Title:
HEALTH MACHINE USING MAGNETORHEOLOGICAL FLUID
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided is an exercise fitness machine that can be varied in weight in a minute unit in accordance with a body condition of a user and easily transformed in accordance with a developing portion of the body, thereby maximizing convenience in use and efficiency of exercise. The exercise/fitness machine includes a base frame, a muscular strength member that is provided on an upper end of the base frame to develop muscular strength of an upper or lower body of a user, and a weight varying unit provided between the base frame and the muscular developing member and including a damper containing magnetorheological fluid to vary a weight sense in accordance with a user's selection.



Inventors:
Kwon, Tae Kyu (Jeollabuk-do, KR)
Kim, Nam Gyun (Jeollabuk-do, KR)
Yang, Yoon Seok (Jeollabuk-do, KR)
Kim, Kyong (Jeollabuk-do, KR)
Application Number:
12/524858
Publication Date:
02/11/2010
Filing Date:
12/28/2007
Assignee:
INDUSTRIAL COOPERATION FOUNDATION CHONBUK NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (Jeollabuk-do, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/008
View Patent Images:
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20080172328METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR GENERATING ELECTRICITYJuly, 2008Ajilian
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20020183170Electric running exerciserDecember, 2002Wu
20020055422STATIONARY EXERCISE APPARATUS ADAPTABLE FOR USE WITH VIDEO GAMES AND INCLUDING SPRINGED TILTING FEATURESMay, 2002Airmet et al.
20090048080Magnetically Adjustable DumbbellsFebruary, 2009Daniel
20080125292Running machine beltMay, 2008Simazu



Primary Examiner:
HWANG, VICTOR KENNY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Rabin & Berdo, PC (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise/fitness machine comprising: a base frame; a muscular strength member that is provided on an upper end of the base frame to develop muscular strength of an upper or lower body of a user; and a weight varying unit provided between the base frame and the muscular developing member and comprising a damper containing magnetorheological fluid to vary a weight sense in accordance with a user's selection.

2. The exercise/fitness machine of claim 1, wherein the weight varying unit comprises: a damper containing the magnetorheological fluid and having a first end fixed on a side of the exercise/fitness machine; a piston having a first end portion disposed in the damper and a second end portion fixed to the muscular strength member and provided with a magnetic inducing member, and; and a control unit for controlling compression force of the magnetorheological fluid by the piston partly disposed in the damper by controlling magnetic induction of the magnetic inducing member formed on the piston.

3. The exercise/fitness machine of claims 1, wherein the weight varying unit comprises: a damper comprising a housing storing the magnetorheological fluid and having a first end on which a fixing member is provided and a second end provided with an insertion hole and a packing provided in the insertion hole to keep air-tightness; a piston comprising a damper plate disposed in the housing and provided with at least one through hole, a shaft extending from the damper plate, a fixing member formed on an end of the shaft, and a magnetic inducing member provided at a side of the through hole of the damper plate; and a control unit for controlling compression force of the magnetorheological fluid by the piston partly disposed in the damper by controlling magnetic induction of the magnetic inducing member formed on the piston.

4. The exercise/fitness machine of claims 2, further comprising a shock absorption member disposed between an inner wall of the damper and the piston.

5. The exercise/fitness machine of claims 3, further comprising a shock absorption member disposed between an inner wall of the damper and the piston.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an exercise/fitness machine using magnetorheological fluid, and more particularly, to an exercise fitness machine that can be varied in weight in a minute unit in accordance with a body condition of a user and easily transformed in accordance with a developing portion of the body, thereby maximizing convenience in use and efficiency of exercise.

2. Description of the Related Art

Recently, interest in indoor/outdoor exercise is rising along with the expansion of the well-being trend and along with the lowering of an age category related to adult diseases that are caused as eating habits become more Western.

In response to the interest in the indoor/outdoor exercise, a variety of exercise facilities have been increased in small and medium cities as well as big cities. Particularly, fitness centers where people can do exercise without being influenced by the weather or season are getting the spotlight.

Further, fitness machines used in the fitness centers are classified into aerobic exercise machines such as a treadmill and weight machines such as a chest press, a training machine for biceps/triceps muscle, a push up/pull down press, a lat curl, a body extension, a leg extension/curl, a leg press, an abdomen/back machine, a motion machine of twist, and the like.

The weight machine is used to develop the muscles using a plurality of weights provided in a variety of units, tension springs, or a combination thereof, which are provided at a side thereof. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical exercise/fitness machine. Referring to FIG. 1, the machine includes a base frame 11 supported on a floor, a seating plate 15 on which a user seats or leans, a support frame 12 having a first end coupled to the base frame, an operation frame 14 rotatably coupled to a middle portion of the support frame 12 or the base frame 11 and rotating by a predetermined angle by external force applied through a grasping portion G formed on a first end by the user grasping the grasping portion G, and a weight frame 13 having a plurality of rope pulleys 17, which are coupled to a side and change direction in which force is applied to allow weights W to generate force resisting the rotation of the operation frame 14 through a rope 18.

