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"My only concern is that it wouldn't work, which I see as a problem."
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Many gyms have a dearth of the most popular equipment. Particularly, the elliptical trainers and similar low-impact aerobic equipment. There can often be a lengthy wait. You wouldn't want to stand in queue behind someone when you could be working different muscle groups elsewhere.
On to the idea.
Gym members are issued wristbands with RFID tags in them, which can be pressed against a panel to enqueue said person for the particular piece of exercise equipment.
A small receiver on the wristband, like a pager, will either vibrate or make an audible alert when the user's turn in the queue arises. There would be a two minute period in which one could approach the machine, log in, and begin exercising. If the user misses their two minute window, a different audible alert is issued, they are moved to the end of the queue, and the next user in line is paged.
Similarly, the concept could be applied to a bank of equipment instead of a particular unit, so if you would've chosen to enqueue on a trainer where the other user just began, it would be a bank-of-equipment-FIFO implementation.
RFID tags aren't really crucial to the idea, but it would seem like the smallest, lightest solution one could implement for short-distance wireless identification.
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||"Many gyms have a dearth of the most
popular equipment. Particularly, the
elliptical trainers and similar low-
impact aerobic equipment."
||I'm not going to your gym then. I tend
the elliptical trainer as a low impact
warm-up and so can't move on to
anything else until I've done that.
||Maybe you should be able to pre-book
your slot on the machine. That way you
know that you can start your workout
immediately provided that you are not
||I suppose the real problem is that it's hard for gyms to meet the demand for that sort of equipment. Almost everyone who goes to the gym starts the way you do. Perhaps log in and then do some light stretching in the interim.