Apple patent filing outlines methods to lessen iPhone drop damage

By on March 21, 2013, 4:00 PM

Having to lug around your iPhone in a bulky protective case to prevent damage from accidental drops may soon be a thing of the past if Apple has anything to say about it. A recent patent filing from Cupertino outlines a number of methods that could be used to lessen damage the next time gravity introduces your phone and the ground.

As the patent outlines, the device in question would need a sensor or a sensor array designed to determine rapid acceleration, like during freefall. These sensors would also be able to determine the device’s position relative to the ground.

Once that data has been captured and calculated, a mechanism inside the device would then be able to shift positions to effectively determine how the handset lands – for example, not face down on the delicate display. Other solutions include protecting the internal hardware, preventing a freefall by gripping a plug like the headset or charging connector, limiting damage with the help of a thrust mechanism and even deploying an air foil that activates during freefall.

Another section of the patent outlines the use of a “black box” that, much like the ones found in airplanes, could be used to collect data about a fall and the subsequent impact. This data could then be used by Apple to help learn more about how devices fall to create better designs in the future. Naturally, one would assume that a data recorder like this could also be used by repair technicians to help validate warranty claims.




User Comments: 16

Got something to say? Post a comment
JC713 JC713 said:

Interesting.

Cueto_99 said:

Nice stuff, I would love to throw my Iphone 5 through the window and see it parachute down to the ground!

RzmmDX said:

If only it had mini thrusters. Then again, what happens if you're falling with the iPhone... oh crap.

Guest said:

Now, its get ugly, it's against Steve.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Step 1: Don't make it out of poor-quality glass.

Step 2: Don't do it at all. The reason iPhones are selling so well is because they conveniently break 234235 times during your contract.

Also, how do you measure free fall? That's some pretty hardcore maths.. what happens if I just happen to wave the phone in downward motion at near-freefall speed?

JC713 JC713 said:

Step 1: Don't make it out of poor-quality glass.

Step 2: Don't do it at all. The reason iPhones are selling so well is because they conveniently break 234235 times during your contract.

Also, how do you measure free fall? That's some pretty hardcore maths.. what happens if I just happen to wave the phone in downward motion at near-freefall speed?

I notice that iPhone 4s break a lot more than iPhone 5s . The iPhone 5 eliminated the glass they used in the iphone 4 (basically carrying a vase). The iphone 5s screen doesn't scratch like my iPod touch did. Very cool how they can chemically make glass that can withstand scratches.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I notice that iPhone 4s break a lot more than iPhone 5s . The iPhone 5 eliminated the glass they used in the iphone 4 (basically carrying a vase). The iphone 5s screen doesn't scratch like my iPod touch did. Very cool how they can chemically make glass that can withstand scratches.

Yeah I agree, technically the 5 is superior. Although I wonder what kind of smash rates we'll see when the 5S gets announced.... :P

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Ok. I was instantly thinking of an iPillow to carry with you, or iBubble Pack to wrap the phone in

JC713 JC713 said:

Yeah I agree, technically the 5 is superior. Although I wonder what kind of smash rates we'll see when the 5S gets announced.... :p

hahaha, yeah. They have to compete with Gorilla glass.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Couldn't they just limit iPhone sales to short people...? Then too, there's always "stickum" : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stickum

Just because it's illegal in the NFL, doesn't mean you can't glue your phone to your hand with it.

And for those of you who always seem to have sticky hands anyway, I guess you have a "leg up" on the situation already, in a manner of speaking.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

hahaha, yeah. They have to compete with Gorilla glass.

I was leaning more towards people purposely smashing their 5, so they have a 'reason' to upgrade.

highlander84 said:

If I'm not mistaken, I read exactly this several months ago? I don't think it was from Apple though...but it was here on Techspot...

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

@highlander84, not quite the same but this is probably what you read:

[link]

JC713 JC713 said:

I was leaning more towards people purposely smashing their 5, so they have a 'reason' to upgrade.

yeah I got that lol.

Tygerstrike said:

As a individual that sells cellphones let me be the first to say that no matter what they make, Gravity will always win in a contest vs. your smartphone. You may get lucky a few times you drop it. But eventually Gravity ALWAYS wins. Until better quality smartphones are built, the only real options are going to be a case and screenguard. Dont be cheap and try to get away with not having them on your phone. The cost of either cancelling your contract or having to purchase a new phone at the actual retail price is way more expensive. A case and screenguard runs roughly $50-$100 dollars. Also dont forget to get the insurance, it may not cover everything you may do to your phone, but its better then buying a whole new phone.

highlander84 said:

@highlander84, not quite the same but this is probably what you read:

[link]

@Julio Franco

I read that as well, but I think it was almost exactly the same as this... I tried to find but I couldn't. Maybe I dreamed it or something...who knows lol Thanks though

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.