Title:
Rowing Machine Simulators
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One aspect is an energy storage device for a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device. The energy storage device is configured to be disposed intermediate the rowing handle and the energy dissipation device and configured to elastically absorb a predetermined proportion of the force applied to the rowing handle by an oarsman during the early phase of a stroke. The elastically absorbed energy is released during later phases of said stroke.



Inventors:
Campbell, Mark (Harbord, AU)
Application Number:
12/018702
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
01/23/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HWANG, VICTOR KENNY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DICKE, BILLIG & CZAJA (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. An energy storage device for a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device, said energy storage device configured to be disposed intermediate said rowing handle and said energy dissipation device and configured to elastically absorb a predetermined proportion of the force applied to said rowing handle by an oarsmen during the early phase of a stroke wherein said elastically absorbed energy is released during later phases of said stroke.

2. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein said energy storage device is configured to absorb between 15% to 35% of the force applied to said rowing handle by an oarsmen during the early phase of a stroke.

3. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein during said later phases of said stroke as the force applied by said oarsman reduces below a predetermined applied force said energy storage device releases said stored energy.

4. An energy storage device according to claim 1 in the form of a compression spring configured to be connected to said rowing handle at one end and to a cable, chain, belt or other connection means connected to said energy dissipation device at the other end.

5. An energy storage device according to claim 1 in the form of an expansion spring configured to be connected to said rowing handle at one end and to a cable, chain, belt or other connection means connected to said energy dissipation device at the other end.

6. An energy storage device according to claim 1 in the form of an elastomeric material or other of elastically deformable material configured to be connected to said rowing handle at one end, and to a cable, chain, belt or other connection means connected to said energy dissipation device or connected directly to said energy dissipation device at the other end.

7. An energy storage device according to claim 1 in the form of a pneumatic piston and cylinder the configured to be connected to said rowing handle at one end and to a cable, chain, belt or other connection means connected to said energy dissipation device at the other end.

8. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein said energy storage device includes a variable energy storage capacity to simulate force applied by rowers having different strengths.

9. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein said energy storage device is configured to elastically absorb said instantaneous force applied by said oarsman during approximately the first 20% to 80% of a stroke.

10. An energy storage device according to claim 9 wherein said energy storage device is configured to elastically absorb said instantaneous force applied by said oarsman during approximately the first 40% of a stroke.

11. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein said energy storage device is configured to elastically absorb instantaneous force applied by said oarsman when said when said oarsmen is applying a force of between 200N to 1200N or between 400N to 800N.

12. An energy storage device according to claim 4 wherein said energy storage device includes a stop means configured to limit the movement thereof in response to an applied force exceeding a predetermined force.

13. An energy storage device according to claim 4 wherein said energy storage device is enclosed in a housing.

14. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein said handle includes: a left hand hand grip spaced apart from a right hand hand grip; and a hook disposed intermediate said left and right-hand hand grips, said hook having a head end extending from a front of said handle and a shank end partially or completely disposed within said handle, said shank being slideably mounted within said handle between an a non-storage position and an energy storage position wherein said shank is configured to be resiliently biased by said energy storage device towards said non-storage position.

15. An energy storage device according to claim 1 wherein said energy dissipation device is configured to simulate the mass of a rowing boat with or without rowers and/or a coxswain.

16. A rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to a static or dynamically mounted energy dissipation device, said rowing machine simulator including an energy storage device according to claim 1.

17. A method of providing an energy storage device in a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device, said method including the steps of disposing said energy storage device intermediate said rowing handle and said energy dissipation device, and configuring said energy storage device to elastically absorb a predetermined proportion of the force applied to said rowing handle by an oarsmen during the early phase of a stoke and configuring said energy storage device to release said absorbed energy during later phases of said oarsmen's stroke.

18. A method according to claim 17 wherein said energy storage device is configured to absorb between 15% to 35% of the force applied to said rowing handle by said oarsman during the early phase of the stroke.

19. A method according to claim 17 including the step of configuring said energy storage device such that during said later phases of said stroke said force applied by said oarsman reduces below a predetermined force said energy storage device releases said stored energy.

20. A method according to claim 17 wherein said energy storage device is selected from the group consisting of compression springs; expansion springs; elastomeric materials; pneumatic piston and cylinders; and/or any combination thereof.

21. A method according to claim 17 including the step of pivotally mounting said rowing handle to said energy storage device directly or indirectly via a cable, chain, belt or other connection means.

22. A method according to claim 17 including the step of configuring said energy storage device to elastically absorb said instantaneous force applied by said oarsman during approximately the first 40% of a stroke.

