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jmacnaughtan

Jellifying a telephone

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Hi,

 

This is a slightly odd question, and I think this is probably the right place for it.

 

As I mentioned previously, I'm hosting a failed selfie exhibition and will be doing food and drink to match. One thing that I thought would be fun to do, however, was encase a functioning telephone in a set jelly/jell-O and have people call it.  It would be set on vibrate, obviously :D

 

Anyway, this is not something I've done before, and the logistics are a bit interesting:

 

- How can I stop the jelly destroying the electronics? Would a phone survive being vac-sealed?

- Which proportion of gelatin to water do I need for structural stability, but maximum wobble?

- Would a larger jelly wobble more satisfyingly?

- Is a phone's vibrate setting even strong enough to wobble jelly?

- Fully transparent or coloured?

 

I don't intend to serve this as food, so food safety and flavour are not an issue.

 

All suggestions welcome.


Edited by jmacnaughtan (log)
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20 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Aren't the current iPhones water resistant?

 

 

I should hope so! Many modern cell phones carry an IP rating indicating how waterproof they are.  I can give my Samsung a bath with no ill effect. Anyway the phone used doesn't have to be  an iPhone. There are other (and dare I say better) brands

 

I'd have thought the power of the vibration more of an issue. Only one way to find out. Try it.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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1 hour ago, jmacnaughtan said:

All suggestions welcome.

Well I suggest most of us have an older, still functioning sort of, phone stuck somewhere in a dresser drawer or where ever one sticks these things that they can’t quite bring themselves to trash. It would be one way to find out how well they survive being vacuum sealed. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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8 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Well I suggest most of us have an older, still functioning sort of, phone stuck somewhere in a dresser drawer or where ever one sticks these things that they can’t quite bring themselves to trash. It would be one way to find out how well they survive being vacuum sealed. 

 

I can't see any reason why a cellphone would be allergic to vacuum sealing, regardless of age. No air is required for their functionality.

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1 minute ago, liuzhou said:

 

I can't see any reason why a cellphone would be allergic to vacuum sealing, regardless of age. No air is required for their functionality.

I think my concern was that a powerful vacuum might crack the screen. I wouldn’t be a bit concerned if I was just using a food saver type vacuum but some of these chamber vacuums can be pretty powerful. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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16 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I think my concern was that a powerful vacuum might crack the screen. I wouldn’t be a bit concerned if I was just using a food saver type vacuum but some of these chamber vacuums can be pretty powerful. 

 

Mine's a cheapo food saver type, so it shouldn't crack.

 

I'm more worried about the plastic pressing all the buttons all the time (it's an old-school Nokia C2 01 with physical buttons. Remember real buttons?). Also, I'd rather the plastic was as unobtrusive as possible - ideally, it should look like the phone is just suspended in the jelly.

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Aren't the current iPhones water resistant?

 

 

I don't have an iPhone, and I'd be worried about encasing anything that expensive in jelly...

 

1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

 

I'd have thought the power of the vibration more of an issue. Only one way to find out. Try it.

 

 

I shall! But I put the odds at 50/50 that someone on this forum has actually already done something this pointless :D

 

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4 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

In 15 years on Egullet, this is probably the craziest discussion I've taken part in! I love it.

 

I'm waiting for the video!

 

You shall have one! I just need to pick up a pre-paid SIM and set the jelly :)

 

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So here is a link to a molding material that you could use as the first layer around your phone. 

 

here are the ingredients in metric 

2040 g gelatin
2115 g water
4086 g glycerine
454 g glucose
30 g etoh
 

Of course you won't need a batch anywhere near that big. This molding material I believe will be less likely to damage the phone because it's not terribly wet. (I may be totally wrong on that) I think I'd then encase that in a much jigglier jello for the effect you are after. 

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9 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

So here is a link to a molding material that you could use as the first layer around your phone. 

