Everybody has a friend with a cracked iPhone screen--or Android or whatever. This is what happens when you drop the expensive little things on the ground. A quick solution to keep this from happening? Buy a case and/or be careful. A completely complicated and ridiculous solution? Invent a smartphone airbag system.
That's exactly what Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and executive Greg Heart are proposing in a patent application made public this week. The proposed invention would use the phone's various sensors--gyroscope, infrared, camera--to detect if if the phone is moving and determine the risk of impact. If it decides that the device is hurtling towards the sidewalk, it would trigger one of three proposed safety devices: an airbag system (Fig. 2B), jets of cushioning air (Fig. 3) or Inspector Gadget-style springs (Fig. 4).
The competion for strange smartphone protection looks tough. But hey, if the iPhone airbag system idea doesn't work out, Bezos can always fall back on his fledgling spaceship company. Or his $18 billion net worth.