Today's cars come equipped with sensors that can detect danger and automatically deploy air bags. Now laptops, too, are getting a similar defense mechanism.

Two new models of ThinkPad notebook computers, unveiled earlier this month by IBM Corp., come with a chip that can detect when the laptop is accelerating--such as when it has been accidentally nudged off a table and is plunging to the floor.

If the hard drive happens to be reading or writing data at the time, the chip tells the drive to temporarily stop.


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