Watch This iPhone 5 Survive A 100,000-Foot Fall From The Upper Atmosphere

Everyone loves a good drop test. The satisfying crunch of expensive gadgets teamed with a deathmatch-style format always makes for a good show. GForm decided that it would go further, though, by sending an iPhone 5 into the upper atmosphere and dropping it from there.

This video is amazing. Before the balloon bursts and the device begins its 100,000-foot plummet back to Earth, you get to see a beautiful glimpse of the curvature of the Earth and the edge of the atmosphere.

The device hits the Earth near Area 51 in Nevada and with the help of a helicopter and a GPS tracker, the team finds that the iPhone survived without a scratch. [GForm]


    Hang on we did't see it, the actual drop? In that case, I catapulted an iPhone 5 from mars and it survived! You HAVE to believe me, even though there's no video evidence.

    And yes, I'm saying this is potentially garbage :P

    That's not an iPhone, and it landed in the chute, as can be seen at 2:14. Additionally, it was in a case.

      It's an iPhone 5.
      The phone could have been caught in the small bush, while the parachute landed on the ground next to it, then the phone could have fallen out of the bush onto the parachute. Any number of things could have happened.
      The fact it was in a case does not negate any part of this article.

      Honestly, benefit of the doubt.

        Actually, watch the end of the video. Only front camera on the device, plus no phone app. Check again buddy :)

          Actually I believe it was this strange extra-terrestrial device called an "iPod Touch"

          Whoops you're right. I'm an idiot!
          I really set myself up for failure with that comment :P

        No - this sort of marketing bullshit doesn't deserve the benefit of a doubt.
        If you're doing an experiment, or something to prove the capabilities of your product, then do it properly.
        There was nothing scientific about what they did, leaving the remains of the balloon attached to the phone invalidates the whole drop test. And obviously as stated below, anything over a few hundred meters is pointless

        I know Kevin, put this bulletproof vest on and I'll fire a .357 Magnum bullet through your forehead and we'll see if it's bullet proof or not !

        Honestly, benefit of the doubt.

          Did I come off as being overtly aggressive or something? Seems I stirred up a poostorm

      It was meant to be in a case. They were testing the case shown on the iPod Touch.

    I think the drag of the exploded balloon would have significantly decreased the terminal velocity, even without the balloons drag the iPhone in case would not have needed to be anywhere near that high to reach its terminal velocity, the rest is wank factor.

    i would have prefered a drop test from a 2nd storey balcony to pavement.

    i dont buy it. For this to be anywhere near credible, would have needed to be done by a third party. not a company whose has a vested interest in there being no damage to the phone.

    Just plain dumb and false advertising. You would get more damage dropping it off your roof than from 100,000 feet tied to a virtual parachute.

    Do the same thing from 100,000 feet and drop it without any virtual parachute and pick up the pieces with a shovel.

    Luke, it's an ipod touch.. how fake is that test LOL

      Let me start again, they might've started with a 5 and ended up with an ipod touch lol i call BS

    This is total crap ! . Iphone is only 112 gms tied on a baloon . The impact will be much lesser than actual iphone falling by itself .
    atleast should say " iphone drop test with iphone hard case "

    it is not an iPhone 5
    the device only has the front facing camera no front speaker
    then there is facetime app on it which doesn't come as a separate app on iPhone
    and no phone app
    and if you look at 2:35 at the top left hand corner of the device´╗┐ you will see it clearly say "iPod"
    FAKE to the MAX

    I'm calling bullsh*t on this....

    As much as I hate getting involved in these online pissing fights, at no point in the video did they say they were using an iPhone 5, they said it was an iPhone 5 case. Semantics yes, but it was Gizmodo who said it was an iPhone 5. If you read the YouTube video description it clearly states

    The company released a stunning video where the nearly naked iPod is shown hanging above the Earth in the blackness of space. In the video, the iPod is lifted to over 100,000 feet by a weather balloon which bursts at altitude, then releasing the iPod to free-fall to Earth where it crash lands on a rocky hillside in the Nevada countryside

    Emphasis is mine.

