May 7, 2014 AT 1:00 am

Kids Get a Wearable Fitness Friend #WearableWednesday


With all the mad rush for fitness bands for adults and dogs, it’s about time someone decided to think about our kids. LeapFrog has been working on a little friend called LeapBand, according to ChipChick. The band has an array of cartoon digital pets and has easy-to-press buttons, which are good for small hands. Although most smart-watches rely on the screen, this wearable gets kids focused on actual movement.

Most of the games require physical activity, which is converted into points that can be used to unlock more games and challenges. Kids can unlock the other pets, too – the roster includes a cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn. The activities are fun and simple – things like “walk like a crab” and “pop like popcorn”. Meanwhile, parents have control from a smartphone app – they can lock the LeapBand so that the games can’t be accessed at school or during bedtime, although the band will still record fitness stats like steps taken.

The video above is not a trailer, but it does talk about the functionality and goals of the piece. It’s interesting that the band looks at other points like nutrition and dance. It seems to aim at holistic care, which makes it a one-stop-shop for kids (and their parents). One thing that makes this band better than most is the fact that it incorporates a “friend”. It’s more like a Nike app or Wii Fit, where you have a coach taking you through or at least offering some positive comments. Not everyone is motivated to exercise, and the concept of a fitness pal can really make for success.

So, what does this have to do with the future of wearables? Ask Siri. It seems like the industry is making the move to create tech that we want to be with. Tamagotchi, the little electronic pet on a keychain, was a blast in the past, and it has made a comeback. It feeds on our need for companionship, which children and seniors are often lacking. So, smart companies are making tech that can talk back, but do you want to byte? If so, you may want to start exploring ways to add speech to your project — like this Wave Shield Voice Changer:

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