An ingenious new case aims to protect your smartphone without adding bulk to it, by deploying a sort of a mobile airbag when necessary.

Smartphones have come a long way and they can do all sorts of things besides just calling and texting, but all of those advanced features come at a price. Flagship smartphones cost a small fortune and in case of damage, the repairs can be quite expensive as well.

For this reason, many choose to buy protective cases that shield the device from accidental drops or bumps. However, such cases typically make the smartphone thicker and bulkier - the tougher the case, the bulkier it gets.

Active Smartphone Case: The Mobile Airbag

A new smartphone case aims to change all that, combining aesthetics with ruggedness for the best of both worlds. It's the creation of a German engineering student named Philip Frenzel, from Aalen University. The German Society for Mechatronics gave Frenzel the top award for his innovative case.

Rather than padding the phone with a bulky suit, this case simply transforms only when necessary. If the phone's not in danger, the case will not compromise its aesthetics.

How It Works

This smart case is equipped with sensors that detect when the phone is free falling and trigger a protection mechanism. More specifically, the case has springs on all four corners, with eight metal curls that will stop the phone from hitting the ground.

These fins lie inside the case when the smartphone is safe, but when it's free falling they spring and curl up to protect all edges of the device. The curled-up fins absorb the shock and significantly soften the blow when dropping the device.

When it's over, you can just fold the springs back into the case, where they will stay neatly folded until the next accident. Hopefully, the sensors are fine-tuned enough as not to deploy when the phone is in a pocket or a backpack, even if the person is running or making sudden movements.

Not For Sale Yet

On the downside, this innovative case is not ready to hit the market just yet. Its inventor has applied for a patent, so pending its award, it remains in the concept stage for now. Afterward, we might see the active damping case on a crowdfunding website such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, to raise funds for mass production.

Would you back such a project? If so, how much would you be willing to pay for it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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