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Amazon's chief executive wants your phone to have an airbag

Jeff Bezos has failed papers for a patent that’ll fit an airbag to your phone – saving it from damage if you let it fall.

A diagram of Jeff Bezos's airbag system, as filed with the US patent office earlier this year.
A diagram of Jeff Bezos's airbag system, as filed with the US patent office earlier this year.

HAVE YOU EVER dropped your mobile phone? Have you ever had that momentary panic when you drop your prized smartphone, fretting that by the time you’ve retrieved it, its screen will be shattered beyond repair?

Apparently Amazon’s chief executive and founder Jeff Bezos has had that feeling too, or at the very least he knows how you feel – because he’s filed a patent for a “system and method for protecting devices from impact damage”.

That, in short, is an airbag for your mobile phone.

“Prior to impact between a surface and a device, a determination of a risk of damage to the device is made,” documents filed with the US Patent Application office – lodged in February, but only published last week – have revealed.

“If the risk of damage to the device exceeds a threshold, a protection system is activated to reduce or substantially eliminate damage to the device,” it goes on.

In layman’s terms, the document outlines a method by which the airbag device can ‘diagnose’ when the altitude of your phone changes dramatically, it’ll know – and will release a supply of gas into a small bag, which balloons in size to cushion your phone’s fall.

Wired, deciphering the application further, notes that there’s an alternative design mentioned which would cause a number of small springs to shoot out of the back of the phone, which could bounce your phone (or indeed, tablet computer) to safety.

Whether the patent will actually be granted is one thing – but whether the next generation of iPhones, iPads, Androids and Kindles will actually include something of the sort is quite another.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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