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Amazon awarded patent for laptop ‘airbag’

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos and an associate were recently awarded a patent for a method of protecting a portable device that might include a working airbag.

For many years now makers of mobile electronic devices have looked at ways of protecting these expensive must-haves with stronger cases, and adding exterior armor shells.  Now two inventors are looking at more creative and technological ways with protecting our electronics.   One such example is Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos’ recently received patent that gives a device the ability to see what is about to happen to it so it can react and protect it with an airbag.  

In February 2010 Bezos along with co-inventor Gregory Hart, applied for the patent under the Assignee, Amazon Technologies Incorporated; the patent was awarded on December 11, 2012.  In short the patent states that it is “a method for protecting a portable device that includes an airbag deployable from a side of the portable device…”

The patent says that the device would, just prior to impact, be able to assess how much potential damage would be coming to it based on what it sees. This split second decision on what to do will determine on the speed of impact as well.  The moment the device chooses the suitable countermeasure; it will save your device from being destroyed, or at least reduce its damage by deploying an airbag or by some other means (i.e. with air jets, etc.).  However, there isn’t even a prototype and the patent is basically an idea on paper. 

One example laid out in the patent shows an accelerometer that would detect that a laptop or smartphone beginning to fall and then, in an instant, make a split second reaction.  The patent also proposes adding ‘propulsion elements’, distance of fall detectors, and even ‘surface type’ detector so the device knows how to react to what it is going to hit.  Under the section for the devices’ detailed description it reads in part,

“The surface type detector 114 may determine the type of surface that the portable device 100 is approaching when moving toward a surface. For example, the surface type detector 114 may measure whether the surface is a solid surface (e.g., concrete, wood floor) or a softer surface (e.g., chair, pillow, hand). The surface type detector 114 may also determine a relative value of ability of the surface to absorb or reflect the energy from the impact of the portable device 100 and the surface. The relative value may be measured or identified as a hardness or firmness of the surface. The surface type detector 114 may use a number of technologies, such as infra-red, radar, x-ray or image recognition to perform the determination of the surface type…”

Whether any of the ideas from the aforementioned patent materializes, that remains to be seen.  More than likely this latest patent will go down as just another way for companies to prevent future fights over ideas and concepts.  Currently Samsung and Apple have been at each other for number patent infringements and ideas that will cost well into the billions in fines and/or court fees. 

In August of this year, a California jury agreed that Samsung copied some of Apple’s ideas and was ordered to pay Apple over a billion in U.S. dollars.  Samsung immediately sought an appeal with the case and now U.S. District Judge, Lucy Ko is deciding whether to give Samsung a new case or try and cut part of the settlement down.  Judge Ko pleaded with the attorneys to try and find some resolution with their perspective corporations.  "I think it's time for global peace," Judge Koh said to the two company attorneys. "I'm more than prepared to issue orders. You'll take this up on appeal, and we'll see what happens. But if there's any way this court can facilitate some kind of resolution, I'd like to do that."

Jack Taylor
Jack Taylor is an accomplished writer who works as a freelance journalist and has contributed to many award winning media agencies, which includes VRzone. Born in 1971, Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Journalism, graduating Magna Cum Laude. An eclectic writer, Taylor specializes in editorials, trending technologies and controversial topics such as hacktivism and government spying.

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