Would you buy a phone with built-in… airbags? [POLL]


There have been a lot of inventions and innovations to behold over the years. Many advances have been made in mobile alone, including small cameras, mini projectors, NFC chips and more. All of that may not seem amazing in the here and now — we’re quite used to the usual bells and whistles of today’s smartphones, after all. But I bet not many have ever thought about this one: airbags.

That’s right, what would you say to a phone that came with a working airbag system? The idea was put in the spotlight by the Interesting Engineering Google+ account. Said system would use sensors which could calculate sudden changes in velocity and direction to determine if a phone is about to fall, and would react as a car would following sudden impact.

The airbags would protrude from the top and bottom of the phone, creating a nice air-cushioned buffer between the point of impact and the phone itself to protect it from any damage. The illustration also shows how the phone could emit jets of air to change the phone’s trajectory before it slams against the pavement or whatever it is about to hit.

I can’t think of any OEM that would be crazy enough to implement such a thing even if it is possible to engineer in a practical way. For starters, doesn’t a simple shock-absorbing case suffice for most people? Heck, even bumper cases can provide enough protection against your typical drops and tumbles. Also, what customer is going to want to have to restore the airbags after each and every drop?

And to that fact, who’s going to want to deal with the headaches of false readings? I’m not sure how precise a sensor would have to be to make sure it doesn’t become a problem, but I surely wouldn’t want my phone to vomit bags and air if I decided to jump for whatever reason. Still, it’s an interesting idea that makes you wonder what more could be done to help protect users’ smartphones.

Apparently this technology has been patented by someone but we can’t seem to find any details on that. Interesting Engineer suggests patents exist not only for airbag mechanisms inside phones, but inside cases, as well. It could be a very nice piece of tech for case manufacturers to present to those working in conditions where drops might be common, such as construction.

It’s not something I’d want on my smartphone full time, but if I could buy a case to take on days where I think I might need added protection it would be nice to have. There are a lot of questions surrounding the idea, but it all comes down to this: would you buy one? Be it a phone or a case, would you accept the airbags movement?

Almost everything under the sun has been done in terms of smartphones so it wouldn’t surprise us that someone — anyone — is already looking at doing something like this to give them the edge that’s needed to make noise in today’s crowded market. Be sure to vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts with a quick comment.

[Update]: After further review, it looks like this is Amazon’s doing. Oh, Amazon. Now bring us a smartphone. Thanks everyone!

[polldaddy poll=6781292]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Dude. That would be so rad!… If I was high

  2. The character drawn in the diagram provided makes me more worried about his bowel movements more than his phone

    1. It looks like he was kicked in the groin by an invisible man xD

      1. He has that turn your head and cough look to me.

      2. It’s his second(work, whatever) phone going off in his pants.

    2. Haha, yea I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone strike that pose when dropping their phone.

  3. Amazon patented it.. How couldn’t you guys find info on them? o_O

  4. *Riiinnggg* “Hello?” *WHOOOMPFF* “Owww. Misfire.” >.<

  5. ooh i cant wait for apple to sue about this

  6. Dumbest idea ever! If your body meets the set criteria in a fall or stumble, your phone is going to blow up in your pocket

  7. dafuq?

  8. Pointless, especially if it’s a one-time use feature

    Also, what about that occurence of a false deployment. For a dude, it can be extremely uncomfortable. But then, it could inticing eye-candy for the ladies. (“Is that a rabbit in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?”)

  9. if u get in a car crash it’ll go off too due to drop in velocity ….many things can set it off

  10. When I look at the guy in the picture, I imagine it’s Chris Farley and he’s yelling, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOT AGAIN, COME ON.”

  11. My concern would be how much this would cost? I have had several phone cases that have left me pretty satisfied for the under $30 I’ve spent on each one at the time I owned said phone.

  12. Sure, I guess. But who keeps de-prioritizing the flip-out prostate tickler feature?

  13. talk about treating the symptom and not the problem here. And a real stupid and needlessly complicated workaround solution at that.

    How about just a decntly built phones that are not total crap esp with decent case so that you dont have to resort to considering buying one of these ridiculous atrocity.

  14. No way cheesy. I want a anti-gravity force field that engages when it senses a drop.

    1. What if you’re playing some game where you have to shake the phone? Oh wait!! The sensors would prevent the phone from touching the ground, but not prevent it from moving in a space. =.O

      I WANT!!

  15. Nerf phone and tin foil helmet, I am ready for the parade.

  16. Your poll left out the best answer: April fool!

  17. What a dumb idea a deployed airbag fix costs more than a phone.

  18. I didn’t realize this was still a problem. I just use the force to catch mine before it hits. You don’t?

    1. I tried that. Since I was still learning I accidentally pushed it away and it fell harder. =.[

  19. you’d have to get the phone serviced to replace the $50 airbag. No thanks. Use a case like any non-derp does.

  20. I’ll stay with phones that offer that protection without airbags. I have dropped my G1 multiple times, and it has never even scratched the screen.

    1. Still using a g1?!

      1. Yeah, my normal phone is broken, so I’m using it as a backup.

  21. Despite the insane looking dude dropping the phone, I find it funny that it HAS to be an iPhone…as if to say, your POS phone needs airbags…and you’re stupid enough to buy them.

  22. OK… I was a bit confused on what to answer. An Airbag protecting my phone is awesome, but it’s not lyk I “want” an airbag protecting my phone. I just chose it’s awesome. LoL!!

    I can actually throw my phone at somebody if they get me mad and don’t have to worry about it breaking. I can always have a projectile. IDK… Tryna find a legit reason. =.S

  23. Shoulda been standard equipment w/the NEXUS4…….. except it would no doubt take 6-7 weeks to deploy after impact……. :P

  24. iAirbag will protect your phone when it is dropped with airbags and airjets and shizz.
    Disclaimer: If you’re dropping it and it hits the ground on the edge/corner and it bounces and it lands faceplant, then it is a normal behavior and you’re not using it right.
    Thankyouverymuch. xoxo. Comeagain.
    Oh, the airjets will release a scented air stream with a fruity flavor of your choice selected in the preloaded companion app.

  25. This seems like a joke. Where would the compressed air and deflated bag be stored? What would the cost be to reset it after its been deployed?

  26. stupid idea

  27. Gorilla glass seems to have proven itself so far…why not simply manufacture devices by way of an inherently sturdier construct such as the aftermarket D30 or some new slick iteration there of, and cease with the cheap, shiny, poly-plastics. <<<Was that redundant?? I dunno. Would a Carbon Fiber incarnation be cost gluttonous?

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