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Apple Idle Technology

Protecting Your Tablet From a Fall From Space 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the nobody-can-hear-your-ipad-fall dept.
First time accepted submitter xwwt writes "G-Form has a nice video of an iPad launched into the stratosphere via weather balloon and protected using its new protective gear 'Extreme Edge' to see how well the gear worked in the iPad free fall to Earth. The gear is being introduced at this year's CES where our own timothy will be attending and reviewing new products. The cool part of this whole video is really that the iPad survives the free fall from space, remaining fully functional."

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Protecting Your Tablet From a Fall From Space

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  • by nman64 (912054) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:22PM (#38653618) Homepage

    ...the iPad survives the free fall from space...

    Aw, shucks! I would've preferred video of a different outcome.

    Also, we've had better slashvertisements.

    • by wiedzmin (1269816)

      Also, we've had better slashvertisements.

      G-Form *cha-ching* 'Extreme Edge' *cha-ching*...

    • A parachute.

    • by PNutts (199112)
      Why a different outcome? It just a bunch of electronic components squeezed together. The less moving parts the less to break. It's not like they dropped Apple the company (however seeing an actual apple smash at the end would be cool).
      • by RockDoctor (15477)
        What is terminal velocity for an apple? A couple of hundred metres/second? You could probably do the experiments with a medium size housing block.
    • by chrismcb (983081)

      Aw, shucks! I would've preferred video of a different outcome.

      Also, we've had better slashvertisements.

      Non-newtonian stuff is pretty cool. Seems like something the slashdot crowd would like. If you don't care for dropping the ipad from the heavens (because it doesn't land the way you think it should) check out their video of dropping a bowling ball onto the glass side.

    • by Alsee (515537)

      But does it blend?
      I bet that video will have a more entertaining result.

      -

    • Luckily it seems this case would also fit devices I actually care about, not just ipads.

  • by BabaChazz (917957) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:23PM (#38653640)

    Appeared on Fark a couple days ago, with the comment that the (unprotected) camera they used to document the flight and fall also survived. So...

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:27PM (#38653710)

    Contrary to popular belief, balloons still can't fly in space.

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:35PM (#38653818)

      They don't really fly in the atmosphere, either.

    • by pahles (701275)
      I don't see the word 'balloon' in the title, so how can this be funny?
    • Better let NASA know that they haven't sent up balloons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_satellite [wikipedia.org]

      For balloons ascending to space *as* balloons, you don't need orbital velocity, just get high enough. None have broken 53km. Since the height varies between agencies (usually 100km, with some using 50 miles, which is about 80km), different people have been recognized as astronauts (USAF vs. NASA). Repeat in different countries. Looking up this balloon, it got to 30km, which is well below either definiti

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        But that satellite didn't flew, it freefell.

        • True. But rather than picking on the word choice, I am answering the intended assertion that they don't {movement/travel verb} in space. Space is used in the title, not "fly", so I was answering in an assumption that the complaint was regarding the term "space".

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      Contrary to popular belief, balloons still can't fly in space.

      What do they do? Fall to the ground?

  • Why so high? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rHBa (976986) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:27PM (#38653712)
    Wouldn't it reach terminal velocity from a few hundred meters?
    • Re:Why so high? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:28PM (#38653724)

      Publicity.

    • The amusing part is that it would actually reach a slower terminal velocity as the atmospheric density increases.
      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        yea but impact velocity is the same and that's what counts.
        • by troon (724114)

          It isn't the same. The package would have been falling faster at 5000m than it was at ground level, and the impact onto a surface at that height would have been larger.

          For this reason, landing on Venus is a doddle as 90atm pressure means you barely need parachutes. Surviving after landing is a different matter, of course.

    • Maybe to get that beautiful video of the awesome view of the Earth from so high it was curved? And the cool way the balloon got so big it almost looked like a straight line on the video and then popped - also cool. Or to put it another way, why the fuck not?

