iPhones are pretty tough things, but despite all the Gorilla Glass and engineering magic Apple can throw at them, they’re still susceptible to broken screens when dropped.
That could change in future iPhone models, with a newly-published patent application describing an automated mechanism for protecting the iPhone display with a method straight out of James Bond.
The patent application describes how tiny polymer tabs hidden in the device could pop out and act as shock absorbers when they detect your iPhone is falling.
The above image shows how these tabs could potentially work, by using a series of rotary motor to eject them at just the time they’re needed, after which they could retract back into your iPhone.
It’s a fascinating concept, and one I’d love to see in practice — particularly the software which would detect your iPhone was no longer being held, and be able to eject the tabs in the fraction of a second it would need to do so to stop a potential iPhone disaster.
Would it work? It’s definitely a neat idea, although with all the rumors of a future bezel-less iPhone, I can see this remaining a tantalizing “what if,” alongside other patents like the pop-up joystick hidden in your iPhone’s Home button.
I’d be very happy to be proven wrong, however.