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Computer Controlled Weight Machines
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Jesse Lee Otis

This subject has interested me for a long time; it could well be a succession of the cam machines. Below are two links (to maybe the same patent info). Does anyone know if that(those) patent(s) ever 'took flight' - and, if so, where one can find machines that employ it ?

http://www.freepatentsonline.c...

https://patents.google.com/...t/US4869497A/en


Any info much appreciated.

Jesse Lee
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Equity

Jesse Lee Otis wrote:
This subject has interested me for a long time; it could well be a succession of the cam machines. Below are two links (to maybe the same patent info). Does anyone know if that(those) patent(s) ever 'took flight' - and, if so, where one can find machines that employ it ?

http://www.freepatentsonline.c...

https://patents.google.com/...t/US4869497A/en


Any info much appreciated.

Jesse Lee


Jesse,

Very technical and abstract.

I've come across patent listings before and it becomes a precise legal issue (if someone wants to make something similar).

Alot of patents don't take flight and are left in the annals of history. Clever marketing and good sales techniques make all the difference.

Regards.

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Jesse Lee Otis

Jesse,

Very technical and abstract.

I've come across patent listings before and it becomes a precise legal issue (if someone wants to make something similar).

Alot of patents don't take flight and are left in the annals of history. Clever marketing and good sales techniques make all the difference.

Regards.

[/quote]


Thanks for the reply.

Those articles are indeed technical & abstract; I got the gist of them but certainly did not wade through the whole text.

From what I have seen, no machine has incorporated that functionality. To paraphrase what you said, a lot of patents gather dust and never get off the ground. Seems like that one did just that. Some really good engineering is needed (Arthur Jones style) to actually create a machine with the works of that patent.

It would be interesting to talk to the actual inventors to get their take on the whole thing.

Jesse Lee

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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

How does it handle a stutter rep, or if you decide to do partials at the end of a set?
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Jesse Lee Otis

Brian Johnston wrote:
How does it handle a stutter rep, or if you decide to do partials at the end of a set?



I have no idea, Brian. I didn't read all that stuff in the patent article - and I don't know if that is even mentioned.

On another note, the dates on that article are 1987 and 1989 - so it was some time ago that it was applied for / granted.

Jesse Lee
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Jesse Lee Otis

Does anyone here know how I can ask Dr. Darden himself about that ? I don't know how to get a 'direct line' to him.


Jesse Lee
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
Oh brother,all we need is one more computer running our lives! Thanks but I'll stick to my simple iron! Perhaps you could find more information on the CyberDyne Web site, ha ha.
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Average Al

The original assignee for one of the patents was Universal Gym Equipment, a company founded by Harold Zinkin.

I vaguely remembered that Arthur Jones had a feud with another exercise machine company, back in the day. So, after some research, I was able to verify that Universal Gym Equipment was the maker of the "Universal" machine, one of Nautilus's rivals.

Google "The War of the Gym Machines: Muscles Caught in the Middle" and "Washington Post" and you should be able to find an article from 1977 discussing the feud.

I didn't bother to read the patents in detail, but my impression is that this is a utility patent, written broadly enough to provide patent protection for a fairly broad concept, without having enough details to produce a workable machine.

Whether or not it would have stood up to a court challenge is not clear. (Broad concepts are not supposed to be given patent protection, only specific, novel implementations or inventions are granted patent protection.)

I recall that similar kinds of broad patents appeared in the early days of information technology. An example might be someone trying to patent the idea of selling online via computers. Generally these kind of broad patents are considered bad or undesirable, because they stifle innovation.

In any case, since these were issued in 1987 and 1989, they have long since expired. Universal Gym Systems was sold to Flexible Flyer in 1998. The wikipedia article on the company doesn't indicate that they ever tried to design or market any kind of computer controlled machine. My guess is that they were probably just trying to stake out patent protection against future product developments by their chief rival, Nautilus.



