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United States Patent Application 20070105629
Kind Code A1
Toyama; Motoki May 10, 2007

Movement-information processing system, terminal unit for use in the system, and battery recharging unit for use with the terminal unit

Abstract

Disclosed is a movement-information processing system, which comprises a control unit 30 including an image display control section 312 adapted to allow a guide image for instructing a plurality of players to perform a physical training consisting of plural types of body movements to be displayed on a projection screen 20, and a plurality of terminal units each formed in a belt-like configuration and provided with a movement detection device 53 operable, when the terminal unit is worn on a body of either one of the players, to detect body movements of the player. Each of the terminal unit includes a communication processing section 533 for transmitting a detection signal representing the body movements detected by the movement detection device 53 to the control unit 30. The control unit 30 includes a communication processing section 313 for receiving the detection signal from the communication section 533 of the terminal unit 50, a calorie consumption calculation section 322 for evaluating an exercise quality of the player wearing the terminal unit 50, based on the received detection signal and a content of the guide image, and an image display control section 312 for announcing the evaluation result of the exercise quality through an announcement section.


Inventors: Toyama; Motoki; (Kobe-shi, JP)
Correspondence Address:
    JORDAN AND HAMBURG LLP
    122 EAST 42ND STREET
    SUITE 4000
    NEW YORK
    NY
    10168
    US
Assignee: Konami Sports & Life Co., Ltd.
Shinagawa-ku
JP

Serial No.: 582800
Series Code: 11
Filed: October 18, 2006

Current U.S. Class: 463/42
Class at Publication: 463/042
International Class: A63F 9/24 20060101 A63F009/24


Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Nov 4, 2005JP2005-321466

Claims



1. A movement-information processing system with a control unit and a plurality of terminal units, said movement-information processing system comprising: the plurality of terminal units corresponding to the number of players capable of entry into a physical training, each of said terminal units including: a movement detection device operable, when the terminal unit is worn on a body of either one of the players, to detect body movements of said player, and a terminal-side communication section for transmitting a detection signal representing said body movements detected by said movement detection device to the control unit, and said control unit including: image display control means adapted to allow a guide image for instructing a plurality of players to perform the physical training consisting of plural types of body movements in a time-series manner, to be displayed on a presentation unit; a control-side communication section for receiving the detection signal from the terminal-side communication section of said terminal unit; exercise evaluation means for evaluating an exercise quality of the player wearing said terminal unit, based on said received detection signal and a content of said guide image; and announcement means for announcing the evaluation result of the exercise quality through an announcement section.

2. The movement-information processing system according to claim 1, wherein said control unit includes an audio output section for outputting a music piece synchronous with said guide image to be displayed.

3. The movement-information processing system according to claim 1, wherein: each of said terminal units is adapted to transmit identification information, uniquely given thereto, to said control unit through said terminal-side communication section; and said control unit is adapted to evaluate the exercise quality of the player wearing said terminal unit, in association with said identification information.

4. The movement-information processing system according to claim 1, wherein said exercise evaluation means is adapted to calculate an amount of virtual exercise of the player wearing said terminal unit, based on the presence or absence of said detection signal and the type of body-movement instructed by said guide image.

5. The movement-information processing system according to claim 4, wherein said exercise evaluation means is adapted to calculate a calorie consumption as said virtual exercise amount.

6. The movement-information processing system according to claim 1, wherein said display control means is adapted to create, on a screen of said presentation unit, a plurality of individual display regions for displaying respective contents for said terminal units, on a terminal unit-by-terminal unit basis, and displaying information about the evaluation result of the exercise quality of said player, in a corresponding one of said individual display regions.

7. The movement-information processing system according to claim 1, wherein said control unit includes printing-out means for printing out the evaluation result of the exercise quality using a printer on a terminal unit-by-terminal unit basis.

8. A terminal unit for use in a movement-information processing system according to claim 1, wherein said terminal unit includes a belt-like portion adapted to be wrapped around a waist of the player, and wherein said movement detection device is mounted to said belt-like portion.

9. The terminal unit according to claim 8, further comprising a built-in rechargeable battery serving as a power source thereof.

10. The terminal unit according to claim 9, further comprising a buckle portion connected to a first end of said belt-like portion and adapted to allow a second, opposite, end of said belt-like portion to be engagingly inserted thereinto in a disengageable manner, said buckle portion being provided with a recharging connector for said battery.

11. The terminal unit according to claim 8, wherein said movement detection device is detachably mounted to said belt-like portion.

12. The terminal unit according to claim 11, wherein said movement detection device has a peripheral surface formed in a curved shape extending along a part of the entire circumference of the waist region of the player when said belt-like portion is wrapped around the waist of said player.

13. The terminal unit according to claim 8, wherein said movement detection device includes a sensor for sensing a change in acceleration.

14. A battery recharging unit used for a plurality of the terminal units according to claim 10, said battery recharging unit comprising a plurality of recharging electrodes each engageable with said recharging connector of said buckle portion in each of said plurality of terminal units.

15. The battery recharging unit according to claim 14, further comprising: a base member capable of being placed on a floor, and a support member extending upward from said base member, wherein said recharging electrodes are arranged on an upper portion of said support member; and said support member has a height from the floor which is greater than the entire length of said terminal unit.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a movement-information processing system which comprises a control unit adapted to allow a guide image for instructing a plurality of players to perform a physical training consisting of plural types of body movements in a time-series manner to be displayed on a presentation unit, and a plurality of terminal units prepared corresponding to the number of players capable of entry into the physical training and each provided with a movement detection device. The present invention also relates to a terminal unit for use in the movement-information processing system and a battery recharging unit for use with the terminal unit.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Heretofore, there has been proposed a game system which comprises a dance game (control) unit adapted to be connected to a domestic television for displaying a screen image for designating dance step positions, and first and second terminal units each formed as a sheet-like foot switch unit and adapted to be connected to the dance game unit (see Japanese Patent Laid-Open Publication No. 2003-38696). This game system is intended to allow up to two players per domestic television to play a dance game together. Further, the dance game unit is equipped with a function of calculating and displaying an amount of calories consumed by stepping movements during the dance game, on a player-by-player basis.

[0005] More specifically, the above game system is designed to automatically recognize whether the dance game will be played by a single player or two players, based on player's input into the foot switch units, and select one of a 1P play mode for a single player and a 2P play mode for two players so as to change a subsequent processing. In the 1P play mode, only one step-position guide image is displayed on the domestic television. Differently, in the 2P play mode, two step-position guide images are displayed on the domestic television. That is, the entire display region of a television screen is divided into two separate display regions, and the step-position guide image is displayed in each of the separate display regions. In this manner, the display screen is divided into a plurality of small image screens depending on the number of players. Therefore, from a practical standpoint, the number of players to be allowed to play the game together per dance game unit will be inevitably limited to up to two. In other words, the above game system is required to have one display screen on a player-by-player basis. Moreover, two players will play the game while watching on their respective step-position guide images, which makes it difficult to foment a sense of unity between them.

[0006] The sheet-like foot switch unit involves problems about poor durability due to loads from player's jumping and stepping movements thereon, and cumbersome operations for paving and storage.

