Engineers at GeoPalz, a peripheral electronics company, have invented a new way for parent’s to monitor how much activity their kids are getting, EndGadget reports. Called, the ibitz, the device attaches to a child’s shoes, records activity and makes it available to parents via smartphone app. The idea PSFK says, is to provide parents with an incentive option to help their kids exercise more.
The ibitz activity trackers from GeoPalz, as they are formally known, come in two versions: Each comes with a small electronic device that attaches to the shoe. One version is for kids, called the PowerKey, the other is for adults, called the Unity. The kids version tracks steps and other types of movements and once goals are reached, parents can dole out rewards, such as playtime on favorite electronic devices. Another option allows for setting up prepaid “gifts” on Amazon, that kids can order once they’ve achieved certain goals. The grownup version allows for monitoring activity and connects with other devices such as smartscales, etc. All of the data from all of the devices can then be sent to a smartphone or table computer for analysis and the creation of graphs and charts to let the user know how they are doing overall.
In addition to the electronics, systems available from the company also include smartphone and electronic pad apps for the kids to use that require physical movement, which of course is recorded on the hardware device. The company also makes videos that kids can watch that encourage movement, such as dancing, searching for something or simply doing exercises. GeoPalz says the company also offers a group option for use in schools, where children are encouraged to move and in some cases compete against one another to achieve goals. The heart of all the systems, they reiterate, is to get kids (and adults) to engage in physical activity that will hopefully help them lead healthier lifestyles. The PowerKey sells for $49.99, the Unity for $34.99.
The GeoPalz is just one system of course, many companies are hard at work looking for ways to get kids up and moving, inspired no doubt but the massive success of the novel WI game controllers. The overriding theme of the systems geared towards kids is “fun with an incentive.” The idea is that if a system isn’t fun, then kids won’t care how great the reward. The jury is still out, of course, regarding just how effective such systems are, but one thing is sure; the more that are sold, the more data that will be generated, which should in the end, provide an answer for those still not convinced.