Rock-Climbing Is Better When Augmented Reality Turns It Into a Live Action Video Game

The stakes in actual rock-climbing get higher the higher you climb. One false grip and your body could get battered as badly as Homer Simpson when he fell down Springfield Gorge. An indoor climbing facility, however, is a simulation. If you fall, it’s not so high and the ground is deeply padded and you might even be deeply harnessed. Without certain death as a motivator, indoor rock climbers just have their desire to get to the end. It’s kind of like another kind of simulation: the world of video games. It was perhaps only a matter of time before these two worlds came together.

Jon Cheng of the coding company, Randori, recently used technological ingenuity from his job to game-ify one of his hobbies. He created a program called Time Trial that uses augmented reality to turn rock climbing into an interactive video game experience. Cheng and Randori decked the walls at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville to make it look as though the rocks lit up and chimed whenever climbers touched them. With multiple climbers ascending at the same time, while their times are projected on the wall, suddenly rock climbing begins to feel like an arcade experience. Well, one where you’re going to feel sore the next day.

In addition to creating a new twist on his hobby, Cheng wanted to start the project in order to show would-be coders that this is one of the major benefits of knowing how to code: the ability to enhance any aspect of your life. According to the Randori blog, a number of gyms have contacted Cheng since video of the product showed up online, wanting to enhance their members’ lives as well.

Watch the full video below.