Clumsy? This Faux Airbag Will Protect Your Dropped Phone

Frenzel and Mayer Solutions
Frenzel and Mayer Solutions

While your Hello Kitty phone case may look fashionable, it might not do a lot to protect your cell phone if it’s dropped on a hardwood floor. Dozens of manufacturers have created rubber, silicone, and plastic cases that are intended to mitigate damage to plummeting devices, but they’re not foolproof. In 2015, Motorola conducted a survey in which they found 50 percent of cell phone owners globally had dealt with a cracked screen. An average out-of-warranty screen repair for an Apple iPhone is $200.

Fortunately, German engineering student Philip Frenzel has a solution. His AD Case is a slim add-on that houses four metal springs. When the device senses a free-fall via an accelerometer, the springs deploy and give the phone four points of contact buffering before hitting the floor.

Frenzel, who attends Aalen University in Aalen, Germany, won a Mechatronics Prize that acknowledges student innovation. The 25-year-old inventor got the idea four years ago after throwing his coat over a bannister and watching his brand-new cell phone fall from a pocket onto the floor. Finding bulky shell cases cumbersome, he tried expanding foam before settling on the spring-loaded approach.

While Frenzel has applied for a patent, he’s not the first to think of a deployed-protection case. In 2012, Amazon patented a device that would shoot compressed air to cushion impact, though they never brought it to market.

The AD Case is not yet commercially available, though that could change fast: Frenzel hopes to launch a Kickstarter in July. 

[h/t designboom]

BioLite Has Designed a Headlamp That Won't Irritate or Slip Off Your Head

BioLite
BioLite

Headlamps are convenient in theory. Instead of fumbling with a flashlight or your phone in the dark, you can strap one to your head and walk your dog, do some late-night grilling, or venture around your campsite hands-free.

But in reality, the awkward design—with a bulky light that digs into your skin and slides down your forehead—cancels out much of the product's appeal. Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way, as the folks at BioLite have demonstrated with their reinvented headlamp.

The BioLite HeadLamp 330, which debuted on Kickstarter in 2018 and is now available on Amazon, promises to make you forget you're even wearing it. Inspired by modern wearables, BioLite has retooled various elements of the clunky traditional design to make it as comfortable as it is functional.

A man wearing a red HeadLamp 330
BioLite

The ultra-thin light sits flat against your skull, which means you won't have any painful marks in the middle of your forehead when you take it off. The band itself is made from a moisture-wicking fabric that feels good on your skin, even when you're working up a sweat. And unlike conventional headlamps, BioLite has redistributed the power source to the back of the head in its design, balancing the weight and taking care of any slippage issues.

As is the case with other BioLite products, technology is an essential part of the design. The 330-lumen lamp projects light up to nearly 250 feet in front of you. There are variable lighting settings, too: You can opt for either a white spot or floodlight, both with dimming options, or a strobe light feature; there's also a red floodlight. It can run for three and a half hours at maximum brightness or 40 hours at minimum brightness, and when it needs to be recharged, you can just plug it into a micro-USB source like a solar panel or powerbank.

Get your own BioLite Headlamp for $49 on Amazon. It's available in in ember red, ocean teal, sunrise yellow, or midnight gray.

Teal headlamp.
BioLite

Bioengineering Student Is Building Custom Prosthetic Arms From LEGO Bricks

iStock.com/serts
iStock.com/serts

The custom LEGO designs built by 19-year-old David Aguilar aren't meant to sit on a shelf. For years he's been ignoring the instructions that come with LEGO sets to make functioning prosthetic arms for himself, and now he's sharing his creations online, Reuters reports.

Aguilar—who lives in Andorra, a small principality on the French-Spanish border—was born with a rare genetic condition that left him without a right forearm. He built his first artificial limb out of LEGO bricks at age 9, and hasn't looked back. Today Aguilar is pursuing an eduction in bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, and he's already on LEGO prosthetic No. 4.

After acquiring complex LEGO sets for things like airplanes and construction vehicles, Aguilar reconfigures them into arms and adds electric motors that allow him to move his fingers and bend his elbow. He documents his building process on YouTube under the name Hand Solo. Each arm he builds is named MK followed by the model number (MK I, MK II, etc.), a nod to the MK suits built by Tony Stark in the Iron Man series.

The LEGO prosthetics are more than conversation starters—they're also affordable compared to professionally made robotic limbs on the market. Aguilar tells Reuters his dream is to one day provide cheaper options to prosthetics-wearers like him.

[h/t Reuters]

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