While mobile phones have totally shunned the concept of the boring form factor, one thing that has not been tackled well even after so many years is how much the smartphones are prone to accidental drops. The touchscreen phones take a moment to bring all the investment down to zero, more so to negative if you get a replacement (for example iPhones). Well, it seems that we have a solution to this menace after these many years.
An engineering student from Germany has invented a new device that looks like a ‘mobile airbag’ that inflates during the drops.
The ‘mobile airbag’, formally called the AD (active damping) phone case, protects the phone display from shattering when you drop the phone, by ejecting springs from all the four sides that act as an airbag. The thought struck Philip Frenzel, a 25-year-old engineering student at Aalen University in Germany when he broke his smartphone by hurling his jacket on the banister. The fall was so impactful that the internals of the smartphone dropped out and scattered. It was then that he embarked on a research voyage to find a solution to this issue.
Finally, after four years of fiddling with the equipment, he came up with the phone case that houses sensors that can detect when the phone is falling.
The sensors equipped in the phone case detect the fall and immediately deploy four springs on the edges to shield the phone, so when the phone drops, it bounces back without any damage. There are dampers on all the four sides of the case that are foiled in an airbag-like position that absorbs the impact of the drop. You can use the dampers again, much like the airbags, by pushing them into the case after the deployment.
The phone case is one of its kind and while there are several anti-damage mobile cases available in the market that tout ruggedness on the exteriors, you cannot ignore their exorbitant price, if not the bulkiness.
This case is not available for purchase yet since Frenzel is awaiting an approval for the patent. That said, this has not come in the way of Frenzel getting popular for his invention. He has been awarded by the German Society of Mechatronics for the AD phone case, while a local public broadcaster Sudwestrundfunk has featured him in a video demonstrating the way his invention works. The inventor is also said to be mulling a Kickstarter crowdfunding initiative to commercialise the phone case.