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United States Patent 3,572,699
Nies March 30, 1971



A stationary exercise device is modified to record cyclic positional information of the hand and foot operated pedals against a variable load which load level is also recorded to indicate brain damage in terms of pedal lag for either set of pedals. The apparatus may be motor driven under a specified load for a partially or totally incapacitated person for therapy for the motor brain center. Alternatively, the apparatus may be a modified conventional bicycle with a foot pedal assembly and a hand-operated pedal assembly carried in place of the handlebars. A drive chain couples the foot pedal assembly and hand pedal assembly through separate drive sprockets. The drive sprockets consist of a series of different diameter sprockets which are selectively shiftable into engagement with the drive chain.

Inventors: Nies; Harry B. (Parsons, KS)
Appl. No.: 04/832,548
Filed: May 21, 1969

Current U.S. Class: 482/5 ; 482/62; 601/32; 601/36; 601/40
Current International Class: A61H 1/02 (20060101); A61B 5/22 (20060101); A63B 23/04 (20060101); A63b 021/00 (); A63b 023/04 (); A63b 069/16 ()
Field of Search: 272/73 128/25

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
583920 June 1897 DeMontgomery
2783044 February 1957 Sbarra
Foreign Patent Documents
378,581 Aug., 1932 GB
Primary Examiner: Pinkham; Richard C.
Assistant Examiner: Dror; Richard


I claim:

1. Therapeutic exercise apparatus for a mentally retarded person comprising:

a modified stationarily supported bicycle including means for supporting the rear wheel thereof for rotation above the support surface;

said bicycle including in conventional fashion, a foot-driven pedal assembly and means for driving said rear wheel by said foot pedal assembly;

a hand-operated pedal assembly carried by said bicycle; means operatively coupling said hand-operated pedal assembly to said foot pedal assembly;

a series of different diameter sprocket means carried by each of said foot pedal assembly and said hand pedal assembly;

an endless drive chain means operatively coupling said foot pedal assembly and said hand pedal assembly through said sprocket means, and selectively shiftable between said different diameter sprockets means;

idler means carried by said bicycle for tensioning said endless chain; and

means for adjustably positioning said hand operated pedal assembly with respect to said bicycle frame.

2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 further comprising;

adjustable brake means for imposing a variable load upon said driven rear bicycle wheel.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein;

said braking means comprises a pair of brake blocks; and

spring compression means for normally spring-biasing said blocks out of contact with the wheel periphery.

4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein:

a pivotal arm is carried by said frame at one end and by said hand-operated pedal assembly on said arm; and

means for locking said pivotal arm at an angularly variable position with respect to said frame member.


1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to pedal-operated exercise devices and more particularly, to an exercise device which is modified to perform as a skeletal muscle coordinator, brain motor area stimulator, diagnostic simulator and therapy device.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Attempts have been made to record skeletal muscle activity to determine possible brain damage and the specific areas thereof by allowing the patient to perform manual exercise and record the effect insofar as consistency in muscular application is concerned. This type of activity can neither be accomplished accurately nor recorded with any accuracy unless the person is operating under an actual workload. Further, it is difficult to determine when employing a multiple limb cyclic operating exercise or work performing device, which particular part of the cycle of which the human performing the exercise is contributing to the greatest extent. Finally, since there is a necessity that the exercise be undertaken under considerable load, it was impossible in the past to insure that the load remains constant for each exercise and further that the load in some way be recorded.


This invention is directed to a modified exercising device employing either hand or foot-operated pedals, or both, wherein cyclic rotation of the pedal is recorded in the form of a graph having portions printed and wherein the printer records separately the particular load imposed on the exercise apparatus during the cyclic operation of the same. For therapy purposes, the exercise device may be motor driven forcing the human operator to move his limbs under a defined pattern of movement until the same movement can be achieved voluntarily subsequent to repair of the brain damage.

This procedure either reopens non used synapses or weak synapses or by bombardment a detour route is established and normal function again occurs.

In general, the apparatus which measures human motor coordination comprises a cyclic limb driven mechanism and transducer means for providing electrical signals indicative of individual cyclic positions of the mechanism and means to record the signals sequentially and to thereby provide a complete record of limb participation in movement of the mechanism through multiple cycles of operation.

