The Canopy Sensus adds touch controls to the side and back of your iPhone

The Sensus case announced at CES 2013 lets you control apps and games using multitouch surfaces on the side and back of your iPhone.

Jason Parker
Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.

Canopy Sensus
Josh Miller/CNET

LAS VEGAS--The Canopy Sensus is a new touch-sensitive case that does more than just provide protection or add style to your iPhone. This case lets you interact with apps using multitouch surfaces on both the right side and back of the case.

The Sensus looks like a regular case that protects the sides and back of your iPhone, and Canopy says the industrial design exceeds marketplace protection standards. But with an app that supports it, you can touch and swipe on the back and right side of the case to interact with apps and games.

Though Canopy showed only a few demo apps that work with the case as of this writing, it looks like the possibilities for this tech are endless. For example, instead of swiping through a spreadsheet on the front of your screen (with your fingers in the way), Sensus could let you slide your finger down the side of your iPhone. With games, an app developer could add more controls for the back of your iPhone, sort of like the experience on the Sony Vita. One demo Canopy showed me would let blind users respond to audio texts using a six-fingertip touch interface by holding the iPhone in landscape orientation and using the side and back surfaces to write in braille.

Canopy says the Sensus will become available this summer. The company hasn't settled on a price yet, but it assured me it would sell for under $100.

CES Video
Watch this: Canopy brings touch controls in new case
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