Most smartphone cases are designed to protect your mobile device from minor scrapes, bumps, or falls… but drop your phone screen-first onto concrete and you’re probably out of luck unless you’ve got some serious screen protection.

The AD Case could change that. It’s like a mobile airbag for your smartphone, with a set of springs that extend when the phone is in freefall, preventing the screen, back, or edges from touching the ground.

The case was developed by German college student Philip Frenzel, and while it’s not a real product that you can buy yet, the design did win an award from the German Society for Mechatronics, and Fenzel has registered a patent for the design.

While the airbags in a car expand upon impact, that would be too late to save a phone from damage in most situations. So the AD Case uses sensors to detect when a phone is falling and extend a set of metal springs to dampen the impact. AD, by the way, stands for Active Dampening.

It’s certainly possible that a phone could fall in such a way that the springs located near each corner wouldn’t help. For example, if you happen to drop the phone screen-first onto a sharp, pointed object. But for most falls onto a relatively flat surface, the AD Case seems like it would be helpful.

If your phone does survive a fall, all you need to do is fold up the springs so that they’re ready the next time you drop your phone.

Frenzel and a partner plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in July to raise money to bring the AD Case to market. There’s no word on the price or when the team expects to ship the first cases to backers.

via Hacker News



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7 replies on “This case works like an airbag for your smartphone (prototype)”

  1. As long as there is no way for that to pop open in my pocket, I’d be OK with it.

    I mean, other than if I was jumping from a plane or a bridge. That would be my own fault.

  2. Cute, but by adding all those springs, you’re making it so thick that the job could be done just as well by wrapping the thing in a piece of silicon rubber that’s a quarter as thick.

    From a technical point of view it looks like a really neat project. From a practical point of view, it’s useless.

  3. Will it activate while it’s in my pocket and I sit down relatively fast, jump, riding a plane/roller coaster/other fast moving vehicle, etc.?

  4. The only time I’ve ever damaged a mobile device was when I bumped a table with my Palm device in my pocket, like the one time I had it with the screen facing out for some reason. Like everyone else, I have to wonder if it will activate when I jump down the stairs. Still, it would be less catastrophic than an accidental setting off of a Hovding, a bike helmet airbag (hovding.com).

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