23. A method according to claim 17 including the step of configuring said energy storage device to elastically absorb instantaneous force applied by said oarsman when said when said oarsmen is applying a force of between 200N to 1200N or between 400N to 800N.

24. A method according to claim 17 wherein said energy storage device includes a variable energy storage capacity to absorb energy in response to different forces to simulate forces applied by rowers having different strengths.

25. A method according to claim 17 including the step of disposing a stop means in association with said energy storage device, said stop means being configured to limit the movement of said energy storage device in response to an applied force exceeding a predetermined value.

26. A method according to claim 17 including the step of enclosing said energy storage device in said handle.

27. A method according to claim 14 including the step of configuring said energy dissipation device to simulate a mass of a rowing boat with or without rower(s) and/or a coxswain.

28. A method of providing a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device, said method including the steps of providing an energy storage device according to claim 17.

29. A dynamically balanced rowing simulator including: a beam having a predetermined length and a substantially horizontal central portion; a seat slideably engaged with said beam and horizontally movable therealong, said seat being disposed a predetermined vertical height above said beam; and an energy dissipating device slideably engaged with said beam and horizontally movable therealong independent of said movement of said seat, said energy dissipating device including: a frame configured for supporting a flywheel, said flywheel being rotatably mounted on a flywheel shaft wherein said frame supports said flywheel shaft a vertical height less than a radius of said flywheel above said beam; a handle; a rotatable indirect drive means connected to said handle and being disposed a predetermined vertical height above said flywheel shaft; a rotatable direct drive means disposed about said flywheel shaft and connected to said indirect drive means, said direct drive configured for transferring rotation of said indirect drive into rotation of direct drive and said flywheel; and a footrest attached to said frame.

30. A dynamically balanced rowing simulator according to claim 29 including a take-up means, attached to said frame, said take-up means rewinding and maintaining a predetermined tension on said drive means, said take-up means comprising one of a constant tension spring element or an elastic cord and a plurality of pulleys.

Description:

This Utility Patent Application claims priority to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2007900315 filed on Jan. 23, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to rowing machine simulators and, in particular, to various improvements to and in rowing machine simulators.

The invention has been developed primarily for use with dynamically balanced rowing machine simulators and will be described hereinafter with reference to this application. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to this particular field of use and is applicable to many different types of rowing machine simulators as would be understood by a person skilled in the art.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Static rowing machine simulators have been long known for use in both general strength and fitness training, or for use specifically for oarsmen to practice their rowing. In these known static simulators, a seat is slideably mounted to a rail so as to simulate the sliding motion of a seat in a rowing boat. A typical example of a static rowing machine simulator can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,396,188, and reference is made to FIG. 1 which reproduces a drawing from this US prior art patent.

As shown in FIG. 1, the static rowing machine simulator includes an energy dissipation device in the form of a flywheel that is driven by a chain connected to a handle in front of a rower. When the rower is seated on the sliding seat, the feet are placed on footrests which are attached to the frame upon which the seat slides. A rowing or pulling motion on the handle causes the chain to move and thereby rotate the flywheel.

Unfortunately, static rowing machine simulators such as the example shown in FIG. 1 do not properly simulate the forces an oarsman is exposed to during normal rowing action. As such, the known static rowing machine simulators are acknowledged by health professionals as being potentially detrimental to the oarsman by increasing the likelihood of injury to the oarsman's knee, back and shoulders.

In order to more accurately simulate the forces that would be experienced by an oarsman in a boat, the subject of U.S. Pat. No. 5,382,210 (Rekers) was developed. A right hand side view of the Rekers simulator is shown in FIG. 2. The disclosure of the specification of the Rekers US patent is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety.

In the dynamically balanced rowing machine simulators such as Rekers, the energy dissipation device (flywheel in the Rekers patent) is also slideably mounted to the frame independent of the slideable movement of the seat. That is, during use by an oarsman, the slideably mounted seat and energy dissipation device move independently of each other apart and together as a function of the stroke of the oarsman. In the Rekers prior art, the dynamically balanced rowing machine simulator stabilizes the energy dissipation device (flywheel) and the oarsman independent of internal friction and/or hysteresis in any elastic elements in the simulators.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that when an oarsman sits on the seat of the simulator of the Rekers patent, they place their feet on the foot rests which are slideably mounted with the energy dissipation device flywheel so that pulling on the rowing machine simulator handle and release thereof causes the energy dissipation device and seat to move apart and together during the initial stages of a stroke and the final stages of a stroke respectively. It is known that the disclosure of rowing machine simulators such as those of the Rekers patent provides significant improvements in the simulation of the experience an oarsman would receive when rowing a boat on the water as not only is the movement of the sliding seat simulated, but also the movement of the boat by means of the movement of the energy dissipation device flywheel unit. Use of simulators such as those of Rekers reduces the risk of injury that is presented by the use of static simulators.

