"It was while playing lasergame, in 2015, that the idea came to me. I told myself that it would be the top to find a solution to do the same in the nature, in the middle of the forest, instead of being confined in a dark room." No sooner said than done. Passionate about paintball, which he practiced assiduously between the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s, before abandoning it following the ban on playing freely in the wild, Saxon Christophe Bruchez recently developed a fun and original sporting activity intended for all audiences. "I was an absolute fan of paintball, but as soon as the markers used were considered weapons, I changed my perspective and became a fan of infrared (IR)."
No warlike connotations
A computer scientist-electronician by training, Christophe readily admits to being a true geek. "It's my passion. My house is hyperconnected and I never stop reading about the new products on the market. He thus had the idea of using infrared technology, a ray of light that is painless, harmless and invisible to the naked eye, similar to that of your TV remote control, to develop IRTAG, a contraction of IR, for infrared, and TAG, which means marked or touched in English. "Wanting to avoid any warlike or military connotations, except for the shape of the marker, I developed a concept intended for everyone, from 7 to 77 years old, or even older." Among the advantages of infrared, Christophe cites the precision of the shot up to 200 meters, the absence of projectiles and therefore of waste and injuries, respect for the environment even though IRTAG is practiced primarily outdoors, playability for the youngest and compliance with current legislation, such as the transparency of the marker cases. A family activity Father of three children, Christophe first tested his creation with his family. "My wife Sophie didn't want guns at home, but when she saw and tested my markers, she quickly took to the game and is now its best ambassador." Christophe designed, from scratch, a new marker in the workshop of his family's home: "I imagined and created the case with an integration of all components - vibrator, charger, battery, OLED screen, motherboard, speaker, holographic viewfinder, headband - at home." It took him more than three years of work, done in his spare time, to come up with his new product, for which the IRTAG brand is now registered and protected. While his wife takes care of the commercial service during the week in the French-speaking part of the Valais, Christophe has granted several franchises to partners in Fribourg, Vaud-Neuchâtel and in the Upper Valais.
Soon a club in Saxon
Even if it is possible to play it indoors, IRTAG is mainly intended to be played in the open air. For the moment, it is only used by word of mouth, but it is already very popular. "It has been running for two years, during birthdays, class outings, bachelor parties, team building, company outings or corporate events, with a huge success with all audiences." In order to introduce it to the youngest (8 - 15 years old), Christophe will soon open an IRTAG club in Saxon, which will be the first of its kind in Switzerland: "All interested youngsters will be able to try it out and learn about the various aiming techniques, camouflage, equipment and games available."