tap plate

Long-time friends from Toronto create technology that lets you connect to WiFi with single tap

Two Toronto residents have come up with an impressive and high-tech solution to the annoyance that is connecting to someone's WiFi network for the first time, so you never have to search for that god-forsaken Post-It note or listen to somebody dictate an impossibly long password ever again.

The new start-up, called Tap Plate, was founded by Sean VanderHeyden and Chaitanya Dogra, who attended both high school and university together before starting a business.

Their product helps connect people to WiFi in seconds when they tap their phone against the plate. It works without batteries and doesn't depend on an app to get users connected.

"I think there's a definite need for something like this. People use easy insecure passwords like 'password' because it's too hard to share something secure. Nobody wants to read out 'r#lm98ND2jAP' to someone while they type it into their phone," VanderHeyden told blogTO. 

"Tap Plate helps to bypass that. It's no longer about whether someone can guess your password, but whether you've opened your home to them. Regardless of how secure your password is, it's a nice convenience to not have to worry about finding a Post-It or putting everything else on hold to dictate it to someone."

So how does it work, you ask? Well, whosever WiFi network it is simply has to download the app to get it set up. They must type in their WiFi password, hit "OK" and then tap their phone on the Tap Plate. 

After that, it can be used to connect anyone to the network without the use of the app at any time.

"I love sharing technology that excites people," VanderHeyden said. "When someone uses the Tap Plate it's like they're seeing a magic trick for the first time. Besides that, it's reliable and fast, and it looks a lot better than a Post-It hanging on the fridge."

tap plateThe technology was also created with accessibility in mind. 

VanderHeyden said the gap in digital accessibility is an issue that's started to receive more recognition this year, as it should, and he added that restaurants and cafes that provide free WiFi could use the new techonology to make it more accessible for all customers. 

"Leveraging Tap Plate instead of a chalkboard would make it just as easy for someone that has trouble reading the board to connect as it is for me," he said.

The product is currently in the early stages and can be backed on Kickstarter, and VanderHeyden said they recently tested their manufacturing process and were pretty thrilled with the result.

"We built in a lot of time assuming we'd need to iterate, but personally I'm extremely satisfied with how these came out," he said. 

"They're fully functional, and while we're still working out some details I'm confident that we'll be able to ship something the backers will be happy with. We plan to tweak the design with regards to improving the accessibility, but overall it's a very encouraging first run."

VanderHeyden expects that the product will be available for purchase beginning sometime towards the end of the summer, and he said they also hope to eventually produce a version of it that can be used as a coaster.

tap plate"It'll be coming out around the same time that the COVID vaccine is supposed to be broadly available, so it's the perfect time to get your place ready for new guests," he said. "Tap Plate is an easy, secure and accessible way to get them connected."

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Long-time friends from Toronto create technology that lets you connect to WiFi with single tap