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Número de publicaciónUS3846704 A
Tipo de publicaciónConcesión
Fecha de publicación5 Nov 1974
Fecha de presentación13 Dic 1972
Fecha de prioridad13 Dic 1972
Número de publicaciónUS 3846704 A, US 3846704A, US-A-3846704, US3846704 A, US3846704A
InventoresR Bessette
Cesionario originalR Bessette
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Apparatus for evaluating athletic performance
US 3846704 A
Resumen
Apparatus for evaluating an athletic performance against a predetermined performance characterized by a plurality of lights for affording a visual indication to an observer of the progress of the predetermined performance and displayed so as to be comparable to the athletic performance being evaluated; a settable central control for sequentially energizing the lights responsive to the predetermined performance set into the central control and elapsed time; and a communication link between the central control and the lights. Also disclosed are embodiments which include: (1) a pair of setting dials are included for setting in two separate performance times and operating in either a continuous or sequence mode to allow one or more paces to be employed in training; (2) a variety of other options, such as interrupting temporarily the output to the lights; (3) preferred logic apparatus and construction appropriate to the environment and the observer, be he spectator, training athelete or health enthusiast; and (4) apparatus enabling optimum training of an individual as determined by his physiological response.
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United States Patent [191 [11] 3,846,704 Bessette Nov. 5, 1974 APPARATUS FOR EVALUATING [57] ABSTRACT ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE Apparatus for evaluating an athletic performance Inventori Robert C. Bessefie, 4425 Owendale against a predetermined performance characterized by F011 Worth, 76116 a plurality of lights for affording a visual indication to [22] Filed: 13, 1972 an observer of the progress of the predetermined performance and displayed so as to be comparable to the PP 314,301 athletic performance being evaluated; a settable central control for sequentially energizing the lights re- [52] Us. CL 325/66, 35/29 R, 58/152 E sponsive to the predetermined performance set into 325/64, 340/331 340/332 the central control and elapsed time; and a communi- [51] Int. Cl. H04b 1/00 canon lmk between the central control and the hghts' [58 Field of Search 325/51 53 55 64 66 disclqsed F embfdimems i (1) 3 325/310 311 16 118 6 f pair of setting dials are included for sett mg 1n two sep; 58/152 270/ 235/92GA 92 I arate performance times and operating in either a con- 128/2 06 F 1 A 25 34O/331 tinuous or sequence mode to allow one or more paces to be employed in training; (2) a variety of other 0p- [56] Reterences Cited tilonls, tsluch(3:1)s intrrupiirg temporarily the1 output to t 6 1g ts; pre erre ogic apparatus an construc- UNITED STATES PATENTS tion appropriate to the environment and the observer, 2,457,968 l/l949 Allen et a1. 35/29 R be he pectator, training athelete or health enthusiast;

Heywood and apparatus enabling optimum training of an in- 2/1973 Greatbatch 325/66 dividual as determined y i physiological response 7/1973 Stern l28/2.l A

Primary Examiner-Robert L. Griffin Assistant ExaminerAristotelis M. Psitos Attorney, Agent, or FirmWofford, Felsman, Fails & Zobal HEART BEAT 22 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures DECODlNG r MEANS RECEIVER HEART BEAT f547 RATE COUNTER MODIFIER MEANS p349 MEANS HEART BEAT TRANSMITTER TRANSMITTER CODING MEANS CENTRAL CONTROL MEANS RECEIVER DECODING MEANS RECEIVER H EA RT BEAT RATE COUNTER MODIFIER MEANS PAIENTEDNB 51m A 3 84670 SIEEI 70? T 4 MODIFIER THUMBWHEEL 45 MEANS\ SWITCH COMPARATOR L/l77 HH NH W & HEART BEAT RATE CONTROLLED RAC R PFG 54l 567 M EANS TRANSMITTER E910 f 529 57/ 3'79 58/ 365/; RECEIVER f DISCRIMINATORS TTSET PULSE #1 a #2 *CLEIAR SHAPER E STORAGE OICITjALTO'ANALOC d i fTOV NPUTT REGISTER L CONVERTER LCONVERTER 385 VCOMPARATOR 5 9 399 401 RR HR HR HR 2 UP TO -CLOCK UP/DOWN UP/DOW M E ga g N PULSE COMPARATOR .COUNTER CONTROL 5 M PROGRAMMED TME NPUT \HEART BEAT RATE CONTROLLED PACER APPARATUS FOR EVALUATING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention relates to apparatus for affording a real time feedback to an observer in a format that enables evaluation of an athletic performance by comparison with a predetermined performance. More particularly, this invention relates to a system that can be em ployed in a variety of applications; such as, (1) controlled exercise for health enthusiasts; (2) training an athlete; (3) prognostication of athletic prowess in competition; and (4) adding a new dimension of spectator interest to competition, such as track meets, olympic runs and the like, to see if an athlete will beat a predetermined performance, such as a world record.

2. Description of the Prior Art A wide variety of devices have been employed in developing healthful programs for health enthusiasts. A different variety of devices have been employed by coaches in sports, such as track events. Still different approaches have been employed for attempting to predict the winner in athletic contests. None of the prior art apparatus has enabled the doctor, coach, or the participant to set in a desired performance to pace and train the participant up to the desired performance level, and afford directly comparable outputs, or ap prisals.

Even different approaches have been employed to try to create and heighten spectator interest in track events, olympic runs and the like. For example, announcers have announced times of world records and the like for certain races before the race begins. With the advent oftelevision (TV), TV monitors have shown the output of elapsed time indicators on the viewers, or spectators, screen. The problem with such apparatus heretofore is that it has not afforded a means of giving real time feedback in a format that was useful to compare with the relative position of the athlete along the path the athlete is traversing.

Insofar as I am aware, the prior art has not been satisfactory and has not supplied one or more of the desirable features of this invention, as delineated hereinafter.

It is desirable that an apparatus have one or more of the following desirable features to be useful in the areas of applications indicated hereinbefore.

l. The apparatus should be adaptable enough to afford a real time feedback in a format useful to the observer for comparing a given athletic performance against a predetermined performance, whether the observer be a health enthusiast pacing himself around a track against a doctor-ordered regimen; an athlete traversing a path against a record performance; or spectators. either in the stands of a stadium or watching the performance on their television screen at home.

2. The apparatus should be settable such that a desired time interval can be set directly into the apparatus without the use of external timing devices, such as stop watches or the like; and function without individual supervision, one started.

3. The apparatus should be able to vary the pace between two rates and be operable in either a continuous mode of operation at a desired pace or be operable in a sequence mode between two or more paces set into the control therefor.

4. The apparatus should provide readouts convenient for use by an operator; such as, the coach, doctor or trainer.

5. The apparatus should be operable to reset the light sequence to a starting point and have the capability of freezing the sequence at any time for any period of time and them resume pacing from that point in the sequence.

6. The apparatus should have interruption means for interrupting the apprisal means, such as the visible and audio cuesto the observer, for training a runner to pact himself; yet, simultaneously affording an output to the operator to allow him to monitor the athletes relative performance.

7. The apparatus should have the capability of evaluating the recovery curves of an athlete in order to predict his relative performance in a given race after completion of a programmed performance; for example, using a photoplethysmograph.

8. The apparatus should employ logic circuits to facilitate fast response and high reliability with minimal repair and breakdown.

9. The apparatus should employ in combination with the logic circuitry, a clocking frequency in times per second that is the same as the plurality of apprisal means to simplify the interrelationship of the respective logic elements and energizing the respective apprisal means, such as lights or light emitting diodes.

10. The apparatus should allow tailoring a training regimen to the individuals physiological response to obtain safely the optimum results.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide apparatus that will afford car or more of the desirable features not heretofore provided by the prior art.

It is a specific object of this invention to provide apparatus that can be employed either for health programming, for training of athletes, for predicting the best performer in an athletic contest, or for adding a new dimension of interest to a track event by apprising the spectators of an athletes performance against a predetermined performance, such as a record.

It is a specific object of this invention to provide apparatus as described hereinafter affording a variety of modes of operation at the option of the operator and having specific preferred embodiments as delineated and described hereinafter.

These and other objects will become apparent from the descriptive matter hereinafter, particularly when taken in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I illustrates a partial perspective view of one embodiment of this invention being employed in the training of an athlete.

FlG. 2 illustrates an over-all plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 being employed before a stadium of track spectators.

FIG. 3 illustrates a control display console useful in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4a and 4b form an overall schematic functional diagram of the central control means of one embodiment of this invention.

