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Apple patent No. 8,903,519: Five ways to protect a falling iPhone

You’ve got to give Nicholas King, Colin Ely and Fletcher Rothkopf credit for thinking outside the box.

In a patent filed last year and granted Tuesday, the three Apple engineers offer five ways to protect a falling iPhone:

  • Internal mechanisms for moving the center of mass, cat-like, in midair
  • A battery ejector to alter the flight path in freefall
  • Springs and air foils that pop out just before impact
  • Grippers that lock onto the earphone or power cord when the phone starts to fall
  • Pressurized gas canisters to counter the force of gravity

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Will any of these mechanisms see the light day? Who knows. Apple is famous for patenting every idea it has — good and bad.

Link: Protecting an electronic device.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.