YouTuber tests rocket propulsion, airbags & drones to ‘prevent’ impact damage on dropped phones

Rocket propelled phone to prevent drops

YouTuber William Osman has created all sorts of wacky inventions – from building his own X-Ray machine to “almost ruining” Mr. Beast’s popular Squid Game video with indicators for when a player is knocked out. This time around, he followed a number of viewer suggestions to test various ways to prevent cracked screens on dropped cellphones. These ranged from the more tame drone motors, springs, and parachutes to (the totally inadvisable – don’t try this at home) airbags and rocket motors.

These tests had the amount of success you would expect.

Nonetheless, Osman’s usual chaotic style and fast-paced videos make for an interesting set of tests. Rather than using an actual cellphone for most of the tests, he 3d printed the shell of the phone and used indicators for when the device experienced more that 5Gs of force. This certainly saved a lot of potentially broken phones.

Rocket-propelled phone

For the rocket propelled phone, he started off with an E12-4T motor. This is larger than the motors most kids with model rockets would be accustomed to. For reference, in model rocket engines, the letter is the classification of the motor, while the number directly next to the letter is the thrust in Newton. The “-#T” refers to the amount of time before the motor fires a parachute ejection charge. Most small model rockets stick with an A, B, or C class motor with less than ten newtons of thrust.

As expected this larger motor sends the stand-in phone flying around the workshop – and directly at Osman.

Switching to a smaller motor – which appears to be an Estes 1/2A3-4T motor – was nearly a perfect match for the phones inertia from a waist-height drop, bringing it to nearly a dead stop in midair. Nonetheless, the phone quickly turned upside down, and the motor proceeded to slam the phone into the ground. Perhaps a future iteration could add gimbaling to the motor to maintain orientation, like Joe Barnard does with landing model rockets on his YouTube channel

If the rocket motor burning a hole in his safety vest wasn’t enough of a warning – you shouldn’t try Osman’s tests at home. There are plenty of low-cost model-rocket kits great for kids to foster an interest in rocketry that come with the necessary tools and information to participate in model rocketry safely.

Alternative drop-tests

Of course, rocket propulsion was just one of the viewer suggestions for his video. He followed it up with a case of springs, bouncy balls, and airbags. The airbags led to some particularly dangerous results, as Osman demonstrated, as placing a highly explosive charge directly next to your head (as it would be when on phone calls) is just a recipe for disaster.

During the video, he briefly addressed a drone-powered phone to prevent drops, but the small motors of the drone weren’t enough to keep the phone aloft.

The closest prototype to success was a timed parachute release, which would only be helpful for particularly long falls – due to the length of freefall required for the parachute to inflate.

If you’ve seen William Osman’s channel before, you know his videos are well worth a watch. Check it out:

Building a phone you can’t drop [Video]

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