If you’re like me, you dread the moment when you’re going to drop your iPhone. It’s going to happen, there is just no way around it. But, if you’re also like me, you don’t like encasing your beautiful device in a bulky, protective case.
Enter the “active dampening case,” an amazingly simple idea that no one ever thought of before.
In a thin protective case, the student built sensors that detect the free fall of the cell phone and developed a metal spring that unfolds during the fall and the power and energy cushions the fall. The dampers are then folded in manually and are reusable, so that the phone is protected from the next case. Therefore, the product is also called “AD Case”, which stands for “active damping”, ie “active damping”.
Frenzel’s idea won the top award from the German Society for Mechatronics, the Mechatronics Prize.
“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”, says Prof. Dr. med. Rolf Biesenbach, Chairman of the German Society for Mechatronics eV, at the award ceremony. “That this nationwide award for the best mechatronics bachelor thesis is now the second time in four years to Aalen, we are particularly pleased. Together with the third place in the nationwide CHE ranking and the award of colleagues Höfig and Eichinger with the State Teaching Award last year, it shows that the mechatronics in Aalen also plays a leading role nationwide “, emphasizes Prof. Dr. Arif Kazi.
Frenzel originally considered an actual airbag mechanism to protect the phone, as well as a foam-based alternative. Neither proved practical. Finally he hit upon a combination of sensors that would deploy springs when a fall is detected.
Eight thin metal curls normally lie flat inside the case. However, when they deploy, they pop out and curl up protecting the edges of the phone from impact. You then pick up your phone, fold the springs back into their tiny holsters, getting them ready for the next drop from your butterfingers.
The inventor doesn’t mention what keeps the springs from deploying while in your pocket, say, when you inevitably jump for joy for having such great protection for your iPhone, but one would assume Frenzel has though about this. We can only hope.
The project will hopefully be financed by crowdfunding. Starting in July, the product will go on Kickstarter.