A Spanish technology start-up has developed a new way for children to play outside, by turning playground furniture into smartphone-game controllers.
Hybrid Play has designed a colourful oversized crocodile clip packed with sensors, which attaches to objects like slides and seesaws to provide real-time feedback to smartphones via Bluetooth. Friends or family can swing higher or lean from side to side to control the game action on-screen, for example.
The makers hope to reintroduce the social and physical activity of traditional play while harnessing the beneficial elements of computer gaming, such as problem solving. "Video games are a fun and enriching tool, but we can go a step further and make games not only mentally, but physically engaging, while bringing kids and adults together outdoors," Hybrid Play said in its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
Although the app comes with a number of built-in games, the team envisage Hybrid Play as an open platform where educators can develop games for specific educational content, and kids can learn to make their own videogames.
Hybrid Play's look and feel chimes in with trends uncovered in our recent Play It Forward report, which explores how technology such as sensors and beacons can be harnessed to blend online and offline play in new, exciting ways.