 

here are the ingredients in metric 

2040 g gelatin
2115 g water
4086 g glycerine
454 g glucose
30 g etoh
 

Of course you won't need a batch anywhere near that big. This molding material I believe will be less likely to damage the phone because it's not terribly wet. (I may be totally wrong on that) I think I'd then encase that in a much jigglier jello for the effect you are after. 

 

Thanks for that - I'll give it a go if I can get my hands on the glycerine and denatured alcohol (shouldn't be too hard).  The only issue is that I've got essentially one shot - if the phone gets fried, I don't have another on hand immediately. I'll try this if the vac packing doesn't work out.

 

I think that freezing the phone would help set any jelly instantly, preventing it from getting in. But would freezing it damage the phone?

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Just now, jmacnaughtan said:

 

Thanks for that - I'll give it a go if I can get my hands on the glycerine and denatured alcohol (shouldn't be too hard).  The only issue is that I've got essentially one shot - if the phone gets fried, I don't have another on hand immediately. I'll try this if the vac packing doesn't work out.

 

I think that freezing the phone would help set any jelly instantly, preventing it from getting in. But would freezing it damage the phone?

I just used the 95% EtOH I happen to have around - didn't bother with denatured at all. 

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4 minutes ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

Thanks for that - I'll give it a go if I can get my hands on the glycerine and denatured alcohol (shouldn't be too hard).  The only issue is that I've got essentially one shot - if the phone gets fried, I don't have another on hand immediately. I'll try this if the vac packing doesn't work out.

 

I think that freezing the phone would help set any jelly instantly, preventing it from getting in. But would freezing it damage the phone?

Don't know about freezing - but I sure know that leaving one in the hot sun isn't a good idea!

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23 minutes ago, jmacnaughtan said:

I think that freezing the phone would help set any jelly instantly, preventing it from getting in. But would freezing it damage the phone?

 

 

If you still have the instruction manual (if there was one) it should give a range of operating temps; otherwise the info  may be online.

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Chapeau for the idea, fantastic!

 

I would keep far from a chamber vacuum machine, the pressure shock while releasing air inside the chamber would risk to detach some electronics, ruining the cell phone.
A food saver should be fine, the buttons on the Nokia are dual not single, so it's pretty hard that the bag would press one side more than the other, pressing both sides together does not activate anything. At least if your model is like mine (I'm an old dinosaur and still use my 15 year old Nokia but can't remember which model it is). The problem is that the bags for the food saver are not flat, so people would see the bag and all the ondulations.

 

Avoid freezing too, not a good idea.

 

You can use a double layer of plastic wrap, if you pull it carefully you won't be able to notice it from the front. If you cut it carefully (exact dimensions) you should be able to put the closures on the sides of the phone, so they will be really hard to notice. It won't be completely water proof, but if you use a very viscous first layer of gelatin then the risks are almost zero (Nokia phones are famous for surviving all kinds of hardships, mine included).

 

For the first layer of gelatin you just need to use a high ratio of gelatin per water, for this use going for a technical recipe with glucose and glycerine is overkill. Just use 1 g gelatin (powder form I suppose since you work in a pastry shop) for 10 g water: dissolve the powder gelatin in 10 parts water instead of the usual 5 parts, then melt and use. Make this layer the thinner possible, few millimeters.
For the final block of gelatin the lowest ratio is 24 g gelatin per 1000 g water, so if you use powder gelatin you dissolve 24 g gelatin in 120 g water, then melt it and add to 880 g water. Go for the lowest bloom possible, bronze gelatin usually in a professional setting (140 bloom), if you can find the 100 bloom one even better (should be a special order, never seen any professionals using it).

 

Remember that you must wrap the phone when it's on, even Nokia batteries have their limits.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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I wonder how reception through jello will be ...

 

what if you made two blocks   of jello then carved a cavity for the phone and sandwiched them with the phone in the middle?  While the phone would still be touching moist jello, it wouldn’t be submerged in liquid while the jello sets.  

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3 hours ago, teonzo said:

Chapeau for the idea, fantastic!

