iVoice files patent on bouncing grannies

From speech recognition to airbags...

It's fair to say that speech recognition outfit iVoice is not afraid of growing its product portfolio in new and unexpected directions. In this case, though, it has gone off at such a tangent that we wonder just what exactly is going on down at the company's R&D department*.

Yup, iVoice has filed a patent on a bouncing granny "Personal Air Bag Device" designed to "limit injuries from falls". According to the absolutely straight-up press release:

The device is self-contained and is worn by a pedestrian. It has one or more air bags that inflate to protect the user from injuries upon falling. It is adapted to deploy the air bag(s) upon change in a condition, such as a change in elevation or angle.

The user could be an ambulatory or non-ambulatory elderly person, a person in a wheelchair or other confinement, a person working on a ladder, hoist, scaffold or other hazardous altitude, or a fireman or a motorcycle rider. The device is worn by the user and has at least one sensor that will detect a characteristic change, such as a severe angle change of greater than 45 degrees or negative altitude change triggered by a decrease in gravity pull. When the sensor is triggered, compressed air rapidly fills the air bags before the user hits the ground and reduces or prevents injury.

Ominously, iVoice CEO Jerry Mahoney admitted: "This is the 13th patent we've filed. This personal air bag device is of special interest to the elderly and to people in high risk-of-fall situations, such as firemen, construction workers and others working on ladders."

Rather incredibly, the Personal Air Bag Device blurb makes no mention whatsoever of a voice-recognition capability. This could prove useful for granny when her airbags have gone off accidently after a "negative altitude change triggered by a decrease in gravity pull" provoked by sitting down too sharpish in front of the telly. You get the idea: "Ohhh, let me go you silly bugger, I've got to get the kettle on before Richard and Judy." ®

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*Quite possibly something mind-expanding. Or too much caffeine. Or both.

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