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of the time distance interval assembly of FIGS. 4a and 4b.

insertion of a pacer to obtain the desired physiological response for optimum results in training an athlete.

FIG. is a block diagram of the pacer of FIG. 9.

v DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The apparatus of this invention is useful in a wide variety of applications, as indicated hereinbefore and described specifically hereinafter. In the immediately following descriptive matter and the drawings, the embodiment will be described with respect to a conventional ovalshaped track in which an athlete, such as a track runner, is timed against a predetermined performance, such as a conference or world record.

Referring to FIG. 1, an athlete, such as runner 11, is racing around a track 13 against a predetermined performance as set into the apparatus 15. The apparatus comprises a plurality of apprisal means 17 spaced around the track 13 for apprising an observer, such as the athlete 11 or spectators in the stadium 19, of the relative performance of the athlete 11 compared to the predetermined performance; a settable central control means 21 for sequentially energizing the apprisal means 17 responsive to the predetermined performance set into the central control means 21 and elapsed time; and a communication link 23 connected with the plurality of apprisal means 17 and the central control means 21 for energizing the respective apprisal means 17 sequentially in response to output signals from the central control means 21.

FIG. 2 is a simplified plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 employed with spectators 25 in the stadium 19. In FIG. 2, the track 13 is illustrated in simplified form with a single lane and with the runner l1 keeping abreast of the energized apprisal means 17 responsive to the signal from the cetnral control means 21 via the communication link 23. The apparatus 15 is employed for apprising spectators 25 of the relative performance of an athlete, such as the runner 11, compared with the predetermined performance. For example, a record; such as, a conference record or world record; may be set into the central control means 21 and the respective apprisal means 17 energized sequentially around the track 13 as time passes. As long as the runner 11 keeps abreast of the lights he knows he is running as well as the predetermined performance, such as the record. If he falls behind, he knows, just as the spectators know, that he is running behind and will have to speed up to better the predetermined performance. Conversely, if he is leading the energized apprisal means 17 he and the spectators know that he is on his way toward a new record. Thus, much greater interest can be evoked from the spectators 25 and a better performance can be obtained from the runner 11.

The plurality of apprisal means 17 are spaced apart and arranged so as to be compared by an observer, such as a spectator or the athlete, with performance by the athlete. The respective apprisal means 17 can be energized to afford at least a visual indication of the progress of the predetermined performance, converted from the time realm to the distance realm. As illustrated, the apprisal means 17 comprise a plurality of lights that are spaced equally around the oval-shaped track 13. At each light is also included an audio indicator, such as a buzzer, such that the athlete 11 does not have to wonder whether or not the light came on or look back over hisshoulder in the event that he is leading the predetermined performance, or record. Therespective apprisal means 17 can be located at any propitious site and at any height, but preferably are equally spaced around the track 13 to facilitate imparting signals thereto. For example, 16 apprisal means 17 are employed around the track 13 to more advantageously take advantage of the binary coded digital format conventional with electronic logic circuits. The lights may be at any convenient height, but are preferably located above ground level so as to be clearly visible to both the runner 11 and the spectators 25.

Since the central control means 21 is relatively complex to explain, it is advantageous to consider the communication link 23 first. The communication link 23 may comprise any means that is suitable for conveying the output signals from the central control means 21 to the respective apprisal means 17. As illustrated, the communication link 23 comprises electrical conductors within conduit or the like, the conductors being connected with the respective drivers of the central control means 21 and the respective apprisal means 17. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the respective sections of the conduit connected with the apprisal means 17 are primarily underground. The underground conduit and conductors terminate in an above-ground junction box 27 into which the respective conductors 29 from the central control means 21 can be plugged. This construction allows the central control means 21 to be rolled into place on a dolly such as cart 31 and plugged into the junction box 27 of the permanently installed remainder of the system.

The central control means 21 has its primary constituents housed in a control console 33; also referred to as a control display console. The control console 33, FIGS. 1 and 3, contains suitable thumb wheels and push buttons for setting the central control system to the desired times, distances, and modes of operation. The control console 33 also displays information of interest to the operator. As illustrated, the control console 33 contains elapsed time display 35. The elapsed time display 35 displays the elapsed time in hours, minutes, seconds and tenths of a second, as illustrated. The control console 33 also displays the number of laps or cycles in the lap or cycle display 37. The control console 33 also displays the heartbeat rate in the heart rate display 39 when connected with a photoplethysmograph or other instrument to nomitor the rate at which the atheltes heart is beating. Any suitable means; such serving as a time setting means for setting in a desired time interval for traversing a predetermined distance, such as 1 yards. The three time thumb wheel switches 43 illustrated may be set in the range of 0-1 99 seconds, as will become clearer from a consideration of the logic arrangement described hereinafter. As illustrated, the control console 33 alsohas a second set of three time thumb wheel switches 45 serving as a second time setting means for setting in a desired time interval for traversing a predetermined distance. This allows the apparatus to operate in a sequence mode employing two different paces to assist in training a runner 11.

The control console 33 also includes first and second distance thunb wheel switches 47 and 49 for setting in the distances over which the respective times are to be operable in pacing the runner 11 in the sequence mode of operation. For example, if the number 4 is set into distance thumb wheel switch 47, it indicates that the apparatus 15 will cycle at the rate set into time thumb wheel switches 43 for a distance of 4 distance units, or 440 yards ifa distance unit is l 10 yards. If, on the other hand, the distance 1 is set into distancethumb wheel switch 49, it indicates that the unit will then adjust to the rate set by time thumb wheel switches 45 for H0 yards. This allows the runner to jog for a certain distance and then sprint for a second distance. The second distance may be the same as or different from the first distance.

The control console 33 also includes cycle thumb wheel switches 51 for setting in the number of cycles over which the system is to run automatically when emplaced in the sequence mode. A cycle is one complete operation in which the distance indicated on distance thumb wheel switch 47 is traversed at the rate set on the time thumb wheel switches 43 and the distance set in on distance thumb wheel switches 49 is traversed at the rate set in on time thumb wheel switches 45. Once the indicated number of cycles have been completed, the apparatus 15 resets, or effectively turns itself off.

For convenience, the time thumb wheel switches 43 and the distance thumb wheel switches 47 are referred to as the sequence 1 switches. Conversely, the time thumb wheel switches 45 and the distance thumb wheel switches 49 are referred to as the sequence 2 switches.

If the apparatus 15 is to operate in the continuous mode, the time thumb wheel switches 43 are used to set the rate at which the apparatus 15 will operate in the continuous mode.

The control console 33 has push buttons as follows for effecting the various control operations. The system" button 55 serves as an on-off switch to supply power to the apparatus 15. The heart" button 57 energizes the photoplethysmograph that is connected with the control console 33 and the hear rate display 39. The lap" button 59 enables, or connects in, a lap counter and effects display of the number of laps in the lap or cycle display 37. The cycle button 61 enables a cycle counter and effects display of the number of cycles in the lap or cycle display 37. The continuous button 63 causes the apparatus 15 to operate in the continuous mode at the rate set in on time thumb wheel switches 43, as indicated hereinbefore. The sequence button 65 causes the apparatus 15 to alternate between sequence 1 and sequence 2 switches for the number of cycles selected by the cycle thumb wheel switches 51, referred to hereinbefore as operating in the sequence mode. The lights" button 67 is provided for disabling, or preventing the energizing of, the apprisal means 17, including its lights; as for checking the pacing of a runner 11. A hold" button 69 is provided for temporarily interrupting the operation of the apparatus 15, as by stopping it and allowing it to resume operation at the point at which it was stopped. A reset button 71 is provided for resetting the apparatus 15, or returning the system to the initial conditions. A start button 73 is provided for starting operation of the apparatus 15 in the selected mode of operation.

The central control means 21 includes, in addition to the time setting means for setting in a desired time interval for traversing a predetermined distance in accordance with a record, a timing means for indication of elapsed time and a comparator means for signalling when the elapsed time is equal to the desired time interval set into the central control means 21. As will be apparent, a wide variety of timing means and comparator means may be employed. It is instructive, in this regard, to consider early prototype models. In an early prototype, the central control means 21 comprised a set of motor driven contacts such that by controlling the speed of the motor, the time for the lights to sequence around the track could be adjusted. A stop watch was used to set the motor speed for the desired lap time. The timing means was simply the speed of the motor driving the wiper arm on the contacts and the comparator means was simply the stop watch and the rheostat for controlling the speed of the motor, in conjunction with the setting of the contacts. No read-out of elapsed time or laps was provided. The runner 11 was provided only a visual cue as to whether or not he was on the desired pace. The second prototype was installed on a research basis at a prominent state university. Firstly, the. basic concept was changed from electrical to analog electronic. An electronic circuit was and is used to control the interval between the lighting of 16 lights spaced every 27 /2 yards around a 440 yard track. Two controls on the control unit provide a coarse and a fine adjustment of the time interval. The basic mechanism is a controllable resistor-capacitor (RC) time constant circuit. After each RC time period, a stepping relay sequences to the next light and lights it for a specific period. Secondly, the runner is provided with an audio cue in addition to the visual cue. This eliminates the need for the runner to look at the light to see if he is on pace. Thirdly, a means to reset the system to the starting point is incorporated. As with the first model, no read-outs were or are provided for either elapsed time or number of laps. A stop watch is required to adjust lap times and lap times must be monitored to ensure minimal variation from the desired time. As a result of experience with that second prototype, an improved and preferred system was developed and is described in detail hereinafter.

FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate an overall functional diagram of the central control means 21. Therein, the central control means 21 comprises the following major elements and assemblies: time base and steering logic 77; time/distance interval (TDl) units number 1 and number 2, given the reference numerals 79 and 81', station driver assembly 83; lap or cycle counter 85; display assembly 87; and panel light assembly 89. The power supply that is, of course, basic to any unit is not shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b, since it is conventional. Moreover, a heart rate nomitor, or photoplethysmograph, is advantageously employed with the central control means 21, but is not shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b either.

The time setting means, such as time thumb wheel switches 43; the time base and steering logic 77; and a time/distance interval unit, such as TD] 79, are included in a means for converting a predetermined athletic performance from the time realm to the distance realm for apprising an observer in the distance realm to facilitate comparison with a current athletic performance being evaluated.

The start button 73 is connected with reset logic 169 I for starting operation and for generating a reset signal for all storage elements on master reset conductor 171. Similarly, the system, or power-on, button 55 is connected with reset logic 169 for effecting a master reset signal when power is turned on. Also, the reset button 71 is connected with the reset logic 169 for manually effecting a reset signal on master reset conductor 171.

The time base and steering logic 77 includes a clocking means 97 for generation of a Hertz (Hz), or cycles per second, clock signal for the elapsed time measurement and a 16 Hz clock signal for the time counters 99 and 101 in the TDl units 79 and 81. The clocking means 97 includes a crystal oscillator means 103 (OSC) for generating an 80 kiloHertz (KHz) output. The crystal oscillator means 103 is connected with a dividing circuit 105 via conductor 107. The dividing circuit 105 divides the output by 500 to yield a clocking output of 160 Hz on conductor 109. Conductor 109 is connected with nand gate 111 that has its other end connected with the hold button 69 via conductor 113.

Thus, depression of the hold button 69 disables, or blocks, the clock output; thereby interrupting the operation of the central control means 21 temporarily. The output of the nand gate 111 is connected with divide circuit 115 via conductor 117. The divide circuit 115 divides the 160 Hz output by 16 to effect a 10 Hz clocking input for the elapsed time display 35 and for conductor 119 to a heart rate monitor, as will be described hereinafter.

The output pin of the nand gate 111 is also connected with dividing circuit 121 via conductor 123. The dividing circuit 121 divides the 160 Hz output by 10 to effect a 16 Hz clocking pulse on conudctor 125. Conductor 125 is connected with both nand gates 127 and 129 for supplying the 16 Hz clocking signal input to the time counters 99 and 101 via conductors 131 and 133. The l6 Hz clocking input is sent to only one of the time counters, however, and the nand gates 127 and 129 serve to direct it to the proper one responsive to the mode selected and the output signal from the TDl units.

The mode is selected by depression of either the continuous (CONT) push button 63 or the sequence (SEQ) push button 65. The continuous push button 63 is connected with the continuous pin 135 of latch 137 for holding it in one condition. The sequence push button 65 is connected with the sequence pin 139 of latch 137 for holding the latch in its other condition. The output pin 141' of the latch 137 is connected with nand gate 143 via conductor 145. The nand gate 143 has its other input pin connected with conductor 147 carrying the TDI number 1 for blocking, when the continuous button 63 is depressed, a signal that would otherwise effect switch over to TDl number 2. Specifically,

the output pin 149 of nand gate 143 is connected with a second latch 151. The second latch 151 has its other input pin connected with conductor 153 which is connected with the output from TDl number 2. The second latch 151 has its first output pin 155 connected with the second input pin 157 of nand gate 127 for routing the 16 Hz clocking signal via conductor 13] to time counter 99 of TDI number 1. The output pin 155 is also connected with conductor for registering of a cycle count. The second latch 151 has its second output pin 159 connected with the other input pin 161 of nand gate 129 for routing the l6 Hz clocking signal via conductor 133 to time counter 101 of TDI number 2.

The time/distance interval units 79 and 81 (TDls 1 and 2) include the time counter portion of the timing means and a comparator means. The TDl units 79 and 81 provide a pulse output at the proper time intervals to the station driver assembly 83 as determined by the mode of operation and by the time set into the respective time thumb wheel switches 43 and 45. The TDl units 79 and 81 also provide a pulse output after the time required to travel the distance set on the distance thumb wheel swithces 47 and 49 to cause a switch over to the other TDl unit, if operating in the sequence mode. Referring to FIG. 4a, time counter 99 has its clock pin 173 connected with conductor 131 for receiving the 16 Hz clocking input. Time counter 99 is also connected via respective conductors in cable 175 with comparator 177. The time counter 99 registers the clocking input in binary coded digital (BCD) format and the respective conductors in cable 175 carry the respective binary coded digital information to comparator 177. Comparator 177 is similarly connected with time thumb wheel switch 43 via respective conductors in cable 179. The input from the time thumb wheel switch 43 is also in binary coded digital format to faciliate comparison between its signals and that of time counter 99. The comparator 177 has its output pin 181 connected with conductor 183. Conductor 183 is electrically connected with the count pin 185 of distance counter 187. Similarly, conductor 183 is electrically connected with the reset pin 189 of time counter 99 for resetting the time counter 99 upon generation of an output pulse on output pin 181 and energizing of a respective apprisal means 17. The output conductor 183 is also connected with the station driver assembly 83 for energizing the respective apprisal means 17. Simi larly, an output pulse on output pin 181 serves as a clocking input for distance counter 187. The distance counter 187 is connected via suitable conductors in cable 191 with comparator 193 (COMP). The comparator 193 is similarly connected via suitable conductors in cable 195 with distance thumb wheel switch 47. As

described with respect to the digital inputs to the com-' parator 177, the inputs to comparator 193 are in binary coded digital format from, respectively, the distance counter 187 and the distance thumb wheel switch 47. The output pin 197 of comparator 193 is connected with conductor 147. The conductor 147 is electrically connected with the reset pin 201 of distance counter 187 for resetting the distance counter upon generation of an output pulse. As indicated hereinbefore, the conductor 147 is also connected with an input pin of nand gate 143 of the steering logic of time base and steering logic 77.

TDl number 2 has its comparator 203 connected with its time counter 101 and its time thumb wheel switches 45 similarly as described with respect to TDl number 1 hereinbefore. Moreover, the output from comparator 203 is electrically connected with its distance counter 205 and the reset pin of time counter 101. The distance comparator 207 is connected with distance counter 205 and distance thumb wheel switch 49, similarly as described with respect to TB! number 1. Also, the output pin 209 of comparator 207 is connected with reset pin 212 of distance counter 205. The output pin 209 is connected, also, with conductor 153 that is connected with the input of the second latch 151 of the steering logic of the time base and steering logic 77. Thus, respective pulses on conductors 147 and 153 serve as TDl switch over signals that, in conjunction with the steering logic, effect operation in the sequence mode.

The output pin 212 of comparator 203 is connected, via conductors 213 and 227 with the station driver assembly 83 for effecting energization of the respective apprisal means 17, similarly as described with respect to conductor 183 from TDI number 1.

