G-Pad silicone sleeve adds Gameboy buttons to your iPhone

Interesting Engineering

Retro gamers will assure you that physical buttons beat touch screen buttons for gaming hands down. The lack of a physical sense of the button requires repeated checks with your vision to make sure your finger are in the right place and this, for competitive gamers especially, can be a significant hindrance to your high score. So, enter the G-Pad silicone sleeve, a simplistic single piece of silicone that can add physical buttons to your iPhone (and maybe more touch screen devices in the near future).

20140407191411-53[Image Source: Aws Jan, G-Pad]

The designer, Aws Jan, has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help launch his idea into the marketplace. He is looking to raise $16 000 by June in order to get the mass manufacturing ball rolling. Offering $13 of support in the early bird campaign will land you a G-Pad when manufacturing begins (if it succeeds of course). After the early bird campaign the minimal fund price will raise to $25 before hitting a final retail price of $33.

The current model is compatible with the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s and also the iPod Touch and operates inline with an iOS Game Boy emulator called GBA4iOS, which doesnt require any hacking or jailbreaking.  The sleeve slides over the screen, aligning perfectly with the on-screen buttons and the capacitive material on the inside of the sleeve transfers the button presses from the gamers' finger to the screen.

20140407191122-56[Image Source: Aws Jan, G-Pad]

The rubber silicone is produced in a single mold and its simplicity just leaves you wondering why this idea hasn't come about sooner. Durability is obviously an important unknown here but rubber silicone usually pays its due. The powerless design means that no batteries are required of course and no power sucking from your iPhone's battery. It's certainly far more simplistic than the bulky iPhone gamer pads that have hit the market recently.

20140407191411-55[Image Source: Aws Jan, G-Pad]

Originally, Jan funded all the designing and prototyping himself, designing the G-Pad on 3-D printing software and refining the design. If he does hit his $16 000 target, he states that he has planned the manufacturing, assembling and packaging processes with manufacturers in China. Also, he has said that if the funds reach $25 000, then he will also produce two optional colour variants for the iPad Mini.

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