There is something kind of magical about swimming when you are a child. Do you remember growing up and watching your shadow as you swam in the pool, trying to mimic a perfect dolphin kick and imagining you were a mermaid rather than human? We all shared these sorts of memories and a few of us decided to create something that enhanced the sense of wonder kids’ get when they play and swim under water.
1. Swimming is a great form of exercise. One of the core objectives of Flip is to help kids to become healthy and competent swimmers.
2. However, another goal of this design is to make kids learn and care about water animals. Traditionally, aquariums have been a way of bringing people, and especially children, closer to sea life. By triggering a sense of wonder and appreciation in visitors, aquariums are an effective way of teaching people about sea-life preservation, and it’s also just really fun to learn about these animals and their habitats.
We saw an opportunity to create a device that not only encouraged children to swim more, but also generated their interest in preserving sea creatures and their habitats through a fun interaction. We eventually imagined designing a pair of webbed aquatic gloves that would track acceleration. It would then sync with an educational mobile app in order to generate animal profiles real-time. Our desire is to promote learning through animal-metrics.
In our works-alike glove (see images below), we used simple material like fabric, Velcro and a pre-made fin to mock-up a simple casing that would be easy to work with.
Aqua Glove Demonstration Prototype
But for our actual prototype, we imagined using materials like silicone, which composes the glove and fin, and an elastomer material for the wristband.
The wristband houses all the hardware that stimulates the child's magical experience. It hides everything that doesn't want to be seen. The screen is the only component that is exposed, which would be waterproofed so children can, of course, swim with the glove.
Aqua Glove Prototype
Our target users are children ages 4-9. On average in the United States, children learn to swim at age 4. We felt that this product would be best suited for kids who feel comfortable in the water but will be engaged with this simple interface.
Aquariums and books are great educational tools, but our product exposes kids to sea-life in a new way. By making them “feel” like they themselves ARE different animals while understanding the different marine life found in different geographies, Flip creates an experience that is highly engaging. Best of all, this product is fun and encourages kids to swim and care about sea creatures in a way that will hopefully encourage them to connect and care about their endangered habitats as they grow older.
Android & Mock ups
We believe this product can be developed even further to include more opportunities for education, play, and fitness. Including additional sensors to detect water ion concentration and temperature would allow for even more advanced animals profiles. We’ve also brainstormed ways we could create interaction between multiple Flip users, allowing for a new spin on age-old favorite like sharks and minows.