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Fact Check: Samsung Used a ‘Butt Robot’ To Test Cell Phones' Durability?

Samsung Newsroom
Samsung Newsroom

Claim:

Samsung once used a “butt robot” — i.e., a device in the shape of human glutes — to apply pressure on cell phones in development to test their durability.

Rating:

Rating: True
Rating: True

Context:

According to the company, the device was used in 2014 and 2018. It wasn't known whether the contraption was a part of new-product testing between or after those years, nor whether it was being used at the time of this writing.

 

Samsung, the electronics manufacturer, supposedly once used a "butt robot" to sit on cell phones in development to test their durability, according to an August 2023 Reddit post. "The robot exerts 220 pounds of pressure on their phones during testing," the post claimed, and "even wears jeans."

The Reddit post included a photo supposedly showing the "butt robot" — a pear-shaped contraption indeed wearing denim jeans and what appeared to be two mobile, metal plates. 

The claim was true, and the photo was accurately captioned. The image was from an official blog post by Samsung published in 2018. According to the company, the device was used in 2014 and 2018, and indeed put 220 pounds of pressure on new products to see how they could handle it. It wasn't known whether the contraption was part of new-product testing between or after those years, or whether it was being used at the time of this writing. (Snopes reached out to Samsung with that question and will update this report when or if it receives a response.)

Through a reverse-image search, Snopes learned the photo and claim were shared to the same Reddit thread in December 2022. Both posts included a link to a November 2018 article by TechRadar, a business and computer-reporting publication, describing the test. 

By combing through Samsung's online news releases, we found the 2014 blog post with a link to the above-mentioned video showing the "butt robot" and an explanation for why the company administered the testThe blog post was published after the spring 2013 rollout of the Galaxy 4, one of Samsung's best-selling smartphones.

The blog post read:

The back pockets, on our pants, are awesome. We know they are vulnerable to pickpockets and have a greater chance of spilling the contents every time we sit, but we can't resist it. The back pocket is still home to many wallets, keys, phones, etc.

And apparently, our hips are strong – stronger than we give it credit for. Leaving things in your back pocket can lead to, well, bent things. Hence the question: what about my phone? Namely, the Galaxy Note 4.

Samsung makes and sells hundreds of millions of smart devices each year, and it's very important that each and every one is in line with its strict quality control standards. So, to make sure you can rely on its devices, including Galaxy Note 4, Samsung runs rigorous tests both during and after development and production. Check out the video below for some of the tests that Samsung runs to give you, and your back pocket, peace of mind.

The video linked in the blog post was listed as "private" on YouTube and not viewable to Snopes, as of this publication. But we found an archived version by searching the URL through Wayback Machine, an internet archiving site. (Also, a YouTube user uploaded a version of the video here.)

Looking at the archived page, the video was first posted to YouTube by the SamsungTomorrow channel on Oct. 1, 2014, with the title, "Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Endures the Gluteus Maximus." SamsungTomorrow was a YouTube channel established in 2010 and registered to Samsung. As of this writing, the same URL from the SamsungTomorrow page (https://www.youtube.com/user/SamsungTomorrow) redirected to Samsung's official YouTube profile for sharing company news.

A second blog post published by Samsung on Nov. 19, 2018, included the photo of the "butt robot." The post titled, "Lab Tour: How Samsung is Ensuring the Reliability of Galaxy Devices," was split into sections with a series of images accompanying each. The in-question photo was under the "Durability" section (on the fourth slide), with the written description:

Durability is also tested with a series of repetitive actions, such as pressing the buttons, using the earphone jacks and opening the SIM card tray. The team even measures how well a smartphone can withstand the load and pressure of a person sitting on their phone when its in their back pocket.

Other tests on new products described in the 2018 blog post included an acoustic chamber to measure audio quality, a heat lab equipped with a thermal camera, a "drop test lab" that used high-speed cameras to take footage of smartphones falling, and water experiments.

Sources:

- YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrhCz6PnT78&feature=youtu.be. Accessed 31 Aug. 2023.

Evon, Dan. "Snopes Tips: A Guide To Performing Reverse Image Searches." Snopes, 22 Mar. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/articles/400681/how-to-perform-reverse-image-searches/.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. The Human Gluteus Maximus. https://news.samsung.com/global/enduring-the-gluteus-maximus. Accessed 31 Aug. 2023.

Lab Tour: How Samsung Is Ensuring the Reliability of Galaxy Devices. https://news.samsung.com/global/lab-tour-how-samsung-is-ensuring-the-reliability-of-galaxy-devices. Accessed 31 Aug. 2023.

published, Stephen Lambrechts. "Samsung Built a Robot Butt Just to Test Its Smartphones' Durability." TechRadar, 8 Nov. 2018, https://www.techradar.com/news/samsung-built-a-robot-butt-just-to-test-its-smartphones-durability.

SamMobile, and Mihai Matei. "Galaxy S4 Throwback: One of the Best-Selling Phones of All Time." SamMobile, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.sammobile.com/news/galaxy-s4-throwback-one-of-the-best-selling-phones-of-all-time/.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Endures the Gluteus Maximus. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sBw0suesvk. Accessed 31 Aug. 2023.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Endures the Gluteus Maximus - YouTube. 4 Oct. 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20141004153858/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrhCz6PnT78&feature=youtu.be.

TheQuietKid22. "TIL Samsung Created a Butt Shaped Robot That Sits on Their Phones to Test Their Durability. The Robot Exerts 220 Pounds of Pressure on Their Phones during Testing. The Robot Even Wears Jeans." R/Todayilearned, 21 Aug. 2023, www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/15x05dp/til_samsung_created_a_butt_shaped_robot_that_sits/.