Following on from part one of our series on kid’s wearable tech, here’s a short round up of six devices (in no particular order) we think you should know about because of their design, functionality or bold ambition.
Powaband plan to offer activity driven gaming and an incentive for kids to get active in order to unlock features in their favourite games.
At an early stage of development (no indication of price yet), Powaband are aiming to create a new vertical market in the existing activity device and core gaming market. They intend to incorporate a payment system and market place as well as parental tools that limit game time and track physical activity.
Powaband: activity based gaming rewards
Powaband are making a brave and bold bid for a slice of two markets – kid’s activity extending into the core games market. To make the latter interesting to developers they’re offering a monetisation route through a market place. Whether that works will come down to hitting a critical mass of products in their own payment store and enticing a high profile game or two to integrate with their technology.
The device itself looks nice, but the design seems very focused on boys, which is missing an opportunity in our opinion. There’s the promise of a strong feature-set with mention of a contactless payment system. But this seems like overkill in terms of technology, security and functionality for what’s planned.
Overall, Powaband are to be commended for going all out on the games driving activity strategy, which we think holds huge potential for the right device/game combination. Powaband might be a relatively long way off but we think it’s exciting and definitely one to watch.
LeapFrog’s LeapBand is purely an activity tracker and healthy eating device, putting safety aside and focusing on children’s wellbeing.
LeapFrog’s pedigree is on show here, with the device being child friendly in both design and simplicity of function. Although a niche product, there’s no doubting the appeal to both kids and parents.
It has a simple display that allows access to activities, challenges and games. It includes a virtual pet and comes with 10 games (unlockable to 40 through completing activities).
The LeapBand is available now and is low priced (£30/$20) with no subscription fees.
LeapBand: a low tech and innovative approach to kid’s activity tracking
The LeapBand is commendable because of its focus on gamifying activities through clever physical activity design rather than falling back on technology. It doesn’t feature a pedometer, yet tracks a child’s activity. How? Simply by trusting that children will love engaging with the physical challenges needed to unlock game features. We whole-heartedly approve of that approach. After all, what’s more relevant here; counting the number of steps a child takes or just the fact that they were active and happy?
3. Pocket Finder
Pocket Finder say “If you love it, track it” and they see potential everywhere. They must do because there’s a Pocket Finder product for everything from vehicle tracking (including speeding alerts) to senior tracking and pet tracking.
Available now, the device itself is lower priced than others (from $130) but it’s high monthly subscription ($12.95) impacts on that. It’s small, so can fit into bags, be clipped onto clothing or attached to a bike.
Pocket Finder: notable for simplicity and durability
Although it doesn’t fit the typical description of wearable tech, Pocket Finder is notable because of it’s size and versatility. It’s also got durability nailed, being waterproof and shock proof plus having no screen or fiddly bits that could get easily broken.
There’s a feature to geo-fence the device, setting off alerts it if travels beyond user defined zones – that’s very neat. Also, just thinking safety, the SOS feature (knocking the device three times) seems great for older kids and seniors in trouble.
4. FiLIP 2
With the FiLIP 2 (whose predecessor was, you guessed it, the FiLIP 1), we’re looking at the company’s second iteration on a wrist phone and tracker device. With that advancement comes a lot of technological firsts; the smallest antenna, for example.
The device will make and receive calls with up to 5 predefined numbers and has perhaps the most accurate tracking thanks to use of GPS, GSM and wi-fi. The unique screen can display emoticons as well as one way text messages from parents. Similarly to the Pocket Finder, parents can create geo-zones and trigger alerts when the device travels beyond them.
FiLIP 2 is available now in the US and is lower priced than others ($99) with a mid priced monthly subscription exclusively through AT&T ($10).
FiLIP 2: an appealing design with a lot of tech innovation
The FiLIP 2’s physical design will appeal to both kids and parents. This is one of the few devices on the market with a display. Emoticons and text messages may seem like a side feature compared to safety, but to our minds, show the device is heading in the direction of becoming a more featured bit of wearable tech. This is one to watch.
HereO’s claim to be the only bespoke tracking watch for kids seems a little out of date, but never mind. There’s a clear focus on safety with the HereO and investment has been made in the companion app which handles panic situations and direct links to emergency services, as well as providing instant directions to locate lost children.
The HereO open to preorder in the US and is mid-priced ($179) with a monthly subscription fee ($4.95).
HereO: strong safety features for parents, limited functionality for kids
It’s an attractive device, available in four colour combinations. Overall, the design sits somewhere between appealing to kids and parents. It tells the time, but from the child’s point of view that’s it. So it isn’t going to generate much excitement. There’s also no attempt to tackle activity tracking. However, it does do what it says on the tin – the HereO may prove to be the most robust and featured GPS safety device for kids. We only question durability and think it needs to be waterproof rather than splash-proof.
Billed as the first wrist phone for kids, Tinitell raised $140,000 on Kickstarter and is set for an October release in the US. The device allows parents to track kids through GPS, as well as make phone calls between the device and the official app. It’s mid-priced ($129 currently) and requires a monthly subscription fee (TBC).
Tinitell: stands out for its simple design and impressive usability
In a crowded market place, Tinitell’s success may come from the sheer simplicity of its design. With one single big button to both make and receive calls, there’s clearly an understanding of the importance of usability in the design. Our only concern is the device’s cuff-like appearance which makes it look a little like a colourful restraining device.