Preferably paired pedals are driven both by the arms and legs of the operator with transducer means associated with both left and right pedals. Means are further provided for varying an artificial load on the exercising device and a pressure transducer associated therewith transmits a third signal indicative of said load. Each of said transducers for the foot and hand pedals involves a movable contact which sequentially contacts fixed contacts at spaced angular positions, which in themselves are coupled to individual resistances which are differently loaded, for feeding momentary signals of correlated current strength to the recorder and/or graph printer. The pressure transducer preferably comprises spaced conductive plates, means for spring-biasing the plates together with form loads ranging from 0 pounds to 200 pounds and a fluid intermediate of the plates whose conductivity varies with spring pressure.

The stationary exercise device comprises in one form a modified bicycle with a load mechanism constituting a pair of frictional blocks acting on the rotating bicycle wheel. In an alternate form, the hand and foot pedals are coupled together by a common chain and individual sprocket which chain movement may be loaded by spring-biasing means to increase or decrease the load on the moving chain.


FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a skeletal muscle coordinator, brain motor area stimulator, diagnostic simulator and therapy apparatus of the present invention in one form;

fIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a portion of the apparatus taken about lines 4-4 of FIG. 2 showing the pressure transducer;

FIG. 5 is a elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 from the opposite side to that of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a modified version of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 incorporating a drive motor allowing the apparatus to be used for therapy;

FIG. 7 is a rear elevational view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 6 taken about line 7-7;

FIG. 8 is an electrical schematic diagram of a portion of the apparatus including the recorder and printout device for graphically displaying the electrical signals emanating from the transducers;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of an alternate form of the apparatus of the present invention:

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a sectional view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 10 stressing the mechanical brake for applying a variable load to the apparatus;

FIG. 12 is a graphical plot of cyclicly recorded information from the apparatus of FIG; and

FIG. 13 is a sectional view of a modified form of pedal assembly for use with the present invention.


Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, 7 and 8, in one form, the apparatus of the present invention comprises a modified exercise device 10, known as a "stationary bicycle" which includes a stationary frame 12 which may be of tubular construction including vertical risers 14 at the rear and a single vertical riser 16 at the front of the device which supports a horizontal support 18, carrying at its rear end, a seat 20 upon which the occupant sits during operation of the device either in a motor driven form or in human driven form under some load. In conventional fashion, a pair of arms 22 and 24 support a hand-operated pedal assembly 26 having right-hand handle 28 and left-hand handle 30 which extend from each other and are fixed to a common horizontal shaft 32. A multiple unit sprocket assembly 34 carries sprocket chain 36 which passes over multiple idler sprockets 38 to the reversely oriented variable diameter multiple unit of foot sprocket assembly 40 carried by foot pedal assembly 42 at the outer end of the lower arm 24. A right foot pedal 46 again is disposed on the foot pedal shaft 48 and on the opposite side from left foot pedal 50. The sprocket chain 36 may be readily changed from the small to the large diameter sprockets as desired. The load on the sprocket chain 36 is increased or decreased by increasing the tension of springs 52, in combination with adjustment of the compressive pressure exerted upon the rotatable sprockets 38 which form a part of the pressure transducer assembly indicated generally at 54 and shown specifically in FIG. 4. The upper ends of springs 52 are fixed while the lower ends are movable through the common connection 56 and the tension cord 60 carried by drum 62 whose position may be readily adjusted by operating handle 64. These elements are supported by brackets 66 and a pawl and ratchet mechanism 68 locks the tensioning cord 60 in any desired position either increasing or decreasing the spring tension of springs 52. Members 22 and 24 which support the individual sprockets 38 are therefore moved relative to each other about the pivot point formed by shaft 70 to vary the load or tension acting on the sprocket chain 36. Of course, this load-changing arrangement operates in conjunction with the pressure transducer assembly 54.

