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This projector-powered augmented reality game takes climbing to a whole new level

Jon Cheng had a brilliant idea to improve his rock climbing skills and have fun while doing it. Using some basic web technologies and a projector, he turned the climbing wall of his local gym into a mini-arcade game. Cheng recently demoed his game during the community night at his local climbing gym, Brooklyn Boulders Somerset. As noted by Core77, the response from Cheng’s home gym and the Internet has been outstanding.

The premise of the game is simple. Climbers are challenged to tap the dots on the wall in order as fast as possible. Dots are projected on the wall by a projector which is connected to a computer that is controlling the game. The dots are placed according to the holds on the wall making it possible for players to climb and tap their way through the game. The placement and order of the dots were designed to accommodate newer climbers as well as challenge experienced climbers. They also are dynamic and can be modified for different climbing walls.

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Players are allowed to use any hand hold, technique, or route they want, they just have to tap according to the order of the dots as displayed on the wall. Scoring is done manually by the operator with a leaderboard keeping track of the climbers who complete the course in the shortest amount of time.

Following this demonstration, Cheng was approached by the climbing gym and asked to bring his game to future events. When news of his game went viral, other climbing facilities contacted Cheng about modifying his technology and bringing it to their gyms. Cheng used javascript, ruby on rails and other web-based programming languages to code the timed challenge, which is controlled manually in version 1.0.

Cheng is looking to improve the game in version 2.0 by adding some automation into the mix. The team is developing a motion capture system using a USB webcam that would track climbers and score them automatically. There also is the possibility of adding sensors to the hand holds to provide details on the path each player climbs.