Many of us experience a moment of sheer terror when we accidentally drop our phones, even when it’s wrapped in a protective case. But the makers of the AER TYP want us to deliberately throw our smartphones like a football, and promise they’ll survive the flight, even in the event of a crash landing.
If the AER TYP—short for, Throw Your Phone—is a concept that seems vaguely familiar to you, it’s because back in 2016 its creators released a similar product simply called the AER that did the same thing for GoPro cameras. You’d pack the action camera into the well-padded foam nosecone of what looked like a novelty Nerf football with a tail, throw it as hard as you can, and then enjoy the unique aerial footage it captured while in flight. It required an extreme leap of faith, even for a device as rugged and durable as a GoPro, but the payoff was footage that kiiiiiiind of looked like it was captured by an aerial drone—minus the cost of a quadcopter.
The AER’s creators are back, and this time they’ve brought an updated version with a redesigned nosecone that’s designed to securely hold a smartphone at the perfect angle for its rear camera to capture compelling aerial footage. The phone gets sandwiched between two large pieces of foam which are held together with a velcro strap wrapped around them. A foam tail is then attached, making the AER TYP ready for flight.
Sending your smartphone hurdling through the air requires even more faith in the energy-absorbing properties of foam than with an action camera, but the AER TYP’s creators promise they’ve spent years perfecting its design, finding the most resilient foam materials, and testing it, even to the point of dropping it off a building onto a concrete surface. The promotional videos created for the AER TYP do appear to protect smartphones from several cringe-worthy crashes, but with Apple officially cautioning users against strapping iPhones to bikes and motorcycles, you do have to wonder what repeated crashes are doing to the internals of a smartphone, even if the outside remains in pristine condition.
As with the original AER, the creators of the AER TYP have opted for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help put their creation into production. The cheapest way to pre-order one is with a pledge of about $69 (full retail pricing is expected to be closer to $100) with delivery expected as early as May next year. However, during an ongoing pandemic where manufacturing and supply chains have been thrown into chaos, it’s especially important to take delivery dates and estimated timelines of crowdfunded products with a grain of salt, given even large multinational companies are struggling to get products out the door on time. But this isn’t the first product the AER team has successfully crowdfunded, and if you’re willing to trust your $1,000+ smartphone to a foam football, punctual delivery dates don’t seem like something you’d worry about.