Inflatable Protection Being Developed for Your Smartphone

All you have to do is step outside and you’ll run the risk of seeing someone using a smartphone. By the end of 2010, almost 75 million Apple iPhones were sold, not counting any of the other smartphones made with the Android operating system. Considering that almost 4.6 billion people all over the world own a cell phone, the market for cell phone accessories is massive. Manufacturers make a number of holders, screens, shields, adapters and other accessories that cell phone owners buy on a regular basis.

Not to be outdone, Apple also has a number of products that can be used in conjunction with your iPhone. Surprisingly, one of their recent patent applications involves the development of a system that would protect your iPhone from damage with inflatables. According to an article on, Apple is working on a shock mount that would detect potential damage and possibly inflate:

“Upon sensing a drop event the shock mount, in one given implementation, could fill, thus mitigating the damage to the thin glass screen. This shock mount would exist between the screen and the body, minimizing any impact and dampening shock to the delicate screen. It couldn’t necessarily have to be a large, inflatable pouch, just a piece that could transfer impact…”

Furthermore, Apple has also filed a patent wherein your phone would become its own protective device, featuring a liquid-filled bladder scheme:

“[The scheme] would actually inflate a mobile devices’ screen when the built in accelerometer detects a sudden drop. A bladder would fill with fluid from within the device and act as a shock-absorber, decelerating the device upon the event of an impact.”

Inflatables have been a major part of safety development among many industries. It’s safe to say that an inflatable system in case of a car crash is more important than protecting your iPhone, but it just goes to show how versatile inflatables actually are.


Artists Finds a New Way to Adapt Inflatables

The world of inflatables is filled with wonder and joy. Any doubts? Just ask a kid what they think about bounce houses? Better yet, ask the child’s parents, who are most likely on the jumper combo next to the bounce house. However, this world of air-filled activities extends beyond the inflatable slides and other contraptions that you can bounce around on. Some people are taking inflatables and turning them into custom inflatables – creations designed around the basic premise of your favorite inflatable item.

For instance, one artist named Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos is using inflatables to create gigantic hands that will be part of sculptures representing the art of palm reading. The Miami New Times spoke to the artist and had her explain what she does with the inflatables:

“The sculptures are made of rip-stop fabric, the same material used to make parachutes. All five sculptures where designed and sewed by hand in my studio. Once all the pieces were assembled, I spent days blowing the inflatable in my studio and working on the details.It was like sculpting the air. The same way tailors do with garments, I was adjusting the fabric with pins to create the shapes I wanted with the air.”

When I said that these inflatables were large, I might have undersold them. The handmade structures range from 8 feet to 15 feet in size.  However, Esmeralda has some competition.

Another artist recently created an even larger inflatable piece made from 3000 balloons. No, that’s not a typo. I meant 3000. Using these balloons Adam Lee made a 46 ft. wide spider, according to Newstrack India:

“The previous record holder for the largest balloon sculpture was John Cassidy who used 434 modelling balloons to create a biplane in 2009. Lee, who has smashed the previous record by nearly seven times, admitted running into major problems with his balloon sculpture as he was working entirely from an image in his head.”

A giant spider? Where will the world of inflatables go next?

Holiday Inflatables: Tacky or Not?

It seems like every year there is some kind of controversy about inflatables in local communities due to legal restrictions and ordinances. This time of year is when these issues become very apparent, considering the large amount of holiday inflatables that people like putting in their yards, whether it’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas or other holidays. Consider the rules in your specific community regarding having these types of decorations in your yard.

For instance, a story in Neighbor Newspapers discusses the proceedings of an Atlanta community regarding such inflatables:

“At its next meeting Nov. 15 at City Hall, the Sandy Springs City Council will decide whether holiday decorations can include inflated figures like the Frankenstein’s monster recently seen during a Halloween promotion at a division of auction house Red Baron Antiques on Roswell Road.”

These inflatables are explicitly prohibited, but the town ordinance in place puts a number of restrictions on them:

“Air- or gas-filled figures are prohibited in the current sign ordinance, but a proposed amendment may allow one less than 15 feet in height twice a year four weeks before and one week after a holiday without having to file for a permit.”

The council members didn’t come to an agreement about the Red Baron inflatable, primarily due not to safety, but to content, with one representative calling inflatables ‘horrible.’ This sentiment is echoed in a recent column from EMC saying:

“… inflatables are tacky and give a cartoon-like feeling to the holiday.”

What do think about holiday inflatables? Do you put them up in your yard around the holidays?