5 of the weirdest phone patents

Following the publication of a patent filed by BlackBerry makers RIM back in 2010, I thought it would be fitting to compile a list of 5 of the weirdest phone-related patents filed in recent times.

It’s strange to think that right now companies could be working on and filing numerous patents for innovations and advancements that may not enter the market or even production until a couple of years from now. I don’t know about you but it certainly leaves me feeling like we’re missing out. 
I’ll kick things off with the RIM patent I used to introduce this post, it concerns a rotating keypad. 
rim-rotating-keypad-1334853890.png
Here, the keypad is fixed in one corner meaning it could be used whilst partially covering the screen, completely below the screen in portrait and landscape or, alternatively, entirely behind the screen. Everyone knows RIM killed off its consumer business recently following huge losses and there is 0% chance that this is the innovation that could save it, seems more of a novelty. 
Potential usefulness: 4/10
Chance of being rolled out: 5/10

Another recent patent application that received a lot of attention involved Nokia and vibrating tattoos
nokia-tattoo650.jpg
The patent for this potential futuristic haptic innovation explained that the “tattoo” would transfer a stimulus to the skin to notify the user of an incoming call or message. The whole proces would work through the use of magnetic field detection. The marketing potential for this product could be huge but I, sadly, just can’t see it taking off any time soon.  
Potential usefulness: 7/10
Chance of being rolled out: 5/10

I wrote about this third entry late last year,  Microsoft’s sliding modular bay
mico-modu-patent-0923-2011.jpg
Now that Nokia seem to be the flagship manufacturer for Windows phones I can’t see Microsoft utilising this patent. Anyway, it is basically a magnetised storage tray housed in the back of a handset.
The patent listed examples such as an extra battery, gaming controller or keypad. Despite being pretty rudimentary in principal, this patent actually appeals to me. It’s a shame that I just can’t see Nokia putting this patent to use nor can I see Microsoft going it alone.
Potential usefulness: 8/10
Chance of being rolled out: 4/10

Next up is a mobile airbag from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
bezos-patent.jpgThis patent, which was personally signed off by Bezos, is entitled “damage avoidance system”. The theory behind the patent is that the case is able to detect when it is rapidly falling, using any smartphone accelerometer, and release jets of air before impact, thus reducing any damage.
I hate to admit it, because it looks so stupid, but if it were to work properly this could be the best protective case on the market. That said, the silence that followed the publication of this patent is probably a sign of its chances of hitting the high street. 
Potential usefulness: 9/10
Chance of being rolled out: 5/10
Finally, this is only weird depending on what you use it for. Confused? Good. Let me explain, it’s a patent for a textured touchscreen by Senseg. Understand how it could be a tad strange now? 
senseg-460.pngIn the run up to the release of the, frankly disappointing, new iPad many blogs reported that the latest Apple tablet could feature Senseg’s E-touch textured touchscreen technology. Obviously we all know it now doesn’t. 
Trying to explain this as simply as possible, E-touch works using the Coulomb force, effectively it is the same principle as rubbing a balloon against your hair and getting it to stick to a wall. Two reasonably non-conductive objects can have a charge difference created between them and this then allows for the feeling of differing sensations. 
Not only could it allow tablets and smartphones to offer braille for the blind, it would also just make the experience much more fun. As long as it’s done properly, I can see widespread adoption of this technology by mid 2013. 
Potential usefulness: 8/10
Chance of being rolled out: 8/10

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