Title:
INTERACTIVE BALANCE TRAINER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An interactive balance trainer includes a base, on which a swing device is pivoted for a swing motion. A swing sensing device includes a signal sensor to sense a rotating angle of the swing device and transmit a signal. A central processing unit, which receives the signal transmitted from the swing sensing device, has a main program to compare the signal with a program target value. A resistance adjusting device, which adjusts a resistance exerting on the swing device, has a position sensor providing a feedback signal to the central processing unit. A display unit receives a signal processed by the central processing unit and shows information according to the signal of the central processing unit.



Inventors:
Cheng, Chih-hung (Taichung County, TW)
Application Number:
11/830443
Publication Date:
11/20/2008
Filing Date:
07/30/2007
Assignee:
Forek Industrial Co., Ltd. (Taichung City, TW)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/146
International Classes:
A63B22/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LONG, ROBERT FRANKLIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Browdy and Neimark, PLLC (1625 K Street, N.W. Suite 1100, Washington, DC, 20006, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An interactive balance trainer, comprising: a base; a swing device pivoted on the base for a swing motion; a swing sensing device including a signal sensor to detect a rotating angle of the swing device and transmit a signal; a central processing unit, which receives the signal transmitted from the swing sensing device, having a main program to compare the signal with a program target value; a resistance adjusting device, which adjusts a resistance exerting on the swing device, having a position sensor providing a feedback signal to the central processing unit; and a display unit receiving a signal processed by the central processing unit and showing information according to the signal of the central processing unit.

2. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, wherein the swing sensing device further includes a transmission device to transmit the rotating angle of the swing device to the signal sensor.

3. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, wherein the central processing unit further includes a signal input unit to receive the signal transmitted from the signal sensor and transmit the signal to the main program; said main program includes a target setting unit which is to set a target value, such as a target position and a balance time, either by the user's manually setting or by program automatically setting, and a target determining unit to compare the target value of the target setting unit and the signal transmitted from the signal input unit to determine whether user reaches a preset target, and the target setting unit will set a new target value when user reaches the target value; and a signal output unit to transmit relative information of the swing device and the main program to the display unit.

4. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, wherein the main program of the central processing unit further includes a level determining unit with which the main program compares the user's reaction time while achieving the target with a preset value of the level determining unit to determine whether it has to change a difficulty level, and when the main program determines to change the difficulty level, it sends a control command to the resistance adjusting device to change the resistance exerting on the swing device.

5. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, wherein the resistance adjusting device includes at least one damping device to provide the resistance to the swing device while swinging, a displacement assembly connected to the damping device to adjust the resistance of the damping device exerting on the swing device, and a position sensor installed on the displacement assembly to sense and transmit a feedback signal to the central processing unit.

6. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, wherein the display unit includes a target displaying region with a swing position displaying region and a program target displaying region, a balance time displaying region, a level displaying region.

7. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 6, wherein the swing position displaying region shows positions of the swing device, the program target displaying region shows the target position set by the target setting unit of the main program, and the level displaying region shows the resistance exerting on the swing device.

8. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, further comprising a handle assembly including two handles, two or more elastic ropes and two handle frames, wherein the elastic ropes have opposite ends connected to the handles and the handle frames respectively.

9. The interactive balance trainer as defined in claim 1, further comprising a pedal adjusting device including a linear actuator and a sliding assembly, wherein the linear actuator has opposite ends pivoted on the swing device and the sliding assembly, and the sliding assembly slides on a rail of the swing device to change a position of the sliding assembly for shifting a gravity center of the swing device.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to an exercise machine, and more particularly to an interactive balance trainer.

2. Description of the Related Art

There were dozens of years for development of balance trainer. A typical conventional balance trainer is taught by U.S. Pat. No. 6,872,175, which provides a board with a ground-touching elastic bump. User stands on the board to train his/her balance ability. Another conventional balance trainer is taught by U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,168, which provides a board, a base and a connecting assembly to connect the board and the base. User stands on the board and twists in multi-directions to train his/her balance ability.

These conventional balance trainers only provide a kind of exercise mode without various training levels to meet the requirements of different users. Furthermore, the conventional balance trainers cannot provide user an interactive training experience.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The primary objective of the present invention is to provide an interactive balance trainer, on which user stands to train his/her balance ability, automatically detecting user's balance ability and adjusting to the suitable difficulty level accordingly.

The secondary objective of the present invention is to provide an interactive balance trainer, which may automatically upgrade the difficulty level to fit the user's improved balance ability. Thus, the user can improve user's balance ability step by step.

