Augmented Climbing Wall


Description of impact

The Augmented Climbing Wall is a multidisciplinary
research project and now a spinoff startup about
gamifying and motivating physical exercise through
augmented reality technology. The project demon-
strates excellence in multiple categories.

Societal impact: We targeted the societal prob-
lem of low physical activity motivation. We took
action by developing novel technology and
human-computer interactions based on sport
and exercise psychology. The startup Valo Mo-
tion was founded in September 2016 following
three years of research and publishing activity;
it has sold the system to over 35 countries,
totaling over €1m in revenue, and both our te-
lemetry data and customer feedback shows that
the system is highly popular and attracts new
people to climbing. The developed interactions
and games require heavy exertion; thus, we can
confidently say that the system succeeds in its
goal of making people exercise. Naturally, Valo
Motion has further societal impact through tax
and job generation.

Outreach/media visibility: The project has
achieved a record-setting 100m+ video views on
YouTube, Facebook, Imgur et cetera, with vis-
ibility in more ‘traditional’ media, such as the
Discovery Channel and New Scientist.

Research and design excellence: The project has
received two best paper honorary mentions in
leading conferences (ACM CHI, ACM CHI PLAY),
an international patent application, the Finn-
ish Game Award for best applied game (‘game
with a purpose’), shortlisted for Unity Awards,
three highly competitive grants totaling €900k
(one for commercialization from Tekes/Business
Finland, two for follow-up research from the
Academy of Finland, utilizing the Augmented
Climbing Wall as key research infrastructure)