Does the “butter side down theory” apply to phones?

You all know it the legend that states if you drop a piece of toast, it will land butter side down the vast majority of the time. It has even been scientifically proven by this guy.

Does the butter side down theory apply to phones?

In a number of tests he ascertained that the majority of falls will end in a buttery floor. Honestly, these professors need to get back to making a time machine and stop messing around!

Does the butter side down theory apply to phones?

However Motorola were interested in this theory. They’ve recently revealed the Moto X-Force, with its unbreakable screen, and vit seemed like a good idea amongst those crazy kids to see if their new phone followed this rule. To be honest, it seems like they have had a bit too much of the ol’ Kool-Aid, but if you claim your new phone has an unbreakable screen, then you better have the cojones to back it up.

Tyey have worked with the Prof to see if their phone will land screen first when dropped. Now, believe me or not, they have used real science to show that this does indeed happen. I have tried to break it down below..

How physics leads to an increase in probability of screen-down landings

Professor Matthews notes that smartphones are often held loosely in one hand, with the user’s fingers below the phone’s centre of gravity. This makes the phone both more at risk of being dropped, and more likely to pivot about the fingers. Once the phone leaves the hand, it spins at a rate dictated by the various forces acting on the phone (see diagram)..
Does the butter side down theory apply to phones?

By solving the equations describing these forces, the rate at which the smartphone spins as it falls towards the ground can be estimated using the formula..

Does the butter side down theory apply to phones?

L is the length of the smartphone, g is the acceleration due to gravity, p = 2δ/L is the “overhang parameter”,   δ  is the overhang distance, and θ is the angle of the smartphone when it starts its descent.

Applied to smartphones, the formula shows that because they are so sleek and smooth, they’re unlikely to break contact with the fingers before they’ve achieved a high enough spin-rate to attain a safe, screen-up landing. That’s why being clumsy with a smartphone so often results in screen-down landings, reducing the chances of leaving your screen intact. 

Does the butter side down theory apply to phones?

Wow, that was confusing, but it kinda makes sense doesn’t it? So if you don’t want to fall foul of the “butter-phone drop theory” as it shall now be called, nip over to Motorola’s website and have a look at what the MotoX can offer you, you clumsy fool.

Moto X-force