AMS Spring 2023

3D Printing Helps Tapdo Smart Button Launch on Kickstarter, as Seen at Pepcom DigitalFocus

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There was a time in the not-too-distant past when telephones were corded and resided on kitchen walls or side tables, and changing the channel on a television set meant getting up off of the couch and rotating a dial. Those were the days! Then came remote controls and wireless phones that, while bulky, simplified our lives from the everyday annoyances of getting up off the couch or searching for the nearest payphone when our car inevitably broke down. But alas, technology progressed and human beings slowly atrophied into our current form; legless, giant pulsating brains with vestigial T-Rex arms. OK, perhaps we are not quite there yet. I was reminded of this unpleasant fact while spring cleaning. I came across a half dozen remote controls, half which were “universal” remotes but do little else besides change the channel on the TV or cable box, or simply gather dust. But fear not my technology obsessed brethren, there is a new device to simplify controlling your many digital devices and speed us toward our evolution into the aforementioned levitating brains.

Tapdo, billed as the world’s smallest remote for everything by its creators, is a smart button that lets you control various devices through single-touch, personalized biometric interactions. The diminutive wearable button is essentially a fingerprint sensor that allows you control music, smart light and many other devices with a simple finger swipe. The smart button is powered by Bluetooth LE and is equipped with vibration feedback, allowing for a seamless and intuitive user experience. It is small enough that it can be clipped just about anywhere innocuously, for ready access, or it can simply be worn on a slim wristband to keep it close at hand.

Unlike other fingerprint sensors, Tapdo doesn’t just read fingerprints on the tips of your fingers, but prints along the lengths of your fingers as well. It may be the first device to use the entire hand for biometric interactions. It is meant to serve as an alternative to the smartphone as the main controller for smart products. Tapdo makes smartphones appear to be clunky, oversized devices. It enables rapid, discreet interaction with no-look control. Not only is it designed for smartphone power users and those looking to simplify smart home interactions, but it also complies with the one-touch rule for phone usage while driving, so you can keep your eyes on the road and still control your tunes.

“More and more innovative technologies and devices come into our lives, but this just means we have to juggle different ways of activating and controlling them, ” says co-founder Dr. Manuel Praetorious. “Instead of taking my phone out for every little action, I sought to simplify how we use and enjoy technology.”

Tapdo works with a companion mobile app, letting you to assign specific functions to different parts of your fingers, and incorporates vibration feedback. A different app can be assigned to each finger and different parts of that finger would control different functions of that app. For example, your index finger could control your music, with your fingertip activating the app, the middle section of your finger controlling the volume of the music and the base of your finger skipping tracks. Not only do different parts of your fingers and hands control various functions of various apps, but Tapdo also recognizes the orientation of the fingerprint and that can be used to access different controls. Tapdo gives a lot of freedom in allowing you to use it the way that works best for you.

Tapdo was created by a trio of German physicists and computer scientists, who wanted to simplify our everyday lives and obviously share my dream of evolving into free-floating, hyper-intelligent beings. I met with Markus Sudhoff, CEO of Tapdo, at Pepcom’s DigitalFocus technology innovation showcase. He demonstrated some of the functionality of the Tapdo and I got to see the 3D printed prototypes of the device. I was duly impressed by the promise of this unique smart button and It’ll be really interesting to see how well it catches on.

Tapdo is currently running a Kickstarter and at the time of publishing this article, it was a little shy of its goal of €45,000, with 10 days to go in the crowdfunding campaign. A pledge of €109 (approx. $118) will snag you a unit. If you’re tired of losing your remote, have a bunch gathering dust, or just want a little extra convenience in controlling your smart devices, give it a look. Sometimes impressive things come in small packages.

Below is a video of the Tapdo in action:

[Images: Tapdo]

 

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