Each of the TDl units operates similarly, since they are constructed similarly, as indicated. FIG. 5 is a detailed electrical schematic of one TDlunit such as time distance interval unit 79. The schematic diagram of FIG. 5 also illustrates the use of logic units in counting and comparing as is employed in other elements and subassemblies in the central control means 21. The time counter portion of the TDl assembly consists of three counters; U8, U12 and U16 and their associated inverters and gates. The counters are commercially available and need not have their internal structure specifically delineated. The counter U16 receives the 16 Hz clocking input from terminal Z that is connected with the time base and steering logic 77. Pin 14 of counter U16 serves to receive the clock input. Counters U16 and U12 will count 0 through 9. After nine clock pulses of the 16 Hz input, U16 will have counted to 9. On the tenth clock pulse, U16 returns to 0 and the change of state on U16 pin ll acts as a clock for U12. Similarly, U12 will count through nine pins and act as a clock for U8. U8 is used only to count up to 1. Therefore, the largest number that can be counted is 199. This limits the time selection to 199 seconds to travel the l 10 yards of the predetermined distance. This is a sufficiently slow pace for all practical purposes. Obviously, the counter U8 could count to a higher value if desired, such as for a longer distance. The binary coded digital counter outputs from pins 8, 9, 11 and 12 of counters U12 and U16 and output pin from counter U8 are inverted via inverters U11, and U13-U15 and applied to nand gates U5, U9 and U10. The BCD time setting inputs from the time thumb wheel switches, such as thumb wheel switches 43, are shown as 9 inputs that are either logic 0 or 1. Each of these inputs is inverted and applied to one of the same series of nand gates; the least significant bit (LSB) of the most significant digit (MSD) from the counter being compared with the LSB of the MSD from the thumb wheel switch and so on. For example, the terminal labeled 6 on the interconnector 215 is connected via conductor 217 with inverter U14 and, thence, with hand gate U10. Similarly, pin 12 of U16 is connected with inverter U15 via conductor 218 and, thence, with nand gate U10. When all the inverted counter outputs match their corresponding thumb wheel switch inputs, the proper time interval between lights has elasped.

The logic arrangements U6, U1, U11 and U7 are employed to detect this condition when all inputs to U7 are a logic 1. Pin F is equivalent to either output pin 181 or output pin 211, FIG. 4a. The output pin E connected with pin 6 of U7 of the distance comparator is equivalent to output pins 197 or 209 of FIG. 4a.

The logic 0, or time output signal, at pin F of interconnector 219 serves as a time count trigger to trigger circuits on the station driver assembly 83 to light the appropriate lights serving as apprisal means 17 in se quence. It could also be employed with appropriate logic to effect other results, such as providing direct reset signals. As illustrated, however, the time counter reset signal is provided back to pin D on interconnector 221 by the sequence logic on the station driver assembly. Pin D is connected with counters U8, U12 and U 16 such that they are reset to 0 to begin to count the time interval for the next light.

Pin A on interconnector 221 corresponds to the distance reset pin 201 or 212. The distance setting pins 7, 13, 14 and 15 of interconnector 219 correspond to the conductors in cables, such as cable 195 of TDI 1. Pin C corresponds to input pins to the distance counter, such as pin 185.

An additional output from the sequence logic is the distance count input to the TDl on pin C of interconnector 219. This pulse occurs at the same time a light station is lighted; that is, every 27.5 yards in the illustrated set up of HO. 2. Since the distance thumb wheels provide settings in yard multiples, the distance count input must be converted to correspond to 1 10 yards instead of 27.5 yards. Therefore, before application of the distance count to the distance counter U3, the distance count pulses are divided by 4. U4 receives the distance count pulses and U4 pin 11 will be a divided by 4 output. U4 pin 11 then clocks U3 pin 14 every 110 yards. The outputs of U3 (pins 8, 9, 11 and 12) are inverted and ANDED at U1 and US with the inverted thumb wheel switch inputs, similarly as described hereinbefore with respect to the time counter outputs and the time setting from the time thumb wheel switches. When the distance counted by U3 equals the distance thumb wheel setting, U7 pin 6 switches from logic 1 to logic 0. This distance pulse output causes the system to switch to the other TDI assembly, if in the sequence mode.

The master reset input on pin B resets all counters to 0.

From FlGS. 4a and 4b it can be seen that the outputs of either TDl 1 or TDl 2 are connected with the station driver assembly 83. The station driver assembly 83 shapes the pulses for clocking and resetting the TDl assemblies. it also counts and decodes the time count inputs to determine which light station serving as the respective apprisal means 17, to turn on; as well as providing output voltage signals to drive the 16 light stations. Specifically, the conductors 183 and 213 are connected with a four bit counter 225 via conductor 227. The four output pins 229232 are connected with respective input terminals of each of respective 4 to 16 line decoders 233 and 235 in, respectively, the station driver assembly 83 and the panel light assembly 89. The decoder 233 has its output pins 1 through 16 connected with station drivers 237 for turning on the respective light stations. The decoder 235 has its output pins 1 through 16 connected with panel light drivers for turning on panel lights 41, FIG. 3, as will be described in more detail later hereinafter. The output connector 27 is equivalent to junction box 27, FIG. 1.

The respective panel lights duplicate the light stations and enablethe operator to easily determine the station that will be illuminated. The panel lights remain illuminated whereas the station lights are turned off after a predetermined interval.

To allow adjustment of the time interval the respective light stations 17 remain on, there is provided a serially connected circuit comprising conductors 227 and 241, nand gate 239 and single shot multivibrator (MV) with adjustable potentiometer 243 connected with the reset pin 245 of decoder 233. Thus, the operator may adjust the trim pot, or adjustable potentiometer, for controlling the time constant of the single shot multivibrator. The multivibrator then provides an output pulse of variable width that is routed to the reset input of the 4 to 16 line station driver decoder 233. The circuit is mechanized such that the output pulse from the decoder to the station driver is equal to the reset pulse width from the signal shot multivibrator. The nand gate 239 is also connected with the lights button 67 via conductor'247 for interrupting the output to the light stations.

HO. 6 shows the output from the output pin 256 of decoder 233 for the l6th light and includes a typical driver and interconnection for energizing the respective light stations 17 responsive to the going low of the outputterminal on the decoder 233. la a typical connection, conductor 249 is connected with an output pin of decoder 233 and with an inverter 251 that is connected with the base 253 of transistor Q1. The emittercollector circuit of transistor 01 is connected with Triac Q17 which connects the alternating current common, illustrated by pin 1 on interconnector 255, with the particular station, such as pin K that is connected with the l6th light station.

In addition to this ordinary interconnection between the respective output pins of the decoder 233 and the respective light stations, it has been found advantageous to interconnect the start button 73 with the conductor for the l6th light station to energize the l6th apprisal means, including light and buzzer, and serve as a starting signal for the runners on the track. This eliminates the necessity for the use of a starting gun or the like and prevents confusion of the runners as to when the start button is pushed. Otherwise, the first light will not occur until the time has elapsed for travelling 27/2yards.

To prevent generation of spurious lap count signals when the 16th light station and buzzer is used as a starter signal, a diode 257 is interposed intermediate the juncture of the connection with start button 73 and the output pin 256 of the decoder 233. The decoder 233 operates on binary coded digital information from t the counter 225. For example, when the BCD code is 0001 from counter 225 the decoder 233 will effect lighting of station 1. When station 1 output of the decoder is inverted it causes conduction of transistor Q1. When transistor 01 conducts, the gate of the Triac Q17 becomes positive and Q17 conducts. Q17 completes the AC path from common to 1 l volt AC through station 1 light. A buzzer is also energized simultaneously with the light. The light and buzzer will remain energized as long as the pulse output from the multivibrator is applied to the decoder 233.

The conductor 259, FIG. 4b, is connected with the conductor to the 16th lamp and with the lap counter 261 of the lap or cycle counter such that the lap counter 261 is advanced one time each time the 16th light station is energized, except when employed as a starter signal as described immediately hereinbefore.

The lap or cycle counter 85 includes a lap counter 261 for counting the number of laps completed when operating in the continuous mode. The lap or cycle counter 85 also includes a cycle counter 263 to count the number of cycles completed and a comparator 265 to determine when the desired number of cycles, as set into the cycle thumb wheel switches 51, have been completed; all when operating in the sequence mode. The lap or cycle counter 85 also includes display selection logic 267 for selecting whether laps or cycles are to be displayed. Specifically, the lap counter 261 is connected with the display selection logic 267 by way of respective conductors in cable 273. The respective conductors conduct the binary coded digital information to the display selection logic 267. The cycle counter 263, that is connected with output pin of second latch 151 for registration of completion of a cycle, is similarly connected with display selection logic 267 via respective conductors in cable 275. The display selection logic displays one or the other of the outputs from either the lap counter of the cycle counter as determined by the button that has been depressed. Lap

button 59 is connected with third latch 271 which is connected with the display selection logic via conductor 277 for enabling the display of the number from the lap counter 261. Conversely, cycle button 61 is connected with the third latch 271 to activate it into the other state; and its other output terminal is connected with display selection logic 267 via conductor 279 for enabling the display of the number from the cycle counter 263. The output from the display selection logic is connected, as indicated by arrow 281 with the binary coded digital to seven segment converter 283. The converter 283 is connected, as indicated by arrow 285, with the lap or cycle display 37. Thus, depression of the cycle button 61 enables display of the number of cycles that have been completed and registered with cycle counter 263.

