Listen up! This ultrasound camera grip gives your iPhone manual controls

PICTAR is making a big splash on Kickstarter

The iPhone has a pretty tasty camera, but a touchscreen ain’t no replacement for good old fashioned dials and buttons.

Kickstarter smash Pictar is looking to change that: it’s a chunky, retro-inspired camera grip that’s got all the controls you need.

Here’s the weird bit, though. There’s no Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Lightning cable making case and phone play nicely together - the case pumps out high-pitched frequencies as you press buttons and spin wheels.

They’re so high-pitched no human can hear them, but Pictar’s iOS app can. It listens out for them and makes your changes onscreen.

It’s supposed to be much better for your battery life than Bluetooth, and doesn’t drain the case either; a basic AA battery will keep you snapping for 4 to 6 months between replacements.

As well as bulking up your iPhone, Pictar adds a two-stage shutter button, zoom ring that doubles up as a selfie button, dedicated EV wheel and a second “smart wheel” that can be anything you want it to be.

Normally it switches between Pictar’s Auto modes, but it can set shutter/ISO priority or toggle manual mode too. An onscreen virtual third wheel gives you even more control, in case you worried about running out of knobs to spin.

There’s a cold shoe mount on top for an external lamp, microphone or anything else you can think of bolting to a camera, and a 1/4in tripod mount on the bottom.

The retro look is a good match for Apple’s space grey iPhone - think rugged black plastic and brushed silver metal. It doesn’t get in the way of clip-on lenses, either, so you can keep your Olloclip if you like fisheye photos.

Got an iPhone 6 Plus or 6S Plus? Sorry, you’re out of luck - Apple’s largest phones aren’t supported, but just about every other model is.

That means iPhone 4/4S, 5/5C,5S/SE, and 6/6S owners can channel their inner David Bailey just by clipping into the case. Unfortunately there's no Android version in the pipeline - it's strictly iOS only right now.

Pictar has already raised a whopping US$50,000 in just a few days of being on Kickstarter, and with 35 left to go it’s looking on track to smash its US$100,000 goal.

Early birds can back Pictar for US$90 and be first in line for the camera grip when it launches in November.