Patent application title: CLIMBING HOLD DEVICE AND ASSOCIATED CLIMBING WALL SYSTEM
Bertrand Coste (Avignon, FR)
Nicolas Bastide (Robion, FR)
IPC8 Class: AA63B6900FI
Class name: Exercise devices gymnastic play area climbing or traversing arrangement (i.e., for use by children)
Publication date: 2013-12-19
Patent application number: 20130337979
A marking apparatus for climbing holds comprising an element shaped as a
climbing hold adapted to be set on a climbing wall or an element to be
integrated into a climbing hold, a casing comprising a light coupled to
an electric power supply and a remote control operated switch permitting
to turn on or off the light while the box is coupled to the element set
onto the climbing wall. The apparatus comprises a unique identifier
coupled to a climbing holds apparatus permitting to differentiate the
holds among a variety of holds and by the fact that the switch is adapted
to be triggered by a remote control and to accept triggering orders
coming only from the remote control corresponding to the identifier. A
climbing wall system made of a variety of climbing holds as
aforementioned and a controller comprising a man-machine interface and a
remote control operated holds apparatus.
10. A climbing holds apparatus comprising an element to be set onto a climbing wall or of an element to be integrated into a climbing hold, a casing comprising a light associated to an individual electric power supply and a switch permitting to turn on or off the light while the casing is coupled to the element fixed onto the climbing wall, wherein the apparatus is made of a unique identifier allowing to differentiate the holds apparatus among a variety of holds and wherein the switch is adapted to be triggered by a remote control and to accept triggering orders coming only from the remote control associated with the unique identifier.
11. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the light comprises means for emitting different colored light, and the switch comprises a color selector in order to select the emission of at least one of the colors.
12. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the identifier is encoded into a barcode set in the apparatus or in an electronic tag inside the casing.
13. A hold comprising a markings apparatus according to claim 10.
14. A climbing wall system comprising a variety of climbing holds according to claim 10 and a controlling system made of a man-machine interface and of a remote control for the holds.
15. The system according to claim 14, wherein the controller is adapted to define a climbing route by lighting lamps on the climbing holds, making clear the climbing route.
16. The system according to claim 14, further comprising a portable acquisition means for the identifier of the holds apparatus, allowing an opener to identify the holds which constitute a climbing route while the holds are set on the climbing wall.
17. The system according to claim 14, wherein the system is adapted to define a variety of climbing routes, through the selection of a pre-determined color, for a pre-determined climbing route.
18. The system according to claim 14, wherein the system is adapted to light the lamp of a pre-determined hold according to the progression of a user on the climbing wall.
 The hereby invention regards an apparatus of climbing holds for a climbing wall comprising a part shaped as a climbing hold adapted to be set on a climbing wall. It also regards a system of such climbing wall using said apparatus.
 Since the 1980's at least, artificial structures named climbing walls have been known. They allow indoor climbing in urban area, most of the time in closed areas such as a gymnasium.
 A climbing wall is made of a bearing structure, generally made out of concrete, with a varying surface perceptibly vertical, but which can also include different structures such as overhangs or inclinated walls. Fixed or detachable climbing holds are set on this structure.
 When detachable, these climbing holds are made of a first part shaped as a climbing hold, with different shapes, that are designed to receive the hand or the foot of a climber in order to be used a support. The hold is made of a second part, adapted to be integrated or added to the first part. The set is usually equipped with a male screw or bolt that comes inside a female bolt, on the climbing wall.
 The difficulty of the progression on the climbing wall then comes from the placement and spacing of the holds compared to each other and from the shape of the holds; for instance, the hold can be a handle that one can easily grab or a mini hold on which only one finger is going to fit.
 The detachable holds also permit to change the route by changing the climbing holds, while remaining in the limits imposed by the position of the inserts in the wall.
 The designer of a climbing wall plans a variety of climbing routes marked out by different colour coding of the holds themselves, or by labels that are stuck next to the holds.