The cycle counter 263 and the cycle thumb wheel switches 51 are connected with comparator 265 via respective conductors in respective cables 287 and 289. The respective outputs are compared by comparator 265 similarly as delineated hereinbefore with respect to the comparators, such as comparator 177, of TDI unit 79. The comparator 265 has its output pin 291 connected via conductor 293 with the end-of-cycle reset pin 295 on reset logic 169. This effects generation of a master reset pulse to reset all counters and other storage devices.

The following details are given only to ensure a complete understanding of the lap or cycle counter 85.

The lap counter 261 consists of two conventional counters that count from 0 through 9 in response to a pulse occurring each time a signal occurs on conductor 259 signalling that the number 16 light is turned on. The output from the lap counter 261, if it has been enabled by lap button 59 in the display selection logic 267, is inverted, decoded and displayed on the display 37 of the display assembly 87. If the cycle push button 61 has been depressed, the outputs of the counters and the lap counter 261 are not used. The cycle counter 263 is similar to the lap counter, except that it takes its counting clock input from the output pin 155 when switching is made from TDl number 2 to TDl number 1. If the apparatus 15 is operating in the continuous mode, no cycle count will be present, since only TDl 1 will be employed. When the inputs to the comparator 265 are the same, its output pin 291 will effect a reset signal on the end-of-cycle reset pin 295 to indicate that the desired number of cycles have been completed and the central control means 21 may stop cycling.

The display assembly 87 decodes and displays the binary coded digital lap or cycle count from the lap or cycle counter assembly 85; and accumulates and displays the elapsed time. The lap cycle display assembly portion includes the binary coded digital information to seven segment converter 283 referred to hereinbefore, as well as the numeric display 37. The converter 283 is a commercially available item and need not be described in detail herein. The lap or cycle count is received from the lap or cycle counter in the binary coded digital format and is decoded to produce output signals to light appropriate segments of conventional seven segment displays, such as the RCA Numatrons, that provide the numeric read-out of the lap or cycle count. The number corresponding to the decoded information is then illuminated by the correct combination of tubes in the seven tubes-per-digit on display 37.

The elapsed time counter portion includes an elapsed time counter that employs the 10 Hz output from the time base steering logic assembly 177 as its clocking input. Each clock pulse changes the binary coded digital output. As the first counter counts to nine it effects a clock pulse for the next counter which registers seconds, whereas the first counter registers tenths of a second. The second counter counts to nine and then resets on the next clock pulse, that clock pulse also serving as a clock input for the third counter. The third counter differs from the first two in that it only counts to 5 and then resets on the next clock pulse to effect 60 seconds per minute. Similarly, the next counter counts to 10, whereas the fifth counter only counts to 5 again to register 60 minutes per hour. The last counter is an SN 7476 counter, similarly as was U4 in the TDl assembly of FIG. 6, and only counts to 1. Consequently, only 1 hour and 59 minutes 59.9 seconds can be displayed in the illustrated embodiment.

The panel lamp assembly 89 provides the front panel repeater lights 41 to enable the operator to know which light station will come on next. The binary coded digital code received from the station driver assembly 83 indicates this information. The decoder 235 decodes the information from the counter 225 of the station driver assembly 83 and feedback from the station drivers 237. Whichever output is is inverted to turn on a switching transistor. The transistor furnishes a ground for the associated panel lamp. Each panel lamp will remain on until its associated station light is illuminated and for a predetermined time interval, such as 5 seconds, thereafter. For example, panel lamp number 1 will be on until the light at station number 1 is energized, remains energized for five seconds, and is deenergized. When station number 1 is deenergized, the logic will switch and energize panel lamp number 2. Panel lamp number 16 will output a logic level change after station number 16 has been energized and deenergized. The logic level change is employed as an indication to the lap or cycle counter as the completion of a lap.

The power supply may employ conventional elements to derive from 110 volts AC, the positive 4.5 volts needed for logic circuits, and displays; and both the positive 12 volts and the negative 6 volts needed for the heart rate monitor, or photoplethysmograph. Specifically, l 15 volts AC is applied to a primary ofa transformer which steps down the voltage to about l2 volts alternating current for application to a diode bridge and the positive 12 volt supply. A diode bridge full wave rectifies the voltage on the secondary. The output of the diode bridge rectifier is filtered and regulated using conventional transistors, Zener diode and resistor to effect the positive 4.5 voltage output. The positive 12 volt supplies a low current, Zener-regulated voltage supply formed by half wave rectification and filtering with Zener diode and resistor regulation. The negative 6 volts supply uses capacitor inverted, full wave rectifled voltage from the diode bridge with filter and Zener diode-resistor regulator. Any other suitable way of effecting the requisite voltages may be employed as the power supply.

Operation ln operation, the apparatus 15 will provide a series of discrete outputs of the desired time duration to 16 apprisal means 17, including light stations, positioned around a 440 yard oval track in the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2. These discrete outputs are effected sequentially, and the operator may have complete control over the elapsed time interval for each l 10 yard segment, or any multiple thereof, ofthe track. The operator may also pre-select two different time intervals and allow the unit to automatically sequence between them. The operator puts in the desired time of from 0 to 199 seconds into the respective thumb wheel switches 43 and 45. He also sets the desired distance into the respective distance thumb wheel switches 47 and 49. The distances may be 110, 120, 990, and 1760 yards for the respective numbers on the thumb wheel switches, the 1760 yards being shown for the numeral 0.

The operator selects the continuous or sequential mode of operation by depressing either the CONT or the SEQ buttons 63 or 65. Depression of one of the buttons will effect the circuit delineated hereinbefore to effect continued operation of TDl number 1 if in the continuous mode or to effect cyclic operation of both TDl l and TDl 2 in the sequence mode. Depression of the start button, after power is on will energize the apprisal means number 16, turning on the light and sounding the buzzer to start the runners 11 or the like. If the continuous button 63 has been depressed, an input is supplied to latch 137 which supplies a Q output to block nand gate 143 and prevent switchover to TDl number 2, effecting continuous input of the 16 Hz clock from the time base and steering logic 77 to TDl number 1. The central control means 21 will continue to cycle until the continuous mode is deselected, as by depression of another button.

If the sequence button is depressed, a set input is applied to the latch 137 to clear nand gate 143 and allow passage of the discrete output from the TDl number 1 distance comparator 193 to second latch 151. The second latch 15] has the output of the TDl number 2 distance comparator 207 applied to its set input. The second latch 15] controls the gating of the 16 Hz clock signal to either TDl number 1 or TDl number 2. At power on, the second latch is preset and its low Q output on pin 159 enables and nand gate 129 to pass the 16 Hz clocking signal to TDl 1. When the TDl 1 switchover discrete output is received, the latch is cleared, the Q outputon pin 155 goes low, enabling nand gate 127 to route the 16 Hz clocking signal to TDl number 2 while the Q'output on pin 159 inhibits the TD] number 1 clock input circuit.

Assume that initially the 16 Hz clocking input signal is sent to time counter 99. The accumulated count is sent to comparator 177. When the number is equal to the number set in on the time thumb wheel switches 43, a discrete output, or discrete, is formed that provides via conductor 183 an input to the counter 225 of the station driver assembly 83, and effects resetting of the time counter 99 and provides a clock input to the distance counter 187.

The clock frequency chosen for the TDl time counters is directly related to the number of light stations, 16 in this case. The stations are positioned 440/16 yards apart, and a 16 Hz clock is employed in order to obtain the correct elapsed time for a preselected distance. For example, note that if the distance selected is 440 yards and the elapsed time selected is 60 seconds, the time interval between two light stations is 60 divided by 16 seconds (l6 stations per 440 yards). The time counter 99 must now count to 60 before the time comparator 177 will generate an output pulse to the counter 225 of the station driver assembly 83, required to turn on the lamp stations. The pulse out of the time counter 99 will have aperiod equal to the thumb wheel setting divided by the clock frequency, or 60/ 16 seconds, which is the required interval between two stations. The distance comparator, it will be recalled, divided the distance count pulses by 4. Consequently, the distance comparator 193 will not produce a switchover discrete output until the distance counter 187 has received a count of 16 to effect the distance of 4 l lO-yard increments, or 440 yards. Thus, there will be 16 intervals of 60/1 6 seconds obtained to light the 16 lights around the 440 yard track.

