On September 3, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals much of what's behind the Nike + iPod program to Rock the Gym. The program currently is working with next generation cardio equipment from Life Fitness, Precor, Star Trac, TechnoGym, Cybex, Freemotion and Matrix while promoted by both Fitness and Virgin Active sports clubs. Apple's patent illustrates how any of their media players, including their new 3G-S could be connected to various kinds of cardio equipment to record data such as calories burned, elapsed time, distance, speed, heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, incline, resistance, effort, and other types of information. The sports media system could wirelessly upload your workout data to your home computer and also uniquely allow you to compete with a colleague in the gym or in your city, somewhere else in the country or even on another continent. This is Apple's fourth sporting relating patent this year with others touching on extreme sports, advanced sports monitoring systems and a futuristic Apple TV sporting program.
Workout Recording System
Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates a data workout recording system including a media player such as Apple's iPod or iPhone and a treadmill. The treadmills will range from very simple with no displays right through to very high-end systems with touch displays. The patent also references other compatible forms of gym equipment that will be able to use Apple's media system including a stationary bike, elliptical stepper, various weight machines and/or other gym or cardio equipment.
The sports media system will also be able to work with other types of information. For instance, if the equipment is in a gym facility within a hotel, specific information relating to that hotel may be displayed for the user's convenience – be it about various hotel restaurants and services or local city news and weather.
Once communication is established between Apple's media player and a particular piece of sporting equipment, data may be recorded by the sports equipment on the media player. Typically, this data is recorded on a periodic basis. This prevents large amount of workout data from being lost if communication between the media player and sports equipment is broken. Specifically, only the amount of data generated since the last write cycle is lost when the user removes or otherwise breaks the communication link between the media player and the sports equipment.
Workout Data Uploaded to your Home Computer
One of the more interesting aspects of this patent is that the sports media system will allow your workout data to be uploaded directly to your home computer if that's more convenient for the user. It could also allow you to review your current workout stats with previous workouts on advanced equipment with displays and internet connections. Those familiar with the Nike + iPod program know the value of comparing stats as a means of motivation. Although the program is likely geared for the Nike + iPod program, the patent does generically state that the data could be transferred via iTunes directly. Whether this is referring to a new upcoming iTunes feature is unknown at this time.
Uniquely, the sports media system will initially prompt the user as to whether the workout should be recorded. If not, the user could, depending on the equipment chosen, opt to use their media player to watch a movie or simply listen to music or a podcast.
Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides real-time, head-to-head competition. These competitions may be between two or more people in one or more locations. Competition data may be shared and displayed to each user. Data may be shared using a wired, wireless, or optical link over a cellular, Internet, LAN, or other type of network.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 illustrates a system including two items of sports equipment that may be used for real-time competitions. In this example, treadmills are depicted, though as before, other types of sports or other equipment may be used. Each treadmill is in communication with a media player. Specifically, treadmill 1 is in communication with media player 1, while treadmill 2 is in communication with media player 2. These treadmills may be located in the same building, or they may be located in different buildings, in different cities, or even in different continents. In this example, media on one media player can be shared between the two treadmills. Also, data from both treadmills can be displayed on each treadmill, thus showing the users their respective standings in the competition.
Apple credits Jesse Dorogusker, Scott Krueger, Lawrence Bolton, Emily Schubert, Gregory Lydon, Debbie Lambert, Michael Hailey and Donald Ginsburg for patent application 20090221404 which was originally filed for in September 2008. For other Nike + iPod Gym Locations, look here.
Other Noteworthy Patent Applications Published Today
Location Determination: Apple's patent generally relates to location determination in respect to an iPhone. At least one of the multiple location determination techniques can be configured to determine the location using transmitter identifying information received in a mobile device from multiple transmitters, and locations of the multiple transmitters. At least one of the multiple location determination techniques is configured to determine the location using GPS. For more information on this patent, see patent application 20090219209.
Controlling Access to a Database using Database Internal and External Authorization Information: Techniques for using both database internal and database external authorization information to control access to a database are disclosed. Corporate accounts which are generally used in many corporate environments (e.g., operating system accounts) can be defined as "external" database accounts with database external authorization information that define database external access privileges for a database. The database external access-privileges are used in conjunction with a set of complementary database "internal" access privileges defined for database internal accounts. An integrated access-privilege set is generated and used as a single source to authorize access to a database regardless of whether database internal or external accounts are used to access the database. As a result, databases can be integrated with various non-database entities (e.g., corporate computing systems). For more information, see patent application 20090222449.
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