The user seats on the seating plate 15 and leans back in the back of the seating plate 15. In this state, the user graphs the graphing portion G and pushes the operation frame forward by a predetermined distance and pulls the operation frame to an initial position. The user repeats this motion.

That is, when the user applies force to the graphing portion G, the operation frame 14 rotates about a pin coupling portion 19, in the course of which external resisting force is applied to a first end of the rope 18 through the rope pulley 17. The external resisting force is generated by gravity of the weights W that are selectively stacked in response to a desired weight by the user and selectively coupled to a second end of the rope 18. When the user repeatedly pushes and pulls the operation frame 14 in a state where the external resisting force is applied, the user can develop his/her pectoral muscle.

Therefore, the typical exercise/fitness machine has to have the weights W that are selectively coupled to the rope in accordance with the desired weight by the user to generate the external force resisting the force applied by the user. In addition, the weights W are coupled to the rope 18 so that a load of the weights W is transferred to a side of the operation frame 14. At this point, the plurality of rope pulleys 17 are used to change the direction in which the force is applied. Therefore, a weight frame 13 for supporting the rope pulleys 17 is additionally coupled and fixed to the side of the base frame 11.

Therefore, the typical exercise/fitness machine occupies a relatively large space in addition to a space where the user moves. Further, the weights W that are selectively coupled to the rope in accordance with the desired weight by the user must be provided in response to load ranges. The weights W increase an overall weight of the exercise/fitness machine and thus it is difficult to displace the exercise/fitness machine. As a result, the space efficiency is deteriorated.

Particularly, the typical exercise/fitness machine is designed such that the user has to change the number of the weights coupled to the rope by himself/herself so as to increase the exercising weight. Therefore, when the user erroneously selects the number of the weights, the user may be injured due to the excessive weight change.

Further, since the weights are provided in fixed different units, there is a limitation in use by users such as the elderly or patients.

In addition, since the typical exercise/fitness machines are formed in a fixed structure, it is difficult to change the developing portion of the user's body in accordance with the body condition of the user. That is, the user cannot select the developing portion of his/her body. Therefore, the exercise efficiency is deteriorated.

Meanwhile, the typical exercise/fitness machine is complicated in a structure, it is difficult to get the proper maintenance. In addition, other persons around the exercise/fitness machine may be injured by their carelessness.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide an exercise/fitness machine using a damper containing magnetorheological fluid, which can be varied in weight in a minute unit in accordance with a body condition of a user and allow a user to develop body portions he/she selected, thereby maximizing convenience in use and efficiency of exercise.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an exercise/fitness machine using magnetorheological fluid, which is reduced in a weight to be easily displaced and get the proper maintenance.

According to an aspect of the present invention, an exercise/fitness machine includes: a base frame; a muscular strength member that is provided on an upper end of the base frame to develop muscular strength of an upper or lower body of a user; and a weight varying unit provided between the base frame and the muscular developing member and including a damper containing magnetorheological fluid to vary a weight sense in accordance with a user's selection.

The weight varying unit may include: a damper containing the magnetorheological fluid and having a first end fixed on a side of the exercise/fitness machine; a piston having a first end portion disposed in the damper and a second end portion fixed to the muscular strength member and provided with a magnetic inducing member, and; and a control unit for controlling compression force of the magnetorheological fluid by the piston partly disposed in the damper by controlling magnetic induction of the magnetic inducing member formed on the piston.

The weight varying unit may include: a damper including a housing storing the magnetorheological fluid and having a first end on which a fixing member is provided and a second end provided with an insertion hole and a packing provided in the insertion hole to keep air-tightness; a piston including a damper plate disposed in the housing and provided with at least one through hole, a shaft extending from the damper plate, a fixing member formed on an end of the shaft, and a magnetic inducing member provided at a side of the through hole of the damper plate; and a control unit for controlling compression force of the magnetorheological fluid by the piston partly disposed in the damper by controlling magnetic induction of the magnetic inducing member formed on the piston.

The exercise/fitness machine may further include a shock absorption member disposed between an inner wall of the damper and the piston.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this application, illustrate embodiment(s) of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principle of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise/fitness machine according to the related art;

FIG. 2 is a side view of an exercise/fitness machine using magnetorheological fluid according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a damper containing magnetorheological fluid according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an exercise/fitness machine using magnetorheological fluid according to an embodiment of the present invention and FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a damper containing magnetorheological fluid according to an embodiment of the present invention.

An exercise/fitness machine of this embodiment includes a base frame 102, a muscular strength member provided on an upper end of the base frame 102 and used for developing a muscle, a weight varying unit 130 provided on a side of the muscular strength member, and a display unit 140 displaying an exercise state and an amount of the exercise of a user.

The weight varying unit 130 corresponds to the weights of the exercise/fitness machine of the related art. That is, the weight varying unit 130 functions to set an exercising weight required for enhancing muscular strength and developing muscles.

