Huawei filed a patent for a hinge Design
Folding smartphones are gaining momentum, but there are still many engineering issues that need to be addressed to make them as reliable as regular phones. In a recently published patent (the patent was filed on October 22, 2019, and published on April 29, 2021), Huawei has come up with its solution to the problem of a foldable phone that doesn’t sit flat on a table due to the size of the hinge. Their solution is to add “blades” to the hinge assembly, somewhat similar to the design of the Microsoft Surface Book as shown below the video.
The patent for a hinge design describes: “The hinge assembly includes a row of interconnected and adjacent hinge leaves and at least one linear actuator, with the hinge leaves aligned in a common plane when the hinge assembly is in the unfolded position, and each hinge leaf rotating relative to the adjacent hinge leaf around a hinge assembly rotation axis when the hinge assembly is moved to the folded end position, with the linear actuator including a rotation axis and a linear actuator, a first end of the linear actuator being interconnected with the rotation axis, and a second, opposite end of the linear actuator being connected to at least one hinge leaf. The thruster axis extends between the first and second ends and is perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the hinge assembly, wherein activating the linear thruster along the thruster axis causes each hinge leaf to rotate about the axis of rotation of the hinge assembly relative to adjacent hinge leaves, the linear thruster further comprising locking means for locking the hinge assembly in at least one of an expanded position and a folded end position, the locking means comprising a cam element that interlocks with a cam portion located on the rotation axis.”
Huawei notes that the advantage of this assembly is that the hinge can be easily rotated without much effort while still being securely locked in one of the desired positions, i.e., the unfolded position or the folded end position. In addition, since there is only one locking arrangement, there is no stacking of individual manufacturing tolerances, providing better flatness in the unfolded position while avoiding the need to synchronize movement between several pivot points to provide sufficient locking force.