V+: an interactive climbing wall


If you have ever climbed or bouldered before, you know how much fun and addictive it is. With V+ I decided to add interaction through the use of LED lights which have been programmed to display different levels of climbing through the use of the Bluetooth LE Module from adafruit. Through the Adafruit Bluefruit LE Connect App, anyone can choose the level they wish to try. This first prototype of the wall is currently installed at the PoD Gallery at SVA, it will be up until January 10th 2017. Come visit!

For a peak into the making process for this prototype please visit the Instructable page. The process was long, but this was a super fun piece to make. From mold-making the holds, to doing the circuitry, it was worth the time and effort, specially now that I can climb it.


I am specially excited about finding a permanent place for the wall at PoD. Climbing is very fun, and good for taking a break and de-stress.

Thank you to my classmates and our awesome professor Becky Stern for a wonderful class this semester.

Proposal: Interactive climbing

For my final project I would like to take the light up climbing wall to the next level by using a blue tooth device to interact with an App. I have not come up with a title quite yet, but it would be great to use the word light and interact in it.

The prototype will be on a 8 x 4′ piece of plywood as a start. I will use 2 or 3 kinds of holds. 1 large hold-like the one I made for the previous project- and 1 or two smaller holds that I will create and make multiples of. Total there will be up to 16 holds on the wall. The large holds have 3 LEDs in them, the smaller holds will only have one each.


The first thing I started doing is soldering the LEDs together:


Once  I receive the rest of the parts from AdaFruit I will connect the circuit (using JST 3 pin connectors) to emulate and test the patterns before the “wall” is built. While the circuitry and code gets worked out, I am going to be molding and casting the additional holds, which will also have to be drilled and fitted to the “wall”.

Draft parts and tools list

Functions I wish to explore

  • 3 levels of climbing on the wall, programed in 3 different colors.
  • Between climbs there could be a short light show
  • If time allows, maybe something happens when you reach the top and tap the last hold.

Links to prior similar work and/or tutorials

  • To read and understand: BlueTooth LE Micro page
  • Go back to the NeoPixel strand test code in my library and test my circuit, make sure everything is properly attached.
  • This Snow Flake Sweater tutorial will help me understand how use the BlueFruit LE App
  • This pixel brain cap is so much fun! Can I just make this for my project? I want one. 😉

This list is something I will probably be referencing for the rest of the semester, thank you for making us do this Becky, it is a good way to collect information and get our thoughts in one place!


tap, tap & climb

Tap, tap & climb is an interactive climbing wall where the holds glow triggered by the tapping of the first hold. With the first tap the holds light up in green, which is the easier climb on that route, tap again to reveal a more challenging climb, tap a third time to get the hardest climb.

Right now all the holds light up at the same time, as programing different climbs would require a bunch more holds as well as more advanced programing. I also ran into an issue with the neopixels in my code. When I have 5 neopixels in the code as I programed last night it works, but when I change that number to 9 (to light the third hold) the code gets garbled and all the lights start blinking. I can’t find an error, so I am stuck with this for now.

Thanks for checking it out!

GamiBloom light

The GamiBloom light was inspired by origami folding techniques which I translated into felt to take advantage of the transparency, and slight rigidity of the material. Here are shots of it fully open, midway and fully closed:

Take a peak for some process shots:

Thank you for checking it out =)

Here is what I have so far for the plush toy. The circuit is simple, I would like to add more lights eventually.


In this model I used a plexi glass skeleton I created based on an origami pattern, it  is encased in fabric. It seems there are too many layers of fabric, the effect I was looking for didn’t really materialize.


Here I tried making the pattern in thick felt, the transparency is more promising here.


Fading in and out of color


I had a lot of fun with the RGB LED this week. Instead of using a pingpong ball to diffuse it I used a flexible plastic material and was able to film the subtle differences in color through my phone’s camera by placing the plastic directly on the lens of the camera. I played some Amadou & Mariam in the background for rhythm:


In the second exercise for this week it was hard to get super creative, but I was able to change the rate of fade. Here is a faster fade than the original with the delay at 5:

Thank you for visiting!