In this case, flip your thinking

21/10/2013 - 16:08

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Being essentially nerdy, I have always loved those lateral thinking puzzles, whose answers seem obvious when explained, but frustratingly hard otherwise.

Being essentially nerdy, I have always loved those lateral thinking puzzles, whose answers seem obvious when explained, but frustratingly hard otherwise.

I love it when I see WA companies that (as Steve Jobs famously said) 'think different'. Hence my interest was piqued last week when the techies down at Shenton Park-based Filter Squad developed a simple, yet brilliant new free app, called 'FlipCase'.

If you watch the 1-minute Youtube clip above (which at the time of writing had already been viewed 350,000 times) you get the idea. For Flipcase is a free iPhone app which uses the plastic case of the new iPhone 5C to create a Connect4 game.

What struck me was the simple genius of the idea, the lateral thinking involved in seeing the case as not just something to hold the iPhone, but could be part of the game itself. In an era of complex virtual reality 3-D HD gaming, FlipCase also returns us to a simpler, more innocent time. It's nostalgic, free and fun – why not while away an empty moment, and receive odd looks from commuters to boot?

The creators – Dave McKinney and Stuart Hall – are the same team behind the devastatingly awesome Discovr app – which has had 3.5 million downloads and received huge plaudits with its most recent update (18 months in the making).

The genesis of FlipCase was having an idea about doing something in time for the launch of the new iPhone 5C. They had seen images of the new phone's plastic cases, but could not get their hands on one. So, just in case they could do something with it, they started figuring out how it might work, and how they could get the coloured circles to bounce on cue within the holes.

As soon as the new phones and cases came to town, Dave headed down to Perth's Apple store, took some cases out to plonk over the screen (a helpful Apple employee pointed out they were supposed to go the other way), and promptly bought three. After that, the whole thing was then cranked out in 2 days.

They then set up a Twitter account and a Youtube channel, put up a quick video and sent it out to some influential bloggers and tech journalists all over the globe.

There's no (direct) money in this app, so why did they do it? The guys just want to create something cool. They thought it would be fun to do, and that people might like it. The PR benefits of being mentioned on PC Mag, CNet Australia, Polygon and dozens more tech sites and blogs are probably more than enough for Filter Squad. One comment simply says: "humans are great."

Job well done. Time to start reaching for those lateral thinking puzzles again...

FlipCase is an App optimised for iPhone5 and the latest iOS7 operating systemand can be downloaded from iTunes or the App Store.
For more, follow Dave McKinney (@davidkmckinney) or Stuart Hall (@stuartkhall) on Twitter.

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