Whilst the rowing machine simulators of the type disclosed in the Rekers patent are significant improvements over what is known, it would be preferable to have a rowing machine simulator which yet more realistically simulates the experiences of an oarsman rowing a boat on the water. As would be understood by a person skilled in the art, other conventionally known dynamically balanced rowing machine simulators typically only address one or two specific conditions experienced during an oarsman rowing.

GENESIS OF THE INVENTION

It is the genesis of the present invention to provide an energy storage device and a rowing machine simulator employing the energy storage device, and an improved dynamically balanced rowing machine simulator to simulate the forces experienced by an oarsman during rowing, or to provide a useful alternative.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided an energy storage device for a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device, said energy storage device configured to be disposed intermediate said rowing handle and said energy dissipation device and configured to elastically absorb a predetermined proportion of the force applied to said rowing handle by an oarsmen during the early phase of a stroke wherein said elastically absorbed energy is released during later phases of said stroke.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to a static or dynamically mounted energy dissipation device, said rowing machine simulator including an energy storage device according to the first aspect of the invention.

According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a method of providing an energy storage device in a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device, said method including the steps of disposing said energy storage device intermediate said rowing handle and said energy dissipation device, and configuring said energy storage device to elastically absorb a predetermined proportion of the force applied to said rowing handle by an oarsmen during the early phase of a stoke and configuring said energy storage device to release said absorbed energy during later phases of said oarsmen's stroke.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention there is provided a method of providing a rowing machine simulator having a rowing handle connected to an energy dissipation device, said method including the steps of providing an energy storage device according to the third aspect of the invention.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a dynamically balanced rowing simulator including:

    • a beam having a predetermined length and a substantially horizontal central portion;
    • a seat slideably engaged with said beam and horizontally movable therealong, said seat being disposed a predetermined vertical height above said beam; and
    • an energy dissipating device slideably engaged with said beam and horizontally movable therealong independent of said movement of said seat, said energy dissipating device including:
      • a frame configured for supporting a flywheel, said flywheel being rotatably mounted on a flywheel shaft wherein said frame supports said flywheel shaft a vertical height less than a radius of said flywheel above said beam;
      • a handle;
      • a rotatable indirect drive means connected to said handle and being disposed a predetermined vertical height above said flywheel shaft;
      • a rotatable direct drive means disposed about said flywheel shaft and connected to said indirect drive means, said direct drive configured for transferring rotation of said indirect drive into rotation of direct drive and said flywheel; and
      • a footrest attached to said frame.

It can therefore be seen that there is advantageously provided an energy storage device for use with a rowing machine simulator which allows the simulation of some forces experienced by an oarsman when rowing a boat on the water. Furthermore, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that use of the dynamically balanced rowing machine simulator with the energy dissipation device (flywheel) configuration provides a more stable simulator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which,

FIG. 1 is a left-hand side view of a static rowing machine simulator known to the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a right-hand side view of a dynamically balanced rowing machine simulator known to the prior art;

FIG. 3 is a schematic top view of an energy storage device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention for use in a rowing machine simulator;

FIG. 4 is a schematic top view of an energy storage device according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention for use in a rowing machine simulator;

FIG. 5 is an energy storage device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic top view of an energy storage device according to a further preferred embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 7 is a side view of a rowing machine simulator according to a further preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 3 to 7 generally, like reference numerals have been used to denote like components. Referring firstly to FIG. 7, there is shown a rowing machine simulator 1 having a rowing handle 2 which is connected to a dynamically mounted energy dissipation device 3. It will be appreciated that the rowing machine simulator 1 can be a machine in which the energy dissipation device 3 is static and not moveable.

The rowing machine simulator 1 includes an energy storage device 4. The energy storage device 4 is configured to be disposed intermediate the rowing machine simulator handle 2 and the energy dissipation device 3. The energy storage device 4 is configured to elastically absorb a proportion of the force applied to the rowing handle 2 by an oarsman (not illustrated) during the early phase of a simulated rowing stroke. The elastically stored energy in the device 4 is released during later phases of the simulated rowing stroke when the force applied by the oarsman reduces below a pre-determined force.

The energy storage device 4 is adapted to absorb between 15% to 35% of the force applied to the rowing handle 2 by an oarsman during the early phase of a stroke. In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 3, the energy storage device 4 is configured to elastically absorb the instantaneous force applied by an oarsman during approximately the first 20% to 80% of the simulated rowing stroke. Most preferably, the storage device 4 is configured to elastically absorb the instantaneous force applied by the oarsman during approximately the first 40% of a stroke.

