How It Works: Bioelectric Impedance Analysis

Recommended for Further Reading:

Feasibility of Bioelectrical Impedance Spectroscopy Measurement Before and After Thoracentesis

Bioelectrical Impedance Spectroscopy for the Assessment of Body Fluid Volumes of Term Neonates

Accuracy of Bioelectrical Impedance Spectroscopy in Measuring Changes in Body Composition During Severe Weight Loss

Electrical Impedance Myography: Background, Current State, and Future Directions

Measuring Body Composition

What is Body Composition?

Measuring and Evaluating Body Composition

No Sweat, No Problem?

In today’s day and age, many stores selling athletic wear advertise “dry fit” and “sweat resistance” clothing to the public as the best clothing for your workout. This material, also known as moisture-wicking clothing, is known to keep the sweat away from your body and help you feel dry during a workout. Nike, for example, has an entire section on their website devoted to sweat-wicking clothing which seems to be a common trend in stores selling athletic wear. Therefore, this may be the reason why you’ve seen a change in apparel in those morning joggers from their favorite college hoodie to a dry-fit quarter zip.

Many people from scientists to bloggers have discussed the idea of moisture-wicking clothing and its increasing popularity in today’s population. One distinction discussed by Shape explains the types of material deemed as “moisture wicking” and the differences between each. Put simply, they explain to consumers when to wear what material from nylon to bamboo. Others have focused on the effect of the moisture wicking clothing and how it affects performance. Consumers Digest , for example, looked into whether these materials actually made an athlete feel more “cool and comfortable” during exercise and therefore improved their ability to complete a better workout. Their findings stated simply that “these shirts might make you feel more comfortable and look trendier at the gym, but we remain unconvinced that they’ll help you to breathe more easily, run longer or lift more weight”.

Despite the many different viewpoints on the internet, it seems that the athletic wear industry still thrives on selling moisture wicking clothing to the general public. However, the unanswered question seems to lie in the scientific research on how moisture wicking materials affects the thermoregulation process in your body when you exercise. AKA, how is this clothing helping to keep our bodies dry and preserve our body temperatures as we exercise without disrupting its natural cooling process of sweating? To begin, we can take a look into the science behind moisture wicking materials and how they work.

Moisture Wicking Materials – How they Work

Moisture – wicking materials get their name from their ability to pull moisture away from the skin tot the exterior of the clothing. As seen to the side, the material has hydrophobic chemical qualities within the microfibers of the fabric to move sweat from the inside to the outside of the clothing where it can evaporate more easily.

In a study through Western Michigan University, they investigated the effects of wearing a form fitted, moisture-wicking shirt on body temperature during acute exercise. The study showed that after 45 minutes of exercise (50% VO2peak) in a hot environment, heat stress tests showed a significantly lower temperature (P<0.05) while wearing the synthetic material (81% polyester and 19% elastane) during the last 15 minutes of exercise as compared to wearing a 100% cotton shirt. From this, they were able to infer that as the exercise duration increases, the ventilation and evaporation properties of the clothing garment helped to preserve body temperature during exercise in the heat. The limitations of this study, however, include that the sample size was of 10 males. Expanding this study to both genders could alter the effects. In addition, only one moisture wicking garment was used. To expand this, they could test different variations of synthetic material in order to see which combination has the greatest ability to preserve body heat under exercise conditions.

Eastern Carolina University reported that “the major dilemma is the dissipation of the heat produced from muscular activity”. They found that clothing acts as a barrier to heat transfer and evaporation from the skin. However, research suggests that the clothing fabric did not alter the thermoregulation or thermal comfort during exercise in warm conditions. The only distinction they were able to make was that the clothing fabric altered thermoregulation during and following exercise in a cold environment where sweat was able to be separated from the body. Limitations mentioned included that they “should include conditions that more closely mimic outdoor conditions, where high work rates, large airflow and high relative humidity can significantly impact thermoregulation”.

