Have you experienced the pain of picking up your shattered phone off the ground after a seemingly harmless drop? It’s a reality even the least clumsy smartphone users eventually face, and so far the only real way to prevent a repeat incident has been with bulky cases. But a new solution is on the way that will offer amazing drop protection without sacrificing the thin aesthetic of that expensive new phone and it has come out of the mind of a 25-year-old student in Germany.
Philip Frenzel was just awarded the top prize from the German Society for Mechatronics for his AD Case, a phone enclosure with a built-in airbag system. Tucked away inside the thin case are eight claw-like legs that spring into action as soon as the case detects a freefall motion, making it possible for a padded and safe landing. Unlike the airbags in your car though, these cushions can be folded back into the case to protect your phone from repeat plunges.
Frenzel got to work on the AD Case after suffering the same fate most of us have faced at some point with our phones. Despite attempts to keep his busted phone alive, Frenzel said that the “crash caused all the electronics to break down.” While most people would just accept defeat, move on, and possibly ruin the look of their new phone with a large protective case, Frenzel was in the middle of completing his mechatronics master’s degree at Aalen University and knew there had to be a better solution.
“Packing the iPhone with its aesthetic design into a chunky case is not fun,” Frenzel said in the telling of his thought process. So for four years he worked to find a solution that was both lightweight and safe from drops. Eventually, the AD Case evolved from the countless hours of work.
“In his thesis, Philip Frenzel impressively shows how a mechatronics engineer systematically and purposefully approaches a problem and develops a technically feasible and economically viable solution”, Prof. Dr. Rolf Biesenbach, Chairman of the German Society for Mechatronics eV, said as he granted the student with the coveted award.
While the award is an achievement in itself, Frenzel has bigger plans for the AD Case. With a patent on the airbag system already registered, Frenzel just founded a start-up with Peter Mayer, a graduate in economics at Aalen University of Applied Sciences, with the hopes of getting their case into the hands of smartphone users around the world.
The new startup, Frenzel + Mayer Solutions GbR, is gearing up to launch a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter to raise the funding needed to make their dream a reality. It is expected to go live on the service sometime later this month.