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Resultsbased

I'll take a dumbbell or barbell over a machine any day!
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
Many years ago when Nautilus first came out I wanted a pullover in the worst way and went to Deland only to find out I couldn't come close to affording one so living near Washington DC I went to the patent office to see the patent to try and copy one. The actual patent was very primitive, almost like some kid drew it and was of no use at all to build one. It was 30 years before I found the machines could be had for next to nothing.
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Average Al

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Many years ago when Nautilus first came out I wanted a pullover in the worst way and went to Deland only to find out I couldn't come close to affording one so living near Washington DC I went to the patent office to see the patent to try and copy one. The actual patent was very primitive, almost like some kid drew it and was of no use at all to build one. It was 30 years before I found the machines could be had for next to nothing.


Do you happen to remember what the patent covered?

The earliest Arthur A. Jones/Nautilus patent I could find via google was for a pull over machine, and the diagrams look pretty detailed. (3,858,873 issued 1971)

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entsminger

Virginia, USA

Average Al wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Many years ago when Nautilus first came out I wanted a pullover in the worst way and went to Deland only to find out I couldn't come close to affording one so living near Washington DC I went to the patent office to see the patent to try and copy one. The actual patent was very primitive, almost like some kid drew it and was of no use at all to build one. It was 30 years before I found the machines could be had for next to nothing.

Do you happen to remember what the patent covered?

The earliest Arthur A. Jones/Nautilus patent I could find via google was for a pull over machine, and the diagrams look pretty detailed. (3,858,873 issued 1971)



==Scott===
I can?t remember what I saw yesterday much less 30 years ago ,ha ha. It showed a rough approximation of the basic shape. I think the cam was the key? I believe later on the drawings were improved ? At the time I had collected old monkey bars and swing set metal and was going to make. one. What a joke!! Now when I look back at that insanity I?m glad I didn?t waste the time. I love the machines but the pullover or any other Nautilus machine was not a game changer , just another way to work the muscles differently.
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Jesse Lee Otis

Thanks to all for the info, feedback and discussion. Very interesting viewpoints and such.

Jesse Lee

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DSears

entsminger wrote:
Average Al wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Many years ago when Nautilus first came out I wanted a pullover in the worst way and went to Deland only to find out I couldn't come close to affording one so living near Washington DC I went to the patent office to see the patent to try and copy one. The actual patent was very primitive, almost like some kid drew it and was of no use at all to build one. It was 30 years before I found the machines could be had for next to nothing.

Do you happen to remember what the patent covered?

The earliest Arthur A. Jones/Nautilus patent I could find via google was for a pull over machine, and the diagrams look pretty detailed. (3,858,873 issued 1971)



==Scott===
I can?t remember what I saw yesterday much less 30 years ago ,ha ha. It showed a rough approximation of the basic shape. I think the cam was the key? I believe later on the drawings were improved ? At the time I had collected old monkey bars and swing set metal and was going to make. one. What a joke!! Now when I look back at that insanity I?m glad I didn?t waste the time. I love the machines but the pullover or any other Nautilus machine was not a game changer , just another way to work the muscles differently.


If Ken Hutchins is correct about Timed Static Contractions then a static pullover is easy enough to do. I use the tricep machine at my gym and at home I can just put a towel down on my kitchen table for padding and use that.

I owned a Nautilus first generation pullover for several years with the intention of fixing it up. I never did find the time for it and finally sold it.
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Brian A Schamber

Texas, USA

Does anyone have thought on a Biodensity Machine? I think that it could be a good adjunct to cam machines, leverage machines, bodyweight exercise, barbells, dumbbells.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

Brian A Schamber wrote:
Does anyone have thought on a Biodensity Machine? I think that it could be a good adjunct to cam machines, leverage machines, bodyweight exercise, barbells, dumbbells.



==Scott==
I Googled Biodensity machine and up popped a $45,000 and $65,000 machine! I think you can guess my thoughts on such a bargain basement machine, ha ha!
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Brian A Schamber

Texas, USA

There is a company called OsteoStrong that uses it. They charge $150 a month for once a week training.
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Average Al

Brian A Schamber wrote:
Does anyone have thought on a Biodensity Machine? I think that it could be a good adjunct to cam machines, leverage machines, bodyweight exercise, barbells, dumbbells.


It is a machine that lets you perform 4 isometric exercises with feedback on the amount of force you are using. Having feedback is a nice touch, because it keeps the trainee honest, and lets the trainer track progress.

