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iPhone + Hidden Park ARG = Getting Kids Outdoors

| Wednesday June 24th, 2009 | 3 Comments

It’s been said that today’s kids are increasingly focused on their gadgets, and see the outside as a distraction from doing the cool things they can do online, on their XBox, their laptop, and their iPhone.
So how do you find a way to get them outside in a way that doesn’t involve nagging and will increase their own desire to be there in the first place?
Bulpadok has found a way. Engage them in a way that will leverage their fascination with the iPhone, their imagination, and GPS: The Hidden Park. Bulpadok is an Australian mobile apps company who as they say, “We love Geocaching so much we blended it with Alternative Reality Gaming.”
In the case of The Hidden Park, they’ve mapped out real life parks in nine major metropolitan areas in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, overlaying a children’s fantasy adventure “alternative reality game” (ARG) on top of that, taking them (and their parents) on a grand day at the park in the process.

As the children navigate their way past real life landmarks, the app tells them where to go next. To progress further, they solve puzzles and riddles, clues to which are on the real world signs in the park. Along the way they have to take pictures of their journey, and overlaid on it will be creatures that only the iPhone (and the children) can see. It’s this interweaving of play and real world elements that will make it much more likely the children (and parents) will retain much more of their experience.
Though this game is pure kid’s play, I could see elements of its technology being used by cities seeking to find a way to engage people with historical architecture or other underutilized treasures of their area. Environmental groups could use it to develop awareness in and engagement around compromised regions in need of support/pressure on government officials.
Readers: What other ways can you see mobile technology being used to get people active in the real world for sustainable/environmental causes? Add your insight below!
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, mobile apps, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums.


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  • http://www.conservationfund.org Glynnis McPhee

    That sounds like a great app. I work at The Conservation Fund (www.conservationfund.org) and we’re involved in a program to plant a real tree for every virtual tree planted through the iPhorest app. It’s a really cool app, pretty interactive – you plant the seed by virtually shoveling, shake the phone to make it rain, the sun shines and tree grows in stages each day. You can also see a map of the world that shows where people have planted from while the “real” trees are planted along the Gulf Coast in the U.S.
    It’s not too often that technology can be used for environmental good and it’s nice to share the opportunities to make a positive impact when you can!

  • D. Bonner

    Real life pokemon. I couldebt evn imagine how popular this could b. Diffrent “ipokemon” based on location. Peer to peer bluetooth battles. With the way people are attached to their phones they would probally develope a connection to theire iPhone creatures like what has happened with tamigatchi. I think useing this popularity and connection to the game would be huge for raising awearness environmentaly. I could easily imagine a kid having serious concern for the environment if when playing he found out that his beloved ipokemon were endangered And this concern would carry on into adult life.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    @Glynnis that’s a great app idea, what an awesome use of technology!
    @D. Bonner I like where you’re going, you may be on to something there.