[0007] Further, in the conventional game system, a calorie consumption is determined based on inputs to be achieved only when a player actually steps on a step-detection switch incorporated in the foot switch unit, without acquiring other player's movements, such as steps out of the step-detection switch, and movements of hands.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In view of the above problems, it is an object of the present invention to provide a movement-information processing system capable of displaying a guide image for instructing a plurality of players to perform various body movements without relation to the number of players so as to offer the guide image with enhanced visibility, and detecting player's movements using a simplified terminal unit.

[0009] It is another object of the present invention to provide a terminal unit effectively usable in the movement-information processing system.

[0010] It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a battery charger effectively usable for the terminal unit.

[0011] To achieve the above objects, the present invention provides a movement-information processing system which comprises a control unit including image display control means adapted to allow a guide image for instructing a plurality of players to perform a physical training consisting of plural types of body movements in a time-series manner, to be displayed on a presentation unit, and a plurality of terminal units prepared corresponding to the number of players capable of entry into the physical training. Each of the terminal units includes a movement detection device operable, when the terminal unit is worn on a body of either one of the players, to detect body movements of the player, and a terminal-side communication section for transmitting a detection signal representing the body movements detected by the movement detection device to the control unit. The control unit includes a control-side communication section for receiving the detection signal from the terminal-side communication section of the terminal unit, exercise evaluation means for evaluating an exercise quality of the player wearing the terminal unit, based on the received detection signal and a content of the guide image, and announcement means for announcing the evaluation result of the exercise quality through an announcement section.

[0012] In the movement-information processing system of the present invention, the control unit allows the guide image for instructing the players to perform plural types of body movements to be displayed on the presentation unit. Each of the players wears the terminal unit on his/her body, and performs a given body movement in conformity to a content of movement instruction represented by the guide image. Then, the body movement of the player is detected by the movement detection device of the terminal unit, and an obtained detection signal is transmitted to the control unit through the terminal-side communication section. After the detection signal from the terminal-side communication section of the terminal unit is received by the control unit through the control-side communication section, the exercise evaluation means evaluates an exercise quality of (the player wearing) the terminal unit based on the received detection signal, and the announcement means announces the evaluation result of the exercise quality through the announcement section. This makes it possible to display the guide image for instructing the players to perform various body movements without relation to the number of players so as to offer the guide image with enhanced visibility. For example, the terminal unit is formed in a configuration similar to a waistband (band-like configuration) and adapted to be wrapped around the player. Alternatively or additionally, the terminal unit may be designed to be worn on both arms or both legs of the player.

[0013] These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading the following detailed description along with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is a schematic downward perspective view showing an interior of a training gym which employs a movement-information processing system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 2 is an external view showing a terminal unit of the movement-information processing system in FIG. 1.

[0016] FIG. 3 is an external view showing a battery recharging station of the movement-information processing system in FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view showing another example of the terminal unit.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the terminal unit in FIG. 4 during a battery recharging operation.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing a general configuration of a control unit of the movement-information processing system in FIG. 1.

[0020] FIG. 7 is a functional block diagram showing a movement detection device of the terminal unit in FIG. 2.

[0021] FIG. 8 is a functional block diagram showing a CPU of the control unit in FIG. 6.

[0022] FIG. 9 is an explanatory diagram showing one example of a screen image to be displayed on a projection screen during a physical training in the movement-information processing system in FIG. 1.

[0023] FIGS. 10A, 10B and 10C are explanatory views showing a relationship between an input timing of a detection signal and a timing of overlapping between a reference mark RM and a corresponding sequence mark SM, wherein: FIG. 10A is a timing chart showing the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM; FIG. 10B is a timing chart showing the detection signal and a calorie-consumption calculation range; and FIG. 10C is a timing chart showing the detection signal and a valid time range for an evaluation on player's response.

[0024] FIGS. 11A, 11B and 11C are fragmentary explanatory view showing individual display regions PA displayed in a portion of the projection screen to inform the timing of body movements and an evaluation result of the timing, wherein FIG. 11A shows a normal display mode; FIG. 11B shows a pulsation-based motivational display mode; and FIG. 11C shows a special motivational display mode.

[0025] FIG. 12 is an explanatory flowchart showing a control process based on the CPU of the control unit in FIG. 6.

[0026] FIG. 13 is an explanatory flowchart showing a control process based on the CPU of the control unit in FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0027] FIG. 1 is a schematic downward perspective view showing an interior of a training gym which employs a movement-information processing system according to one embodiment of the present invention. Specifically, one room of the training gym is renovated as a training room using the movement-information processing system according to this embodiment.

[0028] In FIG. 1, a plurality (e.g. twenty four) of mats 10 corresponding to the number of players capable of performing a physical training at a time are paved on a floor of an approximately rectangular parallelepiped-shaped training room 1 with a given distance therebetween. Each of the players may have a physical training on either one of the mat 10. Preferably, each of the mats 11 is prepared by laminating a plurality of resin sheet members to have a given thickness, and formed in an approximately square shape. The mat 10 has a top surface with a central region and four stepping regions located, respectively, on front, rear, right and left sides of the central region. Each of the stepping regions has an arrow mark indicating a stepping direction from the central region. In this embodiment, each of the arrow marks on the mat 10 is a dummy mark. That is, even if the player steps on the arrow marks in conformity to a guide image displayed on an after-mentioned projection screen 20, an exercise quality of the player is evaluated without relation thereto.

[0029] A projection screen 20 having a given size, e.g. about 100.times.100 inch, and serving as a presentation unit, is disposed vertically on a front wall of the training room 1 to face rearward, and a projector 21, such as liquid-crystal type, for projecting an image onto the projection screen 20 is disposed on a rearward side of an upper portion (ceiling) of the training room 1. The respective players look at a guide image (see FIG. 9) which is displayed on the projection screen 20 to instruct the players to perform a physical training in a time-series manner, and move their bodies on the mat 1 in conformity to an instruction of the guide image. A pair of audio-output speakers 22 are disposed, respectively, on right and left sides of an upper portion of the training room 1.

[0030] The projector 21 may be a conventional type which comprises: a white light source; an optical filter for spectrally dividing white light into a plurality of lights different in color, e.g. red, blue and green; a plurality of liquid-crystal panels each disposed on a downstream side of the optical filter and on an light path of a corresponding one of the colors and supplied with an image signal of the corresponding color; a dichroic mirror for combining the respective color light images transmitted through the liquid-crystal panels; and a projecting optical lens system.

[0031] In this embodiment, a control unit 30 is disposed at an appropriate position, e.g. on a left side of the training room 1, to control an operation of the movement-information processing system. However, it is not essential to arrange the control unit 30 within the training room 1. At least one (in this embodiment, two) transceiver 40 is disposed adjacent to the control unit 30. The transceiver 40 is operable to receive respective radio signals from a plurality of terminal units 50 each including a belt-like portion which is formed in a configuration similar to a conventional waistbelt and adapted to be wrapped around a waist of the player so as to allow the terminal unit 50 to be worn on the player. A battery recharging station 60 is disposed at an appropriate position in the training room 1, preferably, in the vicinity of a doorway of the training room 1, to serve as both a battery recharging unit and a storage unit for the terminal units. The battery recharging station 60 is designed to store the terminal units 50 in a maximum number equal to the number of the mats 10 in such a manner that they are hung down thereon. Thus, a player who intends to enter into the training can recognize at a glance whether he/she is allowed to enter into the physical training, i.e., an available mat remains. That is, if there is at least one terminal unit 50 hung down on the battery recharging station 60, the player can immediately recognize that the entry is allowed.