Reference to FIG. 4 shows that the multiple idler sprockets 38 carried by arms 22 and 24, respectively are coupled to mounting bolts 72 which pass through spaced plates 74 and 76 with interspersed coil spring 78 interspersed therebetween. Further, the plates 74 and 76 are centrally apertured and carry yet a third bolt 80 whose outer end supports a wingnut 82. Rotation of the wingnut causes the coil springs 78 to be compressed exerting a greater compressive force between the sprocket member and support arms 22 and 24 which act as brakes or a drag on the moving chain 36 through respective sprockets thus increasing the load to both foot pedals 42 and hand pedal 26. Further, the compressive force exerted between discs 84 and 86 of the pressure transducer is likewise varied to the same degree. The two discs 84 and 86 carry electrical contact surfaces (not shown) and interspersed between these contract surfaces is a fluid whose resistivity varies in inverse proportion to the compressive force acting thereupon. Thus, by rotating wingnut 82 to increase the compressive force acting between discs 84 and 86, the resistance of the fluid captured between the conductive forces of these discs is decreased and thus the electrical current signal from the pressure transducer is increased. Appropriate leads 88 and 90 to the respective discs complete the electrical circuit. Thus, any time that the load on the exercise device is varied the variance is achieved by increase in compressive force or decrease on the fluid captured between the opposed surfaces of discs 84 and 86 and a signal of appropriate intensity is directed from the pressure transducer 54 to the printout device which records the same. Likewise, as best seen in FIG. 3 a hand pedal transducer assembly 92 is associated with hand-operated pedal assembly 26 while a foot pedal transducer assembly 94 is associated with the foot pedal assembly 42, both assemblies being carried by respective pedal shifts 32 and 48. In this respect, each of the transducers 92 and 94 likewise comprise discs, in this case a rotatable disc 96 and a stationary disc 98 of the upper assembly and a nonrotatable disc 102 for the lower assembly. Each rotatable disc causes one energized contact while the fixed disc carries a plurality of circumferentially spaced contacts. For instance, referring to transducer assembly 92, rotating disc 96 carries a single contact 103 connected to bottom 101 and the fixed disc 98 carries circumferentially spaced contacts 104, which are connected to differently weighted resistors 106 all of which are connected to an impedance matcher 108 the output of which passes through line 110 and amplifier 112 to an appropriate recorder 114.

In like fashion transducer assembly 94 includes circumferentially spaced fixed contacts 116 which are individually connected to differently weighted resistors 118 which are connected to impedance matcher 120. The output line 122 is connected to amplifier 124; the amplified signal energizing recorder 126. The individual fixed contacts 116 are carried by stationary disc 102 while a single rotary contact 127 which is connected to a source of voltage 129 is carried by the rotating disc 100. The pressure transducer assembly 54 on the other hand incorporates discs 84 and 86. The variable resistance due to the compression on electrically conductive fluid (not shown) captured between the disc faces causes a signal indicative of load to be fed to impedance matcher 130, and then through amplifier 132 to recorder 134. It is noted that each of the recorders 114, 126 and 134 feeds appropriate electrical signals to the printer 136 which provides a printout of the recorded information. The printout device 136 may comprise a graph printer, in which case a typical printout consists of graph forms having various configurations depending upon the rate of rotation of the hand and foot pedals, the rhythm or lack of rhythm consistency in rotative speed, the lack or presence of momentary pauses within the cyclic movement of the foot and hand pedals.

Referring to FIG. 12, there is shown a graph of the transducer output signal indicated by graph lines A, B and C. In this respect, the straight line A indicates a 40 pound pressure output from the pressure transducer 54 throughout the time period from zero to T.sub.2. Simultaneously therewith, the printer 136 provides a graphic illustration of the transducer signals from left hand transducer output as indicated in plot B which constitutes a stepped but uniform curve having steps in descending order due to the different weights given to resistances 106. With respect to graph line C the first series of steps are uniform while the central portion 138 of the graph is a straight line indicating an absence of left hand contribution to the work derived from rotating the hand operated pedal for a period of time from T.sub.1 to T.sub.2. Subsequently, from T.sub.2 to T.sub.3, the left hand pedal is operated by the patient as indicated by the uniform stepped appearance of the graph line C from T.sub.2 to T.sub.3. This indicates that the right control motor area of the brain of the patient or operator is deficient and the extent of such deficiency. Thus, by viewing the graph provided as the ultimate output from printer 136, ready designation from the hand positions are shown and the plot lines on the graphs show what area of the brain motor is involved in any instance and which movement shows the greatest abnormal pattern. It is thus relatively easy to locate the brain lesion or deficit.

