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Jeff Bezos Wants To Put an Airbag In Your iPhone

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the my-droid-doesn't-even-have-a-seat-belt dept.

Cellphones 102

theodp writes "Don't want to pay Apple $199 to repair the cracked screen of the $199 iPhone you dropped? Neither, apparently, does Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. A patent application made public Thursday lists Bezos as an inventor of 'a system and method for protecting devices from impact damage,' which proposes using airbags, springs, and even a jet propulsion system to keep your iPhones, iPads, and other portable devices safe and out of the clutches of the Genius Bar. Let's hope there's an API — those gas cartridges could be a game-changer for fart apps!"

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102 comments

Xzibit wants to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37072750)

Put an airbag in your airbag, so that when your airbag is protecting your iPhone, it's being protected.

How about a case? (1)

Beat The Odds (1109173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072760)

Wow a nice protective case is not enough?

Re:How about a case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37072870)

I guess not if you're juggling with your phone while standing on a ledge 30 feet above a pile of gravel or something.

You know, I've had my iPhone for over two years now, with a cheap hard case, dropped it numerous times (even on asphalt) and the only screen damage is a tiny scratch on the screen *protector* (which is the one I installed when I got it)... so since I'm not a 12 year old who likes to use his phone for batting practice, and I have no reason to have it fly home on its own, I will not be purchasing any airbags or jet engines for it or my next one.

Re:How about a case? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072874)

The force of deceleration is a function of how fast you are going and over how short a distance you stop. People's desire to not have huge, bulbous cases sharply limits the amount of nice, gentle, elastic deceleration the case gets to provide before the 'concrete period' of the descent begins...

At the cost of additional complexity, airbags would theoretically give you all the advantages of having a case so comically thick that you would never use it, in a case that you would actually use.

Re:How about a case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073150)

So you buy a $100 case, and then spend, say, $30 every single time you drop it more than 18" to reload/repack the airbag? Sounds like a great deal!

Re:How about a case? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073364)

Well, I just went with the "$20 phone that practically bounced the one time I dropped it" strategy; but sacrificial components to protect high-value systems in the event of collision is a pretty standard practice(which makes me think that Bezos' patent is about as good as you'd expect a Bezos patent to be...) Getting the economics to work out is largely a matter of tweaking the sensitivity of the trigger and designing the consumable properly.

Re:How about a case? (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074368)

Getting the economics to work out is largely a matter of tweaking the sensitivity of the trigger and designing the consumable properly.

That's the problem with patents nowadays. even if you don't make the stuff (or produce any stuff except bullshit patents), you can collect a tax on people who work out the actual tricky practical details.

The innovative part is actually creating something that fits in/on/around a phone that can tell the difference between it falling to the floor and it falling in your pocket towards the floor or you running with it in your hand/handbag and swinging it around, or you dropping the phone into a bag or onto a bed. Or does it such a way where false positives don't cause big/expensive problems.

The patent is probably so wide and generic that even if some genius figures out the details later (maybe a redeployable airbag that inflates not too quickly and can be re-deflated manually so as to not be an expensive "per pop" device that destroys stuff), they'd have to pay Bezos money even though Bezos might have zero idea of how to actually make something that solves all the problems I mentioned (not saying he has zero idea, just saying he doesn't have to have any idea about the details).

And that's why the patent system is broken and doesn't really encourage innovation.

I can write all the sci-fi bullshit I want, it doesn't mean that it will make the stuff appear, and if I can actually collect a tax on people who actually build stuff, does it really encourage innovation?

Re:How about a case? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080202)

You certainly could imagine someone inviting and producing anti-gravity units and then getting sued by some sleaze like Bezos for infringing his, a product that doesn't hit the ground patent.

Re:How about a case? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37085100)

Yeah that's the problem with this sort of shit.

And what galls me even more is when the "inventors" think they're so innovative and so they DESERVE to be rewarded with a monopoly.

The real innovative ones typically don't even realize their "little steps" are huge leaps for other people. Or they're just too busy trying to turn dreams into reality for any of that bullshit (having them think daily whether what they've done each day is patentable would just slow them down).

Yes doing away with the patent system would cause the "small time" inventors to lose out. But given the state of things now, they're already screwed right? They are unlikely to be able to produce their own inventions without infringing on dozens or more other patents.

