Tap is a wearable bluetooth accessory currently available for pre-order and it may change how we interact with our devices. It allows users to type or click using a table, their own head or the wall as a smart surface.
At first glance, Tap may appear like something of a fashion accessory, a bracelet for your fingers, or an incredibly minimalist fingerless glove. However, what Tap reportedly does is create a whole new range of ways to interact with smartphones, tablets of computers. Using a bluetooth connection, the wearable device reads movements of the wearer’s hand. Then by, appropriately enough, tapping their fingers on virtually a solid surface, the wearer can type or interact with their device. The wearable can effectively function as keyboard and mouse in a single hand. It’s not quite manipulating holograms in Tony Stark’s laboratory, but it certainly makes an impression.
With Tap, people can type text messages without having to hold or even look at their phones. This doesn’t require remembering the exact layout of your keyboard or trying to recall where “G” is. Rather, Tap requires learning a new approach to typing. Using this system, each digit corresponds to a different vowel. Certain movements and combinations of digits then correspond to other letters and symbols. This may already sound daunting and confusing to many people and there is likely to be a steep learning curve. Of course, it’s hardly the first time in recent years that new approaches to typing and texting have been adopted and Tap’s manufacturers are confident that people will be able to adjust. In fact, they’re releasing video games designed for the device to help people learn the new interface.
Where some concerns may arise is with regard to privacy. If someone can seamlessly type or activate a device from across the room, it’s easy to see how this could be problematic. Sending messages without the telltale posture of the standard phone text could prove disastrous in classrooms for example. Worse still is the idea that somebody could discreetly link their wearable to your device and then send messages from your phone while it’s in your pocket.
Of course, any new technological advance comes with its share of risks. What’s truly exciting about Tap is how it may help us move away from screens as we use them now. Smartphones and touch screens were game-changing when they arrived. This could well be the beginning of something which leaves such technology in the dust. Seamlessly interacting with any surface could make cracked screens or wobbly space keys irrelevant. It’s difficult to see where this technology could lead and what opportunities or pitfalls it might encounter. Tap may just be the first step into a whole new realm of technological interaction.