In conclusion, moisture-wicking clothing still seems to be a bit of a mystery to us all. Despite research that questions its validity to aid in thermoregulation, the industry still seems to thrive based on the fact that the fabric can take the moisture away from your skin. What we can say is that this material will help keep you dry during exercise and help to keep your body temperature stable in cold environments where sweat would’ve had a chance to act as a “cold sheet” on your body. However, additional research needs to be done to specify using moisture-wicking clothing with different types of exercise, in different humidity conditions, wind velocities, and temperatures in order to pinpoint the exact details of its effect on thermoregulation.


Recommended Further Reading

10 Fitness Fabrics, Explained

No Sweat: The Truth About Performance Apparel

Moisture Wicking

The effects of a moisture-wicking fabric shirt on the physiological and perceptual responses during acute exercise in the heat.

Effects of Moisture Wicking Garments on Temperature Regulation During Exercise

Clothing and Thermal Regulation During Exercise

Temperature Regulation During Exercise



Please feel free to comment below on any of the questions listed here or with your own thoughts from the post.

1.)What do you typically wear to work out in and why?

2.)Do you choose different clothing depending on the type of exercise you will be doing?

3.)Have you noticed a difference in your performance/mood during your workout depending on what you are wearing?

No Pain, No Gain

From the average gym goer to professional athletes, anyone can experience delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. It strikes 24 to 72 hours after a period of reduced activity or when introduced to new exercises. The symptoms range from mild muscle tenderness to debilittating pain. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know the struggle of walking up and down the stairs and putting on pants in the morning. Your muscles feel stiff and are sore to the touch. To understand the types of activities that cause more severe and frequent soreness you need to know the different types of muscle contractions. There are isotonic contractions which generate force by changing the length of the muscle and isometric contractions which generate force without changing the length of the muscle. The two different types of isotonic contractions are concentric and eccentric contractions. Concentric contractions cause the muscle to shorten and generate force whereas eccentric contractions cause the muscle to elongate in response to a greater opposing force. Eccentric activities create the most intense soreness because they induce micro-injury more frequently than any other type of contraction.

Figure 1: Eccentric contraction

Many people look to the internet for ways to prevent and reduce the symptoms of their soreness. Some common ways people prevent soreness is by performing a cardio-based warm up or static stretching. Once the soreness kicks in, common ways people reduce their symptoms are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, massaging, cryotherapy, stretching, homeopathy, ultrasound, and electrical current modalities. Without any background knowledge, people might be wasting their time trying techniques that have no proven evidence of preventing or reducing soreness. What really is the best treatment to alleviate the symptoms of DOMS or is time your only option?

One study looked at the effects of stretching before and after exercise on muscle soreness. They did a systematic review of five different studies which all included young healthy adults as their participants. The participants stretched from 300 to 600 seconds between the studies and muscle soreness was measured at 24, 42, and 72 hours after exercise. They found that stretching before or after exercise has no effect on delayed onset muscle soreness.

Another study was performed that looked at if a warm-up or cool-down reduces delayed onset muscle soreness. They randomly assigned 52 healthy adults to four groups: a warm-up and cool-down group, a warm-up only group, a cool-down only group, and neither warm-up nor cool-down group. The warm-up and cool-down was 10 minutes of walking and the eccentric exercise was 30 minutes of walking backwards downhill on a treadmill inclined at 13 degrees at 35 steps per minute. The participants were asked to record their muscle soreness 10 minutes after exercise as well as 24, 48, and 72 hours after. The results showed that a cool-down had no effect on soreness and a warm-up produces a small reduction in muscle soreness.

It’s a day after your hard workout and you can’t walk. What do you do? A study in Sports Medicine found that cryotherapy, stretching, homeopathy, ultrasound, and electrical current modalities all have no effect on DOMS. They found that massage could have an effect based on the timing of the massage and the technique used. This data was also supported by a study done by Nicole Nelson, who found massages to be a promising result in reducing soreness.

