July 28, 2015 - For Immediate Release
New York, NY – Canadian-based innovator, Michael Zinn won at the AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge with his product TAPS which is a device that gives a voice to people who are unable to speak and control other features on their portable device. T.A.P.S. (Trigger Activated Personal aSsistant) was one of 15 submissions in the category of the challenge; a three-month global software development competition leveraging mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.
In addition to bragging rights, Zinn’s team will receive $10,000 in prize money which will help with further research and product development. TAPS was also invited to work with NYU to further test and develop the product in the Fall. “This is phenomenal” says Zinn, “we are looking ahead to build out the software for different uses to help people live more independently.”
TAPS is a collection of wearable triggers that can be placed anywhere on a persons’ clothing or on a wheelchair. When paired to the user’s cell phone or tablet through Bluetooth, the user can TAP one of the various triggers to communicate customizable pre-programmed messages, take photos, answer phone calls, open emails and connect with other Bluetooth devices. The product is market ready and Founders are raising capital to go into production. A shipment is expected later this summer which will be used for further testing and development. A limited quantity will be available for sale.
The idea struck Peterborough resident Michael Zinn when he saw DrumPants makers on an episode of Shark Tank. Zinn a rehabilitation support worker, reached out to DrumPants Founders Lei Yu and Tyler Freeman to see if the product can be modified to help people speak. “For, people with debilitating diseases like ALS or Cerebral Palsy, it is incredibly difficult to communicate to their support workers. TAPS allows people to become more independent because it gives them a voice,” says Zinn.