NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The genesis of the idea was born the way many innovations have been: “from a need.”
“Some kids in class were opening their water bottles by poking pens in them,” Alex Esposito, 8, said. “One kid hit his hand and started bleeding.”
“A lot of young children have trouble twisting off the caps on water bottles,” said Michael Esposito, Alex’s father.
It was a common sight in school Alex said: children using pens, pencils or even scissors in a stabbing motion to poke holes in the top of their water bottle caps in an effort to get to the liquid. Some would even put the water bottle cap between their teeth to twist it open.
Alex was only in kindergarten when he started thinking of a safer and more efficient way for children to drink their water.
“He came home that day from school and started talking about how a kid was bleeding,” said Michael. “From that point, he was determined to make a safer way.”
Now a third-grader at Grandview Elementary in North Caldwell, Alex and his father finally brought the seeds of that original idea to bear in the form of KapTap™.
KapTap™ is a small, cylindrical construct resembling a bottle cap. At the center of the concave side is a short raised cone surface ending in a point – just sharp enough to pierce the plastic of a water bottle cap.
The application is exceedingly simple: place KapTap™ over a water bottle and press down lightly. Apply pressure to the water bottle and a stream of water shoots out.
“Drinking like this is so much fun,” said Dylan Schatell, 8, of West Orange, who will now only drink from a water bottle by using a KapTap™.
“We went through several prototypes before we came to the finished result,” Michael said.
“The first prototype was actually made from the screw-on bottom of a flashlight,” Alex said.
The Esposito’s started by mimicking the shape of a pen point and then devising a safe housing around it.
“We embarked on two years of trial and error, until we were satisfied,” said Michael.
They decided to manufacture in the U.S.A. which was important to them.
“Safety is very important,” said Michael. “The plastic is BPA-free.”
KapTap™ has been engineered to puncture the surface of a plastic water bottle cap with minimal effort. Alex demonstrated its use by opening a water bottle with a mere push of his pinky finger.
“Because of the design, the pressure needed [to make a puncture] is practically nothing.”
But the real strength of KapTap™ -- and the design feature that Michael believes will win KapTap™ its patent -- is the creation of a vacuum effect that takes place when a hole is pierced. When a water bottle cap is pierced by a KapTap™, if placed on its side or even turned upside, very little liquid escapes. A dropped water bottle retains virtually all of its liquid. As Michael pointed out, a dropped water bottle with an unscrewed cap would lose most or all of its liquid.
Michael originally envisioned KapTap™ as an ideal and safe implement for small children who lack the strength to unscrew water bottle caps. But he sees the opportunity for other applications now. Because it requires minimal pressure, people with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome could access water more easily. Ease of access also makes it a safer alternative to unscrewing a water bottle cap for people who are driving in their car.
KapTap™ can currently be found in Learning Express retail stores. It retails for $4.99.
“Learning Express was a great fit,” Michael said. “They cater to children and the fundamentals of their business are characteristic of what this product represents.”
Michael and Alex also have ambitions for other projects beyond KapTap™. As founders of the Creative Mind Group, Michael and Alex will help innovators by pointing them in the right direction with their inventions. The focus is not to take over the individual businesses but to help the creators bring their ideas to market.
But all of that is in the future. For now, the Espositos are very focused on KapTap™.
“This is really Alex’s project,” Michael said. “He’s a very creative boy and his mind runs a mile a minute.”
Click HERE for more information about the product.
Below is a video of Alex’s sister Giuliana demonstrating the use of KapTap™.