[0032] As to signal receiving, the transceiver 40 may have, but depending on the number of terminal units 50, only a conventional function. Further, with a view to reliably determining from which of the terminal units 50 each of the received signals is transmitted, each of the terminal units 50 may be designed to transmit a signal coded in a different manner from each other or to transmit a signal on a carrier different in frequency from each other. In a bidirectional communication, it may be designed such that each of the terminal units 50 transmits a signal in response to a transmission request sequentially issued from the transceiver 40, so as to substantially avoid a cross talk. Alternatively, instead of using carriers different in frequency, the terminal units 50 may be designed to simultaneously transmit signals each additionally having individual identification information in the same frequency band, and the transceiver 40 may be designed to receive all of the signals and then determine whether each of the received signals has predetermined valid identification information, to extract only valid signals therefrom. In this embodiment, the pair of transceivers 40 are provided, and one-half of the terminal units 50 are designed to communicate in a different manner from that of the remaining terminal units 50 so as to further effectively prevent a cross talk.

[0033] FIG. 2 is an external view showing the terminal unit, and FIG. 3 is an external view showing the battery recharging station. The terminal unit 50 comprises a belt-like portion 51 made of a stretchable elastic material and formed to have a given width and a length allowing the belt-like portion 51 to be wrapped around a waist of the player with an adequate pressure, and a buckle portion 52 connected to a first end of the belt-like portion 51 and adapted to allow a second, opposite, end of the belt-like portion 51 to be engagingly inserted thereinto in a disengageable manner. A movement detection device 53 is mounted in the buckle portion 52. The movement detection device 53 includes a sensor section composed, for example, of an acceleration sensor which is made up of a piezoelectric element and others and disposed to be oriented in a direction for detecting one-axis acceleration component, such as a vertical acceleration, when the belt-like portion 51, i.e., the terminal unit 50, is worn on a waist of the player. In this case, the movement detection device 53 is operable, in response to occurrence of an acceleration, to generate a certain level of axial voltage component corresponding to the acceleration. Further, any other suitable acceleration sensor capable of detecting at least an acceleration in a vertical axis among accelerations in vertical, longitudinal and lateral directions, i.e. capable of detecting two-axis or three-axis acceleration components, may be used as the movement detection device 53. Alternatively, the sensor section of the movement detection device 53 may have a structure, such as a sensor section of a conventional pedometer, which comprises: a metal mass body contained in a housing; a passage for allowing the mass body to be freely moved therealong, for example, in a vertical direction; and a pair of detection electrodes disposed at an upper end of the passage and adapted to come into contact with the mass body which is moved along the passage due to a change in inertia force thereof caused by a gravity acceleration changed in conjunction with player's movement, so as to have an electrical conduction therebetween to allow the movement to be detected. Further, the buckle portion 52 includes an after-mentioned recharging connector within a slot for receiving therein the second end of the belt-like portion 51.

[0034] Further, the movement detection device 53 internally has: various functional sections for activating the sensor section, converting a detection result of the sensor section into electrical data, subjecting the electrical data to a given processing, and converting the processed data into a radio signal and finally transmitting the radio signal to the transceiver 40; and a built-in rechargeable battery for supplying an electrical power to the sensor section and the functional sections (see FIG. 7). A plurality of light-emitting elements 54, such as LEDs, are arranged on a front surface of the buckle portion 52 at appropriate positions thereof. These light-emitting elements 54 are designed such that the number of light-emitting elements to be turned on is changed, or a different one of the light-emitting elements is turned on, depending on a voltage level of the built-in battery. This allows the player to visually check a remaining capacity of the built-in battery.

[0035] As shown in FIG. 3, the battery recharging station 60 comprises a base member 61, a support member 62 extending upward from the base member 61, and an elongated engagement member 63 which has a longitudinally central region fixed to an upper end of the support member 62 and extends in a horizontal direction. The engagement member 63 is provided with a given number (in this embodiment, twenty four) of connector catching members 64 arranged side-by-side in the longitudinal direction thereof. Each of the connector catching members 64 is adapted to allow the recharging connector of the buckle portion 52 after released from the engagement with the second end of the belt-like portion 51 to be detachably connected thereto. The terminal unit 50 connected to the connector catching member 64 is hung downward from the connector catching member 64. FIG. 3 shows a state when no terminal unit 50 is engaged with a leftmost one of the connector catching members 64. As seen in FIG. 3, the connector catching member 64 is provided with a plurality (in this embodiment, three) of wedge-shaped protruded pieces having a configuration conformable to that of the slot for receiving therein the second end of the belt-like portion 51. For example, a central one of the protruded pieces is formed with positive and negative electrodes adapted to allow the central protruded piece to be electrically connected to the built-in battery of the terminal unit therethrough.

[0036] The battery recharging station 60 internally has a recharge control circuit disposed at an appropriate position thereof and adapted to convert an electrical power from a commercial power source (not shown) to a DC power and recharge the built-in battery of the terminal unit 50 through the connector catching member 64. A conventional AC-DC converter-type recharge control circuit may be used as the recharge control circuit. The recharge control circuit may be designed to automatically initiate a recharging operation in response to detection of lowering in voltage between the positive and negative electrodes of the connector catching member 64 connected to the terminal unit 50 or may be designed to initiate the recharging operation in response to an instruction to be manually given thereto.

[0037] An application for an entry into the physical training may be performed by generating a detection signal by the movement detection device 53 of a selected one of the terminal units 50 based on a movement to be caused when a player detaches the selected terminal unit 50 from the battery recharging station 60 or when a player subsequently wears the selected terminal unit 50 on his/her waist, and transmitting the detection signal from the selected terminal unit 50 to the control unit 30. Preferably, the application is performed by detecting a fact that a player wears a selected one of the terminal units 50 on his/her waist (i.e., a fact that the second end of the belt-like portion 51 is inserted into the buckle portion 52) by another detection device provided in each of the terminal units 50, and transmitting an entry signal from the selected terminal unit 50 to the control unit 30 together with identification information uniquely given to each of the terminal units 50. Alternatively, an entry button may be additionally provided in each of the terminal units 50. In this case, the application may be performed simply by pushing the entry button of a selected one of the terminal units 50, and transmitting an entry signal from the selected terminal unit 50 to the control unit 30 together with identification information uniquely given to each of the terminal units 50.

[0038] The battery recharging station 60 is designed such that the engagement member 63 is located at a given height, i.e., the support member has a given length, greater than at least the entire length of the terminal unit 50, so as to prevent an lower end of the terminal unit 50 being hung down on the battery recharging station 60 from coming into contact with the floor. As above, the battery recharging station 60 serves as both the batter recharging unit and a storage rack for the terminal units 50.

[0039] Further, the battery recharging station 60 is designed to hang the terminal units 50 downward from the elongated engagement member 63. This makes it easy to visually check a remaining number of the terminal units 50, and allows a player who intends to entry the physical training to recognize at a glance whether he/she is allowed to enter into the physical training. That is, if there is at least one terminal unit 50 hung down on the battery recharging station 60, the player can immediately recognize that the entry is allowed.