While there are a lot of studies done on DOMS, there are several limiatinos. One problem is that there are multiple ways to measure muscle soreness, so it can be hard to compare studies to each other. Some studies used a visual analogue scale and some used a 0-10 measurement. The mechanism for what causes delayed onset muscle soreness is still unknown, which makes it difficult to prescribe an accurate treatment. In one study, walking was the warm-up as well as the exercise to induce the muscle soreness. They didn’t look at if having a walking warm-up would still be effective if squats was the exercise inducing the muscle soreness. For some of the studies, the outcome measures were all self-reports so the participants could have mis-reported.

From my own personal experience, I experience delayed onset muscle soreness whenever I try out a new workout or increase the intensity of an old one. Usually, I just let the soreness runs its course and don’t do anything to reduce the symptoms. From the literature, it seems like the best thing to do is wait. To prevent DOMS you can try and ease into the exercise rather than performing it at full intensity the first time. Cryotherapy, stretching, homeopathy, ultrasound, and electrical current modalities all had no effect on muscle soreness. Warming up before exercise seemed to have a small effect, but won’t drastically reduce the severity of DOMS. There still needs to be a lot of research done on the mechanism of DOMS in order to find out the appropriate treatment.

Questions and Comments

Are there any other methods of prevention or treatment that work for you?

Have you tried any of the treatment options above and have they helped alleviate your soreness?

Please leave any comments or questions about DOMS below!


Recommended Further Reading

No Pain, No Gain? Five Myths About Muscle Soreness 


Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Measuring Watch

Patent title: Blood pressure and heart rate measuring watch

Patent number: US06084961

Patent filing date: 1979-10-15

Patent issue date: 1982-05-25

Inventor(s):Ronald L. Broadwater Russell R. Haynes Samah A. Mitry

Assignee (if applicable): TECH ENGR AND DESIGN

U.S. classification:  G04G21/025

Claims: 16

Figure 1. This figure shows the watch itself and the sensor on the watch band part.


This invention is a portable blood pressure and heart rate monitoring device that is in a wrist watch format. Blood pressure and heart rate signal is measured by the sensor on the watch that attached to wrist when it’s wear by patient. This wrist can measure systolic and diastolic pressure and heart accurately and quickly, as well as tell time. In addition, with this compact format, patient can wear it in many circumstances and operate it without lots of professional knowledge.

People who like to do exercise and elder people might be interested in this invention.  people who do exercise often might want to know there heart rate in order to control their heart rate in a certain range, so that their exercise effect can be the most ideal for them. For elder people who potentially or actually have heart problems, a portable heart rate and blood pressure monitor like this invention would be ideal for them to monitor their heart condition, so that they can find treatment before the condition become worse.

In order to achieve the monitoring function, a piezoelectric transducer is placed on the watch band. when patient wear it, the transducer attach the radial artery,and it will generate electrical pressure impulse which correspond to the magnitude of blood pressure. The highest impulse is recognized as systolic impulse, and the lowest impulse is recognized as diastolic impulse. Also, a time counter is employed to measure the heart rate. There are also some prior art of this type health monitor. For example, US. Pat. No. 3’807’388. with this device, heart rate is measured by counting heart beat in a known frequency, and the heart beat is then related a particular average heart rate. Since that device does not measure the heart rate directly, it can be somewhat inaccurate.

I choose this patent because smart watch is currently a popular wearable health product, and it’s getting more and more developed. I am surprised that this patent was issued in 1979 which is about 40 years before. It seems this type compact wearable technology is now more commonly accepted by customers. The concept to bring convince of health monitoring from hospital to everyone’s side is a kind of evolution of medical system.

The Unofficial Soundtrack of Basketball

If you are a sports fan, like me, March is not just another month in your calendar. No, March means March Madness. The month to watch the most fun basketball games. Last year, in 2016, a total of 74,340 fans attended the final game, while 3.4 million people watched live streams through the app, and 22.3 million people via Turner Sports’ at the end of the game. An important feature of the game that I, like many others probably, have never really thought about is the squeaky noise of the shoes on the court, “the unofficial soundtrack of basketball”. It is an important feature to both the players and the fans. The New York Times wrote an article about how this phenomenon can be explained by shoe designers, rubber scientists, mechanical engineers and a biologist.

