It seems that wearable are finally reaching mainstream status such that even children are having devices made specifically for them. It’s perhaps unsurprising that this would happen eventually—the children of today have proven that they are quite capable of using technology that even their parents might struggle to get their heads around. Youngsters seem to have a natural ability to understand smartphones and tablets, and as such more and more companies are electing to target a young audience specifically with the experiences they create. However, there is a concern for parents that this sort of technology-augmented play might not be what’s best for their child. Traditionally, electronics have been thought of as rather opposed to the sort of recreation that children should have, physical play that gets them moving rather than just staring at a screen. However, a Japanese company called Moff, Inc. seem to have come up with a toy that might be on the cutting edge of tech, but delivers a traditional form of play.
That toy is the Moff band, a wearable device that is worn on a child’s wrist and paired with a smartphone, much like an activity tracker. While it could be paired with the child’s own smart device if they happen to own one, it’s more likely that it will be the parent’s phone or tablet that it’s linked to, as it’s really not a huge part of the play experience itself. In fact, after choosing what mode the Moff band should operate in, you won’t be looking at the screen of your phone at all. The Moff band is about real-world play, not something that’s simply happening on a screen.
When you open up the companion app for the Moff band, you’ll be faced with an array of different play options. One particularly compelling action is a sword, and pressing that button will tell the band itself what to do next. Your child will be able to pick up any sword-like object—be it a mop, a stick or anything else that comes to hand—and their Moff band will register the movements of their hand and play lively sound effects alongside those movements. Simplicity is the key here, and that’s certainly what the developers at Moff have achieved. The app is so streamlined and intuitive that it would be very easy for a child to decide how they want to play and select that option from its colourful, sensible menu set up. Even better, from that point onwards there’s no need for the smart device itself to be any part of the play. It’s all about traditional play values of imagination and movement, but it’s undeniably extended through this unique and rather clever device.
However, it’s not just swordplay that your children will be able to engage in. If they want to use a space age blaster pistol or a magic wand, then there’s options for that too. Or, if sports are more their thing, they can play golf, tennis, or several other different sports. The way that all the different functions actually operate is rather similar, it’s a simple matter of tying sound effects to the movements that the wristband detects. Of course, that won’t matter one bit to your child—they’ll be too caught up in the seamless way that the Moff band accentuates their games and adventures with an added dimension of fun.
One of the biggest influences on the creation of the Moff band was the observation by brand CEO Aki Takahagi that the frequently flitting concentration spans of children led to parents buying new toys and throwing the old ones away. Takahagi saw this as a waste of money and an ecologically unsound way of going about things, so he set about coming up with a way of using technology to make children’s toys less of a strain on parent’s wallets and the environment. The Moff band is his solution to that, turning everyday items into toys and acting as a platform for news toys to be bought via download. New play experiences and sound effects are planned for release via the app, making sure that there is a steady stream of new content for children to enjoy and, as such, ensuring that they won’t grow tired of the device. If this sort of content lives up to the offerings that will launch alongside the device, then it’s not difficult to imagine the Moff band going from strength to strength with children.
Speaking of strength, it’s clear that the device has been designed with its prospective users well in mind. The entire watch is covered in hard-wearing silicon that will make sure it stands up to all that your child might throw at it—while still being comfortable so as not to interfere with their play. Rigorous research and development has allowed Moff to refine their original design for the device into something that kids will want to play with, an attractively shaped and coloured device that with fit snugly around their wrist, and be suitable for them to wear for long periods of time.
Earlier in the year, a crowdfunding campaign to fund the first production run of the Moff band was held on Kickstarter. The campaign eclipsed its initial goal of $20,000 USD, raising a mammoth $78,871 USD and resoundingly confirming that this is the sort of product that parents want to see their children playing with. Now, you can pre-order your Moff band to be amongst the first families to start using this potentially game-changing device. For a single Moff band, you’ll be looking to pay $53.99 USD when you purchase it via a link on the Moff website, really rather good value when you consider how many different virtual toys are included as standard. New content is expected to be added to the companion app for download at your convenience, but it’s not yet been confirmed whether or not these downloads will have to be paid for separately. However, even looking at the device on its own merits as it stands now, there is plenty going on to keep your children active and entertained. The Moff band might just be an early contender for the must-have toy come this Christmas.