CDI’s Smart Products Engineering team have pioneered the area of smart equipment in sports, including rock climbing.
Led by Professor Franz Konstantin ‘Tino’ Fuss, this sports engineering feature project has run continuously since 2002, when Professor Tino Fuss started pioneering the area of smart equipment in sport. Since then, the research into this field has resulted in 40 publications and several keynote lectures.
Prof Fuss and his former PhD student, Dr G. Niegl, a professional climber, put force transducers into climbing holds and extracted the load applied to handholds during 2 climbing competitions in Singapore in 2002 (national championship and World Cup). The data served for the development of a performance index, calculated from the force-time data.
This research has since expanded to associated areas such as:
- friction between hand and hold
- measurement of the difficulty of a climbing route
- mechanics of rope brakes
- double-handed dynamic moves
- dynamics of speed climbing
- IRCRA scale for route grading
- perception of hold surfaces, and
- smart wearable technology for measurement of the heart rate when speed climbing.
Our most recent study revealed that climbers assess the surface of a hold implicitly based on its slip resistance but not on its roughness.
We are currently working on affordable but accurate instrumentation of handholds for climbing gyms, in collaboration with the University of Canterbury.
Professor Franz Konstantin ‘Tino’ Fuss (who is also a founding member of the International Rock-Climbing Association / IRCRA)
Dr Guenther Niegl
This project is partnered with:
- Fuss FK, Tan Am, Pichler S, Niegl G, Weizman Y 2020: Heart rate behaviour in speed climbing. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: (article 1364):1-10,
Fuss FK, Weizman Y, Niegl G, Tan AM 2020: Climbers' perception of hold surface properties: roughness versus slip resistance. Frontiers in Psychology 11: (article 252):1-13,
Fuss FK, Niegl G 2014: Design and Mechanics of Mountaineering Equipment. In: Routledge Handbook of Sports Technology and Engineering, Eds: Fuss FK, Subic A, Strangwood M, Mehta R. Routledge / Taylor & Francis, London.
Fuss FK, Weizman Y, Burr L, Niegl G 2013: Assessment of grip difficulty of a smart climbing hold with increasing slope and decreasing depth. Sports Technology, 6(3), 122–129
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