Patent application title: DEVICE INTENDED IN PARTICULAR FOR ATHLETIC TRAINING
Felix Touret (Vincennes, FR)
IPC8 Class: AA63B2400FI
Class name: Exercise devices having specific electrical feature equipment control
Publication date: 2012-11-29
Patent application number: 20120302403
The invention relates to a device particularly intended for sports
training, for example for cycling competitions. The device comprises an
exercise system with which a sportsman engages so as to generate a
fictitious movement at a certain speed, according to a certain
positioning angle. A database is provided in the form of an optical
record concerning said movement. Said database contains images of the
landscape surrounding the movement and also stores positioning
information (climbing/downhill) for determining said positioning along
the entire movement.
1. A device intended in particular for athletic training, the device
comprising an exercise system on which an athlete acts in order to
generate fictional movement at a certain speed and with a certain
positioning, wherein the device includes a database relating to said
movement, and in which there is inserted positioning data for determining
said positioning along the movement.
2. The A device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 1, wherein characterized in that said positioning is an elevation angle.
3. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 1, wherein in that said exercise system can vary under the efforts of the athlete depending on positioning in terms of lean angle.
4. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 1, wherein the device includes a display screen for showing landscape images illustrating said movement, and a circuit for measuring said speed, wherein the database contains landscape images relating to said positioning data, and wherein the device further includes a landscape movement circuit for taking these images in order to cause them to move on said display screen at a rate that is a function of measurements provided by said speed measurement circuit.
5. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 4, wherein the databank includes effort data associated with said images for controlling a constraint mechanism acting on the exercise system.
6. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 5, wherein the constraint mechanism consists in a brake.
7. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to any one of claims 1 to 6, characterized in that the exercise system consists in an endless belt.
8. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 1, wherein the exercise system consists in a training bike having a set of pedals acting on a flywheel.
9. The device intended in particular for athletic training according to claim 8, wherein a constraint mechanism acts like a brake on said flywheel.
10. A method of establishing landscape movements implemented in the device according to claim 4, which method involves: taking images along the itinerary from which the landscape is seen; inserting effort data at least for some of the images of said moving landscape; and inserting positioning data.
11. The method according to claim 10, wherein t the images are taken at a fast rate.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to a device intended in particular for athletic training, the device comprising an exercise system on which an athlete acts in order to generate fictitious movement at a certain speed and with a certain positioning.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 This type of device finds major applications in facilitating the training of athletes and more particularly bicycle training for which the exercise system is based on a set of pedals driving a flywheel.
 Naturally, the invention may be applied to any other sort of training, such as for example running races, where the exercise system then consists in an endless belt running at a speed that is a function of the movements of the runner. Another application lies in training rowers for a boat. Under such circumstances, the moving system consists in handles simulating oars that a rower needs to operate in order to move the boat.
 Such a device is described in EP patent no. 1 813 313.
 In that device, the athlete sees a landscape in which the athlete is moving. Nevertheless, that patent document does not present all of the conditions of realism that are desirable for good training.
OBJECT AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invention proposes a device of the kind mentioned in the introduction that provides additional conditions for making training effective.
 In accordance with the invention, the device specified in the introduction is remarkable in that it includes a database relating to said movement, and in which there is inserted positioning data for determining said positioning.
 Thus, the invention enables the athlete to take up different positions that are to be encountered in reality and thus enables the athlete to exercise muscles in different ways.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The following description and the accompanying drawings, given by way of non-limiting example, make it understood how the invention can be implemented. In the drawings:
 FIG. 1 shows a device in accordance with the invention in which the positioning is in the low state;
 FIG. 2 shows a device in accordance invention in which the positioning is in the high state;
 FIG. 3 shows a variant embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention;
 FIG. 4 shows another variant embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention;
 FIG. 5 is a diagram of the control system;
 FIG. 6 shows the organization of the AVI format adapted for use by the invention; and
 FIG. 7 is a flowchart explaining the operation of the device of the invention.
 In the figures, elements in common are all given the same references in all of the figures.
 In FIG. 1, reference 1 indicates an exercise system 2 for an athlete. In this first embodiment, the system is a training bike with a flywheel. It is made up of a saddle 5, a handlebar 6, and a pedal assembly 8. The pedal assembly 8 is connected to a flywheel 10 by a chain or a belt 11. All of these elements are fastened to a frame formed by a first tube 15 on which the saddle 5 is fitted, and by a second tube 16 on which the handlebar 6 is fastened, and having the first tube 15 and a third tube 17 welded thereto. The axle of the flywheel 10 is held by the third tube 17. The flywheel is driven in rotation by means of the pedal assembly 8 held by the tube 16. A fourth tube 18 unites the tubes 16 and 17 via their bottom ends. The above are all supported by a base plate 22. A display screen 25 is also provided for showing a moving landscape. The screen is fastened to a tube 26 standing on the base plate 22.
 In accordance with an aspect of the invention, it is proposed to modify the position of the frame. There can be seen a so-called "tilted" or "elevated" position for simulating a sloping path; as happens when the athlete is going up or down a hill, or even is pedaling on a level road.
