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Your phone is as ubiquitous as your hand at this point. Unfortunately, unlike an actual human appendage, a phone can make noise at all the wrong moments. While there are ways to silence a phone quickly already, sometimes fumbling for the device in your bag or your pocket isn’t the quickest option.

Microsoft is looking to change that with a new patent application, which was filed back in March of 2011 and made public last week. The patent outlines a “whack-based audio control module,” and it’s supposed to do exactly what you think. Instead of trying to find your phone to quickly silence it, you’d just be able to “whack it.”

The patent application, first reported by PatentBolt, points out that there may be times when a person needs to interact with a device without having to deal with the user interface. Of course, this isn’t the first time that a manufacturer has offered up ideas to silence a device you don’t want to turn on and use properly. There are some devices on the market now which allow owners to turn their phone upside down to silence a call. Many other handsets simply let you hit a volume key to silence a loud ringer.

These examples all require the device to be easily accessible, though. With Microsoft’s “whack-a-phone” technology, it could be as simple as hitting your bag, purse, or pocket. Then again, having that extra few seconds of looking for a phone to hit a button may be worth it, when you think about striking your purse or bag repeatedly to try and shut off a ringer.

That’s probably a guaranteed way to get people to stare at you while in public.

As with most of these things, there’s no indication as to when or whether Microsoft might bring this to market. Here’s a diagram from the patent application — one of the funnier ones we’ve seen.


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