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Your Next iPhone Might Have an Airbag

by Brandon Russell | November 21, 2011November 21, 2011 5:37 pm PST

iPhone 4 Cracked

Despite the iPhone 4/iPhone 4S‘s beautiful design, one of its fatal flaws is how incredibly fragile the device is. One drop, and more likely than not you’re probably ending up with a spiderweb of broken glass – even with the stronger Gorilla variety. It’s painful to look at, and even with the naked vs clothed device war currently waging on, glass screens continue to shatter all over the world.

In future iterations, however, broken glass may be a thing of the past. According to some new patent filings, Apple is reportedly hard at work on devising a way to protect your iDevice’s glass when dropped or otherwise hit in some aggressive way.

That’s right, essentially an airbag for your phone.

The patent describes a Tunable Shock Mount that would sit between the glass and body of your device. If the device feels – through the accelerometer – like an impact is forthcoming, the mount’s Micro Inflatable Bladder would then fill up with a liquid to absorb the shock, hopefully resulting in less trips to Apple’s Genius Bar.

A second method apparently being brainstormed by the creatives in Apple’s secret labs is a mechanically actuated retractable, which would withdraw your device’s cover glass into its housing and, voila, your glass is protected. The device would “sense” it is being dropped, thereby setting the actuated method in motion.

A more practical solution described in Apple’s patents is to chemically strengthen the glass, making it less prone to breaking.

Companies like Apple file for patents all the time, so who knows if we’ll see these come to fruition. The mere thought of an airbag equipped device is pretty comical to think of, but who knows, it could save you from some heartache the next time you drop it getting out of your car. Like I’ve ever done that!

[CNN]


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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