The TDl number 1 time counter 99 will be updated by the 16 H'zclock and the comparator 177 will put out another pulse after the proper interval. This continues until the distance counter 187 reaches a count equivalent the setting on the TDl number 1 distance thumb wheel. Thereafter, the distance comparator 197 will produce a discrete output to the steering logic via conductor 147 to effect switchover to TDl number 2 if the sequence mode has been selected. If in the continuous mode it will continue to cycle since the output on conductor 147 will be blocked by nand gate 143. When switchover is effected in the sequence mode, the TDl number 2 time counter 101 will now be clocked by the 16 Hz input. The sequence of operation continues as before with new time and distance inputs from TDl number 2 thumb wheels. When the swithover discrete output from TDl number 2 distance comparator 209 is generated, the second latch 151 is set, the clock to TDl number 2 is inhibited and the clocking pulse to TDl number 1 time counter 99 is enabled.

In addition to providing the logic for effecting switchover of the clocking input between TDl numbers 1 and 2, the steering logic also provides via output pin 155, a count for the cycle counter. This count is used in a manner similar to the clock to the distance counter.

When the cycle count equals the thumb wheel setting, the cycle comparator 203 generates a discrete output to the reset logic, which resets all counters, essentially shutting off the unit. Cycle count will be generated whenever the unit switches from TDl '2 to TDl 1 to complete a cycle. Thus, by proper use of the cycle thumb wheel switches 51, the operator may program the unit to run through a desired number of cycles in the sequence mode and then reset itself.

The number of elapsed cycles is displayed following depression of the cycles button 61. Depression of the cycle button 61 gates the output of the cycle counter 263 through the lap or cycle selection logic 267 to the display 37 of the display assembly 87. Conversely, the number of laps from the lap counter 261 is displayed following depression of the laps button 59, as indicated hereinbefore. I

Also as indicated hereinbefore, the output of the time comparators 99 and 101 are connected with the sequencing logic of the station driver assembly 83. Specifically, the output conductors 183 and 213 are DOT- ORED and input to the 4 bit counter 225. The output of the counter 225 is input to the decoders 233 and 235. The decoders provide the output signals for the Triac drivers for the respective light stations and the panel lamp drivers. The panel lamps are repeaters for the light stations and enable the operator to easily determine the station that will be illuminated. The operator may also adjust the time a light station remains illuminated, as indicated hereinbefore. The adjustment is provided by adjusting the potentiometer 243 on the multivibrator to provide an output pulse of the desired width, described in detail hereinbefore. The panel light drivers are standard and conventional transistor driver circuits; similarly, as are the Triac drivers.

The reset logic 169 has, in addition to the power-onreset input 55, two inputs from the reset and start button switches 71 and 73. Applying power to either or depressing the reset push button causes a master reset to be generated which clears all counters and displays. The start push button must be depressed in order to enable the clocking means 97 and allow the unit to begin functioning. The lights button allows the operator to turn off the light stations positioned around the track by depression of light button 67. This control only effects the track lights, none of the other functions or displays are effected. The unit will continue to sequence and the operator may monitor this on the front panel lamps. Releasing the light button will allow the station lights to be illuminated again, enabling checking the pacing of a runner 11.

Similarly, hold button 69 allows the operator to temporarily interrupt the sequencing of the central control means 21, as indicated hereinbefore. Supplemental Apparatus The apparatus 15 may be employed advantageously in conjunction with a heart rate monitor, or photoplethysmograph (PPG) 93, FIG. 7. The heart rate monitor 93 receives input pulses from sensor 301. The sensor 301 functions like a standard PPG, using a light source and a photocell that is sensitive to the red portion of the visible light spectrum. Contraction and expansion of the blood vessels; for example, in a finger placed on the sensor; responsive to respective heartbeats modulate the light transmitted to the photocell. The photocell is in one leg of a bridge network which is unbalanced by the changing resistance of the photocell. The pulses generated form an input to amplifier Al, an isolation amplifier. The output from amplifier Al is conducted via conductor 303 to amplifier A2 where it is amplified about 500 times. A Schmitt trigger 305 shapes the pulse. The first pulse sets a fourth latch 307 via conductor 309. The fourth latch 307 generates an enable pulse for a 1 Hz clock. The 1 Hz clocking input on conductor 311 may be formed by dividing the Hz clocking signal to the elapsed time display 87 by a l0s counter. The fourth latch 307 ensures that the second sample period starts with the first pulse monitored. The pulses are counted by the 6 bit counter 313 and displayed on heart rate display 39. At the end of the 15 second sample period, a clock input to the holding register 315 updates the heart rate display 39 on the front panel. The 6 bit counter 313 is then reset immediately after the holding register is cleared and a new sample period starts. A divide by 15 counter 317 controls the sample time for the heart rate monitor 93. The l Hz clock is put into the divide by 15 counter 317 to generate the 15 second clock signal and update signals for the holding register 315 and the 6 bit counter 313. A reset circuit 319 ensures that the update signal is generated and put out before the clear signal is given to the 6 bit counter 313. This is done by gating the 1 Hz clock with the 15 second output. Two pulses each with a period of 0.5 seconds are obtained. The heart rate is monitored for only a l5 second period. In order to get the rate for a full minute, the output of the 6 bit counter 313 must be multiplied by 4. This is done by the binary to BCD decoder 321. The 2 and 2 inputs to the decoder are grounded, which makes these inputs 0. The 2 output of the holding register 315 is input to the 2 input of the decoder and so on for the rest of the holding register outputs. This means that the decoder sees a 1 input (2) from the holding register as a 4 (2 because of the shift. This provides the required multiplication. A BCD to seven-segment converter 323 is provided for illuminating the respective tubes equivalent to the binary coded digital information in the seven-segment tube display 39.

In operation, a runner 11 that has finished a given performance with the apparatus 15, places his finger on the sensor 301 and his heart pulse rate is read out on display 39. By employing this, a doctor can check the effect of a given exercise program on his patient. Conversely, a coach can check how good a shape his runner is in. In fact, there has been a 100 percent correlation to date between those runners who are able to have the best results with the heart rate monitor following a given performance on the track and the winner of a given competitive event in which the runners participated. Thus, it becomes possible to predict the winners of athletic events by use of the heart rate monitor in combination with the apparatus 15.

Other Embodiments FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment that can be employed where the expense of providing a hard wire installation, as illustrated in FIG. I, would be prohibitive, since the course changes. The embodiment of FIG. 8 is employed in cross country running, cross country skiing or the like. The apparatus of FIG. 8 could be employed for training an athlete or for effecting the optimum benefits to another participant indulging in the athletic activity. Referring to FIG. 8, the apparatus includes a plurality of apprisal means 17 disposed along the path the athlete ll is to traverse so as to apprise the athlete by visual indication in the distance realm of the progress of a predetermined per formance in order that the athlete can attempt to equal that predetermined performance. A settable central control means 21 is provided to operate similarly as described hereinbefore. The central control means 21 is connected with the respective plurality of apprisal means 17 by way of a communication link, as noted hereinbefore. In FIG. 8, the communication link comprises at least one transmitter 329 that is connected with the central control means, as by conductor 331; and a plurality of respective receivers 333, one of which is illustrated in magnification for clarity in FIG. 8. The receivers 333 are connected with respective ones of the apprisal means 17. The transmitter 329 and respective receivers 333 are compatible such that discrete signals transmitted from the central control means 21 will be received by the receivers 333 and effect energization of a respective apprisal means 17.

As illustrated, the central control means 21 is connected with the transmitter 329 by way of a coding means 335 for encoding respective signals for respective apprisal means. Each respective receiver 333 is connected with its apprisal means by way of a decoding means 337 for decoding the signals and energizing the respective apprisal means associated with it only upon receipt of its respective and preset signal. For example, the respective coding and decoding means may be operative responsive to binary coded digital information. I have found it advantageous, however, to simply use pulse width modulation for effecting a predetermined number of pulses and employ counters in the decoding means to open a gate and energize a respective apprisal means only when the number of pulses that are predesignated and unique for its respective apprisal means is counted in a predetermined counting time interval.

The respective transmitter 329, coding means 335, decoding means 337, and receivers 333 are commercially available items of equipment that are not being claimed, per se, herein. Accordingly, it is not necessary to describe the construction of such well known apparatus and further lengthen this already lengthy application. In operation, the embodiment of FIG. 8 operates similarly as described with respect to the embodiment of FIG. 1 except that the communication link makes possible remote communication between the central control means and the respective apprisal means such that respective apprisal means can be laid out cross country for a temporary course without requiring the expense of a hard wire installation. Otherwise, the same flexibility of operation is effected.

