14 mounted on the upright frames 12, a deck 16 fixed on the base frame 10 and a panel 18 with buttons 20 and a display 22 fixed on tops of the upright frames 12. The motion assembly 3 includes a motor 24, a transmission device 26, two rollers 28 (only showing the front roller in FIG. 1) and a running belt 30. The rollers 28 are pivoted on a front and a rear of the base frame 10, and the running belt 30 is mounted on the rollers 30. The transmission device 26 is a belt connecting the motor 24 and the front roller 28, such that the motor 24 drives the running belt 30 running via the transmission device 26 and the front roller 28.

FIG. 2 shows the pedometer system of the present invention, which as a sensor 32, a processor 34 and the display 22. The sensor 32 monitors the speed of an element of the motion assembly 3. The processor 34 detects instant variations of the speed and counts a number of the instant variations of the speed. And then, the result is shown on the display 22, such that user knows how many steps does he/she walks or runs on the running belt 30.

As shown in FIG. 3 to FIG. 5, the sensor 32 of the first preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a light emitting device 36, a receiver 38 and a light gate 40. The light emitting device 36 and the receiver 38 are made in a single element, and the element has a mount 42 to be fixed on the frame 10 adjacent to the front roller 28. The light emitting device 36 projects infrared rays to the receiver 38. The light gate 40 is a disk fixed to the front roller 28 for rotation along with the roller 28 in synchronism. The light gate 40 has several apertures 44 with the same interval on a margin thereof. The light emitting device 36 and the receiver 38 are located at opposite sides of the light gate 40, and the light gate 40 rotates to have the apertures 44 moving to a path of the infrared rays from the light emitting device 36, such that the receiver 38 receives a series of intermittent light signals and transfers the light signals to electrical signals and transmits them to the processor 34. The light gate 40 is provided with two weight members 46 on opposite sides thereof.

The processor 34 is installed in the panel 18 with a processing circuit and a counting circuit (not shown). The processing circuit receives the electrical signals from the receiver 38 and measures a time between two signals (Δt). The included angles (α) between the apertures 44 are known, so that we can get the angular velocity (ω) of the light gate 40 by dividing α by Δt. The angular velocity (ω) is also an indication of the speed of the roller 28 of the motion assembly 3. In practice, a frequency of the signals may be taken as an indication of the speed.

As shown in FIG. 6, while the motion assembly rotates in a substantially constant speed, the angular velocity (ω) substantially is constant also. But when a person is running or walking on the running belt 30 and at the moment that the foot is stepping on the running belt 30, it provides the motion assembly 3 a loading to slow down the speed of all elements (including the running belt 30, the rollers 28, the transmission device 26 and the motor 24), so that the sensor 32 detects an instant variation in the angular velocity (ω). The instant variation of the angular velocity (ω) substantially is a sine curve. The processor 34 records a “One Step” while one instant variation of the angular velocity (ω) is detected.

A method of identifying the instant variations of the angular velocity (ω) is calculation of the variation of angular velocity (ω) (i.e. angular acceleration). In practice, the processor is provided with a filter to delete extreme values. The rest values are calculated for the angular acceleration. While an angular acceleration is greater than 0.02 degree/sec2, or the acceleration is greater than 0.15 km/hr2, it is taken as a “One Step”.

The counting circuit of the processor 34 counts the number of “One Step” and shows the number on the display 22.

The sensor may be provided to monitor the speed of any element of the motion assembly, including the motor, the transmission device, the running belt or and the rollers, also for detection of the instant variations of the speed.

FIG. 7 shows a sensor 50 of the second preferred embodiment of the present invention, which has a light gate 52, a light emitting device 54 and a receiver 56. The light gate 52 is teeth on an edge of a running belt 58. The light emitting device 54 and the receiver 56 are located at opposite sides of the running belt 58 associated with the teeth 52. Running of the running belt 58 makes the receiver 56 receive a series of intermittent light signals as above. FIG. 8 shows a sensor 62 of the third preferred embodiment of the present invention, which is similar to the sensor 50 of the second preferred embodiment, except that the light gate 64 is apertures on a margin of the running belt 66. The sensor 52 or 62 is preferred fixed at a position adjacent to the roller 60 or 68 that can reduce the effect of vibration of the running belt.

As shown in FIG. 9, a sensor 70 of the fourth preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a rotor 72 and a switch 74. The rotor 72 is a disk, on which magnets 78 are fixed in a circulative pattern. The magnets 78 have the same interval. The switch 74 has a housing 80 and two conductive plates 82 therein. The plates 82 have ends fixed to the housing 80 and have free ends 84 suspended. The free ends 84 of the plates 82 are overlapped. The plates 82 are electrically connected to the processor via a wire (not shown). While the magnet 78 of the rotor 72 closes to the plates 82, the free ends 84 of the plates 82 are in contact (FIG. 11). While the magnet 78 moves away from the plates 82, the free ends 84 of the plates 82 are separated (FIG. 10). In other words, the rotor 72 provides a periodical magnetic field with a frequency directly proportional to the speed of the rotor 72. The magnetic field makes the plates 82 of the switch 74 touching and separation repeatedly. As a result, the switch 74 produces a serious of digital signals with ON and OFF. As above, we can get the angular velocity (ω) of the rotor 72 by measuring the time between two ON signals or between two OFF signals, or just measuring the frequency of the digital signals to be an indication of the velocity of the rotor 72. If the processor detects an instant variation in the velocity, it records a “One Step”.

As shown in FIG. 12, the fifth preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a sensor 86 including a rotor 88 with magnets 90 thereon and a coil 92. The rotor 88 produces a periodical magnetic field. With the electromagnetic induction, the coil 92 generates a current under the periodical magnetic field. While user is stepping the running belt, the loading slows down the motion assembly as well as the rotor 90. The magnetic field is changed suddenly also to make the induction current has an instant variation. While the instant variation of the current is detected, the processor records a “One Step”.

The sixth preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a method of counting the number of steps that user walks or runs on a treadmill. The current in the motor is monitored to be an indication of the speed of the motion assembly. While user is stepping the running belt, the current in the motor is increased to enlarge the torque output. As a result, while the current in the motor is detected with an instant variation, the processor records it as a “One Step”.

As shown in FIG. 13, a sensor 94 of the seventh preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a wheel 96, a mount 98 and a tachometer 100. The wheel 96 is pivoted on the mount 98, and the tachometer 100 is connected to the wheel 96 to detect the speed of rotation thereof. The mount 98 has two elongated slots 102 and two blots 104 inserted into the slots and screwed into a frame 106 of the treadmill, such that the mount 98 is movable to press the wheel 96 on a running belt 108. The wheel 96 runs along with the running belt 108, and the tachometer 100 monitors the speed of the wheel 96. While an instant variation of the speed of the wheel 96 is detected, the processor records a “One Step”.

Except the sixth preferred embodiment, the treadmill of the present invention may be a non-electric treadmill. In other words, the motion assembly only includes the rollers and the running belt but the motor and the transmission device.