For the benefit of the small-time inventors I say replace the patent system with "Prizes for Innovation" instead: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1156061&cid=27145551 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1817120&cid=33865688 [slashdot.org]

Re:How about a case? (1)

danomac (1032160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074330)

Not to mention the possibility of the "airbag" deploying late and sending your phone back up in the air!

I've had cell phones for around 15 years, and in that time I've only dropped my phone three times - twice it fell out of my jacket (I don't keep my phone in my jacket pocket anymore) and once when a guest in my home kicked it off my coffee table. Why do people always drop their phones? It baffles me. So many young people now insist on the replacement warranty (which is not all that cheap.) I've never paid for one of those.

Cheap solution: Put a lanyard on your phone and put it around your neck. Or just stop dropping your damn phone! After replacing a couple expensive phones you'd think people would learn...

Re:How about a case? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073784)

Often not.

And this means that if anyone actually succeeds in making a usable airbag/spring system/jet system to do this then they will have to pay Jeff Bezos for the idea even if JB wasn't involved at all.

Re:How about a case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37075930)

A bungee lanyard. I officially dedicate this "Method of attaching a shpringy thingy to a celluar telephone", to the public domain. Now I get to wear the white hat.

Re:How about a case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37077712)

That only helps to protect from the actual collision of the phone with the floor, it does nothing to protect against the shock of the impact.

There is no $199 iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37072796)

And the rest is fantasy too. Glad someone's got a patent out of it though. Gotta keep the economy going with innovation, right?

Re:There is no $199 iPhone (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072838)

it costs that for a 2 year lock in.

Re:There is no $199 iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37072854)

So actually it costs more, all bills paid. Kinda what I said, isn't it.

Re:There is no $199 iPhone (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072872)

and 80+ bucks a month for those 24 moths so your 199 iphone actually costs 2119 bucks + whatever horseshit fees they randomly tack on

Re:There is no $199 iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37072912)

And how much are they going to charge you if you bring your own iPhone? Oh, $80 a month? So $2119 - $1920 = $199?

Re:There is no $199 iPhone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073008)

Who the hell charges subsidized-phone rates for a SIM-only service? AT&T? Well, I have T-mobile, so that doesn't OH FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!

Yeah, your iPhone 4 is more like $650 to replace. (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073128)

That's true. If you loose your iPhone mid-contract, you're going to have to replace it, which would run you about $650 [amazon.com] .

Re:Yeah, your iPhone 4 is more like $650 to replac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074198)

That's true. If you loose your iPhone mid-contract, you're going to have to replace it, which would run you about $650.

Not necessarily- if it comes "loose" as you say, it might fall and get broken (in which case you can fix it), or you might get lucky and nothing would happen.

If one was to lose their iPhone, that would be a more definite problem, though.

Re:Yeah, your iPhone 4 is more like $650 to replac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074374)

Irregardless that's defiantly something I wouldn't want too happen to there phone.

Unexpected airbag deployment (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072836)

Great. So if I toss my phone to someone it'll react like it's going to hit the ground. And, in the unlikely event that it just deploys spontaneously I don't want an airbag up against my ear.

Re:Unexpected airbag deployment (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072856)

And, in the unlikely event that it just deploys spontaneously I don't want an airbag up against my ear.

Wait, you still use a phone to make calls? How quaint...

Re:Unexpected airbag deployment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073214)

So as stupid an idea as this is, I now hope it comes to market, because seeing an airbag explode in someone face as they're walking down the street on the phone would be fucking hilarious.

Re:Unexpected airbag deployment (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37139358)

they'll have to put a big sticker on the front warning users about not putting the phone anywhere near your ear. it'll go next to the stickers telling you that the phone isn't for eating, not to use it as a bath toy, and that Apple takes no responsibility for if you use your phone to order viagra from nigeria or if you get caught for downloading kiddy porn.

Gas cartidge? (1, Offtopic)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072844)

They won't give iPhone or iPad users an SD slot or the ability to replace the battery without completely dismantling the phone, but will give us a gas cartridge?

Re:Gas cartidge? (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072930)

Well of course, they would love to provide you with that service, just come into any store and have someone obviously vastly superior to yourself (hence, genius) simply install a new gas cartridge in your iphone for a small fee of $200!

