With all the news and arguments swirling around the toll obesity takes on the environment and economy, it's a given that encouraging kids to stay active and fit is crucial. To that end, playground equipment supplier Hags has released the Son-X Octavia: a speaker that rewards kids who use swings with applause. Which begs the question, has it come to this?
The Son-X, which is currently shipping to schools in Europe, is wireless, solar-powered, and easily installed on any swing set. When the child on the swing reaches a certain height, it plays applause, to encourage her to continue playing.
The Son-X poses something of a TreeHugger paradox: it pushes for healthy kids and is powered by a renewable resource. But its existence- and therefore the energy and materials that go into producing and shipping it- seems unnecessary. Swings should be fun and rewarding in and of themselves. If kids really need electronically-produced sound to want to play, we're in sorry shape. If they don't, it's a waste.