The slap bracelet of the 21st century: Now with a hug feature

November 19, 2013

Meet TapTap, the slap bracelet that let’s you tell someone you’re thinking of them. (Courtesy of Woodenshark)

“Have you ever tried to write an SMS while riding a saber-tooth horse to fight a horde of monsters?”

So asks the cheeky video to promote a slap bracelet that’s designed to exchange a touch between those wearing the wristband. For most of us, the answer to the question is a resounding no.

But hear the guys from Woodenshark out. They believe TapTap is a simple and powerful way for two people to remotely exchange a warm gesture, a touch on the wrist. They’re among those trying to build products to convey personal warmth through our gadgets.

“What we try to focus on is emotions, and emotions are typically invaluable in terms of money and user experience,” said Dmitry Gorilovsky, the founder of Woodenshark.

TapTaps are sold in pairs. If one is tapped, the other will vibrate. It’s a way to let a special someone know you are thinking about them.

Only in the 21st century do you have to pay $130 to receive a hug, a cynic would say.

But the Woodenshark team envisions other uses as well. The wristbands could be an easy way for a child with a health issue to communicate to a parent that something is wrong. Couples could adapt different styles of taps to convey different messages in crowded settings where using a smartphone may be difficult. Gorilovsky says the bracelet will integrate with RunKeeper and Shadow, an app that helps you recall your dreams each night. Woodenshark expects the device to integrate with IFTTT as well. There will be an software-development kit, opening the door for other potential uses of TapTap.

The TapTap team is just over 60 percent of the way toward its goal of raising $130,000 by Friday to cover manufacturing costs. The company says it will go ahead with production even if it doesn’t reach that goal. But production will be pushed back to June and the price will become $170 for a pair of the bracelets.

Sounds expensive. But if you know a couple that annoys you with constant gushing about each other on Facebook, this might be a smart holiday gift to keep them away from the keyboard for a few minutes.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland | November 19, 2013