handheld nautiz x9 in mud
Guest BlogNews

Let’s talk about the “drop spec”

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”600″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#d1d1d1″ txt_color=”#0a0a0a”]

By: Conrad H. Blickenstorfer RuggedPCReview.com[/mks_pullquote]


The “drop spec”

In rugged computing circles, the “drop spec” refers to testing a device in accordance with the procedures outlined in the United States Department of Defense’s Test Method Standard — Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, generally referred to as the MIL-STD-810G. The gold standard, generally, is dropping a device from four feet in various prescribed ways. If it still works after the testing, it passes. If not, not. But why four feet? Can it be less or more? 

Makers of rugged handhelds are known to casually mention that while their products are certified to survive the mandatory MIL-STD-810G four foot drops, they can really handle much more. To prove the point, some have published videos showing drops from 8, 10, 12 feet and even higher.

So why the 4-foot drop? Was it simply designed by the military to see if a box would survive a drop from an Army truck? Is the 4-foot drop important in the real world? 

It is. In the real world three feet means something can survive falling off a desk or being dropped when it is carried walking around. Three feet, however, is not enough for tablets or handhelds. When you use one of those and it slips out of your hands, it drops from about four feet. And if it’s a device that can also be used as a phone, during a call it may fall from five or even six feet. 

Conrad H. Blickenstorfer
Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, Ph.D., co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pen Computing Magazine, has extensive experience in all aspects of rugged computing from his many years at the helm of the Pen Computing industry journal, Digital Camera Magazine, Handheld Computing Magazine, and his years of service as Director of Information Systems and Chief Information Officer with the New York State Dormitory and project manager for the New York State Urban Development Corporation. He has also written for numerous technology journals and wrote the mobile technology section in Fortune Magazine's semi-annual technology buyers guide for years. Blickenstorfer has visited numerous rugged manufacturing operations in the US, Japan, and Taiwan.