Arguably the most practical and attractive design yet for a smartphone-saving case, this prototype was created by design student Philip Frenzel from Aalen University in Germany. Frenzel’s Active Damping (AD) case works much like a phone-enclosing airbag might, activating when the phone is in free fall and absorbing the impact.
But instead of bags of air, the case deploys a set of eight curved feet that are stored flat and under tension. They are springy and thus absorb the impact; and are positioned so that no matter how the phone drops, they will be the only thing to touch the ground. The best part is that they can be easily folded back into the case and used again (and again and again).
There are still some details to be worked out, such as how to ensure that the case won’t think the phone is in danger when it’s not — no one wants this thing to accidentally go off in their pocket. In the meantime, Frenzel’s design won an award from The German Society for Mechatronics, and he has registered for a patent.