An “airbag” that keeps your phone from breaking up


This article was 1st published on our sister Site, Digital World Native.

Soon, a Kickstarter project will raise funding for what’s billed as a mobile phone “airbag”. Philip Frenzel’s bachelor senior engineering thesis at Aalen University in Germany caused a sensation by winning the 1st prize in a contest. The device consists of a case that senses when your phone is in free-fall, deploying tiny “legs” that protect it from damage. The legs can then be slid back into the phone case.

The concept was demonstrated by dropping a phone encased in the jacket, & using a “spider-app.” The thin protective case makes use of sensors that detect when you drop your phone & starts to be in free-fall. This is combined with small metal springs that unfold into dampers in the form of 8 legs, cushioning the fall.

1st spotted on Reddit, the phone’s look & feel aren’t compromised & the case isn’t an ugly, bulky contraption, as has been the common design option for protective cases. The dampers fold in by manually by folding them into the case & appear as flat appendages, so they’re reusable. They’re thin metal curls that lie flat inside the case. The phone will be protected over & over, every time it falls. The product is also known as an “AD case,” (AD meaning, ‘Active Damping’).

Philip Frenzel has earned his bachelor’s degree with flying honors thanks to this thesis, & has since entered a Master’s program on Mechatronics Systems Engineering at the same University. He is further refining the phone airbag, for which he has applied for a patent. He’s also founded a startup with a fellow Aalen University student to launch the ‘AD Case’ as a product.

So, there’s no actual physical airbag involved & this looks like both a functional & an aesthetically pleasing solution to a very common & unfortunate problem with smartphones. The startup is relying on an upcoming crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. If all goes well, cracked smartphone screens may well be a thing of the past.

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