      • Re:Why so high? (Score:5, Informative)

        by FunkyELF (609131) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:04PM (#38655126)

        It was curved because of a wide angle lens.
        With that lens you can see a curved earth from sea level if the center is above the horizon.
        When the center is below the horizon you get a concave looking earth.
        Didn't you notice how the earth appeared concave up there too?

        • by Shotgun (30919)

          And me with no mod points to make this informative. I was wandering how that happened in the video.

    • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:42PM (#38653940) Homepage Journal

      If it was running telnet, then all velocities would be terminal.

    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      Why? Publicity stunt.

    • by khallow (566160)
      No, that's only true in the denser parts of the atmosphere. It would be in near free fall until perhaps 50-60k feet.
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      Yes. Anything over 1000 meters is overkill if you care about impact.

      But if you also want to demonstrate the ability to continue to work when exposed to excess radiation/sunlight and lower air pressure, then the "edge of space" drop makes more sense.

      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        don't forget low temperatures. I doubt the cover does much for those conditions though.
    • by Shotgun (30919)

      Not only that, but it was configured with the attached weight to fall flat, increasing its drag and lowering it's terminal velocity.

  • by fnj (64210) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:28PM (#38653728)

    30,500 meters is NOT space, and falling from stationary at 30,500 meters is nothing at all like re-entering from REAL space at full orbital velocity.

    • by mpe (36238)
      30,500 meters is NOT space, and falling from stationary at 30,500 meters is nothing at all like re-entering from REAL space at full orbital velocity.

      In terms of impact survival you could just as easily drop from 1km.
      A dropped object can't exceed its terminal velocity and will be going more or less straight down.Whereas an object entering the atmosphere can hit the ground at higher than terminal velocity and have a substantial horizontal component to its motion.
  • by bflong (107195) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:28PM (#38653732)

    No reentry. It wasn't falling from space. Put it in orbit next time and see what happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The "height" of the fall doesn't really mean much given how it falls. If the thing falls level then the force of the impact will be well distributed. The protective cover helps, but in real world application, it isn't going to offer much protection if you drop your coffee mug onto a tablet's glass surface.

    • by Splab (574204)

      Dropped my iPad from a table unto concrete; corner took the impact (it's dented now), but tablet worked just fine afterwards.

      As long as you aren't hitting the screen they can take quite a lot of abuse.

      Also, I call BS on the "freefall", that thing was extremely stable during the decent - most likely they fitted some form of guiding parachute to make sure the back of the casing took the impact - gotta wonder how it would have survived hitting on a corner (screen on rocks would obviously have killed the ipad).

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      The "height" of the fall doesn't really mean much given how it falls.

      How does "how it falls" matter?

      If the thing falls level then the force of the impact will be well distributed.

      So you think an iPad will last if dropped from a few feet, IF it lands level?

      The protective cover helps, but in real world application, it isn't going to offer much protection if you drop your coffee mug onto a tablet's glass surface.

      Yes you are right, if you don't use the cover it won't do a very good job protecting the device. This cover isn't designed to protect your iPadwhen you are using it, it is designed to protect your iPad when you are moving from one location to another, and accidentally drop it.

  • Unless the protective case is shaped like some sort of hyper-aerodynamic reentry vehicle, wouldn't the relatively low terminal velocity make the vast majority of the fall completely irrelevant?
    • Who said irrelevant? Marketing is NEVER irrelevant
      Especially not if you can show that you $EXPENSIVECOVER can fall a few km while the $LESSEXPENSIVE cover from the next boot was only thrown down of a bridge...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well, then, this means the iPad will not mind falling from the top position as a tablet.

  • Rules? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:39PM (#38653896)

    What are the laws for sending something high up in the atmosphere and dropping it to the earth at high speed like a poor-man's ballistic missile? Is there a law that keeps people from doing this over an inhabited area? What counts as an "inhabited area"? The last thing I'm thinking of when hiking in an uninhabited wilderness is that someone's iPad might land on my head.

