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Apple patents crack resistant glass technology

Shock mount will react to accelerometer detected drop
Fri Nov 18 2011, 14:09

SMARTPHONE AND TABLET MAKER Apple has patented a crack resistant glass technology for use in its next Iphone, potentially solving one of the major problems affecting smartphones.

The technique employs a tunable shock mount between the glass and the body of the device. In the event of the device falling the internal accelerometer will alert the mount so that it can instantly inflate to take a lot of the impact of a fall away from the glass.

The patent also involves the use of 'exotic materials', presumably that can be used in a more resilient screen, and Apple is also working on a water damage prevention seal for even more smartphone durability, according to Patently Apple.

The tougher glass technology will likely be a worthwhile investment for Apple, as it has already been taken to court in a class action lawsuit filed by one Donald LeBuhn in January this year over allegedly misleading customers about the durability of the glass used in the Iphone 4. LeBuhn complained that the glass on his Iphone 4 broke when dropped by his daughter, yet the glass on his Iphone 3GS remained intact with a similar fall, suggesting that Apple had somehow made the glass screen on the newer device inferior.

The Iphone 5, which likely is due in the latter half of 2012, might use this new technology that Apple has been working on. That might make it an attractive feature for butter-fingered consumers who are afraid to spend hundreds of pounds on a smartphone that is likely to end up spending more time on the floor than in their hands.

Amazon has also been toying with an idea for saving dropped phones. In August it applied for a patent on a plan to include miniature airbags in a phone that could save it from smashing if it falls to the ground. It also uses the accelerometer to detect the fall, setting Amazon up to compete even more with Apple in a potential feature for their next devices. µ

 

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