Assistance system for climbing sports – Research topic March & April 2024

Can people with blindness and/or visual impairments also climb?

Yes, sighted people are often very surprised when they see people climbing even though they can’t see holds or rocks.

The handles and steps are felt with the arm and foot in a semi-circle. This works very well. However, assistance can also be provided from below by announcing the holds and their positions, especially when the routes become more challenging as your ability increases.

The SmartSportAssistance team is currently developing an assistance system for visually impaired people that will make it easier for affected people to recognise the next handholds on the wall more clearly. A trainer should be able to select the next grip on the wall via a mobile phone app. A light emitter sitting on a platform then automatically aligns itself with the selected handle. This allows the visually impaired climber to see the hold clearly highlighted in the field of vision. The trainer can also control the difficulty of the climbing route by selecting the next hold.

The research question that now arises: How would such an assistance system be received by affected people with visual impairments? We have already spoken to many affected people and the responses range from complete acceptance to rejection.

Become part of our research team and support our project with feedback and further ideas. Questions are also very welcome. Write a comment or contact us by e-mail.

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