For optimum training of an athlete, such as a cross country runner or skier, the heartbeat rate of the athlete may be compared with the optimum heartbeat rate desired for the athlete; and the predetermined performance that has been set into the settable central control means 21 adjusted in response to departure of the heartbeat rate of the athlete from the desired predetermined heartbeat rate. Specifically, the training of the athlete is optimized by the steps of initially automatically and sequentially energizing the respective ones of the plurality of apprisal means 17 responsive to a predetermined performance set into the settable central control means 21 to afford to the athlete at least a visible indication of the progress of the predetermined performance in the distance realm, as by illuminating lights at respective apprisal means 17. To alleviate problems with over-controlling at the start, an initial null period during which no'adjustments are made, is provided for the heartbeat rate of the athlete to approach equilibrium. It is helpful, though not necessary to measure and monitor the heartbeat rate even during the null period. Thereafter, the heartbeat rate of the athlete is measured and monitored during his performance. If the heartbeat of the athlete departs from the desired heartbeat rate, the time between respective energizations of the respective apprisal means is automatically altered in accordance with a predetermined program to try to bring the heartbeat rate to the desired and preset heartbeat rate for optimum training, or benefits to the athlete. By employing this approach, the athlete can attain any desired performance level without overstraining.

Specifically, as the athlete 11 runs along the cross country track339, his heartbeat rate is monitored by a'photoplethysmograph (PPG) 341 sensor, such as the sensor 301 described with respect to FIG. 7 hereinbefore. As is well known, these sensors employ infrared light and an infrared sensitive monitoring device to detect a dilation of the capillaries responsive to the heartbeat such that a pulse is emitted at each heartbeat.

. Thus, the photoplethysmograph 341 serves as a measuring means for measuring the heartbeat rate of the athlete during his athletic activity.

A monitoring means is then provided for monitorin the output of the measuring means. Specifically, a heartbeat transmitter 343 is connected with the photoplethysmograph 341 for transmitting a pulsed signal each time there is a heartbeat. The transmitter 343 is carried by the athlete. As a part of the monitoring means, a receiver 345 and heartbeat rate counter 347 are provided at the central control means. The heartbeat rate counter 347 operates similarly as described with respect to FIG. 7 hereinbefore to effect a number that is the heartbeat rate per unit of time, as per minute. If desired, a display such as display 39, FIG. 7, may be provided to display the heartbeat rate.

A modifier means 349 is connected with the monitoring means and with a settable central control means for modifying the predetermined performance set into the settable central control means responsive to the heartbeat rate in accordance with a predetermined program such that the athlete attains a desired level of activity without overstraining. The modifier means 349 may comprise any suitable means for carrying out the program outlined hereinbefore.

Different embodiments may be employed if desired. For example, a small computer and a routine. program worked up by a hired programmer can be employed, although it is relatively more expensive than the embodiment of FIGS. 9 and 10, described later hereinafter. Operation of a computer version exemplifies this embodiment simply and graphically and is helpful in understanding the actual embodiment employed (FIGS. 9 and 10). Specifically, the program and its respective rountes and decision blocks will become apparent from the following example. Suppose that it is desirable that the athlete attain a level of physical activity exemplified by 140 heartbeats per minute. Each seconds, as described with respect to FIG. 7 hereinbefore, the heartbeat rate of the athlete is measured and monitored. Suppose that a predetermined performance of 80 seconds for traversing 440 yards is set into the settable central control means 21. The modifier means 349 is programmed to alter the predetermined performance time between apprisal means 17 by 8/16 of a second for each 20 heartbeats that the runners level of physical activity is off of the desired I40 heartbeats per minute. Suppose, after the null for attaining equilibrium, the first heartbeat measured and monitored is I20 heartbeats per minute, or negative 20. The 5.0 second interval between energization of the respective apprisal means 17 will be altered by negative 8/16 of a second, or shortened to 4.5 seconds, between each pair of the 16 apprisal means 17. Suppose that after the next 15 second interval the heartbeat rate is determined to be I30, still I0 heartbeats per minute shy of the desired beats per minute. The predetermined performance will be altered such that the elapsed time interval between respective apprisal means is further decreased from 4.5 seconds by 4/ l6 of a second to 4.25 seconds. Suppose that after the next 15 seconds have elapsed the heartbeat rate is determined to be I40 beats per minute. No change is made in the predetermined performance. Suppose that after the following 15 seconds the heartbeat rate is found to be heartbeats per minute. The time is increased by two-sixteenths of a second from 4.25 to 4-6/l6 of a second between energization of successive apprisal means 17. In this way, the optimum benefits to the participant are effected; and he is brought in on a performance at his optimum. This allows optimizing the training of an athlete to reach his peak performance in the shortest possible time without overstraining.

An embodiment of the modifier means that has proved economically feasibly is illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. Referring to FIG. 9, the output from thumb wheel switch 43 is routed by way of multi-conductor switches 355 and 357 through a pacer 359 whose output is ultimately controlled by the heartbeat rate of the athlete compared with a predetermined optimum heartbeat rate. Expressed otherwise, the thumb wheel switch 43 is used to dial in the desired heartbeat rate input and emplace it on the multiple contacts illustrated generically by contact 361, FIGS. 9 and 10. A predetermined performance in the time realm is then adjusted upwardly or downwardly to vary the time interval between respective energizations of respective apprisal means 17, FIGS. 1 and 8, to bring the heartbeat rate of the athlete 11 in on the desired optimum by altering a predetermined performance in the time realm and ,using a time clocking input, as described with respect to FIGS. 4a and 4b hereinbefore. Thus, the system operates similarly as described hereinbefore except that the binary coded digital information sent to the time comparator 177 may be varied responsive to the physiological response of the athlete with respect to his optimum desired heartbeat rate.

Referring to FIG. 10, the heartbeat rate controlled pacer 359 comprises a mobile portion 363 that is carried by the athlete 11; and a central portion 365. Specifically, the mobile portion 363 comprises two oscillators 367 and 369 that put out respective frequencies f, and f The oscillators 367 and 369 are connected via a gate means 371 with the transmitter 343. The gate means 371 is responsively connected with the PPG 341 such that it transmits a first frequency f, during a heartbeat and transmits a second frequency f during the time of rest of the heart.

Referring to the central portion 365, the terminal 361 is connected with a storage register 373 for storing the heartbeat rate set into thumb wheel switch 43; for example, 140. The plurality of outputs from the storage register 373 are connected to the digital to analogue converter 375 for providing a direct current (DC) voltage V on the output conductor 377 that is proportional to the heartbeat rate input HR,,. Receiver 345 is connected with the frequency discriminators 1 and 2, illustrated by block 379. The frequency discriminators 379 are connected to the set and clear pins of pulse shaper 381 so as to provide a unit output signal upon the occurrence of the frequency F denoting a heartbeat and to provide a zero output signal for no heartbeat. The pulse shaper 381 is in effect a set-reset flip-flop for generating the desired unit output signal only during the occurrence of a heartbeat. The pulse shaper 381 is connected to the frequency to voltage converter 383 for generation of a DC voltage V,,,,' that is proportional to the rate of the heartbeats counted, or the heartbeat rate HR,- actually measured from the runner. The voltage output V,,,; is sent to the voltage comparator 385 by way of conductor 387. The output conduct'or 377 is also connected with the voltage comparator 385 for comparing the desired heartbeat rate HR,; with the actual heartbeat rate being measured HR A slave counter, or up/down counter, 387 is connected by way of its output conductors 389 and multiconductor switch 357 with time comparator 177, which has been described hereinbefore. The counter 387 is, in effect, an electronic thumb wheel; or simply a counter that can be controlled easily and by electronic inputs to effect the desired output for being sent to comparator 177. A programmed time input 391 is connected with the up/down counter 387 for use during the warm-up of a runner. The up/down counter 387 may be slaved to the programmed time input 391 by the switching of the multi-conductor switches 355 and 357 to incorporate the heartbeat rate controlled pacer 359 into the circuit intermediate the thumb wheel switch 43 and the comparator 177. The programmed time input has a relatively slow time set thereinto for warm-up. The time decreases at a predetermined rate for gradually bringing the runner up to the desired pace before the expiration of the null period that has been described hereinbefore. For example, the programmed time input may initially provide a time of 1 l seconds or more to travel 440 yards; the 110 seconds being decreased by 5 seconds for every seconds of elapsed time interval to bring the runner up to speed. Any other satisfactory programmed time input may be employed.