[0040] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view showing another example of the terminal unit, and FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the terminal unit in FIG. 4 during a battery recharging operation. As shown in FIG. 4, this terminal unit 500 has a configuration similar to a conventional waistbelt, as with the terminal unit 50 illustrated in FIG. 2. Specifically, the terminal unit 500 comprises: a belt body 501 having a given width and a given length; a first surface fastener 502 formed to have a given length and attached on a front surface of the belt body 501, for example, with an adhesive; a belt pad 503 having a front surface attached to a rear surface of the belt body 501, for example, with an adhesive; and a second surface fastener 505 formed to have a given length and attached on a rear surface of the belt pad 503, for example, with an adhesive. When the terminal unit 500 is worn on a waist of the player, the first surface fastener 503 is brought into engagement with the second surface fastener 504 at an appropriate position allowing the belt body 501 to come into close contact with the waist.

[0041] The belt body 501 includes a first tubular member 505 attached to a first end thereof to extend over the entire width thereof, an approximately quadrilateral-shaped ring member 506 having one edge inserted through the tubular member 505, and a second tubular member 507 through which an opposite edge of the ring member 506 is inserted. The first tubular member 505, the ring member 506 and the second tubular member 507 make up a buckle portion. Further, a given number (in this example, six) of retainers 508 are planted on a region of the front surface of the belt body 501 on the side of the first end thereof.

[0042] In this example, a movement detection device 510 includes a housing which has a width approximately equal to that of the belt body 501 and a rear surface curved at a given curvature conformable to a human waist. This makes it possible to prevent an unnecessary movement during wearing of the terminal unit 500 so as to suppress the occurrence of noise.

[0043] The rear surface of the housing of the movement detection device 510 is provided with a given number (in this example, six) of insertion members (although not located in view in FIG. 4) each adapted to be fitted into a corresponding one of the retainers 508 in a semi-fixed manner. Each pair of the insertion member and the retainer 508 have a relationship of male and female members. That is, they are semi-fixed together through a press-fitting operation, and can be detached from each other by a certain level of strong force, for example, during replacement due to damage of the belt body 501 or maintenance of a sensor in the movement detection device 510. A number sticker 520 marked with identification information (in this example, a serial number) of the terminal unit 5 is attached on the front surface of the housing of the movement detection device 510 in such a manner as to allow the player to visibly check the identification information. Further, a resin cover film 521 having a given decorative pattern is attached on the front surface of the housing of the movement detection device 510 except for at least a region of the number sticker 520.

[0044] The movement detection device 510 has the same function as that of the movement detection device 53 of the terminal unit 50 illustrated in FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 5, the housing of the movement detection device 510 is formed with a plug hole 511 at an appropriate position thereof to recharge a built-in battery. In a battery recharging operation, a plug 640 electrically connected to a recharging-current output terminal of a recharge control circuit is inserted into the plug hole 511 to electrically connect between the recharge control circuit and the built-in battery in a rechargeable manner. A conventional configuration may be employed to establish an electrical conduction between of the plug hole 511 and the plug 640. For example, the plug 640 may have an edge with a pair of first electrodes coaxially arranged through an insulating material, and the plug hole 511 may have an inner peripheral surface provided with a pair of second electrodes each adapted to come into contact with a corresponding one of the first electrodes at a different position in a depth direction. The plug 640 includes a plurality of light-emitting elements disposed at appropriate positions in a visible manner and adapted to be turned on so as to distinguish between incompletion and completion of the recharging operation. For example, one (e.g. red light-emitting element) of the light-emitting elements may be turned on using a part of the recharging current, and, in response to completion of the recharging operation, another light-emitting element (e.g. green light-emitting element) may be turned on using a power from a power source. In this example, the recharging operation can be performed after the movement detection device 510 is detached from the belt body 501. Thus, the battery recharging station as shown in FIG. 3 can be reduced in size to facilitate space saving.

[0045] FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing a general configuration of the control unit. A CPU 31 is provided as a means to comprehensively control an operation of the movement-information processing system. The CPU 21 is connected to a ROM 32 pre-storing a given program, required image information and various data required for processing, and a RAM 33 for temporarily storing processing data, via a bus. As the image data, the ROM 32 pre-stores a plurality of guide images (including a demonstration image) to be switchingly displayed along with a progress of the training so as to form a training image as shown in FIG. 9. The guide images to be displayed during the training include a reference mark and a sequence mark. The ROM 32 also pre-stores image information about a plurality of individual display regions for displaying personal information in a portion of the screen image to serve as personal data fields of (respective players wearing) the terminal units, the identification information of the respective terminal unit 50 corresponding to the personal-information display regions, and an image element for a special motivational display mode. Further, ROM 32 pre-stores music information about plural pieces of music. The music information includes association information, such as information about relationship between the music pieces and the guide images, and timing information for displaying the guide images along with a progress of the music pieces. This makes it possible to output each of the guide images and a corresponding one of the music pieces in a synchronized manner. The ROM 32 pre-stores a program for evaluating a timing of player's body movement relative to each of the guide images (i.e., player's response to each of the guide images), and a program for calculating an amount of exercise, such as an amount of consumed calories (i.e., calorie consumption), based on player's body movements. Instead of or in addition to the music information, voice information may be pre-stored in the ROM 32, and output in the same manner as the music pieces.

[0046] An imaging processing section 34 is operable, in response to an imaging command issued by the CPU 31, to read requited image data from the ROM 32 so as to perform an imaging processing to a display area of the RAM 33, and repeatedly send an output to the projector 21 in a high-speed cycle (e.g. 1/60 sec). In this embodiment, the contents of the guide images consist time-series instructions about positions of the upper, lower, right and left regions on the mat 10 to be stepped on by player's foot (to be stepped on in a given order and at given intervals so as to achieve simulated body movements equivalent to walking, running and jumping).

[0047] As shown in FIG. 9, the guide images GG are displayed in a major area (in this embodiment, displayed as a common display region in an approximately central area) of the projection screen 20. The guide images GG include four stationary reference marks RM (RMI, RMb, RMf, RMr) displayed on an upper region of the projection screen 20 to indicate, respectively, leftward, rearward, frontward and rightward directions, and a plurality of sequence marks SM. One or more of the sequence marks SM are displayed below a corresponding one of the reference marks RM, and moved upward from a lower end of the projection screen 20 at a given scroll speed. At a timing of overlapping between a certain one of the reference marks RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM, each of the players steps on one of the regions of the mat 10 corresponding to the certain reference mark RM. A plurality (in this embodiment, twenty four) of individual display regions are displayed on right and left areas of the projection screen 20. Each of individual display regions comprises an image representing the identification information (in this embodiment, either one of numbers 01 to 24) and a frame image. Further, an elapsed time (time) from the initiation of the training, and a remaining time (rest time) are displayed, respectively, on a lower left area and a lower right area.

[0048] Returning to FIG. 6, an audio processing section 35 is operable to transfer ADPCM (Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation) data of the music piece read from the ROM 32, to a work area of the RAM 33, and read out the ADPCM data stored in the work area as a sound source using a clock signal with a frequency, for example, of 44.1 KHz. The audio processing section 32 is operable to subject the ADPCM data read from the work area to various processings, such as pitch conversion, noise addition, envelope setting, level setting and reverb addition, and then output the processed music pieces from the speakers 22.

