If you have a smartphone, odds are you've experienced those few seconds of horror after your precious (and pricey) gadget slips out of your hands. You flail and grab, arms akimbo, in a vain attempt to save your phone from certain destruction — or at least certain scratching. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
Not content to let his phone suffer, and apparently not a fan of cases, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had another idea: An autonomous airbag or propulsion system that can safeguard a phone.
The spongy bones and tough-as-nails beaks of woodpeckers are inspiring a new generation of shock absorbers, potentially shielding airplane black boxes, football players and other valuable materials from the forces of impact.
The same sensors that detect the tilt of your smartphone could well start showing up in the helmets of NFL players by next season, but for a very different purpose. We know that cranial trauma from helmet-on-helmet impact can cause concussions and other serious medical issues, but we don't have a ton of data showing exactly what kind of head-bashing is the most harmful. These sensors could provide that information, and in turn lead to smarter, more protective helmets.
Airbags have become a crucial part of the safety features in any modern car. Unfortunately, they only protect people in the front seats. To solve this problem, Ford has created a combination seat belt/airbag for passengers in the back of the vehicle.
The inflatable seat belts blow up upon impact of a certain force, quickly expanding and providing added restraint and protection for people riding in the back seat of cars. And since the passenger in the back seat is more likely to be a child or elderly person, that extra protection really goes a long way.