According to the objectives of the present invention, an interactive balance trainer includes a base, on which a swing device is pivoted for a swing motion. A swing sensing device includes a signal sensor to sense a rotating angle of the swing device and transmit a signal. A central processing unit, which receives the signal transmitted from the swing sensing device, has a main program to compare the signal with a program target value. A resistance adjusting device, which adjusts a resistance exerting on the swing device, has a position sensor providing a feedback signal to the central processing unit. A display unit receives a signal processed by the central processing unit and shows information according to the signal of the central processing unit.

The present invention provides the swing sensing device to detect the swing motion of the swing device and send a swing signal to the central processing unit. The main program of the central processing unit compares the swing signal with a program target value to determine whether user has reached a preset target. The central processing unit may determine whether it has to adjust to a suitable difficulty level by detecting the user's reaction time while achieving the target. If the central processing unit determines itself has to change the difficulty level, the main program sends a command to the resistance adjusting device to change the resistance exerting on the swing device. And then, the resistance adjusting device has a position sensor detecting and sending a feedback signal to the central processing unit. The central processing unit transmits relative information of balance training to be observed on the display unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a flow chart of the control system of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the display unit of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the swing sensing device of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a sketch diagram of the resistance adjusting device of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view in parts of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the pedal adjusting device of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a sketch diagram of the preferred embodiment of the present invention with two extra handles; and

FIG. 10A to FIG. 14B are sketch diagrams, showing the rotating position of swing device related to the display unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 1 to FIG. 3, an interactive balance trainer of the preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a base 6 having a base member 61 and an enclosing member 62 on a side of the base member 61 to enclose a resistance adjusting device 4 (the detail of the resistance adjusting device 4 will be described later). The enclosing member 62 includes two bores 63 at opposite sides thereof a positioning member 6A at a third side. A carrier member 64, stood on the opposite side of the enclosing member 62, has a post 641 with a transverse hole 6411 coaxial to position member 6A. A swing device 7, which is a rectangular frame, has a transverse hole 71 on a center of the long side thereof and a positioning member 6B on the other long side. The positioning member 6B is pivoted on the carrier member 64 of the base 6. The positioning member 6A passes through the hole 71 and the positioning member 6B passes through the hole 6411 to pivot the swing device 7 on the carrier member 64 for swinging motion.

A swing sensing device 1, which is disposed on a side of a frame of the swing device 7, includes a signal sensor 1A to detect a rotating angle of the swing device 7 and transmit a swing signal to a central processing unit 2.

The central processing unit 2 receives the swing signal from the signal sensor 1A and compares the swing signal with a preset value stored in a target setting unit 221 of a main program 22.

A resistance adjusting device 4, which executes commands from the central processing unit 2 to adjust the resistance exerting on the swing device 7 and transmit a feedback signal to the central processing unit 2, includes a first linear actuator main body 4B1 and a transmission device 4B2. The transmission device 4B2 is screwed to a screw shaft 4B3 of the first linear actuator main body 4B1 for a vertical movement relative to the first linear actuator main body 4B1. Two damping devices 4A are installed on opposite sides of the transmission device 4B2 through the bores 63 and have opposite ends fastening to swing device 7. In the present invention, the damping devices 4A are hydraulic buffers. They also may be pneumatic cylinders, springs or other equivalent devices. When the transmission device 4B2 moves up-and-down, it will adjust arm lengths of the damping devices 4A to change the resistance exerting on the swing device 7.

A display unit 3 is mounted on the enclosing member 62 (in practice, the display unit may be mount on any suitable member other than the enclosing member 62) to receive the signal from the central processing unit 2 and show readable messages to the user.

As shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, the central processing unit 2 transmits a signal to the display unit 3, which has a target displaying region 31 with various light emitting devices, a balance time displaying region 32, a information displaying region 33 and a level displaying region 34. The target displaying region 31 includes a swing position displaying region 311 and a program target displaying region 312. The central processing unit 2 includes a signal input unit 21, the main program 22 and a signal output unit 23. The signal input unit 21 receives a signal from a swing sensing device 1 and transmits information of the rotating position of the swing device 7 to the main program 22. The main program 22 includes a target setting unit 221 and a target determining unit 222. The target setting unit 221 is to set a target value, such as a target position and a balance time, either by the user's manually setting via keys 5 or by program automatically setting The target determining unit 222 compares the signal of the signal input unit 21 with the target value of the target setting unit 221 to determine whether user had reached the training target. When user reaches the training target, the target setting unit 221 will automatically set a new target value.

The main program 22 transmits a signal to the display unit 3 through the signal output unit 23. The display unit 3 shows either figural, numeral light or mixed information to user. In the present invention, the rotating position of the swing device 7 is shown on the swing position displaying region 311, the target position of the target setting unit 221 is shown on the program target displaying region 312, and the balance time of the target setting unit 221 is shown on the balance time displaying region 32.

