Biba, a developer of mobile augmented reality apps and games, has partnered with PlayPower, a provider of play, sport and recreational equipment, to create new playgrounds and apps for children, combining real-world play and digital games. Instead of kids using mobile devices as distractions, this partnership will turn those devices into an interface inspiring physical activity, as real-world playgrounds are turned into the wreckage of robotic spacecrafts which have crashed onto Earth.
In Biba’s initial games, players will interact with their own companion robot, which encourages them to explore the “Biba-Activated” playground through its robotic eyes. The games are aimed at children aged 3-9, and will offer age-appropriate physical challenges, which are incentivized via a points system and badges that can be shared socially with friends.
Biba describes the games as offering “refereed play,” as the phone is predominantly left in the parent’s hands, keeping devices and children safer. In addition, some Biba games will be compatible with all playgrounds, even those that aren’t technically Biba-Activated. This will be accomplished by “tagging” items within the app, that the real-world playground has available.
In a statement, Lynne Vandeveer, chief marketing officer at PlayPower, commented on the partnership:
Active outdoor play is essential to the development of healthy children. Getting enough active outdoor play for their kids is a problem with which most modern parents are familiar. The solution PlayPower has developed with Biba blends the technology-driven world that kids expect with the joyful outdoor fun that parents remember from their own childhood. Parents’ concern for their children is justified by research that shows kids are spending too much time sitting still in front of a screen and not enough time outdoors. We intend to change that by engaging modern kids on their own terms.
Biba’s games will launch on mobile devices later this year, alongside the addition of PlayPower’s playgrounds in city parks across the country.