The muscular strength member includes upper and lower muscular strength members 110 and 120 that are designed to enhance the muscular strength of the upper and/or lower bodies of the user. The muscular strength member is identical to that of the related art and thus detailed description thereof will be omitted herein.

Each of the upper and lower muscular strength members 110 and 120 includes two supports for both legs (or both arms) of the user. The supports are designed to independently operate. However, the present invention is not limited to this configuration. That is, like the related art, the supports are designed to identically operate.

The upper and lower muscular strength members 110 and 120 function to simultaneously develop the upper and lower bodies.

The weight varying unit 130 includes a damper 132 containing fluid, a piston 134 having a first end portion disposed in the damper 132 and a second end portion fixed to one of the upper and lower muscular strength members 110 and 120 and provided with a magnetic inducing member, and a control unit that applies magnetic force to the magnetic inducing member to magnetize the magnetic inducing member and varies compression force of the piston 134 as the magnetic inducing member is magnetized, thereby providing a muscular strength developing effect.

The damper 132 includes a housing 1322 for storing the fluid and a fixing member 1324 formed on a first end of the housing 1322 and fixed to the base frame 102. The housing 1322 is provided at a second end with an insertion hole 1326 through which the piston 134 is partly inserted. A packing 1328 is provided on the insertion hole 1326 to prevent the fluid from leaking when the piston 134 is inserted through the insertion hole 1326.

Needless to say, at least one nipple (not shown) is provided on a side of the housing 1322 to replace or refill the fluid.

The fluid may be magnetorheological fluid.

The piston 134 includes a damper plate 1342 disposed in the housing 1322 of the damper 132, a shaft 1348 extending from the damper plate 1342, and a fixing member 1349 formed on an end of the shaft 1348 and fixed to one of the upper and lower muscular strength members 110 and 120.

The damper plate 1342 is provided with at least one through hole 1344 and the magnetic inducing member 1346 is provided around the through hole 1344.

The location of the magnetic inducing member 1346 is not limited on the damper plate 1342. That is, the magnetic inducing member 1346 may be provided on an inner or outer circumference of the housing 1322. Any magnetic inducing members that can magnetize the magnetorheological fluid contained in the damper 132 may be used.

A shock absorption member 136 that can prevent the damage of the damper plate 1342, which may be caused by collision between the damper plate and the inner wall of the housing 1322 when the damper plate reciprocates may be further provided in the housing.

The control unit is provided on a side of the exercise/fitness machine 100, i.e., on a location at which the user conveniently manipulates the control unit. The magnetorheological fluid contained in the damper 132 of the weight varying unit 130 is magnetized by the user manipulating the control unit and thus the compression force of the piston 134 is varied to proper exercising weight for the user.

The following will describe use of the above-described fitness machine using the magnetorheological fluid.

Referring to FIG. 2, in order to develop the upper body, the user seats on a bench and grasps the handle of the upper muscular strength member 110. In this state, the user manipulates a manipulation switch of a control panel connected to the control unit.

The switch signal is transferred to the magnetic inducing member 1346 of the weight varying unit 130 through the control unit and thus the magnetic force within a predetermined range is generated from the magnetic inducing member 1346. Therefore, the magnetorheological fluid stored in the housing 1322 is magnetized to have predetermined pressure.

When the user moves the handles upward or downward, the fixing member 1349 of the piston 134, which is fixed on the end of the handle, moves in response thereto. Then, the shaft 1348 connected to the fixing member 1349 operates to move the damper plate 1342 upward and downward in the housing 1322.

At this point, since the magnetorheological fluid stored in the housing 1342 has the predetermined pressure due to the magnetic force, the pressure resists the upward or downward movement of the damper plate 1342, in the course of which the magnetorheological fluid flows through the through hole 1344 of the damper plate 1342.

Therefore, when the damper plate 1342 moves in the housing 1322, the pressure of the magnetorheological fluid resists the movement of the damper plate 1342 and thus the user can develop the muscle using proper exercising weight.

Meanwhile, since the operation of the lower muscular strength member 120 is same as the above-described operation of the upper muscular strength member 110, detailed description thereof will be omitted herein.

The weight varying unit 130 may be provided for each of the supports of the upper muscular strength member 110 and each of the supports of the lower muscular strength member 120 so that the user can develop muscles of both arms and both legs using different exercising weights.

This structure may be very effective for a hemiplegia patient having one of both sides, which has the same muscular strength as a normal person. That is, the hemiplegia patient can develop the balanced muscular strength using different exercising weights.

According to the embodiments of the present invention, the exercise/fitness machine uses a damper containing magnetorheological fluid. Therefore, the machine can be varied in weight in a minute unit in accordance with a body condition of a user and allow a user to develop body portions he/she selected, thereby maximizing convenience in use and efficiency of exercise.

In addition, since the exercise/fitness machine is simple in a structure, the exercise/fitness machine can be reduced in a weight to be easily displaced and get the proper maintenance.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.





 
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