Re:Gas cartidge? (2)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073002)

And this gas cartridge is also an awesome excuse for the TSA to keep phones off of airplanes entirely! I see the plan here...

Re:Gas cartidge? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37139360)

islaves are all full of hot air anyway so they'll just supply a hose to plug into your arse

TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (5, Insightful)

Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072938)

TFA, and TF Linked Patent Application, don't contain the words "Apple," "iPhone" or "iPad" at all. The headline of TFA says, "Smartphone."

Did Slashdot substitute that with "iPhone" just to get the nerds all riled up? Wouldn't be the first time.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073102)

Did Slashdot substitute that with "iPhone" just to get the nerds all riled up? Wouldn't be the first time.

rhetorical question? you must be new here

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (1)

jadin (65295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073212)

It's probably meant for the Kindle. Mabye even a future 'smartphone' variety of the Kindle brand.

Suggesting he's designing inventions for Apple seems fairly absurd considering.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073484)

So on a Kindle I could maybe see it... or some expensive tablet.... or perhaps if you've purchased a $2500 laptop, I could see wanting to protect it with an airbag or something.

An iPhone? Not so much.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080164)

If you follow Android news blogs, they're clearly making a Tablet, mini-tablet, and maybe a phone. Clearly this patent would be for these devices, but some fucktard (i.e. Soulskill) is a fanboi.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073582)

Did Slashdot substitute that with "iPhone" just to get the nerds all riled up? Wouldn't be the first time.

Yes, that's most likely. Only an AT&T iPhone user would pay $199 for getting a cracked screen replaced. For my HTC Evo on Sprint, it was only $35 (labor included) and the repair was done on site the same day.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074316)

That's a good deal. A friend of mine recently dropped his HTC Wildfire and said it was 150 EUR to replace the cracked glass. He didn't have any kind of insurance on it though. Ended up just buying another phone.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074526)

Did Slashdot substitute that with "iPhone" just to get the nerds all riled up?

Heh. Check out apple.slashdot.org, the average comment count per-story is significantly higher than on the main page.

Oh the fun of ad-supported news sites.

Re:TFA doesn't mention iPhone specifically (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37139394)

who doesn't like taking the piss out of islaves and microsoftcocks? -begins writing dodgy slashdot submission about apple discontinuing support for iphone 4 to force users to upgrade to new iphone running windows phone 7, which apparently runs on top of the linux kernel and violates gpl... flamewars are fun

The API will get hacked SO FAST! (1)

or-switch (1118153) | more than 2 years ago | (#37072972)

How about a bug that causes the springs to deploy when your face is close to the screen while using Facetime. How about setting off the airbag in someone's pants both getting a good guffaw over the obvious fart-joke implication while simultaneously sterilizing the target. What about getting springs lodged in your leg while dancing or tripping down stairs. Oh yeah, nothing can pos-i-blie go wrong.

Dumbest idea awarded to Jeff (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073020)

If you really want to minimize damage, how about just making devices more impact resistant instead? The concept of using complicated active-protection just ads more weight, complexity, and cost. Impact resistant materials would make for a better solution.

Re:Dumbest idea awarded to Jeff (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073112)

Like most smartphone manufacturers, they're already using the strongest glass that is economically viable which is almost always the part that breaks when a modern phone is dropped. And to be fair, it's a bit of a crap shoot, a small fall at just the right angle can shatter the glass while a dozen falls from a higher height may not. I, for one, have scratches and chips in the metal bezel of my phone, but not a single mark on the glass, and it's over 2 years old now.

Re:Dumbest idea awarded to Jeff (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073134)

/dad_mode

If you really want to minimize damage, quit screwin' around and don't drop your fancy toys in the first place!

Re:Dumbest idea awarded to Jeff (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073236)

There are certainly designs and materials that are better and worse in terms of how well they make this tradeoff; but one problem with impact resistance(abundantly seen in recent trends in phone design) is that a number of the things that make a phone good at resisting impact ironically make it feel like cheap shit in use.