 

I would keep far from a chamber vacuum machine, the pressure shock while releasing air inside the chamber would risk to detach some electronics, ruining the cell phone.
A food saver should be fine, the buttons on the Nokia are dual not single, so it's pretty hard that the bag would press one side more than the other, pressing both sides together does not activate anything. At least if your model is like mine (I'm an old dinosaur and still use my 15 year old Nokia but can't remember which model it is). The problem is that the bags for the food saver are not flat, so people would see the bag and all the ondulations.

 

Avoid freezing too, not a good idea.

 

You can use a double layer of plastic wrap, if you pull it carefully you won't be able to notice it from the front. If you cut it carefully (exact dimensions) you should be able to put the closures on the sides of the phone, so they will be really hard to notice. It won't be completely water proof, but if you use a very viscous first layer of gelatin then the risks are almost zero (Nokia phones are famous for surviving all kinds of hardships, mine included).

 

For the first layer of gelatin you just need to use a high ratio of gelatin per water, for this use going for a technical recipe with glucose and glycerine is overkill. Just use 1 g gelatin (powder form I suppose since you work in a pastry shop) for 10 g water: dissolve the powder gelatin in 10 parts water instead of the usual 5 parts, then melt and use. Make this layer the thinner possible, few millimeters.
For the final block of gelatin the lowest ratio is 24 g gelatin per 1000 g water, so if you use powder gelatin you dissolve 24 g gelatin in 120 g water, then melt it and add to 880 g water. Go for the lowest bloom possible, bronze gelatin usually in a professional setting (140 bloom), if you can find the 100 bloom one even better (should be a special order, never seen any professionals using it).

 

Remember that you must wrap the phone when it's on, even Nokia batteries have their limits.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

Thanks Teo, I'll give that a shot.

 

I'm currently trying one with a 1.8% gelatin ratio - according to a couple of sources, this is what you'd normally use for a wobbly dessert jelly. Doesn't 2.4g make it a bit "hard"?

 

I also wonder what the vibration will do to its structural integrity.

 

15 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

I wonder how reception through jello will be ...

 

what if you made two blocks   of jello then carved a cavity for the phone and sandwiched them with the phone in the middle?  While the phone would still be touching moist jello, it wouldn’t be submerged in liquid while the jello sets.  

 

It should be OK, but I'm not sure it's been thoroughly tested :D

 

I'm not sure I want to monkey around building jelly blocks. It will not go well.

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46 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

This guy put his wife's iPhone in Jello and it still worked. 

 

1. That's a really unpleasant thing to do to somebody.

2. iPhones are, clearly, waterproof with cling film

3. It turns out you do get network coverage through jelly.

 

I didn't think his one looked that good though - it looked pretty hard too. I'll see if I can do better.

 

I've got almost two weeks, so why not?

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This is what I would do:

 

1. buy a micro motor vibrator, they are very cheap less than a dollar.  They are very tiny, size of a large pea. They run on 1.5v battery, draws very little power.

 

2. Get a variable resister (rheostat), or a low voltage controller, ( about a dollar).

 

3.  a cheap non-functioning phone.

 

4. make your jello with everything in it except the battery and voltage controller, which will be wired to the vibrating motor hidden remotely.

----------------------------------------

The reason for this setup is because just like a violin, the jello will have a very specific vibrating frequency, with the adjustable motor rotation (vibration) synchronized , you will have the jello really dancing.

 

(Note - all components can be purchased on ebay.)

 

dcarch

 

 

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I agree with @dcarch - everything has a "resonant frequency" - if you match your vibration to the resonant frequency of the jello you will get maximum wobble with minimal power.  Otherwise, you will have to tune your jello's resonant frequency (by means of its viscosity) to the phone's vibration frequency which I think would be a LOT harder to do.

 

If part of the art exhibition revolves around people calling the "phone" to make it vibrate, there are ways around that too.  You can use an inexpensive Raspberry Pi with a simple Python script to trigger the vibratory motor from a phone call, text or email or other stimulus.

