:::: One-line Brief//
The cellphone needs no external protector.
:::: Inspiration from Nature//
Antennas of honey bee (Apis) sense distance and geometry of the landing surface and control the landing speed and body movement of the insect.
:::: Problem Statement//
Unlike feature phones, a smartphone is a wild beast. For it tames itself according to the needs of its user. But this difference between the two types of phones is a difference in their operating systems only. Assembly methods and the physical nature of the hardware of both types of phones are still the same. Therefore, a smartphone is not fully smart. A smartphone should be able to avoid fracture when it is dropped on a floor. Currently, we rely on external protectors bought separately.
There are two ways to increase the damage-resistance of a phone. 1. Use of high-quality materials (for instance, iPhone X claims to have the world’s strongest glass front). This increases the overall cost significantly 2. Components are made of cheap material but the phone is assembled in a way shatters into its components at the impact- and can be reassembled (Nokia has followed this design principle for the longest time). In terms of the smartness of a phone, both of these principles are equally primitive.
A new kind of phone needs to be envisioned which is smart both in terms of its body and brains. For one thing, if it is dropped on a floor, its body should sense the fall and respond in time to avoid damage.
:::: Nature Review//
There are many case studies in Nature that guide us in this problem. The body movement of a falling cat has probably been analyzed most. And a lesser-known strategy of pea aphid has already been mimicked in another gadget. However, all such examples require somewhat mechanical adjustment which could attract a host of extra challenges in the design. A highly perceptive and subtle process of the landing of a honey bee is emulated in this case.
A honey bee can land itself smoothly at any speed and at any angle, thanks to its antennas which can sense both degrees and distance. When a honey bee approaches touchdown (at just about 16 millimeters away from the surface) its antennas begin to sense the orientation and texture of the landing surface and cause the body to decelerate itself. And almost effortlessly, its legs, the ones closest to the surface, stretch out to ensure a perfectly smooth landing.
:::: Technology Review//
After researching up related design and material technologies, it turns out that a number of strategies need tethering. Gyroscope and Accelerometer sensors need to be connected to the exterior body of the phone. So that it (phone) can sense a drop and detect continuously the micro-coordinates of a surface it is going to hit. Internal components of the phone should be enwrapped in a layer of smart material with nano-scale reorganizational capability. This layer should receive input from the OS sensors. Continuous calculations should result in a continuous change of the molecular density of the layer.
:::: Nature Gadget//
The nature gadget is a smart layer (18) enwrapping the architecture of the phone. The gyroscope and accelerometer of a phone are linked to the molecular organization of its physical exterior. When the phone is dropped, its sides and corners reinforce themselves dynamically midair. A thin film is encoded to receive information from an accelerometer (24) and a gyroscope (21). Upon sensing a drop (9, 14) film changes its molecular density (6) at the points of projected impact (1-4). Such dynamic reinforcement is made possible with the help of particles that can change their bond structures- changing in turn, the physical state of the layer.
:::: Citation Montage//
The following technologies helped in designing the systems for this nature gadget.
Row1Column1: Closeup of Honey Bee
Row1Column2: Honey Bee Balancing Itself Near Flower
Row1Column3: The Moment Before Touchdown
Row1Column4: Honey Bee Spatial Memory and Navigation
Row2Column1: Honey Bee: Distance Estimation in the Third Dimension
Row2Column2: Accelerometer and Gyroscope Sensors
Row2Column3: Smart Glass and its Potential in Energy Savings
Row2Column4: Human Activity and Accelerometer and Gyroscope Data
Row3Column1: Five Smartphone Cases to Survive (Almost) Any Drop
Row3Column2: Coyote Case Protection Mechanism
Row3Column3: Strappy Storage Phone Case
Row3Column4: An Example of Shockproof Cases
Row4Column1: An Example of Multipurpose iPhone Cases
Row4Column2: Prototype of the First Transparent Smartphone
Row4Column3: A Breakthrough in Glass Technology
Row4Column4: The Future of Clear Mobile Phones
Created by Umair Zia