Title:
Dual-shaft hinge module for interactive training apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention discloses a dual-shaft hinge module for an interactive training apparatus. The dual-shaft hinge module comprises a first shaft assembly and a second shaft assembly, which orthogonally intersect and are positioned at a shaft seat. The first shaft assembly and the second shaft assembly can be controlled by a main post to rotated clockwise or anticlockwise against axes thereof. A first sensing and the second sensing units sense rotational directions and angles of the first and the second shaft assemblies to generate signals accordingly. The signals are then transmitted to an interactive device.



Inventors:
Chen, Chung-chieh (Taichung, TW)
Chen, Wei-lung (Taichung, TW)
Chang, Chia-chang (Taichung, TW)
Chiang, Tzu-peng (Taichung, TW)
Application Number:
11/998586
Publication Date:
06/04/2009
Filing Date:
11/30/2007
Assignee:
Cycling & Health Tech Industry R & D Center
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GANESAN, SUNDHARA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHARLES E. BAXLEY, ESQUIRE (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A dual-shaft hinge module for an interactive training apparatus, comprising: a shafts; a main post, having a top thereof fixedly fastened to a bottom of a swinging member of the interactive training apparatus; a first shaft assembly and a second shaft assembly, which orthogonally intersect and are positioned at the shaft seat and can be controlled by the main post to rotated clockwise or anticlockwise against axes thereof; and a first sensing unit and a second sensing unit, fixed at the shaft seat and positionally corresponding to one ends of the first shaft assembly and the second shaft assembly, respectively, for sensing rotational directions and rotational angles of the first shaft assembly and the second shaft assembly, respectively, and generate signals for being further transmitted to an interactive device.

2. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 1, wherein the main post has a bottom pivotally connected to a stem of the first shaft assembly through a pivot.

3. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 2, wherein the second shaft assembly comprises a driven member embracing the main post and shafts driven by the driven member.

4. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 3, wherein the driven member comprises a pair of touching rods that are parallel and contact an exterior of the main post, in which each two corresponding ends of the touching rods are combined by a swinging plate and each of the swinging plates is connected to one of the shafts.

5. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 4, wherein the shaft seat comprises a lower positioning seat and an upper positioning seat axially aligned to the lower positioning seat, in which a first shaft recess set and a second shaft recess set are provided at a surface of each of the lower positioning seat and the upper positioning seat facing the other of the lower positioning seat and the upper positioning seat for positioning two ends of the stem and the two shafts.

6. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 3, wherein the first and second sensing units sense rotational directions and angles of the stem and the shafts, respectively.

7. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 1, wherein the interactive device at least comprises a computer, a display device and a software stored in the computer and providing a specific function, in which the software receives and processes the signals output by the first and second sensing units and instantly presents an interactive screen in the display device so that the signals are processed by the software to be presented as an object in the interactive screen.

8. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 1, wherein the shaft seat is positioned on a substantial surface of the interactive training apparatus.

9. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 8, wherein an elastic swinging-member supporting unit is positioned on a substantial surface of the interactive training apparatus for supporting a bottom of the swinging member.

10. The dual-shaft hinge module of claim 9, wherein the swinging-member supporting unit has an annular shape.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a dual-shaft hinge module for mainly applied to a training apparatus providing exercise or rehabilitation functions, wherein, the hinge module allows a swinging member of the training apparatus to be controlled by a user to tilt and restore.

2. Description of Related Art

Examples of known training apparatuses with swinging members may be referred to the disclosure of U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,613,690 and 4,509,743.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,613,690 provides a balance training machine that has a balance platform placed atop a base platform. The base platform may have either a spherically shaped convex support or a spherically shaped concave depression, with the balance platform having the complementary configuration to the base platform so that when the two platforms are combined, a low friction interface is formed therebetween. Further, a plurality of displacement sensors is provided on the base platform to determine a direction of the balance platform. The sensors are connected to a computer so that the computer can present a tilt angle of the balance platform at a display device through a suitable software for a user to easily access.

On the other hand, U.S. Pat. No. 4,509,743 comprises a base and a foot plate mounted in spaced relation above the base. The foot plate and base are interconnected by a plurality of springs disposed in a circular arrangement around the center of the foot plate so as to permit tilting of the foot plate relative to the base in all directions. Drive means is also provided for imparting a continuous irregular tilting movement to the foot plate so as to allow a user to stands on the foot plate and use the tilting movement to train his balance ability.

While the above prior arts are both related to training apparatuses allowing users to stand on swinging members thereof for training the users' balance ability, the present discloses a dual-shaft hinge module that is controlled by a swinging member of a training apparatus providing exercise or rehabilitation functions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is one objective of the present invention to provide a dual-shaft hinge module for being applied to a training apparatus providing exercise or rehabilitation functions, wherein the dual-shaft hinge module permits a swinging member of the training apparatus to be controlled by a user to tilt and restore.