Your basic free-on-contract snap-on-ABS-modular-carrier-branding-panels-and-not-especially-tight-tolerances dumbphone is actually pretty good at being resistant to drops. The ABS flexes, absorbing some of the energy, the battery door pops off and goes flying, and the LCD is a dinky little module loosely held behind a plastic cover by a ribbon cable and a couple of pegs. You can practically feel the thing flex when you try to use it; but it simply flexes and springs back when dropped.

Your canonical contemporary smartphone, by contrast, is designed to feel like a solid 2001-but-with-a-touchscreen slab of the future. No flex, no wasted volume that acts as a 'crumple zone', toughened glass that is much more scuff resistant than plastic; but shatters rather than denting/scratching, etc. Feels impenetrable in use; but inelastic collisions are painful...

Re:Dumbest idea awarded to Jeff (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073526)

Sure, makes sense to me. So why not have the internal guts dampen the shock? Aside from the case and screen, most of the mass is from the battery. The rest of the weight is made up of the screen and circuit board. Maybe something as simple as silicone gel pads placed inside the device might be enough. Silicone gel has remarkable properties of impact shock absorption.

Regardless of the nature of the design and their intrinsic tradeoffs, does anyone here seriously think "airbags" is the way to go? The concept is silly, and we don't live on Mars.

Re:Dumbest idea awarded to Jeff (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078898)

Some ruggedized systems do pretty much that. Lots of silicone or other rubber padding(there are also some neat non-newtonian gel materials in limited use, whose properties conveniently change according to the strength and speed of impact), flex space for vulnerable components like HDDs, and use of suitably flexible polycarbonate or other aesthetically-questionable-but-not-brittle case materials.

All that adds bulk, though. As best I can tell(in the same way that everybody loaths wall-wart AC adapters; but manufacturers use them because they are cheap and make the product itself look a lot slimmer), electronics design, outside of explicitly ruggedized products or low-end low-tolerance plasticy stuff, has headed in the direction of making slim, beautiful, and vulnerable hardware, and letting the customer feel the shiny first, and then go out and add the ugly-but practical silicone case after the initial purchase...

How about a design which facilitates... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073030)

....easy field-stripping and parts replacement?

Re:How about a design which facilitates... (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073098)

Like the Motorolla Blur, perhaps? We've got them at work and we've had to replace a screen already (we've been using the Blur for about a month so far). $50, quick and easy. Generator service technicians are really hard on their phones. I'm sure it's not the only repairable phone out there, but it is the one in my pocket at the moment.

Re:How about a design which facilitates... (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074276)

....easy field-stripping

What is the location of the field where this will be taking place?

i would prefer they take something out of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073032)

like the ability of the phone company and the government from spying on people

I can do this today! (2)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073040)

If the phone senses it is falling, it will automatically dial your mother in law. Airbag deployed - phone saved. You're welcome. ;)

Acme! (1)

ZZ-Type (577907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073084)

I believe the Acme mail order company shipped a similar set of springs to Wile E. Coyote back in the late 60s or early 70s for prior art. Coyote put them on his feet to try and catch Road Runner, but they didn't work. (I wonder what Acme's return policy was like?)

First application for the API (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073166)

http://bash.org/?4281

I have already patented it...

One Word: (2)

oGMo (379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073178)

Rollercoaster.

The phone can at most, when dropped (as opposed to "be thrown"), accelerate at 1G, no? You can exceed that in a car. Or taking off in a plane. Rollercoasters can get upward of 4. Nothing like this thing exploding in your pocket when the light turns green.

And the directional stuff I've seen on most are pretty laggy. Is there really time for it to wake up, determine which way is down, that it's heading there, that it's not a whale or bowl of petunias, and deploy an airbag?

Another word: GLOVES. [thedailywtf.com]

Re:One Word: (1)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073422)

Its not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end.

When the phone lands it stops suddenly, leading to more (possibly much more) than 1G of acceleration in the opposite direction.

Re:One Word: (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073718)

You've missed the point. In your car, the airbag deploys after the impact of the car with the tree/other car/other obstacle, but before you impact with the steering wheel or the side of the car. If the smartphone airbag deployed on impact, it would be too late -- the damage is done. The smartphone therefore has to predict the impact, which it can only do by detecting the fall. Unfortunately, the accelerometers in the phone don't know the difference between falling and other forms of acceleration....

