tsai_2322_imageThe iPhone has inspired thousands of efforts at protection and personalization from simple stickers to metal boxes to diamond studded covers. Industrial designer David Tsai was interested in not only protection and aesthetic, but also in enhancing the ease of carrying the phone itself. The size of most smartphones these days is getting bigger, rather than smaller, and simply stuffing the phone in your pocket isn’t always the best way to carry it around. However, holding something in your hand that requires a grip isn’t the easiest, or necessarily the smartest, way to carry something like this around.

Tsai decided that it would ease the burden of carrying around the phone if it had a ring through which he could place his finger. This would redistribute the weight of the phone, make it less tiresome to grip and give the user a simple way to snap it onto a keychain, purse strap, or a belt if necessary. As Beyoncé said: “If you like it then you’d better put a ring on it.”

Once Tsai had the idea, the process for producing the ring case was fairly simple, as he told us:tsai_2319_image

“Adding the ring component to the case was pretty straight forward, however, because the ring covers the power button, I had to design a small button within the ring to access the power/wake up button.”

The case, which is entirely 3D printed in nylon, was produced using an SLS machine through Shapeways, via Tsai’s shop, Object Theory. In an interview with 3DPrint.com, Tsai explained his reasoning for creating this unique phone case:

“The main idea behind the Ring case was how to hold the iPhone so that the hand is still free to do or hold other things. Additionally, the ring also allows the iPhone to be easily clipped on to a backpack, worn on a necklace or pinned up on a wall.”

In addition to making it easier to carry, the ring addition makes it harder to drop…and therefore harder to lose. It also acts as a mechanism for securing the phone against theft. My niece recently had her brand new phone stolen out of her hands while she was sitting at a stop light. Her windows were rolled down and she was distracted, a man reached in through her open window, grabbed her phone, then jumped on the back of a moped and rode away.

tsai_2321_imageThis is not particularly unusual as people are generally distracted when using their phones and the surprise of someone pushing your hand is often enough to make you release the phone which they then abscond with. Had my niece’s finger been through the ring while using the phone, it would have been much more difficult to grab. (Although I am happy to report that they did find the guy who took her phone because he was standing on the same street corner the next day, waiting to do the same thing!)

In any case (pun intended), if you are the type of person who tends to drop things, or simply sets them down and then walks away  from them, having this kind of tether to your phone might not only be attractive but save you a lot of heartache and money in the future. Tsai’s ring case for the iPhone 6 is available on Shapeways for $36.

Let us know if this is the sort of case that catches your attention in the 3D Printed iPhone Ring Case forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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