Thursday, April 27, 2006

If You're Not Part of the Solution, Your Heart's the Problem

What's new this week on the TV tech front? I thought I'd highlight an exercise device.

The USPTO published a patent application on April 20, 2006 that describes a "Heart Rate Monitor for Controlling Entertainment Devices." Here is the abstract from Joseph C. Volpe Jr.'s application:
Described is a motivational fitness device, which controls the audio output of a television or audio component in response to the heart rate. The user must exercise in their specific heart rate target training range to keep their entertainment device turned on at an enjoyable volume. A heart rate sensing device relays heart rate to a processor unit. The processor receives and compares the user's heart rate to the specified target range and sends control signals (or not) to the entertainment device. If the user's heart rate drops below the target range, the volume of the audio output of their entertainment device will gradually decrease until the user reacquires their target. Conversely, if the user is exercising too vigorously, the volume will increase, motivating the user to reacquire their target heart rate range.
I only see one major issue — actually hearing the TV isn't always enough incentive to keep exercising.

I could see myself, at times, choosing to keep my heart rate below my target range just so I wouldn't have to listen to what's on the telly. For instance, on Tuesday I would've stopped running, put ice cubes on my chest, and tried just about anything to quickly slow down my heart rate during the commercial break before Kellie Pickler's performance.

If Mr. Volpe wants to create a truly useful device, the monitor would change my desired volume level, based on some biofeedback. That way I would have to exercise pretty hard to keep Ms. Pickler silent.

Thankfully, America solved this Pickler of a problem for me. I can run at a normal pace throughout the entire show next Tuesday.

If you like this concept, you can purchase Mr. Volpe's product, The Entertrainer.

Disclaimer: I have not tried the product. I am not affiliated with Mr. Volpe nor with any entity that designs, manufactures or markets the product.

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