[0049] Data of the music pieces and the guide images may be loaded from an external memory through a driver (not shown). In this case, the external memory may be a DVD, a CD-ROM, a hard disk, an optical disk, a flexible disk and a semiconductor memory. In one embodiment where image data, audio data and/or program data are read from an external memory through a driver, the read data is loaded into the RAM through a decoder (not shown), or into the audio processing section 35. Along with a progress of the music pieces, the guide images associated with respective playing times of the music pieces in advance are sequentially output from the projector 21 in synchronization with the playing times.

[0050] FIG. 7 is a block diagram showing the functional sections of the movement detection device. The movement detection device in FIG. 7 is used in both the terminal units illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4. The movement detection device 53 comprises: a sensor section 531 adapted to sense body movements of a player wearing the terminal unit; a movement detection processing section 532 adapted to subject a sensed signal from the sensor section 531 to waveform shaping, and compare the waveform-shaped signal with a given threshold so as to form a detection signal based on a signal component equal to or greater than the threshold; a communication processing section 533 adapted to superimpose an identification signal for identifying the terminal unit of the player, on the detection signal, and transmit the superimposed signal to the transceiver 40 in a cycle (e.g. one more tenth of a second); and a battery for supplying an electric power for respective operations of the functional sections. In one embodiment where the detection signal is formed to allow types of player's body movements to be distinguished from each other, the communication processing section 533 (the movement detection processing section 532) will be designed to form a code signal representing each type of body movement as the detection signal. Further, in one embodiment where the detection signal is transmitted to the control unit 30 in parallel with detection of body movement, irrespective of whether the detection signal can distinguish between types of player's body movements, the communication processing section 533 is not particularly required to transmit temporal information representing a detection timing.

[0051] The storage section 535 is provided, where necessary, as a memory for storing the detection signal and the temporal information. In this embodiment, the time-series guide images are displayed to instruct the players to perform various body movements in a given cycle. Thus, for example, a plurality of detection signals in a plurality (e.g. two or three) of time periods each between the initiation of one body movement instruction and the initiation of the next body movement instruction (this time period will hereinafter be refereed to as "unit sequence period") may be stored in the storage section 535 together with temporal information representing each of the unit sequence periods and a detection timing of each of the detection signals within the unit sequence period, and then the detection signals and the temporal information may be collectively transmitted to the control unit 30 at given time intervals.

[0052] According to need, a remaining capacity of the battery 530 is checked, and the result is informed using the light-emitting elements 54.

[0053] FIG. 8 is a functional block diagram showing the CPU 31 of the control unit 30. In FIG. 8, a training progress control section 311 serves as a means to control a progress of the training based on a program stored in the ROM 32.

[0054] An image display control section 312 serves as a means to send a given image signal to the projector 21 through the imaging processing section 34 so as to allow the projector to project an image onto the projection screen 20. The image to be displayed includes an entry image (not shown), the training image illustrated in FIG. 8, and a training-termination image (not shown). The entry image is used for displaying the contents of the training, and an entry status representing how many players will enter the training. While this embodiment employs the projection screen 20 as a presentation unit, any other suitable type of presentation unit capable of displaying an image, such as a television monitor, may be employed.

[0055] The image display control section 312 is designed to change a display mode, such as brightness or color, of the individual display region PA corresponding to an entry-authorized terminal unit 50, so as to allow a player to visually check the authorization of entry.

[0056] As mentioned above, the training image illustrated in FIG. 9 includes the four reference marks RMI, RMb, RMf, RMr displayed on the upper region of the projection screen 20 from a left side in this order, and the plurality of sequence marks SM one or more of which are displayed below a corresponding one of the reference marks RM and moved upward from the lower end of the projection screen 20 at a given scroll speed. This scroll display is achieved by shifting a position of each of the sequence marks SM in an upward direction stepwise by a given address during an operation of rewriting an image to be formed in the display area of the RAM 33, at given time intervals. The timing of displaying each of the sequence marks SM at the lower end of the projection is calculated back on the basis of the timing of overlapping with the corresponding reference mark RM and in consideration of the scroll speed.

[0057] In the example illustrated in FIG. 9, a body movement to be designated next is to simultaneously step on the right and left stepping regions of the mat 10, i.e., a jumping, and a body movement to be subsequently designated is to simultaneously step on the front and rear stepping regions of the mat 10, i.e., a jumping. A body movement to be further subsequently designated is to step on the left stepping region of the mat 10. For example, in this embodiment, a walking movement is simulated by continuously stepping on the rear (or front) stepping region, one of the right and left stepping regions and the front (or rear) stepping region in this order. A running movement is simulated by continuously stepping on the rear (or front) stepping region, and the front (or rear) stepping region in this order, and a jumping movement is simulated by simultaneously stepping on two of the different stepping regions. When the movement detection section 53 is not designed to distinguish between the types of body movements, the type of body movement may be distinguished by a processing of associating a detection signal with a corresponding one of the contents of the guide images, because the detection signal is obtained as the result of a player's body movement in response to a specific one of the contents of the guide images.

[0058] Further, the image display control section 312 is operable to additionally display an instructor image IG prepared as a background image, on the projection screen 20 in the form of a moving image. The movement, particularly leg's movement, of the instructor image IG is pre-set to correspond to the guide images. The instructor image IG is operable, in synchronization with the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM, or at a given timing irrespective of the overlapping timing, to instruct the players to perform a body movement other than the leg's movements, such as arm's movement, specifically, a movement of stretching player's arms outward or upward, so as to allow the physical training to be a more worthwhile training including upper-body movements in addition to lower-body movements. In this embodiment, the arm's movements are not particularly detected, and a given amount of calories to be consumed by the arm's movements is preset.

[0059] Returning to FIG. 8, a communication processing section 313 serves as a means to cyclically load the detection signal from the sensor section 531 of each of the terminal units 50 through the transceiver 40 while identifying each of the terminal units 50. A music-piece determination section 314 serves as a means to select one of the music pieces stored in the ROM 32 in association with one of the time-series guide images. In one embodiment where each of the music pieces is manually selected by a manual operation section (not shown), the music-piece determination section 314 may be designed to perform a replay processing for outputting a selected/entered music piece. An electronic-key-input discrimination section 315 serves as a means to discriminate the identification information in each of the detection signals transmitted from the terminal units 50, so as to allow the identification information to be used in a processing during entry and in various other processings, for example, of evaluating player's response and calculating a calorie consumption while associating the detection signals with the corresponding terminal units 50, during the training. An entry-number detection section 316 serves as a means to detect whether the number of the received identification information of the terminal units reaches a given value (in this embodiment, twenty four). As a target number of players who enter into the training, the entry-number detection section 316 may be designed to detect the total number of the terminal units 50, or one-half (in this embodiment, twelve) of the terminal units 50, or a given elapsed time from a time of the first entry, or a given elapsed time from a training start time when the training start time is pre-determined. An audio output control section 317 serves as a means to instruct the audio processing section 35 to transfer ADPCM data of the selected music piece to the work area of the RAM 33 and output the ADPCM data to the speaker 22 as time advances.

