You can find some interesting things when browsing through filings on the US Patent & Trademark Office's website. One such patent that has intrigued is an airbag for mobile
devices, such as your smartphone
(though it could also be applied to any handheld gadget, like a digital camera or media player), which was recently awarded to Amazon
Amazon originally filed the patent back in 2010, and no, the e-tailer didn't concoct a method for deploying an airbag for a user who walks into a tree or into traffic while text messaging (let natural selection run its course in such instances). What Amazon envisions is a system for protecting mobile devices from catastrophe when they slip out of your hand and plummet towards the pavement.
"Prior to impact between a surface and a device, a determination of a risk of damage to the device is made. 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," Amazon explains.
If it's determined that a smartphone is falling at a rate that will cause damage upon impact, Amazon's patent describes a method that could save it from ruin. There are several elements included in the patent, from twisting and turning the device while it's airborne, to deploying an airbag, which would absorb the bulk of the impact.
It's long been rumored
that Amazon would launch its own brand smartphone; perhaps this is the company's trump card.