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Title:
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/106003
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A physical activity apparatus is disclosed. The apparatus includes a sealable chamber that has a base and an opening that receives a portion of a user's body and forms a seal against the user's body portion. An adjustable activity support is positioned within the chamber and is adjustable with respect to the base. A pump creates a pressure differential between an ambient atmosphere and the sealable chamber.

Inventors:
KEALY JOHNSON, Maria (24-26 City Quay, Dublin 2, IE)
KANGLEY, Joanne (24-26 City Quay, Dublin 2, IE)
Application Number:
EP2018/082827
Publication Date:
June 06, 2019
Filing Date:
November 28, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TRANSFORM HEALTH LIMITED (24-26 City Quay, Dublin 2, IE)
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A61H1/02; A63B22/02; A63B71/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012129125A22012-09-27
WO2009051765A12009-04-23
WO2002011661A22002-02-14
Foreign References:
US20150352396A12015-12-10
US20150238819A12015-08-27
JP2001112886A2001-04-24
US20070054783A12007-03-08
GB2491615A2012-12-12
US201762591499P2017-11-28
US8464716B22013-06-18
US5133339A1992-07-28
EP2717976A12014-04-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUCEY, Michael (PurdyLucey Intellectual Property 6-7 Harcourt Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 FH73, D02 FH73, IE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A physical activity apparatus comprising:

a sealable chamber that has a base and an opening that receives a portion of a user’s body and forms a seal against the user’s body portion;

an adjustable activity support that is positioned within the chamber and adjustable with respect to the base; and

a pump for creating a pressure differential between an ambient atmosphere and the sealable chamber.

2. The physical activity apparatus of claim 1, wherein the adjustable activity support supports exercise equipment selected from:

a treadmill,

an exercise bicycle,

an elliptical machine, or

a rowing machine.

3. The physical activity apparatus of claim 1, wherein a distance between the base and the opening remains constant during adjustment of the adjustable activity support.

4. The physical activity apparatus of claim 3, wherein the adjustable activity support has an initial position in which an upper surface of the adjustable activity support is substantially parallel to the base of the chamber.

5. The physical activity apparatus of claim 4, wherein the adjustable activity support is adjustable above and below the initial position.

6. The physical activity apparatus of claim 5, wherein the adjustable activity support is uniformly adjusted in a vertical direction during adjustment of the adjustable activity support.

7. The physical activity apparatus of claim 1, wherein the chamber further includes an entry door configured to swing downward such that the entry door defines an inclined surface directed towards an interior of the chamber.

8. The physical activity apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a voice -activated control system and a motor configured to adjust the adjustable activity support based on a user’s voice.

9. The physical activity apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a suspension assembly including a frame extending above the opening and a suspension harness.

10. The physical activity apparatus of claim 9, wherein the suspension harness is configured to hang from the frame at least partially into the opening.

11. The physical activity apparatus of claim 1, wherein the opening is defined by a seal assembly including an adjustment mechanism adapted to adjust at least one characteristic of the sealable opening.

12. A differential pressure system comprising:

a hard-shell sealed chamber defining a sealable opening adapted to receive a portion of a user’s body and form a seal against the user’s body; a height adjustment assembly within the hard-shell sealed chamber that is configured to adjust a height of an exercise platform such that a distance between the sealable opening and the exercise platform changes; and

a pressure modifying assembly that adjusts pressure inside the hard-shell sealed chamber.

13. The differential pressure system of claim 12, wherein the height adjustment assembly uniformly adjusts a height of the exercise platform relative to the sealable opening, such that the exercise platform maintains a non-inclined orientation during height adjustment.

14. The differential pressure system of claim 12, further comprising a voice- activated control system configured to adjust settings of the differential pressure system.

15. A differential pressure system comprising:

a sealed chamber having a sealable opening dimensioned to receive a portion of a user’s body and form a seal against the user’s body portion;

a support assembly positioned within the chamber, and the support assembly is adjustable with respect to the sealable opening;

an entry door configured to swing between an open position and a closed position, wherein the entry door defines an inclined surface directed towards an interior of the chamber in the open position;

a suspension assembly including a frame extending above the sealable opening and a suspension harness; and

a pressure modifying assembly that adjusts pressure inside the sealed chamber.

