Amazon Granted Patent for Mobile Device Airbag Protection System

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:17 AM
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 or tablet (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.

Mobile Airbag Patent

"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.
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sackyhack replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:53 AM

GREAT PRIZE! HAPPY HAPPY! But seriously, that would take some serious software engineering. What if someone is just waving their hand while holding their phone, or whips it up to take a quick pic, etc. It's a good idea on paper, but I wonder if someone will actually be able to make it practical, and not something that is constantly making people's pants explode.

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Dorkstar replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:56 AM

sackyhack:

GREAT PRIZE! HAPPY HAPPY! But seriously, that would take some serious software engineering. What if someone is just waving their hand while holding their phone, or whips it up to take a quick pic, etc. It's a good idea on paper, but I wonder if someone will actually be able to make it practical, and not something that is constantly making people's pants explode.

hahahahahah.  I'm just thinking about someone putting the phone up to their face and the airbags deploy, blowing the phone off their face and into traffic.

This honestly just sounds like one of those outlandish idea's that only works in story books. 

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OSunday replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 7:08 PM

Sackyhack ... you sir, are quite the comedian.

I can see someone doing a spoof of this in a satirical parody of the technology it would be hilarious... and it's actually inspired me to consider doing one. I'll see what I can do over Christmas break!

I don't feel like this would be a trump card for an Amazon smartphone, I feel like it would be a new and relatively undeveloped technology that could cause a HUGE jack up in the price of the phone and would use up a lot of the phones resources as well

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realneil replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 8:12 PM

I can imagine someone falling off of the edge of a building and they're saved from the impact by their phone. (yeah right)

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Dorkstar replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 11:23 AM

realneil:

I can imagine someone falling off of the edge of a building and they're saved from the impact by their phone. (yeah right)

Hey it could very well be a decent floatation device.  Maybe they can add Velcro arm straps into the case as well, so you can strap it on like arm floaties.

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