A detailed look at the Under Armour basketball shoe worn by Maryland
in a game at Michigan State in 2014.

Credit Leon Halip/Getty Images
From: New York Times, March 17, 2017              

Sheila Patek, a biologist at Duke University, found that her discovery on the defensive mechanism of spiny lobsters can be related to the squeaky noise from basketball shoes. These lobsters rub a smooth, rubbery part of their antenna against a smooth, hard part of their head, creating a squawk. Contact between these types of surfaces is similar with the basketball sole and court, as Martyn Shorten, owner of a biomechanics consulting firm in Portland, Ore., found. He is one of the few people that has researched the squawk specific to basketball shoes. With his research partner Xia Xi, he concluded that the herringbone structures of the shoe outsole are induced to vibrate at their low-order natural frequencies by stick-slip contact with the surface. These vibrations turn into the well-known high-pitched squeaks. Leo Chang, senior design director at Nike, says that “the squeak is reassurance to a lot of players. They listen for it. It gives them that audio sense of reassurance that they’re sticking.” Judit Puskas, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Akron, explains the rubber technology, as that is what the sole is made of. In designing, for example a basketball shoe, you need to find the right balance between the ability of the rubber material to “stick”, “slip”, and wear. The rubber sole needs to allow a player to stop and turn, a too sticky sole creates a too high impact on the body. Greg McDaniel, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Boston University, explains how the squeaky noise is created under a rubber sole. Air gets compressed in the tiny, vibrating spaces in the rubber sole, which sucks in neighboring air. This causes the air to expand, which leads to compression of neighboring air. As rubber moves, it compresses air at a frequency that is the same as the vibrations. He found that different herringbone designs lead to high-pitch squeaks of frequencies between 5-6 kilohertz, which can be carried through an arena very well. That is why a basketball game will never be silenced.

This article immediately made me think of one of the discussions from The Sports Gene, when they talk about how technology has impacted performance. I really wonder how much the design of the basketball shoe has impacted the performance of the players. The chapter of The Vitruvian NBA Player mentions how the height of players has influenced the sport so much in terms of recruiting, but maybe the development of the basketball shoe has also contributed to how quickly players can turn, and how high they can jump? In general I thought this article related to the course as it discussed the design of a piece of equipment, the shoe, that provides exercise.

I found it very interesting that people took the time and effort to research the squeaky noises on the basketball court. The findings from Martyn Shorten and Xia Xi on the different frequencies of squeaky noise caused by different shoes were pretty specific. I also found it interesting that people from so many different disciplines contributed to researching this topic. Like mentioned earlier, it was shoe designers, rubber scientists, mechanical engineers and a biologist whose knowledge was useful. Who would ever think to relate a spiny lobster to a basketball shoe? I also think it is interesting how the design of the basketball shoe sole has an impact in many different aspects. Not only does the rubber design of the sole matter for friction between the shoe and the court which impact the forces felt on their bodies when they are turning, it also plays a role in the mental game. It gives the players confidence in their moves, as they said it re-insures that sticking feeling for them, and I think that potentially even influences risk of injury. I wonder if a basketball player would move differently when you would give him a non-squeaky shoe, and if that would put him at higher risk for injury.



Patent title: Wrist exercise device

Patent number: US3924851 A

Patent filing date: Oct 25, 1974

Patent issue date: Dec 9, 1975

Inventor(s): Winston Herbert

Assignee (if applicable): Winston Herbert

U.S. classification:  482/105

Claims: 1

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating the

exercise device in its wrist-encircling position;

FIG. 2 illustrating the

inside surface thereof, i.e. the surface against the user’s

wrist, and

FIG. 3 the outside surface; and

FIG. 4 is an end elevational view showing details of

the device in its wrist~encircling condition.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment

of the wrist exercise device hereof.

The wrist exercise device is generally a wrist band that is comfortable to wear. It consists of 2 parts, fabric body and metal rods as weights. The weight of the device is adjustable by adding or removing metal rods on the band. It also can be wear around the ankles and it is easy to make exercise more strenuous.