In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 3, the energy storage device 4 is configured to elastically absorb instantaneous force applied by the oarsman during the early phase of the stroke of between 200N to 1200N. In other preferred embodiments, not illustrated, the energy storage device 4 is configured to elastically absorb instantaneous force applied by the oarsman of between 400N to 800N.

It will also be appreciated that the energy storage device 4 can include a variable energy storage capacity to absorb instantaneous forces during the early phases of a stroke applied by oarsmen having different strengths. It will also be appreciated that the energy dissipation device 3 is configured to simulate the pre-determined or preferred mass of a rowing boat with or without rowers and/or a coxswain. That is, the energy dissipation device 3 can be selected to correspond to the mass of a lightweight scull, or, if preferred a heavier boat, or indeed any preferred weight.

In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 3, the energy storage device 4 is in the form of a compression spring 5 that is configured to be connected to the rowing handle at one end and to a cable connected to the energy dissipation device 3 at the other end. It will be appreciated that the cable 6 can be indirectly connected to the energy dissipation device 3, as shown in FIG. 7, or it can be directly connected to the energy dissipation device 3 (not illustrated) as preferred.

It will also be appreciated that the cable 6 can be a chain, belt or other connection means connected to the energy dissipation device at the other end and the handle at one end. The cable could be a combination of a cable, a chain, a belt and/or other connection means as preferred and as would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art.

The energy storage device 4 includes a stop means 7 to limit the compression of the compression spring 5 during absorption of instantaneous force applied by the rower to the handle 2. The stop means 7, as shown in FIG. 3, most preferably limits the total compression of the spring 5.

As schematically shown in FIG. 7, the energy storage device 4 is disposed within a housing formed by the rowing machine simulator handle 2. The handle 2 includes a left handgrip 8 (not illustrated) spaced apart from a right handgrip 9. A shaft 10 is disposed intermediate the left and right hand handgrips 8 and 9 wherein a head 11 of the shaft 10 extends from a front 12 of the handle 2 and is releasably connected to the chain 6. The shaft 10 includes a shank end 13 configured to be substantially disposed within the handle 2.

The shank end 13 is slideably mounted within the handle between a non-energy storage position, as shown in FIG. 3, and an energy storage position (not illustrated) wherein the shank 13 is resiliently biased by compression spring 5 towards the non-energy storage position. It will be appreciated that the shank 13 can be configured to protrude a pre-determined distance from the handle 2 rather than simply being substantially enclosed within the handle.

In use, the oarsman places each hand on the respective handle handgrips 8 and 9 and applies a pulling force thereto. During the early phases of the stroke, the compression spring 5 is caused to compress and store energy thereby elastically absorbing a proportion of the force applied to the handle by the oarsman. Once the oarsman ceases applying a force of a pre-determined magnitude or greater, the compression spring 5 being under compression will recoil. This happens during a later phase of the simulated rowing stroke and most preferably during the final 60% of the stroke.

In this way, it will be appreciated that the energy storage device allows the simulation of some forces experienced by an oarsman when rowing a boat on water. That is, elastic flexing experienced by an oarsman when rowing on the water with real oars in a real boat. It will be appreciated that the shaft 10 can include a hook, clip or other fixed or releasable fastening means to connect the energy storage device 4 to the chain 6.

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown a top view of an energy storage device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention for use in a rowing machine simulator. The rowing machine simulator can be a static or dynamically balanced simulator.

In the embodiment of FIG. 4, an expansion spring 16 is configured to be connected intermediate the handle 2 and the energy dissipation device 3 of the rowing machine simulator (not illustrated). In this preferred embodiment, the energy storage device is configured to be disposed within the rowing machine simulator handle (not illustrated) and be releasably connected to the chain 6 at the shaft head 11.

In use, one end of the expansion spring 16 is connected to the handle of the rowing machine simulator and the other end connected to the cable such that application of force by the oarsman on the handle causes the expansion spring to elastically absorb energy. As in the case with the preferred embodiment of the energy storage device 4 described with reference to FIG. 3 using a compression spring 5, a stop means 7 is employed to prevent the expansion spring being stretched beyond its elastic limit.

The energy storage device 4 using the expansion spring 16 is configured to absorb about the same amount of force applied by the oarsman to the handle during the early phase of a stroke as is described for the energy storage device 4 with reference to FIG. 3.

