Look, we get it: wearable tech is big business these days. We also get that childhood obesity is a serious problem. That's why it's literally no surprise that the folks at LeapFrog are jumping on the nascent child wearables bandwagon with the LeapBand: an unholy combination of a Fitbit and a Tamagotchi that aims to stop kids from playing games on the couch... and get them playing games standing up.
Here's the gist of it -- kids running around wearing a $40 / £30 LeapBand on their tiny wrists (when it launches in August) earn energy points to level up and unlock avatars (a cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn). The LeapBand can also issue challenges to kids, ranging from relatively obvious ones like "wiggle like a worm" to the more abstract "pop like popcorn popping." Meanwhile, the built-in battery should hang in there for about 4 to 6 days between charges -- with any luck your little ones will tucker out before it does.
Naturally, we had to try the thing on for ourselves. It's about the size of, well, a Tamagotchi, and the plastic wristband slid onto even the hairiest wrists without trouble. The buttons are big and gummy enough that even the least coordinated kids can interact with their pets. Ours was a lazy-looking, tracksuit-clad panda we promptly nicknamed "Rupert" and -- dare we say it -- we had a little fun doting on him. If we're being honest, It's not exactly a novel idea -- iBitz has been trying to take build a data-centric approach to getting kids active, and Striiv cooked up a video game-y fitness tracker two years ago. This whole thing may seem just a little kooky, but hey -- there are worse ways to give your spawn a taste of the quantified life.