This invention could be used by anyone that wish to add some intensity to their exercise; also, it could be used to help patients accomplish recovery training.

While wearing this product on the end of limbs, depends on how much weight the user loads, it could help the user build muscle by lifting extra weight. For patients, it could be used while passive training by helping them stretch muscle groups or joints; also, it can be used as extra weight for patient to do active exercise.

Comparing to traditional free weights, this device is designed wearing on limbs, so it does not require users to constantly using hands to hold it. Also, it is comfortable to wear, portable, and adjustable.

The reason that I chose this patent is that this wrist exercise device is simple; however, it is has many advantages comparing to traditional free weights which are extremely easy to use, more portable, adjustable, and it could be used almost every class of people.

Just Keep Swimming (and checking your heart rate)

While exercise monitoring devices are made to deal with moisture and sweat, have you ever wondered how professional swimmers monitor their exercise while submerged? During the presentation on elevation masks in class I became intrigued about how complex it would be to monitor exercise in the water. This thought led me to the discovery of a swimming heart rate monitor in the form of a chest strap. Waterproof watches and dive computers that can also track heart rates exist on the market, however chest straps are known to provide a more accurate reading due to the proximity to the heart. But how could this design stay on, stay dry, and maintain accuracy? Let’s look into it.

Patent Title: Swimming Heart Rate Monitor
Patent Number: US20140336493 A1
Patent Filing Date: May 8, 2014
Patent Issue Date: Nov 13, 2014
Length for patent to issue: ~6 months
Inventors: Christopher J. Kulach, Timothy Vandermeiden, James K. Rooney, Rogelio A. Rivas, Phillip J.C. Spanswick
Assignee: Garmin Switzerland Gmbh
U.S. Classification: 600/390 (Belt or strap)
How Many Claims: 20

Figure 1. Front perspective view of swimming heart monitor containing electronics module at point 22 and length adjusting mechanisms at point 40.

The device shown in Figure 1 is comprised of two electrodes, two electrical connectors, an electronics module, and a water sealing feature. The adjustable strap, to be worn on the upper torso, is specifically designed to maintain function in chlorinated water, salt water, throughout intense body movement at high pressures. The electronic module processes electrical activity generated by the heart beat which is picked up by the electrodes. The electrical connectors on the external surface of the strap link the module to the electrodes. The connectors are enclosed by a water sealing feature, and attached to the removable electronic module which is in its own watertight housing. This module can be removed from the water-proof strap and used with other straps, in or out of water. This provides users with flexibility at a low cost. The user can monitor the heart rate in real time or upon completion of the exercise.

Figure 2. View of the module coupler and housing which are located on the external surface of the strap.

The strap itself, in length, is one third fabric elastic material and two thirds inelastic material, such as polyester, and is adjustable in length. The inelastic section is coated with a material, such as silicone, to increase the coefficient of static friction and prevent water flow between the skin and strap. The device creates a barrier from water, which would attenuate the amplitude of the heart signal, using two O-rings axially positioned on a post of the electrical connector. The electronics module is held in place by the coupler in Figure 2, also sealed by a water-proof housing.  Electrically conductive materials, such as conductive thermoplastic polyurethane (CTPU) or conductive silicone is used for the electrodes in order to maintain flexibility so contact with the skin remains constant. The module is to be placed around the sternum, with each electrode on either side. More electrodes could also be added to measure galvanic skin response, which tells the user information about hydration levels. The electronic connectors consist of a cylindrical post that attaches to an interlocking mechanism on the electronics module. The connectors also contain a first and second contact, which include an electrically conductive pin made from steel or copper that connects to the electronic component of the module. To combat skin impedance, filtering techniques such as the Lease-Means Square Algorithm are used to calculate the heart rate. The electronic module contains a battery, signal amplifiers, processing elements, memory elements, transmitters, and antennas that allow the data to be communicated in several ways. Certain models may also contain inertial sensors such as accelerometers or gyroscopes, so the device can be personalized to the user’s needs.

