Apple patent protects your phone from butterfingers

Apple patent protects your phone from butterfingers
Perhaps in the near future, when you drop your Apple iPhone, a number of things will take place quickly inside the phone that change the device's center of mass in order to control the phone's landing. It is all part of a patent awarded to Apple called "Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device". The application was filed in 2011 and mentions the use of the phone's accelerometer, gyroscope and a position sensor to help the handset know if it is free falling and how close it is to the ground. GPS and imaging sensors can also be employed. The idea is to alleviate the damage to the phone in case it is dropped. According to the patent, this could be achieved by changing "the angular velocity, device positioning or device rotation." Although the process can work with any electronic device with a processor, the patent mentions the Apple iPhone by name.

The system memory keeps some statistics including fall heights, speeds and other data which could help the processor decide on the best way for the phone to land to bypass any damage to the interior and perhaps even save the outer glass. The movement of a weighted mass inside the device can set off some foils to slow down the phone and a can of gas can be used to help give the handset a thrust to reverse a free fall. With the move in the industry toward thin and light phones, don't expect to see this anytime soon. As parts become smaller, perhaps we will see this re-visited by Apple. It does seem like a lot is happening to save one phone, but wouldn't you want everything done to save your phone if it was falling?

source: USPTO via AppleInsider



1. Aeires unregistered

Isn't that why people buy cases for iPhones? I think I've seen maybe only 1 without a case on it.

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Yup. Cases tend to make the patent moot. These days, it seems that everyone with an iPhone has it in a case. Last week I was visiting an Apple store, and every iPhone purchased while I was at the store, had a case included in the purchase. Back to the patent, what about the computational requirement to do all of the necessary calculations in real time and deploy the protective measures before the device contacts the floor? Gravity on Earth IS a constant.

29. jsdechavez

Posts: 800; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

I think this will make hard drive manufacturers to review their patents and sue apple. IBM/Lenovo had this on their laptops since..

2. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I like this idea. Good move Apple.


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Yea thats right very good move Apple™ We will, we are supporting you and the fans Apple™®©

19. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

you need English lessons and a little rest as you've been trolling all the pages of PA with nonsensical and unrelated comments... even this one makes no sense with those TM, R, C signs... at least stop copying from Msyzptlk!

27. thephoneofi

Posts: 23; Member since: Mar 24, 2013

Why was that even necessary to say?

17. BackHandLegend

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

Only a good idea so they never end up putting it on their phones and then sue the competition to anything that is completely different yet does the same purpose.

20. tedkord

Posts: 17362; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple could box up a pile of horse manure, stamp the logo on it, and you'd think it was magical.

23. Droiddoes unregistered


22. Droiddoes unregistered

It's a retarded idea that seems like it was thought up by an autistic 9 year old. Built in "foils" and blasts of gas to change the fall? F*cking really? LMFAO. Go go gadget phone!


Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

so its like a cat!

26. Droiddoes unregistered

Useless, lazy, and at times you forget you own one!

6. darkvadervip

Posts: 366; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

Wow people dog apple but in reality what the hell is a normal person going to do with google glasses when the price is to high and most people have a high cellphone rate. Again the normal aka average person.

9. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

your kidding, right?

7. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

"GPS and imaging sensors can also be employed." Err... from what height are talking about taking this fall? What's the average phone drop height? I'd guess you wouldn't find very many outside the 4ft range. If the GPS was good enough to to detect it's changing position within 4ft I don't think Apple Maps would have been the debacle it was. Just sayin'. Also, I'd love to see the added size a swinging weight and/or gas canister would add to the handset. That doesn't seem to be so aesthetically pleasing. I think it's fairly obvious why the accelerometer and gyroscopic sensor would be used in detection of a fall... It's to determine whether or not the phone was purposefully thrown down and broken thus denying any insurance claims.

10. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Cool but a throttle/thruster/booster rockets/gyro rockets for swiveling the device to a safe orientation and then ejecting out landing pads from the device ... all this is missing .. that's needed for a "Soft" landing of this vehicle on the planet when it lands (not falls mind you) Maybe another patent for all this ... after all you just need an idea and cash and then run as fast as possible to PTO (Patent Troll's Office) and breast the tape as "First" to file ... :)

12. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

when will this EVER END??


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Darkjedi you there. Are you reading this?

15. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

Does anyone else see the potential danger in putting a canister of compressed gas in the phone? What happens if the phone over heats or the canister accidentally is punctured causing the phone to explode. This is a ridiculously stupid idea.

16. Daftama

Posts: 641; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Main reason once drop your phone and it some how it didnt crack but the phone is no longer working apple will determine if it will be covered under warranty must not fall from 5ft speed must not be more than xxxxx why would you need these censors

18. ddeath

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 14, 2012

This is so stupid, I really don't know what to say. Just get a case.

24. Droiddoes unregistered

Patently Apple......stupidity. LMFAO if this is the crap tim cook was talking about when he said appfail had big things on the horizon. Between this and the ipod wrist watch out Android LOL

28. thephoneofi

Posts: 23; Member since: Mar 24, 2013

No... I'm sure an intelligent CEO like Tim Cook knows what he's doing. Apple has making money on its agenda, like any other company.

31. lolioslol

Posts: 182; Member since: Dec 10, 2012

That's nice. If he's so intelligent why has his companies stock tanked more than 50% over the last 6 months? Hm?

21. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Haha.... I can't breathe!!!! xD

25. Scorpion

Posts: 103; Member since: Apr 28, 2012

The cases industry isn't gona like that...

30. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

nice patent...

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