The Upsee

So as I mentioned the other day, I was recently flown out to Belfast to witness a product launch.

The product is question was the Upsee, and it’s time I wrote a post about it. I’ve been quite relaxed about the timing of this post: before I made it back to the airport on the launch  day the Daily Mail article on the topic had been shared 200,000 times. Since then it’s been featured on so many major TV-channels and newspapers that the amount of impact I’d have is pretty much negligible. Nonetheless I do have thoughts on the subject.

Like all good ideas the Upsee is remarkably simple: develop a child’s ability to walk by having them walk with you. There is a harness that lets a child be strapped to a walker and by walking around on a regular basis various things like posture, leg strength and co-ordination are intended to be influenced positively. It’s a difficult think to explain – but fortunately I have photos:

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As a researcher, I’m going to wait until there is sensible trial data before I say if I think it actually makes a physical difference or not. But actually I suspect that the physical aspect of the device is only a small part of it. Because the social aspect is extremely strong. From the child’s perspective suddenly you are out of the chair, there are many more things that can potentially be grabbed, you are much closer to all the action, you are always facing what ever is going on. And there’s this:

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…which is easily my favorite image of the day.

The Upsee is a bit of a departure for products looked at on this blog – it’s completely un-electronic so none of my usual ranting about privacy and dataflow is relevant here. The inventor Debbie pointed out a major advantage to it being a simple (although refined after many versions) setup of straps: it’s suddenly much more exportable to the third-world. I’ll admit that I don’t know quite how that is going to mesh with the current £269 price tag (to be clear, I think for the possibility of a child to walk, that’s a very cheap price).

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Debbie was a facinating woman in her own right – and had a great many sensible (and unprompted) things to say on the topic of sibling issues. It’s worth watching the launch video just to hear her story (warning, you will cry, everybody cries).



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