An Apple patent application has surfaced, revealing one of the ideas the company has in mind for creating crack-resistant glass screens for its iPhones and other portable devices. The invention involves the use of a tunable shock mount which acts like an airbag between the glass screen and the body of the device.
The shock mount would be designed to instantly inflate when the device senses a drop as determined by its accelerometer. This would be used in combination with stronger glass materials such as alumino silicate glass, also known commercially as Gorilla Glass, or with sodalime and borosilicate materials that are resistant to thermal shock.
The shock mount itself would be made of a polymer, foam, gel, silicone rubber, or other viscoelastic material and could be filled with a special fluid as an inflatable bladder or airbag. The idea sounds almost as whacky as the patent filed by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos for smartphone airbags, springs, and compressed air thrusters. Both aim to protect portable devices from impact and were filed around the same time towards the beginning of 2010.