ClimbAX wristbands monitor and assess your climbing skills
By Ben Coxworth
September 17, 2013
So, yep, a performance-monitoring device for yet another sport has been created. Just in the past 30 days alone, we've heard about new gadgets to help athletes improve their basketball and hockey skills. Now, a University of Newcastle tech spin-off has announced a system known as ClimbAX – and as its name implies, it's designed for climbers.
The hardware end of the system consists of two rubber-coated wristbands, one of which is worn on each wrist. Each of the wristbands contains an accelerometer, orientation sensor, altitude sensor, a NAND memory chip, and a 16-bit microprocessor.
Among other things, the wristbands are able to detect the orientation of each of the user's arms, along with when, how much, and how fast they move.
The idea is that users simply turn the wristbands on and configure them, go rock- or wall-climbing, then afterwards upload that session's data from the bands to the ClimbAX online processing system. There, the raw data will be analyzed and presented in terms of four metrics: Power, or "the quantity of isometric strength over the course of a move;" Stability, "the ability to remain composed while holding onto holds;" Control, "the ability to transition smoothly between holds," and Speed, which includes the total time it took to complete the climb, along with measurements of how much time was spent resting and how much was spent moving.
Non-climbing movements (such as if the climber stops to scratch their butt), are identified as such and ignored.
Utilizing their personal control panel on the ClimbAX website, users can additionally get an overall session score, track their performance over multiple sessions, observe their left/right-hand bias, and otherwise obsess over their climbing stats.
The technology is still in the final stages of development, and a Kickstarter campaign is planned for early November in order to raise production funds.
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