It’s a smartphone user’s worst fear: dropping your phone, like many of us do dozens of times a week, and picking it back up only to find that the front glass is utterly shattered. If we have the technology to produce these amazing slabs of metal and glass known as smartphones, essentially the world’s most powerful computers that we carry around in our pockets, then how is it that they’re so easily defeated?
Well now, Apple may be finding a way around that.
They recently filed a patent for an interesting bit of technology that may prevent your phone screen cracking during a bad drop.
According to the patent, the innovation acts as a bumper that extends when it senses the phone has been dropped, and retracts when it senses you’ve picked up your fancy emoji machine. The sensors activate “multiple screen protectors” so that your phone screen never makes impact with the ground.
“When the sensor detects a drop event, the screen protectors move from the retracted to extended position, functioning as a shock absorber and preventing the screen from connecting with a surface that the electronic device contacts.”
Take a look at the drawing included with the patent:
Those small bumpers are the last line of protection between your smartphone and utter destruction. They function also as shock absorbers, so the impact of the drop doesn’t transfer to your screen.
“Electronic devices, particularly portable electronic devices, may be subject to various drop events. For example, an electronic device may fall from a table, fly from a user’s hand when a user trips, and/or otherwise fall to the ground or other surface. The present disclosure discloses systems, apparatuses, and methods for active screen protection.”
In recent years, Apple has been taking strides to make its iPhones more durable, from using Gorilla Glass and having an aluminum chassis instead of glass on both sides, but the front screen is still easily the most delicate part of the phone by far. It’s quite easily shattered, but the new innovation may help.
Then again, it may be years before Apple even thinks of implementing this innovation. We have no way of knowing if they ever intend to use it or if they were just eager to own the technology, or if they have plans to integrate it into their new products soon. Until then, looks like we’re still going to have to rely on bulky cases.