High-tech trampoline has kids leaping into the future
THE classic backyard trampoline has been given a high-tech twist, incorporating iPad games and sensors to engage children in the digital age.
On Monday, Springfree Trampoline launched the world's first 'Smart Trampoline' in Australia alongside a series of iPad games and apps designed to encourage kids to get outdoors and be more active.
Sensors across the mat connect with an iPad or similar device which can be hooked up to a bracket attached to the netting around the trampoline.
The user would then use their body as a controller for the tablet, jumping up, down or sideways across the trampoline to register their movements.
Springfree's managing director and owner of a Smart Trampoline Leanne Fretwell said the games, which range from educational problem-solving exercises to virtual fruit-squashing competitions, can be enjoyed by children of almost every age.
"My boy is six, and it's amazing how quickly he's learned to use it," she said.
"I was watching him the other day, and he had [our trampoline] configured upside down, and it was quite interesting to watch him figure that out with a few little jumps here and there and work through those cognitive skills."
The Kunda Park company's marketing manager Phillip Hay said the early feedback they've had suggests kids are using the smart trampolines to get outside more frequently and for longer.
He said the 'smart' factor meant it was easy for children and adults to forget they were exercising while bouncing.
"If you told me I had to go outside and do a 40 minute run, that's just not appealing," he said.
"But if I'm squashing aliens or fruit, you don't realise how quickly the time has gone and you don't realise you're actually burning a lot of calories.
"You use almost every muscle in the body and the cardiovascular side is great too."
There are even workouts incorporating star jumps and bottom drops for fit-minded parents, although Ms Fretwell admitted she was more attracted to the playful games.
"I'm really competitive, so I haven't really done the fitness development ones, just the games," she laughed.
"You can have a family leaderboard for some competition within the family or we have a global leaderboard you can compete on."
Mr Hay said the company also had a software development kit available for young people interested in coding or software design to create their own games for the trampoline.
"Our apps are open-sourced, so kids can come up with their own games, challenges or apps to be submitted for commercial consideration," he said.
"We currently have 13 apps available, but this time next year it could be 113."
Springfree Trampolines recently won two of the Australian Good Design Awards for product design in the Sport and Lifestyle sub-category and digital design in the Interface Design sub-category.