Alumnus Wants to Mass Produce Indestructible Smartphone Case

June 27, 2013

You've got to see this – UA alumnus Kurt Ludwigsen climbs into a Dodge Ram, then proceeds to drive over a smartphone protected by a case he and his colleagues are developing. All the while, the phone records video.

The sound of a squeaky, rubbery squish, coupled with the striking camera image as the two right tires roll over the phone, is astonishing. As the truck rolls by, the camera keeps rolling, with no disruption or distortion.

The case? They call it The Tantrum. And a fascinating fun fact: The aluminum frame case weighs less than the actual phone.

While the smartphone case was designed and built for those in the military and first responders, Ludwigsen and his team want to make it readily available to general cell phone users, and so they have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $45,000 to mass produce the case. So far, more than $4,500 has been pledged to support the expanded development of the case, which is manufactured in Texas.

"It is amazingly unique with its strength and style," said Ludwigsen, a 1993 UA graduate who earned a degree in media arts and now lives in California.

"The case was born in a machine shop with fabricators and welders," Ludwigsen said, adding that The Tantrum was designed to be merely a single-copy, homemade case.

"But the more and more people saw it, the more and more people wanted one," he said. "After you get asked 100 times for something, you start to think that there might be a market for it."

He and his colleagues scoured hundreds of nouns, verbs and even dinosaur names in search of what to call it.

"Then, after a couple of weeks, it came to me as I was throwing it in the Apple Store in San Francisco," Ludwigsen recalled. "I remembered back to my son when he was a toddler, throwing a tantrum in a store as my wife and I were shopping for our new house. 'Throw.' 'Tantrum' – it just kind of stuck. "

Today, nearly 100 exist with more forthcoming.