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Cell Phone Design

Cell Phone Design

Cell Phone Design The seven basic constraints that shape a mobile phone series 3 engineerguy videos Nothing illustrates engineering design better than a mobile phone. In fact, a definition of engineering might be something like “design with real world contraints.” Here’s the seven major constraints that govern the choices made by an engineer in designing a cell phone. The essential trade-off in any cell phone is compactness versus usability. We want a small phone, but we also want one that fits our bodies.
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Here’s three solutions. A hinge. The classic flip phone – put a hinge in and change the size and it allows you to have larger keys. You can also see this same idea in slider keyboards. Second, you can do what they do on this phone – a Blackberry – and maximize available space by using very tiny keys. And, you can use software. This is my android, the phone I use everyday and I’ve added to it a clever littled keyboard designed for small devices. I can spell my name just be doing this. Very clever isn’t it. Next, emotions affect the design of a cell phone. You don’t see these too much today, but the flip of this now nearly vintage phone resonates deeply in the psyche of someone my age. I grew up watching Captain Kirk grab his communicator and bark a command. Beam me up Scotty. I’m sure phones today resonate in some way with video games or popular movies. Now, next, in making a compact design an engineer considers energy. In the twenty years or so that I’ve been using a cell phone they’ve shrunk. Hold on. Look at how huge this vintage “brick” phone is from the 1980s. This isn’t even one of the first ones: Its one of the later ones called an “ultra classic II”, slightly smaller than the first phones. It weights just over a pound and seems to be mostly battery. It uses a nickel-cadmium one. Compare it to this lithium ion from a more modern phone. Now batteries shrunk because they got better we have greater energy density now but likely more important is the move from analog to digital signaling, and a movement of much energy-draining computation from the phones themselves to the towers. The next constraint also helped reduce battery size. Old cell phones had brick sized batteries partly because it took a lot of power to reach a cell phone tower; but today we have such a density of towers that we don’t need as much energy to reach one. The increase in towers has made this [antenna] a nearly endangered species. For this RAZR this is the closest indication of an antenna: Its a rubber cover for the for the external antenna connector, used during testing of the phone at the factory. The actual antenna is inside underneath one of the plastic parts of the case of the phone. Now, this doesn’t work as well as a huge external one, but that’s the the trade-off between compactness and usability I mentioned earlier. Now, another reason for the phones compactness is plastics. If we didn’t have plastics this phone would be much larger and more expensive. Take just this “latch” imagine how bulky some kind of clasp would be. The fact that this plastic gives a little bit and pops back in to place makes this simple, small fastener possible. The phone’s designer needed a deep knowledge about how plastic behaves so that it could be used thousands of times without wearing out. The insides – the way a phone operates – reflects yet a sixth design criteria. On most modern cell phones you’ll something called Enhanced or E911. In an emergency an operator can locate the phone to within several hundred feet. Typically it doesn’t use true global positioning, but instead “assisted GPS” in that it uses the location of cell phone towers to triangulate. Now, this is fraught with all types of privacy issues. Lastly, we need this phone to quickly change the volume because as a culture we’ve decided that there are times when our cell phones shouldn’t ring. And so we can adjust the ring tone volume easily. I’m Bill Hammack, the engineer guy. Hi, how did you get this number.

100 thoughts on “Cell Phone Design”

  1. My first cell phone was a "bag phone" It actually had a standard old style hand receiver which plugged into a bag, which contained the electronics for the cell phone.

  2. That stupid phrase "beam me up scotty" was never said. Its made up, just like evolution.

    If you want people to believe a lie (Evolution, Gay is not a choice etc) all you have to do is to tell that lie over and over again until they accept it.
    Then they will think its true to a point of defending it them selves.

    If that does not make sens, then you are brainwashed already.

  3. While watching this video I got the hint it was a little outdated and sure enough it's from 2011, amazing how quickly things change since even then.

  4. "I can spell my name just by doing this."
    That seems way more tedious and complicated than a keyboard dude. You may be impressed with the innovation that went into it, but ultimately it's a terrible design.

  5. Hi Bill,great videos,very much related to your comment about the flip phone and the old Star Trek communicator,had that phone myself…

  6. Great videos, but absolutely nowhere in all of Star Trek did anyone every say "Beam me up, Scotty". In Star Trek IV, Kirk did say "Scotty, beam me up" while standing in Golden Gate Park with Gillian Taylor.