    It seems that these amateur baloon experiments are becoming more common (or maybe Youtube just makes them better publicized), but in any case, I'm wondering what the rules are for dropping random things from the sky.

    • What are the laws for sending something high up in the atmosphere and dropping it to the earth at high speed like a poor-man's ballistic missile? Is there a law that keeps people from doing this over an inhabited area? What counts as an "inhabited area"? The last thing I'm thinking of when hiking in an uninhabited wilderness is that someone's iPad might land on my head.

      It seems that these amateur baloon experiments are becoming more common (or maybe Youtube just makes them better publicized), but in any case, I'm wondering what the rules are for dropping random things from the sky.

      Your survivors will be able to sue for wrongful death (provided they can find out whose random thing from the sky it is).

    • Re:Rules? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rHBa (976986) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:47PM (#38654040)
      The only thing I'm legally allowed to drop from my paraglider is water, that's over inhabited or uninhabited space
      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Ahh well there is the difference, you may drop water...but they launched the ipad with an external gravitational acceleration engine. The whole case story is just a cover to make it seem like it worked. It was actually a complete failure as the computer models, based on dropping frictionless point masses, roughly equivalent to that of an ipad, indicated that it should continue to gain velocity until the engine shut down, but, somehow it stopped accelerating early due to some unseen force.

      • Re:Rules? (Score:5, Funny)

        by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:07PM (#38654364)

        The only thing I'm legally allowed to drop from my paraglider is water, that's over inhabited or uninhabited space

        Is that before or after you have drunk it?

    • Re:Rules? (Score:4, Funny)

      by PPH (736903) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:54PM (#38654168)

      Coke bottles [imdb.com], OK. At least they are worth a few cents for returns.

      iPads, no. Not unless they've been rooted and we can load something useful.

      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        I remember seeing that in elementary school. Had to get my parents' permission first though.
    • Re:Rules? (Score:4, Informative)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:56PM (#38654220)

      in any case, I'm wondering what the rules are for dropping random things from the sky.

      This is a secondary source, but pretty good

      http://www.eoss.org/pubs/far_annotated.htm [eoss.org]

      If you mean legal civil liability its not a whole heck of a lot different than dropping things from a bridge, or tossing something off the top of a building.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      What are the laws for sending something high up in the atmosphere and dropping it to the earth at high speed like a poor-man's ballistic missile?
      I don't think they have made laws for that yet since it is pretty uncommon. But Federal Aviation Regulations Section 91.15 allow for dropping whatever, so long as if doesn't create a hazard to person or property.
    • We shouldn't create laws just because someone might do something stupid. That's part of the mentality that creates the convoluted mess of laws we have now.

      Wait until people are actually doing something stupid, and if they won't stop after it's pointed out, then make a law.

  • If this "protective device" becomes popular can we take bets how long it'll take a poor soul to crack the display from a "couch drop"?

  • by cmholm (69081) <cmholmNO@SPAMmauiholm.org> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:49PM (#38654088) Homepage Journal

    Per the Apple iPad 2 spec: Nonoperating temperature: -4 to 113 F (-20 to 45 C)

    We didn't get a *real* good look at the display post-flight, but it seems the system was still usable after a cold soak down around at -23 F. Ok, so it wasn't that far out of spec, the system probably enjoy some solar heating, and it was a *dry* cold.

    • I would expect the insides would probably warmer then the outside, with the padding to keep it isolated a little better.

      Besides these specs are not the limits, but the first 2 standard deviations of normal. So still a lot of them can handle far more extrams but don't expect it to be normal conditions for long period of times.

      the -4 to 113 F means Keep it stored in a heated storage area, not in your outside shed with your snow blower, and don't keep it on your car dashboard.
      • A lot? No about 2.5% of them given a two tailed distribution. How many $500 bills are you willing to launch in space with a 0.025 probability of recovering it?
  • I can't quite explain why, but this is the most amazing thing I've since on slashdot in quite some time. Something about that little lonely iPad going all the way up there... my colleagues were just gathered around my computer and everyone exclaimed aloud.

