The U.S. Patent Office recently revealed an Adidas patent application for a health monitoring system that both compliments and greatly advances their current miCoach line of products which includes a speed cell pod that fits in a runner, a heart rate monitor (using an old styled strap) and a sports watch. The new health monitoring system is a device that fits on the hip and can work with clothing that embeds sensors to monitor the heart without having to use a strap of any kind. The patent also describes a wider array of new health monitoring sensors and future capabilities that training athletes will appreciate. The system also includes a new docking station that will charge the system and send workout stats to your computer.
Adidas Invents a Portable Fitness Monitoring System for Athletes
Adidas' new invention generally relates to a portable fitness monitoring system that includes a portable fitness monitoring device, a sensor in communication with the portable fitness monitoring device for sensing performance parameters during a physical activity conducted by the user and communicating performance parameter data to the portable fitness monitoring device, a portable music device coupled to the portable fitness monitoring device, and an audio output device coupled to the portable fitness monitoring device, wherein music is transmitted from the portable music device to the audio output device through the portable fitness monitoring device.
Embodiments of the present invention also relate to a portable fitness monitoring system that includes a portable fitness monitoring device, the portable fitness monitoring device further comprising a heart rate sensor for sensing a user's heart rate during a physical activity conducted by the user, wherein the portable fitness monitoring device is at least partially contained within a first housing, and wherein the heart rate sensor is at least partially contained within the first housing, a portable music device contained within a second housing that is discrete from the first housing, wherein the portable music device is coupled to the portable fitness monitoring device, and a pair of headphones coupled to the portable fitness monitoring device, wherein music is transmitted from the portable music device to the headphones through the portable fitness monitoring device.
Specifically, we're able to see in Adidas' patent FIG. 1 an illustration of an athlete (#10) using a portable fitness monitoring system (#20) for providing performance feedback to the athlete. As depicted, the portable fitness monitoring system includes a portable fitness monitoring device (#100) in communication with one or more portable sensors (#200). The portable fitness monitoring system may also provide performance data logging, and/or entertainment (e.g., music) to the athlete.
Whether Adidas is talking about the use of future E-textiles as "portable sensors" is unknown at this time. Yet the positioning of the portable sensors noted in patent FIGS. 1 above and 10 below would strongly suggest that.
According to Wikipedia, E-textiles, also known as electronic textiles, smart textiles, or smart fabrics, are fabrics that enable digital components (including small computers), and electronics to be embedded in them. Many intelligent clothing, smart clothing, wearable technology, and wearable computing projects involve the use of e-textiles.
Adidas further notes that the athlete may use the new portable fitness monitoring system in conjunction with a variety of physical activities such as, for example, running, walking, biking, skating, swimming, skiing, performing aerobic exercises, weight lifting, and/or any other suitable individual or team sport. Accordingly, terms such as, for example, "athlete," "runner," "exercising individual," and "user" may be referred to herein interchangeably.
The portable fitness monitoring device may be worn, carried, or otherwise supported by the athlete during the physical activity. In the embodiment of patent FIG. 1, the portable fitness monitoring device is clipped to the athlete's waistband at the athlete's hip. In other embodiments, the portable fitness monitoring device may be secured elsewhere on the athlete's body such as, for example, on the athlete's forearm, chest, hip, or foot, or on an article of clothing worn by the athlete , such as, for example, a shirt, shorts, a shoe, sunglasses, or a hat.
The sensors may measure one or more performance parameters associated with the athlete's physical activity, and communicate performance parameter data to the portable fitness monitoring device.
The term "performance parameters" may include physical parameters and/or physiological parameters associated with the athlete's physical activity. Physical parameters measured may include, but are not limited to, time, distance, speed, pace, pedal count, wheel rotation count, stride count, stride length, airtime, stride rate, altitude, strain, and impact force.
Physiological parameters measured may include, but are not limited to, heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygen level, blood flow, hydration level, calories burned, or body temperature. In one embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 1, a heart rate sensor is coupled to the athlete's chest, while an accelerometer (#204) is coupled to the athlete's shoe.
Visual Display Device
Adidas adds a visual display device to the system as noted in patent FIG. 10 above. This could display the athlete with appropriate information about a workout and/or provide music player functionality during the workout. Whether Adidas will sell their own "visual display device" or work with devices like Samsung's Gear Fit or a future Apple device is unknown at this time.
Whether this is the Adidas Smart Run watch or a future device closer to a Samsung Gear Fit device is unknown at this time.
Other sensors could include, but not limited to, a pedometer, a pulsimeter, a thermometer, an altimeter, a pressure sensor, a strain gage, a bicycle power meter, a bicycle crank or wheel position sensor, a magnetic sensor, a gyroscope, a resistance sensor, a force sensor, or other sensors for detecting a user performance parameter are considered to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention.
Lastly in the graphic noted above we see Adidas patent FIG. 3 which illustrates a portable fitness monitoring device interacting with a computer and/or a server. Further, the patent figure illustrates device #601 which is s docking station for the fitness device to charge and to exchange data with a computer system.
Below is patent FIG. 4 which illustrates a fitness application that will assist athletes keep track of their workout progress.
A Dedicated Portable Fitness Monitoring Device
In one embodiment of the present invention, the portable fitness monitoring device may be a dedicated portable fitness monitoring device as noted below in patent FIG. 12.
In Adidas' patent FIG. 13 noted below we're able to see the backside of their dedicated fitness device. The mode switch may be set to one of several indicia corresponding to different modes.
In one embodiment, the mode switch may allow the user to toggle between off, free, and coaching modes. The off mode may correspond to a mode where the device is powered off. The free mode may correspond to a mode where audio performance feedback is not automatically provided to the user. The coaching mode may correspond to a mode where audio performance feedback is automatically provided to the user, including feedback provided in conjunction with a stored workout routine.
Adidas' patent FIG. 14 illustrates a clip secured to the back side of the device. The clip 922 may be capable of clipping to, for example, a user's waistband, belt, or shirt. Other mounting means include, but not limited to, Velcro, buttons, snaps, or the like may be used.
Possible Future Voice Controls
In one embodiment of the present invention, the fitness monitoring device may include recording means such as a voice recorder. The system may use "Voice Command" from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash – or perhaps their future Cortana personal assistant.
In one last embodiment, Adidas notes that the portable fitness monitoring device may be used to communicate over a mobile telephone network. In another embodiment, the music device that is illustrated in patent FIG. 10 on an armband may be a music-capable mobile telephone. They further note that the processor of the portable fitness monitoring device may be capable of placing and receiving telephone calls over a mobile network in conjunction with the mobile phone.
Last week Adidas' patent application was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. They originally filed for this patent back in October 2013, though the original work on this system began in 2011.
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