© SWR, Landesschau Baden-Württemberg.
After breaking his phone, Philip Frenzel, a 25-year-old student of mechatronics engineering at the University of Aalen, in Germany, invented a “mobile airbag” that automatically deploys when you drop your phone, protecting it from damage. Frenzel wanted a better system than protective cases, which are big and bulky and don’t always work, depending on the angle of impact. Frenzel’s system is more compact and technologically advanced: four claw-like springs unfold from the corners of a slim phone case when sensors detect a free fall, keeping the device itself from hitting the ground as well as dampening the impact. The dampers can be reset after a fall by simply pushing them back in the case. The German Mechatronics Society was so impressed by Frenzel’s invention that it awarded him its national mechatronics prize for 2018. Frenzel has taken out a patent to protect his creation, hoping to commercialize it through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Of course, we hope that the system will not accidentally deploy in our pocket!