The printer will provide continuous patterns with cycles in the hundreds, however, the physician may be readily aware of the nonfunctioning area or ares of the brain which insures maximum accuracy in his recommendation as to treatment, either actively or passively. Further, the rate in rhythm and coordination and/or noncoordination between the movements and change in relationship to the change in cogs on the two sprockets will affect the recorded wave pattern. However, by a graphical record of these movements, the rate in rhythm change may be readily measured for the first time in an accurate manner and something can be done positively with respect to the deficiency in that portion of the motor area of the brain which corresponds to the noncontributive portions of the cycle.

Further, it is possible, by incorporating in the specific handles or pedals 28, 30, 46 and 50, a pressure transducer similar to that of FIG. 5 in which the active pressure exerted by the patient on the handle and against the shaft holding the handle may be measured by means of a compressive fluid captured therebetween whose resistance changes with pressure. At all times, regardless of cyclic position of the individual handles or pedals of each pedal assembly, one would readily know, by transmission and recording of signals, applied pressure for each limit, such as the pressure indicative signal or graph line A in FIG. 12. There would be recorded the contribution of each limb of the operator over a full rotation of each pedal assembly. Thus, not only would there be recorded signals indicative of actual rotation of the handle but the amount of pressure or lack of pressure exerted by the operator during rotation of the same.

FIG. 13 shows schematically a typical modified pedal assembly, which could be substituted for the upper pedal assembly 26 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2. Referring to FIG. 13, the pedal shaft 132 carries a sprocket assembly 134 and on each end L-shaped pedal support means 136 and 138 for left and right-hand pedals, respectively. The left-hand pedal support shaft 140 carries a bronze cylinder 142 as the handle of the pedal assembly which is inserted upon, and received by a cylindrical rod 144 also formed of a conductive material. Interposed therebetweeen, is a transducer mixture 146 which constitutes a fluid whose electrical resistance varies with pressure such that by grasping the outer bronze cylinder 142 and exerting some force while rotating the pedal assembly, the resistance offered by the transducer mixture 146 decreases under applied pressure, lowering the electrical resistance and increasing the current flowing between these members. The same arrangement is provided for the right hand pedal or handle involving an outer brass cylinder 148, an inner bronze cylindrical member 150 fixed to pedal shaft 152 and an interspersed transducer mixture 154. A signal may be delivered as indicated in FIG. 13 from the outer cylinder 148 constituting the handle via line 156 to the preamplifier 158 hand pedal assembly and the same means coupled to left-hand assembly (not shown).

From the above, it is seen that the instant invention as applied in its most sophisticated form, acts to measure accurately the workload, It also measures and accurately records the location of the hand and feet positions at all times during the performance of the work and further readily measures the transducer pressure for each limb, that is, all four hands and feet simultaneously to indicate for each moment, the relative participation in the performance of the work by the individual. From the above, it is therefore apparent that if the the central brain motor center is weak for one extremity there will be a recorded difference in the relationship as to the rhythm, speed and coordination which is readily shown by graph comparison. Further, after prolonged exercise, the variants in the graph for the cycles may readily indicate the improvements of a handicapped person and the closeness with which he may come to a normal physiological standard in regard to both motor coordination and adaptive behavior.

