London-based start-up UpDownLeftRight is developing a wearable device that converts children's activity levels into digital currency, which they can spend on content and power-ups inside their favourite video games.
The name of the device is yet to be confirmed, but it will be available in the US from the second quarter of 2016 for $100-120. It will be the first wearable to integrate with multiple platforms – including gaming consoles, tablet computers and mobile phones – while encouraging kids to remain active.
UpDownLeftRight is also pitching the concept to parents, who can use an app to set up pocket-money payments in the currency, while monitoring their child's physical activity and screen time.
"What truly sets us apart is that we're doing something tangible with the data our fitness tracker collects," Alim Jafar, head of partnerships at the start-up, told Stylus. "Kids don't care about steps taken or miles walked, and most adults don't either. So we wanted to do something different to engage users on another level and have them keep coming back to it."
The company recommends focusing on activity-driven gaming for younger children. The platform offers tweens a way to practise managing digital money. Teens and beyond will eventually be able to use the currency and wearable to make mobile payments.
For more on digital currencies, see Breaking Banks: Wired Money 2015.