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July 1, 2012

Attention divers! World's first iPhone case that lets you text underwater


What took so long?


How did they not know till now that this is the one thing I've wanted to do all along with my iPhone?

Roy Furchgott's June 26 New York Times "Gadgetwise" blog post has the details; excerpts follow.

While quite a few cases protect an iPhone from the elements, and some are even submersible, driSuit Technologies claims that its Endurance case is the only one that lets you use the phone's touch screen underwater.

The reason is a feature it calls the 'fluidic touch screen,' a gel sandwiched between two clear layers that is positioned over the phone's screen.

The problem, according to Billy Annacone, chief technology officer of driSuit, is that water is conductive, just like your finger. Even through a layer of waterproofing, the touch screen sees water as someone touching the entire screen at once, which it can't interpret, so it generally does nothing. The fluid in the driSuit screen acts as an insulator from the water. Only when you press hard enough to move the gel aside and make contact through the clear layers does your phone sense the touch, and then at a single point, which it can understand.

It does mean the screen has a spongy quality, and you have to press extra hard to operate your phone. The company said it had been tested waterproof to five meters, but I didn’t have the guts to risk it.

The case, which lists for $60, is available in black, yellow, white, pink, purple and blue and is pretty simple to put together. It has two latches that release the bottom of the case. Slide the phone in and the earphone jack clicks into the phone. Securing the bottom requires a bit of force, although it seemed to loosen up over time. You'll have to take it off whenever you want to charge your phone.

The microphone and speakers have thin membranes over them that let sound in and out, although not at full volume or fidelity.

The waterproof headphone port is an integral part of the case, not an add-on cable.


July 1, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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Nifty. I do a lot of diving and don't think I'd trust my iPhone to this on any SCUBA dive though. The driSuit website doesn't have a depth rating and w/o that it's just a splash proof case. If you really want to dive with your iPhone try this: http://scubacapsule.com/

I'd think that reception underwater of mobile network signals would be rubbish, but who knows. The working underwater touchscreen tech is pretty sweet though! Since it's membrane I'm guessing it's flexible so I'd expect it to fail a a certain depth to either function or the seal would break.

Posted by: Andy | Jul 1, 2012 11:04:56 AM

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