    • by na1led (1030470)
      It's a pointless stunt. There is no difference in dropping it from 100,000 feet or 5 feet, the impact would be the same. Everyone knows this gimmick is not going to protect your iPad from a serious fall, because it all depends on where and how it lands.
      • by chrismcb (983081)

        . Everyone knows this gimmick is not going to protect your iPad from a serious fall, because it all depends on where and how it lands.

        So 100,000 feet isn't a serious fall? Then what is?

        I'm not sure what you mean about "this gimmick" but the whole point of the video is that the case WILL protect your iPad from a serious fall. If it lands differently. If a drop from 100,000 feet doesn't convince you, what will? What about dropping a bowling ball from 3 feet above the iPad?

        • by ooshna (1654125)

          actually i would be more impressed with a few different drops on different parts of it at about 4 feet then this.

    • lonely iPad

      I guess we're underwhelmed because we don't quite see iPad as pets yet.

  • Would tiling the bottom of the shuttle with iPads have been less expensive? Perhaps this technology would have kept those beautiful birds in service.

    • Why would you say that?
      The shuttle tiles are designed to insolate the heat. iPads don't do that yet. Perhaps the iPad 20 designed to protect you from fire.
    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Excellent idea - the tiles cost NASA around $1,000 a piece [space.com], and since an iPad is more than twice as big as an average tile, it would have been a nice cost savings. And everyone knows an iPad in an appropriate protective case can handle 2000+ degree reentry temperatures.

      I bet Apple would have donated the iPads for free if they could put the Apple logo on the tail of the shuttle, *and* NASA could light up the iPads and play Goodyear Blimp style advertising [youtube.com] for even more revenue. The advertising alone could ha

  • Hand the iPad to a bunch of 3 year olds and see how long it lasts then!
  • by ehud42 (314607) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:06PM (#38654352) Homepage

    In the clip I just saw, the whole assembly tumbles for a while, but as the atmosphere thickens, it stabilizes into a flat spin with screen facing up. The spin I'm sure generates some lift, which along with the large surface area results in minimum terminal velocity. Combine that with it landing nearly flat on its back - against the protective cover - results in maximum protection.

    Curious how it would survive being dropped from a second story balcony onto pavement, oriented so that it lands on a corner - or even face down. Bet the screen is destroyed, and its brains scrambled.

    • With the iPad's shape, if any lift is generated at all it would be on the back side - in this case it could be called downforce.

      I agree though that it wouldn't have survived if it landed any other way.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Maybe the next version will include a self right mechanism, so it can turn itself screen up in much the manner that cat does using its tail.
    • by chrismcb (983081)

      Curious how it would survive being dropped from a second story balcony onto pavement, oriented so that it lands on a corner - or even face down. Bet the screen is destroyed, and its brains scrambled.

      How about from 60 feet? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeI6_gNVPLs [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:15PM (#38654510)

    Ironically, TFA wont load properly on an ipad.

  • The video made me wonder if the GPS and motion detection abilities of todays phones could be used to correct the object after the balloon popped then launch an amature rocket. Sounds like a potential way to get the phone all the way out of the atmosphere. I wonder how long the phone would last in space.

  • What they don't show you is the all of other iPads they did this to that didn't survive the fall. How many takes was it until they got the money shot?
  • by clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:17PM (#38655306)
    The video cannot be viewed on the iPad it features.
  • I jumped off my bed, from the edge of what I call "space".

  • Because I'm in space so much!

  • What about our non-Ipad tablets??
    The ones that can play the video *hehe* is this tech available for them? If not then it is nothing more than a PR stunt for the i-zombies to swoon over :P

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