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ARTICLE: How Lego helps a Blind Climber to Route-Read

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 UKC Articles 14 Oct 2020
A Lego route map.

As Matthew Shifrin ties-in at his local climbing wall in Boston, his belayer breaks open the Lego. A baseplate, some bricks and tiles are clicked together in a mishmash of colours. Matthew runs his fingers over the studs and tiles. 1x1 cylinder...pinch. 1x2...jug. Flat, smooth 1x1 wedge...foothold. This tactile routemap enables him to build a mental picture of the route, imagining the shape and sequence of the hand and footholds. As Matthew steps off the ground and onto the wall, his belayer switches roles to become a 'caller', shouting out directions to alert Matthew of the relative positions of holds. "Right foot, left knee"; "Left, 1, 2."



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In reply to UKC Articles:

Wow!

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 Roberttaylor 14 Oct 2020
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What an interesting, accomplished guy and what a smart use of Lego.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

That is really impressive and inspiring.

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In reply to UKC Articles:

The blind are showing us how it's done recently with this and Jesse Dufton's output. I had a funny experience at the wall a couple of years ago - silently judging bloke for all the tickmarks on a route. He gently calls down "is this a purple, I can't see?". That's me back in my box

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 climbercool 15:04 Tue
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This is awesome, great article! , I bet loads of climbers would love to be a "caller" (some people cant helpthemselves even for the sighted), it would be easy to find volunteers if a blind school wanted to take their kids climbing.

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