Apple’s Latest iPhone Patent Takes A Cue From Cats
Apple's smartphone technology has come a long way in the seven or so years since the iPhone was first released - from fast processors to bigger screens and sleeker designs - but the tech industry giant has only now begun to catch up with the advanced abilities of one of the world's most common household staples: cats.
Taking a cue from our beloved feline friends' rather incredible aptitude for landing right-side-up regardless of the position they started to fall in, Apple has been granted a new patent for a mechanism that would essentially make dropped iPhones do the same thing.
Gizmodo has a simple breakdown of how the patented engineering works:
Using input from a combination of gyroscopes, accelerometers, and GPS, a device equipped with this new "protective mechanism" will recognize when it's in free fall and calculate metrics like speed of descent and time to impact. The device would then use an onboard motor to reorient itself in order to protect fragile components like the screen or the camera when it hits the ground.
That all sounds pretty complicated, to be sure, and no doubt took countless man-hours among some of the brightest engineers on the planet to perfect. But, lest we forget, it's something even the simplest, sleepiest, lap-lovingest kitty cat can summon without thinking.
In fact, Apple's new patent, as described above, sounds like it was lifted almost directly from this National Geographic clip's explanation of how cats use their innate "righting reflex" to always land on their feet:
"The head rotates first, based on messages from the eyes and inner ear. Then the spine twists and the rear quarters align. At the same time, the cat arches its back to reduce the force of impact."
But the engineering team at Apple isn't the only group looking to tap into cats' special skills. As The Dodo reported last month, experts from Georgia Tech are also hoping to replicate felines' free-falling abilities to make their robots more durable.
It was only a matter of time, perhaps, that technology would start to make headways into the realm previously mastered by cats - but it's hard not to wish Apple would start by making iPhone battery life be nine times as long.