    The only thing that would be impressive would be surviving re-entry from Low Earth Orbit.... With the camera functioning all the way in....

    I got a bit carried away, and calculated the data to terminal velocity for an ipod....

    Problem is that using a standard atmosphere ends up not being too useful, as the distance (height) gets surprisingly large....

    Using the smallest area of an ipod, assuming that it has the Cd of a cube (1.3) and using standard atmospheric density at sea-level (as this reduces with altitude the speed and distance covered will likely be a a bit higher with better modelling ( till compressive effects take over)... I could plug in the altitude temperature and density model, BUT this only works in the troposphere, needs the stratospheric model for more and that gets annoying...)

    'Terminal' Velocity is 'reached' around 50 seconds ('true' terminal not until 137sec )

    50 sec:
    'terminal' velocity = ~ 197 m/s (sonic = 343m/s at sealevel)
    (706 km/hr)
    acceleration ~= 0.27 m/s^2
    Distance covered ~= 7.1 km (96,000 ft)
    (at 137 sec, velocity= 199 m/s, and acceleration is down to 0.000 m/s^2 (Distance travelled =24.530 km))

    Some of this may be a "little" idealistic... more likely the drag force will stabilise around 20 seconds (1.7km into the fall and terminal velocity ~ 150 m/s ~ 540 km/hr..

    Ok Using a troposphere model for temperature and density, no lift generated as falling, therefore dynamic pressure doesn't come into the simple math, ( (I'm just doing this for fun, note the result I put up last night was 'wronger' as I put in a wrong mass for the ipod (though I have no idea how much the cover weighs) )

    (The more advanced model (still wrong for the stratosphere) allowing temperature to fall to Kelvin is the limiting factor of the model (44,100m altitude), at the start of the drop, with air density Appoaching Zero, (for the first 28 seconds until 40km altitude...) the velocity increase is massive, 640 m/s by 72 seconds until deceleration takes over... having fallen 25.3 km.... Ground is reached in 114 seconds having fallen 44.1 km, with impact velocity of 246 m/s (887 km/hr (having slowed from a peak of 2305 km/hr....) )

    Coming in from 100,000 ft (30500m) terminal velocity (using tropsphere model) is, 469 m/s (1688 km/.hr) , impact velocity = only 237 m/s (856 km/hr)

    Im thinking this sort of terminal velocity test wouldn't be survivable...

    SO for those who thought so, probably a drop from 3000-10,000 (give everyone some leeway) ft, will give as hard a landing as 100,000 ft. (Next time, loose the kite..)

    (Recalibrating for Baumgartner, 29600m launch and in fast dive position (assuming frontal area of 1/8 m^2 and Cd = 1.02, 143 seconds to impact (no parachute) with 409 km/hr impact speed, and peak speed of, 366 m/s (1320 km/hr) after 48 seconds (His fastest speed was, 1342 km/hr reached in ?? seconds, his total fall took, 260 seconds under parachute, to a freefall without parachute cound be 80 seconds faster, but no walk away....)


    PS, a cat reaches terminal velocity in 5 seconds at a surprisingly low speed...
    In the low atmosphere my calcs show that the terminal speed of a skydiver in stable position will only be around 183 km/hr (50m/s) reached after 15 seconds of freefall, having fallen only ~600m.. (from 3000 ft (914m)) (Using the Atmospheric model it shows that the faller reaches max termin, then slows down, impact velocity = after 21 seconds (best to use a parachute and come in slower)

    So Tough-case makers you should have the data, what is the terminal velocity???

    Make a case which will beat those speeds and deceleration on landing... (1/2 mv^2 = 3.5 kJ impact energy. (for ipod)... hey that's about (1/5 gram of Glucose)...

    Remembering don't be too serious... but give it a good go...

    Last edited 05/01/13 11:36 pm

    Believe me when I say - I-phone 5 is not strong! "If only he actually dropped it - like he claims on the video".... the credit should go to the phone cover maker!

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