Startup of the week: tech company rewards kids with TV when they exercise » SMEInsider

Startup of the week: tech company rewards kids with TV when they exercise

With child obesity on the rise, one ex-engineer (and father of twins) has invented a novel solution: a device that stops electronic devices like TVs and computers from switching on until kids have racked up points from running around.

box&rox, says founder Marcus Keohane, aims to help parents establish a healthy balance for their children without making it feel like a punishment. That’s the… irony of it! Children love running around anyway,” he explains. The purpose of the project, says Keohane, isn’t to make children feel hard done by but to get them excited about active play and to help sponsor the debate between the parent and the child to get them out running around.”

To do this, the box&rox product uses a wristband (the “rox”) that monitors physical activity and is plugged into controller (the “box”), which in turn is connected to whichever devices that parents want to ration. Children can see from the screen on their wristband how many points they’ve built up through exercise and this directly affects they about of time they can then spend on the chosen device. There is also a website featuring characters called “Sparkies” that, the company hopes, will inspire different types of adventures.

After several years in development, the company is launching at Technopop, a four week long event held in Stratford, East London, and which aims to get children interested in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), in order to foster the skills needed by the innovators, inventors and tech entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

I’m from an engineering background as well,” adds Keohane. “I think it’s important and should be encouraged.”

Technopop’s pop-up science, technology, design and innovation festival will run until 2nd November at Stratford City, the International Quarter.