16. The differential pressure system of claim 15, further comprising a lift assembly to adjust the support assembly, and the lift assembly includes at least one dual stroke actuator.

17. The differential pressure system of claim 16, further comprising a voice- activated control system configured to adjust settings of the differential pressure system.

18. The differential pressure system of claim 17, further comprising a sensor embedded in the sealable opening to detect a degree of engagement between a user and the sealable opening.

19. The differential pressure system of claim 18, further comprising a seal assembly adapted to adjust a size of the sealable opening.

20. The differential pressure system of claim 19, further comprising a temperature control unit adapted to adjust a temperature within the sealed chamber.

Description:
[0001] PHYSICAL ACTIVITY APPARATUS

[0002] INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

[0003] The following document is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein: US Provisional Application 62/591,499, filed November 28, 2017.

[0004] FIELD OF INVENTION

[0005] The present invention relates to the use of differential pressure in connection with physical activity, and more particularly relates to a differential pressure system in an exercise assembly or therapeutic assembly.

[0006] BACKGROUND

[0007] Exercise and therapeutic systems are well known. One known type of exercise or therapeutic system includes a sealable chamber within which the pressure can be adjusted. Modifying the pressure inside the sealable chamber is advantageous for a variety of health related reasons, such as improving a user’s circulation.

[0008] Some known differential pressure exercise or therapeutic systems are disclosed in U.S. Patents 8,464,716 and 5,133,339, and in EP Patent 2717976.

[0009] These known systems lack features that allow for a variety of adjustments of the assembly based on the characteristics of a particular user. Known types of differential pressure exercise or therapeutic systems also lack features to accommodate users suffering from a variety of injuries, ailments, or disorders that require additional accommodations to ensure the safety of users and to ensure users are properly secured within the sealable chamber. [0010] SUMMARY

[0011] The disclosed assembly includes a differential pressure system along with features that address the prior art shortcomings. The differential pressure is preferably provided in a sealed, hard-shelled chamber that has a sealable opening dimensioned to receive a portion of a user’s body and form a seal against the user’s body portion. A support assembly provided within the chamber is adjustable in various positions with respect to the sealable opening. The support assembly preferably supports exercise equipment, such as a treadmill, an exercise bicycle, an elliptical machine, or a rowing machine.

[0012] The chamber has a base that is at a constant distance from the attachment of the sealable opening, which has some independent adjustment during use of the adjustable support assembly. The support assembly has an initial rest position where it is generally horizontal, but it is adjustable vertically and may be angled.

[0013] In order to accommodate the needs of different users, the chamber includes an entry door that can to swing downwardly to define an inclined surface for entry into the interior of the chamber.

[0014] In one embodiment there is provided a physical activity apparatus comprising:

a sealable chamber that has a base and an opening that receives a portion of a user’s body and forms a seal against the user’s body portion;

an adjustable activity support that is positioned within the chamber and adjustable with respect to the base; and

a pump for creating a pressure differential between an ambient atmosphere and the sealable chamber. [0015] In one embodiment the adjustable activity support supports exercise equipment selected from: a treadmill, an exercise bicycle, an elliptical machine, or a rowing machine.

[0016] In one embodiment a distance between the base and the opening remains constant during adjustment of the adjustable activity support.

[0017] In one embodiment the adjustable activity support has an initial position in which an upper surface of the adjustable activity support is substantially parallel to the base of the chamber.

[0018] In one embodiment the adjustable activity support is adjustable above and below the initial position.

[0019] In one embodiment the adjustable activity support is uniformly adjusted in a vertical direction during adjustment of the adjustable activity support.

[0020] In one embodiment the chamber further includes an entry door configured to swing downward such that the entry door defines an inclined surface directed towards an interior of the chamber.

[0021] In one embodiment the apparatus comprises a voice-activated control system and a motor configured to adjust the adjustable activity support based on a user’s voice.

[0022] In one embodiment the apparatus comprises a suspension assembly including a frame extending above the opening and a suspension harness.