[0060] A demonstration processing section 318 serves as a means to allow the entry-authorized players to take a preliminary practice about the body movements in response to the guide images before initiation of the training. A sensor input detection section 319 serves as a means to determine whether a detection signal from each of the terminal units 50 in response to each of the guide images (i.e., within each of the unit sequence periods) is present or absent. A noise removal processing section 320 serves as a means to remove a detection signal entered in a time period out of a given time range above or below the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM (this time range will hereinafter be referred to as "valid time range", as noise. In this embodiment, the noise removal processing section 320 is designed to remove such noise only for an evaluation on player's response.

[0061] A timing evaluation section 321 serves as a means to evaluate the player's response based on a deviation time, i.e., a time deviating from the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM within the valid time range. The player's response is evaluated as "cool", "normal" and "bad" in ascending order of the deviation time, and compiled and displayed on player-by-player basis, for example, on the projection screen after completion of the training.

[0062] FIGS. 10A, 10B and 10C are explanatory views showing a relationship between an input timing of the detection signal and the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM, based on a time axis advances upward. FIG. 10A is a timing chart showing the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM, and FIG. 10B is a timing chart showing the detection signal and a calorie-consumption calculation range. FIG. 10C is a timing chart showing the detection signal and the valid time range for the player's response evaluation. In FIG. 10A, the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM is set at Times Ta, Tb, Tc, Td, Te with a cycle .tau. in a direction of the time axis. As shown in FIG. 10B, the calculation range r for calorie consumption is set, for example, within .+-..tau./2 relative to each of Times Ta, Tb, Tc, Td, Te. Further, as shown in FIG. 10C, the valid time range for the player's response evaluation is set, for example, within .+-..tau./3 relative to each of Times Ta, Tb, Tc, Td, Te. If a detection signal Ia entered as a body movement of a certain one of the players is approximately matched with an instruction of the body movement at Time Ta, this detection signal Ia will be used for the cumulative calculation of calorie consumption, and the use's response will be evaluated as "cool". While a detection signal Ib entered in a time period between the time .tau./3 and the time .tau./2 relative to an instruction of the body movement at Time Tb is excluded from the player's response evaluation, it is used for the cumulative calculation of calorie consumption. If both detection signals Ic1, Ic2 are entered in a time period within .+-..tau./3 relative to an instruction of the body movement at Time Tc, only a first one of the detection signals is used in the player's response evaluation but the remaining detection signal is not used in the player's response evaluation. Further, both the detection signals Ic1, Ic2 are used for the cumulative calculation of calorie consumption. If only a first one of two or more detection signals is in a time period within .+-..tau./2 relative to an instruction of the body movement at Time Td or Te, the remaining detection signals are not used in the player's response evaluation. In this manner, the calculation of calorie consumption is performed using all detection signals generated based on player's body movements, and the player's response is evaluated based on more severe criterion. An after-mentioned reference calorie value may be changed depending on a level of the deviation time, for example, may be changed to become smaller as the deviation time is increased.

[0063] When the player's response is evaluated as "cool", an image of the individual display region PA for the corresponding terminal unit 50 is displayed in a special motivational display mode which is recognizable by the player, for example, by changing a color of the image or by flashing the individual display region. This allows the player to recognize that his/her movement timing is accurate.

[0064] FIGS. 11A, 11B and 11C are fragmentary explanatory view showing the individual display regions PA displayed in a portion of the projection screen to inform the timing of body movements and an evaluation result of the timing. At the timing of overlapping between the reference mark RM and the corresponding sequence mark SM, a normal display mode in FIG. 11A is changed to a pulsation motivational display mode of increasing brightness of the images only for just a moment and enlarging and slightly displacing the display position, as shown in FIG. 11B. This allows the players to know the movement timing in an additional way other than that of looking at the sequence marks SM. Alternatively, the images of the individual display regions PA illustrated in FIG. 11A may be displayed in reduced brightness. When some of the individual display regions PA (in this example, the individual display regions PA having the identification numbers "3", "10", "11") are displayed in the aforementioned special motivational display mode to inform the evaluation "cool", as shown in FIG. 11C.

[0065] Returning to FIG. 8, a calorie consumption calculation section 322 serves as a means to pre-store a reference calorie value to be consumed depending on the types of body movements designated by the guide images, and accumulate a calorie consumption depending on whether a detection signal for each of the guide images is present or absent (add the reference calorie value depending on the types of body movements to the previously-calculated calorie consumption). When a plurality of detection signals are included in the calculation time range (in the example illustrated in FIG. 10, .+-..tau./3), all of the detection signals are used for the cumulative calculation of calorie consumption on the assumption that a plurality of body movements have been actually performed. A non-input count processing section 323 serves as a means to estimate arm's movement to be performed in advance depending on the types of leg's movements, and add a calorie consumption to a value of the calorie consumption calculation section 322.

[0066] A training result evaluation section 324 serves as a means to accumulate the timing evaluation results of each of the players wearing the corresponding terminal units 50, for example, in the form of a point or the number of the evaluations "cool", "normal", "bad", and display the accumulated result as the training-termination image on the projection screen 20 in the form of a list, or display the accumulated total calorie consumption in the form of a list, such that "the identification number 01: 100 kcal", "the identification number 02: 105 kcal", ----.

[0067] The control unit 30 is connected to a printer 70. A printing-out control section 325 serves as a means to print out at least the total calorie consumption of each of the terminal units 50, i.e., the players in association with the identification information of the terminal unit 50. The printing-out control section 325 is operable, when the training is completed, to automatically print out the total calorie consumption of each of the entry-authorized terminal units 50 to a separate recording sheet. Each of the players can obtain the recording sheet having the identification information of the terminal unit 50 which has been used by the player, and keep it as a record. While some of the players are likely to be unable to check the evaluation of total calorie consumption during the training due to concentration only on physical movements, such players can obtain the recording sheet and check the evaluation result in a relaxed manner after the training. A timer 326 serves as a means to perform a time-of-day control and a time management.

[0068] FIGS. 12 and 13 are an explanatory flowchart showing a control process based on the CPU 31 of the control unit 30. In response to power-on, a personal computer is set in a standby state, and the training progress control section 311 determines whether a studio start time, i.e., a training stat time, comes (Step S1). If the studio start time has come, the image display control section 312 displays on the projection screen 20 an announcement to the effect that an acceptance of the identification information (electronic keys) from the terminal units 50 is initiated (Step S3). At this timing, the processing of selecting one of the music pieces is performed (Step S5). Then, it is determined whether an input of the identification information is present or absent (Step S7). If no identification information has been input (NO in Step S7) and an entry number has not reach a predetermined value (NO in Step S9), it is determined whether a predetermined entry time period has elapsed (Step S11). If the entry time period has not elapsed, the process returns to Step S7. When the entry number reaches the predetermined value, a basic stepping image (demonstration image) for a preliminary practice before the training is displayed on the projection screen 20 for the remaining entry time period (Step S13). If the timing evaluation section 321 determines that respective detection signals of all of the entry-authorized terminal units 50 adequately respond to the basic stepping image (Step S15), the preliminary practice will be terminated even in the remaining entry time period to enter into an actual training.

