Durham company encourages kids to get fit with fun tech

Durham company encourages kids to get fit with fun tech (Image 1)

One of parents’ biggest challenges is getting kids to play outdoors rather than being glued to the TV or video games.

But a wristband, developed by Durham-based Sqord, just might be the motivator kids need by using video game technology to get them to exercise.

Sqord rewards kids for playing. And company co-founder Coleman Greene said it is as simple as wearing a practically indestructible activity tracker.

“Kids can put it on their wrist; wear it all day, every day,” Greene said. “We don’t put any rules on what activity is a good activity.”

The power band tracks their physical activity throughout the day, capturing a range of motion, duration and intensity. Of course there are other activity trackers on the market, but Sqord is geared toward kids, and the appeal starts with the sign-up process by allowing them to create a unique PowerMe avatar.

“Green hair, green outfits, pink hair, different kinds of T-shirts,” Greene pointed out. The PowerMe encourages kids to create an avatar that looks like them, or how they want to look.

After that, they can then get moving and periodically check in at a SyncStation to earn points.

“You wave the pod over the station, you get a little confirmation chime and it shows you how many points you have for the day,” Greene explained.

Each step counts for three and a half points, with points accumulating to earn badges.

“We recommend — for an active day — for a kid to earn about 35,000 to 40,000 points a day,” Greene said. “It’s all based around points — badges.”

Greene points to Sqord‘s inclusivity because the game doesn’t emphasize who is better in a certain sport.

“We wanted to make sure this was a platform for any kid, regardless if they are the all-star jock,” Greene said. “So you can get points for walking your dog in the neighborhood.”

The site allows kids to set up challenges with your colorful teammates. And for some, it is an introduction to social media; but here, there is only boxed feedback — simple messages of praise for playing hard and getting healthy without the risk of bullying.

“We don’t have any free-form messaging to allow for inappropriate behavior,” Greene said.

Sqord costs about $50 for the wristband, SyncStation and one year’s subscription.

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