Color-coding your climbing route on the training wall is so last century. That’s why two augmented-reality researchers from Aalto University in Finland developed a laser-projecting movement-tracking system that provides feedback in real time for climbers.
Perttu Hämäläinen and Raine Kajastila's projector sets climbing routes with a glowing line, while a depth-sensing camera tracks movement and offers suggestions for the next move. All holds that a climber touches can be stored for later use as a route build, or climbers can use the system's route automator to guide them and learn the holds of a certain route.
But the guidance doesn’t take all of the fun out of climbing. The duo is confident that some element of surprise remains for climbers—such as the virtual chainsaw projected onto the course that climbers have to avoid. And when someone falls, the systems detect that the ascent is over and automatically replay the climb on a nearby screen.
Hämäläinen and Kajastila tested a system with eight intermediate and experienced climbers; reviews varied from “good training for unexpected moves,” to “not very elegant climbing,” according to their proposal paper.
Sadly, you won’t be able to judge for yourself right away—News Scientist reports that the team is working to get a prototype up and running this fall.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.