Smartphone cases serve two purposes: besides the obvious protection that they provide, cases are also a way to personalize one of one's most personal possessions. From graphic treatments to sheer utility, it seems that new options are available by the day. It's a cottage industry that's hit its stride, for better or for worse, with the rise of Kickstarter as a product design platform: I'd make a conservative estimate that the ol' inbox sees at least one new KS case per week.
Of course, many of these cases are, as they say, nothing to write (or is that text?) home about... which is precisely why a new contender on Kickstarter caught my eye. New Orleans-based Phaze5 has an interesting take on a pocketable iPhone 4/4S case with a bit of funky functionality: designer Trey DeArk and musician Terence Green hope to launch the company with the FLASHr case, which is just under 30% funded (with four weeks to go).
By adapting the built-in "LED Flash for Alerts" feature—an accessibility option on each and every iPhone 4/4S—to illuminate the trim around the edges of the case, the FLASHr is a sort of hardware-enabled software hack: Phaze5's repurposing of the phone's LED is almost MacGyver-like... if Richard Dean Anderson's character had access to injection molding and aluminum stamping.
Other features include a discreet sliding window—the only moving part—which allows for normal photo flash use, and a variety of color combinations (backers can mix-and-match each of the three plates). The clear outer frame, rendered with a green 'reflect plate' and yellow 'glow plate' below, is a special Kickstarter-only edition.