It is another objective of the present invention to link the above dual-shaft hinge module to an interactive device so that the training apparatus can transmit signals about tilt angles and tilt directions of the swinging member to the interactive device in a wire or a wireless way. Then the interactive device processes the signals with a suitable software so that the suitable software can instantly present an interactive screen on a display device for the user's reference. The signals about the tilt angles and the tilt directions of the swinging member can be processed by the software to be presented as an object in the interactive screen so that the user can successively control the swinging member according to a situational presentation of the interactive screen so as to realize an interesting operational experience. The software and the interactive screen may function for providing gaming entertainment, exercise evaluation or training results.

To achieve the aforementioned objectives, the swinging member is supported by a swinging-member supporting unit to be positioned on a substantial surface of a training apparatus wherein the swinging-member supporting unit allows the swinging member to maintain balance in a static state thereof and tilt toward a direction where a downward deflecting force acting thereto and restore when the downward deflecting force is released. Further, when the swinging member tilts, a main post of a hinge module is driven to swing. Then a sensing unit senses a swinging direction and a swinging angle of the main post and converts them into a signal representing the tilt direction and the tilt angle of the swinging member. Afterward, the signal is transmitted to an interactive device in a wire or a wireless way. The interactive device at least comprises a computer, a display device, and a software stored in the computer for performing a specific function. The software receives and processes the signal output by the sensing unit and instantly presents an interactive screen through the display device. Further, after being proceeded by the software, the signal is presented as an object in the interactive screen.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a balance training apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a partial plane view of the balance training apparatus taken in a direction along Arrow 2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view showing a balance board of the balance training apparatus and a hinge module of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view showing a swinging member of the balance training apparatus and the hinge module of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the hinge module of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a first shaft assembly, a second shaft assembly, a main post and other related components of the hinge module of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken in an enlarged scale along line 7-7 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 shows the balance board of the training apparatus tilting according to FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken in an enlarged scale along line 9-9 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 10 shows the balance board of the training apparatus tilting according to FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As the drawings recited in the following embodiments are provided for illustrating the concept of the present invention as described above, it is to be understood that the deformation and displacement of the components in these drawings are made for better explanation and need not to be made in scale.

The dual-shaft hinge module is mainly applied to an interactive training apparatus. Hereinafter, an interactive balance training device is described in company with the dual-shaft hinge module for explaining effects of the hinge module and a training device equipped with the disclosed hinge module. However, it is to be understood that the application of the disclosed hinge module is not limited to the balance training device while any exercise or rehabilitation apparatus having swinging members can also adopt the disclosed subject matter.

FIG. 1 provides a perspective view of an interactive balance training apparatus. The interactive balance training apparatus comprises a substantial surface, which is a base 40, a swinging member settled on the base 40, in which the swinging member is a balance board 43 for allowing a user to stand thereon, a handrail 44, which is connected to the base 40, and an interactive device 45, which is mounted on the base 40. A hardware assembly of the interactive device 45 comprises a display device 451 and a computer 452, in which the computer 452 is mounted on the base 40 while the display device 451 is mounted on the handrail 44. When standing on the balance board 43, a user can comfortably hold the handrail 44. As shown in FIG. 2, a swinging-member supporting unit 41 is deposited on the base 40 for supporting the balance board 43 at a center of a bottom of the balance board 43. The swinging-member supporting unit 41 is substantially an elastic object so as to allow the balance board 43 to maintain balance in a static state thereof and tilt toward a direction where a downward deflecting force acting thereto. Further, the supporting unit 41 provides a rebounding force to the balance board 43 when the downward deflecting force is released. A plurality of tilt limit components 42 are provided at an upper surface of the base 40 and around the supporting unit 41 while facing the bottom of the balance board 43. The tilt limit components 42 function for limiting a tilt angle of the balance board 43. Thereupon, when the balance board 43 is in the static state, it is balanced and in no contact with any of the tilt limit components 42. When tilting up to a predetermined angle, the balance board 43 is retained by one or two of the tilt limit components 42 positioned correspondingly.

Referring to FIG. 3, the annular supporting unit 41 is deposited on the base 40 so as to have a top thereof fixedly fastened to the bottom of the balance board 43. A hinge module 10 is provided at the base 40 inside the annular supporting unit 41. A top of a main post 11 of the hinge module 10 is fixedly connected to the bottom of the balance board 43.

FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 are exploded views illustrating the hinge module 10, which comprises:

The post 11 and a first shaft assembly 12 as well as a second shaft assembly 13 controlled by the main post 11, wherein the first shaft assembly 12 and the second shaft assembly 13 are perpendicular to each other and positioned at a shaft seat 20 such that the swingable main post 11 can rotate the first shaft assembly 12 and the second shaft assembly 13 clockwise or anticlockwise against axes thereof, respectively; and

a first sensing unit 30 and a second sensing unit 31, which are fixed at the shaft seat 20 and settled at one ends of the first shaft assembly 12 and the second shaft assembly 13, respectively, for sensing rotational directions and rotational angles of the first shaft assembly 12 and the second shaft assembly 13, respectively, so as to generate a signal that can be converted by a particular system circuitry or program and transmitted to the computer 452 of the interactive device 45 in a wire or a wireless way.

