This concept started with the idea that children need physical activity throughout the day. What I have found while managing after-school programs for at-risk youth on the downtown East-Side for the past five years is that physical activity helps to keep many children focused. In today’s society, many kids use games or devices to keep them engaged and occupied, which is great, but it also happens to keep them very sedentary. My concept stemmed from the idea of integrating games into everyday activities, and turning that into a fun and easy way to start moving while still engaging in technological devices. This concept could be used in learning environments to provide children with exercise breaks, which would then be integrated into their daily routine.
I wanted to try out some new and interesting circuits that I bought, so I created this wearable Technology piece. I decided to make it geared towards young children between the ages of 6-10 to get them to be more active within their daily lives through gamifying everyday necessities, such as the shoes you wear, and turning it into a game that gets their blood flowing while still having fun. I had a week to create this piece as I wanted to do it during my time off.
This game is based around the idea of feeding your hungry bear. In order to feed him, you need to collect honey. Collect the honey on the screen until your bear is full. Then, you must create more honey by getting on your feet and moving. You can make honey pots appear by jumping up and down 10 times, running back and forth 10 times, and doing 10 jumping jacks before the time runs out! As you move, the light-changing colour on your shoe indicates that you are creating more honey, but if you stop moving, a buzzer will indicate that you need to keep moving. If you don’t create enough honey in time, another buzzer will go off and the bear will die/game is over!
This concept started with the idea that children use fidget toys to help stay focused. I initially started out with the idea to create a visual representation of focus levels and eventually help a child to understand the times when they need to focus more or less by creating digital demonstration on a small tangible object.
I developed this idea into focusing more specifically on how physical activity helps children focus daily. I found that by integrating physical activity into a game I could potentially help children who are struggling throughout their day to use exercise as a form of bettering their lives.
The different contexts of the game. This was created in the development program processing, which I connected to the sensors within the shoe to make the two work together.
For this project, I would eventually want to connect the shoe to the on-screen element. I would also want to focus on making the light-up element of the shoe more complex, such as integrating multiple lights to demonstrate how healthy the bear is. By moving more, the bear becomes more healthy, and if the user moves less, the bear becomes less healthy.
Video demonstration of how the shoe and game work together.