Taking a cue from cats, who generally always land on their feet, or perhaps from buttered bread always falling buttered side down, Apple has been awarded a patent for making your iPhone, iPod, or iPad always fall glass side up. Or, as Apple’s patent describes it, “a method of protecting a vulnerable area of an electronic device during freefall.”
In U.S. Patent 8,903,519, for “Protective mechanism for an electronic device”, Apple describes the new patent as for “An electronic device including a processor, a sensor in communication with the processor and a protective mechanism. The protective mechanism is in communication with the processor and is configured to selectively alter a center of mass of the electronic device. Additionally, the electronic device also includes an enclosure configured to at least partially enclose the processor and the sensor.”
Basically the way that it works is that, using a combination of the GPS, accelorometer, and gyrocopes in the device, the device will detect when it is in freefall, and activate an internal motor (such as the vibration motor), to cause the device to reposition (i.e. to twist and correct to a glass-side up position) before it hits the pavement.
As lead inventors Nick King and Fletcher Rothkopf explain in the patent, “Mobile electronic devices are being used more often and more people are carrying mobile electronic devices with them on a continuous basis. However, people may drop their mobile electronic devices, or the mobile electronic devices may otherwise may be caused to enter a freefall state. For example, if the mobile electronic device may get pushed off of a counter or table. As mobile electronic devices impact a surface after freefall they may be substantially damaged, even if they are encased within a cover or other protective device.”
Or, in other words, people drop their devices, and cases don’t always work.
Of course, this is still in the concept and just-awarded-patent stage, so don’t look for these contortionist iPhones any time soon, and don’t throw away your protective cases just yet.
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