Custom built test rig BrutusHave you seen this impressive video that shows what happens when you drop a steel ball onto a piece of Gorilla Glass 2 (used in the display of many smart phones, including the iPhone) with and without the protection of a clear polymer material called Rhino Shield?

Rhino Shield was developed at  Evolutive Labs, a Cambridge University spin-off company, using Kickstarter funds. The inventors claim that it is five times more impact-resistant than Gorilla Glass 2.  (Gizmag has the story here.)

Eric Wang of Evolutive Labs wrote to tell me that he is a fan of MAKE, and that he learned how to use the Arduino from reading MAKE. (The force sensor on the drop tester is Arduino-based. ) In fact, he says, MAKE was an inspiration for the creation of the drop tester itself, which is called Brutus.

I like the Lego control box with the red button that sits under a clear safety bubble (click the image for a closer look).

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

  • Michael Kelsey

    Quite impressive! A Lego/Arduino calibrated impact testing system — bring ISO compliance to nerdy teens everywhere :-)

    Presumably the company will have to market it under a different name in the U.S. (“Rhino Shield” is the name of a paint-on ceramic coating for houses/buildings).

  • Sudheer

    It’s very nice. The way that you have shown about greatness of Rhino Shield in this video is very impressive and it creates lot of interest towards Rhino Shield.

  • James Bryant

    I very rarely drop ball-bearings on my screens – but I drop my devices onto the floor more often than I like, and they usually land on a corner and sometimes break. Does Rhino Shield offer any protection in this more common situation? (A Sugru blob on each corner does.)

  • John Merlin

    As somebody who airsofts, and would like to carry their new phone around for tracking how much ground I’ve covered, etc, I would like to know how much energy is being transffered at impact.

    • Raptor

      using a rough calc, used here:

      the ball is 255g at 48cm.= 1.0583999999999998J of energy

      here is a calc for airsoft:

      a 0.2g 6mm bb at 328fps = 1j of energy. (it used to be the UK legal limit)

      hope that helps.

      • John Merlin

        I doth my cap to you.

        Yes that’s still the UK limit (although they allow for inconsistencies, usually with 350 fps max).
        Sadly, in the US, they use somewhat higher limits, 1.87 J or 450 fps with 0.2g. Although I would hope that I wouldn’t be shot that close.