Augmented Reality & Smart Glasses: Exploring Tech in Parkour

Augmented Reality & Smart Glasses: Exploring Tech in Parkour

Published by Take Flight on Dec 5th 2023

Parkour is such a physically engaging and demanding activity that it's hard to imagine where digital technology can fit in. However, the two worlds can and do intersect in more ways than you may think. For example, many video games like Mirror's Edge feature various parkour mechanics as part of their gameplay. Video game developers draw inspiration from flashy, superfluous movements featured in parkour and incorporate them into their respective games for a more engaging and innovative take on in-game movement.

Aside from helping innovate movement and gameplay in video games, however, there are a few other ways digital technologies and parkour work together. Below, we'll look at how people are using technology to improve their parkour experience or even experience parkour in new ways:

Smart glasses & Parkour

Given the amount of jumping, climbing, and running around, it may be odd to think how glasses — even smart ones — can fit in parkour. However, many new smart glasses developed today, like the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, have built-in cameras that can be used to record and live stream videos from a first-person perspective.

If you're wondering how this can be useful in parkour, think of how parkour-related video content, like parkour tutorials from, can be made more accessible and immersive for viewers. Even though first-person perspective videos for parkour are certainly possible without smart glasses, wearable technologies provide a more lightweight and safe means of recording or streaming.

Augmented reality, virtual reality, and Parkour

As mentioned in our introduction, many video games today borrow their movement from parkour techniques. With the help of smart glasses or AR glasses, for example, video game developers can virtually augment parkour challenges or games into the real world — maybe like the mobile game Temple Run, but in real life. While we weren't able to find verifiable information on this, there is supposedly an Assassin's Creed version of this AR-parkour combo.

Even so, Assassin's Creed, a video game franchise popularly known — and loved — for its parkour elements, among others, has recently released previews of its VR game called Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR. While directional movement is done by holding a button and pointing in the direction you want to go, parkour things done with your hands, like grabbing ledges or climbing up walls, require you to reach out and actually grab.

Robots & Parkour

Finally, who knew robots could play a role in parkour — or even perform parkour techniques? In 2021, robotics company Boston Dynamics released footage of its humanoid robots showing off their parkour and free running skills. While the footage does show the robots occasionally stumbling or falling, they are also capable of doing backflips and leaping over obstacles.

Of course, backflipping robots may not be much of a game-changer for people who actually do parkour. However, these robots were designed to be used as a research and development tool for companies like Boston Dynamics to learn fluid human movements and make humanoid robots move more, well, human-like. So, while not necessarily impactful for real-life human parkour artists, it's still interesting to see how valuable parkour is in the engineering and design process of robots.

As digital technologies continue to evolve and get developed, it'll be interesting to see more ways tech and parkour can work together in the future. Whether hands-free video content creation or virtually parkouring on VR, making the art of parkour more accessible to people is a great way to share the joys of free running. Even parkouring robots may come to serve their purpose in the distant future, maybe for teaching parkour or as a safe alternative to testing potentially dangerous parkour jumps and moves.

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