We’ve all been there: A minor fumble, and seconds later your $500 (or more!) smartphone crashes to the floor.
A good case and a screen protector might protect you from the worst of the damage, but those things can only do so much. That’s where this inventive “mobile airbag” comes into play.
Conceived by Philip Frenzel, a German engineering student, this specialized case deploys springy, spider-like legs as it starts to fall. The legs appear to soften the impact of a fall more than your average case, while also making it less likely your smartphone’s more fragile bits come into contact with a hard surface (h/t The Verge).
He pursued the idea because of his personal experience with a broken phone. One day, Frenzel’s iPhone slipped out of his jacket pocket and crashed to the floor. The screen shattered and the phone never worked right again, even after the screen was fixed.
So he set himself to design something that could better protect a falling phone than your typical wraparound case. After some experimentation, Frenzel landed on the idea of a specialized case fitted with sensors that could detect when a phone was in freefall, and deploy a set of retractable legs bound by metal springs in response.
This “ADcase” — “AD” stands for “active damping” — was inventive enough to secure Frenzel his award. Next, he plans to turn his idea into a business when he brings his creation — which is now patented — to Kickstarter. It’s not clear what the asking price will be, but expect the campaign to launch sometime in July.
There’s already an official ADcase website, and it suggests that the initial product offering will be limited to more recent iPhone models — the 6/6 Plus and anything news (including the iPhone X).
This article originally appeared on Engadget.