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.
Bezos filed a patent application for this idea quite a while ago, but it became public on Thursday, and was first reported on Geekwire. The system would use the phone's own gyroscope and camera to detect motion and distance from other objects to determine if the phone is indeed falling, Geekwire explains. Then the system would deploy protective measures.
As shown in Fig. 2B in the above diagram, one idea is to insert airbags into the phone, which would automatically inflate when the phone is at risk of impact. The patent application even discusses using a thruster system to properly orient the phone so that it lands on the airbags. Alternatively, you could just use the thrusters (Fig. 3) to land the phone like a hovercraft.
A third concept, shown in Fig. 4, involves deployable springs, which as the Register points out seems inspired by "Inspector Gadget." Bezos and Amazon VP Greg Hart are listed as the device's inventors.
"These portable devices are sometimes vitally important to the user as they often contain data that is related to the user's work and personal life," the patent application explains earnestly.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention — one can only imagine what happened to Bezos' phone to inspire such an invention. Of course, it might be easier to just hold on tighter.
Why not just make the case out of a better material? They do make "tough" phone you know (think Nextel). Titanium and harder plastic shells exist already that resist all kinds of damage. I'm sure adding an air-bag or springs are going to already boost the cost to manufacture and the handset and size anyway. Sounds like a complicated solution for a simple problem. Over-engineered much?
ok so you have a truck, and you want it to still work after a low speed crash, how? stronger materials like Igotforya said, and more robust internal components that can take the sudden forces.
putting thrusters, airbags, and springs on a f***ing phone is the stupidest...you know what, i dont even know how to describe this
Actually, "arms akimbo" is arms on your hips. Google it.
Make cases with more resilient materials. Problem solved.
"Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger."
seriously? hahahahaha ok...
Further proof that nearly any idea can be patented.
Perhaps a *LANYARD* attached to the case and wrapped around your hand, while you're using it, like you find on most cameras, for example, would be more practical -- not to mention about $100 cheaper. Bezos could also use his bluetooth and then he wouldn't be ham-fisting his phone so much.
One can also imagine the fun if this system "malfunctions" and activates its "retro-rockets" while still in your pocket X-(
Oh come on, a phone manufacturer CAN already make a phone impervious to drop shock and damage/destruction, but they won't. Why, because they're counting on us phone owners dropping them anyhow, and also, they're too budget conscious, to do it. Most people I've talked to, are way too cheap or complacent to get the insurance, for their phones, figuring that it'll never happen to them, and that's exactly what manufacturers expect (at least in part). I'd like to see this (and any) so-called invention first and foremost in action before I draw any conclusion, or judge, for or against it. I've seen too many inventions, that seemed good on paper, do terribly in practice, and others that looked terrible on paper, do very well in practice. Until I see it in action for myself, I'll just reserve any judgement on it.
This is about as useful as a Fire Department in Atlantis.
I mean- are ya friggin' serious?
You don't need to be Mr. Deathgrip McJones to be able to HOLD ON TO YER GODDAMN PHONE- just pay attention to what the hell you're doing. Christ.
There are more pressing needs.
How to keep the GPS inside it from recording your every move?
How to keep google from publishing your android's location on the internet?
How to keep it from falling into the toilet?
How to make the jerk in front of you get off the phone on the freeway?
How to keep it from butt-dialing?
Some felon in LA butt-dialed 911, leading to his arrest.
How to surgically remove it from your daughter's ear?
This reminds me of the old story of how Edison asked his engineers to give him the exact volume of a new bulb. They reportedly went to great lengths to figure the answer out mathematically using geometry. An instant later, Edison filled one with water, then poured that water into a measuring cup and said, "I guess you're right."
This Wile E. Coyote/James Bond's Q approach is the long way around. Whatever it might do - on a good day - a simple rubber sleeve could do, at a fraction of the cost. A slim, well-fit rubber shock pocket would not only save the back of the phone but prevent the screen from all but a direct hit to its center. Such a fix already exists. You can pick one up, in a variety of colors, at stores from here to the moon.
This doesn't seem very practical... like others have mentioned, you could always just build more resilient phone.
I think Bozos should be *required* to carry this gadget around in his pocket as a condition of patenting it. Like I said, if the system accidentally deploys then he might be in an uncomfortable situation in a hurry. The liability on a system like this is pretty large, not just in terms of the property it's supposed to protect, but the heart attacks and car accidents it is likely to create.
BTW, I think the *charm* of this kind of article is to show people how these "captains of industry" and "masters of the universe" often are nowhere close to the "super-geniuses" that they often portray themselves to be.
I've come up with tons of stupid ideas over the years that I would try to make into reality if I were that rich. If it spawns some new jokes, then hey, that's what life's about.
So...will you be able to put this thing back into the phone after it deploys, or will you have to walk around looking like you're holding a plastic bag to your ear all the time?
Loved your piece Jeff Bezos invention to prevent damage to dropped cell phones.
There is a brand new product that actually prevents dropping phones by securing the phone to one of your fingers. It's really unique.
Please check it out. Its amazing!
Its called CellHandle.
The Website is : www.cellhandle.com
The product was just launched. Take a look.
Hey Jeff, Better look for another idea. The Panda Leash has been saving cellphones,iPods,BlackBerrys,cameras for several years...and works as advertised, for $10! Check it out at www.pandaleash.com. Sales info at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (949)226-7115).