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Canopy Sensus case adds rear touch control to iPhone 5

Mobile accessory company Canopy has unveiled an iPhone case with a difference: it extends the touch-sensitivity of the device to the side and back of the handset for more detailed control.

Designed for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, the Canopy Sensus adds extra touch-surfaces to the right-hand side and rear of the device - somewhat similar to the rear-facing touch-control surface found on the Sony PlayStation Vita. The Sensus case adds ten points of multi-touch control, and allows for highly-detailed touch control of applications and games without the user's fingers obscuring the screen - something that can make mobile games tricky to play on normal smartphone devices.

There is a catch, however: the iPhone itself isn't configured to recognise the input from the Sensus case, meaning that its use requires third-party applications to register touch control via the Sensus - and to reject false-positives as a result of holding the smartphone normally in your hand. Canopy claims to be working on a suite of Sensus apps for the device, including a Braille keyboard and a camera app, while adding that its software development kit (SDK) means that third-party app developers can quickly add Sensus support to their existing applications.

Adding additional control capabilities to a smartphone is a neat idea: the side-facing touch surface could zoom the camera or adjust the volume of playing music, for example, while Sony's PlayStation Vita has proven that games are easier to play on touch-capable devices when your fingers aren't in the way of the screen. Without support within the core iOS operating system and its in-built apps, however, the Sensus may struggle to make its mark in the market.

Thus far, Canopy has not detailed plans for a UK launch for its Sensus case, but claims that it will launch the case in the US priced at between $59 and $99 (around £37 and £61 excluding taxes) later this year.

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