Apple patent offers a 'virtual competitor' during a workout routine
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Apple patent offers a 'virtual competitor' during a workout routine

Apple wants you to work out harder by competing against a virtual competitor per a new patent (number 2010062818) at the US Patent & Trademark Office. The patent is for a portable electronic device for providing real-time interaction between a user performing an exercise routine and a virtual competitor.

Some embodiments of the portable electronic device may include a sensor for receiving a plurality of user performance metrics associated with the user, a processor for generating a comparison between the plurality of user performance metrics and a competitor workout file associated with the virtual competitor, and a display for displaying a summary of the comparison in real-time. The inventors are Allen P. Haughay, Jeffrey T. Lee and Irwin W. Graves Jr.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Fitness enthusiasts sometimes need new sources of motivation, such as when training indoors during inclement weather. Modern health clubs partly serve this need by providing television monitors and music to entertain members using treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, and other fitness equipment. Products like the Nike+iPod Sports Kit provide workout-based voice feedback, motivational media, and the ability to share workouts among Nike+community members. Some individuals, however, want a more interactive and engaging experience while exercising.

"Embodiments of the invention relate to a portable electronic device for providing real-time interaction between a user performing an exercise routine and a virtual competitor. Some embodiments of the portable electronic device may include a sensor for receiving a plurality of user performance metrics associated with the user, a processor for generating a comparison between the plurality of user performance metrics and a competitor workout file associated with the virtual competitor, and a display for displaying a summary of the comparison in real-time.

"Other embodiments of the invention relate to a portable electronic device for providing real-time interaction between a user performing an exercise routine and a virtual competitor. An exemplary portable electronic device may include a network interface for receiving a workout file associated with the virtual competitor and for receiving a plurality of performance metrics associated with the user. The portable electronic device may also include a user input device for receiving an instruction to play the workout file and an output module for playing media associated with the plurality of performance metrics associated with the user and the workout file associated with the virtual competitor.

"Other embodiments of the invention relate to a network server, e.g., a web server, for facilitating communications among a plurality of electronic devices over a network to implement a real-time interactive application. An exemplary web server may include an input module for receiving from a first electronic device a first plurality of performance metrics associated with a first user and for receiving from a second electronic device a second plurality of performance metrics associated with a second user. The device may also include an output module for causing a display associated with the first electronic device to display graphics associated with the second plurality of performance metrics and for causing a display associated with the second electronic device to display graphics associated with the first plurality of performance metrics.

"Other embodiments of the invention relate to a portable electronic device for providing interactive game play between a user performing an exercise routine and a virtual competitor. An exemplary portable electronic device may include a sensor input for receiving a plurality of performance metrics associated with the user, an output module for displaying a user avatar associated with the user and for displaying a competitor avatar associated with the virtual competitor, and a user input device configured to receive commands to control the user avatar. In some embodiments, the competitor avatar may be responsive to the movement of the user avatar.

"Another embodiment of the invention relates to a system for providing interactive game play between a user performing an exercise routine and a virtual competitor. An exemplary system may include a portable electronic device configured to detect a plurality of user performance metrics associated with the exercise routine. In some embodiments, the portable electronic device may be configured to receive a user input during the exercise routine. The system may also include a computer, in communication with the portable electronic device, configured to generate a comparison between the plurality of user performance metrics and a plurality of virtual competitor performance metrics and to display a visualization of the comparison. In some embodiments, the visualization may include an avatar associated with the user and responsive to user input."

 
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