This patent referred to wrist monitors, headbands, and belts with similar capabilities, some for aquatic use and some for land. It is ideal out of this group of ideas because of its proximity to the heart which typically results in more accurate signals. Compared to other chest straps, it is ideal for aquatic environments because of the proportions of elasticity of the strap. This provides a snugness that is designed not to fold on itself or slip away from the heart when wet, and the materials for the electrodes are designed similarly. I found it particularly impressive that the device is multifunctional and adaptable beyond heart rate monitoring.

Physical therapy clinics would be a great target audience because of this, as they could buy a few different models and adapt per patient as necessary, saving them both money and space. This technology is also useful for competitive swimmers and triathletes. For those training, it allows them to reach their specific training goals, whether they want to hit the recovery, aerobic, or lactate threshold training zone. For those in rehab, where a physical therapist might want to ensure they are not surpassing a certain heart rate, this device would be ideal and potentially more accurate than a heart rate monitor worn on the risk. My question about underwater exercise monitoring was answered by this patent as well as the other related products that are being developed, and it’s interesting to think about what this kind of technology might lead to in the future of rehab and water-sports.

Get Shredded Easily, As Seen on TV

Patent title: Wheeled Exercise Device

Patent number: US 20120157274 A1

Patent filing date: December 16, 2011

Patent issue date: April 21, 2015

How long it took for this patent to issue: 3 years, 4 months

Inventors: Ian MacColl, Tylor Garland, Jayson Pegler, George Clark, Alden Mills

Assignee: Implus Footcare, LLC (Durham, NC)

US Classification: 482/132

How Many Claims: 10

We’ve all seen them, at least briefly before flipping channels – the exercise equipment infomercials with chiseled models using the latest and greatest workout invention to “tone”, “flatten”, “sculpt”, and “shred” their bodies into perfection. Some are commercial successes that facilitate good workouts, like the Iron Gym … and some are the Shake Weight.  Ab rollers, such as the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro (hereafter referred to as the ACP), tend to fall in the former category.

An ab wheel is an exercise device that, in its most basic form, consists of a wheel with handles on either side. One uses it to strengthen their core (rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, and to a lesser extent, the muscles of the lower back) by kneeling with hands grasping the handles and rolling the wheel forward, maintaining a straight spine as the shoulders move into flexion, and then rolling the wheel back towards the body, bringing the shoulders back in extension. It is a demanding and effective movement for building abdominal strength because of its nature as an anti-extension stability exercise, which strengthens the spine’s ability to resist hyperextension. The basic ab wheel is both effective and ubiquitous, and several variations had already been brought to market; yet, the inventors of the Ab Carver Pro sought to design a unique and superior product.

Figure 1. A general view of the Ab Carver Pro

As it is an improvement upon existing products, the ACP’s claims cannot be separated from comparisons to its predecessors in the art. The most prominent is the Ab Slide, which, encased by plastic housing, has a series of wheels and internal coils that provide a resistive force moving forward and a restoring, or assistive, force moving backward. The problem suggested, though, is that with this and other similar products, either the user is required to hold the handles firmly against the restored turning force, or the restoring force is transmitted through gears that reduce its effectiveness. The ACP claims a mechanism that provides this resistive and restorative force in an optimized way with the internal spring (carbon steel!) attached between an inner surface of the wheel and and the central axle within the interior cavity (Figure 2). There exist interior ribs to prevent coil misalignment.

Figure 2. The internal coil mechanism that provides resistive and restorative forces during exercise

The ACP also claims its “tire overmold” and wide surface, giving it more stability and safety than previous products. The edges of the “tire” are also angled to allow for stable “carving”, or rolling out to either side to engage different muscles to greater intensity (the obliques, as well as the glutes and deltoids, of the side being rolled towards). Rather than the perpendicular, uncontoured handles of its predessecors, the ACP claims its ergonomically designed handles, sloped downward “like a pilot’s steering mechanism” and ending in a slip-preventing ridge. Inventor Alden Mills explains in a video on the product’s website that they did a university study to prove the handle design’s engagement of the triceps muscles, and it showed engagement on the level of a triceps extension, making this not only a core workout but an arm one too. The handle is also designed to reduce stress on the wrists and shoulders.  The patent filed encompasses other versions of the product with bells whistles which are not part of the commercially available product, including one or multiple clutches to engage and disengage different levels of resistance, an electronics module with microchip/microprocessor and LCD display to convey workout data such as distance and repetitions, and a knee pad accessory.

