Through a combination of 3D modeling, digital fabrication, and other techniques, a Dartmouth-led research team has succeeded in replicating sections of outdoor rock climbing routes on an indoor climbing wall.
All of this was done in an effort to “Research environment-scale fabrication as well as measuring and replicating friction properties of natural materials, and studying the biomechanics of human locomotion in challenging conditions,” the authors of the study wrote.
They also noted that “Outdoor climbing areas are usually scarce and fragile and their extensive use for sport or recreational purposes represents environmental concerns.” As more climbers enter the sport their presence at outdoor crags is having an impact on those environments. “We believe that replicating outdoor routes could impact the indoor climbing gym industry and inspire future research in environment-scale fabrication as well as related scientific and technological questions.” This might be true but if the technology is widely adopted it could have a bigger impact on the outdoor scene.
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