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5 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

I'm currently trying one with a 1.8% gelatin ratio - according to a couple of sources, this is what you'd normally use for a wobbly dessert jelly. Doesn't 2.4g make it a bit "hard"?

 

Good question. I've been taught that 24 g is the minimum amount of gelatin to gel 1000 g of water, if you go lower then the jelly will sweat water. But I must say I never checked the source. I tried a couple of times to use less gelatin and the jelly effectively sweated out some liquid. We need to consider that there can be differences in the gelatin sold in different markets.

What I'm sure about is the bloom value, you need the lowest bloom possible. You need the same weight of bronze gelatin / silver gelatin / gold gelatin to be able to gel the same amount of water, meaning that if the minimum amount of bronze gelatin to gel 1000 g of water is X grams, then it will be the same weight for silver and gold gelatin. What changes is the gel strength, low bloom means low strength (wobblier gel).

 

 

 

5 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

I also wonder what the vibration will do to its structural integrity.

 

A good reason to go with low bloom and maybe use a bit more gelatin. If you use a first layer of hard gelatin to surround the phone then the vibrations should be a bit muted when reaching the other jelly, so it means less risks.

 

 

For waterproofing the phone,  you can adopt the Ottawa solution. That way you will be 100% sure your tool will be protected against potentially dangerous moisture.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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If you have a food saver, why not just seal right at the edges of the phone and then trim, and not worry about vacuum? Or just pull a weak vacuum before sealing? I've done that with somewhat delicate materials I didn't want to squish.

 

I'd say make the initial layer of Jello, let it sit until almost firm, and gently lay the encased phone on top; then add the second layer.

 

Like @liuzhou, I'm anxious to see the video (not to mention extensive pics of the entire affair)!

 


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Well, the first attempt went about as badly as possible. I was going to do photos/videos, but there's really no point.

 

- My crappy off-brand food-saver didn't recognise that it had pulled enough air out, so kept sucking and wouldn't seal with any kind of vacuum (but I'll probably use this anyway, see below)

- Cling film is, apparently, laughably poor at keeping liquid jelly out (at least if you want it to look discreet). I think I have destroyed my test phone.

- A thicker layer of jelly would probably have been better, but not enough

- 1.8% gelatin is not enough. I should clearly have listened to @teonzo and not used crappy internet guides. The jelly collapsed immediately under its own weight, but still left the phone in a chunk of it.

- Surprisingly, the alarm I set for this morning on vibrate still functioned, even though the screen is KO. Unfortunately, the vibrate function had zero wobbling effect on the chunk. I blame the cheap first-generation vibro-motor in the Nokia, but I'm not sure a newer one would be much better without adapting it perfectly to the resonant frequency (thanks for the head's up @dcarch and @KennethT)

- My gelatin is, apparently, nowhere near pure and was unpleasantly cloudy.

 

So:

 

- I'm going to upgrade to a smartphone in the jelly, but probably in a terribly loose (but fully sealed) food saver type bag. It will dampen the vibration, but I honestly don't think this is going to matter much anyway.

- As it's fully sealed, it probably won't need a thicker jelly layer around it.

- I'll ramp up the next test to 2.7% and see if it still wobbles.

- I don't think I'll have enough time to order anything from eBay and expect it to actually arrive in time. The party's on the 2nd. 

- I might see if I can find a way to make the base move and wobble the jelly. I get the feeling that suspending the vibrating motor is counter-productive, and just bouncing around inside the phone rather than moving the jelly. A vibrating phone is louder on a hard surface than in your hand, so I'd imagine the vibrations would be amplified through the base.

- Would leaf gelatin give a clearer result? I always thought it was basically identical, but it might be purer.

- In the worst-case scenario, I'll still have a phone people can call which is suspended in jelly. 

 

This project is harder than I thought, so all suggestions/advice/hoary anecdotes are welcome.

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