Despite rapid advances in 3D printing, fabricating large, durable and robust artifacts is impractical with current technology. We focus on a particularly challenging environment-scale artifact: rock climbing routes. We propose a prototype fabrication method to replicate part of an outdoor climbing route and enable the same sensorimotor experience in an indoor gym. We start with 3D reconstruction of the rock wall using multi-view stereo and use reference videos of a climber in action to identify localized rock features that are necessary for ascent. We create 3D models akin to traditional indoor climbing holds, fabricated using rapid prototyping, molding and casting techniques. This results in robust holds accurately replicating the features and configuration of the original rock route. Validation was performed on two rock climbing sites in New Hampshire and Utah. We verified our results by comparing climbers moves on the indoor replicas and original outdoor routes.


Thank you to our dedicated rock climbers: William Braasch, Wayne Norse, and Patrick Xu; the Dartmouth College Thayer Machine Shop for fabrication resources; the anonymous reviewers for their feedback; and our colleagues Kevin Chen, Elaine Cohen, Perttu H¨am¨al¨ainen, Jaakko Lehtinen, and Frieder Wittmann for insightful discussions. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers 1464267, 1617172 and 1622360. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of Activision.



    author= {Emily Whiting and Nada Ouf and Liane Makatura and Christos Mousas and Zhenyu Shu and Ladislav Kavan},
    title = {Environment-Scale Fabrication: Replicating Outdoor Climbing Experiences},
    booktitle = {Proc.\ 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
    publisher = {ACM},
    year= {2017},
    pages = {1794--1804},