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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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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Why don't they patent a parachute addon whilst there at it? So a parachute pops out when its sensing its falling in mid air?

SuperKid said,
Why don't they patent a parachute addon whilst there at it? So a parachute pops out when its sensing its falling in mid air?

Make use of that Barometer.

Escape said,
Ummm... they do know it's just a phone?...

It's not just a phone though is it? a Nokia 3210, thats just a phone, and it's also a common problem.

Uplift said,

It's not just a phone though is it? a Nokia 3210, thats just a phone, and it's also a common problem.


Yeah Nokia 3210's are a plague on this world

ccoltmanm said,
This seems to only work if you drop it flat. If it falls on a corner or upside down, i doubt it will help.

Exactly. And I don't think I've ever seen a phone fall flat... LOL It always lands on the corner and cracks the screen...

ccoltmanm said,
This seems to only work if you drop it flat. If it falls on a corner or upside down, i doubt it will help.

Well duhh. When airbags for the car first came out, they were only for the driver. Then they came out with side airbags, passenger airbags, and airbags for the airbags.

Be patient, it will be released with the iPhone 11S (<--I added an S for sarcasm just like Apple did this year )

ccoltmanm said,
This seems to only work if you drop it flat. If it falls on a corner or upside down, i doubt it will help.

Mine fell flat yesterday. Landed on a carpet so no damage.

Also, using this logic: The majority of car accidents are either rear ending someone or being rear ended so lets not put side airbags in cars.

If they come up with a way to protect from falling on the side/corner, combined with this, problem solved.

Thats funny. A guy at work going to school made something similar to this for a class project. Everyone said he should patent it.

Shadrack said,
Thats funny. A guy at work going to school made something similar to this for a class project. Everyone said he should patent it.

Please tell me that's a coincidence.

Shadrack said,
Thats funny. A guy at work going to school made something similar to this for a class project. Everyone said he should patent it.

Double post sorry. (I hate AJAX all of a sudden)

MrXXIV said,

Please tell me that's a coincidence.

Yeah, I would probably say it was coincidental. He didn't patent the idea, and I doubt it there was any correlation.