I’m greatly impressed by systems such as this which can park the heads of a dropped laptop’s hard disk before it hits the deck.
Today’s invention is a technology with a different operating principle, but similar objective. The mantis shrimp is a marine creature which clubs its prey so fast that the impact generates a tiny spark of light. This phenomenon of sonoluminescence might be used by engineered systems to automatically protect themselves from the effects of impact.
Imagine eg a laptop dropped onto a hard surface. It could be equipped with a fine, water filled conduit connecting the corners (ie regions of high impact probability). On contact with a hard surface, photodetectors would register any luminescence and switch off sensitive internal systems before the solid- transmitted shock wave would have time to pass through them. This system would work without having to sense any sudden accelerations (except, indirectly, the crash itself).