Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oh, patents! Nike+ running

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Every time I run, I launch Pandora and the Nike+ running app on my cell phone, which picks up data from the sensor inside the sole of my Nikes. During the run Nike+ will send a message every mile to inform me of the distance covered and at what speed.  At the end of run,  Nike+ will inform me exactly of  the distance I have covered, at what speed and even the number of calories burnt during the run! The app also tracks the route of my run, with the related terrain, weather and time information, and then adds the most recently completed run to a mileage counter. 

 I have almost 2000 miles covered pedibus……!

When something out of the ordinary happens in connection with a run, a very famous star such as Lance Armstrong or Serena Williams voices a pep message, such as:   "Congratulations on running more miles this week than last”!...

There are many additional functionalities associated with this app, such as the connection to your mobile ITunes playlists, or the possibility of setting goals to run faster, longer distances or more times per week or per month.  You can also connect with any one of the 11 million people who are members of the Nike+ community! And you can run statistics on the community too, such as how many miles, and where.

The patent for this invention titled Tracking fitness using a mobile device was filed in several places, including world-wide (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty), the US, Korea, Canada, China, Japan and Europe (under the European Patent Convention). The patent runs approximately 200 pages, and it contains 76 Figure drawings and flowcharts.

The invention arises as an easy way (from the user’s perspective) of monitoring performances. It is also designed as a motivator, considering the feedback that monitoring supplies, using both performance data and external means.

Below appears the abstract of the patent application US2012116550, titled Tracking fitness using a mobile device, and one of the patent drawings.  An image of the  Nike+ sensor, the Nike+ app logo and a screenshot of a run from the app are also included.

Abstract US2012116550
Athletic performance monitoring and tracking may provide multiple ways in which to track athletic movement and activity. In one example, an athletic monitoring device may include or be associated with multiple types of movement sensors and switch between the sensors or use both depending on various factors including type of workout. Workouts may also be tagged with various parameters including mood, weather, terrain, athletic equipment used and the like. In one or more examples, the parameters may be automatically determined based on location. User workouts and accomplishments may also be celebrated through messages from celebrities, family, friends and other users. In some cases, the messages may be triggered by various conditions. Coaching may also be provided to the user to help improve workouts and overall athletic performance. Running routes may also be automatically tracked, stored and shared.


Consistent with the invention’s rationale for motivation, this little app will really get you going!


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