the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Creating a help me button for your baby

Crying BabyIf you’ve got a baby, chances are this scenario has happened: you’re approaching your house, you’ve got a loaded car and a loaded diaper, there’s a baby crying and you want your partner’s help. Sometimes you just want a help me button.

With the loud baby screaming, voice dialing is out of the question. Your voice will just be drowned out by your backseat cryer, and taking your eyes off the road to look up a contact and dial them is a major no-no.

So what do you do?

Assuming you’ve got an NFC compatible device (Windows Phone, almost all Android devices within the past two years, and it’s rumored that the iPhone 6 will have it as well,) you can create a cheap help-me button that when you tap your phone on it will call or text your mate to be ready to help.

You’ll need two things:

Some NFC tags (I’m suggesting these as they contain enough storage (450 bytes writable,) to do phone calls and minor things, but not so much that you’re paying extra for them). They’ll run you about $1.30 per tag and they come in a 10 pack.

If you know of cheaper one, drop a line or comment, this is just what I found as I couldn’t think of a use for anything more than about five.

An NFC writer application. I used NFC TagWriter. You’ll use this to define what the tag does when it’s tapped to the phone. In my example here I named a tag call work, and when it’s tapped to the back of my phone, all I have to do is press call and the call goes through.

You can also define that the tag sends an SMS for help.

NFC Tagwriter config pageDiaper unload help text

The tags I suggested have a peel-off back sticker with 3M adhesive, or they come with a fancy little keychain carrier if you have something you might want to carry around with you (such as an nfc tag that just turns the flashlight app on).

Depending on your OS, text messaging app, and phone, things more complicated that calling or texting may require the use of third party applications such as NFC Tasks.

The new scenario

From Pixabay user OpenClipsYou’re coming home with a loaded car and a loaded diaper. You grab your phone, keeping your eyes on the road, tap it to the NFC tag located conveniently on the dashboard, perhaps press send or call depending on how you’ve got the setup (some NFC apps will auto launch, some may require you to press a button, they’re nearly all free so play around).

Your partner contacted, you pull in to your parking space with someone waiting to help you.

I’m pretty sure the baby looks up, smiles, and a bird sings softly in the distance. Your baby help me button has saved the day.


More geeky stuff for the remaining NFC tags

  • Lullabye playlist starts playing
  • In conjunction with Baby UnTouch a series of NFC tags that activate baby apps
  • Control home automation (ac, alarm, etc)
  • Turn the flashlight on
  • Activate driving/car mode
  • Nighttime quite/vibrate/screen dim/etc
  • Send them to me

And finally…

I always feel somewhat weird about this, but if you click that Amazon NFC tag link, it’s got my code tib06-20 in there. What this means is if you spend $13 on those tags, I’m going to get about 75 cents in commissions.

If you don’t feel that you want that money going into my baby’s diaper fund, just look up NFC tags on Amazon without clicking the link. I’m pretty sure the ones I chose were the best deal, but who knows.

If you remove my tag, that 70 cents will go to that struggling company Amazon… man I hope they make it 😉

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.