I thought to research this patent because one day I came home from college and the Ab Carver Pro lay on my living room floor (my dad received it free through some rewards-program catalogue).  I did not know about the resistive/restorative coil before I used it for the first time, and I found the feature quite effective. Effective enough, in fact, as to render the device a less effective option for those with moderately to well-developed abdominal strength than a basic ab wheel. Thinking in retrospect, I also did not notice a marked increase in triceps activation and would like to see the claimed “university study” proving this myself. Furthermore, the handle design did not make my wrists and shoulders sing in relief – it simply looked nice and apparently offers a marketing angle. However, it would be worthwhile to gather other people’s opinions on the product, and in its elementary function as an ab wheel, it is a successful product, one that can effectively be used to “tone” and “sculpt” the abdominal muscles as advertised.

Office Gym Exercise Kit to Facilitate Exercise

Patent Title: Office Gym Exercise Kit

Patent number: US 7,137,935 B2

Patent filing date: April 20, 2004

Patent issue date: November 21, 2006

How long it took for this patent to issue: ~1.5 years

Inventor(s): Raymond Clarke, Lorri Wilson-Clarke

Assignee (if applicable):Raymond Clarke, Lorri Wilson-Clarke

U.S. classification: 482/123

How many claims: 9

The Office Gym Exercise kit is a an exercise kit that can be attached to multiple different chairs in order to provide exercises to the user. The kit comes with a flexible body that can be wrapped around the post of a chair in order to “ground” the system. In addition, it comes with an elastic band, two elastic straps, an ankle attachment, various attachable handles, and a means of latching the system to the chair. The kit is shown set up and in use in Figure 1 below. In addition to the contents of the kit, the major claims of this patent highlight the materials that each of these components contain and how to use them. For example, claim 7 explains that the strips provided are nylon and claim 6 explains that the plurality of retainers are D-rings.

I think this technology would be very applicable to all of the working citizens with desk jobs. A major issue that companies face with their employees is the health risk of sitting in a chair all day. After working at a desk job for an internship this summer, the company sent around an Ergonomics expert to analyze our posture and computer placement to make sure that our set up wasn’t causing any pain to us as we worked. In addition, they recommended that we get up and walk around ever hour or so to get moving and take a break from starting at a computer screen. This can help prevent blood clots and keep your energy up throughout the day. Therefore, this technology provides an alternative by having a kit that is attachable to your chair to provide exercise throughout the day. Employees would be able to take breaks, use different body parts for different movements, and be somewhat active throughout the day.

The exercise kit functions by attaching a flexible body to the post of a chair with elastic straps in order to provide tension to the system. Due to the flexibility of the body material, this apparatus can be applied to a multitude of chairs In addition, a back attachment is provided in order to circle around the chair and lock the provided elastic straps to the base of the chair. The elastic straps are connected to a retainer through a latching system to provide a tight grip on the chair. The retainer provides various points of attachment  depending on how long they need the elastic strap to be. Therefore, the user is then able to exercise their arms, legs, and back by pulling on the straps and providing resistance to their muscles. Each of the elastic straps has a D-ring attached for easy grip and handling.

There have been similar patents in the past with this idea, however they all differ from this specific patent slightly. For example, Patent No. 5,690,594 issued in 1997 describes a similar apparatus that can be attached to a chair. However, this patent includes a foot support bar to allow users to extend their foot along the bar. In addition, wheels are mounted to the food support and the user is able to push the foot support bar away from the user and back in order to exercise. In addition, Patent No. 5,599,260 issued in 1997 covers an exercise kit that attaches a roller to the post of a chair via an elastic material. This way, the device can exercise the user by with either their foot or their arm depending on where they attach the element. Furthermore, Patent No. 6,099,445 issued in 2000 describes an exercise device that includes a rigid framed with elements that can be attached to it. The frame can be attached to the central back of a chair and allow the user to exercise their arms, legs, and neck. Therefore, although there are similar patents on the market, there are slight differences between each of them that distinguish their patents from each other.

