An engineering student at Aalen University in Germany has invented what he described as an 'airbag' phone case that protects phones from breaking when dropped. The invention won first place at the German Society for Mechatronics and secured the 25-year-old a patent.
Speaking to Preview Online, novice inventor Philip Frenzel said the idea for the crafty phone-saving case came from his own painful experience of losing a pricey iPhone due to a fall. The process, however, took four years of experimentation and many discarded ideas for 'airbag' options involving foam and other substances.
Mechatronics to the rescue
Eventually, Frenzel stumbled on the idea of using mechatronics to create his ideal case. He engineered his invention with built-in sensors to detect when the phone is in free fall and eight springs attached to plastic legs that pop out to break the phone's fall on impact.
Watching the case in action is nothing short of impressive. Although described as an 'airbag' case, the device functions more like a speedy spider extending its legs to save its precious cargo from reaching the floor.
Frenzel has called his invention the ADCase, short for active dampening. The model is still a prototype but the student has launched a website for the product with business partner Peter Mayer that teases a soon-to-come crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
An ingenious product
The site reveals the ingenious case conveniently attaches itself to the back of the phone with its blue legs tucked into a small rectangular box that can easily be dismissed as a battery. When activated by a fall, the case extends four legs forward and four backward, protecting both sides of a phone's delicate surface.
Once the phone has been safely recovered from the ground, the rescue legs can simply be pushed back into their box by pressing them together and folding them back. The resourceful innovator, Frenzel's ADCase also comes with an extra battery that can charge phones wirelessly or by USB cable.
The ADCase is but a mere 4.9mm thick, however, its sturdy legs offer a safe three-centimeter buffer when fully extended. ADCases come in several models compatible with all iPhone versions.
On their page, Frenzel and Mayer refer to their case as "the coolest way to protect your smartphone." Their YouTube section also features a short behind the scenes video of the dynamic duo preparing for their Kickstarter campaign.
Mechatronics is a relatively new multidisciplinary field that combines elements of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer engineering, telecoms engineering, systems engineering and control engineering. The word "mechatronics" was first conceived by Japan's Yaskawa Electric Corporation engineer Tetsuro Mori in 1971 and was oddly trademarked by the company.
Eventually, Yaskawa made the word available for public use and the term and field saw its continued emergence in worldwide applications and translations.
Via: Preview Online