A German mechatornics student may have the best safety device for smartphones. Philip Frenkel, a student with the Aalen University, has developed a ”mobile airbag”, that detects a phone falling, and offers protection. This device led to Frenkel being awarded Germany’s Mechatronic Prize for 2018, as reported by Preview Online, a German publication.
Frenkel’s ”mobile airbag”, called the AD Case, is an enhancement over regular protection provided by a smartphone’s back cover. The AD Case (additional damping case) consists of sensors, which detect when a smartphone falls, and metal springs then cushion the impact. When a smartphone with the AD Case undergoes free fall (drops from the hand or falls off a surface), the sensors detect the motion and leads to the release of the spring system.
The springs cover the four corners of the phone, and unfold during the fall, in order to provide the cushioning effect to the impact with the ground. These springs which are called dampers, can be folded back and reused. Since it provides protection over and above that provided by a casing/back cover, it has been termed as the additional damping case (AD Case) by Frenkel.
Given the interest around this AD case, Frenkel plans to make the ”’mobile airbag” public. With a fellow student, Peter Mayer, Frenkel has started a Kickstarter campaign to promote the idea, and gather funding for a more wide-scale adoption of the AD Case. Before this improved casing sees the light of day, and, possibly even retail stores, Frenkel and Mayer would need to patent this device, and await the results of their crowdfunding campaign.