News

Augmented games can increase the diversity of sports

Augmented climbing wall increases social interaction, helps to attract wider target audiences and empowers users to become content creators.

Augmented climbing wall operates as a huge touch screen. It combines body tracking with custom computer vision software, depth camera, and projected graphics. A conference paper about the system received a best paper honorary mention in the ACM CHI 2016, the leading conference on Human-Computer Interaction.

– The goal of the augmented climbing wall is to increase the diversity of movement and add new challenges to the sport, states Perttu Hämäläinen, professor of computer games at Aalto University, Finland.

The study highlights three opportunities in digital augmentation of a sport. First, interactive augmented visuals can increase the diversity of movements and challenges. Secondly, users can easily become content creators with a low risk. And thirdly, digital content can be procedurally generated for endless gaming experience.

The system also makes possible to have hundreds of climbing routes on a relatively small wall.

– Climbing as such, is mostly climbing upwards with your own pace. Augmented climbing makes it different, as you can add new challenges, such as timing of moves, evading moving obstacles, and climbing in all directions. The system also makes possible to have hundreds of climbing routes on a relatively small wall, says Postdoctoral researcher Raine Kajastila.

Digital augmented content allows anyone to create new games and challenges. It even enables a social community of players giving advice to each other. It is possible to create one’s own climbing route, which can be rated and commented by others. The researchers believe such a safe-to-edit digital content layer could be extended to other sports as well.

– What was surprising that 3 out of 50 respondents mentioned the augmented climbing game making them to forget their fear of heights. And climbing downwards, often regarded as boring, was considered meaningful and fun, adds Hämäläinen.

Really great grip practice! I forgot to fear heights and falling.

Other responses of the climbers included, among others:

Fun endurance practice that does not feel like practice. Makes one sweat, panic and laugh.

Spending a longer time on the wall.

Really great grip practice! I forgot to fear heights and falling.

More exciting, one could participate as a spectator by giving instructions related to the moving lines.

There are also challenges that can provide pointers for future work. Climbing close to such a large display causes challenges for perception and interaction, as the climber cannot always perceive what happens for instance below his or her feet. Furthermore, extrinsic motivation such as leaderboards may induce cheating. The most common cheating method was to use two simultaneous players in order to score as high as possible. In addition, the magnesium carbonate dust in the climbing gym caused challenges for the hardware. The projector and computer need to be well protected from the magnesium dust, otherwise they will break fast.

– However, the Augmented climbing wall is versatile and compact. In addition to the use in climbing gyms, it seems a good fit for indoor sports facilities for children, fitness centers and events. The users highly recommended that the games are suitable for all from kids to advanced climbers. Dozens of climbing centers all around the world have already contacted us and would love to have one, concludes Kajastila.

The Augmented climbing wall has been in continuous daily use for months in two locations Boulderkeskus bouldering gym in Helsinki and Irtimaasta family climbing center in Tampere.

A patent is pending for the Augmented climbing wall technology and the climbing wall project is currently in a commercialization phase, soon available globally.

More information:

Postdoctoral researcher Raine Kajastila
Aalto University, Department of Computer Science
tel. +358 50 431 6701
[email protected]

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

Website: http://valomotion.com/

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

A penannular brooch with enamel decorations: a Roman-era find from Northern Savonia. Picture: Archaeological Collections, Finnish Heritage Agency.
Press releases Published:

What archaeological objects have been found in different parts of Finland? Researchers have developed FindSampo to bring together the discoveries made by citizens

FindSampo portal prototype, opened for public use on May 17th, 2021, contains information on thousands of discoveries made by citizens and the Finnish Heritage Agency in the archaeological catalogue application after 2015
Areas within and outside Safe Climate Space for food crop production in 2081-2100
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

Climate change threatens one-third of global food production

New estimates show that if greenhouse gases continue growing at current rates, large regions at risk of being pushed into climate conditions in which no food is grown today.
Vertailu ihmisen ja tekoälymallin näppäilystä
Press releases Published:

AI learns to type on a phone like humans

Computational model precisely replicates eye and finger movements of touchscreen users -- could lead to better auto-correct and keyboard usability for unique needs
Sameassa kuvassa näkyy ihmisiä ylittämässä katua Helsingissä.
Press releases Published:

Low level of education the clearest common feature behind payment defaults

Payment defaults are also more frequent among families with children and the recently divorced and their accumulation is common especially among young people and those with credit card and instalment payment debt, according to a recent study.