New Techtopia Device Leverages AI for Climbing Gym Safety

Auto Belay Climbing on Walltopia Walls
Called Higher Eye, Techtopia’s new safety device uses AI to help keep climbers safer in the gym, and brings other game-changing benefits to gym climbing. (All photos courtesy of Walltopia)

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

In theory, climbing walls and high ropes sessions should be the safest of all “adventurous” activities. The environment is artificial and controlled, the equipment is well-engineered for the job, and there are tried and tested auto belay systems available to protect all involved.

In reality, human error can change the equation.

There seems to be an assumption that mechanical or technical failure is more common and serious than human error. The opposite is true. Accidents in climbing gyms are far more likely to be due to human error than mechanical failure. For instance, high-risk situations where a climber starts a climb without having attached to an auto belay have happened. Fortunately, accidents are rare, but the goal should be zero accidents.

According to Techtopia, when designing operations and choosing equipment, there is a need to reduce 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.

Techtopia CTO Dian Deskov
Dian Deskov, Techtopia’s CTO

“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 life-saving matter,” says Dian Deskov, one of the founders and CTO of Techtopia.

That’s why Techtopia’s team of high-tech engineers has created a superior belay supervision system. It relies on AI and incorporates the latest technology in image recognition into an all-seeing camera device that detects the movement of a climber approaching the climbing wall, follows and analyzes their actions while observing multiple points on the climber, and sets off an alarm in case the climber forgets to attach to the belay system of the wall and trespasses a certain height or into a neighboring 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 highly durable and resistant to the challenges a climbing gym can pose upon it. Beyond its core function to set off an alarm when a climber is not attached to an auto belay, the trained algorithms bring multiple additional features, such as:

  • Generating a heat map of the wall with statistics for the routes so that gym owners can see which ones are preferred by climbers.
  • Detailed information about each route, such as average time to climb, where the climbers drop most often, and which areas the climbers are passing fast or slow.
  • Tailored information for each climber, enabling them to see a recording of their climb and optimize their strategy and moves.
  • Future versions may also include a Head-Up Display (HUD) feature for each climber, which would project valuable real-time information that the climber could see while climbing.
Techtopia AI Device for Gym Safety
The Higher Eye technology by Techtopia in action, designed to be a digital “double-check” for gym climbers. “In a climbing gym, the importance of safety is a life-saving matter,” says Deskov.

Other Dimensions

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 behavior in a climbing gym―and ultimately save lives.

“If desired, the information can be further analyzed by applying predictive models to forecast the patterns that bring about the dangerous behavior, and even more, to get better refinements on the recognition,” explains Deskov.

In the future, Higher Eye could also be used to prevent accidents outside the gym, such as at intersections on the streets or public transportation stations―anywhere video and image systems can be leveraged to prevent human mistakes that could be a matter of life.


This story was paid for and produced by the sponsor and does not necessarily represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.
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Walltopia has designed, engineered, manufactured and installed more than 1800 projects in over 75 countries on 6 continents. With +20 years of experience in manufacturing climbing structures and a team of +600 professionals, Walltopia can take care of any gym project needs, from gym design to assembly, flooring solutions (Climbmat), holds and volumes (Holdtopia), maintenance and inspection. Walltopia is also the organizer of the World Indoor Climbing Summit (WICS), an event started in 2018 that focuses on the business side of the indoor climbing industry. Seeing a need for a more globally oriented industry gathering, and as a global supplier which communicates with industry leaders worldwide, Walltopia decided to bring the world of climbing into one place, inviting C-level executives from the industry to Sofia, Bulgaria. WICS hosts a conference program featuring topics on the business of indoor climbing that are valuable to gym owners and other industry leaders.