[0069] In Step 17, a replay of the music piece is initiated, and the guide image GG corresponding to the respective music piece is displayed in synchronization with the music piece to initiate a sequential instruction in conjunction with appearance of an initial sequence mark SM on the projection screen 20 (Step S19). Then, it is determined whether the music piece has been terminated (Step S21). If the music piece has not been terminated, it is determined whether the non-input count has been set (Step S23). If the non-input count has been set, a virtual calorie consumption is calculated, i.e., a virtual reference calorie consumption is added to the previously-calculated calorie consumption (Step S25).

[0070] Then, it is determined whether an input of detection signals from the terminal units is present or absent (Step S27). If the detection signals are input, the noise removal processing is performed, and the player's response and the calculated calorie consumption are evaluated (Step S29). Respective results of evaluations consisting of the evaluation on player's response and the calculation on calorie consumption are written in a storage area associated with the identification information of the corresponding terminal unit as a movement record. Further, the respective results of the evaluations consisting of the evaluation on player's response and the calculation on calorie consumption in each of the unit sequence periods are displayed on the projection screen 20 in association with the above identification information (Step S31). The result of the evaluation on player's response is displayed in the individual display region PA in the special motivational display mode, as described above.

[0071] If the music piece has been terminated in Step S21, a comprehensive evaluation for the music piece is displayed on the projection screen 20, and data of the evaluation result is transferred to a printing buffer or the like (Step S33) to print out it. In this embodiment, the players are changed to new players every time one music piece is terminated. Thus, information about the exercise stored in the time period of the music piece is cleared from the storage area every time one music piece is terminated (Step S35).

[0072] Then, it is determined whether all of the music pieces have been terminated (Step S37). If all of the music pieces have not been terminated, the process returns to Step S3, and the above steps will be repeated. When all of the music pieces have been terminated, an image representing the termination of the training is displayed on the projection screen 20 (Step S39).

[0073] The above embodiment of the present invention may be modified as follows.

[0074] (1) The movement-information processing system according to the above embodiment may be applied to games as well as physical training. Further, the system is suitable for a rehabilitation exercise and training for care receivers, and usable in rehabilitation facilities and nursing-care facilities. Furthermore, the system may be applied to games for children and infants.

[0075] (2) The control unit 30 may be designed to transmit a start signal for informing the terminal units 50 of a training start timing. In this case, each of the terminal units 50 may be designed to perform a timing management based on the unit sequence period and transmit a combination of a detection signal and information about the timing of generating the detection signal to the control unit, in response to receiving the start signal. This makes it possible to achieve the aforementioned function of temporarily storing detection signals over the plurality of unit sequence periods in the storage section 535 and then collectively transmitting the detection signals to the control unit 30.

[0076] (3) The communication between the terminal unit 50 and the control unit 30 in the above embodiment is designed to be unidirectional. In the above configuration where the detection signals for the plurality of unit sequence periods are collectively transmitted to the control unit 30, a bidirectional communication is essentially required to transmit the start signal to the terminal units in synchronization with initiation of the training in Step S17 so as to match respective internal timers (clocks) of the terminal units 50 with a timer (clock) of the control unit 30. Even in the configuration where the detection signals are transmitted for each of the unit sequence periods, the bidirectional communication may be employed, for example, to output a request for transmitting a detection signal.

[0077] (4) While the terminal unit and the player in the above embodiment are not directly associated with each other, the terminal unit and the player may be associated with each other through a transponder wearable on a body, such as wrist, of the player. In this case, the terminal unit 50 may have a function of authenticating contents stored in the transponder. Specifically, the terminal unit 50 may be provided with an antenna for reading personal information written in a memory of the transponder TP, and a storage section for temporarily storing the read personal information, and designed to receive the stored personal information from the transponder TP when the player pushes an entry button of the terminal unit 50 so as to associate the player's personal information with the identification information of the terminal unit 50. Thus, instead of the identification information, the player's personal information, such as player's name, can be displayed in the individual display region PA on the projection screen 20.

[0078] (5) The mat 10 is simply used for assisting the body movements of the player, but not essential. As an alternative for achieving the function of the mats 10, a large-size carpet or a floor having the same patterns as that of the plurality of mats 10 may be used in place of the mats 10.

[0079] (6) Each of the terminal units 50 may be also provided with an announcement section, such as a speaker, light-emitting means or a vibrating element, to perform a motivational announcement when an evaluation result of player's response is excellent. In this case, a bidirectional communication may be employed between the terminal unit 50 and the control unit 30. Further, the control unit 30 may be designed to transmit an instruction signal for the special motivational announcement when an evaluation result of player's response is excellent (in the above embodiment, "cool", and the terminal unit 50 may be designed to activate the announcement section in response to receiving the instruction signal.

[0080] (7) As shown in FIG. 10, in the above embodiment, validity of a player's input corresponding to a specific stepping instruction is determined based on a fixed criterion. Alternatively, the criteria of the determination may be changed, for example, depending on player's physique. The terminal unit in the above embodiment is formed in a belt-like configuration adapted to be worm on player's waist, and the following phenomenon is observed due to the terminal unit adapted to be worn on player's body. Specifically, if the player, for example, is an obesity type, a skin surface is slightly delayed to a body movement even during same body movements, and thereby vibrations of the terminal unit are likely to be generated with a slight delay. As the result, even if the player performs an accurate body movement in response to a stepping instruction, an input is likely to be slightly delayed and determined that "the body movement has not been accurately performed" in the input evaluation. From this point of view, based on information about player's living body (body height, body weight, body fat, etc.), an acceptable range of the determination on the input validity may be widened, or a processing of temporally shifting the input backward may be performed, to compensate for an individual difference about physique or the like.

[0081] In summary, the present invention relates to a movement-information processing system which comprises a control unit including image display control means adapted to allow a guide image for instructing a plurality of players to perform a physical training consisting of plural types of body movements in a time-series manner, to be displayed on a presentation unit, and a plurality of terminal units prepared corresponding to the number of players capable of entry into the physical training. Each of the terminal units includes a movement detection device operable, when the terminal unit is worn on a body of either one of the players, to detect body movements of the player, and a terminal-side communication section for transmitting a detection signal representing the body movements detected by the movement detection device to the control unit. The control unit includes a control-side communication section for receiving the detection signal from the terminal-side communication section of the terminal unit, exercise evaluation means for evaluating an exercise quality of the player wearing the terminal unit, based on the received detection signal and a content of the guide image, and announcement means for announcing the evaluation result of the exercise quality through an announcement section.

[0082] In the movement-information processing system of the present invention, the control unit allows the guide image for instructing the players to perform plural types of body movements to be displayed on the presentation unit. Each of the players wears the terminal unit on his/her body, and performs a given body movement in conformity to a content of movement instruction represented by the guide image. Then, the body movement of the player is detected by the movement detection device of the terminal unit, and an obtained detection signal is transmitted to the control unit through the terminal-side communication section. After the detection signal from the terminal-side communication section of the terminal unit is received by the control unit through the control-side communication section, the exercise evaluation means evaluates an exercise quality of (the player wearing) the terminal unit based on the received detection signal, and the announcement means announces the evaluation result of the exercise quality through the announcement section. This makes it possible to display the guide image for instructing the players to perform various body movements without relation to the number of players so as to offer the guide image with enhanced visibility. For example, the terminal unit is formed in a configuration similar to a waistband (band-like configuration) and adapted to be wrapped around the player. Alternatively or additionally, the terminal unit may be designed to be worn on both arms or both legs of the player.

