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article imageRock climbing meets augmented reality in New York

By Michael Thomas     Feb 6, 2016 in Technology
Brooklyn - Rock climbing walls are taken to a new level thanks to augmented reality (AR). Brooklyn Boulders holds a twice-monthly event where climbers have to complete a course in as short a time as possible while tapping targets.
The video-game-esque event comes courtesy of Jon Cheng of the coding company Randori, Fast Company reports. The setup isn't particularly difficult — all it takes is a projector, a camera and a laptop, and targets are projected across a wall.
Climbers have to try to hit the targets as quickly as possible, with each target sounding like something out of a video game when tapped. The projection shows how much time has elapsed and after each completed time trial, a leaderboard shows the fastest times.
In the video, Cheng says people often believe rock climbers are trying to escape the digital world. He says more often they're just trying to escape work. He also created the project to show climbers that coding is a skill for more than just creating web pages and apps. Its can also be used to enhance your life.
Since the augmented reality course took off at Brooklyn Boulders, Cheng said on the Randori blog that a number of gyms have contacted him to run the game at their locations.
According to Gizmodo, this isn't the first concept of an AR rock-climbing game. In 2014, Aalto University in Finland came up with a rock-climbing game that has rock climbers dodging animated obstacles as they climb. It made use of Microsoft's Kinect sensor, most closely associated with its Xbox 360 and Xbox One systems.
AR uses images, sound or GPS data to add a digital element to real life. It already has a number of applications in the real world. On the entertainment end, AR is already being used for mobile gaming, but it can also be useful in various professions. Since 2005, the medical profession has used a device called VeinViewer to help doctors more easily find veins. Soldiers can download battlefield data onto their goggles.
The most publicized foray into AR is undoubtedly Google Glass, a high-tech pair of glasses that is no longer for sale to consumers but is now being developed for enterprise personnel.
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