Instead of having to use two-fingered on-screen pinch gestures to zoom in on a map, users could simply bend the corner of the case’s cover forward or back for quicker navigation. Piezoelectric circuitry inside the cover is able to detect touches, squeezes, swipes, and exactly how it’s being bent or warped. All of those gestures can also be translated to shortcuts or other alternative ways to interact with an app.
Imagine quickly navigating through an e-book by grabbing and bending the edge of the case, not unlike how you’d grab the page edges in a real book to flip through it. And because the cover integrates its own low-power e-ink display, it can serve as an extended screen for your smartphone. Copied clipboard contents could be left visible for quickly pasting between apps, or you could leave a map with directions on the cover, allowing you to respond to an email while still keeping tabs on where you’re going.
For the time being, the FlipCase is just a research project that will be presented at the Computer-Human Interaction conference being held in May. (Hence the awkward cables hanging off the bottom of it in the picture above.) But eventually the technology could make it into our hands as smartphone cases become just as useful as the devices themselves.