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Augmented climbing wall taken into pilot use at Boulderkeskus

Interactive exercise motivates both beginners and the more experienced – and inspires children.

An augmented climbing wall, developed at Aalto University, combining projected graphics and body tracking using machine vision has been introduced as a pilot project at the Boulderkeskus bouldering center.

The wall makes it possible to bring new kinds of exercise games and educational applications into places where people are already engaging in exercise and sport.  At the Boulderkeskus, the electrification of exercise is seen as a good thing. The interactive aspect makes climbing more interesting, and it is easy to spend more time on an augmented wall than on an ordinary climbing wall.

'I have noticed that climbing on an augmented wall will easily bring more users and spectators. Children have also been excited about the new game wall', says Jarmo Annunen, founder of the Boulderkeskus.

Unlimited possibilities

According to Aalto University Postdoctoral Researcher Raine Kajastila the pilot makes it possible to engage in long-term research in a realistic environment.

'The number of daily users is many times that of a study conducted in a laboratory, and we also get immediate feedback from all climbers. Many climbers have said that the digital wall combines two of the best things: computer games and climbing', Kajastila says.

Many climbers have said that the digital wall combines two of the best things: computer games and climbing.

'A digital wall has nearly limitless possibilities for developing games and for comparing the achievements of climbers. Now there is one game on the wall in use and more different kinds of applications are being installed later', Annunen adds.

Raine Kajastila and Professor Perttu Hämäläinen are currently working together with the Boulderkeskus to plan what kinds of competitive routes that differ from normal climbing walls can be implemented on an augmented wall.

'The aim is to develop a route that completely differs from the ordinary, in which the possibilities offered by an augmented climbing wall are utilized', Annunen reveals.

Bouldering involves climbing on a lower walls without ropes, with a mattress beneath the wall to cushion any falls. The purpose of the augmented climbing wall is to speed up the learning of motor skills and to make the different aspects of practice fun by increasing suitable goals and by encouraging social interaction between climbers.

The final competition of the Boulder League will be held on 11 April 2015 at the Boulderkeskus Isatis.

Link to video: https://vimeo.com/123021654

Further information

Postdoctoral Researcher Raine Kajastila
Aalto University School of Science Department of Computer Science
[email protected]
Tel. +358 50 431 6701

Professor Perttu Hämäläinen
Aalto University School of Science Department of Computer Science
[email protected]
Tel. +358 50 596 7735

Jarmo Annunen, Boulderkeskus Isatis
j[email protected]
Tel. +358 44 078 1120

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