- Let’s take a look at Captain Pike’s Starfleet service record in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ 4 Years Ago
- How to watch Demetrius Andrade vs. Artur Akavov for free Today 7:00 AM
- Ariana Grande’s new single ‘7 Rings’ has Twitter feeling broke Today 6:30 AM
- The end of an era: RIP, Critique My Dick Pic Today 6:30 AM
- Mastodon is crumbling—and many blame its creator Today 6:00 AM
- ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ hints at Spock’s new role in the season 2 premiere Today 6:00 AM
- How to watch ‘Rachel Maddow’ online for free Today 5:30 AM
- Guy who wants to fund the border wall has privately raised $7 million Thursday 8:41 PM
- Mortal Kombat 11 trailer delights fans with gory fatalities, new characters Thursday 5:46 PM
- What you need to know about the data breach involving 773 email addresses Thursday 5:13 PM
- Senators fear government shutdown may affect FTC investigation of Facebook Thursday 3:43 PM
- Buy beer for a furloughed government worker with this new website Thursday 3:19 PM
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is teaching Congress how to tweet Thursday 2:42 PM
- Congressmen held genetics meeting with Chuck Johnson, despite his past racist claims about genetics Thursday 2:26 PM
- Female bodyguard thriller ‘Close’ is disappointingly un-thrilling Thursday 2:01 PM
Apple is working on a way for iPhones to re-orient themselves when dropped
Maybe tiny, self-ejecting parachutes would work?
Apple may have finally figured out a way to prevent the thing we fear about iPhones most: cracked screens. A patent awarded to Apple today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a system that could be used in future iterations of the iPhone to allow dropped or fallen phones to re-orient themselves in midair, causing them to make impact on less vulnerable surfaces, like their sides or backs.
The patent describes one seemingly practical method of guiding the phone in detail. While the design mostly references technology that already exists in current and past iPhone models, there are also some James Bond-esque connotations. In one example, the patent’s authors describe a “thrust mechanism” that would shoot compressed air in “one or multiple directions” to re-orient the phone. Other options include tiny air foils that emerge from the body of the phone to slow its descent, and ejecting batteries that could alter the rotation of a phone.
The most realistic application of the patent calls for the use of the iPhone’s existing sensors (including the accelerometer, GPS, and gyroscope, plus one or two hypothetical additions) to detect the angle, rotation, and trajectory as the phone enters free fall. This information would then be used to trigger the vibration mechanism found in all iPhones prior to the iPhone 6, causing a change in the axis of rotation and, hopefully, putting the phone on a path to minimize damage to key components.
Although this patent refers to the vibration motor found in previous iPhones and not the one used in the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, Apple would at least be working with familiar hardware should it decide to pursue this technology.
For now, the patent is just a patent. Until it becomes a reality (if it does), we’re stuck using our massive Otterboxes and clinging to our iPhones as if they were made of glass. Oh wait…
H/T IBTimes | Photo via Marcin Wichary/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Alex La Ferla is a writer, artist, and architect living and working in New York City. His work for the Daily Dot focused on internet culture.