IF little Jack or Jill needs some encouragement to burn off a few calories, GeoPalz may have a gadget to help.
Recent arrivals into the PlayStation generation are blitzed with a sensory explosion of TV shows, video games and websites to keep them entertained. Any gadget targeting children five years and up stands little chance of surviving beyond the glee of birthday excitement if it doesn’t offer something more addictive than Tracy Beaker.
Despite 26 different designs, ranging from a JuJu bug to a football, there’s little to disguise the fact that a GeoPalz is a rather basic pedometer in a colourful plastic shell. Its primary job is to count the steps your child takes using its tri-axis accelerometer. Claims of 98 per cent accuracy seem about right from my trampoline test and there’s intense play tracking which effectively loosens the digital definition of a step taken.
The key feature, however, is the web integration. Little Jack can log-on and enter the steps he’s taken onto GeoPalz.com Every step taken and point awarded moves him further along the virtual GeoPalz world and closer to prizes and awards. These toys and targets are shown on a virtual shelf that parents can configure, selecting gifts from the likes of Amazon or iTunes.
For those in fear of being bankrupted by such a bribery incentive scheme, there’s the option to unlock certificates and stickers which can be printed out.
Multiple mini people can be tracked via the family control panel, with a weekly family activity report sent via email to inspire co-operative competition. There are even anti-cheat systems to prevent shenanigans such as shaking the device or entering inflated figures online.
For £20 there’s a lot to like and the website makes the GeoPalz a fun way of ensuring that even dad is getting his daily dose of exercise.
Expected in the UK next month for £20 from www.amp3.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk, currently available from.geopalz.com for $25.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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