'Sharks in the Park' app helps keep kids fit

'Sharks in the Park' app helps keep kids fit

One Kiwi company has come up with a way to get kids exercising while they play on their iPads. It involves a shark and a park.

If you see kids running around randomly with a device and saying "shark!" they could be playing Sharks in the Park -- an augmented reality game where the player catches fish and avoids hungry sharks.

"There are little rewarding sounds and scary sounds when the shark tries to get the fish off them and they run away, and that is the whole objective of winning this game," says CEO Melanie Langlotz.

Developed by software start-up company Geo AR, it can be played on any smart device.

"You just use your screen to interact with that technology," says co-founder Amie Wolken. "You move forwards, you move backwards. However you move, the digital world is changing around you and you can see it. That's what augmented reality does."

Once in a park or playing field, the game calculates the playing area using Google Maps and combines it with the video feed. It also warns if a player gets within 15 metres of a road or water, although parents should still supervise in case maps haven't updated the latest motorway extension.

Augmented reality technology is not new, but it is seen as the way forward for entertainment.

"We are taking it and we are using it to create immersive and fun environments, which kids can explore and run around," says Ms Wolken.

The company is part of Wellington's Lightning Lab XX -- an innovation hub that supports female-led companies. It's hoping releasing Sharks in the Park will help a Kickstarter campaign for a premium version. At the moment you can catch fish for free.