[0023] In one embodiment the suspension harness is configured to hang from the frame at least partially into the opening.

[0024] In one embodiment the opening is defined by a seal assembly including an adjustment mechanism adapted to adjust at least one characteristic of the sealable opening.

[0025] In another embodiment there is provided a differential pressure system comprising: a hard-shell sealed chamber defining a sealable opening adapted to receive a portion of a user’s body and form a seal against the user’s body; a height adjustment assembly within the hard-shell sealed chamber that is configured to adjust a height of an exercise platform such that a distance between the sealable opening and the exercise platform changes; and

a pressure modifying assembly that adjusts pressure inside the hard-shell sealed chamber.

[0026] In one embodiment the height adjustment assembly uniformly adjusts a height of the exercise platform relative to the sealable opening, such that the exercise platform maintains a non-inclined orientation during height adjustment.

[0027] In one embodiment the system comprises a voice -activated control system configured to adjust settings of the differential pressure system.

[0028] In another embodiment there is provided a differential pressure system comprising:

a sealed chamber having a sealable opening dimensioned to receive a portion of a user’s body and form a seal against the user’s body portion;

a support assembly positioned within the chamber, and the support assembly is adjustable with respect to the sealable opening;

an entry door configured to swing between an open position and a closed position, wherein the entry door defines an inclined surface directed towards an interior of the chamber in the open position;

a suspension assembly including a frame extending above the sealable opening and a suspension harness; and

a pressure modifying assembly that adjusts pressure inside the sealed chamber. [0029] In one embodiment the system comprises a lift assembly to adjust the support assembly, and the lift assembly includes at least one dual-stroke actuator.

[0030] In one embodiment there is provided a voice -activated control system configured to adjust settings of the differential pressure system.

[0031] In one embodiment there is provided a sensor embedded in the sealable opening to detect a degree of engagement between a user and the sealable opening.

[0032] In one embodiment a seal assembly is adapted to adjust a size of the sealable opening.

[0033] In one embodiment temperature control unit is adapted to adjust a temperature within the sealed chamber.

[0034] The preferred embodiment includes a computer system configured to implement multiple processes and commands related to the user's needs and to adjust the conditions such as the sealable opening, temperature within the chamber, speed or intensity of exercise equipment, duration of workout session, etc.

[0035] BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0036] The detailed description of the invention will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings, in which:

[0037] Figure 1A is a schematic view of a differential pressure system according to the invention.

[0038] Figure IB is a side view of the differential pressure system.

[0039] Figure 1C is a top view of the differential pressure system with an entry door in a closed position.

[0040] Figure ID is a top view of the differential pressure system with the entry door in an open position. [0041] Figure IE is a rear view of the differential pressure system with the entry door in the open position.

[0042] Figure IF is a rear view of the differential pressure system with the entry door in the closed position.

[0043] Figure 1G is a front view of the differential pressure system.

[0044] Figure 2A illustrates a seal assembly for the differential pressure system.

[0045] Figure 2B illustrates an adjustment mechanism for the seal assembly of Figure 2 A.

[0046] Figure 2C illustrates the seal assembly attached to a chamber of the differential pressure system.

[0047] Figures 3A-3E illustrate a support assembly and lift assembly for the differential pressure system.

[0048] Figures 4A-4C illustrate side views of the differential pressure system with a user inside the chamber.

[0049] Figure 5 illustrates a schematic view of a CPU for the differential pressure system.

[0050] DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS [0051] The words "front," "rear," and "upper" designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. A reference to a list of items that are cited as "at least one of a, b, or c" (where a, b, and c represent the items being listed) means any single one of the items a, b, or c, or combinations thereof.

[0052] With reference to Figures 1A-1G and 4A-4C, a differential pressure system 10 is described. The differential pressure system 10 is shown schematically in Figure 1A. The differential pressure system 10 includes a chamber 20 that has a sealable opening 30 dimensioned to receive a portion of a user’s body and form a seal against the user’s body portion. The chamber 20 is preferably a hard-shelled and air-tight vessel. The chamber 20 can be formed from a variety of materials with the understanding that the selected material must be sealable and withstand the pressure differential. Suitable materials for the chamber 20 include steel, fiber glass, plastic, polycarbonate, or Plexiglass®.

