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January 27, 2014

‘Digital backpack’ could solve back problems in half of UK’s children

Tablet, Bluetooth pen and carry case weighs 94% less than average school bag.

By Claire Vanner

A new ‘digital backpack’, called HappyBird, has been launched to help solve back problems found in up to fifty per cent of children in the UK as a result of carrying heavy schoolbags and books.

The concept, which comprises of a tablet, bluetooth pen, and carry case, weighs 94% less than the average schoolbag – found to weigh two stone – and provides students with access to millions of ebooks and apps to help improve learning performance.

The launch follows a series of claims made by the NHS that ‘back pain in secondary school age children has been linked to heavy schoolbags and backpacks’. Sean McDougall, a health expert at leading charity, BackCare, says: "Heavy backpacks are deforming children as growing numbers suffer irreversible back problems."

Jackson Anni, HappyBird co-founder, said: "HappyBird improves both the health of school, college and university students in the UK, as well as their learning experience and performance."

Available for £69, HappyBird is the brainchild of new tech start-up, Angel Digital, who launched the product as part of its wider vision to enhance the learning experience of young people and provide greater accessibility to tablets.

HappyBird’s 8-inch tablet runs on Google’s Android operating system. Its bluetooth pen also connects pen and paper to the tablet in real-time, allowing the user to annotate work and send messages to friends.

"HappyBird is the first in a series of products to help us realise our vision of a world where companies and governments work more closely together to improve the education system via the use of digital tools and technology."

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Following feedback from student and teacher pilot tests at some of the UK’s leading primary schools and universities, including the University of London, London School of Economics and Imperial College London, HappyBird is set to improve classroom learning experiences, as well as save some university students nearly 20 hours study time per week and up to £460 per year on the cost of textbooks.

Janet Johnson, a Teaching Assistant at St Luke’s Primary School in London, said: "With the tens of thousands of education and tutoring apps on HappyBird, teachers can foster interactive learning and tailor learning to an individual style instead of a one-size-fits-all approach."

Thibault Lavabre, an economics student at the London School of Economics, added: "On my calculations, I anticipate HappyBird will save me nearly 20 hours in misdirected study time per week and £460 a year by enabling me to purchase ebooks as opposed to the traditional paper format."

 

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