 To achieve this, a first ball joint mechanism 30 is provided that is situated at a junction point between the tubes 18 and 16, and a second ball joint mechanism 32 is provided that is situated at a junction point between the tubes 17 and 18. A raising and lowering mechanism 35 acts on the ball joint 32 to move it vertically. In FIG. 1, the ball joint 32 is situated at its lowest point. The raising and lowering mechanism 35 has legs 44 and 45 that are united in their top portions with said ball joint 32 and in their bottom portions with a drive device 46 that moves these bottom portions towards each other in order to simulate going uphill or that moves them apart from each other in order to simulate going downhill. The intermediate position is for simulating a level road. The drive device 46 thus consists in a controlled actuator that serves to move the bottom portions of said legs 44 and 45 as a function of a tilt command that is applied thereto. A constraint device 50, here consisting in a brake, brakes the flywheel 10 as a function of data.
 FIG. 2 shows the position of the frame that corresponds to an uphill portion of the road on which the athlete is supposed to be traveling. Under such circumstances, the legs 43 and 44 are moved towards each other so as to raise the ball joint 32. The front of the bike is thus raised, as is indeed the case when going uphill.
 A control system 55 governs the operation of the device 1 of the invention. This system uses as input parameters:  a previously-filmed film of a landscape in which the athlete is supposed to be traveling. The film is recorded on an optically-etched medium that is read in a reader 57. Data about slopes and/or constraints is also recorded on this medium; and  an indication of speed or an indication of distance supplied by a speed/distance meter 60 that serves to control the movement of the landscape.
 In return, on the basis of this data, the system delivers:  commands to the device 35 for simulating a slope;  commands to the constraint device 50 either for simulating slopes or for graduating the forces that the athlete seeks to deliver; and  commands for moving the landscape on the display screen 25 as a function of the virtual movement of the bike.
 FIG. 3 shows a variant embodiment in which a certain amount of variation in lean angle is allowed, as can occur when cornering. To do this, a damper 85 is provided that is fastened on the base plate 22, and that acts on a point of the tube 18 level with the ball joint 30 via a bearing portion 86 that slides in an opening provided in a fastening portion 87 that is attached to the tube 18. The action of the damper 85 thus makes it possible to allow the bike to have a certain amount of lean angle as a function of the reaction of the athlete riding the bike.
 FIG. 4 shows another variant embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention. In this variant, the exercise system consists in an endless belt and having one end connected to the ball joint 30 and its other end to the raising and lowering mechanism 35.
 FIG. 5 shows the structure of the control system in diagrammatic manner. The system is arranged around a signal processor 100. Around the processor, there are to be found in conventional manner: a permanent memory assembly 102 such as a read only memory intended rather for containing the instructions that enable the system 55 to operate; a memory assembly of the random access memory (RAM) type; and an interface circuit 110 for providing data to the various components of the device, i.e. to the raising and lowering mechanism 35, to the constraint device 50, and to the screen 25. The interface circuit also makes it possible to receive data provided by the speed/distance meter 60. The data relating to the landscape is delivered by the disk reader 57 via a reader interface circuit 112. The recording medium processed by the reader contains a variety of data relating to the landscape, together with data about slopes and constraints. The data is recorded in the AVI format that enables images to be recorded synchronously with other data at a lower data rate.
 The system 55 also contains an interrupt generator 115 that provides interrupt pulses to the processor 100 so as to enable it to run the same program each time an interrupt occurs. The program accesses the data contained in the optical medium of the reader 57 in order to act on the behavior of the device of the invention. It needs to be executed at a frequency that is greater than or equal to the frequency of the filmed images of the landscape.
 FIG. 6 explains how the AVI format is used in the context of the invention. There can be seen a portion PICT that contains the landscape-representing images that are to be displayed on the screen 25. A second portion ALT contains data representing altitude, and a third portion CSTR contains data relating to constraints that may be associated in particular with level changes in the filmed itinerary.
 The operation of the device is shown diagrammatically by the flowchart of FIG. 7. The flowchart relates to the program running as from said interrupts.
 The program starts, in box0, as soon as an interrupt signal appears. The first task, in box2, consists in analyzing the content of the speed meter. The value of the speed is used to deduce the distance DST (box K4) traveled since the preceding interrupt. This distance as calculated in this way serves to increment, in box6, a distance meter for use in determining the indexing counter of the AVI file. Thus, in box8, it is possible to take the image from the optical media reader 57 together with the other data that is associated therewith. Box K10 represents the processing of this data and delivery of commands to the various components of the device. Although some data does not require any particular processing, slope data must be processed in order to act on the brake 50 and on the raising and lowering mechanism 35. In particular, a zero slope corresponds to a certain position and a certain level of constraint, such that when going downhill all the constraint is released and the position is lowered. When going uphill, the level of constraint is therefore increased and the position is raised. The program is then stopped, in box12.
 The content of the constraint data contained in CSTR may provide additional conditions, e.g. for representing soft ground that requires greater effort on the part of the athlete.
 The AVI files are recorded using a high definition camera and at a fast rate so that when traveling slowly the images do not appear jerkily. The soundtrack is advantageously used for recording other data and in particular altitude data that is taken from a GPS device or more simply from a pressure-type altimeter.
Patent applications in class Equipment control
Patent applications in all subclasses Equipment control