Ask a parent about the challenges of raising children today, and the conversation will probably steer towards managing screen time. The question of how much is too much is still up for debate, but one Danish inventor has come up with a way to get his kids moving around again – by making them punch each other. Jabii pits kids against each other in a hybrid of virtual and real world combat, using padded extendable gloves connected via Bluetooth to an app that tracks hits and scores.
Video games that get players off their butts have been around since at least the days of the Nintendo Wii, but slight hand waves and pointing can still be done from the comfort of the couch. Jabii is about physical fisticuffs with electronic scoring, and just enough RPG-style progression to trick the kids into thinking they're playing a mobile game.
The "controller" takes the form of a spring loaded glove, which looks like something from the Wile E. Coyote design studio, and telescopes out to 38 in (96.5 cm) whenever a punch is thrown. The springs are designed to take the power out of the punch, and any remaining potential pain on impact is softened by the squishy rubber head. Since you can't be too careful in kid-to-kid combat, the system also includes wrestling-style helmets.
Embedded inside the rubber head of the glove is a nine-axis accelerometer, designed to capture data on the punches thrown, how fast they were going, the hit rate on the opponent and where players are standing. All that information is sent via Bluetooth to the connected Jabii app, where it's crunched to determine the winner. Cheering and verbal instructions will also be played through the user's phone or tablet.
Details on the mobile game side of things are still a little vague at the moment, but the Janii team says there will be character classes, unlockable gear, vanity items and players will level up their characters by fighting each other or through solo training sessions.
As safe as it's claimed to be, Jabii looks to be a pretty violent solution to the problem of getting kids up and away from the big TV screen and games console. And all the precautions in the world aren't going to do much to protect defenseless antique vases. With that in mind, Jabii is probably best played as an outdoor sport – and under pretty strict adult supervision.
The team is about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund Jabbi, with a goal of DKK 500,000 (USD$75,000). Pledges will start at DKK 458 ($69) for a single Jabii glove and helmet, or DKK 631 ($95) for a two-pack. If all goes to plan, the kids will be duking it out by July 2018.
Jabbi can be seen in action in the video below.