In FIG. 5, there is shown another preferred embodiment of the energy storage device 4 in the form of a pneumatic piston and cylinder 20 and 21 respectively. As with the other preferred embodiments, the energy storage device 4 of FIG. 5 is configured to be connected to the rowing handle at one end and to a cable (not illustrated) at the other end which is in turn connected to the energy dissipation device of the rowing machine simulator. In this way, force applied by an oarsman simulating the rowing stroke causes the cylinder and the piston to be pulled apart and to elastically absorb the energy applied during the early phases of the stroke. Once the force applied by the rower reduces below a pre-determined magnitude, the piston and cylinder are caused to return to their initial positions thereby releasing the stored energy. It will be appreciated that the energy storage device 4 of FIG. 5 performs the same function as the preferred embodiments of FIGS. 3 and 4.

Referring to FIG. 6, there is shown yet another preferred embodiment of the energy storage device 4. In this embodiment, the energy storage device 4 is not configured to be disposed within the handle 2 but is most preferably configured to connect at one end to the handle and to a cable connected to the energy dissipation device at the other end. The energy storage device 4 is in the form of an elastically deformable elastomeric material which is configured to absorb between 15% to 35% of the force applied to the rowing handle by the oarsman during the first 40% of a rowing stroke. In this embodiment, a substantially inelastic cable 7 is attached to or adjacent to each end of the elastomeric cable 4 to act as a stop 7 to prevent over-extension of the energy storage device 4.

As with the other embodiments of the energy storage device 4 described above, the elastomeric material can be configured to elastically absorb force applied by the oarsman during the first 20 to 80% of the stroke where the oarsman is applying between 200N to 1200N of force to the handle. In this way, the material elastically stretches and elastically absorbs the applied force releasing it when the force applied by the oarsman reduces below a pre-determined value.

It will also be appreciated that the preferred embodiments of the energy storage device 4 shown in FIGS. 4 to 6 also advantageously provide the simulation of some of the forces experienced by an oarsman when rowing a boat on the water, for example, the flexing forces of an outrigger canoe.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown a dynamically balanced rowing machine simulator 1. The rowing machine simulator 1 includes a beam 31 having a pre-determined length and a substantially horizontal central portion 32. The simulator 1 includes a seat 33 slideably engaged with the beam 31 and horizontally moveable therealong. The seat is disposed a pre-determined height above the beam.

The rowing simulator 1 includes an energy dissipation device 3 slideably engaged with the beam 31 and horizontally moveable therealong independent of the movement of the seat 33. The energy dissipation device 3 of this embodiment includes a frame 35 that is adapted for supporting a flywheel 36. The flywheel is rotatably mounted on a flywheel shaft 37 and, importantly, the frame 35 supports the flywheel shaft 37 a vertical height above the beam 31 that is less than a radius of the flywheel.

The dynamically balanced rowing machine simulator 1 further includes a chain take-up mechanism 39 disposed intermediate a fixed point 46 on the frame 35 and a rotatable drive means 40 disposed about the flywheel shaft 37 and connected to the handle 2 at the other end. The direct drive means 40 is configured for transferring the linear motion of the chain 46 away from the shaft 37 into rotation of the drive means 40 and rotation of the flywheel 36.

It will therefore be seen that disposing the flywheel 36 at a vertical height above the frame 35 being less than a radius of the flywheel 36 that a more stable rowing machine simulator is provided in use. Additionally, the use of the energy storage device 4 intermediate handle 2 and the energy dissipation device 3 provides a more realistic simulation of the flex of an oar when rowing in water.

It will also be appreciated that in some preferred embodiments that an indirect drive means (not illustrated) can be disposed intermediate the handle 2/chain 46 and the drive means 38. In this way, the handle can be geared up or down to provide the required resistance. For example, the indirect drive means may be disposed at a vertical height above the beam 31 and the flywheel shaft 37 and the chain 6 may loop over the indirect drive means and then over the flywheel shaft 37. This is most advantageous when the flywheel shaft 37 is some relatively close height above the beam 31 and the handle 2 would be uncomfortably low relative to the flywheel shaft 37.

Although not illustrated, it will be appreciated that the energy storage device can also be formed as part of the handle. For example, the left and right hand handgrips 8 and 9 may be mounted to a handle body such that application of a force by a user causes the handgrips to elastically deform. In this way, the handgrips absorb force over the first part (20% to 80%) of a stroke and release the energy once the applied force has reduced a predetermined amount later in the stroke.

Furthermore, it will be appreciated that the energy storage device can be disposed at any preferred location from the handle(s) to the energy dissipation device and still simulate the effects of a flexing oar.

The foregoing describes only one embodiment of the present invention and modifications, obvious to those skilled in the art, can be made thereto without departing from the scope of the present invention.