Identifying the safety concerns of parents when taking children to crowded locations such as fun parks, museums and festivals, Justine Mittelheuser created Tappy hats for children.

Putting her four years’ experience working in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to good use, Mittelheuser’s Tappy hats and caps are designed to help reunite parents with lost children through a waterproof NFC tag made from ABS material, embedded in the brim or visor of the hat.

NFC technology involves two-way communication over radio waves between the NFC chip and an NFC device such as a Smartphone or tablet. Unlike Bluetooth, it does not require pairing and can be accessed immediately through proximity.

The Tappy hats NFC tag is encoded with the cell phone number of a parent or guardian which when tapped by an NFC enabled Smartphone, is automatically dialed. The idea is that if a child is lost while travelling or in a crowd, any Smartphone user can tap the clearly labelled tag on the brim of the hat and inform the parent or guardian of the child’s location.

The hats can be encoded with the parent or guardian’s cellphone number by the manufacturers or encoded at home through the Tappy Android app.

The first prototype was designed by Mittelheuser in 2012 for her son to wear. After generating interest from other parents and friends, Mittelheuser identified a market for the product and set about creating a Kickstarter campaign to have it produced on a larger scale.

Mittelheuser’s experience creating custom NFC brands for Australian businesses allowed her to engage an existing relationship with global NFC tag manufacturer, NFC Wireless Pty Ltd, to supply the specialized NFC tags.

The tags have an expected ten year tag life, equivalent to ten thousand taps. The caps and hats are made from 100 percent cotton and are machine washable and the waterproof tag means that there is no risk to the hardware through washing, rain or swimming. They will come in two designs, Surfer Girl and Skater Boy in both bucket hats and caps.

Mittleheuser is hoping to deliver the product in September if all goes to plan. The goal is to reach AUD$15,000 (approx. US$11,600) by July 23, with a pledge for a bucket hat or a cap set a $22.

Source: Kickstarter

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