 However, these marking techniques present various disadvantages. The colours chosen for two contiguous routes must be strictly different in order to avoid colour confusion and mistakes in the progression of the climbers. Moreover, a change in the routes forces to have a systematic dismantling of the holds. Besides, the dirtying, related to the use of magnesia by the climbers and to the rubber from the shoes hides the colour of the holds, reducing the readability of the routes, and obliging to a regular cleaning of the wall. Moreover, if the method of using coloured labels is used, these labels often end up being detached because of rubbing or attrition effect, provoked by the climbers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Hence, it would be desirable to have climbing walls on which route management be much more adaptable to the changes that need to be done and which would less be subject to dirtying or attrition.
 To solve one or several of these disadvantages, according to the invention, an apparatus of climbing holds such as aforementioned is additionally made of a casing comprising a lamp, coupled to an individual power supply and to a remote control operated switch, permitting to turn on or off the lamp while the casing is associated to the part positioned on the climbing wall. The apparatus comprises a unique identifier, associated to the climbing holds apparatus, permitting to single out the holds apparatus among the variety of holds, and by the fact that the switch is adapted to accept only triggering orders from a remote control that was coupled to the identifier.
 Characteristics or particular embodiments, which can be used alone or in combination, are:
 the lamp comprises, additionally, the means of different colour light emission and a remote control operated switch made of a colour selector switch, in order to choose the emission of at least one of the colours; and/or
 the identifier is encoded into a barcode, attached to the apparatus casing or into a RFID electronic label, included insude the box;
 In the second aspect of the invention, a climbing hold is made of a climbing hold marking system as above.
 In the third aspect of the invention, a climbing wall system is made of a variety of climbing holds markings as above and of operating means, made of an interface man/machine and of a remote for the holds apparatus.
 Characteristics or particular embodiments, which can be used alone or in combination, are:
 the controller is adapted to define a climbing route by lighting the holds' lights, making clear the holds that form part of climbing route;
 it is additionally made of a portable way to acquire the holds' identifier, adapted to allow an opener to identify the holds apparatus that constitute a climbing route, while the holds apparatus are in position, fixed on the climbing wall;
 it is adapted to define a variety of climbing routes, through the selection of a pre-determined colour for a pre-determined route; and/or
 it is adapted to turn on the light of a pre-determined switch according to the progression of a user of the climbing wall.
 Hence, these holds and the associated system allow favourably identification by electronic marking of the holds, in order to define a new route without dismantling the holds. They also allow the climber to choose an itinerary by selecting the routes described by the interface man-machine.
 They also allow equally and favourably the lighting of the chosen route during the climber's progression, and the possibility to manage accounts with scores or bonuses associated with each climber.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The invention shall be better understood by reading the following description, merely done as an example, and in reference to the figures in the appendix in which:
 FIG. 1 is a simplified view of a climbing hold and of its controller, according to the invention embodiment; and
 FIG. 2 is a flowchart of the functioning of a set of climbing holds according to FIG. 1, when they are set on a climbing wall; and
 FIG. 3 is a simplified view of a second embodiment of a climbing holds apparatus.
 In reference to FIG. 1, a climbing hold (1) is made of a part (3) shaped as a climbing hold, and a fixation tool (5) of such hold onto a climbing wall (7). The fixation tool (5) is usually a screw or a bolt.
 It is also made of a casing (9). This casing (9) is made of a light (11), preferably oriented towards the front and towards the bottom (the orientations are given for a hold set into a climbing wall), so that the participant getting ready on the ground, or progressing along the route associated to the hold, might see the lamp (we will notice that according to the position of the casing (9) compared to the element (3), the latter may comprise a see through part allowing the lamp to be seen). The casing (9) also contains an independent electric power supply (13) for the light and a remote control operated switch (15). The switch (15) is remote control operated by a remote control (17) coupled to a man-machine interface (18).
 Each hold bears a unique identifier (19) permitting to differentiate it. This identifier is used in the communication between the remote control and the switch, in order to define the hold to which an order emitted by the remote control is destined. This identifier is also used on the hold, either via a printed code, such as a barcode, or via an electronic tag, such as a RFID tag.
 The functioning is then as follows in FIG. 2.
 The wall's manager creates, step 21, a climbing area scattered with different holds with which several climbing routes shall be defined.
 Concurrently, or in a second time, he shall identify, step 23, thanks to a barcode or electronic tags reader, the holds that are part of a designated route. This identification can be done thanks to a badge containing a magnet which will interact with a magnetic sensor set into the climbing hold.