A stem 121 of the first shaft assembly 12 has two ends thereof equipped with anti-wear components and then positioned in a first shaft recess set 22 of a lower positioning seat 21 of the shaft seat 20. The main post 11 has a lower end thereof pivotably fastened to the stem 121 by a pivot 23 so that the main post 11 can swing against the pivot 23 along a first swinging direction and can also swing against the stem 121 along a second swinging direction.

The second shaft assembly 13 of the hinge module 10 comprises a driven member 14 embracing the main post 11. The driven member 14 provides a pair of touching rods 141 across the first rotational direction. Each two corresponding ends of the touching rods 141 are combined by a swinging plate 142. Each of the swinging plates 142 is connected to a shaft 15. The shaft 15 is equipped with an anti-wear component and then positioned in a second shaft recess set 24 of a lower positioning seat 21. Thereby, when swinging along the first swinging direction, the main post 11 presses one of the touching rods 141 so that the swinging plates 142 tilt against the shafts 15 accordingly and then the shafts 15 are driven to rotate.

Though the first swinging direction and the second swinging direction of the main post 11 are described above for illustrating movements of the first and second shaft assemblies 12, 13, it is to be stated that the main post 11 may swing in other directions in addition to the first and second shaft assemblies 12, 13. Actually, according to the present embodiment, the main post 11 may swing in all directions and despite the direction the main post 11 swings along, the first sensing unit 30 and/or the second sensing unit 31 can accordingly generate signals about the swinging direction and swinging angle of the main post 11. The sensing units 30, 31 of the present invention may employ conventional technology to sense the rotational angles and directions of the first and second shaft assemblies 12, 13. In the present embodiment, a variable resistance module is adopted to realize the sensing units 30, 31.

In addition to the lower positioning seat 21, the shaft seat 20 further comprises an upper positioning seat 25 axially aligned to the lower positioning seat 21. Another first and a second shaft recess sets 26, 27 are provided on the upper positioning seat 25 to be positionally corresponding to the first and second shaft recess sets 22, 24 of the lower positioning seat 21 so as to jointly position the first and second shaft assemblies 12, 13.

FIGS. 7 to 10 are provided to illustrate the movements of the balance training apparatus upon the disclosed dual-shaft hinge module.

In FIGS. 7 and 9, the balance training apparatus is at a static state thereof while the swinging-member supporting unit 41 enables a static balance of the balance board 43. At this time, the main post 11 keeps still in a vertical position thereof while the first and second shaft assemblies 12,13 are at initial positions thereof.

Referring to FIGS. 8 and 10, when the balance board 43 is trodden by a user and accordingly tilts with respect to the base 40, the main post 11 is swung by the tilting balance board 43. It is to be stated that though the first swinging direction and second swinging direction of the main post 11 are described to illustrate a planar change of the balance board 43, the main post 11 can actually swing in all directions but not limited to the first and second swinging directions. Despite the direction where the main post 11 swings along, one or both of the sensing units 30, 31 can accordingly generate signals about the rotational directions and rotational angles.

In FIG. 8, the main post 11 moves along the first swinging direction and presses one of the touching rods 141 so as to drive the swinging plates 142 to incline accordingly. Thus, the shafts 15 of the second shaft assembly 13 rotate for a predetermined angle. Then the second sensing unit 31 senses the rotational direction as well as the rotational angle and transmits the processed signals to the computer 452 of the interactive device 45.

In FIG. 9, the main post 11 moves along the second swinging direction and drives the first shaft assembly 12 to rotate for a predetermined angle. Then the first sensing unit 30 senses the rotational direction as well as the rotational angle and transmits the processed signals to the computer 452 of the interactive device 45.

It can be inferred that when the main post 11 moves along a direction between the first and second swinging directions, the stem 121 of the first shaft assembly 12 and the shafts 15 of the second shaft assembly 13 are synchronously driven to rotate for determined angles. Then the first sensing unit 30 and the second sensing unit 31 sense the rotational directions and angles to output processed signals to the computer 452 of the interactive device 45 in a wire or wireless way. The computer 452 then receives and processes the signals with the suitable software and the software instantly present an interactive screen in the display device 451 for a user's reference. The signals about the tilt angle and direction of the balance board 43 can be processed by the software to be presented as an object in the interactive screen. Therefore, the user can successively control the balance board 43 according to a situational presentation of the interactive screen so as to achieve an interesting operational experience. The software and the interactive screen may function for providing gaming entertainment, exercise evaluation or training results.

Although the particular embodiments of the invention has been described in detail for purposes of illustration, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that numerous variations will be possible to the disclosed embodiments without going outside the scope of the invention as disclosed in the claims.