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An end to cracked screens? Stu­dent invents an AIRBAG for your phone

An end to cracked screens? Stu­dent invents an AIRBAG for your phone with built-in springs that deploy when your device is in free-fall

For peo­ple who con­stant­ly drop their phones, a Ger­man stu­dent may have come up with a solu­tion.

An ‘active damp­ing’ (AD) phone case has built-in sen­sors and eight springs that look like hooks.

The sen­sors can auto­mat­i­cal­ly detect when the phone is in free fall, and then deploy the springs to catch the phone when it hits the ground.

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The design­er Philip Fren­zel, a stu­dent from Aalen Uni­ver­si­ty in Ger­many, calls his inven­tion an ‘airbag’ for smart­phones.

Each cor­ner has two springs, but it is cur­rent­ly unknown what mea­sures are in place to stop the case from acti­vat­ing acci­den­tal­ly.

A student from Aalen University in Germany has invented an 'airbag' for smartphones. Sensors automatically detect when the phone is in free fall, and then deploy springs to catch the device when it hits the ground
A stu­dent from Aalen Uni­ver­si­ty in Ger­many has invent­ed an ‘airbag’ for smart­phones. Sen­sors auto­mat­i­cal­ly detect when the phone is in free fall, and then deploy springs to catch the device when it hits the ground

A video shows the phone bounc­ing harm­less­ly after the user drops it.

After pick­ing it back up, the user can sim­ply fold the springs back into the case so it’s ready for the next drop.

Fren­zel won the top award from the Ger­man Soci­ety for Mecha­tron­ics for his phone case, even though the design is still a pro­to­type.

He has also patent­ed the tech­nol­o­gy, mean­ing the case could be read­i­ly avail­able to con­sumers in the near future.

The case appears to work per­fect­ly on flat sur­faces, but there is no indi­ca­tion that results would be as sol­id if the phone is dropped on a jagged or uneven edge.

While there are plen­ty of options on the mar­ket, from water­proof cas­es to ones that claim to be ‘inde­struc­tible’, there may not be anoth­er one that ‘bounces’.

IS YOUR ANDROID PHONE TRACKING YOUR EVERY MOVE?

Your Android smart­phone could be track­ing your every move, even when loca­tion ser­vices are switched off, it has emerged.

Hand­sets run­ning the Google-devel­oped oper­at­ing sys­tem col­lect infor­ma­tion about where you have been, trans­mit­ting it back when­ev­er they con­nect to the inter­net.

They con­tin­ue to do so, even when there is no SIM card insert­ed or apps run­ning, it is claimed.

The find­ing rais­es wor­ry­ing pri­va­cy con­cerns over the gath­er­ing of such detailed loca­tion data.

As part of an in-depth investigation for Quartz, it was discovered that, since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby mobile transmitter towers
As part of an in-depth inves­ti­ga­tion for Quartz, it was dis­cov­ered that, since the begin­ning of 2017, Android phones have been col­lect­ing the address­es of near­by mobile trans­mit­ter tow­ers

Know­ing the loca­tion of one near­by cell tow­er is not enough to iden­ti­fy the spe­cif­ic loca­tion of a hand­set, and it’s user.

But by using data from mul­ti­ple tow­ers, a loca­tion can be tri­an­gu­lat­ed with­in about a quar­ter-mile radius.

This becomes even more pre­cise in built up areas like cities.

Although the data sent is encrypt­ed, a third par­ty could make use of it if the hand­set has been infect­ed with spy­ware, mal­ware or oth­er hack­ing tools.

Every hand­set also has a unique ID num­ber that can be asso­ci­at­ed with the loca­tion data.

Loca­tion-shar­ing does not appear to have been lim­it­ed to a par­tic­u­lar brand of Android phone or tablet.

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