December 10, 2008

Idea: Treadmill eBook Reader

Treadmills and other aerobic exercise machines are pretty sophisticated these days. The ones at my gym feature touch-sensitive computer screens that you can use to track your progress, watch TV, or even control your iPod.

But some people see the treadmill as a good place to get some reading done. I see them struggling to figure out how to place a book or magazine on the machine without it falling, and even with a Treadmill Book Holder, it can be awkward to turn the pages. Plus, you have to carry all that around with you when you’re done running but still want to work out. It looks like a pain.

So how about adding an eBook reader to the list of treadmill features? The touch-screen computer is already there, so it seems like a very simple feature to add. It can be preloaded with hundreds of public domain classics. Just tap the screen to turn the page. By issuing gym members a PIN number, the treadmills could keep track of what they’re reading and what page they left off on. It could even be an outlet for selling new books. And the gym could have deals with magazine and newspaper publishers to provide their content as well.

A full fledged web browser with all my RSS feeds would be too difficult to navigate while exercising, I think. But a simple eBook reader could be just right. They could call it the tREADmill.


OMG, that is BRILLIANT! I would be totally inspired to work out if these were available rather than the lousy TV offerings (C-Span, sports, and for some unknown reason, cooking shows).

Market this. Quick.

I was in favor of your plan until the last word, at which point I became vehemently opposed to it.

I saw that coming as soon as I read the subject.

Yup… brilliant. Proceed.

You know, you come up with such brilliant ideas, so often… This is yet another reason why America is dumb. In a fair world, you’d be a multi-gazillionaire.

My problem with reading on a treadmill is the undulation of my head. I find it difficult to track text lines. I’ve yearned for a bouncy book holder…

I also wish I could read like that but if I’m on the treadmill I’m running and that’s … well, I don’t think eyes were made to do that. I just want one that can play DVD’s so I don’t have to choose between high school football on SportCenter and WifeSwap.

Unrelated - I love this blog (is that what we call it), and this is such a great idea, but really, PIN number? I once saw something that said “personal PIN number,” though. That was worse.

Amazon offers a wireless reading device called the Kindle, which is a nice option for reading while on the treadmill.

It would be even better if the ebook scrolls automaticly, so you don’t have to do things on the screen while running. Maybe even at the pace in which you are running… or linked to the treadmill. So you’ll HAVE to run, just to read the book. This works as well with DVD’s and music. Excercise, or else you’ll see and hear noting.
I’ve always wondered why the idea of green electricity, generated by exercise machines never caught on.

I think the treadmill people would be better off teaming up with Audible and offering a way to buy and listen to audio books as you run.

agree with @jeffrey - if you can read while your running you probably should run harder. precors are a whole other story, but that would defeat the purpose of that awesome pun at the end :)

Steelcase has an amazing concept… it’s called a WalkStation. They have a few of these WalkStations set up in offices around Cincinnati. Pretty sweet. I can’t see being able to do any type of detailed work on it. Steelcase reps were telling us that some of the offices that have purchased these WalkStations have signout sheets; employees sign out the station for 30-60 minutes and use that time to read and respond to emails. I don’t think the machine is meant to be used as a full break-a-sweat exercise. It’s just to keep you off your rear while at work.

What about privacy? Perhaps someone wants to read a controversial book, but they don’t want someone else to see that they are reading it. One could design it so that whenever the person gets off the treadmill, the e-book function ends.

Also, with public domain books, I doubt that many people would want to tackle, say, War and Peace while running! ;P Maybe there could be a pay-as-you go feature for more recent books, included with the cost of membership.

Great idea. But, I’d rather find a way to exercise while reading not read while exercising. If I’m exercising, I’m moving around entirely too much to read…maybe I just jiggle too much…reverb and all.

Funny. :)

I must agree that the idea sounds good, but being somewhat of a gym rat, I find that when you are on a treadmill you are there to run or work up a sweat. If you are going fast enough or slow enough to read, then you might want to bump up your work out. I think that audio books are better, the purpose of the TV’s and mp3’s are to distract our minds from the pain that we inflict on our bodies while running or biking. Great idea though. I am not saying that there aren’t people that would enjoy it, but I am one that finds it difficult to run and read at the same time.

Good idea for manufacturers since they could start new class of ebook readers for public use with some anti-vandal functions - stronger glass, metallic buttons probably, impact-resistant outer case, etc. And with such upgrade it can be installed in many public places. Nice for the market extension.