The development of foldable smartphones is very strong, but there are still many engineering problems to be solved to make them as reliable as ordinary mobile phones. In a recently published patent, Huawei proposed its own solution to the problem that the folding smartphone cannot be placed flat on the table due to the volume of the hinge. Their solution is to superimpose the “blade” in the hinge assembly, which is somewhat similar to the design of the Surface Book (pictured below).
The patent reads: “The hinge assembly includes a row of interconnected and adjacent hinge blades and at least one linear actuator. When the hinge assembly is in the unfolded position, the hinge blades are aligned in a common plane. When the hinge assembly moves to the folded position, In the end, position, each hinge blade rotates around the hinge assembly rotation axis relative to the adjacent hinge blade.
The linear actuator includes a rotation shaft and a linear drive device. The first end of the linear drive device is connected to the rotation shaft and linearly driven. The second and opposite ends of the device are connected to at least one hinge blade.
The thruster axis extends between the first and second ends and is perpendicular to the rotation axis of the hinge assembly, wherein the linear thruster is activated along the thruster axis such that each two hinge blades rotate relative to the adjacent hinge blades around the rotation axis of the hinge assembly. The linear propeller further includes a locking device for locking the hinge assembly in at least one of the unfolded positions and the folded end position. The locking device includes a cam element, Interlocked with the cam part located on the rotating shaft.”
Huawei pointed out that the advantage of this component is that the hinge can be easily turned without any effort, while still being able to safely lock in one of the required positions, namely the unfolded position or the folded end position. In addition, since there is only one locking arrangement, there is no accumulation of individual manufacturing tolerances, providing better flatness in the deployed position, while avoiding the need to synchronize movement between several pivot points in order to provide sufficient locking force. The patent was filed on October 22, 2019, and announced on April 29, 2021.