Startup revives smartphones’ joysticks: rear-mount

Startup revives smartphones’ joysticks: rear-mount

Technology News |
Tiny rubber joysticks had their time embedded in the keyboards of laptops and smartphones from a few years ago, but they could never compete with the versatility of today’s touch-screens. Today, London-based start-up Supenta is reviving the idea of built-in joysticks with the Flitchio smartphone case.
By eeNews Europe

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The snap-on device adds two pressure-sensitive shoulder buttons and two ultrathin joysticks at the back of a smartphone shell, promising a much intuitive user interface for mobile gaming or drone control.

The actual joysticks rely on Peratech’s Quantum Tunnelling Composite pressure-sensitive sensors, enabling users to punch, accelerate or spin harder or faster depending on the pressure they apply. The battery-less case is powered through the phone’s NFC reader (harvesting enough energy to power the sensors).

Supenta was incorporated two and a half years ago, it has already won three EU/UK awards and received funding from Innovate UK to build up an engineering team and develop its first prototypes.

Its Kickstarter campaign to bring Flitchio to market was short-lived, indeed, the company quickly attracted private investors and decided to cancel the crowd-funding process in favour of a faster ramp-up, hoping to reach the consumer market by February next year.


"Initially, we were planning to offer Flitchio cases for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but we had many requests to support more phones, so in February, we’ll come up with cases to support at least four flagship smartphones, then we’ll add more if need be", told us Dr. Amir Shadmand, CEO and Co-Founder of Supenta when interviewed by eeNews Europe.

But in the longer term, Shadmand may consider licensing his patent-pending joystick solution to smartphone OEMS, since the technology is thin enough to be integrated directly into the phones’ plastic shells.

The add-on joysticks and buttons could find other uses, such as for selfies, menu scrolling, smart TV remotes using your smartphone or even as a novel way to secure and unlock your phone with customized pressure-sensitive patterns.

These add-on buttons impinge no delays on the action, claims Shadmand, they are as fast as today’s touch-screen controls, but they operate with more precision and they don’t block the view on the display, probably the best-selling argument considering smartphones’ limited screen real-estate.

"We are negotiating with a company making miniature drones, they want Flitchio as their controller", told us Shadmand.

"Their current remote controller is double the size of the drone itself, and the problem with smartphone-based touch-screen control is that when you are streaming video, you don’t see what’s happening if your fingers block half the view".

Supenta will soon release a software development kit, so many more applications could emerge. Early 2016, Flitchio is expected to retail for GBP 39 including VAT.

Visit Supenta at www.supenta.com

Visit Peratech at www.peratech.com


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