Airbags for your iPhone

It might not be long until your iPhone gets a whole new layer of protection, according to PatentlyApple. Apple recently filed a patent for bringing airbag-like devices to their portable devices, and they keep water out, too.

Smartphones are, to a lot of us, the most important things we carry and what good would they be without those beautiful glass displays? Unfortunately, glass also happens to be a very fragile substance and our hands happen to be very clumsy. Breaking glass was actually behind a class-action lawsuit against Apple last year.

Apple's solution comes in the form of an 'airbag', coupled with a few other fancy gizmos. Sensors would detect that the device was falling, causing a membrane between the glass screen and the electronics innards to inflate. This would keep the shock from being dropped from resonating through the device. The patent describes several substances that could fill the membrane, like a foam or gel, so it would be able to inflate and deflate for multiple uses. The membrane would also keep water from getting into the sensitive inside of the iDevice.

This isn't the only solution Apple has thought of; another patent turns your iPhone into a turtle. This time, when it senses that it's being dropped, the screen gets pulled into a protective housing that will take the force of the blow, protecting your precious Retina Display.

Of course, who knows if anything like this will ever actually come to market, but it's an interesting solution to a common problem. Since we carry our portable toys (tools, if you prefer) with us everywhere we go, they really should be able to withstand being roughed around from time to time. As it stands, scratches and breaks are painfully common. Something as simple as thicker glass might be able to remedy the problem, but that would ruin everything, wouldn't it?

Image courtesy of PatentlyApple

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When the airbag i or the add-on parachute (that someone else mentioned) is deployed, Siri will come on and ask you if everything is OK. Then it will dispatch Police, Fire and EMT to the scene of the incident.

iStar with Siri

WhatWarning said,
When the airbag i or the add-on parachute (that someone else mentioned) is deployed, Siri will come on and ask you if everything is OK. Then it will dispatch Police, Fire and EMT to the scene of the incident.

iStar with Siri

iLol'd.

I wonder if they use an accelerometer for it if they will allow for plane descents or a phone in the pocket while on a roller coaster. Maybe I don't know enough about it, but I could see those as hangups

leakAddict said,
I wonder if they use an accelerometer for it if they will allow for plane descents or a phone in the pocket while on a roller coaster. Maybe I don't know enough about it, but I could see those as hangups

I think you are assuming this does some kind of irreversible damage and doesn't simply revert back to normal when the threat is over.

ILikeTobacco said,

I think you are assuming this does some kind of irreversible damage and doesn't simply revert back to normal when the threat is over.

That would make it kind of a stupid invention, if it destroyed itself to keep the screen from breaking

qdave said,
Parashute would be better

I agree--and it would be cute, too, seeing your phone fall off the table only to drift harmlessly to the ground.

Renvy said,
A very expensive system why don't they just put in gorilla glass

Or use transparent aluminum like they do on Star Trek.

Renvy said,
A very expensive system why don't they just put in gorilla glass

I thought the screen was gorilla glass, but that just meant it's highly scratch-resistant and not much else.

I know of a way that would only cost around 95 cents to create....

Just attach one of those employee badge clip to the phone with one of those retractable strings. So if it starts to fall out of your pocket...the clip will pull the string connected to the iphone back into your pocket or belt clip.

Feel free to patent that.

Uhm, wouldn't it be more logical to just tether it to your belt and the tether be short enough so the phone not hit the floor?

Or use a strap - the same commonly found on any digital camera that goes around the wrist.

99% of the time you're using it not as a phone, but as a handheld tablet device.

Of course, who knows if anything like this will ever actually come to market, but it's an interesting solution to a common problem. Since we carry our portable toys (tools, if you prefer) with us everywhere we go, they really should be able to withstand being roughed around from time to time. As it stands, scratches and breaks are painfully common. Something as simple as thicker glass might be able to remedy the problem, but that would ruin everything, wouldn't it?

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