Dual-monitor work stations aims to keep you on the treadmill longer

In an effort keep his workout schedule on track [Jamie] built himself this dual-screen treadmill work station. He picked up the treadmill for about $50 on eBay, and after some follies with its shoddy construction, ended up with a pretty nice setup.

The first rendition of this project was just a wooden shelf to hold a laptop. But after the treadmill fell apart, sending his laptop tumbling, he reinforced the machine and added a bunch of stuff in the process. There’s now some custom electronics used to track his progress. He painted a white square on the black belt that makes up the running surface. That is monitored by a PIC microcontroller via a phototransistor and op-amp. He uses a USB data acquisition card to feed the belt-revolution count to the computer for use in tracking his workouts.

The presence of a computer in his setup would make Internet logging a snap too. The exercise bike we looked at on Saturday used a direct Ethernet connection for its logging, but [Jamie's] setup could be used in the same way. He just needs a script to bridge the collected data with an Internet logging site’s API.

7 thoughts on “Dual-monitor work stations aims to keep you on the treadmill longer

  1. My work has been doing a big push for improving health, weight loss, etc (I work at a call center), and I was just thinking yesterday that something like this would be interesting.

    My only fear is a next logical step is seeing FaceSpam “I just walked 300 miles today! Do I care? No.

    1. To ease the transition, suggest (to your employer) a progression of seated desk (presumed current) -> standing desk -> “exercise” (treadmill, stationary bike, whatever) desk.

      I made the transition from seated to standing with great results: I find I’m more productive, and I’ve lost weight (16, +/-, hours sitting versus standing).

      I highly recommend getting a cushioned mat to stand on, though.

  2. I’m in the process of building one of these myself. I’m using 1″ PVC for the frame and MDF for the shelving. It will hold 2 monitors, and a small side table for other stuff. Glad to see more of these builds. I get more ideas, each time I see one, and with PVC it’s so easy to change my design halfway through. That’s probably why I’m not done with it yet.

    1. why do you think we find such good deals on craigslist? ;)

      I picked up a top-of-the-line-in-07 used treadmill recently and tried it with a laptop ( just put a sidetable on top of the dinnertable in front of the treadmill ) and was surprised that a slow walking pace didn’t interrupt my concentration. Four hours passed very quickly. Usually I’d be tempting deep-vein thrombosis so this was a nice change.
      I’m going to build a proper laptop table mounted to the treadmill now.
      I may try to decode the signals from the control panel and let my laptop help with my workout too as now I’m manually controlling my intervals.

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