Amazon CEO files patent for smartphone airbag

Owning a smartphone can give users a great sense of security. After all, having such a phone allows anyone to get in touch with anyone else and vise versa. But a lot of us have had to deal with phones that fly out of our hands or drop to the floor. The usual result is a phone that may or may not work afterward. But what if your phone could sense it was in danger of having a large impact and could take steps to prevent a lot of damage?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has apparently been thinking about such a situation. As reported by GeekWire, Bezos is the co-author of a new patent that presents a "method for protecting devices from impact damage.” The idea is for a device such as a smartphone to have some kind of sensors that would be able to detect a device's motion and its distance from other objects. It should also be able to sense if a device's motion will bring it in collision with another object.

 The patent shows how one or more small airbags might be installed in a portable device. The airbags would be deployed if the sensors detect a risk of damage to the phone. The patent also suggests that springs or jets of small gas might be used as an alternate to the airbags. It does sound a little nuts and we have to wonder how these kinds of sensors would really work and how much it would add to the cost of a smartphone to have this kind of technology installed.

Image via GeekWire

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49 Comments

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"The usual result is a phone that may or may not work afterward."

Usual? Actually, it's ALWAYS a phone that will either work or not work.

I only hope you don't put your phone in your pocket...you accidently walk into someone...then bam.

You have an instant rocket in your pocket!

damn, well then I should patent my design idea. Had to do a project during school on protecting cell phones lol, and my idea involved a cushion/airbag as well

we should move this news clip and all the comments to the jokes section of the forums. 90% of what we have said so far is just jokes.

why can't they make them all tougher instead of wasting money on this strangeness? this would be more expensive then just using tougher materials!

Phones are getting cheaper, smaller, and more powerful. By the time they can reasonably fit this into a device, at a reasonable cost, phones will be so cheap you might as well just replace your phone rather than paying for a feature that might well cost more than your phone.

I would invest into this.. sounds like a pretty sound project and with a well known CEO going thru with it, it could be worth billions.

What happens if you are drunk and smack the phone into your head? It would have to come with some sort of warning for kids...

Tuishimi said,
What happens if you are drunk and smack the phone into your head? It would have to come with some sort of warning for kids...

Stop getting your kids drunk and it won't be an issue.

Insurance. Knowing that a replacement will be free of charge(or low cost fees).

What do you do if the airbag inflated? A replacement? Cost? Send it in, and wait for days to get the phone back?

I have no idea why people are seeing this patent in a wrong way!!! This seems to be a nice idea for digital devices for today and tomorrow, when they are expected to become more complex and valuable too....and if (obviously) implemented intelligently could prove to be very handy....!

Would you rather have an accident insurance for your tablet, or an automatic (hassle free) fall-protection system for it?!

I just recently apply for a pattern myself.
The phone will yell at you with this voice "you dip shiat, you are holding it wrong!" when there is no signal.

Svggarden said,
I just recently apply for a pattern myself.
The phone will yell at you with this voice "you dip shiat, you are holding it wrong!" when there is no signal.

Patent .. That reminded me. A patent to fix the auto-correct.

crap, I was working on a cell phone patent that had rocket engines on different axis that would safely land the phone if it felt it dropping..... was based off the lunar lander....

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,
crap, I was working on a cell phone patent that had rocket engines on different axis that would safely land the phone if it felt it dropping..... was based off the lunar lander....

keep working, i'd rather have that! hahah

Joe Parker said,
I can just imagine running down the street and the phone in my pocket deploys its airbag, ripping my trousers.

hey, is that a deployed air bag in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Joe Parker said,
I can just imagine running down the street and the phone in my pocket deploys its airbag, ripping my trousers.

a tiny explosion happens to blow up airbags that close to your stuff and you are worried about your trousers?

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

hey, is that a deployed air bag in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

LMFAO! This made me laugh so hard

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

hey, is that a deployed air bag in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

I'm laughing so hard right now! xD ROFLMFAO LOL HAHAHA

If my phone had little jet packs that would make it land correctly, I'd probably drop my phone all the time on purpose just to show off the feature.

Enron said,
If my phone had little jet packs that would make it land correctly, I'd probably drop my phone all the time on purpose just to show off the feature.
I think a tiny parachute may be a better idea.

Why are vague patents allowed? it describes a few possible ways in which something might work. it shoukd have to describe exactly how something will work, in a way that a version could be built, with the patent automatically covering variations which could be described in the patent itself. There is nothing in this which covers how you would fit air canisters into the phone which would make the phone huge. its just an idea that has yet to be put into a feasible design.

I might as well patent a device that allows humans/objects to fly by electromagnetism. I have no idea how it might work, but if someone else works it out in the next 20 years, i'll get my money.

That's kinda dumb if you ask me. It's not a car...It's going to hit the floor anyways and if that deploys it could cause more damage to the phone.

TCA said,
That's kinda dumb if you ask me. It's not a car...It's going to hit the floor anyways and if that deploys it could cause more damage to the phone.
True. Your device would be bouncing up and down after the fall. You would have to catch it to stop it.

WP7 said,
Bet it would be costly to "reset" the device after such a deployment

Good point!
And I'd rather they cover it with a rubber layer, just like a phone case. Much better solution.

probably, that where they are planning to make money by charging people to have it reset.

Also, arent air bag meant to protect the humans from harm? the airbag doesnt nothing to the damage to the car. So, does that mean this airbag will come in handy when celebs like Russell Crowe throws his phone at hotel employees and this airbag will soften the blow?

SpyderCanopus said,
Do you want your self aware Droid 13 to be unbreakable? I mean... where's the kill switch, now?

right..?? the one fail safe way to stop the machines is to throw them against a wall. if we start giving them airbags, that will just be the downfall of humanity.

capr said,

right..?? the one fail safe way to stop the machines is to throw them against a wall. if we start giving them airbags, that will just be the downfall of humanity.

ROFL. Post of the day!