Thursday, September 14, 2006

Exercise Misery Loves Company

I was just reading a new patent application, "Systems for interaction with exercise device" (20060205566; Sept. 14, 2006). The patent app mainly focuses on interaction between a home exercise device and a trainer at some remote location, allowing the trainer to control your treadmill, bike or other torture device. The patent is broad enough that the trainer can even control the tension in your ThighMaster, but I hope it never comes to that. Plus, the trainer can be live, taped or simulated.

Imagine this.

Connect your treadmill to a cable box and turn on the telly. Pick a workout from the FitTV VOD channel. Enjoy your workout!

How is this exercise different than a workout from iFIT? Plenty different.

When you use iFIT, a computer program controls your exercise device and provides music and scenery. What's missing? Interaction. The iFIT workout is all one way. It does the same thing regardless of what you're doing. The trainer shouts the same things at the same time every time.

Interaction is the key to this new patent. Your treadmill will send data to the trainer, and the trainer will respond with context-sensitive instructions and treadmill controls. Just like the gym.

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