Silence your phone by ‘whacking it off,’ according to new Microsoft patent

Cracked Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone 8 coverageIn a rather hilarious move, Microsoft filed a patent to make “whacking” your Windows Phone a part of popular vocabulary. There are numerous ways in which the term “whacking off” can cause immature laughter, but we’re going to leave those specific interpretations up to you. Moving right along to specifics, PatentBolt posted Microsoft’s filing overview:

“There are a variety of circumstances under which it may be desirable to quickly control a device without having to interact with a traditional user interface. For example, often mobile device users forget to set their mobile devices in a silent or vibrate mode and the device rings or makes sounds at an inopportune moment.”

It’s definitely annoying when your phone sounds off in the middle of a meeting, university class, or during the Phantom of the Opera. We’ve all been there and when it happens, suddenly your device is unfamiliar. You begin to fumble with the simplest commands as all eyes lock on you, judging your every clumsy action, and by the time it’s switched to silent, your phone’s quit ringing anyway (at least in our experience). Microsoft plans to change this problem by silencing it’s Windows Phones with a quick slap of the device. Of course, for this method to work at it’s best you’re going to want the device in your pocket, not your bag, but it still has a lot of potential for saving embarrassment.

Windows Phone whack patentIf implemented, the feature would work by utilizing a smartphone’s accelerometer. When a user whacks a device currently producing sound, the accelerometer would interpret the input and silence the audio. As most people carry their smartphone in a pocket, the slap is meant to come from one side of the device. However, a whack on both sides will also work. Microsoft covered its bases with the exact type of whack it could be, listing slap, hit, swat, smack, flick, push, and tap as possible input methods. Similarly, “audio” includes a phone ring, a custom ringtone, user-initiated audio, a message alert, a recording, or an alarm.

There are obvious problems with Microsoft’s proposed silencing method, like accidentally activating silent mode or physical damage to the device over time, but it’s very possible that Microsoft will find a way to counteract these problems. It’s also possible this patent will never get a chance to exist in the real world and forever be a speculatory Windows Phone feature. And now that  you know about it, do you think you’d want this feature in a future smartphone?