Zamzee, a wearable activity tracker, measures movement and activity levels throughout the day and inspires kids to be active.
Armed with research, field trials, and a simple prototype, HopeLab, a nonprofit organization, asked NONOBJECT to design a product that could help kids be more active. The result was Zamzee, a wearable activity tracker with an online platform. Using the USB connection on their activity tracker, kids log into an online point-based gaming platform to track and get rewards for their activity levels.
Childhood obesity is an increasing problem in the United States and around the world. Many talk about an epidemic. Experts agree that the problem is partly attributed to the increasingly sedentary behaviors of kids and preteens. The pull of computer games, concerns about safe neighborhoods, and less funding for PE and after-school programs have all had a negative impact on the activity levels of kids. But getting kids to move more has proved to be a challenge. Behaviors are notoriously difficult to change, and even though some kids are aware that more activity means better health, this knowledge is not a strong motivator for behavioral change in this age group.
Ready for the action
As any parent can attest, computer games and online gaming exert a powerful pull over kids. Could online gaming and rewards tied to a wearable activity tracker be used to incentivize increased movement? Based on extensive research, HopeLab believed so. But designing for the fickle tastes of kids and preteens is not easy. The activity tracker had to be cool enough to be perceived as a must-have object, yet robust enough to survive the often carefree and rough-and-tumble way kids tend to handle things.
It was important that the activity tracker could physically stay on the kids – no easy feat. The solution was a unique clip, which grips on to kids’ clothing and won’t shake off, no matter how vigorous the activity. The clip is unique in that when not clipped onto something, it lies completely flat to avoid inadvertent snags. When used, the clip cantilevers out so that it can effortlessly grab and hold on to items both thin and thick. Want to clip Zamzee to your bathing suit, shoe or jacket – no problem!
With the online tracking and reward system, Zamzee creates a virtuous cycle where physical activity is experienced as something fun and engaging rather than something to be avoided. And HopeLab’s studies show that kids with Zamzee move 30% more than the average child.