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A game-changing device uses AI to maximise safety in climbing gyms

Techtopia, a member of the Walltopia Group of companies, has announced the launch of a new product that claims to solve the complex problem of safety in climbing gyms.

One of the founders and CTO of the Techtopia , Dian Deskov comments: “In theory, climbing walls and high ropes sessions should be the safest of all ‘adventurous’ activities. There should be no uncertainty of outcome beyond how far an individual will be able to climb. The environment is artificial and controlled, the equipment is well-engineered for the job and there are tried and tested autobelay systems available to protect all involved. In reality, human error changes the equation.

“There seems to be an assumption that mechanical or technical failure is more common and more serious than human error. In fact the opposite is true – accidents in climbing gyms are far more likely to be due to human error than mechanical failure. High-risk situations where a climber starts his ascend without having attached himself to an autobelay happen every day. Happily, accidents are rare but they should not really happen at all.

“When designing operations and choosing equipment, we need to focus on reducing the possible negative impact of human factors. It is crucial that wherever possible, at every critical point in the system, there is some form of a double-check.

“We stand at the dawn of a new era. It’s an exciting time to be living and working, especially in IT. Various Digital Enabling Technologies, such as AI and IoT, have come of age together, allowing us to work and operate in ways that were impossible a few years ago.

“In the world of artificial climbing ensuring climbers’ safety has always been a top priority and a challenge. In a climbing gym, the importance of safety is a lifesaving matter.

Techtopia’s team of high-tech engineers has created a system that it says is smarter than any of the existing belay supervision systems available. It relies on AI and incorporates the latest technology in image recognition into an all-seeing camera device that detects the movement of a human approaching the climbing wall, follows and analyses his actions observing multiple points on his body, and sets off an alarm in case the human forgets to attach to the belaying system of the wall and trespasses a certain height or into a neighbouring climbing route. Gym owners can set the zones and parameters they want to have observed and monitored.

The name of the belay assurance camera system – a proprietary development of Techtopia, is Higher Eye. Its camera is said to be highly durable and resistant to all challenges a climbing gym can pose upon it. Beyond its core function to alarm when a climber is not attached to an autobelay, the trained algorithms bring multiple additional features such as:

  • Generating a heat map of the wall with statistics for the routes so gym owners can see which ones are preferred by climbers.
  • Detailed information about each route as average time to climb, where the climbers drop most often, what areas are the climbers passing fast or slow.
  • Tailored information for each climber, enabling them to see a recording of their climb and optimise their strategy and moves.
  • Future versions may also include a Head-Up Display (HUD) feature for each climber that will project valuable real-time information that would be always in the sight of the climber.

Тhanks to AI and Advanced Analytics technology, Higher Eye provides an end-to-end video-based, real-time analysis of humans and objects to detect, highlight and prevent potentially dangerous behaviour in a climbing gym and ultimately save lives.

“If desired, the stream together with the events can be further analysed by applying predictive models to forecast the patterns that bring to the dangerous behaviour, and even more, to get better refinements on the recognition,” explains Deskov.

The videos and photos generated by the device will most definitely appeal to the users craving for social media content. Higher Eye has also a high potential for future use preventing accidents on the streets – on crossroads or public transport stations and generally, everywhere video and image systems can be leveraged to prevent human mistakes that can be a matter of life.

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