One company is combining the appeal of digital pets with the pull of online social networking in order to help children keep fit.
Futurelabs has developed Fizzee, a Tamagotchi-style digital pet that is worn around the wrist like a watch.
Although only a prototype at the moment, Fizzee is a character that is developed based on the wearer's activity. The device measures heart rate and motion, and then scores according to recommended exercise levels for children, in order to develop the Fizzee as well as measure the fitness of the wearer.
The idea is that the digital pet will encourage children to keep fit with lots of exercise, in order to maintain a healthy Fizzee.
In addition, a website lets the wearers compare virtual pets, swap suggested activities, and learn about a healthy lifestyle.
"We hope that Fizzees will encourage young people to not only undertake more exercise but also to develop an understanding of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle”, said Tash Lee, Learning Researcher at Futurelab.
“The project brings together the engagement of digital games and the desire to nurture a digital pet with the actual physical activity of the player."