The main program 22 further includes a level determining unit 223. The main program 22 compares the user's reaction time while achieving the target with a program preset value, such as five seconds. Thus the level determining unit 223 may determine to change the difficulty level according to the comparison. The user's reaction time may be an average time to achieve five targets.

If the reaction time is shorter than the preset value of the level determining unit 223, it will raise the difficulty level. On the contrary, if the reaction time is longer than the preset value of the level determining unit 223, it will lower the difficulty level.

When the level determining unit 223 determines to raise or lower the difficulty level, the main program 22 will send a control command to the resistance adjusting device 4. The resistance adjusting device 4 executes the control command to change the resistance exerting on the swing device 7 to adjust the difficulty level of maintaining balance. The resistance adjusting device 4 has a position sensor 4C, referring to FIG. 4, which transmits a feedback signal to the central processing unit 2 to show a information on the level displaying region 34 of the display unit 3 for user.

The main program 22 further includes a time determining unit 224, which compares a time of user exercising with a preset total exercise time, such as fifteen minutes. The interactive balance trainer of the present invention determines that the balance training is finished when the exercise time reaches the preset value. The time info of the time determining unit 224 is shown on the information displaying region 33

As shown in FIG. 5, the swing sensing device 1 further includes a transmission device 1B and a signal sensor 1A. The transmission device 1B includes a fixed gear 1B1 and a transmission gear 1B2. The fixed gear 1B1 is secured to the positioning member 6A with a bolt member. The transmission gear 1B2 is disposed on the other side of the signal sensor 1A to be driven by the fixed gear 1B1. When user steps on the swing device 7, the swing device swings an angle relative to the positioning member 6A. The transmission gear 1B2 is geared with the fixed gear 1B1 and rotates accordingly. The signal sensor 1A is driven by the transmission gear 1B21 and transmit the changed signal to the central processing unit 2 to determine the position of the swing device 7. In the present invention, the signal sensor 1A is a potentiometer.

As shown in FIG. 6, the resistance adjusting device 4 includes at least one of aforesaid damping devices 4A and a displacement assembly 4B. The displacement assembly 4B includes a first linear actuator main body 4B1 and a transmission device 4B2 screwed onto a screw shaft 4B3 of the first linear actuator main body 4B1. In the present invention, the resistance adjusting device 4 provides the first linear actuator main body 4B1 fixed on the enclosing member 62 driving the transmission device 4B2 for a vertical movement. The swing device 7 has opposite ends pivoted on the damping devices 4A, and the damping devices 4A are pivoted on the transmission device 4B2 respectively. In the present invention, the damping devices 4A are hydraulic buffers (they also may be pneumatic cylinders, springs or other equivalent devices). When the transmission device 4B2 moves up-and-down, it may adjust arm lengths of the damping devices 4A to change the resistance exerting on the opposite ends of the swing device 7 (the lower the damping devices 4A are, the longer the arm lengths and larger the resistance is). In the present invention, the position sensor 4C is installed within the first linear actuator main body 4B1 (referring to FIG. 7).

FIG. 8 shows a pedal adjusting device 9 including a second linear actuator 9A and a sliding assembly 91B. The second linear actuator 9A has opposite ends pivoted on the swing device 7 and on the sliding assembly 9B respectively. The sliding assembly 9B is fixed with two pedals 9C for user standing thereon. The sliding assembly 9B moves along a rail 7A on the swing device 7.

Therefore, the sliding assembly 9B of the pedal adjusting device 9 is driven by the second linear actuator 9A and has two or more wheels 9B1 for sliding on the rails 7A of the swing device 7 to change the distance of the pedals 9C from the positioning member 6A of the base 6, Thus, it may change the gravity center of the swing device 7 and increase the difficulty level of balance training.

As shown in FIG. 9, the present invention further includes a handle assembly 8 fixed on the base 6. The handle assembly 8 includes two handles 8A, two elastic ropes 8B and two handle frames 8C. The elastic ropes 8B have opposite ends fixed to the handles 8A and the handle frames 8C respectively. User may hold the handles 8A for better support during the balance training.

At last, FIG. 10A to FIG. 14B shows the relationship of the swing position displaying region 311 of the display unit 3 and the rotating position of the swing device 7. In the present invention, the program target displaying region 312 (triangle) has five program target lights (the number of lights is not restricted), and the swing position displaying region 311 has five swing position lights corresponding to the program target lights. As shown in FIG. 10A and FIG. 10B, when the swing device 7 is swung to right, the corresponding right swing position light on the swing position displaying region 311 lights on (same as FIG. 11A to FIG. 14A and FIG. 11B to FIG. 14B shown) to provide a visual information of pedal position to user.

The description above is a few preferred embodiments of the present invention and the equivalence of the present invention is still in the scope of the claim of the present invention.