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Sensus case gives your iPhone a rear touchpad like the PS Vita

Sensus case gives your iPhone a rear touchpad like the PS Vita

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Have you ever thought that your iPhone doesn't have enough touch sensors? At least one company here at CES does, and it has designed a case that adds touch strips to the sides and back of any iPhone 5 or 5S. It's called Sensus, and the pressure-sensing strips can measure different levels of force.

If that sounds familiar, it's because the company behind the case, Canopy, revealed a similar iPhone 4/4S case last year but ended development before launch after the iPhone 5 was released. The new case isn't ready yet; the company has brought a pre-production model for developers here to CES. There's a number of apps that show off how the case works: a Geometry Wars-like game is controlled using the a rear sensor pad like the PS Vita, and you can shoot a picture by pinching the side strips, for instance. Most of the apps are merely tech demos, but there is a scale app that can weigh an object by flipping your iPhone onto a table.

There are definitely some cool ideas here, but there's always the issue of finding apps that support hardware like this. The company is courting developers, and a management app preloaded on the model we tested suggests that major players like Evernote and Tweetbot may be on board (representatives said they could neither confirm nor deny such support). The case itself doesn't have a particularly high fit and finish, as you'd expect for a early model like this, though we are concerned about the resistance on the touchpads. They're sticky and your fingers will hurt a bit after extended use. The case connects with a Lightning cable, and is a bit chunky at the bottom — the 3.5mm headphone jack is still accessible, but you'll likely have difficulty finding a plug that can fit.

The development kit for the Sensus is available now, and the company plans to ship the final product by the end of the year for around $100.

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