  7. Contraints? Sorry.  That leapt out at me and just bugged me.  Fantastic videos, by the way.  I have been binge watching them for the past hour or so instead of doing anything useful or productive so thank you for that.

  8. My Design teacher today told us to look for articles or videos that show design at work in common tools. I think I just found that. Thank you, Bill.

  9. What I think I love most about your videos is that they are named as an Engineer would name it, further adding to the strict knowledge that you wish to impart upon us.

    Someone who was in it for the views and not the knowledge would name this video something along the lines of "7 Ways Cell Phones Are GENIUS In Design!", but you didn't. "Cell Phone Design" is exactly what this video is about, so you called it that.

    You have an amazing channel, and I love your work.

  10. I've heard that the antenna on cell phones was always fake put there because people wouldn't think something with out one would work. I'm not sure if that's true of even the earliest ones, but more for the phones that came out throughout the 90's.

  11. I only discovered this series of videos a few weeks ago and I can't get enough of them. I love learning how things work and these are just wonderful. Thank you!

  12. 1:55 Imagine he talks about Samsung Galaxy 7 battery…BOOM……………………………………………………………

  13. I'm so sad that 8pen isn't being developed anymore! I loved it but it just didn't work optimally in non English languages 🙁

  14. Fun trip down memory lane. I used to sell almost all of those. I would love to see a follow up video than analyzes how half of these design constraints were eventually broken by monolithic slates demanding more and more screen space.

  15. This is the only video that explains me why the antennas are gone in this recent years thanks for in-depth explaination , loved it xD

  16. I was a cell phone technician back in the day when the razor phones were in style I assembled hundreds of those. And the BlackBerry Trio 650 Was my first phone

  17. early 90's cellphones got signal ANYWHERE. like fucking anywhere.
    now there are dead spots within my fucking city. the capital of my state. 1 million population.

  18. The Windows phone. The lousiest phone ever. They implied it would run Excel and Word files, which was never true. It was a selling point. It was NEVER TRUE! Fuck Bull Gates.

  19. Question. If I am in the wilderness where a cell phone tower is far away, will my battery drain faster when making a call or using the internet?

  20. Beginning of what I wanted…..but so far the only video I have watched on this topic…..subscribed !!

  21. Haha point #1 can be thrown out for modern phones–nobody gives a thought to a usable size (except me!); why would anyone be worried about putting a phone in your pocket? You mean you have to put your phone down?! :O

  22. I just watched this in 2018, we have come a long way but I feel like some of the designers of modern phones could learn a thing or two from this.

  23. This guy here's a good YouTuber. Always gets straight to the point, has an obvious passion for what he does, gives great explanations, and never once have I heard him tell me to "like comment and subscribe, and click that bell for notifications" in the beginning or middle of his videos.

  24. So much for compactness nowadays. 2018 smart phones barely fit in your pocket. I don't understand the race for bigger and bigger displays.

  25. Time is just flying by it seems. We now have fingerprint scanners as a standard tool and 8 core cpus in the phone… holy shit

  26. I really like these videos. I'm probably around your age and I wish video sharing would have been around when I was a kid because I think watching content like this would have inspired me to become an engineer.

  27. What amazing production value, even in these earlier videos…
    I think its so important to know how the world around us works. Keep up the awesome work!

  28. 8 years this video is not aging well. I'm way old enough but barely recognize these… where is the Samsung 8 or iPhone 10. I had a mole Motorola startac and and razor flip phones. Now I almost never use my phone as a phone; it's a computer with a phone app.

  29. 0:28 Small phones eh? Everyone's obsessed with carrying phone the size of a refrigerator nowadays lol

  30. Wow, I miss flip phones. And even more I miss phones with removable batteries, so I could rotate through two of them!

  31. "As a culture, we have decided that there are times when our cell phones [shouldn't be noisy]"

    Literally the ONLY no-longer-relevant thing in this video.

  32. Classic. Really, too classic. No even a mention of the iPhone. The single mobile phone that changed portable communications like nothing before.

  33. Ok. Since I'm watching this in 2019.
    1. Compactness vs Usability :- We want a small phone but one that fits our bodies.

    All the smartphone manufacturers seem to have forgotten this now.

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