[0083] In the aforementioned movement-information processing system, the control unit may include an audio output section for outputting a music piece synchronous with the guide image to be displayed. In this specific embodiment, the music piece is output in addition to the guide image. This makes it possible to instruct the players to perform a rhythmic exercise to the music.

[0084] In the aforementioned movement-information processing system, each of the terminal units may be adapted to transmit identification information uniquely given thereto, to the control unit through the terminal-side communication section, and the control unit may be adapted to evaluate the exercise quality of the player wearing the terminal unit, in association with the identification information. In this specific embodiment, the identification information given to the terminal unit is automatically transferred to the control unit, and therefore the body movement of the player wearing the terminal unit can be informed in an identifiable manner on a terminal unit-by-terminal unit basis. Identification information, such as unique character, numeral, code and/or graphic symbol, may be described on an outer surface of the terminal unit. In this case, the player can also recognize the identification information of the terminal unit. This allows the player to find his/her evaluation result from a plurality of evaluation results of exercise qualities of the respective terminal units announced by the announcement means, based on the identification information.

[0085] In the aforementioned movement-information processing system, the exercise evaluation means may be adapted to calculate an amount of virtual exercise of the player wearing the terminal unit, based on the presence or absence of the detection signal and the type of body-movement instructed by the guide image. In this specific embodiment, an exercise amount, such as a calorie consumption or the number of body movements, in each of the types of body movements designated by the guide image, may be preset to obtain an exercise amount, based on the presence or absence of a corresponding one of the types of body movements, i.e., the presence or absence of a detection signal. Further, such a processing may be performed in each unit sequence period of the time-series display of the guide image to accumulate the exercise amounts and calculate a total exercise amount, such as a total calorie consumption. The evaluation may include an after-mentioned evaluation on the level of matching between timings of the guide image and the body movement.

[0086] The exercise evaluation means as described above may be adapted to calculate a calorie consumption as the virtual exercise amount. In this specific embodiment, the result of body movements conforming to the time-series instruction of the guide image is calculated as a calorie consumption.

[0087] In the aforementioned movement-information processing system, the display control means may be adapted to create, on a screen of the presentation unit, a plurality of individual display regions for displaying respective contents for the terminal units, on a terminal unit-by-terminal unit basis, and displaying information about the evaluation result of the exercise quality of the player, in a corresponding one of the individual display regions. In this specific embodiment, the individual display regions for displaying respective contents for the terminal units are formed on a screen of the presentation unit on a terminal unit-by-terminal unit basis, and information about the evaluation result of the exercise quality of the player wearing the terminal unit is displayed in a corresponding one of the individual display regions. This allows the player to visually check the evaluation result of his/her exercise quality only by looking at his/her individual display region, without any difficulty.

[0088] In the aforementioned movement-information processing system, the control unit may include printing-out means for printing out the evaluation result of the exercise quality using a printer on a terminal unit-by-terminal unit basis. In this specific embodiment, in addition to display on the presentation unit, the evaluation result of player's exercise quality can be printed out to facilitate checking after the training.

[0089] As a second aspect, the present invention relates to a terminal unit for use in the aforementioned movement-information processing system and the terminal unit includes a belt-like portion adapted to be wrapped around a waist of the player, and wherein the movement detection device is mounted to the belt-like portion. In the terminal unit, the player can make preparation for the training only by wearing the belt-like portion on his/her waist to facilitate the preparation.

[0090] The aforementioned terminal unit may include a built-in rechargeable battery serving as a power source thereof. In this specific embodiment, the need for replacing a battery every time it runs out can be eliminated, and a recharging operation can be performed in a nonuse state. The terminal unit may be designed to house the battery through a housing cover so as to facilitate a replacing operation of the battery when it deteriorates or has a defect.

[0091] In addition, the terminal unit as described above may further include a buckle portion connected to a first end of the belt-like portion and adapted to allow a second, opposite, end of the belt-like portion to be engagingly inserted thereinto in a disengageable manner, the buckle portion being provided with a recharging connector for the buttery. In this specific embodiment, a recharging operation can be performed through the recharging connector when the terminal unit is in a nonuse stare, typically, stored. In addition, an insertion slot of the buckle portion can be used for the recharging connecter to eliminate the need for providing an additional structure for recharging so as to achieve a rechargeable terminal unit while avoiding an increase in size and structural complexity.

[0092] In the aforementioned terminal unit, the movement detection device may be detachably mounted to the belt-like portion. In this specific embodiment, even if the belt-like portion is damaged due to long-term use, the movement detection device can be detached to allow only the belt-like portion to be replaced so as to reduce a running cost.

[0093] In the terminal unit as described above, the movement detection device may have a peripheral surface formed in a curved shape extending along a part of the entire circumference of the waist region of the player when the belt-like portion is wrapped around the waist of the player. In this specific embodiment, the peripheral surface formed in a curved shape extending along a part of the entire circumference of the waist region of the player can come into close contact with a waist region of the player wearing the terminal unit approximately in its entirety. This allows the movement detection device to further accurately sense a body movement of the player. In addition, wobble and waggle of the movement detection device can be restricted to suppress the occurrence of noise.

[0094] In the aforementioned terminal unit, the movement detection device may include a sensor for sensing a change in acceleration. In this specific embodiment, when an acceleration is changed in conjunction with various movements, such as walking, running and jumping, of the player, a variation in acceleration is sensed. The structure of the sensor, an orientation (a direction of sensing axis) of the sensor and/or the number of the sensors can be appropriately adjusted and set up to sense plural types of movements in a distinguished manner.

[0095] As a third aspect, the present invention relates to a battery recharging unit for use in the aforementioned terminal, which includes a built-in rechargeable battery as a power source, a buckle portion connected to a first end of the belt-like portion and adapted to allow a second, opposite, end of the belt-like portion to be engagingly inserted thereinto in a disengageable manner, and the buckle portion is provided with a recharging connector for the buttery, said battery recharging unit comprises a plurality of recharging electrodes each engageable with the recharging connector of the buckle portion in each of the plurality of terminal units. In the battery recharging unit, a recharging operation can be performed, for example, by inserting the recharging electrodes, respectively, into the recharge connectors of the buckle portions of the terminal units in a stored state or the like to facilitate the recharging operation for the terminal unit having the built-in rechargeable battery.

[0096] The battery recharging unit as described above may include a base member capable of being placed on a floor, and a support member extending upward from the base member. Further, the recharging electrodes may be arranged on an upper portion of the support member, and the support member may have a height from the floor which is greater than the entire length of the terminal unit. In this specific embodiment, each of the terminal units can be efficiently stored in such a manner as to be hung downward from the respective recharging units, while allowing a recharging operation to be performed during the storage.

[0097] This application is based on Japanese Patent Application Serial No. 2005-321466, filed with Japan Patent Office on Nov. 4, 2005, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

[0098] Although the present invention has been fully described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that various changes and modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Therefore, unless otherwise such changes and modifications depart from the scope of the present invention hereinafter defined, they should be construed as being included therein.

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