The patent application says "A method for protecting a portable device that includes ... detecting that the portable device will impact a surface". He also talks about a "surface type detector" that knows the difference between a pillow and concrete. Sadly, at no point does he tell us how this magical sensors actually work.

Is this how low patents have sunk in the US? Here's hoping it gets laughed out....

HAL.

Re:One Word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37076580)

You've missed the point. In your car, the airbag deploys after the impact of the car with the tree/other car/other obstacle, but before you impact with the steering wheel or the side of the car. If the smartphone airbag deployed on impact, it would be too late -- the damage is done. The smartphone therefore has to predict the impact, which it can only do by detecting the fall. Unfortunately, the accelerometers in the phone don't know the difference between falling and other forms of acceleration....

Actually, they do for practical purposes.

Freefall: [0 0 0]
Resting: magnitude of 1g, direction is "down", which translates into different vectors depending on the phone's orientation.
Horizontal acceleration: magnitude greater than 1g, vector sum of resting (1g down) + whatever lateral g.
Vertical acceleration: magnitude greater than 1g for upward, between 0 and 1g for downward less than 1g, nonzero (the opposite direction for downward greater than 1g.

So only in the case of downward acceleration at approximately 1g (with no sideways acceleration) does it see [0 0 0] -- how often does that happen for any length of time?

Detecting zero acceleration (with an appropriate threshold) for a suitable time (must be short enough the airbag deploys in time, long enough to minimize false positives during transient downward acceleration) is a viable method for detecting falls long enough to damage the phone.

Detecting what surface it's going to land on is bullshit, of course.

Re:One Word: (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074302)

Think about what you said. What does the phone see when you drop it? 1G? Nope, that's when you're holding it. It sees zero. If you're accelerating straight down in your car at 1G you're going to need more than airbags on your phone.

But yes, probably not good to take in the vomit comet.

Re:One Word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080366)

What does the phone see when you drop it? 1G? Nope, that's when you're holding it. It sees zero.

You are confusing acceleration with weight. The phone does not "see" 1G of acceleration when you are holding it. It is acted upon by a downward gravitational force that is balanced by the upward force exerted by your hand holding it. The moment it slips out of your hand, it is acted upon by this downward force, causing it to accelerate at 9.8 m/s^2, which is defined as "1G" of acceleration. It's "weight" during free-fall is zero, but the acceleration is 1G.

Not to pick nits, but... (2)

joh (27088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073202)

"pay Apple $199 to repair the cracked screen of the $199 iPhone you dropped?" is utterly wrong. A new iPhone with no new contract attached to it costs much more than $199 -- $649 to be precise.

Paying $199 to have it replaced if totally destroyed is not that bad actually.

Re:Not to pick nits, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073416)

Except that only 5% of people actually realize that.

Re:Not to pick nits, but... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074312)

They realize it in a hurry the first time they have to replace a phone. And they are better people for it.

Had to be said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073276)

"Is that an iPhone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

A solution already exists... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073292)

...it's called phone insurance. You know, that lone option that 95% of people feel is a complete ripoff and don't buy it...You know, the same people who are more than willing to bend over and spend $200 on the latest iHipsterGadget, along with paying $80/month for the service.

Re:A solution already exists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074024)

At least 10% of the 95% of us are confident we will not drop the phone on account of not keeping it in the pocket during phone damaging activities and not having holey hands ;) The other 5% are not confident and can typically be described as losers who buy all insurance and are in debt as a result of it.

Re:A solution already exists... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074134)

Insurance shouldn't normally cost 10% of the total replacement cost per year. It also shouldn't come with the massive amount of fine print and red tape that it has.

It's hardly a solution. Of course, neither is reactive armor.

Bezos phone (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073296)

Given Amazon's recent forays into Android space, I would assume Mr. Bezos carries an Android phone. If his phone is an iPhone, it would destroy the credibility of Amazon's Android market - in a lot of people's eyes, anyway.

A stupid idea... i know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073322)

But why don't we just make the phones more rugged.

It can be done. We had some nearly impossible to destroy ones back when i was doing construction. (we tried to destroy them)

Just half of that effort would work for most average consumer accidents with their phones.

