What do you get when you cross a Tamagotchi with a fitness band? It will probably turn out something like the new LeapBand from LeapFrog. The company is already known for its learning tablets and other educational toys for preschoolers, and now they are trying to help young children get more physical exercise. As you might expect from their other products, they have used gamification as a key motivating factor.
At the heart of the device, an accelerometer detects motion. A color display provides cues and feedback for the child, and there’s a button the wearer can press for audible instructions. The wearer picks a pet — a cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot or unicorn — and then responds to activity challenges. The LeapBand starts with 50 different activities, and more are unlocked as the wearer completes others and earn points. The wearer also cares for their digital pet, and in the process learns about good nutrition choices and other healthy habits. Companion games are available for smartphones, tablets, and other LeapFrog products. The device runs on batteries that recharge using a standard USB connection, and is designed to run for a few days between charges.
The LeapBand is intended for children 4 to 7 years old, and retails for $39.99 which perhaps is a bit steep for a child’s toy but it’s a lot less than most fitness bands.