Microsoft wants more durable hinges to stop laptops from breaking

Image credit: Microsoft

A new patent has been published which suggests that Microsoft is looking into ways to make the hinge in future Surface devices more durable – while making those devices ever thinner.

The patent, called “high strength hinge mechanism”, was spotted by Windows Latest, and shows how Microsoft plans to include a high strength hinge mechanism that attaches the display to the base of the future device.

The hinge uses a friction element and cylindrical shaft, and as the patent explains, “The rotation of the shaft enables the display portion to be rotated from a closed position to a fully-open position. The hinge mechanism also includes a frame structure to support the friction element and the shaft.”

The new hinge would be stiff enough when open to allow people to use the touchscreen without damaging the device.

A diagram from the patent (Image credit: Microsoft)

A diagram from the patent (Image credit: Microsoft) (Image credit: Microsoft)

Point of failure

Hinges in devices like laptops are put through a lot of stress – with devices opening and closing thousands of times during their lifetime – which means they can often be the point of failure.

The fact that devices are getting thinner – and therefore more fragile – is also a concern, so it’s good to know that Microsoft is looking into ways of ensuring that even the thinnest devices have durable hinges.

According to Microsoft, “During testing, the shaft of the hinge mechanism experienced reduced stress and reduced incidence of failure during drop testing due to the improved support that the frame structure provides,” which hopefully bodes well for the increased durability of any future device that features the new hinge.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.