Many smartphone cases promise to protect your phone from drops via shock-absorbing bumpers, but they’re only so effective…and depend on your phone falling at the right angle. A newly demonstrated case is different; it protects your phone no matter how it falls due to a set of springs that appear right before impact. Rather than breaking, the phone bounces to safety.
The phone case is the brainchild of Aalen University engineering student Philip Frenzel, who created the device as his thesis project. The case was demonstrated for German publication SWR, which refers to the concept as “an airbag for smartphones.” It’s easy to see the comparison — the protective elements only appear when an impact is detected.
The concept is simple on the user’s end: drop the phone and protective hinged legs pop out at the last second. When the phone makes contact with the ground, the legs hit instead of the handset itself and their spring-based nature absorbs the impact. The phone bounces once or twice, hitting the protective legs each time, before coming to a stop. The phone remains undamaged.
The user manually retracts the legs by first pinching the springs together, then simply tucking the legs back into the body. The entire process appears to take only seconds; when fully retracted, the case looks like an ordinary smartphone shell. A video demonstrating the device can be found here.
According to a website dedicated to the concept case, which refers to it as “Ad-case,” the device features an extra battery, as well as support for wireless charging. The protruding section of case on the back of the phone is said to be 4.9mm thick, making it incredibly slim given its functionality. According to that page, the smartphone case will be launching on crowdfunding website Kickstarter soon.