Everyone, who has ever had or seen children, is well aware that they possess some kind of perpetual power source, that combined with their inexhaustible desire to play creates a high energy vortex, almost impossible to oversee.
The idea to employ this power has found an original embodiment in Playground Energy’s outdoor toys, designed to convert it into light, sound, Wi-Fi signal and the like.
The co-founders of Playground Energy, Ilian Milinov, Industrial Designer and Hristo Aleksiev, Serial Entrepreneur say their key inspiration was simply to motivate children to play more in the open.
"We have to bring this outdoor classic playground in 21st century. That is why we transform this kinetic energy spent from kids on the playgrounds into light, sound in order to motivate them, to stimulate them to play more in playgrounds." (Ilian Milinov, Reuters, July 30, 2013)
Their first creation, the Lumi spring-mounted swing sets in motion children’s natural impulse to compete and the lights and music they produce show who is faster and more powerful. The kids’ happiness from seeing the result of their work excites them to play harder and completes the perpetuum mobile.
The entertainment comes together with educational value and demonstrates the children how they can generate energy and transform it from one state to another simply by having fun and teach them responsibility for the environment.
The promotion of public health benefits is an important part of Lumi’s mission as it encourages children to exercise, helping fight overweight and inactiveness.
"In our time obesity is a fact in the whole world. Not that electronic entertainment is bad, just the offline is too little, and we want to restore the balance. We do not fight the online world. Everything must be balanced, toxic substances do not exist, the dose makes the poison." (Hristo Aleksiev, Dnevnik, February 19, 2014)
Convinced that the best place for the effort to get the kids out and engage them in physical activity are playgrounds, the oldest "gaming platform" existing, Ilian and Hristo observed their evolution and gradual introduction of electric toys, where children sit and put coins to ride for a while. The obvious conclusion was that these toys consume electricity, do not provoke kids to perform physical movement, the toys themselves cost a lot and parents pay for all of it.
"We thought, would not it be better if we do not pay for that, if we do not consume energy, but instead produce it and if we motivate children to exercise, rather than sit in one place. Oh yeah - and if it was ten times cheaper." (Hristo Aleksiev, Enterprise, November 21, 2013)
Playground Energy’s plans include design of energy toys for home as well. Another idea is to connect them to online games so that the smart children's rides are a part of the player’s progress to next levels.
The inventors intend to develop similar gear for grownups, too, starting with a swinging garden bench that produces electricity and glows at night and extending the concept to further parts of imagination.