Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch


On the shelves of a laboratory near San Francisco sit tanks and tanks of mysterious-looking liquids. Labels identify some as simulations of human heads, while others relate to muscles.

It sounds like the ghoulish headquarters of a mad scientist, but it isn’t. It’s the Silicon Valley offices of UL, a product testing organization previously known as Underwriters Laboratory, and these liquids play an important part in smartphone safety.

You might not know UL, but you can probably find its logo on a number of products around your home.

Martyn Williams

Two UL logos are seen on a computer power supply. The company tests products to ensure they meet safety requirements.

Manufacturers contract with the company to run tests and ensure products meet safety and regulatory guidelines. This laboratory is used to test for electromagnetic radiation coming from phones.

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