 The IDs collected are then associated, step 25, to the remote control with a reference to the created route.
 When a climber wants to climb this route, the manager, via the man-machine interface (18) of the remote control, activates (step 27) the holds' switches so that the lights are switched on. Hence, seeing the lights on, the climber may view the route to follow.
 Hence, these holds with a remote control operated light allow favourably to define a route without needing to change the holds in order to change the colours. Moreover, the lighting system withstands better attrition and dirtying.
 In its simpler version, the holds are made of a single colour light, white for example. The manager then must make sure only to turn on the routes being used and that they be not too close from each other, so that the participant might distinguish clearly the holds associated to the route he is progressing on.
 In a first version, in order to increase the possibilities and the density of the route onto the wall, each hold bears favourably lights of different colours, for example green red and yellow. The interface man-machine, the remote control and the remote control operated switch are then adapted to match a colour, in top of the holds, to a specific route. Hence, by choosing 2 different colours for 2 different contiguous routes, the manager can increase the density of routes usable on the wall.
 In a second version, the lighting of the lamps is adapted to follow the progression of the participant with educational purposes. Hence, in a first sub-version, an instructor can control, through the man-machine interface (18) the lighting or the flashing of the hold that the student must attain, giving him a visual indication aside from potential spoken indication. In a second sub-version, each hold comprises a contact sensor, for example a pressure sensor, indicating that the participant be using or not the hold as well as a feedback line permitting to transmit this information to the remote control. The wall's manager defines beforehand, for each route, the succession order of the holds. When a participant enters the route, the remote control receives information from the contact sensors, which allows to follow the participant's progression and according to these and to the pre-defined succession order, it sends a lighting or a flashing order to the following tag in the succession order.
 In the considered embodiment, the hold is made of a casing in resin, with an electronic circuit bearing 2 metallic poles on the rear to recharge an electric power supply made of rechargeable accumulators. The hold comprises, as a lamp, 3 LED diodes (red, green, yellow). The lamp, when activated, flashes at an average frequency of 1 flash every second, so that a participant does not have to wait to find out whether a hold is or is not part of the route. The man-machine interface is a remote control or a colour touch screen kiosk. The frequency of communication between the remote control and the holds is of 5 seconds. Hence, the ignition command for a route becomes effective in a time comprised between 0 and 5 seconds.
 A second material embodiment for the hold consists to supply the hold as a kit comprising standard climbing holds and a distinct casing, comprising all the electronics, the casing being attached to the hold when it is fixed onto the wall, using for example a placket with a hole in which the fixation screw is going to go through, FIG. 3.
 The terms of remote control and interface man-machine bear in this description a functional sense. For a practical realization, a main computer, such as a server, comprises a wireless communication card such as WI-FI, Bluetooth or ZigBee (IEEE 802-15-4) to communicate with the holds that comprise a communication interface with the same procedure. The protocol ZigBee is, in this context, especially interesting because of its very low power consumption and because of the possibility to set up nanonetworks which can be set automatically. The server communicates with the users via man-machine interfaces which can be usual remote controls, with or without touch screen. The new generation phones, known as the "smartphones" such as Apple's iPhone can also be used as a man-machine interface thanks to the development of a dedicated application.
 On the basis of this architecture, it is then possible to develop a set of software features allowing the participants to optimize their performance (personal follow up of the achieved routes, training program . . . ) and the wall's manager to have a management and follow up tool.
 The invention was illustrated and described in details in the drawings and in the previous description. This description must be considered as an illustration and is given to be used as an example and not as restricting the invention to this mere description. Many other embodiments are possible.
 For example, the electric power supply is described as being formed of accumulators or batteries. However, when used in a wall specially designed to this effect it is possible to set electric power supply wires into the wall, with contactors at the same level as every insert in the wall. Each hold having corresponding contacts, the light can be powered through those wires. Preferably, for safety reasons, the power supply shall be of very low voltage, for example 5 or 12V. In this configuration, the command of the switches can then be realized through power lines according to techniques currently well known by electro technicians.
 In the claims, the word comprises does not exclude other elements and the article a does not exclude a plurality.
Patent applications in class Play area climbing or traversing arrangement (i.e., for use by children)
Patent applications in all subclasses Play area climbing or traversing arrangement (i.e., for use by children)