An airbag to protect your smartphone
US technology giant Amazon has devised a new motion-sensor technology for an airbag that can protect your gadgets including smartphones, cameras and tablets from cracking when dropped. The system uses motion sensors, already built into most smartphones, to detect when a phone has been dropped and the mini airbag is then deployed before it hits the floor.
A traditional airbag in cars is deployed upon impact, cushioning the passengers' heads as they are thrust forward. The phone system hopes to use similar techniques to prevent damage to the mobile upon inevitable impact.
The idea is the brainchild of retail and technology giant Amazon, which has patented the protective system for mobile phones, electronic readers such as Amazon's own Kindle, computer tablets and cameras. This week the company won approval for the patent, which was filed in America by Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, 48, a self-made billionaire who has forged a career from pioneering ideas.
"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 eliminate damage to the device," the patent said.
The patent details a system that utilises a gadget's built-in gyroscope, camera, accelerometers and other onboard sensors in order to determine if the device has entered an airborne state. If it has, the technology will release airbags to reduce potential damage or possibly even change the trajectory of its fall by firing jets of air.
"This sounds like a feature worthy of Bond, codename SOS SMS. But airbags for windbags sounds like a lot of hot air to me. From a logistical point of view, the handset would have to be rather bulky to hide an airbag," said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.