It further may be observed that the variables of brain response for different persons may be readily measured and ascertainable graphically by the knowledge of the pressure being applied to each of the four pedals at all times, the location of the upper and lower pedals at any instant of time and for a given time period, and the rate and number of turns of the pedal. As a result of study, most persons considered normal have 2 sets of uncoordinated upper and lower extremities arythamies and mentally retarded children have 6 to 14 lags per some 100 complete rotations of the upper sprocket measurement, for instance. During actual use of the device, regardless of the number of changes from rhythm to nonrhythm coordination, the first several days of exercise the same graphic pattern persists. However, upon further exercise, the patterns are less severe and in actuality therapy is occuring. Since all four pedals on the basis device are all coupled by a common sprocket and chain arrangement, continuous movement of the pedal by either driven power, or under actual operation of one or more of the pedals at any given instant, causes due to continuous movement of the same individual "bombarding" of the weak motor area of the brain and if the area is completely gone the neutron bombardment will reroute around the damaged area in true therapeutic fashion. It is believed that if a person has a total paralysis of one member or perhaps two members continuous movement either by power driven techniques or by partial human propulsion such that, for instance, of all four limbs are paralyzed, attachment of the hands and the legs to the pedals and by operating the device with an electric motor, the motor-driven coordinator and uncoordinator pattern are continuously presented to the occupant until response is present allowing the occupant to use his or her own power. Further, with a resistant clutch, a precise "working load" may be applied to a nonfunctioning area to speed up the recovery of the correction of the deficit area.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7 discloses a modification of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 through 5, inclusive. In this embodiment the same basic elements are presented and like numerals define like elements. In addition, however, there is provided an auxiliary sprocket 200 on which rides an auxiliary chain 202, the outer end of which is carried by a much smaller sprocket 204 coupled to a drive motor shaft 206. Fixed to arm 28 is an electric motor 208 and means are provided for energizing the motor 208 through leads 210 to cause the same to be driven thus rotating auxiliary sprocket 200, the main foot pedal shaft 40 and driving the foot pedal assembly 42 which is coupled by chain 36 to the hand-driven pedal assembly 26 at the outer end of arm 22. Thus forced therapeutic exercise is achieved.

Referring next to FIGS. 9, 10 and 11, a third embodiment of the present invention is shown in which no recording occurs. However, the apparatus comprises an exercising device in the form of a modified conventional bicycle. A frame or base 300 formed of tubular bar stock carries paired triangular supports 302 at the rear for supporting the bicycle through its rear wheel mounting shaft slightly above the surface upon which the base rests while, a modified central vertical riser 306 at the front supports adjustable idler sprocket assembly 308 and a pivotal arm 310 carries a hand pedal assembly 312. The main bicycle frame 314 is essentially similar to that of a girl's bicycle and carries a seat 316 in proper position just forward of the rear wheel 318. A fixed bracket 320 is carried by inclined frame member 322 such that bar 310 pivots adjacent thereto and an adjustable wingnut 324 allows adjustment of the angular position of the arm 310 carrying the hand pedal assembly including multiple sprocket means 326. In like fashion, to the previous embodiments, a single chain 328 couples the multiple sprocket means 326 associated with the hand-operated pedal assembly 312 with the foot pedal assembly 330 supported by foot pedal shaft 332 which also carries multiple sprocket means 334. Appropriate right and left foot pedals 336 and 338 respectively are provided for foot pedal assembly 332 as are right and left hand pedals or handles 340 and 342 for assembly 312. A conventional connection between foot pedal assembly 330 and the rear wheel sprockets 344 is provided via chain 346 and a modified rear wheel vehicle brake shown in FIG. 11 is provided for exerting a variable load on the driven rear wheel 318.

Referring to FIG. 11, inclined frame member 348 carries a pair of pivotal arms 350 which pivot about a mounting pin 352 and are spring biased such that their outer ends 354 tend to move away from the peripheral surface of the rotating tire 356. A coil spring 358, sandwiched between portions 362 of the arm and carried on bolt 360, tends to bias the outer ends 354 of the pivotal arms apart or away from each other. However, wingnut 364 may be rotated to force ends 362 of the arm together which in turn causes the outer ends 354 to move inwardly toward the periphery of tier 356. The inner ends carry braking members in the form of friction blocks 366 increasing the frictional restraint on the rotating tire thus loading both the hand-operated pedal wheels of assembly 312 and the foot pedals of assembly 330.

The apparatus of FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 therefore constitutes an arm an leg exercise device which may be readily constructed from a bicycle with the multiple sprocket means 326 and 334 allowing lighter or heavier relative loads to be applied to the foot and hand pedals. The chain 328 may be substituted therefor by a V-belt which also may be crossed to give a reverse action changing muscle coordination rhythm between extremities. It is noted that the assembly 308 constitutes an idler involving a pair of sprockets 368 at the extreme ends of arm 370, the idlers acting primarily to change the direction of chain 328 as it moves to and from the hand-operated pedal assembly 312 and foot pedal assembly 330.

The different sprockets of upper and lower sprocket assembly gives a variation and variety of a-coordination pattern and coordination patterns in the 100 rds.

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