Introducing The Tap Strap
The Future Of Input
Let me ask you a question; how often do you use your computer or cell phone keyboard? I use my trusty laptop daily and for multiple hours at a time. Even with 40 hours of use a week, I still type with four fingers and have to hunt for the right letters. I have bad habits from decades of typing, and it might be too late for me to ever get better – but what if the solution isn’t changing how we learn to type? What if the solution is to change typing altogether?
My son showed me a pretty cool gadget the other day called the Tap Strap, a wearable mouse and keyboard that inputs text by tapping your fingers on any surface. It popped up on his Facebook feed with a couple gamers playing Fortnite and League of Legends with it. My first thought was 1) what the heck is it? and 2) could this change the way we interact with our devices for the better?
What is Tap?
As described on their website, Tap is the keyboard of the future. It pairs to your devices via Bluetooth and can connect to anything from cell phones to computers to smart TVs – as long as it supports a BLE 4.0 connection.
You wear if on one hand like 5 futuristic rings and it inputs text and commands by “tapping” your fingers on a surface. I had a hard time picturing it in action (old dog, new tricks), but some videos helped. Inputting text with Tap is almost like playing the piano, so you can input over 150 characters, letters, numbers or commands just by tapping different combinations of fingers. You can also customize the default settings for different situations like gaming or making music, which I will expand on below.
Gaming with Tap
As a parent, I am far too familiar with the insane popularity of games like Fortnite. My son will spend hours playing with his friends, but they often have to take turns since we don’t have room for two computers. The idea of having an on the go keyboard he can take to his buddies was pretty cool to me, a freedom that Tap allows.
Tap gives you full control to remap your spells, abilities, weapons, buildings, inventory or whatever else into simple finger presses, allowing you to play your way. Since Tap is touch based, it’s also a more accurate than a keyboard – which means less frustrating yelling. It works with any game that accepts keyboard controls like MOBAs, FPSs, Battle Royales, MMOs and more.
Another cool application of Tap is the ability to input commands
and type without needing to see a keyboard, so it’s great for VR and AR situations where a full keyboard just doesn’t make sense.
You could be taking notes when making 3D art, search for a new game or respond to a message when you’re playing a game without ever needing to break immersion by taking off your headset. Since Tap works with BLE device it works with Hololens, Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality. Check out this video to see how Tap works as a keyboard and mouse in VR.
Talking to other moms, I hear often that their child isn’t represented by products. Since Tap is universally accessible, it’s also a great tool for blind of vision impaired kids to play games they wouldn’t normally be able to interact with. It’s also great for alternative and augmentative communication if your child struggles with traditional keyboard inputs.
Below is a podcast about Tap’s usage in the blind community from the NFB conference earlier this year:
Tap isn’t just for gamers, it’s also a great way to engage children ages 7 and up. It also teaches kids how to use software to customize the device, so they can start to understand how to implement coding at a young age. It’s also a life saver for long car rides when a tablet and a pocket keyboard can keep them entertained for hours.
Tap also works for us older folks too! If your a business person who needs to travel for work, a bulky laptop and keyboard just won’t cut it. It works with your existing applications, so you can cue media during presentations, write word documents, or edit files and videos with just one hand.
Another super fun application of Tap is using it to make music. Instead of making music by sitting and staring at your screen, you can link Tap up to Ableton or other creation software and start creating by tapping on any surface.
Is it Hard to Learn?
I am not tech savvy at all, so the biggest concern I had for Tap was the learning curve. They managed to figure that out too. The co-founders worked with memory scientists at Stanford to create an app that uses muscle memory and repetition to make learning fast and fun. The average person learns to Tap in just 90 minutes and is hitting 30 WPM in just 5 hours of practice.
You learn using an app called TapGenius that breaks the alphabet up into 8 learning sections. Each section takes 5-10 minutes and they suggest you practice for 10 minutes a day to start typing fast. The Tap can register up to 10 inputs per second, so it has a maximum WPM of 120.
Tap also has a live support line during business hours (they are based in Los Angeles, CA) and 24/5 support via email, so if you get stuck they can walk you through it!
How Long Does it Last?
The Tap battery lasts for 8 hours of use or 7 days standby. It comes with an external battery that also functions as a protective charging case. The case will charge the Tap 8 times without needing to be plugged in so you can get 64 hours of use without needing a wall socket.
You can learn more about the Tap here: tapwithus.com or by leaving your questions below!