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Wearable audio device for climbers and belayers


Original Post
Claude Peon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Hey MP! We're a team of students at Georgia Tech designing a wearable device which helps facilitate communication between a climber and a belayer. 

Our goal is to design and prototype an audio device which reduces the number of accidents due to miscommunication when climbing outdoors. We've put together a quick survey and are looking for input from climbers. This is an early design phase; we are trying to gauge a sense of what climbers might want from such a device. If you've got about 4 minutes we would love your feedback!

https://goo.gl/forms/Xobi4okfePmLl3yo2

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 487

Hi, I took the survey. I think that if such a device worked well without being intrusive or uncomfortable, and wasn't very expensive it would be a great improvement and would sell well. I know of many climbers who use walkie talkies or other radios but they have the issue of picking up sounds that could confuse or eliminate the message, such as wind, music, or noises from other people/crag babies/crag dogs.

Squeak · · Perth West OZ · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 21
Claude Peon wrote:

Hey MP! We're a team of students at Georgia Tech designing a wearable device which helps facilitate communication between a climber and a belayer. 

Our goal is to design and prototype an audio device which reduces the number of accidents due to miscommunication when climbing outdoors. We've put together a quick survey and are looking for input from climbers. This is an early design phase; we are trying to gauge a sense of what climbers might want from such a device. If you've got about 4 minutes we would love your feedback!

https://goo.gl/forms/Xobi4okfePmLl3yo2

there are already quite a few types of P2P comms out there, some for bike rider to passenger rider to rider.. there's some we use in skydiving for air to air comms, with noise cancelling mics and ear buds. etc.. You may (or may not) be reinventing the wheel here.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

You lost me with the whole beeping thing, the possibility of climbers confusing one command for another, hitting the wrong button, possibility of another party using the same device, and having to learn the beeps, are all opportunities for misuse and the whole concept is a downgrade from my current communication preference for long multipitches which is a handheld radio, I can add an earpiece if constant communication is necessary. There is no opportunity for misuse as I use the same voice commands that I would if I were yelling, and can communicate any possibility or information not just a set of a few different commands. I would think the technology is there to produce a lightweight version of this radio setup, perhaps worn similar to a bluetooth headset but utilizing radio frequencies. That would be much more appealing to me. It's the difference between a sat phone and a spot.

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,346

I am not a fan of the random techno sounds that are supposed to indicate a message. I'd say yelling is far more effective than random robot sounds. The issue is those sounds can be confused with other sounds and more importantly I see a very huge probability of climbers just outright forgetting what the corresponding command is. Last thing you want to do is be up at the top of a pitch and trying to remember if R2D2 means off belay or take up slack. Without a clear message that doesent require memorizing random sound patterns, I think you're far more likely to create an accident than prevent one. I think if you're going to create a system like this it should follow the model of wireless headset real-time comms between partners so they can speak in plain English and get the message across.

Al Pine · · The 'yack, NY · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Joe Garibay · · Ventura, Ca · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 96

Two tin cans and a tag line. Cans double has passive pro and you have a tag line for an extended single rope rap. 

Claude Peon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
Joe Garibay wrote:

Two tin cans and a tag line. Cans double has passive pro and you have a tag line for an extended single rope rap. 

  

Seriously thanks everyone for your feedback.

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240
Joe Garibay wrote:

Two tin cans and a tag line. Cans double has passive pro and you have a tag line for an extended single rope rap. 

Waste, they just need to start putting cans on the end of each rope and run a line down the middle and your climbing rope can double as communication.

Andrew J. · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

This is stupid. lightweight earpiece walkie talkies would be a better option. Make them transmit as soon as you start to talk. Or just use rope tugs...

Nicholas Gillman · · Las Vegas · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 327

Im pretty sure someone posted about this same idea not long ago and it got almost no love at all they also had like beeps or lights or something to communicate basic commands.


EDIT : 

Here it is https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/113662828/we-have-a-solution-to-solve-communication-problems-while-on-a-multi-pitch-climb-

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
DrRockso wrote:                   

You lost me with the whole beeping thing, the possibility of climbers confusing one command for another, hitting the wrong button, possibility of another party using the same device, and having to learn the beeps, are all opportunities for misuse and the whole concept is a downgrade from my current communication preference

20 kN wrote:

I am not a fan of the random techno sounds that are supposed to indicate a message. I'd say yelling is far more effective than random robot sounds. The issue is those sounds can be confused with other sounds and more importantly I see a very huge probability of climbers just outright forgetting what the corresponding command is.

+1

Put me in the same "this is a dumb idea" camp.

Rox · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Agree with other comments that it would be annoying to have to memorize these sounds.  

Also, I generally have the most trouble communicating with new or not my usual climbing partners, so I feel like this would just complicate things further.  

Lastly, rockfall needs to be yelled for others to know about, not just your partner.  

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 735
Marc801 C wrote:

+1

Put me in the same "this is a dumb idea" camp.

+ another 1.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 735

Beep! bip-beeep!

Claude Peon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Thanks everyone for the feedback! We got plenty of responses so the survey is now closed.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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