Phone cases are around as long as mobile phones themselves, and throughout the years they've improved and adapted as the needs of the phone user did. They changed from the rubber shields you could get for older Nokia phones, to the back case commonly seen used with smartphones. Then as smartphones got bigger and bigger (and more fragile as a consequence of that), the 'ruggedness' of these covers became paramount. We then had a slew of metal covers, layered silicon and rubber covers, water resistant Lifeproof cases, and our own personal favorites, Otterbox covers.
So, as we certainly know here, people still break phones. A lot of phones. So what's next?
Sony and Amazon, and many other technology companies have filed patents for phone cases using somewhat airbag inspired cases, protecting phones as they hit the floor. I have never in my life seen one of these, or heard of any hitting the market, so it's safe to assume that this wasn't the ideal solution to the issue.
So this leads us to a German student named Philip Frenzel, who has invented an ingenious solution to this issue. Frenzel's design features a somewhat standard looking phone case, but with a hidden feature. A sensor built into the case detects when the phone is falling, and automatically ejects a pronged leg from each of the 4 corners of the phone case, thereby protecting it as it hits the ground. It truly is an amazing design, doesn't massively compromise on the 'look' of the phone when it's in the case, and provides genuine protection to the phone.
The inventor was awarded a national prize from the German Mechatronics Society, so expect capital to be raised (Frenzel is crowdfunding through Kickstarter) and to see these covers on shelves in the not to distant future.