Apple patents active fall protection system that rotates an iPhone in mid-air to minimise damage

“Future iPhones might be capable of altering the angle of a fall to change their landing position.”

The US Patent and Trademark office has granted Apple a patent for a protective mechanism that will shift the iPhone’s centre of gravity to protect it during freefall. The system can re-orient an iPhone while it’s falling, to ensure that it doesn’t land on sensitive components like the display and cameras.

Apple Patent rotate motor

The system will keep an eye on the iPhone’s positioning using its sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS, as well as those that haven’t been incorporated yet, like ultrasonic sensors. The sensors will send data to the CPU, which after calculation will deploy a protective mechanism in mid-air to reposition the iPhone. The example in the patent uses an internal motor which imparts force, causing the phone to land on a preferred position, like its back or sides.

In addition, the patent also describes more advanced use cases, such as miniature gas canisters that exert thrust to slow down a fall, or retractable air foils that control the angle of descent. While there’s no evidence yet of Apple actually incorporating this futuristic tech in upcoming iPhones, a feature like this would be a big step in staying ahead of the competition.