Blundell, Thomas

Industrial Design & Technology BA

Final Year Design Project - APEX

Industrial Design and Technology student, Thomas Blundell has designed Apex, a tracking and guidance system for indoor climbing.

On a recent trip to a climbing centre Thomas was scaling a 25metre wall with friends providing advice and support from the ground. At 20m up, he was exhausted with his body beginning to show signs of fatigue. The calls from below couldn’t be heard and with seconds to spare, he took the decision to jump to a nearby hold. Unfortunately, he missed and was left dangling 7m below the most difficult section of the climb wondering what on earth had happened. Exhausted and dismayed at his failure to complete the climb, he wondered if there was a way to keep him on the right path? This experience spurred him to action and after months of work Apex was born. The design includes the use of two devices: one on the ground and one on the climber's harness.

Before setting off the climber inputs a pre-chosen route. A ground-based camera detects what it is looking at in 3D, picking out the climber and the route that was chosen. When the climber reaches key points on

the climb the harness mounted device vibrates to help the user move to the correct hold.

As well as guiding the user whilst climbing, the device tracks the climber and helps them to monitor their progress when finished. An app, linked to the device, records all climbs and enables the user to monitor their long-term progress. This helps the climber to improve more quickly and become more efficient as feedback on technique, route taken, timings etc. can be compared.

Thomas’ design challenges current sports tracking equipment that only provide feedback once the activity is over. It has a twofold benefit, helping users to not only attempt more challenging climbs, but also helping them to improve over time.

New Designers - APEX