Impractical (1)

Rizimar (1986164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073442)

Like many others have said, a case would be fine. Or even tether it to your pants if you're really paranoid about dropping or losing it. This invention would likely cost more than the alternatives. It would add to the weight and bulk of your phone. It's also likely that it would not be allowed on airplanes as airliners understandably have policies that disallow pressurized items from being on a plane (particularly in a carry-on, but the TSAs might get suspicious if they scan it in your baggage as well).

Re:Impractical (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073522)

Yes. ORM-D [wikimedia.org] items - which include compressed CO2 cartridges - are prohibited from airplanes. You cannot even ship them via air freight.

Patents (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073474)

If you said to a group of Freshman Mechanical Engineers, "Come up with a couple ideas to protect a device from impact," don't you think EVERY SINGLE ONE would propose this crap? How is this even close to being non-obvious. I can't think of a solution that is LESS obvious.

Re:Patents (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074320)

I hope not. I'd fail them all for this idea.

Re:Patents (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074470)

I agree... I was kind of thinking of the brainstorming phases...

Re:Patents (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074602)

Whew.

Way back in undergrad I took a robotics course, with the robots built out of lego (pre-mindstorms, we used HC11 based micro controller boards and lego we modified with a dremel). The first lab assignment was to build a chassis that could survive the metre and a half fall from the lab bench to the concrete floor. When you thought you had something that would work, the professor would walk over and... knock your robot off the bench. Airbags were not considered.

Flimsy Apple junk (0)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073576)

There are ruggedized phones. Apple just doesn't make one.

For what they charge, the screen should be sapphire, not glass. Sapphire sheet is neither rare nor expensive. Supermarket checkout scanners [seamarkonline.com] (and, especially, Home Depot) usually use sapphire windows. You can drag metal cans and tools across those for years without scratching them.

Then there's the whole silliness of needing a case to protect an iPhone. If the thing was designed right [pcmag.com] , you wouldn't need a case to protect it. There are phones that work fine after being run over by a car. [pcmag.com] There are rugged smartphones. [cnet.com]

But none of them are made by Hon Hai, a/k/a Foxconn, a/k/a Apple.

Re:Flimsy Apple junk (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073758)

A lot of phones use Gorilla glass - the toughest glass made. It is not designed to be weak or designed poorly it is designed to be on par with typical smart phones. They don't sell a rugged version of the iPhone. Bug apple if you want one; otherwise get something else.

New glass is less.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073760)

...than 20 bucks on amazon.com. It comes with the tools and instructions on how to change it. Nothing else more to say.

Prototype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073802)

If he's applying for a patent, I guess that means he's got a prototype, right?!

Well, he put an airbag in Amazon! (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073942)

Thank you thank you, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip the waitress!

I do not want that going off in my pocket. (2)

ArcCoyote (634356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074014)

But I do want that going off in a phone thief's trousers!
Can we get the "iED" option added to Find My iPhone?

(FYI: airbag cartridges are an "are you fscking kidding me" item for carry-on or checked baggage.)

CAPTCHA: blister. Yeah, I bet it would.

Airbag replacement cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074200)

One problem I see with this is that once the airbag has deployed you will have to take it to a service centre for replacement.
There might be a cost reduction compared to some components, but I bet by the time you've paid someone to fit it, you will be looking at $100 for replacement airbags. And you will have to wait to get it back.
Cheaper than a touchscreen, or whole new device. But still less than ideal.

I'd like to see how he patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074658)

Just exactly how this is going to be allowed on planes.

or better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37077596)

try to buy a cheaper phone and don't worry ..

Blue Origin Paying Off Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37077992)

Guess that little side project of his is starting to produce patents for him.

Sit on your butt. Dream up an idea. Patent it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078638)

I doubt Jeff Bezos has done any research, produced any prototypes or even knows exactly how 'his' invention might be implemented - but by patenting it now he can rake off a share of the profits if and when someone else does all the real work.

That's one of the many problem with patents.

It was a stupid idea back when I had it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078880)

https://twitter.com/#!/dschleifer/status/16990052284

"Who wants a case? #iPhone4 needs airbags that deploy when the accelerometer determines it has been dropped." - June, 2010

-Dan

No more phones on airplanes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080810)

Your phone is now the perfect platform for an improvised bomb.
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