by Derek Gagnon
It’s Saturday afternoon, and you’re out for a ride in that sick whip of a minivan your parents let you have. You’re travelling at a comfortable pace, but what feels like a comfortable pace for you has now accidentally gotten up to 60 kilometres an hour in a 50 kilometre an hour zone. Now instead of going the posted limit, you’re speeding. Unbeknownst to you as well, there’s a photo radar van up ahead. It’s done a good job of blending in, as good as a Dodge Grand Caravan can, and you don’t see it you’re going to get a ticket, which will really hurt your wallet bec-
Your TrapTap device is flashing green to indicate that you’re speeding. You tap it and slow down. The device lights up blue almost as soon as you do this, indicating the photo radar van ahead. You tap the device again and proceed to pass by the van at a legal pace. No ticket for you, and it’s thanks to TrapTap.
What is TrapTap?
TrapTap came into being less than a year ago, an idea spawned by a couple of entrepreneurs getting together for some adult beverages.
“Back in November of 2015, I was out for drinks with one of my co-founders, Dustin Refvik, brainstorming ideas,” said TrapTap co-founder Bryce North. “To me, speeding tickets have always been an issue. I get tons ever year, and I always wondered if there was a way to make my Fitbit vibrate on my wrist in order to remind me where these speed traps are.”
Dustin suggested that they create something to go on the dashboard that sends signals to the driver. With an idea in hand, in January of 2016 they set out on creating what would become TrapTap. They teamed up with local engineers Gord Parke and Adam Tsouras. Development for their Kickstarter campaign started in February in order to campaign and raise funds.
“We made a video and a campaign page, and launched that in March. In 60 days we had over half a million dollars in pre-sales to make this project come to life.”
An 8 Billion Dollar Industry
Each year in North America, 8 billion dollars is spent on speeding tickets. That’s a lot of money that could be spent happily elsewhere.
How TrapTap works
“It’s an oversized Oreo cookie that sits on your dash, and blinks different colours for different speed traps,” said Bryce. “Right out of the box, it comes pre-mapped with every red light camera, school zone and speed limit in 63 countries.”
The TrapTap device flashes red if you come in proximity to a red light camera, yellow if you’re approaching a school zone, and green if you’re over the speed limit and blue for police and mobile radar units (camera vans). Simply connect your device to the TrapTap app, set your parameters and you’re ready to hit the road.
Unlike radar detectors and jammers, which are illegal, TrapTap uses a different kind of technology to alert its users: people.
“What makes TrapTap unique is the crowdsourcing component,” said Bryce. “We’re able to tell the location of any cop with a radar gun, mobile radar trap or road hazard is by the use of our community and users. If you see a radar trap, and your device doesn’t light up (meaning you’re the first to spot it), you tap your TrapTap device twice, which send a single to the cloud and informs the other users of what lies ahead.”
TrapTap’s first 5,000 units will start being shipped out in late August, and continue on through September as the company honours its pre-sale commitments, with an additional 10,000 units ready to go by the end of 2016.
“One thing I’m quite proud of is that we’ve conceptualized, built, tested, funded and delivered TrapTap in under eight months,” said Bryce.