The Apple Watch may use GymKit to interact with even more fitness machines for even more accurate data collection. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210205663) for a “wearable computer with fitness machine connectivity for improved activity monitoring.
With GymKit, customers using their favorite cardio equipment can pair their Apple Watch directly to treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes or stair steppers from global manufacturers such as Life Fitness and Technogym with a tap.
Background of the patent filing
The Apple Watch comes with a fitness/workout app app that uses a digital pedometer to track a user’s daily movements and provide customized notifications related to progress and workout results, such as distance traveled and calories burned. It also monitors the user’s heart rate, which can be used to calculate calories burned.
In the patent filing, Apple says that a typical digital pedometer relies on accelerometer data from an accelerometer to determine when a step is taken. If the wearable computer is worn on the wrist, accelerations due to arm swing may cause inaccurate step counts, resulting in inaccurate distance traveled measurements. The heart rate measurement, however, is often accurate due to the device being worn on the user’s wrist where the user’s heartbeat can be accurately measured.
When a user works out in a gym, they will often use a fitness machine that includes a processor that monitors the workout and generates fitness metrics summarizing the workout. For example, a treadmill may display to the user the total distance traveled, elapsed time and total calories burned during the workout. The total distance travelled is typically accurate because it is based on rotation of the treadmill motor shaft rather than accelerometer data. However, the total calories burned is often an estimate based on a model that doesn’t include the actual heart rate of the user.
Apple wants the Apple Watch to provide more accurate fitness/health data while working with a variety of fitness machines.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing: “Embodiments are disclosed for a wearable computer with fitness machine connectivity for improved activity monitoring. In an embodiment, a method comprises: establishing, by a processor of a wireless device, a wireless communication connection with a fitness machine; obtaining, by the processor, machine data from the fitness machine; determining, by the processor, a workout session according to the machine data; initiating the workout session on the wireless device; during the workout session: obtaining, from a sensor of the computing device, physiological data of a user of the fitness machine; determining, by the processor, fitness data for the user based on the physiological data, the machine data and at least one user characteristic; and sending, by the processor, the fitness data to the fitness machine.”