Jeff Bezos’ far-fetched patent could actually be quite fetching

December 14, 2012

Jeff Bezeos phone airbag patentIf anyone were to describe me in one sentence, that sentence would almost surely include the phrase “accident-prone.”

I cannot dance. Watching me play sports is like watching a giraffe trying to drink. Two winters ago, I fell face-forward and had to get six stitches on my left eyebrow; I wish I could say I had slipped on some ice or something, but I think what I actually slipped on were my own two feet.

In short, I am a perpetual danger to myself and others.

One of those “others” would be my iPhone. It’s a beautiful piece of technology that is constantly threatened by my propensity for dropping things. But apparently, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a solution for people like me.

Bezos recently obtained a patent for a “phone airbag system.” Bezos would be able to detect when your phone is in free-fall mode and would deploy miniature airbags to cushion its fall, this preventing a cracked screen and a “Lost my phone need your numberz!!!!” Facebook status update.

Now, skimming the Internet, I have seen some criticism of this idea, which has been called “half-baked,” “nutty,” and “crazy.”

In a way, I get that. Some elements of the patent application, like a miniature gas-propulsion outlet to make sure the phone lands airbag-side down, seem odd.

But then again, I am tired of paying to get my cracked screen fixed. Also, far weirder things have been patented. It’s just true that sometimes, things seem completely unusual in their time and later become indispensable. I mean, who needs that newfangled email when we have the postal service, and why do we need cholesterol and heart medications when losing weight would work just as well, right?