Sometimes thinking like a genius has its advantages. And sometimes it just makes you forget that there are much simpler solutions to some of life's more mundane problems.
Take the problem of cell phones. Or, more specifically, the fact that while they have become ever more central to our lives, cell phones haven't become any less breakable.
According to a February 2010 patent application recently unearthed by Geekwire, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has thought about this problem a lot. And the solutions he's come up with to combat smart-phone fragility are precisely the kind you'd expect from a billionaire tech whiz who, were it not for male-pattern baldness, would still look like a mad-scientist Boy Scout rather than the middle-aged man he actually is.
In Bezos' world, protecting a smart phone means turning it into a gadget worthy of James Bond.
Coming soon from Verizon: a Swiss Army knife on which you can play Angry Birds.
First there's the gyroscope-aided safety monitoring system that would anticipate if your smart phone is about to meet its doom. Then there are the carbon dioxide-primed airbags that would deploy should it slip out of your hand.
Not satisfied with simply turning your refurbished, eBay-bought iPhone into a safety-laden Volvo station wagon, Bezos goes even further. At one point, the patent even describes a "propulsion element" that would expel gas in order to "cause a gentle or safe" landing.
Congratulations! Your smart phone is now indistinguishable from a hovering Harrier jet. (Warning: Bitchin' soundtrack ahead.)
Of course, if Bezos didn't think like a genius, he wouldn't have all this time to sit around and file patent applications for preposterously silly smart-phone add-ons. Which means he wins, as usual.