An up/down control 393 is connected with the up/- down counter 387 via three conductors 395397 for rendering the counter 387 receptive to a clocking pulse to either increase the time on the counter or decrease the time depending upon the respective conductor 395 or 397 that is energized by the up/down control 393. Thereafter, an incoming clock pulse is fed over the conductor 396 to increase or decrease the setting on the counter 387 by one unit for each pulse. Whether the counter is to be increased or decreased depends upon whether the respective measured heartbeat rate HR, is less than or greater than the desired heartbeat rate HR,,. A respective signal for the respective conditions will be sent by voltage comparator 385 to the up/- down control over the respective conductors 399 and 401.

In operation, the operator operates the respective switches 355 and 357 to put the programmed time input into the up/down counter 387 that is connected with the comparator 177. The desired heartbeat rate for the runner in question is then set into thumb wheel switch 43. The selected heartbeat rate input is stored on the register 373 whose output controls the digital to analogue converter switches to give the desired signal, or voltage, V,,,., that is proportional to the desired heartbeat rate HR,,. The signal V,,,,, is sent to the voltage comparator 385. The runner paces himself according to the lights in accordance with the programmed time input which may alter the up/down counter settings stepwise to gradually increase the speed at which the respective apprisal means 17 are energized. At each heartbeat, the PPG 341 carried by the runner opens the gate means 371 to allow passage of the respective frequency indicating a heartbeat. The heartbeat is transmitted via transmitter 343 and is received by receiver 345. The frequency discriminators 379 generate a discrete voltage output whenever a correct tone is received, as f, during a heartbeat. The pulse shaper 381 receives the respective set and clear signals from the frequency discriminators number 1 and number 2 to provide a series of pulses whose frequency and duration is equal to that of the runners heartbeats. The frequency to voltage converter 383, which is actually an integrator, will now generate a ramp output whose peak value is some voltage V,,,,; that is, some voltage that is a function of the measured heartbeat rate HR,-. 1f the signal V,,,,- on conductor 387 is less than the signal V on conductor 377, the comparator 38S puts out a signal on conductor 399 indicating that the HR, is less than HR,,. This signal causes the up/down control 393 to generate a down count discrete that is sent via conductor 395 to the counter 387. The down counter 387 is now enabled to count downwardly for each clock pulse that is received and speed up the respective energization of the apprisal means 17. The clock pulse has a relatively low frequency and generates one pulse for each 5 to 15 second interval, as desired. Different clock pulse rates could be employed if desired. Thus,

the up/down counter now begins to count down from the selected time input at the rate determined by the clock frequency. When the runners heartbeat rate increases above the desired heartbeat rate HR the upldown control 393 is apprised via a signal on conductor 401 that inhibits the down counting and causes the upldown control 393 to output an up count discrete on conductor 397. Thereafter, the up/down counter 387 will count upwardly with each respective clock pulse until the heartbeat rate HR, is equal to the desired heartbeat rate HR,,. At this point there is no further cycling and the running rate of the runner has been stabilized at his individual best rate of training, as determined by his physiological response. Once the up/down counter 387 begins to be activated electronically by inputs from the up/down controller 393, the programmed time input 391 is disabled until it is again cut into the circuit by operation of the multi-conductor switches 355 and 357. The counter 387 thereby retains its own count unless activated upwardly or downwardly by the enabling pulse on the respective conductors 397 or 395 and the occurrence of a clocking pulse on the conductor 396.

The described embodiment of P108. 9 and 10 is much more economical than the computer version described hereinbefore. The embodiment of FIGS. 9 and 10 employs readily available logic units that can be purchased off-the-shelf" and connected as described and illustrated to give an engineeringly feasible unit for optimizing the training of the athlete.

If desired, a separate thumb wheel switch, separate comparator, and separate heartbeat counter could be employed instead of a switch means cutting in the heartbeat rate controlled pacer, as illustrated in FIG. 9. If a separate thumb wheel switch. comparator, and counter is employed, it may be switched into control by a separate switch means and employ the heartbeat transmitted from the athlete as a clocking pulse that is input to the heartbeat counter. The heartbeat counter is then connected with the comparator, similarly as described with respect to the time clocking pulse and the time counter and time comparator of FIG.'4a. [t is ordinarily advantageous and more economical to employ the time clocking pulse, the time counter and the time comparator in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 4a rather than resort to a purely physiological counter. Moreover, the athletes performance in the time realm may be more directly compared with a predetermined performance such as a world record, than can a purely physiological performance.

General The unit which has been described hereinbefore has a wide flexibility and can be readily modified to provide the following additional applications.

' l. Although the apparatus to date has employedelectric'al cable and radio as the communication link to connect each station in the apprisal means 17 with the central control means 21, some installations may be better served by use of other forms, such as light beams, particularly over an elongate and variable path such as might be traversed by an olympic skier, cross country runner, or the like. For example, each light could be made to respond to a specific frequency or pulse code, similarly as described with respect to FIG. 8. The control unit then would output signals appropriate to the particular lights in sequence.

2. The function of the control unit can be expanded to light more than one light at a time. For example, two lights diametrically opposed allow two groups to use a track at once without interference.

3. Further to the point of 2., the central control means 31 could bemade using two or more lights of different colors. Each light color could be programmed at its own pace and distances, allowing two runners to use the system at one time although running at different paces.

4. By providingmeans of monitoring the runners heart rate while running, such as by radio telemetry like they were alongside the path being traversed by the athlete. For example, light emitting diodes on a model could be superimposed along a ski run being made by an olympic competitor.

7. The system could be extended to apply to any training or competitive situation where elapsed time from a starting point to a finishing line is of interest.

While the equal spacing of the lights around a track has been described, any other spacing along the path traversed by the athlete could be employed if desired. For example, if desired, logarithmic spacing with a concentration near the finish line could be employed if desired.

Instead of the permanently installed light stations as described, temporary installations may be employed. On the other hand, the temporary central control means 21 can be permanently housed in accordance with a permanently installed system, if desired.

If desired, a multivibrator can be employed for shap-- ing the distance pulse output from the distance comparator to obtain better distance reset counter pulses and better inputs to the nand gates 143 or 127.

Although this invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of i parts may be resorted to without departing from the is employed by the National Aeronautics and Space As sociation, the apparatus 15 can be employed to set the runners pace as a function of his heart rate, in accordance with a health program, similarly as illustrated in FIG. 8.

5. The system can be modified to provide pacing along a straight path; such as in sprinting, skiing or swimming competition courses. Included would be starting lights to provide random timing to simulate starting conditions.

6. In situations where competitive rules prohibit the use of pacing lights around the track or along the path that the athlete will traverse, models can be equipped with pacing lights and used to increase the viewing interest of a television audience. By superimposition, the pacing lights on the model can be made to appear as if spirit and the scope of this invention.

What is claimed is: I

1. Apparatus for apprising an observer of the relativezrformance of an athlete compared with a useful predetermined performance comprising:

a. a power source for supplying electrical energy;

b. a timing means for indicating elapsed time;

c. a plurality of apprisal means for apprising said observer of the progress of said predetermined performance; said plurality of apprisal means including at least respective lights that are visible to said observer and connected with said power source so as to be energized responsive to output signals from a settable central control means to afford at least a visual indication of the progress of said predetermined performance; said apprisal means being spaced apart and arranged so as to be compared by an observer with the progress of said athlete along a path said athlete will travel; each traverse along said path by said athlete being referred to as a lap;

dfsettafie central control means for sequentially energizing respective ones of said plurality of apprisal means responsive to elapsed time and to said predetermined performance set into said settable central control means; said settable central control means being connected with said power source and said apprisal means for sequentially energizing respective said apprisal means to display progress of said predetermined performance; said settable central control means including a time setting means for setting said predetermined performance into said settable central control means; said settable central control means including means for dividing sa id pr ede termined performance into equal time Increments, 'vmc'hrrae statements rearesaat'tfie respective distance increments between said plurality of apprisal means and generating respective output signals after elapse or respective said time

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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.340/870.28, 600/502, 340/323.00B, 340/331, 377/20, 434/255, 600/479, 377/5, 340/332, 128/903, 600/483, 455/67.11, 455/67.13, 368/10, 455/100
Clasificación internacionalA63B71/06, A61B5/024, A61B5/00, A63B69/00
Clasificación cooperativaY10S128/903, A63B2220/20, A63B2024/0068, A63B2207/02, A63B71/06, A61B5/02416, A61B5/0002, A63B2024/0071, A63B24/0062, A63B69/0028, A63B71/0686, A63B2071/065, A63B2230/06
Clasificación europeaA61B5/024D, A63B71/06, A61B5/00B, A63B24/00G