Udu Console desperately attempts to get kids off couches
Kids these days, am I right? With the video games, and the couches? But seriously, what are they to do? The pull of the screen is irresistible, as they'll remind you if they catch you reading New Atlas on your phone instead of being immersed in a moment you'll never be given again.
Denmark's Udu Console is a desperate, last-ditch effort to weaponize the screen in service of getting your kids to stand up, go to parks and wave their arms around like manic street preachers.
It's a hand-held portable game controller – think Nintendo's Wii controller, with all its inertial sensing and haptic feedback. The buttons are limited to a trigger and a squeeze sensor, but it's also got a multi-touch trackpad for your thumb, a 240 x 240 LED color display, and a LED light to bling things up. It connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone, where you can access Udu's suite of mobile games, all designed around the concepts of active fun and outdoor play.
Some of these are augmented reality experiences, encouraging your kids to go running around in the park with a phone held up in front of them, chopping monsters with virtual swords or painting things onto the world like zero-mess private graffiti artists. Other multiplayer experiences featured on the Udu website appear to replicate sports like baseball; one player pretends to throw, the other swings their controller like a bat, and third-party bystanders can watch this motion replicated in a baseball video game on a smartphone or tablet, although it's unclear why any of these parties would want to do that at this point.
Udu says it's got a bunch of games under development, which we'll learn more about closer to the shipping date, and its app can analyze your location to make sure it doesn't tell kids to run into real traffic swinging a virtual sword.
Sedentary children is a real problem – says I, knowing full well my two kids are both on sofas looking at screens as I write. Is this the solution? I guess it'll depend on execution and how hooky those games are. And how many of your kid's friends also get one to open up the multiplayer stuff. And how effectively you block your child's access to other forms of screen-based entertainment they can engage in with less physical effort.
The Udu Console is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter for a "launch day special" of €119 (US$116), with shipments due in April 2023. Standard crowdfunding cautions apply.
Source: Udu Console Kickstarter