Given that the Apple iPhone is constantly being touted as one of the best smartphones for gaming, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing the emergence of accessories like the Sensus case from Canopy, which adds an additional touch surface to the back of the phone.
While the Sensus case creates a touchpad on the back of the device, much like the rear trackpad found on the Sony PlayStation Vita, it also enables touch controls on the right side of the phone.
No external batteries are required, as the case connects to the phone’s proprietary jack to power the dual microprocessors within the accessory.
The Sensus is not the first attempt to provide more and/or better forms of input to a smartphone to help with gaming and app interaction, but it’s the first to add an additional touch surface.
The sensors on the Sensus case can handle up to 10 independent responses, according to Canopy’s marketing coordinator Ian Spinelli, which adds to the phone’s six. But the goal isn’t so much to get more fingers on the phone as it is to take fingers off the screen. One of the major drawbacks with smartphone gaming is that there is only so much real estate on the screen, and touch controls force users to keep their fingers on the screen, often obstructing their own view in the process.
The Sensus case is still in the development stages; pictured here is a transparent prototype, and the final product isn’t due out until Q1 2013, according to Canopy’s website. The company is doing a private SDK right now, with plans to allow developers to license the SDK for free in the future (though it has yet to be determined whether they will receive the hardware for free as well).
The Sensus is currently available for pre-order, and it’s going for $59, but the site specifically says that’s for the iPhone 4/4S version. No mention has been made yet of the case being developed for the iPhone 5 to accommodate the new Lightning port instead of the old Apple proprietary jack.