The HandyCase in action on an iPhone. HandyCase
Think about it. When holding a phone or tablet, 80 percent of your fingers wind up on the back of it, while your two stubby little thumbs wind up on the touch-sensitive side of the device.
A case designed to work with the latest iPhones, the iPad Mini and the iPad Air aims to enlist your other eight fingers in the fun task of controlling a mobile gadget. The HandyCase, currently on Kickstarter, snaps onto your iOS device and is supposed to make its back touch-sensitive, so you can pinch, shoot, steer and page-turn using both pointers, middles, rings and pinkies, while keeping your hands from blocking the action on the front of the screen.
The most whizz-bang component of the case, according to the campaign, is that you can see representations of your hands operating on the other side, so it creates the illusion that your device is transparent. You can choose how vividly your hands show up on the screen by using a slider in an accompanying app.
The case links up to your mobile device through Bluetooth, the maker says, so it can even be used when it’s off the device as a kind of “full-hands” remote control.
A significant drawback to the HandyCase is that it only works with apps that have been designed specifically for it. Creator Tong Luo told CNET’s Crave blog that there is only one official game available for the case through iTunes at the moment, called HandsCube, a Rubik’s Cube style of game. He said that other games will be downloadable by the product launch date, as well as a productivity app that provides access to a camera, map, book reader and photo viewer.
A developer’s package — complete with support — is available through the Kickstarter campaign for $999 that will allow developers to move their own software onto the HandyCase platform. That might seem unlikely to happen, but HandyCase has already made some waves and won a few awards, so it may have a chance to become a popular new way to interact with our tablets and smartphones.
If you want to get your hands on a HandyCase, you can get one for between $99 (about £50, AU$110) and $149 (about £100, AU$210), depending on which device you need it for. The campaign runs until October 23 and HandyCases are expected to ship in April 2016, although you should be aware that many Kickstarter campaigns fail to meet their shipping deadlines — especially when the technology is as complex as that involved with HandyCase, so be prepared to wait…and keep those thumbs in good working order.