Parenting in the digital age is challenging. How do we help our kids benefit from technology without them becoming part of the ‘sedentary generation’? This was the problem Springfree Trampoline sought to tackle in their development of the Smart Trampoline.
“Engagement with technology is usually physically passive,” says Jonathan Collins from Springfree. “Technology has such appeal for kids, it’s an embedded part of modern life, but with that comes the problem of inactivity. We thought there must be a way to harness the appeal and benefit of tech in a way that gets kids moving more, rather than less.”
Parents want their kids to be more active, to breath more fresh air and feel the sun on their skin, yet when Unilever surveyed 12,000 parents of children aged 5-12 in ten countries, they found one-third of kids spend less than 30 minutes outside each day. There is no doubt that the proliferation of digital entertainment is a contributor to this.
“The problem is not technology, per se, but the way it’s used. Often the only things moving when a child is digitally engaged are their eyeballs, fingers or thumbs,” says Collins. “The Smart Trampoline came about in response to the desire to encourage kids to engage in whole-body movement.”
The Smart Trampoline only works when the user is physically active; its input signal is jump-generated. Sensors on the trampoline mat detect the height and location of the jump, and that data is sent to a tablet via Bluetooth, controlling a suite of apps designed to keep the jumper active for longer that they would have been without it.
“It’s 100% movement-powered,” says Collins. “If you’re not jumping, the apps simply won’t do anything. Healthy active engagement is what we’re aiming for”.
With trampolining recognised as one of the most effective all-round activities for fitness, Springfree sought to overlay the physical benefits of bouncing with a system that motivates people to get outside and move more.
Eighteen free Smart Trampoline apps include fitness apps and activity trackers, educational apps to help strengthen young brains as well as bodies, and a range of apps and high-energy games designed to engage kids to be active longer.
“It’s also a great way for families to spend time sharing an activity together, where the advantage isn’t weighed in favour of those physically stronger. Rather than being isolating, like a lot of indoor digital pursuits, this is something the whole family can come together to enjoy, having fun out in the fresh air with the convenience of not having to leave your own backyard,” says Collins.