[0053] As shown in Figures IB- ID and 4A-4C, the chamber 20 is a shell with side panels 23, and a front wall or panel 23. Preferably, the panels 23 are transparent to allow for the observation of someone using the system 10. A user’s stance, posture, gait, stride, etc., can be observed via the panels to diagnose a user’s condition and/or progress. The chamber 20 preferably includes exterior rails 27 for helping a user enter and exit the chamber 20. Preferably, the rails 27 are removable for shipping and moving the chamber 20.

[0054] A pressure modifying assembly 70 is connected to the chamber 20. The pressure modifying assembly 70 adjusts pressure inside the chamber 20 relative to the atmosphere or environment. The pressure modifying assembly 70 preferably includes a vacuum, pump, and/or an air blower to effectuate a negative or positive pressure within the chamber 20. The vacuum sucks air out of the chamber 20, thereby reducing pressure inside the chamber 20.

[0055] Preferably, once a user is firmly sealed within the chamber 20, the pressure modifying assembly 70 removes air from the chamber 20. The pressure modifying assembly 70 can include any known component for adjusting pressure within a vessel, such as disclosed in U.S. Patent 8,464,716, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein. The pressure modifying assembly 70 preferably provides an atmospheric range of 0-30 millibars (mBa). Preferably, the internal pressure of the chamber 20 is less than external pressure; however in certain conditions it may be desirable to have the internal pressure of the chamber 20 be greater than external pressure. [0056] A support assembly 40 is positioned within the chamber 20 and is adjustable with respect to the sealable opening 30. The support assembly 40 is also referred to as an adjustable activity support herein. The support assembly 40 preferably supports exercise equipment selected from: a treadmill, an exercise bicycle, an elliptical machine, or a rowing machine. The support assembly 40 is removable from the chamber 20 so the support assembly 40 can be sanitized, repaired, or replaced. Exercise equipment is removable from the chamber 20 and a user can perform body-weight or free-form exercises within the chamber 20. A scale 31 is preferably integrated within system 10 to weigh a user.

[0057] The chamber 20 has a base 22, and a distance between the base 22 and the sealable opening 30 remains constant during adjustment of the support assembly 40. Height adjustment is carried out by moving the support assembly 40 relative to the sealable opening 30. The sealable opening 30 remains stationary during height adjustment of the support assembly 40.

[0058] The sealable opening 30 is preferably configured to engage a user’s waist. The sealable opening 30 is adapted to engage any portion of a user’s body, such as a user’s legs, arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, etc.

[0059] As best shown in Figure 1A, the support assembly 40 has an initial position in which an upper surface 42 of the support assembly 40 is substantially parallel to the base 22 of the chamber 20. As used herein, the term substantially parallel means the relative inclines of the two surfaces are within 1° of each other.

[0060] As shown in Figure 1A, a distance (X) between the sealable opening 30 and the support assembly 40 is adjustable. The support assembly 40 is adjustable above and below the initial position 40. The support assembly 40 is uniformly adjusted in a vertical direction during adjustment of the support assembly 40. As shown in Figure 1A, the support assembly 40’ is adjusted vertically higher than the initial position of the support assembly 40. Additionally, an incline of the support assembly 40” is adjustable.

[0061] A lift assembly 90 drives the support assembly 40 between the various positions, i.e. varying heights and inclines. The lift assembly 90 and the support assembly 40 are shown in more detail in Figures 3A-3E, and are also referred to as a height adjustment assembly herein. As used herein, the term height adjustment assembly refers to a system adapted to adjust the height and incline of another component.