It is pretty well established that isometrics will increase strength, especially in untrained subjects, and the company that sells it has done studies showing that it improves bone strength/density. So I have no doubt that it works, and would provide benefits to some people. But it seems like a pretty expensive way to do isometrics, especially if you are already doing conventional strength exercises with free weight, machines, etc. If you are one of those guys, you already know how to do improvised isometrics a lot more cheaply.

I think the product is primarily made for a different market - older sedentary people who would never think of stepping into a gym. For those people, it is clearly better than doing nothing. And if a chiropractor or family doctor can convince them to at least get off the recliner once a week and do a 15 minute no sweat workout in what looks like a medical clinic setting, that?s great. They will be stronger than they otherwise would have been.
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

Resultsbased wrote:
I'll take a dumbbell or barbell over a machine any day!


Why ?
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

Jesse Lee Otis wrote:
This subject has interested me for a long time; it could well be a succession of the cam machines. Below are two links (to maybe the same patent info). Does anyone know if that(those) patent(s) ever 'took flight' - and, if so, where one can find machines that employ it ?

http://www.freepatentsonline.c...

https://patents.google.com/...t/US4869497A/en


Any info much appreciated.

Jesse Lee


This looks like it might be the basis for some machines that Bill Pearl was pitching ads for a few years back. I think he made a passing reference to them in his last book with a photo of him with a blue background on the cover.
I think the resistance was supplied by a magnetic " clutch " that produced " braking " to increase resistance and. reduced " .braking to lessen the resistance.
Just a guess.
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

entsminger wrote:
Average Al wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Many years ago when Nautilus first came out I wanted a pullover in the worst way and went to Deland only to find out I couldn't come close to affording one so living near Washington DC I went to the patent office to see the patent to try and copy one. The actual patent was very primitive, almost like some kid drew it and was of no use at all to build one. It was 30 years before I found the machines could be had for next to nothing.

Do you happen to remember what the patent covered?

The earliest Arthur A. Jones/Nautilus patent I could find via google was for a pull over machine, and the diagrams look pretty detailed. (3,858,873 issued 1971)



==Scott===
I can?t remember what I saw yesterday much less 30 years ago ,ha ha. It showed a rough approximation of the basic shape. I think the cam was the key? I believe later on the drawings were improved ? At the time I had collected old monkey bars and swing set metal and was going to make. one. What a joke!! Now when I look back at that insanity I?m glad I didn?t waste the time. I love the machines but the pullover or any other Nautilus machine was not a game changer , just another way to work the muscles differently.


After thinking about it for 48 years, I think the " game changer " you and every other would be bodybuilder was looking for did exist but Arthur fucked it up when he realized what the marketing potential of a change to the machines,suggested by Bill Pearl ,could be. So when he calmed down and thought about what Pearl had done he incorporated the idea into Nautilus machines and that was that. I think the real problem with the machines,excess friction,would have eventually been corrected much sooner ,than it did , if Arthur had not incorporated Pearl's idea.
Additionally, Arthur's original idea about how cams should be " profiled " was abandoned at some point and I don't think that was Arthur's idea either. Some of the MedX cams are so poorly designed taking the new idea behind the cam changes,I just pointed out , to it's logical conclusion. For instance on the MedX pullover the cam is designed so that as you approach the position of full contraction the resistance falls off dramatically. In the last 25 degrees or so I can,utilizing the range limiter, easily move the entire weight stack whereas in the first 50 degrees ( approximately) I have a tough time getting 12 reps with 120 lbs.
The cam on the MedX bicep machine does not have a fall off of resistance that is quite as dramatic but it does fall off almost entirely in the position of full contraction, so much so that I can hold100 lbs of resistance in that position all day long if I wanted to without breaking a sweat. With that same amount of resistance I get about 10 reps if I don't linger in the fully contracted position.
Many of the other MedX machines have similar problems,with some exceptions, with the cam profiles.
Arthur's original idea concerning cam profiles, was that since a muscle is potentially the strongest in the position of full contraction then the cam should gradually increase the resistance , throughout the full range of motion ,until you reached the fully contracted position where the resistance would be the greatest.
He thought that since you only have,for all intents, the correct amount of resistance at the " sticking point " with barbells that if you had as much resistance as you could handle throughout the full range of motion and especially in the position of full contraction that you would have the perfect exercise. With that in mind he designed the first cams to do just that.
If you have access to one of the original plate loading bicep/tricep machines ,with the original cams,you can easily see what I'm talking about after one full rep with the curl. The resistance gradually increases as you move to the point of full contraction where you will now have the greatest amount of resistance and you have to really work hard to keep it in that position for even a second and if you've picked the right amount of resistance that will allow you to get about 10 reps, in good form, and you keep trying to move the bar until you can't even move it a few inches and then pull into it as hard as you can for 2 or 3 seconds then you will have worked your biceps through a full range of motion with ,no points of little or no resistance,no " sticking points " , then you will have worked to full muscular failure. Then ,with one set, you will have pumped your arm as never before.
However you can't do that with later Nautilus machines or any other machine I''m aware of and your certainly cannot do that with a barbell.
You might get close to that kind of pump but you will have to do a shitload of sets and reps to get close.
If you get one of those old plateloaders , change out the bushings for really good needle bearings and change the cable or the chains to Kevlar belts but don't change the cams and you will have as perfect an arm machine as you can get.
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Resultsbased

