Watch People Play ‘Pong’ on a Rock Wall With Augmented Climbing

Augmented reality meets indoor climbing

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Sep 17 2016, 7:00pm

How do you make Pong way more physically demanding than it needs to be and improve rock-climbing walls in the process? The answer, apparently, is augmented reality.

Billed as the "first global gaming platform for climbing walls," Augmented Climbing offers augmented reality tools for climbers to improve their climbing skills through gamified exercises. Some of its games include 'Whack-a-Bat' and 'Sparks,' which require climbers to navigate an "electrified" maze projected on the climbing wall. The game being demonstrated in the video is fittingly—if not uncreatively—is titled 'Climball,' and combines climbing with Pong.

Each game is designed to improve certain aspects of a climber's ability, like endurance and reach. To make these games happen, the folks at Augmented Climbing, a spinoff from Aalto University's gaming research lab in Finland, created a proprietary motion tracking software which was combined with a standard high definition projector and a depth sensor to monitor users as they move across a climbing wall.

The Augmented Climbing system can be implemented anywhere there is a regular climbing wall, and based on its ability to help climbers solve problems while on the wall in a fun way, it's plausible that Augmented Climbing will soon become a fixture at indoor climbing gyms.