[0062] The lift assembly 90 includes any type of actuator, motor, driver, or controller capable of moving the support assembly 40. The lift assembly 90 is preferably pneumatically controlled and includes a dual stroke cylinder actuator. The dual stroke cylinder actuator preferably has a double stroke telescoping arrangement. A first stroke is dedicated to a height adjustment of the support assembly 40 and a second stroke is dedicated to an incline adjustment of the support assembly 40. The dual stroke of the actuators allows the lift assembly 90 to both: (i) adjust an incline of a first portion of the support assembly 40 relative to a second portion of the support assembly 40, and (ii) simultaneously vertically adjust a first and second portion of the support assembly 40. As shown in Figure 3E, the base 22 includes side walls 22a, 22b. The lift assembly 90 (i.e. the actuators) is provided adjacent to these side walls 22a, 22b. The lift assembly 90 does not protrude above the side walls 22a, 22b, which minimizes the overall footprint of the lift assembly 90 and the system 10.

[0063] The chamber 20 includes an entry door 24 configured to swing such that the entry door 24 defines an inclined surface 26 directed towards an interior 21 of the chamber 20. As shown in the drawings, the entry door 24 is preferably configured to swing downward to move from the closed position to the open position. In other embodiments, the entry door 24 lacks a ramp feature. The entry door 24 can swing outward about a hinge mounted to a side wall of the chamber 20.

[0064] In Figure 1A, the entry door 24’ is shown in the open position, and the entry door 24 is shown in the closed position. As shown in Figure 1A, the open entry door 24’ defines the inclined surface 26 directed towards the interior 21 of the chamber 20. The entry door 24 is also shown in more detail in Figure 4C. The inclined surface 26 preferably includes a rubber surface or other type of surface, such as a plurality of rubber bumps, protrusions, or ridges to enhance traction for users entering and exiting the chamber 20. The entry door 24 functions as both a closure for the chamber 20 and an entry ramp to improve accessibility to the interior 21 of the chamber 20.

[0065] The entry door 24 is preferably moved between the open and closed position via an actuator 29. The actuator 29 preferably includes a pneumatic cylinder. The actuator 29 can be electronically controlled, i.e. via a solenoid, and can be actuated via a remote controller.

[0066] As shown in Figures 2A-2C, the sealable opening 30 is preferably defined by a seal assembly 32. The seal assembly 32 includes an adjustment mechanism 34a, 34b adapted to adjust a characteristic of the sealable opening, such as its size, elasticity, tension, or other characteristic. The adjustment mechanism 34a, 34b preferably is a drawstring assembly.

[0067] The seal assembly 32 includes a first end 33a adapted to attach to the chamber 20, and a second end 33b defining the opening adapted to receive a user’s body part. The seal assembly 32 is opened via a re-sealable closure 35. The re- sealable closure 35 can include a zipper. The seal assembly 32 is removable from the chamber 20 and can be arranged on a user while the user is outside of the chamber 20. [0068] As shown in Figure 1A, a sensor 33c is embedded within the seal assembly 32. The sensor 33c is configured to detect a degree of engagement between a user and the sealable opening 30. The sensor 33c is configured to detect if sufficient contact is made between the user and the seal assembly 32 to provide a reliable seal. The sensor 33c is also configured to detect whether the seal assembly 32 is too tight or restrictive against a user. Alerts or indicators are provided based on the detected degree of engagement between the sealable opening 30 and the user.

[0069] The seal assembly 32 is formed from rubber or any other sealable and elastic fabric. Connection of the seal assembly 32 to the chamber 20 is achieved by a zipper-type fastener, hook and loop type fastener, or stretching the seal assembly 32 around a lip or retention feature formed on the chamber 20.

[0070] The sealable opening 30 include a cushioned, pliable, or inflatable ring connected to the chamber 20. The sealable opening 30 can include an inflatable ring that is manually inflated by a user, pulling a cord, pushing a button or any other process to inflate the ring.

[0071] The system 10 includes a central processing unit (CPU) 50, as shown in more detail in Figure 5. The CPU 50 is adapted to operate a voice -activated control system. The voice-activated control system is programmed to adjust or control any aspect of the system. A motor 52 is integrated within the CPU 50 and is configured to adjust the support assembly 40 and the lift assembly 90. The CPU 50 includes a sensor 53, a controller 54, a memory unit 55, a driver circuit including an input/output interface 56, graphics or video card 57, and/or any other known electronic component.

