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Canopy's Sensus touch-enabled iPhone case offers ten extra points of input (hands-on)

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Canopy Sensus case for iPhone
Canopy Sensus case for iPhone

Cases for the iPhone are a dime a dozen, but there aren't too many that promise to do more than just protect your device. The Sensus case by Canopy is different, as it features touch-sensitive areas that are designed to extend your capabilities while playing games. Situated on the sides and back of the case, the touch-sensitive areas are very similar to the touch-sensitive pads on the back of Sony's PS Vita. Canopy says that the case offers support for ten distinct touch points to let you control games, switch between apps, scroll, and other functions normally reserved for the touch screen itself. The key with the Sensus, as Canopy tells it, is that you don't have to obstruct the display with your fingers while controlling the device.

Ten points of input plus a touch-sensitive side strip

Of course, since iOS doesn't automatically support the Sensus case for every app, it is only compatible with apps that have been built to support it. Canopy says that there are currently over 500 apps that support the touch areas of the case, and in some instances support for its multi-touch features can be added by a developer in mere minutes.

In our tests with a pre-production unit, the case worked pretty well. It was able to sense multiple finger presses at the same time, and the touch feel was similar to many non-glass laptop touch pads, as the case features a lightly textured finish. Canopy has developed a number of test apps to demonstrate the Sensus' capabilities, including a shooting game controlled entirely by the case's back and side panels.

Canopy is currently building versions of the Sensus case for the iPhone 4 / 4S and the iPhone 5, with an anticipated shipping date of summer 2013 and a price under $100. Canopy says that versions for the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touches and the iPad are also in the works.