toggle

AAPL Stock: 111.78 ( -0.87 )

Printed from http://www.macnn.com

Apple patents freefall detection

updated 10:35 am EST, Tue December 11, 2007

Freefall sensor patent

Apple has today been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office, for a submission called Method and apparatus for detecting free fall. Many notebooks, and smaller devices as well, use hard drives which park their heads when a fall is detected; this prevents the heads from scratching or punching through storage platters. Sensing when to do this requires an accelerometer, and it is here that Apple has laid claim to two different concepts.

On a basic level, the concepts both work on the principle of breaking a closed circuit. When sitting in a stable position, an electrical switch remains closed, allowing uninterrupted flow; a sudden change in gravitational pull opens the switch, triggering head movement to a secure position.

In the first concept, the sensor is a conductive tube, with a beam or wire inserted. The insert is flexible, and normally remains in contact with the tube; once gravitational force lessens however, the insert leaves contact at one end of the tube, opening the circuit. The second concept changes the tube into a closed cylinder, with a beam fixed to its base. Partial insulation keeps the beam in place, but it is also touching a sphere, which in turn touches an oblique surface. Should the sensor start freefalling, the sphere will lose contact with the beam and/or the other surface, once again opening a circuit.

The patent is attributed to Paul James Wehrenberg, and was originally filed for in July of 2004.




by MacNN Staff

POST TOOLS:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Thought so

    Yeah, this technology has been around in Apple's laptops for a while. Even my 17"PowerBook G4 has it in there. Gotta love how long it takes actual useful stuff like this to go to patent.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

MacNN Sponsor

Recent Reviews

Dell AD211 Bluetooth speaker

For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solution ...

VisionTek 128GB USB Pocket SSD

USB flash drives dealt the death blow to both the floppy and Zip drives. While still faster than either of the old removable media, sp ...

Kodak PixPro SL10 Smart Lens Camera

Smartphone imagery still widely varies. Large Megapixel counts don't make for a good image, and the optics in some devices are lackin ...

toggle

Most Commented