Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency in an Exercise Bike

by | Jul 11, 2011 | Creativity Tools, Ideation, Innovation Sighting | 0 comments

Pro-Form’s Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle lets users choose or create real-world routes, then adjusts the angle of the riding platform to replicate the experience of riding up and down those roads. This new product has three different features using the Attribute Dependency Tool of the corporate innovation method, SIT.

  • iFit Live:  With the iFit Live™ Technology Powered by Google Maps™ you can ride anywhere in the world! Choose from 24 pre-mapped courses or create your own. Ride over the Passage du Gois or climb the hills of Mont des Alouettes in France. Now you can experience these same trails and more on this Indoor Cycle. With iFit Live™ Technology you can ride where the Pro’s do. The world is at your fingertips. Map any route and enjoy the ride!
  • Incline/Decline:  Introducing incline and decline that matches the street! Now, you can experience any route around the world and Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle automatically adjusts the incline and decline to simulate the terrain! No matter the route, no matter the map, your bike moves to follow the road. So, you get a realistic workout-just as if you were outside-but without the traffic, potholes and weather. Now you can have the perfect day on your road bike every day of the year with Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle.
  • Intelligent Wind Resistance:  Any indoor bike can give you resistance-but only Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle can give you Intelligent Wind Resistance. Intelligent Wind Resistance automatically adjusts the resistance of your bike based on your wind profile. Our smart technology calculates your height and weight to apply the natural resistance you would get out on the road. A climb in your basement is exactly like a climb outside.

Wind Attribute Dependency differs from the other templates in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components.  Start with an attribute list, then construct a 2 x 2 matrix of these, pairing each against the others.  Each cell represents a potential dependency (or potential break in an existing dependency) that forms a Virtual Product.  Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves.  The Tour de France Indoor Cycle creates dependencies between rider preference, bicycle route, road elevation, and wind profile.

What caught my eye is the similarity of these ideas with those of my graduate students in my “Innovation Tools” course.  Using Systematic Inventive Thinking, they have to take a product category and apply the method to create completely new-to-the-world innovations.  For example, a group in my last class tackled the exercise equipment category with a focus on treadmills (see The LAB May 2011).

Compare these student’s ideas for treadmills with Pro-Form’s Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle.  Well done!