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Screenshot of the mobile airbag system   (Source: businessinsider.com)
Jeff Bezos filed the patent last year, but it was only made public last week

We've all done it at one point or another, whether it was on the kitchen floor, in the backyard, in the toilet, or even in public. That's right -- we've all dropped our cell phones at some point in our lives.

I've had approximately 12 cell phones total throughout my mobile life, which mainly consisted of cheap feature phones in my earlier days. When I'd accidentally drop these phones, they stuck it out pretty well, only coming out of the free-fall with a few scratches.

But nowadays, we have powerful smartphones that become not-so-powerful after a hard hit to the concrete. One accident can render a $200+ phone completely useless, and without proper insurance, it can cost a bundle to fix. While smartphones (and most other mobile devices) have screen protectors and cases to protect them, there will always be people out there with butterfingers who can push both the case and the phone to its limits.

But now, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has invented a solution that could benefit a range of mobile users, from those who obsess over their cell phone's safety to those who treat it like a Frisbee. Last year, Bezos filed a patent for cell phone airbags.

Bezos filed the patent with VP Greg Heart in February 2010, but it was only made public last week. The creation consists of tiny airbags that utilize even smaller jet streams within a protective sleeve. The smartphone's inbuilt motion sensors detect if it is free-falling or just inside a bag, and if it senses a catastrophic situation ahead, an emergency signal is sent to the protective sleeve which deploys the airbags prior to contact. In addition, the patent mentions a spring-loaded system help deter severe damage to the phone, and could even be used to flip the phone onto the airbags.

The patent has not yet been approved, but Business Insider speculated if it would be a feature included in Amazon's tablet expected to be released in October 2011, but that seems unlikely if it hasn't been approved yet.

If the patent is approved, would you consider buying an airbag system for your mobile phone? Or do you think such an intricate protective sleeve is unnecessary? From the screenshots of the patent picture, I think it'll look a little ridiculous. I also don't think I'll need such a system because I buy a decent case for my phone, and I keep it in my pocket all day. I've dropped it maybe twice in the year that I've had it. When you have an expensive device that requires a little care, you should be responsible with it. But I understand that not everyone buys a case or cares for their devices the way that they should, and maybe it's difficult for some people to grip their phone due to a medical condition. So from that perspective, I can see where this may be a useful invention.




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