"Why ?"

Bill,

Economics - very affordable, versatile and productive (in many cases) beyond machines produced past or present.

The dumbbell has produced countless quality physiques. Still waiting for the machines to improve upon these primitive tools.
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Average Al

The idea that a muscle is strongest in the most contracted position was also the basis for John Little's maximum contraction system. However, I don't believe it is physiologically correct. My understanding is that muscles are strongest in the mid range position, when you get maximum myosin/actin overlap. That isn't usually the position of maximum leverage, however. Depending on the movement, the point of maximum contraction may feel stronger due to leverages.

There is also an issue with the idea of an ideal resistance profile. According to some diagrams that I've seen published by the David company (European manufacturer of strength machines), muscles do not fatigue uniformly. Rather, muscles become weaker more rapidly in the contracted position. In other words, as you fatigue, the strength profile of the muscle changes. So you can build a profile for fresh muscle, or fatigued muscle, or something in between. But you really can't build a profile that is ideal throughout a set of reps.

Consider this in the context of something like a pull down exercise: as you fatigue, you become disproportionately weaker in the contracted position. The first thing that happens as you get sufficiently fatigue is that you can no longer get into the fully contracted position. Failure begins with a gradual shortening of the range of motion that you can achieve. (The natural response is to start using momentum to compensate.)

Now you can accept this, and just keep going as far as you can with each rep, until you can't produce any movement. In effect, the sticking point keeps moving on you. Or you can add a fall off cam, so that the exercise feels easy in the most contracted position, at the beginning, but then starts to get hard as the muscle fatigues. Different machine designers obviously have different ideas about what works best. But does anyone have enough evidence to settle the question? I sure don't know.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

If you get one of those old plateloaders , change out the bushings for really good needle bearings and change the cable or the chains to Kevlar belts but don't change the cams and you will have as perfect an arm machine as you can get.

==Scott==
I've have or had many of the original plate loaders and I found for my structure that the excess resistance in the contracted position only reduced the number of complete reps I could do in a set. Some say that after time your body would adapt to the harder contracted position and it would even out but it never did for me. It always felt too easy at the beginning of the rep and too hard at the contracted part. Later on when Nautilus evened out the resistance in the rep I was much happier. I had a ton of off brand machines where the resistance varied significantly through out the rep. That sucked. To me the beauty of a good Nautilus machine was that it was designed so the rep felt even through out the rep. I still have one of the first plate loading pullovers. Everyone rants and raves about it but I don't like it. First of all it's designed for bigger framed guys like 6 foot 3 , I'm 5'7" and secondly the contracted position resistance is just to much. Ideally it should have been designed so the resistance in the contracted position could be varied to suit the individual.
On the other hand I have the plate loading bi-tri and I love it!
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
I remember the story of Pearl taking Arthurs plate loading curl and adding a weight stack to it. I'm sure adding that was a big mistake as it introduced problems like friction etc. My plate loading curl--tri is my favorite machine! It would be interesting to have the plate loader and weight stack version side by side to compare them!
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