A pedometer for kids turns a little sweat into prizes

GeoPalz is launching an app called Lockerbot that enables parents to set activity requirements that then unlock certain features on Droids.

LAS VEGAS--There are pedometers all over this year's CES (a few of them being tested simultaneously on my own hip), and while there's nothing particularly special about the $25 GeoPalz pedometer for kids in terms of the pedometer itself, its reward system has a few tricks up its, er, shoe clip.

The $25 GeoPalz pedometers come in a few dozen designs. Corinne Schulze/CNET

The family-owned business, out of Boulder, Colo., has been working on the motivate-kids-to-move gag since 2008, and features a step counter that converts into online points for prizes such as books, CDs, and sports equipment.

This week, GeoPalz is taking the motivation game a step further by partnering with DSR to launch its patent-pending Android app Lockerbot, which will enable parents to set physical activity requirements that their kids must meet to unlock certain features (read: games) on Droid phones version 2.1+.

Since November 2011, the GeoPalz pedometers have included tri-axis accelerometers that help track how vigorous a child's activity is. Designed to hook onto the shoes or clothes of kids ages 5 and up, the pedometers capture 21 days of activity before needing to be reset.

Perhaps most charmingly, the pedometers also include an anticheat function that uses an internal clock and unique daily alphanumeric code to protect against the whims of all the budding little hackers out there.

Users can even set up teams via their families or classrooms to set bigger goals and select cooler rewards. (In November, GeoPalz donated 1,200 pedometers to kids at various YMCAs in and around St. Louis.) It's a system that seems to be working, and unlike a lot of the flashy fitness gadgetry here at CES, you just can't beat the price.

About the author

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.

 

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