We use data to measure our performance for almost every other outdoor sport these days so why not climbing? Apart from route grade, it is very difficult to tell just how much you have improved over a season. New company ClimbAX looks to deliver evidence based statistics on your climbing performance to help you not only improve, but motivate you to keep training.
The ClimbAX system consists of two wristbands (one for each side) and an online software tool. Developed by climber Cassim Ladha and colleagues at the University of Newcastle, the ClimbAX wristband uses the same accelerometer as your iPhone to detect when you are climbing and the orientation of your arms.
Once all the data collected from your climbing session is uploaded, it is passed through a sophisticated machine learning algorithm in order to create useful feedback.The first stage in the process is to separate out the climbing activity from the non-climbing activity. The algorithm then proceeds to identify individual climbs and subsequently individual moves.
The online tool breaks down your performance into 4 core skills: Power, Control, Stability, and Speed. You can compare your current performance on a certain session, route, or even individual moves to historical sessions in order to track your gains. As improving your control and stability can drastically improve your climbing, the online tool particularly looks for micro-vibrations on holds and moves that suggest your lack of composure.
ClimbAX is still working to perfect both the device and software tool, but hopefully the system will be commercially available sometime soon. I would really love to test this out. Thoughts, climbers?