This patent caught my eye as it is a simple idea that has yet to be implemented into any office that I have heard of. As I mentioned previously, I have experience working a desk job in which they warn you about the lack of movement throughout the day if you do not get up and walk around every now and again. This is a risk to both employees and a company who provides health insure to their employees. Therefore, I figured this kit is an interesting initiative to increase fitness motivation throughout an office environment. In addition, the components that make up this kit are not technology heavy. They are made of normal exercise equipment materials that can most likely be provided at a fairly reasonable price for companies.

Figure 1.) This image shows the kit set up to a desk chair, as described, and in use.

The New Look of Batting Practice

Patent title: Composite Softball Bat with Inner Sleeve

Patent number: US 20040209716 A1

 Patent filing date: June 18,2001

Patent issue date:  October 21, 2004

How long it took for this patent to issue: 3 years

Inventor(s): Matthew Vacek, George Griffith

Assignee (if applicable): Miken Composites, LLC.

U.S. classification: 473/567

How many claims: 40

If you have ever participated in little league baseball or softball you can probably vividly remember the pain of batting practice on a cold morning and the sting of your hands with every hit. With the traditional aluminum or wooden bats you most likely used, the sting from the vibration was something players came to expect. Today’s players, however, may never know the real extent of this pain with the introduction of composite bats.  In short, this invention makes softball bats more energy efficient, enhancing their performance as well as comfort for the player using it.

Previously, metal bats were the most common bat. Compared to the wooden bats used before, metal bats were much more durable. Unlike wood, metal bats did not snap in half, but almost every hit left a dent of some size on the bat. Mechanically speaking, the bat is an accessory the player uses to transfer energy from their arms to the ball during their swing.  The energy that is used to dent the bat, therefore, is energy lost from the actual hit and counterproductive for the player.  Even if the dent is not visible, metal bats experienced microscopic cracks that ultimately failed due to shock loading.  Surprisingly to me, metal bats failed after as few as twenty-five hits. That means that a brand new bat could fail in during warm-up and already be past it’s prime by game time.  Patent US 20020198071 A1 proposed a composite bat where the inner reinforcement sleeve was aluminum, and was the biggest driver for this upgraded patent.

Figure A. An inside look at the multi-layer construction of the ultimately hollow bat barrel.

Of the 40 claims included, most are focused on the manufacturing of the bat-the molding of the inner sleeve and fusing of the handle- however, the composite material used is what makes it novel. US Classification 473/567 represents designs “of plastic compilation” which is the greatest improvement on already existing bats.  The design of the bat, as shown in Figure A, is tubular “sleeves” concentrically aligned and the ultimately hollow barrel.  Unlike the previously proposed “composite bats” this was the first completely composite design.  The bat is “comprised of a continuous resin matrix reinforced with a plurality of circumferentially-extending fiber socks”.  The fiber socks are comprised of, by weight, 74% fiberglass and 26% carbon fiber and enforced with nylon tapes.  This design provides the ultimate level of strength with the added benefit of a flexible body. This elasticity of the barrel provides a “trampoline effect” where the bat acts as a springboard for the ball.  The local deformation when the bat is in contact with the ball ultimately results in the maximum velocity of the ball by conserving energy rather than stealing it with a dent.  The composite material allows the barrel to momentarily elastically deform into an oval and return to a perfect circle rather than denting and being permanently harmed.

This design will excite softball player across the globe. Unlike in baseball, softball players from age 5 to professional, are allowed to use metal or composite bats. Additionally, this design will benefit all players, not just the elite. In softball terminology, the composite material and construction of the barrel elongates the sweet spot that we all aim to find as a batter.  As a smaller-framed softball player, I found this technology exceptionally interesting since anyway to enhance the power of my swing is greatly appreciated.