Smartphones May Soon Get Airbags

By Sumit Passary | Dec 18, 2012 02:25 PM EST

It may cost you hundreds of dollars if you accidentally drop your smartphone. But with the latest technology expected to come to smartphones, users can protect their smartphones from the accidental drop damages as smartphones may soon get equipped with airbags.

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The innovative technology uses the motion-sensors that are built in many smartphones manufactured now. The motion-sensors detect when the smartphone is airborne and when the smartphone is about to have an impact with the surface a mini-airbag will be deployed to cushion the fall and protect the smartphone from major damage.

The technology comes from Amazon which won a patent for the protective system recently. The technology can be used on smartphones, tablets, e-readers, cameras, and other portable devices. Amazon may implement the technology in its own Kindle line up of tablets in the near future.

Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, filed the application for a patent. "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," reads the patent.

The airbag would collect information from a device's built-in gyroscope, camera, accelerometers, and other sensors and will determine that the gadget has been dropped. The technology will then activate the release of airbags.

"Jeff Bezos is a man known for going his own way and being successful, but I think the real question is: Has he come up with the idea because he keeps dropping his own phone? I am not sure the next phone I buy will be fitted with an airbag but we are often surprised by what ideas become successful," said Victor Seidel, a lecturer in science entrepreneurship at Oxford University.

The use of airbags in portable devices like smartphones and tablets has not been confirmed but with users spending big amounts in getting their smartphones repaired the protective technology may be eagerly awaited by many gadget owners.

"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, that handset would have to be rather bulky to hide an airbag," said Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.

Have you accidentally dropped any of your portable gadgets which has cost you hundreds? What do you think of the airbag technology for gadgets? 

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