[0072] The CPU 50 is configured to carry out a wide variety of commands and processes, such as adjusting individual components of the system 10. Software implemented on the CPU 50 has multiple pre-programmed settings, including general categories directed to specific types of users, such as visually impaired users, rehabilitation users, athletic users, etc.

[0073] A user completes a registration process via the CPU 50 or external input device, such as a smartphone or handheld electronic device. The user enters data into the system 10 regarding a specific ailment, injury, illness, fitness goal, health characteristic or other information.

[0074] Users create profiles that are stored on the CPU 50. Based on profiles and stored information regarding a user, the system 10 outputs data to the user regarding statistics of a particular cycle with the system 10, such as calories expended, heart rate, incline, speed, etc. Users can be provided with log-in codes to access their profiles, and data from the system 10 can be provided to external devices and/or web-based applications, such as smartphones.

[0075] A control panel 80 is provided that is connected to the CPU 50. The control panel 80 includes a variety of controls and buttons to adjust features of the system 10. The control panel 80 includes a monitor that is configured to display information to a user. The control panel 80 displays information regarding a specific user, specific cycle or workout, progress with respect to a specific goal or therapy program, heart rate, body fat, weight, and other information. The control panel 80 preferably includes a touchscreen user interface. The control panel 80 is adjustable to display larger text to aid visually impaired users.

[0076] The system 10 includes a suspension assembly 60 including a frame 62 extending above the sealable opening 30 and a suspension harness 64. The suspension harness 64 is configured to hang from the frame 62 at least partially into the sealable opening 30. The height of the suspension harness 64 is adjustable. The harness 64 is attached to the frame 62 by a cable 65. The cable 65 can be a bungee cord or can be formed from a variety of materials. The suspension assembly 60 is shown in more detail in Figures 4A and 4B. The frame 62 is preferably formed from high strength material, such as steel. The frame 62 extends from a forward portion of the chamber 20 and extends cantilevered over the sealable opening 30. The suspension harness 64 is padded and is adapted to receive a user’s torso, thighs, abdomen, chest, or other body part.

[0077] The chamber 20 preferably includes a temperature control unit 25 configured to cool and heat the interior of the chamber 20. The temperature control unit 25 is preferably an infrared heater unit. The infrared heater is preferably adapted to heat the chamber 20 between 25°C - 50°C.

[0078] A sensor 58 is integrated within the system 10 that is adapted to analyze a user. This sensor 58 includes any known type of optical sensor and is capable of determining characteristics of a user’s stance, posture, gait, stride, etc. The sensor 58 can include a camera or video recorder such that personnel can record and analyze a user’s progress over an extended period of time via recorded images. The sensor 58 can include a laser array directed toward the user to analyze the user. The sensor 58 detects a position of a user relative to the sealable opening 30. The sensor 58 provides signals to the CPU 50 to alert a user or personnel if a user is not in an optimal position for ensuring a reliable seal with the sealable opening 30. The system 10 provides feedback regarding a relative position of the user to the sealable opening 30. A heart rate monitor 59 is provided within the system to detect a user’s heart rate.

[0079] The system 10 is preferably integrated into a wireless network system.

The wireless network system is adapted to track usage of the system 10 and remotely provide data and updates to the system 10. A management system in the network provides data regarding usage of the system 10 to a user interface, such as a tablet or smartphone.

[0080] Non-annotated lines between components in Figure 1A are used to designate communication and/or electrical lines between components. These lines are provided for schematic purposes only, and physical connections between the components are not required. For example, each of the components can be configured to wirelessly communicate with each other.

[0081] Having thus described the present invention in detail, it is to be appreciated and will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many physical changes, only a few of which are exemplified in the detailed description of the invention, could be made without altering the inventive concepts and principles embodied therein. It is also to be appreciated that numerous embodiments incorporating only part of the preferred embodiment are possible which do not alter, with respect to those parts, the inventive concepts and principles embodied therein. The present embodiment and optional configurations are therefore to be considered in all respects as exemplary and/or illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all alternate embodiments and changes to this embodiment which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of said claims are therefore to be embraced therein.